In the sunshine of life

This past weekend, I savored uninterrupted conversations with dear friends and shared life in the most delightful of ways. Together, five friends and I chatted with someone we greatly admire, snapped myriad photos of picture-perfect, centuries-old houses and storefronts in Colonial Williamsburg, and ate sliced fruit out of bowls made from the orange rind. You know, just like how we all serve our children each morning.

I enjoyed my first trip to rural Virginia and drove to my friends’ country house at 3 a.m. after a long, delayed flight starting in Oregon. If you’ve never driven a rental car in pitch black (save for the lightning storm where God was just showing off), down forest and swamp-hugging roads, and onto a field of grass where you’re pretty sure you’re going to drive straight off a cliff, then you’ve never lived.

The Parks weren’t kidding when they said they lived out in the country. And it was delightful, right down to the screened porch. And also, I’ve never slept on such a comfortable sofa bed. Impressive, Charlie and Sarah.

All photos by the talented Heidi Scovel

This entire trip was all about meeting Susan Wise Bauer, touring Peace Hill Press and the delightful people who work there, and sharing stories, questions, and laughter over ourselves as parents, educators, and women. And it couldn’t have been more perfect.

Starting next Monday, I’ll share more about my time. For today, though, I want to encourage you as I encourage myself—to be thankful for the many, many people in my life who make it sweeter. Friends—honest, real, imperfect friends—are one of the purest gifts on earth. I count myself blessed.

“But friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life, and thanks to a benevolent arrangement the greater part of life is sunshine.” -Thomas Jefferson

How has friendship blessed you lately?

Tsh Oxenreider

Tsh is the founder of this blog and just finished traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

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  1. Love this! It is so amazing what a strong group of girlfriends can do for your spirit! I have a girlfriend who’s husband is good friends with my hubby, and I love how we can all hang out and relax without having to go or do anything. Nothing better than that!

  2. Sometimes we take the people around us for granted knowing that “they will always be there.”

    Thank you for this reminder because even though we say we’re too busy at home or at work, there is always time. We can always make time for friends.

    Since I’ve gotten married and gotten out of the work force, my friends and I rarely see each other but when we do, I always feel how it nurtures my soul.

    Thanks for this Tsh. Now posting a note to self: Go out with friends more often.

  3. I think I have a really good tan right now! Thankful for a really great weekend with you, my sweet friend.

  4. It’s the little things- a friend watched Eleanor for 2 hours yesterday morning so I could finish a book review on time. And another friend randomly texted to say she’d been missing me, which totally made my day! Makes me realize how easy it ought to be for me to bless my friends in return.

  5. Sounds so great!

    I’m really, really looking forward to your posts! We are homeschooling our son starting next year, following the classical method, and I was so disappointed when I missed seeing Susan Wise Bauer speak in Ohio. I’ve been looking at The Well-Trained Mind for at least three years and love to see as many “real life” examples of classical method as I can.

  6. I feel so refreshed (if tired), inspired, and thankful after our wonderful weekend. Thanks for your friendship, Tsh!

  7. Maureen Greenawalt says:

    I ordered your ebook…52 simple bites, earlier today and it never went through my work email. Can someone contact me about this?

    I share close friendships with several of my sister. We recently spent a long weekend in Berkeley Springs, WV and it was wonderful to take time to talk, listen and sit in out pajamas and watch a movie.

  8. It makes such a difference, doesn’t it?
    Reading this made me thing immediately of two such people for me – one who blessed me with a well timed phone call during a stressful morning not long ago. And another sweet friend, who may not even know this, but who said just the exact right thing I needed to hear during a certain skype chat not that long ago 🙂

    To friendship!

  9. Our daughter LOVED the story of the world books! So excitng that you got to meet the author.

    For me the little things are watching my kids play and seeing them learn more every day.

  10. For me, and I’m guessing for many moms, the day-to-day can get *really* lonely. Friendship is vital. And this weekend was so very encouraging.

    Oh, and our sofa bed is the kind that is half-regular-mattress, half-inflatable-mattress. 🙂

  11. Friendship keeps me grounded in what is truly important. It helps me see the big picture and my eyes of the tedious of today.

    Also, I’m a bit jealous you got to meet and visit with Susan Wise Bauer! (Jealous in a good sort of way, I mean!)

  12. Such a beautiful spiritual post! Recently I stumbled across a quite interesting quote about friendship:”A true friend never gets in your way unless you happen to be going down.” Arnold H. Glasow

  13. I do not have a lot of friends. I’m not a very sociable person. But those I do have are for keeps and I do not know what I’m going to do without them. They have been very helpful to me during the times when I’ve been alone during my pregnancy and needed some encouragement. It’s such a blessing to have them even with the physical distance. Getting together takes some planning because we are not all at the same general area. But when we do get together, it’s just hours and hours of laughing, catching up, fooling around and eating. I love friends.

  14. Cecilia says:

    I lurve Susan Bauer! We ate dinner at their B&B during the Peace Hill Conference in February. Mrs. Moore (at the B&B) gave me her salad dressing recipe and now my kids are eating their salads without any complaints. I can’t wait to read about what you did with Susan.

  15. Friends are such an encouragement. A good friend of my is pregnant with her first and I’m pregnant with my third right now, and it is neat to be able to share this journey together. Even though we’re half-way around the world from each other, we still keep up with each other through Skype and email.

  16. Christina Y. says:

    I’ve never known a true friend until my late twenties. Before that, friends of mine would come and go, during seasons of my life. None of them made efforts to stay connected as our lives changed (myself included). Now that I’m nearing 30, I have a few very special, true friends, who are just as imperfect as I am. It’s heartwarming to know them and spend time with them and have them in my life! I value friendship so much more now that I have these true friends (some who live close and some who live so far). Friendship is truly a gift from God!

  17. I read this article a couple of days ago. After I read it, I sat down a wrote a couple of thank you notes to my imperfect, wonderful friends. I delivered them today. My heart is swelling with gratitude.
    Being able to have real conversations with nonjudgmental friends is just the best. And I so enjoy my friends as they do not criticize/demean their spouses or children. Everything conversation is for the purpose of building each other and our families up.
    Thank you for the sweet reminder.

  18. So true, Tsh. The sunshine of life is such a beautiful way to phrase it. That’s how this weekend felt, enjoying special and inspiring moments with dear friends. It did feel like basking in the sunshine. I loved it, and miss you all already. 🙂

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