Relevant ’11: The Real Stuff of Life!

A few months ago I had a conversation with a blogger that went like this:

Me: So, how do you do it all? How do you make these amazing recipes on a daily basis, take the “perfect” pictures, write the blogs, and keep the family going?

Her: I send my kids to school, start the cooking process and by the afternoon when I’m finished, I take the pictures. In between I am Skyping, Tweeting, Facebooking and blogging.

Me: What happens to the food after you finish the recipe? (I was hanging on for dear-life, waiting for the answer that I hoped to hear.)

Her: The food goes in the fridge and sometimes we eat it for dinner.

Me: Sometimes? Do you ever have friends come over to share the meal with your family?

Her: Nope. We either eat it that night or it gets tossed out. (*Gasp* No!)

Me: Being the foodie that you are, and with an active family life and a mother of 3 little ones, surely you have a lot of activities in your home and chances to entertain?

Her: Oh, no, we never have people over. Or if we do, maybe twice during the summer months.

Ouch. What’s the purpose of cooking tantalizing dishes, and then not sharing them with others? What has happened to the intimacy of eating together and sharing our lives with others?

The world wide web.

I will be the first to admit that I’ve been distracted by this amazing piece of technology.

Many of us have been caught and consumed by it like miserable flies. Blogging can turn into an amazing business, and I admire my friends who are savvy and run it that way. But before we know it, hours have flown by … or maybe even our lives.

Relationships around us change, and we don’t make time for others or invite them into our homes. Hospitality goes out the door …

and then we toss out the food!?

When I write about hospitality and entertaining and my life on RE, it had better be real. My husband and I purposely invite others over for dinner because we need our friends! Life offers itself to us, but we have to be open to receiving what is there for us, what is best for us.

But I do get distracted, just like everybody else.

The Relevant ’11 Speakers:

But then I heard from Sarah Mae, founder of The Relevant Conference.

She asked me to attend the Relevant ’11 Conference October 27th-29th in Harrisburg, PA.

I’ve heard that this inspiring and transforming conference can be a rich time of building new friendships, while learning the importance of balancing priorities, time management, and striving to become intentional bloggers. I’ve heard that it’s a faith-building weekend, and I love anything that can move us in a better direction. Anything that deals with the real stuff of life, right?

So I said “yes,” to Sarah Mae, knowing that I would benefit from all of the help that I would get.

Intimacy along with intention is the key for me.

Tickets are on sale now for this conference. If you have time, please check out this site, and would you consider joining us?

Do you still prioritize “the real stuff of life” or have you been distracted by technology?

Have you heard about the Relevant Conference taking place this year?

20 comments on “Relevant ’11: The Real Stuff of Life!”

  1. I so want to go to the conference. Its not far at all from Philadelphia. I will need to save my pennies and hope its not completely sold out. I had a ticket for the Blissdom conference in 2009, but lost a dear friend the week of the conference and never was able to make it (or since then!). The line up for Relevant is spectacular!

  2. That kills me too – the part about throwing out the food. Wow.

    My daughter told me that I was on the computer too much the other day. It hurts. I’m trying to be involved at church, be involved in the community, make a second income for this family and still be available for my children – but it means managing a lot of communication – which is through the computer these days. It’s hard (especially when I realized that part of her reasoning was just that she wanted to get on it). I even feel guilty taking the time to read all these comments and yet I love the sweet heart of all these lovely women and I realize that I do need to get back to what’s important. I loved quilting once upon a time. I would love to do that again but I love writing too. It’s fun to connect with other women online with similar interests but I do think we get dependent on it and forget the women near to us that need our loving call or hospitality.

  3. Reading your conversation made me feel so much better about my own feeble efforts. I am new to the blogging game, & can’t help but compare my little blog to ones with thousands of followers, bespoke headers, sponsors, etc., & I often come out feeling inferior. But what I photograph (& often not all that well thanks to the lack of natural light in our apartment), I use. What I write about, I do myself. It’s all real, & I guess sometimes the reality isn’t as pretty as we want it to be.

  4. WOW, what a great post and great comments. I think I could agree and/or relate to something in each one. I cannot imagine making a dish and throwing it away. I hate making something that doesn’t turn out, or experimenting with something in a recipe and then having it go to waste. I HATE WASTING FOOD! I’m so conscious of what I have in the house and money spent on food (that doesn’t seem to go far enough). If I didn’t feel like giving it to my family I would totally invite someone over or take it to someone. There are so many who would appreciate it.

    Tonight a friend is testing another friends chocolate fountain and rather than wasting a bunch of chocolate, we’re doing it during youth group so that then the kids can eat up all the chocolate!!

    Technology can def. be a trap. Sometimes I feel like I’m always on the computer but then I realize it’s because I haven’t even finished what I started before….It can certainly consume my time if I’m not careful. I love researching and looking up new things, recipes, ideas, read blogs, and then of course I want to visit the blogs of some of those who comment because they sound really nice, and pretty soon a few hours have gone by. However, the house is clean, laundry done, family fed and nourished, games played, TV shows even watched together while chatting about this and that, great talks while driving to and from practices, to and from games, to and from church. I’m always willing to put down what I’m doing to talk to one of my girls, help them out, take them somewhere. I don’t think they feel like they’re ignored. At the same time, I know I could be on the computer less.

  5. Spending all day cooking a fabulous dish just to take a picture of it for random people on the web who will never actually smell, touch, or taste it – – and then throwing it away??? What a waste of time, energy, resources – – but mostly what a waste of the precious blessings of having food, the means to prepare it, and a warm home to serve it in!!! How many people out there now are laid off, living in poverty, or forced to choose between putting food on the table or paying the rent? And this person makes a meal and just throws it away??

    Sometimes I feel bad that I go a week or more in between blog posts. But then I remember it’s because I’m too busy LIVING my life and spending time with REAL PEOPLE who need and matter to me. Blogging is a hobby. Life itself and the people in it are real. I know where my priorities are! Great post!!

  6. Thank you for bringing up this important topic! I really have to watch myself. It’s so easy to let the electronic gagets take over our lives. I need to keep reminding myself that they serve me, not the other way around.

  7. Sorry, I missed the point about technology because I couldn’t get passed “or it gets tossed out”! I almost swallowed my tongue. What a waste of time, money, and effort, for what? One more food photo or mix of ingredients? Very sad. I understand that some folks do not have the hospitality gift even though they have the skill to cook well. I also understand when you cook like that every day it would be overwhelming to have people over 2-3 times a week to consume it all. However, that is what freezers are for and getting to know your neighbors. For goodness sake, BLESS someone with it–a neighbor, a single mom, a church group that prepares meals, a poor college student–someone! Hopefully, one day she will “catch” the heart of preparing good food to know that the perfect recipe, the amazing photos, the sponsor’s attention, is a by-product, the overflow from the nourishment, fellowship, love, and blessing already poured-out through life in sharing her gift with others (business or not).

    Oh, and yes, we must be careful that technology does not get in the way of human touch. :)

  8. I tottaly agree with you! We have to keep friends and share life with them! Not only the virtual ones (it’s so nice to know people from all over the world!), but the real ones too!
    This is what life was made for!

  9. Wow! You’ve got some great comments going on this post. I was just talking with a friend this weekend about the dangers of social media and how too often people classify that as “friendship”, thinking they’ve connected and neglecting those relationships that are actually around them.

    Your words as well as the comments here keep me reminded and challenged to re-consider my own time spent here as well!

    Thanks for the authenticity!

  10. I made a conscious decision about 10 years ago that I would run my computer, but that it wouldn’t run me. It is a very useful tool, but can also suck you in…..just like a TV show or a computer game.

    When we moved to our farm I decided to boycott evening TV shows just to see how much extra time I would have. Amazing how much time I ended up with…..and all of a sudden I was blessed with time to do some things I REALLY wanted to do. Suddenly there was extra time to work in the garden, to crochet, to write…..and it’s the same thing with the computer.

    I do set aside a little time to blog surf during my tea break twice a week (which is what I’m doing right now!), but otherwise it’s a tool. I have my grocery list on the computer, I edit pictures on here, I have my blog, and I have to keep an eye on all my college kids on facebook……….that right there is a lot of work.

  11. YaY! I cant wait to meet you there!

  12. Your post is very timely. I recently decided to back off from Twitter…to TURN OFF the Tweet Deck. It was literally the devil in my life. The time it was sucking from my life was not justified at all. I decided to refocus my eyes on God and his plan for my life….instead of breaking my neck over social media. Just so you know all my food does get eaten, if not by us, by guest or I bring someone a meal. There is always someone in need of a meal.
    Thanks for sharing about Relevent, I might just check it out!

  13. I am hoping to make it to Relevant ’11. It is not far from us, at all. I heard about it after the fact last year and was sad I hadn’t heard about it in advance. I guess I need to widen my bloggy circle.

    It will be so wonderful to hear from women who are willing to share from their hearts.

    I, too, know that I spend way too much time on the computer. I am working on that! I hope that the woman you spoke with wakes up and finds the true joy in cooking and hospitality. There is so much she is missing……

  14. This is one conference I hope to attend. As bloggers, it’s important that what we write about is real. I love to encourage and I also love to be encouraged. This seems to be a place for that from what I read about last year’s conference. So glad that you are going. I will pray about this and put it on my calendar.

    Blessings and love,

  15. Wow…that is really a saddening conversation that you shared. I am finding that I need to turn the computer off more during the day. I now check a couple of things first thing in the morning; a couple of things when the kids go down for their naps (now); and then try to do any computer work in the evenings after the kids are in bed. I’m reminded of living now and enjoying the times that I have with my kids NOW. In the future, do I want to be known for being a good blogger or good online-communicator OR do I want to be known for being a godly woman who seeks the LORD first and sincerely cares for her family? I choose the latter. :) Technology has it’s pros and cons and I think that we need to be careful of how to prioritize our lives.

    With those thoughts, I’m off to do my Bible reading and exercise (and hopefully some cleaning and baking), while the kids take their naps. Thanks for sharing!

  16. Goodness! Toss it out? Ouch. I make it a habit to invite people over at least twice a month. That way my house stays clean. LOL! We are going to be having a BBQ for a bunch of young people ages 18-24 that are doing a youth ministry at our church right now. There will probably be about 40 of us by the time it’s all said and done. Any advice for large group bbq’s and delegation would be greatly appreciative.

  17. I’ve been dealing with the technology issue in my personal life- it’s such a useful tool, but I have found and still struggle with keeping my time limited. At the root of it all are various idols the Lord has been exposing and we’re tackling them; it’s not happening as fast as I’d like it to, but thank goodness He promises to go wherever we go (Joshua 1:9)! Recently, an author of a book I’m reading quoted one of my favorites, Elisabeth Elliot. She (EE) has a fantastic book called Let Me Be a Woman and in it she talks about choices- it’s so simple, really: to do this, is not to do this. Choices limit in some way and that is not necessarily a “bad” thing; indeed, it gives and defines boundaries. So, I’ve been re-evaluating what “jobs” the Lord has given me at this point and time, what responsibilities those entail, and then it has become clearer for me re:what needs to be done at any given time to fulfill those roles as well as help me say no to activities/request/etc. that aren’t within those limits. One practical thing I am trying to incorporate is to have little pads of paper in places I spend a lot of time and I jot down those thoughts about something I need to check out online so that I don’t run to the computer and get distracted, wasting time that ought to be spent elsewhere; at a time set aside for computer time, I can pull those pads out and I find my online moments are more focused. Thought about you the other day- I pulled out an old favorite from the bookshelf; have you read The Simple Home by Sharon Hanby Robie? I think you’d enoy it.

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