Be the Friend You Want to Have

Friendship that is like family doesn’t happen overnight. Jennifer Garner posted a quote the other day that said, “The day you plant the seed is not the day you eat the fruit.” Friendship is just like that. It happens over days and weeks and years of constantly investing in someone and making time for them. It’s a thousand little decisions to show up and be an extraordinary friend.

My friend, if you are lonely, my best advice is to love yourself enough to be the kind of friend you’ve always wanted.

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The Town That Taught Me Community

I spent some of my elementary years in a tiny mountain town. Everything was off the grid and our public school, homes, and grocery store ran on generators. We called our teachers by there first names and they weren’t just teachers, they were our mentors and friends. There were only 21 of us the first year I was there for grades K-8th.

We went kayaking sometimes for P.E. at the river that ran through our town. I’ll never forget the day we came walking back barefoot and soaking wet from the swimming hole to find men in suits waiting for us. My teacher came in after us dripping wet and hiding his surprise about having a meeting with insurance adjusters.

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Made for Connection: How to find friends that are like family.

Dear Friend,

We weren’t meant to live life isolated, alone, and without community. I don’t care who you are, what you do, or what your personality is; you were made for connection and belonging.

“We are hardwired to connect with others; it’s what gives meaning and purpose to our lives, and without it there is suffering.”

Brene Brown

I know it’s hard, especially when you have no idea how to even begin finding “community” or friendship. I know it’s hard when you’ve been hurt or burned by the people in your life you thought were “safe”. I know it’s hard when you’ve been rejected. I know it’s hard when you’re consumed with life and can barely keep your head above water. I know it’s hard my friend, but I truly believe with everything in me that we weren’t meant to live life alone. I truly believe that out of all the things we can invest in, people are the most important.

Years ago, I listened to a podcast where the man said something I’ll remember forever. He was talking about destiny and he said, it doesn’t so much matter where you’re headed as much as it matters the people that you have on your bus. I feel like in our current culture there’s so much focus on “my”. My dreams, my success, my calling, my goals, my destiny. Don’t hear me wrong on this, because I’m all for tapping into the queen that you are and for going after life without apology (because you are a QUEEN (I see you KINGS, yes, you too)). BUT, let’s not forget the value of we. Let’s not forget the value of making decisions based on relationships: the value of choosing people over success, and the value of making sacrifices for the people that we love.

I don’t know about you, but wherever I arrive, I want to arrive there with my people.

To find real community:

You have to risk trusting. I’ve been betrayed by people I trusted implicitly. I gave them my whole heart and they turned out undeserving. Betrayal is painful, and some of you have been betrayed by the most important people in your life. I’m not belittling how difficult it is to put yourself out there again; but my friend, we have to keep believing that connection is worth it. I’ve taken the leap again, and even though it was scary at times, it’s so so worth it.

Tell shame to shut-it. Listen to me, because this is important: whatever voices are telling you that you’re unworthy of belonging are LIES. Not only are you worthy, you are wanted and needed. There are no disqualifications, and sister you are just who we’ve been waiting for.

Community requires investment. Friendships are like a garden. So cliche’, I know; somebody smack me. It’s true though, you can’t neglect them and expect to have amazing, deep relationships. You can’t, period. Friendships require regular investment. They need love, sunlight, water, and weeding. (Which is why all my actual plants are dead, btw). I know for sure that for my friendships to be deep and connected, they REQUIRE my attention.

Yes, you do have time. I know you don’t have “extra” time. I know your life is full and overwhelming. But you DO have time to send a text that says “how are you today?” You do have time to sit on your porch with a bottle of wine when the kids are asleep. Get creative. If it matters to you, make the time my friend.

You have to think outside of just yourself and your needs. I’m not talking about having no boundaries. For me it’s God first, husband, kids, and then close friends, but I still always consider my closest friends when I make big decisions. My closest friends are a priority and they know it.

You have to commit. You don’t have to commit to everyone. You get to CHOOSE, but when you find those people that are a good fit, you need to “get serious” if you want best friends and close community. I wouldn’t answer just anyone’s midnight phone call, but you better believe I’d be up and ready in a heartbeat if it was one of my close friends.

We aren’t meant to be islands. We aren’t meant to be one-woman-shows. We are meant to do life together in community, in tribes, in sisterhood, and in families.

I just believe we are.

My friend, please remember (wherever you are on this journey): there’s always hope. There’s always the first next step. Even if you’re lonely, you are most certainly not alone. I’ve been where you are sister and I promise, if you start trekking into this wilderness, it will be so worth it.

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Why I Love a Simple Summer

I love a simple summer.

Don’t get me wrong, I also LOVE trips. I love adventure and the excitement of planning something epic makes me giddy. (I also admit that sometimes the planning is more fun than the actual doing #momlife), but still. This year we are getting to visit family for the first time in a couple years, but other than that we are going to spend our days within a mile or two of our house and I’m pretty excited. Sometimes, I think *simple* is actually my favorite.

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Dear Kids, I hate that I miss it…

Dear Kids,

Tonight, I cried. I cried because you’re getting so old so quickly. I cried because I’m not always good at being present and I’m afraid these magical moments are passing me by without me noticing. I hate that I miss it sometimes. I hate that I spend so many hours a day worrying and stressing and rushing. I hate that there are real (and imagined) things on my plate that demand so much of me. I hate that sometimes all I have are leftovers for you.

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Dear Firstborn, I’m learning too…

Dear Firstborn,

On a night twelve years ago today, you became, and I became too. All of my births were magic (after they were hell and fire), but your birth was the one where I was born. We were both born and then there we sat, mother and son. My whole world stopped spinning; everything came into focus; and a part of me woke up that had never been awake before.

I will never be the same.

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My Friends are my Sisters

Ever since I can remember I wished I had sisters. I have one brother and I adored (adore) him. He is four years younger than me, so he was my dolly for a long time before he was my peer. I love having a brother, but I still longed for sisterhood.

As an adult, my friends have become my sisters and they are exactly what I needed all my life.

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To my friend’s kids: I love you like you’re mine.

To my friend’s kids:

I hope you know how much I love you. You’re not mine, but I love you like you are. You’re not my niece or nephew by blood, but you are by choice…and that pretty much means you’re stuck with me forever. You are my chosen sister’s baby and that means you own a piece of my heart and you always will.

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