Getting Real – what real friendship is about

There we were, 12 women, sitting on the patio of a neighborhood coffee shop on a balmy summer evening as the sun set behind us. We saw each other nearly every weekend at church. We passed in the hallway, and waved or nodded “hello” as we dropped our kids off at Sunday school and then headed back to the sanctuary for service.

But as we sat on that patio and discussed our study, we began to realize that we were virtual strangers.

We shared the same beliefs, and were friendly enough to carry on small talk about school being over, and swim team starting up, but we never really got into the nitty-gritty of life. We never got messy, or shared the dirt of our lives. We kept that to ourselves, to guard like some dirty secret.

We never really got “real” with one another.

That’s what it’s like for so many women in this technological age. We communicate quickly, usually through a text, and in abbreviations. But we never really hold each other up and bear with one another under the weight of life.

How many times have you answered “Fine” when someone asked how things were going, when you wanted to scream the truth…that you really needed a friend and wanted to just sit and talk about life for a while?

But we say we’re busy…but are we really?

We can’t afford to be that busy. We can’t afford to be autonomous islands who can do ten things at once and still have dinner on the table at 6:00pm and the kids in bed by 9:00pm. And who really reaches that goal anyways?

If we would just be “real” with one another we’d know that there are no Jones’ to keep up with…they don’t exist. The Jones’ are a myth, an anomaly, that we created just to keep us feeling like we’ll never measure up.

So, there we were…12 women, sitting on the porch on a balmy summer eve, learning something about each other. But more importantly, learning something about ourselves. We aren’t so different from one another. I fail just like you do. I will never get the kids to bed by 9:00pm, and dinner might be on the table by 6:00pm, but you can bet it will be take-out picked up on the way home from soccer practice.

Therein lies the beauty of being a woman: we are flawed for a reason. We are flawed so that we can be empathetic and supportive to one another. We’re flawed so that we can hold each other up when life seems too big to stand alone. We weren’t meant to go it alone.

We were made flawed so that we can be “real,” not some fictional character that we can never reach.

Right there on that patio, we decided to be “real” from then on. We decided not to hide behind smiles, or schedules, or texts. We decided to be accountable to one another. To say how we really felt, even if it wasn’t fine. To ask for help if we needed it, and not be ashamed. And to laugh…I mean one of those laughs that starts at your toes and makes your eyes tear and your head hurt where you can’t catch your breath.

Because being “real” is so much better than pretending. Being “real” is the best part of having female friends.

What do you need to do to be “real” with your friends?


Finding hope at a bar-b-que

There are days that I can’t even watch the news because of how divided it portrays the world to be. And that division is only perpetuated by us staying in our homes, glued to our TVs and computers filling our heads with what THEY want us to believe is true about ourselves.

BUT I HAVE HOPE that we are free-thinkers, that we are BETTER than we are made to believe.

But the only way we’re going to come together is through HUMAN CONTACT.

Our neighborhood had an impromptu bar-b-que on Memorial weekend. Two of them, in fact.

But on a Sunday and a Monday evening there we were: swatting at mosquitos with virtual strangers.

We didn’t know most of the neighbors, except to wave “hello” as we pass them in a car, and some lived on other streets, so even that doesn’t usually happen.

It took a generous neighbor with a really good bar-b-que and an excellent marinade recipe for chicken and ribs, to bridge the divide.

We were from different backgrounds, different nationalities, different political affiliations (I assume – no one discussed politics – hallelujah!), and in different stages of life.

We passed around the fussing baby so that the new mom could eat her dinner in peace. We found out that two people worked for the same corporation and never knew it. We talked about where we were from and where we grew up. We discovered we vacationed in the same places. We laughed and ate and made new friends.

On Sunday night, the bar-b-que went until 2am! On Monday, we only made it until 10pm.

So when the news tells me that my neighbor doesn’t think the way I do, I know the news is full of crap. I know they want headlines. They want us to hate, because it makes us watch them more.

But all it takes is a simple neighborhood bar-b-que to prove them wrong.

People are people, no matter where you go. People transcend politics, and headlines, if we’d stop buying into the hype and look up from our Smartphones long enough to smile.

We need each other. We need more bar-b-ques.

I think the men and women whose lives we celebrated on Memorial Day would have been proud to know that they didn’t die in vain. Good neighbors do still exist. People do still want to connect and reach out to one another.

Looking forward to celebrating summer and hanging out together…in spite of the mosquitoes.

What a “Selfie” did to my self-image


I’ve never been one to pay much attention to looks. I’ve always had more confidence in my personality than my looks. I’m just average. I’ve always been the tallest in my friend groups, which worked against me all through high school, college and early adulthood. Face it – if there is a group of girls hanging out together, most of them under 5’6”, then the one over 5’10” is not going to be the pick of the litter. And I would DEFINITELY not win any awards for “most photogenic.” (Thus the reason for my lack of a profile picture). I can’t take a good picture to save my life! Really…I’m not exaggerating. I even dreaded taking wedding photos!

Enter “The Selfie.” This last week, I met up with some friends that I’ve known since elementary school. We only had a few hours to catch up, but it was fun seeing them. We decided to take a picture to document the occasion, and since I have the longest arms (a blessing if I want to reach the top shelf, a curse if I’m competing for most petite), I was the one to hold the phone and take the Selfie.

I knew as I pushed the button, it wasn’t going to be pretty. And boy I was right. #selfiefail

My friends look fabulous in the picture. But since I was holding the camera, and straining to get everyone in the picture, I was already at a disadvantage. My head was tipped back slightly, and while I had my hair pulled back (big mistake), the grey hair across my hairline virtually DISAPPEARED in the photo and I look like I’m going BALD! I already have a big forehead, but…my God…IT WAS HUGE!

And then there’s my nose – you can see right up that honker! And it’s now on Facebook, for all our childhood friends to see!

As I said, I generally don’t care about looks. I’m fairly low maintenance…AND IT SHOWED IN THAT SELFIE!

I was using root touch-up on my hairline to cover up the grey, but sadly, that simply will not suffice anymore. The grey is taking over! So I’m faced with a dilemma:

Do I gracefully grow grey or do I do like most every other woman in my area and COLOR….COLOR…COLOR!

I admit that I hate to get stuck in the color trap. I don’t WANT to color. It’s inconvenient and a pain in the you-know-what.

I thought I was okay with my grey hair. I thought I was a confident woman. UNTIL THAT SELFIE!!! I really hate that it shook my confidence.

I guess it’s time to break out the hair color. Any recommendations? I’m not the type of woman to spend money and time at the hair salon every three weeks re-coloring, so it looks like I’m going to have to go the home hair color route. I’ll take any helpful hints you have.

I Miss Talking


Don’t get me wrong: I enjoy blogging and exchanging ideas and stories with people from around the world, but I miss the ONE ON ONE CONVERSATION. How much better would it be to share the same stories over a cup of coffee? #coffeefixeseverything

I miss talking on the phone. I know texting is convenient, but face it, if we’re texting someone it’s probably because we don’t want to “talk” to them. We just want to say what WE want and move on with our lives without all that “messy” conversation.

I also miss hearing my children talk. I know they’re getting older, and the age difference (11 and 14) makes them less interested in each other, but I used to love waking up to hearing them quietly playing together in their rooms. Now they can go whole days without talking except to say “It’s my turn on the computer!”

They really don’t even fight. I guess I should be grateful for that, but aside from fighting over the computer, they have nothing to fight about because they don’t engage with one another. I suppose part of it is the age difference. I know the younger misses playing with the older more than the other way around, and would change it in a second if he had the power, even at the expense of missing computer time.

Our weekend mornings are spent in silence. Sometimes even the weekend days are spent in silence too, each on their own electronic device. I used to try to fight it, to try to get everyone to do things on the weekends. But I got tired of the fight, so the last few weeks I’ve given up and joined the electronic club. And you know what? I don’t think anyone even noticed. They probably are grateful that Mom finally stopped bothering their personal time.

I guess it’s just a part of growing up. Kids speak less and less to their parents the older they get, unless they have to. Maybe it’s me that has to give in and change, and get more creative.

Now to figure out how.

Think I’ll go call my mom even though I’d rather text her.

*A side note: when I looked up images to use for this post I used the key word “conversation” and was hard-pressed to find any images WITHOUT a computer or smart phone in them. Ahhh, the irony.

Should I Clean Up My Friend List?



I know it’s unheard of and probably morally reprehensible. But I did it. I cleaned up my Facebook Friends List.

After the events that occurred in my last post, I did some real soul searching. I know it seems silly. I realize we’re talking about Facebook for goodness sake. “Just ignore the lame comments,” you say. “Get  thicker skin.” And I agree, for the most part, but I also consider Facebook to be a communication vehicle, and I don’t appreciate people mucking it up with their criticism and trolling. #notrolls

I’m not one to give up on people, or to cut ties, just because we have different opinions. I still speak to friends that I’ve known since elementary school. I’m not sure if that’s an attribute to my character or a sign of mental illness, but it’s the way I’ve always been.

But if you’re a “troll” masquerading as a “friend,” then prepare to be cut.

When considering “Spring Cleaning” my Friend List in the middle of winter, I had to be sure that it was something I wanted to do.

Since moving across country from the town I grew up in, keeping in touch with old friend has been essential to my survival in my new surroundings. My old friends “get me” they’re my “peeps.” So, you can see where avoiding Facebook all together would be a drastic option for me.

But when I looked at my Friend List, I realized how many of those people made the list simply because we were acquaintances, or “I knew them back when,” and that was all. #norealconnections

So to make my decision, I broke it down into criteria:

  1. Have I talked to them (as in, heard their voice) in the past 5-10 years?
  2. Do we comment on each other’s Facebook pages?
  3. When they do comment, are they supportive? Am I happy to hear from them, or are their comments like nails on a chalkboard?
  4. Do we have anything in common? Would I be able to carry on a conversation if I ran into them at the mall?
  5. Do they understand the difference between opinion and fact? Do they respect others’ opinions?

As I’ve gotten older, I realize that I don’t have time for instigators or people who enjoy making life miserable for others.

I want to fill my life with positive influences in my family’s life and in my own life. #friendzone

I’m happy to say that I only “unfriended” a few people, which tells me that I’m discerning about who I surround myself with, and that’s a good thing.

Have you ever cleaned your Friend List? Did you feel bad or was it liberating? I’d love to know how it affected you.

The Value of a Village

Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV)

24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.


P1000038I love my village.

By that, I mean, the friends, family and acquaintances that touch my life in all different aspects, and in all different ways.

When we moved across country, my village changed. I lost the everyday interaction with most of the friends and family that I had come to rely on. I had to learn to establish a new village, and it’s been a struggle. My old village sort of happened organically. We grew up together, or met through our spouses, or raised our children together. But now, I had to figure out how to establish a new village.

I think connection is essential to our survival. There’s something about feeling responsible to one another, to being accountable to someone besides ourselves that makes us inherently human.

Your village may be different, but I think a village takes time, it takes commitment. It takes loving one another, not just texting one another. It means picking up the phone when it would be much more convenient to send a text or email. It means filling an empty chair and spending some of your own precious time on someone else.

I will never be able to repay many of the people in my village for what they’ve done for me and my family, for the support they’ve given, the prayers they’ve offered, and the times they’ve been there when I didn’t know where else to turn.

All I can do is love them back, and offer my support when they need it, and encourage them when I think they need it most. Being part of a village is not about owing. It’s about being willing to give…and then giving some more…happily.

Think about who makes up your village. And if you don’t have one, perhaps you need to find one. You will always have more to offer than you ever realize.