Friends Who Are Family

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I have spent all of my adult life living more than eight hours from where I grew up.   This means that my family has never been able to bop over to chat.    It means I have never made a Sunday family dinner, or the monthly family birthday party. It means that my friends have stepped in when when tradition would say it would be your family.    I have been blessed with friends who are family for me.

As we approach Thanksgiving I want to give thanks to and for my friends.

To my lifetime friend, who no matter how long it is between phone calls, and even longer times between when we get together you are there. It is like we just connected last week, time seems to not matter for us.   You get me.   You make me laugh  when I don’t know I need it. You provide insight about myself sometimes I don’t recognize.   You challenge me and make me a better person.    I hope I have been as good of friend to you as you have been to me.

To my little sister friend, who is all grown up now.  Who’d have imagined when as a college student and you decided to rent a room from me that this would result in a friendship that was more like sisterhood. You never cease to amaze me with your drive.   Knowing you has helped me to realize it is never too late, or you are never too old to explore new things and dream a new dream.

To all my Thanksgiving family friends.   RangerSir and I have never been alone on my favorite holiday of the year.    Thanks to all my friends in Minnesota, Colorado, Michigan, and Montana who have be part of the the many dinners we have shared with you.

Thanks to all my creative friends who have been with me for all my creative endeavors.   Your support and encouragement have meant the world to me when I was full of doubt.

Thanks to my family who are not only friends but also family.   I am lucky that I have brothers who rock and never let me forget who I am or where I came from.

Thanks to RangerSir, who is not only my husband, but my best friend.

This holiday season I just want everyone to know I am thankful for having you in my life.

 

 

 

Gift of Friendship

Now that Christmas has come and gone there is no question what was the greatest gift for me.  It was the gift of friendship.

We have our Montana family friends.   The friends who welcomed RangerSir and I into their home and treated us just like family. Though they have lived in Montana almost their entire lives they get what it is to move and live far away from friends and family.  They have taken us in and treat us like family and include us in holiday activities, birthdays and graduations.   We have attended funerals and met their  extended family.    They are who we call in an crisis and we hopefully provide support when they need it as well.

My lifetime friends now live far away.  The amazing part of this friendship is   though we don’t get together often when we talk it is just like we saw each other just a few days ago.   When we get together we can chat for hours or sit in silence either works and both are OK.   My lifetime friends  know me better than I know myself some times and provide the moment of clarity when I need it most.  We have been through lots together, some of life changing, but most of it just plain fun.  A connection like that has last years, no matter how long the distance, no matter the changes in our lives we are their one another and their friendship makes us whole.

The like a sister friend who lived with me years ago and 20 years later is still like a younger sister to me.    We worry about her and cheer her every success.   Just like I imagine I would if I had a sister.

I have a large collection of social friends as well. Some are co-workers and former co-workers.   Others are family and old neighbors.    Folks who I exchange cards with during the holidays, catching up with them and all that has gone on this past year.   Some we don’t hear from but once a year but we look them up when we get in their neighborhood.

They are part of what makes my life so rich and I am so thankful for their friendship.

Never Give Up

This is just past the half-way mark for National Novel Writing Month. I should have passed the 25,000 word mark this week.   I must say this week has been less than stellar for making progress and I am not where I should be.   I was on the road this week with work.   It was a week fraught with other things pulling at me in all directions none of them giving a rip roar about  this little adventure I was on.   Now it seems that I am coming down with something nasty and my head is not doing a lot of clear thinking.   It sounds like I am going to throw in the towel.

I thought about quitting.    I even stayed in bed late this morning hoping a little more sleep time would make me feel better.   It did not and I considered giving up for this year.  Then I thought about a friend who in just a few minutes will be starting her first half-marathon tonight in LasVegas.   She is doing it with friends, one of whom had this on her life list.   The other five are just there for moral support.   She is busy, with as many things as I have, pulling at her as well.   In the midst of this training she has come down with knee and foot problems.   It would have been easier for her to quit, but she made a commitment not only to her friends but herself to be there for her friends.

I made this commitment to myself, and I plan to keep it.  If you are thinking of quitting, don’t just yet.   Hang in there for yourself, it was important enough for you to start it, don’t let yourself not finish it. If you are not working on some goal right this minute, be there to encourage your family and friends who are.   I curse the lost of anonymity on the internet all the time, but for once I am having fun watching and cheering on my friend who I can’t be  there for virtually.   I  plan to be one of the first to text my friend when the live race reporting shows her bib number has crossed the finish line.   I am proud to be in the company of those who never give up.

 

Life with a Dog is Better

Mr. Ranger Sir & Harley

Mr. Ranger Sir & Harley

We went out exploring and I captured this snapshot of the men in my life.  It captures how in tandem they can be . As we were walking down the country road, they both heard something that made them stop, look and listen.   This is remarkable because we did not raise him from a puppy, but got him when he was five-years old from a shelter as someone’s cast off pet.  In the three years we have had him, he has become ours.

For me he is a constant companion.  Working from home he spends  hours with me.   His days are spent in the office, lounging around not asking for much, but always there.     He is my walking and hiking partner, be it paved road or forest trail he is always ready and a tireless companion.   Lastly I have discovered he is also my protector.   When the man of the house is gone, he sleeps not with me, or in his kennel as he usually does,  but watching out the window, providing notice when someone arrives friend or foe.

For Mr. Ranger Sir Harley is the calming and diffusing element for the stress that his life brings.   When Mr. Ranger Sir gets home from work Harley knows the fun half of the family is in the house.   He gets himself all wound up, barking and twirling in circles as terriers are suppose to do,  because it is time for  play.   I am not sure if Harley does that because he needs some activity or he senses his man needs to unwind and a mental diversion from all that has happened in a hard day at work.   The are inseparable when they are both home.   They bring out the best and worst in one another and only boys can do.

Harley is by no means a perfect pet or dog.   He is a Cairn Terrier and has a bit of a terrier attitude at times, and does things on his own schedule, his own way.   He may be a small dog, but by no means a lap dog.   Don’t think you will lower your blood pressure by petting  him as he sits on your lap.   He’d rather lay on the floor.  After we had him about two years he decided he’d like to chase the few cars and trucks that come down the road ; luckily it is a dead end.   Lastly he came with mental baggage and dislikes others fees and hates men’s workboots.   No amount of consistent behavior modification work as stopped or changed any of that.

In spite of it all our life is better because he is in it.   Life is better with a dog in it.

Thanks to All Who Contributed to My Support System

I choose to share my quest for a half-marathon here as an accountability for myself. They say when we tell others we are more likely to finish or complete that task. I was hoping that would be true for me. This task seemed an impossibility for someone of my size.

Sharing my goal here has not only been an accountability, but also given me a support system. I have empowered myself by “saying it out loud.” I have received encouragement from strangers to keep it up. Phone calls from friends who read my blog and saw between the lines it was a good time to call with that personal encouragement.  Other friends and family members who tells me that they have been following me along in the half-marathon quest, though they never posted so I didn’t know they were watching me.

I only have 5 days until the day of truth comes, but I say thanks to all of you who have supported me in this. You many not know or feel you did much, but each an everyone of you has made a difference.

Friends…the definition

With the advent of Facebook it seemed to me that we created a new definition for the word friend.   I have always regard a true friend as something rare, special and nurtured.  This now seems to be a word that you now applied to people you may not even know or actually cultivate any relationship other than you allow them to read what you post on the internet.

This casual use of “friend” has been driving me nuts.  I have only a few friends.  I call them my lifetime friends.   Others call them best friends.   These friends are people who have known me for years and seen me through the good times and bad.   They have seen me at my worst and encouraged me to weather it and become better.  They have told me to straighten up when no one else would.  They have cried tears of sorrow and tears of joy with me.  They are the person that I would put my life on hold for if they needed me and I know they would do the same for me.  They are that person who laughs with me knowing I have an odd sense of humor.   We can go away on a trip together a enjoy every minute of it.   We can be together and silence is just fine.   The people were my friends in my 20’s, evolved with me in our 30’s,  make life changing decisions in  our 40’s and still know and love me in my 50’s.

Though geography separates us now, when I see them it is like we just were together last week, thought sometimes it is more than a year.   We pick up just where we left off.  I only have a few of these friends.  These special people who know me well, sometimes they are my conscience who make me see myself, the way no one else can.   They are people who I have an invested relationship with.  They are the folks with whom we can truly be ourselves.   We are friends,  lifetime friends.

All the rest are just casual friends, social acquaintances, co-workers, a person in your yoga class, fellow volunteer, a person you met at a party, a stranger on the internet…..   Someday if they are lucky one of these people may become a lifetime friend, but it will take time, and commonality of life and values.