Friends! Doesn’t everyone love a good burger every now and then? Our family discovered Five Guys and Fries a few years ago.
Clearly novices, we all ordered cheeseburgers, not realizing that their regular burgers are double burgers. No one complained (!!!) and we were some sweet kind of happy. Peanuts in the shell to munch on, followed by juicy burgers, and a Titanic-sized side of fries….Oh my…
Fellowship plus great food is the best combo’ you can order. While being with family can be super swell, this week I’d like to talk about the power of COMMUNITY in friendships. In this case, I’m talking about girlfriends, and this Valentine’s week, we can call them “Galentine’s”…
I’m blessed to have a group of friends known as “The Yayas.” Kathy somehow assigned this moniker to us after finding a lovely gold plaque for each of us with this definition: “A group of three or more women whose hearts and souls are joined together by laughter and tears shared through this glorious journey of life.”
One of the Yayas, fellow dog lover (!!!) named Susan, gave all of us an awesome book a few years ago for Christmas: Nobody’s Cuter than You: A Memoir about the Beauty of Friendship by Melanie Shankle. Friends, do not miss this book! You’ll laugh and cry and howl, shaking your head thinking, “I cannot believe she’s sharing this, but I’m so glad she did!!!”
You can read more about the YaYas in Chapter Two of my new book, Let’s Be Friends.
You don’t want to miss Melanie’s blog, either: www.thebigmamablog.com She serves up “everything from soup to nuts” as my Mother used to say.
Melanie’s book takes us down Memory Lane to show different aspects of her twenty-five year friendship with Gulley. They do life together.
Melanie’s gift of writing draws you in so you feel like you’re in her family room watching it all transpire. (Sidebar: Melanie wrote an equally funny book on marriage.)
One of a gazillion hilarious antics include Melanie conning Gulley into watching Frozen. Wait ‘til you read Chapter Four. Does she love it like most of us??? Not tellin’….
Another fun discovery is Melanie and Gulley realize road trips are one of their ultimate favorite activities. Now they take their children on road trips, all together, and you don’t want to miss these adventures.
The Yayas took a brief road trip a few years ago when Kathy’s daughter got engaged. The Engagement Party was in Columbus and we decided we must, simply must go. It’s not every day one drives two hundred and fifteen point three miles to Columbus, Ohio from Louisville, Kentucky for a party and back.
Lo and behold, we were blessed with one of our Yaya children to accompany us. Translation: Us old chicks snagged a chauffeur. (Poor Megan was pregnant too, God bless her.)
These six sweet-n-special-n-southern Yayas met when our oldest children, now thirty–three-plus years old, were in first grade at Dunn Elementary School. Those were the days.
(Pictured left to right are Jayne Combs, Denise Seiz, Kathy Daniels, above her is Susan Bugh, then Bev Fleece and finally Yours Truly.)
Who knew we’d attend weddings and funerals together? Even the trials knit us that much closer together.
We’re a picture of Romans 12:15, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”
There’s beauty and comfort in Community.
The plot blissfully thickens as our Yaya children are having children. No one has discovered grand parenting like the Yayas. Currently five of the six Yayas are grandparents, and we are all the best adopted Great Aunts on the planet. Just sayin’…And, as Melanie and Gulley always tell each other, “Nobody’s cuter than you!”(thence the book’s title), the Yayas are always telling each other, “YOU are the BEST!”
Melanie tells us her book “is about all the friendships we as women develop over a lifetime and the influence they have over who we were, who we are, and who we will become.”
Gulley’s the main friend Melanie talks about, and you’ll love becoming acquainted with Jen and a couple other of her friends. Jen endured a prodigal season, but then shared with everyone how she found her way back to Christ. In doing so, she got Melanie to go with her to a Bible study.
Melanie says, “by watching these people live their lives, I learned what it means to seek God’s will….ultimately they pointed me closer to not only Jesus but also to my dear husband.”
After reading Max Lucado’s No Wonder They Call Him the Savior, Melanie says her favorite part is from Max’ recounting of the Prodigal Son:
“Whatever you have done,
Whatever you have become,
It doesn’t matter.
Please come home.”
Melanie adds, “So I came home. And God, in return, lavished me with a scandalous amount of grace as He filled my life not only with wonderful new friends who encouraged me and loved me, but also brought Gulley right along with me as she began to develop a real relationship with God too.”
Melanie says her five years at Texas A & M were what she needed and clearly what God knew she needed. She said, “God knit my heart together with the people He knew would hold my hands as I walked the path of the Prodigal Son.”
Friends, this is a beautiful visual of Community!
This very week, February of 2020, the Yayas took their first real escape to my favorite place of paradise, Naples, Florida. While we were only in Naples four nights, we covered a lot of ground, savoring a variety of mouth-watering dishes at fabulous restaurants, also managing to get in a wee bit of retail therapy. They indulged me and let me drag them out onto the Pier where John and I met many moons ago. Here are a few highlights:
Meanwhile, cherish your friends and thank the Lord for giving them to you. I always maintain, “Friends are cheaper than therapy.”
‘Til next time!
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