friendsI had the most amazing, therapeutic experiences this past weekend and all on account of those special people in my life that I have the great fortune to call friends.  What amazing people they are and what wonderful, full lives they lead.  They inspire me on a regular basis and without them my own life would be quite empty.  So over the next week or so I am going to devote my blogging to my dear friends.  I hope they won’t mind and I promise that everything I post will be generic enough in nature and will focus only on the positive things they bring to my life and heart.  As they all well know I never divulge personal information or secrets.

 Let’s begin with my friend Laurie whom I have known for about six years now, although it seems like forever.  By that I mean I can’t imagine my life without her or a time when she wasn’t my friend.  But I do recall the very first time I ever met her and thinking, “Wow, this woman is amazing!  She is the same age as me and just look at her; she is confident, accomplished, smart, a successful business woman and beautiful to boot.  If we ever had the chance to get to know each other, I just know we would be great friends.”  That was about three years before Laurie and I actually did have the chance to become great friends.  

She is perhaps one of the first role models of my adult life and thinking back on that initial meeting with her I can’t help but recall looking at her and comparing myself to her.  She probably never knew that she opened my eyes to myself; what I had become and how short I had fallen of my life’s goals and ambitions.   Knowing her inspired me to do better.

Laurie exudes an air of professionalism combined with genuine sincerity, a combination of qualities that I regard as unique and rare.   Even now, I find myself going to her for advice and wondering how she would handle a certain situation.  But what makes a great friendship is that I believe she feels the same about me; that I too can offer her support and insight.  We’ve been through a lot together and somehow our lives often run on a parallel. 

If I had to narrow it down to only two qualities or characteristics of Laurie’s that stand out the most I would have to begin by recognizing her eternal youthful, optimism.  No matter how old Laurie is she will never be old!  She embodies that old adage “young at heart” and when I am with her I feel like a kid again.

 Secondly is her commitment to family and friends.  She goes out of her way to build and maintain these relationships and I see them paying off big time for her.  She is surrounded by people who love and appreciate her; me being one of them.

Over the weekend I spent a night at her place.  When I arrived I was a sorry, sad, little woman who was feeling very low and discouraged about life.  After an evening of good conversation, over a few blended drinks, I began to feel like myself, with renewed hope, direction and ambition.  Laurie has a way of making everything so much clearer and a lot less scary.  She has this wonderful talent of helping you take a huge, ugly ball of a million fears, dashed dreams, disappointments and seemingly impossible challenges and compartmentalizing them.  She can break it all down into small bite size pieces that are easy to digest and in the end your plate is clean and you are satisfied. 

Further into the weekend my daughter and I had the pleasure of being involved with the wedding of a relative of another wonderful friend; my beautiful friend Jill.  Although I didn’t have a lot of opportunity to socialize with Jill, it was great to just be a part of this event .  It was busy, fun, wild, crazy; full of love and laughter (just like Jill).  The fact that my friend Jill was responsible for my inclusion in this celebration did not go unnoticed to me because this is one of the many endearing qualities that I love about her.  She is a woman so full of passion and life and she very effortlessly wants to share that with the whole world.  Anyone willing to take her up on the offer is welcomed with open arms and carried away on a sure to be whirlwind adventure. 

Jill has more energy than anyone I’ve ever met!  She can accomplish more in one day than the average person can in three; the whole time making people laugh.  She is the youngest friend I have, but has the wisdom, common sense and insight of a much older person.  Again, she is a friend that I often go to for advice or ask myself when I am in a difficult situation “what would Jill do?”  She can take any situation, no matter how difficult or uncomfortable and put it in order.

There are two distinctive qualities about Jill that I especially admire. The first is her zest for life.  Jill lives life to its fullest, always finding the extraordinary in the ordinary.  She can take a simple, seemingly dull task and turn it into a festival.   The second thing about Jill is her willingness to accept people for who they are.  She never judges unless there is good cause and even then she keeps those judgments to herself.  She finds the good in people no matter how deep it is buried then she uncovers it and pulls it out for everyone else to see as well.  There you sit looking at this person thinking “wow, I never realized that about them before.  They’re really awesome!”  What an admirable way to see the world and people in it.  After all how dull would it be if everyone was the same?  On the contrary Jill appreciates people for their individuality and idiosyncrasies.  She appreciates my strangeness and never asks me to change it, what more could I ask for in a friend?

 I could go on for pages about these two amazing women and I very likely will in future posts.  For now I just wanted to set down these few thoughts that were inspired on account of a weekend that has rejuvenated me and sent me home with new perspective and motivation. 

 True friends; they are one of the most valuable assets we have in life and should be treasured.  They are priceless and without them how empty would our lives be?

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