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On being loved.

This group. For more than thirty years, they've had my back(side).

You'll often hear me say that when I married Dean I moved into the greatest community on earth.

But, this group... this is who shares my past.

I was thirteen. My family had just broken up and my heart was broken. We'd just moved to a city an hour away and I was set to start a brand new school not knowing a soul.

I remember feeling terrified and crying before I went to school that morning. I missed my stepdad (whom we left) and I felt alone, insecure, and scared.

Then, I met these girls. Almost instantly, they took me under their wing and we would become "the group of seven". I had no idea that they would become the stability I sorely needed.

(Image: missing Kyla)

My school years (and twenties) would include more persistent unpredictability - but these girls provided me with consistency, a firm foundation, and the childhood I deserved. They showed me what's possible and for more than thirty years, they've been my constant.

Here we are now (less than four years from the shingles vaccine - yeah!) and we are still stuck together like glue. They truly see me and love me - warts and all.

It should be noted that their group was pretty solidly formed since about grade four, but much like Tom Cruise I like to think I "completed" them. (ha! plus, I don't think they had a funny one yet).

We often made the comments at our weddings that the spouses who enter this group, do not just gain one - they gain seven. And, so far - we have really signed on the talent.

This past weekend we gathered at our farm. Not an easy feat as we navigated 3 provinces, 18 kids & six spouses. But, we did it. And, it was better than we could have imagined.

Girlfriends. These are the ones that know all my stories. They "get me". They know where I came from and know just how serendipitous and perfect it is that I landed in this place with such deep roots and long histories.

The magic of long friendships. Here's to those that love and support you and stand beside you along the journey.

I hope you all feel loved and valued today.

Thanks for reading.

This post is part of Billi's website blog called "Stories from the Heart". For more click here, to subscribe click here.

Billi J Miller is an author, photographer, speaker, and writer from east-central Alberta, Canada, and is the creator of "The Women Among Us". Previously a city-living, 9-5 government worker, Billi moved to the country to marry the man of her dreams, a 4th generation Canadian farmer.

Billi noticed there were very few photographs of their rich, 100-year farming heritage. So, harnessing her entrepreneurial spirit, she created a successful business as a photographer and writer “telling stories from the heart and stories that matter.”

In 2016, she authored the first of a two-book series about the remarkable contributions of farmwives and has since been recognized on CBC, Global TV, City TV, as well as countless newspapers and magazines both in Canada and in the US. Billi continues the dialogue with her online blog series, “The Women Among Us."

When she isn’t working Billi loves to travel, read, and unwind watching true crime documentaries.

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