The Turquoise Table
It’s no surprise to my friends that I love reading and listening to books. I get the statement “I just don’t have time…” a lot. But honestly - you do. I think it’s all about priorities and what we choose to value. For example, I could spend 30 minutes scrolling on Instagram, Facebook, or watching a favorite show. OR I can read a book. I mean, people have been reading for a LOOOOONG time… What they haven’t had are so many electronic distractions. (Okay sorry - end rant)
One of the ways I consume so many books throughout the year is through the Libby App. I connect my library card directly to the app and can download and listen or read as many books as I would like for FREE. I listen to books in the morning while I am taking a shower, getting ready, making breakfast (while the kids watch a cartoon), or while I’m making dinner and the kids are distracted playing or doing other things. I will also set aside my own personal quiet time either in the morning or afternoon to read. I don’t consume hundreds of pages at a time, maybe a chapter here and there. But I enjoy it. It allows my brain to work in a way that isn’t mindless.
One of the books I just finished is called The Turquoise Table. Kristin Schell, the author, was seeking and longing for community in her neighborhood. A way to connect and be more than just fenced neighbors. In a society that is all about building fences, creating seclusion, and withdrawing, Kristin had a deep longing to know those around her. And not just those who live directly on her street, but create a place of belonging, a safe place to gather and have community, and live out one of the greatest commandments: love God and love people.
One day she had ordered some picnic tables for a BBQ she was getting ready to have and the delivery men placed one of those tables in her front yard without asking. That is when she had the “ahh-ha” moment. A table in her FRONT yard vs back. A place to live, connect, and be present without seclusion. She later painted that table turquoise, her favorite color, and began to do “life” out front. She would do her quiet time, have family meals, gather with friends, have her kids do crafts, or just sip some coffee and read a book.
Little by little those living and driving by on her street started to notice this turquoise table. Conversations would begin to happen with neighbors or random strangers. They would ask about her table and she would share her journey… That’s when The Turquoise Table movement began and started popping up all over town. People began moving “life” into their front yards.
I really loved her book, the recipes she includes, and practical easy ways to step out and create community and hospitality. I also love how Kristin explains the difference between hospitality and entertaining and how we often times mix these two words up.
This book got me thinking about what it looks like to “remove the fence” and create community. I shared a few days ago on Instagram how I love pretty spaces, yet pretty spaces without people are pointless. When we open our world (whether it be our home or yard) we take down a piece of that fence and become more vulnerable with people. When we gather around a table, break bread, or sip coffee with one another, we create a place to listen, be heard, encourage, or just connect. Our spaces don’t need to be perfectly put together. We don’t have to have the table cloths pulled out and china ready to welcome people… We just have to welcome them. And Kristin uses her turquoise table for just that. Her house can be a mess, but that turquoise table is ready to welcome anyone.
I love the concept of the turquoise table. We have a large white farm table on our back porch, and while I may not paint it turquoise, I fully intend to implement, even more so than I already do, a place of gathering. I have also pulled out my small bistro table and placed it in the front yard on purpose. Now, the kids and I have a place to eat lunch out front and live life out front. I highly recommend the book. It’s lovely, an easy read, and really inspiring.
Want to know your neighbors and create more community - READ THIS BOOK and create/paint a turquoise table. Here’s a short video of Kristin’s story.