Today, I am participating in the HighCallingBlogs’ “We Are Real” project. My thoughts about online friendships and how they have impacted my life are being posted at Ann Kroeker’s blog. And she, my new on- and off-line friend, is posting here. You’re going to love meeting Ann. And when you’re done reading her thoughts, jump over to her blog and visit me. Here’s Ann . . .

I found Wide Open Spaces through High Calling Blogs (HCB), the online community of Christian bloggers to which Charity and I belong.

At High Calling Blogs, we explore the intersection of faith and work. As I scroll through the new blog posts written by HCB members, I might be reading an article written by the director of a bank or a poem composed by a mom of six. It’s a delight to “meet” people online who write well and think deeply, but with members from all over the world—Australia, Ireland, Holland, Canada, and all over the United States—I didn’t expect to meet another Hoosier.

What a surprise, then, to be cruising through the new HCB posts one day in February and find myself at a post that referenced morel mushrooms and Indiana “hollars.” I’m a Hoosier, and I know about morel mushroom hunts in Indiana “hollars.” Bloggers in Australia and Holland generally don’t.

After that, I tried to remember to stop by Wide Open Spaces now and then. Each time I found thoughtful ideas and excellent writing. But I didn’t really know Charity. Then L.L. Barkat, who had met Charity in person at a writing conference, suggested I follow Charity’s blog more closely and consider asking her to write for us at the main HCB site.

I did. I followed Charity’s blog, and I asked her to write for us. But something more grew from the invitation.

We started visiting each other’s blogs regularly and commenting. We’d see each other in the discussions over at High Calling Blogs. Or we’d spot a tweet on Twitter or a status update on Facebook. Via e-mail, we worked together on a post she was creating.

All of that “virtual” interaction…it seemed very real. Even though we’d never met in person—in “real” life—I felt like I was getting to know Charity.

But somewhere along the way, I discovered that she’s not only in Indiana but lives a mere 20 minutes away! All those bloggers from all over the world, and the one I was getting to know well ends up living practically in my back yard.

We decided to meet in real life.

We met for coffee, started talking and didn’t stop until 11:30 at night.

A few days later we met for dinner at my place and a week or so after that, she served me dessert at her place. She’s given me zucchini recipes and actual zucchini. Wednesday night she came over to my place and ate a piece of homemade bread and some cookies (I left them in too long—sorry they were so crispy, Charity). We continue discussing food online—she joins Food on Fridays, and the other day on Twitter, I posted a link to some pesto I made and it turned out to be the same recipe Charity uses as her base.

What started online has deepened in person, and what we’re enjoying in person is enhanced online.

And it often involves food.

Charity and I sipped tea with honey the other night around my kitchen table, observing how fast we’ve gotten to know each other. Charity pointed out how interesting it is that each time we’ve met there’s been food or drink. Even when we went jogging, she brought me the zucchini I forgot when I was at her house. We didn’t eat food that morning, but we shared it.

Food is tangible. It brings us together and nourishes, if we choose well. Considering we assimilate it at a cellular level, food is very real.

Charity and I are experiencing fresh food and rich friendship. We didn’t need the food in order to deepen the friendship, but what we’re enjoying is as real as the yellow squash I can pull out of the fridge and slice up for dinner.

We’ll continue to swap recipes in real-life and at Food on Fridays.

Won’t you join us?


 Charity and Ann’s Basic Pesto
Charity gets creative with it, but I still new and haven’t branched out. We both started with this basic recipe from Simply in Season.


1 cup basil leaves (packed)
3 cloves garlic
1/3 cup pine nuts
3 Tbs Parmesan cheese (grated)
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup olive oil

1. Place everything except olive oil in food processor until finely chopped.

2. While food processor is running, slowly add the olive oil until it becomes a thick paste.

Servings: 16
Yield: 1 cup (serving size 1 Tbsp)