Monday, April 29, 2013

Connecting Women (in)RL 2013

The first time I heard anything about the (in)RL conference was back in October when I attended the Allume bloggers conference. I was intrigued, but still unsure.

A month or so later I found the courage and the inspiration (thanks to Allume) to submit a post I wrote  to the (in)courage website. Upon their acceptance of my piece (which was featured on Thursday before the conference), they requested that I help promote registration day for (in)RL.

Since I was asked to blog about it, I knew I needed to understand more about what I was encouraging other women to sign-up for. That process not only made me want to participate myself, but I decided to host a meet-up in my Pennsylvania home.

Almost immediately I wondered — would anyone sign-up to come? Followed quickly with a swift reassurance —You provide the home and I'll provide the people.

Did I tell you that I'm an introvert? Hosting a meet-up for a random smattering of women can be scary no matter who you are. But I had peace about it.

One by one women started signing up to come. And as time does, the months flew by and our April (in)RL meet-up was here!

We trickled in. We ate. We broke ice. We won prizes. We introduced. We dug a little deep. We crafted and laughed and ate some more.

But above all we came together for a common goal — to connect with one another in the spirit of community.

And as I sat in my living room and observed the ten lovely ladies chatting with each other over veggie pizza and sopapilla cheesecake, I was struck by how intentional gatherings create space for connecting (like Emily Freeman's bench idea).

In an organically formed meet-up group where strangers mixed with acquaintances who mixed with good friends, we all had to put ourselves out there a bit. And the more we talked the more we discovered connections we didn't even realize we had.

I'm thankful I had the opportunity to meet and spend time with women who aren't typically in my every day life. And feel blessed that because of (in)RL our paths crossed. And I hope they will again.


Amy Clary said...

The "yes" answer is the right one...even for introverts like ourselves. I feel like I'm not supposed to be a host but I'd be great support staff. Apparently, my idea doesn't line up with God's yet. ;)
Your day looks like it was lovely. What a blessing!

Unknown said...

Thanks, Amy!

Courtney said...

Hooray for you! This looks like so much fun and wow, I'm impressed with how you put yourself out there. I'm not sure I would have been so brave. In fact, I haven't been so brave yet - letting (now) two (in)RL meet-ups pass me by. Maybe next year?

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