Sunday, April 29, 2012

In Real Life #inRL

Several weeks ago, I signed up to attend the Nashville (in)RL—"in real life," that is—event put on by (in)courage, the women's blog community run by Dayspring. The idea is that while sites like (in)courage promote online community, and real friendships do develop online, it's great to meet face to face, "in real life," as well. "IRL" is an acronym for "in real life" used on blogs to talk about people you know offline and blog friends you get to meet offline.

Turned out, I had an even more IRL weekend than I expected! Wednesday night, I got an email from IRL friend Kristen (who I met at Matt's high school reunion, since she and her husband went to BHS with Matt) asking if we wanted to come to dinner Friday with Kim and her husband and kids. Kim also went to high school with Kristen and Matt, but since Kim was getting married on the same day as the reunion, and in another state, she wasn't there, and I somehow found her blog from Kristen's as Kristen and I got to know each other better. Kim and I became friends just by reading and commenting on each other's blogs.

So we were all so excited to get together on Friday when Kim and her husband Josh (a church planter in Kentucky, who I actually interviewed for Ministry Matters) were in town so Josh could run the Music City Marathon the next morning. It was funny to talk to Kim on the phone briefly and chat like friends but be hearing a totally unfamiliar voice! We went to the Aquarium Restaurant at the newly-reopened Opry Mills mall. With six adults and six kids under age six, we were a big noisy group, getting up and down to look at the fish, change babies in the restroom, wrangle runaway toddlers. . .

Looking at the 200,000 gallon aquarium in the middle of the restaurant.
Kristen, Kim, and baby Lilly (one month older than Claire and about eight pounds heavier!)
Landon (just a few weeks younger than Kate), Kate, and Daddy,
and Addie in the background, taking tons on pics on her mom's iPhone!
Kate, Landon, and Landon's big sister Addie (almost 6)
Claire, wishing she could get up to look at the fish, or at least eat some of my delicious stuffed shrimp. 
Kim, me, and Kristen, with most of the kiddos
(Claire was in her seat at my feet and Jake was running off somewhere!)
It was so fun to meet up with these other families. I've been so amazed the last couple years how online friends can be "real," even when you haven't met face to face. With Kim and family living in Kentucky, just an hour or so from my parents, I'm sure we'll meet up again. And I hope my Texas blog buddy, Rachel, and I can meet in person one day! Even friends who live locally, we got to know each other through blogs, and connect more often online, via blog comments or Facebook, than in person. What an amazing time we live in.

The actual (in)RL event Saturday night was fun. Great food, worship, door prizes (see below, which I got when I was the person in the room who had given birth most recently!)
Joshua 1:9 canvas from Dayspring, now hanging in my laundry room.
I had hoped the gathering would include more intentional conversations and connection-making for potential IRL friendships, but it was still fun and nice to meet some new people. I'm an introvert, so maybe I just need more help than most! I was actually channeling my inner-extrovert really well; I almost didn't recognize myself!
(Didn't take my camera; this pic is from @jessicanturner's instagram feed.)
Bottom line, this weekend really affirmed how blogs and other social media really can bring people together in real life. I've enhanced some friendships, and maybe made a couple new ones as well.


Kim said...

Thanks for posting this... I have a post coming on it, too... but there is too much to post this week! :) Glad you got to go to the IRL meet-up by (in)courage, too. Had I known about it sooner, I probably would have planned my weekend differently to be there as well. It really is an amazing time we live in.

Jessica @The Mom Creative said...

Okay, so I JUST made the connection that YOU were the same Jessica that introduced herself at the end of the night. I had a REALLY awful migraine by that time and was struggling to just function and appear "normal." PLEASE email me and let's get our kids together. And YES, next year we are already talking about ways to make next year more personal, get people to connect more, etc. :) It was hard with a big group, but we will figure it out. xo


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