"Any little bit of experimenting in self-nurturance is very frightening for most of us." - Julia Cameron
After eating some good food and chatting for awhile at the Bloggy Girl Get Together, Jen had us all gather in the family room where she proceeded to draw names and hand out the wonderful gifts that everyone had provided for the raffle.
It was so much fun, like kids at Christmas, wondering what each package might contain. The big surprise was that my name was the first to be called and I was the recipient of a beautiful green pashmina that Penny's daughter had sent from New York. Gosh, I feel stylish!
I wrapped the pashmina around my neck and threw one end over my shoulder in a flourish. It felt good.
After opening all the gifts, Jen did something that simply transformed the day from something wonderful to something amazing. She asked each of us, one at a time, to share with the other women the essence of our blogging experience, how long we've been blogging, why we blog, what we get in return, just anything that we felt important to convey.
Each of us listened and took away the message that resonated with us as individuals. The memorable lives in our minds.
Vicki is so funny. She sees life through a joyful and happy lens. She's got a career as a comedienne, just around the corner.
Jayme's story about how she came to be a blogger was so incredible and typical. She had been reading blogs for awhile, but being a blogger didn't appeal to her. Until one day she baked a cake. She stood for a moment looking at her creation and said to herself, "The world has got to see this!"
And thus, a new blogger was born.
Anne Marie and Annie
Anne Marie and her husband operate a farm west of here and they sell their produce through a subscription system. She also home schools her children and blogs. She literally reduced me to tears with her story of how their beautiful barn burned to the ground in less than 30 minutes and how she has struggled with the loss.
Annie's blog is entitled, Drawing a Blank, and trust me, when it was her turn to speak she did not draw a blank. She spoke with such eloquence and passion about how women should seek to support and encourage each other, as we had done this very day. She also introduced all of us to a fabulous word - gobsmacked. Yes, she was gobsmacked by this gathering, as we all were. Annie had a future as a motivational speaker. Believe it.
As Annie said, here we were, women of all different sizes, socio-economic backgrounds, different ages, different religions and different lives. We all found a common ground based on our creative energies and our common threads.
Throughout the gathering I did not hear one woman refer to herself as someone's wife and someone's mother. We live a life being identified on the basis of those relationships but we are more than that, we are also individuals with our own talents and interests. Sometimes we forget that and allow the other identifiers to bury who we are.
There is a balance to strive for and in order to be energized for those we love, we must take time for ourselves and our creative passions. No one knows this better than me. At one point in my life I gave everthing of myself away. No one required that of me. Foolishly I barreled headlong down a dangerous path. It lead me to unhappiness and severe depression.
The lesson is clear. Be true to who you are, no keeping up with the Jonses' or striving to be what your mother (father/brother/friends) want you to be. Take time for yourself and put aside time to recharge and nurture. Lock yourself in a closet if necessary. Get together with friends - old or new.
And so, today I wish a new friend Happy Birthday!
Happy birthday Penny!
Penny attended the get-together because she said she wanted to do something brave for her birthday. It is brave to push yourself beyond your comfort zone and walk into a room full of strangers. Hooray for Penny and all those who to do something, "just for them".
On the way out the door we received these beautiful gift bags (thanks Jen) filled with great things created by the talents of these women. But the best gift of all could not be contained in this bag.
Links to the blogs:
Cindy - Cottage Instincts
Jayme - Tales from the Coop Keeper
Traci - Traci Thorson Photography
Jen - Sanctuary Arts
Ann Marie - Na-Da Farm Life with Ann Marie
Joan - Anything Goes Here
Annie - Drawing a Blank
Joy - Savvy City Farmer
Tracey - French Larkspur
Amy - The Maisy Report