Some of the Best Words Ever: “See You Tomorrow”

Since moving away from camp, one of my favorite expressions has become: “See you tomorrow!”

It hit me on Wednesday, as we were all getting off the shuttle at the University of Manitoba. We’d just spent another awesome afternoon with a bunch of friends from our homeschool group, having swimming lessons and gym class together, and it was time to part ways.

swimming lessons

As everyone was calling out, “See you tomorrow!”, I felt this happy, warm feeling shoot through me, because those words are community words, and I’m a big fan of community.

To me, community means we’re sharing life. We’re connected, and we’re seeing each other on such a regular basis that we move beyond constantly needing to catch up on life, and get to talk about some of those deeper things that don’t come up as easily. We enter into deeper levels of relationship.

“See you tomorrow” means these wonderful friends I’ve just spent the day with, will spend tomorrow with me, as well! Sweet goodness. It’s almost like life back at camp.

Sometimes this amazes me a little. Like when I see my favorite neighbor every single day for a week, and she still calls me up to invite herself over.

Or the excitement I feel when I realize that next week, we’ll see our friends on Wednesday at the pool, Thursday at the church, and go on a field trip together on Friday.

Yes, it’s completely possible to get sick of the people you live in community with. I remember a conversation with Ben, shortly after we moved to camp. Some of the staff wanted to get together AGAIN for another games night, and I was still adjusting to the idea of doing everything together. I told Ben about it, and declared the solution – I needed more space from people, before they drove me crazy. I needed to take a break from being around them all the time.

But Ben said, “No, you need to spend MORE time with them. You need to spend SO MUCH time with them, that you get past the annoyance, and learn how to truly love them.”

It’s true. If you push past some of those rough friendship edges, you break into the good stuff. You reach a new level. You can start to feel like…family.

You don’t always like family, but you know they’ll always be there. Community life is the same way. Sometimes conflict or annoyances comes up, and you deal with it, and you grow closer as a result. And then you get together again tomorrow, and do it all over again.

I’m so happy and thankful to have this lovely group of people to share life with, and share the words, “See you tomorrow!”

How’s your community living going? Have you found a spot to connect with people on a regular basis?

34 Days of Favorites: New Friends

I love sturdy, old friendships that have stood the test of time.

But I have to say, I’m also totally loving new friendships right now. Having just moved a few months ago, new friendships are a new favorite we’ve been experiencing around here.

People find this hard to understand, because we moved back to the town we previously lived in for five years. But things have changed a lot since the last time this was home. We have some old friends here whom we love a lot, but we’re excited about new friendships, too.

Funny how I didn’t think much about that before we moved. I was very concerned about Anika’s social needs, wondering how she would adapt and make new friends, but I never considered my own needs.

Yet here I am, surprised by God’s goodness, over and over, as He sends people into our lives.

There are two women who have saved me since our move. Saved me, because I’d forgotten how life can feel a bit dumped upside down after moving.

And then they showed up, and now I can find my way again.

One of them is not technically a “new” friend – I knew her in college, and then we lost touch, and I hadn’t seen or heard from her in many years. But we connected again this last year, and now she brings all this richness into my life which blesses me and makes me feel like this place could be home.

She calls me up and asks if she can quickly drop something off for me, and then she spends a little bit of time sharing life with me.

I don’t think she really knows what she truly does for me, just by giving me the gift of spontaneous connection – by showing up at my door with little notice, the way I’m used to from all those years at camp.

And then there’s my sweet new friend whom I’ve written about here and here. She phones on a Saturday night, wondering if it’s too last minute to ask if we can go for coffee.

I’m so tired from the day, but suddenly I realize that a good long talk and a change of scenery is exactly what I didn’t know I needed.

She drops me off at the end of the evening, and we still stand talking in front of my dark house, my family all fast asleep already, and finally we have to cut ourselves off from so much to say, because we’ll carry on next time.

I didn’t know there was an emptiness that needed to be filled until these ladies started to fill it. I already have some wonderful friendships, and wasn’t really thinking I had a huge need to add to the collection.

But oh, do I ever! Because who could say no to such rich gifts!

So when Ben says a new family has moved down the street, my first thought is, “Thank goodness I made extra chocolate chip squares. We can bring some over tomorrow evening.” I was shown such warmth and welcome, it makes me want to pass it on.

But my very next thought is such a silly one: “Maybe that would be weird – they have so many neighbors right around them that are probably welcoming them here already, maybe they don’t need us to stop by, too.”

What, because they might make too many friends on this street? Or they’re not feeling as dumped out in a new life as we were? Because it’s possible to feel too welcomed to a new home??


Good grief, grab the squares and get over to their house! What if everyone were thinking the same thing? “Someone else will do it.”

Yes. Someone like me.

Because it’s all about people. And my life is so full and rich, with old and new, and I am thankful.

Now I have to ask – have you ever made a completely unexpected friendship? Are you having any current adventures in making new friends? Do share!!

(Read more about “34 Days of Favorites” here.)

How Ben Really Won My Heart

I’ve been trying to think up something to write about for Valentine’s Day, and just kept coming up empty. No ideas. I’ve already shared the story of how Ben and I met, and apparently I had nothing else romantic to say for Valentine’s Day.

But then last night, a memory popped into my mind of a part of the story that I haven’t shared before, and it has to do with one of the things I love most about Ben.

So that is what I will share with you today on Valentine’s Day:

As I’ve written about before, Ben and I met at summer camp, and became good friends. Because he had a girlfriend, I wasn’t really terribly interested in pursuing a friendship after the summer was over, however. I wasn’t all that good at friendships with boys. I’ve always preferred deep relationships, which usually got complicated with boys, so it was an “all or nothing” deal for me. If he already had a girlfriend, then our relationship wasn’t going to go anywhere anyway.

However, after a few months back at Bible school, I heard that Ben was no longer dating anyone, and we happened to meet up at a volley ball game (which sounds so casual, but really I changed my plans for the evening last minute totally because I knew Ben would be there!). Suddenly it seemed like there was a point to being friends again!

Especially since he was so much better-looking than I had remembered from the summer…

We hung out a bunch of times that winter, but Ben definitely took his time. And my dad had given me strict instructions to play “hard to get”, and not let on how interested I was. (Ben was always his favorite, right from the start, and he really didn’t want me to mess anything up!)

So things dragged on far longer than I thought necessary, and I did my best to be mysterious and all that, although Ben let me know later on that it hadn’t really worked, and he always knew I was interested. Sigh.

Well, I did my best.

Anyway, after a few months of “just being good friends”, I was getting extremely impatient. Around that time, another boy entered the scene. To this day, I’m still not really sure what he wanted, as I wasn’t his type at all. He had dated millions of other girls, so maybe he’d just run out of new material, but for whatever reason, I became the object of his attention for a few weeks.

It was extremely annoying, since I had no desire to be that object. He was very forward and smooth, obviously from all the practice, and it always made me feel suspicious.

On one particular weekend, the Bible school I attended was holding a large event, and I was volunteering in the registration booth. Although Ben attended a different college nearby, he came out one evening for part of the event. I played my little “cool and calm” role, but really inside, I was outrageously excited to see him. He very casually mentioned that we should get together sometime, and I very casually agreed that sounded like a good idea.

Then he sauntered off, and I was completely frustrated with him for being totally unreadable and so annoyingly friendly and unflirtatious.

Shortly after that, along came Boy #2 to my booth, where he proceeded to fling himself over the counter and landed right in front of me, practically in my lap. He said he had come to “help” me, and then hung around, whispering in my ear and other annoying things like that.

When he finally left, and I was done working in the registration booth, I went in search of my best friend to tell her everything that had happened.

I ended it all off by wailing to her, “Why can’t BEN be the one throwing himself over counters for me???!!!”

To which she responded, “Because then you wouldn’t like him as much as you do.”

I chewed that one over for the rest of the night, and for a long time to come.

Ben never flirted with me or tried to manipulate my feelings.

Ben treated me with the utmost respect.

Ben was always kind and gentle, and would never stoop to making our friendship into some kind of silly “game”.

Ben was not “smooth”. He was sincere, and his good, good heart showed all the time. Sometimes he wasn’t exactly sure of how to express himself in the best way, but it made him even more enduring.

Ben was patient and took his time, but was definitely, without a question…worth the wait.

Boy #2 soon got tired of me, and moved on.

Ben kept his slow and steady pace. When he finally asked me out on a date, it was wonderful.

And he has always continued to be genuine, sincere, gentle and patient. With me, and with everyone else.

His good, good heart continues to show, and I love him for it.

photo credit: Morgan Braun

The Gift of Second Chances

This last weekend, my friend Kelly gave me a gift.

Well, she gave me a few gifts, actually. She gave me the gift of her time, her presence, her sweetness, her heart, and her cooking.

Oh, her cooking.

I was in food heaven. She came over for the afternoon, and we talked for hours, and then we cooked. She called it “cooking together”, but really, I just watched her, and tried to remember everything she did so that I can make the same meal on my own.

She brought over a big box of fresh vegetables and salmon, and introduced me to celery root. (Who knew my new favorite food has been waiting for me at Superstore all this time?)

And while her food was amazing, there was something even more significant about the time spent with Kelly.

You see, I’ve known Kelly for two and a half years, and yet I’ve never hung out with her before, one on one. For whatever reason, we’ve never truly connected during those two and a half years.

She worked at camp for a few summers, and then she left. It could easily have worked out that I wouldn’t have seen her again.

But some stuff happened, we were able to connect through email, and before I knew it, there she was at my door with her celery root. And when she left, I was completely baffled as to why, in those two and a half years, we had never done this before.

Why did we keep missing this connecting point? Why did I get the impression that we wouldn’t have much in common? How did I manage to miss out on this for all that time?

I have to say that I really don’t know. But I am so, so thankful that Kelly gave me the gift of a second chance. If she had never emailed me, we would have missed each other completely.

Has this ever happened to you before? I ask, because it’s not the first time it’s happened to me. And it makes me wonder…

Do we allow first impressions to get in the way? Are we blinded to some of the good things (people!) that are right in front of us? Or is it because we’re not ready yet, and we reach the point of connection when God has finally brought our hearts to the right place?

I don’t know. But I do know that when someone has the courage to reach out in a vulnerable attempt to connect, it can result in beautiful things.

And when we listen to lies like, “That person will think I’m strange for emailing!” or “What if they don’t really want to talk with me?”, we could be running the risk of missing out on something really amazing.

Like celery root!

Or someone like Kelly…

Is there someone in your life whom you long to connect with, but have been too afraid to reach out to?

Mentor Me (Conclusion): The Gift That Keeps on Giving

I cannot count the times I have heard wonderful, wise words from a mentor, and then found myself passing those same words on to someone I’m mentoring, a short time later.

My mentor has a mentor. She is learning and growing and being challenged. Then she meets with me and challenges me. And then I meet with a few girls, and try to do the same.

Isn’t that fantastic? I love it. I’m part of a chain. We all have a role, and we keep the good stuff going.

Now, I do have to put in here that there is also a ton of value in those great, comfortable, peer type of friendships when you can connect and just live life in a similar way. Yesterday afternoon, I spent an hour talking with one of my dear friends, and it has left me with the same kind of feeling I get from putting on a comfy pair of sweats and drinking hot tea after a long day. You know that feeling? Letting your hair down. Being yourself.

We need those kinds of relationships, too. But I think they happen more naturally, and are a bit easier to come by than the mentor-type of relationships.

I have no idea where you’re at in your life. I don’t know if anything in any of these posts on mentoring has rung true with you.

I hope so. I hope you have a mentor. I hope you are a mentor. And if you’re not, I hope that you have that chance at some point in your life.

I hope you know how much you have to offer the people around you. I hope that you’re open to all of the wonderful, crazy, unexpected opportunities and relationships that God has up His sleeve for you.

I hope you can be part of a chain, too! I hope you receive that gift, and that you have the chance to pass it on.

Part 1: Embarking on a Journey

Part 2: Sharing Some Personal Stories

Part 3: So How Do I Find Myself a Mentor?

Part 4: Choosing a Victim

Part 5: What Do We Talk About Now?

Conclusion: The Gift That Keeps on Giving