|Trike at Julie's house|
As I look over the different stages in my life, I notice that God has given me an intensely well suited and special friend for each stage. Some of these people are a friend for a season, and others are the kind that will probably give me a giant hug when we're both antiques, and sit down to chat like time had never progressed.
There are friends that save you, like the ones who decided in elementary school that even though I was labeled buck-tooth, haole and teacher's pet, I was still worth knowing. Or the 2 who knocked on my door when I was a fresh transplant from Hawaiian to Washingtonian soil in the dead of a frigid February, and decided that I and my tiny baby needed play dates.
There are friends who grow up with you. My friend Jeanette, who is my oldest friend, has been my friend since the sixth grade. I got to know her right when I was starting to get to know myself, and feel comfortable with who I was as a weird, nerdy, yet very interesting and curious person. We were both members of the first 6th grade class at an all girls school in Hawaii, and it was that school that saved me from being forever down on myself, I think. I went from being odd and rejected, to being silly and embraced. That's a good feeling. It was wonderful to begin to add to my interests, rather than trying to shelter them from teasing.
In college, there was my friend Brandi. Together, we discussed faith and questions, trying to grasp where our minds stood, and which tenets were most important to us. This was vital to me. Because I had already wrestled with deep questions, when truly difficult events happened in my life, I was not frantic, but understood where I was with God, and that I could go to Him to find peace. It was then, in college, with those friends, that I understood how vital always facing and working with our questions is to growth and learning, both mentally and spiritually. Whenever I see Brandi, there is this shared background of understanding and general curiosity about people and the world around us, and we always have something fascinating to discuss.
There is the best friend of all, the one who is your opposite in gender and many other ways, but who is your perfect complement. This is my husband, Brandon. I am artsy; he is a creative computer programmer. I am always cold; he is always hot. I like to do things the old fashioned way; he is interested in the most cutting edge technology. I love to write with words; he loves to write with computer code. I love to create with my hands; he loves to create with his mind. I love to go against the grain and so does he. We both question the status quo, examine it, then decide what is best for us and our family. Our sense of humor is weird. We love thai food and hate High Fructose Corn Syrup. We love home grown foods and avoid fast food. We love animals but don't love their messes. We are enamored with our children, and also exasperated by them. We are both captivated by the never ending desire to create, and are both in awe of all God has created, forever wanting to learn more. We are both followers of Jesus, trying to live as He would.
There are friends who are like blood. These are the friends who have an uncanny connection in terms of family background, interests and personality. These friends are sister friends. When you are with them, you are not at all awkward. You can talk about anything from bodily functions to childbirth, to deep pains from the past. I met Josie, who is actually my husband's cousin, when my husband and I were first dating. We have developed a friendship over the years that has made us into family. My children call her aunty, and she is the first person I call when things are rough.
These kinds of friends are rare and wonderful, and serve also as therapists in the hardest of times. I have met for the past 5 years with a small group of women to pray regularly for our daily struggles. Wendy, Lisa, Josie, Carly and Jenny share not only my faith, but also knowledge of everything I have wrestled with for the past 5 years, and have, in prayer, guided me through these things. When I went through my miscarriage 6 years ago, it was Wendy who came and sat with me. She is the one who painted my entire house with me when I was pregnant and emotional as I thought I was going to lose that house.
Lisa has taught me most of what I know about gardening and food preservation, and has a go with the flow, peacemaker personality that jives so well with mine. It doesn't hurt that our children are the best of friends. Jenny and Carly share a very deep connection with me in our concern for our children, and raising them up in the ways God wants us to. They both have really similar parenting styles to me, and wrestle with some of the same concerns and insecurities that I do.
My friend Carrie is a fellow homeschooling mom, without whom I would be certain I was actually completely insane to decide to continue to teach my children at home. Also, I am sure I would probably miss out on some of the best laughs I have ever had in my life if I had never met her, and I would be certain that my house cleaning skills equate me with an imbecile, had she not convinced me otherwise, and powered with me through some of the worse messes in my house. Jill is another homeschooling mentor mom of mine. Having already navigated the teen years with most of her children, she gives me priceless advice. Also, she has a knack for showing up to help just when I feel like I'm going to fall apart. Kari, another good friend, does the same, having helped me can peaches and plant the garden.
You cannot replace friends like these, because you cannot imagine being able to endure life without them. They are the ones who remind you that God cares enough about you to send someone who loves nearly as deeply as He does, and plops them right into your life.
Recently another dear friend has been added to these ranks, and her name is Julie. You know someone will probably be your friend for a long time, when after meeting her just once, you're already giving her a hug. She shares with me a deep fascination with the way the natural world works, and a sense of awe of the beauty of traditional cultures and the way they interact with God's creation. She has been to Copper Canyon, the place where the sandals I wear daily originated. She shares my artistic eye, and the deep desire to do things naturally, from scratch and in traditional and old ways. My littlest girls are peas in a pod with her girls, and I feel so incredibly blessed. I'm bubbling over with joy at this addition to the noble ranks of my friends.
Here are some photos from my visit with Julie yesterday. I'm not sure why I didn't include many pictures of our children, but I think it's because I wanted to appreciate in those moments the beauty of their wild movement, rather than see it through the lens of a camera.
|We think this might be burdock, but maybe it's something else. Anyway, the boys stuck it to me, and boy does it stick. Better than velcro, and a whole lot pokier.|
|Best dog ever. Their dog does NOT eat their ducks. This was the friskiest I saw the dog get.|
|What a great idea for a clothes line!|
|Walking back to the house...|
|Maia enjoying this blustery day with her friends.|
|Laundry out to dry|
|A special handmade broom given to Julie by a dear friend hangs in a place of honor in her home.|
|Such a beautiful dining room table|
|every pepper grinder should be this adorable.|