Wednesday, August 30, 2006

You're Invited!

A new season of Kajiji Girls is about to start, and we want you to join us!

“Wanted: A few good women to form a circle of friends. Must be smart, fun-loving, always there when I need them. The type who’ll love my kids, drop dinner by when I’m stressed, always see the best in me, and never complain about their lives or anything I do. Gift-givers and surprise-party throwers a plus. Required: A commitment to never change, move away, or like anybody else better than me.”¹

Does this sound like a want ad you could post? Does any of it resonate with you and your needs?
Every week *Kajiji Girls gather together to share laughs, concerns, opinions, food and life in general. Every week brings a discussion about various topics affecting our life – from finances to sex to self-esteem to parenting. We’ve discussed and debated many things these past few months, and we look forward to many more conversations with you as a part of our group. If you’re looking for “not-just-another” playgroup but a real spiritually-refreshing, mentally-challenging, emotionally-supportive Mom’s group, then come by and check us out. †Since forming early this year, our group has been constantly evolving, but our foundational ideals have stayed the same. We recognize the innate need in each one of us for spiritual and emotional support from a community of women. There is a purpose to our socialization and a spiritual component to our group. We all have ideas and questions about family life, faith, love, friendships, etc., and the ability to share insights and thoughts with other women is what builds intimacy in our community.
Now that summer break is coming to an end and the fall season is upon us, we are looking for more women who would like to become part of our group. If you have received this invite, it is because someone thought you might make a great Kajiji Girl! Do you enjoy getting together with women of many different backgrounds? Do you enjoy discussing various topics of interest relating to your daily life? Do you have an interest in deepening your spiritual life with other sisters-in-Christ? Do you need an excuse to get out of your miserable house with the dirty dishes, piles of laundry, annoying TV blaring the voice of Barney (or insert your least favorite children’s television character here), the mind-numbing boredom of reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar for the 86th time and the sound of your brain cells dying from having no conversational speech patterns resembling those of an adults?
Then come to our fabulously fun Friday gatherings!
Be fulfilled.
Get recharged.
And maybe get a moment’s peace and a little sanity...
along with a cup of coffee.

Our kickoff starts on Friday, September 8, 2006 at 10am. Children welcome. Location and details to follow. If you’re interested in joining us, please contact Crystal Ortlieb.

¹Quoted from Celebrating Friendship written by Judith Couchman, part of the Women of Faith Bible Study Series
* Kajiji meaning “Community, global village”
†If you are curious about the history of Kajiji's, attached you will find my initial invitational letter explaining my thoughts and reasons for starting this group.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Thank You

Dear Kajiji Girl,
I want to thank you so much for being a part of our group this past year. We have had some interesting dialogues and wonderful debates. Is not this the way we are encouraged to pursue God and His truth – by being part of a community that opens our hearts and allows our minds to see truth where we would not normally find it? You, my sisters in Christ, are being used by God in subtle ways with enormous consequences. I hope you know that. I enjoy getting to know you and spying the beauty of a King’s daughter in each one of you. I hope through our group you have gained some valuable insight into your own spiritual/emotional life, and if you’ve been able to form bonds with other Kajijis in the process, all the better! I think you understand by now how much I’ve emphasized the sacredness of female friendship and why it’s so crucial to our spiritual, mental, emotional and physical lives. For some of you, this will be the last email from Kajiji Girls, and we want to thank you for your past involvement. Your presence at our groups has been invaluable and appreciated, and your words outside of our groups have been encouraging (even from those who have never been able to make it!). For those of you interested in continuing your involvement with Kajijis, whether that’s by gathering with us on a regular basis or just through our emails, we are so grateful that you are part of our group! We have done some really fun things this summer, and I also look forward to getting back into our “regular” routine once the weather starts to cool down.

You will be receiving an invite sometime in the near future to kick off the new season of Kajijis. We would like to extend the invitation to more women in our lives that we think would make great Kajiji Girls. If you know of anyone who could benefit from our group (and likewise that our group could benefit knowing), please feel free to invite them to our gatherings. Just let me know their info, and I’ll send them an email invitation.

Please, please, please let me know via email by September 1st (that’s this coming Friday!) if you’d like to stay on the email list. Simply email me a “Yay” or “Nay”, and please do so whether or not we’ve spoken in person as this will be my only indication that you are interested in staying involved in Kajiji Girls. We really don’t want to say goodbye to anyone, however we understand sometimes our group is not a good fit (whether in scheduling, relational dynamics, etc.) for everyone. We cherish the spiritual bonds of our female friendships and look forward to making new ones. Thank you for sharing your life with us these past few months. There are many more months of fun Fridays ahead us, and we would love to have you join us!!


P.S. Speaking of Friday gatherings, we’ll be meeting at Butternut Farm in Farmington again (weather permitting) for some more fruit picking this coming Friday. At this time, they have a variety of peaches, many tomatoes, fall raspberries, more and more pumpkins and apples each day and just a few blueberries left. Calling them will provide an accurate update as to what fruits are ready to be picked this week. Check out their website at, and let me know if you plan on coming – thanks!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Butternut Farm Outing

Hi, Kajijis! I’ve heard reports from some of you that my last couple of emails have not reached you! I’m so sorry about that – I’ve been using a different email which I will not use anymore, I guess. :-/ So no, I have not abandoned my post or forgotten all about you, and I feel sad that my invitations to the last couple weeks of meetings have not reached you. If you have not received my emails, I apologize - we have missed you! Last week we went to Butternut Farm for PYO fruit which was fabulous and abundant in quantities of peaches, plums, blueberries, apples, raspberries, tomatoes, etc. Since most of you missed it, I’d like to try again next week. Most of the local farms are done with their PYO season, however Butternut Farm seems like a wonderful, family-friendly farm with copious amounts of fruit still available to be picked so please join us on Friday, September 1st for PYO fruit. Check out the variety of fruits and get directions at their website

This Friday we’d like to meet somewhere outside, however we’re keeping an eye on the weather as it looks cloudy with a chance of thunderstorms. I’ll keep you updated and decide our location as we get closer to Friday. If someone would like to volunteer their backyard with the chance of needing to move indoors, that would be great too – just let me know.

I look forward to seeing you all again regularly as school gets underway and Autumn approaches. Have a great week!


Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Rare Gemstones

Dear Kajijis,
Last week we gathered at Erin's house and got into the topic of friendship. I just want to say how much I have loved getting to know each of you and the friendships formed in our group. I think that the women God chose for this group are amazing, and I've learned so much from you all. I've never been a part of such a great interdenominational group of women who have so many different backgrounds, valuable ideas and godly ideals. You all have such caring hearts and are great examples of a true community of women. Thank you for making our little group into something so much more than just another playgroup.

David F. Maas states in his article "A Priceless Comodity",
"As the greater church of God has continued to fragment, splintering asunder congregations and creating yawning chasms between former friends and acquaintances, my wife Julie and I have come to the conclusion that a close friend who has God's Holy Spirit is one of the most valuable commodities one could ever desire. As more of our former friends and acquaintances drift away from the teachings that we once collectively valued - or seemed to - the ones that stay loyal become precious as rare gemstones.

In the words of the old Yiddish proverb, "There are three types of friends: those like food, without which you can't live; those like medicine, which you need occasionally; and those like an illness, which you never want." We certainly want to eliminate the last type, but we need to build and strengthen godly friendships. God's work is a love-building work, forging bonds between fathers and children and children and fathers (Malachi 4:6), in essence, the entire family of God. Godly friendship is the cement that makes this all happen.

Here is a recap of the essential characteristics of a Christian friendship:

  • It places God first, the middle strand in a threefold cord (Ecclesiastes 4:12).
  • It follows the principles or laws of bonding (interest in the same things), which include at the forefront a love for godly principles.
  • It involves a give-and-take communication involving advice, criticism, and encouragement.
  • It involves a climate in which the most sensitive of confidences can be exchanged without fear of betrayal.
  • It consists of an unbreakable bond that lasts through good and bad times.

A minister once taught, "A friend is someone, who, if you make a colossal botch of something, doesn't think you've made a permanent job of it." God is such a friend. Let us try to emulate Him."

Well, we'll keep trying for the farm each Friday and hope that the weather starts to cooperate on our fabulous fun fridays. We'll try to meet at DeMeritt Hill Farm off Rt. 155 again this week. Let us know if we should expect you or not - thanks!


Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Sacred Time

Dear Kajijis,
How are you all? Hope everyone has found ways to staying cool this week. For those on vacation, we miss you and hope you are having a great time that is restful and refreshing. I'm going to use this email as an opportunity to take a step back for a moment and address the needs of our group and those within it. With attendance being so low lately, it's been hard to judge how things are going. I'm curious to know how everyone feels about how our group is doing so far. Is there anything you feel we should change, include, etc.? Are you happy with the dynamics of the group, with the things we've done, with the discussions we've had? Would you like to see this group going in a different direction? Do you agree with our "mission" so far? With our mission being to serve each other as mothers, wives and, overall, as women, I'd like to know if you feel you've been benefiting from this. The initial welcome letter sent to all the Kajijis included this excerpt from a Focus on the Family article:

"[In today's society] female companionship is often difficult to find, and many younger women, especially those with two or more preschoolers, abandon the search for friendship. It is simply too much trouble. To the young wives who are reading these words, I urge you not to fall into this pattern. Invest some time in your female friends - even though you are all busy. Resist the temptation to pull into the walls of your home and wish for someone to talk to."

"Remember, you are surrounded by many other women with similar feelings. Find them. Care for them. Give to them. And, in the process, your own self-esteem will rise. Then when you are content, your marriage will also flourish. It sounds simplistic, but that's the way we are made. We are designed to love God as social creatures; we don't do well in isolation. Don't let that isolation happen to you."

Our Kajiji Girl time is meant to be sacred for you as a mom - a time that for just once a week you can be recharged in the spirit of female friendship. By the way, the season of summer doesn't negate this desire and need in us no matter how busy we allow ourselves to be. And besides being away on vacation or taking fun days off with the family, I don't consider the "busyness" of summer to be very refreshing or fulfilling, do you? The Fall season is fast approaching and school will be starting up again. I'd like to take this time to "regroup" in a sense and ask whether Kajiji Girls fulfills a need in your busy lives and whether you feel you can really commit to the group. If so, I will gladly keep you on our email list and look forward to seeing you on most Fridays. If you don't think you can commit or you have other ministries in your life that fulfills that need in you, please let me know (and no hard feelings!). I simply want to make sure that you are not caught in isolation as described above with no support group around you. I hope to hear from each and every one of you over the course of August in answering this question. If I have not heard from you by September, I will assume you are too busy to commit to the group. However, if there is anything that the group or I can do for you whether or not you can commit to the group, please let us know! We are here for you whether you can make it to our Friday gatherings or not.

This Friday looks to finally be a beautiful day for an outing - hopefully no thunderstorms or rain clouds and no heat stroke weather either. So we'll plan on meeting at DeMeritt Hill Farm in Durham, NH off of Rt. 155. Go to for directions and info about the farm. At this time, topics of discussion will be put on hold until group size is larger in order to facilitate more interesting debates. Looking forward to unifying our group for the coming season and enjoying what's left of this one!

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