In July 2012 I got an email from a woman named Dara saying that she'd recently found my blog and had really been enjoying it. She said how much she liked reading about my accident/experience and how she always felt uplifted and empowered after reading it. I wrote Dara back right away to thank her for reaching out to me, since hearing from my blog readers means a great deal to me. We've been emailing each other ever since and have really gotten to know each other. We've become fast friends and we talk about all sorts of things from our daily goings-on, to our families, to our favorite TV shows and even what we think about pop culture and current events.
Dara lives in Kentucky, about 5½ hours away from where I live in Missouri. A while back I told her that if she ever found herself in St. Louis it would be wonderful to meet each other in person. She said that she'd have to make the trip some weekend when her kids were taken care of so that she could get away. Our desire to meet became a reality last Saturday when Dara and her boyfriend Tom came to St. Louis to visit. Tom's niece conveniently lives here in St. Louis, so they were able to stay with her and spend an evening with my mom and me.
I wondered how Tom would do while Dara and I talked, and I just hoped he wouldn't get bored. I was pleasantly surprised with how much I liked him! What I mean is, I knew that I would love Dara since I feel like I already know her quite well, but since I don't know Tom I wasn't sure what to expect from him. But he was so nice! He was so personable and warm and funny, and the four of us had such a pleasant time visiting with each other.
Dara and Tom stayed for dinner. My mom fixed white chicken chili (one of my favorite soups), pumpkin bread (a copycat recipe for Starbucks' pumpkin bread that we recently came across and love) and a new cake recipe from Pinterest that my sister Kristin passed along to me. Everything tasted great and the conversation was wonderful, too.
Dara and I both have summer birthdays, and since we knew that we would be meeting each other in person some time this fall, so we decided to wait to give each other a birthday gift until we met. When I had my birthday Dara said, "Oprah has her favorite things and I do, too!" so she gave me a few things she likes that she hoped I would like, too. She must know me well because she hit the bull's-eye with each one!
I'm so grateful for Dara's friendship. I was delighted that someone would travel such a great distance just to meet me. It's not like we live close to each other! I gave Dara fair warning that documenting with pictures was a must since our meeting was something to remember. Thankfully she and Tom both obliged me!