Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Behind The Scenes With a Five Minute Friday Twist

Amy, me and Kelly
Four months ago I had no clue about Five Minute Friday. Kelly and Amy, 2 of my (in)RL friends, knew about it and had been writing along with Lisa Jo and so many others. I’m an all or nothing kind of girl. I knew I wouldn’t be able to sit quietly on the sidelines reading other’s posts and not participate.  I jumped in. After neglecting my blog completely last year, and only writing a handful of posts this year, I began to write again. I wrote my first Five Minute Friday post May 17 and dove into this community.

Like any community this one is unique. God’s presence is so strong among these women, His daughters. We are a grace clinging, soul searching, encouragement giving bunch. I was welcomed in that first Friday. I began to embrace this new part of my identity: #fmfparty goer. Friendships started to form. I began to know these girls beyond their Twitter handle. Our lives were being intertwined.

One day in July I saw a tweet, “We should do a Google Hangout sometime.” What?! Sign me up!!! I joined that conversation as fast as my fingers would tweet. I get things done. If you have an idea I can make it happen. Before I fully comprehended, I was agreeing to host. I was taking Vanessa’s idea and making it happen. In preparation of this exciting event I was checking in with the nine girls who would be joining me for the first ever #fmfhangout (as far as I know). I made sure everyone had a Google+ account and all the software installed on their computers. I had test runs with Melissa and Sarah who had never participated in a G+ Hangout before. I was giddy thinking about talking with this group filled with girls who wanted to take this community one step further.

Being the over-prepared type A person that I am, I wrote out a list of questions just in case we ran out of things to talk about. We did use those questions to help us get to know each other: Where do you live? How long have you been blogging? How did you find Five Minute Fridays? The planned one hour video chat turned into two hours. Isn’t that how it seems to go with friends? These beautiful faces are my friends. Each one holds a special place in my heart.

Sarah and me
Sarah and I have had several chats via Hangouts since our initial test run. God has brought our lives together right now for His glory! He is preparing a beautiful restoration for others out of our pain and healing.

Last week she sent me a message, “How far are you from my in-laws?” “Just over an hour,” I responded. Approximately 60 hours later I was hugging this girl who I have come to know so well in just a few short weeks. We were together without a computer screen between us. Our families spent several hours together at a park with perfect weather, filling our hearts with beautiful memories.







I asked to take their picture, then they held hands. ::my heart::
gorgeous
This week I organized a second hangout. It was very last minute and when 2pm rolled around six of us joined together from across the country. Laughing, crying, advice giving and dream sharing were all on the agenda. We are building eternal friendships through these virtual living rooms. Because this particular Hangout was planned last minute there were several friends who had previous engagements and could not participate. And a few girls had to cancel at the last moment. After I ended the call I went to check Twitter wanting to let all of Twitterville know about the great time I just had with my friends. I received a notification that I had 1 new interaction. I excitedly clicked to see which of the other girls whom I had just spent the last 2 hours with was also telling everyone. I was shocked to see a picture of a coffee cup from one of the girls who had to miss out on our time of fun. She was letting me know she was in my neck of the woods. I knew there could only be a few places she could mean. She lives 2 hours away from me, but she was only a 10 minute drive at that moment. I kissed my sweet family good bye, jumped in the van and impatiently made the 6 mile drive.

Tonya and me
I parked, walked in, scanned the tables and we locked eyes. Tonya jumped up and we hugged and hugged and hugged. {You guys, she gives awesome hugs!} Happy tears filling our eyes she introduced me to her husband and two friends. I sat and talked with them and soaked up their beautiful accents for a good 20 minutes before we hugged again knowing we will see each other soon.

I thanked Lisa Jo this past weekend for saying yes to God and yes to #FMF. This community God is building is beautiful. I'm blessed x1,000 to be in the company of these women, who come together every week supporting and spurring each other on in life. It is amazing to hug the necks of kindred spirits here on earth knowing one day we will all live together with our Heavenly Father!


My hope is when you read this that you will not be jealous. Instead, I want you to be excited about these relationships that are being built. I also hope that you are encouraged to take a risk and reach out to some of your online friends. Start taking steps to building more meaningful friendships, whatever that might look like for you. You might even get to give them a hug. 


"Behind the Scenes" is a fun link up where we show those photos - but tell the real story behind them. The sneak peek behind the scenes, a look past the edges of the photo to the real life behind it. Join Crystal and read more here!

Andi and Brad have been married since 2002. They have five squishers who keep them on their toes. She is a second generation home educator. In her spare time Andi creates and sells handmade goodies in her shop, Andi Gould Designs.

25 comments:

  1. I love this Andi! I LOVE this community and how it is so much more 'real' than so many inrl connections - and then when it can fall into place to hug necks and wipe tears and speak life in person... be still my heart! Can't WAIT for Allume... (and tomorrow - for our own G+ practice!)

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  2. There is nothing like hugging someone for real. I'm excited to finally get to talk face-to-face with you tomorrow! And Allume, yeah that. will. be. AWESOME!

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  3. Wow! Your passion and energy amaze me! Thanks for sharing all you have done in such a short time. Blessings to you and all your friends!

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  4. I love this post and your heart behind it! It's beautiful. Your sense of community is amazing. God bless you!

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  5. Holly, thank you for the encouragement and for stopping by today!

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  6. Thank you, Jennifer! Happy day to you. :)

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  7. Insanely jealous...but even more looking forward to Allume! You are on my must-hug-like-crazy list! :) So happy for you, friend...the way God weaves community together is just beautiful.

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  8. And yep... The water works have started again... What a gift you are friend! BTW you give AWESOME hugs too!

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  9. We missed you for sure, Mel, but know that we loved on you :)

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  10. Love love love this, Andi!!! YAY! I can't believe how #FMFHangout has grown -- and all because you are awesome! It is amazing to see it continue to grow and include so many wonderful women! Thank you so much for your friendship. We really need to make sure we get a big group hug with all of these awesome huggers -- just be sure not to approach Melissa Langford too quickly :)

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  11. Just beautiful. I love hearing the stories of these connections. Makes me so sorry that I've had to miss the hangouts, but also excited for the next time when I do finally get the jump on in and connect with everyone. What a blessing this community is. What a blessing you are.

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  12. Oh my friend, it's nothing but the amazing heart of God that brought us together. We are some go-getters aren't we?! I love you to the moon and back and feel so blessed to have you and this community be a part of my life. My prayers for friendship have been answered tenfold and I'm just overflowing with humility and love. Thank you for listening to my fears, supporting me in my worries, and celebrating my joys. Google hangouts will never be the same! I remember the first one where we giggle the whole time. You are beautiful Andi!

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  13. OK, this made me mist up, and that doesn't happen too often, as you'll see when I post my "10 Things" on Friday. I am eagerly looking forward to the next Google hangout on August 30 and to seeing so many of my FMF friends in person in just two months!

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  14. I am so glad that I waited until I got home to read this one because the tears are a steadily streaming down my cheeks. I am amazed and a little overwhelmed at how God has brought you and this awesome group of women into my life. To think that we have all learned to care for one another so deeply yet many of us have never meet face to face. To my in(RL) friends that have not made these online connections it appears strange but I know it is all a God directed thing. Thank you for taking charge of the FMFHangouts and drawing us closer to really knowing each other.

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  15. You were so missed! I can't wait until the next hangout with you and Allume will be awesome!!!

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  16. OMW Every time I think about that day I start to cry! So amazing. :)

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  17. Thank you! I may be the "make it happen" girl, but I need idea girls around me to have something to start. You are one of those idea girls!!! <3

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  18. Thank you! I'm looking forward to talking with you, finally!!!

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  19. Thank you, friend! That first hangout was amazing. Getting to know you better is fabulous! I love you!!!

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  20. Aww. God's sweet gifts make my stone heart shed tears all the time. Five Minute Friday Hangouts are the best!

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  21. This is all God, His community! I'm so blessed to be a part of it with you! I can't wait to see your smiling face this week. :)

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  22. It really is awesome! We would love to have you join us sometime. :) Happy day, friend!

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  23. Thank you for stopping by today. :) If you ever want to join us, let me know! Have a great day!

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Thank you for stopping by today. I love hearing from you. Leave a comment and we can chat more!
~Andi