Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Cyber "Lessons"

In today's technology driven world almost everyone is "connected". You want ideas on the best places to travel and within minutes there is more than enough information at your fingertips to make an educated decision. There are online support groups and message boards for just about any topic you can think of –– from parenting to buying a new car to moving to India. Friendships are formed online. Relationships are made. And many times there are lessons to be learned.

I love reading blogs. Some of my favorite blogs tend to be travel-based where I can visit some of the world's most amazing places through someone else's words. Sometimes I find great recipes or photography tips. Other times I find things entries that make me laugh. And quite often I read blogs that can bring tears to my eyes. Here are just three examples from many who have inspired me lately.

I have been part of an online parenting community called Storknet since February 2001. I have made some amazing friends over the past 11 years and the members there helped me through some of the darkest times after losing Allison. Two years ago one of our members, Stephanie, tragically passed away at barely 33-years-old. She had two little kids, ages 3 and 19 months.  Over the past two years her husband has been blogging about his journey in life without Stephanie.  His strength and faith never ceases to amaze me. He has found ways to keep Stephanie's memory alive in each and every day. His ability to find joy in his children, in life and in God should be a testament to each one of us.

During my last two years of high school my mom met a wonderful woman while working on the school levy campaign. This woman went on to become one of mom's best friends. I dated her stepson, her daughters were in Matt's and my wedding, and she was the first person I reached out to when my mother died. No matter how much time has passed since we last spoke, she is there when I need her. She has raised two awesome daughters, who also share her best qualities. Her oldest, Kate, has started a blog called Perchable, where she helps inspire parents to be the best they can be and recognizes special people who truly are "perchable" and are making an impact on children’s lives. She has such a way with words and each one of her entries will leave you with wanting to be a better parent and person.

It was through Kate that I discovered the Perry family's blog, Carrying Collin.  Joanna and Brian had great careers, just purchased their first home and were expecting their first child. In April, their world came crashing down as they found out their unborn son, Colin Patrick, had anencephaly. As I write this blog entry, Joanna is in labor. Colin Patrick is not expected to live more than minutes. Losing a child is something no person should ever have to go through. Every blog entry they write and photo they take, while full of heartache, is a great reminder that there is hope, even when all hope seems lost. There is a reason to smile, even when we cannot see why. There is a reason to be thankful in each and every day.

It is amazing how people whom you may have never met "in real life" and probably never will, can impact you. How their strength and faith and tenacity can make you want to strive to be a better person. How through their words you can be reminded that life is short and you should stop wasting it on the things and people in life who don't matter or care and start spending it with the things and people who do. Sometimes, all it takes is a few clicks to remember some of the most important life lessons.

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