Tag Archive | friendship

6/12/12 Today’s Advice to My Beautiful Daughters – Zip your lip.

This is another post inspired by Pastor Becky and is related to this post about discernment.

There are times when I feel compelled to share the truth with someone.  My compulsion to share may not be at all related to the other person’s need or readiness to know.  When that happens, I am often quite surprised that the other person reacts so negatively.  I can accuse them of defensiveness or irrational reactions, or I may think they can’t face the truth, or that they don’t like me or my words just because I don’t agree with them.  In fact, often they are just reacting to my delivery, or my timing, or my lack of understanding about the whole picture.  Over time, I have learned to listen more, watch for queues and practice a soft delivery.  When I speak truth, I try to do it in a way that would be welcome to my ears if I was on the receiving end.  I am a work in progress, but I have gotten better.

I have learned that sometimes the best truth I can share is none.  Sometimes I just need to zip my lip.  There is a time and a place for truth.  Just because I believe it to be truth, doesn’t mean that I should share it.

So today, my advice to you is to learn to zip your lip.

Ask, Seek, Knock.

It is important to ask what is going on in someone’s life (understand the “truth” from a different perspective, or at least with additional color), seek perspective from their point of view, knock on the doors of their heart.  And if they open the door, if they invite you in, your truth will not only be more credible, but more welcome.

This will be frustrating.  You will mess up.  Sometimes you won’t ever get to say what is on your mind.  All of those things are ok.

What is important is that you always respect the place the other person comes from.  Recognize that your truth is not going to be their truth, and that nobody likes to hear that they need to be fixed.  Relationships are more important than your opinions…and you have to know that your “truth” is actually just your opinion and it is no more or no less important than someone else’s.

If you find yourself wondering why people don’t want to listen to you, why they don’t like what you have to say, and sometimes don’t like you, ask yourself, “Should I just zip my lip?”  I think you will find that more often than not, the answer may be yes.

And yes, I recognize that you may think  that I need to practice this one some more.  And you are probably right.  Maybe we can work on it together.

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6/2/12 Today’s Advice to My Beautiful Daughters – Believe

Faith really can move mountains.

A little over two years ago, my dear friend Kristen was given unimaginable news.  She was diagnosed with Stage IV Colon cancer that had spread to her liver.  It is hard for me to even imagine how she and her family processed this news.  As her friends, we were shocked, scared, stunned really.

This is Kristen today:
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Today, we celebrate her battle and her victory.  Friends and family joined her to walk in the area’s first 5K in support of colorectal cancer research and funding, “Get Your Rear in Gear”.  The team shirts say, “Rump Shakers – Never fear. We are here for Kristen’s rear.”

I don’t know how much you know about color cancer, but a stage IV diagnosis is about as bad of news as you can get.  To many, it is a death sentence.  But not Kristen.  I could tell you what the odds were.  Kristen doesn’t know this (until now) but I researched the odds.  I did what you aren’t supposed to do researched on the internet to try to determine her chances.  I cried my eyes out that day.  I was devastated.  I won’t mention the numbers I found because they didn’t mean anything to Kristen.  Numbers are just averages, and she isn’t average.  She was young, otherwise healthy and had the kind of faith that really can move a mountain.  She decided that she was going to kick cancer’s ass, and that is just what she did.  She had two MAJOR operations to remove the infected part of her colon and part of her liver, had setbacks with infection and healing, spent a combined several weeks in the hospital, and went through two separate rounds of chemo.   During that time, she never stopped smiling, never stopped believing.   The prevailing joke was that she made the whole “cancer” thing up for attention…that is how good she looked throughout.

She taught me that faith is everything.  Believing is everything.  The love and faith of family and friends is everything.  I’m no dummy.  I know there were times when she got discouraged and had doubts, but she had this massive contagious faith thing that she had spread to all the people around her.  That faith grew in all of us, and I hope there were times that our belief carried her when hers was feeling shaky.

Sometimes when things seem absolutely impossible, you just have to believe.  Believe in a truth that doesn’t make sense and defies conventional wisdom.  Believe in the faith that sustains you and believe that you can spread that faith around.  Miracles happen every day.  Not only is Kristen my hero, but she is a walking talking SMILING miracle, not just because she beat this terrible thing, but because she inspired us, made us believe, increased our faith…and that gift IS one of life’s miracles.
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5/22/12 Today’s Advice to My Beautiful Daughters – Fall down a lot.

I’m not suggesting that you become more clutzy, God knows we don’t need any help with that.

My friend, Stephanie has a little girl named Katie.  She reminds me so much of you when you are little, that I absolutely adore her.  I could just watch her all day.  When her mom asked her why she has so many bruises on her legs, she replied, “I fall down a lot.”  Hearing that story got me to thinking.

I know this little girl is FULL of life.  She runs around and dances and wrestles with her brother.  Her exuberance for life just makes me happy.  She falls down a lot.  Perhaps she is a little clutzy, but I think she falls down a lot because she is always DOING stuff.  You can’t fall down if you are sitting still.  You can’t fall down when life is passing you by.  You fall down a lot when you are LIVING.

Falling down a lot is about being willing to try and fail and get up again.  It is about going after what you want, living life to the fullest and not worrying about whether it will all work out perfectly.  Being willing to fall down a lot means you are going after things exuberantly and that you know that in order to succeed, you first have to try, and be willing to risk failure.  When failure comes, falling down a lot means that you get up again and again and again.  It is the “a lot” that makes it so cool, because it means that the first time you fell down, you tried again.

I hope that you fall down gently, but I also hope you fall down a lot.

5/21/12 Today’s Advice to My Beautiful Daughters – Screw up gracefully.

Before you get all excited and think that I have just given you permission to screw up…hold your horses young lady.  All my other advice about doing goodleading by example still holds true.

But, when you screw up (and you WILL screw up), one of the most important things that you need to learn is how to recover grace-fully.  I’m not talking about the way you might jump up after fallling on your face when you tripped over some imaginary thing in the middle of the floor (after all, you ARE my daughters, so this is bound to happen).  Don’t get me wrong, that kind of recovery is also important.  Hint: jump up, look around and if nobody is looking, just go about your business and try not to limp.  If someone saw you, then you just have to laugh.  What else are you going to do?  I also highly recommend telling as many people as possible about your fall.  It makes for great conversation and makes you seem more human. (I’ve had lots of practice with this.)  But I digress…

As you grow up and move away from the safety of home, remember that it is always important for you to have an escape route.  Know your plan B and when you will execute it.  What I am really talking about is learning to recognize that you have made a mistake and learning to recover without digging a deeper hole.  You see, we are human and we have a really hard time admitting when we are wrong.  Sometimes we become so committed to our mistake that we can’t see our way out.  We throw good money after bad, both literally and figuratively.  So stop the madness.  Know that it is ok to be wrong.  It is ok to screw up.  Admit it, plan your escape, apologize and move on.  Give yourself grace.  Recover grace-fully.

Most important, never ever forget to apologize to those who your mistake has hurt.  A genuine apology can right a whole lot of wrongs. Giving grace, accepting grace…recovering grace-fully.

Remember that mistakes are just mistakes.  Don’t get them more power than that.  For more on mistakes, refer back to this blog post.

Today’s post was inspired by a comment on yesterday’s advice by a blogger I just met.

5/11/12 Today’s Advice to My Beautiful Daughters – Sometimes you have to walk away.

Walking away.  Now this is a tough one. 

This is follow up to yesterday’s advice. 

Sometimes when you have done all the right things, and you have worked hard to clean up your messes, they still look like the “other brand” in the Bounty papertowel commercials.  They are just a soggy, shredded mess.  When that happens, your heart probably feels pretty shredded and messy too.

Sometimes you will try to fix something that isn’t fixable, not because your heart isn’t right, but because the other person’s heart is closed.  And when that happens, you have to chalk up your losses and walk away.  Before you do that, you need to forgive, because if you don’t, when you walk away you will carry that darkness in your heart.  That darkness is a gift that keeps on giving, whether you like it or not.

So forgive, be grateful for the times when your relationship was good…and walk away.

There are some friends who enter your life for a reason.  Others for a season.  And the rarest and most precious of all, some who enter for a lifetime.  You need to learn to recognize the difference, and give yourself permission to accept it for what it is.  Each of these types of friendships is important and beautiful but will play a different role in your life.  It is ok.  The time you have with any friend is a gift.  But sometimes, as hard as it will be, you will have to walk away.  Walking away can be a lttle bit like friendship.  Sometimes you will have to walk away for a reason, sometimes just for a season…and the rarest and hardest of all, sometimes for a lifetime. 

Make no mistake…this advice will NEVER apply to your mother.  Because no matter where you go, what you do, or what relationships you clean up or walk away from, I will never stop loving you.  You will always be on the “worth it” list.  No matter how big of a mess we might find ourselves in, I will never stop digging to get to you. And I will never, ever walk away.

5/10/12 Today’s Advice to My Beautiful Daughters – Clean up your messes.

Clean up your messes. Profound huh?

I have been on a bit of a cleaning kick lately.  A couple of weeks ago, I spent about two days de-cluttering all of the common areas of our house as well as our bedroom.  The result was a house that just made me feel better.  When I did it, Mark was traveling and you girls were at our dad’s, so maintaining my pristinely clean bubble didn’t take too much effort.  When everyone came back, I threatened your lives if you left messes and was determined that the current state would be maintained.

Little by little, things appeared on surfaces, dishes appeared in the sink and little things got by.  Isn’t that how it always goes?  So I scrambled around and got it all back in shape and I realized for the 1000th time in my life that it is easier to maintain something than to get it there in the first place.  Messes have a way of creeping up on us when we don’t tend to them.  A few drops of spilled milk can stink up a whole lot of space if we don’t mop it up.

By now you know I’m not just talking about dishes right??

Relationships are a lot like clutter.  When we take care of them, tend to them a little every day and clean out the trash, they stay fresh, and restful and good.  When we let little things go unresolved and let frustration fester, the little messes turn into big messes and those messes put our relationships at risk. 

And if you think I’m saying this whole maintenance thing is easy, please read on.  This is HARD.  It takes a little bit of work every day and a lot of work some days.  But you know what?  Friends and family are worth it.  They deserve your honesty when they have hurt you.  They deserve the trust that you have to place in them by telling them that something needs to change.  People are just people, and sometimes they don’t know.  People who would never knowingly hurt you in a million years deserve to know when they have unknowingly done so because they think YOU are worth it….worth the change, worth fixing it, worth the work.

I have learned this the hard way (by not doing it) and the easier way (accomplished through loving friends and partners who also believed it was worth it).  Although the work you put into your clutter every day can sometimes seem like a pain, and it can be hard…it will never be as hard as a broken relationship or a lost friend. 

So yes, clean up your messes…the big ones and the small ones.  Tend to your clutter and tend to your relationships daily.  That little bit of work is a whole lot easier than digging out from under a pile.

And when things get past you, and they begin to stink, don’t give up.  Grace is a great deodorizer.

I’d like to thank the Academy

Ok, ok…maybe it isn’t the Academy, but it is the little (or big) blog world that I have recently joined. 

Just a few weeks after deciding I really wanted to get serious about my blog, I have been nominated by a fellow blogger for the Versatile Blogger Award. How cool is that?  This award has some rules, and I have listed them below. 

  • Thank the person who gave you this award. That’s common courtesy.
  •  Include a link to their blog. That’s also common courtesy — if you can figure out how to do it.
  •  Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly. ( I would add, pick blogs or bloggers that are excellent!)
  •  Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award — you might include a link to this site.
  •  Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.

First things first,  a great big thank you to Emerald Pie  for the nomination.  This blogger found me all the way from Ireland.  She has delightful posts about motherhood on the other side of the ocean.  Her finding me and finding her back is truly one of the most wonderfully surprising things that have happened  with this blog. It just isn’t every day that Iget a new virtual friend in a countryI have never even visited.

I have to admit, that I am not yet into the bloggosphere enough to have 15 nominations, but the nominations that I haver are near and dear to my heart.  Some blog often, some just every so often, but they all have wonderful things to say.

Confessions of a Working Housewife : This is a blog from a new friend in my hometown.  She has a career that kind of leaves me awestruck (neonatal nurse) and a heart for all moms. 

Pa5tord : This is the blog of my dear friend and pastor.  His heart for all kinds of justice are featured here and in his new venture. “Just Christian” which you can (and should!) find on Facebook.

Love and Stories: This is another local friend who is (IMO) the ultimate stay at home mom.  She posts such wonderful things about her time, her faith and her adventures in crafting, studying, cooking and mothering.  She is the kind of stay at home mom I would want to be if I could do it for more than a week without losing my mind. 

Simple Life and Home: This is a site and blog created by my beautiful cousin.  Here you will find practical household tips, yummy recipes and ideas that will just make your life simpler and sweeter. 

Elastamom:  This is another new blog friend.  She writes beautiful posts about mothering two boys and a daughter with special needs.  You can feel the love through her words, and best of all, she keeps it real, which makes her even more worth following.

I Miss You When I Blink : This is a blog that I recently discovered from a Facebook share.  I love this blog because it is irreverent and oh so funny.  My favorite blog so far is the one about the rules of cursing, so as you can see, it is a little different than the rest of the list…which makes it even more fun.  If I was going to let it all hang out, I would want to be just like this blogger. 🙂

Marvelous Magnificence of Malcolm: This is a blog by my dear friend.  It is mostly about her amazingly smart and funny son, but also  the things she is passionate about. 

These are my favorite blogs so far.  I’m sure there are others that I have enjoyed, but these are the ones I have decided to follow because I really want to read all the posts that they put out there.  I hereby nominate them all for the Versatile Blogger Award.  For more information on the award, go to: The Versatile Blog Award Blog  (go figure!)

No I need to tell my new Irish friend a little something about me, and I suppose those things ought to be different than she could have already figured out by reading my blog.

1) I am shy.  Most people don’t know this about me, but it is true. I am very comfortable in small groups and with people I trust.  Sometimes that comes fast, sometimes slow.  In all other circumstances, I am much more comfortable watching other people from the sidelines than being front and center.

2) I love to cook.  I started baking with my mom when I was young, and still bake, but mostly I have learned to enjoy creating things in the kitchen.  Recipes are guides rather than plans.  If I won the lottery, I might go to culinary school to learn among other things, mad knife skills.

3) I have the attention span of a gnat.  It is really quite annoying sometimes.  In church, in meetings, and even when I am TRYING to concentrate, I often find myself 100 miles away.  It is a good thing I can get the gist of things quickly!

4) I really don’t like bosses.  It isn’t that I don’t like the people who have been my bosses.  It is just that I really don’t like to be bossed.  Never have, never will.  Fortunately, I know it is a necessary evil since I’m also not ambitious enough to try to be the top boss.  I enjoy the balance of life too much to want to work that hard.

5) This blog is really a way to see how I do with writing.  Ultimately, I would love to write a book.  It has always been on my bucket list.  One of my book ideas is the “Advice to My Beautiful Daughters”.  I would pick the ones with the best stories (there is almost always a story behind my daily advice) and make chapters out of them.  Maybe someday.  Until then, I’m testing the waters with this blog.

6) I am a terrible procrastinator.  Interestingly enough, I’m using this blog post to procrastinate right now.  I really need to be packing and preparing for a business trip tomorrow morning.  Packing always gives me an opportunity to hone my procrastination skills.

7) I love to travel.  If I really took the time to write out my bucket list, I suspect that 90% of the things on it would be the places I want to see.  Iwant to fill my passport with stamps with my wonderful traveling companion husband.

The seven things list was harder than I thought it would be.  I wish it was more interesting, but it is me (or at least shows glimpses at part of me).  If you read my blog, please feel free to share and tell others about it.  Although asking for that seems like shameless self-promotion, I really do have a teensy little dream of developing a huge following.  Of course all of us bloggers probably have secret dreams of turning this into a profession, right?