When I sat down to write about last weekend’s Big Summer Potluck, at first I planned to do a recap like my fellow attendees, because I want you all to know just how awesomely jam-packed with content this event was. Then I started really looking at the photo above. So many great smiles, such an overwhelmingly lovely group of people.
So I’d rather link you over to all of them, to show them a little blog love, and instead talk to you about what last Saturday meant on an emotional level.
Did you ever have a friend that got you, in like, every way possible? She understood your moods, your idiosyncrasies, and put up with all of it anyway, because of she loved you of course â€“ but also because you knew all the same things about her, and you just clicked?
Now imagine walking into a living room full of 40 other people that clicked with you, just like that. That’s what it was like, walking into Pam’s house in Bucks County, PA.
I was on the go from 5:30 that morning, driving to Jersey City and back to pick up Kristin from The Dinky Kitchen before swinging back by my house to pick up Jeanne from Four Chickens and heading further out of New Jersey into Pennsylvania.
Walking into the house, I was in a flurry of organizing the food I’d prepared and brought, tons of cookies and a crock pot recipe for the gluten free peeps (Those recipes will come next week). But I stopped for a moment to take in the scene â€“ something someone told me to do on my wedding day, and I’ve made a point to remember that advice on important days since then.
Women were crowded around the table laden with food and coffee (oh coffee! do remember that 5 a.m. start) but they weren’t all digging in. Every single one of them was waiting, first making sure that everyone who wanted a photo of all that glorious food got one before it had been picked apart. These.. these are my people(!), I thought.
Only a food blogger thinks about the photo first and the donut muffins dipped in butter second.
Throughout the day, through Pam’s discussions on recipe development and giving credit where credit is due, through Erika’s photography and camera talk, through the food stylist session given by a touchingly nervous Melissa, I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by the kindness around me.
Maybe it comes from having such a small group together, but everywhere I looked, people were hugging and sharing and laughing and enjoying each other. From offering a spare pen to making sure everyone got something to eat, these women showed their true hearts in the little actions they did for one another â€“ most of us strangers until that morning.
And then there was Alice’s talk. Alice from Savory Sweet Life and Everyday Alice. Alice spoke to us about being true to ourselves, about being authentic â€“ that you’ll never get the success you want trying your best to be the best ‘someone else’. About finding your gifts and using them to bring your blog to its best. And about paying it forward to other bloggers. Throughout Alice’s talk I kept thinking, â€œAmen!â€ and â€œHallelujah!â€ â€“ honestly, the closest to a church service I’ve been in years.
Not because she was preaching, but because she was telling us things from her heart to ours that rang so deeply true, those were the best words I could find to express how I felt about what she was saying.
I left Pennsylvania that day with four things: 40 new friends, a refreshed drive to create the best blog for ME, a fantastic new KitchenAid hand mixer (Hooray for give aways!) and a ridiculous amount of food. Because let’s be honest â€“ when 40 foodies get together, we’re going to make an overabundance of food.
I’m just grateful there was an overabundance of friendship as well. It’s going to make going to the big corporate blogging events so much nicer.
Click here for a list of the attendees. Show a little blog love, and read other attendee’s takes on the Big Summer Potluck while you’re at it.
Image courtesy of Erika from Ivory Hut