Category Archives: Friendship

Great Expectations

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I’ve always been a dreamer. I’ve always had grandiose ideas of how things would happen (never once believing they would ever be a reality). Maybe it makes me an optimist…..maybe it just makes me crazy! I would like to think that some of my dreams and wishes and ideas would become a reality one day, but I just can’t shake the sting of reality.

And it’s not because I’m hopeless and lack any capacity to hope in my life. But one can only have their hopes and dreams dashed so many times before you start to give up on all of those other hopeful aspirations.  What is more likely, in my given scenario, is that my patience level (or lack of patience) is reached before any expectations can be realized.

I have a hard time waiting. Like, it’s excruciating for me to stand by and just quietly wait. One, I’m rarely quiet. Two, I just hate waiting. Over time, and having children, I’ve become “better” at it, but I’ve far from mastered the skill. I’ll forever be a work in progress when it comes to waiting. Sometimes it’s a good thing and I push for an answer while people are on their own clock. Other times, it comes to bite me in the, well, you know what.

And now as I’m approaching 40 (much too quickly I should say), I wish things were done differently in my past. Maybe if I had spent more time being patient and waiting and not rushing things, my outcome would be different. Maybe I wouldn’t have these grandiose dreams and desires for a different life.

I’m not saying my life is awful. It’s not in all reality. I have two amazing boys that are smart, well-adjusted, happy, caring, loving, and all around great kids. I have a loving boyfriend who treats me well and makes me feel safe and comfortable in our life. I have a roof over my head, a car that runs (most of the time!), a good job, and enough money to pay my bills. Things are tight sometimes and I struggle during the month sometimes, but I rarely go without. Of course, I don’t have all the extra things that many people enjoy, but I’m happy.

Of course, my life isn’t perfect. I’m a divorced mom with two children. I have shared custody of my children, so I don’t always get to see them and there are days that I don’t see them because they are with their father. I miss my boys, immensely, when I am not with them. I know that I “should” appreciate the time I get to myself, and enjoy that “freedom” that not everyone has, but I don’t. I WANT to spend more time with my kids. I ENJOY the time I am with them (mostly – hey, boys will be boys!). I wish I wasn’t the divorced mom that has to shoulder the weight of raising my boys. Yes, their father helps to raise them when they are with him, but it’s not that we raise them “together”. I guess it’s hard to explain if you aren’t a “single parent” navigating the waters such as I am.

And of course, I would love that childhood dream of a wedding to come to fruition for me one of these days. I’ve never had the chance to pick out bridesmaid dresses or even HAVE bridesmaids. My first wedding was a trip to the Justice of the Peace with a few family members as witnesses. Again, because we weren’t patient and just rushed into things. And look how that turned out…I digress.

I’m not saying that I HAVE to have the big fancy wedding. In fact, I know that we CAN’T afford what my childhood dream wedding would consist of. But in all reality, who really can? Because of hastily made financial decisions in my past, finances will always be an issue going forward. Lessons learned, and in all honesty, I’m better off in the long run. But the expectations I’ve had in my life for the wedding I’ve wanted to have is one that I’ll need to put out of my mind. Because reality comes into play big time in that planning.

Just like my wedding “expectations”, I had a lot of expectations growing up, both placed on me and self-imposed.

I was expected to attend a Christian college right after high school and graduate in 4 years, possibly be married or engaged at the end of that college stint and start a family shortly thereafter.

WRONG!

It took me almost 10 years to finish my college degree. I attended a few different colleges, changed my major so many times I’ve lost track, moved, gotten various jobs and then eventually got married. I WANTED to finish my degree BEFORE I had children, and I almost made it! I finished up my degree a few months after I had my first son. It wasn’t ideal, and it wasn’t the expectation of most people of what would happen, but it DID eventually happen.

I was taught growing up that friends would come and go into our lives, but family would always be there. That was the expectation I had growing up.

WRONG!

It’s taken me a long time to be comfortable with how this plays out in my life. I’ll be honest and say that I’ve not fully been able to come to grips with this. You see, throughout all my struggles in life, I have found that my friends are the ones that have stuck around. Of course, there have been friends that have come and gone. That’s just how life plays out. You grow apart from people and eventually part ways. That’s just how our lives play out on a daily basis. But through my divorce and subsequent trials, I’ve seen that my friends, my TRUE friends are the ones that stuck around. I had high expectations that my family would be there for me. And some have. Don’t get me wrong. But there are some that I thought would have stuck by me, but they haven’t.

You see, you grow up one way being told one thing. You are told what to EXPECT in life and that a, b, or c is going to be the only options and that’s how it’s going to be. But in all reality, it’s wrong. You can hope and expect until you’re blue in the face. But until you are faced with reality and the specific situations at hand, any and all expectations fly out the window!

I fully expected that my life would turn out a certain way because I stopped attending church. It didn’t.

I was told to expect to be single after my divorce indefinitely because that’s how it was supposed to happen. It doesn’t.

I fully expected certain family members to stick by me and support me in my time of need because that’s what family does. They didn’t.

You see, expectations, great or small, can work for us or against us. They can bring us closer to our desired reality or push us further away from the expected outcome. I don’t think that having expectations is a bad thing in and of itself. It’s when our expectations are too far reaching. It’s good to have dreams and aspirations. It’s beneficial to set goals and attempt to reach those goals. But it’s also wise to not set yourself up for failure either.

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Be realistic. That’s the mainstay thought I must have. Have REALISTIC expectations in life. Will you have to lower your expectations and desires? Most likely. But that doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice your ultimate desire to succeed. Sometimes you just have to readjust the route you have to take. But in the end, the only expectation we can ever have, is to be happy. Do what you need to do, and take whatever road you need to take to get there. But in the end, when I peel back all the layers of expectations, if I find myself happy and content in the end, that’s what matters most.

Sure, I have big dreams and high expectations in life and for myself. And what I can attain, I will. But what I can’t reach or have as my end game, I will put the expectation of ultimate happiness on myself. And that’s all I can expect of myself and those in my life. I have high expectations for my own happiness. And those expectations are within each and every one of us.

 

 

 

 

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Odd Man Out

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Ever feel awkward in your own skin? Feeling odd but you can’t put your finger on it? Like you’re missing something but you have no clue? I feel like this every single day and I’m feeling more and more lost without a map to lead me out! Searching to find my way, my place, my niche’. And I come up empty every single time. Wandering aimlessly through life hoping to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes to me the light isn’t visible. Sometimes the tunnel doesn’t even exist. The train comes barreling down the tracks, unsure of how it’s going to get to the other side.

I don’t fit in. Anywhere. I never really have. Growing up I was always the one that was very outgoing, would talk to anyone, no matter their age, and was overall a very friendly person. Someone who you would imagine had the world on a string and was just full of life and vigor. But I wasn’t.

I was lonely. I was chronically picked on and bullied. I had friends, sure, but never really had a close, personal friend that was my “BFF” to use a very generational term. And this wasn’t how I was just in those “awkward” pre-pubescent years. It was all the time. From kindergarten to present day. I remember getting picked on in kindergarten. I remember my mom having to come to school when I was in 2nd grade to find a way for the kids to stop picking on me. Despite her efforts and the teacher’s efforts, it only got worse.

Summer camp was always a bear. And not to mention it was a CHRISTIAN summer camp. I was still a loner and did my thing. I got along with people, or so I thought, but I still didn’t fit in. I tried, I really did. One year at camp one of the counselors nicknamed me Gabby Abby (hence the name of the blog) because, well, I can talk, a lot. Several of us were making t-shirts in the Arts & Crafts room, and I made one that on the back said “GABBY ABBY”. It was cute and we had our fellow campers sign our shirts. When I went back later that day to pick up the shirt, someone took the paint and painted over the GABBY part of the shirt. My shirt now said “FLABBY ABBY.” I was devastated. Even as an elementary aged child, I was hurt beyond words. Of course, I just laughed it off and painted over it. But I didn’t let them see me crying back in my cabin. No one. No one was going to see me upset by this, because, then they would know they got to me.

Everyone had their cliques in school. In youth group and church, they had their groups they hung out in. I was never in the “popular” crowd. I didn’t play sports. I was a cheerleader, but I think only because they felt bad for me. I didn’t fit in the cheerleading uniform and they had to make one for me specifically. I was the base of the pyramid and had a loud voice, so that was my reasoning why I was on the squad. I wasn’t super spiritual, so I didn’t fit in with the “good kids.” Because I wasn’t the shining star of Christianity, I always seemed to be pushed aside. I never was the girl the guys asked out. I was “one of the guys” so to speak. I had the “cute face” and “great personality.” I was the one the guys went to in order to find out if a certain girl liked them or to find out if they would go out with them.

I was the funny one. I think that some days I still am. My humor was and is my defense mechanism. I would make fun of myself before someone else could. That way, in my warped sense of self, it wouldn’t hurt as much. If I beat someone to the punch line, then it’s not like THEY would be picking on me. And then through that, people “liked” me more because they thought I was funny. Only now do I see that they “liked” me for making fun of myself and it just saved them from having to say the jokes. But if someone beat ME to the punch line, that hurt so bad. It cut like a knife, a very jagged, dull knife.

It’s pretty sad. I have so many memories of my childhood and teen years and growing up. But unfortunately, most of them revolve around the bad things that happened to me. I can remember vividly the bullying. I can remember times and places, situations, even what I was wearing during different instances. But ask me about the fond memories, the happy ones….they are all a hazy, vague memory, one that I’m not sure even really existed.

I don’t fit in when it comes to music. I grew up in a very restricted household. I wasn’t allowed to listen to the radio or buy CD’s or such, so even now, close to 40, there are SO many things I have no idea about, and people just look at me like I have 4 heads. I have a hard time making conversation, with anyone. I say something and then kick myself for being so awkward. I try to keep up with the daily headlines and what’s going on in the world, but I still come across as being ignorant. I’m no akin to the “ways of the world” in so many aspects, and that gets to me.

I don’t fit in when it comes to appearances. I’ve always been the big girl. Even when I look back at school pictures in elementary school, I was never really HUGE, but I was always just a little bit bigger, therefore, I wasn’t like all the other girls, and I was picked on for that. I don’t wear name brand clothes, I don’t FIT into most name brand clothes. I never had the money for expensive, popular clothes. I tried too hard to fit in and ended up looking like a clown at times, I’m sure of it. Even now, as an adult, I don’t buy brand name clothes. I shop thrift stores and bargains and use coupons. I don’t look stylish and don’t have the body type to try.

I see people talking about their big circle of friends and how they did this together, or all their kids had play dates together, or they went out on a girls weekend with their besties. You get the point. And then I look back at my life and realize I don’t have any of that. I see all these people getting married and they have a multitude of bridesmaids and groomsmen, and I think to myself, “Do I even KNOW that many people, let alone LIKE that many people enough for them to stand up for me if I get married?” The answer to that is a resounding no.

I don’t fit in with most of my family. I’m the black sheep of the family….or I’d like to say that I’m the tie-dyed sheep of the family: much more colorful and interesting. But in all reality, I’m not. I grew up in a super religious family. Church since I was 2, went on Sunday morning, Sunday night and youth group on Wednesday nights. I went to the Christian school affiliated with my church. I went and attended Christian college after that. I did everything I was SUPPOSED to do, but still never fit in. I was still getting made fun of. I was still the loner, the odd man out. But no one realized this about me. I hid it well. I still tend to hide it well.

While in Christian college, something very traumatic happened to me, and it changed me at my core, and I can honestly say I’ve never been the same since. In good and bad ways I’ve changed. But, as always, everyone’s idea of good vs. bad is very subjective, and what I believe to be “good” is vile and heinous to other people. And because of certain things that have happened in my life, and certain roads I’ve taken, I again, do not fit in and I’m the “outcast” and have been shunned.

I have tattoos, my nose is pierced, and I drink alcohol on occasion.
I’ve been divorced.
I live with my boyfriend.
I don’t regularly attend church.
I swear sometimes.

So basically, I’M HUMAN! I’m not perfect and I don’t fit all the qualifications of a good Christian human being. So that gives you the right to shun me and keep your distance from me? You’re perfect in your life endeavors and have always done everything according to God’s will? Yeah, what’s that verse in the Bible? John 8:7 “But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” There you go. Please, find the sinless, perfect part of your life to judge me with. So I don’t fit into your mold. If that’s the kind of people you will only allow into your life, then I don’t want any part of it.

It hurts not fitting in. It is painful being the odd man/woman out. It’s a struggle that I face daily, a struggle that slaps me in the face on a continual basis and it stings. It hurts knowing that you have been ostracized from people in your life who you thought would always be there for you. It’s painful to see family members push you aside because of their overwhelming archaic beliefs rather than to love their “enemy.”

I don’t fit in to the popular crowd. I don’t look or play the part of the popular crowd.
I don’t fit in to the religious crowd. I’m too damaged and sinful to play the part of the religious crowd.
I don’t fit in to the trendy crowd. I have no clue what their crowd is all about.
I don’t fit in to the beautiful crowd. Because, well, in so many words, I’m not beautiful enough to play the part of the beautiful crowd.

I guess what it all really comes down to, is this. Do I really WANT to fit in? Well, yes and no. Yes, I want to feel like I’m a part of something. I want to feel that I’m accepted and wanted for who I am and all my eclectic ways. I want to have an overwhelming feeling of love and peaceful interaction from all types of people, similar and different to myself. We don’t have to agree. We don’t have to think alike and be of the same mind. We don’t have to look alike or come from the same background. Life doesn’t work that way. Unfortunately, so many people compartmentalized life and friendships and families into that box. I don’t fit in that box…never have, and God help me, I never will. So in that aspect, not fitting in is probably the best thing for me. Hard in the meanwhile and painful as time passes. But in the end, worth it as my personal identity is not tied to a person or a group or a “type”; my personal identity is exactly that. Personally, ME.

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So You Think Your Life is Rough?

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Lately, I’ve seen so many family and friends go on and on about how “rough” their life is. How they need to take a break and rest from life. How thy don’t know how they can go on, blah blah blah. And while I have found myself saying the same thing, many times more than I’d like to think about, I’ve had to snap myself back into reality and really evaluate what the term “rough” means. It can mean so many things to so many people.

Take for example the married working mom with several children. She works full-time and has to be a mother to her children and keep up her home. She has help at every turn, however, with family helping her all the time, friends offering to babysit so she can go out with her husband on a date night or even a weekend away. She has a partner to help in the cooking and cleaning and child rearing responsibilities as well as to provide an additional income. She has someone to “back her up” on decisions and whatever life throws her way. She’s not alone. But, she often complains how her life is so rough and needs constant breaks to regroup and whatnot. Sure, life is rough in her opinion, and sometimes, it very well can be.

But let’s compare that to another scenario.

A full-time working, single mom with several children. She has no spouse to lean on for the tough times. She can’t find reliable or trustworthy babysitting and has no family in the area to help her out in a bind. She is solely responsible for maintaining her home. She’s the only one that cooks, cleans, does the dishes. She’s the only one filling up the car with gas on a cold, rainy day. She’s the only one paying the bills and living paycheck to paycheck to make ends meet. She’s the one that goes without all the time so that her children don’t have to. She’s the one that spends whatever “extra” money she might have one given pay period on her children and forgoes getting herself something. Going out with a significant other or friends is a novelty and finding time for herself is constant battle. She often says that her life is rough, but more often than not, most would also say (in my findings) that even though, pardon the expression, “the struggle is real”, it’s worth it.

Which scenario resonates with you more? Which person can you find yourself identifying with on a personal basis?

I will tell you this. I have been BOTH of these women. I have experienced these scenarios, almost to a “T”.  And even though you may read this and say to me, “You don’t know me! You don’t know how bad I have it and how things are just so stressful and such” and you’re right. I don’t know YOU. But I DO know your struggles. All of them.

In my short life of almost 40 years (yikes, I hate typing that out!), I have been through enough to stop anyone in their tracks, in my humble opinion.

  • My parents were divorced when I was 8 and I grew up with my sister and my single mom. I know the struggles of children watching their parents sacrifice everything so that they can have a better life. I know what it’s like to not have Christmas because money just isn’t there. I know what it’s like to have churches bring you food baskets so you can have meals. I get that.
  • I was raped when I was in my 20’s. I had something very traumatizing happen and I’ve been able to move past that and even write about it to work on gaining closure (http://www.cincinnati.com/story/opinion/contributors/2016/01/29/breaking-silence-rape-survivors-story/79525890/).
  • I was married for 10 years. I had help from family. I had a big circle of friends who would help on a moments notice. I lived pretty comfortably and didn’t want for much.
  • I’ve dealt with fertility issues. I was told that I might not ever be able to have children. I have suffered a miscarriage, losing twin girls early on in my pregnancy. When I did finally get pregnant, I was considered high risk and was monitored closely.
  • I’ve had to have 21 surgeries in my life. Not because I’m inherently clumsy and inflict these surgeries on myself (mostly lol), but I’ve run the gamut of health issues from since childhood from major hearing and inner ear issues to tumors to infertility and miscarriage to carpal tunnel to an eventual early hysterectomy at 33 years old. I have scars that tell stories you’ll never have to experience, ever.
  • I almost died from an allergic reaction to medication. I was in the hospital 3 days while they tried to stabilize my body and hydrate me enough to be able to function again.
  • I’ve been through a bankruptcy and 2 foreclosed houses. My credit was destroyed and I’ve had to learn the real meaning of money and the implications it carries with it.
  • I’ve been through a divorce. I’ve been through the sting and pain of that life being ripped away from me.
  • I’m now the single mom, struggling to get by some weeks, without much of a social circle and no family in town to back me up. I’ve had negative in the bank, I’ve been taken advantage of, I’ve been hurt time and time again.

And yes, I complain. I have my moments when I just want to run and hide and just give up. I rant and I rave and sometimes harbor bitterness against those that have a “better” life. But then reality slaps me in the face. To some people out there, I am the one with the “better” life. I am the one that really has it good in comparison.

I have a good job and have been with my company 10 years. I have health insurance, albeit not the best, but considering how many surgeries I’ve had to have, I am blessed to have any kind of coverage. My kids have never gone hungry. I may have skipped some meals in the beginning of my struggles, but hey, a few pounds lost is a positive outcome from that. I’ve had my struggles financially due to my bankruptcy and I’ve not been able to afford a new car or get a credit card, but at least I have money in my bank account and can pay my bills. I get a minimal amount of child support, but that’s also more than many parents receive. I’ve learned the value of a dollar and have also been able to instill those lessons in my children. They realize that money is tight and we don’t always get to do the things they want, but they’ve also come to see that what I can give them, I give with my whole heart and they know when I’ve made a sacrifice and have become more appreciative of it.

I don’t get to go out much. I don’t get to have weekends away or trips out of town for a concert or get theater tickets every time I want to. When it’s my days to have my boys, I have my boys. I plan my life around my boys and our crazy schedule and I deal with it. My kids are my miracle babies, my rainbow babies, my world. I miss them when they are with their dad and sneak into their bedroom at times just to smell their pillows so I can get through the rough times. I don’t pass them off to someone any chance I get so that I can do something I want to. There will be time for those things later in life.

Here’s some ways to really put into perspective what is “rough” and what is “selfish”.

You have healthy children, no fertility issues and can get pregnant at the drop of a hat. You flaunt your pregnancies and go on and on  about it. You complain that you have it rough because your feet are swollen and you’re getting uncomfortable in your own skin. Believe me, I’ve been there.

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Your friend, sister, cousin, whomever it may be, is struggling with fertility issues. She’s had multiple miscarriages, has had to stick needles into herself on a daily basis just to have a chance of getting pregnant and still has not been able to get pregnant. The heartache each month that she’s trying to get pregnant and isn’t starts to really wear on her and the constant buzzing of pregnancies around her are a lot to handle.

I’m not saying that you should tiptoe around her and not complain and live your life and be happy about the new life forming inside of you, but know this. When they don’t jump up and down with joy for your announcement, or if they keep to themselves about your news, don’t take it as a move of jealousy. Don’t get upset at them and get angry that they aren’t happy for you. In all honesty, most of them ARE happy for you. They might just need some time to process the hurt they are feeling because it’s not them. Give them space, give them time, let them come to terms with this in their own way. DO NOT get mad at them for their feelings. You have NO idea what they are going through, none. And until you can truly come to their level of both grief and excitement, please do not say that they are wrong.

Also, when you say things have been rough at home, and you need to get away, think twice about that. I am in no way negating your feelings and that you very well may have experienced rough times. Believe me, I get it. But try to look at others and see how your life compares. Look at the single mom or dad who are unable get away ever or have the money to buy many groceries. They haven’t been able to take a vacation in several years due to their financial struggles and responsibilities.  Look at the stay-at-home mom or dad who carry the burden of maintaining the house on their own each and every day. Look at the married couple who struggle financially and live in a state far away from family and can’t get babysitting to even have a date night to reconnect with each other.

You think you have it rough? Maybe you do. But do this next time you are complaining about how hard your life is and how you just need time to get away and rest. Are there family or friends you know that are burned out because of having to live their life a different way than you? Are you taking for granted all the positives you have in your life and just dwelling on the negatives, therefore dwelling on what needs to be “fixed”?

I’ll be honest, I try to hide my struggles a lot of the time. I got my game face on, and you won’t see me complain (much) or very rarely shed a tear. Is it because I’m cold and heartless? Hell no! I’m an emotional wreck just as much as the next person. But I’ve also learned (and am still in the constant state of learning actually) where and when to voice my struggles. I try to step back and visualize how others would perceive my situation. Is it REALLY as bad as I think? Do I honestly have it as rough as I seem to think it is? Probably not. Of course, it doesn’t negate my feelings and I would never want to have someone judge my feelings as they are MY feelings to have. But in all reality, I have it good. My life, in all of it’s good and bad glory, is pretty decent. I have a roof over my head, my bills get paid, I have reliable transportation, I have healthy active children who are the light of my life and love with no boundaries, and I’m happy. Of course, I’m not perfect and It’s human nature to find something negative amidst the positive, but I’m making an active CHOICE to be happy.

My life is rough. My life is hard. My struggles are real and constant. But look at the alternatives. It could be much, much worse, and for that, I’ll take and embrace my “rough” life, any day!

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It’s Not Always In the Numbers

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I don’t have a lot of “close” friends in my life. Best friends. I’ve always been the outgoing, social one. The person that will talk to just about anyone and will inevitably make people laugh. But beneath that social butterfly of a persona is a very lonely individual. I don’t really have a lot of people I can call up at any given time. I don’t really have a long list of girlfriends that I’ll have to choose from to be a potential bridesmaid one day. I don’t have texts and phone calls making me burn the midnight oil trying to keep in contact with everyone. And for the most part, that’s ok. I can be a loner at times and keep to myself. It’s easier because it’s less for me to keep track of (with my every forgetful mind). But then there are days that the loneliness screams out, only to hear a faint echo bouncing back to me. There’s days when I just can’t stand the silence.

When I left my comfort zone for the unknown, I knew it was going to be tough for this introverted extrovert. I knew that my safety net was going to be literally thousands of miles away. But I did it. Would I change it? Maybe I would, maybe I wouldn’t. There’s positive things that have been a result of my leap, and for those I wouldn’t change a thing. But being away from those that my soul finds the most rest and peace in has it’s struggles. But for those dear ones that ARE in my life, near or far, the best friends I can’t imagine my life without, I am thankful. I am thankful for the listening ear (or the reading eyes since it’s usually a text). I am thankful for the advice, even if I don’t always follow it! I am thankful for the few that God has placed in my life that I can’t imagine not having in my life. There may be times we don’t talk. There may be times we don’t agree. But if we agreed on everything, it sure would be a boring friendship!

Deep, impactful friendships are what I need. I don’t have time for the wishy-washy friendships that only seek to serve themselves. “Friendships” that are come and go and surface level. Ones that serve their purpose for a moment, and when the moment has passed, so has the friendship. I don’t need people in my life that aren’t in it for the long haul. I don’t have time for people that only need me when it’s convenient for them. When there’s no one else. When the last resort is me. I don’t expect to be the only friend in anyone’s life, that would be nonsense. But I do expect an effort. To get to know me and know my crazy quirks and my unsightly baggage, and my monstrous pitfalls. But still is there despite all the setbacks. I don’t need the commonly referred to “fair weather friends.” At this point in my life, I don’t have time for that.

So, if you want to be in my life, be there. Make an effort, and I know I will in turn do the same. I’m not going to be part of a friendship of convenience. Not to sound harsh, but I just don’t have the time or energy to deal with that. I’m busy. I go non-stop. I rarely have a moment to just sit and rest and be still. I’ll always make time for those closest to me. If you can’t do the same for me, then I don’t want to be a part of that. I saw this quote that is so fitting. It says, “True friendship isn’t about being there when it’s convenient. It’s about being there when it’s not.” It seems like nothing is every convenient these days. I wish! But for those that make the time and help you out or are there for you, even when it’s not the most convenient for THEM, that’s a friend worth having in your life. And I’m thankful for the few that I have.

I don’t need a huge number. I don’t need a list a mile alone. I don’t need hundreds of Facebook “friends” to tell me that I have an enriched life. None of those numbers and accolades mean anything. It’s the support system that lifts me up when I’m at my lowest. It’s the perfectly timed jokes that make me laugh when I didn’t think I could smile. It’s the strong shoulder to lean on when the tears won’t stop flowing. Those things. That only takes one to be that person. Ad I am blessed to have a handful of people that can be there for me like that. And I hope, that in turn, I can be that way for others.

Remember this….The greatest gift is not found in the stores. But in the heart of true friends.

Today I’m thankful for the gifts of friendship I have in my life.