We’ve Got Your Back A 40-Year Friendship

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Our first gathering following The Brown Wedding in 1978, Tullahoma, Tennessee.
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Kay Green marries Joe Brown on December 9, 1978

Some women pray for their daughters to marry good husbands. I pray that my girls will find girlfriends half as loyal and true as the Ya-Yas.
― Rebecca Wells, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

It all began in the mid-late 1970’s when 9 girls, Becky, Kay, Susan, Delores, Leslie, JoAnn, Debby, Kelly and Joan moved themselves and their belongings to Cookeville, Tennessee to attend Tennessee Tech University. Each girl was far from home and began a search for friends who could make the years spent at Tech more fun, rewarding and meaningful. All 9 girls chose to join Alpha Delta Pi Sorority and that was the beginning of what would become life-long friendships. They certainly did not realize at the time that their common beliefs and love for one another would continue to bring them together in celebration of their friendships for decades to come.

I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13 (Life Application Bible)

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Taylor’s baptismal shell, a note from Meg’s confirmation class, and a bar of soap with the verse: Philippians 4:13 etched on it. These items were found in the rubbish, surviving the house fire.
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Though this is a new storage box, all of the silver utensils that were wedding gifts back in 1982 came through the fire, along with pieces of fabric found folded together and made into a small (new) baby quilt.

On January 4, 2014, we 9 were together for our annual weekend sleepover when our friend, Kelly received a call from her husband telling her that their home in Abingdon, Virginia was burning to the ground. It was too late to make the 3 hour drive to Virginia, so we hunkered down with our dear friend and held onto each other. This scene, 9 of us in PJs, was symbolic of what our friendships had come to mean to each of us in the past 36 years. Much of our time spent together would be doing the usual things that girls do: share recipes, talk about everything under the sun, eat and then eat some more, showing family/travel pictures. But that night, it became more apparent to me than ever before how unique this group of girlfriends is. Everyone in this circle relies on their faith daily and we have come to depend on each other’s prayer support, too, as we have listed out specific requests year after year.  We’ve been through marriages, births, and deaths side-by-side, and we’ve always had each other’s back.

The next day, we drove Kelly to her hometown to join her husband and to survey the damage. From what we saw, we assumed all was lost, and mostly everything was lost. However, with the help of many friends, family members, and neighbors, a few things were recovered.

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Kelly and Paul’s home on Valley Street

Though their sweet dog, Belle perished in the house fire, all other LIFE was spared. There was much to be thankful for, even amidst such tragic circumstances. In the past year, Kelly and Paul have been a picture of grit and tenacity as they have moved forward and renovated an Abingdon, Virginia home that was built in the 1930’s. This past weekend, their home was the spot for our 37th reunion and as usual, we had a wondrous time together! The location of their new home has allowed them to enjoy this beautiful and historical community more than ever before. They are just a few steps from The Barter Theatre and a couple of blocks from The Virginia Creeper Trail, Whitetop Yoga, and the weekly Farmer’s Market!

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Dalton, Georgia gathering in 1985
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The Virginia Creeper Trail
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The Virginia Creeper Trail
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Abingdon, Virginia gathering in 2015
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after a yoga class at Whitetop Yoga in Abingdon, Virginia, January 2015

“Be present in all things and thankful for all things.”
― Maya Angelou

These strong friendships have seen us through countless life experiences: job losses, deaths of parents, births/marriages of our children, and currently, the births of grandchildren. We often agree as we sing our ADPi prayer:

“Hear us sing in one accord,

Praises for thy gifts, O Lord, For thy gifts of daily bread,

For thy paths in which we’re led, From thy throne of Love on High,

List to Alpha Delta Pi, AMEN”,  

 the unity that the 9 of us share has made our lives so very rich!

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Kay and Joan in our matching pjs
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a quilt given to Kelly and Paul following their house fire

RETREAT Time Away With Yourself

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My sis, Laura Lea, and me

It is when we stop doing our best work that our enthusiasm wanes. We must motivate ourselves to do our very best, and by example, lead others to do their best as well.” Truett Cathy (1921-2014) founder of Chick-fil-A in 1946 and founder of the WinShape Foundation in 1984

Thanks to nearby Cedarcrest Church, Women’s Group, I had the opportunity to attend a retreat this past weekend at the beautiful WinShape Retreat Property on the mountainside of Berry College.  WinShape Retreat offers a wide and varied retreat menu, including one called “Prepare to Last”, which Leah and Walker attended with their future spouses.

My sister, Laura Lea was my roomie, so that made this time extra special! Yes, we giggled and told stories and stayed up late, just like the days of our youth.

Laura and I had the opportunity to lead the 50 participants in a time of collage art and we had so much fun creating unique and meaningful projects. We were happy to meet many new friends, including Carol, the co-founder of Cobb Street Ministries, a ministry, I hope to become more plugged into.

I do realize that not everyone can pack a bag and drive somewhere beautiful to “retreat”, so I wanted to share some ideas for how we can rest and renew right where we are.

R ecline and put your feet up, even if only for a few minutes

E at Well as often as possible

T ake a Bubble Bath

R eflect on God’s Goodness

E nthusiasm for Life~”glass half-full” approach

A udience of One~ God’s opinion is what matters

T hankful Heart~jot down what you are grateful for today

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Take joy in the simple things, like flowers.
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Bundle up and take a short walk to energize yourself.

*Not to be ministered unto but to minister to.” Martha McChesney Berry (1866-1942) founder of Berry College, Rome, Georgia

*Motto of Berry College

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some of our collage art created at the 2015 Cedarcrest Women’s Renew Retreat
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some of the collage art created at the 2015 Cedarctrest Women’s Renew Retreat

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A Promise in the Pain

I receive a daily devotion from New Life Ministries and I thought today’s was especially good. Sometimes the mountains in front of us just seem too high to climb. With Faith, Family and Friends, we can find a way to climb every mountain!CIMG0490

A Promise in the Pain

About five seconds outside the womb I think we all discover that this life isn’t easy. And it seems that the older we get the tougher it becomes. Some people have problems or are attracted to difficulties like fleas to a dog. Others make it through life with relatively little difficulty.

But most likely, you’ll face some tough times in life, and it’s not important how your challenges stack up to the challenges of others. Sometimes you might wonder if you are going to be able to make it through, and you will if you hold onto God. He’s promised to see you through.

Adversity causes some men to break; others to break records.” – William A. Ward (1921-1994), author of Fountains of Faith

Are you weighed down? Do you feel overcome with grief or alone in your struggle?

You can choose to take steps to walk through your challenges and come through them a stronger person.

Remember, believing in God and in Jesus Christ doesn’t mean you won’t have problems. But it does mean you have resources, people, and God’s Spirit who will see you through your problems. What could be better?

– Steve Arterburn

Copied from today’s New Life Ministries Free Daily Devotion. Sign up by going to New Life Ministries.

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