Tuesday, May 20, 2014

In the Company of Friends ~ A Synchroblog

I categorize friends as ‘friends who have been to my house’
and ‘friends who haven’t been to my house yet’.
-   The Nester   -

Sheila     .     Me     .     Beth
 
The three of us planned this gathering for months.  My messy marriage friend Beth and her husband were coming from the mid-west to NY for a conference and she wanted to meet for coffee with another marriage blogger, Sheila, and me and our men.  I put the invitation out there for a little dinner party for six and overnight accommodations for the mid-western sojourners.  I couldn't wait.

This is the first time I've had the gift of face-to-face time with a faraway blogger.

And yet as the day drew closer, I began to cast a critical eye at the front steps with the peeling gray paint.  Ditto for the kitchen soffits that definitely needed a bit of repair work after last summer's project.  The furniture with two plaids competing for attention seemed an eyesore, and the patio table masquerading as kitchen furniture seemed to stick out like a sore thumb.  And here I was offering this renowned marriage blogger a guest room ... with twin beds.

Sigh.

In the end, it mattered not one bit.  Our guests arrived and it wasn't two minutes til any apprehensions began to quickly fade.  Six hearts began to relax and connect as common ground was embraced. 

Loving Jesus does that, doesn't it.  And our mutual passion for blogging only made the connect sweeter.

Hours flew on wings as we talked long and deep over dinner.  We laughed often and eyes welled up at the tenderest of times.  Stories of disasters and joys, sorrow and redemption gently tumbled back and forth across the table.  The stuff of faith and writing and family and ministry and books all melded together, weaving a surprisingly warm bond between three bloggers and their men on a breezy, humid evening.

Sheila's man     .     my man     .     Beth's man

It was  just.  so.  cool.

A deep gratitude filled me to overflowing.  To connect with one person is a true gift.  For three couples to join hearts on a multitude of levels?  Sheer grace.

Fast forward to the next morning.  The breakfast dishes were pushed aside, the cameras made a final appearance, hands joined in prayer, the last hug was shared, the final goodbyes spoken.  A midwestern car left for some far off destination. 

before the goodbyes
 
And my brimming eyes blocked the vision of the peeling paint as I climbed the front steps and walked back into the house.
 
*
   OUR SYNCHROBLOG    
Beth, Sheila and I are all writing about our sweet encounter and then hitting the PUBLISH button at the same time, having not the vaguest idea of what the others have penned!  Please come join me as I head over to see what my sister bloggers here and there have cooked up! 


*    Sharing with my sister bloggers Kristen  .  Holley    *

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39 comments:

  1. Dear Linda...thanks for suggesting this fun idea. And I love our unique approaches to relating the events of that evening. I felt your heart reading your words. Blessings and goodnight! xxoo

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    1. Having you and Michael, Beth and Gary at our table was such a delight. I will look back at that evening's joys as one of the highlights in this blogging season of life.

      God is so good! And the sacred love He gives His children to share with each other is beyond description.

      Hugs.

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    2. Beyond description! Truly a gift :)

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  2. WHAT a blessing! My eyes are a little greener than usual tonight--but so thrilled for the 3 of you!

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    1. Dear Friend ... I hope that it won't be long til you get to connect with some blogging friends. There are very, very few in this area that I know of. Along the way when I read of other bloggers getting together for coffee or headed off to a retreat together, I couldn't help but feel just a tad envious and wish I lived closer so I could join in the festivities!

      I'm encouraging everyone tonight to RUN, not walk, to your keyboard and connect with a kindred spirit blogger who's not all that far away, maybe meet halfway somewhere. It truly is a joy that's hard to find words for.

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  3. That is too funny, Linda! I saw none of those flaws in your home! Isn't that always the way? We spend so much time worrying about what others might think that we don't realize they really came to see "us" and not our front steps! And what lovely couples we met in you and Tim and Sheila and Michael. God truly was present and blessed all who dined in your lovely home! Can't wait to go back to another Scazzero conference and stop in for my prime spot - the twin bed between the windows! Love ya!

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    1. Let's hope that there'll be many more trips out east for you, dear friend. The twin bed is all yours!

      I can't begin to tell you how much our visit meant. Words simply fail. But God knows our hearts and has brought us together in this season. That much I know. And I am so grateful. Thank you for hearing my heart and sharing just a bit of life with me. What a treasure.

      Hugs.

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    2. Love reading your comments back and forth about your "B&B" experience. Linda, your home just exudes welcome and grace and love and peace. Thanks!

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  4. What a wonderful idea. This made my heart smile big. I love reading of writing friends meeting in real life and I just love that husbands were included too. I love your heart, Linda. xoxo

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    1. You make my heart smile big, too, my friend. Thank you for sharing in this joy. Living way out here in NY I never thought I'd get to meet any of the blogging sisters I've come to know and love. What a delightful treat.

      And if you're ever headed in this direction, dear Beth, I hope you'll let me know!

      ;-}

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  5. What a lovely idea! And you guys looked like you really had fun.

    I enjoyed talking with you on the phone this morning, Linda - you are a real source of inspiration and strength, and your prayer was beautiful. Thank you for your friendship. I'm honored.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2014/05/your-marriage-and-nasa-part-1.html

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    1. It's calls like yours, Andrew, that confirm for me that blog coaching can be a powerful, insightful tool. I can't wait to see how your site unfolds ...

      Go for it!

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  6. Linda, I am a new blogger and have often wondered how wonderful it will be to someday meet these online sisters in real life! Thanks for a glimpse into what that might be like. I am looking forward to it even more now. And what truth you spoke into my heart about the peeling paint, mismatched furniture and general mess of life. I am tucking that away for next month when I host my first IF:Table gathering on the patio of our rented house with propane tank out back and chain link fence (have you heard of IF:Table?) Have a lovely week!

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    1. Ah ... the propane tank, the chain link fence and other joys of outdoor living! And the cool thing is that your guests will most likely never even notice because they'll be too excited about being together, Aly!

      I haven't heard of IF:Table, but it does sound intriguing and I'll be checking it out.

      It was good to meet you today ...

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  7. I am enjoying the visit from your perspective that you had with Beth :-)

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    1. I'm glad you came over to see us here at Creekside, Judith! Beth certainly is a sweetie ... and I have great respect for her, too.

      Blessings to you!

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  8. I enjoyed reading all three blogs each from a different perspective but with the same outcome. A deep friendship that cuts through all the "surface stuff" to what really matters in each of our lives. What a great experience it must have been! Glad you initiated it Linda, a lot of times we get the idea to do something (a nudging from the Holy Spirit) but we don't do it because it is uncomfortable! Now, look at the blessings from following that nudge!

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    1. Good thing that they all matched up, huh? Wouldn't that have been a bit of a surprise to discover that 1 of the 3 saw things in a whole different light?!

      Paying attention to His nudges, that still small voice ... His whispers are usually far beyond anything I would have dreamed up on my own.

      Thanks for taking the time to chat here today!

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  9. I have loved reading each of these blogs sharing on the same visit! What a great idea for each of you to do. Nothing mattered but the joining of 6 hearts. How beautiful this had to be to the eyes of our God. Each was a wonderful post!

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    1. It was so cool to join up with these lovelies not just for the visit, but for the follow-up! It's the 1st synchroblog around here, and I'm pretty sure it won't be the last.

      Thanks for joining in the fun, friend!

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  10. YAY for meeting online friends in real life!! There really isn't anything much better. I realized that those connections made online are just as real and important as those made in real life. So glad it worked out that all of you could meet and connect!

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    1. There's been something pretty powerful to add flesh and blood to the mix after communicating online over the months. I'm hoping that our fun will jumpstart others to seek out that in-person fellowship.

      Thanks, Alecia! And happy birthday, girl!

      ;-}

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  11. Love this! And so jealous. :) How wonderful that you three got to meet. I read all three of your blogs so what a special surprise to find you all in one place (well, all in one place in three places, ha). God is so good.

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    1. I know, I know. I've felt a little green around the gills along the way hearing about other bloggers connecting in person, hanging out together here or there. I really never thought it would happen for me. I'm grateful. So grateful.

      Thanks, Lisa. Now ... how can WE shrink the miles?

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  12. This brought tears to my eyes just thinking of the precious time God gave to you. How great our God is. I love the mental picture of you joining hands in prayer as you said goodbye. I know those memories hove lodged deep in your hearts.

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    1. You get it, you truly do, Pamela. I'm grateful that we were able to capture that sacred connection that went far beyond the laughter and the conversation.

      Blessings to you ...

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  13. How fun for the three of you to finally connect in real life. I spend a lot of time at Beth's place! This is where I first read Sheila's blog. Now I have a new place to visit - you! What a blessing and treasure your time together must have been. Looking forward to seeing you around the blogging world! Blessings, Mary!

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    1. Hey Mary ... yes, Beth and Sheila have got that special connect with their deep heart for healthy marriages. It was fun to be part of that end of the conversation and to live it out, the 6 of us, even for an evening.

      And a great big YES to connecting with you in the future as we do the online writing thing ...

      Rest well!

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  14. Sounds like an amazing night that will be cherished. Blogging friends must be a great support to see in person! Maybe one day I will get to meet you! :)

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    1. Cherished it was. And how cool it would be to shrink the miles and meet you face to face, too, Sarah!

      You just never know what God's going to do ...

      Blessings!

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    2. Yes and I now count on that not knowing!

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  15. Oh, Linda, what a sweet, sweet blessing from our Lord! So glad you were given this experience! You are such an encouragement to so many, so thankful to see you receiving encouragement and grace in return! Have a blessed week!

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    1. Yes, June, the whole experience from beginning to end has been a sweet grace. And for that I am grateful!

      Blessings, friend ...

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  16. Hi Linda - I saw this first on Beth's blog, and had to hop over here to read about it too! What a fun and wonderful experience you all had! I have to admit that I am just a tiny bit jealous! Also, I would have been just like you before they arrived - "Oh, look at this peeling so-and-so. Oh, look at this broken whatever." Just crazy how our minds work sometimes! Thanks for sharing this with us.

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    1. Whenever I've heard of bloggers going off to conferences or gatherings, I had lots of mixed feelings including the dreaded feeling like I wouldn't fit in / who'd want to talk with me / would I end up standing alone in the corner.

      I know I'm not the only one!

      So meeting Beth took a bit of that apprehension out of the whole mix. It was a side benefit I hadn't even thought of.

      Thanks for coming by today, Gaye ... it's so cool to meet you!

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  17. Beautiful. Love this, "And my brimming eyes blocked the vision of the peeling paint as I climbed the front steps and walked back into the house." What a gift friendship is- old and new.

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    1. I tend to lean toward the old, the familiar, those safe, ever-lovin' friends, Katie. I think that's true of us introverts. So to resonate with new souls was a true delight to my heart. I appreciate your visit ... even though my reply to you seemed to get lost in the shuffle.

      So sorry ...

      ;-{

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  18. This gathering is what we all long for---friendship, the ability to connect and fun. Green with envy, buddy, but it stirs my pot for when I may have the time (soon) to blog and to connect with others in such a meaningful way

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    1. I can't wait for you to make your blog debut! You've got so much to bring to the table. It's going to be so fabulous ...

      ;-}

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Welcome to the table, friend!

This is where we gather and hang out. I'd love for you to pull up a chair and jump right into the conversation. Or simply say 'hello.'

l'll be dropping in to visit you sometime soon ...

Linda

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