Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Becoming real-life friends

I began blogging long ago because a friend told me I should. This space has transformed as my life has changed. But I never expected this online place to spill over into my "real life" like it has.

This blog has long been a place for me to document my life, mostly so I don't forget all the lessons and memories I want to hold onto. But this past year this place helped me foster some new relationships. One of my favorite online-turned-real-life friends is Jen Ferguson, who blogs at Finding Heaven Today and hosts the weekly Soli Deo Gloria party that encourages me.

We've emailed, Facebooked, messaged while playing Words with Friends, texted and talked on the phone. Getting to hug her and talk to her face-to-face was such a lovely way to end the year. As part of my family's Texas road trip between Christmas and New Year's, Jen and I planned to meet in Waco -- half way between her near-Austin home and where I was staying in Dallas.

Meeting her didn't seem strange to me. I already knew her.

But here I was, asking my husband and my kids to drive 1 1/2 hours to spend several hours with another family they'd never met. Just a week or so before, my kids and I went to hang out in real life with Ashley, a God-sized Dream Team friend I'd yet to meet in person, when we were in Louisville. And a couple times earlier in the year, I brought along Ben when I had lunch with Jennie, who lives nearby but whom I met online through the No More Perfect Moms launch group.

My family does so much of our real life together. But this was new territory for us as a family of four.

The Taylors and the Fergusons met at Cameron Park Zoo. Her oldest and my youngest held hands as they walked around the zoo. Her youngest and my oldest (who are just 18 months apart) bonded with more conversations than I could keep up with. Our husbands had tons to talk about. And Jen and I continued conversations we'd begun online. {Jen wrote about what she learned while we were at the zoo together.}

We looked at animals. We told stories and laughed. We talked about next time. And then we gathered around a table at a restaurant and shared a meal. Because what's more real life than that? This friendship that began online is real life. And like a gift I wasn't expecting, Jen's friendship continues blessing my life.

I'm linking this post with Crystal Stine's Behind the Scenes because it's a real look at what's happening behind those pictures I posted on Facebook. 

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  1. I am so thankful for your friendship and this community!!

  2. KristinHillTaylor1/07/2014 7:56 AM

    it goes both ways! I'm grateful we connected! :)

  3. Oh, yay! This is so fun. So glad you had these in person experiences. Looking forward to the day that works out for us!

  4. It was so lovely! And I can't wait until we meet again! I need your sister to stay in Dallas for many more years so we can keep meeting in Waco!

  5. KristinHillTaylor1/07/2014 10:08 AM

    I'm looking forward to that day too, Mandy. It's going to be such a sweet moment when it happens.

  6. KristinHillTaylor1/07/2014 10:08 AM

    Looking forward to the next time already. We'll make it happen. :)

  7. How fun! Sounds like a wonderful time :)

  8. KristinHillTaylor1/07/2014 11:01 AM

    It was! Thanks for reading!