Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Jackie makes three August 23, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:00 AM
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THRICE NOW I’VE MET, in person, Midwest bloggers with whom I initially formed online friendships. And they—Gretchen at A Fine Day for an Epiphany, Beth Ann at It’s Just Life and Jackie at Who Will Make Me Laugh—are as genuine in person as they are in their postings.

There are no pretenses. All three of these women are kind, generous and caring individuals who are the real deal.

I first met Beth Ann last December when she and her husband, Chris, drove up from Mason City, Iowa, to hear me read and present on poetry at the local library. Beth Ann didn’t tell me she was coming; she simply showed up. I recognized her from her online photo. We instantly connected and she has since visited me.

As an example of Beth Ann’s caring ways, she uses her blog to raise awareness of and donate monies to worthy causes via her “Comments for a Cause.” For each comment made, Beth Ann and Chris donate 50 cents to the selected cause. Fifty cents per comment adds up.

In the Worthington area, Gretchen is an active volunteer with many organizations and the entire family has participated in community theatre. A theatrical performance brought Gretchen, her husband and three children to Faribault last summer to see a play directed by a friend. Before the show, they dined at our house. This summer my husband and I dined at Gretchen’s home. It’s as if we’ve known them forever instead of just a year. They are that kind of warm and welcoming family.

Me, left, with Jackie

Me, left, with Jackie

Ditto goes for Jackie and her husband, Rick, whom we met on Sunday afternoon after moving our son’s belongings from his apartment in Rochester. It was our boy’s move three months ago that truly connected me, on a personal level, with Jackie. I asked her for suggestions on apartments and she presented me with a list. Later, when I was looking for thrift stores in town, she gave me another list. How nice was that?

But I wasn’t at all surprised at Jackie’s kind spirit. I’ve followed her blog for quite some time and knew we shared similar values and interests. Think driving down a country gravel road; appreciating barns, country churches, old country schools and cemeteries; photography; the importance of faith and family in our lives. Meeting Jackie in person on Sunday was like reuniting with a long-time friend.

As a bonus to our visit with Jackie and Rick, my husband and I met their son, Gavin, and their sweet granddaughter, Audrey. Upon our arrival, Audrey was playing with a tin of jewelry. She’s quite the diva, and I mean that in the most fashionable and nicest way. By the time I left, I was wearing a beautiful stone and bead bracelet in my favorite hues—green and purple—gifted by the darling little girl with the big brown eyes.

The bracelet Audrey gave me. My one regret is that I didn't have a photo taken of me and Audrey together.

The bracelet Audrey gave me. My one regret is that I didn’t have a photo taken of me and Audrey together.

Jackie has often written about Audrey’s giving spirit, so evident in her gift to me. I was deeply touched. I expect the spirit of generosity has been passed through the generations.

Now whenever I wear that bracelet, I’ll think of Jackie and Audrey and how individual writers and photographers, threaded through blogging, can form an unbroken circle of friendship.


To read Jackie’s blog, Who Will Make Me Laugh, click here. Jackie, a nurse by professions, is an especially talented photographer who claims she could spend all day editing images.

To read Beth Ann’s blog, It’s Just Life, click here. Threads of compassion and care run through Beth Ann’s blog posts. I am trying to convince her to write a book of devotionals.

To read Gretchen’s blog, It’s a Fine Day for an Epiphany, click here. Gretchen is an incredibly talented writer, evident in her postings. She’s written a children’s book manuscript, which I fully expect to be accepted for publication someday soon.

© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


24 Responses to “Jackie makes three”

  1. treadlemusic Says:

    Absolutely nothing like a ‘bloggy friend’ meet-up!!! Someday…………..Hugs….

  2. Beth Ann Says:

    What a lovely visit you had and what a sweet, sweet post. I am touched. But I am a true believer that God had the major part in bringing us together as friends. This world of ours can be so big at times but the gift of social media and technology makes it smaller. I am just so happy we found each other and that you make a point of meeting your bloggy friends and making them real life friends! 🙂 You made my day.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      His plans…, yes! Note exclamation mark.

      I would never have thought that this thing called blogging would have the wonderful benefit of friendships forged. I have found, in you and other blogger friends, such genuine warmth, compassion, support and care. The very definitions of friendship. This blogging circle is a great blessing, indeed.

      And to meet some of my bloggy friends, like you, in person has been great. You are wonderful, Beth Ann, just wonderful.

      • Beth Ann Says:

        Aw…..that makes my heart happy!!! Can’t wait till our next meet up!

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        Well, you know where I live and you frequent 35 and my door is always open.

      • Beth Ann Says:

        I do know where you live!!! 🙂 Thanks for the open door invitation! Same goes for you if you ever make it south !!!

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        Thank you. I think Iowa is going to be our state of exploration as we had a taste of what it has to offer when we were in Cresco, Decorah, Marquette and McGregor earlier this summer. Why have we never ventured much into Iowa before this? We loved what we found there.

  3. Great Post – I am familiar with Gretchen’s blog and will have to check out the other 2 – thanks so much for sharing these great bloggers! Happy Friday – Happy Weekend:)

  4. OH, what a fun surprise! You are so kind. You’ll have to check out the blog that I linked to today in my (surprise!) Thursday post! Rita is a lovely friend of mine who started blogging several months ago. Thank you, as always, for your lovely words and the link!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Just peeked at Rita’s soshemarriedafarmer. Another blog to follow, for sure. Thanks for the tip.

      Always happy to direct my readers your way, Gretchen.

  5. Jackie Says:

    Audrey, I really did read this and loved your post from wayyyyyyy back in August, I cant believe I didn’t comment???? It was probably one of those things where I read it at caribou coffee and I cant comment from there it’s wierd, I really cant. Then I totally forgot to go back in and comment when I got home. Thank you for the kind words, I’m so glad we were finally able to meet in person. You are just as lovely as I had imagined. It was also a bonus for us to meet Randy. I hope you will stop by anytime you come through Rochester!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Thank you, Jackie. It was good to FINALLY meet you, and Rick, too. And you both are also as I imagined. I feel like we’ve been friends always. The invitation to stop in at our Faribault home is also always open.

      Please give your darling Audrey a hug from me. She is the sweetest.

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