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Archive for the ‘Promoting Friends’ Category

It was a short conversation over text, but it has stuck with me all week, so I asked for permission to share it with you!

Me – How do you know my friend Amy?

Michelle – She sat at my table at MOPS* like five years ago.

Michelle and I recently met at the school where I teach one day a week, and we just became Facebook friends a few days ago. I checked out her page to see who we have in common and was happy to see Amy’s name. After I explained my connection to Amy, Michelle had me teary with this story:

“She probably doesn’t know this, but she was instrumental for me dealing with a teen pregnancy – with my step-daughter. I had MOPS the day after we found out she was seven and a half months pregnant. Obviously, I was reeling. I shared my news with the other ladies at my table and Amy looked at me and said,

`God sent a baby to save the world. Maybe He’s sending this one to save your daughter.’

And it did…save her, and it saved our relationship. We adopted her baby, Harper Grace. Grace for God’s grace. Amy probably barely remembers me, but I’ll never forget her.”

THIS is what friends do for each other – speak words of kindness and love, especially when someone is hurting. Amy is one of those people you meet that always knows what to say to lighten someone else’s burden. She makes people feel seen and loved. She has spoken words of life to me too and inspired me to be a better friend, so I really connected with Michelle’s story.

My daughter’s middle name is also Grace, but there’s another piece of this story that tugged at my heart. Michelle and Amy met at MOPS!

You see, Amy struggled with infertility (and all the heartache that comes with it) for several years before she became a mom. I was witness to part of that difficult season of her life, and I know where she was at 5 years ago as an exhausted new mommy of triplets! I love that she was part of a MOPS group and I think it’s awesome how she made a difference in Michelle’s life. I love that my world continues to both shrink and expand through my friendships with amazing people.

And that little unplanned baby they were talking about?

She’s now a beautiful little girl.

 

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Michelle and Harper

*MOPS stands for Mothers of Preschoolers. Headquartered in Denver, MOPS has been around since 1973. They partner with churches and organizations in over 60 countries to encourage moms. For more information or to find a MOPS group near you, visit their website: mops.org

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$500.00.

A weekend away in an unknown destination.

Details to be given once you arrive at the airport with your carry-on bag.

Are you in?

I said YES!

Last fall, my friend Cindy decided to put together a Mom’s mystery trip. She’s the director of the private school where I teach and my kids take classes on Fridays. She’s also an experienced world traveler, having led several educational trips abroad for high school students, and done some traveling of her own with her family. She excitedly made the first announcement to see if anyone would be interested.

The responses ran from “YES, YES, YES!” to “Are you crazy? I’m not spending money to go on a trip without knowing the details!”

In the end, it was a chilly January morning when five excited women met Cindy at the airport with our carry-on luggage in tow. (A very special thank you to my mystery friend who made it possible for me to go on this adventure! I can’t thank you enough!) After we gathered around, Cindy announced we were booked on a non-stop flight to Miami where we would spend the night in a luxury suite before driving to the Port of Palm Beach the next morning to board a ship for a two-day cruise to the Bahamas! It was more than I ever hoped or imagined! WOW!!!

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2016 Mystery Moms

We arrived in Miami and drove to the Marriott on Biscayne Bay. It was beautiful! We settled in a bit then talked and laughed our way through dinner at Primo Restaurant near our hotel. My friend Veronica and I ordered different meals so we could share. Delicious! I also tried crab cakes for the first time and loved them. Who knew?

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Marriott at Biscayne Bay

After dinner we drove our minivan down to south beach and cruised past all the clubs. Can you picture it? lol We were so cool. The traffic was insane! We came back to the hotel and took some pictures of the bay (and each other) and hung out enjoying the cool breeze. What a beautiful night!

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Miami Sunrise over Biscayne Bay

The next morning, we headed for Little Havana to eat breakfast at the famous Versailles Bakery & Restaurant. I tried Cuban coffee (yuck) and took lots of pictures of the architecture and my breakfast. I’ll spare you those particular photos. Not having seen palm trees since I was a little girl living in California, I loved the drive to the port! You could feel the excitement and energy in the van as we planned possible activities: A glass bottom boat tour, swimming with the sharks (Ellison was the only one up for that adventure), shows on the boat, and of course, shopping.

Then we arrived at the port and our trip took an unexpected turn.

 

Click on the images to enlarge them.

As we were checking in, we found out Amanda had a copy of her birth certificate and wouldn’t be allowed to go on the cruise. The port only allows state-issued birth certificates or passports for re-entry into the United States. I suddenly felt like I had swallowed a pile of rocks. I have a military hospital issued birth certificate. Sure enough, when it was my turn at the counter, the guy practically rolled his eyes at me as he handed me my documents and told me no, I would not be leaving with my group.

Stunned, angry, sad, disappointed. I didn’t know what to feel. We were just told we needed an original birth certificate with a raised seal. That’s what I have. It’s the one I’ve used my whole life. But it wasn’t enough. It was a terrible mix up, and Cindy felt awful about it. My tender-hearted friend was beside herself trying to fix it.

It was a struggle looking into the sad faces of my friends. Everyone felt terrible. I love them and wanted them to enjoy their cruise. A few deep breaths and hugs later and they were off, leaving me and Amanda to form a new plan for a few days in Florida.

We were both in a bit of shock, but we pep talked each other into looking at it as another unplanned adventure. It worked! We had a blast! We decided to take lots of pictures and post them to Instagram so our cruising friends would know we were having fun, and they’d be included in our part of the trip too. We didn’t know they didn’t have internet and couldn’t see our pictures or share their own. My friend Ellison was the only one to interact with us at all, so now I’m convinced she’s either a spy, has her own satellite phone, or connections in high places. I’m leaning towards spy. 😉

Amanda and I found a nice place to stay in West Palm Beach and spent our two days walking, talking, going to the beach, visiting a state park, and attempting an Anthony Hernandez scavenger hunt. Our first night in West Palm Beach we happened upon a pretty cool wall mural of JFK, so I googled the artist and found out he had street art all over the city! (See above and check out his website, the ones below are other people’s art.)

The whole art district was pretty great. We stayed up late into the night talking, got sand all over the rental van, laughed, cried, shared the highlights of our lives with each other, ate great food, and relaxed.

And what is a trip to Florida without spending a bit of time writing at the beach and playing in the waves? The photo of my hands full of sand is me rescuing a stranded baby jellyfish. He’s the bluish blob on top. I carefully scooped him up and threw him back into the ocean and cheered him on with the hope he’d beat the tide.

Our vacation flew by and soon it was time to meet the other ladies at port and begin the uncertain trek back to Denver – which was in the middle of a snow storm. I kind of hoped our flight would get cancelled so we’d have another day with all of us together. I even bought this postcard and texted the photo to a few friends. Ha! No such luck. We actually arrived home early?!

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It was a fabulous trip! It was good that I didn’t have a plan, and even though it didn’t go according to Cindy’s plan either, I would do it again! And guess what? Last week, Cindy announced the next mystery trip is scheduled for February! I wonder how long it will take me to get my passport?

What about you? Would you go on a mystery trip?

Do you have any suggestions for great WARM places to visit while it’s freezing in Colorado?

 

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An excerpt from my memorial post about Angi:

When I started blogging back in 2004, Angi called me and said, “I just found you on the internet! Well, it’s not you, but this lady could be you, you’re so similar.” And that’s how I met my friend Pam, a kindred spirit on the other side of the country. Angi brought us together. 

Pam, my kindred spirit friend.

Before blogging became a thing or Facebook was around to make connecting with other bloggers immensely easy, there was a small circle of us from around the country who read each others blogs. The internet shrank the world as we discussed controversial subjects, prayed each other through hard times, and laughed at the silliness we sometimes posted. Pam was part of that circle. She was one of my first blogging friends.

I haven’t actually met her face to face yet, but I hope to someday. I didn’t have time to request a photo from her – just know she’s a beautiful woman. She’s been a friend to me for many years now, and will be for many more.

Kindred spirits don’t always live close, and sometimes they’ve never met.

Check out a few of my blogging friends:

Don at https://donhillson.wordpress.com/

Beckie at http://free2b2much.blogspot.com/

Tracy at https://countyroadchronicles.wordpress.com/

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