Blogging about blogging and a day trip to Virginia

When I started blogging, I wasn’t really thinking of connecting with other bloggers. I just wanted to inform a few family members and friends who wanted to know the latest news while we were waiting to adopt our first child.

I quickly discovered that blogging was an amazing way to connect with other adoptive mother bloggers. I quickly made friends and found myself part of a supportive network of adoptive families.

When I started this blog 5 ½ years ago, I began meeting other Catholic women who blog. Along the way, I’ve developed friendships with other writers who have stories to share on their faith journeys.

Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend a gathering of Catholic women bloggers in Front Royal, Va. We drove down as a family of four, and my husband and our boys went off to explore Skyline Drive and the Skyline Caverns during the day. (They had such fun that I should ask one of them to write a guest post about it.)

On our drive, we saw some beautiful parts of Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia. We passed fields of horses and cows, crossed rivers and streams, got lost at least once, and even spotted a hot air balloon that was about to launch.

The gathering itself was held at Ana’s home. We enjoyed a lovely day, and I loved connecting with bloggers I have read for years, as well as bloggers I had not read until I realized I would be meeting them for the first time.

I have a few pieces of the day I want to hold onto, and I thought I would share them in case they speak to you, too:

Kelly from This Ain’t the Lyceum encouraged us to create a blog mission statement to turn to when we need reminders on why we started our blogs in the first place. And she told us to keep in mind that our voices are more important than our niches.

“Follow God’s lead,” she said. “What is He calling me to write about?”

Mary Lenaburg told us to clear the avenue between us and God, deepen our understanding of redemptive suffering, stay in the present moment, work on fixing the person we see in the mirror and not others around us, and grow spiritually.

“You build up those spiritual muscles so you can enter into the hard with a smile.” I would drive for hours just to hear the Holy Spirit work through Mary.

Elizabeth Foss reminded us to let our readers see God at work in our lives, to reveal our vulnerabilities, and to become agents of hope.

“My purpose is to magnify Him and to minimize me,” she said. “When we tell stories of faith, we are not the main character any more. God is the main character.” Elizabeth’s message was a challenging and compelling one for me. “The most important thing your readers need to know,” she said, “is that you are a sinner in need of a savior, and you have one.”

I’ve been letting what I heard simmer on the back burner all week, and I’m not sure yet how it is affecting me, but I know I’ve held onto those talks—and the wonderful conversations I had with the women I met—all week.

Each of us received a bag of goodies, and inside mine was a necklace made by Jenna of Call Her Happy—and it was a hot air balloon! Isn’t that amazing?

I love how God shows His love for us even in the smallest ways.

It was such a gift, the icing on the cake after a family drive and a beautiful day with women writers who are trying to let God’s light shine through their words.

Thank you to Rosie Hill for the group photo!

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Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner is a wife, working mother and author of the Catholic Review's Open Window blog. She and her husband adopted their two sons from China, and Rita often writes about topics concerning adoption, family and faith.

Rita also writes The Domestic Church, a featured column in the Catholic Review. Her writing has been honored by the Catholic Press Association, the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association and the Associated Church Press.