When I was working on my grad degree online through Abilene Christian University I would often get asked the question, "So don't you feel disconnected? Do you miss the classroom experience?" And I could whole heartedly reply with a resounding, "NO!" because I found that I grew to know and became far more connected to my classmates than I ever would have in real life! A huge part of that I believe was the time spent together. Because class was all online, we could log in when convenient and I'm pretty sure we all put in more hours doing that than we would have meeting outside of class to work on projects in person.
The other component to the closeness and familiarity I think can be attributed to the fact that we weren't spending most of our time as we would in a classroom, sitting and listening to a lecture. The majority of our time spent logged on to class was interactive, and it was a lot of time. I also think people are simply more prone to share with you from behind a computer screen than with a stranger in person.
I really ended up loving that click and mortar experience and it opened my eyes to the misconceptions promulgated by older generations about the impersonal aspects of online interactions. It doesn't make in-person encounters any less genuine. I simply learned that online situations can also be genuine as well.
So when my graduate school experience ended, I found myself online looking for new ways to interact (as well as share and document) and somehow discovered the world of bloggers. I have been so pleasantly surprised with what I've found, and with whom I've connected.
I stopped Facebooking a few years ago (even though I'm old enough to have been on it when it first started, was only used by college kids, and was called "The Facebook") and I find that I enjoy blogging so much more than Facebook. I think it's the fact that when people blog, there's an editing aspect involved. What they want to say is often planned (many serious bloggers even have editorial calendars - they're effectively running one-woman online magazines!) and when they say it it's typically focused and rich with content. I just prefer that over reading what everyone had for lunch. Sorry, Facebook. You lose.
So, all that to say, here are some (just some!) of my favorite blogs. Most are mommy style blogs, which I love for the autobiography aspect (and believe it or not the friendship aspect as well) but a couple here are money, fashion, food, or living well type of blogs which I've also thoroughly enjoyed. I hope you do too!
By the way, if you get into blogging check into the Bloglovin' app on your iPhone. It's free and pulls together all the blogs you subscribe to in one nice feed.
Andrew and Shay
Shay Shull lives in McKinney, TX and is Sean from The Bachelor's sister. She is a Christ-centered, strong, driven mommy and her blog always makes me feel like I'm at a slumber party with an awesome friend! Shay was so encouraging to me as a new mom!
Melanie Shankle lives in San Antonio, TX and is the author of Sparkly Green Earrings (a MUST read). I'm so excited for her new book coming out in February (perfect Valentine's gift to tell your guy to give to you!) and love her hilarious blog about daily (real) life.
Sophie Hudson lives in Birmingham, Alabama and is the author of A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet (another must read). She and Melanie (above) are much coveted speakers at Christian women's events. They also have a podcast that cracks me up.
Confessions of a Pioneer Woman
This is Ree Drummond's (The Pioneer Woman) blog. I love seeing her Oklahoma ranch and reading about her always-from-scratch home cooking. (Because reading about it is as close as I get to making it.)
Fed & Fit
This very professional blog is done by a San Antonio gal named Cassandra. It's about the Paleo lifestyle. Also something I only get as far as reading about...
Get Rich Slowly
This is an excellent blog about personal finance, one of my passions (albeit weird). Founded by a Portland, OR guy named J.D. Roth, this site has garnered much attention and followers and is consistently sound in its advice.
Kelly Stamps records her family's goings on at her blog, but moreover she shares about Christ. She writes for a magazine in her hometown in northwest Arkansas and has garnered a large following on her blog. I recently learned that 9 couples have met and married because of an online dating event she held on her blog!! Crazy!
Letters to Aubrey
This blog is written by my dear friend Krystal in San Antonio. Krystal and I met through the church small group she and her husband Kyle led 6 years ago. She was there for me in big ways when we lost Elijah, so she can't get rid of me now! Krystal blogs about daily life with her precious daughter Aubrey and the sweet baby they are expecting through adoption.
Andrea is friends with Shay Shull and I love seeing pics of her precious kids and darling always decorated for the holidays house. Andrea teaches at a private Christian school so I feel we are of kindred spirit. I love both her mommy and teacher tips.
More Than Money
Written by J.D. Roth, this is an off-shoot site of Get Rich Slowly. It's incredibly profound. I find that 'incredibly profound' is hard to come by these days, so you should definitely check this blog out.
Pinterest Told Me To
I have never been into shopping for clothes (seriously, I really do hate it), but when I found myself with a whole new body and no more borrowed maternity wear (and no time to go to the mall), Shaeffer's blog came to the rescue. I feel like I can keep up with what's in style because of my new personal shopper, Shaeffer!
Rage Against the Minivan
Kristen Howerton is an opinionated columnist and blogs about relevant cultural issues. She's passionate about advocating for the little guy, whoever that may be at the moment in our society. Her posts always leave me thinking.
Let me warn you, if you start it's hard to stop! And these are just your gateway blogs. Start reading, and you'll find yourself linking over to even more. But blog wisely and you'll be the better for it.
Another warning: don't blog and drive. You might forget about the driving part.