Tag Archives: Friendship

Six Degrees to Larry

friends-1272735__180My husband’s family was Methodist until he was about eight years old. One day his mother was collecting money in the neighborhood for the American Heart Association and she met Carol, a mother of two children the same ages as her own kids. They struck up a friendship and eventually a spiritual relationship.

Carol’s husband was the local minister at the Church of Christ, which just happened to be on the same block as my future in-law’s house. Soon the whole family was attending the church down the street.

Larry and Carol left the area several years later, but they didn’t leave my husband’s life. See, Larry and Carol are what doctor’s call “probiotics”; they’re good-for-you bugs. Larry and Carol served the homeless, the imprisoned, the hurting and helpless. They entered lives and stayed around to watch transformations occur. They encouraged the downtrodden, the immigrants, the sick. They celebrated marriages, births, and lives that passed on to reward.

And they stayed in touch. In fact, many years after they left my husband’s family they entered my life. Larry performed our wedding ceremony. We have stayed at their home on various occasions. They have offered us advice about being a “preacher’s family”. They send us Christmas cards with pictures of their grandchildren, who coincidentally are the same age as our own children.

If it weren’t for Larry and Carol, our children likely wouldn’t exist. My husband probably wouldn’t be my husband. My life would definitely be profoundly different.

Why? Because Matt has brought me closer to God. He has encouraged me to write, to speak, to serve, and to minister. His parents have helped to shape my marriage with the example they provide. His brother and sister-in-law are two of my best friends. Without Larry and Carol all of that would be different.

Today I spoke with my mother-in-law about our dear, dear friend Larry. He is in a hospital undergoing treatment for rapidly progressing mental illness: depression, paranoia, anxiety, and more. His wife went to get her oil changed at a local place yesterday and the mechanic, not a member of their church but only a community member, was tearing up to hear how Mr. Larry was suffering. It seems I am not the only one who has been so irrevocably changed because of the lives of these two saints, Larry and Carol.

There is a game in Hollywood called “Six degrees from Kevin Bacon” in which you connect actors and actresses to Kevin Bacon. I think a better game would be “Six Degrees to Larry Locke.”

So who out there has been touched by Larry? To start, if you are reading this post, YOU have. You are two degrees from Larry because of the way he has impacted my life. Please join me in praying for this sweet man who has served so diligently and faithfully. Pray for lucidity. Pray for clear-minded conversations. Pray for peace, and comfort, and the healing hand of the Father. I love you, Larry and Carol.

Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He sent out his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave. Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind.” Psalm 107:19-21 NIV


Best Friends

friendship-1057660__180“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that gives value to survival.” C.S. Lewis

My first best friend was Lisa. I was new in school and she talked to me. We sat at the same table, she asked my name, and that was all it took. We were inseparable for years. She was the first friend I ever called on the phone. I can still tell you her family’s phone number. Her house was my first sleepover.

Next came Michelle. We were in youth group together at church, meaning she and I were the same age and sat together. We learned how to be teenagers together, and how to get lost and then found again. When I was first driving she and I planned to go to a store in another town. That required highway driving. I got lost. For those who know the area: I drove from Grafton to Bridgeport to Morgantown back to Grafton. I couldn’t find the Fairmont exit for Gabe’s! Michelle was my Matron of Honor.

Erica was the following best friend. We were in college together studying to be elementary teachers. We were newlyweds, neighbors, and went to the same church. We made school crafts together, and dreamed about being teachers.

Erica was followed by Gayle and Denise. Again we had similar life experiences. This time POOR married graduate students. We went for cheap pizza at Crystal’s (99 cents with coupon), cheap burritos (49 cents on Wednesdays), and cheap movies (99 cents and free popcorn, but the popcorn was sooo salty you had to buy a not-so-cheap drink. Tricky, tricky.).

Andrea was next. This time we added new mother to the list of commonalities. We walked the babies together while our husbands were studying or at work. We shared hopes and dreams on those walks, as well as frustrations and fears. When we moved again, we still visited and always it was just like we had never left.

In fact, that is what makes these women stand out as my best friends. No matter how long we are apart, when we see each other again, it is like no time has passed. That must be the definition of a best friend. I love you, Ladies!

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:10 NIV



Home School Moms

childrens-books-570121__180“You think me foolish to call instruction a torment, but if you had been as much used as myself to hear poor little children first learning their letters and then learning to spell, if you had ever seen how stupid they can be for a whole morning together, and how tired my poor mother is at the end of it, as I am in the habit of seeing almost every day of my life at home, you would allow that to torment and to instruct might sometimes be used as synonymous words.” Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Our journey to home schooling was a reaction to a crisis, but our journey through home schooling was a reaction to a pleasant occurrence. We discovered that we enjoyed the time with family, the discoveries our children made, the flexible, less stressful schedule. But not every day was filled with hatching chicks and fun books to read. Some days were rotten eggs and War and Peace.

I was blessed with good friends to help me through those terrible days. Sometimes it was a muffled conversation on the phone while the kids knocked on my locked door. Some days there were picnics at the playground and a veerryy long recess while the teachers visited on the park bench. Occasionally there were field trips where the moms stood in the back of the group and enjoyed doing the dissections and experiments as well.

This is my last year home schooling. Amos graduates in May and I retire from the Home Educators Guild. (That’s not a real thing if you are looking it up.) So I decided to join a monthly Bible study group for home school moms in order to offer a little support to those filling in the ranks behind me. Last night was our February meeting.

Although the meeting is Bible focused, it is much more a Christian home school moms’ support group. Last night we talked about college applications, whether college is a good choice for everyone, unwed mother birth statistics in our town, places to volunteer, how much money a person should make, and sex education. We ate brownies and grapes and discussed whether parking garages in our community are a safe solution to a problem.

And all of it, yes all of it, was said in loving support, even when we disagreed. Because at the core of our discussion is the Great Mediator who has forgiven us all and asked us all to walk this path together.

You probably have an idea in your head of what home schooling moms are like. Let me break a few of your bubbles: Some have advanced degrees, carry weapons, and are veterans. Some take belly dance lessons, are single, married, divorced, or widowed. Some have ten children and some have one. Some eat made from scratch meals every night at home, and others are happy if they can down fast food without choking. Some go to the gym, to karaoke bars, and to exotic places like India.

Home school moms are a diverse breed of animal, but they have one thing in common. They make very supportive friends. I am blessed beyond measure to be able to say they are my friends. I love you, home school moms!

Without good direction, people lose their way;
    the more wise counsel you follow, the better your chances. 

Proverbs 11:14 MSG

February is for Lovers

love-castle-1042979__180A true friend knows your weaknesses but shows you your strengths; feels your fears but fortifies your faith; sees your anxieties but frees your spirit; recognizes your disabilities but emphasizes your possibilities. William Arthur Ward

He was quiet with intense eyes and a winning smile. The boys across from me were talkative and interested, but his gaze drew me in. An introduction was made but no other conversation. The smell of french fries and burger grease clung to me as I stood to leave. My white skirt swished and twirled as I turned to say goodbye. I caught his eye one more time and waved.

The next time our group went out he sat closer. I explained where I was living and how I was getting to church and other places. “You’re going way out of the way,” he said, and a date was made to show me around town. Great confusion ensued as he also gave rides to another girl, who sat in the front seat and I falsely assumed was the lady du jour.

A little over a year later we were married.

He is an introvert; I am an extrovert. He enjoys watching football; I don’t care to know a thing about it. He is quick-tempered; I am patient. He is an artist; I can draw stick figures. He is categorically organized; I hate making notes. He is extremely time-conscious; I prefer to play with the edges of etiquette.

But I love him. And I know he loves me.

Once in a cleaning frenzy I threw out years and years of investment statements. He came home and I proudly showed him all of the room I had cleared out. He was apoplectic; his eyes bulged, the vein in his neck throbbed, his hands shook, and his voice was barely controllable.

It is true that I laughed. It is also true that I went through the trash and pulled out all of the old statements, even the food and beverage stained ones, and reassembled them in the thick three-ring binders.

Even with all of our differences and personal quirks and tics, he is my best friend. I enjoy his sense of humor, our spiritual discussions, travelling together, and sharing books. After twenty-six years of marriage what I am beginning to realize is that we complete each other.

Not that we can’t be without the other. We do a lot of things apart- did I mention I don’t care a flip about football- but our completion comes in our weaknesses. In areas where his light dimly shines, I join him and add a little oxygen to the flame. In areas where my light flickers from too much distraction, he wisely closes the window and sets me back on the lamp stand.

Together we lead each other on the path marked out for us. Helping each other to come closer to the Lord, to Love.

He answered, “Haven’t you read in your Bible that the Creator originally made man and woman for each other, male and female? And because of this, a man leaves father and mother and is firmly bonded to his wife, becoming one flesh—no longer two bodies but one. Because God created this organic union of the two sexes, no one should desecrate his art by cutting them apart.” Matthew 19:6 MSG