Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Sisters and Forever Friends

Amy and Emily
Amy, Emily and their grandma
Emily and Amy with their parents- I took this picture while visiting them in Iowa.

Have you ever had a friend who touched your life in such a way that you were never the same again? -someone who meant so much to you they felt more like family than a friend....I have. We've all had friends that we connect and share the same interests with, or that we enjoy spending time with because we enjoy their company. But, I'm talking about the kind of friend that challenges you to grow, nurtures your spirit, weathers the storms of life with you, holds you up or even carries you when you feel beaten down and trampled upon- until you can stand on your own again, and celebrates the joys and success in your life. We are lucky if through out our life, we find one true friend. I have been blessed with more than a handful, and I know it's a rare thing. They are the ones who remind me of how real, how powerful and how tender God's love is for me.
Last month, Dawn @ Southern Girly-Girl Raising Three Boys, wrote this beautiful post about her friends. I couldn't help smiling when I read it. It touched my heart and reminded me of how many friends I have to be thankful for. So, I have decided to write a series of posts celebrating the different friendships that have blessed and enriched my life. And is the first one!

Six years ago, Hugh and I had just moved to Kansas City, where Hugh was to attend medical school. One evening, we met two girls in our parking lot in front of the apartment we were living in. Amy and Emily were sisters, who were living below us and over one apartment. We all introduced ourselves, and it wasn't long before I joined the girls on their nightly walks around the apartment complex. They were my first friends in Kansas City. We enjoyed getting together and going for coffee, shopping on the Plaza, art and music festivals or dinner and a movie. You could find us, on any given night, in one or the others' apartment, sitting in the floor, drinking coffee and talking into the wee hours of the morning. Whether we had to work the next day or not, once we got together, we could talk for hours on end.

Amy gave me the inside scoop about a job in Gifted education that opened up in the NKC school district, and we ended up working together for the next two years. We helped decorate each others' rooms for the school year and we got together on a regular basis to collaborate and share new ideas. We both share a love for teaching. I think our friendship was made stronger due to the fact that we never competed against each other. We always shared what was working for us, encouraged each other and cheered each other on. Amy is a great teacher and her students are very lucky, because she is very creative and always searching for new, fresh ways to present material. She wants learning to be fun for her students. I think we feed off of each other in that way. We still talk about teaching- every time we talk on the phone. We've also supported each other personally as well. If she hosted a Mary Kay party, I'd help her, and if I had a Taste of Gourmet party, she'd help me. Amy even helped me with the monthly dinner the S.A.A., from Hugh's medical school held at our local hospital for families with children in the N.I.C.U. Amy is just fun to be with. She is bubbly and energetic and she is such a sweetheart!

Emily is soft spoken and graceful. She has a quiet, lady-like quality about her- very charming. Emily can be sensitive and shy when you first get to know her, where as, Amy is more of a focused, take charge woman with a plan type. But it is her vulnerability that endears you to Emily. She was the first person to really seek me out and ask me about my relationship with Jesus. She knew something was different, and she knew she wanted to know more about it. She may never truly know what a high compliment she paid me by doing so. I've had the blessed opportunity to share my Jesus with many people through out my lifetime. And my heart has rejoiced with each one that has come to know Jesus as their own savior and Lord. But, I have never known anyone like Emily. She loves the Lord. She continuously seeks Him out. She desperately wants to know Him and please Him. She has a heart for God that inspires me. I can not tell you what it has meant to me to pray with her and read the bible with her. I love that we can talk for hours about Him and she never gets tired of it. Our friendship is sealed in Christ, and no matter where we go, we'll always be close. I truly feel that way about both Amy and Emily.

These are the girls that stood by me through some of the darkest moments of grief over my mom and dad's deaths. And they have rejoiced with me in the birth of both of my children. Amy was the one who coordinated the S.A.G.E. staff, when my dad passed, in showering me with cards, gifts, flowers, and condolences. (I still have my comfy purple pants and jacket, and the peace lily you gave me AM!) (And I still have the card and book on Heaven from Emily and the Willow tree ornament you both gave me.)There are so many memories of them I hold dear. The two most important are the hand made quilts from their grandma and our girl's weekend back in their home town. What a crazy, wonderful weekend!

We drove up to Davenport, IO and the girls put me up at"The Lodge"(the old "Jumers"), it's a hotel with a German accent/decorations. It was fabulous! I highly recommend if you're ever in the Quad city area. The first night I was there, we had dinner at a restaurant called "Johnny's Steakhouse", in the John Deere Commons area near the river. The next day we took a boat ride on the "Channel Cat Water Taxi", over to The Village of East Davenport. We walked around and visited the cutest shops. My favorites were the Isabel Bloom store and Country Manor Candies, where we each got coffee mugs and magnets to remember our trip. We met the girl's parents that night for dinner at Granite City, and then we went to see the movie The Notebook together. We went back to the hotel and stayed up half of the night talking and laughing. It was the best slumber party I've ever had.

When Hugh and I moved here to Ohio, the girls gave me a beautiful quilt, handmade by their grandma. It is so dear to me, because she doesn't make them any more.I feel like I have a piece of them with me, always. They were kind enough to bless us with another beautiful quilt, when our Trey was born. Quilts are a heartland tradition, and are very much a part of their family tradition. In fact, when Amy and Emily's dad lost his battle with cancer last February, they donated one of their family heirlooms to Journey Quilts.
Lori Bruning, RN, a volunteer coordinator at the hospice house, said the Journey Quilt project is a way for deceased patients to leave the hospice house wrapped in love for their final journey. For that reason, the name “Journey Quilt” seemed appropriate. She later happened upon a Bible verse that seemed to perfectly describe its purpose. The verse was Judges 18:6: “Go in peace. Your journey has the Lord’s approval.” . The above link is an article written on their family and the quilt they donated in his honor. Friends are a special gift from God, and I have been so blessed to have Emily and Amy as friends. I think we should take the time to celebrate the friendships in our lives. I can't take credit for this idea, because I was inspired by Dawn. But, I would love to read your stories! There will be many more from me- in the coming weeks! Blessings to all!


Denise said...

Blessings to you, and your dear friends.

Penless Thoughts said...

I SO enjoyed your story of these 2 friends. Your love shines through loud and clear. It brought tears to my eyes as I remembered my dear friend Bev who looks down on me from heaven.

Amy said...

Dear ((Tiffany)),
This is a beautiful tribute to our sisterly bonds of friendship and time spent together in Kansas City. I can tell you put forth much time, creativity, dedication, and attention to detail on this wonderful posting. What a treasured gift to now have this to look upon. SO very much has changed since our partings from Barry Road. I miss those days, but have to reflect fondly on the memories. I look forward to a possible "Girls Weekend" in the future for you to have the opportunity to show Emily and I the beauty of the deep South; what a gracious hostess you will be!
Bless you my friend,

Anonymous said...

Tiffany, this is such a touching post! I cannot even begin to count the ways I have been blessed to have met you(your whole family too, Aunt Kathy and that whole gang:)). I was going through such an ugly time, and it's so clear to see, looking back, how God places people in our lives in times of need and blesses us beyond belief.

Not only did I see something in you, but really, your entire relationship with Hugh and what love is SUPPOSED to be like. God woke me up with that big time, too. I will never "settle", seeing how it is really supposed to be, Christian love and marriage.

LOL!! I love the way you describe Amy, woman with a plan:) But really, your kind words about me are humbling.

I'll never forget our Girl's weekend, that definitely made history didn't it!

Thank you Jesus for Tiffany, friendship, and sisterly love!

Sharon Brumfield said...

Friends are such a gift from God.
They take time and have to be cultivated.
I don't think that we often get close friends and they are to be treasured.
I am glad that God blessed you with these two. And I am glad that you are still in contact with them.
Sweet post!

Ingram Gang said...

Friendship must be the common theme. I, too, wrote a post yesterday about how the Lord blesses us with true friends. Your post was beautiful and you honored your friends so well.
I guess the Lord is just putting friendships on the hearts of his children!

Joanne said...

Thanks for stopping by and entering the blog design contest. I so enjoyed perusing your site. When you mentioned that you are a displaced southern girl that longs to be back in the deep south...what is the deep south? I am a California girl who longs to be in the south period!

Blessings new friend! Joanne