Friday, February 17, 2012

Ta-ta For Now

Be back soon ;)

I have this friend...

"A true friend is one soul in two bodies." ~ Aristotle
Well actually she is more like the sister I never had, or a soul sister, or as she likes to call us a "soul mate of friends". And I want to warn you before I go any further that this is going to be sappy and yes, I am crying as I write this. I cry for many reasons because 1. She is pregnant and 2. I won't be near when she has her little diva of a baby and 3. She truly is my soul mate of friends.

We met in 2003, both dealing with broken hearts and insecurities, while having to spend our summer in college algebra. Neither of us were good at math and we can't even begin to tell you what we learned in class. However, I learned more that year about myself, friendship and God's love for me through my soul sister. I can still picture my friend that first day; she was wearing a zip-up sweatshirt over tank top, fitted capri jersey sweat pants, bohemian hoop earrings, well done make-up and her hair was thrown up in mess. She looked fabulous and she sat next to me. We knew of each other prior to this meeting because we both went to the same church youth group, but we had never talked because we went to rival high schools. Plus, we were kind of the same person - both drama nerds, choir singers and leads in our high school musicals. She was Maria from West Side Story and I was Annie Oakley from Annie Get your Gun. 

June 7, 2008
Any way, I'm not really sure how it all went from there, but I just know we became immediate best friends after that. We clung to one another that summer, crying over our broken hearts, mending and building up one another, singing like divas in the car, sipping on wine coolers, golfing and laughing so hard we annoyed the other golfers, hanging out on the 4th of July, running together, swimming in her pool, rapping about Jesus and sharing our deepest hurts and dreams with one another. We were real with one another. Both from small towns, neither of us ever felt like we fit in or had a true friend until that summer. I don't think I even knew what it meant to be a friend or to love someone who wasn't family till that summer. To be honest, I was afraid to be friends with other women. I had been hurt by girlfriends and I had hurt them back, and I just felt like maybe it would be best for both parties if I just stayed away from female friends. But, she embraced all my silliness and my sadness, and taught me to not be afraid or ashamed to be who God made me. She loved me for me, and we had the most fun I've ever had with another woman. But like all summers, they end and we had to go back to college - she went north to U of I, and I headed southwest to MU - rival colleges. Fortunately for our hearts, we went back whole and revived. I was more open to love and joy that year thanks to my summer with her.

May 30, 2010
That next year, we both found the men we would marry, and just a year before we were broken. And that my friends is the power of God right there. He brought together two broken people to mend one another through His love. And I can honestly say, I love her. We've been there for one another through break-ups and marriages, and now she is going to be a momma. And I'm so proud of her. She is going to be a wonderful mother, and her daughter will be blessed to have her as her mother. I know this because I am blessed to have her as my soul mate of friends. God knitted her soul to mine, and I will forever be grateful for the love, wisdom, forgiveness, grace and kindness she has shown me through the years.

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.  
~ John 15:12 - 15

Friday, February 10, 2012

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire:  it is the time for home.  ~Edith Sitwell

I am counting down the minutes to the weekend. I am excited to be home, watch movies, make dessert for a special lady's birthday, work out, read my Bible, clean the house and get in some good R and R with my Hubs.

As you know, I am not a fan of winter, but sometimes it is nice to just give in and stay home. I have already begun to daydream about my garden. I can't wait to be planting flowers, picking fresh herbs and talking to the butterflies as they flit by. But for now, I will embrace winter's blessings and bundle up by the fire.

Have a lovely, warm weekend!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Singing for Joy

 My heart craves joy and peace. And these winter months make me crave it even more with the cold temps and cloudy skies. Thankfully, this winter has been kind. I love sunshine, so during these dark months, I strive to find the light in the darkness. 

One positive I have found is that the winter allows for quiet hearts and self-reflection. God has been searching my heart this new year, and revealing to me His truth, love and even joy that I can find in Him. There is much sadness in our world, and you will easily find it if you should turn on the TV. But, God has created a desire for me to find joy in His word. And joy I have found. He knows me so well and provides me with all that I need. 

Joy. I know I said it already, but I crave it. And not only have I found it in His word - I am reading through the whole Bible. It is one of my New Year's resolutions  - but I am finding joy in the dark months of life. One wouldn't think they would find joy in the story of Adam and Eve, but there is! God has given me new eyes, and I feel like I am reading and hearing the story for the first time. I guess it could be because He is teaching me about Grace and there is so much joy to be found in that. 

Grace. I crave and desperately am in need of Grace.

I've also found joy in two little girls getting adopted by a lovely family. Both little sweeties just celebrated their birthdays and express so much joy in the video their parents made for them. 

There is joy in a baby's smile...

And I find that there is even joy in the changing of a baby's diaper. 
What a lesson about humility for both parties.

Conversations that bring about repentance and forgiveness; bedtime prayers with my husband; letters of encouragement to friends in need; songs of worship; cooking dinner for loved ones; and the sharing of laughter with friends all reveal joy. Grace upon grace.

I am thankful for the grace that has been given to me during these winter months. The darkness has given me time to dwell in the light of savior. And I have tasted such sweet joy, love and grace.

I hope you find joy, grace, faith, hope, and the greatest of these, love during these winter months.

"My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for JOY." ~ Psalsms 63:5-7

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

January Photo Challenge

One of my New Year's Resoloutions was to live more intentionally in all realms of my life - relationships, finances, faith, art, work, etc. I thought doing a photo challenge might hold me accountable and be fun along the way. And I was right. It has been fun AND challenging. When I look back at the photos, I can remember that day clearly. January was a actually a pretty fun month, and that's saying a lot coming from me who typically loathes January. But the photo challenge has helped me to enjoy and appreciate the little things in life more, look for excitement and creativity in all things, and realize how incredibly blessed I am.

Good bye January 2012. It was nice to meet you.

And now, I'm excited to discover the challenges that February will bring!