Mojo Monday ~ Friendship

Karin and Myself
 Photos above taken August 30, 2014 in Medford, Oregon ~ Friends in our forties.
Photos below taken about 1994 in Aix-en-Provence, France  ~ Friends in our twenties.

“friends: us. always. travels. stories told and a few kind lies.
lots of laughter and a little chocolate. secrets shared and tears shed.
kindness with time in between. dreams and awakenings.
long roads, healing and quiet comforts.
wicked mischief and wanton hilarity.
time and always us: friends. always.”

~ Mary Anne Radmacher

This past weekend I had my annual get together with my long time friend Karin.  We have met in a variety of places throughout the years, but for four years we have met in Oregon.  Back in 2010 we both drove six hours to meet in a coastal town called Florence.  But ever since I suggested we meet up in Ashland, Oregon in 2011 and Karin fell in love with this town, that I have long loved, it has become our meeting place. She flies down from Seattle and I drive up from California and pick her up at the airport in Medford.  We then hang out in Ashland and sometimes nearby Jacksonville, where the Britt theater offers up concerts and sometimes comedy.  This year we saw comedian Bill Maher perform Friday night, while divine timing made it possible for us to see my favorite band Gypsy Soul perform on Saturday evening at an intimate fan concert at the Eden Vale Winery.  It was a beautiful location and evening and such a small venue that we concert goers even had time to visit with the band.  

Photo collage featuring Cilette Swann and Roman Morykit from Gypsy Soul.
If you are not familiar with this band do yourself a favor and visit their web site
and listen to their music.  They are amazing and inspirational!

Gyspy Soul

As my friend Karin and I caught each up other on the happenings of our lives we reflected on the many years that have passed since we met back in 1993.  We were two young Americans studying in Aix-en-Provence, France and ended up in the same class.  We eventually became roommates for about half a year.  All these years later we are still in touch and making the time to get together. Months often pass without talking, emailing or texting, but the friendship is always alive and we pick up again easily when we do get in touch.  

She and her husband have been married 15 years; me and my husband 11 years.  She has two children, a son who is twelve and a daughter who is about to turn eight.  I also have two children, twin daughters who turned eight back in May.  In returning from our wonderful weekend get-away and visit I pulled up an old Mojo Monday post I shared back on July 19, 2010 that was about friendship and my visit with this same friend four years ago:

“I drove six hours north on Friday to meet with an old friend in Florence, Oregon. She drove six hours south from where she lives in Washington state. We spent two nights in a comfy cabin and had approximately 24 waking hours to talk and catch each other up on our lives and what is happening in our respective families and children, she has an 8-year-old son and a 3 1/2 year old daughter and I have 4-year-old twin daughters.

We have been friends since 1993 when we met in Aix-en-Provence, France. I was studying French as part of a University exchange program. Already fluent in Spanish, she was independently studying at the same institute to improve her French, as she was working for a British publisher there in France. We were in the same class and became friends. I had come with a large posse of Californian college students. She was there essentially on her own and while she originally came from Texas she had already lived in Mexico and Spain. I immediately admired her independence and her gift in speaking languages.

When I decided to extend my stay in France past the standard one-year commitment I had to find a new apartment and roommate and my friend Karin was also seeking a new place as she was staying on in France too. We became roommates and spent another half year living in France together. We witnessed one another’s falling in love, her with an Italian and myself with a Moroccan. She was incredibly supportive when my Moroccan fiance died in a car accident and I tried to be supportive when she and her Italian parted ways.

Our life journeys continued in other parts of the world. I returned to California and she moving to Baltimore, Maryland. She came to California to visit me and then entered an MBA program in Italy where she met her husband who is Colombian. She moved with him to Argentina and then to Miami after they married in 1999. I flew to visit them in Florida when she was pregnant with her first child. They moved to Tennessee and then eventually to the state of Washington. Both of us being on the west coast now has made it easier for us to see one another once a year these past three years.

This past weekend we talked about our friendship and reminded each other what we admire about one another. We are the same and yet different. We have shared international experiences and a love of travel. We have both dated foreign men. We are both now married and have had children. We have both had our struggles with adjusting to being a mommy and have supported each other with our understanding and supportive words and nods of knowing. We also share certain social values, views on parenting and life in general that continue to fill out the nuances of our friendship. We also always remember one another’s birthday, and the birthdays of one another’s children.”  

I smiled as I read through the account of our visit four years ago and felt happy from our recent reconnecting.  Time continues to roll along, changes happen, we grown older and perhaps a little wiser.   We witness for one another the various joys, celebrations, milestones, as well as challenges and hardships that may present themselves.  As we parted at the airport we agreed to try and touch base more regularly, though we are both understanding about the demands of our daily lives and know that even if aren’t in touch all the time our friendship ties remain strong.

What are your thoughts on friendship?

Do you have a best friend or a close group of friends?

Have you ever experienced the painful loss of a friendship?

Do you have any tips on keeping a long-term friendship alive and well? 



Praise to the Women on My Journey

To the women on my journey

Who showed me the ways to go and ways not to go,

Whose strength and compassion held up a torch of light
  And beckoned me to follow,

Whose weakness and ignorance darkened the path and
  Encouraged me to turn another way,

To the women on my journey

Who showed me how to live and how not to live,

Whose grace, success and gratitude lifted me…

To the women on my journey

Who showed me what I am and what I am not,

Whose love, encouragement and confidence held me
  Tenderly and nudged me gently

Whose judgment, disappointment and lack of faith called
  Me to deeper levels of commitment and resolve.

To the women on my journey who taught me love by
  Means of both darkness and light,

To these women I say bless you and thank you from the
depths of my heart, for I have been healed and set free
through your joy and through your sacrifice.

Rev. Melissa M. Bowers

Here are some interesting books that touch upon women’s friendships and relationships:

The 7 Aspects of Sisterhood by Debra J. Gawrych

Sacred Circles: A Guide to Creating Your Own Women’s Spirituality Group by Robin Deen Carnes and Sally Craig

Queen of Your Own Life: The Grown-Up Woman’s Guide to Claiming Happiness and Getting the Life You Deserve by Kathy Kinney and Cindy Ratzlaff

Best Friends Forever: Surviving A Breakup with Your Best Friend by Irene S. Levine, PhD

Mojo Monday ~ Giving Thanks

Give Thanks Leaves

“Embrace your ordinary life, whatever its wrapping,
for in the embrace you will hear the whisper of Gratitude.
Listen for her in the ordinary activities of your day,
in the ordinary encounters with loved ones,
and in the ordinary challenges that greet you each morning.
She speaks from the depths of you, in the voice of your ordinary life.”

~ Patricia Lynn Reilly

Yesterday my husband and I hosted a Gratitude Gathering at our home with some dear friends.  We all prepared delicious vegetarian or vegan dishes for a pot luck.   (I sensed that the wild turkeys that wander our neighborhood were saying their own words of gratitude for us non-meat eating folks yesterday.)   There were fun stories and plenty of laughter around the table.  Our 7 year old twin daughters Aubrey and Maya also made their first sweet potato pie all by themselves for the occasion, though they were quite thrilled when our friend Patty showed up with a vegan pumpkin pie, their favorite.  

I was so incredibly grateful that everyone, save for our friend Sandy, who had to work, was able to attend.   A few of our friends live up in the mountains and if the weather had been snowy they might have had to cancel.  It ended up being a stunning clear day, nearing a high of about 69 degrees.  Following our meal we played for a bit in the backyard with our Frisbee chasing dog Shanti and then we all went on a little walk to a nearby river trail.  

In fact one of the things I am feeling so incredibly grateful for right now is having discovered that a river trail was re-vamped just a block from our home. The trail in the short time we have begun using it has come to feel a bit like it is our own private sanctuary.  It was wonderful to share it with our friends and we all oohed and ahhed at the stunning views.  While sharing in a rose petal and lavender ceremony of gratitude a large gaggle of geese flew overhead in their traditional “V” formation.  

Here is a short little slideshow to share some of the beauty of the day:

Gratitude Gathering

Right now I am so incredibly Grateful for family, friendships, fur-kids, bountiful food shared with love, the beauty of nature and living so immersed in it, our comfy home and our spacious yards, including our big mama oak tree and majestic redwood.

What are you grateful for at this point in time?

In what ways might you honor or celebrate your thankfulness this week?  

Give THanks Pie

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more.
It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity.
It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing,
and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past,
brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

~ Melodie Beattie