“If you find yourself racing through life, slow down long enough to take along some good friends.”

Sometimes we get so busy living our lives that we forget to slow down enough to make time for our friends. I have been guilty of that myself over the years, especially with working such crazy hours for so many years of my life.  Taking time off this summer to spend with my family has also allowed me to spend more time with friends and it has reminded me just how amazing a good group of friends is and just how much happier life can be when you make time for them.

I was always taught growing up that choosing my friends was one of the most important decisions I would make in my life.  Reason being is that our group of friends will influence how we think and act, and as such they play a big role in shaping the person we will become.

“The friends we choose to associate with are main contributing factors in the formation of our character.”  -L. Tom Perry

I am grateful that I followed that counsel and have always been incredibly careful to choose my friends wisely.  I have always tried to surround myself with people I respect and people who have qualities I hope to learn from.  By that same token I have tried hard to distance myself from those people whose actions I would not want to emulate.  I believe that it is important to be kind to everyone, but to limit your close friendships to those whose character helps make you a better person.   That dedication to surrounding myself with great people has served me incredibly well in my life.

I was able to work each day with friends I had tremendous respect for, and together we were able to build an amazingly successful company that was a huge blessing to each of us and our families.  Those friends at worked supported me, guided me, and helped make me the person that I am.  I was also able to surround myself with great friends as my investors and board members and who helped mentor me as I grew professionally over the years.  Each of those friends that I worked with professionally will be friends forever and they have truly blessed my life.

The same applies to my personal life.  It was the great people that lived there that drew me to the neighborhood I live in currently, and that is what has kept me here in this neighborhood for around 13 years.  I love the people here.  I am surrounded with amazing people who are loving and kind and who lift one another up.  There are neighborhood breakfasts followed by little kid bicycle parades for the Fourth of July each year, there are neighborhood Christmas parties, couples take walks through the neighborhood and talk with each other as they pass by, and everyone watches out for everyone else’s children.  We mourn with one another when someone has a loss, and we celebrate with each other for our special life events.  Our neighborhood is family to us.  That is why, when we decided to build a new home, we decided to move heaven and earth to build in our same neighborhood.  It took jumping through all kinds of hoops to make it happen, and it took sacrificing a sprawling yard that my husband hoped for (he is a farm boy after all and he misses land…) since the neighborhood was already full without open lots left, and there is no doubt it would have been cheaper to build our hope somewhere else  – but none of those things deterred us, because we are surrounded by great friends that we love dearly and that made it worth the sacrifices so we could stay here and have them in our lives each day.  Cause we love them!

Each of us will benefit from having great friends in our lives.  To have good friends, we have to be a good friend.  We have to care genuinely about our friends by showing interest in the things that are important to them and by caring about their problems, their fears, and their hopes.  And if you have good friends but want to make more than my advice is to smile more!  And be more positive!  Everyone is attracted to people who are positive and happy, so the best way to attract more friends is to smile and be happy!  It truly works.

To keep our friends we have to build them up and avoid tearing them down.  We have to support them in times of need and let them know we care.  I think the biggest service we can do for our friends is to be willing to always try and be a good example for them, standing up for what is right and encouraging them to also do what is right.  We can’t control our friends, but we can certainly influence them and we should always influence them to do the right things.

And hopefully, our spouses can also be our best friend.  I feel lucky and blessed to say that my husband is my very best friend in life.  I am painfully aware that it doesn’t always work out that way for everyone, having gone through a divorce myself in my 20’s.  So I don’t’ ever take for granted that I am lucky to have found a man who is genuinely my best friend in life. Sure it takes work to keep it that way, after all, he is a man, and let’s face it – men and women are just cut from different cloth (ours being the cuter cloth that is much better smelling, of course 🙂 )…but seriously, that is one friendship worth putting whatever effort it takes to make it your very best one!

Have a great week this week!

~Amy

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