Sure hope I didn’t come across as a boastful braggart in last week’s post about the importance of friends and family in helping us find our way through life. While it’s true that I’ve been extraordinarily blessed with relationships with lovely people, it’s also true that few of them (none, in fact) came marching up to my door, rang the bell, and said, “Hey, I want to be your buddy.” Quite the contrary. Often, I had to take the initiative, whether it was in squaring my shoulders and making myself go where the action was or in making myself speak up and say, “Hi, I’m Jayne.”

Sometimes it’s hard to get out of our comfort zones, but if we don’t, then how can we grow? How can we meet these marvelous people who are just on the other side of the door? As a quick example, today Elizabeth and I attended church in Conway. “Big deal,” some of you might be thinking. “Didn’t you go there for years, and don’t you still have friends there?” The answer is yes…and yes again. At the same time, the Conway ward used to be a small branch, and we knew everyone there. Today Lib and I had to scan the congregation pretty closely to find two empty seats. Er, we got there a few minutes late, and well, we didn’t get any back row seats. What I’m saying is that the number of people attending has greatly increased, and many of them are strangers to us.

But after Relief Society (LOVE that organization), I asked one of the women if she still worked at HGTC. “No,” she replied. “I resigned in order to complete my degree and to work on my family.” I understand what she meant 100 percent. Anyway, as we chatted, she mentioned that she was having a birthday party/luncheon for her little grandson and asked if we wanted to attend. Duty called for both Elizabeth and me, so I reluctantly declined and said I sure hoped she’d extend another invitation in the future. She said she would;  in fact, she said she thought we probably had a lot in common and that we’d find plenty to talk about.  I agree. And the funny thing is, I’d never spoken to her before although I’d seen her pretty face for five or six years when visiting that ward. Today I stepped out of my comfort zone and made a new friend. You should too.

Just a couple more friend and family notes. Friday evening, I was fortunate enough to have dinner with work friends, past and present, and to meet yet another new friend who lives in NMB. From the looks of how his friendship with CCD is progressing, I’ll probably be seeing more of him.  The rest of the weekend was spent with DH’s family, shopping and dining out. Sara J’s in Garden City is a great place for seafood, by the way. The weekend was bookended by lunch with Paul at the Wendy’s on Assembly Street in Columbia on Friday and church attendance with Elizabeth in Conway today.  

Now’s the time to mention that I’m more of an introvert than an extravert. Yes, it’s true. I value my solitude and have to have it in order to recharge my mental, emotional, and spiritual batteries. After spending nearly three hours on the beach alone on Saturday morning, I was again ready to face the world. It was overcast morning, perfect for collecting sea shells, people watching, and walking. And oh my, the sight of ocean and the sound of its roar added to my morning’s walk. How can anyone visit the edge of the continent and not feel His presence? I’m including a few pictures that I snapped with my Blackberry.  IMG00363IMG00366

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So yes, friends and families are ultra important. If you’re reading this and are feeling alone and sort of “out of the loop,” pick up the phone and call someone. Or send a card or an email or go to an evening church service. Or look for events in your area where like-minded people might be congregating, and then GO THERE. I have a “be brave” label on my front page, and it’s been there for quite a while, mainly as a reminder to me but also as a prompt for others. As the late Gordon B. Hinckley was fond of saying, “Do it.”

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