5 Things I (re)Learned From Our Open House

By: Tiffany Lambert, House Director

This past Saturday we had over 50 people stop by the community house for an Open House & Cookout. It was great to catch up with friends and get to know some new faces. Now that a couple days have passed, we’ve managed to get all of our chairs back inside, lawn games in the garage, and borrowed tables back to their original homes. During that time I’ve also had the chance to look back on the evening and here are five things I learned (or relearned) from our Open House.

Community members and friends gathered in the back yard.

5. I am my mother’s daughter. This might be the first time I’ve ever admitted this but it is truer than I’ve ever knew. Recently my sister got married, and with an outdoor reception planned my mom was worrying about the weather nonstop. After the wedding she even admitted that about a month prior to the wedding she started waking up in the middle of the night every night to check the forecast! Prior to the Open House, I too found myself repeatedly looking at the forecast. I wasn’t waking up in the middle of the night, but it was a stressor.

Well much like the night of my sister’s wedding, the weather last Saturday was beautiful. There were some glitches with both events – we had to postpone the Open House a week because of rain and my sister’s wedding was the night of the supermoon which caused the tide to come up so high it flooded part of the dance floor. The trolley my parents hired to shuttle guests from the reception site to the parking lot even got stuck!

My parents with the trolley the morning after my sister’s wedding reception.

But the evening of the wedding was still a beautiful, fun celebration for my sister and her husband, everyone enjoyed being outside for much of the Open House, and all the worrying leading up to either of these events didn’t change a thing.

In Matthew 6:27 Jesus asks “Can any of you by worrying…?” – I cut the question off there because insert whatever you like, it’s just an illusion of control. And the answer is “Nope, by worrying I can’t actually do anything.

With that said, although both of us could learn to not worry, planning a wedding and reception is a much bigger deal than an open house, so Mom in the future I’ll try to cut you a little more slack.

4. God is faithful, even in the little things. As all the plans were coming together for food, it seemed like we were going to be short on desserts. This isn’t the end of the world. And if we really needed to, we were going to run to the store during the event. But when planning to welcome people over it’s nice to know there’s plenty of everything.

The morning of the Open House, neighbors from across the street came over to introduce themselves, thank us for the invitation, and bring us a beautiful chocolate pie even though they couldn’t join us later. As they were leaving I remember thinking “Lord, thank you for this small reminder that You are looking out for us, even in the littlest of things.” In the end, between the freshly baked cookies, pumpkin cheesecake, brownies, chocolate pie, and two small cakes another friend brought from a local bakery, there was plenty of dessert to go around. And I have to think the Lord delights in showing us His loving care, even in the littlest of ways.

The unexpected chocolate pie from our neighbor’s across the street and two cakes from a friend.

3. Kids are the life of the party. Sure, we’re a community dedicated to youth ministry, so we enjoy having young people around. But I think many of us enjoy youth ministry precisely because young people know how to laugh and have fun. I’m not sure exactly what the neighbors thought as they watched Fr. Jack do laps in the backyard because some of the kids wanted to play tag, but something must have communicated a sense of joy because they also asked to join us next time we have Mass at the house.

One of the biggest blessings of a community with a plurality of states in life (married, single, and consecrated) is spending time with brothers and sisters in community and their families. Just look at Paulie (on the right) breakdancing and try not to smile:

We had coloring books and crayons in the solarium for the kids. There was also sidewalk chalk which you can see on the Facebook album.

2. We have some great neighbors. When planning the Open House, we decided to invite our neighbors as well. Going door to door to introduce yourself to everyone on the street can be nerve-wracking, even for someone as extroverted as me. But I’m glad that we did, not just because of the chocolate pie or because our next door neighbor offered to watch the grill letting me talk to people for a bit or because they also let us borrow their corn hole set, but because it was a moment to build bridges in the local community, get to know new people, and to be open to how God may work through these new relationships.

Two friends enjoying the cornhole set that our next door neighbors let us borrow (they really are the best).

1. We are grateful for our sisters and brothers in community, friends and family! To everyone who made it to the Open House & Cookout – thank you for spending part of your weekend with us! We loved having you over and look forward to many more visits in the future. And for everyone who couldn’t make it because of schedules or distance – you were missed but we hope to see you soon!

Clarissa Maciel (housemate) and three of our brothers in Youth Apostles (Ben Jacobeen, Peter Clem, and Jim Harbour).

More photos of the Open House & Cookout are in this album on our Facebook page.