The gift of Friendship & Encouragement

My single New Year’s resolution has gotten away from me.

With end of the school year festivities that included parties, plays and concerts …
and my own school projects and endeavors,
winter ended, spring hit and summer pushed its way into our lives.

I try so hard NOT to be legalistic – about anything. Grace and mercy … they are our gifts. We should live within their wide, fluid, obliging boundaries.
My goal for the year was to  focus on fellowship.  I prepared my calendar for the year, from start to end. I put a small stamped box in front of each Monday for the purpose of writing a name in each box. I wanted to keep track of who I invited into my home. I wanted to keep myself accountable.

Since some weeks are easier to maneuver than others, I knew there would be some weeks that I wouldn’t be able to have a guest .. and other weeks that more than one visitor might be a possibility. My goal is to have entertained 52 times by year’s end … not to be a literalist and have ONE person EACH week for 52 weeks. So some weeks, may have a name inside the square, but they have visited on a different week. I’m okay with that. 52 visitors is the goal.

Things went really well until around mid-March … then I began to slide.

Life has a way of doing that, doesn’t it? Our best intentions …
our desires, visions and goals
get crowded out by sickness, squabbles and laundry?
Our best intentions
become a guilty burden of neglect.

I’m thankful to say that I’ve learned the way of grace.
I no longer beat myself up for not finishing on time …
for letting some things slip …
for failing to live up to my own high aspirations.
For, while aspirations are good,
they are only dreams.
They don’t define who we ARE
but who we desire to be …
or what we dream to do.

The squares on my calendar are again being filled.
I’ve had several visitors over of late –
some for breakfast,
some just for dinner …

and I’m grateful.
I’m thankful for the ability to hold myself to a goal
that is set
but a way of fulfillment
that is flexible, active and moving
full of forgiveness and mercy.

And I’m thankful for beautiful women
that have come into my home
and blessed me with their presence, laughter and tears …
women who are an encouragement.

The gifts for which I am thankful include:

382. last-minute vacuuming that gets the job done well enough
383.  friends that come to see me not the dog hair on my rug
384. crispy bacon that still reminds me of having breakfast in Statesboro, Georgia with my sweet grandma, Odessa
385. peek-a-boo coffee cups that offer a sweet surprise when the cup is tipped and coffee is nearly gone

386. comet, pinesol and windex back in the cabinets in a clean bathroom
387. tears welling in eyes when tender topics are poured forth
388. prayers over fruit and juice before dining
389. striped table cloths and clean burgundy napkins adorned with earthenware gifts of love
390. the encouragement of kindred spirits, their soft smiles, their deep laughter, their positive words

390. flickering flames in glass globes on the table … telling the tale of light needing to shine
341. one story, leading to another, and then another … at least one oft left unfinished … saved for another time
342.  fellowship, dear and sweet, between friends old and new


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