My First Real (inRL :) Bloggy Friends!

Hello friends!   Soooo, I give new meaning to the word PROCRASTINATION when it comes to my sweet blog… I actually attended the inRL blogging conference the end of April…and here are my thoughts and photos..3 months later…  Again and again I ask you for grace, my friends… I can’t wait to come back to this blog full force!….  With the help of the incredibly talented Abigail, (whom I met at the local inRL gathering!) this blog is getting the biggest makeover/overhaul yet!   I can’t wait to share more with you!  For now though, sit down with some coffee, and cyber-drop in on the highlights of our local inRL meetup.

So last weekend was a celebration of sorts for me…I celebrated a birthday. I also had my first adventure in the bloggy world involving (gulp) real human beings pursuing a goal of communityinRL!  For once, I wasn’t just writing a post for people I was pretty sure I would never meet. I was actually meeting real life women, most of whom are so much more adept at blogging than my rather novice self. The incredible women at Incourage put together the first conference I’ve ever been to right in my own back yard. Last year, they had the lovely idea to bring a conference to their blogging readers by hosting a series of virtual videos and encouraging readers to ‘meet up’ around the country and the world so as to “meet community in our own backyards”.
I was skeptical at first…though I loved the idea of meeting community in my old, yet new hometown, I doubted the details of the experience. How will I get to know these women quickly? How can watching a few videos substitute for a jet across country to a regular conference? What if they don’t like me? What if I’m the only one to show up? (I know, I know, these are now quite silly questions. But at the time, they felt pretty serious.)

I came armed to the Andover Public library with the contents of a beach house in a box – beautiful Dayspring product graciously provided by Incourage. I thought a sweet smelling bunch of flowers, a printable or two, and perhaps some serving pieces with a Godly message would bring a smile and perhaps help break the ice,

I saw this sign upon entering our gathering place….the words ‘library’ and ‘friends’ warming my heart, as they are both integral to my life.  The sign was even a matching teal (and no, I’m not a “domestic design” blog, if you haven’t been able to tell) to the colors of the InRL logo….there was even a teal ceiling in our meeting room!  (This would be the perfect spot for a photo, but I forgot to take one…use your imagination on this one).

As everyone readied our overflowing table of goodies, and we began to say hello and put our social feelers out there (isn’t that what meeting new community sometimes feels like?   I was thrilled and surprised to meet women ‘just like me’, if you will. Women who don’t claim to hold everything together, but love the Lord and trust Him through each day to day moment.

It was wonderful to meet Abigail, and fun to sport inRL t-shirts
We feasted on both homemade and bought goods, and then sat down and discussed community, and what that looked like for all of us. I really enjoyed meeting Crystal , whose kindness and humility made me feel comfortable in a room of strangers, as she  led our discussion. I had not heard of her blog, nor of any other’s blogs in the room. (NOT that that means anything in the blog world – I am a gal approaching (ahem) middle age with no children, so anyone who reads family/Mom/etc. has not lived in my blogisphere radar. I was thrilled to discover all of the women’s blogs that were present that day later in my blog surfing time…such incredible women with beautiful stories to tell!  We started our gathering with some ice breakers, and I was tickled to win a treat from the gift bag being passed around, when I happened to have the closest birthday to our meeting date! (The day beforehand, in fact). I grabbed Holley Gerth’s new book “Your Already Amazing”, and I can’t wait to dig into it during my summer reading.
photo source: dayspring.com
The grab bag-o-goodies was being passed around by Deborah, Stacie, & Jaime
I love that there were blogging sisters in our community – Lynette and Lisa
As we discussed community – how we feel about it, our expectations, how it fits into our daily lives, I found our time together quite brief, as I was just discovering more about my new friends (and I tried my best to share some of my story without taking their ears off). Suddenly, it was time to clean up the room, and go home.

We were all blessed and surprised at the beautiful and generous gift bags Crystal had prepared for all of us!  Inside was fantastic organic snacks, lotions, and even a beautiful candle! As we had fewer gals at our gathering than had originally RSVP’ed, she graciously offered us extra bags to take to friends. (I can’t wait to give one to my sweet friend Emily – a fellow blogger that I know would have loved an event like InRL).

HUGE THANKS to the lovely Crystal and Amy for both organizing and running our wonderful meetup!

While I look forward to future emails and (hopefully) conversations and perhaps friendship with these kind women, I am extremely grateful to Incourage for the gifts they gave all of us. Though most of the time, I want to jump on a plane or get in the car to experience a conference as travel adventure, I had to learn that the gift of blogging conference community in my own back yard was as rewarding, if not more, than a quick adventure across the miles. I hope as my time continues in Kansas, I can discover the gift of local community and friendship!

Relationships are so significant to my health and well being
that it’s worth making efforts to make friends.”
–Tsh Oxenreider, simplemom.net

 

 

 

 

2 comments on “My First Real (inRL :) Bloggy Friends!

  1. Glad that you procrastinated. This brought back wonderful memories of our meetup. Looking forward to meeting you inRL at Allume in October!

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