a (completely non-urgent) cry for help

I apologize in advance for this lazy, self-indulgent post. I think I said yesterday (see? too lazy to even look) that I’m working on something. And here’s the thing–I can’t really tell you what it is yet. For a couple reasons.

The smaller (but the one I feel the most) of the two is that if it’s going to get rejected, I can save myself a lot of pain by not telling you what it’s all about first.

The bigger reason is that the person guiding me through the process asks that I not divulge details until things are a bit more concrete.

Vague much?

I can tell you this. The project is involving a lot of research on my part. But not the kind of research where you go to the library and use the card catalog on the computer and find books about dolphins or giraffes. No, it’s the kind of research where you look back through old journals and e-mails and blog posts and comments on those posts and comments you left on other people’s posts and whew! It’s wiping me out.

But I’m having a ball.

And the words are flowing.

And I am h-a-p-p-y about that.

So. Some of you have the power, THE POWER, to save me minutes (maybe even HOURS!) of thinking and sleuthing by answering one or more questions for me. If any of these apply to you, and you have a free minute (or six) today, would you help me out? Pretty pretty pretty please??

Here we go:

These first 2 are for my oldest blog friends who were at Xanga Fest 2007 and/or 2008 (was that when they were??):

1. What feelings were going through your mind when you got there/while you were there?

2. What is one conversation you remember having, and who was it with?

This one is for people I met online and then in real life:

3. When/how did we meet online and when did we meet for reals?

And this one is a free-for-all:

4. In your experience, what kind of thing has instantly bonded you with an online friend? (i.e., a shared parenting struggle, a tragedy, a similar belief system, her sense of humor, common interests, etc) And give an example.

Oh, thank you, friends. You complete me.

Have a terrific, if not tantalizing, Tuesday!

p.s. I have plans to write some posts here in the next few months that will merit a click of the “Like” button. (see below) In the meantime, if there’s a post in the past that you liked and want to share, feel free to go Like it (is it just me, or did that sound like a veiled insult?).

23 thoughts on “a (completely non-urgent) cry for help

  1. whimzie

    I can attempt to answer #4. Not to sound like a broken record, but that C.S. Lewis quote came to mind again, “What, you too? I thought I was the only one.”

    Although it may be a little different for each connection, some of the things that have made me feel instantly bonded are similar life experiences (e.g. death of a parent), sense of humor, common faith….I know I’m forgetting stuff. If I think of something compelling, I’ll come back.

  2. Pingback: Speaking of Friends… « Snoodlings

  3. Kimberly

    No clue how I found your blog, but I loved if from the start. Then you came to San Antonio and I got to spend the day at Sea World with y’all. We found each other twittering all through the park!

  4. Megan@SortaCrunchy

    So sorry I am just now getting to this. I hope it’s not too late!

    3. When/how did we meet online and when did we meet for reals?

    We somehow, through the amazing way God connects His children, met through Twitter in December 2008. Then I emailed you to ask how to get published. 😉 Then you and I bonded over a shared interest in encouraging new mamas and a dislike for a *certain* popular parenting book. Then you stayed in our funny little house in Oklahoma and bathed in our weird little half-shower-bathtub-contraption. And the rest is beautiful history. MUAH!

    4. In your experience, what kind of thing has instantly bonded you with an online friend? (i.e., a shared parenting struggle, a tragedy, a similar belief system, her sense of humor, common interests, etc) And give an example.

    I have made instant bonds with people through online communication. It generally comes from a shared sense of humor, shared belief system, and shared personality/temperament. There are some people you just click with, and I have found that to be true of people with whom I’ve never shared a breathing space. Through the wonders of the world wide web, I’ve been blessed with meeting friends whom I never would have found without this wonderful age of technology.

  5. Rachelle

    #4: I can’t say that I have instantly bonded with anyone online…but then I’m a slow bonder in real life. I like to take my time feeling out people before jumping headlong into relationships (which, I realize, says more about me than anything).

    Anywho…what attracts me to people in honesty, realness. I like it that I am not the only person facing struggles, heartache, laughter and kiddo antics! I have bonded online with people that share my faith; in particular with women that are slightly older and have some life experience and perspective to share (seeing them live out their faith gives me hope that i will get through too). This probably comes from the fact that I lost my mama to cancer when I was 21- In a hopefully, not wierd, way I am seeking the counsel of a mother as I raise my own children.

  6. Cheryl Pickett

    I can answer #3 sort of. I believe I found you online via someone else, via Twitter I think. Pretty sure it was a link or post about the 52zoo project. I love Zoo stuff too and I was in the midst of my animal book, so that’s what got my attention. Add to that our fellowship in Christ and it was a great match.

    From there, I started reading this blog, I think it was sometime in early spring last year. I keep saying “I think” because I’m not 100% sure but hopefully almost is close enough is horseshoes, hand granades and blog memories 🙂

    As far as meeting in person, I’d always wanted to go to the Columbus Zoo (aka Jack Hanna’s zoo) and I thought, what better way than to go and share the day with a group of Christians, and fellow zoo lovers. We started planning soon after I found the blog.

    We did make it to the to the zoo party, (and fell in love with the Columbus zoo). All that to say you’re the first friend that I met online and then face to face 🙂

    Hope that helps! Blessings on the secret project.

  7. Liz

    4. I am drawn to other Christians and mothers of young(ish) children. I would love to be able to meet a couple of online bloggy friends for reals!

  8. jaime

    4. I fall in love with people who blog with real emotion. Some days they have you peeing in your pants laughing and other times you just want to crawl through your monitor and hug them and cry with them.

  9. krisco

    1. I was nervous and when I get nervous, I get sweaty. I remember being sweaty. BUT I knew you so well that when I got to your place it all felt okay again. 🙂

    2. I remember crying when I saw Sara Neer. We were roomies for at least one summer and I was so happy to see her. I don’t remember a single thing we talked about though. I do remember Shannah told me she liked my capri pants – hello, RANDOM!

    3. I don’t remember the moment we met but I do remember I was envious of your long legs – still am

    4. The bond we have in Jesus is amazing. It transcends life circumstances, age and everything else. Also, mothering little ones is a bond that draws me to people. I guess I’m short on examples though. 🙁

  10. Holly V.

    I have to admit that I met you FIRST and then read your blog. However, I feel like I really got to know you and your character through reading your blog….and that made me WANT to spend time with you in person!

    I was at your first XangaFest. I felt excitement in meeting some of these gals whose blogs I had read. Parenting/marriage seemed to be a commonality many of us had….and it was so refreshing to read about people who were in my stage of life doing extraordinary things with their life (like making cake balls and visiting 5000 zoos in a year)

    I am so grateful for you and the ministry you have had through writing…..

    Love you girl.

  11. meghan @ spicy magnolia

    So, so excited for you that you are back in the writing groove! Big relief, that is, I’m sure.

    I first heard of you through Amanda Jones’ blog when she wrote a post about your books. Since at the time I was pregnant with Brennan, I really wanted to read your “Changing the World…” book, which I ordered. It was the first book I gleaned to when he was born and was so glad I did. I started reading your blog and commenting on occasion.

    When I found out your “surprise” getaway location was going to be Houston for the Siesta Scripture Memory Celebration, I tweeted saying I wondered if I’d be brave enough to introduce myself. And you graciously replied, “You better be!” And you and Melanie came up to introduce yourselves to me after spotting me that evening. I was truly blown away by both yours and Melanie’s gracious and kind responses that made me feel more comfortable to meet you.

    Thankful for you!

  12. Conny

    4. Sometimes I open a blog, start reading & find that 1 hour later, I’m still reading the person’s “older posts”. Sometimes I open a blog, start reading – and move on. I think the thing that “catches” me is someone’s words. You can write about something NOT related to me, but if you describe it & make it interesting, I will read … If it sounds old & boring & blah, even if it’s a topic dear to me, forgetta-about-it. Or maybe it’s passionate words! Or someone’s spunk that just sort of permiates through the words?
    Of course, I am most drawn to bloggers who are Christias, who want to grow in their faith, who aren’t perfect, who are parents, and who want to serve the Lord with all their limited ability and are who are willing to admit they are limited (ie. humble people!). That’s my run-on sentence to describe what connects me with a blogger! 🙂

  13. Kristen

    Wow…I have been a bad commenter lately too (there, now don’t feel so bad Gail…you are not alone!) 😉

    I initially connected with people by shared life experience. I didn’t know many people with children so when I met you guys I just SOAKED in what you had to say and why you did what you did and through the input of many of you, I kind of found my way with this whole parenting thing 😉 I needed friends who understood what parenthood was truly like and you guys filled that gaping hole in my life.

    LOVED xanga fest 08. My only complaint was that it wasn’t long enough. We drove 5 hours down there to spend like 3 hours talkign which BLINKED by. So worth it, but it sort of whet my appetite for more…and as yet, we dont have anything scheduled 😉 I miss you guys!

    And you my friend…we met for the first time when I showed up on YOUR doorstep begging for a place to stay on my way to VA for a class. 😉 We stayed up late and I was preggo and sick…member that? 😉

    You are so precious. I am eager to hear that you got the green light on this project!!!

  14. Gail

    First, I have been a lousy, lousy, lousy commenter lately. An avid reader. No feedback. Unless you count the comments I obsessively draft in my head and never type out. Ugh. I don’t think they count, either.

    I can answer all the questions. So today, you get a big ol’ fat comment! Yay!!!!!!

    1. On my way XangaFest, Round 1, I was nervous that people would find me boring in real life, especially compared to what I judged to be my “oh-so-thrilling” online persona. I was nervous that they could see all of me and not just the pictures I put up there for people. (Hello, my name is Gail, and I’m a navel-gazer.)

    While there, however, I was blown away by how fun everyone was, how real, how not-nervous. I settled in and ate McDonald’s at Marla’s table, laughed with Jamie, had a shy-ish first meeting with my soul-sister, Jess, and confirmed that Krista and I HAD to be friends. Had to. Here’s my blog post from Fest 1: http://gsowell.xanga.com/651568236/xangafestapalooza-with-cakeballs/

    And Fest 2: http://gsowell.xanga.com/676522496/and-there-were-cakeballs/
    where I got to meet Kristen and Holly! My bittersweet is that I haven’t yet hugged the neck of Kristin or Beth Elaine or Nixie.

    2. A conversation that stands out to me is the first one I had with Jess. We have connected on a thousand different levels, and when we met in person, the conversation didn’t flow. It was loud in the room we were in. She hadn’t been there long, and I was getting ready to leave. Later, we both found out that we were both a little nervous — HA! And we’ve become even better friends, despite the fact that our first face-to-face was a teensy bit awkward.

    3. I met you on xanga. We had common friends, though I don’t really know how. I guess the Cedarville connection. (My growing up there and thus having friends who went to school there who probably knew you when you were there…or something.) I think we first met at the zoo as recorded here: http://gsowell.xanga.com/607655170/item/

    4. There is a special bond with fellow Christians, but my closest friends from online have something else: humor, a way with words, a transparency, a similar aesthetic. I don’t know that I can put my finger on it, exactly, but I have made online friends who are definitely REAL friends.

    Shwew. I’m tired now.

  15. Emily Kay

    Oh, XangaFest. I remember reading about y’all’s experiences meeting each other and hanging out and being SO jealous! Why must y’all all live up north?

    I honestly can’t remember when I first starting reading your blog online, but I know Jenn Faulk was the one that turned me on to it. Sometime in 2007, probably…or was it even earlier than that? We met IRL last year at the San Antonio Zoo. 🙂

    It’s hard to pinpoint the one thing that “draws” me to an online friend. Oftentimes it’s their love for their Lord and the joy they have. Similar convictions are a big thing too because I tend to seek out encouragement and confirmation of my own beliefs. Shared experiences (like homeschooling) sometimes play a role too.

  16. O Mom

    I feel connected to online friends by them being in the same (somewhat) place I am at; kids, struggles, how they are walking with Jesus daily, humor, encouragement.
    I also get so fascinated with people that have 3 daughters like I do, or have desires to write books, have a desire for a ministry of some sort…basically living the same life I am, but yet so different.
    Hope that makes sense. It’s really hard to describe the connection you feel for someone and their blog.

  17. Sarah M

    I first met you online on xanga a couple of years ago. I started following your blog and your zoo adventure. When I heard you were coming out east I definitely wanted to be part of helping your family even in a small way. We first met when you showed up on our doorstep last summer. 🙂 What a wonderful experience!

    I feel bonded with people/bloggers online when I can picture myself hanging out with them, have like interests, faith, kids, etc.

  18. Mary

    I think I met you online when you said you were coming to Texas for the zoo trip! It was the craziest thing I’ve ever done (ok maybe not THE craziest) but I immediately thought, “They HAVE to stay with us, I really like her!” And then we met in real life about a year ago when you did come!

    I think I feel instantly bonded to others online when I can just picture myself having a conversation with them in real life. I feel like so many of these people are my “friends” even though they don’t have a clue who I am. But that makes it kinda fun too (and creepy maybe if I ever met them in real life and knew everything about them? 🙂

  19. Amy

    Marla does connecting with you over Facebook count as online friend? Abigail brought us together and I’m not much of a blog reader, but you have shared some blogs with me that I have connected with…cora’s mom, felicity’s mom and audrey’s mom. Love you to pieces!

  20. Stonefox

    Marla, i fall in category 4. One thing that instantly draws me to a blog is when the author writes from a perspective of faith. Not faith as a noun, but faith as a verb. When a blog exudes a lifestyle of faith, I’m hooked. This kind of blog and author gives me something to imitate.

    I would say Angie at Bring the Rain is like that and you can see it in her writing.

    Does that help at all?? I feel I did not answer the question well…

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