Why there’s no “a Gathered Table” in July & what I’m doing instead

a gathered table rectangle

This month has been “full steam ahead” on a project I’ve been dreaming of for 7 years. I’ve spent most of that time hoping someone else would create it so I could just buy it. But, no one has, so I finally decided to create it myself. It’s a calendar that is part “get things done” and part “pray without ceasing.” (More details to come, soon, of course.) But, creating this calendar has required lots of time, energy, and focus – lots of saying “no.” Other priorities have needed to be sacrificed. Like, July’s “a Gathered Table.”

I’ve thought and thought about continuing on as planned or hosting you for tea & the best chocolate I know of in my backyard, or even having you join me for a webinar. But, I need a rest. I need a month to prop my feet up, sip something happy, and read in the evening before going to bed early.

So, instead of inviting you to join me around a gathered dinner table to come and connect in real life, I’ll invite you to join me in resting, propping your own feet up, sipping something that makes you happy, and maybe even reading a little – and then to come on over to Instagram and connect there. Whether your toes are barely visible above the bubbles in a bath, poking out from beneath a blanket on the couch while you’re watching TV, or in a hammock while you read to the fireflies, will you share a pic on Instagram tonight using #restupJULY? I’d love to see how you rest up (and what you’re reading these days.) I’ll share what I’m up to and choose someone’s photo to get a free month of membership in a Gathered Table Online, which will open Monday, August 4th. Here are some shots of my toes doing different things that have brought me joy, just for inspiration.

restupJULY

I’ve been really grateful for our time together each month. And, I’m going to miss seeing you tonight. So, don’t forget to share how you’re spending you’re evening using #restupJULY and tag me @JennGilesKemper. Looking forward to resting up myself. Hope you use the night off for something that fills you with joy.

If you’d like to read some thoughtful and beautiful reflections on resting up, slowing down, seasons, rhythms, and sabbath I’ve especially enjoyed Shauna’s latest “On July, Chuck Taylor, Silence and Seasons” and thought you might, too.

Salley Schmid, turning hashtags into hugs, and summertime rhythms

June has been all about transitioning to summertime rhythms for me. We don’t have kids that are getting out of school. And, as an engineer & entrepreneur, it’s not like we have a built in summer vacation. But I’ve been able to tell my heart and mind are ready for a slower pace.  I’ve been reading more than usual and craving lighter meals. We’ve also been staying up to enjoy evenings with the hammock, fireflies and fire pit in our back yard. It’s been lovely!

I’ve been noticing more friends have time in the evenings for a walk at Cameron Park, a glass of wine on our front porch, or breakfast on Saturday morning. Maybe invite one of the friends you’ve been enjoying or wanting to enjoy to come with you this month?

Salley Schmid of Enrichment Training and Counseling Solutions has become a dear friend over the last few years. Since we’ve become friends, she’s built her training and counseling practice into something amazing and unique in Waco, we’ve brainstormed over lots of cups of coffee and pots of tea, and we even danced the night away in pretty dresses. I hope to share lots more cups, conversations, and dances with this woman.

 

I attended The Gathered Table for the first time in March. I loved the depth of connections made during this more intimate style of networking and sharing. I made several very useful connections resulting in resources for the people I serve in my business. I also met some people whom I believe can grow to call friends rather than just acquaintances. Everyone without exception was so interesting and enjoyable to get to know. I walked away from the evening with a fantastic feel good energy. Jenn has been so thoughtful about how she has created this monthly event and called together people who are like-minded have deeply soulful spirits, passions, interests, values and more. I cannot wait for the next event. Salley Schmid, MS, LMFTA Owner, Enrichment Training and Counseling Solutions, Inc.

 

What: a Gathered Table is a monthly dinner party that invites the women of Waco to come and connect over a shared meal and conversation. We value sharing over selling. We value collaboration over competition. We value real connection, which leads to friendship, mentor relationships, and generosity.

Who:The women around a Gathered Table are women seeking a life of meaningful service and connection. They’re artists, professors, musicians, teachers, ministers, marketers, counselors, teachers, fitness experts, fundraisers, graphic designers, and photographers. They’re resourceful, thoughtful, and interesting.

When: June 17th, 2014 from 6:30-8:30 pm, always the 3rd Tuesday of the month Where: The Gallery, 2501 Austin Avenue, Waco

How: RSVP & pay below. All are welcome!

For more general details about a Gathered Table, please see http://www.JennGilesKemper.com/aGatheredTable.


 

 

 

 

 

A Gathered Table offers everything one would adore in a dinner party. Friendship, beauty, community, connectedness, vision sharing, and obviously good eats!  The women were a breath of fresh air to me. I was delighted to be dining with women who came to support, encourage, be vulnerable and share in their joys and hardships. Being a part of a Gathered Table last month simply helped me feel more woven into this great community of ours! That’s priceless.” Amanda Konzelman, Mom, Wife, Musician http://www.theunionrevival.com / http://www.hammerandhand.org

 

a Gathered Table | June 2014

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al fresco perfection with Deidra Savage, food trucks, and cafe lights

* UPDATE: The event has been moved to Dichotomy Coffee & Spirits on their Rooftop Patio. There will be several food trucks parked downstairs which you’ll be able to choose from and for dessert we’ll enjoy treats from my favorite food truck in Waco, the Vanilla Bean Bake Shoppe airstream

Friends, the time has come! You can now register for this month’s a Gathered Table on May 20th. We’re expecting this to be the first time we ever sell out. (So don’t dilly-dally if you want to be in one of the 24 seats at the table!) Ready to RSVP and pay? Just scroll to the bottom of this post.

a gathered table

Deidra Savage of Blush and Bashful Weddings and Events is my co-hostess for May and we’ve been working on a food truck round up for you. (I’m so excited to finally be typing that sentence!) Deidra and I started getting to know each other last fall. I so appreciate how generous she is, how hard-working she is, and her ability to set those around her at ease. And, I know her clients and collaborating vendors agree. I’ve heard them. Deidra is a wedding and event coordinator and I’m grateful she’s been a part of a Gathered Table since the very beginning. She has added so much to our wonderful conversation and is such a great connector of people. In fact, she was the first one to register for our very first monthly dinner party and the first to share about this budding vision of mine on Instagram. (Which made my day as it does every time someone resonates with my work enough that they want to share it. You probably feel the same way?)

I love that A Gathered Table offers a warm and inviting atmosphere! My first AGT didn’t feel like another networking dinner, but a place where women wanted to enjoy each other.  - Deidra Savage, Wedding & Event Coordinator Blush & Bashful Weddings and Events

 

a Gathered Table is a monthly dinner party that invites the women of Waco to come and connect over a shared meal and conversation. If you’re hungry for a life of meaningful service, it’s for you. It’s not a place to sell, it’s a place to share. It’s not a place to compete, it’s a place to collaborate. It’s also an opportunity to get out from behind the computer screen and turn hashtags into hugs, which is a particular joy of mine. (In fact, one of April’s guests, Alison Frenzel of Readerly had some great reflections on this in one of her latest blog posts.) a Gathered Table is for artists and academics, entrepreneurs and employees, those of you who stay home with kids and are dying for some adult conversation, and those who wish you were. It’s a place to work out that idea you’ve got, gather some resources for a project you’re working on, introduce friends from different circles of your life to one another, and make a real connection with another fantastic woman in Waco. This will be our first month to meet outdoors and I plan to wear my favorite sundress, so please join me in my “rain, rain go away” dance on that day. Join us on May 20, 2014 from 6:30-8:30 pm. In fact, go ahead and mark your calendar for the coming months, since it’s always on the 3rd Tuesday from 6:30-8:30 pm, okay? The event has been moved to Dichotomy Coffee & Spirits on their Rooftop Patio. There will be several food trucks parked downstairs which you’ll be able to choose from and for dessert we’ll enjoy treats from my favorite food truck in Waco, the Vanilla Bean Bake Shoppe airstream. Upstairs on the rooftop patio, we’ll still have a long line of tables with cafe lights strung over head, which is my favorite way to dine al fresco in the summer.

*For clarification, your ticket always covers the meal costs, so in this case I’ll be paying the food trucks after we’ve all ordered. Some months there are also rental and decor costs to factor in. And, as a thank you, I also like to comp the meals of our monthly co-hostess and photographer. Your ticket allows me to create and curate a beautiful experience and spend time marketing these events so that you’re sharing a table with exceptional women.

For more general details about a Gathered Table, please see http://www.JennGilesKemper.com/aGatheredTable.

See below to register & hear what others have to say about it!


I attended The Gathered Table for the first time in March. I loved the depth of connections made during this more intimate style of networking and sharing. I made several very useful connections resulting in resources for the people I serve in my business. I also met some people whom I believe can grow to call friends rather than just acquaintances. Everyone without exception was so interesting and enjoyable to get to know. I walked away from the evening with a fantastic feel good energy. Jenn has been so thoughtful about how she has created this monthly event and called together people who are like-minded have deeply soulful spirits, passions, interests, values and more. I cannot wait for the next event. Salley Schmid, MS, LMFTA Owner, Enrichment Training and Counseling Solutions, Inc.

 

A Gathered Table is such a neat experience. As an introvert, the idea of sharing a meal with a table full of strangers sounded intimidating to me, but as the night progressed I found myself relaxing and enjoying the connections I made with fellow Wacoans. Jennifer has a special gift of connecting others together! Noelle, Theiring, 2nd Grade Teacher

 

 I loved meeting young women that were excelling in their talents and giving back to the world. I found that we had connections here in Waco even though there was such an age difference. I loved spending the evening around them. It was invigorating.  - Cindy Loutherback, CAbi Consultant & Retired Spanish Teacher

 

I really enjoyed meeting some of the faces behind those who are taking great initiatives in Waco and was encouraged by the common vision we have for this city to reach its full potential and people’s lives to be impacted in a positive way! It was a very fun evening and I look forward to attending A Gathered Table again! - Summer Ellis, Jewelry Designer & Creative Professional Summer Ellis Jewelry & Anthem Studios

 

aGT May header

a Gathered Table | May 2014


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#prayMAY instagram challenge

Instagram has become my favorite platform, because it’s allowed me to connect in meaningful ways that Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest simply haven’t. And, because Instagram has been such a great resource for me to learn, enjoy, and connect I wanted to offer a gift to you and an opportunity for you to do the same.

So, for the month of May I’ve created daily prompts to expand your prayers amid the everyday. My hope is that these prompts will weave into your daily rhythm and become tools you can use over and over.  In my own life and as a Spiritual Director working with everyday women I’ve noticed that as essential as prayer is to a life of faith, it can often feel like a mountain we don’t have the energy to climb. Perhaps we don’t trust our legs to carry us or can’t imagine a way to the top. Have you ever felt like that?

#prayMAY

We crave a life of deep faith and meaningful service, but it can feel so far off. Prayer draws us nearer. But, prayer can feel dry, boring, useless, stale, and unchanging. (Full disclosure: I think that can be good. It can be the catalyst that draws us deeper.) The prayers I learned to pray as a child were rudimentary. I learned how to pray using all five fingers, one each for prayers of thanks, praise, forgiveness, please, and others.  That was a great place to start, of course. I plan to teach my children to pray in all those ways. But many of us haven’t learned much else about prayer since then and those aren’t enough to sustain us or to enrich our faith over the years. We just need more tools in our toolbox.

So, I wanted to share some of the helpful and meaningful tools I’ve gathered along the way, which you can add to your prayer toolbox or share with a friend. For each day in May I’ve created a short prompt for praying. The prayers use resources you already have access to like scripture, imagination, and relationships. And, they involve actions like writing, doing, and watching. They won’t all involve sitting silently in a chair thinking your prayers to God, though some will. Many you may already be familiar with and some you may never have heard of. That’s okay.

If the short prompt is all you need – great! To get a little more guidance, hear about my experience with the practice, or to learn more, come to the blog where I’ll be sharing more in depth several times a week to cover each day’s prompts. Embarking on something like this can be more fun and more meaningful if you share it with a friend, so I’d invite you to do that by tagging your friend on Instagram or by sending them a link to the post (http://bit.ly/prayMAY), if you think they’d enjoy it and find it helpful.

If you’re not on instagram or just have another platform you’d like to share the #prayMAY challenge on, then please do! And, you can still tag me @JennGilesKemper and use the #prayMAY hashtag. I’m planning to gather all the posts into one “story” at the end of the month using Storify, so I’ll be pulling things from multiple platforms.

If you have any questions, leave a comment and I’ll respond. If it’s a bit more personal, I’d invite you to email me at hello@JennGilesKemper.com.


Join the love list?




Summer Ellis and I are setting the table for you on April 15th. Join us?

a gathered table

Yup, you read that right. I’m so thrilled to announce that my co-hostess for April’s a Gathered Table dinner party is none other than Summer Ellis, Jewelry Designer, Creative Entrepreneur, and new mama of two precious girls.

I’m so thrilled that Summer shares my vision for a Gathered Table. Though we’ve only recently started becoming friends, I’ve been a “fan girl” for a while. Summer’s jewelry is simultaneously classic, whimsical, feminine, delicate, and jaw-droppingly-gorgeous. She and her husband Peter also have such love and vision for Waco, which you know from spending even the tiniest bit of time with them.

Scroll to the bottom of the post to RSVP & pay for a Gathered Table.

I really enjoyed meeting some of the faces behind those who are taking great initiatives in Waco and was encouraged by the common vision we have for this city to reach its full potential and people’s lives to be impacted in a positive way! It was a very fun evening and I look forward to attending A Gathered Table again!

- Summer Ellis, Jewelry Designer & Creative Professional

Summer Ellis Jewelry & Anthem Studios

 

a Gathered Table is a monthly dinner party that invites the women of Waco to come and connect over a shared meal and conversation.

What we’ve got planned for this month is really exciting. I think it will be the best of our monthly dinner parties yet. April’s dinner party will remain on the 3rd Tuesday, April 15, 2014 from 6:30-8:30pm.

There will also be an exclusive cocktail reception & tour of Anthem Studios before-hand from 5:30-6:30pm. We’ll have a few sips & treats waiting, plus you’ll be able to shop (see below for the discount!).

The event will be on the 4th floor of The Praetorian building in Anthem Studios, which Summer and her husband Peter own. We recommend parking in the lot on Franklin & entering the door on 6th Street. We’ll have a sign out on the door for you!

Anthem_Collage-07

Every registered guest will be able to shop Summer Ellis bijouterie  at 15% off of jewelry for the whole event (not including custom items) and will be entered into a raffle including the following gifts:

For more general details about a Gathered Table, please see http://www.JennGilesKemper.com/aGatheredTable.

See below to register & hear what others have to say about it!


I love that A Gathered Table offers a warm and inviting atmosphere! My first AGT didn’t feel like another networking dinner, but a place where women wanted to enjoy each other. 

- Deidra Savage, Wedding & Event Coordinator

Blush & Bashful Weddings and Events

 

I attended The Gathered Table for the first time in March. I loved the depth of connections made during this more intimate style of networking and sharing. I made several very useful connections resulting in resources for the people I serve in my business. I also met some people whom I believe can grow to call friends rather than just acquaintances. Everyone without exception was so interesting and enjoyable to get to know. I walked away from the evening with a fantastic feel good energy. Jenn has been so thoughtful about how she has created this monthly event and called together people who are like-minded have deeply soulful spirits, passions, interests, values and more. I cannot wait for the next event.

Salley Schmid, MS, LMFTA

Owner, Enrichment Training and Counseling Solutions, Inc.

 

A Gathered Table is such a neat experience. As an introvert, the idea of sharing a meal with a table full of strangers sounded intimidating to me, but as the night progressed I found myself relaxing and enjoying the connections I made with fellow Wacoans. Jennifer has a special gift of connecting others together!

Noelle, Theiring, 2nd Grade Teacher

 

 I loved meeting young women that were excelling in their talents and giving back to the world. I found that we had connections here in Waco even though there was such an age difference. I loved spending the evening around them. It was invigorating. 

- Cindy Loutherback, CAbi Consultant & Retired Spanish Teacher

 

*edited Monday, April 14th: So far 15 of the 24 tickets have been sold. We’d still love to have you come if you haven’t gotten your ticket yet or if you have, thought you might want to invite a friend that’s been on the fence!

a Gathered Table | April 2014

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an invitation to come and connect

I love going to dinner parties. I love throwing them, too. Perhaps just as much as going. Perhaps even more.

And, I miss planning and designing events for other people that make them feel celebrated and seen. Isn’t that an amazing experience? My favorite part of a party is the inherent invitation it extends to come and connect, just by creating the space for guests to do that.

I’ve been dreaming of playing hostess to an intimate monthly dinner party for women to do just that – come and connect. I love meeting new people and there are always people I’d like to get to know better. This dinner party is for both groups. It’s also for women I know well and have been wanting to introduce to each other, because I think they’d really enjoy each other or have work that compliments each other. In other words, it’s for you. Join me?

I’ve now been an entrepreneur and small business owner since 2010 and in that time I’ve been to quite a few networking events, workshops, retreats, seminars, and conferences. And, I’ve usually been very happy to go and meet new people, connect more deeply with those I’ve met before, hear about the projects and ideas people are working on, offer resources and connections if I can help with a dilemma. But, I have often left feeling hungry for true generosity of presence. I’m certainly not always generous with mine.

attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.

Also, I’m an aesthetic person and I appreciate beauty, thoughtfulness, and hospitality. If there’s going to be food, please make it delicious. Set the table beautifully. If there are going to be tables and chairs, might as well make them comfortable and easy to sit at for the meal, for conversation, and for listening to anyone who might address the group as a whole, however briefly. And, when people come in – welcome them and introduce them to someone they might enjoy.

So, friends. That’s my goal. To create a monthly space for the women in Waco to come and connect, to be generous with their presence, their resources, and their connections. I will set about laying a beautiful table with delicious food and inviting women to gather thoughtfully around it. I invite you to A Gathered Table.

The first one will be next Tuesday, January 21st, from 6:30-8:30pm. It’ll be at The Mix Cafe and Gifts in Hewitt because the food is delicious, the seats are comfortable, and the owner, Betsy, is one of those women I’ve almost known for a long time and been wanting to know better. :)

RSVP here.

I know next Tuesday makes it a week until we meet, but it’s because I don’t put dreams off year by year. Instead, I delay the sending of invitations day by day, delay the venue and menu selections week by week, and delay the date month by month to make it all just so. And, then, slowly it never happens, though always almost happening. It’s exhausting. Maybe you can relate? And, I didn’t want to put off extending this invitation to you any longer, even though the logo’s not done, the social media platforms aren’t waiting with beauty and wisdom and inspiration, and the invitation list on mailchimp doesn’t have all the auto-responders set up yet. All shall be well.

I’ll be hosting A Gathered Table on the third Tuesday of every month in 2014 from 6:30-8:30pm somewhere in the Waco area. Mark your calendars. This is the only one that will sneak up on you. Now neither one of us has an excuse!

If you’re a caterer, a restaurant, a venue, a vineyard, a food truck, or someone who has one of those to recommend, please send me an email at hello@JennGilesKemper.com. I’d love to share your business with some of the most wonderful women in Waco and enjoy your space by filling it with a thoughtfully laid table and the most lovely ladies.

Get on the invitation list here. Connect with us further at http://www.facebook.com/AGatheredTable and using #AGatheredTable and @AGatheredTable on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. I see this blossoming into something more beautiful than I can even imagine and I’d love you to be a part of it.

Lest you’ve been reading and have forgotten… RSVP here.

I’ll see you next week! Jenn

starting over

advent begins next Sunday and as it nears it quietly reminds that with the dawn of the new year comes the dusk of the last year.

my goal this past year has been to listen closely to joy that i might hear her whispers and follow soft-footed as she leads.

it’s brought me here, to closing Blue Goose Celebrations, the event planning company I’ve started and run the last few years so that I could focus on what I knew joy was leading me back to.

making everyday a bit brighter | emily ley iphone wallpapers

little iphone, i love you. thank you for letting me work from the road. thanks for keeping me from getting lost more often. thanks for reminding me when i need to go meet a sweet client and drink more water. sorry about dropping you in a recycling bin filled with water a few months ago. hope you’re like a cat, nine lives and all.

for those of you like me who appreciate having the world at your fingertips, i’d love to share with you my new favorite wallpapers from emily ley (the woman behind emily ley paper, making things happen, making brands happen, and mama of one chubby-cheeked-cutie).

 

i chose #6 on my lock screen and #9 on my home screen. you can pick your favorite and download to your heart’s content here.

LOVE, SPEAK, GIVE WITH INTENTION. it’s a good thing to be reminded of every time i look at my phone, no?

which one’s your favorite? have something else you love? do share…