Over a five-hour dinner at Franklin, Tennessee's scrumptious Saffire, time flew so fast I never noticed it ticking.  Compassion International's Creative Relationship Director Steve Jones was in town on business and pleasure, and he thought it would be fun to invite Compassion Bloggers–past and future–to dinner.

Smart man, he is–delight marked beginning, middle and end.

Though I quietly wished my husband could meet the people with whom I had traveled to Kolkata, I never really thought it a possibility.  Understandably, I was thrilled when Shaun contacted us about dinner!  Little did I realize, I would leave inspired and encouraged, and more grateful than ever to have been a part of this amazing, life-changing, poverty-releasing ministry.  Here's why: 

Every one of these people exudes joie de vivre
and their passion & love for others is contagious

Click photo for IDs on Flickr, Compassion Bloggers reunion, photo by Ryan Detzel

  • Randy Elrod (Compassion-Uganda) & his wife, Chris.  From my first impression, I viewed Randy as a Renaissance Man (funny, when I found the link to his "About" page, that's what the first line says).  If you take time to read his bio, you'd have reason to find him intimidating.  The truth is he's one of the most accessible, engaging people I've met, and I'm glad his "credentials" were long forgotten or I might have hidden from him.  Chris is a wonderful conversationalist and the common ground we found was delightful surprise.  I've followed her on Twitter forever, but meeting and getting to know her was a treat.  They co-host the annual re:create conference, now in its tenth year…and in a word, it's amazing.  Conference goals are refreshment, encouragement and diffusion of ideas, and re:create is characterized as an "Arts/Worship Thinktank".  Oh, and his new book, "Sex, Lies & Religion" releases just in time for Valentine's Day…. Interesting title, and I'm p r e t t y sure the content will be as well.
  • Pastor Ryan Detzel, author of this is reverb Ryan Detzel (Compassion-Kenya), author of this is reverb.  There was something tattooishly familiar about Ryan, and then it hit me–I KNEW HIM!  a) I had made his famous zucchini cakes after b) Ree introduced us!  Ryan is reserved and unassuming but lights up when he talks about missions and his family.  Thrilled his wife will be joining him when he travels to Kenya in March, he shared how difficult it is to experience the things you see on a mission trip without the one with whom you share life.  That resonated with me because as much as I shared about my trip in words and pictures to Tad, I desperately wanted him to understand from the inside out. 
  • Anne Jackson (Compassion-Uganda & India) and her husband, Chris.  Anne doesn't write with her fingers.  She doesn't even write (l-r) Anne Jackson, Chris Elrod & PensieveRobin with her head.  Anne writes with her heart.  I love her because she says things like "I had lost one-freaking-cuss-cuss-cuss-freaking pound."  She's written a book.  And then another.  Not too long from now, she's going on a bike tour where she'll pedal 3,100 miles across the country to raise money for water in Africa.  Because she's CRAZY IN LOVE WITH PEOPLE IN NEED!  Anne's a rare breed who isn't just talkin'…she's walkin' plus
  • Shaun Groves (Compassion Blogger Coordinator or something…) and his wife Becky.  I think I've articulated my regard for Shaun q.u.i.t.e. enough at Chez Pensieve (& we currently aren't on speaking terms since he would NOT spill the beans!), but I'm not sure if I've mentioned Becky.  She attended the India trip and is the perfect balance to Shaun.  I can tell she's a great mom; this I know without ever seeing her with her kids–just by listening.  I was reminded last night how much I enjoy her company…and would love for her to be my neighbor to share a cup of coffee on occasion.

This is getting long, so to stand a better chance you actually read it I think I'll make this a two-parter; hope you'll come back to hear what I really think about Spence Smith, Angie & Todd Smith, Brad & Lisa Ruggles, Pete & Brandi Wilson and our dinner hosts, Steve & Patricia Jones.

Oh yeah…and that icing ;).


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