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Choose to Live Your Life in Abundance in the after--- after the spouse dies, after the marriage ends, after the kids leave. Join me on my journey of CHOOSING LIFE in my after. This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live- Deut 30:19

December 10, 2018

How To Host A Perfect Cookie Exchange

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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:

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