Have a Friend; Be a Friend

Over the years I have had many friends come and go. I say this not boastfully; but, rather as a teacher educating her students. Each friend has served one purpose or another and many have left lasting imprints in my life. I venture to say you have experienced the same. 
Some will say your high school years are among “the best days of your life“others may say “college” is. I personally disagree. Although, I have carried some of those friendships with me and certainly enjoy the occasional meetup with an old friend as much as the next guy. Nothing, could have prepared me for the friendships I would have as a wife and mother. 
Marrying my husband meant an instantaneous adoption of his very tight knit group of friends. A rare group at its best; one I’m sure does not exisist most anywhere, a group of high school  sweet hearts that graciously opened their arms to the outside girl. These friends have served as an unbelievable foundation over the years. They truly model what it means to live in community with one another; all living within 10 minutes of childhood homes, and holding a divorce rate of zero: what’s not to love? 
Over the coarse of the years I too still cherish a few of my own childhood friends which still remain. I might not see them everyday but they are there if needed; these friends are my rock if the storms should become too strong.
There have been MOPS friendships, neighbors turned friends, church friends, homeschool acquaintances turned friends, and online turned (in)RL (real life) friends. The number of people that have impacted my soul becomes immeasurable; and, in turn makes me ponder those lives I have touched along the way too. 
Have I done it with grace and open arms? 
What kind of friend have I been to those lives who have passed mine? 
Why surely; in order to have a friend you must be a friend. I desire to be the friend I would want but the truth is I know I fail. Life happens and stretches our being. We make mistakes, stumble, fail, and get back up knees knocking reaching out offering an out stretched hand in hopes of coveing where we have fallen short. I know no one is the perfect friend because we as humans are far from perfect! 
So what kind of friend am I? I am an ear that lends listening to and a gentle voice of comfort on a bumpy road kind of friend.  I am a cheerleader rooting for you each step of your journey. I am the outstretched hand covering past failures but lending support in the most needed of times. My gifts come not in pretty packages or in the way of cards as I simply do not think of these things (dang, my friends who do spoil me so regardless. I love you!) 
My prayer is that I may continue to be the friend I desire; casting all pain, fears, and failure aside. May I become the friend you  need and that He has created me to be. 
1000 Gifts of Friendship 
1. Surprise morning coffee brought to my door
2. Chocolates with a message 
3. Special notes of encouragement 
4. Phones that lessen the distance 
5. Bravery to step forth and take risks when others might choose to ignore 
6. Carpooling friends
7. Extra muffin cup, egg, and vanilla kind of friends
8. Project Love  
9. Old friendships that are steady in a shaken world 
10. New friends 

Nocturnal Notes of Thanks

Do you know when most of my post are written? Answer between 2-4 AM. The truth is 4/4 of my children have been terrible sleepers.  

Pumpkin was a case of “mommy didn’t know what she was doing”. I created bad habits and then worse habits (yes, she would eat waffles in the middle of the night..I’ll get into that another day.)
 Kbear was my little night tantrum blessing. Mr. Smiles just liked his mommy time and looking back he was probably my best sleeper. 
Now, 14 months and going strong there’s Scooter (aka Stinker) he was born with a recently diagnosed enlarged adenoid. It affects his breathing, congestion, and sleep in the worst way. Yes, I spend many nights sleeping/sitting vertically holding him so he can breath. Now, that we have a diagnosis he will be having an adenoidectomy to correct this and Lord willing sleep will be in my future. 
I share this not for you to have pity for me (please don’t) as God has sustained me these past 8 years. No, I’m not super human and don’t require sleep but what has been needed in the way of rest He sees I get. It might look like only a 10 minute nap but the show must go on. More importantly over the years I have used these “extra” hours to pray, reflect, write, and give thanks. God speaks when it is quiet and still; something, my house is not usually with four kids 8 and under. He has used the night to keep me anchored. 
Here are some of my nocturnal notes of thanks;
1.Extra cuddles in the night
2.Moon lit rooms
3.Cozy pjs
4.Warm blankets 
5.Pillows to rest a weary head
6.Medical professionals who aid in the art of health/well being 
7.A mothers milk- providing nourishment to my babies for 13+ months (x4) 
8.Sound machines to block the noise of other siblings in the night 
9.A starter house turned family home
10.coffee (because God knows what is good for my family) 
Where do you carve out rest in your day? 

A Eucharisteo Dare

Over the past month I have been reading 1000 Gifts by: Ann Voskamp. She wrote this book based on a dare to live fully right where she was at. A friend dared her to find “1000 gifts” in ordinary everyday living.

The book is based on a Greek word “Eucharisteo“; a verb meaning, to be grateful, to feel thankful and give thanks. “Eucharist” is the act of giving thanks and remembrance for Jesus who died on the cross for our sins: “charis” meaning grace, and “O” referencing whom should  do these things; “I“. Ann’s story depicts what she believes to be the key to experiencing life’s full joy; based on this word “Eucharisteo“. 
It is through the act of giving thanks for all things despite the circumstances; receiving and extending grace to those people and situations around us we experience joy. The “well of joy” is always available to us but do we choose to fully accept it and drink from it? 

This idea of “Eucharisteo” really made sense to me and of coarse got me thinking. How might I get my family involved in such a way of living? Today the world seems to be filled with such negative; everything from the news on television to ungrateful people, greed/jealousy, and deceit in our daily lives. The negative surrounds us like a bad perfume. It is no wonder so many people suffer from depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders. Where have we gone wrong? Could it help even a little to go back to our Latin and Greek roots for answers? It’s worth a try, right? 

The power of the mind is amazing to me and so much of our day to day living depends on it. When we are grumpy in our “head” it shows on our face and comes out in our actions. Is it even possible to be “grumpy” when giving thanks for all things; all day, everyday? I began to try this as a mental exercise for myself and do you know what; it is near impossible! I wrote down nothing but throughout my days found “gifts” and gave thanks regardless of how good/bad the situation. I was amazed and still slightly am shocked at how this works. Our mind; our thanks “giving” to God in all things free’s our mind of the ugly that has the ability to ruin days.

Try it; I dare you! 

We are doing a 1000 Family Gifts join us and share some of your “gifts” with us. We would love to hear them.