“Stay is a charming word in a friend’s vocabulary.”  Louisa May Alcott











I drove alone to her house on a Friday morning and stayed until Sunday.

We’ve been friends for 20 years, through Bible college, snail mail letters (fat was good), emails, phone calls, visits few and far between.

There is something special about long distance friendships….the heart comes through so much easier in letters and emails, a closeness is gained when hiding behind a pen.

Oh but the visits are the icing on the cake.

God is so good to give us our people.  The ones to share a life with.


Joanna is a beautiful soul.  She is creative and her home oozes with her ideas.  She and her husband Steve have a relationship of closeness and understanding; he cleared up time for her, by taking on household chores, caring for the children, making meals, so that the two of us could visit.

a few memories::

We played games as a family with so much laughter.

Eti on his pogo stick.

Coco with the shower cap that I gave her from my hotel bathroom.

browsing beautiful shops (we found an old Gladys Taber book)

Dunkin donuts

bic macs

opening gifts

that strange bug

monkey man

Because of Winn Dixie

the bluebird of happiness

herbs from the garden

pinky ring

smell of skunk

a lived in home


a lost My Little Pony book

race to the bathroom, with a shoulder injury

she let me take her picture


She has a five month old baby boy.  He was good natured and sweet.



we did each other’s nails


She did the coolest thing with me on Saturday.  Steve came up with the idea that she do a “Tour of Joanna”, inspired by an old Seinfeld episode where Kramer drives a bus around and does his crazy Peterman reality tours.

Jo has lived in the same area her whole life so I got to hear fabulous stories and see places from her whole life.


back home again……..


I gave the kids pixie sticks.


We worked on scrapbook pages at the outside table.  She let me look through old illustration books to cut and use.




she gave me her drawing and I glued it in my book


selfie in the bird room

IMG_4551 - Version 2

church on Sunday


After church we went back to the house for lunch.



Eti (12 years old) made this grenade out of an empty lemon juice bottle.


While waiting for dinner I sat on the couch, looking at one of Jo’s library books, with Tsega at the other end.


After delicious African chicken stew, we played a few rounds of a fun game together before I had to leave for the long drive back home.

It hurt to leave.  I had a lovely time with my friend.






isn’t about who came first

or who you’ve known the longest.

It’s about who came

and never left.





9 thoughts on “stay

  1. Ahhhhh, I LOVE this!!! So great that you were able to visit for a nice, long weekend! Friendship is such a beautiful and special thing in this crazy world. Great pictures and quotes! xo -Chris

  2. When I first read this post my thoughts were: I wonder if Chris will read this and what your thoughts/emotions will be, and how much I miss you. I know you have been on the extended version of the Joanna tour..I miss you and wish I saw more of you.
    And then I thought of Dawn and how I would love to have Shanda and I meet you together…maybe in heaven we will work on our art books!
    So cool to come back and see both comments are from you guys!
    Shanda, I wish your stay was longer, it went by too fast! I am so glad you got this peak into our lives we all love you even more, if that is possible!

  3. What a beautiful family! What a treat to spend time with a soul friend like that.How very blessed you are. I agree to write things on paper in letters. That’s why I love writing so, to pour out thoughts and feelings into words that I could not adequately do speaking them.
    Fat letters ARE the best!;)
    Thankyou for sharing. It was wonderful!;) so glad you could go!

  4. Loved this! I’d love to meet Joanna in person. She was one of the people who spoke words into my soul and encouraged my heart toward adoption so she will always have a special place in my heart. I love that you snail mailed! I was just able to meet a pen-pal of mine and we wrote back and forth for 20+ years before we met. It does create a unique kind of friendship.

  5. so glad to see you getting to visit Joanna. Love that girl, but I’ve only known her a short time. I actually came to know you through her blog when she last wrote about visiting all your dear family. Love these moments you ladies were able to have with one another. Dear friends that last a lifetime…so God blessed. Thank you for sharing Shanda.

  6. Your visit made me happy. It looked perfect. Filled with talk, family, and special memories. I found a card and page you sent me last yea, when I was going through some things in the office this week, t was such a blessing, like getting it all over again! 🙂

  7. Sorry, missed a couple letters there. 🙂 I am on the laptop, which is usually in David’s care, and I am not as used to the keyboard! Dan is here and built his Dad a new computer, so the office and computers are all being changed around!

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