I’m Sorry Friends


I have been pondering for a few days the friendships I have, and the state they are in. I’m not talking about the social media friends you don’t really know or see much of.  It’s the closest of closest gal pals I’m talking about. 

I feel compelled to apologize to those closest to me in the world of friendships. (you know who you are)

First, let me direct you to my post Friendships that I wrote October 1, 2014. Three whole years ago!  It was a coincidence for sure that this little nugget popped into my view today. Honestly,  I hadn’t given this post much thought, then WordPress decided to share with me someone had liked it today. I took a stroll down memory lane and read it. But I was actually pondering my friendship connections for a couple weeks now.

After three years I’ve come to realize that I am not nurturing my relationships with my closest girlfriends like I used to.  I realize now that this is a by product of my emotional roller coaster ride I jumped on back in 2014.  I have hidden away in the walls of my home verses sharing the hardest times with those who love me.  I haven’t joined the celebratory moments due to anxiety or feeling the weight of the world upon me.

I recall I used to send cards more often, make sure we had coffee or dinner dates, and even text more than we do now.  The relationships in my life have become…. stagnet. Is that it?

The point where the connection is where we click LIKE on a photo or comment GOOD LUCK to one of the people in your life that probably knows more than many others. The ones that would drop anything for you, if you just picked up the phone to call or text.  I must say, when I do click love, like, or type a comment, normally I am  wishing them so much goodness I can feel it.  I think to myself, when was the last time we saw each other?

The face to face interactions that bring forth the building one another up and you’re not alone right now strengths has faded to the back of the line.  The moments where you laugh till you cry, your heart literally aches in your chest at the words they have shared so willingly or you shake your head in agreement. Let’s not forget the  you rejoice at the success of the one across from you moments.  Are these all just faded memories?

Oh I know.  Our lives are busy and our families need us.  We don’t have the energy to go out and the comfy pj pants are more enjoyable than those jeans.  The stresses of the job, family, church, and kid’s activities are all weighing us down.  The fact that our marriage isn’t healthy or one of our kids is having some major issues keeps us from connecting in fear it will be found out! ( I know, I’ve been there on both those topics!)

The re-booting of ourselves in womanhood has been put on the back burner.

99% of the time after being with one or a group of friends I feel just that.

REBOOTED.  REFRESHED.  RELAXED.

I sometimes forget to laugh in my daily life. I know, it’s a sad thing.  But when I’m with a friend or two it just naturally happens.  Seriously. No Joke.  

So why have I distanced myself from the women God has placed in my life?

I guess I already answered that in previous paragraphs. 

I think I’m ready to move forward in my relationships.  To re-connect with my tribe of women friends.  

I guess this post was mostly to motivate me, put it out there, and make me accountable.  I don’t want to end up later in life wishing I had done more.  I love my women friends and I can’t wait to share all the moments before us!

Do you have a girlfriend that it’s been awhile since you hung out or talked with? Maybe it’s time to remedy that!

Until next time!

Julie

 

 

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Words At A Halt, So I’ll Just Hug


In my life I have one particular small group of girlfriends that I like to think of as my “prayer-go-to-gals.”  They are the first ones I think of when I am in need of a prayer, which by the the way is often.  Whether it’s a joy to celebrate or a struggle of uncertainty, they have my back.  I know without a doubt they will pray.  Whether they do it during their daily devotions or at that very moment real quick-like, I can count on them.  As I hope they know they can with me.

http://www.chaosandlove.com

In this group, I was the first to lose both my parents, not exactly something I wanted to be first place in but hey, someone has to be first!  These ladies rallied behind me, allowed me to write long posts and fervently prayed.  Now as one of the other ladies is in the midst of going through the first days of losing her mother I find myself empathizing.

The thing is although I’ve walked through familiar territory I can’t find the words.  The words that let her know I understand.  The feelings inside me aren’t of me missing my parents necessarily it’s more of wanting to “care for” and almost protect my friend.  No two people are alike and her situation is different but there are similarities.  Mostly just the act of having a parent die.  I’ve seen a glimpse of the road that lies ahead.

I want my friend to know that even though I may not say many words I am praying.  I also have ears open to listen or eyes to read texts and my mouth will be shut.  And if she needs a bag of chips, a jar of salsa, a pepsi, and/or a snickers bar I’m her gal!  I’m only a text away and I deliver!

If you find yourself in the midst of not knowing what to say to someone, just hug.  As you hug, say a quick prayer.  That’s what I did last night.  God bless you my friend.

Julie

The 26th – And how it came and went.


Today marks one year since my mother passed away.  I had a restless night of sleep, by morning my anxiety level was pretty high.  I don’t know if it was due to the anniversary of something so hard or the depression or the fact that I’m traveling this weekend.

I’m heading out to  spend the weekend away from home with some girlfriends.  At the time of scheduling the trip I thought it would be a good idea for me to be away from home.  I still feel that way – mostly.  Honestly I always get anxious about traveling due to a medical issue I have.  I know being away from home won’t make me forget but perhaps a nice distraction and opportunity to relax.

After taking my daughter to school I spent the morning in my kitchen.  As I have stated before, cooking seems to be my therapy.  Maybe it calms me because I can control what goes in when and it can be done in a certain order. All the while anticipating something good coming out of my actions.  I don’t have to talk or feel or think of anything else while pouring the ingredients into the metal bowl.  I even thought of my mom while baking the cake.  It wasn’t sad but glad she was such a good cook and baker.  A gift she shared with me.

The weekend away is needed for more than one reason and I know I will enjoy the laughter, comradity, and memories made with my friends.  Although I won’t be able to control the ingredients that will make up this wonderful time, I can participate with as much as I can muster.

church doors

Written later……

The weekend away was enjoyable and good for me.  I felt up and down throughout the weekend.  I haven’t laughed that much for so long.  And I needed that.  The laughter with girlfriends is so very awesome! Thank you to my friends that spent time with me and also listened when I did share my feelings.

I’m actually publishing this on September 3rd, what would have been my mother’s birthday.  But no more birthdays exist for her.  No more angel food cakes or family gathering to celebrate her life.  I did get to spend the morning with my two sisters and visit with my brother on the phone.  That was a good way to spend my day.  A really good way.

Tomorrow is another day.  Another step forward.  Another opportunity to reach for something better, smile more, laugh alot, and hug those around me.  I’m grateful.

Grace is a gift,

Julie

Writing Prompts – What is more important in a friend….


What is more important in a friend: someone who makes you laugh or someone who is always there for you?

I think that in my life I need more laughter.  I don’t laugh as much as I should so I should probably say laughter.  I believe when I am with specific sets of friends it brings out the best in me through laughter. My personality is more on the serious side!

I believe that  most of my close friends would be there for me.  That if I called them in the middle of the night or at a time in need, they would be there. But once again my personality is that I don’t want to bother them, that they are busy with their own lives.  It’s easy for me to send a private message or text, then they can get back to me when they have time.

It doesn’t bother me to have friends who contact me in their time of need.  I like to help others. My sister calls me a caregiver.  I guess it’s true, I feel much comfort and contentment when caring for others.  I’m interested in what my friends think.  Perhaps a few of them will comment on this post and let me know.

In my mixture of friends I have those I could call on no matter what and those that make me laugh till I am crying.  Normally the most enjoyment comes when there are more than just two of us.  Where there are a few that spend time just being together.  Laughter happens.  Friendships grow.  Hugs shared and support given most times.

Too often we let these special gatherings slip by with too much time between each of them.  As women I don’t think that we carve out enough time to rejuvenate or refresh ourselves.  If it’s been awhile for you I challenge you to contact a friend or two or three.  Take an hour or three for yourself and just grab some hugs, laugh till you almost pee your pants, and allow your friendships to grow, not fade.

 

Word of God In Joy or Sadness

Grace is a gift,

Julie

 

 

Moods of A Different Color & How It Changes


The pattern for my  Saturday mornings is I awake with a “less than desirable mood”.  I am not really sure why this is happening but the last two I have awoke super sensitive.  You know to the point of tears running down my face and the littlest thing upsetting me.  I suppose it could be hormones, the fact that my schedule was different for the past two weeks, or that it’s just the way I am.

My husband was the recipient of the emotional debacle that I was.  The “hot mess” of his mostly calmer wife these days, the one whose brain no longer rational!  He is a trooper I tell ya!  Oh, don’t get me wrong he has moments of his own “oh I shouldn’t have said that or done that” but his are less frequent.  Yesterday he took the time to listen, really that’s all I needed I presume. Then when the tears began to fall, he made his way around the table, placed his arm around me.  Of course I didn’t want to be crying and it’s hard for me to accept the comfort, although that’s really what I needed.  I gave in and took it.

He wasn’t the only one that reached out to me that day.  An online friend called and her pleasant voice was great to hear when I was able to call her back.  I’m grateful for that Sister in Christ, she is so busy with life, but she took a few moments to call me.

My other two daughters came to visit and brought the grand kids. This is what really made the mindset change.  The other two were steps in my crazy journey but having something to fill my mind (wedding talk) and laughter pushed me ahead strong.  I laughed so much, I tell ya the girls and one of their friends made me laugh more than I have in awhile! I’m so very grateful.

Then there was the couple gals that I visited with online later in the night.  I laughed out loud so much my husband probably thought I was nuts!  Ok, maybe he was just relieved to hear laughter verses seeing tears. 🙂

My heart ended up being full. When my tank was low, God sent helpers to get me through a rough patch.  He cares for me. He comforts me. He guides me.  He is with me.  Whether it is through His Word,  a few Sisters in Christ, my spouse, or my children, I am very thankful. To God and all of them.

I hope you can find some laughter in your day, if not, seek out a friend or two.  Post a Facebook post that you need to laugh and I would hope someone would post something funny to your timeline!  Go for a walk, clear your mind, pray, or just cuddle with the littlest of ones.

God is good, all the time!

All the time, God is good!

Grace is a gift,

Julie

1985-2015 -The Connection of 30 – Friendships


I realized the other night that come August I will have been friends with LG for 30 years.  That shocked me!  I’m not sure why as I’m 44 years old now and we met when we were freshmen in high school.

www.HpLyrikz.com
http://www.HpLyrikz.com

 

The day we met I was petrified.  I had moved from a town with a poplulation of 600 to a high school of 600 students.  Talk about fear-filled teenager!  As I walked into my Physical Science class I saw a red headed sweet looking gal.  I sat at the table for four and we became best friends.

Now she lives down the road and around the corner from me, funny how life turns out like that!

Right after realizing this momentous time in my life another amazing thought crossed my mind.  My good friend EK, well she was about six months old when I met LG in 1985.  I didn’t feel old but it did take me back for a moment.  My friend EK is wise for her age and I feel our bond has grown in the short time we have had together.

 

www.fineartamerica.com
http://www.fineartamerica.com

My relationship with each woman is special in it’s own way.  We have common interests and things that we can relate to.  For instance, LG and I have grown daughters, we are grandmas, and rocked the 80’s hair so very well! On the other hand EK and I share raising younger children currently, attend the same church and bible study, are stay at home mothers, and most recently Usborne books are high on our list of likes.

lifehack.org
lifehack.org

I’ve stated before how very fortunate I am to have many friends in my life.  Many good friends that support me in different aspects in my life.  They lift me up and hold my hand in times of need.  They laugh and cheer me on when I am venturing into the unknown, and yes they even tell me how it is when I need it.  My cup runneth over with friendships.  I am a better person for those that I call friend.

LG and EK haven’t met one another as of yet, but I’m sure in the future this will occur.  I’m also sure they will enjoy one another’s company and making new connections can be life changing.  When I think back to my friendships and how they began, most of them were through another friend introducing us.  So it’s the gift that keeps on giving! Friendship!

www.chaosandlove.com
http://www.chaosandlove.com

 

I hope your life is full of friendships and connections, for these bring memories, joys, and growth.  Take the time to introduce a friend to another friend today!  Share the love!
Grace is a gift,

Julie

Destination Game – Coronado Heights


I promise this will be the last post about my weekend with friends!  I had to share this because I wanted to have it documented for us all right here!  It wasn’t something that was planned but I think it made the trip so much better!  On our journey for clue number seven we arrived at  Coronado Heights.

Cornado Heights

My husband had actually helped me out and taken this clue and hid it for me that very morning!  It is a  drive from our home and I ran out of time in my week to make it there.  Thanks honey!

When we arrived there were several people there enjoying the lovely weather!  The ladies started wondering around and looking, I thought he had put it in the main building.  So we headed that direction, I was wrong.  While they were searching I looked at the photo once again he had sent me of where he hid it.  I text him once we were on top of this building asking “where is this fireplace?”

Fireplace

Right after I sent it I looked out and there it was in the parking lot. I had walked RIGHT BY IT.  🙂 So I was telling the ladies they were really cold.

We all headed down the steps with me being at the end of the line, behind me there were some little girls.  We all heard them say something about ” Clue number 7!  It was so funny, ALL THE LADIES stopped dead in their tracks and turned around to listen.  I asked ” are you on a scavenger hunt?” They told me yes and they said they found clue number 7 already!  I didn’t really think much about it as I knew we were not ready for clue number 7.  I thought we were on 5!

We headed downstairs and they found their way to fireplace.  My friend looked inside the fireplace and there the clue was!  The guy sitting there said the girls had found it, took a picture, and read it.  We all laughed.  We didn’t have the heart to tell the girls that clue 1-6 wasn’t there.  I hope they had fun on their adventure though! 🙂

Have a great day friends!  Grace is a gift,

Julie

 

 

Destination Game – Building The Bond of Friendship


I mentioned in yesterday’s post that a group of my friends gathered together this past weekend. When we were planning the weekend we were not sure what we were going to do.  Since they were meeting at my home I chose to create a fun game for us to enjoy.   I like to call it the Destinations Game!  I created clues that led them to each new destination.  Here is a glimpse of our travels on a beautiful Saturday!  All  they had to do was figure out the clues, snap a photo at each location and have fun!

We started our morning at an awesome coffee shop/bakery in a nearby small town!  I highly recommend them if you are ever in the area!

Clue#1  To get clue number two all you have to do is seek out the paid sugar cookie.  Go see the counter help & collect your next clue! Be sure to cut it into quarters, each have a piece for good luck.  You will need it on your destination seeking game we are about to play!

Stop1 Clue 1 and 2

Our main connection that created our relationships is our faith in God and that we all are Lutheran LCMS members.  So using this first clue was really cool I thought.  This clue was my favorite to watch them figure out! 

Clue#2  It’s time to remember this lady of the bible, one that loved another like her own mother.  She stayed with her no matter the bother.  Not only is it a female name but it can be found in this very town. I gave more information in the actual clue and when they found out it was a mutual friend’s home they decided to change-up the lawn furniture as the friend wasn’t home!  🙂  I’m grateful the owner didn’t mind and let me leave a clue here!

Answer: RUTH

Stop 2

The next one kept them in the same town and although they almost went the wrong way they did find it quite quickly!

Clue #3  For your next clue you will travel by car but long ago that’s not how they did it. They’d wait at this location to hear “all aboard”!  No longer in use but more of a museum. Once arrived, snap a photo and then take a gander around. It won’t take you long to find the envelope with your clue to continue.

Answer: Moundridge Depot Museum

Stop 3

 Our day trip took us to three towns.  It was time to move on to the next one!  I will tell you that at this location we got quite silly!  It’s a consignment store and there were several prom dresses.  Yes.  Yes we did.  We tried on prom dresses and there is a photo but I’m not willing to share here! 🙂 It was fun and lots of laughter, so it was worth it! Glad I did it with these gals! They were very well-behaved when it came to the item they had to buy me, I figured they’d get something pretty silly and make me wear it all day long!  Instead I got a super cute scarf!

Clue #4  How about a little jaunt to visit the Scottish!  Load up and settle in for a drive.  The next location isn’t so hidden. And when you arrive take the $5.00 and as a team find something at this place for Julie to wear!    A necklace?  A scarf?  Oh no hats please! And when you check out be sure to ask the kind clerk if they could help you out by supplying your next clue.

Answer: The Hidden Closet

Stop 4 hidden closet

This clue I will have to explain a little bit.  The lovely lady on the far right has a super great blog, actually two of them.  Her one is called Dandelions Picked.  She is such a talented writer and has so much good to share, so I used that in the clue.  I’m hoping this will get her to get back to writing either there or here! Either way show her some love on  her blogs!

Clue #5  This place is not dandelions but colorful just the same. They come in bright yellow and orange. It’s not an actual flower but it’s time for lunch so let’s take a rest and get to the punch!

Answer: Marigold’s (new restaurant)

Marigolds

 

I wanted to be sure to include things that were free and also outdoors.  There is this wonderful place to walk, hang out, and see some great views.  So we headed there in another town!

Clue #6  Are you ready for your next clue?  Our lunch will need to settle, so in the vehicle for laughter and chatter.  For when we reach it, you will be reaching new heights! The comfy shoes oh so inviting here! A little rough terrain but not to worry, the view is spectacular.

Answer: Coronado Heights

Cornado Heights

 

Our friend from up north had not made it to this store while living in Kansas.  So I wanted to make sure we traveled our way there.  They have lots of unique and interesting things.  Be sure to check out the website for the store, they just opened a second location in Salina, Kansas.  The owner is truly delightful to visit with!

Clue #7  It’s time to head to Little Sweden.  To find a connection where elephant poop is paper and hearts with inspiration reside. Those aren’t they only things that are fair, but take a gander around the store for more handmade items.  Another clerk can help you with the final destination clue.

Answer: Connected (Fair Trade Store)

Connected

 

Our last stop of the day on our game was to a coffee shop.  By this time the temperature was warm and our feet were tired.  So we just sat in there for a little bit to relax.  It’s a quaint little place you might want to check out and relax in.   I had a strawberry smoothie and it was quite tasty!

Clue #8  If one were to strut they might be referenced as one of these, all fanned out, and on display.  They have eye-like feathers but the place to go is not colorful, purely bland.  A place of coffee and chocolate!

Answer: The White Peacock 

White Peacock2

We ended our day by visiting the church and cemetery and a nearby neighbor who gave us some delish German candy!  The evening brought homemade pizzas and playing games. Laughter was heard,  things were discussed, and life was just relaxing for us all!  I look forward to the next time we meet and can try that “amazing race” the girls spoke of!  Until next time, thanks for joining the fun girlfriends and may your lives be full of joy!

end of trip

There will be one more related post.  This one got so long I thought I’d share about our Coronado Heights experience in another post. So check back Thursday for it!  I had never planned one of these types of things before, but I think I will be sure to do them in the future!  Do you have any suggestions for me? It is alot of fun and pushes you I think!

Grace is a gift,

Julie

 

 

* All photos are owned and copyright by the blogger of Pushing Forward With Grace Julie V.

Once Again It’s About Friendships


Once again I am writing about the friendships that are so very special to my life.  This particular group of ladies brings laughter, challenge, hope, and a solidarity to my life that I am truly blessed by.  I don’t know why I am so very fortunate to have these ladies and so many other friendships in my life, I am in constant awe of the gift I have received.

This particular group of friendships was born from a common thread of our love for Christ, a bible study, and our ability to cover each other in prayer while dealing with the realities of life.  It took us a while to come together, too many years went by without a connection to make our bond hold like glue.  Hence, the bible study.  It brought us closer, helped us to get to know one another, and bind us  together with Christ more as a center in our lives with accountability partners I like to think.  That weekly meeting of delving into the word, praying together, laughing and even crying at times, along with some good snacks always makes for a great bond of friendship!

LLL FRIENDS

One of our friends moved about three hours away, although it’s hard at times that she isn’t right here on a weekly basis face to face with us we work to keep the relationship thriving. We are determined to stay connected, so Facebook and trips together are a must!  We had a visit from our friend up north this past weekend.  It was a fabulous fun time I do think! It included laughter, food, fun, games, walking, and a game of destinations!  That last one was so much fun I will have to post about it tomorrow!

My goal for today’s post is to once again help others to know that connection and relationships are really the icing on the cake in life! I’m not saying you must be a social butterfly (I am not one) but rather value those around you. Even if it is many or not so many. The ones that nurture, guide, love, listen, and take you for who you are, yet challenge you.  They are placed in your life for a reason.  Even if you don’t know why or how long they will be here take the time to encompass all that they offer and be sure to give back.  Your life will be more meaningful, sweet, and stronger for it.

Be sure to check back tomorrow to see our adventures in the Destination Game!  🙂

Grace is a gift,

Julie

 

 

 

Connection Story Through Initials


There’s a group of couples that we meet with a couple times a year.  One of the times is at our home for a Valentine’s dinner and it is normally scheduled during the month of February.  This year nasty weather caused us to push it off until this past weekend.  I am glad everyone was able to make it in March.

The couples include:

DD & JD

SD & DD

ET & RT

LG & MG

I wanted to share how the ladies of the group are connected and how it came to be that we are friends. From left to right.

DD  LG  SD  JV  ET

friends 2015

ET met me a birth (she’s my sister) then I introduced LG to ET and SD, which in turn allowed SD to introduce me to DD which I introduced to ET and LG.  Is that all clear?  Oh and the 2nd initials of all these couples are the husbands, so they are along for the ride as a given! 🙂

Here’s some background.

ET – we fought like crazy when we were growing up, then as adults we are the closest of close.

et and I

LG – met her freshman year of high school first day of school and thankful no doubt. New school. New life. Scared out of my mind.

lg and i

SD – she thought I was a snob.   She was introduced to me by JM, she’s not at the party but I’d love her to travel back for it! Lucky for me SD decided to take a chance on me and I started smiling more. Prior to that she thought I was a snob or didn’t like her because I didn’t smile much in those days. Believe me when I say I’ve grown so much in these past 12 years and I smile a whole lot more now! 🙂

sherri & I

DD – Well she’s one of those friends that if you didn’t love or like her so much you’d totally dislike her cause she’s so cool. She has it all!  Witty, cute, loving, and funny to the hilt!

dd & i

Now me.  I’m just JV and I’m lucky to call of these folks my friends.  One has been in my life since birth, one since I was 14, one since my late twenties, and one for less time than those. Yet they are all gems in my life and I look forward to seeing each of them when I get the chance!

So do you have a group of friends you hang with?  Can you tell a story using initials like did?  Connect the initials and explain the connection!

Grace is a gift,

Julie

 PS: I will be taking a few days off from blogging to spend time with my family.  God bless you week!