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Into the Unknown: Lori O’Leary

In the ever-transmogrifying world of social media, it takes a village to spread the word about anything. My blog lives because of its readers, and I appreciate every one of you. But, for the remainder of this week, I am going to thank some special people: my advocates, people who go beyond reading my blog and telling me how much they enjoy it. They share it with their friends and spread the word about it whenever and wherever they can. That I never asked any of them to be my advocate is even more humbling for me.

I’ve never met Lori O’Leary. It was my good fortune when she found me. Back in February, I wrote a post about growing up with Kellie Rasberry, who in turn shared it with her 150,000+ fans on her Facebook Page.

Lori was one of those fans. She sent me a friend request on Facebook. Thank everything in the universe, I accepted. It’s one of those little social media lessons: take requests from people you don’t know; you may keep a sample of them in your life. In a few cases, you might just make a true friend for the duration.

I don’t even know why Lori started reading my blog. Curiosity? Kindred feeling? Everyone made her feel like she lives right around the corner? Whatever her reasons, she is an advocate of the stratospheric order. Almost every day of the week, she shares my writing with her network, not just with a blase link, but with strong, witty endorsements and teasing commentary. Some of her selfless words have caused me to tear. I still don’t understand why someone I’ve never met would care so much about what I have to say.

And, I’m more grateful than I can convey in a few meager words, pounded into cyberspace.

Lori lives in Idaho, a freaking long way from me and not easy to reach by any means. Still, a visit to Idaho is moving up my list. I want to meet her. Hug her. Spend time hearing her voice so that I can underline her written words with her unique melody. In fact, Lori, if we go hiking together, I’ll bring the camera.

From communing with Lori for most of 2011, I know she is proud of her kids. She exercises to stay healthy and stave off negativity, just like me. She works hard. A visit to Ireland was a dream for her, and I suspect she’d like to see more. Her wrenching glimpses of people who disappoint are shards of her soul that somehow fit with mine. I know those places, too.

Real treasure isn’t easy to uncover, no matter how far we plunder the depths of the sea. We could dig the earth for decades and fail to find anything truly valuable. Rarer still is discovering that forgotten hoard of cash or winning the lottery.

Lori, your tireless connection means more than these to me.

Bloggers You’ll Love:

Today, Dena Botbyl at Evolution You gets the entire blogger spotlight. Dena found her way through the despair of depression and started her blog in 2009 to share how she made meaningful changes in her life, changes that have lasted. If depression affects you or someone in your life, follow this link and sign up for the pre-launch of Dena’s e-book “Beat Anxiety, Overcome Depression.” Reading her blog has helped me on days when I despaired. I know her book will speak to you, too.


39 Comments Post a comment
  1. It is amazing how we can connect in so many meaningful ways with people that we have never met. I now have a lot of folks that I care about what they do, what they say and what they think about. I read about their lives, their kids and spouses and the good and bad things they go through.

    I laugh when they say funny things and shed a tear when things are hard and sad. They are there with words of encouragement when things go a bit off kilter as well.

    The lovely Miss TK had her Facebook site hacked so badly last week that it took two days to get it all fixed, all whole checking bank accounts etc. to make sure the problem wasn’t worse. It was really touching how many folks that I have never met had such encouraging and helpful words for Teresa.

    Having seen Lori’s comments and the sharing she does, she is one fine friend to have, even if Idaho is a long way to go to meet a friend.

    December 1, 2011
    • This social media thing is an interesting form of people watching, isn’t it? I always wonder how you have time to do as much as you do, yet still keep up with everyone and everything.

      I am glad to hear Miss TK is all right. Having an account hacked is like robbery. Such a violation, and impossible to tell what they did.

      December 1, 2011
      • I tried to jump back on here earlier this am, but, had a meeting up in nowheresville outside of O’Burg and no reception at all on either the iThingy or the laptop. Amazing, huh, just 90 miles away and stuck in a dead zone.

        Anyway…..the hacking thing is such a violation, you get mad a bit and then try to make sure other accounts aren’t compromised, etc. It’s OK now and she even was able to get all her photos back. A friend of hers has a bunch of her albums on one of the backup sites and was able to share back to her, very cool.

        Oh, re the “time” thing, I was able to make friends with Dr. Who during one of his visits and he left me with a few tips on how to elongate time as necessary and this allots me a few extra hours a week.

        December 1, 2011
      • Glad all is ok with her account and nothing else was compromised. What a stressor.

        December 1, 2011
      • I’m so sorry to read about what happened to Miss TK. What should we look for/know in order to avoid this?

        December 1, 2011
      • Lou Mello #

        Cheryl, re the hacking, she received a pop up window similar to a chat box from Facebook Security. It advised that someone had tried to access her FB account and it continued to a box to re-secure the account by changing her password. That was followed by a screen requiring some additional security questions and also to change the email password associated with FB. All of these screens were identical to real FB screens because I have had to do them when someone tried to access my account from Atlanta. The last screen asked for the last 6 digits of the credit card associated with her FB acct. That’s when I told her to cancel, but, too late.

        December 1, 2011
      • Lou, that is a nightmare! And how is someone supposed to know that something isn’t correct? I’m so sorry to hear that she has had to go through this!

        December 1, 2011
  2. I’ve had the good fortunate of getting to know Lori… through you. From your blog, she hopped over to mine and we became friends on Facebook. She is just as generous and as encouraging as you describe. I believe in the power of social media to connect us with kindred spirits. We are bound by some sort of invisible thread and when we discover one another it’s magic.

    Thank you for featuring Lori. She deserves this moment in the spotlight.

    And yay to Dena!!!

    December 1, 2011
    • Thank you Angie. I’m very glad I’ve found your blog too. In fact, Andra has opened my eyes to a lot of different blogs that I’m now “follow”. I’m very thankful and am reminded of, or taught, something every day.

      December 1, 2011
    • It’s hard for people NOT to connect with you, Angie. I’m glad Lori found you, too.

      The blogosphere does contain some fascinating folks. I am glad you like several of the same ones I do, Lori.

      December 1, 2011
      • ah… tear. I just think I have a radar for kindred spirits. (thinking about the woman who sat on my couch today. oh, wait… you detected it first!)

        December 1, 2011
      • It was good to see you. I’ll let you know how the thing goes on Monday and whether I recommend it.

        December 1, 2011
  3. Very nice! Since Lori is such a nice person, and supporter of the Cootchie Mama, I shall even refrain from the Idaho joke. Although I must admit that it is hard to do so.

    As much as it is often said the computers and technology sometimes isolate people, I have met some of my best friends this way. Some of been close enough to visit easily – and even get together with regularly for lunch – but some are so far that we have either never met or met only once. But those friendships are just as valuable. Some even more so because the are based on true shared interests and values.

    OK, still trying not to make the Idaho and potato jokes…. but they are so appealing!

    December 1, 2011
    • It’s funny, because I miss my friends I can see in person when I don’t see them for a while. But, I also miss my cyber friends when I don’t see them here or someplace online. Lots of people talk about the emptiness of online connections and focusing on those that are “real,” but I agree with so many other comments today. We can make meaningful connections online and meet kindred spirits.

      December 1, 2011
  4. One of the best things about the internet is that it has introduced me to good friends and has made me a little bit less insular.

    December 1, 2011
  5. What a wonderful post, Andra. I have made some wonderful connections by taking the leap of faith to accept friend requests from people I don’t know. It’s been great. I’m heartened by the bonds forged and friendships created with people online and consider it wonderful gift. Thanks for writing this.

    December 1, 2011
    • One of the best things about the internet is that it introduces us to people we’d like to know but might never run across in our day-to-day lives. Most of my friends are in that category now. I don’t know how I would’ve met them any other way.

      December 1, 2011
  6. Good gracious! What a shock! It never entered into my mind that you would write a blog about me – I’d say I’m speechless, but obviously I’m not (but I am stuttering)…what I am is honored. Wow. Uh, okay, so maybe I’m a tad bit speechless.

    Thank you Andra for your acceptance. Your words have taken me many places and I’ve experienced many emotions when traveling with you and where your blogs take me. There are so many things about your blog that draws me in every day – I feel like I’m visiting with friends when I post my comments and so many times the comments have a life of their own. I do so enjoy your writing and so many times when I’m searching for how I feel your blog says it for me – it connects me to something far bigger than me and my existence and lets me know that there are others out there who share similarities as well as lovely differences. So many times you’ve brought a lovely memory (or a not so lovely memory) to the forefront and I’ve shed many a tear (as I have with your post today). Through your words I feel connected. I don’t know whether that makes sense as I’m not as eloquent as you are and I’m not waxing poetic here with my run on sentences…. You have broadened my horizons. I could go on and on and on (and I have as I feel like a blithering idiot, but I do not seem to be able to find the words…maybe because you haven’t written them for me?), but mostly I’d like to say that I’m blessed and honored and I’m very, very thankful for finding your blog and for the connection that we’ve made.

    Oh, Carnell – bring on those potato jokes. I can take the potato jokes, it’s the bashing of my Boise State football team that has me seeing red. Ha. By the way…Idaho is known as the GEM state but all the other states know us for our famous potatoes. Carnell do you know that it’s difficult to purchase an Idaho potato in Idaho? Yeah isn’t that a fun fact?

    Angie – reading your blog brings a smile to my face and a sigh to my heart. I love reading about your boys and enjoy how you look at your world. Calm. Peace. Loving.

    Andra (yes, more….) I guess what I’m trying to say is that your blog touches me and makes me a better person in many ways – it opens my eyes, and I feel, well, connected and not alone. I’m honored you feel the same. Okay, I’m quitting now because this “comment” is way too long.

    December 1, 2011
    • I fixed the typo. :)

      And, you are a better writer than you think you are, Lori. I’m grateful to have you in my life. xo

      December 1, 2011
  7. I stopped to read other things before coming here this morning; I’ve been to England ’cause Kate’s post was first in my email; then to an op-ed piece from Townhall about which I felt compelled to comment; and then Angie’s link to Kimberly Zook’s post. It was a circuitous route to your blog today, but having read it, I have now, several times today, found “it” again — further evidence of the wonderful, expanding world via the blogosphere, and the friendships, camaraderie, and support to be gained from simply talking to one another and actually listening to what they have to say! What a concept!

    I’ve never met Lori either (or Michael, Lou, Angie, Vera, the list goes on), yet I feel as though I’ve come to know her just a bit through her comments and her cheerleading for you. :) She is further proof positive of all the “treasures” of friendships to be found if we are open to the possibilities. Your post acknowledging that friendship is lovely.

    (Incidentally, Lori, the parts of Idaho I’ve seen are awesome, and I wouldn’t dream of cracking jokes about it.)

    December 1, 2011
    • Karen, you are so very right – it is beautiful here and there’s so many things to do and see. I’m hoping to ride the Weiser to New Meadows bike trail this spring and I’m hoping to once again bike the trail I biked several years ago with a friend of mine as a tribute to him. The tunnels, the tressels, the scenery and the people are absolutely beautiful. Idaho’s a very diverse place and I’m blessed to live here…potatoes and all. ;)

      Thanks for the warm words.

      December 1, 2011
      • Every pictures and article I ever see about Idaho is incredible. I know I will see some of it someday.

        What are your favorite parts?

        December 1, 2011
      • Oh golly, that’s a tough one. It’s got something for everyone. Culture (love the Shakespearean festival), the arts, high profile concerts, and then you have just a few minutes away a ski resort in the winter, mtn. biking areas, greenbelts, zip lining, beautiful natural scenery, city life, farm life…and they seem to co-exist fairly well. Oh, we’re not without our trials and tribulations (have a bad reputation from up north in some areas), but for the most part it seems like the best place to live for me. We have four full seasons (although I wish Spring and Summer would last a little longer). I could go on and on (as per usual) but it’s also one of those places that in order to enjoy it fully, you must visit it. It’s not prettier than any other state (each state has absolutely awesome scenery and has positives as well as negatives), but it’s my state, I love it, and I am proud to call it home. :)

        December 1, 2011
      • The hiking must be incredible.

        December 1, 2011
    • Karen, it is such a blessing to have found you again. That you enjoy spending time here is a gift to me. I am glad, too, that this blog has led readers to discover others who are worthy of a read.

      December 1, 2011
  8. I’m late today, however, it is wonderful to read how digital brings people together. Lori, you always comment from the heart and I do so enjoy reading all the comments (esp. the Loumeister and Carnell man repartee.)

    Andra, a lovely testimonial to the power for connections. Thank you for a bright spot this morning.

    December 1, 2011
    • The comments and people who spend time here really do enrich this blog. It makes the blog so much better than I could ever do on my own.

      December 1, 2011
    • Thank you Cheryl. Andra brings out the best in me.

      December 1, 2011
  9. Another heartfelt and beautiful tribute. Just because we can’t see people face to face doesn’t mean we can’t connect – or that those connections are any less vital for being invisible.

    December 1, 2011
    • It is a perfect way to meet our kin, our people. I hope to meet you someday, too!!

      December 1, 2011
  10. Heartwarming today, Andra – and Lori. Wonderful to hear how this special friendship has blossomed between two great individuals. As you say, Andra: friendship, forged over time and honed by faithfulness, is a pearl of great price.

    December 1, 2011
    • Friendship has been a hard thing for me for a lot of my life. It is always good to know that people outside our close families care about us.

      December 1, 2011
  11. Who would ever have thought that it would be this easy, simple, to connect with true soul kin from worlds we’ve never visited? I am thankful every day for the way the internet, with its social media and ever-increasing ease of communicating from the most mundane to the most soulful of thoughts, has enriched my own life.

    December 1, 2011
    • Blogging has probably given me the most, Ruth. People may find me through some other platform, but blogs do become more of an investment. Writing this blog has broadened my circle and enriched my life.

      December 1, 2011
  12. Blogging is much more than I ever thought it would be! Here’s to expanding our social circle with cyber words (and hugs). :D

    December 1, 2011
    • Amen, Nancy!! Here’s a big hug for you til I can give you one for real.

      December 1, 2011

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