Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Thankful Tuesday - "Life" Friends

"In everything Give Thanks..." 1 Thessalonians 5:18

{This post honors six of my closet friends, and how they have impacted my life.}

Isn't it wonderful to have friends that "do life" with you? Sometimes, with all of our moves in the Air Force, it's been hard to keep up with friends.  But, then again, there are those "Life" friends that make a difference in your life and always are in your heart..
Happy Birthday, Christine!
Christine is probably one of the funniest, and most honest people I know!  We first met in Altus, Oklahoma (where we lived for just one year) and went to the same church. We met again in  2005, in Abilene, Texas (again at church)  and actually became friends because Christine was honest with me about why we were not friends before. This beautiful lady approached the subject with humor, but it impacted my life enough to change some behaviors that I wasn't aware were offending to other people.
My buddy Christine is a very talented artist when it comes to cakes, cookies and other yummy baked goods. She made both of our daughter's bridal shower cakes, and our youngest daughter's wedding cake, too! Her oldest daughter was a bridesmaid in that wedding, as well.
I am so thankful to be sharing some time together this week with her, and once again, my sides will be aching from all the laughter!

Beautiful Dori and I met at church when we were had our first transfer from California to Germany. She and her hubby immediately took us under their wing and gave us a sense of belonging and purpose for being there.  We've enjoyed meals together {Dori, I miss your Lumpia!}, softball games, banquets, and serving together on the women's board. When they were leaving Germany, our family of 5 had their family of 5 as guests in our 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom, 4th floor (stairs-only) apartment for 5 days! Everything went great, even with 2 working hubbys and 6 school kids!
I love her Godly, kind and gentle guidance that she gives.  It's been a real blessing for me to be able to ask Dori {and most of these other friends as well} to partner in prayer for needs that may arise.  I have my Prayer Warriors list, and Dori is at the top! I know that she does not casually say that she will pray for me, but she actually types out the prayer and sends it to me!
We are hoping to see one another again soon, maybe sharing some "Aloha time" here in Hawaii !

After being a stay-at-home wife & mom for 16 years, we were in Rio Rancho, New Mexico when I finally ventured out into the working world, scared stiff during my first job interview.  The precious lady on the other side of that table was Patricia.  Later that day, she called me and offered me the job! Patricia became my supervisor, and gradually my very good friend.  We shared a tiny office together, and at first of course, we would have our ups and downs, but we became a team and worked very well together; I learned so much from her. We also shared a lot of laughs and fun times (I still have that photo, Patricia...you know the one!).
Our friendship became cemented when we experienced the sudden loss of our boss and friend, Gary; during that same time period, the shock of the events of 9/11/2001 also occurred.  Huge life events like this show us how important the people around us really are.
After we had been transferred, we kept in touch and visited each other when we could. She and her hubby flew down to Houston when our son got married! She also came to our home for a "girlfriend" weekend the next year! What a wonderful {but brief} reunion!
One day, I called up Patricia out of the blue and asked, "May we use your beautiful backyard for K's wedding in June?"  Without stopping to breathe, the answer was, "Yes!".
That's the kind of friend Patricia is! We invaded her home, and she was gracious, smiling and loving as always. It was beautiful event, and her backyard was the perfect backdrop.  Just like our abiding friendship is in my life.

My life is filled with lovely friends that bring me much-needed laughter, and Kelly is no exception.  When I asked her what name she wanted me to use for this post, {real or nickname} she said, "I love to be called Cupcake, but Kelly will do."  I laughed for a good 2 minutes!
Kelly and I met at church in Germany when our little girls were starting Kindergarten together. We began meeting for coffee, sharing our love of Polish Pottery, and we made a few trips to DRMO sales together {the military's version of a yard sale}. We both still have some furniture pieces we bought there.
This was the first time as an Air Force wife that I was saying good-bye to my Hubs a LOT, because of TDYs {temporary duty} assignments. I became depressed and bitter. I blamed the Air Force for putting our family into a foreign country and then taking my Hubs away, making me a "single mom".  Kelly would hear me talking like that, and see how low I was. But, instead of using words that would pacify me, she looked me in the eye and said firmly, "Listen, we are all in this boat together. My husband has the exact same job as your husband. I have kids, you have kids. You've gotta learn to deal with it." (basically, "Suck it up, Buttercup") WOW. I went home, cried a little bit, and lived by Kelly's words from then on.  Our experience in Germany became the BEST experience of our military life, and my friendship with Kelly has deepened, even though distance separates us.
I was able to surprise Kelly in April 2012, when I went cross-country with my youngest daughter from our home in Idaho to her home in North Carolina. We had not seen each other in 15 years, and when we arrived at the front door of the church on Sunday morning, Kelly grabbed me into a bear hug, screaming into my ear for about 5 minutes! It was the BEST surprise ever!

Bobbi and I met at church in Portland, Oregon when I was in the 8th grade and she was the beautiful high school girl that I looked up to.  We sang next to each other in the choir, she loaned me a red velvet dress for a family portrait, and gave me a sewing kit for freshman sewing class. {I still have it.}  But, more importantly, we bonded better-than-sisters. We were both dating sailors at the time, (and I was way too young) so Bobbi was there for me when I went through my first experiencing with breaking up with a guy.
Over the years, we've both had some different life experiences, and it's probably made us closer. We can share together from different points of view, and Bobbi's words add a richness to my life.
She's also the friend that opened her home to our family more than once when we were visiting Portland; she loaned me a car, asked me & K to stay at her house, and held me long and tight when my mom passed away.  Thank you for being there for my hardest journey, Bobbi.
We love to stay up late {like grown-ups!} and talk far into the night.  She introduced me to Kettle Corn, shopped half the day with me for clothes, and in 2010 came to have a fun adventure with us in Oahu!
I love Bobbi like she was my own sister, and I still look up to my beautiful friend, just like when I was back in the 8th grade.

My Sister of the Heart, Starr and I met when we were kids, I was 11 and she was 9.  I had a single mom, and she & her sister were being raised by their single grandmother, whom they called "Tutu"{the Hawaiian word for Grandmother}. Tutu didn't drive anymore, so our family would pick up their family for church every Sunday and on Wednesday night.  Tutu and Mom became best friends, and Starr and I became best friends. She blossomed into a bubbly, bright, and awesomely fun woman.

Starr honored me by posting this on her Facebook:
"It is such a rare, precious gift to have a close, lifelong friendship with someone who has known you from childhood, shared all your hopes and dreams, highs and lows, accepted, cherished and loved you for exactly who you are...knowing to the core who you really are embracing that value....it is even more incredible to have a friend like that be able to be all that from at times thousands of miles away thru almost 40 years of time. Thank you Juju for being that amazing friend. Our friendship grows even deeper every time I get to see you!
I am in awe of the amazing gift God has given me in you!
Can't wait till we get together again!!!!"

Starr, through 42 years we have shared, lived, loved, laughed and cried together {and mostly far apart in distance}. You loved my babies before you had your own, and you still treat them like they are your nieces and nephew. You shared your Tutu with me, and she became the Grandmother I never had.  I have watched your girls from infancy to womanhood, emulating their beautiful mother in everything they do. You've done So well with them, bringing them up to be women who put their faith in the Lord.  {It's hard to believe that when you were a teenager you said you might not want kids.} 
Every time we are together it's like time has stopped for us, and we just start up the conversation of life as if we never left off.  Thank you for being my forever friend.  <<HUGS>>

Thank you all - Christine, Dori, Patricia, Kelly, Bobbi and Starr- for being my Life Friends.  I hope in some small way I have honored you and our friendship with my words. 

There are many more friends that I would have liked to talk about today. All of them have made a difference in my life, and I am a better person for knowing them. Beth in Abilene; Sharon in Fairfield; Patricia in Alaska; Laurie in Washington; Elaina in Texas; Amy in Vermont; the list goes on.
How about you?  Has this made you think of your own "life" friends? {I pretty much bawled while writing this post, since I miss my friends so much!}

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for giving a shout out to my mom, she's pretty incredible!