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Had a conversation about friendship with two friends a while back. We spoke about it some, and then wrote a little more back and forth on facebook. This was several months ago, and I’ve found myself thinking about that interchange quite a lot lately. The gist of the conversation was something to this effect: To be happy with the role of friends in your life, you should always keep your expectations low. That way, you deal very little with disappointment, and friendships remain intact with little maintenance. If you expect nothing from your friends, you cannot be hurt when they disappoint you…in whatever area your increased expectations lie….

I see the point that was made. I have, upon numerous occasions, set myself up for disappointment with unrealistic expectations. For example, expecting a friend to take the place of family members is usually an unrealistic expectation for it is your family who has you on their heart and mind more regularly than one who has their own family to think of and plan for.

However, inherent in the word “friend” are expectations. Some words come  already loaded with expectations. In a mutual, true friendship, I have expectations. I expect that we will be in touch on a reasonably regular basis. This doesn’t mean that time passing without contact will destroy the friendship, but that we will be missed during long periods apart, and it will be as though that time never happened when we are once again in contact.

I expect that we will, to the best of our human ability, be there for each other when support is needed. This will sometimes mean dropping what we are doing to come to the aid of a friend….or putting aside our plans to be there in varying instances of need.

I expect that honesty will be at the heart of the relationship when it really counts. This doesn’t mean that it is brutal, but that it is kind when it is needed and might hurt. If I ask the opinion of a true friend, I expect the truth. I wouldn’t ask if I didn’t want it.  You respect the opinion of a true friend enough to care about what they have to say.

Inherent in the word friend is the belief that we will enjoy and seek out opportunities to do things together from time to time.

If these things are not the case, then the person falls into the category of “acquaintance” rather than “friend.” There may be people who imagine more or less in a friendship, but these are the expectations that I have.

I have to say that there have been many times in my life when there was no one around who fit this bill.  Henry Adams said “To have one friend in a lifetime is much, two are many, three are hardly possible.”

If you have a friend like this in your life, don’t take it for granted! Enjoy the oasis in your life that a true friend brings…..

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in love?

A little local drama has inspired a lot of thinking about that “in love” feeling. Someone walked away from a marriage, claiming that they weren’t in love anymore. I have a feeling that said person really has no idea what love is.

Sure, the “in love” feeling that comes for an initial time period at the beginning of a relationship is a lot of fun. It brings a rush of adrenaline like little else can. I can see why people get a bit addicted to it, so when it simmers down in their current relationship, they head out to find it again, thinking that the existing relationship is washed up. They could not be more wrong!

They lose the depth that comes with longevity of a relationship. My husband and I have been married over twelve years. We had all the twitterpated feelings you would expect – more perhaps as they were elongated by a twenty-two month long distance courtship. But the truth is, I would NEVER trade our relationship now for what we had back then.  In fact, you know how smug newlyweds are because they think that no one has ever been in love as much as they are? Looking at it from the view of twelve years of excellent marriage, they seem almost comical! They have no idea how good it’s going to get! Talk to happily married people and see if they want what they have now, or those initial feelings….

I’ve been thinking that a person who constantly seeks out an “in love” feeling also cannot be in a deep relationship with the Lord. If you were in a relationship with the Lord that has gone beyond initial feelings to a deeper trust and intimacy, you would understand that since our relationship with the Lord is compared to a marriage, a deeper level of intimacy, trust, and enjoyment should be achieved and continue to grow. The “feelings” with the Lord will come and go. As in a marriage, sometimes you don’t feel.  But you know, that deep down, that relationship is strong. Growing. It sustains you. You can’t imagine life with out it.

Memory Lane

It’s amazing – the small things that can trigger a memory! I opened up a Christmas card from a lady at work tonight – she had put a few goodies inside, among them, a spearmint chapstick. Instantly, I was taken years back – to time with my grandmother, whose signature lip balm of choice was spearmint chapstick. My Dad’s mom – she lived with us for several years around the time that I was 12 or so – about the age that my daughter is now. Our home had an apartment, and this was modified so she could navigate it with her arthritis. She was a very unique character (but we won’t go into a lot of that – we don’t have time!). Because she wasn’t able to move around much, she kept a large table covered in green felt next to her recliner, and this was where she kept everything she might need in the course of a day. She always wrote with a green fine tip pen, always used spearmint chapstick, and always had a knitting project at hand.

She loved The Price is Right and 100 Huntley Street. She had a TV in her apartment, and we didn’t have one, so it was a great treat to be allowed to go watch The Price is Right with her in the evening.

She introduced me to Gene Stratton-Porter and extolled the virtues of the McGuffey Readers.

From her, I learned to love day-old popcorn and Almond Roca.

I can still remember the smell of her apartment. Tonight, when I opened the spearmint chapstick, it brought so many memories flooding back.

She’s been gone for years. But tonight, when I smelled her again, it was like a present – a moment to remember my Grandma.

If you read this blog much at all, you know that I am constantly endeavoring to eat more healthily. However, at this point, I have not made much effort to change what I put on my skin. Your skin absorbs between 45% and 100% of the substances applied to it, depending on the chemical and the site to which it was applied. Your face absorbs 2-6x more than your torso, for example, and your underarms and private parts are believed to absorb nearly 100% of what is applied to them.

That being said, what are we putting on our skin?  More and more medications are being applied transdermally, which proves that the scientific community is getting more clued into the fact that stuff goes THROUGH your skin.

A few weeks ago, I had a Jordan Essentials home party. Jordan Essentials is a skin care company that uses no alcohol, parabens, sulfates, petroleum products (such as mineral oil), DEA, or aluminum…and all for very reasonable prices!  It concerns me that as soon as people get cancer, they are told to stop all body products with chemicals that are cause for concern. Why are people not warned BEFORE they get cancer?!?!

Something to think about….

Daydreaming….

One day….I need to see the Alhambra.

I have a seven year old boy. Have you ever had one of those? Oh, my word. He talks CONSTANTLY. There is a non-stop stream of chatter about Star Wars, his paper airplanes, the latest Lego plan, and how he just climbed the magnolia tree and saw a huge bug. The commentary about his falling-out teeth, his big sister, why he doesn’t want to drink milk, and how his bangs make him “cute” starts as soon as his feet hit the floor in the morning, and don’t stop until he’s conked out in bed at night.

I know it’s an important time for language development. I love that his vocabulary and diction are precocious and varied. I love the funny little things he says, and the way he interprets everything around him. I love to watch his logic develop and change.

BUT….there are days when I just want quiet. When I just want him to be quiet. But I can’t tell him to be quiet. Even when I’d love a minute of quiet, I don’t want to tell him to be hush. I know that in just a few short years, he’ll be a teenager, and I’ll be straining to get basic sentences out of him rather than mere grunts. Maybe I’ll be fortunate, and my teenage son will keep talking to me. But I’m afraid that the stream of chatter will dwindle to a trickle, and on some days, stop altogether. So, I’m listening to the 100,000 words a day….storing up the memories, and cherishing this time. Because, most likely, it won’t last….

Have a friend in Edmonton, Alberta, who operates a charming little jewelery business called Lilac Lane (check out her page on Facebook). Her summer collection featured a little necklace with a pendant inscribed “Keep Calm and Carry On.” This motto, utilized by the British government in 1939 to raise morale during WWII, is beginning to be a creed of mine. (I had to have the necklace, and it arrived in the mail today – hence this post.)

Think about how our society glorifies  “drama queens” and “divas.” The paraphernalia inscribed with those titles could (and should) fill more than one landfill. Since when have we been taught that it is womanly to overreact and whine and pitch fits when things don’t go the way we want them?

What about when we’re not having tantrums over things not going our way, but just being bowled over by life? Have you seen someone get completely carried away into drama over something that is not even happening to them? I’m not talking about compassion or empathy here – I’m talking about histrionics – deliberate displays of emotion simply to draw attention to oneself . It is SOOO unbecoming!

This saying reminds  me of the disciples’ drama over the tempest that blew up on the Sea of Galilee while Jesus was asleep. Matthew 8:25 says,
“And his disciples came to him and awoke him, saying, Lord save us: we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.”  When I read about Jesus and the disciples, it seems like they were often fretting about something – who was going to be the greatest, who healed whom, how the money should be spent, or the fact that Jesus was surrounded by children or unsavory women…and Jesus spent a great portion of his time calming them and the other people around him.

How can we say we have Him with us, while acting all the while as though He is not?

Now, I realize that some people are more easily overwhelmed than others, and that everyone has different coping skills. That’s fine. I understand that. Nor am I professing that I never struggle to be calm. (Why else do you think I bought the necklace! I need the reminder, too!) But when drama over an issue totally eclipses coping and surrendering it by faith to the Lord we claim to trust, we have a problem. It is neither womanly nor dignified. A childish lack of coping skills are what I expect from children, not women who have been through a few things and claim to walk with the Lord. The drama does not become you, ladies.  You bring only negative attention to yourself and shame to your testimony. Please, keep calm and carry on!