I have such fond memories of living in Robbinsdale and the friendships we developed during that time. One Mom loved celebrating Valentine's Day and Halloween and would always have a fun party for the kids. She was so good about having crafts, games and snacks all revolving around a theme. Had it not been for her, I don't think my kids would have done some of the fun (but messy) craft projects they did while in her home. We had alley "Polka" dance parties at another friends house with a real live polka band. We decorated bikes for 4th of July and had our own parade on the parkway. We spent countless hours at the park, the kids playing and the Moms all gabbing. We had picnics and went on field trips. We hung out and enjoyed root beer floats before the fireworks during Whiz Bang Days and then walked to the park together to watch the display of lights. We signed our kids up for t-ball and cheered them on even when they ran the wrong way around the bases. We encouraged each other by listening and sharing the day to day struggles of being a Mom. We walked together at times, we prayed together and even had a Bible study at one point. Even though we all had different choices of churches, or even schools once the kids became of age, we all were on the same quest of being the best Moms we could be. I know my experience of being a stay home Mom may not reflect what most people experience, but for the Moms of our neighborhood it was a wonderful community to raise our kids in. Over the years many of us have moved away but those friendships will always have a special place in our hearts.
At our Moms get together last night, we exchanged blessings and prayers with each other instead of gifts. Just reflecting on the memories we share together was really a blessing in itself. As we age we have experienced the heartache of parents dying and relationships that have ended. We have also experienced the joys together of seeing our children become these amazing and talented people, making a difference in their world. The focus turned from our children to my family and our upcoming trip to Africa. These dear friends all gave me a blessing, a prayer, letter or verse to carry with me on my journey. They know that missions have an important place in my heart and it was so amazing to have them excited that this dream of mine is about to happen. I felt so humbled by their encouragement and their faith in that which is not yet seen. Candles were lit as a symbol of the difference one light + one light + one light etc can make if we just step out and do the task God has given us.
I'm proud to know these women who have influenced me in many ways. I think of the courage that Val had long ago to invite a bunch of strangers to her home in hopes of filling that feeling of being alone. What if she would have ignored that prompting? My life has been richer because of the friendships made that day. What is it that God is asking you to do today? The blessings that may come from just a simple task may be more than you can ever imagine.