The Prettiest (book release) Party Ever

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I can't believe it's been nearly a month since Beautifully Interrupted released into the world. The party held in my backyard just days before it officially, launched was one of the most spectacular + meaningful days of my life. I'm so humbled to tell you that friends flew in, found sitters, and even canceled weekend plans simply to help figure out how in the world to make a balloon installation.

It. Was. Perfect.

Except that I forgot to take silly photos of us laughing and playing and getting everything ready...and us in the midst of the party when it was in full swing. Bummer!!

Even so, I have about five and a half million photos to share of the most spectacular day. To those of you who came, helped, and supported...I don't know how I'll ever be able to explain how much it mean to me.

Ready for the fun pics??? Ok good.

Let's just start with the cake...because I'm pretty obsessed with it.

I've recently found the most incredible little bakery here in Denver, aptly named Happy Bake Shop because walking through its doors makes me instantly happy. The owner is as kind as she is a gifted baker and every morsel I've eaten is to die for (including the vegan and dairy-free cupcakes).

**Totally off-topic but our family munched on Happy Bake Shop's Lemon + Elderflower cupcakes while watching Megan and Harry's wedding...the royal couple's wedding cake flavor. It was sublime).**

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The gorgeous flowers are from my dear friends over at Something Styled (see the pics below of the darling + happy centerpieces they also made).

The flowers were placed on the cake by yours truly...took me a couple tries to get it to look the way I wanted. I was crossing my fingers that I didn't destroy the cake in the meantime (I kinda put a lot of holes from the stems all over the place)...thankfully the flora covered up all my puncture holes and the end product was fantastic! The adorable sprinkles are from Shop Sweet Lulu.

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The fun coral and peach frosted rosebud cookies are also from Happy Bake Shop (True story: there were only a few cookies left over after the party and I hid them in the cabinet behind the quinoa. Yes, I hoarded them for myself...THAT'S how good they are, hahahaha).

We sprinkled rose petals on the lemon bars as well as all over the beautiful charcuterie board. The Raspberry Rose spread for atop the fancy cheeses was just as pretty as it was tasty!

My sweet husband surprised us with the adorable donuts that morning, and sprinkling some edible gold stars on them, made them even more party-worthy!

The floral napkins and hexagonal paper plates can be found in these links!

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See this gorgeous girl below? This is my best friend (of 20 years), Kiesha...she's going to kill me for including this photo but I don't care because she basically planned the whole event all the way from DC. You know she needs a shout out.

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When you expect nearly 100 people for a party, somewhere to beautifully store glassware is always a big concern. After brainstorming a few ideas, I decided to bring down this caned bookshelf I found at Goodwill a few months back. It was so cute, I just loved it set up next to our drink table.

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Have you ever heard of One Hope Wine? We received a bottle a Christmas or two ago and have been in love with the mission (and the yummy wine) ever since. If you don't know their story, click here. We're so honored that they came alongside us to celebrate this special day!

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Our mimosa bar was complete with Rose Lemonade, and a whole slew of juices (FYI, healthy mint-infused green juice is SO not good with a little bubbly poured in. Just don't do it. It's disgusting. You're welcome.)

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Because I knew some children would likely come (i.e. my own six), I wanted something entertaining for them...and for us...so I asked if perhaps my dear artist-friend Jessie would be willing to paint "floral tattoos". It was just so fun. The kids loved it and so did the grown-ups!

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Can we just talk about our photo backdrop for a minute?

Using some PVC pipe we typically use for the screen on our outdoor movie nights, I hung a yellow and white checked vintage sheet and covered it with paper streamers of differing colors, widths, and lengths.

And then...the FLOWERS!!!! I'm still freaking out and pinching myself that working with Katya Paperie became reality. Katya handmade hundreds of paper flowers to be mailed out to the Influencers (other authors, Instagrammers with larger followings, etc), along with my book.

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She also handmade these massive beauties specifically for our party. Can you even handle how gorgeous they are???

Sweet Katya also made this singular large rose for the Book Signing Table. It was the perfect accompanyment for the gorgeous flowers friends brought as gifts.

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Speaking of the Book Signing Table...let's just go ahead and swoon over it. Ready??

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I know. Those balloons. I can't believe this actual thing is in my own backyard. It's too pretty, I can't handle it. This kind of thing is only on Pinterest. No it's not...it's in MY actual backyard. WHAT?!

I just cannot believe it.

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Erin, the sister of my friend Sarah (from Something Styled, and did all our live-flowers) is just as crazy creative as her flora-loving sibling. Erin asked if I needed help with anything and I sent her a Pinterest photo asking if she knew how to make a balloon installation (fully expecting to her to shrug and say no).

Instead, she texted back a list of all the things I needed to purchase and came over the day before the party, spending hours sewing them all together and stringing them with fishing line. There are over 200 balloons in this baby, believe it or not.

Check out a bit of the balloon setup in this little video (below) that I sent to a friend who was unable to fly in for the event.

The little details are my favorite part... from the vintage sheets used as table cloths, to the Anthropologie tea cups and saucers with tiny plants inside, the lawn games with matching pieces, and floral everything.

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We scoured our local nursery for anything pink, coral, blush, and peach and planted the colors of my book cover throughout the front and back yards.

My mom and I kept laughing as we remembered Father of the Bride and how they took a hair dryer to the tulips after it snowed...because we had several inches a week prior to this big event and I was just so nervous it'd happen again.

May in Colorado...you just never know what you're going to get!

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Here's another little video taken as the party was just beginning.

And PS these flowers from Something Styled really just made everything come together. See those tiny daisy-looking things? Those are chamomile!! Who knew that's what they looked like?

Aren't they the cutest?!

For some reason sections of our lawn didn't come back this spring and we didn't have time to roll out new sod before this event, so I had to think outside the box on how to detract from the large patches of dirt in places where lush green grass should be growing!

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I decided to purchase a bunch of outdoor rugs from World Market and build a little "living room" area. By piling up and spreading out these rugs and brining out some of our furniture from throughout the house, we put together the sweetest little sitting area.

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We also brought out the plants from my office and bedroom to help bring more life to the space and used the caned screen to detract from some broken parts of our old fence behind.

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The lawn games from Rustic Road Designs were another really fun element to the party, especially for the kids who came.

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We stored the pieces in cute baskets next to each game and loved seeing kids of all ages laughing while playing around.

And also loved that I was able to specify what color I wanted the Giant Connect Four pieces and Cornhole beanbags to be (in this case, I wanted black + white)!

We've used the lawn games for several parties lately and have been really impressed by how they're holding up...even with kids stepping all over them. Not that I'd recommend kids walking down a Cornhole game, but they're super sturdy and beautifully well-made. We just love them!

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I still can't believe after several years of waking at four in the morning to write before the kids wake, my book is a reality and my release party actually took place.

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My heart still beats fast when simply seeing the cover because this is my heart poured out onto page. And while it feels like I'm standing naked before the world to see and judge, I feel excitement and peace, knowing it was a book the Lord asked me to write...He definitely interrupted my life once again.


A big, HUGE thank you to all who came to support me and gave time and product to ensure this party and Beautifully Interrupted's release, was a marvelous success. Especially Crystal Miller Creative for all the gorgeous photos!!

Something Styled . Happy Bake Shop . One Hope Wine . Rustic Road Design

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NOTE: If you have photos of your own from that day, or any of you reading the book, please post on social media with the hashtag #beautifullyinterrupted. Can't wait to see your photos!!!! xo

Take Joy,

Teresa

P.S. I'd be SO honored if you'd consider posting photos from the party on your Pinterest page!! OR even doing an Amazon review of the book!! Thanks sweet friend! xoxo

Summertime GIVEAWAY!

GIVEAWAY CLOSED

Summer is such a perfect time to gather, don't you think?

Whether it's spreading out an old sheet for a picnic in the park, dinner under twinkly lights on your patio, a casual BBQ with all the fixings, or an outdoor movie in your backyard...these warm months make everyone want to live a little slower and enjoy moments more fully.

In honor of opening our door and inviting people in, I thought a giveaway full of fun hosting essentials would be a fantastic way to welcome summer.

Who says paper plates need to be boring?  These pretty floral plates will liven up your outdoor tablescape (even if you have a black thumb in the garden, like I do)!

Wondering what this cute little swan is? Leave it to Anthropologie to come up with the cutest bottle opener ever (PS I have it, too! With a maiden name like Swanstrom, I'm kind of a fan of swans).

Ahhhhh linen. I may not wear linen clothes often because hello, wrinkles! But there's something just so elegantly casual about using this beautiful fabric on the table (especially when it comes from Williams Sonoma). And this light mint color is neutral enough that it can be used all throughout the year!

Truth be told, I nearly kept this little salt grater. How cute would she be on the table (yes, it's a she)? I found it at Williams Sonoma the day I bought the tablecloth, but realized later you can find it for less on Amazon (yay Prime)!

What meal is complete without pretty napkins? I'm including not only cocktail napkins for drinks and appetizers but floral cloth napkins as well!

Are you in absolute LOVE with these metal rose gold napkin rings?! I sure am.

If ever there was a season for salad-eating, Summer would be it. These wooden salad tongs are a favorite in our kitchen!

Need some Entree salad recipes (and great summer dressings, apps, and an easy/yummy/beautiful make-ahead dessert? Click here!)

I know, I know...I had you at Kate Spade. These charms will definitely help you remember which drink is yours! 

Are you a fan of place cards? I sure am. I love helping my guests get outside their comfort zone, sitting them next to people they don't know well (but folks I know they would love!).

My favorite part is seeing guests sit down uncomfortably at the beginning of dinner and exchange phone numbers and hugs with their new bestie by the end of the night!

I just had to include this little bag of coffee by Two Rivers Coffee because, well...doesn't an iced coffee just sound so good right about now? I bet your guests would agree!

I use these paper bowls all the time. From ice cream to popcorn to watermelon wedges and frozen berries, they're the perfect way to add color to the table without having to wash a single dish! And the wooden spoons just remind me so much of buying ice cream from the ice cream truck when I was little. So nostalgic.

Speaking of paper, if you've ever been to a party at my home, you've probably sipped a cool beverage through a cheerfully colored paper straw. I'm more than a little obsessed with them.


What do you think? Good stuff? Entertaining essentials you'd LOVE to use at your own little dinner or brunch?

Which are you most excited about??

You ready to talk rules??

GIVEAWAY RULES

.ONE.

Make sure you've subscribed via email to www.teresaswanstromanderson.com. You can do so by clicking the prompt in the sidebar.

If you're already a subscriber then skip down to number TWO!

Head over to Instagram & Facebook feeds and follow both! (we will be checking)

.TWO.

Take 60 seconds to fill out this survey below. Tell me what you're loving about the site and what you'd love to see more of.

(New to the blog? Don't worry! Answer what you can and share what you'd like to read and see in the future!)

you're entered! yay!

.THREE.

WANT EXTRA ENTRIES? OF COURSE YOU DO.

for 1 extra entry - Simply tag a friend on the Instagram post (tag as many friends as you like! 1 tag = 1 extra entry)

for 1 extra entry - Simply tag a friend on the Facebook post (tag as many friends as you like! 1 tag = 1 extra entry)

for 5 extra entries - Share the giveaway photo on YOUR Instagram feed (tagging back to @teresaswanstromanderson)

for 5 extra entries - Share the giveaway on YOUR Facebook page (tagging back to this blog post)

.FINE PRINT.

GIVEAWAY CLOSES 11:59PM PACIFIC TIME ON THURSDAY, JUNE 15, 2017.

The winner will be chosen at random (by looking at Mail Chimp's list of those subscribed to the blog as well as Survey Monkey's response) and will be announced on Instagram and Facebook on Friday, June 16.

If the winner does not provide their mailing address by Tuesday, June 20th, an alternate winner will be chosen.

Good Luck!

Take Joy,

Teresa

How to host a party that fills buckets

Weeks have gone by since I held our 3rd Annual Let's Party Like Girls night, yet I have still to share about it!

I have a little secret to tell you, though. It was my best party ever.

Want to know why?

Because it had heart. It had purpose.

It wasn't just a party, it was a night of filling up when we were empty. And giving back because we have something to give.

 

I have to admit, I don't necessarily think it was my prettiest party, though it was definitely lovely. Other than some new streamers because my other ones had gotten ruined and (real!) pineapples we spray painted gold, I didn't even purchase a thing.

The food wasn't catered like it had been in the past. Instead, I headed to Costco, got creative myself, and actually said "YES!" when friends asked if they could bring something.

I think the Lord swiped His hand atop our home that night, because it just felt blessed. And I love that there seemed to be more ladies over that I didn't know, than those I did.

It was a rough night for a party. Our community's Christmas party was the same night, as was a big parade downtown. Festivities had begun and office, church, and other excuses to gather were in abundance. And yet we had about 40 women.

Several friends who couldn't make it but had come in years past, encouraged their friends to come anyway, spreading the word that "it's a night not to be missed." And those that could come, brought a carful of ladies along with them...all dressed to party and reconnect.

Instagram friends became real-life friends. Neighbors new to our street became dear to my heart by the time they walked back home. 

We gathered in our living room at one point, with the purpose of sharing about Denver Dream Center. We had an additional tree set up next to the piano full of names of children with fathers in incarceration and families in our city with great need.

By the following morning, every card was gone. 40 children and a handful of families...all sponsored in honor of our Lord's birthday. You amazing world-changing women stepped up and now these families had gifts on Christmas!

Several of you who saw my posting on social media even reached out and though you didn't live nearby or were able to party with us, you still sponsored a child, or two, or five!

Love may have been poured out to others in need as each card was pulled from the tree...but my desire was to pour out love on the ladies inside my own home, as well.

Giveaways such as a Kids Advent journal, Anchored Press devotional planners, Noonday Collection jewelry, a bag from JOYN, goodies from Fair Trade Friday, Bought Beautifully, gold-foiled prints, journals, and even a beautiful (original!) fashion illustration were gifted to squealing ladies.

I also gave away books I love...some by friends and some by ladies I'd like to be friends with: Curious Faith, Looking for Lovely, The Nesting Place, Loving my Actual Life, Girl Meets Change, Hello Beauty Full, and a few others.

For many of the gifts, I pulled names from a hat. But for others, I'd describe the book or explain the heart around something and toss it onto the ground in front of me saying, "Whoever feels like they need this in their current season, grab it quick!"

Even if you don't have the ability to gift things like I did, what about making a slew of luxurious sugar scrubs, pouring them into little glass jars. Or maybe print out a stack of your favorite Bible Verses and tie them up with a pretty bow. Or even go crazy and have a few freezer meals to gift! Maybe not everyone would receive one...but how pampered would those feel who did?!

Think outside the box. It doesn't need to cost much, it just needs to come from the heart.

Not everyone at our party left with a giveaway item, but even if they did not, they left full. Empty turned to overflowing. Buckets filled so we may fill.

And that was the whole point of the night anyway, right?

Thanks to all of you who Airdropped photos to me throughout the evening! 'Cuz I kept forgetting to take them!

Click here, here, and here for more posts on past Let's Party Like Girls nights!

Take Joy,

Teresa

P.S. If you're ever in need of pretty cookies, turn it into a craft project with the kids! A package or two of colorful macroons, sugared flowers (I got ours from Michael's), and a little icing as glue...and suddenly they're fancy!

I also had a little edible gold leaf from another party and added a little extra glam!

Coffee Chat (my birthday, baptism, and other celebrations!)

Last week was a big one for us over here! It was my birthday, I got baptized, my parents were in town, the kids were out of school for Fall Break, Abreham (our almost 17 year old) got both his first job and went to State for XC. Oh! And Anton (9 years old) won first place at his BMX race!

So basically, it was a whole lot of insanity...and a whole lot of celebrating!

Baptism

Though I was only five years old when I asked the God to be Lord of my life, I never made the plunge to get baptized (pun only mildly intended, haha).

It's been on my heart since college, but really wanted to do it in the Jordan River, like Jesus was. Years have obviously zoomed by and I've realized that I won't likely get to the Holy Land anytime soon.  

What I did realize though, is I didn't want to be dunked into a hot tub type vessel in front of the sanctuary. I love being outside, you guys. I wanted this to be more than simply a quick immersion into water. I wanted to really make this into a celebration. A ceremony. A communion between myself and my Lord.

I wanted a body of water, one where I'd feel a chill and feel some discomfort, because to me...this was a big deal.

Since my parents were in town and the weather was still warm-ish, I asked our pastor (and dear friend) Nirup, if he'd baptize me during my birthday week.

I'd long since given my heart and life to my Heavenly Father, but this felt almost like renewing my vows to Him. This was an occasion where my family and friends could enter into an experience with me as I outwardly showed my commitment to God and He bathed me with grace and love and forgiveness.

And I wanted to celebrate His Goodness, His Mercy, His Faithfulness, and Holiness.

So that's what we did. And it was amazing.

(Per usual I forgot to take photos during the party. So all these were taken during setup and cleanup. Bummer!!)

Birthday

I thought I was turning 38 this year...but surprise! I'm actually 37. It's been years since I've paid attention to my age, but the closer I inch toward 40 I realize I'm not quite ready! So that was a present in and of itself. (Feel free to roll your eyes. I don't blame you, haha.)

As a mom, I've long since given up on the idea of sleeping in on my birthday and having a full day at the spa or something. Not that that doesn't sound like heaven...I'd just rather not miss the fun stuff going on with our kids.

Anton had a BMX race where he won 1st place in his division (and a trophy about as big as he is!)

Abreham also had his State Cross Country meet and got his first job at our neighborhood grocery store!

We of course still did some celebrating that evening though, and since they know my love language is a pretty table and dining outside, my mom and the kids set up the most fantastic Ethiopian Dinner for us all to enjoy.

We were out there 'till way past their bedtimes as Gram and Grandpa told goofy stories about me as a child and two sweet guys just didn't want the night to end. 

Halloween

I'm truly just not a fan of Halloween at all. The only thing we really do is go trick or treating and the only reason we do that is to get to know our neighbors.

I had told the kids toward the end of summer that I wasn't buying costumes this year. Money is tight and I just can't justify $30-40 x 6 kids. I was surprised by how little they actually seemed to mind.

We obviously have a surplus of costumes from years past and our kids love being creative so some made their own costumes, some did wardrobe changes throughout the night, and others just decided they didn't want to take part and didn't dress up at all!

We set up a table in our front yard and made enchiladas and moscow mules. Friends brought homemade guac and chips, and before the dads headed down the street with the kids, we just spent time of chaotic fun together. 

Neighbors came by and chatted for a bit since we decided to camp out at the table, rather than head back inside, only opening our door when kids came by for candy.

We met tons of neighbors we didn't yet know and caught up with many we already did. I'm so glad we stayed outside. Conversations ensued that never would have happened otherwise!

I think this may become a tradition. Dress up or not, come by for food and drinks. Hang out under our cozy blankets by the outdoor heater if it gets too chilly.

We had such a fun week of celebrating so much.

And PS once again, I got NO "during the actual festivities" photos!! I've gotta get better about that!

Take Joy,

Teresa

opening up our door to our neighborhood (+ tips so you can, too!)

Never having lived in a neighborhood where we’ve actually known our neighbors, we wanted to change that. Our family decided we wanted to live life with those in our community, rather than drive into our garage and put the door down behind us, shutting out any chance of getting to know anyone.

Three cross country moves and various neighborhood and city changes means we’re now in our seventh house in ten years of marriage. Finally though, with tons of transition tucked into our belts, we’re itching to settle and grow roots…but that’s something that needs to be done both organically and with intentionality.

Deciding we simply wanted to open our doors, we begun just inviting people in. My first Book Club gathering was two weeks after moving into this house and we laughed and chatted amidst boxes that surrounded our living room.

No one cared one bit.

Shortly after that, I invited in ladies from our neighborhood, moms from the kids school, sports, and church. I wanted to give busy women an excuse to dress up and I called it, a “Let’s Party Like Girls” night (click here to see year 1 + year 2)

Last summer, we had dinners in our backyard, calling each one “An Evening to Nourish”. Faith, age, and station in life didn’t matter at these evenings.

I didn’t seek to combine a group of like-minded ladies, but rather went out of my little bubble and welcomed in women I both knew well and really wanted to know well. Most of the time, I sat around our table with women who had never met one another…but they certainly knew each other by the end of the evening. Phone numbers and hugs were exchanged at the end of each Nourish event.

We felt nourished. Not only because our bellies were full, but because our hearts were.

Lately, the desire to be more intentional about inviting families into our home has been on our hearts and decided doing Outdoor Movie Nights would be a great way to begin. We’ve hosted tons of them these past few months (so many in fact, that we decided to make a quick diy screen rather than hanging a sheet on the fence)!

I think we've been able to host so many though, because we decided that although we’re big fans of going all out for parties and events, something quick, simple and manageable needed to be reality. I needed to remind myself that if I made a big deal out of planning, it wouldn’t end up happening very often.

The whole point was to get to know our community…not throw the bash of the century.

Not wanting to spend more than a handful of dollars on these evenings, I decided to reuse wooden pallets I’d accumulated for a big picnic we’d hosted this summer. Spreading them out around the backyard, we covered them with blankets or tablecloths or even a few yards of fabric I’d found a few years ago at Goodwill. I just used what I had. Knowing evenings are beginning to get chilly now that fall is on it’s way, I also put out extra blankets to wrap ourselves in (These grey fleece ones are from Ikea and cost $3.99 each).

Since we wanted as little prep as possible, we decided to forego using our microwave, and simply bought a big bag of pre-popped popcorn at the grocery store and poured it into brown paper lunch sacks. I didn’t have enough to fill every bag to the top, so I cut the bags down a bit…which was probably good anyway because most nights I end up throwing out a dozen half-eaten sacks anyway.

I love tossing fruit into a big pitcher or jar of water rather than serving kids soda because well…kids and soda equal insanity. They never seem to mind and it’s easier on my pocketbook anyway. Depending on our crowd, we usually put out some adult beverages too.

Doing as much beforehand as we can makes having people over even more manageable.

I often make my favorite slushy cocktail and slide them into the freezer a few days beforehand and shop our house for pillows and blankets, folding them into a pile the day before, so we don’t need to scurry around the house making sure we didn’t forget anything.

Target, Ikea, and Goodwill are my go-to stores if I end up feeling we need anything, but I’m generally a huge advocate in using what we have. Shop your house!! Don’t put out anything fancy that can’t be washed…remember, people are going to be eating and drinking while lounging on these things.

Have a blanket with stains?

Who cares, it’s going to have greasy popcorn spilled on it anyway.

The goal is for people to feel comfortable, that they can unwind. Being present in your home should be a breath of fresh air to their soul. Let them feel Jesus when around you. It’s not about everything matching.

It’s not about throwing a Pinterest-worthy event.

This is about hospitality being an avenue to minister to our community without them feeling we’re shoving Jesus down their throats.

Your home doesn’t need to be perfect. Your yard doesn’t need to be pristine. You may live in a rental or something you feel is too tiny to entertain well. But you know what?

Imperfection is authentic.

No one feels comfortable in so-called perfection anyway.

Let the love of God shine through us all as you open your homes to your neighborhood. Because you might be the closest thing to Jesus they’ve ever met.

For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him.
— Acts 28:30

Take Joy,

Teresa