Guest Host…. Amy Showalter!

Well, this is exciting! I am just ‘over the moon thrilled’ to be sharing one of my favorite blog-spots to hit up for: eye-candy, beauty, lovely things, (maybe those are kinda all the same thing but let me be…) and wise words. Her photos are just so…. YUM.

Amy Showalter has agreed to write a guest post for me and I am just feeling so grateful. After you read her guest post- please visit her at Roller Mills Farm… and leave her some love.

You will LIKE-Y…. ♥

Jenny

~~~~~

Here is Amy:

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought i was the only one.'” -C.S. Lewis 

This summer i turned 30 years old.

I baked my own cake, which i’m pretty sure was a very grown-up thing to do.  

Chocolate, dark, deeply flavored with coffee. baked in a simple rectangular pan because i didn’t want to spend the whole day working on it.

It’s so great to be all grown up and do whatever you want.


People talk about feeling old in mostly negative ways but so far “aging” hasn’t been a problem… except for maybe having to grow up and deal with making my own cake. 

Beyond that I’m still of the illusion that life is what you make it regardless of age and circumstance. 

 

One thing that changed a little though is friends. Or maybe it was me that changed.

Either way, it caught me off guard and caused a few moments of grieving. 

I didn’t see that one coming. 


It doesn’t seem to help that i recently got married and moved to a totally new area. So many close friends are now far away but, after being here for a few years, i guess i expected to be further along then i was with building new “local” friendships. 

There was even an article in the NY Times “Why Is It Hard To Make Friends Over 30?”… 


After reading that rather depressing perspective of how life gets in the way of good friendships i decided to stick with my previous declaration of “life is what you make it”… 

I think anyone of a “certain age” understands the LIFE that gets in the way of all the great and noble things you aspire to do with your one glorious chance to live, so… i probably don’t need to explain that further. 


Even so, it’s unacceptable to have to plan 3 months in advance just to share a meal with someone. 


There are periods in life, maybe, when this happens… 

I hear a new baby takes more attention then a full time job… and any major life changes, like marriage, moving and careers, can sometimes demand all your energy and focus. I’m convinced though, to really live well, those should not be the norm.


If you have a husband, i hope that he’s your best friend but you know that’s not what i’m talking about here.
Women need other women-friends. 

We need couple friends. Sunday night friends. Traveling friends. Coffee friends. Christian friends… and even “worldly” friends. (whatever that really means!)

 

Whatever you’re into, whatever stage you’re at in life, a good friend who just “gets it” makes even the dullest moments seem energizing.

 

 I haven’t really figured it out yet (really?) but there are a few things i’ve observed that greatly improve the chances of maintaining old friends and gathering new ones all through life. 

 

So i started a list of a few ways that i’m learning i can be intentional about cultivating friends.


1.) Friendship, like anything good in life, actually takes work. It takes effort and it takes consistency. Since so many friends are long-distance for me now, i have to make it a priority to connect in some way on a regular basis. Phone calls are hard for me but i’m working at getting better. It seems a good idea to think of talking to one person per day. Facebook does not count.

To be honest, right now i’m at about 1 or 2 good, long-distant phone calls per week… and sometimes that’s including my Mom. She usually gets first priority. I told you i’m not very good at this.


2.) It takes sacrifice. For all my complaining, i do have some really good friends who are local. Recently one of them called about stopping by on a midweek day and i have to admit i really wanted to say no… I had the day all set to paint a room that i was turning into a closet and i was so excited to see it done. I knew that it wouldn’t happen if she came but… i said yes. Over a glass of sweet tea at the kitchen table she announced that they were pregnant! and i was one of the very first to hear the news! I was so glad i said yes! Even though it meant i had to spend a sunny Saturday inside painting when i usually would have liked to be free to do something less committed. So worth it.

 


3.) Keep some chickens. Or try gardening, whatever it is that thrills you.

 In his book “The Meaning of Marriage”, Timothy Keller has such a great perspective on the character of friendship saying “The very condition of having friends is that we should want something besides friends”. He goes on quoting C.S. Lewis, “Friendship must be about something, even if it were only an enthusiasm for dominoes or white mice. Those who have nothing can share nothing; those are going nowhere can have no fellow-travelers.” 

 

4.) While we’re on the subject of fellow-travelers, Keller also talks about marriages benefiting from sharing life in community. Being able to see a more in-depth perspective of marriages other then your own, or if you are single, before you get into one, can help greatly in setting your own expectations for what it really looks like as well as recognizing during challenges that you are not the only one experiencing hard things. He and his wife Kathy have a group from seminary who get together a few times a year from all parts of the country. If you have groups like that, value them,  and make them a priority.

Once a week on Wednesday we have a group we call Supper Club who meets to gather around the table and for a “family dinner”. It has grown into a deep community of some rather unlikely friendships. 

There really is incredible power in sharing a meal together, especially on a regular basis. Everyone takes turns cooking and doing dishes, even the guys.

 

So much deeper then just a meal for enjoyment, even though it is that as well. We’ve all had ups and downs and varying feelings since we started getting together more then a year and half ago. But it’s real and has helped each one of us to grow as individuals, and in community.

 

5.) Another big one i’ve noticed is allowing each other the freedom to change. This might be even harder for me then making those daily phone calls. I have a tendency to categorize my friends and sometimes they jump out of the perfect little filling system i’ve set them up in. Single friends become couples and sometimes it’s hard to adjust. Babies are great but sometimes that means fewer conversations where i get full attention. It can be hard to let go of the way things were but we have to make adjustments of our expectations. 


6.) I’m also realizing that i am changing. I don’t have the time and energy to devote to maintaining and developing friendships in the same way that i used to. Living on a farm, having a husband, making a home… all good things that must be prioritized in order to preserve harmony and balance.


7.) Liberal amounts of forgiveness and grace. Very important. As much as possible i try to live without regrets. But if there’s anything i would regret its the moments when i don’t offer these things. 

 

 _________________


What do you think? Have you experienced friendships changing after a certain age? 

Do you feel like you are still making new friends as easily as you did before marriage/kids/responsibilities?

~Amy

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11 Comments

  1. April says:

    This was such a wonderful post! Amy thank you so much for sharing your perspective on friendship and Jenny thank you so much for introducing Amy to us! This really does hit so close to home for me… life has changed and it has taken my path away from so many of the people that I love and who grew up with me and shaped who I am.

    Amy’s points about being deliberate, working, having something to offer, sharing meals together… such sound advice. Okay, now I’m off to check out Amy’s site!

  2. Bevy says:

    This is really good… and so true. Seasons- as in friendships- come and go.
    Sometimes it’s silver and sometimes it stays gold.
    Love this post.

  3. Melody says:

    Amy-

    So very well stated! I’ve been lucky enough to have this conversation with you in person. Whatever happened to “to have a friend, one must show himself friendly”? Even the Golden Rule can apply to making and being a friend. And then, as of late, I’ve been comparing my “friendship” with God to my girlfriend friendships. If I put as much time into my friendships as I do with relationship with God… Would it be something like the article talks about– “3 months out”?

    Friendships are such a core ingredient in a healthy lifestyle. Sometimes it takes sacrifice. But sacrifice makes everything worth while. Isn’t that when we feel the most blessed?

    I’m lucky to call you MY friend.

  4. clarita says:

    I so enjoyed this post! And I am so happy to be introduced to Amy’s blog! I know her through mutual friends, and she is a beautiful soul!

    I always love a new post from you, Jenny K. Baileyandme2 makes me happy. 🙂

  5. Lovely post, Amy! Part of “growing up” is being willing to grow with life, and the changes it brings…and it’s inspiring to see you embrace the place you are! Gotta say, turning 30 isn’t such a bad thing, after all!!

  6. Thelma says:

    This post was the highlight of my morning and my muse for the day.
    There are some seriously profound thoughts within these paragraphs right along the lines of what’s been rolling around in my mind lately, in regards to friendships, ect. I really appreciate what Amy had to say in point #3. I had never thot about it that way but it is SO true–friendships being About something other then just being friends. I like that, it inspires me to grow my interests, if for no other reason then to have something to connect w/ others about.
    I’ve been in this area 8 years, almost and it’s still a learning/growing process…this thing of building relationships. Sometimes I still feel like I’m just beginning. I too miss not having ‘history’ with people.
    yes, and the whole thing of frienships changing. we change. circumstances change. and to learn to be ok w/ changes happening and people moving on/changing, that’s huge.

    Thanks for introducing us to Amy’s blog. I had to idea she blogged. yet another treat for my day.!

  7. JessicaD says:

    It’s been nearly 6 years since I moved here. Only in the last few months do I really feel like this is me, this home. But there are so many circumstances that come into play with that. I was very unavailable most those years. It’s sad, but true. And now that I am available, lots of people don’t really know me, nor do they realize that.
    Friendships when you’re older, have kids and hubzbands and new communities, just take more time to mature. And I hate waiting.

    • Amy says:

      We all have that need, to feel known. recognizing that can help to meet that for someone else, usually both parties can’t help but benefit from it

  8. Parla says:

    amy, you have a beautiful gift for being able to put thoughts into words…and your photography is so uniquely beautiful!
    i have very much feel the changing tides of friendships in the past 3 yrs. getting married, moving to a remote area in canada, having a baby…it’s all kind of wrecked havoc on my friendships.
    thank you for the encouragement to make friendships more of a priority 🙂 love your idea of a weekly lunch club 🙂

  9. Jolynn says:

    This was so interesting! I totally connected to it. Making friends in a new community is ‘work’! For me it doesn’t just happen and yet I see others around me that are ‘newbies’ and yet how do seem like they just ‘fit in?’ Grrr! Having moved for by marriage I had to learn the community, learn the husband, learn his family, learn the church… it’s been 3 years and I still have my moments of ‘not sure who to talk to after church’ or when I see a group of ladies talking from the community at the store where I work I feel awkward just walking up and joining in on their conversation. Like I feel like I have to have a reason to join or have something to say in order to ‘enter’ the group. Blahh blah blah!….
    Anyway, I love your writing style – fun and yet meaningful. Hope to hope over to your blog more often 🙂 -Thanks for sharing!

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