As you might have heard, our book The Turquoise Table made its way into the world yesterday. As with childbirth, there is really no way to fully plan or prepare.
On one hand, the day was uneventful — errands to the post office and pharmacy, shuttling kiddos in the mini van (taking chances with the empty fuel light), making sandwiches with the ends of the bread loaf hoping no one would notice, or riot.
On the other hand, the day was surreal — sweet packages of love delivered from friends across the miles, photos of the book showing up in homes across the country, finding The Turquoise Table on the shelves at Target. I mean really.
Here’s how last night went down in the Schell house. Because despite what you see on Instagram, the backstory is always better.
About Last Night
I fully intended to shower and put make-up on yesterday, but well . . . it’s summer and the day got away from me. I did manage to wear my favorite turquoise embroidered dress. For the 3rd day in a row.
I caught wind that The Turquoise Table was in Target. Sarah and I headed out with a list that included: avocados, shaving cream, razors, craft supplies, and toilet paper. When we rounded the corner in the book section, Sarah spotted it first. We giggled like the ten-year-olds that we are and a sweet woman offered to take our photo. For the record, she did not buy the book. I must be lacking in real life marketing skills.
We left Target with only shaving cream and a package of razors, apparently too distracted to check everything off the list. Not remembering toilet paper is a problem. In an adrenaline haze, we headed to Chick-Fil-A to pick up dinner for the girls.
We did eat dinner together! And, by dinner I mean Anna, Ellie, and Sarah enjoyed nuggets while Tony and I shared a left-over piece of salmon and the remnants of a bottle of wine. Will’s backpacking in Colorado so who knows what or if he ate. Then, with a few high-fives and kisses, my people busied themselves with Netflix and Perler beads.
On book launch eve, I found myself standing at the kitchen counter, un-showered, drinking old wine, and dipping stale potato chips into the last packet of Chick-Fil-A sauce.
Front Yard People
Then, the miracle of what it means to be Front Yard People happened.
Peeking on Facebook, a couple of my neighbors were posting their books finally arrived. Julie, or maybe it was Amy, commented that she was “in for the night, going to read.” Those little “. . . .” that indicate someone’s typing appeared and then Lauren chimed in, “me, too.”
Lame. So, I texted:
If you are home, come to the TT.
A spontaneous invitation. Which is how the best gatherings at the Turquoise Table happen. I went out with the dregs of the wine and lo-and-behold Doris and Marjeanne were out walking.
They sat for a while and we celebrated the remarkable journey of our story. Soon, the table was full with neighbors — Amy, Julie, Lauren, Monica, Monique, Mandy. There were a half dozen kids who were delighted because they know spontaneous nights at the Turquoise Table generally mean bed-time is a bust!
When we first learned the date for the book’s release, there was talk of a big launch day party. Block off the street. Find a local band. Bring out the bells and whistles. Invite everyone we know.
But, it never felt right.
Duh. Says the author, gobsmacked.
The Turquoise Table isn’t about entertainment. Or a big party. It’s based on Romans 12:13 which says, “take every opportunity to open your life and home to others.”
It’s about hospitality. And, being in community with one another.
The Turquoise Table is an invitation to live in a more authentic and simple way and then to extend the invitation to others to join you.
Picnic tables, by design, are meant to seat four to six people. Eight if you squish in real tight. Last night we squished. There was no plan. No fuss. I’m not going to mention names, but there may have been more than one person who showed up in a pajama top.
It’s been almost four years since I put the Turquoise Table in our front yard. I didn’t know these neighbors then. Now, I can’t imagine life without them.
I can’t promise or foresee what might happen in your neighborhood. Every Turquoise Table is unique. What I can do is encourage you — get a table, paint it turquoise, and invite one person to join you.
I’ll be here cheering you on and continuing to share stories, tips, and recipes to help you in your adventure to live as Front Yard People.
Thank you for yesterday! Your support and encouragement mean the world! And, y’all — keep spreading the word. What we do in our front yards matters.
This. This is what the book invites people to experience. This is what you model. Thank you for sharing the beauty, joy, laughter, and spontaneity of the Turquoise Table. Thank you for showing us how to be Front Yard People.
Thank you, Ann! You know how grateful I am for the role you’ve played in shaping and sharing this story! xo
LOVE your transparency! Can’t wait for my book to arrive and for God to use it to transform hearts and neighborhoods everywhere! May He bless your obedience and may you continue to heed the voice of the Holy Spirit.
Thank you, dear Cyndee! God has used you to encourage me at just the right moments. Thank you for having a turquoise heart, too. xo
Angela Springer says
Amazon delivered by book as promised yesterday, just minutes before taking a carload of teen girls to basketball practice. The girls took turns passing it around and I just listened. One read the “about the author” and then proceeded to read the titles of the chapters aloud. Then I was asked, “so what’s this book all about? A table?” I answered the questions I was able with my 2 minutes of scanning before jumping in the loaded down SUV. Briefly explaining, french class, flunked, France, food, eat together, talk together, just meet together in your front yard, get to know your neighbors, open your heart and be kind together.. One teen said, “i don’t know any of our neighbors and some have gates.” Another said, “I’ve lived in my home my whole life and I know a lot of my neighbors (insert who she loved and why)”. So at this very moment, one eve after getting our book, my daughter and her friend (who’s mom graciously made a pit stop to Lowe’s) are painting a three seater swinging chair outside our friends house (in the cul-de-sac of that gracious moms home) turquoise. It’s not a table, and I have no idea what the outcome will be, but it’s a place to do all those things talked about in the SUV, on the way to basketball, on a hot summer night, that will for sure get noticed and used just a little bit more now. . Thanks for inspiring these girls Kristin. And I’m off to check out the progress.
Well, you know how much I love this! Send me a pic of the swing and tell your sweet girl and her friend I’m proud of them! Love you, girl.
Love the message…come as you are. Beautiful example of being intentional and loving your neighbors. Congratulations and thank you for your hard work and willingness to serve how and where God planted you. Also, it must be said, three days or not…love the dress and those cute shoes!
PS, could you please ask your adorable neighbors, Doris and Marjeanne, what kind of dog that is (not sure to whom it belongs). We have one from a rescue and looks the same…would love to know. :o)
Thank you! You’ll be happy to know I did not wear the dress today! 😉 I’ll ask Marjeanne. Stay tuned. xo
Debbie Putman says
After living my entire 61 years in southern California, I’m moving to Prescott Valley, Arizona at the beginning of September. I’m an introvert, so my summer reading list includes a couple of books about intentionally reaching out to others. Scrolling through Amazon on Tuesday, I saw your book, The Turquoise Table, and it looked like it was exactly what I needed. It arrived today. Checking out the author page, I found your website. I can’t wait to read and use these ideas to start my new adventure.
I’m so glad you found The Turquoise Table, Debbie. I’ll be anxious to hear what you think! Please keep me posted as you make the move to AZ. xo, Kristin
Liliana MC says
Thank you for sharing your story through this book. The more I read and turn the pages, the more I am convinced that this would be great in my neighborhood. I love the idea of creating community, and I will soon have a TT in my front yard (well, side yard!). So simple and genuine!
Thank you, again.
Liliana, Thank you for reaching out! I can’t wait for you to send an update from your Turquoise Table! Promise you’ll keep us posted. Sending love, K