Thursday, July 25, 2013

One Plate at a Time

I have not always been a girl’s girl. Growing up in a neighborhood of boys, I played hard and long with my brother and his friends; eschewing Barbie and her crew for tall leafy trees to climb; deep cool ravines to run rampant in; and the half-built cinder-block structures near the soccer field in the park that made a great fort. This trend continued all through school as I made friends with the girls, but kept my best friendships for the guys and their ability to keep things simple and uncomplicated.

Fast-forward twenty-something years in my life and I’m all about my women friends. My grown up girlfriends. I’m still a fringe-of-the-party kind of loner, but there are a handful that I hold close to my heart. I’d seen some of them online before I met them in person – friends of friends who shared a monthly supper club in common – I’d see their likes and comments on mutual friends' Facebook posts; hear about them at church gatherings; come into a conversation where someone told a story about someone else and there that name was again. And then I met them.

One night in December; squeezing together around a booth in a Chinese restaurant and spilling out the sides – I said hello for the first time – ducking immediately into introvert mode as the laughter, holiday cheer, and swapping of dishes swirled around me. I recognized faces, now suddenly blooming in real life around me, and thought, I could do it. I could be friends here.

The Girls and I at the Hub on a summer afternoon
Month by month I came back. Came as we celebrated birthdays; set goals; caught up on life moving at break-neck pace; talked about kids; laughed some more, ate some more – always at a different favorite place.

There was a space of time where we actually broke for a while. Things happen in any group of friends, they always do, and for a while there was a large, empty space where this cluster of companionship used to be. Then the May birthdays said “oh, why not, let’s just do it again and see who comes,” and it was off and running. A little bit of the same. A little bit different. But still together. And still dinner. And still God-blessed and holding on and praying together and for each other.

Technology adds a new dimension now - and it’s a great place to connect when we can’t be together. We post prayer requests, struggles with family, our hopes for our children, death, cancer, chronic illness that feels like it’s killing us, custody battles, unemployment, the things that wear us so thin we feel we can’t breathe, joys, those wonderful moments you just have to share right this second – and then we have those times we’re together again. And it’s all of us, around another table; everyone hugging hello; passing menus and deciding what to order; trying to play catch up and breathe in the life that flows from one to another when we are connected.

These are the connections that happen over chow mein and cheese plates. Over crab dip and chardonnay. Over corn salad and enchiladas. These connections weave us together; intertwining our lives, so that when things happen – good or bad – when I reach for the phone to call or text, it’s these women I’m reaching out for; their prayers I’m asking for;  their voices I want to hear – laughing or crying with me. I’m blessed to have been brought to them; blessed to have been welcomed in by them; blessed to be adding our stories together, one plate at a time.



I'm thrilled to be featured as a Second Helpings guest post with the Bloom (in)courage Book Club. We've been reading the wonderfully tasteful Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table, by Shauna Niequist. Special thanks to Alia Joy from Narrow Paths to Higher Places and Robin Dance from (in)courage and Pensieve.me for their support and encouragement on my very first guest post.

And be sure to visit Anna {a girl with a blog} - I'm her second helpings today. And she's just lovely. 

I'd love to connect with you some more - stop on by the Three Bees Facebook Page or connect with me on Twitter @3BeesBlueBonnet. Let's continue the conversation!

29 comments :

  1. Aren't you glad you took the risk and connected with those friends? Wonderful!

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    1. I always will be. This is a blessing that continues to grow. Thank you for stopping by!

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  2. I too have a group of girlfriends who have had seasons around and away from the table of fellowship. What a blessing it is.
    I enjoyed your post so much!

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    1. Thank you so much Darlene. God's gifts to us in the fellowship of our friends is one of the most priceless.

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  3. I love this story, Rebekah. Congrats on your first guest post :)

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    1. Thank you Joy. I'm thrilled to be with (in)courage. This online community - they're amazing. Thank you for your kind comments.

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  4. Rebekah,
    How well you conveyed the blessing of friends in season and out, in person and online, over meals and spilling out of booths. I have a group of friends ("the birthday girls/bag ladies") who gather for celebrating each birthday and now preparing gift bags for guests coming to our children's weddings. I love you featuring this type of life around the table.
    Way to go scoring this as your first guest gig! : )

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    1. Amy - I love to hear stories about other girls and their groups. God is so good. So blessed to have connected with you via the (in)courage writers group! I appreciate - so much - my online and offline friends who share my faith, my heart, and my passions.

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  5. Love you to the moon and back, my friend! I'm so proud of you and all that you're accomplishing! You are a talented woman and I am thrilled that you're sharing all of your inspirations with others. I can't wait to see how God will continue to use and grow this talent in you!

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    1. Oh, my ENFP friend, you are one of my biggest cheerleaders and I love that about you. Thank you for blessing me in real life and here with all that you do. Love you!

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  6. Oh my friend... so thrilled and oh so proud of you! This friendships - these connections that run deep and share life all real and out in the open - they are such a gift! So glad that you took the risk... and so happy for you and your first guest post! Go big or go home, girlie! Nicely Done!!!

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    1. So blessed to have them, and so blessed to be building more community online with friends like you and the other FMF crew. I can't wait until we get our first inRL meet up - 'cause it's going to be awesome!

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  7. Girl friends and enchiladas help keep me sane. Love this! :)

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    1. Yes they do! Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  8. I will never forget that December meeting when I met my new 'old friend'- a truly kindred spirit I couldn't wait to talk to again!
    I am so proud of all that you are accomplishing. You deserve to be recognized for your beautiful writing talent and wise and gracious voice. You are such an inspiration!

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    1. That moment when you look at someone and say, "yes, I've known you for a long time before we met." My heart friend. Thank you for being the first one to see this, proof it, and encourage me to just go for it. You always help me get to the point of brave and believing.

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  9. So refreshing from one introvert to another...love your article!

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    1. I'm so glad this spoke to you - thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a note!

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  10. Hi, I saw your link on (in)courage too. Beautiful post!

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    1. Jamie, thank you for stopping by and sharing with me.

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  11. Hi, Rebekah. I read your "second helping" post on (in)courage and just had to read the rest of the story. I recently have also connected with a wonderful group of girlfriends and I already don't want to find out what I would do without them! Thanks for sharing your story!

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    1. Lisa, thank you for sharing - aren't girlfriends the best? They come into our lives and we are just never the same. So glad you stopped by.

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  12. Rebekah,
    I have a group of girlfriends like this too. We have blessed each other for over 20 years now. We've had broken times too, but the healing makes us stronger. Thank you for sharing your blessing with us. I am going to share this with my Birthday girls.
    Clara

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    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed this Clara - I hope your group of Birthday girls will too. What a wonderful history you have together.

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  13. Beautifully written. You are so talented, it blows me away. Thank you for joining our group and helping it keep going. Also, thank you for using this picture of when I was much thinner! -K

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    1. I do love our group - every one of you. It gets better every time we do something. Thank you for bringing so much laughter into the mix. Love you, girl!

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  14. I enjoyed your post so much about Friends. I have half a dozen women at church who get together for prayers and Bible studies. I call them my Math group because we help one another by dividing our sorrows and multiplying our joys in life as we add all we can to each other's lives.

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    1. What a wonderful title for that group! I love thinking about it that way. I hope you group of special friends continues to be blessed - by Him and by each other.

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  15. I'm so thankful to Bloom Book Club! It made me to step up to organizing monthly meeting around the table. Our food is inspired by Shauna's book Bread & Wine - a love letter to life around the table. Our conversations and Bible story time follows after Seven - An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. My Seven book received a coat of Con-Tact as protection to our lively hands and grease fingers. Bloom took me to the blogs. It's a journey now with flavor of Blueberry Crisp and Watermelon Feta Salad. Eating healthy or not pops up and down around the table, mixed with discussions of what God intended to our lives. Right now, What Happens When Women Says Yes to God has a place and an online group on Facebook under the VCC Women's Ministry. Experiencing power and love has a different tune. I'm re-thinking my life and I don't feel alone anymore. My home has become a place for prayers and praises. What a difference from the mourning of my deceased husband and the daughter's gateway on 2012 to a place of confidence that if I say YES to Him and to people I am on the #gathergrowgo.

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Thank you for the kindess of your comment. I pray your patience with the word verification. I've had such troubles with spammers lately. Thank you for grace. I look forward to reading all the comments and responding. I appreciate you!