"Mom, remember when that guy came to our scone sale? I met him. His name was Bob. Bob is a fun name." I heard that comment from my little Della in the back seat yesterday afternoon as we ran errands after a full day of work. You see, yesterday morning we hosted our first ever Smiley Scones sale in our front yard to benefit Eiley's school, New Hope Academy (NHA).
Bob was one of the first customers to stop by; in fact, he came about 45 minutes early and I was a bit flustered because the table wasn't completely set up and the coffee was still brewing. I had stepped inside to grab something, and when I walked back out to our driveway I found our three-year-old Della conversing with Bob.
"Do you have money? Can you give me money for my sister's school?" I stepped into the conversation to offer a bit more context, but there was no way I could compete with Della's cute smile asking Bob to consider giving to the cause. He bought a scone, we finished setting up our scone stand, and hoped more customers like Bob would stop by. Much to my surprise, there was a steady stream of visitors for the entire two hours of our sale. It was exciting and encouraging. I was reminded with each new face that showed up to support Eiley that we are deeply loved and blessed to be a part of this community here in Franklin, TN.
Why scones, you may be wondering? Tanner and I lived in N. Ireland for three years early in our marriage as students at a small bible college. Everyday at school, classes would break around 10am and the entire student body would gather in the dining hall for tea time. We would share a hot cuppa tea or coffee and a freshly baked pastry. My favorite day was scone day.
Eiley was born during our final year of school in N. Ireland. For me, finding creative ways to bring a little bit of our Irish experience back to life in North America has been important. One way I do that is by baking with the ladies some of our favorite treats from the time we spent in Belfast. Scones have become a favorite . . . particularly funfetti and maple scones.
For many, a scone is just a few key ingredients whipped together to make for a fun breakfast treat, but for us scones have become a yummy way to celebrate community. It is a physical reminder of the beauty to be found when we incorporate into our daily rhythms and ways of being with one another a space to pause, look up from our screens or the work right in front of us, and see those around us and encourage one another in this journey.
Recently, Eiley came home from school with a letter encouraging all families at the school to consider participating in giving to New Hope Academy's Annual Fund. Eiley and I read through the letter, and she began to ponder selling scones to help raise money for her school . . . for her place of fellowship. It has been exciting to encourage Eiley's desire to use something she loves to do to benefit others (although I have to admit I was a wee bit naive as to how much work it would really take to actualize this scone sale idea of hers).
We baked and baked and baked . . . we made more than 150 scones in preparation. We contacted one of our favorite local coffee shops, Just Love Coffee, and they very graciously donated all the beans for our hot coffee! We made signs and woke up early on the day of the sale to post them around our neighborhood. Another NHA friend, Frankie and her mother, teamed up to bake scones for selling and helped operate the fundraiser with us. We had so much fun together!
The turn-out was incredible: family, friends, co-workers, teachers, school administrators, peers from school, and neighbors all showed up with excitement to support Eiley, and ultimately partner with NHA in their mission to be a Christ-centered community school with an economically, racially and culturally diverse student body. For over two decades, NHA has been a beacon of hope for the community of Franklin. They are committed to transforming our culture with a very specific vision - and I am both humbled and excited to see my own family so immediately impacted by God's movements here in the school.
Last night at the dinner table, we went around and shared who we were most excited to see at the scone sale. We talked about our thankfulness for the many people who care for our girlies and showed their love yesterday by supporting Eiley's sale. I found myself thinking about Bob, and thanking God for his early arrival as I learned a new part of Della I didn't know before yesterday - she's quite the advocate and a good fundraiser! And we prayed together yesterday, thanking God for his provision to support and sustain our places of community - places like New Hope Academy.
And here is the crazy thing . . . are you ready for it? Eiley's scone sale, thanks to the generous support of our community, raised over $1,000 for New Hope Academy!! My heart could burst - I am thankful that God saw it fit to bless what we thought was a fun idea to truly be beneficial for a place that is so special to us.
To all who gave, both of your time and resources, THANK YOU!!