Farm to table to freedom

When we set the table that night it felt like a normal dinner. Aaron was out at the grill blackening the salmon, a friend had come by to help me chop veggies, and I answered the door and hugged our friends like we would any other night. Filling our table was something we had always done. Even in our newlywed days when we crammed 13 people around a six-person table, when we filled our small one bedroom apartment, when we cooked new recipes just so we could invite people over, filling our table is what we did. So that night five years ago as we were cooking and setting the table it felt normal, what felt big was that we were inviting our friends to join us for a meal to raise money to fight human trafficking.

This injustice that felt dark and evil and much too big for us to do anything about had hit my heart differently. I had heard the facts more than my heart could allow, and I knew we had to do something, anything to help. So we started right where we were, with what we had, where it felt like everyday life. Since that first dinner we have found that this is where every dream starts, right in the middle of the simple and average where the big ideas can easily be overlooked.

That first dinner turned into many, and they have become an incredibly powerful movement of community-run events that we call Freedom Dinners. These dinners have opened our eyes to a part of our community that so deeply reflects humanity. Every one of us is waiting for an invitation, we’re waiting for a seat to be saved for us, one where we are not just given a place to belong but where we can be part of the bigger story. This story is taking the everyday bits of our lives and shining a light on them, showing all of us that we truly can use what we have to help those that cannot help themselves.

It’s the invitation we’re all hoping for, that we could have a place to find purpose, a place where our everyday lives are connected to deep meaning. When Jesus invites us to follow Him it is so easy to disconnect His invitation from our everyday. Surely when Jesus says come follow me he isn’t talking about the normal life of cooking and cleaning, or washing dishes and baking bread? Surely he’s inviting us to something bigger and grander. It was this disconnection that blinded me from seeing my everyday from Jesus’ perspective. It was this disconnection that had stopped me from ever seeing the potential that was waiting in our cupboards and at our kitchen table. This part of my life that felt frivolous, the joy of creating a place that welcomes people in, had been brushed over and shoved aside while I was searching for the BIG stuff Jesus was inviting me to.

I am so glad that night five years ago my heart spoke louder than my mind. I am so glad I acted on the idea to use our everyday in a way that could help someone else. That first Freedom Dinner started an adventure I didn’t realize I was embarking on. That heart whisper was inviting me to dream over everything I loved to do. If the dishes in my cupboards could give a woman freedom, if the chairs around our table could provide safe homes, if our kitchen could give our community permission, what else could this everyday life do?

When we choose to be brave and accept the invitation to show up holding our best and offering what we do well it makes space for others to do the same. It tells other people there is space for them too. It creates a safe haven not just for those caught in human trafficking but also for those trapped by a culture that says unless you have it all together, unless you are Pinterest perfect, unless you have all the right things and know all the right answers there is no space for you. The table that we set invited our community to see their everyday life from a new perspective, and it opened the door for us to do the same.

Since that first dinner we launched Ciderpress Lane as a business. Every day we create community and provide freedom to those in human trafficking by hosting the most beautiful workshops, community events, and an online store filled with ethically sourced items that give women and communities around the world dignified work. We are leveraging every bit of our business and life to cheer people on saying we believe in you. We believe in the power of us using what we have to help someone else. Ten percent of all of our business proceeds are donated, and we’re still filling our table and continuing to host Freedom Dinners with all of the proceeds going to Rescue:Freedom Int. You can find out all about what we’re up to at ciderpresslane.com.

But friends, this isn’t just for us. There is an invitation for you, too. If you’re looking at your everyday thinking, I want to see the potential, I want to fill my table or my life with that same meaning, come join me. This year I am starting a brand new online community where there is space for every woman to have a place to dream freely and I’m saving a seat for you. You can find out all about it at dreamcatchercommunity.com.

Cheers to living everyday life with a new set of rose colored glasses and filling our tables in a way that creates space for us to dream.

Kelly and her husband Aaron are the founders of Ciderpress Lane, a business centered on creating community and fighting human trafficking. Five years ago they started hosting ‘freedom dinners’ to raise money. Those dinners began with just friends and family and have turned into powerful community-run dinners. They now host local workshops, own a fairtrade online shop, and released their own cookbook called Dinner Changes Everything that tells the story of the community dinners. Since hosting that first dinner, along with donating 10 percent of all business proceeds, Ciderpress Lane has donated over $30,000 to Rescue:Freedom Int.

Kelly released her new book, Dream Catcher, this fall. It is written straight from her heart to empower other women to dream. Along with the book she is launching an online community that goes even deeper into the book’s themes each month and offers an incredible support system to any woman setting out to live a life of intention and meaning.

You can join Kelly and her beautiful community at ciderpresslane.com, @kellywelk or @ciderpresslaneshop, and find them on Facebook as CiderPress Lane.

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