My weekend in a nutshell — friends, food, and a forecast calling for snow. It’s that simple and that complex.

Five of us traveled just a few miles north for a weekend getaway. We were one short for this trip — but she’d made plans with the hubby. And not everyone makes every trip – some of us do, but schedules conflict and we just do the best we can. This is our sixth trip and this one marked a new beginning for us. It seems that we’ve weathered the storms of the past couple of years and come out just a bit stronger and maybe even a little wiser

These women are my dearest friends and they have seen me through some wonderful times and some dark days. They’ve been there for me and I hope I’ve been there for them. This weekend I just soaked in this friendship. These women know me –faults and all – and they love me anyway …. shocking, I know.

As we lounged around and waited on the snow (watching the continuous news coverage for the possibility of 2 inches of snow – news coverage that only happens in the Deep South), I considered how far this ragtag band of rebels has come. We started out in 2002 (at least we think it’s 2002, we aren’t really certain about the actual date…. and we are attributing this lack of certainty to artificial sweetener and not to our age….) – and we started out as a Bible study group. Most of us didn’t know one another very well, but God had such plans for us. In His wisdom and divine plan, He knew that we could and would sustain each other through the trials that would come to each of us. And we’ve seen our share – deception, cancer, surgeries, job woes, legal snafus, driving teens (with a few car wrecks tossed in), traveling husbands, and more. We’ve stood by one another – and we’ve supported each other.

And it hasn’t all been bad – we’ve had some wonderful times in the past few years. In fact, it’s been mostly wonderful. Grandbabies were born, hearing was gained (yep, Suzi is the proud recipient of a BAHA implant and she can now hear all that we’re saying. Although, at times I’m not sure this is a blessing). We’ve had great spiritual victories and growth. I sold a book that grew out of the lessons God has taught me through these women – Girlfriends, God, and Grace and I’m indebted to each of them for allowing me to be a part of their lives.

We are so much more than just a group of friends – these women are my warriors. Their prayers have sustained me and their support makes life a bit easier. These girlfriends are my answered prayer – they are the friends I often dreamed of and the friends I hope to always have. They are girlfriends – true girlfriends. They laugh with me. They celebrate my triumphs and my victories. They keep me grounded – and they make me laugh (that sidesplitting, breathtaking laughter that starts someone deep in your soul and just bubbles out). They accept me at face value. They are my friends.

These women are a Joy in my life – a Joy that the Lord has granted me and I thank Him for each of them.

Oh, and no snow – not one flake. But we did have Bob – a bob-tailed cat who’s now our mascot.

Did I mention that it was really cold — no snow, but really cold. We (actually just Connie) built a fire and we roasted some marshmallows.