Archives for posts with tag: friendship

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Make new friends and keep the old, one is silver and the other’s…
…GOLD. Pure Gold.

  Wordless Wednesday

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Backyard view, Shelby, North Carolina

“Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.”

~Helen Keller

Amen ❤

Maybe because dear friends reflect the light we so need to see during darker times.

Maybe because sometimes we need others to remind us of what is true, who we are, who God is.

Maybe because perspective changes when we know we’re not alone.

Maybe because friendship is a gift that gives and takes at the same time…gives encouragement, takes a share of the load.

Maybe because courage to take the next step into the unknown can come from being encouraged by one that’s in there with us, through it.

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Shelby, North Carolina

And sometimes we might not want to share the darkness…we might want to pretend that all is light, that all is al-right or “fine”. We might want to isolate ourselves to protect others from any of the “darkness” going on. Not a good strategy I’d say, no matter how noble it may appear. Here’s a tidbit:…”isolate” comes from the Latin root “insulatas” which means, “made into an island.”  And we all know, “No man, (or woman) is an island” (John Donne).

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New Smyrna Beach, Florida

Am thinking it’s kind of cool that friend-ship has the word “ship” in it because sometimes we need a ‘ship’ to go rescue a friend that has a mental blip when they think maybe they need to be an island…and that ship sails in and reflects and reminds and rescues one that’s emotionally needing to be drawn back in. In the same way that a ship navigates the very waters that isolate the island, friendship can permeate the walls that keep us locked up ‘in our own worlds’ and keep others locked out. Friend-Ships sail through those rough waters to bridge the gaps…

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New Smyrna Beach, Florida

Yes,”Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.” And here’s the cool thing that Helen Keller seemed to know as she wrote the above quote, There is often beautiful-pared-down-for-real connection that comes when things aren’t all smooth sailing. There’s an awareness of need, a gratitude for others, and a sincerity that often comes with darker times. Silver linings don’t only come on clouds. They come in stars. And stars shine when it’s dark.  They seem to shine really bright when they are furthest from the light.  Friends that walk along side in the dark can help us see clearly the beauty that’s there in the midst of the reality of what isn’t. They can remind us of the truths of scripture that are anchors to our souls and hope to our heart.

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New Smyrna Beach, Florida

So I’m not sure whether life is smooth sailing for you right now, or whether you’re on rough seas. Or maybe you’re finding yourself drawn to become an island. Am thinking we all feel that desire to just check out for a little from time to time. My encouragement is to draw near. Draw near to God. Draw near to friends and family who know and love you well. (Not perfectly for that’s way too much pressure for any of us to bear, but well….well like a deep well that knows you to the depths…and what they don’ t know, they’re willing to…)  Yes, draw near…fly that white flag of surrender if you find yourself isolated on an island and call in the ships.  Friendships, that is. Call. Seek. Move toward.

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Austin, New Smyrna Beach, Florida

Take it from me…there’s treasure when the ship meets the island. Even Helen Keller who lived in darkness chose friendship and companionship over light and sight. That’s incredible! Am thinking she really knew what she was talking about for I’m sure she knew a thing or two (hundred) about isolation. Yes, there’s something to be said for smooth sailing, and light-er times. But oh, the depths of knowing that no matter what you’re facing, there are those who are with you in it. That’s a tangible heart-encouraging gift. And I’m so so thankful for it. More thankful than I’ve ever been for you see, I’ve had my turns at being ships and islands.  But recently took my turn as an island. And am so very thankful for the sweet ship that sailed on in. Thankful. Renewed. Back on track.

Blessings~

Heather

P.S. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8) That’s the verse ringing in my ears right now. When we fly our white flag, He’s the “ship” that will always, always come in, no matter how far the island or stormy the seas. Love that.

 

 

 

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It’s a beautiful September day, and as I walked in the house and looked out at the back deck, the deck seemed white with sunlight.  So I didn’t spend much time inside…just enough to help my husband with a computer issue, talk to my son about his day, and then I was off to sit in the warmth of the beautiful sunlight on the deck.

The warmth and light on the deck was perfect, so much so that I just didn’t want to leave.  So I didn’t.  I got  up once, but as I walked into the shade, I turned right back around and sat in my chair.  I didn’t want to leave the light. I’m determined to stay until the last glimmering rays of the sun are just below the tree line.  I’m so enjoying the light and the warmth and the comfort that the time outside has brought. It refreshed me in ways that kicking up my feet in front of the TV or computer never could.

So here’s the thing.  It made me think about how good friends are like that. There’s a warmth and a light and a genuine comfort level that just makes you, well, not want to leave.  Time with them is well spent.  It refreshes.  It renews.  It rejuvenates.  It is time well spent, though it may not be ‘productive’, it’s definitely not wasted.  So today, am so aware and thankful for the many sweet friends and family members who are such a joy and who refresh just by a word, a laugh, a question.  So thankful for connections and for the way that in the same way that the time on the deck was a breath of fresh air, that so many  interactions, no matter how much time between, are moments of refreshment that leave their mark.  They refresh, encourage..and help me to do better when I have to walk back into the shade where the light may not be shining so bright.

One more thought.  Even when we don’t have that close friend nearby, or the sun shining bright in our lives, we have continual access to what those two things bring. I love the verse that says, “I am the Light of the World, he who follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12) I love that God is ever-present, and even in the darkest of times, He is like that warmth and light and comfort that we just don’t want to leave.  The beautiful thing is, we never have to.

Just a few thoughts as the sun goes down on my deck…

Blessings ~

Heather

chase and jaleel smiles

When I saw that the weekly photo challenge word was “achievement”, I thought of this photo from the week before.

The photo was taken at an awards night. These two high school seniors  have their lists of athletic and academic achievements.  But what  makes achievements worthwhile?  Celebrating them with those who are with you through it all.  Proud of these two and thankful for the way they go at life and encourage each other to give it their all, whatever “it” may be.

“To accomplish great things we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.”

~Anatole France

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/achievement/

silent sunday

 

http://www.cosmicgirlie.com/2014/08/31/silent-sunday-77/

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to linger…

To wait awhile longer

To not move forward or backward, but to stay  for a bit because you don’t desire the moment to end.

Sometimes endings are truly endings, changes that you know are coming, and in lingering a bit, we try to heed off the inevitable.

I’ve had so many moments of ‘lingering’ in my lifetime.  There are moments that I’ve wanted to stretch out and make last, savoring every solitary instant. Some of the moments that bring a smile to my face are singing in the quiet of night to a baby sound asleep in my arms after a long day, sharing a walk or coffee or conversation with a friend, driving in the car the long way home with the windows down signing a song at the top of my lungs.  I’ve savored the last kiss or hug from my husband before saying goodbye, and I’ve so enjoyed the moments with my children, getting to really hear, enjoy, appreciate the individuals they are.  I’ve so loved singing, and reading a good book or scripture and having that “A-ha” moment when I totally get something I didn’t get. I love singing with my dear friends, taking long walks with a loved one and my camera, sitting on the deck in the sunshine after a long day.  Yes, these are moments that I want to linger…

There are countless moments that we want to linger on… and on and on. But one of the moments that I so did not want to let go was just a few weeks ago. Oh, how I wanted those moments to linger…

She was a vibrant, beautiful, precious friend, and in recent months, it became apparent that the cancer she had been fighting was winning the battle.  Although she was in so much pain, she was kind and caring, and so focused on those around her.  She was present, all-there, savoring the moment, no matter how hard.  And those around her, well, we wanted to linger and stay on, and take in those moments so precious.  Even her little dog Chelsea was always at her side, as seen in the above photo.

Her name is Janet.  I’ve written about her before.  We sang together in a trio for years.  She was the well dressed beautiful one who could pick out harmonies in a heartbeat and had a beautiful voice.  She was a perfectionist with our songs, and well, I challenged her with that one.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love to sing.  Singing is one of the great joys in my life.  But I’m so not a natural with the harmonizing bit.  There are some songs that I can hear the harmonies right away. But there are some that I so cannot. Poor Janet’s ears have been stretched a time or too as I tried to find some of the harmonies.  And she was so patient with me.  I got the chance to thank her for that a few weeks ago.  I said, “Janet, I know it wasn’t easy, but thank you for being so patient with me during our practices through the years.”  She smiled and honestly said, “It wasn’t easy…”  We laughed.  I know it wasn’t easy.  But she did it.  And now, that’s a permanent part of her legacy.  Janet loved well.

Cheryl, Janet, and I sang together for over 15 years.  It was more than singing.  We worshipped the God we adored and sought to minister to women through word and song.  We laughed, prayed, sang, shared, and pondered so many things together. These two women were like sisters to me. Our time together has been one of the great treasures in my life.

So, when the time came to say goodbye, truly say goodbye, to Janet, well, we wanted to linger and linger.  Cheryl and I went to spend time with her on a Sunday morning.  Her family was there,  and she was resting quietly, but very present, very aware that we were there.  We sang some of her favorite songs.  I shared a song with her that I had written for her the night before.  (Later sang it at her funeral.  It’s called, “Be There “)  And although Cheryl and I came not wanting to overstay our welcome at a very difficult time for the family, we stayed for hours, and did not want to leave.  I really wasn’t ready to leave.  It was that knowing that these would most likely  be the last moments we’d share on this side of Heaven.  So we lingered for awhile, prayed, shared, wept, and kissed our dear friend good bye, and left.   

Within five days, we were sharing, singing, crying, at her funeral.  She had lingered for a day more, and had passed away on Tuesday.

What makes us want to linger with those we love?  Acceptance.  Laughter.  A knowing, an understanding that you are known and enjoyed.  A hope that is held on to. An “I’m in it with you” attitude.   A faith, belief that is shared.  A cup of coffee, a comfortable couch, a good song all make you want to linger….but the essence…the heart of it all is the presence of those we love. And that goes for the Presence of  our Great God as well. What a gift it is to be able to linger in His Presence…He knows all that we have seen through the day, through our lives.  His Presence fills, encourages, sustains, directs, knows, strengthens, enlightens.

And you know, when things change, when we have to say the goodbyes to friends, dreams, circumstances, children, family members we love, well I’m so thankful that we can always linger, always linger on in the Presence of the Lord.  He’s not going anywhere…and no matter the circumstance, it is ours to choose to linger in the Presence of the One who is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End.

Janet lingered awhile…she fought valiantly and bravely against cancer.  But her fight is over.  And I’m thankful in one sense that her painful battle is over.  I’m so thankful for the legacy she left, and that she finished well.  Sometimes love means lingering.  Sometimes love means letting go.  When Janet was told that chemo was no longer an option, the fight she had been fighting for so long was over.  She had done what she could, and now, she was letting go.  Lingering on this side of Heaven for just two short weeks after being told no more chemo, and then passing on.  She lived well.  She died well.  We all learned from her about holding on and fighting, and then, when the time had come, letting go.

Now, those of us left behind are struggling with the letting go. It sure isn’t easy, for there’s a great void left in Janet’s absence.  But how amazing it is that lingering in the  Presence of One we love makes all the difference. God is so present, and covers the ache with a peace that is deep and wide and all encompassing.  Amazing how grief and joy can walk hand in hand… What a gift that the ache of grief can propel us into the Presence and make us realize our need to linger awhile with the only One who can truly meet the deepest needs. And what a gift that absence can make us truly long for connection.  Absence, a void of one lost makes us see how incredibly valuable our relationships are.  Absence can make us want to linger awhile more with those we love.  Linger on friends! Savor the moments, for moments so matter.  In the end, how we spend them makes all the difference in the world, one moment at a time.

You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.   Psalm 16:11

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/17/daily-prompt-linger/

 

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Sometimes the most beautiful luminaries aren’t those that come from lights or fire or the moon. Sometimes the best luminaries we see are the people who refuse to cave in to the dark and difficult things in their lives.

This photo is of a dear friend, Janet, who loves decorating for Christmas with lights and candles and a warm fires in the fireplace…but is more of a bright light to those around her than she will ever know.

She’s battling cancer and holding onto hope, to faith, to joy. She’s smiling, hoping, singing, praying, waiting, and allowing herself to be real through it all. She knows she’s so not in control, but is trusting the One who is. Her hope is in the Lord. Come what may. Period. She’s trusting. Not perfectly, just genuinely. That’s a luminary that is rare to see. That’s the kind of ‘illumination’ that isn’t just beautiful, it’s encouraging in a way that reaches deep and changes you and makes you want to shine just like that. I’m so thankful for dear friends like Janet who are bright lights in a world that desperately needs illumination.

“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”

John 1:9

http://wheresmybackpack.com/2014/01/10/travel-theme-illuminated/

favorite shoes

On Tuesdays and Thursdays I have 3 students come to my room for lunch. It’s become a comical highlight of sorts of my week. We’re working on social communication during the time of ‘fine dining’ of school lunch cuisine. Today they were excited because the freezer broke at school and hot fresh pizza from Pizza Hut was ordered in for the entire school! In fact one of the students whose FAVORITE things include “eating”, had finished his entire slice of pizza sans the crust by the time he walked into my door. (We’re still working on learning manners!)

During the time that they are eating, I usually read a story as a conversation starter, or ask questions which encourage the students to talk to each other. Today, we were actually talking about “favorite things”. I would state a student’s name, ask a question, and then they would answer it. They would then say the next student’s name, ask the same question, and listen for the answer. As I said, we’re learning to communicate, and it’s sweet to hear these three very different boys address each other by name and patiently wait for the others to answer.

The first question was, “_____________, what is your favorite dessert?” He held the oreos cookies snack pack that he has EVERY day, and said, “Oreos and chips!” Then he asks, “______________, what is your favorite dessert?” We heard ice cream from one, fruit from another, and chocolate brownies from me. Then I asked, “What is your favorite holiday?” First one says, “Christmas”. The next student says “Thanksgiving.”..Yes. You guessed it…he’s the same one who ate his entire pizza slice while en route from the cafeteria to my classroom! I said, is that because you love to eat? A wholehearted smile and “YES!” resounds from this not so little second grader who still has remnants of pizza and orange slices on his face.

The questions go on and on until one student says, “Well aren’t you gonna ask about what our favorite allergies are?” “Or medications?” I just smiled and said, “Not today…”

I love how our favorite things say so much about each of us. I also love how I’m learning so much about these little guys. But more than that, I am enjoying seeing their worlds collide as they learn to make connections with each other. “Hey, football is my favorite sport too!” said one as the two boys eyes’ lit up upon disclosing their favorite sports. Who knows, maybe next week, we’ll talk about our FAVORITE allergies… I know at least one little guy who would love to share his favorites!

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/11/12/daily-prompt-favorite/

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