Sunday, July 24, 2016

Friendship

What if we took the scripture from 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NAS) and replaced the word Love with Friendship for after all, friendship, true friendship, is a form of love.  



Friendship is patient, friendship is kind and is not jealous; friendship does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; friendship does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; friendship bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.



When I think of friendship in this light, I realize that sometimes what we think is friendship is not, and what we want in a friend, we may already have.  When I think of friendship in Biblical terms, I realize we are blessed with friends and I am so grateful.  

We had the opportunity to spend a day with friends at Prospect Lake in the Berkshires of Massachusetts.   This is a huge family gathering for our friends and to be welcomed in, if only for a few hours, brings us such joy.  To sit and watch the girls swim and kayak, paddle board and roast hotdogs over an open fire brings me peace.  Despite the crazy heat, there was a breeze blowing and a quick downpour to cool everyone off.  When the rain passed and the hazy heat returned, it was time for us to say our goodbyes and take the 2 hour journey home.  





Saturday, July 23, 2016

Rock Climbing

Part of our reason for switching churches was that our family was desperate for community.  We wanted to do more than show up at church for an hour and go home.  We tried and tried over and over to connect but our church (and every other church in town that we tried) did not have the community and fellowship we wanted.  

Now the girls are part of a thriving youth program.  It meets during the school year and takes a break during the summer.  Occasionally events pop up and now that Lilah is in high school, they can go together.  This week they went rock climbing.  




Only a few kids were available, which at first seemed like a bummer, but turned out to be a blessing.  Lilah had the opportunity to get to know one of the leaders in a small group, her favorite setting.  The leaders were belaying the climbers so they each had more climb time and the two hours flew by.  Due to traffic, I hung out in the waiting area, finished up the Book of Hebrews (oh my....so much goodness in this book), and worked on some tasks for an event I am helping to plan, Unshaken 2017 with Moms in Prayer.





Summer is flying by and we are trying to pack it with good things.  Things we will remember.  Things that make us smile.  

Thursday, July 21, 2016

A good day

If you flip back through this blog throughout the years one constant is our annual pool party at my Aunt’s house in Massachusetts.  My mother’s extended family is huge and she has dozens of cousins and they have dozens of kids who now have kids and even some of those kids have kids!  Depending on the year and people’s availability, the gatherings have ranged from pretty huge to more intimate, like this year.  

This year was just our family, my first cousins, four of the five.  I am the oldest of the crew at 44.  My sister and I have grown children.  I saw "grown" because while they are not technically grown, they are teenagers, and there is no need for me to prepare meals, change diapers, wipe noses, put on sunscreen, worry about floatation devices, sippy cups or naps.  So I can relax and play with the little people who do need all these things.  We played hard.

Imagine a tranquil setting, families watching children swim around the pool deck sipping coffee, eating burgers and potato salad, when suddenly a large stream of water is shot out of the pool and hits your father square in the chest.  Oh my.  This could have gone two ways.  This is the way it went.



It was a very very good day!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Yale University Art Gallery

I am so grateful for the homeschooling parents who spend a great deal of time and emotional energy coordinating classes that are open to the homeschooling community.   

Grace and Lilah participate in art appreciation classes held at Yale University Art Gallery, home to some amazing pieces and collections.  Led by docents who are art students at Yale’s School of Art, they explore a room/gallery a month.  They missed the first tour, but attended the second, which was held in the African Art gallery.  



There were a wide range of ages in this group but enough teens to make the girls feel comfortable and the teaching truly appealed to all age groups, even the adults.  I hung back from this group, not to be anti-social, but because I want my girls to be independent in their studies.  They would both be in high school if they attended traditional school and I most certainly would not be following them around all day!

I believe that parents should not be present in the classes offered to teens, no matter how appealing the class or the subject is to us.  Often parents have a way of hijacking a class or a lesson, asking questions and interjecting with commentary which makes the children question whose class it really is.  When this happens, the students shut down because who really wants to compete for attention with a parent?  Thankfully this did not happen in this group but still, I hung back and let the girls take the lead.



They had time to really inspect art.  The drew a piece that they choose and then they drew a piece that their partner chose for them.  They were not allowed to look at the piece but could only draw according to the directions given to them by their partner.  They did surprisingly well.  




Our next tour will focus on European Art.  I’m eager to see how this may tie into our history studies....

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Yada Yada

A friend told me about The Yada Yada Prayer Group Series by Neta Jackson, when we were discussing the Selection series.  Book 1 arrived the weekend I was away at the Fair Warrior Retreat and book 5 should arrive from Amazon today. 




The timing was simply perfect.  My small group at the retreat was made up of women of different ages, countries and cultures and I love them all.  What seemed to be a random matching was actually a decision that was prayed over and given careful consideration.  God knew what He was doing when He placed us together! When Fair Warrior concluded Sunday morning, we agreed to stay in touch via email and continue our relationships.  

These women will always hold a special place in my heart because I let myself be me in front of them, something I never do.  I went into this retreat with my guard up, the emotional scars I carry from past friendships hidden deep behind the protective boundary I now carry when meeting new women.  I was honest about my boundaries during our very first small group meeting.  However, I let them crash to the ground when I got real and I got emotional during a small group breakout session when I realized that I Am Enough.  I learned Psalm 139 and for the first time I really understood it.  I may have cried, not the sweet, weepy cry where just a few tears are shed from glistening eyes, but the ugly cry where your soul is rocked and you can’t carry on your story through the tears.  After this, this moment where I was raw and real, this small group of women prayed over me and I let their words wash away my tears.  It was beautiful and honest and authentic and will never ever be forgotten.

Yada Yada is a work of fiction based on real events that transpired in the author’s prayer groups over the years and in stories shared with her from other’s prayer groups.  We all have the opportunity to have connections like this in our lives if we answer God’s call to serve others.  I want this in my life.  I want real relationships not based on my children’s educational choice, or friendships, but on my own.  I want relationships that I choose, that I nurture, that I value.  I have a friend walking and praying her way through a valley and she was in need of help.  Grace offered to watch her daughter for 2 days so she could attend to family issues with undivided attention.  




We had a great two days.  There was sidewalk chalk and wolf painting.  There was swimming and splash pad playing.  There was bike riding and card games, and hide and seek.  There was story telling and VBS song singing.  Because my girls are perfectly capable of attending to a child, I was freed up to do some of the errands for my friend, easing her load just a bit.   What should have felt like a very busy week, did not.   


In Hebrew Yada one meaning of “yada” is to understand the needs of others and meet them.  I experienced a bit of my own Yada Yada sisterhood this week and I was left all the better because of it.

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