This is what I’ve learned about walking with the Lord – with each day, there is never a coincidence. Everything is planned by His knowledge, purposed by His decisions, and has such kingdom value that even a smile can be used by God to make a memorable moment. That seems to describe Mistletoe Marketplace this year for me. As I worked handing out invitational cards to visit Farmhouse in Canton on the square, as I handed little Santas, wreaths, mugs and pottery to shoppers or rearranged and added home decor items to our booth, the one constant in it all was this – smiling and then talking with old friends and people from my past, and talking with several new folks who truly want to make the holidays this year special for their families. But all conversations were opened through the front door of every face – a smile!
Nothing says “Welcome” more than the front door of every face – a smile.
I was amazed at all the people that I had either grown up with, went to elementary school with, attended the same church as kids, … I saw folks I used to be in the same life group with at First Baptist Church Jackson back in 1990, and several clients of mine. When you grow up in Jackson all your life, living in the Jackson/Madison area for 31 out of your 49 years, you’re just so touched by all the folks you see who are not only still around, but that connection is just still there! Some of the conversations were all about Farmhouse – who owned it – what it offered – what my involvement is with Farmhouse. And as with one woman who actually began to cry as we talked, …. wanted to know how to create a holiday table for your family that speaks a “love language” to them that they feel.
All the online courses in interior design and interior decorating that I’ve invested in can’t enable one very important value in business – connecting with people. The courses can talk about it, give “how to’s” in steps toward it, but connecting with people comes from a desire to care – to listen. Listening with your heart. One thing that communicates so deeply is this one acrostic:
C – Connect by Smiling – I had a woman at Mistletoe walk over to me as I was handing out invitational cards and with all the sincerity in the world she said, “Hon’, I want you to know I’ve walked by here now 3 times before I got the courage to come up and tell you that your smile has touched me today. I’ve watched you as you’ve been talking to everyone who walked by, and you seem so sincere. I just had to tell you.” WHAT?? Why did God want a total stranger to approach me with that? I silently began to pray and He made it clear – “It was what she needed to see.” I have no idea why…but I thanked her for her kinds words, gave her a hug and never saw her again. (But there was purpose in all that, that far exceeded any sales that day! A purpose known only to God.)
A – Ask a question – Ask a question about them? Then listen. Let that person know that their life, their answer, is all that’s in your radar. Not looking around. No busying yourself with distractions. Do you know how incredibly rare this degree of listening is these days? When you ask someone even what may seem a flippant question, “How y’a doin’?”, wait. stop. look at them. get eye contact. and listen to their reply. It could be the one pause of the day that matters most of all!
R – Relate – No matter what they may say, find a way to relate. If they are talking with you about their miscarriage, and you have never experienced a miscarriage, you can still respond in saying, “I have never experienced a miscarriage, but I can relate with loss and heartache.” It lets the person know you truly are listening … to them.
E – Encourage – When the last thing you say to someone is something encouraging, they will leave having been in your presence with their head held a little higher, their backs a little straighter and they just may have a renewed pep to their step. Nothing is more impactful on a person’s life than genuine encouragement.
CARE – Connect. Ask. Relate. Encourage.
And a great way to spark caring conversations, is with “Thankful” cards around your table for folks to write their “heart-felt gratitude” and share with each other.
And when THAT happens around our holiday dinner tables, it communicates a love language that far exceeds any dinner menu or table decor. But, what would the holidays be without family, friends, and a beautiful inviting table to gather around? So, I wanted to share a few and hope you are inspired…as much as I have been!
Nothing speaks “I love you” more than planning and preparing a place at your table with your loved ones name marking their place. And maybe a little note that lets them know how thankful you are for them.
This creative homemaker took a feather and with a gold sharpie wrote her guests names. Simple brass candlesticks is a timeless traditional piece of home decor, that can symbolize infinite & golden love. The wood table represents something only God can create – the solid ever growing tree – reflective of the solid and ever growing bonds made between people gathered around it to enjoy a meal together.
Candles burning give off light and aroma – symbolizing we, as a child of God, have been called to be the light of Christ, a pleasing aroma to Him.
“You are the light of the world,” Matthew 5:14
“Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God,” 2 Corinthians 2:15
Simple. Elegant. And a table centerpiece that is a trophy! What a message to those around the table, “You win the trophy of my heart!” Ok, maybe a little cheesy…but it’s still a great thought!
These next photos are for inspiration in how to decorate with some pieces you may already have in your home – blue and white pieces, pedestal dishes, fresh florals, etc.
Later this week, I will be showing how these adorable and beautiful velvet pumpkins can be YOUR next DIY!
Hope you’ve been inspired in creating a Holiday table that will speak a love language to your guests. But remember, more importantly than the food, the decor, and all the holiday happies we all enjoy, are the conversations that will make the most memorable moments…when we make them matter!
Photo credits go to www.oursuttonplace.com / www.elegantweddinginvites.com / www.elevengables.com / www.sheleavesalittlesparkle.com / www.dawnnicoledesigns.com / www.stylemepretty.com / www.designthusiasm.com