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.

 

The importance of girlfriends. Hint: Life is easier with girlfriends.

 

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.

Commit to making and keeping girlfriends.

 

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.

 

Things to Remember.

 

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.

Value each other.

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


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 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.

 

Meet Miss Mabel, a place maker. 

 

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.

 

Definition of a place maker. They value others.

 

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.

An example of a place maker. 

 

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 on how to value someone:

 

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.

When Words Fail

Words can only communicate so much, and then they fail us.Words can only communicate so much, and then they fail us.Words can only communicate so much, and then they fail us.Words can only communicate so much, and then they fail us.Sometimes words fail us.

I am telling hubby goodbye. Sitting in the car, I roll down the window and look at him standing in the driveway.

He rests his hand on the edge of the window as I squint up at him.

I am leaving for a week. Heading south.

On the kitchen counter lies the itinerary. The calendar. The notes and to-do’s.

He has prayed for safe travels. We have small talked. Nothing to do but say goodbye and drive, yet I linger.

I look up at him and my eyes tear.  Thoughts race across my brain. What if I die while traveling? Would he know how much I love him?

Suddenly I want to tell him how much I love him. How much he means to me. That I don’t regret walking beside him. Having his children. The life we have lived.

That I am sorry for all the times I have gotten mad at him. Not laughed at his jokes. Not smiled back. Doubted him. Not respected him. Argued with him. Held grudges.

We have been through so much together. Vacations. Births. Deaths. Moving. Accidents. Job changes. School. Trials. Sickness. Home projects. Celebrations. Little and much. This and that.

This man I have hiked the continental divide with. Watched die. Sheet rocked and painted with. Gardened with. Hugged and cuddled. Dated. Whale watched and snorkeled with. Traveled with. This man loves me, faults and all, and desires the best for me. He encourages me to be a better person. Challenges me to be more.

This man I eat, sleep, and do life with. How do I tell him I love him? How do I let him know what is running through my heart and mind as I look at him before I leave?

Words can only communicate so much, and then they fail us.Words are complicated and fail us.

 

We have one word that means love. And we use it both casually and seriously. I love tea. I love my child. Both are conveying a fondness, but one is a deeper fondness than the other. Yet now as I look at him, words fail me. Fail to convey my thoughts and emotions.

I guess this is why we have poetry. Metaphors. Songs. They try and communicate love into some picture or words we can connect with. Understand. They try and explain the mixed-up emotions and hard to describe feelings we get swamped upon.

And yet on some level they too fail.

Think about the love, the strong emotions you have for your mate, parents, children, friends, pets, country, places, even physical things. Can you really communicate your love for them in words?

Every year my dad would come and spend several weeks with us, and when it came time to leave, I remember having the same feeling. Wanting to tell him how much he meant. Wanting to tell him how much I loved and appreciated him. And yet, I could not. My thoughts just did not translate into words. And so, we hugged extra hard and extra long and then said we love you to each other. He drove away with tears in his eyes and I stood waving with tears in my eyes.

Because words sometimes fail us.

The same is true with God. The bible explains his love for us. Shows his love for us. And even uses words and examples to convey his love for us (like him longing to gather us under his wings as a mother hen gathers her chicks; a shepherd leaving the 99 sheep to go off to search for the one lost sheep; a father running to meet his prodigal son), but in the end the words fall short and fail to really convey the deep, abiding, unconditional, and overflowing love he has for us.

We like to say that God loved us so much he sent his only son to die for us. But even that picture of love fails. How can we even comprehend it. What it really means. How much love that action really communicates. We can understand a little, but not fully.

Because words sometimes fail to express all of what one is meaning to say.

Words can only communicate so much, and then they fail us.

When words fail to express our feelings and emotions.

 

We hadn’t been married for that long when one day on a long drive, hubby said, “I love you enough to die for you.”

What does he mean? I wondered.

No one had told me this before. The words were scary. The concept scary. I wanted him alive, not dead. And then the big question back.  Did I love him enough to die for him? I wasn’t sure I would when the pinch was tightened to reality.

“I hope it never comes to that,” I said.

“Do you understand what I am saying?” he asked.

“No.”

“That if it came down to it I would give up my life, so you could live. I would let you out of the burning house or the sinking ship first. I would sacrifice myself for you.”

I was beginning to feel guilt. I didn’t deserve that. Why couldn’t we both live?

It took years, but I eventually began to understand what he was trying to say. He was trying to tell me how much he loved me. How devoted he was. That in a pinch he would see to me over himself.

Greater love has no man then he lay down his life for another.

His words were failing him and so he used this picture from the bible.

When we have big feelings, emotions, and thoughts, words often fail us.

Words can only communicate so much, and then they fail us.

Sometimes we need more than words.

 

We rest in the driveway a few long moments. Just looking at one another.

“You better get going,” he says. “You have a long drive.”

I nod.

This deep desire to tell hubby what he means overwhelms me. And so, I say the only thing that comes to mind. “I love you,” I say, and hope he reads my heart.

“I love you too.”

My eyes tear a little.

And I know he understands.

Because his eyes tear a little too.

In the end, maybe we both know a little of what we are each thinking. Even without words.  Because when you love someone, sometimes you can communicate in other ways.

Words can only communicate so much, and then they fail us.

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: When do words fail you?

Words can only communicate so much, and then they fail us.May link up at Jennifer Dukes Lee (#tellhisstory);  Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Arabah Joy (#Grace & Truth).

Words can only communicate so much, and then they fail us.