My Squad-The Importance of a Loving and Honest Support Network

Welcome  We’ve all probably heard about Taylor Swift having her “squad,” right?  Well, as I have embarked on a completely different path for my life this past year, I couldn’t be more grateful for my own SQUAD!  Leading my squad is my husband, and I also have the support of my daughter, parents, in-laws, close friends, other family members, and people I never thought I’d hear from again.  My word of the year may be faith, but I spend a lot of time working on my gratitude, as well.  It would be remiss of me not to mention this group of important people that make it possible to chase my dream.  These are the people I LOVE this Valentine’s Day!

Food For Thought  No matter what passion you are pursuing in your life, it is likely possible because of a close support system.  Personally, I would never have considered writing as my new career choice if my husband hadn’t been my first cheerleader.  It takes a lot of faith on his part to allow me to go through these beginning months of hard work and no additional income so that I may possibly find success, or at least happiness.  His first words were, “You go for it, lady!”  Since then, he has continued to remind me that what I do does matter and spurs me on when I’m ready to give up.  This speaks volumes of love to me, more than any bouquet of roses or boxed jewelry.  This is when I know just how much he must care about me, my hopes, and my dreams.  I’m sure it would be easier for him to say, write in your spare time, go get a real job.  He has never once said this, at least not yet.  In fact, as I moped around the house over my 40th birthday, I made the negative comment, “Raise your hand if you knew I’d be a failure by 40!” and then enthusiastically raised my own hand.  I was referring to the lingering and frustrating feeling that my teaching career went down in flames and that nine months into my writing I still haven’t found “success.”  He told me to stop and proceeded to tell me all the things I’m currently doing right, including what has gone well in my writing.  I am incredibly thankful for his love, his support, and his encouragement.  We all need a head cheerleader in our life!

My daughter is also part of my squad.  She’s shown her own kind of support with words like, “I like that you work from home, you can do more stuff at my school now.”  She also tells people that I’m a writer.  It’s cool that she recognizes that I’m legitimately working on this, so I appreciate that she already considers me a “real writer.”  I also love that I learn so many lessons from her, that I can then pass along to others, like I did in last week’s style post.  I have always said that if we pay attention to our children, they will teach us many things.

I am also so thankful to have my husband’s family–parents, sisters, and others, reading my blog and sharing my posts on social media to boost my exposure.  When I first decided to start my blog and become a writer, I worried about their reactions.  I have always been concerned about my husband’s family’s opinions of me.  I don’t want them to think he married a dead-beat loser!  Even though I spent the last 18 years working outside the home at a very stressful and time-consuming job, I still have this fear of being viewed as taking advantage of my husband and his hard work.  Incidentally, I have less support from my own family, for various reasons.  But I have no ill will toward them.  I understand that what I do is not everyone’s cup of tea, but I do get excited when my mom actually asks about my blog or the book I’m writing!

And then there’s my squad of friends!  Now, I am a person that often says I have no friends.  That is because I don’t have any close friends nearby.  I’m not the lady that goes out for drinks or shopping with girlfriends.  I’m never the girl that gets invited along to movies, concerts, or other outings.  It was painful to have co-workers make plans around me, deliberately talking about plans in front of me, but never having intentions to invite me along.  But in the past year I have reconnected with some friends from my past.  So, while many of the acquaintances I have nearby are completely uninterested in my writing adventures, I do have the support of friends.  These are the friends I have known for years.  These are the friends that I would say know the real me.  These are the friends who let me know when a blog or Facebook post inspired them or helped them.  These are the friends that know the struggles that go with jumping into a new and unfamiliar career choice, and send me words of encouragement at just the right time.  These are the friends that do not let the miles or the years keep us from loving and supporting one another.  These are the friends I could ask for help and know they would do everything they could to be there for me.  These are the friends that I want on my squad!

The number one person to keep on my squad is God.  I have to pray and ask for wisdom constantly, because I want my goals to match with His plans for me, and I would like His blessings as well.  But sometimes we get the support and encouragement we need from the people that God has placed in our life.  They are part of our squad and part of our journey for a reason.  I am thankful that God put these people in my life and for the encouragement and support they give me on a daily basis.  Who do you want to thank for their support today?

Today’s Prayer  Oh, my dear Heavenly Father, I thank You so much for these wonderful people you have brought into my life.  They are part of my life and my adventure for a reason.  God, You have inspired so many of them to say the encouraging words I have needed most at just the right moment.  I thank You for those moments.  I also pray, dear Lord, that I may offer up as much encouragement to them as I have received.  Let my eyes and ears and heart be opened to ways I can offer them the encouragement they need at the right times.  In Jesus’ Holy Name, Amen.

Today’s Scriptures  We can find many places in our Bibles that urge us to encourage others.  It is amazing what some words of encouragement can do for our confidence, or even just to help us get through a time when we are discouraged or confused.  Here are just a few of the New Testament verses I found referring to encouragement.

1 Thessalonians 4:18  “Therefore encourage each other with these words.”

1 Thessalonians 5:11 “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

Hebrews 3:13 “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”

Today’s Recipe  It’s time to make my number one cheerleader his Valentine dessert.  My husband has been a type-2 diabetic since before we were married.  I try very hard to bake him sweet treats that work with his diet plan.  He loves pies and cobblers with cherries or berries.  But, the pie crust is pretty heavy in carbohydrates, as is the fruit, especially if loaded with added sugar.  This Cherry Berry Crisp works well as his Valentine sweets option, since I sweeten the dessert with sucralose (Splenda) instead of sugar.  The topping is also lighter by using smaller amounts of flour and only being on the top of the dessert instead of top and bottom.  Cherry Blueberry Crisp (makes 6 servings)

  • 1 20-oz can light cherry pie filling
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries
  • 1/4 cup Splenda (sucralose sweetener)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup quick oats
  • 1/4 cup Splenda (sucralose sweetener)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 TBS light butter or margerine
In large bowl combine fruit, 1/4 cup Splenda, and vanilla.
In second bowl, combine flours, oats, cinnamon, and 1/4 cup Splenda.
Set oven temperature to 375 degrees. Spray 2 1/2 quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Dump fruit in bottom of dish.
Cut butter into flour mixture using a pastry blender or two forks. Mixture will have course crumbles.
Sprinkle oat crumble mixture evenly over fruit.
Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.