Pages

How To Host A Perfect Cookie Exchange

Monday, December 10, 2018

There are videos in this post so if you receive my posts in email, you may need to click here to see the videos. If you like what you read, please share on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.


I hope the title of this post isn't too deceiving! I think those who have been reading my blog know that I don't profess to anything in perfection. I try to keep this space as organic, raw, and real as possible!! So just humor me with this, and hopefully, I can appropriately articulate a lesson I learned many years ago!!

I hosted a Cookie Exchange Party for women in my church and their friends last night. It was a great time!! As you all know, hosting anything at your house can be somewhat stressful. But, I can honestly say that at almost 55 years of age, experience has taught a lesson about getting too stressed over having people over.

Many years ago, I hosted an evening for women in my church at my home in Texas. I know my family grew sick and tired of me as the week wore on, and I became a very unpleasant person to live with! My high school aged kids quickly became exhausted by my focus on keeping the house clean- every dirty sock had to be picked up immediately, no crumb could be left on the countertop to be dealt with later, the house became almost unlivable!! And, then the water pipe busted!! Not a pipe in the house. Thank goodness. A waterline pipe burst which made my late husband have to cut off the waterline to the entire house. I was not happy!! He was out until midnight one night fixing that pipe!! The party for church was still on much to the unhappiness of my family! The day of the party arrived. I got home from my job at school that afternoon and went about the last minute preparations for the evening. As I anxiously awaited hearing the doorbell of the first guests' arrival, I walked through the living room to discover that our dog, Scout, had pooped in the middle of the living room floor. What in the world? He hadn't needed out. He never pooped in the house, but he decided to at that very moment.

I quickly cleaned up his mess and went to my bathroom to wash my hands. Crying in my frustration, I glanced up at myself in the mirror, and a moment of clarity swept over me. "This evening isn't about you. This evening isn't about your house." Wow!! I know that if God can use a donkey to get through to Balaam in Old Testament times, he can surely use my little Scout to speak truth to me!!

Story of Balaam 

Scripture: Numbers 22: 21-39

Growing older does have its perks because I went into the preparations for my Cookie Exchange party with a very healthy and positive mindset. This party wasn't about me. It was about bringing together women. It was about allowing women the opportunity to get to know each other better. It was about celebrating Christmas in a fun and casual way.

My experience also reminds me of the story of Mary and Martha!



Scripture: Luke 10:38-42

My Martha has become a Mary over the years. You see, my house really wasn't ready to have people over. We are a bit under construction at the moment. We are adding bookshelves in our office. Everything that had been on temporary bookcases is now in lining our hallway. My stairs are in the middle of a renovation- risers are unfinished awaiting a special project "refresh."

Hallway lined with boxes of books from the office.

Spare bedroom had office spillover as well. 


I can honestly say that I didn't stress over my house at all this week leading up to the party. I just kept my priorities straight, and kept my thoughts on the most important guest!!!

For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.
                                                                                              Matthew 18:20 



So I guess in a sense, I did have a "perfect" Cookie Exchange party. New friendships were formed. We celebrated Christmas in a unique way. And, it was really fun!!

Here are some ideas if you do want to host a Cookie Exchange:

Have an empty space for the platters of cookies that everyone brings to be exchanged. Ask each guest to bring at least 2 dozen cookies. If you have more than 24 women coming, you'll want to increase the number of cookies each person brings accordingly.

Have a variety of drinks ready. I served water, tea, lemonade, and sparkling grape juice. I also asked those coming to bring a snack to share as we visited before grabbing our cookies.

























I added three small door prizes that we drew for. If women attending don't all know each other, I suggest name tags too.

After eating and visiting has gone on for a while, hand out the containers for the cookies. Each person walks around the table and gets one cookie each. After everyone has had a chance at one, guests can go back and clean off the platters.
A finished cookie container!
Other scenes from the Cookie Exchange:







Great Reminder From This Week Of Honoring Bush 41

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Source

I have truly enjoyed watching the news coverage of President George H. W. Bush's memorials this week. Such wonderful lessons about life can be gleaned from learning more about his life. His life well lived is a great example to all of us on public service (we don't have to be in politics to serve), patriotism, and LOVE.

One thing that you may not know about me because I talk so much about the memoirs that I read is that I Love a good Love Story!! It just makes me feel happy to see people in love. But as I've heard many times, "Falling in love is easy; Staying in love is hard."

Source


I've always loved reading and hearing about George and Barbara Bush's love story. I grew up with an example of a great love story in my own home. My parents worked at their marriage and loved each other very much. I feel that I have been blessed with TWO love stories in my life. My first marriage and my current marriage have both been tremendous blessings in my life.

As anyone who has ever been married knows, marriage is hard.  What I learned many years ago, when  Dr. Jeff Williams of First Baptist Church, Denton, Texas was my pastor, is that Love Is A Choice!! I know there are times when we all look at our spouses and just think "YUK!!" It is a choice on those days to love them.

Hearing that Love Is A Choice early on in my married life changed the trajectory of my marriage. That concept made a huge difference to me in how I LOVED my husband. It made me realize that there were some days that I just had to love R through his lousy mood or my bad mood. I had to choose to love him on those hard days when his laid-back, patient style of parenting clashed with my action driven parenting approach. I had to choose to love him and try to see things from his perspective when he worked long hours, and a considerable portion of caring for the kids fell on me.

In my 2nd marriage, it's the same thing. Dr. T and I choose to love each other. I've told him many times that he got the "new and improved" version of me. I love his look of horror at how bad it had been when I say that to him!! But, I have changed so much after experiencing such devastating loss in my life. Although we are incredibly compatible and don't have the stress of raising kids in our marriage, we still have to offer each other grace on occasion. No relationship is without conflict. 

Source

I think my biggest take away from learning about the Bush's marriage is how they made each other feel cherished!! One example that I love is towards the end of her life Barbara told someone to be sure to tell her husband that she adored him. I honestly believe that most marriages would be saved if each spouse made sure that the other felt cherished!! Making a spouse feel cherished and adored is done by making sure that we put our spouse's needs above our own. It is done by SEEING them. That is one way that I feel cherished by Dr. T. There are many times in the course of our life together when I think to myself, "He really sees me." He accomplishes this by tiny gestures and comments about my seemingly insignificant habits that he notices. He even once watched how I like to make my coffee in case he needed to make it for me sometime. These acts of kindness by him make me feel extremely loved and cherished!!

I hope that after this week of civility in our country, we can move forward and continue on with graciousness and respect. I pray that I continue to remember that Love Is A Choice that I make daily in my marriage and other relationships. 

One last word- I just finished watching President Bush being sent to his final resting place on the Texas A&M campus. Wow!! It made me so proud that both of my children are graduates of A&M. It was moving to hear The Aggie War Hymn played as his coffin was lowered off the train that took him to College Station. To simply see "Here" on pictures of the plane flying over College Station on its way from Washington DC to Houston was very touching. (see Aggie Muster) Aggie Pride was shown well today for all to see.
- DESIGNED BY ECLAIR DESIGNS -