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Posts Tagged ‘friends’

Be a True Friend

Photo credit: Jan Willem

Photo credit: Jan Willem

Today, as I think about my friends, I’m so thankful. I can’t imagine life without these women encouraging me and setting examples of strength and inner beauty.

Even though I am rich with good friends, I rarely have the chance to get away and just hang out with them. Life is busy with mothering and homeschooling, but an opportunity came up at the end of November for a weekend away with some of my closest friends. I didn’t turn it down.

It was a time of crazy hilarity and soul baring honesty. We shopped at thrift stores, went out for dinner, swam, ate lots of chocolate, stayed up late, and slept little. We prayed and sang. Laughed and cried.

Friendships like these don’t just happen. It take openness and humility and coming through trials together to ripen into deep life-long friendships. And it’s not an argument that kills a friendship, but the lack of forgiveness and understanding.

I always feel uncertain when a new friendships hits that place where there’s a misunderstanding or hurt feelings. Sometimes the friendship fizzles out there, but when there is forgiveness and healing, the friendship goes to another level and depth.

We are at the beginning of a new year and many of us are making resolutions to exercise more, eat healthier, quit a bad habit or cultivate a good one. All of these things are great, but here’s another resolution to consider, one that’s at the top of my list–be a true friend.

Wishing you a Happy New Year!

❤ Rachel
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There are few things more miserable than going to help a friend and then making things worse. And if there’s anyone who’s going to make that mistake, it’s going to be me. {Sigh.}

My misfortune happened at a work bee. I love work bees. The social gathering that’s more than just a gathering; we get to accomplish something together. I was there to help my friend move out of her trailer and get the trailer ready for her in-laws. We were cleaning and organizing and visiting and drinking tea. Is there a better way to spend a day?

“I’ve got a job for you, Rachel,” said Barb. “You can transfer my kids’ measurements from the wall to this height board. You like a challenge.” It’s true—I love a challenge, but my penmanship is sloppy and I was a little worried that I wouldn’t be neat enough.

I used a ruler to keep my lines straight, and carefully transferred each mark. It didn’t take long to finish, and it didn’t look too bad.

Barb’s mom cocked her head to the side and examined the board. “I didn’t know the kids were that tall.”

A tingle climbed the back of my neck. Something was definitely wrong. The heights were all a foot out!

The ladies assured me that the foot-markings could be changed, but they were big and written in permanent ink. No matter what, it was going to be a mess. I didn’t want them to groan every time they looked at the board for the next several decades and think of me.

I wracked my brain for a solution, but it was Barb’s mom that came up with the idea of flipping the board and redoing it on the back. I was just grateful for a solution.

I snuck the board home and spent that evening redrawing the lines and numbers and then measuring and copying the heights from the other side. I prayed for Barb while I traced the numbers and marked off each line. I prayed for her pregnancy and the house they are building, and then I prayed for each child as I copied their names onto the wood.

God knows that I needed that lovely, relaxing evening of prayer and meditation. I needed to slow down and be thankful for good friends and to remember that sometimes even mistakes pave the way to peace and prayer.

 

 

 

 

 

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I have a writing friend who is an amazing example to me. She makes writing goals and then makes them happen. She keeps me accountable.

Tonight I sent her a message that I was going to work on my Biblical Counselling exam. And then I went and checked my email…read a writing magazine…responded to some posts on a writing forum…posted a story to a critique circle…wrote a review on Amazon. In short, I got everything done on my to do list for the next few days (aside from cleaning my house) except work on my counselling exam.

Are you a procrastinator too? I’m glad I’m not alone here, people. 🙂 It’s not that I don’t want to have my exam completed. This is an amazing course, and I love it that they make the digital copies of most of the course free. I believe this is important…but it’s hard. And I often resist doing the hard things in life.

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Photo credit: Shho

What helped me get back on track is the knowledge that this dear friend is going to ask me, “Did you do it?” And I really want to be able to say yes. Sometimes setting clear goals and being accountable to a friend is the very thing to help us overcome procrastination.

P.S. – The idea for this post popped into my mind as I was working on my exam, and believe it or not, I almost stopped working on it and started writing this post, before I realized how ridiculous that was. Short attention span here! I did actually complete the work I planned on doing, and I’m only a few days away from being done. Yay!

P.P.S- You can check out the IBCD counselling course here.

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No Trouble

It’s hard to believe that several months have passed since I last posted here. What an incredibly busy season! In this time we went on a vacation, started school, and I illustrated a children’s book (more on that in another post.)  I just have to go back a bit and tell you about our vacation. Our first stop was in Alberta to see friends.

William and Micah

William and Micah

A year and a half ago, these dear friends informed us that they were moving back to Alberta. I cried…my little boy William and their son Micah are only 2 weeks apart in age and great friends…Micah had stayed with us when their second son was born…our families had had the best water balloon fight ever…Christine and I talked, laughed and prayed together. But were we lifelong friends? Would our friendship survive the move?

Time and distance has proved our friendship and has shown me that this family truly is among our life long friendships. You know–the ones where it doesn’t matter how much time passes since you last talked, you can pick up the phone and start back up again where you left off. They’re those friends who are faithful to not only encourage you, but also to challenge you.

But…I wasn’t about to test this friendship to the max by invading their cozy little two bedroom home with our family of 8! We told them that we would stay in a hotel room and visit during the day. Later, we got a reply saying that they could borrow a tent trailer and we could stay in the yard. “It’s no trouble at all,” said the message. The next day we got another message insisting that it was no trouble. It sounded like fun, so we took them up on the offer.
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The visit was full to overflowing with fun, laughter, fellowship, and good food. We were perfectly comfortable staying in the tent trailer, and it felt like an adventure sleeping outside in the middle of a big city.

My husband and I are opposites in so many ways (God’s perfect plan!) I might notice if someone wore a florescent pink shirt, but Kevin sees everything. After examining the fence, Kevin confronted Aaron. “Did you chainsaw down the fence to get this tent trailer in here?” Caught, Aaron raised his eyebrows, tried to conceal a smile, and nodded. We had a good hearty laugh over chris and me cropped
what the neighbours thought of Aaron revving up his chainsaw on his little city lot and hacking through the fence.

No trouble, huh? Kevin kept sleuthing and we soon learned that they drove several hours to borrow the tent trailer. “It was wonderful!” They insisted.

I’m glad that we stayed in that trailer. I’m thankful that we have friends that are willing to joyfully mutilate their property for our benefit. It’s the love and time invested in family and friends that truly make us rich.

More on the trip in another post. 🙂

Aaron, Christine, Micah, Nathan and Elijah

Aaron, Christine, Micah, Nathan and Elijah

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We were returning home from church one Sunday, and Kevin could tell by looking at the driveway that someone had been to our house. (I really have no idea how he notices such things.) Sure enough, we could see something huge and dark in our porch. I opened the door and was astonished to see a couch standing on end! Kevin and I just looked at each other wide-eyed.

“Do you have any idea where it came from?” Kevin asked. I thought back to a conversation that I’d had earlier that day, and thought I might know who the secret gifter was.

I had been visiting with some friends, and had mentioned that our couch was so grungy and abused that my husband was embarrassed at the thought of taking it to the dump! One of the ladies said that we could have her couch if she could get the retro one that her Grandmother had.

I called the friend and told her that a couch had appeared in our porch. I asked if she might know anything about it. She laughed and I got the story out of her. “I just wanted to bless you with it,” she admitted. What really astonished me was that they managed to get it into their car. This is a full size couch! It’s a good thing that it is only a short distance, because they drove with the back door open and her husband’s face smushed against the windshield! (I am withholding names because some folks might be sticklers about such things. :)) There isn’t a chance in a lifetime that I’d get my husband to agree to such a scheme!

The plan had been to sneak into our house and take away the old couch and replace it with the new. Our house is never left unlocked though, so they left it on the porch instead. I laughed at the thought of returning home to find that our couch had gone through metamorphosis. 🙂 This family of five is now without a couch and I have a hard time imagining them all squeezed onto their lonely loveseat!

We were recently the recipients of yet another act of kindness. Kevin had been driving on the highway, when the engine in our van died. He managed to pull safely off the highway. He gave me a phone call and described the predicament. The girls and I prayed that all work out. It is a stressful thing to have our only vehicle die, and money was in short supply at the time.

While standing alongside of the van, unsure of what to do, a friend drove up alongside Kevin and asked if he could help. Incredibly, they leant us their vehicle to use until our van was fixed, and to top it off, it was an eight seater and could hold our huge family! (What are the chances?)

The next day was a special Sunday service at a local resort. We weren’t about to take a borrowed vehicle an hour into the bush, so we informed the others in the church that we wouldn’t make it that week. One family was bending over backwards trying to arrange it so that we could car pool with others. We ended up declining, but I felt thankful for friends who are so eager to bless and help. The same friend (a mechanic) ended up spending that Monday working on the van with Kevin. We are so thankful! Our van was fixed that day, and this family even refused to accept payment.

I am humbled as I think back to the countless ways that we have been blessed through others over the years. I know that it is one way that God shows us His love, through the hands of His children.

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The Debt of Love

There is one thing that I am wonderfully rich in, and that is true friends. I never, never want to take for granted the beautiful people that grace my life. A true friend loves you in the good times and the bad. She draws near in times of sorrow. A true friend lasts a lifetime. A true friend is priceless.

There have been times, when I’ve felt so unworthy of the love I have received. At times it can almost hurt to be the recipient of such sacrificial love. As I was pondering this, Romans 8:13 came to mind, “Owe no one anything, except the debt of love…” That is exactly how I can feel, that there is a debt of love.

This debt of love is a beautiful thing. By it, I feel spurred on to be a better friend and a better person. In a sense, to be in debt is to be in slavery, and so… I am called to be a slave to love!

Sometimes, the love I have received from one is to be passed on to another. I have had friends come along side of me to offer comfort in the darkest hours of my life. I may never have the opportunity to love them in that same way, but maybe, I will be able to pass on that comfort to someone else as I walk through this life.

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…

It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things

that give value to survival.”

~ C.S. Lewis

 

“For sunlit hours and visions clear,

For all remembered faces dear,

For comrades of a single day,

Who sent us stronger on our way,

For friends who shared the year’s long road,

And bore with us the common load,

For hours that levied heavy tolls,

But brought us nearer to our goals,

For insights won through toil and tears,

We thank the Keeper of our years.”

~ Clyde McGee

 

“Priceless little memories

are treasures without price,

And through the gateway of the heart

they lead to paradise.”

~William Wordsworth

 

“Blessed be the…God of all comfort, who

comforts us in all our tribulations, that we may be able

to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort

with which we ourselves are

comforted by God.”

~ 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

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I Am Thankful

It is one thing to be blessed, but it is quite another thing to know that you are blessed. I am thankful that I can look around me and see, not just the work and hardship, but the precious gifts that fill my life. My life is very busy with 5 small children, and a house and garden to tend to, but it is my prayer that I will not just rush through the days. I want to savour the moments.

My children love baking and I am trying to include them more. It is tempting to just do it myself. After all, it is easier and probably quicker too, but I am reminded that children grow quickly. It won’t be long until I will be able to bake in peace, I think I’ll be wishing though, that I had little helpers.

Yesterday I made bread. I gave a lump of dough to each child, and they set out to make pieces of art with it. Myra spent almost an hour crafting a family. The mother had tiny, intricate braids. There were beds for everyone and even a highchair and bib for the baby. Melanie also made a family and Ethan made wonderful monkeys. Owen made bug faces. 🙂

The girls are wanting to bake more on their own now. They positively glow when someone says that the cake is good, and I can tell them that Myra or Melanie made it. Of course the eggs are still a bit tricky. I get them to crack the eggs into a cup, and the cat gets the ones that end up on the counter.

I am thankful for my family and friends. I am thankful for the moments that make up my life. I am thankful to know that I am blessed. Each of these gifts are from the hand of God.

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