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Episode One: Gina’s Table- Notes from the Table!

Welcome to the inaugural blog post for “Gina’s Table,” a podcast that’s all about fostering community, embracing our authentic selves, and addressing the pressing issues of our time. In this post, we’ll delve into the themes of the first episode and explore the vision behind Gina’s Table.

I, Gina Colburn, the voice and spirit behind the podcast, I’m not just the host, but a fellow traveler on life’s journey. At 47 years young, I bring a wealth of experience from my 25 years in ministry and my rich family life. But it’s my passion for genuine connection that truly sets the stage for the podcast.

Gina’s Table isn’t just a metaphor; it’s a mission. In a world where stages and screens often dominate, I advocate for a return to the table—a place of intimate conversation, shared meals, and deep understanding. I share startling statistics about loneliness and isolation, highlighting the need for real, face-to-face community.

I envision a movement where tables become the heart of neighborhoods, fostering connections and providing a sense of belonging. I challenge listeners to create their tables, extending the warmth and hospitality that I have cultivated for years.
Gina’s Table is about action, not just conversation. With a commitment to partnering with local schools to eliminate lunchroom debt, Gina sets an example of how community tables can also be a force for tangible change.

From pop culture to parenting, from faith to food, Gina’s Table promises to be a space where all topics are on the menu. It’s a place where listeners can expect to engage with a wide array of subjects, always with a focus on inclusivity and understanding.

Perhaps the most powerful message of Gina’s Table is the call to show up as our true selves. I will share my own journey of shedding expectations and labels to embrace my own authentic self—a journey I invite you, the listeners to join.

As I extend a warm welcome to my virtual table, I encourage everyone to come as they are, with all their quirks, dreams, and stories. It’s an invitation to find community, to engage in meaningful dialogue, and to discover a place where everyone belongs.

Gina’s Table is more than a podcast; it’s a starting point for a larger conversation about community, identity, and shared humanity. As I say, “Let’s come to the tables… as we are. As you are.” So, pull up a chair, pour yourself some iced tea, and join the conversation at Gina’s Table.

This blog post aims to encapsulate the essence of the first episode of Gina’s Table and to invite readers to become active participants in this burgeoning community. Whether through listening to the podcast, engaging in local initiatives, or simply embracing their true selves, everyone is welcome at Gina’s Table.

Thank you for joining me on this journey. I can’t wait to see where the conversation leads us next.

Welcome to Gina’s Table.

Remember when we used to be friends…

Remember when we used to be friends? You know the kind of friends that see each other face to face. Plan time together that included coffee, laughs and sometimes a few tears.  Or those times when a text or call would be the start of a long lengthy conversation solving the worlds’ problems. Do you remember when we could agree to disagree on our differences without fear of being called names? I remember… do you?

Now it seems we have been reduced to social media friends at best. We might stop in periodically to each other’s page to see what’s on your mind? But texts go unanswered, private messages sit staring that they have been read with no response, the phone doesn’t ring and the coffee dates are never scheduled.

I don’t think we meant for it to happen. Life has a way of stepping in and creating space and distance. But I wonder sometimes if it could be the way it used to be… I find myself asking the hard questions about our relationship? Did I do something? …or did we simply drift? Whatever it was I cherish the memories made.

In the midst of it all, our nation is divided on so many issues. Relationships are becoming more and more fragile. We begin to judge our loved ones and friends based on the blog, news article and status we share. We begin to see our differences of belief as reasons to discard each other and “unfriend” one another.  We are no longer offering grace and leading with love. We want everyone to see our view and our view only.

I am not writing this to anyone in particular and writing it for everyone…if that makes sense. You see relationships are tricky. Relationships are at the core of everything we do. We can’t escape them…even when we try.  I have been in ministry for 15 years and I have seen a good many relationships come and go. Marriages that I thought would last for sure…end. Marriages I thought for sure would not make it through the crisis…thrive. I have seen friendships that were as close as can be fade away to simply memories on the shelf.

I have spent countless hours counseling many people and at the heart of it all is relationships. Relationships with God or lack thereof…relationships with family members…relationships with spouses and children… I wish I could say that I have it all figured out. I wish that every relationship I had was perfect and what I wanted it to be…but I can’t. I have been guilty of neglect of the precious gift of friendship. I have been hurt by the casting aside of relationship. I have hurt people, and been hurt by people.

And yet I keep moving forward, asking forgiveness, forgiving others.  I put boundaries in place where they need to be and pray that they are the right boundaries. I pray everyday that God would give me wisdom as I navigate through all the different relationships He has trusted with me. I pray for those who have a bad taste in their mouth when they see my name or face on their newsfeed or hear someone mention me. I try to offer grace because I am in need of so much grace!

I want the world to know what I stand for…and not against. And I am for relationships… I really believe relationships matter! I really do believe that God loves everyone. RIGHT.WHERE.THEY.ARE! I really believe that we can have relationships with people who believe differently than us. And I really believe that we can work through incredibly messy stuff to be friends, family and live in community.

John 15: 12-15 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

I say all of this to say, relationships take work. The work will include laughs, tears, and determination.  Don’t give up! Keep moving forward! Keep forgiving and asking forgiveness! Don’t let pride, baggage and unmet expectations keep you from moving past the messy into the beautiful.

Writing final chapters…

For all those mom’s and dads that find themselves this time of year looking over the past 18 years and asking themselves “where did time go?” “how did my little boy/girl grow up so fast?”  This year is the second year in a row I find myself reviewing 18 years of one of my children’s life.  We are on the home stretch of writing the final chapter of Jordan’s childhood…high school is days away from being done. Middle school has long since been left and grade school seems like a lifetime ago.

I do not just simply ask the questions that I listed above but I also ask “if I did enough,” and “is he ready,” or “what did I forget” to name a few… The reality is this chapter is closing. Our family dynamics change again. We send another child away but not away from our hearts or our thoughts. It’s like you know the day is coming but then it gets here… and your heart is so proud that it wants to burst, but it is also so sad that you cry tears from a deep, deep place.  You drive away and you realize this is where faith comes into place.  Maybe that does not make sense to you…but it’s where you have to trust Jesus to hold them on a different level than what the last 18 years were like. Now it is them making decisions, wrestling with their faith and my Jesus. So that it will be their faith and their Jesus.  The safety net of your home and boundaries are now removed.  Their freedom is unleashed.

The thing about writing final chapters is this… God is the author and perfecter of our faith. As one more child leaves my nest I can rest in the fact that God is writing their story. It will be their story…filled with lots of good things, sprinkled with heartaches, and faith building experiences.  Proverbs 22: 6 (MSG) Point your kids in the right direction—when they’re old they won’t be lost.  That’s a promise…so I write it on my heart, and pray it over their lives and trust the One who is writing our story as an ongoing story of His story.

I will allow myself to slip down memory lane, remember the fist time I knew I was going to be their mommy. The first time I looked at their face and called them by name. I will remember first words, first smiles, first days of school and everything in between. I will count my blessings of each day spent with them. I will look forward to the future they are moving into. Their location may change but their lives are imprinted on my heart, I will continue to lift them to my Jesus as they make Jesus their own and seek Him for  their career path, their spouse, their place to worship and to serve.

As April gives way to May and graduation looms… I will celebrate the amazing young man I get to call son!