A Lush Bouquet

A Lush Bouquet

One of my dear friends sits at my kitchen table. We’re sharing lunch and a rare, lengthy chat {while her two kids and two of mine are off at school, and my toddler runs around us playing}.

She looks at me in that intense way she has sometimes and asks: “So, do you really connect with people online?”

“Yes, I do,” I say,  but it’s hard to form into words on the spot, and I know I come up short of convincing.

She seems skeptical. I can’t blame her. Before I began blogging seriously in October, I didn’t really connect with people online. Facebook friends from high school were one thing; reaching out to someone I’d only “seen” online was another.

But, when I think of them now, those connections, those real women I’ve met online, I see them lush and vibrant, like a riotous multi-colored flower bouquet.

Sarah was the first, I think. I found her poems at Simple Mom.  They were good, real, honest. I started following her on Twitter, signed up for her newsletter. I loved that she listed her location as “Virginia, under a pile of kids.”  I decided to send her a Tweet saying I enjoyed her poetry. She responded right away. We had a bit of a chat. Turns out she had recently published a volume of poetry. She kindly agreed to send me a signed copy for a mere pittance via PayPal and to also donate a copy for a blog giveaway. {I was pretty wowed that I could connect with someone in this way.}

I found Holly’s blog and immediately fell in love with her luscious prose {she writes some pretty mean poetry too}. I shared some of her links and commented on her thought-provoking posts. She made a point to respond to the comments, retweets, and shares with kindness, gratitude, and humility. {I also call her Lady Grantham now, in reference to our mutual love of Downton Abbey, and, of course, her last name.}

Then, I met Stephanie and Melanie. They’re bloggers from my hometown, and we quickly made plans to meet up for lunch after Thanksgiving. We had a great time, getting to know each other and sharing some of the ups and downs we’ve experienced as newer bloggers.

Then, the online friendship floodgates were flung wide open Dec. 1st when Holley Gerth launched the God-sized Dream Team Facebook page. Chelle is always there with a prayer, like, or comment. (Do you sleep, girl?) Christine and I evidently have the same minivan — and I really think we’d be friends if we ever met. Kristin sent me a copy of  her book as part of our writers’ critique group, and after reading it and sharing my thoughts, we’ve bonded. {Kristin also keeps up with me on Facebook and we realized we’re both scrapbookers.} Melissa is a lovely photographer with a gorgeous family to match and we figured out our sons look like brothers {something about blonde, curly, crazy hair}.

Jennifer and I realized we live less than an hour from each other, and while we’re still planning to meet in person some day soon, we’ve been encouraging and praying for each other online in the meantime, and it’s been such a blessing. {I also have to tell you Jennifer helped me with a little, but very annoying, blog design issue, which was pretty amazing.} Laura and I connected before we both joined Holley’s team. Laura’s lovely blog speaks to my heart, and her Monday linkup is one I never miss. We also live within a few hours of each other, and her hometown is my birthplace.

I was lucky to hook up with Lindsey as my official God-sized Dreams buddy, and we’ve been getting to know each other over the past week. Mostly, we’ve been sharing prayer concerns, as I was in the hospital a week ago with my daughter, and she’s been in and out of the hospital with her grandma during that time too. And, then there’s Jenn, who’s been my cheerleader and prayer warrior from the dream team. I’ve been blessed to have her encouraging me.

And, then there’s the whole host of God-sized dream sisters who lift me and my daughter up in prayer each month when we travel to the hospital for treatment for her autoimmune disease.

While I’ve only been blogging regularly since early October {about four months}, there are yet more amazing ladies that I’ve gotten to know {or am in the process of getting to know}, and I can only imagine what riches the next few months will hold in terms of friendships and connections.

But, I’d be very remiss If I didn’t share four special people who support and encourage me on a regular basis here, in real life.

My husband. I dropped a bomb when I told him I wanted to quit my part-time freelance writing business in September. He always relied on that extra income to help make our budget work. And, he hasn’t complained. Not once.

My mom. She’s been my number-one cheerleader since the beginning. She’s my wellspring of wisdom, encouragement, common sense, and support. I so enjoy those mornings when I get a cup of coffee and sit down with her {via phone, since we don’t live in the same area} for a nice, long chat to marvel at the way God is working in our lives.

My friend Beth. She shares my blog with others, makes comments on my posts, compliments me more than I deserve, and generally cheers me on. We also seem to be on the same page, spiritually, and she gave me my prized copy of Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence a few years ago. {She also gets props for being the first person — aside from grandparents — who’s taken on all three of my kids, plus her two, for a playdate.}

My pastor. I nervously shared my blog launch plans with my pastor this fall and sent her the link when the site went live. I was so honored when she shared, a few days later, that my blog had resonated with her. Since then, she’ll send an encouraging note from time to time, has shared my blog with others in our congregation, and is helping me brainstorm themes and scriptures for my God-sized dream project.

I know that each of these precious sisters {and my dear hubby} have my back. And, I know they’ll give me a hand to pull me up when I fall. They’ll listen when I panic. They’ll pray when prayer is needed. And, they’ll celebrate when good news comes.

Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
 If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

This post was shared gladly with Lauren’s Heart + Home Linkup, Jenni’s Thrive at Home Thursdays and Holley Gerth and my sisters here:

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  1. While I’ve read and commented on blogs for a long time now, this group Holley put together has taught me more about online community than anything else has. I’m thankful for that, including a new friend in you.
    Kristin Taylor recently posted..{January 23, 2002}My Profile

  2. It is hard to explain that online connection to our RL friends, isn’t it? But it truly is a real thing. Real and good. We’ve had this discussion over at The High Calling many times–how it is so easy to fall into deep relationship when you correspond with written word. Something about sharing this way takes us deeper faster, I think. I’m glad our good God has brought us together, Elizabeth.
    laura recently posted..Playdates with God: I Dreamed a DreamMy Profile

  3. I hear you when you say it can be a bit hard to describe our online relationships. I’ve seen skeptical faces before as I’ve attempted to describe what I do. What a lovely testimony to the dream team. I, too, am so grateful to be a part!
    Kim recently posted..Your OneWord is calling-Time to answer!My Profile

  4. Beth,
    It is so true! As we discussed a few days ago, I bonded with an online group of courageous women who were battling infertility at the same time. While many I have still not met IRL, there were a few of us here locally that did manage to get together, and later attended baby showers and even later organized playdates with the children that were a product of all of our hard work and faith. I still maintain an online relationship with a few of those ladies and feel such a close bond with them. They are there for me, and I for them at those odd hours of the day when traditional friendships are too busy with evening routines and early morning commutes… I’m so glad you have found this new niche and it is filling a need in your life, while you are filling a need or even just a kind word in others lives. You will be blessed with all you hard work and testimony to God.

    Online, from across the road… 😉

  5. We would SO be friends in real life!! We could get together and tell horror stories of just what we found under those minivan seats! Ha! : ) I agree, it is hard to explain online relationships…especially Holley’s group…what a special treasure. Thank you for mentioning me in your post!
    Christine Wright recently posted..When Community isn’t EasyMy Profile

  6. You truly have a beautiful bouquet of women in your life, girl. So glad I get the blessing of being a part. 🙂
    Holley Gerth recently posted..Your God-sized Dream BuddiesMy Profile

  7. I’m utterly humbled to be on this list. I’m such a driven introvert… it’s just crazy to me to be surrounded by online friends. But so blessed to be your son’s brother’s mother… or something :-p

  8. ok…so this was me! Glad I got you thinking! Though I don’t want you to feel I’m skeptical! Just curious about the new ways life has taken us to meet people…and you were very convincing, I have to say! Also…you should note that I’m checking out your blog instead of working….it’s a nice diversion! Happy scrapping and see you tomorrow.

  9. I am so glad that you have been so enriched by those of us in the online world. I love my sweet online sisters and I think our whole community just goes to show that He can transcend any boundary.
    Jen Ferguson recently posted..When you need some applauseMy Profile


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