5 surprising essentials for a great party

Last night, we finally celebrated the release of Graceful. Preparing for an event always brings with it the potential for great anxiety, a general tremor in the air around me as I anticipate the coming.

I used to think the more I spoke in front of people, the less afraid I would be. I don’t think that anymore. I sit this morning in the quiet stillness and consider the past months of preparation.

nicole witt

Each event has a little life of its own. We can pray, prepare, and hope for certain outcomes. We certainly can’t manage those outcomes. We can set the stage, but without the people there is no life there yet.

christa wells and nicole witt

For hours in the days and weeks before last night, I sat alone. I listened to Christa and Nicole’s music, thankful for the way God creates through them. I listened in the silence, prayed for the words.

Sometimes I shook off the fear. Other times I swallowed it down whole, no chewing. Mostly, I waited.

This is a necessary waiting, a built in anticipation for what is to come but isn’t yet. The waiting can drive us mad if we let it. It can become a merciless dictator, shoving us into shapes we aren’t made for, shapes of worry and doubt and short-tempers.

But the waiting can also grow us, shape us from the inside out for sacred work. This is a kind of work that only happens in the secret place of abiding in the presence of Christ, listening for words of Life and fullness.

I know His making of me – I love people and also solitude, excitement and also silence. I am slightly more inwardly oriented than I am outward, but I love to be with people enough to know my introversion isn’t extreme. Still, I need silence to fill me up before I face a crowd of people.

I’m thankful for Brennan Manning’s words this morning because I so deeply relate with what he says here:

“I connect best with others when I connect with the core of myself. When I am able to disengage myself from others and allow the Lord to liberate me from an unhealthy dependence on people, I can exist more for them, listen more attentively, love more unselfishly, speak more compassionately, play more playfully, take myself less seriously, and become more aware that my face is bright with laughter in the midst of a game I thoroughly enjoy.”

Brennan Manning,  Souvenirs of Solitude

graceful in chalkThere was something right about filling a room up with girls and their moms, students and their small group leaders, older women who would return home to their husbands of 40 years and younger women returning home to their Algebra homework.

There was no way to fully prepare for what it feels like to stand in front and look out at them and know that this exact group will never gather just this way again. The room held many hearts, some that were full and some that were broken.

But we have a God who is graceful. And last night, I remembered that with my whole self.

We prepare in flat black and white because that’s all we can do.

God shows Himself in full, round color.

This morning as I remember the evening air that was sweet with encouragement and celebration, I know my personal essentials for a great party.





And then? Celebration.

graceful release party

Thankful to Nicole Witt and Christa Wells for their willingness to come and share their art and souls with us, and to Melissa from Relish Design Company for styling the night with love.

Thanks to all of you who came last night. It was a complete delight to have you. I wish there was more time to sit and visit, especially with those of you who drove hours to come. I hope you were encouraged.

Today we enter week two of 31 Days to Hush. This is day eight and you can click here to see a list of all the posts, updated daily. If you would like to receive these quiet thoughts in your email inbox, subscribe now.


  1. says

    Wish I could’ve been there. Love those five essentials, they are mine too, but you said it so much better than I would’ve. Looks like a successful launch night. So thrilled for you.

  2. says

    such a sweet time last night. so thankful to be able to witness this grace that changes each of us into more of who we truly are. you are a gift, dear friend.

  3. says

    Dad proud.

    But not because of books and release parties.

    One more essential for a great party: giant Cheetos the size of hot dogs. Didn’t see any of those.

  4. says

    I am with you completely. I have to quietly collect myself before I can be in a room full of people. Almost like I am psyching myself up for a normal day event.

    I’m sure you blessed many people yesterday. Congrats on a successful event.

  5. Kathi says

    Thanks so much for honestly sharing about your introversion and need for solitude. I find myself feeling very connected with you and the ways you connect with God. and it helps me feel less weird!! I am learning to embrace that I was created by God, even the introvert that I am!! I am also finding more and more opportunities to reach out and encourage others with what I am given in my quiet spaces. Love reading your daily blog, and congrats on this book birthing!…Kathi

  6. says

    I’m reading Graceful right now- and as a freshman-
    it’s me.
    I see so much of myself….
    even parts I didn’t know.
    Thank you so much.
    I had to comment and let you know how awesome it is, and I’ll let you know when I’m done.
    Thanks again!!

  7. says

    I really love what you write here about anticipation shaping us from the inside while we are tormented by the wait. Pleased it all went well for you.

  8. says

    Those pictures made me smile big. : ) Enjoy this time and celebrate in the way that is just right for you. Christa Wells’s music was my therapy through some deep, dark waters last year. I love her. And I love everything you said in this post because once again, I find such a kindred spirit in your thoughts and inner-workings. Thanks for writing it out. Makes me feel a little less weird. Or at least a little less alone in my weird.

  9. says

    me and my little group of girls were absolutely encouraged…gave us great stuff to talk about on the car ride home. thanks for giving us such a beautiful evening to just ‘be’. it was the perfect way to set us up to begin reading ‘graceful’ together this week!

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