|Photo Credit: Renee Marchol SF Wonka Ice Cream Truck Norcal Culture|
My acquaintance-friend, Editor-in-Chief Erica Galindo of Sonoma Christian Home, features a guest blog post titled, “Hidden Gardens of Santa Rosa“.
I want to use this illustration too. However, it would be figurative rather than literal. I would call it Hidden Gardens of Lafayette. Deepening a new friendship can feel like stumbling upon a hidden garden!
As I mentioned in my article about reflections on Socal culture v. Norcal culture, I was unsure how successful I would be at making new SmartyGirl friends.
|Photo Credit: Renee Marchol SF Lucky Strike Bowling|
It’s only been three weeks since I moved from Los Angeles.
I admit I miss Apple Pan, Hollywood’s Lucky Strike bowling, and Santa Monica Pier. I miss coffee with girlfriends at the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and Santa Monica’s La Monarcha Cafe.
After the work day, a new friend H. invited me to her home. It was spontaneous! It turned out to be a mini spiritual retreat for me. Just what I needed.
How did it come about? We were texting back and forth to ask each other about our day when I ended up calling because both of us didn’t know where are phone chargers were and we were both running out of battery life. She surprised me by saying, “Why don’t you come on over?”
When did I meet her? I met her three weeks ago at church and we’ve been texting and calling ever since.
Who else was there? The brief visit with her, her child L. and her white poodle Jack was like a mini retreat. It made me think of the women’s retreat I held a season ago.
How were we dressed? I was surprised that we both were in shorts and wet hair. It put me at ease, instantly that she was “as is”. No artifice.
Why was her hair wet? She was playing with her toddler in the sprinklers. Why was my hair wet? I just dashed out of the shower, after her impromptu invite, because I was sweaty from running errands. Just an hour before I was: doing laundry, finding out I didn’t have enough quarters and going to the bank to get some..
What did we eat? She made instant coffee and I made myself comfortable on her cream colored contemporary area rug. She were barefoot and she left the door open to let in the breeze. Most of Lafayette, though hot in August, is without air conditioning. I learned about her childhood, her travels to Costa Rica and life in Peru.
How did I identify her as a potential friend/SmartyGirl? Three weeks ago, we clicked because we asked about each other’s exercise routine. I remarked on her lean, strong arms as she lifted her healthy toddler on Sunday. She runs the reservoir with one of the other moms from church. The other woman has been in mud runs!
|Photo Credit: Renee Marchol Degas Notecards from a Lafayette Garage Sale|
What might be some future visits? As we talked about my first mud run coming up this October, we also talked about people we cared about and our own goals and wishes. She asked me to stay for dinner.
First her toddler fed me grains of organic vanilla granola cereal and then gave me presents of owl pellets from the yard.
Since H. was on a 10-day fruit cleaning fast, I didn’t want her to cook for me and then sit without food while I ate. Another time I suggested after her fast and then I could bring over a potluck dish to share.
|Photo Credit: Renee Marchol Lafayette Library Sculpture|
How did I get to her home? Before I got into my Honda Civic to drive back up the gravel road to my apartment, she blessed me with concentrated prayer: thanking God for our new friendship and that all would be well with me.
Is this a religious article? I understand that SmartyGirl Readers include atheists as well as those of differing spiritual beliefs. However, can you think of hospitality more kind and welcoming? Comment below of your experiences and new friendships with SmartyGirls.
The list below is modeled after what I witnessed from my new friend H.
5 Tips on Hosting a Mini Christian Women’s Retreat
|Photo Credit: Renee Marchol Statue of Baseball Legend Willie Mays in SF by AT&T Park|
1. Listen. Don’t prepare a heavy book talk. Don’t have an agenda. Ask open ended questions of your guest such as, “How was your day?” Wait and really hear what the guest is saying.
Don’t pressure the SmartyGirl to be artificial. Let her give real answers. For instance, her day may have been less than a 9/10. Listen. Don’t give advice.
2. Tell your guest something about yourself. Don’t sell anything. Don’t push your beliefs. Don’t push any diet you and your spouse are into (i.e. raw diet, fruit cleanse). Simply share a few interesting details about your life to start the conversation. If you’ve traveled somewhere, mention a few countries. If you like sports, talk about your Willie Mays baseball memorabilia.
|Photo Credit: Renee Marchol Canneles from Lafayette La Boulange|
3. Show hospitality. You don’t need to make a big fuss. Your gift to your guest is your open home and authentic self. Sharing a box of granola, instant coffee and raw fresh fruit is more than enough for refreshments. You don’t have to make canneles. If you insist, you can buy them for $1.89 a pop at the local La Boulange.
|Photo Credit: Renee Marchol Local Lafayette Cooking School Back to the Table|
4. Be authentic. Don’t boast. As Shirley Manson, the front woman for Garbage, in an interview with Lucky magazine says: Just be your smelly old self!
In other words, I (Renee) say don’t wait to host a sweet retreat for a fellow SmartyGirl. For example, don’t think that you must go to a local cooking school course first.
5. Pray. Some non-religious girlfriends call this “sending good thoughts”. Others who are religious are interceding and asking their God to bless their guest. Your guest feels truly cared for spiritually when you do this as a hostess.