Warm Connections {Day 18}: “Now Time” & 5 Years at RE

A few weeks ago two friends came over for a morning visit. There’s just nothing like IRL (In Real Life) relationships. Fiona brought her baby, the cutest baby boy on the planet. :)

Jenny, who brought her twin daughters, hugged me several times as she was leaving, because after following RE for 4 years and recently moving to my town, we finally got to meet IRL. By the way, I was hugging her back just as hard, because it was a mutual feeling for me. I immediately fell in love with this girl, mama of 4 little ones, wife of a very busy professional, new to my town.

Here’s a little insight into what IRL is all about: Real relationships, God’s perfect plan, in real life.

I was sitting at my son’s soccer game (well, husband’s too, since he’s the varsity coach) with my Dad on one side and my friend Minor on the other. We were clearly winning against what we thought would be a very difficult Portland team (final score 7-1) and I turned to Minor and said, it’s so good to be here “IRL.”

He said, What’s IRL?

I said, In Real Life.

I told Minor (a retired Cardiologist who’s very savvy with the computer, iPhone, texting, all types of social media) … You need to know what this term means!

I went on to explain that we do so much by texting and email now, that the physical touch, hug, talking face-to-face, looking into the eyes when there is pain or joy, seeing the extra wrinkles or gray hairs, or my favorite, reaching out and holding the person’s hand sitting next to me, seems to be gone.

When I started my blog 5 years ago TODAY, my tag line was “real entertaining for real people.” Along the way I seemed to have lost the actual wording, but the evidence remains the same.

I’m really not interested in writing about entertaining unless I’m really doing it. No staged shots without the food consumed by the guests, but instead “IRL” dinner parties where life happens around the table, a quality time of talking, laughing, sharing, even crying … it’s what I call “now time.”

Warmer connections come when we meet for real, face-to-face.

Do you ever feel guilty, with all the social media taking place, that you’re not connecting with the ones you really love and miss?

If you missed previous days to 31 Days of Warm Connections …
Day 1: Secret Ingredient to Warmer Connections
Day 2: Bringing the Beauty of Autumn to Your Table
Day 3: Multi-Generational Pear Applesauce
Day 4: Canning Suncrest Peaches with a Friend
Day 5: How to Find Contentment
Day 6: Encouragement with Easy Pear Cobbler
Day 7: Bush’s Garbanzos, Chicken, and Quinoa Soup for a Sports Family
Day 8: More About Others
Day 9: Technology Versus People
Day 10: The Table Experience with Bush’s Beans
Day 11: Dreaming of Autumn Guests
Day 12: Gathering Around a Homemade Life
Day 13: Sisters in New York City
Day 14: Giving to Those in Need
Day 15: Enjoying Everyday Sounds
Day 16: Life’s Small Moments
Day 17: Well-Designed Kitchen Counter

And be sure to check out the rest of the 31 Day Participants!

24 comments on “Warm Connections {Day 18}: “Now Time” & 5 Years at RE”

  1. This is the reason I started “Lunch Ladies” in August in my area. I put out the word on fb, and in person and regularly invite women to meet me for lunch the last Friday of every month. I pick an inexpensive place and we meet for lunch at 12:30. There is no agenda – just “fun, friends & food on Fridays.” The group is different each time but always enjoyable and so worth it.

  2. Pingback: 31 Days of Warm Connections - Reluctant Entertainer I Sandy Coughlin - Lifestyle, Entertaining, Food, Recipes, Hospitality and Gardening

  3. Pingback: Cumin Chicken and Black Bean Stuffing - Reluctant Entertainer I Sandy Coughlin - Lifestyle, Entertaining, Food, Recipes, Hospitality and Gardening

  4. I live and breathe the Internet and embrace all that it has to offer, including Social Media. Professionally, I own a web company. Personally I also have a food blog. So it may see odd to know that if there is one thing I hate when I finally get to ‘IRL’ is to be bugged by texting or tweeting or otherwise engaging with cell phones. I have had friends text the entire time we’ve been on the road to an event (of course I’m driving!). My daughter will come over to watch a movie and she thinks nothing of texting nonstop while we are together (?).

    There is a time and place for everything and I love the place of entertaining friends and talking, really talking, in long sentences, way more than 140 characters. It’s almost a social practice that kids are losing…so while I love technology, sometimes? Not so much.

  5. Congratulations on your five years! Don’t get me started! :) Texting IMO :) should be used for only the most basic of information. To me, it says “I want to tell you something, but don’t really want to talk to you or hear what you have to say” . AND it should never be used for something you couldn’t or wouldn’t say in person. I think all of this social media makes us feel somehow less responsible for our words. On the other hand, it does serve a purpose. Like everything else in life, it needs balance. Nothing replaces the warmth of the human touch!

  6. Aaaaaa!!! You saw my gray hair???

  7. Looks like by the length of the comments your post struck a cord. Have you seen the commercial where the girls is commenting on her parents lack of facebook friends and how they are so lame then it cuts to her parents having a blast with all kinds of people IRL.
    I prefer IRL too!

  8. FIVE YEARS!! Congratulations! Wow, Sandy. What a milestone. And look at everything you’ve accomplished here!

    But you’re right–there’s no substitute for real life. Sure wish I could meet you IRL sometime. Maybe you need to come to Durham! :)

  9. Happy blog birthday!
    This post reminded me of my visit with my father last week. He doesn’t email, text, skype, facebook,- nope, none of it!”IRL” is all he knows.
    As I was rushing our family into a restaurant, I heard my pops say “and one more”. I turned to see the homeless man that we had rushed by on our way through the parking lot. My father had stopped to talk with him and invited him to dinner.
    It really put me in my place and it made a huge impression on my 4 kiddos.
    The man opted to eat at his own table – wisely, we are a rowdy bunch- but I could see that he was amused by my father and our brood.
    IRL, lesson learned.
    Kerry at housetalkn.blogspot.com

  10. I love this post! I’m an IRL girl all the way. I like to be able to look into someone’s eyes to see if they match the words they are sharing. When my two oldest went to college, I jumped on the texting bandwagon because it was an easy way to connect about the little things, so it has helped in that regard. I do like the opportunities that e-mail, FB, etc. provide for connecting with those far away, but at heart, I’m all about a cup of coffee or a walk IRL. It’s just me.

  11. Congratulations of 5 years, that in of itself is pretty amazing. I agree that IRL is the best possible way to connect and sometimes people will lose touch with what is IRL due to modern technology. I sometime fear for the future generations that they will not have the same level of experiences as we did as we were growing up. One of the truly amazing IRL experiences is when cyber life overlaps into IRL. I just had the most amazing experiences with some cyber friends that have become IRL friends. you can read our story here…


    I think that is the beauty of cyber connections, when they become IRL!!

  12. Hi, sweet Sandy! Happy 5 yrs. in blogworld. I knew we started near the same time & you are a little ahead of me. I’ll hit 5 yrs. in February. What a fun journey it has been. Oh, the ups & downs of 5 years of life shared with so many wonderful girls online and in person. So glad we have been able to connect IRL several times. I treasure our friendship even though we don’t get to see each other all that often. I do agree that IRL is the best. I love those times with my friends to talk, hug, and just hang out together.

  13. Fabulous post Sandy! Thanks for reminding us to live IRL :-). And CONGRATULATIONS on 5 fabulous years of blogging! What a wonderful accomplishment – you’ve inspired so many…

  14. Another GREAT post Sandy. You nailed the message. I’m so blessed to have been able to spend IRL time with you. Love ya girl.

    And 5 years!! Congratulations.

  15. Happy 5 years, Sandy! Your blog is one of my absolute favorites and one of the first blogs I ever discovered. I’m so thankful you started it – and so thankful you’re still blogging! :)

  16. Sandy, I love your posts. Each and every one of them. They are uplifting, inspiring, and nothing short of amazing. Life has been a bit difficult to understand and cope with lately. I am from a family of 8, have 4 brothers and 4 sisters, 2 sister -in-laws. I am the youngest. My mom is amazing! She touches others the way you do with warm connections, she has no idea she creates warm connections with others. My sister who is just over 6 years older than me had a Massive Stroke on September 29th, and then the following day had emergency decompression craniotomy, the right side of her skull was removed to allow the pressure on the right side to grow and not take her life. I know that is a few sad mouthfuls of information I just shared with you.
    My point is that you make my day a lot easier when I read your posts and they are uplifting, happy and moving. Thank you !!! My husband and my kids make things easier to cope with to, they are the loves of my life, and my big sister is improving baby steps at a time each day.
    Thanks for always sharing wonderful and delightful posts, I look forward to your blog and I read your older posts all the time. Love them to! Have a wonderful day! ~Amy

  17. I agree that the “personal touch” is fading. We retired and moved 2000 miles away from “home”, so technology has enabled me to reconnect with old friends. However, I have made it my goal to handwrite a note or letter to a friend every week. It has been heartwarming to receive a note in return telling me how happy it made them to receive a note thru the mail…..and, the ironic thing about it is that when I receive their letter, it makes me feel the same way!

  18. Hi Sandy,

    Well…as always, another great post! Yes, I think technology has replaced so many face to face interactions – or at the very least telephone interactions. People seem so busy today so they turn to social media to stay connected with others but something is really lost in the translation.

    As I get older, I find that I prefer to chat on the phone or meet up with a friend in person. So many things can’t be expressed in words or often can be misinterpreted using social media! Being able to give someone a hug, smile, and share some conversation is what it means to be human. We are so blessed with all the gifts we have been given by God as human beings, I am saddened sometimes when I see so many folks just using their fingers to type. I also think that when we limit our interpersonal contact it is easier for people to become depressed because they feel isolated.

    I love your blog because you are just sharing part of your life. As you said, you don’t want things staged. I couldn’t agree with you more. Sometimes friends will say to me – “Mary, the picture on your blog is blurred.” I can’t help but laugh in the knowing that yes…it probably is blurred as I was most likely taking a picture, talking, and serving food all at the same time! LOL! I love how you once shared that you quickly snap your pictures and then serve the food you prepared to your family and/or guests so that everyone is eating the food while it’s hot. You are so REAL! :-)

    I will share a funny story with you as to how things in the social media world can be misinterpreted. My friend posted a small picture of a cat on Facebook with the caption, “Your facebook picture”. Then she posted a picture of the entire cat…who was very chubby with the caption “You in real life.” How I laughed and typed back to her – and all her facebook world – “How true!” What I had overlooked was that she had typed, “This is me.” Later, when I actually saw what she wrote, I had to re-post that I meant myself and not her. Well the two of us had a good laugh but I learned a good lesson!

    Have a great week! And thanks again for all the wonderful information you are sharing.



  19. I love this post. I miss the “IRL” times. It seems most of my “friends” are too busy these days with facebook, twitter, email, etc. to even pick up the phone for two minutes to say hi. While I believe the technology is helpful, especially for those living apart from their families, it has taken away from real life relationships. I do not have a facebook account, I personally find it impersonal, and I have lost a good many friendships to it as that is now their only way of communicating! Sad, but true.

  20. I do agree, and at the same time I love how social media has reconnected me with so many people. There are many times I get so discouraged by the seemingly “lack of time” people have to really connect. Sometimes so much so that I’ve just sort of given up on trying. I mean, really, how hard is it to meet for coffee for just a bit? Yet, there are times or seasons that I feel I probably do the same thing, forget to connect with others IRL because life is busy. What happened to the days of knocking on the door for a quick visit and not feeling like you were putting someone out.

    Great post Sandy!

  21. After having just moved 200 miles from home, I’m relying on the internet and telephone to maintain so many relationships. The IRL factor has gone way down around here and I do miss it. But I’m thankful that I have the technology to be able to keep in touch. So that when I do have the IRL experience, we are still up to date and can just move onto building new memories.

  22. Funny, I was just thinking about IRL friends this morning. I’m not as involved with technology as some are (don’t text, etc). I don’t think it has changed my IRL interactions very much and what it has changed I think is for the better. For instance, my Mom lives 500 miles away and I e-mail her every morning – just a quick line or two – and hear back from her and know she’s ok. She’s pretty tech savy for a woman in her mid 90’s!


  23. This is so true! Technology is wonderful to bring people together, but it also can move people further apart. I’m reallyenjoying your series my friend!

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