What Does This Present Say About Me?

We did this around here, this weekend.

Birthday_2013_Missindeedy

Also? The table apparently borrowed some legs from the chair. It happens.

Apparently, I need a place to get my chatty on, my happy needs more hours (hat tip to The Nana), and I like to eat cake alone.

Sounds about right.

That “gossip bench” is thanks to a sweet friend who refinishes furniture to look all sorts of pretty.  I’ve been salivating over casually eyeballing this chatty cathy for the better part of the month.  I thought she had sold it! But no; she’d made arrangements, sneaky SWEET friend, with Sweetman, to leave it for me inside the house while we were out on Saturday.  Only, this happened:

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And, that’s a true friend, right there, folks.  You know why?  She makes a mean salsa! But, the recipe calls for lots of white onion.  And raw white onion and my stomach are mortal enemies.  Plus, any chance of a smooch from the hubs after ingesting onions goes right. down. the. drain.  Along with the contents of my stomach. And, I really don’t think there’s anything else to tell you about that. You’re welcome.

On another note, those flowers up there have a sweet back story. My Gramma has sent me flowers in a tea-cup every year for 26 years now.  It’s a beautiful tradition that I look forward to every year. Ahab and The Nana house a few of them down in Florida, I’ve got a dozen in storage, and we’ve got enough in our house right this minute, that I could throw one heck-uv-a tea party! Anyone up for a cuppa?

In other news, we have some interesting new phrases around this house.  One goes a little something like this: “Oh Glordy!”

The first time I heard Sweetgirl utter this, I was confused, as you can imagine.

“What is glordy?”, I asked her.

“You know, mama! You say it all the time!”, she replied.

What’s that now?

“Do you mean, ‘Glory’? Or do you mean ‘Good Lord’?”, I asked. (Let it be known that I am nailing the Whatchamacallit Speak she’s been doing lately.)

“Yes.” (Why does the child have to be short on words when I need her not to be?)

Alrighty then.

Sweetboy, also taught me a new phrase.

“I used your toothpaste, Mama. And it was so minty that it brought tears for my eyes.”, he informed me with, sure enough, tears in his eyes.

“Oh. I see it made your eyes tear up.”.  (I like to clarify things when I can.)

“No. It brought tears for my eyes.”, he insisted.

If you insist, child.

We also capped the weekend with a delicious meal with friends.  They cooked an authentic Italian “meat sauce” for pasta. It was delicious and filled with homemade meatballs and sausage and pork. It had Sweetman reminiscing about the Glordy days with all of his Aunts every Sunday growing up in Rhode Island.  It nearly brought tears for his eyes, I tell ya.

Yes indeedy!

What were you up to this weekend?  And, maybe more importantly, anyone got a mean salsa recipe that doesn’t require any (or much) onion???

With Chips and Salsa

Dear Katie,

In less than 7 weeks, I’m heading to South Carolina for the Allume Conference. With you.

And, in keeping with God’s deep and abiding love for me, He is allowing me to room with you. We may not have met face-to-face yet, but we know each other’s hearts.  And you get me. I’m deeply indebted to Dayspring’s (in)courage group for special needs mammas for making us fast friends. Time zones ain’t got nothin’ on us, girlfriend!

At Logan’s prompting, Katie, you graciously shared with me some things you thought I might oughta know before we take our relationship to the next level.  Thank you.  Bless you.  We share numbers 1, 2, 5, and 7 in common; so, it’s gonna be okay.

And… we’ll have chips and salsa.

With that said…

Sweetman insists that anyone who doesn’t live with me on a daily basis might be traumatized by All Of Me, all at once. In the spirit of good will (and knowing it’s too late for you to try to get out of rooming with me) I shall tell you some things, Sweet Katie. These things might just make our days together, in our cozy hotel room, slightly less harrowing.

I hope.

But, it’s gonna be okay.  Because, we’ll have chips and salsa.

Your #1 – the snoring thing? My Sweetman insists my snore is “delightful” and “cute”.  My children, on the other hand, insist it’s more on the order of The Bear Snores On. You, dear roommate, get to be the deciding vote! (And I come bearing brand new earplugs. For you. In case.)

You should probably say a quick prayer of thanks that we do not need to share a bed.  I am rarely still through the night. Sweetman likes to joke that the King sized bed in our bedroom is mainly mine.  He gets a 2 foot wide strip and a bungee cord.  Thank you Lord. And Amen.

Also, you should note that if you are looking for food items (above and beyond our beloved chips and salsa) that are of any nutritional value what-so-ever, you will not find them on my person.  You may, however, find a Twinkie. Or a Swiss Cake Roll.  Or both. Times three. I know you are trying to be good and gluten-free and such.  I will hide them if you wish. Or share.

Packing thrills me.  I wish I could lie and say what a nightmare it will be deciding what clothes to wear and shoes to bring and necklaces to lay out.  Sorry. The plotting and the planning? It’s in my blood. I will have my outfits paired up well ahead of time, with their chosen accessories.  I will hang them, with ever so much care, in our hotel closet as soon as I arrive. And then… I WILL FREAK OUT LIKE A MANIAC that I have brought ALL THE WRONG THINGS!

It’ll be okay.  We’ll have some chips and salsa.

I’m a total extrovert (I think you were already aware).  But, you may not know that I am an extrovert who needs naps to escape all the extroverting.  Don’t you worry, though, my sweet sidekick. I’ll send out the bat signal so that you can either join me or commit social crimes solo for a while.

I’m a Note Taking Nerdette; and I’m pretty proud of it.  I may not remember a dad-gum thing anyone said the entire day – but by George! I’ll have written it down. Somewhere…

We can go over all of those notes while we nosh on the never-ending chips and salsa. While in our jammies.  At bedtime.  That’s 8:00 p.m. sharp! And, while the jammies are indeed required, the flossing is entirely optional (because I don’t floss either).

Now, get on those tickets, kid.  I am NOT writing another one of these open letters.  I barely made it through this one. But I know it’ll all be better than okay.  I’m gonna hang with you. And I couldn’t be more excited!

With Chips and Salsa,

Missy

An Ode to Mondays (of Sorts)

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You know that I like to keep it real around here.  So, in an effort to provide full disclosure, I thought you should all know how I really feel about Mondays.

Mondays, Oh Mondays…

How I detest thee.

The earlier the rise,

The more I despise,

All things related to thee.

Mornings, Oh mornings…

When you walk hand in hand with Those Mondays,

You are detestable too.

Yes indeedy.

The End.

(I never claimed to be a poet.  I do, however, claim to have an Eeyore streak. (Remember that?)

The only thing  – no make that things, there are three, actually – making this particular Monday bearable are:

  • Coffee (always blessed coffee)
  • A Skype session (with a dear online friend)
  • VBS at our new church (that I am not working!) HELLO!  I will have the entire house to myself for 2.2 glorious hours (I had to factor in the driving to and fro).  Oh, yes I do!

I know God made every day to be a gift, but really… I’d like to visit the returns department for most Mondays out of the year. How ’bout you?  Do you love Mondays?  Detest them?  Not really give two hoots?  I do. Tell me! I need to know who my real friends are.  Oh, I jest… you are SO all my real friends.

Right?

God Is Bigger

Today, I ended an eight year love affair.

With 65 women.

I’ve had the privilege of leading these women in Bible study, every Thursday morning, for four of these last eight years.

And today, we closed that chapter of my life, together, amidst much hooting and howling, coffee and Quiche, tears and hugs.

As Sweetman and I prepare to move our family on to a church that is closer to where we live, I’ve been focused on closing out my time with these women.

These are truly my peeps. They are the girls who, from 25 to 85, totally get me. And love me anyway.  They not only love on me, but on each other, and on their community.  We dig into God’s Word like starving children, each week, and pray with a love so fierce that it can bring us to tears.  We also drink coffee (or tea).  A lot.  And laugh… even more!

They made me wear this this morning, for crying out loud:

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Y’all, it was H.A.R.D. to give a heartfelt goodbye talk in this!

It could have been an incredibly stressful week, but it wasn’t.

I’ve been focusing on the fact that God is bigger. He is bigger than a sad goodbye or a new Hello.  He’s bigger than any unsteady emotions or uncertain futures.  He’s bigger than a depression that threatens to creep in and steal joy.

God. Is. Bigger.

And I am resting in that today.

Yes, indeedy.

The Iris of My Eye

Do you have an Iris?

Probably.

No two are alike, you know.

Here is mine:

My_Iris10

The (in)courage webcast, this weekend, included much talk of Mentors; both being one, and having one.

My mentor is my friend.  And her name is Iris.  She is creating a legacy that is born of a desire to live for God.  I want to honor her today, by sharing her, a bit, with you.

My Iris is infused with joy. She has a twinkle in her eye and a laugh like a giddy little schoolgirl.  Her hair is a different color almost every time I see her, and the woman wears accessories with the panache` of a runway model.  She knows her limitations, and has learned well how and when to use the word “no”.  She wears wisdom well.  Grace and humility adorn her.  Her heart is strong in the Lord. And her arms are always open to me.

And that?  That is just scratching the surface of this funny, compassionate, and adorably short woman,  I assure you.

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“Isn’t it such a privilege to serve the Lord? It’s such an honor, isn’t it? We get blessed in just so many ways when we do, don’t we?” These are all standard refrains from my Iris.

The more time I spend with this woman, hearing her stories and seeing her delight in life, the more my own appetite is whetted to pursue God in every area of my own life. She has logged countless hours at the feet of Jesus. And the Godly wisdom and counsel she has readily available, because of that time, is precious to all who are blessed by it.

“God gives us children and they are our mission field.   We are blessed to be able to spend time with our children. It’s a crucial time for them – this time that you have at home with them.”, she often reminds me.  When I’m weary of the daily, I can count on her to swoop in with her encouragement to just keep relying on God’s strength, not my own.

She never follows these positive reminders with “Don’t ever forget that!”. And, she doesn’t begin them with “You really should…!”.  No, no. She never chides.

My Iris only encourages.  And mightily.

“I think what you’re doing now – putting your children first, is the right thing.” Each time I consider embarking on a new adventure, this woman, who has been down many of these same roads before, challenges me to consider what I will be giving up for it.  And, more importantly, she asks me what God might be whispering in my ear about it? “Have you prayed? I will pray for you about this.”, she will say.

I’ve been mistaken for one of her daughters more times than I can count. It makes me smile each and every time.

I say she’s my sister.  And, indeed, she is.

What’s more, the legacy she will eventually leave, is one of a woman who loves well and often.  Who laughs at all the days to come.  Who joys in the very moment she’s been given.  Who lives life with zest and enthusiasm for each new challenge. A woman for whom the word adventure is an intimate friend and who is well acquainted with The One who has given her every breath.

I am deeply honored to be mentored by my sweet Iris.  Any legacy I am creating is shaped, in large part, by her influence in my life.

“We’ll keep you in our prayers.”, she ends every conversation with.

And I’ll be keeping you in mine, sweet Iris.

Yes indeedy.

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Alpacas, Gerbils, and Community – Oh My!

“For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there among them.”

Matthew 18:20

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Did you know that Alpacas spit?  Maybe you were already privy to that information, but I always thought they were far too cultured for that.  Apparently, while they won’t spit at you, they will indeed spit out into the great beyond to share their disdain for something that you might be trying to introduce them to. Like, say… a harness for the first time.

And, did you know that there are Gerbil Rescuers? Oh, yes. There. Are. You know how you can bring home “two male gerbils” and 2 weeks later you awake to miraculously find that there are approximately 23 more are in the cage now, too?  There are kind folks who will swoop right in and help you make that right.

I learned these things, and so much more, from these beautiful new friends that I made at the inRL Meetup that took place at my home this weekend.

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I wrote here, back in March, that I had taken the leap and signed up for the (in)courage inRL (that’s in real life) meetups that were going to be taking place this past weekend, around the world. And not only did I sign up to attend, but also to host at my home. (‘Cuz I’m just extroverted like that).  I wrangled a sweet friend with Mad Decorating Skills to come help me in that area because God so clearly neglected to give me that particular skill set.  True story. (And that would be the beautiful lady on the far right up there!)

My friends, if you didn’t get a chance to make one of these this year?  Put it on your calendar for next year. NOW!  It was amazingly refreshing and uplifting and encouraging. And I have pictures to prove it, of course.

But first, I must show you how I started the morning.  I put on my brand spankin’ new white inRL t-shirt, and proceeded to get lipstick right on the front of it.  Lipstick that is, apparently, immune to any sort of stain stick. Trust me – we tried a few different ones.  I took it as a reminder, from the God that provided this opportunity for community, to Keep It Real.  Amen?

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As each new woman walked in, I reminded myself to breathe and to just brightly say, “Welcome!”, instead of rushing to explain what was staining the front of my t-shirt.

And do you know what was amazing?  No one noticed.

Do you want to know what else was amazing?  These women!  Not a single one was at the same stage of life as me.  Not a single one had a child with Autism.  There were two without any children at all. (Although, we’re all counting the Alpacas as children after our conversation!) We were all at various places in our faith journeys, in our work lives, and relationships.

We may not have been a large group, but God brought five women together to learn about what community can feel like -with all the pain and joy it brings with it – in real life.

And it was so good.  So. Very. Good.

With the icebreaker over and the gabbing winding down, we gathered around the screen to watch the webcast on Staying in Community. There were so many heads nodding throughout, that I thought heads were going to fall right off of bodies! Such wisdom was conveyed during the telling of these genuine and heartfelt stories during the webcast.  A few of my favorites were the following:

  • “We all need to be told it isn’t too late to make it beautiful.” –Angie Smith
  • “…we walk around and pick up a few of each other’s shards to add to a few of our own. Because that is what good friends do.  Become safe places to break wide open and share the shards of our mess.” – Kristen Strong
  • “The thing that wounds us is often the thing that God will walk us through again to heal us.” – Mary DeMuth
  • “Sometimes when we stay, it’s because our testimony isn’t about us at all- it’s entirely about Him.” _-TeriLynne Underwood
  • “You need imperfect people in your life to perfect your practice of love.” –Ann Voskamp

These were just a few of the many many thoughts I tucked into my heart during this webcast!

The talk of mentors had my head spinning for the rest of the day. I didn’t write down who said, “Mentors are like anchors. They ground us when things get rough.”  I chewed on that for hours!  And Marina Bromley spoke of the importance of being real: “One of the best gifts you can give to a mentee is to not be perfect – but perfectly open.”  Oh. My. Soul! Don’t we all just crave someone to be real with us?  Someone who will let us be ourselves and not turn us away when we botch it up and good? Who will call us to the carpet when we’re turning away purposefully?  And love on us when we aren’t?

Are you feeling like you missed a great opportunity?  Don’t! If you missed it, I do believe it will be made available later on, in DVD format. I’m going to tell you straight up to run and get yourself a copy, when it does! You will be so thankful.  And encouraged.  Who doesn’t want that?  Who doesn’t need that?

This is one event that I plan to take part in forevermore.  It did my heart and soul good to know that I was part of a larger community of women who are trusting in God to see us through every stage of life. And that we’re better… together.

Yes, indeedy!

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You Too?

One of my favorite quotes of all time is by C.S. Lewis.  He was so wise.  He said, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”

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Isn’t this the truth?

We write of our pain in the midst of our relationship woes, or the joy in our once-in-a-lifetime moments, and we find suddenly that there are others who have walked this same road.  Share this same pain, or joy, or confusion, or desire to get it right.

It was that – the desire to get it right, that drew me to Jen.  We were about as different as different could be on the outside.  But, we were both fresh out of college with our Teaching Degrees clenched tightly in our fists, ready to strike out and become the  Best Teacher Ever! And then, reality set in.  We quickly realized that we would need to do a little ladder climbing to get that coveted Classroom Teacher position.

We were teacher aides in classrooms next to each other.  We bore the same burdens of caring for the particular student in the elementary classroom’s we’d each been assigned to, as well as providing the support that the classroom teacher needed to carry out his or her duties for the other 24 students in the room.  The days seemed overly long at times.  The wait for our own title of “Classroom Teacher” seemed to stretch out even farther.

But, in the lunchroom, over my can of Spaghettios with franks and devil dog, and her neatly made sandwich and apple, we bonded.  She laughed as I regaled her with stories of the day’s goings on.  I listened intently as she rattled off a list of lessons she daily learned.  And we re-fueled each other with our camaraderie for the last half of each day.

But when we really hit the deep layer of our friendship was when she invited me to her Bible Study.

Not long after that, we became more than friends.  We became sisters.  Bonded not only by vocation, but by our heart’s home.

Jen moved on to a private school.  I moved on to “Classroom Teacher”.  Then Jen moved on to assistant Headmaster.  I moved on to Educational Director at a non-profit.

I married and she was my Maid-of-Honor.

We still spilled stories of laughable moments and lessons learned.  And leaned on each other for support and encouragement.

She married.

I had my first child.

We still shared and encouraged and bolstered one another’s spirits.

And then, she moved on… to another state.  Far, far away.

Too far, friend!

I live my life now in the Post-Jen-Era.  I still get that needed encouragement or share that silly moment that makes us both laugh or cringe.

We just do it long-distance.

You too?

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I’m linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker and the beautiful community of writers for her Five Minute Friday writing prompt. Click the button below to add your own thoughts on “Friend”, or to read what it brought to mind for others.  

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