At the beginning of 2011, I stumbled across the blogging world and fell in love with the stories I read. There were stories of brokenness, of loss, of heartache, of pain and suffering. Yet there were also stories of hope, joy, restoration, and answered prayers. I was encouraged, overwhelmed, and comforted. I can't begin to tell you the hours I poured over these incredible blogs. Furthermore, I loved being able to connect with the women behind the stories via email. And it was an incredible blessing to be able to hug their sweet selves in real life at BlogSugar.
And lucky me, I even got the hug the girl behind the very first blog I ever found (and loved!); my sweet friend Maggie from Gussy Sews.
and she is just as ever bit sweet and humble in real life as she is in her blog and emails.
When I got on the airplane to head to California, I was nervous, anxious, and scared. I felt fragile and weary. But I knew that I needed to step out in faith. I needed to overcome my fears of flying. I needed to push myself out of my comfort zone.
When I arrived, I was able to meet one of my first blogging friends, Alissa, in real life. I had the absolute blessing of spending four days being loved on by her family and kids. I secretly wanted to take them home in my suitcase! But Alissa said no; bummer!
Isn't he the cutest?
The following day my crafting buddy, Meagan and sweet Jacqui joined in the fun. Although, I had never met these three incredible girls in real life, I felt like they knew me instantly. The time I spent with them, although felt limited, was so good for my soul. They even had me laughing to the point of tears.
sweet miss meagan
And quite possibly my favorite part of the conference was running into one of my dearest college friends, Lauren. She and I hadn't talked in over a year, so it was incredible to see her sweet self and catch up.
The conference was just what my weary soul needed. I needed to hear that my blog and my business are simply not about me, but rather gifts given to me, that I can use to better this world. It reminded me that I have a voice, a story, a journey to share. It encouraged me to be real, to be honest, to be true to myself. It inspired me knowing that sharing stories can change lives, restore lives, and rebuild lives.
As I boarded the plane to go home, I felt challenged, inspired, encouraged, and well loved. My body was weary, but my soul was not.