I wonder: Can online friends be real friends?

Today I set off on the road trip…

It’s going to be interesting for sure.

I have no idea what to expect.

A combo of blogging, work and socialising…

In a week where I’ve been challenged by many questions about twitter and blogging – can ‘online friends’ really be friends? What about the friends already around you?

It’s definitely something that I’ve thought about a great deal over the last couple of years as I’ve got to know people ‘online’ and also now beginning to meet some of my ‘online friends’.

I would love to hear people’s thoughts on this topic. Maybe you’d be up for doing a guest post about it on this blog or doing a post on your own blog?

Certainly it’s something I’ll be wanting to talk about with some of the people I’m meeting in the next 10 days, and working some of this out.

But I know one thing: I’m so grateful to my online community…you have all been so encouraging and so incredibly supportive as I’ve navigated good times and bad over the last 3 years. So many of you have accepted me. As I’ve shared about parts of my life that have caused deep hurt and pain, you’ve been incredibly respectful. Though I fully admit I’ve been freaked out by the number of dudes from my church in Edinburgh that have read my blog. 8O

I do realise that in the midst of fresh drama (mostly relating to the demise of the iBook and the return of my father into my life)  that I’ve never finished the Journey into PCC work posts. I can only apologise. If you would still like to continue reading them, please let me know and hold me to it to finish! :)

In the meantime, I set off on an adventure with Cassie the Corsa and TomTom.

And the geek (and cinnamon swirl lover) that I am has got postcodes for Starbucks branches that have wi-fi access near by various stops on my trip.  During the week I’ll be staying with people who are working so I’ll likely be hiding out in Starbucks and if that happens – you know I’ll be blogging or tweeting away! :)

Your thoughts then: Can online friends be real friends?

Travelling Tuesday: The Road Trip

So today, I finally got the details of my road trip confirmed. I can’t believe how quickly it’s all come around, and that if everything goes to plan, I’ll be setting off on Saturday!

Saturday 3rd July – I head to Newcastle Upon Tyne to meet @flinderella and then staying in some random place in North Yorkshire.

Sunday 4th July – I hope to stop in York briefly (though if the weather sucks, I may avoid it) and then head to Norfolk to stay with the Payne Family!

Monday 5th July – I’m hoping to visit some pregnancy crisis centres in Norfolk

Tuesday 6th July – I’m heading to Bedford to see a pregnancy crisis centre and then staying with friends in Milton Keynes (roundabout centre of the universe)

Wednesday 7th July – I’m at a work away day in Hertfordshire

Thursday 8th July – Once the work away day finishes I head to Oxford to see Nicola & Ben!

Friday 9th July – I’m heading North West to stay with the lovely Hannah in Manchester.

Saturday 10th July – I’m heading West to North Wales to stay with the Gill Family

Sunday 11th July – I’ll be hanging out with the folks at i61 church and then heading back up to Scotland

Please Pray…

1. That all of us will stay healthy

2. For protection over Cassie the Corsa that she’ll cope with the long motorway journeys as she’s not getting any younger.

3. For finances – the petrol, the TomTom, food and the rest!

4. Wisdom in this whole TomTom purchasing malarky. (Yes. I still don’t understand or have a clue which one to buy. Plus they are soooo expensive! But I know I need Sat Nav driving on my own around towns, rural areas and cities I’ve never visited before).

5. For lots of good times to be had…fun banter, conversations and wisdom to be shared!

My laptop will be coming with me, and I will be looking out for Starbucks outlets with free wi-fi as much as I can to keep you posted so I’ll share all I can.

But for now, I’m off to pick up @Rubaloo so we can go to the cinema & have some fun!

Summer Blogroll Clean-up

Hi Folks,

So I’m going to be updating my blogroll….any blogs that haven’t posted in 2010 will be removed from my blogroll (sorry about that). But also if your blog isn’t linked up and you’d like it to be, or it needs updating…please let me know…now is your chance!

You also might have noticed that you can now access this blog with the nicer URL of learningfromsophie.com

If someone can help me with the whole web host and wordpress.org thing I would be eternally grateful to them. Just getting the new URL was drama enough for me…managing to take down my blog for a good few hours and having to call in WordPress support (thanks for your help Naoko!)


When virtual friends become in-person friends…

It’s funny the timing of this post by Lori on Leading and Loving It. Because this week I was leading and living it.

I first started making virtual friends when my stepfather brought home a computer and immediately set up our dial-up internet connection (I bet most of you barely remember…if at all…a time when being on the internet meant you couldn’t use your homephone at the same time!). It was Day 4 of Chicken Pox for me(Day 2 after I finally confessed when my scratching got noticed…darn) and I think they were a little freaked out by me having (out of pure unadulterated boredom & cabin fever) cleaned the entire house…including pulling out sofas and scrubbing at skirting boards.

Just so you know, at no point during my high school or university exams did my boredom or procrastination ever reach that level of obsessive cleaning again.

First of all, I met several people online – one of which I still keep on contact with on facebook though we’ve yet to meet in person.

And then I quickly got introduced to ICQ. Soon, when my friends got internet in their homes too, they joined ICQ.

So I was 15 when I had a virtual friend become an in-person friend for the first time…

Both of us grew up in Edinburgh but came from completely different backgrounds. Where as my friend went to one of Edinburgh’s most prestigious independent schools (and one of the weirdest I might add!), I grew up in a nice enough part of Edinburgh in the catchment area of one of Scotland’s worst high schools. Where the girls at my dance school and the Girl Guides in Morningside area didn’t want to associate with me because ‘oh…you’re from Leith? Aren’t they all schemies there?‘ that didn’t ever matter to my friend. When I went to Aberdeen, and he went off to study at ‘Oxbridge’, we have kept in really good contact. 11 years on, and we remain very good friends. It was fabulous to have he and his girlfriend last year at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and equally to see him in his new hometown of London in April.

It’s weird to think it’s been 11 years we’ve known each other, and it’s funny when people ask how we met!

Since coming into the world of blogging and twitter…the number of virtual friendships that have been created has increased.

Last year I had the chance to meet Connor when he was visiting friends in Edinburgh. And it was not so long ago, a new lassie in our church had discovered my blog. Despite going to the same church services for several months at least I met both Lindsay and Ruth online before I met them in person. In fact Ruth’s Mum calls me ‘Ruth’s internet friend‘. :)

Well this week, I got to be Emily  (@eMSY) and Mark’s (@mark_uk) first ever tweet-up. We met through our Night Before Christmas video adventures, and have connected on twitter ever since. So when I heard they were coming up to this neck of the woods, I was determined to make the time to meet up with them.

And we did…

They are exactly how I expected them. What they’re like online and in person are one and the same. Lovely, fun, kind, silly and crazy (in a good way), laid back & organised all in one. I honestly felt like I’d known them for years – not like it was the first time we’d met at all. I got the privilege of being their tour guide – you might guess from Flower of Scotland Fridays how much I love Scotland and I lovelovelove showing people around my city and this fabulous country I have the honour of being born into! I was super impressed by their son (known online as JT) who just went with the flow of being driven and being made to walk up Edinburgh’s many hills by this crazy lady who his parents had met online!!

For sure it’s got me more excited (and a little less nervous) about my road trip in July. Already Emily, Mark and JT were going to be one of my stops – so thank you God that we seem to like each other in person as well as online! I can’t wait to see them again, as I’ve had so much fun with them the last few days.

Although I’m going to have to be careful in July…I now know from the pics Emily has put up on Facebook that she’s like the Twitter paparazzi! :)

So now, more than ever I hope to get further into the world creating in-person friendships with my virtual friends. And I hope you guys in Australia and USA realise how much I am desperate to be camping out on your sofas and floors so I can do this!! ;)

Stone the flamin’ crows!!!

If you know me, you’ll know that I love Australia.

And where did my love of Australia begin? From watching Home and Away.

The Logies award ceremony was tonight (basically like the Aussie TV BAFTAs) and I was so annoyed they don’t 1. show the Logies in the UK 2. let non-Aussies like myself vote for who wins.

And I really wanted the legend that is Ray Meagher to win. That’s Alf ‘flamin’ Stewart for those of you who have ever watched Home and Away over the last 22 years (he’s the only original cast member left).

Well, he did win! Yay! Thank you to my Aussie twittering friends – Paula & Diane – for letting me know by tweeting as you watched the whole thing live.

It made me, Becca & Ruth well chuffed….since we are huge Alf Stewart fans. We’re actually planning a bloggers meet up to see ‘Alf’ as he’ll be in the UK for 6 months to act in Priscilla: Queen of the Desert in London’s West End. I think Carolyn is coming too now.

Sooooo excited!!!!!

I’m off to save up now…

The Final Countdown

Well, after a year of humming and hawing, it’s finally happening. LFS Introducing… will be letting someone else to take the floor this Sunday. i.e. TOMORROW!!!!!!

The simple fact is I love hearing stories, and truly believe that everyone has a story to share.

Sharing stories helps people…

it gives us hope…that we’re not the only one, that we can get through some of the challenges we’re facing, that good can come out of hardship.

it inspires us…to make the world a better place, that maybe there’s a way we can be part of a restoration process.

it helps us learn…to gain a new perspective, to have a little knowledge about something we maybe hadn’t thought too much about before, to understand where someone else is coming from.

I’ve set up another blog where you’ll be able to find all the posts as they go online at www.lfsintroducing.wordpress.com and you  can connect on Twitter by following @LFSIntro

Please, please, please if you would be willing to share about what you’re passionate about – whether that be your job, what you are studying, what you do in your ‘spare time’, a book you’ve written, music you are creating, the community you are creating – get in touch!! Leave a comment on this post, and I can e-mail you. I would so love to hear from you. :)

Twas three nights before Christmas

After a yummy dinner of pizza and salad followed by mince pies topped in skooshy cream…and one hilarious first take which ended prematurely after some bottom burp induced hysteria…this is probably the most embarrassing thing I have ever posted on my blog. Until I upload Miss S’s request of the third video we made of the ‘lamb’ story.

Update! The lovely David and Diane Goodwin have done a video too so we have Scottish, Aussie and Norn Iron accents! Woo hoo! Any more accents out there?

And another update! Emily (and I presume her husband, Mark?) have done one too so we have some Norfolk accents (Norfolk, England, not the one in VA) to add to our international reading…

And another one! Connor (and friends) have added many Norn Iron accents to read the poem too! What did I tell you? The Northern Irish are taking over…! :)

Something for 2010…

So I mentioned on yesterday that I had some changes planned for this blog for 2010.

Here is one of them…

One of the things I’ve loved about social networking (ie blogging, twitter, facebook, online church etc) is discovering ideas, stories, resources and supporting people in whatever way I can. Raising awareness of some stories we’d prefer to ignore or forget. And learn about things we didn’t know much about or be shown them in a new light.

I really want to find a way to do that, and my first attempt is going to be starting ‘LFS Introducing…‘ inviting guests to share what they are passionate about in a blog post.

This might be…

…organisations who are trying to make the world a better place.

…individuals telling us about the work they do and how people could support them better

…bloggers sharing with us what their blog is all about

…sharing resources or art that may encourage, raise awareness or inspire

…events that could equip groups or individuals to do what they are called to do

…people raising awareness of issues we’d maybe prefer to pretend didn’t exist

The possibilities are pretty endless, and I would love to get as wide a variety as I can. I know this is just a wee blog and I don’t have the massive readership compared to some blogs, but I hope that won’t stop people from being willing to share.

My hope is also that people who don’t have their own blog may come on board too. And to increase the number of stories, I am happy to keep people and certain details anonymised if that is necessary to be able to share on such a public forum.

I’ll also be shutting down my old blog ‘Musings of a Koala‘ which I no longer write on, which means people will not be able to access my old posts there – yes that includes the ‘journey into pregnancy crisis work’ series! I’ll also be doing a massive clear out of posts from this blog too.

If you would like to be part of LFS Introducing… or know of something or someone or an organisation that you think has a story worth sharing, please get in touch by leaving a comment below.

And yes. You can spread the word on this one. In fact, I’d LOVE it if you did!!

Honest Scrap Award

Lucy at Looking for Something Deeper has given my blog the ‘Honest Scrap’ award. This is my second blogging award from Lucy (I could get a seriously big head here). But I love that I now get to give seven others this same award…it’s just tough to choose only seven.

Here are the instructions:

1. Thank the person who gave you the award and list their blog and link it.
2. Share “10 Honest things” about yourself.

3. Present this award to 7 others whose blogs you find brilliant in content and/or design, or those who have encouraged you.

4. Tell those 7 people they’ve been awarded HONEST SCRAP and inform them of these guidelines in receiving the award.

10 honest things…

1. I’m not always as honest as people make me out to be on this blog. I think a lot of people think that I have bared my entire soul through blogging, but actually you only see a fraction. A larger fraction than you would have done a few years ago if I’d been blogging, but a fraction nonetheless.

2. I miss my younger brother and sister sooooo much. Another Christmas/New Year without them is almost unbearable.

3. Having said that, I love facebook because it seems to be bringing us back together. I pray that the hope I have is not a false hope that we will be together again soon. Dancing to Veggie Rocks, watching One Tree Hill (with Giraffe) & Top Gear (with Monkey).

4. I have a thing for cuddly toys. Namely brown teddy bears and stuffed disney ones. Every time someone gets me a new one my Mum just shakes her head in a ‘how did I end up with a crazy daughter like this’ kinda way. I’m not sure my sister and brother have never gotten over being denied permission to buy me a giant stuffed Winnie the Pooh for my 16th birthday. That would have been hilarious.

5. I have a mild anger problem. The ‘assassin of amped emotions’ gets the better of me often. This results in yelling, ranting and use of very atrocious language. And no, I’m not proud of it.

6. It’s only now that I’m on the wonderful injections of depo provera that I realise how crazy it was to be living the way I was before. I actually begin to notice I’m in pain now…! And I don’t go through 2 packets of painkillers per month.

7. I’m an emotional person. Like Lucy, I love deeply and it can be very painful. Often when I begin to pray and really intercede for someone I start to feel some of their pain. That can be scary at times.

8. I love kids. Maybe because I love being a big kid! I miss doing dancing stuff with children especially.

9. I’m unbelievably untidy but like having a place for everything and everything in its place. My Mum labels my life ‘organised chaos’.

10. The two things I wish I’d gone for instead of listening to the people whose opinion I cared about most: Dance teaching and Medicine.

And here are the 7 bloggers I’m awarding…(what can I say, I’m bad at maths!)

1. Leading and Loving It – I’ve loved getting to know Lori over the last few months, and just am so encouraged by her blog and our chats when we’re at Central Christian Church’s Facebook campus. It’s doubly cool because now another of my fave bloggers, Brandi is blogging there too now!

2. From Africa, With Love - Caroline is an ‘in-real-life’ friend, though actually we’ve only really seen each other in person a handful of times. I met her on my first day visiting the pregnancy crisis centre where she was a volunteer. Caroline is one wise lady and her love and desire to follow Jesus with all her life is so apparent through what she writes, but also with what she does. Oh, and she has a very cute baby son…

3. InProgress - Tam is another lovely lady whose blog I love. Her sense of humour, her honesty and openness is something I admire. She has inspired me and encouraged me in so many ways. And she is a lot of fun!

4. The State That I Am InMr TSTIAI is another in-real-life friend. In fact his whole family and I have become very good friends to the point we all went on holiday together back in October. Both he and his wife, Bringonthejoy just have poured so much love and encouragement into my life. And we share a love for beach, surf, alternative music and good food (namely chocolate, pancakes & Bombay Feast). But I also think his blog rocks – very thought provoking & inspiring.

5. 65_RedRosesEva herself is an inspiration. Her strength, her courage, her honesty. She doesn’t sugarcoat anything, and isn’t afraid to make herself vulnerable. She is kind, creative, talented, caring and passionate. And motivated to make as much as a positive difference to the world in everything she does.

6. Shaping the Space – I got to know David and his wife, Diane when I started blogging at Grace Note Showers. They have brought me so much encouragement, and I hope it’s not long before we meet ‘in real life’. They are some of the most kind and thoughtful people I’ve met on the blogosphere. Their faith is huge as is their passion for God and loving others.

7. Coffee Shop Journal – For a long time it’s felt like Marla has been a part of our smallgroup despite the fact she lives a whole ocean away in the Sunshine State! The greatest thing I’ve learned from Marla is the importance of community and taking time out to replenish and listen to God. Her coffee shop journal posts never fail to challenge and provoke thought, and we also both love Starbucks! :)

and I’m going to break the rules…

8. Confessions of a somewhat reluctant atheist/Musings of a Scot- Carolyn is one of my best blog friends. There are no words that could fully explain how glad I am to have met Carolyn in the blog and twitter spheres! She describes herself as a reluctant atheist, but I see so much of Jesus’ heart in Carolyn. Kind, caring, sacrificial, honest, compassionate, fun…and a fellow Scottish lass! :)

Animated Advent Fun: Bekah’s Corner

Disappointingly, this year I didn’t get an advent calendar in time for December 1st.

Can everybody say numpty? Yep, that’s what I am.

But then someone pointed me towards Bekah’s Corner. I LOVE it. In serious awe of Bekah’s creativity and art skills. She’s doing a whiteboard animation advent calendar throughout December (until Christmas Day I’m guessing!)

You gotta check it out.

And don’t just be a blog lurker…we bloggers love to hear from the folks who are visiting and looking through the stuff we post. It gives us real encouragement, so if you do decide to head over to Bekah’s Corner of the blogosphere leave a comment. And if you like her stuff, tell your friends to check it out too. :)