Tag Archives: friendship

Just Show Up – a Family Christian review

Talk about a hard book. This was it. I am actually writing this a bit later than I wanted to and should have because this was a hard book. Not hard word wise but hard emotionally.

Just Show Up is blunt and beautiful. Written by two friends going through the hardest things – cancer knowing it is only going to be alright after death. Simply put this book is about friendship. But it is oh so much more! More specifically, this book is about being there and doing the things that need to be done in friendship when it is something you never can imagine having to do.

Friendship is a dance.

Really, the title says it all “Just Show Up.” Sometimes, that is all that can be done but that is all that needs to be done. Kara was ill and Jill just barely knew her. But, Jill knew something much more important – friendship doesn’t stop just because something hard comes into life and Kara needed friends. Even with a large community of friends. So, Jill showed up. And it became a beautiful friendship. From there, it became an encouraging book for us on the outside.

Just Show Up is practical. Just Show Up is truthful. Just Show Up is challenging. Just Show Up is what each of us needs. It isn’t about hospitality. It isn’t about comfort. It isn’t about feeling good. It is what is needed.


There are so many gifts that are needed during a time of hard. Jill and Kara bluntly discuss those and how to maneuver through them. Gifts such as silence, receiving, giving, friendship, and community. Gifts such as talking about the hard things like the future. Gifts such as doing the things that need to be done like cleaning the toilets or changing the diapers. Gifts are every where, in every day, in every thing.

God is not absent in this book. God is found throughout the book – in the suffering, in the action, in the love, in the sharing. In the fact that this book was written and published. God is always there and Kara and Jilll share that throughout this book.

He is good.

When something hard is going on in someone’s life, sometimes the best thing you can do is Just Show Up.

This book is a challenge to me. It spells out some of the answers to things I have said or asked and shown me the error of my ways when I thought I was trying to help someone. (I wasn’t doing a very good job.) Just Show Up spells out some of the do’s and don’t’s in hard times. It is practical. It is honest. It is beautiful.

Never too late or too early to jump in.

Just Show Up is a wonderfully fantastic read. It will be one my shelf to be revisited and reread as I grow and change and find new abilities that God has given me.

At Home.


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A Beautiful Life

A Beautiful Life

One of my memories of Vacation Bible School as a child is the puppet quartet. We had a puppet quartet that would sing a hymn as part of the daily activities. I can close my eyes and remember each of the puppets, their clothing, and how the puppets looked when they sang those high notes – singing up to God with the nose wiggling with “effort.” I loved it and those songs the puppets sang stuck with me. This is one of those songs.

A Beautiful Life

1. Each day I’ll do a golden deed
By helping those who are in need;
My life on earth is but a span,
And so I’ll do the best I can.

Life’s evening sun is sinking low,
A few more days and I must go
To meet the deeds that I have done,
Where there will be no setting sun.

2. To be a child of God each day,
My light must shine along the way;
I’ll sing His praise while ages roll
And strive to help some troubled soul.

3. The only life that will endure,
Is one that’s kind and good and pure;
And so for God I’ll take my stand,
Each day I’ll lend a helping hand.

4. While going down life’s weary road
I’ll try to lift some trav’ler’s load;
I’ll try to turn the night to day,
Make flowers bloom along the way.

If you would like to listen to it, I found a recording from a church of Christ in Salem, MA, on YouTube.

As I was thinking through these lines again, I saw a beautiful picture of friendship. Not the tried-and-true, long-term friendship. But, rather, the type friendship we should strive to have with anyone we come in contact with. The friendship of one who is “encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.” (I Timothy 2:11) If we try to be a friend who lifts “some trav’ler’s load” or tried “to be a child of God each day” or tries to lend a helping hand, what a difference we could make for the kingdom. My goal this week is to be more of this kind of friend. I may not have many who call me a friend but maybe I can be friend, whether they’ll call me that or not, and serve God first.

At Home.

Field Trip with Friends

FW Bot Gar field tripA couple of weeks ago, we were able to meet some friends in Fort Worth at the Botanical Gardens. We hadn’t seen them in almost a year, even though we live as close as we do. They are almost finished with their time at the Brown Trail School of Preaching. We are praying with them for a wonderful ministry opportunity to be presented for their family.

J has been writing to their daughter, whom we will just call S on here, since they met a year ago. S visited worship services with her family one evening and she and J just had a blast! They have been penpals ever since. J talks about her often and last Halloween, they both dressed up as Cinderella without even discussing it. They are two peas in a pod.

So, we met up with S, her mom and her brother at the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens. All I can say about that experience is that I want to go back to the Botanical Gardens again. It was peaceful, beautiful, interesting. There was so much to see and do.

FW Bot Gar treasures

Of course, along the way, J collected all sorts of treasures. One that I found particularly fascinating was the cap to an acorn from the giant burr oak. She collected some beautiful flower petals that just didn’t make it all the way home intact. The required rocks and feathers were also among her treasures.

FW Bot Gar scavenger hunt




They had a neat scavenger hunt brochure for the kids that had them looking for things that they could see, hear, smell, and touch. It was printed on a nice paper that could be folded up and used as a telescope to view things. What they were looking for was presented as pictures with words so that even non-readers could use it easily. J and S did look for some of the things on it but they also just went along on their own observant way, finding what was interesting.

FW Bot Gar bird calls


The Botanical Gardens had a trail that is called the Texas Native Forest Boardwalk. It is extremely kid-friendly! It is a lovely walk through a forested area. It is grown so that you can see an unmolested native forest on one side and a native forest with invasive, non-native plants affecting it on the other side. Along the boardwalk, they have set up learning stations and at each station there is a theme. The theme is FW Bot Gar bird calls 2addressed through a question with answers presented in an interactive way. At one station, the question was “what is an insect?” It had pictures of several animals that we typically call insects. You lifted the picture up and it showed whether or not you were right. At another station, the kids got to press buttons that shared the call of different birds. Still another station had examples of birds’ eggs. I don’t know how much J remembers about each of the stations but I know she had fun looking and spending time with her friends.




One section that J really liked was the lily pad ponds. There are two large ponds in front of the main building that have several varieties of lily pads growing. When we first got there, not all of the lily pads’ flowers were open but by the time we went back at the end of our visit, the flowers were all open. And, the favorite part was all of the frogs that were in the ponds. These are not big, jumping frogs. These were teensy-tinesy little froggies. They ranged in size from about 1/2″ to 1″. They were so small that we missed them for the first 10 minutes we were looking at the lily pads. It was fun to find them hiding on lily pads or swimming through the water. Sometimes, they just hung out there, still as can be, in the water.

FW Bot Gar tree hugging

We easily spent a couple of hours at the Botanical Gardens and everything that we did was free. We also could have gone into some of the other sections of the gardens that they charge a small fee to enter. We chose not to on this day but perhaps another time we will.

This was a relaxing, fun field trip that was right up our alley, though we had to travel a bit to get there. It was definitely worth the trip. Seeing friends and having fun – it is hard to ever get enough of those things. At Home.


For the past few weeks, I have been pondering friendship. This is not anything new or groundbreaking. I have just been thinking about it a lot.

What makes someone a good friend? More to the point, what is it that makes folks flock to someone while another person with many of the same qualities goes almost completely friendless? How does one person step into a group of people and seem as though they have been part of that group for a long time while someone who has been there for years feels left out? Is there something innate in our beings that makes us “friend quality” or not? Do we make a choice, somehow, without even knowing we have?

I desire to help my children grow their friendships so that they will have someone to lean on long before the need to lean is there. I deeply long for them to have a friend that is always there.

They are learning, bit by bit, that they will always have the most important friend by their side at all times. Jesus. There are many ways they are learning this. We tell them. Often. We take them to Bible class and worship services. Every time. We pray with them. Daily. We pray for them. Daily.

Sometimes, though, we need something tangible. Human. How do we find that and build that? I honestly do not know. I am not good at it anymore. I must have been at some point because the people that I consider to be the best friends I have ever had have been my friends for a long time. One I met when I was 5. The other I met when I was about 13. I still connect with both of them when I go home to New Mexico and often through Facebook.

So what happens between the time we are 5 and 50? Is it just that our insecurities grow and Satan whispers in our ear and we believe him? I am working on a topical Bible series of friendship verses. I don’t know what it will write on my heart but it will be good. And, hopefully, I can grow from it so that my girls will see what true friendship is like. Human, yes. But, more importantly, I want them to see the friendship I have with Jesus. At Home.

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