[Blog Friends in Real Life at The Shine Event]

Monday, October 24, 2011

Put on your seat belts, friends. There's a lot of words in this post today.
If you've followed my blog for awhile, then you know that my husband and I moved out to AZ from San Diego at the end of April. We had a few friends out here that were connections through Joshua's job, but other than that, there was no one. We had both grown up in San Diego. Both of our families live there. We went to a huge church and were really involved in our young married's group there. A lot of our childhood friends stayed in town, and didn't relocate.... there were a lot of people in our lives. And I mean that in a good way. We are blessed.

When we moved, it was a real shock to both of our systems. Every day, it was just the two of us. And I think that can be a really beautiful thing for a marriage. In fact, it's probably one of the BEST things you can ever do for a marriage: be completely, 100% dependent on one another. Joshua is my best friend in the whole world, and we love spending time together, but there was still a need for friendships in our day-to-day lives. Fortunately, God has provided for us in so many ways and has brought wonderful friends into our lives and has given us a fabulous "glue" with friends that we no longer live near.

If you've ever moved before, you know that moving is one of the strongest tests a friendship can ever go through. I'd heard that before, but it's true. A friend of mine recently told me, "Heather, some friends are friends for reason, season, or life." I have had to learn to be a good friend from afar (it's hard sometimes), and accept that some people just don't know how to be. And that's okay. Blogging has not only been an outlet for me since the move, but it's brought some great friendships into my life when I really needed them. I think a lot of people discount online relationships and it's WRONG. Some of the most incredible women I have ever known I have met here. I think other bloggers can say the same thing-- they "get it."
The beautiful thing about blogging, and I think why bloggers are so beautiful, is that they LET YOU IN TO their lives. There's a transparency that comes with the territory.

About two months after our move was when I started actively blogging. It was simply at outlet for me to write about all that I was going through in my new little world and to show friends & family pictures of our adventures. One of the first blogs I discovered was my friend Jen, of The Arizona Russums. She had "Arizona" in her blog title so it got me all excited that there might possibly be someone actually near me. So fast forward a few months of blogging...  I was actively following Jen's awesome blog, and then I met another sweet Arizona blogger (who actually spends every-other-weekend in my city, say what?!!!), Erin, of Captivated by Grace... it was time to finally do a blogger meet up!!!

Ashley of The Shine Project was having a huge event in Phoenix (more about this below) so we decided this was a great way to see one another. It was such a fabulous evening of fun and for such an incredible cause. These blogger friends are 100% the real deal. Who they are online is who they are in "real life," and they couldn't be more beautiful on the inside or the outside. We met for a fabulous happy hour before the event. Erin & Jen drove together and got a little lost, so I had some time to kill while I waited for them....

Old man sitting at a table near me: "So young lady, did a cute boy stand you up or what?"
Me: "No sir, I'm just waiting for two girls that I met on the Internet."

Erin, me & Jen
Cute decorations // Me with Stesha of Classic & Bubbly

If you're not familiar with The Shine Project, it's a program that another AZ blogger, Ashley, has put on to help raise money to send 8 high schoolers to college. Through this event and it's auction (as well as an online auction) she's already raised thousands of dollars and it's only growing. The impact she's made on these kids lives, who would have never had the opportunity to go on to college, was incredible. The event was put on by the high schoolers themselves and it was amazing. And totally legit. The event was at the Octotillo Country Club, we got driven in on golf carts and it was as nice as some weddings I've been to. Congrats, Ashley, on a major success!!!!

Us with Ashley
I never win anything, but I did win a cute "This too shall pass" sign from 41 West Designs during the auction (Erin's holding it above). It looks so cute in my office! After the event, we were driving home and realized that we all didn't want to conclude our evening together so we went out for fro yo at the BEST frozen yogurt place I have yet to find in AZ! So my friends, what does this mean? That yours truly will be spending a lot of time in Phoenix seeing my new bloggy friends over fro yo!! :)

It was definitely one of the best nights of my life out here so far! I had so much fun! On my drive home, I listened to 80's jams and watched shooting stars out my window the entire drive. If you have never seen the stars in Arizona, it really is like nothing I have ever seen. I was so encouraged by these women and am so excited to see where God takes our friendship!!!

Top: Forever 21
Skirt: Target
Boots: Nine West
Necklace: Soleil Selene

P.S. Also through Jen, she informed me that her church has a sister church down in our area. We recently thought we'd found a church we loved, but God had other plans :) We visited this new church on Saturday night, a part of the Acts 29 network through Mark Driscoll-- who we love!!-- and it was off the hook! So not only have I made friends through blog land, we've also found a new church family. God works in mysterious ways. So the next person that discounts your online relationships, prove them wrong!

Leave a Comment

Heather @ we.are.the.holdens said...

Oh I love, love, love this. God does work in mysterious ways and I love that ya'll found a church your excited about! Beautiful pics of all you girls! :)

The Arizona Russums said...

whoop! love this, love you, love that you loved the acts 29 church. i will want to visit it when i come down if you guys decide to settle in there!

The Arizona Russums said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BlessedMama said...

Great pictures. Love your necklace! I wish I could have made it to the Event. Hopefully "someday" we can have an AZ Blogger meet up :)

Noelani said...

I'm so happy that you found some awesome ladies in your area, from none other than the BLOGGING world :) I only hope to score as lucky as you, as I am still looking for some awesome ladies in my local area (Washington)... for a blogdate :b

Alana said...

Everyone needs to STOP having blog meetings so I can stop being jealous. Starting now.

But I still love you. :)

Mr. Taylor and his Lady said...

it just looks like you had so much fun girl. you are absolutely stunning. and i love that necklace you are wearing! and that sign that you won is just so adorable girl!!
xo TJ

Ashley @ LaLuce said...

you all look so beauty!!! i love each of you so totally wish arizona and DC were a tad closer ;) lol. XOXO LOVE YOU

melanie said...

y'all are beautiful! God is so faithful, and so gracious for putting you in each other's lives. What a blessing :)

Ashley Blunt said...

This is so wonderful! Sad I didn't meet you girls at the event! And where might this Acts 29 church be? Hubby and I are at a church right now, but still in the talks of maybe not being quite settled yet :)

the world so sweet said...

awesome story. It is so hard to make new friends when you move. Love that you all got to hang out. God does work in funny ways doesn't He.

Heart n Soul said...

This is a great post ... loved it :)

Stesha said...

K, I wanna come to frozen yogurt next time please!!!!!! love you!

Classic & Bubbly

Meg {henninglove} said...

you are real life friends with stesha?? she is so awesome!! i want to be friends with her in real life too but i don't live in AZ, boo!

Ashley said...

oh em gee. seriously, heather...this post was speaking directly to me! since i've relocated to PA two months ago...i feel its a bit difficult to be a "good" friend to my friends back in NC...distance is not an excuse, but i feel like it is for some of my friends back home. guess only time will tell. this weekend, i had my first blogger meetup and it was wonderful! it felt so nice just to get out and have girl time...i havent had that since i moved. hopefully, this is a start of a wonderful friendship. god does have amazing ways of changing our lives :) great post, heather. i love all three of you ladies blogs!!!

Liz @ The Blue Eyed Owl said...

I was so bummed I didn't get to meet you! I was busy with raffle duties ;) Next time for sure!

Adrienne said...

What a great story Heather.....I agree that you can make great friends online. So glad to hear that you are making new connections and having a good time. :)

Sarah Kate said...

I just love this!!!! And do I know what it feels like to move and not know anyone. That can be a scary, isolating feeling. Mix that with homesickness and it's not pretty. Luckily, the last time I moved I happened to have a sweet husband and daughter to go with me. :o) But it's still an adjustment every time, no matter who goes with you. It sounds like you're finding your place, though. And meeting friends!!! I'm so jealous of all these blogger meetups I've been seeing lately!!! I need to find some fellow Nashville bloggers!! :o)

P.S. I've found that nothing solidifies your new home like finding a place to worship. Everything else can be chaotic, but if you at least know where you're going to be Sunday morning and who you're going to be there with, you'll be okay. :o)

katie said...

I am so thrilled for these new friendships you have made. Moving can be so tough. Good for you for putting yourself out there. : ) Yay for finding a new church!

Erica Marie said...

I am SO happy for you! I think the internet is a great place to meet people! ;) I met my wonderful husband on the internet and some fabulous friends...YOU are one of them!! LOVE ya girlie! xoxo

Erin said...

This made my heart smile SO BIG! :) You have such an amazing way with words and you told this story so eloquently and beautifully. I had the best time with you and Jen last week and I cannot wait for the next time!! :) Love you!

♥ CheChe said...

one of my good friends goes to MarsHills church! I attended it recently too out here at the Orange County Location. God is good and on the move. Glad you found a home church, I think lots of Christian men and women are struggling with a home these days.

and I'm slowly becoming more comfortable talking about my blog friends as if I see them in person in front of other. lol.



Nicole said...

ahhh!! looks like so much fun. and that fro-yo bar looks amazing! ;)


Kelly said...

you ladies are beautiful! i am so glad you got to meet up and go to the shine event. such a great cause.
love ya!

Heather Hawthorne said...

I LOVE Marck Driscoll!!! My church is based off him too! He is pretty much awesome. :)


stacey said...

i love this!! we all need fun time with good girl friends. :)

and i go to an acts 29 church too, in kansas city!!!

The Cantelmo Family said...

All of us Az bloggers should get together sometime soon :)

Mermith Mae said...

That was a really wonderful post! The "friends for a reason, season, or life" wisdom was very poignant!

Polkadot-pretties said...

Love this Post :)

Thank you for linking up to my “Craft, Create and Inspire” linky paty...

Hope you will stop by today and link up your favourite post from the past week..

Claire x

meet friends online said...

What a wonderful post.. Thanks for sharing. :)

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