Most things in life that are worth anything will require a little hard work. As my mother used to say, “If you want something in life, you have got to put a little elbow grease into it!”

My nephew and I have started cooking together via Facetime each night. He is new to the cooking world. He knows I love to cook, so this has turned out to be a beautiful fit. He is mastering his knife skills and is doing a great job with the different dishes we have experimented with. For me, the greatest part is a closer connection with him and of course the banter that goes on. He can really pack the food away and he loves my garlicky green beans recipe. He likes it so much that he can eat a whole package with dinner. His vegetable dislikes are greater than his likes, so the green beans are his go-to. He lives alone and has taken over his parents’ house, not to mention working a full-time job with plenty of overtime. His father had a vegetable garden, but let it go over the past few years and anyone who has gardened knows that it requires work. My nephew knows that I am a huge gardener, so he asked me the other night how hard is it to grow green beans?

I replied by saying, “You are going to need a fence around that old garden plot if you intend on getting anything. Then you are going to have to do some reclaiming, such as weeding, tilling, and fertilizing.” He said, “That seems like an awful lot of work for some green beans. Maybe this was a bad idea?”

I quickly reminded him that if you want those beans you love so much, you are going to have to keep at those weeds or they will win. He grumbled a little bit when I said I would buy him what he needs to get started and that I promised to check in each night to see if he was out there weeding.

Over the past couple of years, I have been rekindling an older friendship. We have all probably experienced it once in our life. People move, change interests, become consumed with work, or perhaps a disagreement was the cause for the breakup. I am of the opinion that if there was common ground in the beginning, you can find your way back. It can be as simple as a text or phone call, sitting down face to face and sharing some old stories, sharing some secrets, fears, or concerns, and perhaps lending a helping hand. You and your friend should feel like you have each other’s back. Friends should feel like they can always tell the truth. If for one minute you think this does not take careful thought and hard work to gain each other’s trust again, you are mistaken. I think it best to take your time and make the other party realize you are for real and truly respect having them as a friend. It is kind of like reclaiming that old garden plot: weed out the bad, fertilize that soil, plant those seeds, and keep the bad stuff out. A friend that you can count on is one of life’s greatest gifts – and definitely worth a little hard work.