|Jen, Marcy, me, Stacie & Anne departed in the "early car." We were so eager to get to the ocean and even more excited for some time away together.|
Rutiz Farms in Arroyo Grande last strawberry season and we discovered a gold mine of organic produce. You can't beat $2/pound of freshly-picked strawberries. (I started dreaming up strawberry recipes as soon as we knew we would be going.)
I told the girls I really didn't want birthday gifts because it was a gift just to be together. Of course, they ignored that request and spoiled me with dinner at my favorite restaurant in Pismo, Giuseppe's. I ordered my all-time fave Butternut Squash Ravioli and tried out a Pistachio-crusted Chicken dish with Cori. The girls also surprised me with a Creative Memories book full of photos, memories and lists of gifts they have experienced in our friendship.
I can remember a time when living in Fresno I felt very alone, wondering if I would ever find friends who shared my values, hopes and dreams. I was reminded that weekend that each of these women (and a few others) are part of a community of friends who have blessed me with encouragement, prayers and just walking the journey together. They challenge me to be a better mother, wife and friend. They challenge me to think beyond myself to a bigger world full of needs. They challenge me to see God in the little things. I often hang out with them one one one or maybe a few of us gather for Life group or coffee, but my heart was truly full to have so many of them all in the same place. What a surprising birthday gift!