There is really nothing like a good girlfriend. Your definition and mine might differ, but you know and I know that very few things in life compare.
|Julie and I in Brugges, Belgium - true blue|
What makes a good girlfriend? For me, it's consistency, dependability, the ability to rejoice when you rejoice and weep when you weep. It's like-mindedness - but not necessarily on everything. It's coffee dates, lunch dates and shopping dates. It's who you need when your grandmom dies, child hurts, marriage is in trouble, life changes - fill in the blank. It's not telling you your pants make you look fat, but helping you find some that don't. It's being able to let your hair down and be totally open and know it won't be used against you later. And of course, she must fully appreciate your cuteness and like-ability.
|Tokae Pagliaro - hiking near Osan Korea|
I have had good girlfriends, incredibly close girlfriends, who were in my life only for a season, but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if our paths crossed again we'd pick up right where we left off. I have good girlfriends who've been in my life for more years than you'd believe who I love deeply but with whom I rarely communicate. I'm related to some of my good girlfriends and some I've never even met. And of course, I have the one or two very dear ones who've been through thick and thin with me - know my bad and my good - my full family history - have watched my kids grow up - will never leave me girlfriends. And truthfully, I've had good girlfriends that for whatever reason will not have anything to do with me anymore (those are the tough ones because I still love them and miss their place in my life).
|Linda, Me and "Beth" (Elizabeth)|
In 1973, a group of women-to-be came into my life. 3 to be exact. Linda, Beth and Sherri. We were 11 - 13 years old. We knew pretty much everything and we were HOT! We spent more time hanging out and sorting out life than just about anything else. Life got much better for the 4 of us when Beth's driveway was paved. We'd lie out on that driveway on summer nights, gazing at the stars and talking about EVERYTHING! These are my first true girlfriends. I'm blessed to be in contact with 2 of the 3 to this day and 1 of them I saw just two years (or so) ago. 1973 - 2011 = 38 years!!
|Gay and Pam (since 1978)|
My high school girlfriends from Redan High are another special group. We were real friends in high school, separated by grown-up life, but reunited via the internet. I still treasure them and admire the women they've become. Now that I'm settled back in Georgia I hope to have a great day or 2 a year of hanging out with them.
|Sandra Nobles Korschgen (since '80?)|
One special woman in my life is my mother's age. I worked for her when I was in college and she catered my wedding. She's young at heart and a blast to be with. If you can get her to cook for you, you're the lucky one. She taught me many things and is still quick to zip off a recipe for me. She came to see me in Germany and we both were the younger for it.
|My "sis", Alice|
In 1983 I married into a wonderful family and was blessed with 4 sisters-in-law who joined my God-given
sister to make up the 5 SISTERS I have as my girlfriends. They span 35 years of age to 60ish. They rock!! They have been with me for the whole deal. We share the blessed bond of family as well as genuine friendship. In that group is Leslie. I love her like a daughter, though she's my sister. I was 14 when she was born. We don't get nearly enough time together, but can I tell you how beautiful and brilliant and talented she is? You should know someone like her.
In 1989 I moved next door to a wonderful woman who was pregnant with her second as was I. We cared for each other's children, sat on the blanket in our front yards together with the babies, disciplined each other's children and once I even nursed her very hungry baby. We've loved each other through the years and I treasure her place in my life. We're still in communication. Love her!
1992 brought a precious woman who is also a mentor in my life. Her youngest thought my kids were his cousins! Her laugh is positively contagious. Her devotion to studying the Word of God is astounding. Her attention to detail is to be desired. If you saw 2 high school pictures of us, you'd think we're sisters. Yep - we're the same amount of cute. ; )
In 1997, I met a woman that I'm sure I'll grow old with and will go to great lengths to be with - always. We lived in the same city for 2 years, then began a phone conversation that has lasted 12 more years. We've savored our morning coffee "together", raised our children "together", taught and studies the Bible "together", grieved "together" and now we're sending-off our children "together". We just met for a weekend TOGETHER and had we not been in public would have shed many tears together.
Oh my - do you have the patience to stick with this list? I can only imagine that 1) you ARE one of the precious women in my life or 2) you are ticking off the list of those in your life as you read. Go for it!
I cannot go through these thoughts without telling you about the woman whose nickname ends in "icious" (like delicious). Oh, oh - the joy, the depth, the steadfastness this woman brings to my life. She loves me enough to invite herself to Thanksgiving. She will spend hours making cards for the special people in her life. She is dedicated to the art of Christmas card sending. She is probably one of the most thoughtful and sensitive people I know. Wouldn't you call her "icious"?
|Me w/ Rita Folsom - need more time!|
Of course, there are the wonderful women from each church I've been joined with through the years. Out of each place there are a tiny handful that become my girlfriends. I'm not the kind of girl that can handle a lot of friends at one. I give myself fully to my friends and so can only manage one or two at a time. I've loved having these women in my life and your koinonia in my life is priceless.
|Sailing Partner and Best Friend|
And can I neglect to tell you about those wonderful women who walked with me through my life-style change? We were in Hawaii and I signed up for sailing. I met my sailing partner who turned out to be a woman I long to spend more time with. In the 10 weeks of sailing class, I was blessed to make a lifelong friend. Along with her, there was a "Wet Hen" or 2 or 3 that I'll never forget. They encouraged me along the way as I learned not only to sail, but to prioritize my health and become a more vibrant, confident woman. LOVE those hens!! If I ever end up living in Hawaii again I'm going to get good enough to be a hen. End of story.
|Jen in Sweden visiting me in Germany|
Along with those women who've accompanied me in my lifestyle change journey are my internet friends. Some I've met and some I just long to. I have a running "chat" with these women - daily for 4 years! If you don't think you can make real friends on the internet I have to challenge you. These "ax murderers" have walked through everything with me for the past 4 years and helped me as I figure out how the life challenge of the day fits into my weight loss goals. They tell me to take my vitamins, get my exercise in and put down the chocolate chips. They call me on my excuses and help me get rid of them. We're in Sweden, The Netherlands, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Georgia (that's me) and West Virginia. GOOD girlfriends!
|Representing the Air Force Peeps, Les and Jill|
The last group I'll mention today are the Air Force peeps I've come across through the years. Those ladies have helped live the life of an Air Force wife and have been a part of momentous occasions all throughout my life. They have been my on the scene family when my family was too far away. Some of them are mentioned above but there are more. I'm so thankful for things like blogs and social networks that keep us connected.
I know I might not have mentioned you, but I love you, too. The longer I think about this, the longer this list gets. I really could write a book about each type of friendship in my life and the value each one has for me. Good girlfriends are for keeping. And frankly, there are too many wonderful women to waste time fretting over the wishy-washy mean ones. I pray for them though because I know there must be pain in their lives that leads to the unpleasantness that's present.
Good girlfriends are for keeping. Do not let them leave your life over something petty. Love them. You can't find one just anywhere. . . or maybe you can.