Monday, October 27

When Fear Becomes Friendship

This weekend, Kendra and I attended the Allume Conference in Greenville, South Carolina. We left behind our crisp Minnesota fall to experience a weekend of breakfast grits, sweet potato desserts, and even sweeter Southern hospitality. 

Let me tell you, it’s intimidating to go to a conference for writers. There’s something so vulnerable about telling someone about your blogging. It’s something most people don’t ask about, something you usually do in stolen moments late at night or in the cracks of the day, alone. 

Kendra, Angela, Carley, and I
But what we quickly realized was that we were in a safe space. A sacred space. Over salads and sweet tea at lunch, or in the darkest part of the night when our eyes felt gritty from the long day, we talked to the new friends we met. About health troubles and herbs, babies and teenagers, communities in need of help and the social justice causes we heard about that made us want to do more, be more.

One of our roommates, Emily Knotts from Crisp Interiors, is mom to a busy 11-month-old, has an interior design business, and once had her DIY home featured in Country Living. Not to mention the fact that she is wildly self-effacing about her talents and sweet to boot. Another roommate, Melissa Ringstaff from A Virtuous Woman, has an amazing life story and ministry. My favorite anecdote gave us a glimpse into her life: As a young mom, she began dating her now-husband, who showered her with kindness. At the time, her 14-month-old would take about two hours each night to put to bed. Knowing this, her now-husband began to visit her each evening regardless of whether or not they had seen each other during the day – in order to rock her child to sleep. That’s a keeper. 


Some new friends, like Carley Grorud from Life Passionately, are fantastic artists in addition to writers; others, like Angela Parlin, have an amazing heart for others and plan to host two orphans from Latvia in their home over the Christmas season through Project 143

What I loved about each of these woman is that they are real. They are flawed, they doubt themselves and their talents, worry about finances and the world around them, but that is what makes them so wonderful. In online spaces, it’s easy to shape the person we want to appear to be. Yet this weekend was proof to us that at the heart of each of the blogs we read and writers we meet are women who love just like us, live just like us.


Although we arrived intimidated, we left encouraged. Fair warning to our husbands that we'd love to go back next year. :)


Today we are once again linking up for Make A Difference Monday!

14 comments :

  1. First of all, your blog is so cute! Second of all, yes I definitely want to go back! :)

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    1. Thank you, Tiffany! I'm so glad you enjoyed it, too -- it was a refreshing time for us!

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  2. I'm so glad you were able to make some new friends at Allume. That is not an easy task, but also the best part about going to Allume. :)

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    1. Thanks, Amanda! I loved your post about Allume and your after-party. Honestly, I was wiped by Saturday night (I blame a slew of late nights and my crazy pregnancy hormones), but I loved that you continued on in the spirit of hospitality.

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  3. Love spoken in a generous spirit seems to wipe away all those fears about perception. At Allume, we realize that we are all standing on level ground at the foot of the cross. You shared that well here.

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  4. So neat! So glad you both had a great time : ) PS - Fun to know you roomed with Melissa. We're both in the Inspired Bloggers Network together and I love her blog : )

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    1. Thanks, Sybil! I really like her blog, too. :) It would be great if you could come to Allume sometime; we'd love to meet you in person!

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  5. I wish we would have met at Allume- I am in MN too...SW MN and I am assuming you are in the Cities area?! One of these days I hope to head up that way and meet some of the ladies who also blog! :) But Allume was amazing wasn't it?! So glad that you had a good experience! Kristin

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    1. Oh, bummer -- I recognize you from your online photos (that sounds weird, but you know how you stumble over the same folks over and over again...it must be that we have things in common, right?!), and it would have been fun to meet in person -- maybe next year. :) Regardless, I live about 30 minutes outside of the Twin Cities, and would love to do some kind of MN bloggers meet-up!

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  6. What fun to go to a conference and connect with the hearts you get to read on a regular basis! Even better that you came away encouraged with a desire to grow further and bless others through what you learned.
    Blessings,
    Dawn

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    1. Thank you, Dawn! It was definitely a breath of fresh air for me -- so inspiring! It was nice to get away for a few days, especially to a location as beautiful as South Carolina.

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  7. Hi, I was at Allume too. I am coming over from the Inspired Bloggers Network on Facebook and following up with the sSocial Media Sunday. Glad to meet someone else online that went. It is such a big conference we probably saw each other but did not meet? I am still going through all the business cards I got so I may have not got to yours yet. :) I so enjoyed this conference too. It was my first year.

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    1. It's funny, Mary, I saw a lot of people at Allume that I recognize from their online photos and blogs but haven't met in real life yet. :) I loved how welcoming the community was, though! Hopefully if we didn't meet this year, we can meet another time -- I'm hoping to return next year.

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