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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Friendship- Acts of Love- Are YOU Up For a Challenge?

James Taylor sang it best in one of my favorite all time songs,

"When you're down and troubled and you need a helping hand and nothing, whoa, nothing is going right. Close your eyes and think of me and soon I will be there to brighten up even your darkest nights.

You just call out my name, and you know where ever I am I'll come running to see you again.
Winter, spring, summer, or fall, all you have to do is call and I'll be there, you've got a friend."

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately on what it means to be a friend and quite frankly, what it means to have a friend. 

I know this is something I have blogged about before, but I think as we get older our circle of "friends" draws closer together and we have fewer people we keep in our inner circle, whether that is due to growing a part, moving away, and just random neglect.  You read that right... neglect. 

I decided that I had to take ownership of neglecting some friends I have, people in my life who have always been there by my side and always will be there.  I have grown to take them for granted.  I have been so worried and wrapped up in my own drama and family that I haven't really paid attention to what they are going through.

How many times have you been on the phone with a friend, or sitting in the kitchen with them or out for a cup of coffee and you are both jovially talking but you are REALLY NOT listening to what they are saying? You are listening somewhat, but you are also getting ready to get in what you want to say. WHY? Because our time with our friends is cut short because we have somewhere else to be, or we don't want to miss the episode of Big Brother that is on TV in 45 minutes...  We have filled our lives with so much extra CRAPOLA (note: this is stuff, not family or friends, KWIM?)... that we forget to honor those sacred relationships we have with others.  Whether it is your spouse, significant other, child, friend... all of these PEOPLE are irreplaceable.  The extra CRAPOLA is replaceable.

The cost of friendship and maintaining it is nothing.  You don't have to pay money to entertain your friend, you should be able to just sit with them and be.  Be the person you were born to be, created to be... Not be someone who is responsible for entertainment, or only there when they need help financially, or wait... when they need you.  And then I realize...

I have been this person...

This person who relies on friends when I need them, when I want some entertainment or need financial assistance... I have been the user friend and I am quite ashamed of myself.  I have not done this to EVERYONE but to some friends I have and I need to make amends with myself and them for doing this... I am on a mission.  A mission of free will friendship. See, I have decided that I am no longer going to be a sideline friend to those who mean the world to me. I am going to be an in the moment friend. 

Now, I have also been the in the moment friend as well, but I am going to practice it more.  I have great role models to pattern myself after. Micah who always has encouragement for me, and wise words... My dear friend Kai who took me to a precious spot a few days after I lost my baby so we could sit there and morn in silence together... she too had lost before and it was such an amazing sacrifice of her special spot and her time that I just cannot thank her enough for bringing me there and helping me heal.  Monty for welcoming me back into your life with open arms and for being there for me, introducing me to Kai and being a great friend.  My dear friend Alana, who sends me notes in the mail encouraging me to stay strong and to have faith, and basically reminds me that I will be healthy when all this stuff is done, and she reminds me constantly of my faith and helps me seek a balance.  The girls on the board, gosh... we formed our relationship back in 2007 when we all had losses and you have grown to be part of my inner circle.  Some of the greatest friends I have out of one of the saddest events of our lives. You encourage me daily. To my sisters for just being there and understanding how hard this time is for me, while they both are going through the most joy of their lives... and just listening to me. My mama. Wow, without her I don't know what I would do.  She, my sister, and my brother in law just got in a car and drove to Cedar Rapids when I was admitted into the hospital to just be here for support for my family and I and just to be here.  My husband... I am so blessed to have such an amazing partner, I get a lot of my "friendship" knowledge from him.  He shows me what it means to be consistent.  What it means to have unconditional love, and what it means to give freely of one's time.  He truly is an amazing man, one that would up and drive over five states to help someone I love move, just because he has the time,the vehicle to do it, and because he loves her as much as I do.  He just lights up my world on so many levels it is just plain hard to put into words.  My children are dear friends.  They know when I need to laugh and they do silly things.  They do random acts of kindness that I don't expect just because they can (Alex and Serina, thank you for the balloon, card, and my stuffed monkey when I was in the hospital. You are amazing women). There are so many more people to list....

So, I have decided (as of yesterday) to do random acts of friendship... just different things to show those that make a difference in my life how important they are, with no strings attached.  Just random acts of love.

Random Acts of Love:

1) Randomly post a love note on their facebook page (this one I have already done and it felt great)-- do you think we could make this go viral? I am going to do this to 10+ friends today... I challenge you to do the same... Let's see if we can get our own version of "feel good pay it forward" going!

2) Send a little card in the mail to someone just so they know you are thinking about them (this one I have done as well, and if you are in need of ANY cards, I have a table full, come on ovah and take some)

3) Send an Ecard

4) Text message them with a great thing about them.  I am going to do it right now--- mission completed!

5) If you know they are busy and could use some help (but won't ask) make them dinner or send over a snack or a treat)

6) Help out. Mow their yard if they can't, help them clean if they can't or if they are just too busy to do it

7) Visit.  Make time to have time and have enough time to fully share

8) Invite over for dinner or just to hang out. Time is something we cannot get back---- OH maybe have a traveling dinner party? I love this idea --- where you travel to each other's house for a different course... or even, what about a themed dinner party? Or maybe even do your own murder mystery party (Phillip and I used to do these with our friends in college when he lived in the house connected to the church... good times, good times... some scary times, but all good)

9) Go on a friend date (Kai, you better be ready for pottery date night! LOL)

10) Leave a note on their car, or door... just with a random statement regarding what they mean to you

There are a lot more things we can do - this is just a starting point!  NOW... who is with me?

 It just takes one.  One person. One minute. One gift.

Are you up for this friendship challenge?

Have a blessed day.

A card I received in the mail, randomly from a dear friend.  This card inspired my blog today...

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