Real Friends Tell the Truth

It is rare in life that people have real friends. A true friend. Someone who loves you totally unconditionally (I think that is bad grammar.) True friends don't care if you are fat or skinny, but they do care if you are healthy. They don't care if you are rich or poor, but they do care if you are greedy or starving. Superficial things don't matter to them at all. They aren't impressed by your vocation, at least not in a way that influences their decision to be your friend or not. True friends stay your friend, even when you move away. Real true friends see past all the masks you wear for the world and they look right into the core of the real you. And real friends tell you the truth.

Friends see you naked and don't go screaming out the front door, or the back door, or out the window, or running down the street in horror.

Friends don't tell your secrets. Friends know your secret hurts that are buried way down deep inside. They know them because they care enough about you to get past the surface.

Friends aren't afraid to disagree with you. Friends challenge you to think beyond yourself, regardless of how dire or hopeless your circumstances seem. Friends don't let you give up, but they do let you know when it is time to quit.

Friends don't get jealous of the good things that happen for you, like new cars or tummy tucks. They celebrate with you, enjoying the good things right alongside you.

Friends don't make excuses for you and say things like, "You're not fat. You just had a baby." :)
No, they say, "Go ahead eat that donut. Your butt can't get much bigger!"

Sometimes it is amazing to me the number of people in my life that I call friend. I don't see them all daily, or weekly, or even monthly. Some of them I haven't seen in years. Some of them I rarely talk to. But there is still that deep, unexplainable connection. My real friends won't be disappointed that I didn't mention them by name, because that is how real friends are.

All that to say, I am pretty thankful for my friends. My real friends.

Acutely Aware

I have suddenly become acutely aware that I am aging. Here are my signs:

I can't see. A few years ago, I had great eyesight! Now, I fear leaving the house without my glasses. I have a pair in my car for emergencies. I have a pair in my purse. I have a pair in my bathroom, by my bed, in the kitchen and at my desk. I cannot see menus in restaurants because they only provide me candlelight to see by! (That ticks me, just for the record . . . is that really necessary? And, the nicer the restaurant, the more dim the lighting, which is funny, because typically only older, less vision-enabled people are the ones who can afford to eat in them. TURN UP THE LIGHTS!)

I can't hear. Except in movies and in my son's car, and my husband snoring. Maybe it's because all of those are extremely loud (sorry babe, I still love you!). I used to be able to hear a pin drop. Now I can't hear much at all and find myself leaning in, which only makes people think I'm a great listener, because apparently great listeners "lean in." But probably, great listeners are just aging and can't hear as well. Whatever. I can't hear.

I can't sleep late. SEEEERRRIOUSLYYYYY. This is frustrating. It does not matter what time I go to bed. I cannot sleep late. I wake up at the crack of dawn. Even if I want to sleep late. Even if I have nothing to do the next day. I cannot sleep late. Oh, and also, I can't sleep thru the night. I wake up all night long. Often to go to the bathroom (sorry, TMI?), but even if I don't drink anything after a certain time, and whether or not I have caffeinated coffee, I can't sleep thru the night. Arrgh.

I can't remember things. My short term memory is shot. If someone gives me a phone number, it is sooooo taxing to my brain to hang on to those 7-10 digits for any length of time at all! My long term memory is great, which is why I can remember old stories, but because my short term memory is shot, I can't remember that I have told those stories 12 times!! I am giving you all permission to hold up two fingers as a sign to me that says "I've heard it CJ."

Oh and there are plenty of other not so pleasant signs of aging. As Solomon says in Ecclesiastes, "the doors on the street are shut" (giving reference to what he eats and what he expels . . . I know, way too much information!)

Ahhhhh, aging. But in my aging, there are things I can do that I couldn't do when I was in the summer of my life. I can laugh at my own mistakes. I don't take myself and others quite so seriously. I enjoy life more. I'm okay with not being perfect. I'm okay with not having a perfect body (some days), perfect kids, a perfect marriage, a perfect life. I'm okay with not being the sharpest crayon in the box. I'm okay with mixing my metaphors and my "sayings" (because I think the expression is the "brightest" crayon in the box . . . I never get those right.)

All that to say, I suppose aging is better than the alternative. But I sure wish I wasn't having to wear Mr. Tarbutton's glasses to be able to see to type this! (I couldn't find my own!)

Are There Rules?

I went out to eat tonight with a friend when a family of like 12 was seated. I actually think it was two or three families, celebrating a birthday, but there were a lot of kids. At the end of this long table, the end closest to where I was sitting, were two tiny, and very unhappy and loud kids. No, you don't get it. I mean LOUD kids. And their parents just kept on talking like their kids weren't screaming. I literally could not hear the sound of my own voice over the kids screaming. One of the little kids screamed and cried for so long, she threw up. Finally, the dad (I'm assuming) stood up and I thought "oh, great, he's going to take them outside." But instead he went outside and left the screaming, SCREAMING kids inside with their mom and the other people at the table.

Are there rules for screaming kids in restaurants? Should the restaurant management say or do something, or are those of us listening to the melee just forced to sit there, eat our food, or get up and leave?

Am I just getting old and have no patience for this kind of thing anymore? I love kids. I really do. Ask anyone. They'll tell you it's true. But SERIOUSLY, I was so annoyed at those parents.

All that to say, I have a headache and I guess I should have left way sooner than I did. What do you think?

He's Gone

Mike left today. He was here for 8 whole days. It was a great 8 days. One of my favorite moments was one day when Mike was working on his computer. He was singing along to some random 80's song. Two things you should know about Mike. One, he really loves old Rock. 70's, 80's rock. And two, he cannot carry a tune in a bucket. He has a completely monotone singing voice. And the one tone that he sings in, is never in the key that the song is in. But something about listening to him sing was so sweet that day.

Someone asked me today where we went to eat while he was here. We went no where really. We went to some local restaurants. We didn't go out to a movie because there was nothing we reallyl wanted to see. We didn't do anything that was really "noteworthy."

Except last Wednesday night. We celebrated communion together. That was exceptional. We prayed together. He sang in his offkey voice. He cried when he served me my bread and wine (grape juice). I cried too. It was a great night.

But he's gone. Back to Atlanta. Hopefully our house will sell soon. It's been 6 months now. All that to say, I'm pretty sick of this. I don't want to move back. I still believe this is what God has for us. I'm trusting Him. I'm just ready for it to be over.

I Even Miss Cash Cab

My husband is coming to see me tomorrow. He lives in Georgia and I live in Texas. If this is your first time on this blog, I took a job here in Texas 6 months ago, thinking he was following me in a few weeks or so. But seems God had other plans. Anyway, he's coming here tomorrow and I am so happy.

Today in our staff prayer and worship time at WoodsEdge Community Church, we sang a song by Kari Jobe. The words were"I want to sit at your feet; drink from the cup in your hand; lay back against you and breathe; feel your heart beat; this love is so deep, it's more than I can stand; I melt in your peace, it's overwhelming." Even though I know this song was about God, it really expresses how much I miss my husband. And I guess because God told Mike that he was to me as Christ is to the church, then it's okay for me to think of Mike when I sing this song.

I miss him. I miss the feeling of him in the house. The weight of him in our bed. I miss his voice and the way he calls my name when he's mad at me. I miss sitting next to him and I even miss watching Cash Cab or insane reruns of Law and Order. I want to lay back against him and breathe and feel his heart beat. I love him deeply and cannot fathom my life without him in it. I do melt in his peace, the strength of who he his.

All that to say, I might be out of touch for the next few days. You won't see me online. I have better things to do. :)

Acid Dump

I know that's a weird title. And for those of my friends with juvenile 7th grade minds, it has nothing to do with the bathroom! Acid dump is what I call a level of stress where all of a sudden, it's like a flip got switched and acid is literally dumped into your stomach. Suddenly, this "Oh my gosh my gut hurts" feeling comes over you. It is a physical pain in your gut that is related to stress of some sort. If you've ever overdrawn your checking account and you realize you wrote 12 checks the day before and they are all going to hit your bank at once and you're going to get charged $30 for every check, then you probably understand acid dump.

I don't really have a good reason for mine. I have a stressful job, but I'm not stressed out by it. My life is in a bit of disarray, but i'm not stressed out by it. Everyone is healthy (I'm still broken, but healing nicely). We can afford the things in life we need and even many things that we just want. My marriage is healthy. My kids are becoming awesome adults. Nothing really to feel stressed about. And yet, three times today it has happened. Acid Dump. Once was when I was thinking strategically about the future of this ministry God has called me to. Acid Dump. Once was when I got a phone call at 11:30 telling me what I had to have for a meeting at 2:00. Acid Dump. Three was when I got a phone call from someone I used to know in a former life, and would like to never hear from that person again. Acid Dump.

And here is what is weird. My times with God lately have been so good. So you'd think that would help me manage whatever is stressing me and causing Acid Dump. But as I think about even that, I heard this pastor say yesterday, that if you examine the life of Christ, He had these rich incredible times with God that were followed by times in the desert, feeling alone, being tempted, etc. Times that I think He would have had acid dump from. Except, except that He was always connected to the Father.

Al that to say, perhaps what I am feeling isn't stress caused by any one stressor, it is my time with God that is lacking. My pastor always says, "Prayer is the real work." I need to get to work.

The Wisdom Principles #9

Men prepare a meal for enjoyment, and wine makes life merry, and money is the answer to everything. Ecclesiastes 10:19

As I have mentioned, I am studying through the book of Ecclesiastes using a commentary by David Fairchilds, pastor at Kaleo Church in San Diego. In chapters 10 and 11, he is teaching through what he calls "The Wisdom Principles." Number 9 really struck me today. Wise men know when to play. It speaks for itself, so I am copying it for you to read:

"Not only do the wise know when to work, they know when to play. How many of you know when to play? Some of you are very good at working, but you are terrible at enjoying what it is that you are working for. Some of you also have been told a poverty theology or a prosperity theology. Neither are the biblical model. In the Bible there are righteous rich and unrighteous rich, there are righteous poor and unrighteous poor. The issue is not rich or poor, the issue is righteousness or unrighteousness. Money can help you attain the goals you have set if you want to get married, buy a house, put your kids through college, and know when to throw a party and enjoy your friends. Wise people know that money without wisdom is dangerous and deadly. Wise people know how to make and how to spend their money. Sometimes we are so focused on our financial planning though that we can’t enjoy a meal out or a vacation away because all we think about is the money."

I have a friend whom I have heard say many times, "It's only money, if I don't spend it on this, I'll just spend it on something else." The same friend also says, "It's not that I can't afford it, it's that I chose to spend my money on something else."

Last night, I took my two sons out for a nice steak dinner. It was expensive. Well . . . by my standards it was. And as I paid the bill, I had a moment of "Good NIGHT, what was I thinking?" but that thought only lasted for a moment. And then I thought, "It's only money, if I didn't spend it on this, I would just spend it on something else." And I really enjoyed the meal and the time with the boys. So, I'm glad I spent it.

But, I must also be wise. Which is why God gave me my husband. He is our planner and saver. But I also think it is why God gave me to my husband, because I am the part of us that knows when to play. :) Sometimes I over-play. But sometimes, he over-plans. So, we need each other. Together, we are wise. . . sometimes.

All that to say, it is easy to focus too much on too many things, and in doing so become fools. What we are called to do is to focus on God and in doing so, be wise.

Dragging Myself Up

I went back to the orthopedist. It's been two months since I broke my arm. The first month was not so great. No bone growth. So much pain. I seriously thought I would never get off the drugs for the pain. But another month passed. And yeah! My bones are growing, finally!!

That is the good news. The bad news is kinda two-fold. One part is that I still have to wear my robocop brace. For another MONTH! The second part is that because I am healing, I get to start physical therapy. Well, sort of physical therapy. I have this pulley contraption thing that hooks over the door. It has two handles. I hold one handle in my broken arm hand, and pull on the other handle with my good arm.

I literally am dragging my arm up over my head. It hurts like heck. But I do want to get well, and I do want to be able to do things for myself again, so I have to bear the pain, if I want to get back to normal.

All that to say, I'm healing. Slowly. But healing. And I am grateful for that.


Tonight I hung out with some girlfriends. We ate junk (cheese pizza, extra thick crust, ranch dressing and COKE). We drank coffee at 10:30 p.m. Of course, I am much older than them, so I will be up all night peeing, but then again, they both have babies, so they'll be up all night for other reasons. We just had such a good time. We made fun of each other over stupid stuff, (like for example, Caroline can't type. ) We thought that was funny. I mean, she's a girl! Didn't we all take typing in high school? We talked about our husbands (guess whose husband has ashy knees?) and about our kids being strong-willed and brilliant.

We pretty much talked about every aspect of our lives. How we wished we prayed with our husbands more, how much we thought of our friends (like Shauna's mad photography skills). How it was easier to buy more underwear than to do laundry. We worked on camp stuff and laughed some more and typed, read, re-read and finally convinced Kelly it was safe to press send on the crew email. I gave out parenting advice. Not that I'm an expert, but Kelly and Caroline seem impressed with my wisdom. HAH! That is funny.

We said that next week Traci needed to come no matter how much schoolwork she has. Traci!

All that to say, it is so much fun to be a girl and have girlfriends. They are like a sweet precious gift straight from heaven. Even if they do tell you your butt is big and you should lay off the donuts.

Alive and Well in Indiana

Today I was telling the Bible story at church to a group of 3 thru 5 year olds . The story was about Jesus (of course) and at the end of the story, I said with my most amazed voice, "Jesus is alive!" This little boy looked at me, not with a happy "oh isn't it great that Jesus is alive" face and says in a very indignant 4 year old voice, "NO. Jesus is not alive everywhere. He is not alive in Indiana."

I tried to assure him that Jesus was everywhere and that He definitely WAS alive. The little 4 year old kept insisting that Jesus was not alive in Indiana Finally, I asked him why he thought Jesus wasn't alive in Indiana and he said, "Well, because I saw him hanging on the cross and he was definitely dead."

I tried very hard to convince him, but I'm not sure I won him over. I told him I'd show him in the Bible next week. We'll see if he believes me.

All that to say, sometimes communicating what I know and believe is difficult. It's why I like working with kids. They make me have to really, really think about what I know.

If You're Keeping Up

Just in case you care, the people looking at our house today never showed up. They decided it was too far to drive. I don't get that. They know how far away it is when they make the appointment. But, I think it seems far when you drive it . . . farther than it actually is. . . you know what I mean? So, I can choose to say that those just weren't the people who were supposed to buy it . . . and keep on trusting. Or I can get morosely depressed and say, WHY?

Mike has an interview on Wednesday. Praying for God's will. Still.

All that to say, there are possibilities. And, as long as there are possibilities, there is hope.

Sell This House

So, I moved to Texas in October. We thought Mike would be moving as well. Things looked really good with his company transferring him here, but then, well . . . that didn't happen. So, here it is, March, and I have been living in someone else's house for almost 6 months. Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful for the place to live, but I feel the need to get on with my life. It feels like I am in limbo.

I'm sitting here in Texas watching a show called "Sell This House." It makes me think about my own house that needs to sell. Someone is looking at it today. I guess that's good. I really just want to beg God to sell my house, but I have learned that I need to want God's will more than I want my house to sell. I begged Him to let my house sell one time, and He did let it sell, but the results were disasterous. I hope I have learned to wait on Him. It's easy to wait for a little while. It's easy to trust for a little while.

But if I am honest, I am at a place where I find it hard to wait, hard to trust. I want God's will AND I want my life. I want my house to sell. I want my husband to get a job in Texas. I want to sleep in my own bed, in my own house, on my own sheets. I want to cook in my own pans and eat on my own dishes. I want to look out my own back door at my own yard. I want to step on my own scale and freak out in the privacy of my own bathroom. I want, I want, I want, and all that wanting makes me mad at myself. I need to rely on God. I need to wait on God. I need to be content. So why is this SO HARD!!??

I think it is difficult because it really does feel like my life is on hold.

All that to say, I know God has a plan. I just wish I knew what it was. Oh, and if you're reading this and we work together, don't freak out. I know this is where God has me. I'm not moving.

Personal Space

I am currently at a conference in San Diego. I flew here on Sunday, after just returning from Atlanta to Houston on Saturday! One of the things I have noticed about flying is that people don't seem to have a concept of personal space when they are flying.

I mean, doesn't everyone know that there is an invisible line that comes up from the edge of your seat and goes all the way up to the overhead? No part of your body should cross the invisible line, including your legs or your head or your breath. I can assure you many people do not understand the invisible line concept.

Case in point? I am flying from Georgia. I am on the aisle. A young girl, possibly 12 years of age or so, doesn't speak English, comes in late and sits in the middle seat. I try to to help her see that my left arm is broken, so that she won't accidentally hit it. She looks at my arm, smiles, and nods her head as if to say she understands. Just to be careful, I tuck a pillow between my arm and hers. Now, she is an armrest hog, but she's twelve and she has to sit in the middle, so she deserves two armrests. But, she bends down to pick up her backpack, and when she comes back up, her elbow smacks me right in the broken arm. PERSONAL SPACE PEOPLE. Oh, and did I mention she had a cold, and kept a washrag in her lap the entire time for wiping her nose? True story.

Then, when flying to San Diego yesterday, even though I had made my reservations months in advance, I got bumped. They had overbooked the flight. I finally got a seat, toward the front, which was awesome, though it was a middle seat. All in all, I was happy to have a seat, so I couldn't complain much. However, the guy on the aisle had no concept of personal space. He sat with a wide stance, so his leg was not only on my seat, and perilously close to my leg; his leg was also under the arm rest, so it had the armrest raised up. Then, without warning, he would put his arm on the armrest, shoving it down over his leg, which would force his leg into my leg. This went on for the entire flight!! Not to mention, he had some bowel issues, if you know what I'm saying. Then, mercifully, as the 3 hour flight came to an end, I was looking out the window at San Diego, and I felt a sudden rush of air on my arm. I spun my head around to see Mr. "no boundaries" leaning into my seat, looking out the window as well, and exhaling very hard onto my arm. It was creepy to keep feeling his breath on my arm like that and to have his head clearly across the invisible line! PERSONAL SPACE!!

So, all that to say, I think perhaps when flight attendants are going through how to fasten your seatbelt, and how to breath oxygen out of a mask, they might want to add some useful information, like say, how to sit in your own seat and be courteous of other people's personal space. :)