I signed up to be an (in)RL Hostess this year for the first time despite not having participated ever before. Last year I had attended an educational conference which happened on the same weekend, and the year prior I believe I had just heard about it, but did not really know what it was all about. This year, I jumped right in, knowing that the (in)RL conference hosted by (in)Courage is all about connecting…in real life. I am all about connecting. So, there you have it.
Now, if you are not familiar with this women’s conference that comes to living rooms, kitchens and churches everywhere, I will say what you need to know is that bringing courage and connection to the hearts of women is the heart of the community named appropriately (in) Courage. A variety of artists, writers and bloggers share there offerings regularly BUT one weekend a year is dedicated to this special event of sharing, connection, and encouragement.
This year, I pulled up a chair and stayed awhile. I also invited a handful of women to join me.
However circumstances leading up to the event have been a bit… crazy. We have had bizarre computer problems for about a month. Add to that quirky issues with my Tablet and Phone. It was as if we had Technology Gremlins running through the house.
If these weren’t enough, the weekend became a bit overbooked. It seemed that multiple plans would be happening on the same weekend and no getting around that fact. How is it that there are weekends with nothing then three or four must do events on the same weekend?
Monday prior to the event we had a cat emergency and I discovered that I am not gifted in the area of Pet Enema Giving. After a traumatic afternoon, three trips to the vet, and one angry cat later…I realized I still needed to prepare for the weekend. I felt so overwhelmed.
One of the things I do to keep from quitting (my default mode, by the way…I am a quitter) is by enlisting others. See because when I want to quit myself, I say…”Now, you can’t cancel, others are counting on you to keep your committment”. It’s like this reverse psychology I use on myself. Welcome to my crazy. So, I am going back and forth of all the reasons I should not hostess, one of them being I did not even put the time and energy into inviting and reaching out that I had wanted. Oh, and what about the Technology Gremlins…and an ancient monster Television…no Smart TV here. On the positive side, I envisioned my mystery guests going to the beach gathering stones with me, sharing stories, and having a wonderful time, coming back watching the Conference, enjoying snacks and sharing little journal gifts I had grabbed.
But here’s what really ended up happening. Friday, I decided that I was not going to stress. Regardless of all of my lack. I wanted to bless and be available to God however He wanted me to be with this little gathering. Again He showed me that He always has a plan. And it is usually …OK, always, better than mine.
I watched the Keynote Friday morning at 9 Am and was blessed by the sharing of the (in) Courage women.
I gave up the idea of trying to hook up the TV and Tablet. We were having multiple connectivity issues. Although my mom offered her cute little living room and Computer, my dear friend Lauree brought her Mac and we ended up happily watching at the kitchen table while munching on goodies and comfortably chatting.
I had 5 signed up online and 2 friends who I asked last minute. 4 Total gathered at my table and although it did not even go perfectly, because we did not get to finish all of the Videos due to time constraints- it felt blessed. I felt blessed. Because the only thing I really did 100 percent right was prayed for this get together and the ladies who would come.
I know that because of prayer and God’s amazing faithfulness our little time together was a gift.
I had the honor to meet one of my blogging sisters who travelled from New Bedford, Massachusetts on the rainy Saturday. She almost did not come, but I thank God she did! Meeting my pal Dawn and her family (they drove her down!) was great. I am so glad she “came out of the computer” to share (in)RL with me…for real! You can read Dawn’s version of meeting in person HERE!
Another friend, came from work, and brought her sunshine spirit despite the rain.
My BFF Lauree…was there. Well, hey she’s my BFF. God is really good to me.
Our time was brief, but I believe it left us longing for the MORE that is available through connecting, sharing our stories, listening and being available. In the imperfection of every day.
So we didn’t gather stones at the beach under sunny skies, I didn’t have the best TV internet set up, we did not even get through everything. But, God blessed the time we did have, and for that I am grateful.
The fact is God doesn’t need our plans to be perfect, because He brings His perfect presence to our plans! Amen?
I get by with a little help from my friends! To be continued… God willing.
Lauree, Dawn, Amia..may you be (in)Couraged daily as you walk with Him, and share your stories as He leads you!
Linking with our wonderful hostesses and friends at (in)Courage as well as a few other friends in the blogosphere.