take the grinch out of your life

this past weekend, hannah and i attended an event at valley e-free church called The Basket Bash. This event is put on every year by the women's ministries and draws hundreds and hundreds of women together to shop, eat, drink, mingle and enjoy a truly inspirational speaker. my mom and i have made it a tradition every year to go together, as well as hannah and her mom and sister. it's a great chance for moms and daughters to do something special together. and what woman doesn't like to shop, eat or chitchat?

you may be wondering why it's called "the basket bash"....no, nobody is taking a sledge hammer to any wicker storage devices (although that really sounds invigorating!). after purchasing a ticket to the event, you come with some cash in hand in exchange for some tickets. one ticket = one dollar. the tickets serve as your money as you "shop" the halls of valley church. here's where the basket part comes into play: the first step is to purchase your basket. one ticket for a small, two for a medium and three for a large. there is an assortment of holiday themed baskets, all ready to be filled with gifts for a special lady (or man!) on your christmas list.

tables line the foyer of the church and each has a different theme. there was a "hot drink" themed table with various coffee mugs for sale and beverages to fill it with such as chai, gourmet coffee, hot tea and hot chocolate. next was a "candy table" with festive cellophane bags and a variety of candy to give to that friend with a sweet tooth. and my personal favorite - the bath and body table. this is usually the table that's buried behind a crowd of women on a mad hunt for another bottle of frosted orange spice hand foam. the products are actually from Bath and Body Works and are sold at a steal of a price...three tickets! three bucks is an awesome deal, since things like soap and lotion are usually sold in the store for five or more dollars. and with this economy, a couple dollars go a long way:)
these are just a sample of the different types of table themes. there were also things like stationary, note cards, sticky note pads, candles, picture frames, hand-dipped pretzels, caramel apples...and so on. basically a smorgasbord of stocking stuffer type gifts. each gift ranges from one to three tickets in which there is a friendly, valley church volunteer, who is manning the table and will exchange your tickets for a gift.

once your basket is filled to the brim, you can head on over to the chapel, to top your basket off with some sweet treats. inside the chapel there are more tables waiting for some serious cookie decorating. sugar cookies, sprinkles and loads of frosting are spread out on each of the tables, ready for some creative cookie embellishing.

the last step is to complete the look of your basket. holiday tissue paper, basket filler (little strips of paper to place in the bottom to keep things in place...is there a name for this?), embellishments, ribbon and a cellophane sack are all provided to make one killer looking gift. so pretty, in fact, that you don't even have to put it in a gift bag....just wait until december 24th to place it under the tree, unless you want sneaky, peeking eyes to wander:)

after grabbing a complementary hot beverage, it's time to head into the sanctuary for brunch, door prizes and a speaker.my group scrambled (yes, scrambled! there were 350 women there!) to get a table together and once we were all inside the doors, we had a chance to marvel at the decor. the ladies that put this together didn't miss a beat. from floor to ceiling, there was fancy, holiday cheer. this year's theme was "how the grinch stole christmas", so there were bright pinks, blues and greens that filled the sanctuary. everything was adorned down to the toothpick that was holding the pickle on our plates. the menu was delicious! we dined on chicken
salad croissants, cranberry white cheddar cheese slices, grapes and pistachio salad. and homemade cake balls for dessert...still dreaming of those:)

while we ate, the folks of "who-ville" announced the winners of the door prizes. yep, the grinch, the mayor of who-ville and his wife were all there! they were all in character and quite realistic, i might add.

on to the door prizes. let me just say that these are not just your typical, measly door prizes. we're talkin' stuff like a pottery barn serving tray, a $50 gift card to Wellspring and tickets to the Women of Faith Conference! No winners at my table though:(

the last portion of the basket bash, is the main event. this year, the speaker was Thelma Wells, also affectionately known as, mama T. Thelma is an international speaker, author, wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. she was the first african american woman to be a core speaker for the Women of Faith Tour and has quite the background. learn more about thelma here.

to go along with the grinch theme, thelma soulfully spoke about how to "get the grinch out" of our lives. she gave us a glimpse of the abusive childhood that she endured and how she clung to God's promise, even as a child. thelma's grandmother used to lock her in a dark, rat infested closet for hours. she would sing hymns to herself and to this day, she feels no bitterness toward the abusive people in her life. she also spoke of her wayward son, who pushed God out of his life and for 30 years, thelma prayed that he would learn to love God again. she excitedly told us, that her prayers had been answered and her son had given his life back to God.

she challenged us to get the "grinch" out of our lives. anything negative or harmful that may be getting in between a relationship with our Savior must be put to rest. whether that be resentment, addiction, doubt or any other sin of this world. we all have it and we all struggle with it. give it up to God. and though that may sound easier said, than done, releasing those battles to God will give you peace and contentment in your life.

overall, the basket bash was a morning well spent:) i shopped, i ate, i learned and i prayed. and i betcha the women's ministry of valley church is already planning for next year's basket bash...maybe i'll see you there!

something to think about: what is the "grinch" in your life? God wants you to lay these burdens on Him. are you ready to give them up?

here are a few pics..enjoy!

fancy center piece

just a couple of wonder women
some of the madness

basket bashers

the chapel - where the cookie making was happening.

the beautiful table!

the stage

some tasty eats

homemade cake balls with a sweet, little ornament to take home.

me and my mama!

they thought of everything...even the toothpick in the pickle!:)


  1. Great reporting! It was a lot of fun, as always, and a special time for us to be together.

  2. Was wonderful reliving the fun day with your post!! I think you should have posted the grinch picture though! :) What a special tradition we have and Valley Church's women's ministry does an absolutely amazing job with this event! I look forward to it every year. With this good post, we will have to make sure to buy our tickets REALLY early next year. It sold out this year. I can't imagine how quickly it will sell out next year with this enticing description of our fun!

  3. I just came across your blog and I love it. Your positivity and faith are beautiful. :)

    That sounds like such an amazing night.

  4. That sounds amazing! I'm so glad you got to go and enjoyed it :) Wish we had one around here.. I'll have to check it out :) Thanks for sharing!

  5. Loved your blog and all the photos!!