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Laughter, Coffee Creamers, and The Love of A True Friend

My friend Laurie recently came to visit.  She and I became friends 9 years ago when I was a newlywed and serving with Jimmy at a new church plant.  We hit it off right away with our love of scrapbooking, food, and girls weekends.  I was a working girl with no kids yet, and we had memorable adventures on Longaberger bus trips and Women of Faith conferences.  We did the home party rounds together.  I gave her daughter piano lessons. We baked Christmas cookies together.  I often sat around her kitchen table scrapbooking while she prepared something tasty in her kitchen.  Many times when we got together we would get to laughing so hard and her face would turn red as a tomato!  Perhaps we were an unlikely pair as she had been married for a long time and was homeschooling a teenage daughter while I was fresh out of college and a brand new wife working for a financial advisor...but we were sisters in Christ who loved to have a good time together, and our friendship was formed and cemented.

She has been faithful friend.

Her daughter recently started an internship at Disney, so she came down to visit both her and me...and developed a case of strep throat immediately upon arrival which spread like wildfire and altered our plans for her visit quite a bit!

We still had a great time though.  One night she and her daughter disappeared into the guest room for awhile, and came out with homemade party hats and birthday gifts for everyone in our family!  The kids thought this was the greatest thing ever, and in typical Laurie fashion she gave.

We were hoping to spend a day at Disney with the kids since we could get in free, but the strep didn't allow that to happen.  However, when she and I went to pick up her daughter from work one afternoon, we got to go in and ride a few rides, including the Tower of Terror which made us laugh our head off!  That is one awesome ride.

But my favorite moments of her visit were probably the ones we spent at home.  We had a blast playing Rummikub with some fun friends of ours, and absolutely cracked up through an entire game of Pictionary with my Madi!  Who knew that "house plant" would be so hard to draw, or that my depiction of running shoes would look like wooden Dutch shoes, or that playing by a 5 year old's rules would be so much fun (especially when the 5 year old can draw better than either of us!)?  We played games and laughed and cooked and ate and laughed some more.

And we talked.  Laurie is one of those friends who is refreshingly real, and around whom you can be authentic.  There is freedom in our friendship to share personal struggles and heartaches and challenges and thoughts that swirl around in our heads just waiting to be shared with someone...and so we shared, each morning over a few cups of coffee and my baked oatmeal, sometimes with the kids at the table playing Play-Doh while we caught up.

We were enjoying our mornings of coffee and conversation so much, and a few days into her visit when I went to the store to get a prescription filled for my case of strep throat, I went to pick up a gallon of milk and saw a new vanilla caramel coffee creamer.  I immediately knew Laurie would love it, and picked some up.  Later that evening when she returned home after she was out and about, she was all excited to show me something she had found at the store.  Wouldn't you know it was the same coffee creamer?!  We laughed.   And the next morning we added it to our little coffee/oatmeal/conversation routine.

I think the best part of her visit was this...it came at a time when I needed a friend.  And all those months ago when she planned it, God knew that.  And right on time He gave me a glimpse of His affection through laughter and coffee creamers and the love of a true friend named Laurie.

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