Way before Facebook and Instagram was the norm, I stumbled across Ronalyn's blog and started following along. Comments led to discussions, discussions led to emails, and somehow we found ourselves as long-distance, online friends. She was in Maryland (and then moved to Alaska and later to Hawaii... they are an Air Force family), and I was here in Southern California. And then my friend became my mentor. She was a photographer, and I was considering walking that path. I took a deep breath and asked if she had advice for me, where/how I might get started, etc. And while most people might do the opposite, she laid her soul bare to me, showed me the inner workings of her business, and helped me launch my own. From pricing to templates to vendor suggestions... then to ideas and support and even MORE support, she gave everything to this person whom she'd never met in real life.
I am, and will always be, eternally grateful for that... knowing there's no way I'd be where I am today without her. (And she's a HUGE reason as to why I try my best to pay-it-forward, as well, and help those who now come to ME for advice.)
Mentoring turned into deeper friendship, and I can honestly say that she's one of my closest friends, and knows me inside out. We have come to know both the good and bad about each other. We email/text when we need to vent, when we need some support, and when we have something fabulous to share.
Finally meeting in person for the first time 3 years ago, we spent a few days together in Las Vegas for the WPPI expo, and it was as if we'd known each other a lifetime. (Seriously... it was like a 12-year old girls' slumber party... with all the giggling and gabbing we did.)
Last night, we came together in person again... and it was like a slow-motion, running towards each other, mega-hug moment. Her family had come to California for vacation, and there was NO WAY I was missing out on seeing them! With limited time together, we met up at Downtown Disney for some drinks/dessert. Her kids entertained themselves on their phones for the most part, later mentioning how they don't think any of us stopped for breath at all as we gabbed away. Ronalyn, myself, and our husbands... it was as if the four of us had been friends forever, and were just picking up where we'd last left off (even though the husbands had never met before, and we'd never met each other's husband before this night). Magic. Simply magic. And two hours just flew by!
We left with promises to see each other again, not saying goodbye, but "see you later"... and were already texting each other again within minutes.