When Was Your Last Playdate?

We need girlfriends. If we all make connections with each other and share our struggles. Our lessons learned. Our stories, we will be helping each other and healing our self at the same time.We need girlfriends. If we all make connections with each other and share our struggles. Our lessons learned. Our stories, we will be helping each other and healing our self at the same time.We need girlfriends. If we all make connections with each other and share our struggles. Our lessons learned. Our stories, we will be helping each other and healing our self at the same time.We need girlfriends. If we all make connections with each other and share our struggles. Our lessons learned. Our stories, we will be helping each other and healing our self at the same time.I shall be forever grateful to Mrs. Smith.

She was the first person who invited my husband and I over after we were married.

It was a time of great transition. We hadn’t been married long and were busy setting up our apartment and life in a new city. It felt like we belonged nowhere. We no longer fit into the single category. And while we were married, we didn’t have kids and we didn’t feel accepted into the married category. Besides, what did we even know about marriage? Nothing.

One day after church Mrs. Smith invited us out for a picnic with her husband and their three kids. Nothing fancy. But it felt wonderful. Like someone had noticed us in the new church we had been attending for several months. Like someone had recognized us now as a married couple.

We sat in the park that day, chatting, eating sandwiches and pasta salad under the sun breaks of Seattle’s weather.

I remember her telling me that it can take awhile to feel like you fit in once you are married.

It felt like she was reading my mind.

She asked how we met. Joked about their last fight. Corrected the children and their eating habits. In short, they let us into their life for the afternoon. They made me feel like you didn’t have to have it all together or be a perfect wife or mom before you were accepted into their inner circle. Instead we could be real. Not have all the answers or be an expert.

I left the picnic feeling rejuvenated.

But I was still young. And I didn’t fully appreciate Mrs. Smith. I was busy. Had things to do. Friendships were not a priority. They were something I took for granted. Something I would have more time for when life slowed down.

Girlfriends drifted in and out of my life. We moved. Moved again. And again. And I got older and began to appreciate and seek female friends. Began to see their importance. Realized that life is easier when we have companions to lift us, help us, and bounce ideas against.

Ever go though a hard time without friends next to you?

I have. That time is harder. Longer. Lonely.

I don’t want to do that again. I want to be able to call in the troops and get life giving support. I want help carrying my burdens and someone to dance with me during the joy.

Don’t try and do life alone. It is lonely. Scary. And no fun.

Seek out friendships. Girlfriends. A community that can support you and that you can give back to.

Life is pleasanter when shared.

Start with one friend. Then add another. Then another.

Over the years I have met other women like Mrs. Smith. Women who encourage you, listen to you, share their life and struggles with you, and accept you as you are. In my earlier years, they took the initiative, because I was too scared and trying to appear perfect.

They have taught me that I don’t have to pretend to have it all together. That pretending to be perfect is a waste of time. That with them I can be my real self. Admit my mistakes. My shortcomings. We can laugh over frustrations and days gone wrong. And their friendship is there no matter what. Grace far exceeds their judgement.

They don’t come across in a preachy manner, but through example. Using their stories. Their openness. Their friendship.

These are the kind of friendships we need.

The kind of women we need to surround ourselves with.

The kind of women we need to be. Especially to other women in our sphere.

If we all make connections with each other and share our struggles. Our lessons learned. Our stories, we will be helping each other and healing our self at the same time.

That is the beauty of community where we can be honest and share.

We need girlfriends. If we all make connections with each other and share our struggles. Our lessons learned. Our stories, we will be helping each other and healing our self at the same time.We need girlfriends. If we all make connections with each other and share our struggles. Our lessons learned. Our stories, we will be helping each other and healing our self at the same time.But this is going to require a time commitment. It requires leaving our kids, husbands, blankets and Netflix, and our to-do lists for a few hours here and there and making time for connecting. For play dates. For having some girl time.

Some girl dates will seem just like play, rest, or relaxation.

Some will seem like real work was done. Heavy. Maybe even serious.

We need both. So, don’t worry.

We can’t wait for others to schedule these times for us. We need to take the initiative. Realize that our girl dates are breathing life into us and that gets transferred to those in our life.

As mothers we are setting an example for our daughters about the importance of girlfriends.

We need to quit making excuses and find some other serious girlfriends who are ready to live in community. Ready to share, be honest, and hand out encouragement in large doses.

We can not expect the men in our lives to meet all out talking needs, listen to us for hours on end, and just plain meet our girly needs to connect on a deeper level with another female. Nor can we meet all their male friendship needs.

Being a wife is hard. Mothering takes endurance. Life is overwhelming. Dealing with work and all its stress is exhausting.

Don’t try and do it all on your own.

Gather together with others like and unlike you. Connect. Bond. Be honest. Struggle together. Share. Solve. Fight and reconnect. Encourage. Inspire. Love.

Encourage (don’t judge).

Compliment and celebrate (instead of competing).

Help (don’t hinder).

And don’t forget to sprinkle grace liberally around.

We are all at different stages, have learned different things, know different things, and need different things. We each have so much to give and share.

Regularly gather with girlfriends. Potential girlfriends. Long term girlfriends.

Don’t wait until you have it all figured out, know how to do it better than others, or almost reach perfection. Or you will miss out on a lot of fun years. And may never join in.

Just be a Mrs. Smith and invite someone to your simple picnic.

Connect.

Do life together. In community.

The way it is meant to be.

We need girlfriends. If we all make connections with each other and share our struggles. Our lessons learned. Our stories, we will be helping each other and healing our self at the same time.

Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.

Theresa

 

Need another article on female friendship and how we need to stop making excuses and seek out girlfriends? The Friendship Moment of Change


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Join the discussion: What have been some of your best girlfriend date ideas? 

We need girlfriends. If we all make connections with each other and share our struggles. Our lessons learned. Our stories, we will be helping each other and healing our self at the same time.May link up at Jennifer Dukes Lee (#tellhisstory);  Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Arabah Joy (#Grace & Truth).

We need girlfriends. If we all make connections with each other and share our struggles. Our lessons learned. Our stories, we will be helping each other and healing our self at the same time.

Are You a Place Maker?

Encouragement for your journey. 9 ways we can become a place maker and welcome more people into our lives. Encouragement for your journey. 9 ways we can become a place maker and welcome more people into our lives. Encouragement for your journey. 9 ways we can become a place maker and welcome more people into our lives. Encouragement for your journey. 9 ways we can become a place maker and welcome more people into our lives. Encouragement for your journey. 9 ways we can become a place maker and welcome more people into our lives. We are attracted to certain people. And not because of their clothes or appearance, but because of their attitude, their manner, and the way they treat us.

Maybe they have a smile for us. Or a simple hello. Maybe they ask how we are doing and really mean it and take time to listen to our problems if we want to mention something besides what we think of our day or the weather.

Maybe they say hi to our children. Or comment on our pets. Maybe they remember our last conversation and then ask a follow-up question.

There is an old lady, Miss Mabel, who is about 94 and gets around with two walking sticks. She is hunched over and so petite she doesn’t even come up to my shoulder. You think she is carefully watching the ground, but then she looks up and sees you and she breaks into a smile that highlights all her wrinkles into beauty lines. She just radiates. And then she says hi. And good to see you, love.

You can’t leave her presence without smiling back and feeling like you are needed in this world. You leave feeling definitely more important than you first thought when you work up this morning, looked into the mirror, and wondered if you would ever look decent enough not to scare everyone you saw today.

Miss Mabel is a “place maker.” She makes you feel like you have a place in this world. Like you are necessary. Just by her smiling at you and gushing over you and telling you how pleased she is to see you.

Place makers are not only little old women. They come in all sizes and shapes. Personalities and attitudes. They can be old and young.

But the one think place makers have in common is that they welcome everyone into their circle. Their life. At their table. No matter their opinions, background, socioeconomic status, or the current mess they are struggling with.

Place makers value people. And treat all people as if they have value.

Jesus was a place maker. He made room at his table for all the sick, dejected, worried, un-popular people. No need to have it all together to get a little of his attention. Certain people were not preferred over other people.

We are called to be place makers. Treating others with dignity, honor, and love. Not considering our self-better than others. Or placing people on rungs of a ladder and then treating them accordingly.

We don’t need vibrant personalities, a ready wit, always know what to say or do, or be a people person to be a place maker. We can all be place makers in our own way. With the gifts and life and personality God has already blessed us with.

Encouragement for your journey. 9 ways we can become a place maker and welcome more people into our lives. My dad was a quiet, humble, shy, and unassuming man. He had a ready smile when necessary, but he was also introspective. And yet he was a place maker and taught me about being a place maker.

Most every day he would leave his small apartment and walk a few miles around town. When he came upon another walker he would say hi. Someone working in their yard elicited a wave. No matter the part of town. Sometimes he would stop and shoot the breeze. Mostly he listened and asked questions. Usually he managed to encourage the person in some small way. And then when he was saying goodbye, he always worked in a thank you (which often surprised the person).

The thank you often had something to do with the conversation. Maybe the person said they were a teacher, then dad would thank them for teaching all the kids that passed through their room. Maybe they revealed how they used to be on drugs, then dad would thank them for getting off and straightening out their life. Or maybe the person said their neighbor was a bother and always waking them up at night. Then dad would thank them for being patient with their neighbor. Sometimes he just thanked them for talking with him.

“Everyone wants to be thanked and rarely are,” he told me one day when I asked him why he thanked everyone.

He rarely talked much about himself. Instead he would listen and ask the person questions. He told me once, “I can’t help others much, but everyone needs someone to listen to them, and that is something I can do. I listen, and people talk.”

All of us can be place makers. And we can improve our skills as a place maker.

Encouragement for your journey. 9 ways we can become a place maker and welcome more people into our lives. Next time you are nervous and don’t know what to say to the person beside you or how to break the awkward silence that is making your ears ring . . .

Here are a few suggestions:

 

1. Think about the other person, instead of yourself. When we focus on the other person, we begin to lose our shyness, quit worrying about the clothes we are wearing, and stop thinking about how the paint is peeling on the ceiling of our house. Focusing on them makes them feel welcome, accepted, and valuable.

2. Quit thinking you have nothing to offer. We don’t need to have the gift of entertaining or be a people person to make people feel like they have a place with us. Each of us in our own ways can listen to someone. Encourage someone. Compliment someone. Thank someone. Provide hope to someone. Your unique personality and traits can bless others in ways you can’t even imagine.

3. Find the similarities you share and connect over them. Maybe you grew up in the same town. Like baseball. Are both tired of winter. Raise lamas. Think green is the new neutral. Like Okra as your favorite vegetable. Find something to agree on. Connecting with someone else makes people feel good about themselves.

4. Try and learn something from them. Make it a game to learn something new from your interaction with them. Maybe they know the secret to plowing a straight row. How to harvest seeds from tomatoes. The secret to crispy fried chicken.

5. Be brave. Take a chance. Start the conversation. Don’t know what to say? Ask questions. Most everyone likes to talk about their interests and themselves.

6. Put yourself in their place. Would they like to sit? Have a drink of water? Some food. A hug.

7. It doesn’t take a lot of time. Little things can make someone’s day. A smile. A cheerful comment. Just recognizing someone can change their day.

8. Reserve judgement. Turn that little voice off. Quit sizing them up and trying to place them in a box. No comparing. Just enjoy the interaction.

9. Ask God to show you opportunities for being a place maker. Don’t know where to start? Ask for help. Learn from the best place maker who makes room for all of us no matter our mess or day.

We can all learn to be better place makers. Welcome more people into our lives. Seat more people at our table.

Try with one person. Then another.

Don’t let a little unfriendliness detour you.

Opposition and setbacks are part of life.

Give them grace (maybe they were having a bad day; a horrible year).

Give yourself grace and don’t take it personally.

Keep inviting and setting a place for others.

Then when your table is full. Pull out another table.

Encouragement for your journey. 9 ways we can become a place maker and welcome more people into our lives.  Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.

Theresa

 


If you need some weekly encouragement and hope, tied up with some humor? Subscribe and join the journey. Life is sweeter when we walk alongside one another.


Join the discussion: Do you know a place maker? What qualities do they have?

Encouragement for your journey. 9 ways we can become a place maker and welcome more people into our lives. May link up at Jennifer Dukes Lee (#tellhisstory);  Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Arabah Joy (#Grace & Truth).

Encouragement for your journey. 9 ways we can become a place maker and welcome more people into our lives.

Ten Things I Learned from Purging My House

Decluttering our house can teach us lessons about ourselves. Here's what I learned through purging my house.Decluttering our house can teach us lessons about ourselves. Here's what I learned through purging my house.Decluttering our house can teach us lessons about ourselves. Here's what I learned through purging my house.Decluttering our house can teach us lessons about ourselves. Here's what I learned through purging my house.Who doesn’t like a tidy, clutter free, organized house?

My hand is in the air. And I bet yours is too.

Well I’ve been organizing and purging stuff from my house and it feels wonderful.

It also is looking better. Not always in the open and living spaces, but behind cupboard and closet doors. Book shelves.

And that is a good feeling. To open a closet door and see more of the white shelves. To pull open a bathroom drawer and see everything in one quick glance.

I started in my bathroom. That place where shampoo, body products, hair accessories, and beauty stuff accumulate. One large garbage sack later, all items left were just the necessary products and nothing had an expired date.

Ironic how we think one day I may just wear that shade of lipstick. Years pass, and that day never comes.

Sorting, processing, throwing out and reorganizing our house is a lot like doing the same to our life. Not everything you come across is all bad and needs to go, nor is everything all good and needs to stay.

Somethings have served their purpose and now can be passed onto someone else (baby things). Somethings are expired (that jar of bright blue polish I never got around to wearing). Somethings you still need, and may always need (kitchen dishes), and somethings were only for a season (card making supplies).

Here are a few things I learned from my house de-cluttering:

 

1. We like to collect stuff. Get a few people living under the same roof and pretty soon that stuff is tasking up all available spaces, drawers, and horizontal surfaces. It is easier to bring stuff in than toss stuff out. So, don’t delay to long.  The longer we wait to organize and purge, the more stuff we will have to go through.

2. Life is about stages. And it seems each stage needs new and different equipment. What a baby needs are far different from what a teen needs. What a runner needs are not the same as a swimmer. Every stage and interest needs different stuff. When we have lots of stages and ages we need more stuff. But as time goes on, we can get rid of stuff from stages that have been outgrown or moved past.

3. Memories get attached to and tied up in our stuff. It is hard to see a box of baby clothes the kids wore and not walk down memory lane. I was surprised about how many good memories I came across as I was purging. Even silly stuff, like a can of sunscreen from a few years ago that we had taken on a trip conjured up some snapshot moments of that trip.

Decluttering our house can teach us lessons about ourselves. Here's what I learned through purging my house.4. A little bit of purging here and there makes a big dent. Occasionally I spent most of the day organizing and sorting and tossing, like the day I tackled my office. But even that day had interruptions and pauses, including a trip to drop a kid off, running errands, and visiting for an hour or two with a friend. Other days I had ten minutes and sorted through one drawer. An hour and a half turned into a bathroom purge. Half an hour translated into organizing a book case. Over time, all add up to a lighter and more organized house.

5. Tastes change over time. That octagonal set of dishes I bought before I was married, the ones I haven’t used in years, well my tastes have changed. And that is alright. Get rid of things you no longer use, that no longer speak to you, or compliment your current tastes.

6. Hobbies and interests fall by the side. I have lots of card making supplies. Stamps, embossing powders, stickers, fancy paper, edging scissors, and pens of every color. But the last time I pulled all the stuff out to make cards in the last ten years was to make cards with some friends. I no longer have that desire anymore and am spending my crafting time doing other things. And that is all right. For years my daughter and I used those supplies. I had stamping birthday parties for her, and craft nights for her friends. But that stage is gone. Now someone else can use them. Don’t keep things you are am no longer interested in or will do every ten years. Pass the blessing along to others.

7. There is a reason we hold onto things. Maybe we were poor growing up. Maybe things represent security. Maybe we want to be prepared for anything or every possible situation. Maybe our stuff holds memories and we are holding onto those memories. Maybe we think we may become poor again and won’t be able to buy another, so we keep one and a spare. Maybe we are to overwhelmed to even tackle a small project. Maybe we hear our mother’s voice, or someone else’s and believe a lie about us or our stuff.

As I was cleaning, I thought about my reasons for keeping things. Like most things, it was a complicated reason of several things. First, I was poor growing up. I needed to keep and take of what I had because I wasn’t getting more. (I still have mechanical pencils that still work from my college days.) Back in my twenties, there was not a Walmart on nearly ever corner where you could buy things at a reasonable price. My first set of dishes and silverware were expensive. Now I can go to Walmart and buy a set of dishes for 4 for $20.00. I sometimes forget this and keep things I don’t really like or want, forgetting I can buy a new one at a reasonable price and in many more options than years ago. I grew up not wasting or getting rid of the one item, so I do better donating things to a charity, rather then tossing them.

As I am purging and sorting, I remind myself that I am no longer poor. That I can afford to replace items I don’t like or want. And that I don’t need to keep items I don’t like or want anymore. These truths help me be more ruthless. The truth is that most things are replaceable if I accidently throw away something I may want in the future. (That unused punch bowl.)

As for things with memories, like that prom dress you wore in high school and still have and will never wear again, take a picture and toss the item. Now you can revisit those memories anytime you want.

Decluttering our house can teach us lessons about ourselves. Here's what I learned through purging my house.8. Things wear out and need to be replaced. Those sheets that are twenty years old and worn to 10-thread count need to be tossed. In fact, most linens have a life of less than 10 years. One lady, whose kids I used to babysit as a teen, had a wonderful idea. “Every ten years everyone needs a new wedding shower because all their items from their first one are now worn out and need replacing.” Nine years after my wedding the truth of her comment was reality. As you toss items, make a list of the items you need to replace. (You just may need to throw yourself your own shower!)

9. We need to toss out the old to make room for the new. To keep our houses from bulging, toss out something old so the new fits in. This works in our closet, drawers, and bookshelves. It also works in our lives. Get rid of the old lies and believe the truth. Get rid of those t-shirts from 15 years ago and get some that fit and look better. It is better to have fewer things that work, that we enjoy, that bring us happiness, and that we use, than a houseful of things we don’t.

Ask yourself: Does it serve a purpose? Does it remind me of memories? (Maybe you can take a picture and toss the item.) Is it something I use regularly enough to keep? If not, can I buy a new one or rent one if I later need it? Does this create peace for me (like artwork) and make my place prettier? Do I really need this? Why am I holding onto this?

10. You will find surprises. Things you thought were lost will resurface. Things you didn’t even know you had, will be discovered. And things you had hidden and forgot about will be found. In a coffee table drawer, I found an unopened bar of chocolate that I had hidden about 6 years ago. Along with the novel I was reading at the time. Keep and sense of humor and wonder.

Purging and sorting our accumulated stuff within our spaces can be a happy walk down memory lane. It can also be hard and sad. It can be confronting the past and our beliefs in our self and life. It can be a surprise and a laugh.

Like in every other area of life, give yourself grace.

This is not a competition.

Our stuff does not determine our worth or our day.

No shame or guilt allowed. We are learning more about our self and our past through our accumulated stuff. And in the process, we are changing and becoming new people.

Decluttering our house can teach us lessons about ourselves. Here's what I learned through purging my house.

Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.

Theresa

 


If you need some weekly encouragement and hope, tied up with some humor? Subscribe and join the journey. Life is sweeter when we walk alongside one another.


Join the discussion: What have you learned through de-cluttering?

Decluttering our house can teach us lessons about ourselves. Here's what I learned through purging my house.May link up at Jennifer Dukes Lee (#tellhisstory);  Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Arabah Joy (#Grace & Truth).

Decluttering our house can teach us lessons about ourselves. Here's what I learned through purging my house.