A Catty Little Chat

Harboring bitterness in my heart toward a friend, I decided to vent about it with another friend.

I decided.

Because, that always works out so well for me!

And so, God waited.

While my friend and I had a catty little chat, God waited.

And heard every hostile word.

Later on that evening, as I poured a dollop of oil into the bubbling pasta water, I started going over the conversation in my head. As the water boiled, so did my envy.

But, God waited.

As I lay in bed that night, I began to feel restless. I turned my bedside lamp back on and pulled out my journal. I grabbed for my Bible and flipped straight to the back. I was on a mission, as I searched for a specific word.

And still, God waited.

When my eyes lit on the word “jealousy” and all of the verses He gives for dealing with that green monster, God finally chose to tap on my heart.

There are moments when the darkness, that resides within me, makes itself so glaringly evident that I’m left gawking at All The Ugly.

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God, Himself, tells me that all of His Words are summed up in one simple command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

One.

Simple.

Command.

That I get so wrong, again and again.

God was done waiting.

Patiently, gently, He drew my eyes here:

“But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.”

Do not deny the truth…

The truth was, the truth is, that I am envious of what comes easier to some than others. I am jealous of the special treatment I think I see some receive over others. It irks me to know that for some, recognition will be quick – and yet never at all for others.

Ultimately, it scares me to think that I might be in with the “others”.

Once again, God’s grace sheds light on my darkness.

You see, He decided a long time ago that He was going to show me special treatment and give me His recognition.

Thankfully, when God decides, it always works out for me.

It became pretty obvious that I needed to call my “other” friend and apologize. For the catty chat, yes.

But more, for not trusting our God enough to remember that there’s room enough for each one of us to stand on The Rock.

Yes indeedy.

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Cheers to You, Friends!

Over the last decade (and change), since becoming a mother, I have had different friends enter the landscape of my motherhood. Each has contributed something precious and necessary: community, advice, support, assistance, and laughter.

Must. Have. Laughter!

While all of my friends aren’t mothers (hello Jason, Joan, Sarah!!!), I’m focusing in on those fellow mamas today.

Some have come alongside to help me see clearly, when my eyes were too filled with tears to do so on my own. I’m thinking of my sweet friend Ally, who listened as I relayed a devastating fear about Sweetboy, and just held my hand and patiently listened and prayed with me.  And Dana, who hears my deepest anxieties, and prays with me then and there to allay them. They are truly like Job described when he spoke of a friend interceding on behalf of another – “…let him plead with God for a human being, like a person pleads for a friend.” 

Also, I’m thinking of a brave and kind friend, Aimee. We met as part of a weekly playgroup for Sweetgirl when she was a toddler. I was unable to see some obvious developmental needs emerging in her, so focused was I at the time on getting Sweetboy acclimated in our new town. Her words were so kindly spoken at just the right time.

Others have helped lift my eyes to the Right Place, when I forgot to. I think of my bold friend Kim who walked with me through my initial depression diagnosis; and, who weathered a mighty storm, side-by-side with me, with our then shared church family. She truly modeled Proverbs 17:17 – “A friend loves at all times, and a {sister} is born for adversity.”

I have deep thankfulness for my friends Rae, Kristy, and Erin, who push me and encourage me to keep writing and dreaming and become the best little writer that God wants me to be!

And then, there have been the precious few who have provided much-needed comic relief. My fiery-haired friend Erin, quick-witted friend Janet, and round-table friends Monica and Katie . I welcome the bellyaches from All The Laughter, and their cheerful hearts truly do bring a smile to my face. Often!

These are just some of the friends in my life. And, I cherish each one. Speaking with older friends and family members about their own friendships, I see the eternal Truth and Wisdom in these Words:

Two are better than one, because they have good pay for their work. For if one of them falls, the other can help him up. But it is hard for the one who falls when there is no one to lift him up.

Each new friend that God graces me with, online or off, provides more reasons to be grateful. Whether we share a love of God, writing, or eating – whether we’re commiserating over how hard it is to be a parent, spouse, or not eat – having friends to lift me up is truly a gift that I cherish.

And a special shout-out to those of you in this here blogosphere – you hold a special place in my heart. I can’t hardly express how much joy your comments and encouragements bring to my heart.

So…

Cheers to you, my friends! Thank you for being one.

Yes indeedy!

Here_To_Friends_Missindeedy

 

It Only Took About Twenty Years

I attended a large blogging conference, a few years back, as a brand new blogger. One of the events that was pre-arranged was a “Birds of a Feather” breakfast. You essentially found the bloggers who you felt like you most identified with. I loved the idea of this. It was fairly easy for me to determine where I thought I fit in.

But, when I arrived at the table and everyone introduced themselves, I found that although we shared a desire to write humor, the ways we went about it were radically different.

I kept looking around and asking myself where My People were? After about twenty years, I’ve figured it out.

How about you? Who are your People? Aside from the ones who share your roof, what types of people make you feel the most comfortable?

I’m curious.

And also, nosy.

It never ceases to intrigue me how certain seeming types of people will feel most comfortable around folks who are nothing like them. I think of my funny friends who feel most comfortable with intellectuals discussing Academia and scholarly things, all the live long day. Or, the Think Tanker who whips out the one-liners faster than I whip out the Devil Dogs.

But, what really boggles my mind is how it took me so long to figure out what so many others realize pretty early on. Or, pretty easily.

When you find your People, you just know it. Some folks like to call it “finding your tribe“. Whatever you call it, when you finally do, you’ll find yourself feeling a sense of confidence that then allows you to float in and out of other groups of People much more freely, too. It’s such a great thing to experience.

And feel.

And know.

Are you already there?

If you aren’t, keep at it. You will make mistakes along the way. But, you will find the people who get you. They will be the ones that sharpen your thought process, lighten your load, and encourage you in all of the most important ways.

Grace allows for lots of wiggle room, here. I promise.

He gave me about twenty years worth.

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This post is day 20 in the Write 31 Days challenge.

Click my 31 days of Grace button above to go check out the previous 19 days. If you want. But, you don’t have to. No pressure.

An Epic Battle on the Eighteenth Day

On this day, my Alma Mater goes head to head with my Katie’s Alma Mater.

She and I are bonded in our hearts over many things: our kidlets, our love of the written word, our ability to eat chips and salsa like a boss, and our deepest desires for long and uninterrupted sleep.

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The college football teams we choose to cheer for, though, is not one of those uniting things.

It’s no matter. I still love her.

Grace allows for that.

May we ever be Kind and Loud.

Roll Tide.

Hook em’.

And all them good thangs.

Indeed.

And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.” (Colossians 3:14 The Message)

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Today is day 18 in my Write 31 Days challenge.

Heaven Is a Warm Ocean

I am an ocean lover, through and through. The warmer, the better.

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I like pools. The warmer, the better. (Unless it’s because you couldn’t make it to the potty in time. Then, not so much.)

And then, there is a special spot in my heart that is reserved for all the things I tolerate.

Lakes.  Lakes are there in that spot – right next to lizards.

And cold pools.

We have an ocean near-ish. We get there as often as we can, in the summer.

It’s cold.

We also have a town pool. We get there as often as we can in the summer.

It’s mostly cold.

This Floridian still can’t muster up the courage to jump into our town pool before July 30th or after August 30th.

If you’re doing the math, that equals up to Not Much Pool-time.

During this thirty-one day stretch, I must continually remind myself that I chose to move to New England because, Boston!  And because, Sweetman!

So, I was thrilled to find out that one of my sweet friends, who also happens to live in our neighborhood, is planning to have a beautiful new pool put into their backyard.  It’s one of those super fan-cee salt water ones. It will have the standard stairs, to get into and out of, of course. But, the best part about this pool?  It’s soon going to be heated. Oh, yes it is!

I’ve come to the conclusion that this is necessary for anyone who chooses to live above the Mason-Dixon line.  Otherwise, you might just find yourself jumping into a pool that is barely pushing 65 degrees.  Even if it is 98 degrees outside.

And people?  That is just not right.

I should have taken a clue when I began teaching water-skiing in the Berkshires of Massachusetts some twenty-odd summers ago.  That first crisp summer morning, when I jumped into the lake to begin instruction, it took less than 10 minutes for me to tag the other instructor because I was too cold to stay in. Plus, my foot touched something slimy.

No. Just… no.

Therefore, it might surprise you to learn that I was somehow convinced to become part of a three-woman relay team, as The Swimmer, in a local women’s triathlon sprint. Yes, you read that right.  Come early September, this girl, right here, will be doing her darndest not to die as she competes in the swim portion of a women’s triathlon sprint.

“It’ll be so much fun,” they said.  “You’ll have so much support,” they promised.  “We’re not doing it to win,” they assured me.

The part they forgot to mention?

Training.

In the local lake.

Or town pool.

Neither of which are heated.

Oh, and…the race itself? In a lake.

I don’t have to wonder about what hell is like.

I think I’ll stick with my plans to go to heaven.

There will definitely be warm ocean water there.

Yes indeedy.

Thankfuls 2

I’m sitting here with a tissue shoved up my nose typing away because my poor hand literally got tired of reaching for yet another tissue to stem the tide of…  We’ve got a house full of colds. I think that’s about all you really need to know.

Time to move along now.

Lately, I’ve been realizing that I am not a “finisher”. I am a Starter. And a pretty good one, if I do say so myself. I can start me an argument, for example, like no one’s business. But finishing it out? Well… that’s above my pay grade.

So, I’m making a commitment to see this Thankfuls thing through because a) I like the idea of this and 2) I need more Thankfulness in my life. How bout you?

Just putting it out there so that those of you who love me can call me out on it if I start slacking.

Without further ado, this week I am thankful for:

1) Tissues. Soft white tissues that have no lotion, thank-you-very-much.  I’ve gone through a couple of boxes in the last few days and Sweetboy and Sweetgirl have, too. The tissue making people see us coming and start jumping for joy. I know they do. I can feel their wallets shivering in anticipation of how many boxes we’ll go through,  today, alone!

2) Negative Strep Tests.  Yup. Per #1, there have been sore “froats” in our house again this week, but so far – we’ve all been declared strep free. Praise The Good Lord!

3) iPhones and facetime. There are some precious bloggers who have become real-life friends to me this past year.  Facetime has allowed me, well… some facetime with the ones who are cross country.  And some of them, unlike me, are great finishers, and chock-full of wisdom and guidance; which, The Facetime facilitates quite nicely. Plus, I can still be in my jammies while we talk.

4) Homelife Magazine.

homelife_magazine

Some of my very most favorite writers (I’m eyeballin’ you Melanie Shankle and Sophie Hudson) write for Homelife, on occasion; as do Kristen Welch and Mark Batterson and a bunch of others who write words that I just eat on up.

and lastly…

5) Sweetgirl and I got some special one-on-one time while Sweetboy was at Karate this week.  She determined that we would play “friends” with her favorite stuffed animals. (I jokingly asked her if mama could name them Joey, Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Phoebe, and Monica. She was not amused. She was, however, confused.) I am so thankful for some mommy-daughter time. I love me some mama-son time, too, but this week, it was Team Pink!  And this is where the action took place. (And I secretly named the sisters on the right Phoebe and Ursula, because, FRIENDS!)

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And that, as they say, is a wrap.  Which I’m about to go crawl into. Because I’m cold. I may even snuggle up with Phoebe. And Ursula.

Yes indeedy!

What are you thankful for this week?

How To Be a Stellar Procrastinator

It’s been a rough couple of weeks around our house. We’ve had strep throat rip through the house twice.  Good times. And just prior to that, we sent The Nana and Ahab home with colds and ear infections.

We like to send people off with parting gifts.

On another note, being stuck in bed allowed me to get the majority of my Christmas shopping done early.  I felt pretty great about that until I dropped the kidlets off this morning and came home to a room full of boxes that now needed to be opened, the contents wrapped, and All Of The Boxes broken down and taken to the recycling center.  That just makes me six kinds of tired typing about it.  I think I’ll tackle that one tomorrow.

Or not.

I still have seven more days until they absolutely HAVE to be wrapped.  I am nothing if not a Stellar Procrastinator.  Oh, yes I am!

In the midst of all this mess, I borrowed Sparkles’ vacuum cleaner… and broke it.  You wouldn’t believe how if I told you (but it involves finally having a vacuum cleaner with enough power to say… clean the house, and being so ecstatic about it that I went into a very uncareful cleaning frenzy. Or something along those lines.)

The vacuum cleaner was so awesome, in fact, (and cheap enough that Sweetman agreed to it), that when I bought Sparkles a replacement, I bought one for myself, too.

I’ve been a vacuuming fool ever since.

Seriously.

A fool.

Because there are approximately 10 family members’ worth of gifts to be unboxed and wrapped.

But I don’t think I really need to vacuum in there today.