My People

Joining in with the online discussion on the book “On Being A Writer” by Ann Kroeker and Charity Singleton Craig. Today we are working through Chapter 9: Engage.


“It’s not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer.”–EB White

Karrilee, Tammy, Dana, Valerie, Ingrid, Melissa, Susan, and so many more. These are all the names of women that I didn’t even know a year ago. At that time, I only knew them by their blog names. I met them through their blogs as we participated in the Write 31 Days community. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, I never could have imagined where that journey would lead me. Each and every one of these people have engaged with my blog. They have left comments. We have Voxed each other. We have watched each other’s Periscopes. We have cried with each other, prayed for each other and so much more!

I cannot even begin to put into words what engaging with other bloggers and writers has done for my soul (but I will try!) Many of you know my story of having a negative experience at a writing group at the local library in my previous town several years ago. It was an experience that hurt my heart and caused me to hold back and be leary of other writers etc. Yet these women and men who I have met this past year have given living water to this parched soul! And for that, my friends, I simply say thank you!

There is so much joy in find my people; finding those who utter the two simple words “Me, too!” Our stories aren’t meant to be held close to our chest, but to be shared with each other. And so, I have learned to share my story by engaging with so many linkups (Many of the ones Kate shared in her blog post on Monday: Holly Barrett, Jennifer Dukes Lee, Holley Gerth, etc).

I invite you to engage with these communities too. I love when the link-up host replies to one of my comments. For me, it shows validation for my words. But more than that, it shows me that someone has read my words, identified with them and engaged with them. It reminds me again and again that I am not on this journey alone.

This summer, I had the opportunity to meet three of my blog friends in real life. I cannot even begin to describe to you what that was like. It was like seeing an old friend again, sitting down with coffee and catching up on life. I am already counting down the years, weeks, hours, minutes and seconds until I meet my next blog friends in real life. I also am excited for my first blogging conference whenever that might be! (It is super expensive to fly just about anywhere from North Dakota!) BUT attending a blogging conference is on my personal bucket list!

Thank you for being here dear friends…and thank you for engaging with me and my words! I so appreciate each and every one of you! You are each a  gift!!!

What I Learned in August…

I am linking up with Emily Freeman’s monthly link-up for the first time today. You can check out all the posts over at Emily’s Place.

Things I learned this month….

(1) Spending time with my sister is the best! Growing up together, we were pretty good at fighting and to be honest, sometimes we still argue with each other. But there is something so incredibly holy about spending quality time together. Our Nashville sister’s trip was AWESOME and is not one I will ever forget. I love my sister so much and the time we spent together is something I will treasure for a very long time. I need to be better about spending time with those I love.

(2) “I am an imperfect person loved by a perfect God!” This image came across my Instagram feed and spoke straight to my heart. I am indeed not perfect…none of us are…but we are loved by a perfect God. We are “fearfully and wonderfully made!”

(3) That twelve years after someone has passed away, my heart still aches so deeply for them. I was cleaning in my guest room when I came across the bookmark of my Grandpa’s obituary. As I read and remembered, the date (August 21) hit me straight in the gut because it was on that date twelve years ago that we celebrated his life at his funeral. Grandpa Sam was such a caring wonderful man. I miss him each and every day.

(4) Sitting on my deck. sipping a Starbucks Refresher, and reading is a place where I truly experience peace and Sabbath. I finally finished “Orphan Train”, started “Searching for Sunday” and have so many wonderful books on my to read list “For the Love” “Wild in the Hollow” etc. Since summer was so busy, I didn’t get to spend time reading on my deck a lot so I have been making up for lost time this week.

(5) Periscope. I recorded my first Periscope video today and have watched several friend’s Periscopes. I have enjoyed listening to and seeing in person the people whose blogs I often read. But I still feel like I have a lot to learn.

(6) VOXER! Can I say more? I love that I can talk to many of my blog friends and hear their voices. I seriously cannot get enough of this app.

(7) It takes a lot of people and work to get a hot air balloon up in the air. Some church members called me a week ago and asked if I wanted to help them launch a hot air balloon and chase after it. This members brother-in-law/uncle owns the hot air balloon. As they sprawled out the balloon and many held on to it, I ran the fan and helped to fill it up with air. We drove around following the balloon so we could be there when it was ready to land.

(8) A community of writers and friends who get my heart and who I feel like I have known forever. I am so blessed that I got to meet several blog friends in real life while my sister were in Nashville. It is hard to put into words how much these people mean to me. My dear friend Karrilee said it best on her blog when she wrote: “You just may find that you have found your people strung across the world wide web and you so connect in heart and spirit that distance doesn’t feel real. Yes. This. Thank You, Internet, for this!” Amen and all the yeses to that!!!

(9) I am so incredibly LOVED! Some days it is so easy to forget that, but God has orchestrated some amazing friendships in my life and family who remind me how loved I am. I’ve been so surprised and humbled by the comments I have received on my last Five Minute Friday post. I love you all so much too! (See also #8)

(10) I love music! Being in Nashville was awesome. I cannot carry a tune for the life of me, but I love listening to new music. In Nashville, we got to hear all sorts of music including one of my all-time faves Vince Gill.

(11) Prayer really does work! Now I have known this before and have prayed many times for others, but I was reminded again of the power of prayer. I shared a prayer request and so many of you responded with your prayers. God heard those prayers and our prayers were answered. So how might I pray for you this week friends? I would love to return the favor.

So, my friends, this is what I learned throughout the month of August. See you in September!

I am linking up with Emily Freeman at Chatting at the Sky, Holly for Testimony Tuesday, and Kelly for the RaRa Linkup.

 

Dear Friends (Five Minute Friday)

I am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung on her blog Heading Home. Today’s prompt is “Dear.” Write for five minutes; unedited.

Growing up, I was the kid that was teased and picked on. Yet I was lucky to find a dear friend in elementary school who became my best friend. Mandy had been held back in school because she received a kidney transplant. Mandy became my best friend. And due to health concerns, Mandy passed away at a very young age. I miss her every day, yet God has blessed me with even more amazing and dear friends along the way.

A year ago when I moved, I was so worried about making new friends, but I should have known that God would come through so HUGE for me. I have the most amazing dear friends. There is my friend EG who sat in the ER with me when my Mom was there and is always so much fun to spend time with. There is my friend KG who is just so much fun to be around and who loves life to its very fullest. There is KW who has since moved but who I am so glad is a part of my life. There is my dear friend CT who is very much my soul sister. These dear girls are my prayer partners and friends for life. I don’t know what I would do without them! I am so very thankful for each of them.

There are also my dear camp friends and my dear seminary friends. There is my dear friend STM who introduced me to the InCourage community. She is one of my favoritest people in the world. I am so excited to spend time with her in January and to meet her little girl little Miss Lucy. I am so ready for baby snuggles! I am trying to relish in every moment, but there is a huge part of me that thinks the end of January cannot come fast enough.

And these are only just a few of the dear friends I have been blessed with in my life. As a blogger, I have always seen my blog as a place for me to express myself and share my thoughts. I love receiving comments and seeing that others are reading my blog. But I never imagined the community that I would find along the way. I have found community through the write 31 days challenge and the Five Minute Friday. I have spent the last three Thursday nights on Twitter chatting and praying with women all over who simply get me and are a part of my tribe. There has just been something so incredibly holy about finding community with these dear women who get me and understand me for who God created me to be.

This community has allowed me to guest post on several blogs where I have been able to share my story. This community has introduced me to wonderful dear women who I can share my heart and soul with. My heart loves opening my phone and seeing a Voxer message from one of my dear new friends. It is almost hard to put into words what it means to chat with each of you and know that I am not alone in this crazy messed up world. And because I love these dear women so. I am participating in my first ever FMFpartySnailMail. I put my first letter in the mail yesterday and am impatiently waiting for my first letter to appear in my mailbox.

Thank you, dear friends, for loving me.
Thank you, dear friends, for being a part of my tribe.
Thank you, dear friends, for being welcoming.

And, dear dear friends, know you are always welcomed here.
And, dear dear friends, know you are indeed loved and treasured by this dear soul!

Finding My Tribe

“You know, the ones that make you feel the most YOU! The ones that lift you up and help you remember who you really are. The ones that remind you that a blip in the road is just that, a blip. They are the ones that when you walk out of a room, they make you feel like a better person than when you walked in. They are the ones that even if you don’t see them face to face as often as you’d like, you see them heart to heart. You know, that kind of tribe?”–Jennifer Pastiloff

I came across this quote on Pinterest today and it stopped me in my tracks. Because my heart has been so full lately with the love and kindness of friends; old and new. So much so that I think my heart might burst with joy at any moment! I have been blessed with amazing friends who do all of these things for me. Friends, spending time with you, chatting with you and so much more makes me a better person because you remind me that I am indeed good enough. You also remind me that God places individuals into our lives at the right times and places. I am so thankful and blessed that our lives have crossed. I honestly don’t know what I would do without you!!!

And to you, my #write31 days friends, through your words, I have seen your heart. And your heart is exactly what I have been looking for in my friendships. I honestly don’t know how I got so lucky to come across each of your blogs and stories. Thank you for sharing your stories and being vulnerable with me. There is pure gift in sharing our stories and it feels absolutely wonderful to know that I am not on this journey alone. And your stories make me realize there are others out there like me. Others who cling to the promises of God who tell us “YOU are indeed good enough!”

Because, my friends, the truth is you too are GOOD ENOUGH! In fact, you are more than good enough. God created you in God’s image “fearfully and wonderfully made.” And by clinging to that promise and trusting in God’s love for me and each of you, I sit here humbled, amazed and awed that I have found “my tribe;” a tribe that makes me a better person, a tribe that lets me know I am not on this journey alone; a tribe who isn’t afraid to pray for each other and a tribe who know who and whose they are. Thank you for being a part of my tribe, my dear friends!