Introducing my Invisible Friends

I’m joining the party over at the lovely Cara Strickland’s today (you’ll see her in a minute), where she invited other writers to share on the theme of friendship. You can visit the link up here.)
The beauty of the world wide web is the instant connection one can make across the miles with family, friends (old and new) and those acquaintances one knows only via cyberspace. The invisible friends who seem perfectly real.

I  would like to state, just for the record, that my online, bloggerly friends have become some of my dearest acquaintances. And most of them started out as images on a screen via their inspiring words. When I started writing online, I couldn’t understand how it was possible to connect with other writers in a way that made them seem like instant friends, but well, God did that.

Cara’s invitation seemed like the perfect occasion to introduce you to some of my invisible friends, who have become flesh and blood people, huggable in person, thanks to the large community of Christian bloggers.

How grateful I am for that!

1. These lovely hands belong to Laura–LL Barkat.  You will not see her face…. probably ever. She just has ‘portraits’ of her hands instead.
Sorry. She’s like that.

Laura is one of the three people who encouraged me–dared me?–to jump blogging almost 3 years ago today.
I was honored to finally meet her in person this last November when she actually made a visit all the way from her home state of New York to my house. The occasion? A Mischief Cafe soiree….around all things poetic. (You can read more about our Mischief Cafe event here.)
Laura is the curator of the poetic online space–Tweetspeak Poetry. (Click on the red button over on my sidebar. Yes, that one.)

Laura’s words and her books have changed my life. (See the ‘God in the Yard’ tab at the top of my page…..Inspiration awaits you there. Promise.)
Now, here are some of the wonderful souls I’ve been able to meet In Person–people I’m blessed to call my friends. (In no particular order…)

2. GLENDA (Childers)!  The first blogger I met. We clicked online I think ’cause we’re (ahem) close to the same age….and I found out she actually used to live in my fair city–Renton.  When she came to visit we had coffee at Panera. I was tres nervous about meeting her but we were instant friends.
She blogs about her world (and the beautiful grandgirl Lily) at Fondly, Glenda.

3.  Last March I attended the Faith and Culture Conference in Portland OR and met 
DEIDRA Riggs in person, where she was one of the Keynote Speakers.
She is like such a normal person. Really. She lives all the way in Nebraska (they have people in Nebraska) and she came out to the Pacific Northwest.
Deidra blogs at Jumping Tandem and does a few extra amazing things for The High Calling (see button on my sidebar–yes, that one.)


4. Another Faith and Culture friend–also born in the same decade–the lovely ELIZABETH Stewart–AND an Oregonian–3 hours away. Elizabeth helps her husband pastor their church and in her spare time she blogs at Just Following Jesus (we were TIRED in this picture, can you tell?)


5. The exuberant, Jesus-loving mom and author, SARAH Bessey, also a speaker at Faith and Culture (yes, I did wear that jacket for two days straight.)
I stalked Sarah via email before I ever knew she was speaking and F and C. I was wrecked by her book ‘Jesus Feminist’ and wrote her a couple of times about it. She is just as gracious in person as she is online from her little house in Canada. She blogs at SarahBessey.
6. JAN Johnson and I–we met in Portland this last summer.  She lives in Texas and one of her sons moved out here to the Northwest. Lucky me.
Jan and I connected online reading each others’ blogs and commenting–her sense of humor cracked me up.  When we met that weekend I felt like I’d known her all my life.


7. Myself and the lovely, talented, soon-to-be-famous-’cause-she-deserves-it Ms. TANIA Runyan, poet, writer, teacher. She lives in Illinois and came to the AWP Conference in Seattle last February last year.  I begged the organizers for a free pass to attend her workshop (which I got-score!). Tania and pals let me tag along with them afterwards.
She has written some stunning books of poetry–but if I could choose one it would be ‘A Thousand Vessels’, poetry drawn from 10 different women in the Bible. 
Tania is the most normal, funny, gifted young woman I know….she has 3 children and writes in her spare time. Her work often appears in Image Journal’s Goodletters space online at Patheos blogs.

7. JOANNE Norton and I….Joanne used to live here in the Northwest and we met when she visited here last year.  Joanne is one of the first bloggers I met. (we’re at the Windmill Nursery, Sumner, WA. A cold, wet day)

8. KIMBERLEE Conway Ireton and I, summer 2014, with our Love Idol photo for Jennifer Dukes Lee,  (another invisible friend whom I hope to meet one day).

I stumbled upon Kimberlee’s quiet and profound voice way back when I began blogging about 3 years ago. I was astonished to find she lived 35 minutes away from me. 

(Commercial interruption:
Kimberlee’s not just a blogger, she’s an author of two books–one of them is the amazing, funny, necessary-for-all-humans book ‘Cracking Up’-A Postpartum Faith Crisis. If you or anyone you know has ever struggled with depression, you will be touched by her book.)

Anyway, I sent Kimberlee a fan mail email and she let me come visit her house to meet she and her four (!) children. We’ve been dear, dear friends since, soul mates in a most amazing way. We have spent many hours together and discovered we have pretty much the same passions about our Saviour and about our writing. One of these passions is turning into a surprise that might involve YOU….stay tuned for that.
Kimberlee blogs in her spare time (smile) at Kimberlee Conway Ireton.

9-11. Moi and (l to r) VELYNN Brown, the lovely CORNELIA Seigneur (behind me) and TAYLOR Smith (not Swift).  I am honored to be part of THIS year’s Faith and Culture team with these three women and a crew of other amazing and dedicated people. 
Cornelia is the founder and director of the Faith & Culture Writers Conference and a welcoming soul. She writes for the Oregonian and lives in Portland OR.
Velynn blogs at Quenched and is this year’s Conference MC. Taylor writes about food, family and faith at Taylors Taste.


12. And last but not least………..the adorable CARA Strickland, who’s hosting this party.
Cara blogs at Little Did She Know.  
I also stalked Cara via her blog last year and we decided to meet at the Faith and Culture Conference.
She’s very nice to old people. And I’m so glad she invited me to this party. 
You can link up your friendship story here (the link will be open for one week).
~~~~~~~~~~~
Who did you get to meet for the first time this year?

18 thoughts on “Introducing my Invisible Friends

  1. Coming to you via Cara. Oh, I love these photos! It makes me envious! I know and love some of those faces, too, and some of my closest friends are those I haven't yet met. The internet is a strange and wonderful thing…

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  2. I read this post yesterday but just now getting back today to comment. I loved it! I loved seeing you with these “invisible” friends and hearing the stories of how you connected in person.

    I connected with Kathy Escobar last Sunday night at her church The Refuge outside of Denver while I'm here with my husband on work travel. When people there asked how we found them, it was so fun to tell them it was because of Kathy's blog! She was as delightful in real life as she is on her blog. Of course. That's been the case with every blogger I've been blessed to meet so far!

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  3. I loved this, Jodi. So fun to see all of the connections that you've made across miles and internet landscapes. It's really the fun part about blogging for me, and I'm so thankful for the serendipitous connections I've had the opportunity to meet on and off the screen.
    Thanks so much for linking up!

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  4. This is such a fun post, Jody. It is something that non.bloggers don't always understand … the depth of on.line friendships. And it is fun to meet in real life, too. I remember our fun coffee date with joy and laugh remembering my friend came to hang around, to make sure you were okay. (Her idea, not mine, I knew you were great.)

    Thanks for including me in this fun bunch.

    Fondly,
    Glenda

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  5. I love seeing your invisible friends. It's such an encouragement and makes me think about all those tweets from tiny avitars who have become the blessing of dear IRL friends in my life, too!

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  6. It has been such a blessing to me as well to meet so many amazing talented women through the blogging community. They really do care about me and are true friends. I look forward to meeting you as well someday!

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