Five years of Articles Club

20 October 2020

Today is the fifth anniversary of Articles Club! Five years ago this month, Stephanie and I posted an invitation on our respective blogs: would anyone be interested in reading articles together and discussing them once a month? It would be like a book club, but with articles! That first night, we sat around my living room with snacks and drinks in hand, 10 or so strangers who just happened to have a little blog in common. I didn’t know anyone in the circle except for Stephanie… which is a pretty crazy situation for an introvert to find herself in.

Five years later, the faces around the circle are beloved friends. Some of them are the very same, and some we have been so lucky to welcome in for a season or for good since then.

Articles Club this year, like most things this year, has looked a little different. We canceled our March gathering as the lockdown descended, then met via Zoom for several months. In August and September, we were overjoyed to gather again – outside, at Dix Park, with the most gorgeous sunset view of the city skyline and individual dinners on our laps. For our meeting this month, we’ll walk around the side of Stephanie’s home and spread out on her back deck, and we’ll toast to five years with cupcakes.

Though we have read a few sets of articles this year, many of our gatherings have simply been social – a chance to check in on each other and share the hard and the good of the past month. After all, the world has given us much to discuss even without assigned reading, and it has been a special gift to sift through all that 2020 has thrown at us with a group of people who care deeply about each other, who believe there is gray in the world, and who are capable of approaching differing opinions with good will and thoughtfulness – and even a little humor when needed.

Earlier this year, I came to the realization that these people are my friends. That might sound like a strange thing to realize, after five years – of course these are my friends! – but they haven’t come with all the trappings I typically associate with friendship: we don’t tend to gather much outside of our monthly meeting. I haven’t met many of their significant others or children. I don’t have all of their numbers in my phone.

And yet – I have sat around a table for hours in conversation with them. I have tried, and adopted, their favorite recipes. I have learned about their childhoods and their work lives, their meet cutes and political opinions and financial situations and beauty routines and Enneagram types, their thoughts on parenting and generosity and home design. We have laughed and cried and laughed until we cried. We have brought each other meals for new babies and exchanged books and beauty products. Our gatherings are always one of my favorite evenings every month.

So yes, these are my friends. Stephanie, Kelly, Ginna, Pressley, Chelsey, Stacy, Adelyn, Bethany, Libby, Julia, Mackenzie, Robyn, and everyone else who has joined us over the years – thank you! What a gift you have been to me.

While I don’t have my usual list of reads from the past year to share with you today – I do have this: my encouragement to step outside of your comfort zone and reach out a hand in friendship. Even if it seems scary, even if it seems risky, even if it seems complicated or likely to fail – a hand extended in love is always worth it. It might sound cliche, but it’s true.

Friends, I’d love to hear about a time when you took a risk on a new friendship, if you’d like to share! Almost all of my adult friendships have required a risk on my part, so I love hearing about other’s happy endings :)

P.S. To browse past years’ articles, start here!

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October 20, 2020 7:14 am

What a cool idea for a club!! So unique and fun. In late 2018 I formed a weekly dinner club with a few girlfriends! It was wonderful. Unfortunately with COVID we haven’t really found a way to meet safely (we did a couple picnics in the spring but that was tough to maintain weekly), but I sure do miss it.
xoxo A
http://www.southernbelleintraining.com

Pressley
October 20, 2020 9:40 am

Got very emotional reading this, friend! You are so right about the unique friendships Articles Club has created: They don’t look like other friendships in my life, but you & the other ladies have become so important to me, and I’m grateful every day I emailed you so many years ago to join. Miss y’all and hope you have the best time tonight!

Kelly
October 20, 2020 10:46 am

I got about half way through your post and sent a text to my book club gals, we haven’t met since February due to the pandemic, and new babies on the way. I recently reached out yesterday to an insta friend and invited her to our supper club. I hope she can come, love making new friends!

Chelsey
October 20, 2020 11:06 am

Oh man, especially in a year of craziness, I am so grateful for articles club and all of you ladies! Can’t wait to celebrate tonight, and like Pressley said, I am so grateful I emailed you three years ago :)

October 20, 2020 12:37 pm

This post & walk down memory lane definitely made me cry; ditto Pressley and Chelsey!! I can’t believe it’s been five whole years since we launched this little dream… and it’s been more fun and more fulfilling than I ever imagined it could be. I completely echo your sentiments about these amazing friends and how deeply special our group is. It’s hard to put into words, but you’ve done so beautifully. Wildly thankful for YOU and for these dear friends and for our time together! xoxox

Kelly Strawberry
October 20, 2020 9:30 pm

Just chiming in to say what a joy it is to be a part of Articles Clurb. I am so thankful for each person in this group and thankful for you and Steph’s dedication to keep it going strong 5 years later.

October 20, 2020 10:37 pm

Em, I love this so much! I made some of my best friends when sending out an e-mail to all the ladies that attended the same birth-preparation course as me and my husband. It was a weekend crash course, so there wasn’t much of a chance to get to know each other. So, as everyone was getting ready to head home I asked if people would be willing to share their e-mail addresses so we could let each other know when the babies were here. I started having farmer’s market dates with a few of the ladies and those grew into picnics and play dates and birthday parties and, really, each other’s village. I was really sad to leave the group behind when we moved to the States, but I’m still in touch with all of them.
No more birth prep classes for me, ha! So maybe it’s about time I take a risk and start an Article’s club…
Thanks for being an inspiration!