We stood in the lobby of the hotel in downtown Atlanta anxiously waiting and watching for her to come through the sliding doors. We were pretty sure we knew what she looked like but it’s always so hard to tell when all you have to go on is a tiny profile photo.
And then, the doors opened and there she was. Sparkly flip-flops, flip-flopping as quickly as her tiny feet could go, blonde, curly hair bouncing and the unmistakeable red lipstick (actually I think it was more like hot pink that day but her claim to fame is her red lips so we’ll go with that).
She looked at us and said, “Heather? Vanessa? It’s you guys!” and we looked at her and said, “KariAnne? It’s YOU!” and we all hugged and laughed and squealed and anyone who was walking by would have assumed that this was a reunion of life-long friends rather than three bloggers meeting each other in person for the first time. We were all there for the very first Haven Blogging Conference. None of us really knew what we were doing or had ever attended something like this before and we took so much comfort in knowing that at least we had each other. We talked and dreamed and felt so normal being with people who really understood this crazy world of blogging.
Fast forward a few years, and we found ourselves staying in a gorgeous home on Tybee Island. It had been a very full day of activity and several of us were gathered together around the fireplace in the living room. We talked a little bit about blogging, but mostly we talked about life. And we realized that these relationships had transitioned so far beyond being just ‘blogging friendships’. These were tried and true, real-life friendships. That night, KariAnne and I talked about our love of words and our love of people and we cast vision and spoke of dreams that had somehow become not so far-fetched anymore. When I look back on that weekend, it is truly amazing to think about how far God has brought all of us.
That was the weekend Laura told us that she and her husband dreamed of making maple syrup.
That was the weekend Lucy gifted us all with beautiful necklaces from her incredible jewelry line.
That was the weekend Heather and I talked about what might happen if we ever got the opportunity to write a book together.
And that was the weekend KariAnne shared a few of her own dreams with us.
And we’ve watched as one after the next, after the next has come true.
All of this was running through my mind as I sat down with a cup of coffee and my copy of her newly released first book ‘So Close to Amazing’.
As I turned each page, I felt like I was back at that beautiful cottage with KariAnne on Tybee Island. Laughing, crying, sharing big dreams, deep disappointments, embarrassments, successes.
Because, when you are so close to amazing, you live in a little bit of a tension. You may have grand ideas and big visions and lofty goals, but reality can so very quickly come knocking on your freshly painted, boxwood wreath covered front door.
You might move to a new state and throw a party in your home in an attempt to seemingly get to know your neighbors but in your heart what you are really wanting is for them to ohhhh and ahhhh over your decorations and your newly refinished dining table only to discover reality is right there knocking again.
“In that moment, I took a look at my own heart and found it wanting. All along I had been thinking an almighty God had called us to this place and this town at this time in our lives for the lessons we were going to teach. In reality, we were here for the lessons we were going to learn.”
I think the thing that I love the most about ‘So Close to Amazing’, is that it speaks to that part of our soul that longs for the bright, beautiful things of this world and yet when reality brings us up short, we are reminded that perhaps we are intentionally kept ‘so close’ by a loving Heavenly Father who knows that the most amazing thing we can ever experience is His love and grace. It’s only in the being ‘so close’ that we can truly recognize our shortcomings and become aware of our need for Someone who will fill that gap.
So, for those of us who don’t want you to ever peek behind the pictures on our walls because you’ll see that there are a million holes behind them because we couldn’t get it ‘just right’, or who’ve walked out of a bathroom with toilet paper stuck to our shoe, or who’ve realized too late that you had lettuce stuck in your teeth, or who’ve dreamed dreams that never came true, or who’ve learned hard lessons from the disappointments in life….this is your book.
Because, we all know that being truly amazing is totally overrated anyway, right?
The real joy is found in the messes and the mistakes and the mishaps.
The real joy is found in the ‘so close’.
Learn where you can purchase ‘So Close to Amazing‘ and read the first chapter at
And, as always, thank you for meeting me here at the fence today!