Relationships are everything.

IMG_1379 It's our relationships...

I wanted to start a blog 4 years ago. But I was scared. What would people think of me? What if they didn't like what I wrote? Would I be sharing too much? Do I really want to make myself that vulnerable?

Well, about a year and a half ago, after deciding to take over the nursery, I took the plunge and told myself I was doing it "for the business." But in all honesty, I do it for myself. I like to write. I like connecting with people. What I didn't know or couldn't even fathom at that time is that this blog (and social media) would allow me to be a part of an amazing group and allow me to form new relationships with great people. I'm talking about the North Iowa Bloggers. I have been a part of the North Iowa bloggers since last fall. I haven't been able to attend all of the events, and would like to get to know everyone better but I have learned a deep lesson this week.

There was a tragic accident on the Avenue of the Saints during the terrible snow storm on Wednesday. Amy Hild, a driving force in the North Iowa Bloggers was killed in this accident. I was out of town at a conference when I read the news on my Facebook feed. I couldn't believe it. It couldn't be true. I didn't know Amy well, but I sat next to her at dinner a few weeks ago when we all got together to eat and paint. She was so friendly. To be honest, because of my own insecurities, I had my reservations about going to get togethers...I was scared I wouldn't fit in; everyone seemed to know each other more and were better friends. But I got lucky, and got to sit next to Amy, who made me feel more than welcome to be a part of this group. I have been amazed at the support and understanding of the women (and men!) in this group of bloggers in North Iowa.

I am having a hard time understanding this, but I feel like I knew Amy. I followed and engaged with her on instagram, Facebook, and twitter, and would often read her blog posts on Modern Rural Living. This is my first real realization that the relationships that I am making online are real relationships, with real people. And they mean something. I have been so reluctant to spend time engaging too much, worried I might overshare, and letting my insecurities get in the way. But I have learned that Amy had a huge impact on my life and she probably never even knew it (and neither did I). I am sad for Amy's fiancé, her family and her friends. I cannot stop thinking about Amy, my mind is consumed by the tragedy of her passing, and the impact she had on my life.

I'm not even sure I'm making sense anymore. But I wanted to share with those who support Natural Plus and this blog, that relationships are the most important thing to me. They are the only thing that matter in life. It's not about how many trees we sell, or how many likes our Facebook page gets. It's the relationships we have with our supporters, customers, family, and friends. I never knew Natural Plus Nursery, the North Iowa bloggers, and especially Amy would teach me so much.

If you would like to read more about Amy's life, click here. She truly was an amazing person.