A Chance to Meet IRL

Sharon and I enjoying a moment at the cafe outside of her church
     Last weekend while I was in California, I had the rare privilege of meeting one of my favorite blogging friends IRL, Sharon of Sharon Sharing God. In blogging lingo, IRL means In Real Life. That moment captured all the excitement, fun, sharing, and friendship I had anticipated. As a way to share this moment with our readers, we’ve done a mock interview. We hope it puts you right in the middle of our conversation. So pull up a chair next to us and let that ocean breeze ruffle your hair while we talk.

How did you two meet in Blogland?

Sharon: You know, I can't quite remember what "rabbit hole" led me to Janis' blog.  Probably through someone else's blog.  Janis, do you remember?  I'm having a *senior moment*

Janis: I did a little research and discovered that I made the first comment on your blog back in August of 2010. I probably did find you on someone else's blog and I liked the comment you left well enough to follow you back to your blog and discover more about you.

What drew you to each other's blogs? 

Sharon: I was drawn to Janis immediately.  First of all, I just happen to think she has a happy face.  But, more importantly, her writing displays a tender heart toward the Lord, and a poetic and quiet way of talking about Him.  She has always been honest and open and vulnerable.  And through her blog, I knew that she had a heartbeat that closely matched mine.  Oh, and she loves dogs!!  Maybe Chip and Marty brought us together??  

Janis: Sharon's sense of humor, her openness, and the depth of thought she puts into each of her posts attracted me to her blog. Her relationship with the Lord and knowledge of His Word amazed me. Also, I was impressed with her credentials--an English major who is a great wordsmith; a mother of two grown sons who is not embarrassed by her age but puts it in her profile along with an acrostic she made up for her stage in life: COLEN--Change of Life Empty Nester. She was the real deal and funny to boot. And that cowboy hat—well, you’ll just have to see it for yourself. And I do LOVE dogs.

A chapel on the church campus where Sharon attends
What kept the communication fresh and ongoing? 

Sharon: I think our communication has been greatly enhanced by email.  Janis and I have kept in touch that way, and emailing has afforded us a way to be more personal with the details of our lives.


Janis: Sharon's comments on my blog always addressed the topic on which I was writing~and then added more insight. They were meaty comments, not just fluff. In our emails I asked Sharon all kinds of questions about blogging and frequently asked her to pray for our family. I knew she relied on the One who could and would handle all of our needs. Her humorous comments about Marty, her grand-dog, asking if Chip, our dog, was getting enough treats kept it light as well.
Outside seating around the cafe--Note the clear, blue sky

What made the two of you decide to meet In Real Life?

Sharon: Janis was coming to my "neck of the woods" for a graduation celebration for her son. How could we pass up a chance to meet when we were literally only miles apart?!

Janis: I'm originally from California, so when I was visiting friends last April, I happened to be in her backyard without knowing it. When she commented about this on a related blog post, I decided that the next time I would be in her area, I wanted to meet this vibrant, humorous, and Christ-loving person whom I had come to know as "friend."

What were your first impressions of each other after meeting?

Sharon: The first thing that crossed my mind was that I would recognize Janis anywhere - and not just by the way she looks.  I recognized her heart.  She was exactly what her writing had led me to know.  She was sweet and funny, sensitive and caring. I felt like I had known her forever.

Janis: I felt comfortable immediately with Sharon. She met me at the steps of her church, enthusiastically waving me toward her. Sharon was the same sweet, warm, and funny person I've come to know through her writing. Worshiping together was an amazing experience. Sharing our love for the Lord together made this a unique meeting.

What did you talk about? 

Sharon: What didn't we talk about?!  We talked about our families, our lives.  We talked about church, and how important it was to spread the message of Truth in this world.  We talked about our dreams for our writing, and our desire to learn what God is leading us to do at this point in our lives.  And I think we talked about our delicious salads! (No!  Not with our mouths full...) 

Janis: Talking with Sharon was like hearing her words come to life. Her voice is softer than I imagined but her gentleness and kind demeanor strengthen her ideas. We talked about a couple of things that tug on our hearts—our prayers for our adult sons in their 20s, and our desire to write about topics that will inspire, encourage, and lead other women into a closer walk with the Lord. I also confessed my age to Sharon. Yes, I'm older.
How has this changed or affected your reading of each other's posts now? 

Sharon: Meeting Janis has added shades of meaning to her posts for me.  It's hard to explain, but now I can picture her face reacting to the things that happen in her life.  I can sense her heart as it responds to new insights that the Lord gives to her.  I can hear her laugh, and I can feel her hug.

Janis: I smile as I read her posts. It's like sitting next to her now and having a conversation. It's a deeper level of friendship than we shared as blogging friends. I know what is underneath her words, a deeper meaning or a deeper need perhaps. I see a different picture of Sharon than I did before. She is strong in the Lord but with a quiet and sensitive nature that I may have missed. 

Blogger Friends IN REAL LIFE
What did this real-life meeting teach you about the Body of Christ in Blog Land? 
Sharon: It taught me that what we're all doing is REAL - it's a ministry - it's a connection that God uses to unite us powerfully together.  Our online friendships are deep and meaningful, and God is using the Internet for His purposes.
Janis: That when the Lord is the Lord of our lives, He can use each of us mightily to minister to one another. Many of us have the gift of writing but it is expressed differently and we are walking through different experiences in our individual lives. But as we join together, we become a victorious voice for the Lord.

     We hope you have enjoyed what a unique blessing it is to meet a blogging friend In Real Life. We hope this interview has encouraged you to venture out and do the same when it is possible and practical in your lives. Sharon has her post about this meeting over at her place, so please follow her over to: http://sharonsharinggod.blogspot.com/
The refreshing Newport waves

"You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound." Psalm 4:7 NIV

From My Heart to Yours,
Linking up with Playdates with God

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