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A glimpse into my friend’s story

January 26, 2011

My last few posts have been about “story” and as I continue this series, I’m going to add in a couple of things from my past chapter {past company (The DearBook Co.), that is}.  I wrote a monthly newsletter to go along with my album design business, and the reader favorite was definitely the monthly spotlights where I’d chat with a special friend about four {of my favorite} words and what each meant to them:

  • Order
  • Comfort
  • Style
  • Joy

I thought it was so neat how, even though we were talking about the same four words, each spotlight was so different.  My wonderful newsletter readers {this is before I had a blog!} say they miss these spotlights and would love to see them come back.  I loved doing them so am thrilled to start thinking of who to talk with – along with an updated Q&A format!  {See the bottom of this post to see who’ll be one of the first : )

In the meantime, I’m going to share a few of my past spotlights.   I think these tie into the “story” series that’s underway … these incredible people {BTW, I think we ALL have some pretty incredible things to share} let us have a glimpse into their own story.  This one is with my fabulously wonderful friend, Barbara….


Barbara + me

The DearBook idea was first sparked over coffee with Barbara.  We were talking about the holidays and Christmas memory books then the discussion turned to, “Wouldn’t it be neat to have a book for your year with not just Christmas, but all of a family’s occasions, both big and small?”  That was December of 2005, and a lot has happened since then.  What hasn’t changed is the incredible support from Barbara.  From the countless conversations, questions {she has innately good taste} and advice {she should be a therapist!}, her support has kept me sane and has carried me through to where DearBook is today.  Her simply asking how things are going with DearBook have meant more to me than she knows.

Have you ever read a “You Need Lots of Different Types of Friends” article that says you need one that makes you laugh, one that listens, one you can trust with anything, one with great advice to give, etc, etc, etc?  Well, Barbara is an all-of-the-above friend and more.  We’ll talk back and forth about “friendship” in a bit because this is something that has provided us both with much “joy” but first, here is what Barbara had to say about Order, Comfort and Style…

Angie:  Order:  Any good organizing tips?
Barbara: I am not organized! But I try to be and the details my life are totally organized in my head but I’m still working on translating those thoughts into action. I have been organized in different ways throughout the years but making lists has always been the most effective way for me to keep order. I seem to spring into action when I’m working from a list…and feel productive! “Less is more” in every way is a must for keeping order in our family. We are on a first name basis with the guy at Goodwill! Our kitchen pantry is the most organized “room” in our house. The food is neatly arranged but more exciting to me is that we painted it a great color and hung a nice framed painting on the wall. All of my favorite entertaining pieces are displayed as are ordinary items stored in cute containers. I think I am motivated to keep the pantry in order because it’s a happy space. Just how you’re more likely to write diary entries when you have a journal and pen you love! Simple…but effective.

A:  Comfort:
B: I am a “nester” and homebody so comfort is a biggie. A hot bath, green tea, fresh flowers throughout my home, a box of old cards and notes from my friends and family tucked away in my closet, sentimental artwork hanging on our walls and a great book to read at night all provide personal comfort. And nothing beats the nightly peaceful feeling of all three kids sound asleep in their beds with the sweetest expressions on their faces. We keep photo albums within easy reach and we all love looking through them often and reminiscing. We all seem to find comfort in that. And for decadent comfort, what else but chocolate?!

A:  Style:  You’ve got great style.  Where do you get your inspiration from?
B: I learned about style at an early age from my mom and my Aunt Nancy. In grade school when my friends came over they headed straight for my mom’s closet to play dress-up. She didn’t wear the Pappagallos the other moms wore but instead cute high-heeled Candie’s. And she had lots of them. Her accessories were snazzy as well. She is lovely, smart and funny and has always had an eye for fashion (and great shoes) and pulling herself together for all occasions…in her own personal way…in her style. During those same growing up years I was obsessed with my bedroom and creating a cute, fun and organized space (much like my pantry now). I constantly rearranged my furniture into every conceivable configuration creating different looks. Then my Aunt Nancy who owned an interior design business told me I could come pick out fabric, etc… to re-do my room. My chance to really show my style! I can still see those big bright blue flowers. Personal style is a wonderful reflection of what’s within.

A:  Our conversation on friendship:

All of the following quotes come from the book, The Art of Friendship, 70 Simple Rules for Making Meaningful Connections, by Roger and Sally Horchow, published by St. Martin’s Press, New York.

Quote from book:  “If you learn to be a person who takes action an any of the ways we describe, if you make the nurturing of friendships a personal priority, and if you understand the importance of following up with people, you will enjoy vital and long-lasting relationships in your life.”

A:  You were so good at keeping in touch when we both moved away from Jacksonville…I’m so glad you did because otherwise we would have lost touch and I wouldn’t have found one of my very best friends! What are some ideas of keeping up with people in your life that you wish to stay in touch with? We are all so busy and sometimes don’t make this a priority. {I know my wonderful South Carolina friends are hoping I take note of this!!}

B: One of the neat things about being a parent is that while you are teaching your kids about sharing and how to be a good friend you are reminded of the basic but fundamental lesson that being a good friend takes work. For instance, you invite a classmate to your 5th birthday party and you follow-up with a thank-you note using your new handwriting skill complete with the occasional backward letter. You try hard to show you care. As adults, making friendships a priority competes with a long list of other priorities. True friends are patient, so the occasional forgotten birthday, unreturned e-mail or snippy comment should be “allowed”. Following-up, honesty and mutual respect seem to be the basics. There’s nothing quite like reconnecting with an old friend and feeling like no time has passed at all. You pick right up where you left off. This was definitely the case with us, Angie, and I’m so grateful that our friendship has grown as we have!

The Art of Friendship:
“We also believe that a meaningful connection does not necessarily have to always imply a lifelong, devoted friendship – there is room in every life for fulfilling acquaintances, situational friendships, and temporary but mutually beneficial associations. Understanding these different levels of friendship is an important part of making healthy connections.”

A:  This is an interesting quote because it shows that you can have different “levels” of friendships. We’ve all heard “quality over quantity” and this quote reminds me of that in regards to friendships. Building friendships take time and energy, but they are crucial to our well-being! It’s nice, however, to know that it’s okay to have a lot of casual friends and leave it at that. Do you know what I mean? And you never know which of those casual relationships can evolve into a life-long friend.

B: I know what you mean! I have a friend who moved to a new city where she knew no one. She called and complained that she couldn’t find a friend who she could talk with like she talked to her friends here. I think a big part of that is that she had a lifetime of history with friends here. Then a few months later she talked about this new friend incessantly. Turns out they both love to cook…something none of us here like to do. Recipe swapping and neighborhood bake-offs (as dreadful as that sounds to me) has widened her circle of friends and provided her with new and “healthy connections”. It’s fun to look back on life and see how your friendships have grown, changed, come and go. All friendships are different.

A: We’ve talked about this before… I feel it’s so important to surround yourself with things that make you feel good – and that includes people. We’ve all had conversations with people and then left feeling drained – I know I’ve probably been on both ends!! These are some interesting “warning signs” you may encounter:

The Art of Friendship:

Early Warning Signs: Consider these warning signs reasons to be cautious in proceeding with a relationship:

1. Someone who tells lies or cheats with ease: a person who is comfortable with dishonesty is likely to lie to you, too.
2. Someone who criticizes others: You never know when your friendship might fall out of favor, and your flaws become discussion topic for this person.
3. Someone who brags about getting away with things: That person might decide to put something over on you one day.
4. Someone who is openly argumentative or combative: Who needs it?
5. Someone who is a “victim” or collects injustices: These folks are never satisfied with the way they are treated – even by you.
6. Someone who offers too much information too early: People who tell you their personal business very quickly often tend to become overly reliant or needy.
7. Someone who makes empty promises: You don’t need an unreliable friend in your life.
8. Someone who is always looking over your shoulder: If someone is constantly looking for someone “better” to talk to, you should move on.

A:  What are your thoughts on this? Do you have anything you would add to this list?

B: I think when you are younger you really overlook these signs. I now give myself permission to pull back from “toxic” or “red flag” friends and/or acquaintences. If you’re naturally a people pleaser {guilty!} this takes a lot of grit to allow yourself to do. I think friends who honestly, truly get excited for you when something good happens in your life are keepers and friendships worth cherishing.

I’m so lucky you’re my friend!!!
Thank you, Barbara!!!  The feeling is mutual!



Jennifer + me

I dedicate this post to one of the most beautiful (inside and out!) girls I know …

Happy Birthday to my dear friend Jennifer!!!! Love you…


One Comment leave one →
  1. marybelle smith permalink
    January 27, 2011 12:05 pm

    great words….wise words
    happy bday to Jennifer!!!

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