Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Reason, Season or Lifetime: 10 Friendships to Nurture

You may have read this timeless saying about friendship many times without giving it any thought:

"People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
When you know which one it is, you will know what to do for that person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They may seem like a godsend and they are.They are there for the reason you need them to be.

Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.

Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and
force you to take a stand.

What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to share, grow or learn. They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it, it is real... But only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons, things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life."

--Author Unknown

But how do you know? When you meet someone and hit it off, how do you know if this friend is in your life for a reason, season or lifetime? 

It may seem like you've known someone you meet forever. You have so much in common and become fast friends. Fast forward a year or two and something happens. Maybe it's something you said or maybe you just drifted apart. 

You really don't know from the first meeting if a friendship will stand the test of time. So what should you do? Should you invest time and energy into every new friendship? Only nurture old friendships and hope for the best?  

Most people take the time to build and strengthen the relationship with a spouse or partner. Here are 10 additional friendships to nurture through thick and thin. You won't regret investing time in these friendships.

God. He created you in His image for a reason. He walks beside you in the best of times and carries you in the worst of times. Honor God in everything you say and do.

Yourself. It's impossible to love others if you don't first love yourself. Let the internal voice you speak to yourself be kind and nurturing.

Your Mom. Mitch Albom said, "Behind all your stories is always your mother's story, because hers is where yours begin." There's no love like a mother's love.

Your Dad. A dad is his son's first hero and his daughter's first love. A father's love is eternal and everlasting.

Your Siblings. Nobody truly understands you the way your siblings do. Let your shared memories create a future filled with laughter and love.

Your Children. Khalil Gibran wrote, "You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth." Love and support the children they are and the adults they become.

Your Pastor or Spiritual Adviser. In every life, there are challenges and struggles. Your pastor or spiritual adviser offers encouragement and guidance through life's trials.

Someone Who Understands. As you grow and change in life, reach out to others who have walked the same path. A friend who understands what you're going through is a treasure.

Your Mentor. A mentor is defined as "an experienced and trusted adviser." A mentor sees the your skills and weaknesses and helps you become the person you were meant to be. 

Your Best Friend. Henry Ford said, "My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me." A best friend laughs with you, cries with you and accepts you.

Make time in your busy life to build relationships. Share time with family and friends. Whether for a reason, season or lifetime, when you give your time, you give the best part of yourself. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A Veterans Day Salute to My Hero

Daddy, you were the first man I knew
I learned so many things from you
How to swim and ride a bike alone
And the proper way to answer our phone.

When I was young, you went far away
To serve your country while we played
I didn't know then what it really meant
When to Vietnam you were sent.

From far away, you kept in touch with us all
While doing your duty and standing tall
Helping a people we never knew
As all of your children older grew.

You sent letters and cards to your girls and boys
With words of encouragement instead of toys
Telling us how to live and to grow
To learn the things we needed to know.

When you returned home, you took your spot
As head of the family, teaching us a lot
Taking us here and taking us there
Leading kids and Boy Scouts everywhere.

You answered whatever questions we asked of you
With things to remember that we knew were true
You showed us how to grow up strong and tall
To be men and women who helped one and all.

On this Veterans Day, I want you to know
I appreciate the ways you taught me to grow
Although I didn't always thank you back then
Now I know better and I thank you again.

You're no longer with us, yet you're still here
On this day and every day of the year
Watching and guiding with love in your heart
Until we're together again, nevermore to part.

Thanks for the gifts of your wisdom and words
Now we remember those things that we heard
Repeating them now that we are grown
Teaching the kids we now call our own.

Your 90 years passed so quickly
To us, it still seems like a blur
Your Scouts called you The Colonel
And your soldiers called you sir.

To us, you were Daddy, back then and still now
The man we looked up to, you showed us how
To live our lives in service to others
To respect and to love, especially our mother.

Thanks so much, I am so proud to call you Dad
The man I looked up to, even when I got mad
For those who you helped and those who you saved
For the lessons you taught and the words that you gave.

As we honor and remember veterans everywhere
I gaze toward Heaven and offer this prayer
Thank God for Daddy, my hero I'll never forget
A soldier among soldiers, a vet among vets.

-- Sandy Wallace, proud daughter of Colonel Robert A. Atkins, Sr. US Army Retired
Veterans Day 2015, adapted from my poem "On Ode to Dad: My Hero" written June 4, 2012