my RL (in) Arkansas

photo with and by Brooke Robinson

A few days ago I climbed another tree to retrieve one of my 4 boys. He was about 2 stories high, dangling and tangled in a mess of saw briars. I stood on a thick vine that wobbled, leaned my shoulder into a branch, held another vine with one hand, and finally released him with the other. I’ve blocked it out of my mind, how high up we were when he hopped into my arms.

I am busy, and I’m not the kind of busy that checks off a to-do list. I’m the kind that NEVER EVER knows what’s coming next. The to-do list gets little Hulk pictures drawn on it and sits wadded up under my kitchen table next to about 500 broken crayons.

THIS is exactly why I need my girlfriends, online and  off. If I knew how to write code that could make the words flash on and off in bold rainbow explosions, this is where I would be using it:


I’m so grateful to connect in this space with you who often have strange things in common with me. Often I long for my friends who love poetry, have guitar-playing husbands, like similar music, have 4 boys, like mustard on their sausage biscuits, and are familiar with sensory needs. Often I long for the older women who come here to pour words that encourage me to press on. I feel such strong connection to people I’ve never really met.

BUT when I’ve climbed to the top of a tree with my heart banging in my chest, when I haven’t slept in days, or when I find out my baby has a hole in his heart, there are women here with me in real life who sometimes literally hold me up. They listen to me and get to see my facial expressions. They say “if you need me, I’ll be there,” and they mean it, and they show up, often know when I need them without my asking.

In this online world, haven’t we wanted to intermingle the two, those we read and those who live near-by? Haven’t we wished for that conference everyone is talking about to simply be meeting in our hometowns?

Have you heard about this, (in)RL hosted by (In)Courage?

Note: I would be in the above video had I been able to attend one of those far-away conferences, but sometimes life says STAY HOME, right?

If you’re local to NWArkansas, join me and some of my real-life girlfriends (like Holley, Stephanie, Sara, Heidi, and Emily) for a local gathering. You don’t have to be a blogger or a mother or church girl to go. You just need to appreciate community and friends that you can actually hug with your arms, not just with (((parenthesis))).

If you’re not local to here, have you checked to see if there’s a gathering near you? Or have you thought about hosting a gathering, whether big or small? There are no real rules here. Just register and connect with women near you.

Also, read what Jen from Balancing Beauty and Bedlam has to say about it, and tomorrow read about it over at Simple Mom!

{also PS: seriously if you’re local, please come?}

About me


Reply February 19, 2012

B e a u t i f u l lead-in picture, Amber. Makes my arms ache for a YOU hug :).

And you've captured this perfectly, what (in)RL dreams to accomplish. Words and imagery that paints a picture I can actually see :).


Reply February 19, 2012

OH, thinking of you climbing that tree to get your boy. My heart and the brick in my belly get it all too well. And yes to inspiration and encouragement from online friends as well as real body-squeezing hugs from those around us. We need it all.

Joy @ joy in this journey
Reply February 19, 2012

Of course you've climbed those trees to rescue your boys. Yet another thing they didn't tell us about motherhood!

How did I not know about your baby's heart? One more we havd in common. Really hoping to see you in real life on Friday, amber.

Reply February 19, 2012

i get to go to a gathering in NC with blogger friend Amy Sullivan! can't wait to meet her in person.

and so busy you don't know what's happening next? i know. sometimes the logistics get so tangled as far as work and boys and sporting events and church....i feel like i could maybe run a shipping company or something.

Reply February 19, 2012

Perfectly, beautifully said Amber. It is feeling the arms of a much-loved friend close around you in the best of times and in the worst of times. I remember those day filled to the brim with the unexpected. They sped by like the wind, but there were those days that seemed endless.
You are doing a wonderful job Amber. I am cheering you on, standing in amazement at all you do. And still there is that beautiful, poetic heart. You are a wonder.

Reply February 20, 2012

The first thing that crossed my mind when I opened up your post was "They are so pretty!" Just had to share that little tid bit with you because we as women need to hear those things often, especially as we stay at home. Thank you for your heart to share & yes I am looking forward to the incourage event online. Hopefully there is a gathering in Atlanta!

Reply February 20, 2012

"friends that you can actually hug with your arms, not just with (((parenthesis)))." - Greatest. Line. Ever.

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