IRL {In Real Life} Adventures

Twice in the last few weeks I’ve had the immense pleasure of having a contact made through the blog turn into a face-to-face meeting – getting together with someone I’ve never met before, and ending our time as friends in real life. How cool is that!? Both visits happened ’cause these gals took my open invitation seriously and bravely took me up on my offer to come and stay. They and their families were both willing to drive over an hour to make a wonderful weekend of sharing and fellowship possible, and for that I am so grateful.

Our first guests were a family of 8 - whoo-hoo! OK, I admit to being a little nervous about hosting such a crowd, but I reminded myself that we used to do this all the time on the homestead, and pulled out my recipes that work good for feeding lots of mouths!
(Curious? We had BBQ chicken, salt potatoes and sauteed zucchini, baked oatmeal, scrambled egg casserole – all from the book! – and chili and cornbread)

The H— family was a delight to host – with their 6 enjoyable children, sense of humor, and adventurous spirit. They were from the city and were delighted whenever an Amish buggy drove by (which happens a lot ’cause we have a large Amish community around us). They brought their pop-up camper out to stay Friday night. We spent Saturday visiting several state parks in the area (one ticket gets you a day pass to all of them!), swimming, and getting some good sun!

In the evening I let the girls try on clothes from my costume closet. They had a blast, and I had fun seeing my dresses get some use!

Making new friends is so invigorating, and we discovered we had much in common to talk about late into the night around a bonfire in the back yard. They even stayed a second night and joined us for Church the next day. We were sad when they said goodbye, and in awe of how, as believers, we can connect and bond so quickly and enjoy such rich fellowship with people who were just strangers the day before.

Our other guest was a new reader who found my blog. . . liked what she saw and . . . proceeded to read my entire archives! I was shocked and flattered, but most of all delighted when the relationship we had begun to form via the blog and email promised to jump to the next level when we set a date for a meeting in real life. She and her husband came to stay in the guestroom for one night and we cooked and ate and talked until {way too} late at night. And you know what she brought me? Flowers. A big jar of un-arranged flowers because she knew I liked them that way. How sweet!

The next day, while she helped me clean my garlic harvest, I quizzed her on her impression of the blog as a whole. Where there any gaps? Questions? She said she wondered why I hadn’t posted my home birth stories? While we peeled the layers of dusty garlic skins to reveal the pungent, purple cloves, we brainstormed together about how I could share these stories without it being TMI {Too Much Information!} for my readers. Look for Seth’s Birth Story later this week!

It was so much fun talking to one of my readers IRL {in real life} and I so appreciated her feedback. (Thank you, Dear!) Thanks to input from both her and her techy husband, I plan on making a few housecleaning changes around here – nothing big, but hopefully make the site more accessible and coherent. (By the way, have you noticed the blog now has a new address? I changed it to www.trinaholden.com to make it easier for you and I to share the blog with friends in real life – no more trying to remember how I spell my dutch name. ☺)

It’s been a wonderful month of opening our home and enjoying the blessings of hospitality. Thanks to every one of you who have made the effort to let the relationships we’ve begun here on the blog blossom through your comments, email, interaction on facebook, and even meeting in person.

Do you want to come visit? We are throwing around the idea of another open house like the one we hosted the year we moved in. If we had an evening of food, fellowship, fresh cider, and dancing in the orchard, would YOU come? Leave an answer

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Comments

  1. says

    Melissa, I just want to thank you for the respectful tone of your comment – I am not at all offended! You've asked a very valid question, and I'll do my best to answer.

    First, our guests were not perfect strangers – we had emailed and/or spoken on the phone with them multiple times before actually seeing them face-to-face (We even met the one family by chance at a state park a week before their planned visit!). Both I and my husband felt completely comfortable to opening up our home to these people based on what we already knew about them from our contact.

    That getting-to-know in advance also made us aware that our guests were fellow Christians. Although this does not mean we would completely let our guard down, it does give us the assurance that we hold similar values.

    You are wise to have boundaries in place for who you welcome into your home and who you do not. We have boundaries, as well, fully aware of the kind of people that are out there, and certainly want to protect our children. But these guests were in no way a threat to our family but only added to the fun of the weekend.

    As for our motivation, we are called as Christians to exercise hospitality – to, in fact, SEEK opportunities to host others and bless them by serving them within our home. Jeremy and I are passionate about fulfilling this calling and have received so much blessing in return as we have reached out.

  2. Melissa says

    Please do not take this the wrong way, it is not meant like that. I am in awe of how you open up your home to perfect strangers. I do not think you or your husband or naive, but I am still shocked at how trusting you both seem. Can I ask what motivated you ? Aren't you scared taking perfect strangers in especially with children in the home ? I would like to say I trust people, but I am scared to open my front door to people I do not know unless I am expecting a delivery or a service person. I would like to think we can trust people more than mistrust them, but sadly I am not comfortable inviting people to my home unless I know them well.
    If you are comfortable talking about this would you please ? And I would like to apologize if I have offended you.

  3. says

    I'd say this is one of the nicest things about blogging–making those connections and meeting new friends. It sounds like you had a great time with both sets of guests!

  4. says

    I've looked for your birth stories as well! For me, birth (and pregnancy) has been anything but easy. But I do enjoy hearing how peaceful homebirths have been. I tried homebirth for #2 but it didn't happen :(

  5. says

    I would love to come meet you and your family! I miss the beauty of upstate NY and a weekend in the country sounds like a prescription for relaxation. Maybe we will have to make plans even if you don't have an open house!
    Ann

  6. says

    Gosh, I'd LOVE to come!! But New York and Texas are divided by just a *little* bit of territory, sadly. :( However, if we ever get up your way, we'll definitely let you know! And the same goes for you–we'd love to have y'all come sometime! You can come and roast your toes on our crispy brown grass and fry eggs on the pavement. Doesn't that sound like some Texas-style fun? ;)

  7. Betty says

    You are a constant inspiration to me, I check you're blog every day for recipes, household tips, etc…
    It is amazing that so much talent could be bottled up in one person, you must have had great parents!
    Would love to come visit your home sometime!

  8. says

    So nice to read about lovely times of fellowship! It will be on my hope to do list to visit you with Matthew my soon to be husband. You would have a crowd again as I will be step mama to seven blessings! :)