What if you opened the door of your favorite beach house and discovered nearly 6,000 of your closest friends inside?

That’s a lot like how we felt this weekend.

Meeting you all – (in) real life. It was our second year hosting this upside down conference where women tune into a webcast from home on Friday and on Saturday step through their computer screens and connect with other (in)courage readers and new friends right in their own neighborhoods.

There were 590 meetups in 20 countries.

This remarkable glimpse into the women and hearts and lives and smiles and stories of the (in)courage community awed us!

You. Are. Beautiful.

And many, many, many more than we could possible fit into just one post.

You all? You *are* (in)courage.

Let’s hear that again – You. Are. (in)courage.

And as we read your tweets, watched your comments, scrolled through your photos with lumps in our throats and tears on our cheeks, well in the words of Kristen from Mercy House – this day of world wide meetups? This day of 6,000 women tuning in to encourage each other? This day of social media connecting us across borders, time zones, and past hurts?

This day of Jesus bringing together His daughters in a celebration of community?

This was a day and a moment that only God could sign His name to.

We are humbled. We are exhilarated. And yes, we are already planning for (in)RL 2014!

(in) real life goodies for 25% off through Friday May 10:

In the meantime, you can order the (in)RL 2013 DVD over here (use code: INRL2013 for 25% off through Friday May 10!)

And there are a few other goodies that make great mementos of this weekend and good reminders to keep you (in)couraged to continue pursuing community.

The (in)courage ((together)) necklace also 25% off through Friday May 10 with code INRL2013.

The customizable word cloud prints were a big hit at the meetups – snag one at 25% with code INRL2013 to keep a memory on your wall of this weekend.

The (in)real life totes are Freeset bags, each tote handmade by women of Kolkata, India, and when purchasing these totes, you help to make a difference in bringing real freedom to their lives and to the lives of their families. Global sisterhood!

We love these because they are mementos as well as great conversation starters. Use use code: INRL2013 for 25% off all of them through Friday May 10!

And now we’d love to hear in your own words what (in)RL meant to you. Won’t you leave a comment or link up your stories below? Let’s listen in and continue to learn from and be encouraged by one another.

Have we told you lately how much we love you?

A lot.

A lot multiplied by 6,000.

Lisa-Jo and everyone at DaySpring and (in)courage

Come link up your (in)RL recap posts over here – we’d love to listen in!



comments (closed):

  1. 1

    *snort*…love my girls and the moustaches. And all these beautiful amazing inspiring women from around the world! (totes stealing that computer keyboard ring idea!)

  2. 2

    Thankful for your vision for this weekend. We had a great time!

  3. 3
    Marjorie says:

    Love, love, love these photos. I wasn’t able to find a group but I received so much and continue to receive from the videos. I plan to purchase them and go through with my Daughters-in-love. Keep fanning the flames of authentic relationships for us up here. Thank you all so much Incourage Team, my God increase you much more. Sending you love from Toronto, Canada.

    • 4

      It sounds like you have already “found” your group and are “hosting” whether you ever officially signed up or not, this year! :D May God keep fanning the flames and bless your circle of influence. <3

  4. 5

    This weekend was SO MUCH FUN. :-) I missed a good deal of the webcast on Friday and was so discouraged when I went to bed that night. But Saturday was just the most refreshing, encouraging, awesome time I’ve had in a while! I’m so glad I went. :-)

  5. 6

    Aww. Would love to be a part of a future InRL webcast. I’m a Florida blogger. Looks like a blast! :)

    • 7

      Get on the email list now. Start looking for email invitations to sign up or host next winter/spring (the event have been in April so far). That’s it. Totally worth the heart and time investment! :)

  6. 8

    Scrolling through these pictures brought tears to my eyes. How is it that I can feel a kinship – a sisterhood – with these women I’ve never met? Jesus, that’s how.

    Our family joined a church in our new neighborhood three weeks ago. I hosted a meetup there on Saturday. Talk about craving community! A few minutes before I dismissed our group of five, our eldest attendee (who entered pushing her walker and rocking an awesome hat) said, “So, what’s next? What do we do now?” I floundered for a moment, then realized she was challenging us to take what we’d watched and discussed and put it into action. Another new friend was intrigued by a Bible study that was mentioned in the videos, so I think we are going to check it out and possibly continue meeting to go through it together.

  7. 9

    AWESOME!!! :)
    I agree with Monica! All my ‘sisters’ ! I will probably never meet any of you – this side of Heaven! What a day of rejoicing that will be!
    May He continue to bless you all with His Presence!

  8. 10

    Loved, loved, loved the day! I left my imaginary Chihuahua of fear barking at home, that I should be intimidated by the other women, what if I wasn’t wearing the right clothes, what if my food choice didn’t fit, yip, yip, yip.

    It was an experience that left me weightless the rest of the day, overflowing with joy, love and laughter. Thank you, thank you, ladies, for bringing the online into real life! xoxo <3

    • 11

      Kim! I love this :) You find that chihuahua a new home – there’s no room for him in your life anymore! Celebrating you today, dreamer friend :)

  9. 12

    I lov it LJ!

  10. 13

    No location close to me, so I hosted. No. One. Came. Color me given up. I’m tired of being friendless.

    • 14
      Lisa Milman says:

      Elaine. Please Don’t Give Up. Many of us women are scared, anxious, more comfortable in our pjs at home rather than stepping out to meet strangers (or friends for that matter). We’re afraid of what we don’t know. Of how we’ve been cast aside before and protect ourselves by not reaching out to others for fear of being hurt again. BE PROUD that you were brave enough to host. DON’T DESPAIR that no one showed up. this time. make a next time. continue to reach out. be the one who does. and you will find someone on the other end. I don’t know where you live, but if I were close, I’d meet up with you myself.

      • 15

        So much amen to what Lisa said. Hang in there. We hear you. Community is hard. And you are BRAVE for stepping out in courage. Thank you for opening your heart like that. And we ache the same at the feeling of no one showing up. Here’s to an unexpected friend when you least expect it -praying that for you today.

        • 16

          You two made me cry! And I promised myself that I wouldn’t cry when it didn’t happen for me! Thank you for your prayers & encouragement – that’s what I love so much about this site.

          • 17

            Elaine, don’t give up! :) I know how you feel, I’ve been there SO many times. No location was close to me, either, and so I hosted – one person showed. I put it on my facebook, too, to invite all of the people I know in my area… no one wanted to come, no one asked about it – no one seemed to care. I wrote my post about seeking community even when it doesn’t seem to come to you. If interested, you can read it here: http://annaradchenko.net/2013/05/community/

            I know it’s hard, but it’s worth it. God has a plan :) remember the videos we watched last weekend? It’s so easy to leave, but there is beauty and strength in staying – even if that means staying in community alone while you seek out others to join you. Don’t give up dear, God wants great things for you!

      • 18

        I TOTALLY wanted to go last year. There was none in my area and hosting wasn’t an option since I was fresh out of a 2-month hospital stay. I tried to talk it up so someone else might host, but there was NO interest from anyone else either. No people I knew in person, not on Facebook, not even in reply to my pleas on (in)Courage message boards. I was depressed and felt friendless too. :,(
        This year, as soon as it came up again, I started talking it up to everyone I could think of, posting everywhere, and praying, but honestly those prayers felt fairly hopeless. I would have loved to sign up as a host, but God continues to medically keep that option pretty firmly closed. After a few months of feeling like it wasn’t going to happen AGAIN this year, ONE lady I hardly knew expressed some interest but wasn’t able to host either. A few weeks later, a lady I didn’t know at all (one of her acquaintances) popped up on my email notification that she had signed up to host! In the end, there were 6 of us there. It was not at all what one of us expected from the day, but obviously a God think that we each were there.
        I’m sorry you opened your heart and home only to be left feeling empty, rejected, or discouraged. I just wanted to share that if God births a passion in you, it might be for some future year’s fruition. Hang in there!

  11. 19
    Margaret Polino Nicholas says:

    We had the best time. And I stuck my head out & sign up to Host! All went well. We had lots of food, including, chocolate.
    All is well & I want to do it again next year.

  12. 20

    I was blessed to attend inRL with my mom. There were six of us. Out of that group, two of us have already formed a Bible study/mentorship relationship and I think at least one other mentorship may soon be born out of that day, based on some comments that have been made.
    I was all nervous about how our first Bible study day would go with the friend I committed to pour into (but she is already pouring back into me too!) when everything that could go wrong with our planned schedule did go wrong (her daughter got left behind by her car pool and she had to make an unplanned drive across town right at our meeting time, my doctor’s appointment ran two hours late, my internet was down, we missed each other’s phone messages, etc.) and my house was far from Martha Steward presentable. About two hours later than planned, with frazzled nerves, on both ends, we mostly just talked this first time, read a little, prayed a little, but mostly just got to know each other there in my messy, far-less-than-perfect home. The next morning a note in my Facebook so filled my heart to read, “I haven’t felt so at home in someone else’s house in years!” Wow God!
    We’ve know each other for a while. Our daughters are best friends. We arrange play dates and chit-chat often. But we likely would have remained just acquaintances were it not for inRL and the challenge to intentionally enter in to community.

  13. 21

    I would like to thank you for the efforts you’ve put in writing this website.
    I really hope to view the same high-grade blog posts from you in the future as well.

    In fact, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my
    own website now ;)


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