inRL 2014 Conference Wrap Up

The pace of life can be so frenetic, at times, that I find it downright impossible to form connections in real life. I look for opportunities to meet others who share a desire to live life without just going through the motions.  I need flesh and blood people to come alongside and shoulder the burdens of life, with me.  I’m guessing you do too?

I’ll spare you the boring details of our whirlwind life over these past weeks, but suffice it to say that I am thrilled to be able to quietly sit down in front of my computer today and finally get to the important business of sharing about my inRL Conference meetup at the end of April.

The ladies of (in)courage deliver a constant stream of encouragement through that computer screen. To be able to share that with others is a gift.

We had another small gathering of five women, but make no mistake. Each one of these women were handpicked; by a God, who knows and sees.

Some arrived the night before to work together to get my home ready, to eat chocolates as we wrapped tissue paper around pretty little welcome gifts, and to laugh and cry as we watched the opening Friday night Keynotes. We sat around in our pajamas, quiet and comfortable, and listened as women opened up their hearts on the other side of the screen.

Saturday dawned beautiful. The rain that was predicted, wasn’t. There were calls made and emails sent, telling us that some couldn’t make it.  But, our spirits weren’t dampened a bit.  It’s almost as if with each new cancellation, our spirits were able to instantly see that this, this is exactly as it was supposed to be. The sun was streaming through the windows as we welcomed in two more brave souls.

We settled in to watch the Saturday Keynotes and it was obvious that heart connections were being made.  Community, the trials of living in one and the necessity of having one, was on full display.  Both in my living room and on that screen.

There were some priceless conversations about hurt.  And joy. Deeper bonds were forged. Friendships blossomed. As we stood around the table, eating and chatting together, I remember thinking that this is community. Right here, right now.

inRL2014_collage

Once again, I am so thankful for the vision that (in)courage had to provide this opportunity.  It helps me see, each time, how beautiful is the real life connecting to each of our sometimes web-weary souls.

And to the women who came… thank you.  Thank you for sharing yourselves.

Let’s do it again next year, okay?

 

 

With Chips and Salsa

Dear Katie,

In less than 7 weeks, I’m heading to South Carolina for the Allume Conference. With you.

And, in keeping with God’s deep and abiding love for me, He is allowing me to room with you. We may not have met face-to-face yet, but we know each other’s hearts.  And you get me. I’m deeply indebted to Dayspring’s (in)courage group for special needs mammas for making us fast friends. Time zones ain’t got nothin’ on us, girlfriend!

At Logan’s prompting, Katie, you graciously shared with me some things you thought I might oughta know before we take our relationship to the next level.  Thank you.  Bless you.  We share numbers 1, 2, 5, and 7 in common; so, it’s gonna be okay.

And… we’ll have chips and salsa.

With that said…

Sweetman insists that anyone who doesn’t live with me on a daily basis might be traumatized by All Of Me, all at once. In the spirit of good will (and knowing it’s too late for you to try to get out of rooming with me) I shall tell you some things, Sweet Katie. These things might just make our days together, in our cozy hotel room, slightly less harrowing.

I hope.

But, it’s gonna be okay.  Because, we’ll have chips and salsa.

Your #1 – the snoring thing? My Sweetman insists my snore is “delightful” and “cute”.  My children, on the other hand, insist it’s more on the order of The Bear Snores On. You, dear roommate, get to be the deciding vote! (And I come bearing brand new earplugs. For you. In case.)

You should probably say a quick prayer of thanks that we do not need to share a bed.  I am rarely still through the night. Sweetman likes to joke that the King sized bed in our bedroom is mainly mine.  He gets a 2 foot wide strip and a bungee cord.  Thank you Lord. And Amen.

Also, you should note that if you are looking for food items (above and beyond our beloved chips and salsa) that are of any nutritional value what-so-ever, you will not find them on my person.  You may, however, find a Twinkie. Or a Swiss Cake Roll.  Or both. Times three. I know you are trying to be good and gluten-free and such.  I will hide them if you wish. Or share.

Packing thrills me.  I wish I could lie and say what a nightmare it will be deciding what clothes to wear and shoes to bring and necklaces to lay out.  Sorry. The plotting and the planning? It’s in my blood. I will have my outfits paired up well ahead of time, with their chosen accessories.  I will hang them, with ever so much care, in our hotel closet as soon as I arrive. And then… I WILL FREAK OUT LIKE A MANIAC that I have brought ALL THE WRONG THINGS!

It’ll be okay.  We’ll have some chips and salsa.

I’m a total extrovert (I think you were already aware).  But, you may not know that I am an extrovert who needs naps to escape all the extroverting.  Don’t you worry, though, my sweet sidekick. I’ll send out the bat signal so that you can either join me or commit social crimes solo for a while.

I’m a Note Taking Nerdette; and I’m pretty proud of it.  I may not remember a dad-gum thing anyone said the entire day – but by George! I’ll have written it down. Somewhere…

We can go over all of those notes while we nosh on the never-ending chips and salsa. While in our jammies.  At bedtime.  That’s 8:00 p.m. sharp! And, while the jammies are indeed required, the flossing is entirely optional (because I don’t floss either).

Now, get on those tickets, kid.  I am NOT writing another one of these open letters.  I barely made it through this one. But I know it’ll all be better than okay.  I’m gonna hang with you. And I couldn’t be more excited!

With Chips and Salsa,

Missy