Monday, May 11, 2015

I was there, and now I'm here--a CWBN Mid-Atlantic Conference recap

Julie just posted her CWBN Mid-Atlantic recap, so I am finally going to hit publish on this. :)

Photo by Rosie Hill
I've been blogging for ten years.

That's a little embarrassing. I think I've covered my tracks well enough that you won't find the super-old stuff. (Please ... don't try. ;) )

When I started this particular blog, I wasn't quite clued in to the whole blog scene. I was burnt out from grad school, from self-conscious writing for workshops, and wanted a place where I could use my writing to express delight in things.

But I always write for an audience. I've never successfully kept a private journal. I want my words to be read. And as I followed more bloggers, gained followers I'd never met in "real life," and absorbed the blogging culture, I thought: what am I aiming for exactly? Am I just writing for friends, people who are already interested in me for my own sake? Or am I trying to gain an audience of some sort? Do I want to be a "real" blogger, and if I'm not, does it even matter if I only post once a month or less?

When Julie emailed to invite me to the CWBN Mid-Atlantic Conference, it was so validating. I may not have a header on my blog, or an "About Me" page, or even any photos in half my posts. But Julie had remembered my blog! And even where I lived! That meant something, right?

So I signed up and decided this would be my line in the sand. After this I would write again ... and be a "real" blogger.

God blessed me so much through that day, and I feel like I could type on for pages--about Julie and her wonderful hospitality, and how great it was just to sit and chat with her at her kitchen table in her beautiful home; about finally meeting fellow twin-moms Rosie and Abbey in person; about meeting and talking to so many wonderful women; about Leah and Cristina's great presentations, and Meg's talk on prayer that brought tears to my eyes. If I tried to go more in depth about these things, I would never finish this post.

But during lunch we sat in our assigned small groups, and mine was perfect. Abbey and Marie Bernadette have written about it. We were all in the same place--wondering if blogging was something that really belonged in our lives right now, and what it meant for us aside from "branding" and all that stuff that seemed to be for bigger bloggers. Having that conversation openly with others was such an encouraging experience, and I came away from it feeling very refreshed.

I admit I felt a bit sad leaving. There was talk of getting together again during the summer, which is something I couldn't do without it being a genuine road trip; and going back to "just blogging" together was a bit rough.

But ultimately, two words sum up my experience of the conference: refreshment and affirmation. The immediate community I experienced there was a reminder--this is why I blog. I have my communities here in Pittsburgh, which are vital to me. But connections made online are very real for me, too. This blog is a place where genuine companionship, even intimacy, can exist. And I want to be here.

So for me, right now, blogging doesn't look like "branding" myself. But it does look like making this page a more welcoming space (an "About Me" page and updated profile pic?), and engaging more often and more promptly with the comments you all are so generous with, and hopefully posting more often--inviting people in, asking them to stay awhile, to share a part of my life over tea and knitting, conversing about the wonder and beauty and struggle that is a part of our lives.

So thanks for being here. :)


  1. I've been blogging for... 14 years? But I don't know that my old livejournal really counts... And I'm scared to go back and see the stuff high school me wrote!

    I'm so glad you were at the conference and we got to meet in person. And I wish you lived close enough for us to hang out! Your small group really WAS perfect - I saw the listing of names and knew you ladies would have such an awesome conversation together :)

  2. I'm so glad you wrote this!! I'm going to the Ohio conference in a couple weeks and I just identified with everything you wrote. I have a tiny little hobby blog... it hardly seems like I even belong at a blogger's conference. Thanks for sharing your experience. I'm happy it was a good one for you!

    1. Oh, I wish I could go to the Ohio one too! Pittsburgh is basically between the two and I had to make a choice; I figured there were only so many weekends I could go off gallivanting and leaving the husband all alone with the kids ... ;) I'm sure you will have a great time!

  3. nice! well, we can just be ourselves and I've LOVED your blog in all the years I've read it! :) It is hard to leave such great 'meetings of like minds' as it were. I hear you. HUGS. Glad you are here. :)

    1. Thank you Elizabeth! :) I am so grateful to have "met" you through our blogs, I hope one day we can meet in person ... perhaps take a trip to Purl Soho together. ;)

  4. Yay! Great post! I'm so glad I got to meet you and be part of our wonderful small group!

    1. I am so glad I got to meet you too, Nicole! :)

  5. I was just doing my daily blog reading and clicked on a link here....and what do you know, it's someone I know in real life ;)