About the Author

Jen encourages women to embrace both the beauty and bedlam of their everyday lives at BeautyandBedlam.com. A popular speaker, worship leader, and author of Just Open the Door: How One Invitation Can Change a Generation, Jen lives in North Carolina with her husband, five children, and a sofa for anyone...

(in)side DaySpring: things we love
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(in)side DaySpring:
things we love
& you will too!
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  1. Ohh I love spending time with my girlfriends! It’s always so fulfilling 🙂
    A few ideas from me would be…
    – a cookie exchange, bring your favorite cookies along with the recipe, then everybody exchange, each person goes home with a FULL plate of yummy sweets! Fun during Christmas:)
    – a simple girls night- give manicures, pedicures, bring face masks, and give each massages… and watch a chick flick 🙂
    – do brunch together and everyone bring something,then have a time of prayer over one another
    – have all your girlfriends bring their old clothes, toys, etc… then put some money together and donate it too a local orphanage or shelter
    okie dokie… that’s all I’ve got for now! Thanks for reminding me to be creative in my friendships 🙂

  2. My friends and I get together with items we don’t wear in our closet anymore and have a night of lattes, worship music, girl talk and going home with new items from our friend’s closets. It’s a great way to get some new items and get rid of some we don’t use anymore.

  3. All of these ideas are so wonderful. I recently did a home bible study for my girlfriends…it was such a sweet time to hear each other’s heart. I also love to do art with friends.
    And sometimes, when I just don’t have anytime or feel overwhelmed with little to give, I will call a friend while I am doing laundry or cooking….

  4. My life is so blessed with wonderful friends… we have done lots of fun things together, those things tend to change up a little with changing seasons of life. But the biggest blessing of all is just sharing life together.

  5. When I lived close to my best friend, we used to wrap Christmas presents together. I always had so many extended family members I bought for it was a tremendous help and lots of fun.
    Baking together has also been fun as we learn new techniques from each other.
    An exercise group is ideal~keeps you motivated to walk.
    When we first moved to Arizona, a group of us ladies formed a prayer group. It was a way to connect in a new place joining ourselves together on common ground. From there, we found ourselves helping each other decorate or make baby quilts, having fun luncheons. As our lives got complicated, we always called each other for prayer. Sixteen years later and a state apart, we are still close at heart and lifting each other up in prayer.
    (For those of us still left here, we are going to have a slumber party, with candy and popcorn and chick flicks, and talk all night!)

  6. All of these ideas are wonderful but I really want to win that pitcher;)
    The girls in my little Bible study and I like to gather and cook…secretly…for one of our members who is down or overwhelmed at the moment. A stocked freezer can be the perfect gift! And, of course, the rest of us enjoy hanging out while we’re cooking!:)

  7. Love the great ideas! I’ve been really needing some girltime with Christian friends. In the past, we’ve done lunch, thrift store/antique shopping, gone to plays like “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”, but it has been far too long.

  8. Thank you for the reminder, and the ideas… I need to put my thinking cap on, and get to strengthening those friendships. Who knows, there may be some new friendships in the make there, too! Woohoo!

  9. These are great ideas. It is hard to make time w/ our friends when you are trying to be a wife,mother, teacher etc etc. I think it is so importanat though and I know that I need it so I am so grateful for these practical ideas.

  10. I’ve taken part in ladies’ scrapbooking events. It’s so much fun, and as you’re building in album of memories you’re making more fun ones with your favorite women!
    I would love to do some thrift store or flea market shopping with the ladies of my church. I think it would also so be great to do something together for the local community, like helping out at a local Christian pregnancy center we have in town.
    There are so many creative ways to fellowship with our sisters!

  11. Thanks for the great ideas. It is hard to make time for friends,when we all have such different schedules. We try to meet up for lunch most of the time.
    We have gotten together for a cookie exchange and a Christmas gift swap party every year.

  12. I am new to your site and I love it. I found it view Under Grace and Over Coffee. I love the engouraging post and the beautiful art. Thanks for the great friendship ideas.

  13. Sometimes I need to remind myself to make time to develop and nurture friendships with girlfriends, but when I do, I’m always refreshed! Thanks for some great ideas!

  14. Near Valentine’s Day we do a “Sweets for Your Sweetie Swap.” It’s similar to a cookie exchange- you all bring goodies to swap to take home. It’s a lot of fun!

  15. I’ve done Bible studies with my friends too. One thing I haven’t seen mentioned yet is volunteering. Last year we picked a different place in town for each month to volunteer at for a couple hours.

  16. I love this article and the ideas. In the past year I have experienced great friendships with new girlfriends. You’re right-it is truly a blessing! I truly believe the “Lord established the bond among female friends as a special thing.” I have befriended a special woman with the similar passions and interest and such a compassionate soul. It is such a relief to be around a friend who chooses to love others instead of judging them.
    Since I am not yet married and without children, I like to visit my girlfriends and help with family duties (help with children-playing games, babysitting, washing up). I also find that cooking together-food preparation is another fun way to relax and enjoy our time together.

  17. We have a girls night out, once a month with my Sunday School class. The one thing I have found is you have to schedule it or it won’t happen!

  18. The way I’ve had to be creative to get girl time is to create play dates with the kids. We alternate between houses. That way our children get socializing and we get in some really good girl talk

  19. Me and few friends love to go out to eat mexican together but when the husbands and the kids come too we don’t really get that “girl time” we were looking for. I am thinking about planning 1 Thursday every month that we meet at the Mexican restuarant, JUST us ladies 🙂

  20. My sisters and I have “sister dates.” We get together, cook together, bake together, then watch a movie. Only one of my sisters is married and she has two little girls. They come along for the ride and love being “big girls” for a day.
    Another thing I lvoe to do, though its not always “together” with my girlfriends, is babysit each other kids so that the couples can go out. Usually we’ll swap and then the following day have breakfast together, us girlfriends. I love blessing my girlfriends in their marriages like this 🙂

  21. Being creative is a big part of my life. I am a seamstress and also love all kinds of needlework. I am currently working on a quilt called Love Covers and was a direct inspiration from the scripture 1st Peter 4:8
    Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8. I am making it for my sister, who I have had to forgive and forgive and forgive this past year. I do not want her behavior to come between God and I and this quilt will someday tell her how much I love her, no matter what – the same love and forgiveness granted to me by the Lord.

  22. I’ve thought about getting together with some friends to make meals…but cleaning…now that’s an idea that hasn’t crossed my mind before!

  23. That is such a fantastic idea…Kitchen Sisters Club! Some friends and I recently started getting together for organizing our pantries by keeping a current inventory. The idea is to save $$$, save time, and reduce meal planning stress. Thanks for sharing. Blessings, SusanD

  24. How about trying on eachothers clothes that don’t fit right anymore to see if you can swap, or check out eachothers bookshelves for books one might not want anymore that someone else does.

  25. My favorite is our swap. We all save stuff we might normally garage sale or send off to good will and we bring it into the gym at church. Set up tables and it’s a free for all. You take what you need/want and then at the end, we call the Christian thrift store that supports youth and they come haul the rest away. It’s fantastic. I can’t tell you how much money I have saved being able to shop clothes for me, my kids, and my husband, and even finding a cool trinket or two 🙂

  26. I’d like to do a girl’s night out where the men stay behind and keept the kids while the girl’s go out for dinner!
    Also a bible study for just women and someone’s house.
    Secret sister gift swap over a period of time…ending with a big party!

  27. I’m not very creative about it, but I’ve found that just having a willing spirit, so that when opportunity arises I’m willing to put down whatever I’m doing to just be with a friend. This week I was desperately trying to finish a project before school starts and a precious lady from church asked me to come and sit with her on her porch. I didn’t feel like I had time, but I knew the fellowship would be sweet. I dropped my paint scraper and enjoyed the beauty of friendship & a summer afternoon outside on a porch : )

  28. My sisterchicks and I are all at different stages of life (some singled, married, kids, no kids, etc.) so it’s hard for us to arrange our schedules to get together. One thing that we’ve been doing is Beth Moore’s “Siesta Summer Bible Study” on her blog – we each get the book, follow along online, and email our responses to one another when we have time. Then we plan (a few weeks in advance) a night to get together with our families over a potluck dinner to talk about the study and hang out 🙂 Nothing better than sisters, food, and Bible study to refresh the soul!

  29. I just spent the day with a good friend who’s going through a rough time. No pressure, just to be together. We ended up talking {a lot}, making lunch together, watching a movie, shopping for necessities, and ended up at Starbucks. It was nice!

  30. I don’t get together with my friends as much as I would like to. But one thing I like to do is get a few together and go visit someone who either feels like an “outsider” or someone who is sick or shut in. Sometimes, groups of friends can seem to be clique-ish, especially at church. So I like to reach out.

  31. For the past ten years my bestest girlfriends and I have lived ten hours away. Although I am so thankful for today’s various means of electronic communication (email, texting, skype), there is nothing like face to face late night talking. About once a year we go somewhere together for a weekend, we ALWAYS have a wonderful time. We’re meeting in Chicago on September 18th for a Beth Moore conference. I can’t wait!

  32. We have a baking bread day, everyone makes a different kind and we swap. Everyone loves fresh bread! Give each other a date night out! This of course, is with their husbands, but it affords those rare times alone with our sweetie and the kids get to play. When mama is happy…..everyone is happy!!

  33. love your ideas. that is something this momma needs more girlfriend time w/o sacrificing family time.

  34. I love slipping away for a late night tea or coffee (decaf please!) with my best friend after the kids are in bed. I come home refreshed and ready for bed!

  35. Many of my friends are busy mothers who also homeschool, so we get together one day a week as moms and kids. After a lesson for the kids, we put them to work at an activity followed by some healthy fun and then find a spot for us moms to fellowship. It is a time where we encourage one another, challenge one another and assist one another. Our kids are involved and safe and we have time to connect to an adult. It’s been sweet!

  36. To make sure that we did not neglect our friendship when our children were younger, we signed them up for a weekly art or gymnastic class together, then took them to lunch at a restaurant with a children’s play area afterwards. That way we got to visit while they had fun and were entertained. Now that our children are older, we try to schedule lunch and sometimes a movie during the school day and do our holiday shopping together. We remind ourselves that taking the time to nurture our friendship helps us to recharge our batteries, giving us more energy to take care of our families.

  37. It is often lunch together at our local Mexican restuarant. But our favorite is to take a day and get together to stamp cards. A whole lot of chatting and laughing and even some cards get made!

  38. I have enjoyed picking in season fruit and canning it together, camping with our friends and their families, vacations, scrap booking and crying together over how our kids have grown, etc… There are many ways to show love and connect with friends but that simple phone call or card is priceless.

  39. I have a very dear friend – I help her now moving in another home, and help her buying new furniture, and she makes me wonderful cheesecakes. The thing is that – each of us do what we can to share life and help each others with what we know to do – please don’t ask me to prepare a cheesecake!

  40. Girls’ dinner/movie nights are great as are Christian women’s events especially if they are out of town. There’s nothing like a weekend retreat and pajama time 🙂

  41. We do card making evenings, always with a theme, a holiday or a general use and then everyone swaps taking one from each pile. We also make a group for the pastoral staff to send for sickness, deaths and births. They really appreciate having them on hand, it saves the church money and gives that personal touch that lets people know someone really does care.

  42. My friends and I share a common hobby, scrapbooking. But we find that with our jobs, active children and keeping our homes in order, we have very little time for scrapbooking. Once (or twice, if we’re lucky) we go somewhere for a three day weekend of scrapbooking and girly fellowship. Even though it’s a rare occasion, we cherish these times of staying connected with our girlfriends. It is a time of laughter, sharing and sometimes tears as we spend many continuous hours together doing what we love. We try to get together on some weekends and scrapbook for a few hours, but nothing compares to those 54 hours of “girl bliss”! Our husbands know that they are up to bat that weekend with 100% children duty….they wouldn’t dare mess with THE scrapbook weekend!

  43. My friends and I LOVE to dress up in a cute dress & heels or those hot jeans & heels (the heels are a MUST) and go to the entertainment district of our city and go out to eat! We love feeling cute & like all the college boys are checking us out! 🙂
    It’s fun to get all dolled up and take a moment to just be girls!

  44. wrapping gifts together is something some of my friends do. we also have had several shopping nights where we go to the mall or wherever, window shopping and sharing our delight at discovering a good find 🙂

  45. My close girlfriends and I always try to make a point to do something together at least once or twice a month. With or without kids (usually with!). Matter of fact, we’re taking our kids to the aquarium on Monday! It’s a two hour drive, so we’ll pack a lunch and make a day out of it.

  46. ok, this is a little tricky to pull off, but here it goes: My sister and some friends started, 15 years ago, having a ladies’ beach weekend every year (I was invited to join in about 7 years ago). Friday to Monday. Planned well in advance so things can be scheduled around it. It gives the dads good bonding time with the kids, but doesn’t really ask TOO much of them. If you don’t live on the coast, I’m sure there are good places a group of ladies could get away to. One year, one of the women was 7 months pregnant with twins, and they pushed her around everywhere in a wheelchair! These are friends my sister sees pretty regularly, and even though I don’t, since I live in another state, my friendships with these women have continued to deepen over the years. It’s been really special.

  47. Tonight several of my girlfriends and I are gathering to finish up prep work for a bridal shower for another dear friend tomorrow. We’ll cook, clean, organize, chat and eat, and we’re all really looking forward to it! We’ve also decided to start volunteering with our local rescue mission’s thrift stores on a bimonthly basis. I really love the Christmas card addressing idea, and we’ve had a couple of different home improvement/move days already. Those are rather rarely needed, though!

  48. When I first moved to Louisville with my family (hubby was attending seminary) and didn’t have ANY friends. One girl invited me & my children to a Thursday Mom’s group. We all attended the same AWESOME church (Highview Bapt) and had kids at home.
    These ladies were all friends and they welcomed me in to the group with open arms.
    It wasn’t long…before Thursdays were all we could think about. My kids made sweet friends and so did I.
    We even planned special events with the hubby’s along.
    These ladies were one of God’s greatest blessings to me while I lived there.
    Great friendships!

  49. – group of ladies going to the Women of Faith conference!
    – Cookie exchange at Christmas or Valentine’s Day 🙂
    – Baking day and then give the baked goods to neighbors, nursing homes or even the local fire station.

  50. We have a craft night every other month. We meet at a local church and everyone brings their projects. Some women scrapbook, others crochet, needlepoint, decoupage, make cards, jewelry or other gifts. It’s a great time set aside to do things we don’t normaly have time for. We laugh, fellowship, sometimes learn a new craft, and get something done at the same time!

  51. Host a multi-family garage sale! The time spent organizing and pricing is way more fun with friends, and the giggles, shared goals, etc. energize friendship!

  52. My friends and I are young and don’t have families, but still find ourselves far busier than we’d like. We’ve created a book club to hold ourselves to reading. We get together one sunday a month where we have dinner and discuss the book of the month!

  53. One thing my friends and I have done is set aside a specific night of the month (the third Tuesday) as scrapbooking night. It’s such a great time of fellowship and fun! We munch on goodies and sort through pictures, talking about memories we shared with our families. I love it!

  54. Anything can be a good excuse/REASON for girl time, in my opinion! Some of my favorites:
    -Lunch dates
    -Shopping dates
    -TV party (get together and watch your favorite tv show)
    -Mani/pedi session
    -Starbucks/local coffee house dates
    The list could go on…

  55. My friends and I enjoy spending time at the pool. It’s such a nice way to relax and catch up!

  56. Just recently some new friends and I made a trip to an orchard south of our town. It was a fun little road trip that really allowed us some time to get to know each other! ANd we got some amazing produce!

  57. Google WorldCraft, this is a neat way to have a girls party and do some missions work at the same time. Worldcraft is an organization that takes people in other countries who are not surviving on their own and have a craft. They make the craft and sale to other countries. They have a party packet that has everything you need to do a party.

  58. I have a wonderful prayer partner. We try to go out for coffee once a week. It is so much fun. We usually close down the coffee shop. I just praise God for her. This time so refreshes me. As far as other ideas, I would suggest: all your girlfriends meeting at a place for supper (we usually do this on Sunday nights) and then going out for lattes, everyone meet at girlfriend’s for an ice cream social (each person bringing something to make fun ice cream treats), going on a women’s retreat together (possibly leaving a day early for shopping and fun), doing bible studies together, etc. I really believe it is so important for us ladies to do this, because if we don’t get away every once in awhile, I believe, it can hurt us. I think God uses this time for me to refresh myself, and then I can come back to my husband and kids much more energized and strong. Praise the Lord, God is goooooood!

  59. I have pitcher envy.
    We used to get together at church and bring our own craft just to have designated, out of the house time to work on what we wanted to work on. Also, scrapbooking together is a great way to share supplies and learn from each other, laugh over cherished memories, and see what life stories are being preserved in those great albums.

  60. Lovely ideas – I appreciate this post so much! My friends and I also do the bulk cooking days – talk about fun times! We also love photography, and try to take at least one afternoon every couple of weeks to jaunt around and take photos of nature. It gives us time to enjoy each other and God’s creation.

  61. We have two sisters in our area that took this idea to the extreme. They do a mystery girlfriends weekend. You sign up and pay a fixed fee, get on a bus and are taken on a trip that is a complete surprise to everyone. It includes a winery at times, boutique shopping, spa experiences, theater, etc. I can’t wait for my girlfriends and I to go 🙂

  62. My friends and I have a girls night to celebrate each of our birthdays. We go and stay at a cabin in the country and just “be” together. There is no tv or radio or anything to distract us. I bring my guitar and we worship, we pray for each other, we sit in rocking chairs on the porch drinking coffee. These days away are always incredible and have brought us closer as friends.

  63. Having recently moved away from our home of 12 years, I have realized how often I took my dear friends for granted – didn’t take or make the time to let them know how much they meant to me.
    Due to job loss, we suddenly found ourselves leaving our “new home” and scrambling to get back to our real home – the one we left. I can’t wait to put some of these wonderful ideas into practice to deepen our friendships and love on each other. I can envision the group of us getting together to make cookies and handmade gifts this holiday season, sharing a cup of coffee and laughs, or going for walks around the neighborhood…and that’s only the beginning!

  64. One of my favorite things to do is get together with the gals and attend a Holiday open house or boutique. Or even one of those Mary Kay parties. Because me and my friends love to shop…what better way to do it in the comfort of one’s home and shop all at the same time!

  65. Two churches ago, Bethesda Lutheran in New Haven, CT, we had a Sarah Circle where women would meet on the first Monday of the month and have book discussion at which many of them brought knitting (I crochet but was welcome) and then the Sarah Circle put on an annual holiday fair the second Saturday of November filled with crafts the ladies made and raised around $6-7K for the church. The highlight of the fair was always the quilt which we got together and made (I on the learning end).
    I’m wondering how I can follow in those footsteps now that I’m living in Santa Barbara, CA a wife of a professor at Westmont College? Invite students for craft night? Other faculty wives?
    I’m so glad you got me thinking, thank you!

  66. A few months ago, I moved from the mid-west to the south-east coast. Far away from all my sweet friends!
    This spring, as our weather turned to spring and my friends were still in the last grips of winter, I sent each one of them a Box of Spring. In each box, I put a sunny, silk gerbera daisy, some candy, a pretty notepad & pen, and some quotes about spring that I printed onto cards. I had so much fun deciding what to include in the boxes and loving my friends from across the miles!

  67. Well girls, I just love hearing and watching you younger set have relationship with God. Sometimes I feel out of place (older) yet it keeps me current with you all. I get together with my girlfriends…at our age…with things starting to go south, and we shop for fun…we try on the expensive.. out there in style…(things we would never buy)… clothes…then we decide that we are really okay with our body image. Sometimes we encourage each other to buy. Then God just seems to give us some event to go to, that what we bought, was just right for. We eat out to celebrate victories and achievements and sometimes get together just to pray for our children or whatever the need for the moment. Women need women. I am truly grateful for my friends. Thanks for everything girls…love you all.

  68. I just thought how wonderful God works, My best friend and I have known one another pretty much all of our lives and now that I have married and have 3 children and she has married and has six children, we don’t really have much time to meet with one another…we do talk on the phone every day, but hardly see one another and we are in the same town. Today we are actually gonna meet for lunch, but many people have questioned why we are so close cause we are completely different, but it’s like you said…”A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.” She know all my ins and outs and she knows who I am and who I want to be, she is never quick to judge but listens to all, but when I need her to get me back on the right track she doesn’t hesitate. I love her so much and value the relationship cause I know a friend like her is hard to find. THANK YOU for your encoragement today!

  69. I’d really like to incorporate some of these awesome ideas into some girls nights/days out/in. My time with my girlfriends is very few and far between and I need it so I am going to plan some of these. The last time we did anything was when we all went out to lunch and pedicures for my birthday and it was wonderful.

  70. One of my friends work in the same building as me. When I need a little friend talk, I go visit her. Love the beautiful pitcher and would love to share with my friend.

  71. Intentional friendships florish. Going for a walk together or taking a class together is great. However, just resting in friendship is important, too. We need time to nurture our souls and sisterhood. There is NOTHING wrong with taking a few hours once a month for a “nothing but girls” night. He leads us beside still waters and he restores our souls. He put the need for community within all of us. I ask myself “would I rather feel guilty or resentful?” Guilt can be cancelled – resentment build up. Intentionally spend time with your girlfriend and do not feel guilty! Everyone in your life benefits!

  72. In response to the pitcher offer, I am also wanting to offer a way to spend time with a girlfriend. We make a point to go out when the mood strikes to our favorite Mexican restaurant. She also brings roses some-times so that the men in the restaurant know that we have something special–a tie that binds. That invariably leads to their deciding to want to bring home a rose to their sweetheart. Sometimes we share a meal or just enjoy the banter between our obvious favorite choices–chips & salsa, or ceviche. It’s a upbeat atmosphere and we even sometimes get our dancing shoes on!!!

  73. My girlfriends and I get together every Wednesday night to knit. Only birthdays and wedding anniversary’s are reasons to skip.

  74. My absolute favorite thing to do with my friends is freezer cooking, so it’s wonderful to know we’re not the only ones!
    But, I also get together on a quarterly basis with a few of these friends for birthdays (we happen to have our birthdays apread out about once every 3 months). We choose restaurants and things to do that we might never go with our husbands and enjoy a wonderful evening of laughter and fun.

  75. Well, I live in a small town an hour away from the nearest Walmart. One of the funnest ways of squeezing in some girl time is going on one of occasional necessary shopping trips with a girl friend or two. We have two hours round trip of talking time, plus we get to shop, plus it’s accomplishing something important (getting supplies that can’t be gotten or that are overly expensive in our town).

  76. Here’s a great idea: help out a new family in your town! My family just moved and a girlfriend in our new town, who has become very dear to me, came over and helped me with unpacking and organizing one day while my husband was at work. It was so kind of her and we were able to connect and strengthen our new bond while turning my house into a home. What a blessing that was!

  77. When I get together with my girls we usually eat lunch/dinner and catch up on what’s been going on…but we also always end up reminiscing about the good ole days! 🙂 We don’t get together often enough…but I love this idea and have shared it with my girls. I hope we can find time to do this!

  78. I moved *far* away from a core group of 5 of us girls, so we don’t get to spend much time together in person. But, we do try to make time by sending out prayer request emails & ‘update’ emails to the group. It’s so refreshing to ‘talk’ with them this way & hear about how they are doing & what’s new in their lives. …Somewhere out there 😉 we also have a journal that we write in, put pics in, etc. that we mail around to the other girls once in awhile that I started when I first moved away 5 years ago. It’s not so regular, but now it’s fun to look back on the few things throughout the years & tease whichever person who happens to be holding on it at the time! 🙂

  79. besides making meals- make batches of deserts/cookies for a month- make cookie rolls, brownie mix- etc together time
    make envelopes together- can do it with the kids
    have a clothing swap of kids clothes/of your clothes
    play wii- just the ladies
    wii bowling
    start indoor gardens together

  80. I’ve really enjoyed going to a women’s Bible study during the school year. It’s about the only time I have away that I can spend time in the Word, really talking about how it applies to our lives. We have a lunch once a month afterwards, that’s planned in advance. One time, we had a baked potato lunch where everyone brought different toppings. It was yummy!

  81. Good morning, Jen, I’m trying to post a comment about today’s In Courage, and as usual can’t find the link on your website to just do that. But I do want to speak to finding time to be with girlfriends before I run out the door to my work. — oops, Jen just wrote back and told me how to do it….comment section at the bottom…oh dear, hair wet, running late to work, but this so speaks to my heart. — not the first time I had to get to the bottom to reach the top!! 🙂
    I have two sets of close girlfriends….actually several sets…now that I think of it. First we have our real family of girl friends. Then, in my case, two sets are from two separate/together churches. One group is my group of lovely young ladies I was thrilled to do Beth Moore studies and other retreats with at a church in Clarendon, VA. The other is a set of girlfriends at my regular church in Leesburg, VA. We are a mixed group big time. Then there are all the other girl friends, neighbors, others we love.
    For those who don’t know the Washington, D.C. area, suffice it to say, it’s one of the most stressful and costly metropolitan areas in the world.
    Finding time for family is always so important, and then to keep in touch with Set Number Two — my Church at Clarendon, VA girlfriends — we search for a date for lunch where we can meet somewhere in between — usually at a mall restaurant — so that kids, jobs, grandkids, homes, husbands, boy friends, and all those things the “super mom, the super worker, and the single gals” needs to cover, just to make time to spend together.
    In June we arranged to meet by metro in Washington, D.C. – just one girlfriend and me, near my work. It was quality time.
    Now, nearing the end of a crazy summer, another girlfriend and I will meet in Northern Virginia to catch up.She needs to get a baby sitter, and I need coverage for an elderly mom of 94.
    Otherwise, we find ourselves not even getting yearly visits in.
    Gracious. The Father wants us to find joy in all areas of our lives. He knows we need our sisters, whether they be our Christian sisters or those we hope will see Him through our lives and hearts..
    Romans 12:5:6 says “in Christ we are many from one body, and each member belongs to all others….we have different gifts, according to the grace given us.”
    Make it a priority to share your gifts and the grace the Lord has given us.
    Thanks, and thanks for your lovely ministry, Jen.
    Jessica Harper
    17006 Highland Circle
    Paeonian Springs, VA 20129
    P.S. – we’d love to get each of the pitchers, but it’s most important to share our spirit and ideas….

  82. I’ve done a few “once a month” cooking adventures with a handful of friends. They were always a lot of fun, but we got “burned out” after about 5 months.
    Christmas gift wrapping or craft making can be a lot of fun too. Or even a cookie baking/decorating party. (Hmm, seems like I’m thinking Christmas already!)
    Oh, and I love the idea of the 2-for give-away on today’s pitcher. The moment I saw it I thought of a friend I would want to share it with, then thought, “But it’s so cute, I’m not sure I would be ready to give it away.” So nice that whoever wins won’t have to make that decision. 🙂

  83. I love to go walking with my girlfriends!! My husband will NOT walk with me (you know-it’s too “girly” to just walk…he has to lift weights & be manly :)), so on those beautiful fall afternoons (or the hot, humid ones here in the south!) we love to just get out and walk and talk. It relieves our stress as well as melts the pounds away!!!

  84. My friends and I love to scrapbook or make cards together! We don’t get to do it too often, but it’s always great when we do.

  85. My favorite girltime is usually spent either over dinner with a couple girlfriends, a shopping day, or movie night. The movie nights tend to happen more then anything else, because a group of us decide what chickflick we want to see and then go for it.

  86. Once a month, my friend and I have a date night. We go to dinner and a movie. Sometimes, we fit a little shopping into the mix.
    Twice a year, a group of us get together and go to the Oregon Coast and scrapbook all weekend. It is great fellowship time. We walk on the beach, watch movies and just chat it up while scrapbooking.

  87. I’ve hosted a couple different ‘sister’ events. One we’ve done for years in cookie day. We ask people to bring the special items for their recipe and have standard fare (flour, sugars, baking soda, baking powder, etc) ready. We make dozens of cookies. Then, we make containers to give at the holidays.
    We also, have a card day. We get together in late January and make cards, birthday, valentine or what ever you might want for the year. There’s paper, stamps, glue, glitter and what ever anyone wants to contribute. We melt crayons and dip them, too. Lots of fun!

  88. I love these ideas…thanks everyone for sharing! My girlfriends and I (my ya-ya’s) struggle to get together regularly but when we do it’s usually over dinner.
    I’d love to get more creative and be strategic about it as well…getting things done at the same time as enjoying girlfriend time.
    We have a few local missions projects that we work with at our church that we could do some partnering with.
    * Taylor’s Closet – collects designer clothes for teenage girls in South Florida who don’t have anything.
    * Hope Pregnancy Center – working with moms who can’t afford the stuff that comes along with being pregnant.
    Both would be great place for us to get together AND make a difference…thanks for stretching my view of girlfriend time!

  89. My group of girl friends are, like me, young, single, new professionals. Our lives are busy in a different way, but we always make time for each other. It might be going to see a movie, having lunch on a random Saturday, going to each others’ bible studies, or like tonight, a night in.
    We are going over to one girl’s new apartment for dinner. She’s making the main dish and we are all bringing something to add on. The main point in our get-togethers is not to do something specific, but just to be together.

  90. Since I’m a military spouse, I moved so often and friends become family since family is so very far away. I love to have a nice phone conversation with one of my precious friends who is too far away to visit face to face. Taking time to do that is important to all of us.

  91. What a great idea to intentionally plan these things! It’s so easy to let months go by without spending some “girl time”. I love your ideas!
    A group of ladies from our church gets together one Friday a month to do a craft night…we bring snacks and it’s not unheard of for the night to last until after midnight!

  92. At present, health constraints, a church change, and geographic distance seem to be limiting me mostly to e-mails and phone chats for time with friends. I am thankful for my mom and sister coming to my home to bring lunches and spend time within my limitations. I am also that I can be involved in my friends’ lives through praying for them or sending cards even when we can’t get together.

  93. 1) Bible Study
    2) Breakfast Club with girlfriends
    3) Bunco once a month with girlfriends
    4) Chick Flick at the movie theatre
    5) Make greeting cards together
    6) Go on boat rides at a friend’s lake
    7) Go on short trips, everyone pitches in on cost!

  94. Mine is similar to one you mentioned. Instead of addressing Christmas cards together, we, started meeting in early fall, and once a week, worked on making our own Christmas cards. Pooling our materials, we had a lot of fun saving money, making unique greeting cards and spending great girl-time together.

  95. Most of my best friends live far from me, so we stay connected by texting often and video chatting as much as we can.

  96. Thank you for the reminder that we “need” to carve out time for our girl friends. Life is so hectic with work, school, home and kids activities that sometimes (most of the time) spending “free” time with friends seems like a chore. I am going to make more of an effort to make this a priority in my life.

  97. my BFF and I go out to eat at least once a month and then sit and chat for about 2 hours to catch up, Such a fun girls night!

  98. I’m retired and it’s still hard to find “girl” time in my life with my women friends. Here are a few things I’ve done:
    1. With younger moms, I invite them OUT for coffee. They decided whether to bring their kiddos, and we have several coffee houses that provide kid-friendly space.
    2. An older, homebound friend needs connection with community desperately. I sometimes go to visit stopping for lunch along the way, or if she’s feeling up to it, we go out. We’ve also spent a day tying fleece blankets for the homeless, a ministry she dearly loves.
    3. With younger moms who love knitting as much as I do, we meet at yarn shops for a “knit night” or for a mid-morning break. Here again we find yarn shops with kid-friendly spaces.
    4. If I can’t make time to get together, I remember friends with notes MAILED, not emailed, indicating I took the time to pick out the card or notecard and wrote out the envelope. Or I call to say I’m thinking of you. It’s a beginning of connection.
    The word “intentional” is what it’s all about. We have to make time to do these connecting activities, or we’ll dry up, ladies! Wrinkles come with time anyway — let’s not do anything to bring on more!

  99. I need to constantly remind myself to make time to develop and nurture friendships with girlfriends. When I do, I feel so blessed! Thanks for some great ideas!

  100. When I was a little younger, we did wedding invite parties. We would order pizza and soda, and then do all the wedding invitations in one night. We would then have a happy relieved bride! LOL
    Another thing was baking our christmas cookies ahead of time, then we would decorate them together.
    My girl time is a little lacking these days. :o(

  101. Thank you for your post. I love your idea of the “Kitchen Sister’s Club”.
    There are four of us in our group. We went to high school together and have grown closer through the years. We are all very busy with our families as we are all married with 16 children between us.
    Through the years we have made time to get together to play board games, bake cookies, take day trips to sight see and shop, can homemade applesauce, and swap clothes and baby items. Last year we made a commitment to study the Bible together. We meet two mornings a month to pray, read the Bible and discuss the study questions. Then we make lunch together and take time to catch up on the daily happenings in our life. It has a been a wonderful blessing to all of us.

  102. I love these creative ideas Jen! I am in a season of little ones and it is really hard to get face time with girlfriends! I do have a group of college friends that get together one weekend a year. It is a commitment we have made to gather and grow together! It is truly a blessing each time we are together! This year, I had to bring my 9 month old – and they did not miss a beat with her! Loved her, and had toys and a bed for her too!

  103. A couple of my close girlfriends and I use to get together for Bible Study everyother week. Finally, one week we decided to take a trip together. We made it happen even though we couldn’t go where we were to go in the first place (we were to go to W. Virginia and instead (because one of us were 8 months pregnant) stayed right in IN. We had a wonderful weekend doing things we never would have done had we not been together (shop at an Outlet Mall, went to see a country star @ the Little Nashville House in Nashville, IN and stayed up all night talking). What a weekend. Even though it was Mother’s Day weekend we gave ourselves this trip.

  104. I’m retired now but it is so important to have special time with girlfriends. I think it makes you feel included, happier, “lighter” in spirit and fulfilled. There are lots of great ideas here and one doesn’t have to spend a lot of time doing them. Tomorrow I’m joining a group of friends for a “Cut & Paste Art Party”. Everyone brings their choice of a snack as well as magazines, scrapbook paper, photos, labels, whatever. 3 hrs are scheduled for fun and fellowship.
    I hope that each of you will schedule time on your calendars for a gathering with friends! 🙂

  105. Gosh! All of these ideas ROCK! I struggle to come up with a different one, though one other idea does come to mind. Decide together on a “cause” to contribute to ~ and get together with this common mission in mind! Start a race in your community for a certain cause; have a fundraiser lunch together where you each donate what you have available to orphans, widows, third world country, etc. Or at Christmastime pick an organization that you want to sponsor and go shopping together! Any “cause” works and it brings you all together for such a rich reason ~ blesses each friend participating while blessing others in need as well! :o)

  106. I plan a Christmas cookie bake at my home, and it is so much fun. Each person picks one recipe to “teach” everyone else and sends me the ingredient list. If the recipe (like chocolate chip cookies) has already been claimed, I ask the person to choose another favorite. (I have never had this happen. God is good, or we are diverse. Either way, it works.) When I have all the recipes, I send out an ingredient list, and we all buy ingredients to bring or I do a bulk run to a warehouse store and folks just bring money (lots of people like to just bring money). Everyone brings their own measuring cups/spoons, bowls, pans, mixer, etc. We gather in my kitchen and dining room and go to work. Some things we cook at my house, and some folks take home to cook. Usually, we end up with eight to ten different batches of cookie to eat or share with neighbors. Since most of us give cooked goods as gifts, a huge bit of our Christmas “to do” gets done while we chat, laugh, and have our culinary wisdom increased.

  107. Gosh, all of these ideas are wonderful! I struggle to come up with one that is not yet mentioned. One does come to mind. I suggest gathering friends together for one common “cause.” Choose a “cause” that you would like to help as a group, be it orphans, widows, third world countries, a local organization that reaches out to a “cause” that touches the heart of your group. Then, begin to meet to strategize how you will make a difference….together! Organize a walk/run for orphans; have a fundraiser luncheon where people are welcome to donate whatever funds they may have to the cause; plan a trip to a third world country that all who can will go on together. The list is only limited by our imagination! This way we are prioritizing getting together for a rich reason ~ that blesses each woman participating, while blessing others’ as well! :o)

  108. I definitely love me some girltime, there is just nothing like it!! Whether it’s taking a photography class together, meeting up at a coffee shop or even having a playdate with our kids, there is something very special about girltalk!

  109. I am blessed to have a friend who is closer than a sister. The hard thing is, she lives in Alaska, and I moved out of Alaska 4 years ago. We miss living close to each other, but the thousands of miles between us haven’t caused our friendship to fade. Instead, it has sparked creativity. Here’s what we do together to keep our friendship strong and encourage each other in our daily lives:
    – Weekly phone chats
    – A book club just for the two of us
    – Send cards in the mail
    – Send an ocassional package in a flat rate box (a very good deal when you are mailing all the way to/from Alaska)
    – Flower pressing, and then we trade flowers (She send’s me Alaskan flowers, I send her southern flowers!)
    – Facebook, blogging, and email
    – Praying for each other

  110. Love all the ideas! I like to get together w/friends and we all work on our current craft projects together & chat. We are also planning a Saturday morning flea market outing soon. We have also gone berry and vegetable picking at local farms.

  111. My girlfriends and I will use any excuse to get together. Especially since we’re so busy and it doesn’t happen as often as we would like. We are fans of opposing teams, so we love to get our families together to “raz” each other when these teams compete, all of us chipping in for the food. Same goes for the holidays. We put our heads together to think of fun things for the kids to do to help celebrate. Another thing is to keep our eyes and ears open for different events in the community. Especially girlie stuff. Wine tasting is always fun. And charity events with a fun theme. Next, we’ll be getting together to watch a girlie movie together.

  112. i love this post!
    My sister’s and I have a girl’s night out for each of our birthdays. Their husbands have to babysit that night while we go out to eat, shop, etc.
    For Christmas, sometimes we have a baking night with our mom. We compile ingredients and make goodies to split for our different households.
    While renovating a house, I have had “paint parties,” “landscaping parties,” and so many other projects shared with my mom, sisters and friends.
    I have another project I want to work on within my family – scanning and organizing pre-digital photos by year and then sharing/swapping the digital photos.

  113. I love to get together for crafting nights – sewing, knitting, cross stitching, whatever. The combination of conversation and creation is such a blessing to the soul

  114. One of my friends and I get together each fall and make homemade applesauce. We get to work together and hang out and have fun as well.

  115. I am not the best for making time for my girlfriends. But when I do, I have them over to my home, children welcome, and we watch the chaos over snacks made just for the moms…

  116. Our homeschool group has a Moms Night Out, every month. We also do a Secet Sister gift exchange. I love it when I have time to participate.

  117. Thanks for all the ideas! I have to plan regular times to be with my girlfriends. And slowly, I have taught myself that that time is to be protected – just as a business meeting would be. It’s that important.
    I do have an idea for around Christmastime… get together and wrap presents. It’s much more fun with friends – and it’s a huge check off the list!

  118. its so hard to keep in touch and have “girl time”…how about buying some beads and getting together and making bracelets…the Psalms 23 bracelet is a great one and beautiful(each color of crystal represents part of the verse)

  119. Oh! I love spending time with my girlfriends!! Lots of fun things already mentionned, but ones that are especially memorable for me are when I was a single youth leader with other single youth leaders and we would plan sleepover and princess nights for our girls or babysitting slumber party nights to bless the couples in our church. What a great way to bond AND give to others! Beautiful memories!!

  120. Since I have gone back to work full time and my friends haven’t, I invite them to lunch during my lunch hour. It is a nice break for me and fits in a quick friendship catch-up time that might otherwise get put off.

  121. My best girlfriends live all across the country, so we plan our phone chats! It’s super helpful to have a timeslot scheduled for girlfriend time.

  122. Girl Times are the best! I love to walk and talk! It’s amazing how far you can walk with a good girl friend and great conversation!

  123. I have my own in-home baking business, and I recently invited my best friend over for a baking class. She has been wanting to learn how to bake and we had the MOST fun laughing, cooking, and just being honest and loving with each other.

  124. I love reading some of these ideas…some of the ladies in our young adults group at church have a monthly bookclub…complete with brunch to start..one Sat (3rd) every month. I don’t make it every month but miss it if I’m not there!
    This topic – finding time with friends has been in my heart and mind ALOT lately so I really enjoyed this post.

  125. I’ll never forget the friend who, after I joined her in her work to clean a cancer patient’s home one day, came over to my house while I was away for an anniversary dinner and cleaned my bathroom. At first I was embarrassed, but then when I saw it… I was moved to tears. Such a small thing, really, but I will remember it forever, her on her hands and knees cleaning the floor around our toilet. With love.
    My girlfriends and I have our hands full of babies and children and homeschooling, but we love to talk over a glass of wine when we can steal an hour after the little ones are in bed. They’re few and far between, the moments, but they’re so precious.
    Thank you for this opportunity!

  126. I’ve done a scrapbooking evening event where we traded pictures and each scrapped 2 layouts for another person – and then got our layout done by someone else. It was fun!
    Christmas cookie baking is another fun time to share with a group. And you get to go home with a whole variety of new cookies that are ready to use during the holidays.
    And going to a shelter, community kitchen, or nursing home to serve a meal or snack helps to share the time and bring enjoyment to others.
    Thanks for an interesting topic – and giveaway!

  127. We try to spend time together as often as possible. The one thing that we keep saying we will do but never have (hopefully we will this year) is make Christmas cookies together and exchange them. I love my girlfriends.

  128. Oh, my girlfriends and I like to go thrifting together, refurnish furniture together, or share books. Or music. Or our hearts. Just whatever the day calls for!

  129. Love all the ideas. Life has been extra crazy in my community of local friends right now. What I have been relying on is afternoon drop-ins. That stretch after nap and before dinner has been brutal for us lately. So, often I load the kids up, pick a friend, drive through at Starbucks and offer to bring them a drink. If it is a good time, we drop in for a short visit. If not, we drop off a drink and move on. But it has been so helpful for curbing cranky kids and tantrums, and gives us a little chance to reconnect.

  130. I forgot to mention in my post that you can come even if you didn’t read the book’s chapters that month — the books always bring up topics any of us can talk about — and we keep the reading assignment short too, usually 1 chapter per week unless it’s long…helps with the schedule! plus, we never finish discussing all the chapters in one morning anyway!

  131. there are so many great ideas on here! my girlfriends and i take advantage of any moment that we have to catch up… getting coffee or getting our nails done is our splurge! but we are so busy that we enjoy just taking the time to sit together and talk. 🙂

  132. Wow, everyone has offered some incredible ideas! Now if only I had some close friends! We just moved again and I am finding it really hard to get connected. I so desire some close girl friends that I can truly share my heart and soul with! I would love to have a pyrogy making night (something I have always wanted to learn how to do)and I just thought of a night where you just lifted and encouraged everyone. Each girl would take a turn in the ‘hot seat’ and you would go around that circle and just say the things that you love about them and really encourage them! Boy could I use that right now!! :o)

  133. Well there is no real purpose to this event except to get together with friends and have fun. I like to pick an event like the Oscars and throw an Oscar party where each lady brings a picture of a gown she would choose to wear if she was actually at the Oscars. It’s fun to dream and see the styles we all pick out. Then each person bring a snack with a movie theme. Sometimes we have trivia games to play during the boring parts of the award show. It’s just a lot of fun to be silly with the girls.

  134. Love all of the new ideas! My girlfriends and I enjoy a weekend away together….just a cabin, no worries/concerns…just a place to be real w/ each other. It can be a time of bible study, scrapbooking or sitting outside on a cool evening w/ a cup of coffee.

  135. Baking cookies together and then taking them to nursing homes or shut ins (or both)! I love the Jesse Tree Ornament idea…we love ours.

  136. Hi, My friends and I depend on our friendship in so many ways! We take turns hosting a
    “Card Making” get-together once a month.
    One month; we make cards for the men and
    women serving overseas. Another month, we make cards for hospice, nursing homes, etc.
    Recently, we have been helping each other make favors for those of us who have family members getting married. Also; last year, we began our “Ladies of the Lake” Weekend…
    Four of us go to a beach house for the weekend and have the best time. What an escape! Many thanks, Cindi

  137. Great ideas and wonderful encouragment. I can totally relate to feeling guilty for taking time with friends, yet also know how important it is to staying connected to my heart and those who help nourish it!
    My sister and I both have husbands who work long days at times, so if both guys are gone in the evening we’ll go over to one of our houses and let the kids play, eat dinner together, and bath the kids together. It makes the evening go by faster and one us us gets a break from our own house and cooking.

  138. The meetings with purpose I have enjoyed:
    -quilting or sewing together
    -canning together
    -making earrings together (for Cmas gifts)

  139. My girlfriends have been the hands and feet if Jesus in my life. I love the ideas. Coffee is our main theme of anything!

  140. What a wonderful list of ideas! I moved to a new town this past year and have already made some wonderful girl friendships, but have been seeking practical ways to strengthen them in the midst of our busy days. I think we might have to try a bulk baking date! Christmas cookie baking would be wonderful, too!

  141. What an amazing list of ideas…. I am challenged to create and intentionally go about fostering deeper relationships. Thanks for the fabulous ideas! 🙂

  142. What a great idea! Too often, I feel like I need to “entertain” friends, when I’d rather just “do life together”, so I tend not to get together with them. I will definitely be using this list to start brainstorming some creative ways to build into the lives of other and create lasting bonds while doing so. Thanks for sharing!

  143. Iloved your post today and the cooking idea was a fabulous one. I have been wanting to start a club for women for years now, but a game night is all I could come up with. I’ve thought of calling it the M & M club (from menstruation to menopause) because I feel like we can glean so much from each other as we are going through the different stages of life. What’s keeping me from starting it is not having a purpose other than to get together and talk. Your idea with the cooking meals ahead to freeze is fabulous. Maybe we could cook meals to take to the members of our church who are in the hospital or can’t cook for themselves. I love doing things for others and most women I know are nurturing like you said. Thanks so much for your daily inspiration and encouragement. I’ve told 8 friends about your sight. Sincerely, Laura Tripp

  144. Thank you for the great ideas. I miss my girlfriends, and need to make some new ones where I live now.

  145. I would love for you to share some of the recipes you do in bulk with friends. I think it would be a great ministry builder for our care team who takes food to families who have family members in the hospital. It is always hard to find healthy fast food and this would be a great way to cook and package several items up and freeze so we can just pull, thaw and deliver.

  146. Our church does a “Girls Night In” at the church. We play games, have someone teach something (cooking, knitting, crocheting, baking etc. etc.) make your own sundaes, and talk and share. A lot of laughing goes on.