It’s not easy making new friends. Sure, you meet people if you’re outgoing and upbeat, but I’m talking about real friendships. And here in the personal finance community, I’ve found no shortage of friends—real friends. It’s easy to make friends in the personal finance community because we all share the same values—and not just about money. We focus on family, friends, health, and nature. And I think we all agree that the best things in life are free.
So today I want to share a few details about the special people in the personal finance community I’m proud to call friends.
Bianca from Miss Mazuma
Bianca gives me the intensity I sometimes crave in a female friendship. She’s a magnetic force! She’s the go-to girl to giggle with and hunker down with for a heavy chat-fest. Except—we’re pen pals. And when we get into a groove we’re like old friends (cousins, as she says,) firing off a flurry of lengthy emails back and forth for a few days—and then we stop. And then we pick back up again a month or two later whenever a topic arises from a comment on a post or some interesting tidbit we heard about. But mostly we discuss—men. Boyfriends, husbands (don’t worry Mr. Groovy, you’re not in the doghouse), and family members.
Recently, I took out the book The Stranger In The Woods from the library. Before I even had a chance to open it, Bianca remarked on Ms. Montana’s site (see below) that she was currently reading it and couldn’t put it down. When I told her I was just about to start it she was anxious to hear what I thought of it. We shared emails about our impressions of the book, which we each enjoyed. But we had mixed feelings about “The Stranger” himself, who was not the most honorable person. I later used the book for the basis of a post, Do You Live Your Life Like a Financial Hermit?
Jillian (Ms. Montana) of Montana Money Adventures
Jillian has a quiet, penetrating intensity. She gives me the serenity factor. Whether it’s through emails or Skype, Jillian has an amazing calming effect. On Skype, when she smiles and nods her head, she’s mesmerizing. You just feel deep in your bones how wonderful life is. Jillian is like Mary, tossing her cap in the air in the opener of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” How can anything be wrong in the world when Jillian is giving you a wide smile?
Jillian is one of the reasons Mr. Groovy and I are making our second trip to Montana this fall. Glacier National Park has been on our bucket list for several years but we haven’t pulled the trigger. Now that we have the added bonus of hanging with Jillian and her tribe (5 kids plus husband), I finally had the impetus for booking our flights!
I wonder if I heard correctly—Jillian wants us to look at some land? And take us camper shopping?
Claudia and Garrett Pennington of Two Cup House
About a year ago I reached out to Claudia with a legal question and she replied with details, resources, and tools—so much more than I could have hoped for! Since then we’ve built a friendship—and Mr. Groovy and I finally met the Penningtons in person this past winter! They’re the first blogging friends we’ve gotten together with in the flesh!
Mr. Groovy and I planned a road trip to the Berkshires for our nephew’s wedding this past winter and discussed a stop-over along the way. Claudia said we’d be passing “right by” them in Hershey, PA and we decided to meet up. Little did I know that a stop off the highway in Harrisburg, PA was more like a half hour from the Penningtons. It doesn’t seem like much of a distance but when you’ve been on the road for nine hours, it’s dark, and conditions are icy, it’s a bit daunting to navigate unfamiliar territory.
Claudia and Garrett were great sports about meeting us at our hotel and doing the driving. We went to dinner nearby at the Tomato Pie Café where I had—you guessed it—tomato pie! Later, we moved on over to a Mexican restaurant for sangria, umbrella drinks, and more conversation.
More recently, Claudia and Garrett planned to spend a night with us in Charlotte during Memorial Day weekend, in route to South Carolina. Unfortunately their plans changed. And they missed out on being the first guests on Talking Trash With Mr. Groovy. But at least we have a great photo of Claudia doing her civic duty at Chickies Rock County Park in PA!
Claudia, did you know the park is thought to be haunted?
And last week, Claudia really saved the day. More like saved our asses. She sent me an urgent message after reading a post on our website when it became apparent to her that something was terribly off with our site. After a quick Skype call, with Claudia’s help, Mr. Groovy and I were able to identify the culprit and quickly make a change.
By the way, Claudia is a digital marketing veteran and SEO expert. She created this course specifically for bloggers and podcasters.
JW and Lucy of The Green Swan
Here we are Mr. Groovy and I, old enough to be their parents, yet we enjoy spending time with our fellow Charlotteans—JW and his wife Lucy.
When we realized we were neighbors, JW and I occasionally left comments on each other’s blogs about meeting. Finally, when Lucy was days away from going into labor with Cygnet 2, Mr. Groovy and I met up with the Swans for lunch in Uptown Charlotte. (It’s a Charlotte thing—our downtown is called uptown.) Lucy and JW work near one another and Cygnet 1 was in daycare so it was a perfect opportunity. Mr. Groovy and I arrived first at the restaurant and I texted JW to let him know where we were seated—lunchtime in Uptown can get quite busy. Mr. Groovy and I felt like we were on a blind date!
The 2nd time we got together with the Swans was for a weekend lunch, less than 2 months after Lucy gave birth to their second little boy. And we had the pleasure of meeting both children! Cygnet 1 is an energetic preschooler, while Cygnet 2 is very calm, like his mother. He was awake the whole time, sitting in his carrier smiling and checking out the restaurant scenery. The one time he cried was when I held him—but luckily I grabbed a few minutes of joy before his discomfort kicked in and he wanted his mommy.
Laurie of The Frugal Farmer
I don’t think of myself as a very religious person. But in response to a casual comment I made on her blog, Laurie reached out to me. She tentatively questioned whether I was open to a conversation about religion and I was. We emailed each other a few times and then she asked if she could send me a bible. And I said “sure!”
After I received the bible I had questions, which led to more emails. And then religion led to other topics and before long, Laurie and I were in touch on a weekly basis. Laurie is extremely gracious in sharing blogging tips and referrals. And aside from personal finance, she’s a super person. She’s kind, funny, and very blunt! She’s home schooling her kids and has some wacky adventures. Her short notes about her family’s escapades are sometimes the highlight of my day.
My crystal ball tells me Laurie and I have many more conversations ahead—and that her husband Rick and Mr. Groovy will become fast friends when we finally do meet.
Fritz and Jackie of The Retirement Manifesto
And then along came the Fritzers, as we affectionately call them!
It all started when Mr. Groovy booked an interview with Joshua Sheets on Radical Personal Finance. Fritz previously guested on the show and we listened to his interview with Joshua during one of our walks. Mr. Groovy and I thought he aced it! He sounded so professional—surely we could learn something from him.
We sent Fritz a message and asked if he’d share some tips with a first timer—and he graciously replied with his phone number. During our first call, Fritz put Mr. Groovy at ease about the RPF taping. And from that point on, we had a friend in Fritz. We spoke on a monthly basis for almost a year.
We learned about Fritz’s wife Jackie, and the animal rescue and fostering the two of them do for the Barking Lot—part of the Tri State Pet Rescue in Blue Ridge, GA. Fritz excitedly told us about his daughter’s upcoming wedding. And Jackie and I spoke very briefly on the phone, once.
And when Mr. Groovy and I retired back in October—who dedicated an entire post about our retirement day 1?
Speaking of Jackie—let me ask you, what kind of woman goes along with her nutty husband in inviting two lunatic bloggers neither of them have met—to spend the night in her new home? The lovely Jackie—that’s who.
Last weekend Mr. Groovy and I visited the North Georgia mountains to meet the Fritzers for the very first time! It was wonderful—just like getting together with old friends. We stayed at the Great House but the Fritzers also gave us a tour of the Good House, which is up for sale. AND we’re the first bloggers, ever, to witness the World Headquarters of The Retirement Manifesto!
Saturday night we had dinner in the lovely town of Blue Ridge, GA. Sunday morning, while the men went out in search of litter (Yes! Fritz is the first guest litter picker upper on Talking Trash With Mr. Groovy), Jackie and I drank coffee on the huge deck of the Great House, and got to know one another better. Dare I say it? (Well, Mr. Groovy already has.) Fritz—you married up!
There you have it—living proof of friendships made through the power of Internet. There are so many more folks I feel as if I already know—there’s Amy from Life Zemplified, who’s becoming a good friend and advises me on improving my nutrition. Mr. Groovy and I intend to meet her in Michigan, perhaps next year. And there’s Lila (@liladstudio on Twitter) who encourages us to expand our digital horizons. She’s a talented artist who occasionally creates images and infographics from Freedom Is Groovy to show us the possibilities—and she’s a full-time student.
There are so many more folks to mention and I apologize for leaving anyone out—but I’d be totally remiss if I didn’t mention the Rockstar Finance Forums. If you’re seeking friends just take a hop over to the Forums and you’re bound to find one.
Until the next time…I leave you with this random act of kindness created by My Son’s Father for Mr. Groovy and me.