I've always had friends in my life.  I was taught to be friends with everyone.  Not everyone was nice, but I did my best to be nice.  There were some days that I was "allowed" to be friends with the popular girls.  I cringe to think that on those days I may have treated my real friends less nicely in order to celebrate my momentary position of popularity.  In grade school, Gretchen Becker was my bosom buddy.  We "camped", played make-believe, plotted and schemed.  In junior high, Jennifer Maser and I were constantly together.  I remember riding her motorcycle, watching movies on the state of the art disc player...I can't even remember what it was called, but it wasn't VHS and it wasn't yet DVD.  As high school approached and I was more involved in sports, my friends changed.  Well, they didn't change, I guess I just didn't consistenly hang out with just one.  I do recall having lots of friends, so maybe we all did things together.  When we moved to Scottsbluff, it took a little warming up.  It seemed most people had their guards up and I later learned that I was a threat because I was a good athlete, so I would have to really earn the acceptance of others.  I don't feel like it took long to do so.  I'm wasn't a snob.  I still followed that same rule, and I was desperately in need of being embraced by these new classmates.  Until she moved, where Lisa Moranville was, so was I. 

My later years of high school when even more solid friendships are made, there was Kristy, Brenda and Brenda.  If I go back through pictures, the majority of them have all four of us in them.  There were always others, but these three were my confidants, my support, my encouragement.  True girlfriends.  We did many, many things together...played sports, followed boyfriends' baseball games, worked the same jobs, traveled to each others' college campuses for visits.  We're still good friends, and it is always easy to catch up, but as I quickly learned, there were even more friends to make as life moves on. 

College and PT school introduced more friends...more mature, or actually, we were just at amore mature place in our lives and able to develop more mature relationships.  Nancy.  She got the title of best friend. We've been through sooo much together and have so many parallels in our lives.  Even through PT school, she was part of it all, so she was still part of my growing circle and we each know each other's friends from our respective schools.  We were in each other's weddings, and each have children whom are each other's Godchildren.  In PT school there were several of us who spent a lot of time together studying and playing and we continue to reunite whenever the opportunity presents itself.  Jill, Steph and Angie remain very close and dear friends whom I share much with. 

As I continue to grow in age, in my spiritual walk, in my parenting experiences, my circle of friends continues to grow and these women (and some men) have become friends because of more than just something minimal that we have in common.  There are bigger and more important things.  One of the biggest is our love of the Lord, our desire to serve Him, our passion for our Catholic faith, and our children and how we desire to raise them.  These are truly bonding issues.  As I've grown, I notice that those that I spend the most time with are those that I have the most in common with.  It's really not rocket science, but it really is a blessing.  I think one has real and true friends that are the same as the person whom they want to be like. 

There are definitely people who become friends due to an instant connection, and those that become friends over a long course of knowing each other.  I have both kinds.  They are all important to me and I respect and admire each of them.  We have friends that share parenting strategies, struggles and triumphs with us on a monthly basis--boy is that necessary! They are the families that I would hand my children to in a moment because they would be cared for in the same manner they are here in our home. They are great friends! There is not always a lot of time to spend with friends, but I've noticed that as my friends and my extracirricular activies cross paths, I've really enjoyed it immensely.  Sitting at basketball games and track meets together, at school and church functions, and lately, running.  These are all things that I will be doing anyway, but I am fortuneate to do them in the company of friends.  I relish these times and look forward to them.  I'm happy for the excuses to see them and sometimes it even makes my hectic schedule seem less hectic because it is social...a fun social!  I love it that I can see these friends frequently because of all that we have in common.  I am constantly inspired by them.  Inspired to live quietly and boldly, be confident, be myself, to discipline, to pray, to worship, to decorate, to love my children and love my husband and love my family, to be a better person and friend, to give of myself and keep to myself, to be involved and be busy and to step back and say no.  Everyday I'm thankful for my friends...the ones I had years ago, the ones I still have from years ago, and the ones I have now.

In the past several weeks of training for the half-marathon, in addition to running regularly with friends during the week, I ran my long runs consistently with three other people:  Tim Brox, Kim Harper and Lisa Butler.  The four of us were friends well before this time, and with children who go to school together among many other common things. We had talked about how our feet would deserve to be pampered after all this running, and because Tim mentioned that he felt guilty leaving Melissa during these times, and because we thought it would be more fun to do a girl thing with her rather than him, the four of us girls and Julia too scheduled pedicures together.  Julia and I had been talking about do just that for some time, so it was fun that we could all five go together. 

We all sat in a row--not necessarily conducive to having a 5-way conversation, but fun none-the-less--and had our feet soaked, scrubbed, rubbed and finally toes painted beautifully.  We scowered the polishes to find the perfect one for each of us...Twisted Turquoise, Queen for a Day, I Love This Color, Sacred Heart...I can't even begin to remember all of them.  We sat in the most lovely massage chairs that for the most part of an hour having our lets and backs rolled and rubbed and squeezed and drank our beverages of choice.  It was a short period of time, but so fun, and so necessary...well, probably not necessary but still nice.  What a luxury to steal some time away from the normal everyday stuff to do something so pampering with girlfriends.