Friday, March 25, 2011

My friend Melanie

I saw her walking across the playground by the ball field all by herself.

My friend Melanie.

Melanie: the one who befriended the girl who no one else would talk to. So now no one talked to her.

Including me.

Even though....

. . . we had laughed together at each other's houses. Even though we'd been to each other's birthday parties, worked on school projects together, and even talked about God into the wee hours of the morning. We had shared our hearts.

Even though she was my friend. I ignored her.

We had met in the third grade when a mutual friend introduced us. My friend found Melanie on the playground because she beat up the boys. Melanie came to our rescue. I don't remember any bruises or anything. I think it was mostly that she was tall and unafraid. But either way, after that, the boys left us alone.

The following year, Melanie & I were in the same class. Everyone in the class had fun together. We were all friends that year. Fourth grade was a wonderful year.

But that was the fourth grade and this was the sixth grade. Things had changed. Different rules applied.

Melanie talked to the girl. You know the one. The one no one talked to. Not only did Melanie talk to her, she sat by her at lunch. She befriended her. Therefore, sixth grade rules applied. You talk to her, no one talks to you.

So, no one talked to Melanie, including me.

I missed her. But I wanted more than one friend. I wanted us all to be friends. Honestly, I didn't even know if I liked the girl we weren't suppose to like or not. I just knew I didn't want to be shunned. So I didn't talk to her or to Melanie. Even though I wanted to.

Instead, I hung out with the cool people.

Until that day: the one where I noticed Melanie walking around the playground all by herself.

Now, I wish it could be said that I had noticed her all by herself for a good reason. Even the girl that she had befriended didn't appreciate her and had run off to hang with someone else. And Melanie was alone. I would like to say that is why I noticed her.

But it wasn't.

It was because it was my turn that day to be shunned.

That day the cool people decided it was my turn. No one was to talk to me. At first, I was wondering if it was happening. We were in class after all. But once we were all at lunch and recess, it was quite obvious that no one was talking to me.

I pestered Lynn again and again and again. "What did I do?" I was quite bothered that I had done something wrong. Finally, Lynn told me, "You didn't do anything wrong. We just wanted to see what you would do if everyone ignored you."


I walked away.

That's when I saw Melanie across the playground, walking all by herself in the empty baseball diamond.

The one who stood by the girl when no one else did.

The one who welcomed the new girls to school even when the new girls didn't keep being her friend.

The one who laughed with me.

The one who shared secrets with each other and no one else.

The one who introduced me to the sacred truth.

She was alone. And I now I knew this truth, too: One true friend is way better than a whole crowd of cool people. That I knew.

What I didn't know was if I had lost my chance to be friends with Melanie. I didn't deserve to be her friend. I had ignored her for weeks. I had hurt her. I was ashamed.

Nevertheless, I walked up to her across the playground. I don't remember what words I used or if I ever asked to be forgiven. But I do know that she walked back across the playground with me that day. And I felt forgiven.

We were both smiling.

That time wasn't the only bump in the road of our friendship. There were other times we hurt one another. But never intentionally again.

Me & My friend Melanie, last summer (yes the image is a little fuzzy).
When I can scan an old photo of us I'll come back and edit to have a then & now photo.

She has been a true friend to this very day. My friend Melanie. The friend I have had the longest.

One true friend was better than the cool crowd. I'm glad I learned that lesson in the sixth grade.

* * * *

How about you? Do you have life lessons that you learned in the sixth grade? Have you had a true friend like Melanie in your life? What have you learned about friendship through the years?

Linking up for some Company Girl Coffee HERE at Home Sanctuary.
Come & join us. It's fun.
Or simply clicking on the blog hop below makes it even easier.

Friday, March 18, 2011

On Waiting for Spring

The trees in our backyard: photo by my Firstborn.

On waiting....

On waiting for spring. In the dark, dreary, gray-clouded season of winter, I have been waiting for spring. At first winter is glorious, some snow. A chance to hunker down early for the night. To expect less of myself.

But then, one day there is a bright, sunshiny day in the midst of winter, reminding me that spring will come again. I look forward to it. It gets gray again. Then, I want spring. The next nice spring-like day comes again. And I rejoice in it. I revel in it. I'm so glad that it is here.

"Spring is here," I announce to myself. Then, it is gray and dreary again for it is only February. And remember the groundhog? He himself declared 6 more weeks of winter. I settle in and stop wishing for spring.

It is too hard to endure the gray & dreary days of February as I long for bright sunshine filled days of spring. Warm days with no coat. Warm days with no bugs in it yet. But it is too hard so I resolve not to think about spring anymore.

Then somewhere down deep in my heart, I find I have stopped waiting for spring. I stopped hoping.

And then, my five-year-old bursts through the door shouting, "Mommy, mommy." I think someone has been hurt. But no he is just running to bring me the first dandelion of spring. "Mommy this is for you." He says with his bright-grin.

The azaleas from our front yard last spring: photo by Kathleen.

And I am surprised. How can it be spring? How can something be growing? In the waiting, I failed to keep hoping. And now I am surprised by spring. Can it be here already? How can there be buds on the trees and daffodils in the ditches? It crept up unawares when I stopped waiting.

What are you waiting for? Or have you stopped waiting


Today's post was inspired by Gypsy Mama's Five Minute on Friday writing prompt: On waiting. I found her blog through the Fan the Flame blog.

I decided to dive in and try this. And, actually, I was kind of surprised at the five minutes of writing that I did. After my five minutes of writing, I did edit two spelling words and add some quotation marks. But otherwise, this is what I came up with in five minutes of writing on this Friday, March 18 for the prompt: On waiting.

(From the Gypsy Mama's blog: This is the place where once a week we take the chance to just write, and not worry if it’s just right or not.

For five minutes flat.

Here’s how the game works: you simply stop, drop and write. Set your words free. Don’t edit them, don’t fret over them, don’t try to make them perfect.).

Join us over HERE and perhaps you'll be surprised with what you can do in five minutes, too.

Friday, March 11, 2011



Today is the first time I remember seeing the sun in several days. The sunshine always help my mood.

Today we have no place to go. I am still in my robe and glasses. (Well, I was when I began this post but not now.) I am so thankful for a day with nothing already planned. Life has been packed. And the days ahead are packed with good things. I'm thankful for an unpacked day.

Today, I awoke to hear devastating news: an earthquake hit Japan and tsunami waves are still racing around the globe. My sister-in-law is from Japan. I'm thankful her family is from a different side of the island. I cannot fathom the devastation of it all or how terrifying it would be to experience this. My heart and prayers go out to the many people impacted. It is hard to absorb the magnitude of yet another disaster.

Today I am wishing that I was on the other side of training. I'm glad to be training. I am feeling some benefit to training (in several areas besides just physically). But, I still can feel my muscles growing. It's not always easy. I'm not to where these habits are completed without thinking. Actually, I am still giving a lot of energy to start them each day.

The good news is that momentum is growing on some new good routines that I have desired for a long time. I want them. I like this place better than before I started. But this new training schedule combined with a very packed schedule brings me to this Friday feeling a bit weary. I am hoping that having an easier day and enjoying the sunshine and the grace of God will be enough to keep pressing on.

This seems so small in comparison to having to deal with real tragedy, real crisis, like in Japan.

May God's grace and peace go with each of us today whether we need Him in small ways (like me) or in huge ways (like those in Japan.)

For some more Company Girl Coffee, click HERE.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Land ho!

We have crossed the Sea of Saturdays and landed on dry ground. We were sailing for six months, almost to the day. On July 12, 2010, my husband was notified that he was laid off. On January 13, 2011, my husband received a job offer. We've been walking on the shore for six weeks. We have land legs again.

Sweet Number Three sent this with her daddy
on the first day of work at his new job.

We're learning to walk in this country of New Jobs. It is more familiar than sailing on the Ship of Unemployment. For instance, taking the trash out on Tuesday nights has fallen back into place with no effort. The second evening that Daddy comes home in the week equals taking the dumpster to the curb. This is familiar.

Whew! There is much relief in going to work five days a week. But relief is not the same as peace. In the first weeks, I found myself overwhelmed at managing the new schedule and what is to come. I was relying on the relief of having a new job and not on the peace of God. How quickly lessons learned of trusting Him for the unseen flitter away.

Adjustments are still necessary. Husband leaves an hour and a half earlier than the last 17 years. On the happy side, he is home earlier. I have wanted that for a long time.

But....I am well entrenched to a late night schedule. Maybe one day we'll be all done with school, the table set, and dinner ready when Daddy comes home. Maybe. Maybe not. Either way, I'm aiming for that.

In the meantime, I'm working on a smile to greet him, no matter how behind I'm feeling and no matter how many things on the to-do list won't get done today. In the midst of the dinner crunch, I want to smile. A smile. That's all. Baby steps, you know.

I wouldn't trade sailing on the sea of Saturdays in the ship of Unemployment.

I didn't ask for it. I don't know that I would have asked for it or will ask for it again.

However, I am thankful. I am thankful for the sweetness of the Lord during the last six months. I am thankful for free babysitting, boxes of groceries, job leads, new contacts, encouraging cards and a myriad of other ways that we felt supported and loved these last six months.

I'm still musing about lessons learned.

In the meantime, we're all thankful for Daddy's new job.

Have you ever been thankful for difficulty in your life? Do you have anything that you are rejoicing over today?

Would you like to read some more encouraging words? Join Jen @ Finding Heaven for:

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