About the Author

At (in)courage, we empower women to be like Jesus. Our writers share what’s going on in their life and how God’s right in the middle of it. They bring their joys & struggles so that you can feel less alone and be empowered by the hope Jesus gives.

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things we love
& you will too!
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Reader Interactions


  1. My favorite thing about (in) real life friendships is that we can actually hug each other when we need one, or watch movies together and eat popcorn (in the same room!). I love my online friends, I do, but I really like the face-to-face aspect of talking with my friends.

  2. my favorite thing about (in) real life friendships are the hugs. Sometimes you just need to feel real arms around you letting you know that your not alone.

  3. My favourite thing about (in)real friendships is the time we get to share – visiting, playing games, helping each other, working and learning, serving others. I love today’s giveaway – thank you for your generosity!

  4. My favorite thing about (in) real life friendships is sitting together over a cup of hot tea and sharing from the heart, taking turns with joys and sorrows, listening, nodding, understanding, laughing, crying, praying, and yes, always the hugs.

  5. My favorite thing is laughing. I love having a really good time and laughing without having to worry about anything.

  6. I signed up for the meetup – setting one up in my town. Haven’t figured out a location yet, but will do that.

  7. My favorite thing about (in) real life friendships is the honesty of the friendships, the caring and true listening. Such a blessing.

  8. No, I have not registered for (in)RL. Trying to get through this month and then I can focus on my plans for 2012.

  9. I am far away from family and friends right now (in Nigeria) so these posts help me feel closer to fellowship and it helps me feel like I am not alone even though I haven’t met these friends face to face. Thanks for ministering in this way! 🙂

  10. My favorite thing about real life friendships is after you start talking, you look up and it’s hours later. You talked about anything and everything. Time just flew by.

  11. Just a few of my favorite things of in real friendships are – sharing hugs, seeing our children play together, dinners out or in, laughing together until it hurts… And so much more.

  12. My favorite thing about real life friendships is after you start talking, you look up and it’s hours later. You talked about anything and everything. Time just flew by.

  13. My favorite thing about real life friendships are the talks, the encouragement and the accountability.

  14. my favorite thing about real life friendships, is that they are something that money cannot buy, that time and space cannot change..As a believer I also thank God for the blessing of real Life friends, that through the years, through many miles of separation, you have been given one of the greatest earthly gifts you can receive… the gift of a true friend, who sees you in Him, encourages you with Godly wisdom and advise, laughs with you when you laugh, cries with you when you cry, prays for you , even when you cannot, and believes for you in the best of times and the worst of times. Real Friendship is a gift… one that should be treasured and appreciated, and held in great esteem.. Real Friendship requires nurturing in truth as well… listening, caring, encouraging…. and so much more… Thanks for having this giveaway and reminding us of true gifts that we have been given and hopefully give, throughout our lives!
    Cathy B
    pbprojecthope at yahoo dot com

  15. I did start a meet up for the conference. I am really hoping to get people excited about this in Holland. How amazing that would be, though if it doesn’t work, maybe in the end I’ll join a meet up in the States!

    And what I love about the (in)real life friendships is that a lot of people don’t have the friendships they long for, me included, you definitely fill a gap while I work at getting friendships here in Holland at the same time.

  16. My favorite thing about (in) real life friendships is having that solid support system and just knowing that no matter what, we are always there for one another.

  17. I love the history of real life friendships. How they “get it” when you say just one or two words, because you have developed your own sort of vocabulary/communication and they know your heart. Makes a difference.

  18. I haven’t registered (yet) but I hope to once I figure out my travel schedule and where I’ll be on those dates. I’d LOVE to win a place setting.

  19. I’m still learning the joy of irl friendships after to many heartaches I had decided I was better on my own. That maybe I couldn’t be a good friend, but this last year God has ripped the band aid off my heart. He has brought into my life woman I’m blessed to have as friends. It’s scary it’s amazing it’s God grace.

  20. My favorite thing about (in) real friendships are that sometimes you don’t have to say anything, and yet, the other person knows what is going on. There is a honesty and trueness about this type of friendships that are so precious and can’t be explained.

  21. I can call up my in real life friends when I need to talk or we can meet up at the spur of the moment for some much needed encouragement or down time. We don’t do it often enough, but when we do it’s like we pick up right where we left off.

  22. Favourite things about (in)Real Life friendships: physical touch. seeing the other’s facial expressions, their eyes, especially, as they share sadness and encouragement. sitting together and praying. Priceless gifts that are too often taken for granted, and that are really being missed in my life now that I’ve moved to a different continent and haven’t the language skills yet for deep close friendships. (Although hugs still work!)

  23. My favorite thing about real life relationships is looking into each others eyes when speaking with someone.

  24. My friends don’t leave me alone in my struggles…they are “real” enough to share their own with me…and help me not feel alone (or like I’m the only one.)

  25. My favorite thing about (in)RL friendship is the hugs you can recieve.
    Hugs are great when things are going well and even when they are not.

  26. My favorite thing is being able to share our lives, face to face–the good, the bad, the challenging… and just being able to talk about it or pray about it.

  27. Real life friendships give me eye contact, a warm hug,
    and a personal feel ….all are indescribable.

  28. HUGS…I also love people talking to me, but that can be scary because it usually requires saying something back…

  29. I finally understand just how much I need RL friendships! I went through life believing I didn’t need anyone, that is what protected me, my heart. Isolation. Oh I would have friends but no one really knew me if you know what I mean by that. But now, God has placed some amazing godly women in my life and through them has taught me the meaning of community. Through them He has taught me to love and trust others again, trust them with my heart completely open to their love. My absolute favorite thing about friendships are the hugs that give me a boost, the talks to help guide my way, and above all else the prayers these women have prayed over me! I love them deeply!

  30. There’s just something about actually being there with friends, somthing that just typing on akeyboard can’t give us. The physical touch of holding a friend’s hand, or wiping a tear and giving a hug.

  31. My favorite thing about real life friendships is the encouragement that you receive from those sincere friends whenever you are seeking it…it is like little blessings sent directly from God when a true friend reaches out to encourage you when you need it the most(-:

  32. Favorite thing about real life friendships is being able to share, be real, & be honest….& know you’re not going to be judged. Oooooooo……I LOVE these dishes:)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  33. (In) real friendships are the ones I cherish and protect most. Laughter or tears, lunch out or a helping hand, I am deeply (in)couraged by my most real friends.

  34. I love getting together with friends, so I make sure I have dates on the calendars to be with my girlfriends!

  35. My girls know me and know when I need encouraging and know when they need to use tough love. They have been with me for close to 40 years.

  36. No matter what we face we always have someone that gas been through it and it’s encouraging to b able to have them to talk to for advice and encouragement r just to have someone to listen..thanks for all the encouraging y’all do!

  37. My favorite thing about real life friendships is the being able to share from the heart and have fun together.

  38. The face time… the smiles you see right in front of you. The honesty and vulnerability in their eyes. The things that you learn from their body language that you’d never hear over the phone (or see online).

  39. My favorite thing about (in)RL friendships is knowing there is always someone you can call/talk to who is there in those difficult times!

  40. I signed up for a meet up in my city although that whole part of it is confusing to me just a little…(using the system etc) but I will figure it out!

  41. My favorite thing about (in)RL friendships is that even when you think they are too busy or aren’t there…they are! God always provides the just right friend for whatever situation I’m dealing with. And you can’t beat a good hug!

  42. There is nothing like sitting across the table from a friend, sipping tea, sharing, and encouraging each other, in person!

  43. I have had my eye on this place setting for months but it just isn’t meant to be right now. Would love to win!!! Being a private person, it has been hard to trust others, even my ‘besties’. My favorite part of friendship is being able to trust and to be trusted. Recently, a good friend trusted us enough to pray for her when she found a breast lump.

  44. There’s nothing like (in)RL friendships! Laughing, sharing, helping each other through difficult times are what friends do…Excited to be part of the (in)RL Meetups.! I’m not only registered, I’m a HOST!! Anyone live in the Meaford, ON CA area?

  45. My fave things about in real life friendships is being able to see the other person’s face while we’re talking. It’s a different feeling with in real life conversations – a God given closeness that I treasure.

  46. I love discovering the new relationship of friendship with my 27 year old daughter. What depth to life, physical and spiritual it brings.

  47. My favorite thing about real life relationships is just that they’re REAL. My REAL friends support me through the hard times AND they keep me accountable during ALL times.

  48. My favourite thing about real life friendships is the chance to spend time together sharing what is going on in our lives

  49. My favorite thing about real life friendships is knowing each other’s hearts so well that you “get” what they mean, despite their words. Understanding each other’s hearts…so rare and beautiful.

  50. my favorite thing about real life friendship is those rare friendships when people really care about you and show that they do through random things that show they care and are thinking about you.

  51. My (in)RL friendships are few but very special but they’re not about one person, but about each other, and focused on building one another up in Christ. I’m beyond blessed for and don’t deserve these friendships.

  52. I love real friendships because I can totally be myself with her and she accepts me just as I am….and lifts me up when I am down and the laughter….oh!!! the laughter!! a merry heart is like a medicine!

    I tweeted too!

  53. My favorite thing about (in) real life friendships is comfort and praise sharing. I love being able to grab a friend’s hand when they’re crying or give a hug of love. I also like being able to share a warm smile or a knowing look.


  54. I am trying to get my women’s bible study group to host a (in) real life meetup in Georgia. Hopefully soon I can say that we’ve registered!!


  55. My favorite thing is getting to do life together…laughter, tears, birth, death, babysitting, shopping, cooking, decorating. ALL of it. Most of all, pursuing Jesus together.

    Thanks for the give-away!

  56. Always having someone on your side no matter how ridiculous you are. Conversations and dinners that can last for hours!!

  57. my favorite thing about in real life friendships is the wordless conversations that can be had simply because we’re sitting in a room together and know each other so well.

  58. My favorite thing about in {RL} friendships is being able to be myself, and knowing the other person is comfortable enough to be their self with me.

  59. My favorite thing about RL friendships is that they’re real. My true friends have seen me at my lowest and have stood by me, encouraging me, and they have rejoiced when I’m celebrating my best moments.

  60. My favorite thing about (in) real life friendships are the (in) person hugs and the uncondiitonal aspect that no matter what amount of time goes by between those visits and hugs, we just pick up like there has been no distance and the re-connecting is immediate!

  61. My favorite thing about (in) real life friendships is knowing there is someone who is nearby who cares and will listen, share, and hug. 🙂

  62. My favorite thing about (in)RL {in real life} relationships is the hug.
    There is so much that a hug can give – love, encouragement, support, understanding….
    I grew up in a family of huggers – my mother and grandmother especially. My husband, not so much, but he is coming around! And, thankfully, my children have inherited my hugginess. When you are going through something, good or trying, a genuine hug from a friend….well, it just doesn’t get much better!

  63. I look so forward to (in)real….it lifts my spirits, brightens my day and gives me renewed perspective. It’s a little treat in my day. God bless you girls!!

  64. My favorite thing about (in)real life relationships is talking clearly, loving each other through hard conversations, and always believing the best in each other as we encourage the forward/upward living.

  65. My favorite thing about (in) real life friendships is talking together, spending time together, and being there when someone needs you.

  66. My favorite thing about inReal friendships is that if I am happy, sad, confused, angry, worried, thrilled, or quiet… that’s okay. I am loved where I am at ~

  67. My favorite thing about real-life friendships is how these people become part of my life. They know me. I know them. We know one another’s kids and husbands. We become part of each other’s stories. That’s life. And I’m blessed to have some of the best friends a girl could ask for.

  68. I’m new to (in)RL, but I’m excited to explore the community; especially to see if there is something for single women to connect!

  69. My favorite thing about real life friendships, is the ability to be truthful, honest, and upfront with your friends knowing you will not be judged and they will love and pray for you even more!

  70. I enjoy the opportunity to be real and have others be real with me. I also enjoy laughing and musing over ideas and life.

  71. My favorite thing about (in) real friendships is having someone that I can share my burdens with and knowing they love me, will life me up in prayer & encourage me.

  72. My favorite things about friendship (bff) are that I can be myself, totally open and honest, she loves me anyway and the biggest belly laughs we share! We can just look at each other and know what the other is thinking. When we are in her car many times when I say something the windshield wipes come on just one time and I say “See that’s God’s confirmation.”. I love the people God has placed in my life!

  73. My favorite thing about friendships (face to face) is that you can share just about everything – things you perhaps wouldn’t share with your husband.

  74. I love sharing burdens with friends. Whether mine or theirs, when we share the burden, it’s lighter for each of us. We laugh, cry, pray, and when we leave each other, we know we have the support of a true friend.

  75. My favorite thing about in real life friendships is being able to have a conversation and see facial expressions. That’s something you miss out on online. Being able to chat over a cup of tea or a cup of coffee is a wonderful thing.

  76. My favorite thing about real life relationships is having friends who love me, who listen, who pray and who encourage me. =)
    kathy k

  77. My favorite thing about real life friendship is pointing each other to Christ and the Cross, and walking together on the journey of life!

  78. I haven’t signed up for a MeetUp yet. We aren’t sure where we are going to live come spring, so I’m waiting until I know where we’ll be. I’m excited! Can’t wait for (in)RL!

    Thanks for doing these 12 days of giveaways. This was fun!

  79. My favorite thing about IRL friendships are getting to look at faces, hold the hands, and hug the necks of those I am spending time with.

  80. Oh, signed up for a meet-up. I’d be interested in hosting, but can’t figure out how to designate that after signing up!

  81. My favorite thing about (in) real life friendships is the hugging. Followed closely by … being able to cry together, not minding if my house is a mess, knowing and appreciating each other’s children/families, and praying together.

  82. My favorite things about friendship is the encouragement, uplifting of community. The love of Jesus in common and GRACE

  83. When souls connect, and hearts are opened and fears spill out in words. When we feel safe to share what we hold inside, and we are accepted and loved.

  84. What I love about real life friendships is the ability to share everything, the good and the bad, with each other. A little bit of heaven on earth… 🙂

  85. What I love about my real life friends are how we feel free to be “real” with each other and we lift each other up in prayer on a weekly basis. And then there is my real life friend who is also my immediate neighbor…we’ve become what we call “refrigerator buddies” as well. 🙂

  86. Being able to call her, yell “pray” into the phone, and knowing that she has & will continue to do so – even with no other explanation. Love the grace of it all!

  87. Our family is going through a health trial right now, and I don’t know where I would be without my friends! Of course, the Lord is our biggest help in this time of trial, but our Godly friends that we have praying for us and supporting us is just unreal!

  88. There’s nothing like having that special in(real) friend who is always there for you. It’s having each other’s back in prayer, support and encouragement at all times!

  89. My favorite thing about (in) real life friendships, is that we can be candid with one another, and no one loves us less! I love transparency, and have grown through the reading of the blogs! Thanks dear friends!

  90. My favorite thing about my real life friends is that… well… they’re *real*. They’re not just words on a page — they feel pain when I’m hurt, and happiness when I’m happy. They pray for me and with me, and forgive me when I falter. Thank you for this reminder of how blessed I am.

  91. My favorite thing about real life friendships – the hugs when you need them, the hand to help you up when you fall down, and the person to laugh with you when you screw up. Sometimes it’s the physical things that make all the difference in the world. (want to sign up but won’t know if I’m working or not until right before…can I be entered anyway? It’s my hope that I’ll be able to participate!)

  92. Real life friends, like the skin horse in “The Velveteen Rabbit” have been through the hurts, and the wonderfuls and all the in betweens with you. Not perfect and perhaps showing signs of wear, but so very real that you no longer care about any of that, nor do they care about your outside, but only the real you

  93. My favorite thing about (in) real life friendships, is that you can share with or without words. Sometimes I just need to “vent” and my real friends are glad to be a sounding board. Other times I am weary and burdened …. I don’t need to say anything … they just “know” … and they pray … and I feel it. Other times I am on the opposite side … I listen, pray, support and become that sheltering tree for my sisters in Christ. My friendships are PRICELESS to me! I treasure them far above anything this world has to offer.

    • (in)RL friends? Hmmm…this makes me smile. It didn’t used to. I’ll admit it, I was pretty lonely, but I trusted God for his timing and eventually God has given me a double scoop of this treat during this season of my life. A series of serious accidents ( a totalled vehicle and thrown from a boat collision) left me in less than perfect form with lots of injuries, doctor and physical therapy. Becca Hill whose family was new in town, and whose daughter was in the car crash with me, (but suffered only minimal injuries) found her place by MY side helping me care for my four kids with four of her own. The best part is God intertwined Becca and my lifestyles, interests, the childrens ages interests, personalities even schedules so the mix has been so perfect, it is very convenient and we both ( even me recovering from multiple injuries) ENJOY having all the kids at once. EVEN now that I am mostly recovered we offer to have all the kids at once so the other mom/couple can take a well deserved rest or nite out alone. They get along marvelously and make my day easier. But as great as all that is, the talks over cups of tea are better than I could of imagined back before when I was wishing and praying the kids and I had a special friends.

  94. My favorite thing about (in) real life friendships is the conspiratorial looks you can give one another when you’ve both gotten the joke. Also, there’s nothing like a hug from a sister-friend, or someone to hold your hand when your heart is about to burst.

  95. My Favorite thing about IRL friendships is laughter. My girlfriends can make me laugh like no one else!

    I’m looking forward to the meetup in Chattanooga in April, I’m signed up and ready to make some new friends!

  96. The wonderful feeling you get when you sit on the front porch watching the kids play and know you can share anything with her and she won’t judge and will point you back to Christ everytime. The decade long teasing about coffee/tea in the morning!

  97. My favorite thing about in real life friendships are our prayer time. Having someone come beside you in prayer is truly awesome!

  98. My favorite thing about in real life friendships is unwinding together over coffee and laughing until my sides ache. It’s the understanding between us women.

  99. My favorite thing with in real life relationships is the time spent together and being face to face. meeting with three different friends this week, totally different people and thus totally different types of friendship, all sharing the love and bond of Jesus, which transcends everything.

  100. Just registered and can’t beleive how excited I am about April! Praise God from whom all blessings actually in RL (real life) flow!

  101. My favorite thing about real-life friendships is the “skin.” God often demonstrates His love for me through the friendships of close friendships. When a friend provides comfort, love, grace – that is a time when I can sense God’s love, grace, etc in my own life.

  102. I’ve signed up for the in(RL) conference and can’t wait! (in)RL friendships are best for sharing secrets that you really don’t want in print!

  103. Good Morning~
    The best thing about real life relationships is being REAL. A real friend loves you when you are being insecure, confident, grouchy or joyful.

  104. My favorite thing about (in)real relationships is that you see emotions. You see true, you feel together. It is easy to “type” emotions or feelings, but it is also easy to misread them. Don’t get me wrong, social networking is great but we are to be together! Jesus did life with his disciples, eating, praying, loving, walking the journey. Let’s be imitators of Jesus!

  105. I agree with many of you – my fave part about (in) real life friendships is having someone to look forward to seeing – someone to call when times are exciting or tough and someone to laugh with! 🙂

  106. Friendships are designed by God and I feel it is so important to have at least ONE good friend you can share your heart and soul with. It is a sense of completeness and longing that God gave us the need for friendships. I treasure the few I have.

  107. my favorite thing about in RL friendships is that I learn so much from their experiences and often laugh and cry as many writers can speak what’s in my head in such a beautiful way!
    I am registered and hosting a RL meeting…

  108. I feel like ya’ll are always there for me when I seem to need you most!! Blessings to all of you!!! Yes I am signed up!!! Again many thanks and I wish ya’ll are very Blessed Christmas!!!! xoxoxoxxo Barb

  109. I am not registered because the nearest one is too far away. I love just getting to “be” with in real life friends. Sometimes you don’t have anything to say, but just being together is important and not something you can do over the phone or computer.

  110. My favorite thing is seeing someone who knows and loves you and whom you know and love – if something is wrong, one often knows without asking.

  111. True friendship lasts forever. You can go some time without seeing one another or talking, but then when you get together it’s as if no time at all has passed. It is a true gift!

  112. (in) Real life friendships with real women are life-giving, encouraging, gracious, patient, genuine and so refreshing. You never feel alone, and you always come away feeling better than when you first arrived.

  113. I love spending time together, drinking coffee, talking, laughing, crying, and just doing life together. There is something truly special about face to face interaction in this world of social media.

  114. The truth they speak about our past and present and hope they inspire for my future. I just returned from a quick visit with two of my dearest life-long friends and their discernement and encouragement gave me strength in a season of unknowns.

  115. I can see beautiful smiles. Give big hugs and sweet kisses. Look into deep blue, brown or green eyes and see the other persons thoughts and soul.

  116. My favorite thing about the precious friendships God has given me is the strength they bring to my life. In the good times, they make the joy even stronger by rejoicing WITH me, in the sadness they bring strength to my heart by holding me up in prayer and firm up my stance through Scripture and “check in’s.” I’ve recently moved across the country and miss these face to face times, but I am even more grateful for the resiliency the Lord has given in these gifts of friendship. I am so grateful!!

  117. My favorite thing about (in) real life friendships: Refreshing time – any time of the day (24 hrs,) of course w/a cup of coffee & treat: sharing, love, prayers, devotions, support, encouragement in times of joys & sorrows. Connecting from the heart w/each other, lifting one up in thoughts & prayers, especially love those HUGS! Helps me to be a better person in this world of sin. Let your “Light” SHINE…Matthew 5:16.

  118. You can email and text or even talk on the phone, But there is nothing better then spending time with grilfriends. To share, to cry, to pray together or just be there for those moments when no words need to be said. Those are the in real life relationships that I love and appreciate!

  119. My favorite thing about true friendship is the laughter shared over the silly things and the joy it brings to my heart!

  120. My favorite thing about real life friendships is the get togethers. I enjoy going out to eat or shopping with a friend. Even just driving to the destination is fun because of the laughter and conversation involved! Because I’m a pastor’s wife, I don’t have these opportunities very often, and I truly miss them.

  121. My favorite thing about in real life friendships is having someone who can share the real life experiences WITH you! Of course I posted photos of my 8 month old son online after he was born, but there was something really special about all of the friends who stopped by to see him in person!

  122. I love that I can find women who share things in common that I do not have in common with my “in person” friends.

  123. Goodness! This has been such a fun “12 Days!” My favorite thing about (in) real life friendships is that I can totally be myself with these ladies. I don’t have to “dumb down” anything so that my non-Christian friends understand what I mean when speaking of our Heavenly Father. I love reading and sharing God’s love and grace all over this community. It’s a wonderful blessing!

  124. Friend double your joy and divide your sorrow. Always good to have someone to support you and be there for you.

  125. My favorite things are sharing and talking and Laughing! – I love the bond that God has made between women

  126. love the love and acceptance of (in)RL friendships…..and “echo” of our Saviors Love and Acceptance.

  127. Being able to share an experience with someone you can see needs it…that is the beauty of (in)real friendships

  128. What I love about true friendships is that those friends truly love you just as your are and they can stand the test of time and distance.

  129. My favorite thing about in real life friendships is the depth of love, sharing, and encouragement that those friendships create! There is such a deeper bond when we can gather face to face and share our hopes, dreams, fears, and trials with another! Plus its great to share a good laugh, a great cup of tea, and a warm hug with those we truly care about and connect with 🙂

  130. My favorite thing about (in) real life friendships is the practical care given and received – a hug, a dinner brought to the door, an impromptu coffee date, a squeeze of the hand when the tears are flowing.

  131. My fav thing about in real life friendships is being REAL, finding a safe place in a friend to be yourself and giving that back to them!! 🙂 Acceptance.

  132. I love that moment when you are in conversation and there is this knowing when you look at each other, that moment of understanding where you feel that someone “gets” you.

    I like that.

  133. Favorite thing about (in)friendships is definitely watching our lives unfold and supporting each other as we grow together in God!

  134. Favorite thing about real life friendships: Hugs. Laughing out loud together. Something delicious fresh from the oven.

  135. Want to register, but waiting to see if I’ll be working (and need to wait until after Christmas when I’ll have the $).

  136. My favorite thing about (in) real life friendships is the shareing of life stories and experiences.

  137. I have not registered as of yet, but plan to after Christmas when money is not as tight.

  138. My favorite thing about in real life friendships is the moments we can spend just “being’ with one another – we don’t even need to use words to tell each other how we are feeling sometimes. The understanding that is present between real friends is just unmatched.

  139. I’ve just registered for in(RL) and I’m so thrilled that you’ve brought your beach house gathering to the rest of the world – I can remember reading about your time together and wishing that I could have been there as well – part of this remarkable group of women from all over our country. Thank you for making this possible for the rest of us. Merry Christmas!

  140. My favortie thing about {In}Real friendships is meeting othes who have a story- to encourage and be encouraged.

  141. My favorite things about “real life” friendships are being able to get together or call to talk, whether it’s about something important or not; being able to lean on each other during tough times; and being able to laugh together.

  142. The reason I have not yet signed up for the RL weekend is the 27th is my birthday, and I’m not sure if I’ll be free for the meetup. I hope though that I can because I love the incourage community, and would love to meet others that love it too! 🙂

  143. I love the security of knowing my friends are really “there” for me even though we don’t get near enough girl time together!

  144. My real life friendships are the most important thing in maintining my sanity! Without them, I would be lost.

  145. It’s a blessing to have friends who know me through the good, bad, easy and hard times. To know that so many of them have prayed for me and they can count on me to do the same for them. They’ve help keep me focused on God when it would be so easy to lose sight of His grace in the hard times.

  146. My favorite thing about IRL friendships is that instead of sending a virtual hug, you get to give and receive a real one! I love me a big ol’ bearhug!

  147. My favorite thing about (in)RL friendships is face-to-face chats, laughter, and hugs! God has blessed me with an awesome network of friends wherever the military has taken us! I am so thankful for that!

  148. My favorite thing about (in)real life friendships is the comfort and security of knowing that no matter where life takes us, there is always a way to stay connected, most importantly through the body of Christ. And best of all, close, loving friendships know all the imperfections in my life and love me anyway. (plus a cup of coffee with a loving and faithful friend helps to ease the strain of real life doesn’t hurt either)

  149. My favorite thing about (in)real life friendships…..smiles, hugs and LAUGHTER! It is so much better to share these three things in person with people who love you and love to do life with you.

  150. My favorite thing about in real life friendships is time spent together – hanging out, grabbing lunch, shopping, or talking over coffee. I’m such a quality time girl that I need those moments together!

  151. I am registered and have joined a meetup group for St. Joseph, MO. I’m hoping this group will grow and have more people registered. Looking forward to meeting other women with hearts for Christ :).

  152. My favorite thing about friends is doing life together. Watching each others kids, helping with a move, praying through a rough patch in a marriage, going out to lunch, seeing each other at church, those are the things I love about friends.

  153. My favorite thing about (in) real life friendships is how they know without you saying anything at all when you need that hug or a hand squeeze. My girlfriends from high school (and that has been 48 years) get together once a month for lunch, for a time of visiting and sharing.

  154. my favorite thing about in real life friendships is the face to face time; being together and really understanding that friends heart!

    thank you so much!

  155. My favorite thing about real life friendships are the kind of friends where you don’t have to meet at a coffee house (unless you want to) but you can meet on each others couches and just drop by for a chat.

  156. My favorite thing about irl friendships is having a place to un-burden myself with the trials and tribulations of motherhood.
    It is also a place to love and encourage each other as we walk this journey through life.

  157. There’s nothing like a real life friendship when your friend accepts you as you are – no strings, no expectations, just love and support! I’m so blessed to have a network of real life friends!!

  158. Friendship is a wonderful thing…being able to hug, able to cry together and being able to laugh together.

  159. My favorite thing about real life friendships is the honesty, time, compassion, support/advice and, of course, love that goes into them.

  160. I love those moments in real life when you realize the thing that you struggle with isn’t unique to you, and you aren’t horrible for struggling with it! You’re just human, like that other women around you, and there is grace for that.

  161. My favorite thing about real life friendships is the “never skipping a beat” I have with one special friend. No matter how long it has been, or what has happened in the inbetween, I know I can talk to her and it will be like I had just talked to her the day or hour before. The conversation begins right there again just as if we had never left off. I love it that when I talk to her she says, “I was just thinking about you”.

  162. The best part about (in) real life friendships is the small things. A joke shared silently in a room full of people. A hug that didn’t have to be requested. Knowing the significance behind a behaviour or a statement. It’s the details, where you share life. Having another woman around who knows why the sight of a little girl holding hands with her big sister as they walk through the mall make you cry, and doesn’t feel the need to ask you about it because she already knows what you’re going to say. That’s the best part. Being known, heart-to-heart.

  163. My favorite thing about friendships is being myself… being known and accepted and loved for (and sometimes in spite of) who I really am!

  164. My favorite thing about my (in)RL friendships is the fact that the Lord has surrounded me by wonderful friends that truly are my “iron sharpen iron” in my life.. 🙂

  165. My favorite thing about in real life friendships is hugs! Sometimes they say more, do more and mean more than any words possibly could!

  166. My favorite thing about friendship is TALKING!!! I love to talk with others about silly stuff, important stuff, meaningful stuff… any kind of stuff!!!

  167. My favorite thing about (in)real life friendships is being able to see my friends facial expressions and little quirks that make them, them.

  168. Friendship is such a blessing.
    I think the thing that I love so much is being with
    people that just get me. Not a lot of words need to be
    exchanged to get to the heart of the matter.
    There is no fluff but lots of depth of sharing and hearts.

  169. Ooh! Thanks for the lovely giveaway! My favorite thing about in real life friends is the way conversation unfolds, one thought inspires another, and the beautiful unpredictability of it all.

  170. I’m planning to sign up for (I)RL, but I have to be honest and say that I’m waiting until there’s a meetup in my area. I tend to be the organizer in a variety of settings, and I’m a little burned out at the moment. I really want to have a chance to just attend and enjoy something without being the planner/hostess.

  171. There is nothing like great friends! Every year, 4 or 5 of us take a girlfriends’
    weekend to a lake house and have an amazing time. You can tell true friends
    anything, and they still like and appreciate you. We also get together on a
    monthly basis and have dinner at different one’s homes and stamp…
    Many thanks!

  172. Friendships are how we are all connected one to another. Friendships in real life are key because they ARE real. They can get messy, be supportive, have laughter or tears, and can easily point one another back toward our Source. I LOVE my friends! A good friendship is like a breath of fresh air. You can go there are just BE, without expectations.

  173. The best thing about (in) real life relationships is that the person is actually “there”.. sometimes that’s all that’s needed!

  174. I signed up for a meetup in my area. Just 3 of us so far, but I am really looking forward to meeting new friends! And I love today’s gift. I would love to win it!

  175. The good times sharing life with one another, the food we share, and the realness of them. You knw they are true and genuine.

  176. The best thing about real life face to face friendships is that real heart to heart laughter that is best when you hear it ringing in your ears days after you left each other! 🙂

  177. I love spending time with my girlfriends in person. To see their smiles and hear their laugh. There’s nothing better.

  178. I feel a more intimate connection with my real life friends–sharing, laughing and playing together.

  179. I first perceived this question to be about my favoured aspect of {in} real life friendships through the {in}courage blog site. Then I read some of the responses&saw many comments about the physical vs the virtual friendships. So mine is somewhat of a 3 part answer.

    I’ll open with a few details about myself that relate to the physical&virtual friendships of today’s modern,high-tech world. I am a small town, rural, farmer’s daughter. When I was 30yrs old I moved to the 2nd largest city in Canada. I truly loved and love all aspects of my upbringing and so have remained confused about physical friendships for some years in the city and lagged behind on virtual friendships due to limited computer savi-ness until about 5 years ago. My town had 1500 pple and a highschool from grade 7-12 with a total of 250 students. Not much has changed although from talking with family&old friends I understand they notice changes in community&friendship as I do in the city.

    When did physical friendships start to take such a back seat to…..everything else? This world has grown so interesting due to the age of computers but now we can and do literally work almost 24/7. I am not immune and must sit down with myself regularly to remind myself that if I look deep down into my core without the hustle and bustle of the city and life….friendships are not only important but crucial to my well being. I then re-commit by booking in time for friends and myself into the dreaded calendar and planner that is a necessity within my life. As I have opened up to the idea of virtual friendships through following blogs for several months and getting them down to about 10 of my most preferred. I do look forward to individual, virtual friends when I will start to post with responses, etc. Sometimes I feel that my physical friends have literally become virtual friends too….when we reach that point where we realize we’ve been maintaining and sustaining contact through electronic and virtual mediums.

    What surprised me the most about friendship in the city is the amount of people who have very strict boundaries about creating new friendships. It can be hard to meet new pple in the city because there are so many safety concerns about talking with strangers and I have also encountered more pple than I could have ever imagined who also have these restrictive boundaries due to past hurts and pains and it is hard for them to truly trust and open up to others.

    I too now have my own story of challenge and difficulty that I COULD NEVER have imagined. I am 2 years into therapy with a psychiatrist to maintain my true belief of a horrific misdiagnosis of bi-polar that I lived with for 8 years and it continues to present challenges in how pple treat and perceive who I am. I also fell into a common plight of those who move into the big city….depression lead to addiction….addiction and mental health concerns led to a 2 year struggle to regain custody of my daughter who was apprehended by the Canadian children’s aid society after 17hrs in the hospital.

    In closing, friendship is not always easy as we can stay closed off from the world and rely on the support of family and professionals….but getting out and meeting new people and learning how to share my story present an interesting challenge but so rewarding as I am finally achieving the level of intimacy in friendships that I knew from childhood.

    I thank you for the opportunity to think about a subject which is of utmost importance but so often get puts aside in my life as I deal with responsibilities attached to moving forward from my past struggles. My daughter is home since May 2011 and thriving. As am I. I have looked on the website about these place settings….if we don’t happen to win them….they will be put into our budget for next year as they are simply beautiful and the memory of how I found out about them would always be special!!

  180. I have signed up for RL in Portland OR. I am excited to meet some of you wonderfully amazing women face-to-face. Bless you all!

  181. Favorite thing about real life friendships is that you can’t hide things so well when you are face to face. Body language and facial expressions add so much to a person’s story!

  182. I love having friends that will guide me back to Christ when things get hard or I get too busy. It’s so humbling, and I know they genuinely love me!

  183. My favorite thing about ‘in real life’ friendships is that a real friend can talk to you face to face and be honest and tell you what you need to hear!

  184. My favorite thing about {in} real life friendships is getting to see each other face to face, to hug and laugh and cry together knowing I am accepted and loved. I cherish these opportunities when I have them because I am away from my friends so much because I live in Africa and most of my long time friends live in the States. So, when I am home in the States I treasure up the moments shared with friends and remember them in the lonely times when I am home here in Africa. I have friends here too, but the depth just isn’t the same crossing cultures and economic boundaries. The friendships here tend to come with strings attached but at the same time my friends are so generous with their prayers and concern for me. So, I wouldn’t willingly give up either one. I treasure the times of real life interaction whenever and wherever I get it and remember the other from the other culture as well.

  185. My favorite things about these friendships are: the integrity, honesty and encouragement!! Thanks sisters-in-Christ! MERRIEST of Christmases!!

  186. My favorite thing about (in) real life relationships are the encouragement and support we can give to each other.

  187. my favorite thing about real life friendship is openness, honesty, the ability to be real, known and loved.

  188. A chance to look into someone’s eyes and see the genuine love, laughter and tears that flow from the conversation shared! It’s the best!

  189. The laughter is my favorite thing about real life friendships. There is something about LOL that just doesn’t cut it when you are laughing by yourself.

  190. My fav thing about in real live relationships is being able to call my friend any time day or night, when I need a shoulder, a hug, or an ear! Whether to cry, shout, or yell YAY!

  191. My favorite thing about real life friendships is that unconditional acceptance, that support and wisdom a friend gives you through thick and thin.

  192. in real life friends really know. they know the context, the background, the feelings, even if they are not near by.

  193. In real life I can sit and talk over lunch with my friend for hours! We talk and giggle and share our latest creations. How does time go so fast!?

  194. My favorite thing about (in) real life friendships is summed up by the saying “Friends are the family that you choose for yourself.”

  195. Truly the best thing about real life friendships are the hugs that come with them! Sometimes it is all you need to keep on going!

  196. What I love about (in) real life friendships is getting to watch what God is doing in another person’s life first hand.

  197. My favorite thing about (in) real life friendships in the smell of the coffee and the sound and sight of laughter.

  198. Laughing together in real life is priceless!! It doesn’t get much better than hanging out in your comfiest clothes, wearing socks on your feet and curled up on the couch while tears stream from your face from laughing so hard! Nothing compares to real life sharing.

  199. As much as I love my on-line friends–and couldn’t make it many days without them, nothing beats a real life friend. Someone to hug you when you need it, laugh with you, look in your eyes and feel your emotions. These are the ones that encourage and challenge and you cannot just hit delete if their words hit too close to home. 😉

  200. My favorite thing by (in) real life friendships is having someone to journey through life with. We can share our triumps and shortcomings and spur one another on to love and good deeds!

  201. My favorite thing would be that I can be real with my friends. They’ve been beside me for some really great moments and also walked beside me during some low times as well. I don’t have to pretend I have it all together and that’s invaluable to me 🙂

  202. My favorite thing about real-life friends is that even after being apart for years we can pick right up where we left off – forever friends!

  203. I love sharing coffee and laughter with (in) real life friendships. It’s so wonderful to have a history with my girl friends where you just know what the other person is thinking and know that they are there for you no matter what.

  204. My favorite thing is the physical contact. The eye contact, the facial expressions, the laughter you can hear without a delay or through a computer. THe hands that can touch you, the arms that can you hold you.

  205. My fav thing about real life friendships is getting to glean inspirations from people through seeing stuff in person! If you’re decorating or crocheting, a picture just isn’t the same! 😉 Hugs are great too! 😀

  206. My favorite thing about in real life friendships being able to be real and not worry about being judged.

  207. My favorite thing about (in) real life friendships is laughing together over a great cup of coffee or tea.

  208. My favorite things about friendships is that our friends love us even in our brokenness and weak spots. I was incredibly blessed just last night by two friends who came to care for my children and a pet recovery from surgery while I was ill.

  209. My favorite thing about Real Friends are the hugs and growing together in Christ and sharing him with others together!

  210. My favorite thing about real life friendships is that you don’t need to judge others, but just enjoy life together, encourage one another and build each other up.

  211. I love real life friendships because they provide accountability and honesty…also a way to sort through feelings. I love finding common bonds between us, and learning together to delight in how God made us!

  212. My favorite thing about in real life friendships is sharing our lives together and being there for each other no matter what.

  213. The best thing about IRL relationships is being able to look a friend in the eye and just *know* they understand, without saying a word.

  214. My favorite thng about real life friendships is that they are there for you in good times and bad and they always seem to know when you need them Susan

  215. My favourite thing about real life friendships is getting together – coffee, conversation, encouragement, praying for each other.

  216. Real life friendships… you go through the good and the bad together and have someone to talk about LIFE with!!

  217. Laughing is my favorite thing about (in) real life friendships. Laughter among friends is priceless.

  218. My favorite thing about in real life friendships is the connection we have in Christ, the real love and affection He gives us for each other as family in the body of Christ.

  219. There is just nothing like the “human touch” or looking someone in the eye and connecting.

  220. In real life relationships are hugs and laughs, tears and comforting, having someone look into your eyes and just “understand” what you are going through. Cyber relationships are great, but they cannot (or should not) take the place of real heart to heart relationships with the dear souls around us.

  221. I love knowing that there is someone nearby that would be willing to sit up with me all night long, if I needed the companionship or support.

  222. I’m also checking into my nearest meet-up, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to make it or not.

  223. the best thing about friendships is getting together and having a discussion, not waiting to hear a response from an e-mail or message.

  224. My favorite thing about real life friendships is knowing that there are several people out there who think of me often, pray for me, and encourage and support me whenever I need it.

  225. I have not yet registered, but there is a gathering in Arlington, TX which is about 20 minutes from where I live. I haven’t registered yet because April 27th is my birthday, and I don’t know if I’ll be in Texas. I hope it works out in my schedule to do this! 🙂

  226. My favorite thing is that those who are in your real life often know several dimensions of your personality, rather than just the one or two that come through online. 🙂

  227. friendships allow me to breathe…those in my inner circle display God’s grace by knowing my flaws and loving me anyway.

  228. I love stepping away from a conversation with a friend feeling encouraged, understood and sharpened.

  229. Having someone call me out when they look into my eyes. A RL friend knows when something’s up and not afraid to say it.

  230. What do I love about friendships? Love, companionship, honesty, and understanding come to mind. I get all these qualities from both real friendships and through the friendships I have made online through communities such as this.

  231. one of my favorite things about (in) real life friendships is sitting together over a cup of hot coffee & sharing about the truths of God’s word!

  232. I love spending quality time with my friends… Long talks, laughter, tears, hugs, and sometimes just spending time doing ‘nothing’ together! True friends are truly a priceless gift!!!

  233. A true friend is someone who you can not see for a long time, and when you see them it’s like no time has passed.

  234. i love real life friendships! having girls to talk to about anything and everything is great! Being able to cry, laugh LOUDLY, hug, and stay up late is pretty great. Knowing women who are older and wiser is such a blessing too!! Friendships are truly a gift from God!

  235. My favorite thing about in RL friendships is when you need prayer, your friend can reach over, grab your hand, and pray. There’s just something about holding hands with the person you are praying for or the one who is praying for you!

  236. One of my favorite things about “real life” friendships is talking together face to face, hearing the tone of voice, seeing facial expressions.

  237. I love the idea of having (in)RL ‘girlfriends’, the kind that you can shop with, craft with, or just hang with and be yourself and turn to whether in celebration or grief, or just a bad day. I don’t really have many of those right now, but looking for ways to build some!

  238. my favorite thing about real life relationships is the fact that you can use all the senses to add dimension to a friendship.

  239. My favorite thing about in real life friendships is that when I call one of my friends(sisters) and ask for prayer, they are on their knees before I hang up the phone.

  240. Im irl friendships, I love running into someone unexpectedly and a genuine smile lighting up our faces. That surprised pleasure is like a double portion! I re-picture the smile and greeting through out the rest of the day usually. Also, of course coffee dates, mornings or evenings just with friends talking and sharing about marriages, parenting, jobs, you name it. IRL friendships allow a shared stillness: greetings, and sitting together, that flavor them sweetly to me.

  241. My favorite thing about real life friendships is the comfort of knowing that the person you are talking to has a real interest and concern for you and your well being. Such a nice warm, secure, dependable feeling.

  242. I enjoy laughing with friends and hearing their life stories, as well as knowing they enjoy hearing about mine.

  243. I appreciate my friendships when my friends help me stay on the right path. When they encourage me, lift me up in prayer, encourage me to pray, point me toward scripture, or simply live a life of faith, gratitude, and love and show me that example. When a friend calls me just to chat, because she misses our conversations (I moved far away recently) that conversation stays with me for days.

  244. The best things about (in) real life friendships are that you can laugh together, cry together, worry together, pray together and just be REAL together. (in) Real life friendships are a blessing from God!

  245. One of the things I love about face to face relationships is— I don’t have to worry about missing something my friend says by being in a different TIME ZONE! (Like being busy today and not visiting here until East Coast time had already turned to Tuesday! 🙁 So sad. (Your prizes are lovely, today’s especially so.)

    Really, one thing I like about real life relationships is being able to share hugs and laughter and tears.

  246. One of the things I love about real life friendships is the chance to be truly known. My real life friends see me in the nitty gritty of life… and I them. Which allows us to come alongside each other in very tangible ways.

  247. When you live in a new place and don’t have many friends (in) real life friendships can fill that hole.

  248. I love the heart to heart bonding that happens when you sit face to face with a (in) real life friend! Thanks for all the wonderful connections you provide on line

  249. I love my faraway friends and my friends of long past with whom I can only stay in contact through letters or the internet, but to me, one advantage of a real life friend is that yes, we can talk and talk and talk — but we can also sit silently with one another and be completely comfortable in that silence.

  250. As soon as I know where I will end up by the spring time…we are looking to move out of state by then…I will sign up for a meetup!! We may not move til later but either way I will jump in as soon as!!

  251. My favorite thing about IRL Friendships is how they bless and encourage and always seem to be there right at the time you need that in your life the most.

    bamagv at aol dot com

  252. My favorite thing about (in) real life friendships keep me grounded and fully aware of my blessings. Whether it’s a hug, a conversation with words or without I never leave feeling anything other than grateful to have my friends and blessed!
    Thank you!

  253. I love the support and encouragement to keep walking to walk! It’s so nice to know that other people have some of the same less than perfect moments!

  254. My favorite thing is a real shoulder to cry on, real eyes to look into my soul and make me tell the real truth, perhaps a truth I am hiding even from myself.

  255. My favorite thing of IRL friendship is the quality time spent together, which as moms, is few and far between!

  256. I have not registered yet for in(RL) yet, I am excited to watch the trailer tomorrow! Our church is considering a conference/retreat for the women, so we will watch the trailer and see if it’s what the HS has in store for us.

  257. If our church does not decide on gathering for in(RL), then I will be choosing between 2 local meetups when I register. It will be interesting to meet new friends!

  258. What I love about in Real life friendships is the ability to be loved and heard in an unconditional way. Accountable is also desirable.

  259. The best thing about real life friendships is being able to grab coffee and having real face to face conversation! I am far from most of my friends and being able to see them every now and again means so much to me. Oh, and I have signed up for the meetup in my area, but have not registered for in(RL) yet!

  260. Hi ladies! I have registered, AND signedup to host the (in)RL! I can’t wait. I’ll need to get the word out!! And the best thing about friendships is that ability to count on someone to do anything to help me. (It has taken me a long time to get to the point where I can even ask!) As a single mom of two special-needs kids, this is very important!

  261. I’m looking forward to Christmas Eve and Christmas day, I’m unemployed, times are tough but the real meaning of Christmas is in my mind and heart…
    Sharing time with family and friends and remembering the reason for the season…
    Merry Christmas