Pull up a chair, because this will be good…

All you need is one more thing to read.

How about another magazine article, blog post, or YouTube video that promises to make your life marvelous in 30 days or 5 steps?

This is not one of them.

The women’s ministry at Faith UMC created this blog, The Living Room, to give women (you, especially) a place to be real…and to be loved and accepted and encouraged. Consider this your invitation to join us in the most well-worn and comfortable room in the house. As women of many shapes and styles and ages – don’t we love to put on the face that we have it all together? We tend to give church answers; we fear that if someone knows our sin, they might think less of us. That’s exactly why The Living Room is going to be so awesome: because we can take off the masks and be loved in our transparency. Regardless of your dress size, address, or the way you comb your hair, you are more than welcome to sit at our table. (I probably won’t cook, you don’t want me to…but you get the picture.) We want you here just as you are.

The Living Room will have four weekly contributors: Rhonda Sue Page, Vivian Wilson, Linda O’Donnell (a.k.a., Miss O) and me.

We will give you a balance of fun, lighthearted, and serious topics that address the things you, as a woman, care about most. Our hope is that the words, stories, and random thoughts posted here will encourage you in your faith, and become a valuable resource for your spiritual growth and need for community. Encouragement and truth are freely offered here. We won’t judge your mess; we have our own pile of it, for sure! We pray that through our posts and the conversation here, you will experience the freedom to be yourself- not despite your weaknesses- but IN your weakness.

Our blog schedule will go something like this: I will post on Mondays; the wise words of Linda O’Donnell will show up on Tuesdays; Vivian Wilson will offer you midweek encouragement on Wednesdays (who doesn’t need encouragement on a Wednesday?); and Rhonda Sue Page will probably make you fall off your chair laughing with her Friday posts.

Since we hope to be spending some time together on this blog, each contributor’s post this week will give you a quick introduction of who they are. There will be a comment section at the end of each blog, which is where you tell us who YOU are. Our posts are an invitation to conversation, and quite honestly, this blog will be boring if you don’t talk back.

So I’ll start…

I am a recovering perfectionist, who has a tendency to be (a little) high-strung. I am one of those people who wants to do All The Things. In other words, my grandiose ideas are slightly larger than the capacity of my calendar. Just ask my husband. (On second thought, don’t. He’ll want to share examples.) Speaking of Husband Larry, he is my hero. He keeps me grounded and reigns me in when I want to do things like close down my business to write full-time, or sell all our goods and move to Africa, or adopt two or ten children. Within our family structure, I am a wicked stepmom to Lauren, Alex, and Kathryn. The wicked part is not really true, but I like to say that anyway, just for kicks. I birthed one child of my own, Luke, an 8 year old skeptic, who already worries about where he will go to college. (Clearly, the obsessive, neurotic tendencies are genetic. I would blame it on Larry if anyone would halfway believe me.)

Trust me, hang around for more posts and you’ll see beyond that lovely picture I’ve just described. No matter how you stack it up, I am simply a work of grace in progress. I am a woman desperately dependent on Jesus, who often misses the mark…by a long shot.

So that’s me, and I cannot wait for you to meet everyone else throughout the week.

Now it’s your turn!

Who are you?

Where are you? Like, literally, right now, are you behind a desk, in your kitchen, sitting on a porch swing? Are you reading this on your smartphone between grocery aisles or between classes?

Do you live with other people? Do any of them call you Mom, Wife, Sister, Grandma, or Daughter?

Are you single…and thinking, “I hope this is not another Family-Circle-Good-Housekeeping Blog?” (It’s not, I promise.)

I hesitate to sign this off with some cheesy phrase like, “Come join us on this journey…,” because that’s an overused line on bad reality TV shows. Nonetheless, I hope you will join us on this blog, so that we can build a true community of women searching for the “real” behind our Have-It-All-Together masks. We might just find that we are lovable without all the props.

Your Monday Person,

Amy Dalke

Amy

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