Laughter is not at all a bad beginning for a friendship, and it is far the best ending for one.
~ Oscar Wilde
”A joyful heart is good medicine…”
~ Proverbs 17:22a
When people come together for a common purpose with the heartfelt desire to demonstrate their love for God by simply loving others, something remarkable happens:
Beauty is born, lives are changed and Kingdom comes.
This is the essence of Bloom: women with a love of reading coming together to mine the treasure buried within a book’s pages, thinking out loud with one another, seeking God in the midst. Regardless of what book we choose to study, our common goal of knowing God more intimately binds us into a reading community where we are maturing as individuals, together.
Bloom studies are never intended to replace personal Bible study but to complement them. We also hope as readers thrive among a virtual community, their hunger for real-life community will grow, and maybe even provide that gentle nudge to be brave and seek a Bible or book study where you can sit shoulder to shoulder with other women…close enough to hug when you need it.
Because sometimes a girlfriend’s physical touch brings healing to a wounded heart. Community is inherent in our Triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – and because we’re created in that image, it’s a natural craving.
We’ve just completed our summer Bloom study, Bread & Wine: a love letter to life around the table by Shauna Niequist (have you tried the Breakfast Cookie recipe we shared last week?). Bloom founders and study hosts (and, of course, (in)courage writers) Jessica Turner and Angie Smith spent a day with Shauna digging into some of the chapters that meant a lot to them; and that they thought would be significant to woman joining the study.
This is how Bloom studies typically go: Angie and Jessica will join the featured author to discuss their book in detail, and if the author isn’t available they’ll invite guests to take part (like our previous study of Prayer by Richard Foster). Their conversations are videoed, and each week Bloom subscribers can view their videos and read the posts written to companion them. Because all studies are archived, you can go back and watch/read them all at your convenience.
Last week, we began our wrap-up of Bread & Wine with a community-wide link-up for which we hope YOU will share something you’ve written (there’s still time!):
There’s a beautiful Mary & Martha giveaway up for grabs among those who link up (valued at $144)! Three participants will each receive the Heirloom White Platter, the Antique Teal Serving Bowl and the Memo Board with Easel from the Grace & Gratitude Collection (more about the items on pages 50-53). Having followed the study isn’t a prerequisite; posts written on the general topics of food, community and hospitality are welcome, as well as favorite family recipes or even reviews of Bread and Wine. You can even link old posts as long as they suit the topic. (You must link by 8/9/13 to be eligible, and comment to writers of the posts before and after your link number; U.S. addresses only, please.)
As promised, we’re sharing something FUN to begin your week on a happy note. Laughter. Lots and lots of laughter. By the time we got to our last cooking video, we might have gotten a teensy case of the sillies. The Sofa Girls talked long and deep about the content; I typed notes furiously throughout the day (in order to write companion posts). And after nearly eight hours of filming? Well…there are bound to be a few moments that otherwise don’t fit into a Chapter Video.
Please subscribe to Bloom so you’ll have first notice about our upcoming fall study and information about Recommended Reads between studies. Like Bloom on Facebook to continue our community’s on-going conversation and to share what you’re reading. And for convenience, we’ve created a playlist of Bread & Wine videos so you can easily find them for quick viewing.
I’ve enjoyed every minute of our study of Bread & Wine; and I hope every one of you joins us in the fall!
~ Robin, Bloom Coordinator