The diversity of women was overshadowed by the common thread of their relationship with the woman in the center of the room.

One by one they introduced themselves which became more intriguing as they shared of their bond with the Bride-to-Be.

They came from different cities, states and continents. (Yes, continents!)

They had worked together, played together, shared trials and joys together.

But most intriguing to me was the fact these relationships had stood the test of time to bring them all here together for this momentous occasion.

This is a beautiful thing to me as an outside observer.

(I am family, and this is what family does. But how does one amass friends as loyal as family?)

My close friends from the past few decades are easily counted on one hand.

I have seen friends fall away like an autumn leaf as the seasons change in my life or theirs.

Even the Bride’s sister could not help but recognize this amazing legacy of friendship in her toast the following evening.

It is worth mentioning again and again.

Because they were sisters, and yet they were friends. Separated by miles and perhaps a few years they had remained close, because that is what family does.

But these others, they were friends that were like sisters. Separated by miles (and miles) and perhaps a few years, but that didn’t hinder their friendships from flourishing.

I gained valuable insight spending the weekend with these lovely ladies. I also gained inspiration for the new years ahead.

This upcoming year my focus word will be FRIENDSHIP.

It is not a common focus like fitness or health, finances or education,

But it should require the same diligent attention and time.

Fifty-Two weeks lay ahead for coffees and lunches, e-mails and cards.

Maybe even a few girl trips can be thrown in the mix.

How about you?

What have you experienced lately that left you longing for more?

As we move into the new year, the season of new beginnings, it’s a great time to evaluate what new thing you would like to focus on.

Most of all cherish your family as friends,  and your friends as family!