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Twenty one years ago a group of eight ladies formed a social and spiritual connection. We are the BRATS. While we have been called many things, (some not so flattering) and some of our own choosing, Beautiful Radiant Angel Team is what the word means.

This past weekend we took our annual fall retreat, this time to Gatlinburg TN.  The weekend was filled with laughter and tears, sharing and caring, walking, eating, enjoying the beauty that God has prepared for us to view. There is nothing like a BRAT weekend.

When we started this friendship journey, the eight of us had little in common except our faith in the Lord and we attended the same church. Since that time, most of us have relocated to different churches, but our friendship remains in tact. Our kids have grown up, married, and we have become grandmothers. Our hair is graying but our smiles are still bright. Our times together are more special than ever because we have a history together. We have memories that include one another, some individually, many the whole group. We have a love and respect that is much like a marriage.

We have learned throughout the last 21 years the little differences each of us have, the sense of humor, the tenderheartedness, the serious side and the playful, the joys and the fears which each of us possess. We have become more than friends, we are partners on this journey of life.

To have a group of eight people, who still enjoy one another after 21 years is a remarkable thing. We have shared so much in those years, walked each other through so many trying times, enjoyed so many experiences, that to imagine my life without their companionship would be an impossibility. WE are the BRATS, and our lives would be incomplete without the others.

Our families are friends as well; our children grew up together, vacationed together, attended church together. Our husbands are friends who also respect and enjoy the company of one another.  So what makes us so unique, so special, so amazing?  I believe it is because Christ has always been at the center of our friendship. We can laugh and tease, but we can also pray and cry together. Our friendship is deeper because of the connection of our Spirits.  Our time together is enjoyed and we always learn something new about one another. We make time for our friendship–it doesn’t happen on its own.

So to all my BRATS, thanks for a wonderful weekend filled with memories and 20 Questions!

Friendship, BRATS,

Clockwise from Back: Sandy, Penny, Teresa, Scarlett, Janet, Jackie, Patti, Anne

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