the future of Blog Sugar

I have written this post over and over and tried my best to make it sound so pretty and eloquent and lovely.

I considered writing it in letter form and then scrapped that.
I tried something short and sweet and then I let my emotions get the best of me and it turned into the longest post of all time in all of the internet.

I've seriously re-written it about 18 times.

What I really want to share is that I have loved planning the three Blog Sugar events.
I loved making sure the details were examined and hand selected. I loved finding amazing speakers and I found joy in reading each of your recap posts, sharing how the Lord used that event, in your life.

Yes, Blog Sugar was a wonderful vehicle to network and meet each other. Learn about how God has gifted you. Become inspired.

I love Blog Sugar.

But, I feel the Lord is leading me down other paths and specifically calling me away from the planning of another Blog Sugar. I fought against it for awhile and tried to talk myself into planning for 2012. I tried, I did.
I contacted speakers and nailed down a day and venue.
Oy.

The Lord was clear, however and I need to obey.

It's hard to write that I won't be planning another Blog Sugar event. Isn't it always hard to walk away from something that you think could be wonderful? Yes, but when the Lord leads, we each need to follow. Even when it is hard. Even when we think we know better.

Thank you for being part of Blog Sugar and thank you for seeing the vision of the evening. The Lord used it and you were a part.
I loved getting to know each of you.
Thank you for sharing your gifts, talents and unique passions with me.

It was, simply put, so very sweet.

To God be the Glory (always),

Rachel

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Flickr Photos

Were you at Blog Sugar 11??

Even if you weren't (and definitely if you were) you need to go check out the amazing photos that Ruthanne took.

You can see them HERE.

AMAZING!

We love you Ruthanne!

Blog Sugar 11: The Highlight Reel

One of our incredible sponsors of the event, Kiera from Jakfoto Productions, is an incredible film maker...she's also a friend of mine (Jen). She has a heart for Jesus, is a gifted creative, and has sassy hair. You may have seen her walking around on Sunday evening with her camera gear, quietly taking in the event. She might have been far from intrusive, but man, did she capture everything like she was right in the middle of the fun!

We are SO BLESSED to share with you the highlights from Blog Sugar and hope this brief video reminds you of the relationships you developed, the inspiration you received, and the love we poured into planning this conference!

If you're interested in a video introduction on your blog/site, please consider using Kiera! As you may remember from the card in your goodiebag, she's doing a special filming event at discounted rates on November 15. Be sure to check it out!!!

Kiera, thanks for sharing your gifts with us and being one of our incredible sponsors!!!

Blogging about Blog Sugar 11 (Share with us!)

Can you believe that it's over? We can't!
But what an amazing event!
We had such a wonderful time with each of you and thank you for your attendance and involvement. We hope you left inspired, excited and sweetened by all you learned.
If you have a blog post about your experience at Blog Sugar 2011, please link up below, so we can visit you and read all about it!





Networking 101

Hey, it's JJ. I'm reposting this (from my personal blog) today in hopes it might help out some of our shy friends on Sunday! : )

I often get asked how I know “so and so” or if I’ve ever met a stranger. Most of my friends and families know my job title and who I work for, but really can only describe it as I go to a lot of meetings. I’m rarely in my office and it really does look like I live in my car. Yep, as a director of public affairs, one of my main responsibilities is relationship building…also known as networking.

I like to think of myself as a friendly person. Sure, I’ve got a super sassy side and sometimes my sense of humor is best left to those who know me really well, but all in all, I do care about people and like to find ways of relating. I think that’s the key to networking…

This online world can be really weird. Some of us have our social networks open all day long and check in when we’re between meetings, while having lunch, during nap time, or when something really funny happens. It can be an outlet, a resource, and a place where friendships can begin and blossom. The sad part is when this online world never makes the step into real life.

I was fortunate to attend a blogging conference a couple of years ago, and am SUPER EXCITED for Blog Sugar!!! As a lover of people, I have found the opportunity to meet online contacts to be really fun and interesting. Some outgoing bloggers are really shy and demure in real life, and some quietly confident bloggers are super outgoing and a hoot in real life; that was my biggest take away from attending my first blogging conference a couple of years ago.

Here’s a little secret: sometimes, I don’t feel like talking or have the energy to connect with people I don’t already know…and I know I’m not alone in that. However, if you’re a person who has a hard time meeting new people or networking, I thought I’d share a couple of tips that have really worked for me.

  1. If you want to meet an online contact in person, find a couple of things you have in common and chat with them about your similarities. People love to relate on common planes. The same goes for colleagues. When I meet someone professionally, I love to see if they’ve ever worked in politics and we lament about the long hours and often times, crazy bosses.
  2. Tell a person if you really liked a series or post they wrote and why it resonated with you. Likewise, professionally-speaking, if I have heard a speaker at a conference that has really connected with me, I’ll go up to them and let them know!
  3. Listen – sometimes I’ve met people in a group when a conversation is happening around me. I once met someone who was telling a couple of people about how he’d been making his own prosciutto. I found that incredibly interesting and asked questions…this led to a really fun give and take!
  4. Don’t be afraid of a reputation…the “big bloggers” likely started blogging for the same reason you did and they didn’t start out as big bloggers. They are normal people with normal lives, so please don’t put them on a pedestal. Having begun my career in DC, I have often found myself in circles with powerful people with GIANT egos…and you know what, those egos are only there because people have allowed them to be like that. If you treat a person with respect, but just as you’d treat anyone else, it’s refreshing and authentic and conversations can become much more real and valuable!
  5. Never turn down the opportunity to have a conversation. Sometimes you might be the person who is approached. If you don’t know them already, be open to meeting someone new and understand that they might be the one who has waited all day to meet YOU!

Our hope for Sunday is that wonderful relationships are started or nourished in real life! We know that the Lord has some amazing plans for all of us and hope our conference can be a catalyst for that! Rachel, Andrea, and I can't wait to meet each and every one of you and hope that our months of planning turn into one really great day!

Looking forward to meeting you!