One of the things I learnt from starting a blog was that not all your family and friends will be enthusiastic about your blog as you would want them to be. And there could be many reasons for that…
You know what they say, “A prophet has no honour in his own country.” So it could mean that some of your friends and family who do not read your blog do not believe in you enough to do so. After all, don’t they read other blogs on the internet?
If the answer is ‘no’, then I will exempt those of your friends and family who are not internet savvy or are not disposed to blog reading.
On the other hand, you might want to say they are very busy people and so could not make out sufficient time for your blog. That’s possible too, but don’t we all create time for what is important to us? I dare to say that if they considered your blog important, they would make out time for it.
Have you also thought of the fact that some of them could be jealous of you over your blog? Please forgive my frankness, but that’s the reality of our world.
Suddenly, you are doing something different (or even better) than all of them are doing. And you want them to heartily urge you on by checking out your blog and supporting it? I bet you that some of them might not want to do that wholeheartedly.
You have the freedom to expect that your friends and family members would be the most ardent followers/readers of your blog. But you might get to find out that they are not even interested. That awful reality should never discourage you.
Consider yourself fortunate if your family and friends are part of the ardent readers of your blog. I congratulate you on that too. But never you take them for-granted because they are giving you all the needed support.
There is nothing in this post that suggests that you should badger your friends and family into reading your blog. If it is okay by you, you may just let them know about your blog. But it is not okay to try to ‘force’ them to read it.
I don’t know what your experience is, but in my own case, it has not really worked out very well for me in trying to ‘get’ family and friends to regularly check out my blog. I have left that decision to them.
Let me even ask you: do you mind if your friend and family read your blog? For me, I don’t mind! But I know everybody is not like me. (Obviously!). There are some authors who don’t even want the closest people to them to read their blogs.
One of such people claimed that what she writes on her blog are things her family do not know are part of her life. So because of some kept personal secrets, she doesn’t want her family (especially her mum) to read her blog. I wonder what you think of that!
My take is that if you are not keeping personal secrets on your blog, there is no reason you shouldn’t want your friends and family to read your posts.
That brings me to the question in the heart of the post: Do your friends and family read your blog? We would like to hear from you in the comment section.
Towards the end of 2018, I read a Keith Haney’s Five ways to expand your ministry capacity. As you can see from the headline of this post, it was that referenced article that inspired this one. Thank you Keith!
Although Keith’s post was predominantly about leadership, I reckon that the things he wrote about – confidence, connections, competence, character and commitment – could also be applied in the world of blogging. Hence, I will expatiate on them here – with the hope of deepening your blogging experience.
1. “Build your confidence”
Anyone who has been blogging for sometime now will admit that blogging is not a bed of roses, neither is it a piece of cake.
Apart from the joy blogging brings, there are also moments of self-doubt, of discouragement and of negative criticisms. Building your self-confidence will help you manage better some of those less exciting moments.
In what areas do you have to build confidence in? As far as your blogging journey is concerned, any area you feel a sense of fear is the area you should start building confidence in.
Have confidence that you can write and start writing. Do not be paralysed by fear.
Have the confidence that your blog will be read and that someone out there will find your posts beneficiary.
Without the minimum level of confidence, your blogging journey will not be too enjoyable.
2. “Expand your connections”
In blogging, you cannot afford to be an island to yourself. You have to connect with other bloggers, both on their blogs and on their other social media handles.
Read other blogs apart from yours. Click the ‘like button’ on any post you have read and liked.
Most importantly, engage the author in further interactions by leaving a suitable comment on the posts you have read. Any reasonable blogger will not fail to respond to your comments.
Reach out to bloggers you admire. Deepen your connections with them.
You have to admit that you will have a lot of things to learn from them, especially if you find that they have done what you want to do or have been where you would desire to be.
Another thing you can also do is to join a blogging community, particularly those in your niche area or that similar values with you. When it comes to blogging, you cannot afford to be a recluse.
3. “Improve your competence”
Most people did not start out on their blogging journeys as pros. They were once amateurs like you and I; but they improved on their game over time.
So if you want to expand your blogging capacity, you have to improve your competence – “the ability to do something successfully or efficiently.”
You may be a noob today but don’t remain that way forever. Learn. Grow.
Improve on your grammar, improve on your writing/editing skills, improve on your posts’ delivery style.
Whatever, you do on your blogging journey today, do it better that you did it yesterday. That’s how we know that your competence level is improving.
Competence goes beyond words. It’s the leader’s ability to say it, plan it, and do it in such a way that others know that you know how – and know that they want to follow you – John C. Maxwell
4. “Strengthen your character”
To deepen your blogging capacity, it is also important you strengthen your character as a person as well. Your character is who you are, your distinctive moral qualities. And just like your shadow, your character follows you wherever you go
Approach your blogging with a sense of honesty. Don’t deceive your readers. Don’t scam them. Deliver on your blogging promises to them and apologise to them where necessary.
If you are a phoney person, it will eventually manifest – no matter how much you try to hide it. And once your readers discover that you can’t be trusted, you will lose their loyalty.
I am not requesting that you should be a flawless and perfect person. While being true to yourself, be a better version of yourself. The bottom line is this: do not sacrifice your character on the altar of success, fame or fortune.
5. “Increase your commitment”
Nothing worthwhile will ever be achieved without commitment. And that’s applicable in blogging too.
“Without commitment you cannot have depth in anything – Neil Strauss.
You cannot expand your blogging capacity if you are not committed to it. Just like a serious athlete commits to his or her daily exercise routine, you have to commit to your blog.
Whether you are blogging professionally or it is a pastime for you, you have to show some level of commitment to it. This is not negotiable.
By increasing your commitment, you will be able to write posts as and when due, respond to your readers’ comments and emails. You don’t want people visiting your blog only to find out that the last time you updated it was three months. Do you?
In what other ways can you expand your blogging capacity? Leave a comment.
Many people will take the wonderful decision to start a blog this year. If you are one of such people or you have recently started a blog, I will like you to know some things which will help you in the blogging journey.
I have been writing this blog for some time now. So I am qualified to share a few helpful thoughts with you. Consider them words of encouragement from someone who has been further down the road you are starting out on.
7 Simple things I would like you to know if you are a new blogger
1. Your decision to start a blog is a step in the right direction
Some people would start a blog and then begin to wonder if they are doing the right thing. If you are thinking like that, then the following words are for you.
I wouldn’t know the reason you started your blog, but one assurance I can give you is that starting a blog is a good step you have taken. So don’t give in to self-doubt!
However, if you are not sure why you started a blog in the first place, take some time off to get that settled. You don’t want your blog to be directionless and purposeless. Do you?
When I started this blog, I saw it as an avenue to share my thoughts with the world and also to explore my writing skill which has remained latent over the years of my life. But I soon discovered that blogging is also a journey of personal development.
Apart from the many other benefits you will get to enjoy from starting a blog, you will get to discover that blogging will help your personal development in many ways. I don’t want to over-flog this point because as you know, the taste of the pudding is in the eating. So ride right ahead on your blogging journey.
2. Read and write extensively
As you have embarked on the blogging journey, know that you have headed in the writing direction. In other words, a blogging journey is largely a writing journey.
One notable thing that writers do is that they read a lot. So if you want to go far with your blogging experience, you have to read and write extensively. By so doing, you will gain more knowledge, have fresh ideas and improve on your writing skills.
If you have the dream to be a published author one day, know that your writing blog is a veritable platform to hone your skills. You get the point?
Your blog is new on the block hence I concede that it will take some time for it to gain due popularity. But if you think the world should read your blog because you have something valuable to share, I think it is worth it for you to take some steps to make the blog more visible than it is right now so that more and more people can discover it to read.
For instance, you should make sure your blog is indexed as ‘public’ rather than as ‘private’ to make it discoverable by search engines. Also when you publish a post on your blog, don’t go to sleep. Promote it on social media and encourage your readers to share it as well.
Those are just a few tips on how to make your blog more visible. You can find out others for yourself.
4. You need to interact with other blogs regularly
I already said you should read very extensively. Part of what you should be reading regularly are posts on other blogs – whether they are in your area of niche or not. I know from my own experience that there are many benefits of reading other people’s blogs.
Don’t be an island to yourself. Reach out and interact with other bloggers. Follow their blogs. Read their posts. Hit the like button on the posts you have read and liked.
Most importantly, leave meaningful comments on other blogs’ posts you have read. Both the writers of the blogs you comment on as well as some of their other readers may follow your trail to your blog to read your posts as well. And please, for goodness sake, don’t tell me you don’t care if no one reads your blog, because that would be a lie!
5.You will face some negative criticisms on your blog
Let no one deceive you, blogging is not a piece of cake. There would be times the feedback you get would seem like a bitter pill to swallow. But it is up to you how you would react to it.
Apart from the hard-work and personal discipline that your blog requires from you, know also that some people will harshly criticise you for it. There are those who will question your decision to start a blog. Some will dismiss your posts as irrelevant and some others will even attack your person.
6. If you leave your blog, your blog will leave you
I don’t mean that to be taken so literally. But I do want to emphasise on the need to stay ‘close’ to your blog. I have a personal rule that no day passes without me checking up on my blog. That way I am able to make draft posts, review pending posts, or catch up with responses on my readers’ comments.
I am not saying you should be like me; follow the pattern that works for you. The important thing is that you don’t leave your blog ‘unattended’ to for weeks or months. Your faithful readers will be left hanging if you do that!
In a way, having a blog is like having a baby. You have to nurture it, feed it regularly and ensure that it remains healthy. That’s what you should do to your blog too.
Respond to readers comments your posts. Write new posts regularly. If you choose to post daily, weekly or monthly as the case may be, please be consistent about it. To keep your readers coming back, you have to give them something good to regularly come back to.
7. You might see the need to start a second blog too
I already assured you that your decision to start a blog is a step in the right direction. So I take it that we are settled on that.
What about starting a second or even a third blog? That’s not a bad idea either. But you have to wait until there is a compelling need for it. Otherwise, your energy might be spread out too thinly across multiple blogs and you might stifle your main one to death.
When I started Victors’ Corner, I didn’t see the need for another blog until three years after. Being a personal blog, I had about six categories of posts I crammed into it. But I have recently seen the need to create a separate blog from the Poems’ Category. That has given rise toLiving Poems blog.
As as you make progress with your current blog, you might sense the need to set up another blog, that’s okay. You are not doing that with the aim of shutting down your current blog but with the purpose of furthering another blogging objective.
Thank you for reading my suggestions to new bloggers. Let the conversation continue in the comment section. What will be your advice to a new blogger?
In response to that apt observation, I am writing this post to highlight some of the expectations from the husband as well. While the former post was for a predominantly women audience, this is directed mainly at men.
That not withstanding, if you are a (married) woman reading this, be sure to continue reading to the end. I assure you, you will not regret it.
Now here are:
8 Things Every Christian Man Should Regularly Give His Wife
This is the first thing a Christian man should give his wife. It is commanded of him by the Lord.
The wife expects her husband to love her wholeheartedly and unconditionally. Your wife is not perfect, but you should love her still!
A husband should ensure that the wife’s (emotional, physical, financial, spiritual) needs are provided for.
Not providing for the woman will leave her feeling stressed, frustrated and insecure.
The husband should provide protection to the wife against the harmful effects of the elements, hurtful people and other harmful things;
The husband should provide security to the wife so she has “freedom from, or resilience against, potential harm (or other unwanted coercive change) from external forces.”
The christian husband should provide all kinds of leadership, including spiritual leadership, to the wife.
The wife may be disillusioned if the husband fails to show or lead the way.
Commitment in marriage is a journey not a destination. The husband should daily demonstrate his commitment to his wife.
The wife expects her husband to be committed to her and only her. The commitment is not for a short while, she (rightly) expects it to be forever.
The Christian man should not share his affection with any other woman; he should continue to demonstrate continuing loyalty and support to his wife only.
The man should emotionally and intimately commit to being faithful to his wife. He should not seek sexual gratification from anyone other than his wife.
The wife is called the help-meet for the husband. But that doesn’t mean the husband cannot be a helper to the wife too.
A wife expects her husband to help out (especially with the chores) around the house.
The husband should seek to understand and share the feelings of his wife.
He should give a listening ear to his wife, be patient with her and forgive her a million times in a day.
Remember what the Bible says:
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” Ephesians 5:25-27 NIV.
Thank you for reading my thoughts. Feel free to tell me what you think in the comment section.
I was recently invited to be part of the discussants in a church’s women’s end-of-year conference. But I sent them my apologies because I had another engagement billed for the date and time they chose.
However, the organisers requested that (since I could not be physically present at the event) I sent in my contribution in writing on Things Every Christian Woman Should Give Her Husband. I obliged their request by sending them a written short note as I thought it out.
The feedback I got after the programme was that my note was a blessing to them in that meeting. So in this post, I have decided to share with you the same thoughts I shared with those church women in their conference. I hope you find something useful in it.
Like I said, I drafted the write-up for a predominantly women audience, but that does not mean that you should not read it if you are a man. So let’s go there…
7 Things Every Christian Woman Should Regularly Give Her Husband
A husband expects his wife to respect him in two ways:
By words – what she say to him and about about.
By action – how she treats him at home or outside the home.
A Christian wife should understand that intimacy and sex is very important to the husband, as this is a need only she can meet;
A wife should not deny the husband his right over her body.
A wife should provide good food, timely and regularly for the husband/family;
A wife who doesn’t know how to cook good food should go and learn.
A husband expects the wife to appreciate him for providing for the family.
A woman should have an attitude of gratitude, not grumbling, not complaining.
A wife should show trust and confidence in the ability of the man to lead the home;
A wife should support her husband’s vision or project. She should not use her mouth to tear it down.
The man will never feel peaceful at home if the wife is always nagging.
If a wife fails to create a peaceful home, the husband will not feel happy returning home.
A husband expects his wife to take good care of herself.
She should maintain good personal and family hygiene.
Remember what the Bible says:
The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down. Prov. 14:1.
Thank you for reading my thoughts. Feel free to tell me what you think in the comment section.
The Sun was already going down for the day. And there I was seated by the window side on our staff bus being driven home after work.
The vehicle was filled with other staffers who like me had equally earned a living for the day. We were all eager to get back home to our families and to have a well-deserved night rest.
But the ever busy Lagos traffic was hampering our speed; we were moving at snail’s speed. We are used to that kind of experience!
At the moment, I was gazing blankly at the evening sky through the window screen of the vehicle. And suddenly, I perceived in my spirit something I now consider a personal revelation from Above: Your is your reward.
Really? I should have known that a long time ago!
“Your wife is your reward,” I reechoed under my breath.
But how come those words have never formed part of my regular vocabulary? After all, I have always called my wife a “Gift From Above.” And I believe that with all my heart.
Something was happening here: the eyes of my understanding were further being enlightened, with a clear message out from the blues or better put, from the Spirit of God.
Your wife is your reward! It struck me so much that I knew there must be more to those words than I had previously known. So immediately, the researcher in me was called to work; I pulled my smart phone and did a quick Google search of “Your wife is your reward.”
Instead of a preponderance of web articles being thrown up, a Bible reference was atop the search result. And I wasted no moment in opening it to examine.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that these same words, “Your wife is your reward,” are in the Bible (Ecclesiastes 9:9). I took that as a confirmation that it was God that spoke those words directly to my heart moments earlier.
Since then I have read the verse over again from different versions of the Bible. The translation in the New Living Bible helped me understand it better:
Live happily with the woman you love through all the meaningless days of life that God has given you under the sun. The wife God gives you is your reward for all your earthly. Ecclesiastes 9:9, NLT.
By ordinary meaning, we know that a reward is “a thing given in recognition of service, effort, or achievement.”
And there in the Bible verse we just read, we have it that your wife is your reward for your earthly toil.
I wouldn’t know what you think of that. But As God is the One who said “Your wife is your reward,” we can be sure that He cannot be mistaken about it.
In a previous post, I suggested that you could turn some of the most outstanding comments on your blog into full-fledged posts. The idea is that turning outstanding comments on your blog to full-fledged posts will open up the comments for more visibility, further discussion and more impact and penetration.
To show that I have already walked the talk, please allow me to briefly share 5 of my readers’ comments that were turned into full-blown posts on this blog. (Clicking on the highlighted titles will lead you to the full version of the post).
This particular post captured the true-life story of one of my blog readers who experienced racial discrimination in Southern Africa. It was her personal response to an earlier post of mine, namely Racism in the US Vs tribalism in Nigeria.
In the reader’s words,
“Discrimination is something that really pricks me because I have experienced it. For the life of me, I just cannot understand why people choose to look down on other people because of intangible attributes/features.
“The funny thing is that you don’t have to go as far as America to witness and feel the effect of racism. Come down to the southern part of Africa, you would see and feel it yourself. It’s more transparent in South Africa and Namibia than in other Southern African countries.”
As the discussion on racial discrimination continued on the blog, another reader introduced a different perspective saying,
“…Being prejudiced comes in many forms and it isn’t just restricted to those who have a different skin-colour – although that is one of the more obvious forms. …All of us are prejudiced in some ways; it could be education, upbringing, intelligence, success or failure and a host of other “particulars”.
But does that mean racism is justified? The answer is No!
As the reader further expatiated, “Racial prejudice is wrong in all of it’s various forms but I fear it is a condition of the human heart regardless of our skin-colour, regardless of our education or upbringing or success or failure…
“We all are creations of our Creator, made in His image and we [are in] error if we think otherwise. And most importantly, we all need the saving Grace that God in His wisdom holds over to us, namely the acceptance and saving shed blood of His Son, Jesus Christ, to make us new.”
This post captured some of the most interesting conversations I have had with some atheists on this blog. One of them claimed nature has helped his understanding of life more than the ‘man in the sky.” But he would not acknowledge that the man in the sky, so-called, is the Architect of the Universe, the One whom it was that put the natural world in place.
“God is out of touch with the world” claimed another so-called atheist. To that I responded, “It is even more appropriate to say that it is the people of the world that are losing touch of God. All men, including you, need to get know God better.” How can someone who doesn’t exist lose touch?
Yet another self-professed atheist got carried away during one of our conversations and he kept saying, God is wicked, God doesn’t love humans, God enjoys to see people suffer, etc. Really? I couldn’t hold back asking him, “How can the God you say doesn’t exist be wicked and loveless?
All these led me to surmise that many atheists are living in self-denial when they say that God doesn’t exist, because deep in their hearts they know that they are wrong.
In this post, I shared the comment of a reader, who in a very frank manner, identified with the pervasive personal struggle against lust and pornography, as well as the ways to overcome them.
According to this reader, we must all understand that pornography has harmful effects on our lives, careers and family. Therefore, it should not be accepted as a normal thing in our daily living.
To deal with addiction to pornography decisively, the reader recommends that we must identify the things that trigger the desire in us and set up adequate defences against them.
Worthy of mention, is the readers suggestions that “we need to spend quality time with GOD every day, not as a to-do-list or a good christian checklist. But because God wants a relationship with us, and how do we have a relationship with anyone we never spend time with?”
As a leader, you should love your team members, even when things do not go according to plan.
As one author observed, ”If you are leading anything of significance then you will regularly run into many uncertainties, obstacles, and failures. And it is the way you deal with these situations, how you handle things going wrong, that truly defines your leadership.”
And when things do go wrong, you as the leader should build a shared understanding of the root-cause of the problem through what the reader called “exploration conversations” without demoralising any member of your team.
“This approach doesn’t preclude a leader from holding people accountable for their actions. In fact, it is the opposite. If you don’t hold people accountable then you aren’t really being a loving leader.”
You have read some of the blog comments on this site that I turned into full-fledged posts. You can click on the embedded links to read the complete posts.
Have you ever turned a reader’s comment into a full-fledged post on your blog? Feel free to leave a feedback or reaction in the comment section below.
Treasures are useless if they are buried away in the earth. But once they are brought to the surface, they can be appropriately harnessed and put into meaningful uses.
That’s how it is with your readers’ invaluable comments; they will not be so useful to your other readers if they are not given the optimum attention they deserve.
Let me state categorically that it is very important you don’t fail to peruse your blog’s comment section. That way, (apart from responding to all the comments as appropriate), you can sift out the gems in your readers’ thoughts or the feedback left for you in print, and then give them maximum exposure.
Talking about maximum exposure, that’s what you should give to your readers’ most outstanding comments. You can do that if you would use some of your readers’ most impressive contributions to write full-blown posts on your blog.
My point is that as you explore your readers’ comments, you might come across veritable comments that could be converted to full-fledged posts.
As you already know, not everyone who reads your blog posts has the patience and time to go through all the other readers’ comments one by one. But you, as the blog author, should not fail to do that.
You may even find some comments on your blog that can be directly lifted and turned into full-fledged posts. And that’s the reason I am using this post to drum that point home.
Needless to say, I have been able to convert some of my readers’ comments into full-fledged posts a number of times on this blog. And the experiences have been great. So I will not hesitate to suggest you do the same thing on your blog.
Turning outstanding post comments to full-fledged posts opens up the comments for more visibility, further discussion and more impact.
One advantage of turning a good blog comment into a full-blown post is that the valuable information or insights shared by your readers will not be not buried or lost deep down there in the comment section.
It would be great if you can have everyone who reads your main post to also read all the blog comments generated by the post. But as I already pointed out, not all your readers will be able to quarry through the depths of the many comments on your blog to extract out the hidden gems.
You can help out occasionally by turning some of those invaluable comments into full-fledged posts. Doing so will make it more accessible to more of your readers.
In a subsequent post, I will highlight some of my readers’ comments that I successfully lifted and turned into full-blown posts on this blog.
What do you think of the idea of turning some outstanding comments on your blog into full-fledged posts?
I started this blog because I believed (and still believe) that I have something good to share that would be a blessing to someone out there. I also wanted to use the blogging platform to hone my writing skills.
Over all, blogging is helping me become a better version of myself.
Another side benefit of blogging is the opportunity it has afforded me to interact online with people from across all continents of the world. In the process, I have forged many beneficial online relationships with people I am yet to meet physically.
And I know I am not the only one who has had that beautiful experience. There are bloggers who have been able to turn their blogging friends to real life friends. And it looks like I am joining that league now. Hang on, I will tell you about that in a moment…
Ufuomae (in the picture with me above), author and founder of Grace and Truth and Ufuomae’s Series Blog and Fair Life Africa was one of the earliest followers of this blog when I came on the blogosphere three years ago. Since then our interactions have continued and remained online. But all that got to change (for the better) during the week.
I have been aware that Ufuomae had published a couple of books in e-books and paperback formats. So finally I decided to place an order online for three of her books on paperbacks: The Church Girl 1&2, The House Girl and Perfect Love.
I was expecting the books to be delivered to me through a courier service. But I was pleasantly surprised when she contacted me to say she would deliver the books to me in person.
“Are you home today?” she asked. “I was thinking of bringing the books in person.”
Ostensibly, she only recently realised that we have been living in the same city all along.
“Oh really, you will bring the books in person?” I enthused. “Wow, it will be such an honour to finally meet you in person.”
Being someone I admire a lot, it had crossed my mind on several occasions that I would one day meet this passionate Christian blogger in person. But I had thought I would be the one to go look for her.
You can now see why I was feeling so excited to have her come look for me. The experience was wonderful for me. It would not be wrong to say I count it as one of the most important moments in my blogging journey.
And at the end of the day, this was how Ufuomae herself on her Instagram handle captured her experience of meeting me physically for the first time:
It was really lovely to meet you in the flesh @Victor_Uyanwanne! Wow 😎 This world is small… I think I first discovered your blog, VictorsCorner in 2015, and I was super pleased to find another African representing Christ on the blogosphere and doing it so unashamedly 😉 It was a while before I realised that you were Nigerian too 😁
The biggest surprise came when you ordered three of my books, and I learnt you actually live and work in Lagos!!! But the biggest biggest surprise was realising that you’re actually a BIG FAN of mine 😲 Wow, you made me feel like a real celebrity today 😎 thank you! It was nice getting to know you in the flesh, and I hope to learn more from you too.
Shout out to your office colleagues! Let them head over to books.ufuomaee.org and start ordering their own books.
(Yes, she met with some of my colleagues at work too. And they were pleased to meet with her as well).
Let me end this post with my response to Ufuomae’s Instagram post shown above, with the assurance that she and I have moved from being just blog friends to real life friends.
You made my day. It was my pleasure meeting you… in real life. Wow… Thank you so so much for everything. You are as fantastic in real life as you are online, even more.
Yea, it’s true I ordered your books.. The good part, noooo, the great part is that you graciously autographed them for me. You are doing great [in your blogging journey]. And I know you will do more. Just keep the flag flying. I will be there to cheer you on.
Have you ever had anyone you met through your blog become your real life friend? I look forward to reading your experience in the comment section.