We Sit In A Circle

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(Painting by Joan Breckwoldt)

We sit in a circle. The circle changes from week to week but for the most part it’s the same group. Some weeks there are tears, some weeks there is laughter, every week there is acceptance. We are as different as women can be on the outside. We go to different churches, our kids are in different schools, our ages are as varied as our incomes but we always find common ground in Christ. Everything from issues with kids to marital questions to how do I find myself in all the chaos. I LOVE the fact that this group has gotten to know me, and loves me anyway! Can I get an AMEN?!?!?

You would think when you put this many women in a room, there would be at least one cat fight every now and then… especially considering this group is made up of everything from southern belles to Yankees to military brats with a Midwesterner thrown in just for good measure. But we’re pretty boring people… there has yet to be a single cat fight!! However, I do love it when as I am saying something I see one of the other gals start doing the “I’ve got something to say” squirm because I know that like it or not, I’m about to hear the truth y’all!

What it all boils down to is that. THE TRUTH. Seriously, how often do you have people speak the truth to you? When you mention a spat with your husband friends say things like “poor you” and “it will all work out.” But not these gals. Nope, they look you square in the eye and say “you realize you were wrong don’t you? Now what are you going to do about it?” There’s no protecting of feelings in this group because when we signed up earlier this year, we signed up for the truth. And good or bad, that’s just what we‘ve got!!

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My Ansley: the Flip Side of the Story

I knew before I even finished the blog about My Ansley, she’d be begging to tell her side of the story (OK, maybe not begging per say but she’d want to get a few words in…) So today, you are in for a treat! Here’s the flip side of the story from My Ansley completely unedited:

My Wendy

Soon after I moved back to Augusta following an incomplete stint in law school (another story for another time), my church advertised a Women’s Mentoring Program. Thinking ANY direction was better than no direction – and no direction was what I had going for me – I signed up. In her post last week [link], Wendy described the meet and greet coffee. I attended, knowing no one, and took it all in. This bossy woman in pinstripe pants and cute shoes stood up and said “If you are entering into this program, you owe it to yourself to be real. If you are going to wear a mask or not be yourself, then you may as well not do this. You have to be authentic for this to work.” A few hours later, I found myself telling my (then) boyfriend about the event. I said “this bossy woman stood up and went on and on about authenticity. I really pity the person assigned to be her mentee. She was seriously almost rude. And bossy. Sheesh!” Adam explained that the bossy woman is the aunt of a really good friend of ours. I didn’t see how those two could be family: our friend was so sweet and so fun, and this woman was not.

 Flash forward to the next coffee gathering, when we received our pairs. You can imagine my, uh, joy when I found out that bossy-pants was my mentor. Oh, God truly does have a sense of humor!

 At our first meeting, Bossy tried really hard to be “too busy” for me. But Bossy had met her match: Pushy. So, I (Pushy) encouraged Bossy to meet in the morning. (After all, maybe she’s not AS mean when she first wakes up. And I am a morning person, so I am at my best at 6:30 am.) Bossy and I started meeting one morning a week, I quickly quit calling her Bossy-Pants. I got to know her, and then Wendy and I met two mornings a week (remember y’all, I had just left law school and had no direction. I needed a lot of mentoring!).

 Wendy mentored me as my boyfriend became my fiancé; as my fiancé accepted a job in another city; as I planned a wedding and juggled the details of a move; as my husband and I moved away. And she continued to mentor me long distance. We met up every other month for a weekend away. She has seen me through months and months of negative pregnancy tests; she has listened to hours (and hours and hours and hours) of my rambling; we have both ushered in new decades together (me into my 30’s and her into her 40’s, but that just makes her that much wiser!) she has celebrated the birth of both of our children; she’s walked with me through the valleys and skipped with me over the mountains. And she’s even driven 6 hours to help me with a colic baby…oh, and do yard work with me.

As much as I believe Wendy when she says that I have changed her life, I know that I will never influence her the way she has influenced me. I credit Wendy with helping me to be a better wife, a sweeter daughter, a more patient mother, and a calmer friend. When I explain to people about “one of my best friends in the world,” they are often surprised to learn she is 13 years my senior. (What could we possibly have in common?!) But I will tell you all that what we have in common, at our core, is a love of Jesus that we want to radiate in all that we do. And, does anything else really matter in comparison?!

 Y’all, this woman has redefined friendship for me. She’s not just a friend; she’s family. She’s my bestie; my mentor and MY WENDY.