Look where I was this weekend!
This Saturday I attended this wonderful "national/local" conference of sorts that invited Christian women bloggers to come out from behind their screens and attend local meetups in real life. The concept to me was brilliant. I've read about blogging conferences before and have thought about how cool it would be to meet up with other women writers. But my blog is not one that is a business for me and flying across the country to a blog conference is not an expense in which I can afford to indulge. So, when (in)courage announced it was going to be having "video-cast" driven gatherings all over the United States that anyone could host, I got excited. Though I've got family and friends here in the Twin Cities that I am thrilled to have come back to, I am still a new resident again, starting over building community and building community was precisely the focus of this first (in)RL gathering.
Plus, they made it incredibly affordable to attend: $10. That's right. Ten dollars got you a beautiful t-shirt, a pack of greeting cards to send to your girlfriends - new and old - and entrance into drawings with products from the (in)Courage line by Dayspring. I won, by the way. :) I didn't even realize I was entered (everyone who registered was) until I got a note in my e-mail inbox. I and 99 others were sent this bag absolutely free. Cute, huh? :) It's a makeup bag, but I think knitting or art supplies are going in mine. The photos are blurry... I don't know why... but there's a sweet Scripture verse from Ecclesiastes on the front of the bag.
So, on Friday, all participants gathered round their computers for introductory videos. Nearly 2 hours of inspiring, moving content to prepare us for Saturday. And then we showed up... in real life. :)
One of the first things I was happy about was the fact that I was not hosting the event! Now this may not sound nice, but it's not as plain as it seems. As someone who's number one spiritual gift is "hospitality" it is a delight to be treated to an event in someone else's home, especially as someone new to town.
Allison and Anna hosted our event at Allison's in-laws' beautiful home just east of the Cities. We met and chatted, ate good food, yummy treats (chocolate ~ of course!), and watched and enjoyed, laughed and cried over more wonderful content provided by (in)courage.
And I came away from all of this... inspired. Inspired and encouraged to keep building the kingdom, keep building community. And also, to keep writing. We were reminded that our words are powerful:
Proverbs 16:24 - "Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones."
Proverbs 10:11 - "The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life..."
Proverbs 10:20 - "The lips of the righteous nourish many..."
Ephesians 4:29 - "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for builiding others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."
Proverbs 25:25 - "Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land."
Do you ever have times when you come away from someplace changed? I experience this sometimes at big family gatherings - weddings and funerals, reunions, and such - or after returning home from traveling. There is just a lot to think about and process after events such as these. Certainly, I wasn't feeling that this was going to occur in a 4 -hour block of time this past Saturday. But it did... and I'm still thinking about it. I feel so blessed to have gone and am curious to see what God is going to do next!
In the meantime, I am thinking about words: written and spoken, journaled and blogged, in prayer and in Scripture, in letters and e-mails, texts and social network posts. Can you think of a way that your words may become a "fountain of life" to someone today?