Six Word Story (115)”

Is waiting wasted time?

Or preparation?

Is waiting toil, like wading through thick mud?

Does it also build muscle that will be needed when that line is finally pulled and we must do battle to catch the prize at the other end?

Is waiting worth it?

Even if it’s just to pause to take a breath before like comes again to sweep us forward. I believe it is well worth it.

Copyright ©2023 Mary Grace van der Kroef

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Six Word Story (114)

There are worlds of perception above us and worlds of perception below us. We walk across them, hide under them, and forget that our height only shows us one view.

Crouch down low and realize your lawn is a jungle ready to be explored, and the tree canopy above hides homes that are just as important.

It’s a brave thing to explore where you have never been before. It’s also brave to experience newness in surroundings you thought you had memorized like the back of your hand.

Copyright ©2023 Mary Grace van der Kroef

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On Friendship: My First Friend

There are seven people I will eternally be grateful for. They are my brothers and sisters and each one has taught me many valuable lessons about human relationships.

I am the third eldest in a family of eight kids and my first friend was my older sister. She was my first playmate, my first protector, and my first source of grief.

Grif? Oh, Yes.

Up’s and downs are a normal part of every relationship, including friendship and sisterhood. This is why the bonds we form in early childhood are so important. They teach us resistance, respect, and loyalty when grown in a healthy way. Of course, they can leave wounds so deep it takes a lifetime to heal as well. But if a child is sheltered too much and not taught friendship from an early age, true connection will always be difficult at best, or unattainable at worst.

What were some of your earliest friendships like? were they with family members? Or perhaps you were an only child and had to look outside the walls of your first home to find friends? Who were they? How did they impact you as you grew?

My earliest memories contain flashes of playing in our room with dolls and stuffed animals. My sister had this brown pug puppy with a wrinkled brow and I had Purple Monkey who was really a bear but looked like a monkey with a short tail to me. (He lives in my little ones’ room now and still looks like a Purple Monkey to me.) When we lived out in the woods while my father was a logger, we shared a bunk bed. We got chickenpox at the same time and learned alongside each other when our parents decided to homeschool their kids.

For many years my older sister was a constant in my everyday. I had to learn how to connect, react, and live beside her as our relationship evolved with age. We are three years apart and so for a long time, I was ‘the baby’ sister, both treasured but also reviled. After all, who wants the baby tagging along on adventures ALL THE TIME? Not my older brother and sister.

Still, my sister was often my guard as well. She told my older brother off when unnessasarry words were said, or his rough play became too much or dangerous. Boundaries were learned. “Don’t go there Mary, it’s not safe. I’ll tell Mom!” or “Look what you did to her? How could you? Run back to the house Mary, it’s going to be okay.” She helped me grow an awareness of others, and how I affected them at the same time they affected me.

Sisters, treasures, and there is really none quite like mine.

I am also an older sister, I have a handful of siblings I put threw the paces myself as we all searched for our spot in the family. I’ll tell you they didn’t all appreciate the ‘lessons’ I passed on to them. I could be just as mean as my older brother and as the string of little people following us grew it wasn’t just my older sister’s job to protect me, she was also protecting them FROM me. So, we all learned repentance and forgiveness together. The need for justice in the face of cruelty. The fact that no matter how deeply someone lives you, they will at times still say and do mean things, and whether you want to or not there are times when you just can’t cut people out of your life. Not when you’re all homeschooled and stuck living in the country together anyway. This forced deep bonds that for most of us still hold after decades of wear.

She has become a safe place for me. I don’t use that safe place as much as I probably should because I’m still prone to thinking I can just do things myself. But when the hurt runs deep she is instinctively the first place I run to, even above my mother.

Do you have a friend like that? I know not everyone does. It’s also hard to BE that friend at times, it shows great strength of character, being willing to welcome people and their burdens into your life over and over again.

If you find yourself without that kind of friendship or removed from it for some reason, I just want to encourage you to not give up cultivating new friendships. It’s never too late to plant the seeds that might grow into a bond that is stronger than time and distance. The key ingredient to growing something like that is TIME, the key to retaining friendship like that, is humility and forgiveness.

If you find personal investment, humility, or forgiveness hard, it’s okay. It’s never too late to start learning them. I believe the first step is simply to ask for help. Read a book on friendship, pray for an open heart, and then ask God for someone to help you put into practice what you have learned. But be prepared to forgive and ask for forgiveness.

Copyright ©2023 Mary Grace van der Kroef

Previous Post – On Friendship: What is it?

Previous Post – On Friendship: The Word Friend

Previous Post – On Friendship: Introduction

Forthcoming Post – On Friendship: The Word Enemy

Forthcoming Post – Receiving and Giving Forgiveness

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Six Word Story (113)

Have you ever come back to something or someplace from your past and found it just as it was before, but to your grief, you no longer fit there?

it can be a shock. We might even deny its ys that have changed and insist it’s everyone and everything besides us. Sometimes there is truth to that, but usually, we have changed far more than we realize.

This is a good thing. It’s a normal, and healthy thing to change. It’s also important to go through that release of what was and even grieve for it for a time if we need to. That pause is part of the adventure.

Let yourself look back, remember, even return to that shell and sniff around. But, please, never stay there. Realize that it’s important to move on again after that visit. Make note of those things you miss, and count them as blessings, for they helped you grow into what you are today.

Copyright ©2023 Mary Grace van der Kroef

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Six Word Story (112)

Some years it’s easy to appear in early spring as the winter snows have already fled. But in other years, it’s hard. A cold crust might form a canopy that only the strongest sun rays push through. Whether it’s easy or hard, it still happens. Nature still forces growth in the hardest of conditions.

Don’t those early, brave few, stand out as all the more beautiful for their start surroundings? In reality, they are not much different from all the others that bloom through the summer, but because they dared to just be, they are our reminder of hope. Spring is coming, and yes, it’s already here.

Copyright ©2023 Mary Grace van der Kroef

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On Friendship: Introduction

There has been something on my heart for a while now, but I couldn’t decide how to express it until now. That thing is friendship and the lack of it in today’s modern society. This lack is not something new, and it may not be something everyone experiences, but I’ve felt it and seen it creeping like a shadow over my social circles and family for years.

What has happened to true friendship?

What is it? Do we still know?

Is it worth it in today’s society?

Has it changed over the years?

Can we find it again after losing it?

These are a few of the questions I would like to explore for the next few months.

The plan is to do this slowly, taking time to mull over the word ‘friend’ itself first and what it means. Then moving on to related words and personal experiences I’ve had. If there’s anything in particular, you would like to me write about, drop a comment below and I’ll do my best to add it to the list. Got a question about friendship? Ask it and we can explore it together.

Do you have friends? Many? A few? Just one?

Are they good friends, or do you consider them fair weather?

Are YOU a friend? A good one? A bad one?

Do you want to learn how to be a better friend?

I won’t profess that I’m any kind of expert on the subject, but I also won’t shy away from the fact that it’s very important to me and I have learned how to be a good friend. I’m one of those people who love very deeply. If I make a friend in person I will never forget them.

I believe friendship is one of the most important things to build within human relationships. We all crave the intimacy and connection that it holds. So why does it seem like it’s becoming harder and harder to find in a true, or strong form? Or am I perhaps mistaken and friendships are thriving, but it’s me who has for some reason become blind to it? This is also a possibility.

What do YOU think? Is friendship on the decline?

Copyright ©2023 Mary Grace van der Kroef

Forthcoming Post – On Friendship: The Word Friend

Forthcoming Post – On Friendship: The Word Enemy

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Six Word Story (110)

I use to get splinters as I stacked the wood my family used to heat our home in winter. Dad used gloves but I hated them. Even in winter, I preferred the feeling of bark against my skin, it gave my little hands a better grip.

First, we stacked it in rows behind the garage, then before winter we would all take turns loading the back of the truck, or even sleds with wood and moved it indoors, throwing it down the old-fashioned wood shoot. Once it was inside the word still wasn’t done, it needed to be stacked again to make more room for another load of wood. Back and forth back and forth…

We spent our time doing the necessary. Then when winter hit and the furnace was fired up we spent trees whose rings represent all the time they gathered into their trunks year after year, expanding, giving life to the world.

What a gift their end was to our family.

What a gift our time was to each other as we hauled each load and stored it for those cold Canadian months.

Each moment we spend time, but have you ever thought about whose time you are spending? It’s almost never just yours.

Copyrigt ©2023 Mary Grace van der Kroef

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Six Word Story (109)

Darkness can be oppressive.

A weight that drags, a fear that binds.

Darkness blinds us, but light in concentrated amounts shone in the middle of darkness can also blind us.

Illumination is deceptive, when it shows only a portion of the truth, not the whole story.

If you are trapped in a tunnel, following that light can be just as scary as walking deeper into the shadows. It can be even more painful.

So what do we do, when we are faced with such choices?

Stop, and look around, what does the light show you? What does it hide?

Literally and figuratively the time we take to gather information is so important. Then comes a moment of trust that a light has been placed where it is for a reason.

Sometimes it’s impossible to tell if that light is a light pointing the way to freedom, or warning us. I can’t promise you will make the right choice if you take stock before moving forward. I have been blinded in this way more than once in my life, but one thing I know… Moving forward is always better than sitting in my darkness to rot.

Have you ever had to face a blinding light or painful truth? Tell me about it.

Copyright © Mary Grace van der Kroef

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Six Word Story (108)

Rains of blessings or rains of sorrow, both have the potential to overwhelm when everyday eminence has been ignored. When was the last time you checked all those necessary drains? Yes the ones that might be built into the street outside your house, go remove those forgotten leaves. But also, the outlets you have built into your life, the things you do or the people you know that let you drain the overflow of emotions when you need to.

You do have them, don’t you?

If you don’t have them, it’s time to pray about digging that drain, praying for a friend, or finding that activity that will help you decompress. I know it’s not easy. I personally find the ‘people’ part of it hard. But they are important.

When God blesses you with them, it’s time to maintain them. Don’t forget them.

Maybe you ARE that for other people. You need matinence as well. Don’t be content to sit there and let your grate rust. You are important, your friendship is invaluable. It’s okay to raise your voice every once in a while and remind us others that you need help removing that debris built up around you.

I’m also still working on the ability to remind the people that walk above me that I need that help. Don’t be ashamed if it doesn’t come naturally. Got any tips on how to take care of those forgotten outlets? Tell us in the comments.

Copyright ©2023 Mary Grace van der Kroef

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Six Word Story (106)

I know the staircase has a landing, even when I can’t see it. There is no such thing as a staircase without a landing for staircases are meant as a road to take you up or down to ARRIVE at your destination.

Still, if I stand at the bottom and look up through the maze of curving handrails, it looks like that walkway is neverending. What a weight that perception holds…

I can feel it even when I know it can’t be true.

Perceptions, they can be so deceptive.

But that weight can be overcome by the knowledge that A staircase HAS to have an ending added to information gathered along the journey once we start the climb. Do we pass floors? Do they have numbers to tell? What information did I gather before entering the building, like how many floors are there?

By doing this, we can turn a 2-dimensional perception into a 3-dimensional prediction/map.

Don’t let the weight of perception alone crush you. Reach out, look around, and ask for help.

Copyright ©2023 Mary Grace van der Kroef

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