Monday, June 6, 2016

The Mystery of Friendship, Episode One

Immediately following Chelsea's wedding I shared photos of the wedding, talked a bit about the prep but held off on some details.  I knew that in the right timing those words would come as well.  Well here is a bit more from the heart about something that meant so very much to us over the wedding weekend.

You see, yesterday morning I was wrapping meat and cheese.  I KNOW!  Natural connection, right?  Just bear with me.  You may remember my mentioning that the appetizer tent held all kinds of Italian Meats, Cheeses and Grapes.  Well, Saturday late afternoon before the wedding found some of us over at our church working at the long counter wrapping meat and cheese, cutting cheese and chatting away.  These were not just any old bodies that were doing this.  It was myself and a family of four who came all the way from Michigan to attend the wedding....and offer their services in any way they could to help up set up...and tear down.

Karen and I became blog buddies when she sent me bread recipes.  Really, really good recipes!  In fact the one recipe became our church communion bread recipe for a few years.  During those years it was common to notice people trying to get a nice hunk of bread rather than a little pinch.  :-)  I didn't bake it during those years.  Our friend, Rachel Rabe, took that on as her ministry for a while.  She and other young ladies in the church covered it for quite some time.  Gotta love that.  I also love that when it became too much with their busy schedules we reverted back to store bought bread.  As an aside, it is better to only do a ministry for a season....from the heart.

Anyway, once Karen offered those bread recipes I became more tuned in to her blog, Blue Barn Bulletin, and found a like minded homeschool mom with daughters around Chelsea's age.  Before long Chelsea and Julianne were pen pals and they really hit it off.  We planned a surprise meet up around the girls' birthday....I'm trying to remember if it was 15 or 16th birthdays.  Karen?  I'm thinking 16th.  Chelsea found out by accident a day or so before Julianne and family arrived.  Nonetheless it was a fabulous first real life meeting and our families enjoyed being together so much.  Like we had been friends forever, really.  I'll never forget our final breakfast together that visit when Clarence had us all laughing until we couldn't breathe with his goat stories.  I love goats and I thoroughly enjoyed hearing about his former pets.

Over the years we have vacationed with this family twice up in the mountains.  So much fun even as the first year found us all crammed in one cabin, instead of the two we had reserved, when a tree had taken out the power on their cabin.  It was unbelievable to me how well we all got along in such tight quarters and with just one bathroom for so many.  Add to that the fact that it rained like crazy and we were all stuck inside most days.  We bonded.  We played a lot of games, chatted a lot and laughed like crazy.
These were taken that year!

Pastor Mike and Clarence did dishes....

The girls "brought" their friend Emma along in the form of a picture.
They wished she had been there for real.

The following pictures were taken just before we hopped into our cars 
and headed to our respective homes.

There were 11 of us and three dogs in the cabin.

I think we were pretty tired....but happy.

So, with this history Chelsea invited Clarence, Karen, Julianne and Allison to the wedding.  I thought there was no way they would come from Michigan for it.  Chelsea thought otherwise.  She was right. When we got word that they were hoping to come I was ecstatic!  Chelsea was very happy but totally calm.  She had just known.  Oh Mom of little faith.  These aren't your average friends.

And so, Karen asked about the agenda.  I told her when we were planning to set up and that they were welcome to participate as much or as little as they would like.  Well, they participated.  BIG time.  There was so very much to do.  And we had those four extra sets of hands all day long.  From setting up the tables....yes, they measured the distance between each putting the under cloth on and then lace on each and every table.  Setting up chairs for the ceremony.  Helping me put together the head table and decor.  I'm very sure they did things I have no idea about.  When we needed a pair of scissors a pair appeared from their van.  And then after all of that we found ourselves wrapping meat and cheese before they left to go enjoy Samson at Sight and Sound.  Pretty sure they deserved that treat.  ;-)

On Sunday they went to our church with Georgia even as Chelsea, Warren, Shelley and I went to the venue to finish preparations for the 3:00 pm wedding.  And so the next time we saw them was just before the wedding.  It was fantastic to know that they were going to enjoy the work of their hands.  I think they did.  At the reception they were seated with the crew from Creekside Cottage.  They are also blog friends over the years.  We felt very good about that seating arrangement.  There would be no boredom or discomfort there.

Now, it would have been perfectly understandable if that had been the end of the helpfulness our friends had to offer.  But would you believe they got up early Monday morning and came with us to finish loading and cleaning up the wedding site before driving back to Michigan?  I'll bet they needed a week to recuperate, as we did, after all of that physical labor and excitement.

We will forever be in their debt.  When their girls get married they can call on us to help them as much as they like.!

I don't really know what it is that makes friendships happen or grow.   I only know that it happens from time to time that way.  I'm so thankful for this connection that came because Karen reached out with some recipes.  Now if only she wasn't so many miles away......

Coming soon....the story of Shelley.  Another amazing friend!



Carol Z said...

There are times my real life friends ask about my blog friends. Who are these people? How do you know them? I just smile. It's hard to explain, though you've done a great job. The fortunate thing is that I've gotten to meet many of my "blog" friends, and now they're real life friends. #blessed.

Karen said...


Thank you for your sweet words. Introvert that I am, I was also surprised at how easy it was when we first met in person (and, looking back, at how much fun we had cooped up in that cabin the first year-that was a long time to be with people for an introvert).

Julianne says the meet up was when the girls turned 15-so, 2010, I guess?

I treasure our friendship and am so glad we were able to make it to the wedding. It was one of the nicest weddings I've ever attended!

I, too, wish we weren't separated by so many miles, but am so thankful that we've had the chance to become friends.


PS-I was looking at Julianne's FB for some family photos and saw the news about Chloe. I'm so sorry! Praying for your hurting hearts...

Deanna Rabe said...

They are such an awesome family! We just pick right back up with them whenever we see them!

I love that they were able to come and they have such servants hearts!

Terra Hangen said...

This is a story of a true friendship, I love it.

Linda Gross said...

What a wonderful story of a special friendship.

Theresa said...

What a wonderful friendship! I am happy that you had help from your friend, extra hands are a blessing! HUGS and PRAYERS coming your way!

LV said...

Sometimes these kind of friends are better than someone you have known all your life. A wonderful bonding of families.