Posted by on Apr 30, 2012 in (in)courage, friendship | 7 comments

Chances are, if you come to my house for a party, I'm going to put you to work.

 

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Everyone gathering around to add their personal contributions
for our (in)RL Recipe Book; scroll down to see the end result.

Saturday evening, a dozen friends in my house joined 1,700 around the world as incourage launched its first ever…

(in)RL.

(in)RL Welcome sign & buttermints

(in)RL might be difficult to grasp at first, but once you understand its premise, you'll see its BRILLIANCE:

It's a global initiative by (in)courage (DaySpring's website for encouraging women) to encourage women to engage in their community and, with great intention, to strengethen and nurture friendship.  

Once hosts registered a meet-up, it was up to them whether to have a large function at a central venue, meet friends for coffee or something in between.  On the day we announced the (un)conference, two local women immediately signed up to host! My plan all along was to attend both of THEIR meet-ups.

Until one of them had to back out because of a personal conflict.

Long story short, the remaining meet-up host (and a sweet friend of mine), Megan (Life Together blog) and I decided to join forces and have a party at my house.  

I am so thankful to Megan and (in)courage for prompting me to do something I've wanted to do often and forever!  They gave me that little nudge to just DO IT!

Two weeks after returning home from Germany, I opened my doors for this gathering of girlfriends.  And it was good. Flowers in vase and (in)RL Recipe Book

Because I knew I'd be tied up getting my house in order after being gone for two months, I asked everyone to bring their favorite sweet or savory appetizer along with a stack of recipe cards to share; for a little surcie, we made recipe books for everyone to take home featuring the items we made!

Our meet-up was planned for 5:30-8:30 and my favorite part of that was friends stayed until 11!  

 The first irony is we never got to ANY of the (in)RL content of the "planned" activities–

After guests filled their plates FULL of the wonderful food they brought, we sat around my den and played a version of Six Degrees of Separation–introducing ourselves and explaining who we knew in the room and how we knew 'em.  THAT TOOK THREE HOURS!  

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And because we're all g.i.r.l.s., there were plenty of bunny trails during our informal meet and greet; like when we got to cancer survivor Keena, and the way she shared about her life-long friendship with Stephanie and how God had worked in and through hard circumstances, well, it was beautiful.  

But here's where I feel like an idiot:  I'm a long-time blogger; everyone knows I take pictures OF EVERYTHING and ANYTHING could end up on PENSIEVE.

But that night, in addition to not sharing the wonderful content (in)courage had available for us, I FORGOT TO TAKE PICTURES!  Now, don't get me wrong, I took a few, but never did it cross my mind to take a group shot, never once did I think "Oh, THAT'S the kinda picture I need for a post," etc.  I got lots of blurry photos of food, but way too few of my FRIENDS.

It was so much fun (at least for me), I was in the moment and just.  not.  thinkin'.  

I KNOW the countless hours Lisa-Jo and the DaySpring team have spent shooting video and writing content for this weekend; and it's wonderful, heartfelt, sometimes tear-jerking content about relationships and love and friendship and community and how Jesus makes us sisters.  

But here's the irony, the beauty:

Though Megan and I never felt like it was "right" to interrupt the flow of conversation to share the (in)RL videos (and we had watched several, so we KNEW they were great), we accomplished the very thing (in)RL hoped to accomplish:

We loved, we learned, we built, we engaged, we cared, we listened, we talked.

Me & Megan--See?  A blurry iphone shotAnd even if that makes me an idiot, despite the irony of "not doing what we were supposed to," I think maybe, just maybe…

that's just fine.

:)

p.s.  Whew!  Lisa-Jo commented and I'm not in the doghouse :).  In fact, I think she might send me chocolate!!