Thursday, March 9, 2017

CiderPress Lane: What If Community and Dinner Really Do Change Everything?

I'm excited to share this beautiful and compelling story with you today. 
The pictures are gorgeous, the food - delicious, and the cause will stir your heart... 

I first met Kelly, author of Dinner Changes Everything, several years ago. It's a joy to see her family's story unfold as they live life for more than just themselves. I asked Kelly to share their story with us, and am so happy she said yes!

photography provided by Saleina Marie Photogrpahy

What prompted your move to what is now CiderPress Lane?

When Aaron and I were first married, we lived in the Bremerton, Washington area and loved how it was close to the city and mountains, and had easy access to hiking, camping and exploring. After 5 years in the area we moved into Seattle, loved our new adventures and had 3 kids. One day we looked around and thought - We want to go back across the water to where we can afford a house with a yard, a slower pace of life and space to be us. 

What drew you to your home?

In that transition from city living to suburbs, we found a house. It was a short sale, and if we could hold out and wait we’d be able to get it for a song. The house had everything we were hoping for - a vintage house with lots of quirks. It needed updating so we’d be able to make it our own. It had overgrown blackberry patches where flower gardens used to be, a perfect spot for a vegetable garden. The house sits looking out on a portion of the Puget Sound, and what really sold us was the 20-tree orchard. It really seemed too good to be true. 

How did you come up with the name, and is there a special meaning behind it?

After 10 months of nomadic living - including living in my folks' camper (with 3 kids) for a month, living with friends, house sitting, and finally finding a little apartment to rent month to month, we signed the final paperwork and moved into our new home. In those 10 months we dreamed and dreamed over this place. It was in that dreaming that we decided to name it CiderPress Lane. The crazy thing is we didn’t even own it at that time! 

The day we got the keys, I cried right in the middle of the kitchen. That 10 months of being ‘homeless’ was eye opening. I didn’t miss any of the boxes or things that were patiently waiting in the storage unit. What I missed was the sense of peace that a home brings, and the possibility of creating a life for our family. So when we finally got the keys, we moved full speed ahead to get settled so we could start inviting people to join us around our table.

Our home is 100 years old, and thankfully someone in the last 100 years decided to plant the orchard. For years before buying this home, we had met up with family and pressed cider. When we realized were were going to have our very own mini orchard, we were inspired to name our home around that tradition. Not just because we love cider, but because we love seasonal traditions and how they connect us with family and community, and to the bigger picture of creation.

What is the idea behind the dinners you host?

About 3 years ago, I heard a friend sharing about the reality of human trafficking. The statistics and reality of what was happening was heavy and I just knew we had to do something. That night, as I was driving home, I had an idea - What if we used the thing we already did as a way to raise funds to fight human trafficking? We loved having friends over for dinner - but what if we did it a little different and asked them to pay? Just like going to a restaurant, we’d serve our friends and then we could send all of the proceeds raised from the dinner to Rescue:Freedom. Amazingly a few friends said yes to that first dinner invitation! 

What do you think makes the dinners so special?

Since that first dinner, the idea has caught on and the dinners have turned into a full community effort. Friends donate vegetables from their gardens, local businesses donate flowers, chocolates and decor. These dinners are now more than just us doing something different, our community is doing it together. It is one of the things I love the most about doing the dinners - they create a huge sense of community. 

There is a team of people now that help prep the dinners, others that help serve, some that come simply to wash dishes or set up decor. There are neighbors that walk over with fresh vegetables and others that share flowers from their gardens - these dinners have connected all of us in a deeper way. The affect they’ve had on this community is just as profound as the impact they are making in the fight against human trafficking. 

Okay, now. The book. Tell us about this gorgeous book!

Over the last 3 years, I’ve had lots of questions about how we do the dinners - which gave me another crazy idea. What if we created a book that told our story, that shared our recipes and menus, that helped inspire other people to view their dinner table differently and gave them the blueprint on how to host their own dinner? 

So we went to work, compiling menus and our unique recipes, we captured more photos from the dinners and began writing down the story of how our community is changing the world around our table. We wanted to build this book around the idea of hosting your own dinner. So there are complete menus, tips on how to prep the recipes before hand, drink pairings, and timelines to help you create a multi course meal and have fun doing it! 

Because this story started out of a desire to end human trafficking we decided to use this book as another tool to help fight. 10% of all of the proceeds are donated to Rescue:Freedom Int. This book is giving freedom to young women and children, it’s changing generations of lives. A year after we started the dinners I had an incredible opportunity to travel to India with Rescue:Freedom to visit some of the after care facilities that we support. The trip gave me a new perspective. It wasn’t just dollars we were sending to hopefully help someone, we were actually making freedom and hope for a new life possible. The dinners were helping to build new safe homes, they were helping young kids escape a life of slavery, they were giving women hope for a different future. I’m still astounded at what has grown out of that first dinner. It still brings tears to my eyes when I get to share about how God has turned our table and kitchen, and normal little pots and pans, into a way to help others. 

I know your story will resonate with others here. How can they stay in touch, or get involved?

We are always up to something, so come follow along at - and if you’re in the area come join us for one of our community events. We’ve found more people who have a heart like ours so we’re working together on flower workshops, mountaintop meals and so many more ways to enjoy community and changing the world at the same time.

I'm feeling inspired. You too?

If you'd like your own copy of Dinner Changes Everything, you can find it here
(I have it and love it. The book would make a thoughtful birthday or Mother's Day gift, too.)

You can also find Kelly and CiderPress Lane on Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram.

To find out more about how you can help fight human trafficking, visit Rescue:Freedom.

Thank you so much for visiting today!



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