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The hit book Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts captures the spirit of community, and thus Galentines, in the story about young Novalee moving into a Wal-Mart and having her baby there. Abandoned by her boyfriend and the father of her child, Novalee finds herself in an unfamiliar small Oklahoma town. Yet upon leaving the hospital with her new baby Americus, she finds a new home and mother figure who opened her home after one brief meeting. She develops a close knit group of girl friends who show up for each other in times of need and times of celebration.

This story unexpectedly had me turning pages, imagining the bonds shared in the Oklahoma town. Though seemingly simple, Novalee shows a lot of growth as well as inherent wisdom as she devours books at the library and learns from her experiences. She possesses an admirable strength as she pushes forward despite knowing she may not have the ideal life situation. Her friends remain at her side to support her efforts to care for Americus, hones her skills to develop a photography career and opens up to an opportunity for love with a top pick of the litter.

Our Galentines can do the same for us. Just yesterday my friend showed up during a time of disappointment for me. We’ve been meeting regularly to support some mutual goals and provide support, but yesterday showed extra care. Not long after, we both felt better and witnessed improvement in our projects. Another friend has showered me with cheesy Valentine notes to join me celebrating my favorite holiday. My conversations with her already brighten my days regularly, but these cards add extra sunshine. With quality friends by our sides, we can stand stronger and move forward together.