+[4th annual pumpkin carving]+

After every hosting in our home we all collapse onto the family room daybed and sofa with tea and snacks (and candles still lit everywhere) for family debriefing.    Each of us shares of conversations we had (or overheard), and we always end up laughing hysterically.  We tell of what we liked or didnt like in how the evening went.  We compliment each other in the areas we thought  another shone brightly and we confess where we think we might need to try harder next time.  Yes, this too is training.  For all of us.

I told someone at church today that I have officially worked myself out of a job.  I know I have said that here before, but its really, 100%, true now.    And was always the intention.  The girls can successfully budget, plan, prepare and execute hosting an entire evening!  Doug and I watched them do it all day Friday and Friday night.  It was beautiful.  Beautiful!

In the next couple of weeks, Lord willing, I will write a few posts on the whys of our intentional training of the girls and having them "ready" by their turning 13.  Many of you remember our Coming of Age trip for Savannah (Peytons is now less than 2 months away!) and at that time I wrote quite a bit about that 12 year training.  But since we are about to celebrate another Coming of Age, I will write of it explicitly soon. 

As for the actual party, it was a blast!  The big girls from Savannahs bible study group (ages 14-16) had the tables in the kitchen and Peytons classmates (from her one day a week classes) had the dining room table.  Doug had the firepits in the front and back ablaze so parents and kids flowed in and out all evening.  The movie Coraline was projected as well, which after everyone finished carving, proved to be an attraction; not too scary for this age group , but certainly creepy, with a good underlying message.    When we began these parties years ago I envisioned that soon their friends would be too big for a "fall festival" so we began incorporating a pumpkin carving aspect, which I knew would carry them through to adulthood and beyond.    So glad we did, afterall who doesnt love a good pumpkin carving?

 A very happy sidenote:  its been 4 years since Peyton has had a group of friends with whom she really resonated.  All of her friends from school here are precious in every way.  Doug, Savannah and I all marveled as we watched her interact with these sweet girls.  It has been such a long wait.  Made it all the more sweet.

I picked the date for this party as a memorial, although the party itself is our 4th annual.  One year ago to the day the girls and I drove into Colorado Springs upon Dougs direction.  One year ago to the day Doug lost his job and we were set sail on the Lords journey for our family in this season.  As fires warmed many outside our home and conversations and laughter filled the walls, we celebrated.  We celebrated who He is and spoke to all of His faithfulness.  We looked about, at all He has done for us and in us.  We marveled.  Not at His blessings, but at Him.

This is what life celebration is about to us, sharing what the Lord has done and who He is with those He has placed in our lives.  Its a preview of what one day will be the great celebration.  This kind of time leaves us with full hearts and deeper relationships.  Such a great night!