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 community…inRL! 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,
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|
|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|
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 beingthat it’s worth making efforts to make friends.”–Tsh Oxenreider, simplemom.net