Tag Archives: friendship

Friends, Fruit and Fresh Air

Last week I was up in the mountains north of Los Angeles for an annual writers retreat with a bunch of my friends. It was awesome. It is every year, which is why I take such pains to make it. We laugh and eat and brainstorm and eat and write and eat and… Yeah, there is a lot of good food! Every year, I eat about a third of my total intake of fresh summer fruits at the retreat. Like I said, awesome.

My friend who hosts it, Lauraine Snelling, just had hip replacement surgery a few weeks ago. God moved my heart to want to be helpful, so I came up a few days early to help with shopping and other preparations. I’ve been feeling pretty selfish in a lot of ways the last year or two (lots of reasons why), and it felt great to genuinely want to be selfless for a while. More awesome.

You know there have been a lot of things going on with me and John the last year that have made life more challenging than usual. Not the least of which is that John’s company shut its doors the day I was to drive to the retreat. Uh… now what? Do I stay home and help him try to figure out what to do next? We took a long walk together, talking to each other and to God. At the end of the walk, we didn’t have any answers, but we felt God must know what He’s doing. He’s gotten us this far. A few minutes later, walking up the steps to our apartment, John’s phone rang. Another company offered him a job! His unemployment lasted a whole three hours. Can you say “awesome”?!

So getting away for a little while and focusing on my career again has been an emotional blast of fresh air. Plus, the mountain air is literally fresher and made me feel more relaxed. I got to stare at the stars every night and actually see them. Happy sigh. Now I’m starting the new week sitting by myself in a hotel room for a week working on the next draft of Love at the Fluff and Fold. I think I’m going to have an even better week now that my brain has been stimulated by my writing friends, and my heart has been freshened by a zillion more examples of God showing me how much He loves me. Perfectly awesome.

I hope you have an awesome week, too!

Peanut Butter and Chocolate in a Fudge-Dipped Waffle Cone

Remember last week I talked about how the encouragement and love and support of my friends while walking through the desert of testing has been like chocolate ice cream with a peanut butter swirl?

Well, this past week life has been more like my favorite dark chocolate ice cream with a peanut butter swirl packed into a fudge-dipped waffle cone with nuts sprinkled on top!

Two of my best writing friends contacted me a week ago to ask if I could join them in a writing week in Vegas. We used to do this all the time when I lived in California because Vegas is sort of the center of the triangle from where we all live. Then I moved to Sydney and couldn’t go anymore. I was all excited about coming back and getting together again, but the longer John and I go between jobs, the fewer plans we’re making. (At least until we invent the bottomless checking account. We’re working on it.)

But when they contacted me, they said, just get to Vegas or to one of our houses, and we’ll take care of the rest! SWEET!

But…

We don’t have a bottomless checking account. In fact, I wasn’t sure we could even afford to keep going to our old Bible study in L.A. It’s a nearly 200-mile roundtrip. An awesome friend loaned us his Ford Explorer, for which we are immensely grateful, but that trip costs $42 every time we make it. Ouch.

So I started praying about Bible study and the writing retreat. This time I wanted to be the girl who was willing to say, sorry, we can’t afford it, rather than, sure, we have a credit card. The more I worked on our budget, the more little things I found to make things work. Some money came in that was exactly the amount we’d need to buy gas to get to Bible study through Easter.

I went through our expenses and realized that there were a few things we wouldn’t need money for if I were gone this week. A commercial came on TV about a university that not only has an online program, but they’re looking to hire adjunct online faculty in my field. (Getting some outside-writing work that doesn’t require me to buy a corporate wardrobe would be a double-bonus!)

It seemed to me that God was showing me that yes, indeed, I could take this trip. YAY!!!!!

In addition to it being just plain FUN, by the end of this week I should be able to have another draft of my next book. That would put me nearly a month ahead of schedule, which means the book will be published about a month sooner, bringing in money that much sooner. That’s a huge blessing.

Yes, I have to say, in spite of the unemployment woes, I’ve got a double-chocolate kind of blessed life. 🙂 And the cherry on top – lying in the sun in the backyard for an hour Friday while John napped on my lap. Ahh, God is so good, even when he makes us wait.

That’s What Friends Are For

Rachel, Ruth and Me

Last week I was out with my friends Ruth and Rachel. It was Girls’ Night Out and we were drinking some of the best hot chocolate at Max Brenner’s in Bondi Junction. Yum! The best part about our monthly night out is that we don’t have to compete with toddlers who want their mummy’s attention.

By the time we were on a chocolate high, we’d giggled our way through a bunch of potential ideas for how to get their home businesses off the ground. (Remember the toddlers?) Then – because I was determined to keep talking about business until we solved our problems – we started talking about my home-based business: writing.

And under the influence of Dark Italian Chocolate, I found myself coming up with a calendar of sorts for writing here on my blog – and a promise to get started on it today! And guess what Monday’s topic is – friends and relationships! Of course!

Because when it comes to pushing you to do what you need to do and want to do, friends are the best! Thanks, Rachel and Ruth! Love you girls!