My daughter pointing at some girl she’s never met before she’s my best friend.
No, honey, she’s not. She’s not even a friend yet. But you can say hi.
She’s three years old so to her everyone and everything is her best friend.
Last month, yellow was her best friend.
But as she teeters off to say hi to this new girl, I start thinking about my daughter and all the friends she will make.
And I desperately want to tell her that not every new girl will become a friend and not everyone will be worthy of that title.
It’s why I cringe when I hear her calling people we just met at the park friends.
I wish there was a word just for those people, those new girls she’s going to meet. Possible friends, maybe? PF’s? Yes, that’ll work for the sake of this post. We can have BF’s and PF’s.
I want her to know that not every pf is going to become a bf. And that sometimes she might have bf’s that should never have made it out of the pf category.
I want to tell her all this because calling someone a friend means something.
It means they are kind to you.
They want the best for you.
They are a fan of yours.
They are loyal.
They have your back. Which also means they don’t talk about you behind your back.
They are trustworthy and honest.
They respect you.
And if they aren’t those things, well, then THEY ARE NOT YOUR FRIENDS.
I want my daughter to know that.
That there is a difference in bf’s and pf’s.
That possible friends can turn into pretend friends.
And pretend friends are the worst.
I don’t want her wasting her time wondering why people who call themselves her friends play games with her friendship or don’t support her successes.
That’s not to say that she shouldn’t be a friend to everyone she meets.
She should be kind and respectful and compassionate and honest with people.
She should treat people the way she wants to be treated.
But when people are not that way with her she should not give them the title of Friendy McFrienderson. (Yes, that’s the name all my true friends get. Just kidding.)
She should save it for the rare and treasured few.
I want her to know that although it may be popular to have thousands of friends on social media, that in real life it doesn’t work that way.
You get a few.
Keep them tight to the vest.
Treasure them and enjoy life together.
Enrich each other and be a beautiful tapestry of all that is wonderful about true friendship.
I want her to know that this circle may change throughout the years as it shrinks and expands.
But don’t ever measure your circle by its size. Measure it by its strength.
By its ability to bend without breaking.
Grow without wearing thin.
Love without hating. There’s a thin line, afterall.
And like anything else, how often it makes you laugh and encourages you to eat chocolate. Dark chocolate. With sea salt and caramel.
The time of year to start new resolutions for the year has come and gone, and I bet there are many people who have already forgotten what they had resolved to do! It’s not surprising because if you’re like me you have great intentions, but once the day in and day out of life begins again, all is forgotten. A month from now, or maybe two, you’ll stumble across some list you made and will be hit with the sting of guilt that accompanies finding your well-intentioned resolutions still sitting in a drawer.
But, fear not! Although the things you long to change or start are still just mere thoughts and ideas, there are some things that remain the same. They don’t need new resolutions or start dates. They’ve been there all along. You will find them just as true today as they have been for thousands of years. Let this following list give you comfort and reassurance as you begin this new year.
*God is still the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow (Hebrews 13:8).
*He still causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them (Romans 8:28).
*He continues to be close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18).
*He still heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds (Psalm 147:3).
*He hears the prayers of the righteous and bends his ear to them (Psalm 116:2).
*All creation still points to his glory and sovereignty (Romans 1:20).
*All things can still be done through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13).
*His grace continues to be all sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9).
*His love for you continues to be deep and wide (Ephesians 3:18).
*He maintains his faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22-23).
*He will continue to know you better than you know yourself (Psalm 139).
*His mercies will continue to be new every morning (Lamentations 3:23).
*The cross will maintain its power over sin (Romans 1-4).
*Those who seek him will continue to find him (Jeremiah 29:13).
*Jesus will continue to be the truth, the way, and the life and the hope of this world. (John 14:6).
Instead of New Year’s resolutions we should just try trutholutions for 2017. I’ll start. It’ll be cathartic.
*Coffee will continue to be a needed part of my morning routine. Green tea is not going to cut it.
*I will continue yelling at my kids when I get frustrated and therefore I will continue feeling somewhat bad about my ability to control myself under pressure.
*My current level of cleanliness as it refers to my house will continue to be subpar.
*My current level of cleanliness as it refers to my showering will continue to be as needed.
*The high bun and ponytail will continue to be my hairstyle of choice due to the necessary amount of time it takes for me to blow dry and style my hair, and my unwillingness to devote said time to it.
*Dishes will continue to sit in my sink overnight as I am unwilling to prioritize them above my nightly television viewing.
*My love for devil dogs and ice cream will continue to be my nightly snack.
*I will not meet new friends and form meaningful friendships as I had planned. Instead I will continue to barely maintain my current lot of friends.
*I will not have more dinner parties and entertain company as I had fantasized about in 2016. Instead, I will continue to fantasize about it and take my Martha Stewart complex to a whole new level.
*I will not make cute lunches for my son with a variety of fruits, veggies, and protein cut into shapes. I will continue to pack the same peanut butter and jelly sandwich day after day.
*My reading will continue to be children’s books and as much of a magazine as I can read while waiting in the check-out line.
*Exercising will continue to mean doing some leg lifts a few times as I lay on the couch and watch television.
*Playing with my kids will continue to mean watching them play with each other.
*I will start and quickly stop writing in a daily journal.
*Pampering myself more will continue to mean using our garden tub to bathe the children and going grocery shopping alone.
*Date night will continue being visiting Home Depot and planning out what we will do if we ever win the lottery.
*Eating healthy will continue to mean drinking soda out of the tiny cans instead of the large ones.
What about you?
It’s that time of year again when many of us will find ourselves at a plethora of family and work holiday gatherings. It will be a joyous time filled with lots of laughs and memory making. But it can also be a scary time for those of us who dread the inevitable never-ending conversation.
Is there anything worse than getting caught up in a conversation that you didn’t see coming? Maybe you were just trying to grab some punch and now you’re discussing the Northeaster and the wind chill in Chicago. You are now locked into a good twenty minute one-way conversation that is making it hard for you to keep your eyes from wandering around the room or rolling into the back of your head.
You try to push through and engage the talker, but they are impenetrable. They are not going to let you turn the conversation into something you both want to talk about, no way. You two are going to discuss the unusual weather around the country in each of the fifty states and how it has affected their gardening and arthritis. So buckle up, shut up, and start thinking of all the weather terms you know.
But, wait! Not so quick. There is a solution. A tried and true solution that has worked for me for years. I developed it in my early twenties after being viciously held against my will in conversations with coworkers. Like most solutions to problems, it developed organically out of necessity. After feeling like I was going to blurt out “Stop it! Stop talking! I have to go!”, I slowly started to back up and nod, ending with “sounds good, Carol” before turning and walking away. Genuis, I know! I call it the “Walk & Talk.”
This method can be used in almost any situation. Upon feeling like the conversation has turned from a normal interaction into a hostage situation, just slowly start walking backward as you nod and respond appropriately to the dialogue. Just before you turn and walk away, end it with a phrase that signals the conversation is over. I would suggest “sounds good”, “you don’t say”, “we’ll never know”, “Hmmm, interesting”, “couldn’t have said it better myself”, or “we’ll just have to wait and see.” The key to a successful “walk &talk” is turning swiftly and walking away after you’ve said your last piece. If you hesitate or show any sign of weakness, this method will fail and things will get worse….they will follow you! So, a practice run might be in order.
Just to recap, I’ve broken it down into 3 easy steps:
1. Walk backwards
2. Say “ending” phrase
3. Turn and SWIFTLY walk away
Some will find this difficult because they aren’t able to commit or they were raised with better manners than myself. But I can’t stress enough that you MUST commit. Once you take that first step back, you MUST keep walking. I would say no more than ten to fifteen steps backward before making the turn. If this makes you nervous just thinking about it, might I suggest another method. I’ve never tried it but I think it works in theory. Carry something in your pocket and during the conversation, with ninja-like skill, throw it a distance away. Then before you go and pick it up, say “That was weird?” The combination of surprise and awkwardness will end the conversation with little effort on your part.
Sometimes I feel like I’m in a relationship with my kid’s clothes.
This is as low as it gets people. Folding clothes at night in the middle of your favorite show, and feeling like you’re in a relationship with children’s clothing. The endless laundry that accompanies having kids can drag you to these depths.
As I fold them, I straighten each piece out. Putting them in piles.
Long sleeve shirts. Short sleeved.
Jeans. Tan and corduroy. Sweat pants.
Pajama tops and bottoms.
Underwear and socks.
Some were bought because of the great deal I got on them. Some were passed along to me. Some were impulse buys because their cuteness could not be passed up. But each one was chosen because I thought my kids would love them.
Just kidding. Besides that one superheroes shirt, they were solely chosen because I liked them. You will look like the Duke of England or a lumberjack or star athlete or hip urbanite depending on the day, because I have different looks I want to try out on you and you will be my guinea pig. Be thankful I don’t sew.
I’ve admired each piece. When I first saw it and from then on each time I drew it out of the hamper.
Each one has been inspected for stains and treated.
Some stains were too real life for me to actually deal with, like poop or blood, and I threw them away without hesitation. One time someone at church handed me a baggie with your poopie underwear in them because they thought I would want to salvage them. I thanked them and promptly threw them away.
I can see where some are wearing thin and how many times I’ve had to treat the knees on certain pairs of jeans for grass stains.
We are in an endless cycle, me and my children’s clothes.
Buying. Wearing. Inspecting. Treating. Washing. Drying. Folding. Putting them away. Picking out the next day’s outfit. Putting it on them.
And I care about them. Why else would I make my kids change their clothes before they go outside and play? Or yell at them to not scuff their shoes or drag their coat on the ground.
Correction: I care about money. Clothes cost money. Therefore, I care about your clothes. This is also why you don’t care about them. You have no money.
When they are worn out or have been grown out of, I pass them on or take them to consignment or throw away the stained ones.
When I gift someone with my precious children’s clothes, I expect to see them worn and I delight in seeing them being passed on. I promise to stop myself from excitedly pointing out that your kid is wearing my kid’s clothes and telling you a story about that particular piece.
And sometimes, I save them. I pull out pieces that I think one day your child will wear this. I put them on the top shelf of their closet.
Oh, yeah, your child WILL be wearing this. I do not care how out of fashion it may be at that time way in the future, but YOU WILL get a J.C. Penny portrait of your kid in it. You will.
And sometimes, I reminisce about them. When they were a part of the day to day rotation. How cute they were. How little they were. And I miss them.
But this temporary moment of reflection is lifted when I think about the future and how you will be doing your own laundry and I won’t have to treat every.single.stain. You will. Or you won’t and you will just wear them anyways. And I won’t be able to stand it, so I’ll go back to treating your stains until you no longer live here.
Who will rescue you when you make mistakes,
Too immense for you to contemplate?
Who will lift you when you fall,
When you’ve made a catastrophe of it all?
Who will comfort you when you cry,
And tears fall down that will not dry?
Who will have compassion when you get what you deserve,
Or give you the courage when you’ve lost your nerve?
Who will give you guidance when you need it badly,
And won’t think it’s inconvenient but gives it gladly?
Who will give you hope when you’re in despair,
And the answer you are looking for can’t be found anywhere?
Who will give you peace when your mind is full of worry,
And your day is very busy and you’re always in a hurry?
Who can give you joy that is unspeakable,
And heal you of illnesses that are untreatable?
Who will be faithful when you can’t seem to get it together,
And gives you second chances that go on forever?
Who will come in a hurry when you desperately need a friend,
And no one picks up the phone and a hand they won’t lend?
Whose words have the power to battle all affliction,
And can break the chains that bound you to any addiction.
Who thinks you are valuable, more precious than gold,
And has a love for you beyond what you’ve been told?
Who would die in your place and pay the price for your sin,
Yet knock at your heart’s door waiting for you to let them in?
Who will make a path unique just for you,
Using the talents only you were created to do?
Who could be so patient, so loving, so kind, so truthful,
So devoted, so worthy of rhyme?
So life changing, so merciful, so divine and real,
So wise, so available, so right here?
So worthy of being worshipped for over two thousand years,
So imprinted on the hearts of those who hold him dear?