It seems like a whole lot of my normal "traditions" have taken a hit this year. Black Friday, Santa Claus, our traditional Christmas letter/4x6 print, and now no longer having "Ruthie B's" to turn to for our Ladies White Elephant gift exchange...sheesh! But, change is a huge part of life and the years ahead are only going to get worse when it comes to transition....so I might as well start practicing now.
After some deliberation, we decided on "The Pump Cafe". It was a little disappointing in that they couldn't guarantee seating so we had to push our time up to 11 instead of noon - and therefore lost a few participants as a result. Next year, I actually think I'd like to let everyone know way in advance to plan for - and consider a 10:30 start so we can actually have breakfast as it is so DELICIOUS (and I was bummed they didn't have it available when we ordered).
The ladies did a GREAT job in picking gifts. We opted to NOT go tacky - but instead look for something we'd each really want to have - and well, based on the "stealing of presents" it appears that that did indeed happen.
Extra Hot Soy Peppermint Half Shot Mocha.....I'm so high maintenance! I'm not much of a fan of espresso/coffee, but have really enjoyed Starbuck's version of this lately, and while it still wasn't hot enough, The Pump Cafe did a pretty good job too.
It was so great to have Steph here again - she's missed the last couple of years due to work, so we purposely planned this on a Friday so she could make it. She's holding up the #1 that proves she got to be first to pick and last to steal....
Marjie and Ann - immediately after this pic was taken, Ann stole the gift from Marjie. She wasn't smiling then!
Left to right - sitting: Marjie, Ann, Tammy
Left to right - standing: Lisa S, Tracie, Lisa Q, Christy, me, and Steph
The neat thing about this "tradition" is that the crowd always changes each year - each time we get together it seems there's at least one new face. If everyone who's ever come decides to show up on one given year, we'd probably have a couple dozen beautiful ladies in attendance.... =)
The highlight this year was a beautiful/devotion shared by Tammy who literally took a leap of faith in sharing it with us. God really nudged her to reveal His words to us and it was so touching and intimate. (I also learned as she shared that JESUS CALLING is available as an app! Before I left the restaurant I'd already downloaded it and accessed it successfully - so cool!). The other major encouragement came from a woman who approached us and thanked us for the prayer I said aloud before we ate our meal - and how touched she was by our group. It was not a rehearsed prayer on my part (by any means...), but the fact that we all held hands and glorified the Lord prior to eating clearly inspired her. Love that....and I couldn't ask for a better way to be viewed as a group of women gathering together in love and friendship.