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How to Help a Friend During and After a Move

Yesterday’s post got me thinking about all the ways people helped my husband and me during and after our move. So, if you’ve had a girlfriend move recently, or you know she’s about to move, here are some ways to be a friend she’ll never forget:

 

1) Watch her kids.

Surprise! This is so helpful, however obvious it may seem, and its helpfulness cannot be downplayed. This not only gives your friend the uninterrupted time she needs to pack up that kitchen, it *really* helps the kiddos too. I had a couple of friends and family members who did this for me during our packing days and it saved my sanity (as well as my kids’).

2) Fix a meal for her family.

This is especially helpful that last night or two before the big day when she’s probably busy packing up all of her remaining kitchen items. One of my dear friends invited us to dinner the night before our move. This was absolutely heavenly. To be able to pack up all day, show up for dinner and get some sweet fellowship before heading home to  do more packing was a wonderful gift.

 

3) Collect your boxes for her and throw in a roll of tape or bubble wrap.

This one speaks for itself. And there’s never enough tape or bubble wrap. It seems boring, but she will love you forever, I promise.

 

4) Help her clean.

Odds are, your friend will want to spruce up the new place, no matter how clean her new home or apartment may be. Bring your iPod, a Sonic Cranberry-Limeade and go help her out. Not only will you get to help your friend, you’ll get one of the first tours of the new house! 🙂 Or better yet, help clean the old house after she’s already moved out. There’s nothing more tedious than going back and cleaning a place you’ve already had to emotionally leave behind. 

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5) Help them lift those boxes.

Or, be willing to stay home with your kids, and send your muscle-man to lift the boxes.

Or, hire a babysitter so that you can help too (yes, my sister-in-law actually did this, to my amazement!).

Moving day is one of the most exhausting of days! Come with open arms and maybe a cup of coffee. Again, she’ll love you forever.

 

6) Think of the things her family will need for their first night and morning.

We had one friend who offered to find the right washers for our new-to-us bed. We had no idea upon beginning to put it together that we didn’t have all the nuts and bolts we needed. Our friend literally went all over town, never could find the right washers and wound up buying some regular ones and literally pounding them into the correct shape for us (we were oblivious to all of this as we were still unloading boxes, or we would have never allowed him to go to so much trouble!). All because he knew we would want to crash that night. He will forever be a saint in my mind!

 

Bring muffins for the next morning’s breakfast and bring a gallon of milk and O.J. Odds are, your friend hasn’t thought much past getting into the house.

 

7) Leave something at the door to welcome them into their new home.

Or, if your friends are moving too far away, mail something to them ahead of time. There’s nothing like getting something from a friend in your new mailbox!

When we arrived at our new house in the U-haul, I quickly noticed a balloon and card waiting for us at the front door. I was pleasantly surprised, thinking it was the neighborhood Welcome Wagon’s doing. I soon discovered that one of my good friends had driven by our home the night before to leave us a “Welcome Home” card. If that’s not thoughtful, I don’t know what is.

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8) Help them with the yardwork.

If you *really* want to show your friends or family you love them, come bless the new place with its first mowing. I will never forget receiving a text from some loved ones the next morning, asking if they could bring their mower and come mow the already tall grass for us. Knowing we hadn’t bought a mower yet and that it would be a few days before we could do so, they saw a need and sacrificially came and prettied our yard for us. All I can say is, WOW. This still brings tears to my eyes every time I think of it.

 

8) Help her unpack.

The next time you visit, you may find that she’s moved things around as she’s learned her new house, but just getting things out of boxes (and breaking down the boxes) is so helpful and positively mind-clearing.

 

9) Send her a note a few weeks later.

Let her know you’re still thinking of her and that she hasn’t vanished from your heart and mind. Odds are, there are probably times she’ll feel you’ve moved on. Let her know you still love her.

 

10) Plan get-togethers (if you’re still in the same town).

Same as above. Your friend will need to know that friends are friends, no matter how far. Make the extra effort to still get together and encourage her to do the same. It will take a little extra work, but it will be worth it!

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If you have any ideas to add to the list, please feel free to add them to the comments! I’d love to have ideas tucked away for friends in the future!

And thanks to all of our amazing friends and family members who helped us during our move this summer. You guys humble me. And you ROCK my world.

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Raising Best Friends

I didn’t know that when God gave me four sisters, He was probably preparing to raise some sisters. I mean, I guess it crossed my mind, but not in a real sort of way. 

 

Now, you are the ones playing in the family room. I don’t know what, but it sounds quite riveting. Something about Princes and puppies, I think. There are times that I hear the two of you girls playing and I almost get a little pang of jealousy — wishing I could just step into the play for a moment . . . maybe as a 4 year-old version of me — right in the middle of the two of you. I truly don’t think any sound on earth gives me greater joy than hearing your imaginations adventuring, feeding off one another’s. I pray so hard for your relationship. That God would always strengthen it and that you’d always love each other and invest in one another and give each other lots of grace. 

 

Because a sister has the potential to be your greatest friend and ally, or your biggest rival. Right now, yes, you fight and are sometimes selfish, but you love each other so much and you miss each other when the other is away from your side. And I know that I will fail you and I will annoy you and I will frustrate you and you will talk about me behind my back and maybe even giggle at your silly, ol’ mom. But I also know that when I am gone from this world, Lord willing, you will have each other and that will give me great comfort. 

 

I love your relationship. And I love that I get to “grow” you and help you “raise” your own best friend. Don’t ever underestimate each other. You can get through just about anything in life with a friend by your side. God gave you each other.

 

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Oh, and I have to go now, because you’ve actually just invited me to join the fun and come be your Aunt Suzie for a sleepover. 

 

I wouldn’t miss it.

 

Always have fun, little girlies.

On Moving and Making Friends

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The house is quiet. I stand under the quiet whirring of a fan, in a new bedroom, folding new towels, in a new house, on a new street, in a new neighborhood. The girls are actually sleeping, exhausted from all the transitioning, the hubby working from a room down the hall, keyboard clicking away. Over the home, I feel a peace and contentment. Over the neighborhood, I feel bit lonely, missing our old rendezvous at the trampoline and hearing all the kids traipsing through our old backyard, heading home from school, shoulders laden with backpacks and voices chattering through the trees. I wonder if we’ll ever have that here in this new place. I wrestle discouragement over how most neighbors in America wave from the mailbox, half hour conversations in the middle of the street not a usual occurrence like on our old lane.

 

I hear voices outside, outdoor crying breaking the slow hum of our afternoon. I glance out my upstairs window to find a toppled red tricycle in the street in front of our house, and a little girl holding her knee close, tears watering our grass. Big brother bends over her, his own bike quickly discarded nearby. My instinct tells me to run out, but I hesitate, not wanting to scare a tiny, hurt girl even more by some stranger running out of her house, coming to the “rescue.” I watch one more moment, but my Mama heart can tell, this is not some “just-let-me-gather-my-senses,” little-girl fall. Those wails are ones of boo-boos that definitely need band-aids. I throw my hesitancy, along with the half-folded towel upon the bed, and run down the stairs and out the front door.

 

Big brother looks up. He’s holding a thermos over little sister’s knee, washing off blood and dirt. My heart melts in the Tennessee sun. I introduce myself through the hurt tears and ask how close they live and if she’d like a bandaid? Brown, tear-filled eyes find strength to nod and I run in and out again with Lisa Franks and Neosporin.

She stops crying. 

“I didn’t know you had those bandaids,” little three-year-old girl says, pleased.

Yes,” I say, smiling that something like glaring pink and purple can make a little girl so happy.

“Yes, I have two little girls and they just love these bandaids. My oldest is almost 5 and my youngest is 2 and they’re just dying to meet a little girl like you. They’re sleeping right now because we just moved in and they’re pretty tired, but you come back any time you want and they’d just love to play.”

Her eyes light up and I think I’ve just met my first true friend of the neighborhood. My heart brims.

I am learning that life is a constant ebb and flow and nothing, save One, ever stays the same. Marriages, friendships, neighborhoods, day-to-day living, they all change as life’s web is spun to contain all our Creator wants to give us. Change is exciting. It’s hard. It’s scary. It’s fun. And even though things change, they don’t have to change for worse. We hold on to all that was, everything and everyone still a part of us, forever. And we open hands and arms wide, accepting all the Lord still has for us. Moving does not mean you let go. It just means you hold those you love from a different angle.