As we celebrate the one year anniversary of (in)courage, I’m reminded of the wonderful friendships that are forged through the written word. These are women whose voices echo their encouragement on days when the Lord uses them as balm to my soul. Yet, I am also convicted of how I am called to bloom and flourish right where I am planted – in my home, my church, and my real life community.
Finding time to connect with girl friends is just good for the heart – heart happy, I call it. Whether it's late night chit chats, giggling over coffee or swapping most embarrassing moment stories, the Lord established the bond among female friends as a special thing. Emotionally, He has wired women to appreciate a nurturing, fulfilling friendship with other women.
As a vocalist, this quote resonated with me. "A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words." My problem with bringing that song to fruition is the fact that learning those words takes a lot of time. Time that is rarely there. I have few friends that truly know the songs in my heart, but the few I have, I cherish, and we go deep.
Often, my schedule gets in the way of carving out quality moments with friends, and sometimes when I finally do, I feel guilty. Can anyone relate? There is always laundry to be done, rooms to be cleaned, and appointments to make, yet I know how important it is to forge those relationships.
So, how do I balance those contradictory feelings? By giving it a punch of intentionality.
Throughout the years, I've planned many ladies nights "with purpose." Thinking through some of the domestic tasks that needed completion, we started our "Kitchen Sister's Club."
Since meal planning and bulk cooking/freezer cooking are strengths of mine, I knew it would be a blast to find creative ways that I could plan ahead, save money and eat healthier without it feeling like work. How can meal planning not feel like work, you ask? By incorporating a bunch of girl friends into the occasion.
Over the years, I have done our get together multiple ways, with many different ladies, and groups ranging from 6-20. A highlight of the evening happens from shared fellowship, but the true benefit occurs through our productivity, which results in meals that are a blessing to our family (and our sanity).
This particular evening, we came home with 6-8 meals to save in our freezer. Do you know the amazing feeling to open up the freezer on a particularly hectic day and dinner is already made for you?
I have started brainstorming other creative friendship builders that could be incorporated into our ladies nights "with purpose." When thinking about your own ideas, ask yourself what gift can you bring to share? Is there something that you love to do and could encourage others through the process?
Here are just a few possibilities that I came up with, but I can't wait to hear your additions. Some of the ideas are seasonal, while others can be scheduled for any time.
- Clean each other's house. Take a Saturday and split into teams of three. Set the timer for two hours at each house and clean..yes, really deep clean. (I know, I know, they'd have to be wonderful friends 😉
- Tackle DIY projects that been on that procrastination list – paint a room, refinish a trash to treasure yard sale find, rearrange the living room furniture.
- Cut, organize and swap coupons (one of my favorites)
- Bulk baking day – bread making
- Can seasonal fruits and vegetables ( I want to learn this one!!)
- Sew some slip covers, "mistreatments" or pillow covers.
- Thrift store shopping
- Plant the garden (seasonal)
- Address Christmas Cards (seasonal)
- Organize a Jesse Tree Ornament Exchange
Spending time with friends is precious, but creatively blending time with friends, while embracing our domestic side has been such a wonderful addition.
I'd love to hear what you have done or creative ideas that you might do with your friends?
With the start of a busy fall schedule, I am ready for some of my sweet (in)courage friend inspiration.