How’s that for a title?

I absolutely believe that God intersects lives at intentional times for intentional reasons.

The runner who encouraged me to keep going at mile 18 when my knee popped during the Chicago Marathon.  The quiet minister who figuratively took my hand and introduced me to a God of grace and mercy when I believed I was unforgivable.  A friend with similar struggles that entered my life at precisely the moment God called me to roll up my sleeves and get busy on some work I need to do.

I don’t believe in accidents or coincidences.

So when I made plans to attend Relevant 2011 back in March, I sat in awe as I watched God knit together a foursome that would quickly touch one another’s hearts.  Friends who I missed as soon as I got on the plane on Sunday morning.

Though there were several other sisters in attendance, just for today I would like to introduce you to the women I bunked with during Relevant.  I’ll introduce you to the rest on Friday.

I’m in the back left and next to me is Stef from Educating Layton’s

In front of me is Jenny from The Southern Institute and next to her is Mandy from Pennies and Blessings.

Stef and I met two years ago when we both linked up to the same now-nonexistent blog every Friday.  There was something that drew me to her – something that made me think we would be friends in real life.

I met her at Relevant 2010 but didn’t get to spend much time talking with her; however, we got to know each other better when we returned home and well, the rest, as they say, is history.

She completely makes me laugh and I love her spirit.  While she does blog at Educating Layton’s (and you will love it) she’s the founder of the massively-popular “Homeschool Village” where she brings together those rowdy homeschoolers to encourage and build one another up.

Those homeschoolers?  Debunk stereotypes, I tell ‘ya…They are one spirited and wild (in the best possible way) crew and I should know because for some reason, everyone thinks I homeschool.  I’m not sure why this happened but I do sometimes get a glimpse into their world and I love it – but not enough to homeschool my children.  I’ll just crash their parties now and then.

Next up is Jenny from The Southern Institute… Our paths crossed last year as we were on the same plane into Harrisburg.  Like with Stef, my “friend meter” was activated and once again, it didn’t fail me – she’s wonderful.  She is one crafty chick which is completely hilarious that I am drawn to her because you all know my learning disability in all things craft.

Yet despite this disability, she is so very encouraging and just laughs when I tell her the requirement of sewing in any project is an instant disqualifier.  If you are a crafty gal (and I know there are throngs of you out there) you MUST check out her well-loved blog.  Another reason I love Jenny is that we can bond over having a daughter and two sons – in the same order and practically the same ages.  We compare notes and she makes me feel completely normal that I can’t take my freaking eyes off of my boys for even one second when I laugh about the rambunctious world of boys.

Last and certainly not least is sweet Mandy from Pennies and Blessings who I didn’t know as well before Relevant and left absolutely loving her and feeling so blessed that God has crossed our paths.  Her site is centered on all-things saving money and all-things homemaking.  In addition to her wonderful and popular blog, I also discovered that she pretty much just does everything.  Virtual Assistant.  Editor.  Publicist.  The list goes on.  She is one good brain to pick.

God also blessed our crew with an adopted roommate on the last night of Relevant because, um, it SNOWED six inches on Saturday and we didn’t want sweet Abby from Fan the Flame (far left) to drive to her father’s home where she had bunked the two previous nights.  I’ve known Abby for a while – in fact, she has guest posted here at Mommy on Fire, but this was the first time I’ve met her in-person and let me tell you, she’s the real deal. Her authenticity and heart for Jesus is obvious.  Abby and her sweet young family are on-staff with Campus Crusade and are currently gathering support to move to Hungary and serve as missionaries in a mostly-unbelieving country.  I love her mission and her heart.

So there you have it – four new bloggers to go and read to your heart’s content because you will love ’em.  I do, too.

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