Monday, February 07, 2011

The Big 4-0


On the porch of our little cabin

We took several leaf throwing pics

Last week I turned 40. It was a very uneventful day because we were snowed in. I had plans for the morning and Wayne and I were going to go out that night. That did not happen, but a couple of weeks before I have some dear friends who surprised me with an early birthday celebration that they had been planning for quite some time. Amy, Rebecca, Marianne, Vicki, and I started a tradition of the five of us getting together for a weekend at least once every two years.
Amy, Rebecca, and I went to college together at SFA. They also lived right across the hall from me in seminary. Vicki was my roommate at GGBTS (Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary), and Marianne also lived down the hall in the dorm. I was blessed to have many dear friends at Golden Gate, many who I still keep in touch with. These just happen to be the ones I keep up with the most. We have laughed so much together, prayed together, encouraged each other, and have seen each other through some pretty hard times. I would also say that the main thing we all have in common is that we are either not doing what we thought we'd be doing in life and/or are not where we thought we'd be in terms of location. We may go for weeks or even a couple of months before talking on the phone and we don't get to see each other much. Yet, we just pick up where we left off as if we had seen each other the week before.
The last time we got together was in Boston in 2007, so we hadn't quite met our getting together every two years idea. Knowing Vicki lives in Los Angeles and Rebecca in Boston we weren't sure if all of us could get together, but Amy (Fort Worth) and Marianne (Texarkana) and I had thought we could sometime this year. Little did I know they had all been thoughtfully cooking up this weekend in January.
Wayne told me a week before that I needed to pack for the following weekend, that he and the boys were not going, that some friends were coming to get me and take me somewhere. Of course, he was sworn to secrecy. He was patient with my questions for the first couple of days, then I think I started to annoy him. I had just about figured out that it was Amy and Marianne, but it didn't make sense. Why would they drive all the way up here for us to go somewhere when they live 5 hours south? So, when I opened my door I was absolutely shocked to see Vicki on my front porch! She flew from L.A. to Fort Smith (don't you know her arms were tired, ha ha) stayed with a friend who lives nearby (how random!), and had her friend bring her to our house. When I opened the door, her friend was waiting with the camera. One of my friends commented that it looked like the prize patrol had arrived! So, my first question was where is everybody else? Vicki could not keep from telling me that Amy and Rebecca were waiting for us in Hot Springs. Marianne had had a death in the family earlier in the week, so we were so glad that she was able to join us on Sun; we weren't sure if we would get to see her at all.
We stayed in a little cabin on Lake Hamilton. Friday night we had birthday cake that Amy had made. I opened gifts and Rebecca read some letters that people from college and seminary days had written to me (per requests from Amy and Rebecca). Throughout the weekend went to eat out a few times, walked around downtown, went to a movie on Sat. Amy cooked for us that evening. Sunday we ate at The Pancake Shop then went on a long hike (thus the leaf pictures). Hot Springs has numerous places that offer hot baths and a couple of us chose to participate in that. I was wimpy; the water was too hot, so I didn't last long. Sun. evening after Marianne joined us, we ate at a great pizza place. The entire weekend we talked, laughed, played games, and talked more (as women will do). We commenced our time together on Monday morning by sharing and praying together and for each other.
I am so very thankful for this weekend, and especially for these dear, lifelong friends that God has given me. It definitely made turning 40 so memorable and special!