The Friendship Chain

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Give Her The Gift Of Gratitude...

We’ve all received “chain “ letters  where you get a letter and it tells you if you don’t forward it to 10 kazillion friends some uncertain doom will certainly befall you!  I’m sure guardian angels have had to step in to save me all the times I didn’t follow through.
I have had this lovely book on friendship called: She Taught Me To Eat Artichokes by Mary Kay Shanley, sitting on my shelf for a few years, always thinking that it’s message would be perfect to incorporate into a talk or lesson at church to the Youth Group Girls or the Women’s organization.  That moment has never seemed to materialize.  The message of the book: “ Just as a shared artichoke slowly reveals it’s heart,   time and effort turn acquaintanceships into friendships.  You peel the layers off one by one, slowly, patiently.  Making time.  Taking time.  This story portrays how slowly and patiently two neighbors transform into friends.” The other day I thought of this little book on my shelf and on the friends in my life, it suddenly occurred to me.  What if I sent this book to a friend who has taught me and blessed me with her friendship? Not just send it to her, but put a note in the front of it asking her to think through her own life, and send it to a friend to say Thank you also.   Each friend signing the inside cover and forwarding it on.  Creating a chain of Friendship.   I wonder what kind of journey this little book of love and friendship would take? 
Now, I realize there is the risk that a recipient will keep the book and not forward it, and the chain will end.  That’s ok! No impending doom will occur!  Maybe she needs the extra love!   I decided to send it out for Valentines Day 2012.
Now I’m gonna confess, I have cheated a bit.   I’m asking each recipient to choose one friend (cause she only has one book right?), but I had several people who I wanted to send the book to, and so, since in this particular project I happen to be the Queen J ,  I bought several more gently used  copies at Amazon.com so I could start several Friendship Chains at once.
So, I’m sending them out. I typed a little message on card stock and glued it into the inside cover.  Signed my name to (inserted the name of my friend) and the date.
I wrote a brief paragraph explaining the origin of the Friendship chain, and then finished with:
So here it is, I have chosen YOU!
You have listened to me, cried with me, prayed for me, taught me endless lessons of compassion, patience, humor and love.  This book is about you! Take your time and when you feel ready, pass this book along to someone who has taught you and inspired you. 
I thank you, I need you, I cherish you, I LOVE you!

It’s a simple thing I know, not a grand or expensive gift by far, but maybe just maybe, it will let a dear friend know the impact she’s had on my life and that I’m grateful!  I’d love to hear if you start one yourself and how you felt about the project!

UPDATE: I decided to email the author just to share my idea but also because I'd hoped she'd  give me her thumbs up on my post. I wasn't really expecting an answer, but got one very quickly! Here is the sweet email I received from Ms. Shanley:
Jan,how nice is this! I have to tell you that nobody has ever suggested anything like this with the book. I'm so pleased because I wrote the story after my neighbor [who became a very good friend] had died of cancer. So I've always believed that Karen is still touching others with her soft, sincere friendship.

I'll watch Tipgarden.blogspot.com and post something on my Website appropriately. BTW, we think the book may be republished in 2012. The original publishers retired, so the book is no longer in print.

Nice Website.

Mary Kay

Needless to say, she made my day!  Now, the books are going out in the next few days to my sweet friends.  If you want to start a frendship chain yourself, I found copies of the book on amazon.  

I am partying with these people:
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