Sometimes I forget that we haven’t met.

There are days when I read through the comments here and I feel like it’s one big conference call with my friends. And when you email, and when you comment, and when you reply on twitter, it’s like we just know each other.

How did the internet do that?

It wasn’t so long ago that saying “I met them online” caused eyebrows to raise, and now it’s how I introduce some of the absolute dearest people in my life.

Something has happened where instead of the internet being just for creepy people who stay in their basement, it’s now a means of getting to know your friends better, on a deeper level. I don’t have to see other bloggers for months at a time, but because of what we have here, on the internet, it adds beauty to what we have out there- in the real world. And when you readers pop into Nashville and we run into each other at Frothy Monkey, it’s not an introduction, it’s a reunion.

That’s one of the reasons I am B.E.Y.O.N.D. excited about (in)RL, an event happening all over the world on April 27th and 28th, hosted by my favorite beach house for women, (in)courage. It’s not a conference. We don’t have to fly to see each other or pack a bag. It’s a get-together in your own town, with people who love through words on a screen, and it can start something in your heart.

I know it can feel scary, but it isn’t. I promise. We all love the feeling of having people, a community that cares. And (in)courage is offering a place for that to happen. I hope you’ll take them up on it. For just $10, you’ll get a t-shirt, a pack of cards, and some other goodies. Trust me, nobody is making any money on this- just making friends and making a difference. At least, that’s what I think (in)RL will do.

You can read more here.

You should go ahead and register here.

And then you can find your local (in)RL here.

If you are in Nashville, please [PUH-LEASE!] join us! Jessica, Angie, and I are really hoping this will be the start of some amazing things for the (in)courage women in our community. Here is the link to our meet-up. Y’all. It’s gonna be so good.

And here I insert a hearty thank you. My little corner of the internet sky is one of my favorite places to be. That is all because of you, my reader friends who show up and comment and email and live life with me. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I have learned from you. And I hope you know that you are always welcome here.

 I am grateful for you and I like you so much. 

My dear friend Sarah Markley wrote about community yesterday and tomorrow the loveliest Ann Voskamp will do the same. Please read their thoughts as well- you will be blessed.

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What have you learned from online communities?