The Power of Friendship

 We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming for a very special guest post by author (and Desire to Inspire contributor!) Mary Anne Radmacher. Her latest book is Us! Celebrating the Power of Friendship, which I've been able to take a gander at, and, as always, Mary Anne hits it right on the mark. As someone who is blessed to share a friendship with her, I can tell you that she is the real deal. She has taught me much about the power of friendship.

Friends--with them we’re stronger, smarter, and better than we are alone. In this delightful, beautifully illustrated gift book, writer, artist, and friend extraordinaire Mary Anne Radmacher shares the many ways we celebrate each other. Radmacher has a special way of inviting those who hear or read her words to change their lives. In Us! she continues on that engaging path. With original four-color lettering, art, design, motivational quotes, poems, and aphorisms about the importance of friendship, she offers a funny, sweet, and perfect gift for any occasion. ~ Us! synopsis

Leave a comment today for a free copy of Mary Anne's latest lovely creation ~ Us! Celebrating the Power of Friendship ~ and bookmark this page for this very special guest post...

Twelve Things to Remember When a Friend is in an Emotional Crisis

*  Remember that not all challenges have clear or immediate solutions.

*  Remember that it’s your “job” to be a good friend, not to fix their problem.

*  Listen.

*  Listen compassionately without taking sides, placing blame or making it your problem.

*  Resist the urge to tell matching crisis stories (“That happened to me one time and….”)

*  Be willing to just hang out. Be comfortable with compassionate silence.   Let your friend set the tone for action, activity or stillness.

*   Ask questions without offering advice.

*   Offer your opinion or advice when you are asked for it.

*   If you are compelled to offer a solution for consideration, ask first.  “Would you like me to give you my opinion or do you just need me to listen?”

*   Honor and respect their answers.

*   Draw upon your experience together and if it’s possible to truthfully assess that “it gets better” – offer what comfort you can.

*   Listen.  This bears repetition because there are so many different ways to do this – Listen.  Let your friend know you have heard them by mirroring your understanding of what they have said to you.  “It sounds like you are feeling like ____.   Is that what you are saying?”

“When we have a circle of friends, we have more fun. We get more done, we feel and are stronger, and we really do celebrate the power of our ‘us.’” -Mary Anne Radmacher

Congratulations to Sharyn, our Give Away winner! Thank you to everyone who commented!!

Mary Anne Radmacher :: Celebrating the Door to Change

I am excited and honored to introduce today's Guest Blogger ~ Mary Anne Radmacher. I have written about her on numerous occasions, most notably on a Five Things entry devoted entirely to her inspirational goodness. I sometimes have to pinch myself over the fact that I've developed connections with women who inspired me for years before we met. Meeting and getting to know Mary Anne has been one of the greatest joys I've experienced in this regard, as she is a woman who lives - day in and day out - according to her values, beliefs, and ideals. Mary Anne's latest book is Live With Intention:  Rediscovering What We Deeply Know, and if you haven't seen it yet, enter a comment for today's post for a chance to win one of two copies available for a Give Away. All comments entered through this Friday, February 25th will be in the drawing, and two winners will be announced next Monday.

And now ~ drum roll please ~ the magnificent Mary Anne Radmacher...

Many of us march through life announcing we want control, don’t take well to change, and don’t like surprises. This is a formula for continual struggle. The soil of struggle is the playground for change. And if you’ve ever seen a single flower blooming in a crack it has pushed through cement—or a wildflower blossoming in the snow—then you know life is full of surprises. A promotion. Children losing their lives before their parents. A gift delivered unexpectedly. An unkind word. Surprises are like licorice: they come in many different colors.

I celebrate seeing the door to change. Seeing the opportunity helps me be less resistant to it. Viewing myself as a perennial student informs me that I have so much to learn. I used to listen to anyone saying almost anything, nodding my head and asserting, “I know. I know.” I was seeking the stamp of approval for already knowing what they were trying to tell me. I have come to recognize the value of not knowing. Of listening to words and wondering, even if they are familiar, if I can hear something new in their lyrics. I am breathless, too, at the door of change swinging open and hitting me on the nose. I keep my eyes on that door—so I can happily walk toward it and help it open.