Three Sweet Blessings from Friendships with Women

Rick and I’ve been married for 36 years. We have no secrets. He’s my best friend, but sometimes it’s fun to spend time with lady-friends. When we get together, the conversation shifts from deep talk to silliness. In a heartbeat.

Saturday, a girlfriend invited another friend and me to go shopping. I’m attending a Guideposts writers’ workshop in two weeks and wanted something spiffy to wear.

“There’s an antique shop down the street,” she said. “Let’s go there.”

Clothes in an antique store? 

She took us to a place I’d never noticed in my very own small town of Monroe, GA.

Good friends are like that–always teaching us new stuff.

When we arrived, I didn’t care if they had clothes or not.

I felt like a little girl again!

Hodge Podge held the same splendor I remembered from childhood when I went antiquing with my mother and sister. There’s a certain thrill in rounding the corner of a shop and discovering dusty surprises.

The front door was wide open and welcomed us like a warm smile.  I took a step inside and childhood memories came alive.

Miniature tea sets.

Sparkling chandeliers.

Handmade lavender soap.

Oh me, oh my —

My heart went pitter-patter at the crocheted shirt.

My sweet friends.

They insisted I try it on in all three colors–aqua, black, and oatmeal.

“Definitely, the oatmeal-colored one,” they said in unison.

After we shopped, we stopped for coffee at The Cotton Cafe.  Sitting at a small table, we laughed and shared secrets the way little girls do.

At home, I hung up my new crocheted top in my closet and smiled.

Good friends are one of God’s greatest blessings. They:

1. Help us not to take life (and ourselves!) so seriously.

2. Always want the best for us.

3. Encourage us to sparkle and shine. 

“A sweet friendship refreshes the soul.” Proverbs 27:9 The MSG

Have you had fun lately with your friends? What’d you do?

What sweet blessings have you found in friendship?

Love,

Julie

 

 

Comments

  1. Julie Lavender says:

    (I’ll be looking for that crocheted top this weekend!) When I visited my married daughter in Chattanooga a couple of weeks ago, she and her husband took my mother and me to a huge antique mall there, not something we usually do, nor would I probably have enjoyed it – not my thing – if it hadn’t been something I shared with Jenifer in her new “home.”

    • And I’ll be wearing it, Julie!

      Glad you and Jennifer got to spend time together–that’s what it’s all about!

      xoxoxoxoxox

  2. Julie Lavender says:

    oops – next weekend.

  3. Patricia Martin says:

    My friend Shirley and I talk on the phone whenever we can. Her home is like an antique store with crystal and china from her mom and grandma. (): I remember when I lived in CA there was a beautiful antique store that sold real china dolls, furniture, and more! It must have been fun to live in the old days, but I would never ever want to wear a corsett!): Hope your novel is going well. (: Hugs to your family!
    love,
    Patricia

    • Hey Sweet Patricia,

      I can just imagine Shirley’s home–sounds like there are so many pretty things to look at.

      Real china dolls, how beautiful! Corsett! No. Way.

      Thanks for your words, my friend. I’m writing and praying and trusting–and writing some more.

  4. Brenda E. Greene says:

    Julie Girl…

    Love antiquiting also…Junk in the Trunk, a favorite in Athens for me and our daughter. Even our firstborn grandson has been with me! Sweet time bonding together! “One man’s trash another man’s treasure” has always had special meaning for me!” Thanks for the reminder.

    And just last night as four of us gathered around the table working on our prayer shawls, something silly happened and we burst into gales of laughter that ended in tears of joy. So stress relieving! Totally agree, girlfriends are SO therapeutic…Love mine and you for reminding us!

    • Brenda, when I just now read “Julie Girl” I smiled all the way to my toes. So sweet of you.

      Junk in the Trunk! I’ll have to see if Mother knows about it. She LOVES antiquing. I guess you either hate it or love it.

      What a scene. I can picture it….y’all around the table together. And laughter/tears all mingled in. That’s exactly what I’m talking about. And as far as I know, men don’t communicate like this. I mean, Rick listens (oh boy does he listen) but he doesn’t lean forward and say things like, “So, how did that make you FEEL?”

      Hugs to you, my precious friend.

  5. There’s a sleepy main street with a huge bookend antique store in the quaint town of Coeur d’Alene Idaho. We’ve been to this town 6 or 7 times. The store is always new to me…poking around the three floors with the wide wooden staircases leading from one to the other. You never know what you’ll find there. Like a crocheted top! A good friend and her husband will be joining me and my hubby at that town later this year. It will be a treasure of a different kind to share it with her.

    Women friends fill a need in our soul for joy, fun, laughter, and even deep pain and sorrow we must sometimes share. We are there for each other. Glad you had that joyful surprise!

    • B.J. You’re so right. I think it’s vital to our sanity! And nothing against our husbands–not at all–but the relationship is just…different.

      Love you. Wish you and I could go treasure hunting together one day. Maybe…… 🙂 It’s possible…. 🙂

  6. marci says:

    Thank you, Dear Julie, for taking us with you- down memory lane, and also the joy of spending time with girlfriends. That’s the best! We love our husbands, yet sometimes it’s girlfriends that make us laugh, and give us just the boost we need. Your verse, Proverbs 27:9…is so true. I have a frig magnet that says, “She who refreshes others, will herself be refreshed” with 2 girls enjoying a milkshake at a table.. It makes me think of my friends. God has blessed me with wonderful friends, I call them my Jewels,.. They make me rich. Some of them are with the Lord now. I thank God for their time on earth and the joy and light they gave. A best friend lives in another state. We talk on the phone often, and the trips we have taken in our conversations!

    So much Joy from your writing and the pictures today! I am smiling so big! Special times. I drooled, looking at the pictures from inside the little store. I so want to go find a store like that! You know my eyes got big at the sight of the crocheted top! So nice! It looks almost like a pineapple pattern. What fun to shop in such a place and find such treasures. Handmade soaps, I so like those, and seeing the Coke stuff– my mother retired from Coke, and called it her dream job, so that brings back memories too.

    What good lessons in your writing today, God’s gift of friends. And everything you said about what friends are.. Yes, yes, and yes!

    Thank you for bringing joy to my day today! Now I can spend the afternoon (after the Wednesday Noon Prayer) working in the house, with more of a spring in my step, thanks to the memories and your uplifting writing.

    God Bless!

    • Marci’a, you write the most lovely notes. Thank you, thank you!

      I was so hoping to bring my readers on a little trip. 🙂 A little escape time.

      I can tell–you and I would have so much fun wandering through an antique store together.

      Wonder if you can crochet a top like this? Probably. 🙂

      xoxo

      • marci says:

        Thank you Julie, for your kind words. And I do think you succeeded beyond measure in your hope to give us all a little trip, a little escape time. That is a fun throught, and one that makes me smile– to wonder through an antique store together, and maybe while we are at it, an old book store? I can get lost in those too.

        Crocheted top. I really liked it, and admit to looking it over pretty good. I doesn’t look like it would be too hard to make– as long as a person has the pattern. Crochet- if you can read the pattern, it doesn’t matter how complicated it looks, if you can do the basic stitches, then it is just read and do step one, then step two, etc, and next thing you know-you have made what may have seemed complicated or beyond ones abilities. You don’t have to think about, ‘how am I going to do that when I get to that part.’– one step at a time. I like to think of it like most things in life. Also another ‘yarn’ life lesson I try to remember– “never cut what what you can untangle’
        I always enjoy and look forward to meeting here on Wednesday– and this time was especially joyful and so much fun! I think I really needed that. Thanks to you, thanks to all the other writers here.

        • Ohhhhhhhh, Marci’a–old book stores. There’s a wonderful one in Portland–so far away from GA.

          What life lessons in crocheting! I love “never cut what you can untangle.” Beautiful. Just beautiful.

          So much love, my friend.

          P.S. I crocheted as a child–loved it, and took a knitting class a few years ago. Seemed a little more complicated. I made one small scarf. :/

          • marci says:

            I knit as a child, but it took so long. I hoped to make a blanket for my baby brother, but never got that far. I’m not sure mine even got to the size of a small scarf. I have thought about knitting again, but crochet (for me) is much easier, and seems you can do much more with crochet. Also I am left handed which may make a difference. I do crochet left handed, but learned to knit righ handed.
            That was so long ago- I would have to learn all over again if I were to knit.
            I did look over the crocheted top again, seeing if I could possibly figure it out. It looks like it is crocheted from the bottom up to the shoulders. I liked the aqua color too.

            Yes, old bookstores! I felt that would be something you would like too. We also do not have one close by. There is a nice little one in Tyler TX that shelved them just like a library- all gently used. Couldn’t we have fun spending hours in such a place?

        • Marci’a, I think I just wanted to say, “I knit.” I really should go back to crochet since it was easy for me.

          I’m sure I’d adore the bookstore in Tyler, TX.

          I do see a tag in the shirt, so it’s not handmade. Not sure if that makes any difference. Maybe you can still make one like it.

  7. Jo Ann Thomason says:

    Loved reading your story. I love miniature tea sets. I have one my precious sister gave me because I was going to purhase one but did not. I love it and always think of her when I look at it!!!

    Love you!

    • Ohhh, Jo Ann, I bet it’s just beautiful. I can’t look at a tea set and not want to sit down and pretend to have a tea party! They make me feel like a little girl again.

      I know you treasure your tea set from your sissy.

      Love you dearly.

  8. Mary says:

    My friend Meg says that it’s a proven fact that any two women in the entire world can become instant friends when they talk about their childbirth stories. You do not even have to speak the same language. Pantomime works. LOL!

    You know what I love? Friends who have known you for most of your life and still love you and laugh with you.

    • Yes, Yes, Yes Mary!

      When certain topics come up with women, we drop all barrier and instantly connect. You’re exactly right. I guess God made us this way.

      I’m smiling here–pantomime. So true. Universal languages work, don’t they.

      Thank you, my friend, for letting me know you’re reading–and that it touched your heart.

  9. Love this, Julie. And I love how conversations shift in a heartbeat.
    Sweet goodness.

    • Great big hug, Shawnelle. I always feel this special closeness I’m talking about when we’re together.

      You have this way about you–people know you care about them–from the bottom of your heart.

      See you in a week! xoxoxo

  10. Patricia Martin says:

    Trusting. I love it! (; I am trusting God with my hectic, end of school semester. I need to learn to trust more, and worry less. (): Please keep me in your prayers as I have a test every week for the next several weeks in accounting and economics. One of my Professors fell behind schedule and we are now catching up.
    Hugs to your family,
    Patricia ((:

    • Yes, sweet Patricia. I’ve been praying. Thomas goes to college on Fri and Sats, and he has finals tomorrow and Sat. He’s been studying hard.

      Please let me know. And I have a wonderful feeling you’re going to ace your finals!

      So much love to you, my friend.

  11. Julie Gilleand says:

    Leafy Julie!

    I love that crocheted blouse! And what a neat idea to go clothes-shopping at an antique store! Who’d have thought?! You’re right about us just needing some girl time once in awhile. I don’t really get much of that these days, but when it does happen, that’s what makes it all the more special. I’ve known Kathleen since I was 19, a few months after coming to the Lord. I had prayed for God to give me a Christian friend, to share and fellowship with. When she walked into my church, I felt as though I knew her. It turned out, my brother had invited her. He met her when she worked at the Dairy Queen he frequented. She sat down next to me in the pew and we got to talking. You know that easy way you talk with someone you know so well? Kindred spirits, we were, right from the start. We had fun together, played guitar, prayed together, went through some of our pregnancies together, attended Christian concerts together. Those were the days! But you know how it is. Life happened and we grew more and more distant over time. We weren’t walking the same road together anymore. Her life took her in one direction and mine in another. Our phone calls became fewer and farther between. Every once in a blue moon one of us would call the other and it would feel like old times again. Years went by that we hadn’t even seen each other, although we live just 5 miles apart! One morning, I don’t know what it was, but I had the day off and a day full of plans to take care of. One of them was to go have breakfast at a restaurant I went to often with my family growing up. I’d had a dream about it and couldn’t stop thinking about it since. Knowing it was right down the road from Kathleen, I texted her, asking if she wanted to meet me there for breakfast. She did! It was a short visit since she had an appointment to get to and so she only had time for coffee, but how good it was just to see each other. How easily we talked, as always. As if no time had passed at all. Now, you know we both have aged a little and “grown” a little. Well I have, anyway, lol. But we both thought we each other looked the same as ever. I think time doesn’t pass in friendship. It just is. I miss the good old days when we’d talk on the phone for hours each night (yes, hours!) and went we’d climb a sand dune with our guitars and play and sing and talk about what the men of our dreams would be like one day. But I’m so thankful for the girl time we do get once in awhile, whether by phone, text, or miracle of miracles — face to face, even!

    I had another friend awhile back named Julie (of all things!). She passed away a year or so ago and I miss her. But I love the memories I still have. How she could always make me laugh. Just today I heard her laughter in my heart. Something funny happened today when my son and I were at the store and having trouble with an ATM. It was the sort of thing that just makes you giggle. It was the sort of thing I know Julie would have found so funny and I could just hear her laughing and it made me smile. Probably she really was laughing from Heaven, loud enough for me to hear! But friendships are so precious, even if they become distant or even strained. The memories are always there.

    Thanks Julie for again reminding me of some beautiful treasures in my life.

    Other Julie G 🙂

    • Cathy Mayfield says:

      Sooo enjoyed your reminiscing, “Other Julie G”! I love nostalgic rambling, especially the line about the climbing a sand dune with your guitars. Sounds like some special times to hang onto forever!

    • Other Julie G, sounds like you and Kathleen’s stories would make a wonderful novel! I love it when we know deep in our hearts that we’ve made a friend. And it sounds like your friendship is still there–still secure. I love that.

      Oh, your friend Julie–I’m so sorry. And she still (although she’s in heaven) makes you laugh. Isn’t that like God? To bring us these people who bless us forever and ever.

      All my love, Leafy.

  12. Just tonight I got together with a group of girlfriends. It was a fun night and we actually taosted to good friendship. Nothing better. Love the top!!!!

    • Thank you, Dear Pinky! And I’m loving all the beauty you’re creating! Love seeing your pictures.

      Wish we lived closer, my friend.

  13. Cathy Mayfield says:

    Friends…in my youth, my mother; as an adult, my daughters and my daughters’ friends. And now, all of you! I need to learn how to cultivate friendships, as my daughters constantly remind me. I used to tell them, “To have a friend, be a friend.” I need to take that advice to heart.

    I’d rather talk about the antique shop. I can’t admit to enjoying the dusty shelves, the chipped glassware, or even, gasp!, the first edition book possibilities. However…

    What do an antique shop, a journal with only one entry on a random page (the “Serenity Prayer” written in wobbly letters), a single puzzle piece found lying on a broken sidewalk, a nervous young couple stopping for gas in a remote area, a jewelers box with a 30+ year-old piece of popcorn with pink polka dots, a coffee can filled with $12 worth of nickles, and wisdom from a fly-tying fisherman have in common? Did you guess a novel? YES!! A novel set in an antique shop, woven with colorful characters, stories, fishing, a moppet of a dog, and secrets kept and revealed.

    Wow! I just realized how much fun I had dreaming this one up! It started with finding that puzzle piece on a sidewalk and the journal with the prayer in a box of free books. When I noticed the young couple at the gas station on our way to our vacation in the mountains, the idea began to take off. My youngest daughter and I brainstormed, and I began freewriting the storyline when we got to the cabin. Maybe I should get at the writing! A friend from the Montrose Christian Writers Conference told me just last week to pick one of my dozen or so novel ideas and just start writing! She encouraged me by saying that with my skills and experience, I should probably already have a novel published! Wow, did that ever bless me. Maybe this is the one… (Prayers would be appreciated! Excitement does not a finished novel make!)

    Be blessed, my friends! I’ll keep you posted!

    PS: wish I could show you all my new purse! It’s so cute – not my normal choice – blue and white, with lady bugs on a white background! What fun!

    • Mary says:

      Cathy,
      I was skimming through the posts (doesn’t it feel like we’re all sitting around Julie’s kitchen table?) and your post caught my attention. Puzzle pieces, popcorn, pink polka dots… this sounds like a good story! Will keep you in my prayers!
      Mary
      PS. My purse is out of character for me, too… it’s a dark blue quilted one, covered with all sorts of colorful flowers. Very different from my staid black leather winter number. Julie, I think you’ve started a purse riot!

      • Mary, I’m just smiling all over myself. A purse riot! Love it. And send me a pic of your purse. I gotta see it!

        And yes, I do feel like we’re all together–in one accord. What a special group we have here.

        And to think, I’d have never had the courage to start blogging if an editor at Guideposts magazine hadn’t encouraged my mom and me to blog for GP…which we did for a year and a half. Then I started blogging from my website.

        Y’all mean so much to me.

      • Cathy Mayfield says:

        Thank you, Mary, for the prayers! Wouldn’t it be fun to get together around Julie’s table?!?! Love that picture in my mind. I think I’ll hang onto it for a while!

    • Julie Gilleand says:

      Cathy, I love your pieces to the puzzle of your novel! Isn’t it fun how those things come together and come to life so amazingly and unexpected. Will pray for you. I have so many story pieces or starts that have never gotten finished, I’ve often thought, too, about just picking one and disciplining myself to finish it, and then another, and another. Whether they amount to anything or not. Just finish them!! Thanks for the inspiration to do so!!

      • See, Cathy! We all agree. Get started!

      • Cathy Mayfield says:

        My writers’ conference friend’s blog may interest you. The post called “Get that Novel Written” is what started me thinking on this last week. Her site is: marshahubler@wordpress.com. The specific post is dated 4-20-15. She’s a special lady, and she will be the leader of the Montrose conference now. Anyone who’s interested in writing should check it out – the Montrose Christian Writers Conference. It happens in late July every year, from Sun-Fri. I love it!! Julie’s mom spoke there one year, and I was so blessed to finally meet her after following her story for years.

        • 🙂 🙂 Cathy–I just feel like we really are sitting at a table drinking coffee–maybe even going over our manuscripts.

          And I’ll check out this site! Thank you!

    • CATHY! You have a novel inside of you begging to be born! Yes! Yes! Write this! Sounds like a winner, and yes, I’ll be praying for you. Years ago, I attended Mt Hermon Christian Writers Conference and took an all fiction track. Incredible. My teachers were Angie Hunt and Deb Raney.

      Do it.

      And send me a pic of your purse. Just sent it to my email address. Would love to see it!

      • Cathy Mayfield says:

        Wow! I would love to meet both those ladies! LOVE their writing! I’ll try to send that pic. And thanks for the prayers.

        • Cathy Mayfield says:

          Forgot to mention something! After I wrote my response to your blog, I got excited about that novel and found I had done quite a bit of pre-writing on it! I’m going to start working on it. And to seal the deal, I stopped at the Old Sled Works, an antique shop/flea market in Duncannon, PA, a few miles from where I live. I wanted something to add to my collection of unique items, and boy, did I find it – an autograph book from 1944, with wishes and poems from the woman’s family and friends! I recognized several of the poems as typical of the 1940s and ’50s, and one that became a song. When I got home, I dug out my 45 rpms and found it – “Chain of Friendship” by Teresa Brewer. The line says, “In your chain of friendship, let me be a link!” Always loved that song, and now I have more reason to. This will be a treat to add to the objects already collected! I’ll keep you updated!

          • marci says:

            Wow! I have enjoyed sitting here reading all the shares back and forth! I felt a little like I was reading one of your novels! And wanted to see what was next! Guess that is a sign of a good writer. So many good thoughts here. What fun it would be to all get together and laugh and share. Thanks for sharing the website, and also the Chain of Friendship song, What great words– ….let me be a link!. And what a great find, that autograph book. It is hard telling how many of us out here have a book/ novel in us. For years I keep coming up with the same first page for a book, though not as interesting or colorful as I have heard here. Mine always begins with a woman with 2 grown daughters. The oldest is coming for a visit and she has been in the kitchen preparing her daughters favorite foods. I admit I never have gotten very far with it- and I admit it is probably fear.. I did have someone say one time, if a person wrote one page a day, that by the end of the year they would have written a book.
            Thank you all! This is such fun! And it is so nice when we can pop in on each other!
            I get so much joy coming here!

            God Bless All,
            Marci’a

          • CATHY!!!!!! This is huge!!!!!! Isn’t it amazing how God talks to us–even through a blog comment over the internet!!!!

            So excited for you. I can feel your joy!!!! Wo-hooooooooooooooooooo!

  14. Love this Julie! Gorgeous crocheted shirt! Now that my daughters are older, we plan girlfriend dates and I have to say, I LOVE IT! They even include me sometimes with their girl friends. I love having friends of all ages- this inter-generational thing keeps me thinking young! 🙂

    • Isn’t it precious, Cindy? The relationships we have with our grownup daughters?

      Thanks for your sweet words about my shirt—vest–whatever it is. I do feel special in it–I must say. 🙂

      • Cathy Mayfield says:

        Julie, I think we need a photo of you in your new shirt! I’ve crocheted so many things like those over the years for my daughters. I’m currently working on tatting a pretty yellow runner for a bridal shower this Sunday and crocheting a blue runner for my mom’s table in her new house w/filet crocheted roses. I think you should have a purse or tote with that design on it to go with the shirt!! Might have to make one!

        • Cathy, this group is just so talented–it blows my mind.

          I thought about posting a pic of me in the shirt, but I’d posted one the week before…didn’t want so much focus on me. I leave for the GP workshop on Friday the 8th. If God stirs a way to write about the workshop, I’ll post a pic. And if not, I’ll see if I can come up with a non-showy way to show you.

          And a purse to go with it my top? That’s the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard. And something I’d have no clue how to do.

          I’m so amazing at how uniquely God gifts each of us–and how we can all be encouragers.

          Love you. Love you all!!!

  15. Roberta Messner says:

    BJ,
    Your reminder of that sweet town in Idaho brought to mind my favorite memory of writing home stories. I made a terrible error about a lady who lived there. She was a cover story and I gave her the wrong name (I was juggling several stories and they were similar). She called the magazine and thanked them for doing that, said I saved her from a possible robbery by having her real name in print. She was so gracious and I know she was just protecting me. Which she did. Love to you, Roberta

    • Oh, wow, Roberta. So even in our boo-boos, God’s with us.

      Beautiful, my friend. Just Beautiful. And you’d love this antique shop in Monroe.

      Can’t wait to hug your neck! xoxoxo

    • Cathy Mayfield says:

      Roberta, just had to take a moment to say hi! I’ve followed you in DG for years! I’m absolutely – sinfully 🙁 – in love with your cabin! Would love to see photos of it someday!

      • Ohh, I hope Roberta sees your comment, Cathy. And guess what? She’s going to be at the GP workshop next weekend. I’m SOOOOOOOOOOOO excited!!!! I’ll pass along this message just in case she missed the comment.

        We’re all connected, aren’t we. 🙂

  16. Hey, Julie! So sweet. I still don’t have a real close friend here. We’ve been here for three years. But I’m doing more with my mom … and my girls … we meet for lunches and laugh ourselves silly. I’ve been away from my mom for so long, with my husband having been military and all. It’s nice to have time with my mom again.

    • Shelli,

      If I lived near you, you and I would become the best of friends, wouldn’t we? We do have a lot in common–raising daughters, being writers, being deep thinkers. And I know just what you mean about daughters and mamas and close relationships. Such a blessing.

      Hugging you from here, my friend. MY FRIEND. You have so many bloggy friends!!!

      • Yes, I have no doubt we’d be the best of friends, Julie! xoxo

        And I love that you have me using “xo” again … every time I use it now, I think of you. When you see that on any of my posts, etc … you’ll know I thought of you when I used it, even if the comment isn’t to you. 🙂

  17. This is interesting. I like that top and all those things; tea sets, chandeliers, soaps. 🙂
    I hope you have a wonderful week. 😀

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