Monday, January 31, 2011

Saying Goodbye to 'Friends'

Well folks, here I am, just a small engine in a great big world that believed I could pull a challenge over the hill. I started out with only a little steam, repeating to myself, "I think I can...I think I can!", and I am finishing up tonight with, "I knew I could, I knew I could!"  

This is my last entry in the challenge to blog every day during the month of January on the theme of 'Friends'. It isn't a super stupendous success story. It isn't even a major achievement, but it is satisfying. I think any time we can accomplish something that stretches us even a little bit, makes us hold to a commitment, and tests our fortitude, it can be tremendously enlivening. 

My hilly excursion has been fun, frustrating, exasperating, and exciting all rolled into one locomotive of emotion. It has tested the tracks of some my friendships, brought me new ones, and deepened old ones. I have learned, discovered, and remembered, all because I accepted a minor summons to script a few 'friends'.

I hope you've enjoyed the quips and quotes, scripts and scraps, and all the other 'friendly' rabble as much as I have, because if you have it has made my journey all the more meaningful. 

Now, I am going to say goodbye to 'Friends' and celebrate my minor accomplishment with a glass of whatever in my 'Mommy's Sippy Cup', and then I am going to snuggle up in my nice warm bed and dream of a place on this winter's night, where if I dream with all my might, I'll find a land of writers small, where in this land live blogs, that's all.


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Where Seldom is Heard a Discouraging Word Friends

You know the ones. They love you on your best and worst days. You can royally screw up or regally reign rightly and they are there beside you, to offer a shoulder to cry on or a hands together rousing cheer. They are the kind of friends where seldom is heard a discouraging word. In an effort to be that kind of a friend, I am going to offer you some encouraging words.

Maybe today was one of your royal screw-up days. Perhaps you overslept, got up on the wrong side of the bed, or didn't get out of bed at all. Maybe you burned breakfast, yourself or your spouse. Worse, maybe you got chewed up and spit out or maybe you did the chewing up and the spitting out. Whatever made this a messy mess up day, it's over. Stop turning the thumbscrews and put that screwdriver back in the pouch. 

Today is a new day with no mistakes in it. For breakfast serve up a plate full of love, a bowl of appreciation, and a glass filled with gratitude. Remember that a bend in the road is not the end of the road, just turn with it. Life is more than a game so throw out those spades you use to dig yourself deeper, and those clubs you use to beat others over the head, and play real life with a heart. 

You got this!
Way to go buddy!
You are awesome!
That was amazing!
I think it's great that you're here! 

Edward Thorndike said, "Colors fade, temples crumble, empires fall, but wise words endure."  I hope I've helped you endure. Now, go get 'em tiger!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

I'd Walk A Mile For A Friend

While keeping with the theme of 'Friends', I thought it would be a good exercise to write a story about someone else.  After all, to write about ones self is not as challenging as telling the story of another, and putting it in your own words while still holding to their personality, character and feelings. 

I gathered information, reading over and over again the words of the one sharing their story.  I tried to put myself in their place, and to feel what they felt. When I thought I was ready I began to organize. I wrote, edited, wrote, and edited. Finally, one night, tired and a bit frazzled by the problems of the day I finished the last line and hit "publish post". 

The next morning, while reading through some comments I discovered a confirmation that although I thought the story to be good, there were parts that could have been misleading or misunderstood,  and paragraphs that could have better expounded on the heartache and drama of the story itself. This was important to me. Not for me, but for my friend. So, it was back to the keyboard once again to write until I got it right. I am so glad I did. 

In touching the heart of a friend there are abundant blessings. In moving another to cause them to walk in the sorrowful shoes of compassion is akin to touching the hem of God. To know I have touched the lives of others through the story of someone else is worth the walk. In that extra mile there are blessings, beauty, and abundance just waiting to be discovered.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Not So Friendly, Friendly Network

Morning came all too quickly. It was already a little past my normal rising time, so I forced myself to abandon my cozy covers. The icy air blasted me awake and I headed for the thermostat. Winters are budget breakers. When the sun goes down on my day so does the thermostat, but I refuse to keep it at an all time low first thing in the morning. Warm air and hot coffee are a winter staple in my house.  

Soon the growling drip, drip, drip, and the aromatic brew filled the house. I poured the brown, steamy liquid into my favorite cup and headed for the computer. A quick glance at the news and weather revealed nothing spectacular. I should have resisted the urge to keep my tush planted in the chair, but I gave in to the temptation to 'lolly-google' around and logged on to a social network. 

I wish I had not. There before me were the not-so-friendly words. I sat dazed for a moment, then reread the lines. I took a deep breath and began to analyze the content on the screen, and searched my mind and soul seeking cause for the criticism. 

I did nothing to earn the disdain and insult of friends turned fiends. So, when I tune in to a headliner or a one-liner directed to reduce me to fine print, my ink runs. Now, I have a few things to say. 

I think it's sad that something that was started to bring people together, to connect us to each other has sunk to the low level of criticism, and is now mostly google gossip, and faceless feuds. How easy it has become to post a comment on a screen. The unfriendly, friendly network is becoming more and more a hub to the desensitized society of the social network. It is a heartless as well. People ignore the fact that on the other end of their faceless attacks is a flesh and blood person with feelings. 

To all those who think they can say whatever they want, whenever they want, and never take into account the other person's feelings, I have this to say. It doesn't make you bigger to make someone else smaller, it doesn't make you right to 'correct' others, and beating someone down with a gavel of gaggle doesn't make you a judge.

To those who have said, "I don't know how you will feel at the end of this conversation, but I'm going to feel a whole lot better!"; to that score of people who nailed someone to the wall for no good reason except their own agenda; to those who think they can use people as placeholders until someone better comes along; to all of those people I say, I am not wasting my feelings on those criticisms anymore. Please pull that knife out of my back and stick it in your sheath. There is no such thing as obligatory relationship. I will love you from a distance. 

Finally, to those who have stuck with me through thick and thin,  who have encouraged me and loved me into the person I am and the person I am becoming. You are the ones who live it out, who breathe life into others, and walk the twain mile in other peoples' shoes. I want to say, Thank You! I love you and appreciate you more than you will ever know.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Tried and True Facebook Friend

As is common with Facebook, many of us accept friend requests from people because they know someone who knows someone who knows us. That is how I met Debbie.

Her profile isn't so different than some of the rest of us. Debbie has children and grandchildren whom she loves to pieces. She lives with her husband, and an adopted bird, and three dogs. They live in a modest home in the western United States and she refers to it as their money pit. She works to help make ends meet. Baking, cooking and crocheting are among her talents. She also creates spectacular quilts. Her generosity and good works follow her, and her kind heart is as warm as the hearth beside a cozy fire. 

Debbie married the sweetheart of her youth. He lived just five doors down from her house and referred to her as the girl with the pink curtains. There weren't many girls on that street, and the guys were always short a ball player, so Debbie would stand in and pitch for them. It was enough for the time being that she was just friends with David because her father often called him DDT, for David D Trouble. As with many childhood sweethearts though, David and Debbie built a foundation upon their friendship and soon they grew to love each other. She cried on his shoulder, and he told all the boys in the neighborhood that he was going to marry her. 

Being just sixteen Debbie encountered a bit of friction announcing her plans to wed David. He was no older than she, and he had a wild side. They were just two young kids, wet behind the ears, wanting to plunge into the ocean of matrimony. Their marriage was held in such low regard, and the perceived chance of making it was such a longshot that even the preacher bet against them. 

Like many marriages there were rough spots that needed sanding and they worked those out together. One major change took place the day Debbie announced that they were moving to another city in Arizona. She told David he could either come or stay, but the drinking was staying behind. 

It was the beginning of a new life, but not without heartache. Their youngest son, Scottie, especially liked his new home. Here he could hunt, and fish, and he loved the snow. He was a good boy, and a hard worker. He liked helping out at the grooming shop where Debbie worked, and loved being around the dogs. Many times he could be found dragging home a stray by a rope around their neck, or giving away puppies on the corner. He wasn't perfect, but was never bad. To Debbie, he was mama's boy, and he aimed to please her. 

Scottie was deaf until the age of three, when they discovered enlarged adenoids were causing his hearing loss. With surgery he gained his hearing, but his speech was littered with the leftovers of that impairment. Sometimes, he had to endure the taunts and teasing of the neighborhood bullies until one day after a little encouragement from David to stand up to them, he picked up a motorcycle shock and cleaned house. That day he earned their respect.

The worst tragedy of Debbie's life happened one day while David's parents were visiting. Scottie and two of his friends were on their way to Tucson to pick up his friend's brother, Scottie's best friend. David didn't want him to go, but the child's pout moved his mother's heart and Debbie gave in to the look. Soon, the three boys were on their way with a full tank of gas and full smiles. Failing an attempt to pass a car, and instead of getting back in the line of traffic, they misjudged and headed to the opposite side. The car was struck and burst into flames. Scottie and the other two boys were killed instantly. There was nothing left of the car but the frame.

Debbie was gone shopping and David was doing yard work when the highway patrol approached him with the most horrible news of his life, but his ordeal was not over. He was also face to face with the worst thing he ever had to do, break the news to  Debbie, the mother of his sweet boy. His nightmare continued as he told Scottie's brothers, and the rest of their loved ones. With all three families frozen in gut retching shock and sorrow, and the boys remains unreleased far from home, David drew on a strength and presence from deep within. He took the lead and arranged and paid the expenses for all three boys to be brought home together.

Three boys and three funerals in three days; Debbie's baby, her Scottie, one of them. Standing before a closed casket, Debbie recalled the weeks before Scottie died. David's grandmother was in the hospital, and the family went to say their goodbyes to her. They all took turns and hugged her neck and Scottie was the last in line. She hugged him longer and told him she would see him on the other side.

Debbie's work helped her to get out of bed in the mornings and she forced herself to be strong for David and her other two boys. After a few months, dazed and drained, she fell apart. Thanksgiving that year Debbie told her mom she had nothing to be thankful for, but her faith would not let her go. 

In the night God reminded her that He spared her son Luke. Just a short time before the accident that claimed Scottie's life, Luke was hit by a car and his leg shattered in seven places, his pelvis broken and his jaw shattered. He nearly died on the medical emergency flight to Phoenix because the weather delayed the landing. Not only was Luke's life spared, but a short while later, the life of her new grandson, Cody, who was born premature and weighed only one and a half pounds. 

In Debbie's words, "So, the Lord has blessed us through all the trials we have gone through. We thank Him every day for the things he gave us and didn't take away. David and I have become the best of friends through all our trials and heartbreaks. We grow every day and depend on each other, and I think that's what makes a marriage. Two people growing to be the best of friends. We raised our kids the best we knew how with the knowledge we had at the time. There was no book to follow. It was kids raising kids. Thank God we learned something before our grandkids came along." 

I have never met Debbie face to face, but I do know that we have traveled similar paths. She has endured and overcome horrendous adversity in her life. I have great respect for her, and have come to love her as a dear friend. Debbie and her husband of forty-one years, live in Show Low, Arizona.  Just two young-at-heart kids, the best of friends, bonded together by the glue of adversity and a deep faith in the One who overcomes.

Printed with permission and as told to me by Debbie.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


If we can be all these things, then we will indeed be the deepest of friends to one another. I give you "If" by Rudyard Kipling. 

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream---and not make dreams your master;
If you can think---and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings---nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And---which is more---you'll be a Man, my son! 

Read more, be inspired more by "If" ideals at All Things If.


Monday, January 24, 2011

A Friend Knows the Song in my Heart

Robert Frost said, "The right reader of a good poem can tell the moment it strikes him that he has taken an immortal wound--that he will never get over it."

When I was a little girl I would often pester my mother to sing to me before bed. I loved the sound of her voice as it rose and fell with the melody. She had a simple repertoire of silly songs and serious songs. I didn't know then, that the words of one from the great Stephan Foster would be immortal and stay with me forever.

It wasn't the melody, although beautiful, it was the way my mother had of singing it, as if she had written it herself, just for me. I was her beautiful dreamer.

Her voice could warm up the coldest winter night and calm my worst nightmares. I would cuddle up next to her, and stroking my hair she would softly sing.

Beautiful Dreamer by Stephan Foster

Beautiful dreamer, wake unto me,
Starlight and dewdrops are waiting for thee;
Sounds of the rude world heard in the day,
Lull'd by the moonlight have all pass'd away!

Beautiful dreamer, queen of my song,
List while I woo thee with soft melody;
Gone are the cares of life's busy throng.

Beautiful dreamer, awake unto me!
Beautiful dreamer, awake unto me!

Beautiful dreamer, out on the sea,
Mermaids are chaunting the wild lorelie;
Over the streamlet vapors are borne,
Waiting to fade at the bright coming morn.

Beautiful dreamer, beam on my heart,
E'en as the morn on the streamlet and sea;
Then will all clouds of sorrow depart,

Beautiful dreamer, awake unto me! 

Now friends, you know the song in my heart. Sweet dreams.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Once Upon A Friend...part 2

Years passed and they returned favors, shared old family recipes, and deepest secrets. They talked about old memories and laughed over new ones. As with all friendships, theirs was tested and endured for a time, but once upon a friend began to change. The coldness in her heart settled in to stay after the death of her spouse. Her iced remarks and insensitive nature came more often and were more intrusive, each time inflicting deeper wounds upon the spirit of the other.

Then tragedy struck. The no longer young wife and her husband of thirty-three years lost their daughter. Christmas, that year, found the family still suffering from the rawness of loss, and the celebration of the holiday brought a fresh pang of sorrow. A simple pop of an infraction between a dad and his daughter set off a chain of firecracker snaps. 

The girl that was, years before, found herself yet again the target of cruel and cutting remarks. Like so many times before, she bit down her retaliation and kept silent, refusing to dishonor the elder. Perhaps grief tainted the tips of the arrowed words causing their caustic poison to burn deep into her heart, but the scars remain to this day on what was once a friendship that spanned the ages.

The once young girl has separated herself, and laid strategic boundaries. She still loves and admires that once upon a friend. She was a woman who forged through the depression, lost her first husband to the war, saw the death of a child of her own and watched her homestead burn to the ground. She was a woman who in the face of adversity just didn't quit. 

I would have to agree with the words of one near and dear to me, once upon a friend was an "incredible woman".

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Once Upon a Friend

I met her shortly after meeting that good looking guy in the blue jacket with matching eyes. You know the one. Snow White described him as the one song, one heart, one love.  Sleeping Beauty walked with him once upon a dream. He said, 'I can show you the world...'. I said, 'I've seen enough of that, thank you!' He said, 'I can open your eyes...'. I said, 'I BET you can buddy!' Well, eventually I learned to love a beast, and now I'm part of his world because I invited him to stay for dinner and he stayed forever. But that's another story.

This story is about a friendship long ago; a woman I came to love and admire. Someone I looked up to as a mentor and a role model. 

Once upon a friend took great pride in her home and enjoyed cooking and baking. She had seen her share of hard times and didn't want to be there again. Her life partner was also her business partner and she stood beside him most days as a saleswoman, bookkeeper and decorator. 

Our first few encounters with each other were surface and formal. Politeness and good manners superseded any underlying feelings we had toward friendship. I was young, shy, and reserved. She was older; the kind of woman that always spoke her mind and wasn't concerned with how you felt about it.

The day I really met her, was the day she threw back the covers of formality. She was on edge, and snappy. After seeing two sons married within a short span of each other, she wasn't in any position to let the third one go easily. 

She thought him too young to be serious about this girl. With legal age being twenty-one, and he being just nineteen, she felt much more secure in seeing him propped up against his fish tank raising Neon Tetras, rather than gambling on him to take and keep a wife. The young gal he wanted to marry suffered the backlash of those feelings. She and her tender soul were driven from the house on loud, fast words with tears streaming down her face. The things said to her were astonishingly cruel, and even more so were the things said about her family. The handsome lad took his hits as well, but it only served to make their determination to marry that much stronger.

Over the next few months there were other episodes strategically directed at breaking the two apart but they stuck together. They pressed on, eventually gaining the reluctant blessing of his parents.

Over time and through some heartbreaking hardships the young wife cut her way deeper into the young man's family, especially into his father's heart. Once upon a friend was harder to win over but slowly the two became friends and their bond deepened.

To Be Continued...

Friday, January 21, 2011

Scrambled Friends describes scramble as moving quickly using hands and feet; to move hastily and with urgency: to collect and organize disorderly, or to mix together confusedly. I am scrambling tonight friends, using my hands to hurriedly tap out letters hastily and with urgency, to collect and organize words so that I can mix them together confusedly.

I tuned in too late to use a writing prompt over at NaBloPoMo that asked, "What are three things you can do to be a better friend to the people in your life?" That would require much more thinking effort on my part than I have time for tonight. Not because I can't think of a million little things that I could do to be a better friend, but that I can pick only three really narrows down the playing field. 

So, in an effort to be a friend to those of you who are following along on my month long journey, I give you my collection of hastily scrambled, organized words connected to friendship. I hope you enjoy unscrambling them.

1. edinfsr
2. sbeistrdefn
3. loaly
4. icerens
5. idkn
6. hostne 
7. fafhutli
8. deedlnpeba
9. atdednnginurs
10. tneitpa
11. silnets
12. rcefleuh
13. acgnri
14. hftguuhlto
15. nivggi 

16. pouirvptes 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Radiant Friend

No, this is not about Wilbur, the radiant pig, from Charlotte's Web. This is about Bob. I hear you asking, "What about Bob?"

Well, let me begin by telling you Bob does not carry a gold fish named Gill around his neck. Although, he is involved with fishing. You could say he carries water with him wherever he goes and he is not adverse to ladling it out to the thirsty. 

At one time Bob surely took 'baby steps' and now he helps others to do so. I'm not sure, but I can guess that every once in a while Bob does need to take a vacation from his problems. He has at times been the victim of 'death therapy', but so far, he has successfully removed himself from those situations, and come out healthier for it. Bob does not sail through life, but I do know he's tied to the mast of the One who steers the ship. Simply put, Bob is the lead pastor of Radiant Fellowship, a church in Waupaca, WI. 

Now, you are asking, "Why are you writing a blog about Bob?" I don't really have an answer to that question except to say I read Bob's blog this morning and it moved me. In light of what I went through this week, I felt like he wrote what I was thinking, and I also think he said it darn straight. Well that, and I told y'all I'm desperate for 'Friends'. :)  So, I thought I would share Bob's blog with you. 

Pastor Bob's Confessional: Day 206: Family

"Today I called my dad to wish him a happy 71st birthday. We talked about how fast time is going and the fact that we are going out to eat at Famous Dave's to celebrate tomorrow (gotta love that). We both agreed that life really goes quick and we should remember to take time for family. 
In this fast paced world I thought I would send out a reminder to remember to take time for your family. We only have them for a short while and then everyone goes their own ways. For the family with little kids...even though there are those times you want to rip your hair out, there are also those times you never want to forget. Be sure to take time with your kids and spouse because we truly do not know what tomorrow will bring our way. 

For me one of the most recent memories I had that deepened my love for my dad was when they were moving into a new place a couple of years ago. Now I am 6'5" 220 pounds but I get that from my dad who in his 40's and 50's was a hard working factory worker who was 6'5" 320 pounds mostly solid with size 16D shoes. HE WAS A BIG MAN!!! My dad could always do things for himself until that day a few years ago when we were moving. Tracy and I were hauling things into the house and there I looked out of the corner of my eye to notice my dad hunched over his car with his head in his hands. I dropped the box I was carrying and went over to a man that was coming to grips with his age and was now crying. I asked him what was wrong and he replied "I just cannot keep up anymore...I can't do what I used to do and I feel useless." This was one of those times where I began to see the roles changing and now I must start taking care of my dad in some ways. It has made our relationship stronger.

It may mean clearing something off the schedule, it may mean going to church as a family and out to dinner afterwards, it may mean more date nights with your spouse. Whatever it takes to make the bond of family strong...let me encourage you to do that today. Don't forget what it was in the past that helped make your bond with your spouse or kids strong. Sometimes God has to remind us and usually it isn't the kind of reminder we enjoy. Family is an interesting thing, someone once said..."Families are like fudge - mostly sweet with a few nuts. ~Author Unknown. You know what though? It is the good times and the nutty times that build the memories that are here today and quickly gone tomorrow!" ~~ Bob Adams

Well, there you have it folks, a Radiant friend's view on family. "Whatever it takes to make the bond of family strong...let me encourage you to do that today."

As far as my family goes, we are fudge - mostly like the semi-sweet variety, with more than a few nuts. And just to prove that's true here's a quote for you from the Peanut, "Don't put your parents out to pasture, just let them lounge around the paddock and don't get on their back too often." :) 

 If you would like to read more about Pastor Bob and his Radiant Church you can link over to Pastor Bob's Confessional.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

An Idiom of Friends

The honeymoon is over friends. Nineteen blogs in nineteen days is being up all night with a sick friend. 

By now, most of you are probably taking bets on if I will finish off my friends. Maybe you even have a pool for friends. 

I don't want to quit on you and be a fair-weather friend. That could give you the idea that I am just a fast friend. After all, a friend in need is a friend indeed, and I don't want to leave you wondering if I'm friend or foe.

If this is the way to make a friend, then I won't need man's best friend. I promise I won't leave you asking who's your friend, but I do have friends in high places. You should remember though, short reckonings make long friends and leave you saying, 'with friends like that who needs enemies.'

In that case, a hedge between keeps friendship green. You can then strike up a friendship with your neighbors, and if I live across from you, any friend of yours is a friend of mine. 

So, again tomorrow we will make new friends. However, old friends and old wine are the best. Still, there comes a time when even the best of friends must part...and this is it :)

Good Night Friends!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Friends Don't Let Friends Stop Blogging

In an effort to not blog anyone down with a horrendous post about the cruelty of mankind, and the woes of self-directed family I firmly stated, "I am not blogging! I am going to bed and sleep forever!" 

Then, I heard a tiny voice. I paused, but there was nothing. I pulled out my jammies determined to ready myself to snuggle up to my pillow and escape to dreamland. I heard the voice again. It was clearer this time. Yes, it was a voice from above, at the top of the stairs, my daughter declared: Blogosphere: the funny frontier. These are the postings of the Woman in Cute Shoes. Her one month mission: to explore new words; to seek out new life-posts, and new collaborations;  to boldly go where she has never gone before.

Carol's log, stardate 1182011.  

I want to quit tonight. I don't want to blog about friends anymore. The ship is battered. The force fields are weak. My 'Scotty' is asleep on the couch, and the crew is no where to be found. I am alone, drifting in space and time. I am having trouble with scribbles and scripts. I am at a loss for words. The midnight hour is fast approaching.

I am drawing from an empty well. I am tired, disgusted, angry, hurt, and a host of other emotions that I haven't sorted out yet. I have been attacked by foe, friends, and family all in a matter of three days. I am ready to dig a hole, throw myself in, and pull the earth over me. It couldn't be anymore dark than it is here right now, and I'm sure it would be blissfully peaceful.  

Still, I will go on. I will pull myself back up into that captain's chair and set a course for new words. I will succeed because I have faithful friends who are there when encouragement and understanding are needed. Friends who will help to see me through because, friends don't let friends stop blogging. 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Positively Painful Friends

"An insincere friend is more to be feared than a wild beast; a wild beast may wound your body, but an evil friend will wound your mind."   ~~  Buddha

Whenever we enter into a friendship we open the door to our heart. Upon swinging wide the entrance way to welcome in those confident com-padres we might find that some of our guests stand just inside the threshold and never leave the foyer. These admirable acquaintances never really abide in the heart. So if they choose to stay or leave they will never be more than a friendly hi and hello, and we do not miss them much when they depart. 

There are others who venture beyond the foyer and make their way into the parlor. These fast friends stay for awhile. They share tea and cookies, but they never get really comfortable, and remain at a bit of a formal distance. 

The bosom buddy will linger for a while at the foyer making light conversation. As they feel more comfortable they will make their way to the parlor, but they enjoy your company much more that the condiments. Your invitation to dinner is gladly accepted and you stroll together into the dining room. This is the room where the warm intimacy of friendship is kindled; a true fellowship, dining together, sharing the cup and conversation. 

You and your bosom buddy visit the dining room often and soon, together, you discover each others hopes and dreams, aspirations and fears. It is in this room that the bond deepens between the two of you. As the keeper of the heart, you have allowed your honored friend the freedom of the house. Even the garden of your soul has been revealed to this special supporter.

And then it happens, something positively painful. You are betrayed. The bottom falls out of your world and everything you had crashes into bits and pieces. The shards of china that held your most intimate moments are nothing more than fragments of what once was. You are wounded and broken and wonder to yourself, will I ever be whole again? The tears you shed can not wash away the pain of rejection, treason, deception, or hypocrisy.

Once again you are alone in the house. In quiet contemplation you feel the ache of loneliness and pain. In the pain there is emotion, troubling turmoil, but there is also healing found only in the anguish. The hurt comes in waves, sometimes washing over us with a mighty force, knocking us to our knees and stealing our strength. Other times it simply laps at our ankles reminding us of the cold emptiness that lives in the hearts of others.    

If we avoid the beach of bereavement we only stunt the healing process. Instead of allowing the flow of painful, healing waters to wash away the affliction we fight to dam it up, only succeeding in driving it deeper into the source. Our only choice is to feel. It is in feeling the grief that washes away the self-doubt, the worthlessness, and the failure, and brings the freedom to open the door to friendship once again.   

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Real Friends and Skin Horses

She tossed the magazine down on the counter and exclaimed, "Look! Who looks like that...really! No one is that perfect!"

Airbrushed image!

Our culture saturates us with image. We are consumed with it. We are image dependent, image conscious, and image driven. William Shakespeare said, "God has given you one face, and you make yourself another." If we're not careful we will add this, and remove that, until we have clipped and cropped ourselves away in the name of image. We will get so good at aspiring to the image that we will lose our real identity. 

Being real is not about image, but what is real? Real is being authentic, transparent, and sincere. It only happens when we are willing to be ourselves without the luxury of image. Real happens when we are authentic enough not to hide who we are, brave enough to  allow others to see inside, and sincere enough to be honest with ourselves.  

Becoming real and remaining real hurts. It means that we will be judged by those who do not understand, and  betrayed by those who are looking for the image of what they want us to be. There are those who would like to make us feel that we are insignificant, that because we do not conform to the image we are somehow less. 

The road to real is not an easy journey but it is well worth the travel, and it only takes one real friend to help us to become real. I hope you have found your real friend just as a very famous rabbit did.

What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?" 
"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real." 

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit. 

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt." 

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?" 

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand." 

"I suppose you are real?" said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive. But the Skin Horse only smiled. 

"The Boy's Uncle made me Real," he said. "That was a great many years ago; but once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always." 

The Rabbit sighed. He thought it would be a long time before this magic called Real happened to him. He longed to become Real, to know what it felt like; and yet the idea of growing shabby and losing his eyes and whiskers was rather sad. He wished that he could become it without these uncomfortable things happening to him.
~~ The Velveteen Rabbit

God bless our real friends, the 'skin horses' in our lives.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Simple Saturday Sidekicks

Do blog titles like Mundane Mondays, Wordless Wednesdays, and Thankful Thursdays make you wonder what mini scripts lie under the headline? I couldn't help but liken some of those labels to friends.

Mundane Molly might be the kind of friend that is always level headed. Nothing muddles Molly. She is consistent, relaxed, and rational. She will confidently walk you through your problems, ask leading questions and help you find your own solution. Every now and then Molly could throw a monkey wrench into your friendship by being a mite too stubborn, or maybe procrastinating on a promise,  but you love her for it because it proves she does have emotion.  
Wordless Wendy on the other had might be more the shy, quiet type. Thoughtfully pondering creative responses that are perfectly executed. Wendy will offer a listening ear and feel what you feel. She will laugh at your humor and cry with you over your tragedy, but when you're feeling better she may linger on about what got you down in the first place. 

Thankful Tammy is just plain glad to be alive. She loves to be your friend and brings a positive influence into your life. Tammy will compassionately hold your hand and help you to find the upside of your downside, but on her downside she might not let you get a word in edgewise. 

Just for fun today, I can think of someone who had all three of these friends, along with the negative and positive, in one relationship. The good, the bad, and the ugly...that's what friendship is all about, isn't it? So on this Simple Saturday I offer you a great sidekick. Mundane Molly, Wordless Wendy and Thankful Tammy all rolled into one Lucille Ball.

Have a great Saturday, Friends!

Friday, January 14, 2011

My Friday Five Friends

Every Friday, one of my friends over at RevGalBlogPals posts a Friday Five. It's a little blog roll that asks you to answer five random questions, or tell five random things about your goals, your life, your family, etc. I don't always play the Five, but today's post by my pastorette friend, SingingOwl was one I really needed to get my attitude around. You see, this morning it hit me again. Those depressing feelings which are all too familiar to me lately. 

Depression is not something I have struggled with all my life. Yes, I had my down days. Nevertheless, there wasn't that dark, voracious feeling pulling me into the deep, depths of despair. I'm not quite sure when this evil culprit took its toll on my life. Although, I have assessed the causes that might have inflicted it, but that is for another blog. 

Today, I am thankful for my Friday Five Friends, and a chance to refocus on some of the things that made getting out of bed worthwhile for me today. Here are my five: 

1. I share SingingOwl's pet persuasion to rise from a warm and toasty bed, but mine is not a feisty feline. It is a persistent Pomeranian. At a mere three pounds with a teeny, tiny bladder she all but makes it through the night without a pooches potty chair. She has a most annoying little whine and if that doesn't do the trick she will resort to as much of a ferocious growl-bark as she can. For fear of losing my life to this miniature ankle biter I must roll back the covers and rush her out the door. I wish it could end there, but if there is more than three inches of snow on the ground I must shovel her a daub to do her duty or my little powder puff would be lost in the powder. By the time she is finished we are both shivering from the cold. Although she has the luxury of curling up in her still snuggly, warm bed, I must stay awake. 

2. Always the coffee! I'm the one in charge of the morning brew and usually I down the first five cups before hubby fills his mug. 

3. Shafi Halim, my black Arabian, makes all my mornings worthwhile, and some day I will blog about him and what he means to me. For now, I will say that his morning greeting is always a warm welcome. His appreciation for his Sr. feed is shown in his thankful nickers. The softness in his eye can always warm my heart, and most mornings, time in the stable is just what I need. It is there that I most often meet up with the One who is familiar with the things of life that are laid in my manger, and the hurts and disappointments found in the stinky stable of this world. 

4. Writing is a relatively new passion for me. I loved writing when I was a young-un, but never had any guidance in my childhood to point me in the right direction to accomplish it. I took a journalism class in high school, wrote some poetry off and on in my early twenties, filled up some journals over my lifetime, and then I discovered blogging. I remind myself that Grandma Moses creativity came to light late, and I keep hoping that someday maybe mine will too. 

5. Hope! This is the one thing that makes it all worthwhile. Hope to believe that there is a positive outcome to the pain and circumstances of one's life. Hope that today will be better than yesterday. Hope that the week will finish strong, and that winter will give birth to spring. Hope makes all things possible, because to hope is better than to despair.

Thank you SingingOwl for your Friday Five post and your friendship. It's just what I needed today!

Thanks for taking a walk with me :)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Three Amigas

My three daughters. They laugh together at things only the three of them understand. They fight and make up. They say obnoxious things to each other. They make silly videos, and share stories of the present and the past. They defend each other to the hilt, even if they disagree. When they turn a deaf ear to one another over something harsh, eventually one will do or say something and the ice will melt into streams of sister-friendship once again. 

This is a little rhyme about those three amigas.

Three ladies met one night, 
to sip some wine and facebook type.
They usually gathered on Saturday nights
to partake of the grapes and discuss the hype.
Silly and girly, they drank their drinks 
 in special glasses right by the sink.
The oldest preferred the raspberry wine,
With it's sweet-sour taste she thought it divine.
Not a hair out of place, and her make up done right;
The wisest and bravest, she'd been through some fights.
The middle gal stood two inches higher 
than both of her small sisters beside her;
Super model looks, and fashion sense to boot
The squabbles she'd been through were sometimes a hoot.
The youngest of these was shorter, and smaller than both.
Something she wished for the most was some growth.
She always expressed her opinion quite loudly
To whoever would listen, she'd tell them all, proudly.
So the three of them giggled, and grinned, and conspired.
They shared all the details that week had acquired.
Then on smart phones would post it on facebook together
For whoever was curious enough to discover.
Three sisters, three friends that had none like each other,
Well, maybe, except, perhaps their dear mother.

Poem by
Rebekah Mokry

Bless you my darlings. You are always in my heart.
Love ~~ Mom

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Gardening Tips for Friends

When I was a little girl, my sister, who was much my senior, planted a garden every spring for a few years. I remember well the care she would put into making that plot of earthy bed. She laid the seeds to rest in perfectly lined rows and covered them with a rich blanket of compost and soil, and watered them diligently. Each week she would cultivate the ground around the plants and pull any weeds that threatened to choke the young plants. 

I could hardly wait for all those colorful vegetables to awaken and color the garden block with all the shades of healthy growth. In time, with just a small skirmish from the carrots and beets, my two nephews and I would pillage a few of our favorites before the entire stock was picked for canning. 

Friendship, like gardening requires a lot of water, mostly from our own sweat, to keep it from drying out and shriveling up. Cultivating is urgent to keep the wicked weeds from strangling growth, and fertilizer, sometimes very stinky, worked into the base makes for strong and healthy roots that blossom into a beautiful product. With this in mind I thought I would offer a few of my own gardening tips for friends. 

I used to love picking the pea pods off of the plant and snapping them open to find those tasty green pellets. I would suggest planting plenty of peas. Peas, my friends, will give peas like a river that will water the soul, peas of mind for those days when the storms cause anxiety and worry, and peas of heart when drought brings threats of destruction. 

It required a little muscle on my part to pull the beets from the soil, but it was well worth the effort. Those lovely red bulbs with the deep green leaves were not so tasty raw, but cooked up or pickled, they were wonderful. With beets in your friendship garden, you can beet the enemies that come against you, and beet the heat of the most fiery trials. 

Next to the beets I suggest turnips. They remind us to turnip when friends invite us out or to special occasions. To be a friend means to turnip to help out, and mostly, turnip when needed. 

Lettuce, green and leafy, keeps things light. Lettuce be patient, faithful, kind, and gentle. Lettuce be friendly servants to one another, and the dressing on it all is to lettuce love one another.

On the side of the lettuce plant a few peppers. Red, green and yellow add a little spice and make things tasty. We all need to pepper our friendships with humor, laughter, gifts, and fun that will revive them with a little color and give them some zing.

One of the most fun plants in my sister's garden were squash. Their leaves and vines spread all over the place, and branching off into a variety of oddly shaped gourds made an interesting trail to follow.  With these in our garden we can squash selfishness, gossip, apathy, and the need to talk when we should listen. 

If you have a place that's a little wild, plant currant. In today's busy lifestyle it's important to stay currant. We can quickly get sidetracked, but with all the wild technology it is possible to keep in touch and currantly follow up on each other.  

My sister didn't plant herbs, but I think there is one we can't do without. It is thyme. Thyme is something we must diligently cultivate or it escapes us before we know it is gone. Thyme for each other makes for strong flavor and seasons our friendships.

Good luck with your garden, friends, and remember: Friends don't grow on trees they grow in gardens, and are best cultivated in a sunny atmosphere :)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Friends and Spice Make Everything Nice

I had a hot and spicy day today. I did get lunch as promised by number three daughter. We munched together on Buffalo Wild Wings, but along with them were other hot and spicy spots in my day. 

The hot spot was that my mother-in-law was admitted to the hospital last night because of a problem with her heart that was causing fluid build up in her lungs. After treatment she was doing well and we were told she would be released today. Early this morning, while still in the hospital, she fell and broke her femur. She will have surgery to set it tomorrow, but they also found an aneurysm in her heart. 

The spicy part was being held hostage by my two youngest grandchildren, attending a tea party where the tea and cupcakes were never cool enough to eat, being attacked by Cooties, climbing ladders and sliding down chutes, and building the best railroad ever.

Tonight I am drained and droopy, but I want to say that I am grateful to have friends to share the hot spots with, and for the two little spice drops in my day today, because friends and spice make everything nice. 

Tomorrow, I think I'll skip the hot wings and maybe just go with the spice drops. Goodnight y'all, and God bless.  

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