themes

The conversation at each gathering will be guided around a specific theme.  Below are descriptions of each one, to help you decide which one to attend!

 

Celebration Over Comparison - In this culture of supermoms, image-driven media, party-zillas and the glorification of *itch, how do we embrace our own identities and our collective diversity?

Friendship Through Suffering - In the midst of trials like illness, addiction, loss, family breakdown, how can we best support each other?

A Whole Lot of History - Some of our friendships date years, maybe decades back.  Let's share our stories and ideas for successful care of our long-term friendships. 

Across The Miles - We will explore how to maintain and strengthen time-zone-and-distance-defying bonds.

In Light of Eternity - What does Christ-centered sisterhood look like in your datebook? In your conversations? Inside and outside your own church? What can we do to best glorify God through our relationships with each other?

the rules

Let's make sure we can all reap the benefits of the warm, fuzzy, safe place these gatherings are intended to be.

  • What happens at the table stays at the table - we are entrusting our stories, pain, dreams and ideas with each other, and the trust these are laid on is sacred.  I will be making an audio recording of our conversations only for the purposes of my own personal note-taking.  Any use beyond that will be done with your permission.
  • All things are shared to edify - we will speak only words that are rooted in respect, empathy, and humility, for the purpose of reaching the goal - learning how to be a better friend, together.
  • The invisible conch - we will bless each other with our full attention, allowing for uninterrupted sharing of stories and ideas. This includes refraining from tending to our electronica for non-note-taking purposes.
  • Say cheese - as long as it doesn't get disruptive, feel free to take photos!  I will!  If you decide to post any on social media, please include the tag #carusproject in your caption.  Just so you know, any photos I post will be done (without tags) on my public That Abundant Life accounts (top-right corner of this screen)

 

FAQs

What is this "#carusproject"?

Carus Project is the name I've given to this, well, project of mine.  It is still in its infancy, it points in the direction of building and nurturing deep, strong relationships between women.  I picked carus because I thought it meant "cherish" - the intended effect of this initiative, but a more accurate translation is "expensive" or "costly", and perhaps that is more fitting anyway.  Because loving our friends well stretches us beyond minimal investments of time, energy, intention, etc...

How long will this be?

The aim is 2.5 hours.  The first 30 minutes will allow for latecomers, introductions and catching up.  Then we sit down, eat, drink and have guided conversation, with the goal of wrapping up with 10 minutes cushion.  You know, to allow time for the hubby's panicked phone call to rescue him because the kids tied him up in the kitchen and scooped peanut butter into the blu-ray.

What do I wear?

There is no dress code.  Let's go casual and comfy!

Is this potluck? Can I bring something?

This is not a potluck.  Consider this simple meal my gift to you.  However, if chocolate chip cookies are your love language, I shall not turn you away.

Hmm...is this a religious thing?

Good question.  Here's the thing.  Jesus is my thing.  I will open and close each gathering in prayer.  This little project of mine is woven with what I believe He teaches about love in the Monday-to-Saturday real world.  I also recognize that we all come with different stories, and are on different spiritual journeys.  It's all good.  Your heart is just as dear to me as the next gal, and I want to know it and learn how best to hold it, because friendship is an important life skill, regardless of what you and I believe.

I have a friend who might like this - can I bring her?

How better to celebrate friendship than to pack the table?  Now, I will have maximum numbers for each gathering, to best facilitate good conversation flow, but if the votes dictate, I just might add a second date for a given theme.  

  1. Email me your friend's name
  2. Forward her the link to the video and have her reserve her spot at the gathering you choose

What is the RSVP deadline?

There is none but I recommend you reserve your (and your friend's) spot as soon as possible (even if the date is not until the fall) since each gathering has a limited number of openings.

What if I want to attend more than one?

Sign up for your top choice first, and if numbers permit in any of the other gatherings one week prior to a second date, go for it.

Are you going to publicize anything I say?

First and foremost, what is shared at the table stays at the table.  These gatherings are meant to be a safe place for us all, and confidentiality is a big part of that.  That said, if I make reference to anything said in a future writing project, it will only happen with your permission.

Can I bring my kids?

Alas, you know I love all your babies.  But consider this a sweet retreat from your mom-hat, where you can enjoy undistracted, women-only fellowship.

Is this ladies-only?

Yes.  Man friendships and marriages are whole other beasts.

But I thought this was for your birthday? Seriously, no gifts?

Seriously.  How about this - if you really want to do something, make a donation to your favourite charitable organization.

I have a food allergy.  Can I still come?

Of course you can!  If you have any dietary concerns, please let me know beforehand so I can make sure you're not sitting there watching me yam crusty bread and chunks of cheese in your face.

How can I host my own Carus Project gathering?

Do you want to see me cry the ugly cry, like, right now?  Seeing these gatherings multiply, connections deepen, and our generation's relationships flourish is exactly my dream!  Let me know and stay tuned for more information!

I have another question.  How do I contact you?

You can email me at leah_austria@hotmail.com or call me at 647-993-1830.