Monday, May 29, 2006

Time with a Friend

Hi, Kajiji Girls! I feel like it’s been forever since we’ve all met up and fellowshipped together (I know it’s only been a couple of weeks!). Of course, now that my husband’s graduation from law school is over and all the out-of-town relatives have left, I feel like my life is almost back to normal and my brain can start focusing on other things again – like getting together with all of you again! I’ve missed all of you and am hoping that we can all start making it a priority to get together. As school comes to a close over the next month and summer starts, it might be harder for some of you to make our groups or it might make life a bit easier. However our schedule changes, I hope that we recognize how crucial our “Kajiji Girl” time is for ourselves. If we see it as a sacred time to fulfill the needs and desires within us for female companionship, we will be better wives, better moms, better women.

We sit surrounded by words,
Shelves upon shelves
Of words.
Our conversation seems to compete
With all this communication.

I see sitting across from me a smile
That I should see more of,
The subtle wrinkles around
Her eyes more pronounced,
Her teeth showing in laughter.

Our conversation seems, at times
Too irreverent for
These surroundings,
The conversation of
The slang of

This communication is something
Very important,
Not for the
Words it contains,
Not for the thoughts
But good for the soul.

Time With A Friend ~ Judith Erl

You all are good for my soul. I hope to see you all over the next few Fridays. Let me know if you’ll be able to come this week - we’ll be meeting at my house.


Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Dear Kajijis,
So there really does exist a sun in our sky! Is anyone else looking forward to this Friday? I think we’re all ready to get out of our houses and let the kids run wild while we feed our brains with female conversation and stomachs with coffee and pastries. Our group met at Marisa’s last week where we talked about bringing Christ to our kids. Erin taught us practical tips she learned about ways to incorporate our faith into our homes on a routine basis. We even received a handout to bring home outlining some of the ideas in the book The Most Important Place on Earth by Robert Wolgemuth. Thanks so much for the time and effort it took to put that together, Erin – it was so helpful!! We had some great exchanges, and Marisa is always a wonderful host. Thank you, Marisa!

I read an interesting article this past week in National Geographic titled “The Secrets of Living Longer”. I’d like to share an excerpt about a group of people known for their longevity:

With an average life expectancy of 78 years for men and 86 years for women, Okinawans are among the world’s longest lived people. More important, elders living in this lush subtropical archipelago tend to enjoy years free from disabilities. Okinawans have a fifth the heart disease, a fourth the breast and prostate cancer, and a third less dementia than Americans”, says Craig Willcox of the Okinawa Centenarian Study. What’s the key to their success? “Ikigai certainly helps,” Willcox offers. The word translates roughly to “that which makes one’s life worth living.” Older Okinawans, he says, possess a strong sense of purpose that may act as a buffer against stress and diseases such as hypertension. Many also belong to a Okinawan-style moai, a mutual support network that provides financial, emotional, and social help throughout life.

The article highlights two women friends, Ushi and Setsuko who live together along with Ushi’s daughter, Matsu who herself is 78 years old.
These women have shared each other’s fortunes and endured each other’s sorrows for nearly a century and
now seem to communicate wordlessly. What is Ushi’s ikigai, I ask – that powerful sense of purpose that older Okinawans are said to possess? “It’s her longevity itself,” answers her daughter. “She brings pride to our family and this village, and now feels she must keep living even though she is often tired.” I look to Ushi for her own answer. “My ikigai is right here,” she says with a slow sweep of her hand that takes in Setsuko and Matsu. “If they die, I will wonder why I am still living.”

Moai is defined as a group of friends, neighbors, or others
who get together regularly to provide reciprocal
support – social, emotional and financial.

This Friday, we’ll be meeting at Michelle’s. Please RSVP to let us know if we can expect you. This week’s question is “How do you and your spouse handle your finances?” Should be an interesting conversation… Can not wait to see all of you after this long week - thank you all for being my moai!


Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Diversity in Friendship

Good day, Kajijis! Last Friday, we had a record-breaking number of you come to our group. Thank you, Shawna for hosting our large group – the food was awesome too! It was so great to have nine of you to discuss matters and get different viewpoints. We talked about support systems, and whether we’re satisfied with the support we have in our lives and where the gaps are in those systems. It sounds like we’re individually divided between needing more of a social circle of women and needing one or two close intimate friends. I believe that each are important and necessary in our lives and that we suffer when we only have one part of the whole. It’s not surprising that those with the close day-to-day friendships feel the desire and need to enhance their social circle, and those content with their social circle desire to find that intimate friendship or two. In my devotional about Celebrating Frienship, it reads,

Opposites attract, but can they stay good friends? Or does friendship depend on having lots of interests and opinions in common? “One of my great concerns – something I see frequently in Christian circles – is the tendency to isolate ourselves from those who are different from us,” says Luci Swindoll. “We gravitate toward people who think like we think, agree with us on everything, believe like we do, even dress the same. In so doing we miss wonderful, God-given opportunities to expand our understanding of the world and the people in it.” We also miss out on opportunities to grow personally and spiritually.

Of course, midst the diversity you need a soul mate or two – friends you connect with easily and deeply – to anchor the whole rollicking party. But before you shout, “Who’s got time for so many people?!” let’s clarify what diversity can pack into two or three friendships. Even if your friends resemble casts of thousands, you still need the essentials of depth and quality somewhere in that crowd. And let’s face it. Nobody’s just like you. (Thank God! That would be utterly boring.) The greatest examples of sisterhood still have individual differences, but they respect rather than revile, enjoy rather than envy, their friends. They take time to “settle in” with and accept one another, so what seems quirky grows endearing.

This Friday we’ll be meeting at Marisa’s house. The topic we’ll discuss this week is “How do you as a mom bring Christ to your kids? What are you doing right now while they are small?” Do you have any practical ideas you use on a daily or weekly basis to incorporate your faith into your family life? How do you best model your faith in Christ for your children? I can’t wait to hear your ideas as this has always been a guilt-producing struggle in my own life. Do we and can we ever feel as if we are doing all that we can to train up our children in the ways and admonitions of the Lord? Erin has recommended a book called The Most Important Place on Earth: What a Christian Home Looks Like and How to Build One by Robert Wolgemuth. Erin says there’s lots of great practical tips in it, and I’ve asked her to contribute some of these to the group on Friday. Looking forward to hearing all of your ideas on the subject…

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