On Tuesday, I told you some of the reasons I love (in)courage so much. Today I’m here to tell you the other five reasons this website for women, this online beach house holds such a special place in my heart.
1. The God thing: More than a year after getting The E-mail, I’m still not sure why I was chosen to write for (in)courage. But I know how. It’s a total God thing. (Or, as my friend Annie would say, “THAT is JESUS.”) From the moment I just happened to sit by Holley at Blissdom to the moment that happens just about every month, when my brain almost turns off and my fingers fly across the keyboard to pour out the message that is only partly mine – God is so clearly involved in this project that I can hardly describe it. But it’s there. And it’s good.
2. The grace: A couple times I’ve e-mailed the wonderful girls at Dayspring and apologized all over myself for turning in a late article. At least 12 times now, I’ve e-mailed them with an overly detailed explanation of what I think my article is trying to say. And every time, they say, “It’s okay. You’re great. No worries.”
That’s the same grace I’ve seen in e-mails that fly back and forth about deadlines and changes and schedules, in the comments of (in)courage posts and in person at the beach house over the weekend. Though we come from different backgrounds and even different beliefs, we give each other the benefit of the doubt and love first.
3. The gifts: All right, I’m not going to lie. I like getting presents. Okay? You know you do, too. Or maybe you don’t. But I do. What I like even more than getting presents, though, is giving them. That’s something (in)courage and I have in common – which really works out well for everyone. They’ve given in a huge way as we wrapped up summer and our first year of publication with 30 Days of Giveaways. And, okay, they gave us lots of goodies over the weekend, including this beautiful bracelet that reminds me to dream God-sized dreams.
4. The girls: Way, WAY more important than any gift are the women I’ve been blessed to work with at (in)courage. I knew before meeting any of them at this year’s Blissdom and last weekend’s trip that my name has somehow managed to be listed among some of the most amazing writers, incredible women, beautiful hearts. Meeting these girls in person proved me SO right. (And you know how I love that!)
- Dawn is a brilliant photographer and so very generous with her knowledge. And last Saturday night, she made me laugh so hard I cried.
- Robin somehow manages to be sparkly and grounded at the same time. She is candid and loves at the gut level. And she didn’t let a flat tire ruin her day, which in this over-reactor’s book, is admirable.
- Lisa is gentle and generous and more often than not, beautifully soft-spoken. But it turns out we have similar taste in movies and TV, and she may actually love Dirty Dancing more than I do. And, oh yeah, have you SEEN her jewelry?
- Emily, in many ways, is the opposite of me. She’s literally about half my size and she devotes her blog to saying the most in the least amount of words. But when I’m with her, the ways we’re different don’t matter and, honestly, don’t even seem to exist. She is quick to laugh and hug, she randomly bursts into song, and she cries as easily as I do (a feat in itself and a relief during a weekend when I realized my “thing” was the fact that every story I told seemed to end with “…and it made me cry.”).
- Nester is, of course, famous. But have you ever thought about the fact that her tagline (It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.) is awfully similar to my blog’s name (Giving Up on Perfect, in case you forgot where you were.)? That’s right. We’re practically two peas in a pod. Okay, maybe I’ll never be gluing up some new window coverings, but we do make each other laugh.
- Stephanie is brilliant – just like her smile. She has a great marketing mind, as well as the ability to listen to a person’s hurting heart ramble all over the place and arrive at the most logical and encouraging conclusion possible. And no, I don’t just mean in theory. I mean with me.
- Holley has the surprising combination of a sweet, sweet heart and a hilarious, dry wit. She works so hard and speaks the loving truth – and cracks me up at the same time. Well, maybe not at the same time. Loving truth isn’t always funny. But you know what I mean.
- Jen is fabulous, and not just because she can find super cute clothes at any garage sale or thrift store. She has a passionate heart for ministry and the Lord, and she has a great vision and marketing focus that I admire.
- Jessica was kind enough to let me ride along on her road trip from Nashville to Hilton Head. And she blew me away with her marketing savvy. That girl is SMART; what I’d give to have her insights and ideas every day!
- Annie not only picked me up from the airport and dropped me off at the crack of dawn, but she let me spend the night at her house, treated me to cheese dip AND introduced me to a few of her friends. Before this trip I knew Annie had a hilarious sense of humor and a huge heart. Now I know how incredibly smart she is and, more importantly, just how much she loves and seeks God. I love her. The end.
- Arianne made the mistake of calling herself a hippie in a group e-mail, and we made her explain herself. In detail. I’m still not sure if I’d call her a hippie, but I will definitely say that she is a strong, brave, beautiful soul who I’m so glad I got to meet.
- Sarah is the one person in our group I didn’t get to spend enough time with over the weekend. I guess I don’t know if she’d say the same, but I wish we’d had more time to visit and get to know each other. Next time, friend!
- Lisa-Jo and Ann weren’t at Hilton Head with us, but we did get to video chat with them on Friday night. They were in Guatemala with Compassion, and getting to talk with them was amazing, if I can use that word yet another time. We laughed and shared stories and prayed and cried. And I can’t wait for the next trip, when I can hug them in person.
5. The getaway: From the beautiful, huge house to the beach and the dolphins to the food and the candy in every room, this trip was a treat. And I am so very thankful for the chance to escape my “real” life for a few days and connect with these women, my (in)courage sisters.
This post will be linked to Things I Love Thursday at Diaper Diaries.
Do you have a group of people, a ministry or a team that you love and feel at home with? Tell us about it in the comments!
Disclosure: Hilton Head Island Chamber of Commerce generously provided the accommodations at the amazing beach house, bikes, a dolphin cruise and dinner at The Aqua Grille & Lounge. DaySpring took care of all the incidentals and meals for each of the bloggers.
Can’t get enough of Giving Up on Perfect? Subscribe here, follow me on Twitter and join my Facebook page.
You made me get all choked up with this one, Mary. It’s so wonderful to have this safe place of women who are deliberate in how they encourage and love on one another. We don’t take it for granted for one single second!!
I can’t wait until we can do it again – WITH YOU!
Looks like you had an amazing time. Beautiful pictures! Good for you, you deserve it!
I don’t even know you guys and I wish I could have gone!!!
This is wonderful! I love seeing everyone through your eyes, and though our experiences differed, you captured each friend’s personality in as few of words as possible (bravo!!). I’m actually doing a similar post and it’s taking me FOREVER!
I left wanting more of everyone, and as I whispered in your ear, I sure would like to continue a conversation started over dinner….just seems it woulda been nice to have a one-to-one version of the “one” we were all havin’ :).
Anyways, it was a great weekend and spending time with you was a highlight. Thank you for your kind words of encouragement…they were soul balm.
It wasn’t hard to think of something to say about each person; it was hard to keep it short enough! haha! And yes, some conversations are better one-on-one. ;)
You just wrote this to make the rest of us jealous, didn’t you? I’m kidding, of course, and I’m so happy that you had that weekend–you know that. One question: will I get to meet these great women at Blissdom???
Ack! No! I didn’t want to make anyone jealous! And YES, I am sure you’ll meet several of them at Blissdom! (Last year, we held an (in)courage party, and I imagine they’ll try to do another one this year.)
Looks like fun :-) And your sweet words about each person made me smile – you’re such an encourager!
I loved our car ride and getting to know you better. You are a peach. xoxo