Life or Something Like It

Misuse of the Word Friends

Misuse of the Word Friends

Misuse of the Word Friends

I have really been chewing on the word “friend” for a while now. Honestly, I have no idea why. Yet, I feel we Misuse of the Word Friends at an alarming rate. Maybe I have been thinking on this because this has just been a hard month. My Lady passed on the 1st and Donna passed on the 15th and I miss them. Maybe the Lord is speaking to me on this subject.

Types of Friends

  • First
  • School
  • College
  • Church
  • Work
  • Fairweather
  • Fake
  • Social Media
  • For Now
  • True Blue

That’s a lot of different types of friends you will have over your lifetime. I can say, “Oh, my friend Jane, from elementary school just did this and this” according to social media.

We all know that the goal in life is to get as many “friends” as humanly possible on any and every social media platform. Honestly though, are they really all friends?

Have their feet been under your table? Do they truly know you now? Have they walked through difficult times with you or you with them? Even though you may not talk to them daily, weekly, or monthly, even yearly… can you still count on them?

If you can, and there are several I can, count yourself blessed.

Here are some examples from this list.

First Friend

I fondly remember meeting my first friend at Homemaker’s. My mom went and Julie and I would sit in the floor and take our shoes off. We remained friends throughout all our school days. I went to her house and spent the night a lot. Honestly, I don’t really remember her coming to my house but she did come to my Smurf’s birthday party and for a sleepover one year.

Overtime, we grew apart, as most people do. We know little to nothing about each other in our adult lives. Yet, I still hold her very dear to my heart. I know if I ran into her, we would quickly chat the night away and catch each other up on our lives.

Also, Terri Ann…we did not go to school together but we did got to church together. She went to a “rival” school. We grew up together and she was the first person I knew that had ever been adopted. Basically, she introduced me to the concept and it has stuck with me all these years. She even sang at my wedding. Again, our lives do not intertwine (she moved to another state) but if we did chat…we would not miss a beat.

School Friends

Do I even talk to any of my school friends? Did I even have friends in school? I had Julie but that was about it. My school days were not great. I was bullied a lot and because my dad was a police officer, I never got invited to anything. Sadly, I would mask and try to inject myself into the different clicks. That didn’t work very well. I was just made fun of more, behind my back and to my face.

Honestly, I find it comical when people from any of my schools tried to “friend” me on a social media platform. When I first got on there, I would accept it and then look through their photos and read about their lives, yet no interaction. Then, I got smart. I mean, honestly, you didn’t like me then what makes you think you will like me now? You treated me like crap them, forgiveness and transformation can happen, but that doesn’t mean I have to let you in my life. Does that make sense?

College Friends

I had and still have one college friend. We were so close in college, then our lives took us in different directions. Once we stumbled back into each other’s lives, I count her as a true friend. She has been one that I’ve reached out to for prayer, to share my heart, and I always get Christlike and honest responses from her. I simply adore her.

Church Friends

Aw, this one is tricky. You want to think everyone is a friend…even the pastor and his wife. Then, you are slapped in the face with a frying pan. It’s all well and good if you stick to Sunday School and big church. Once you get involved, you see where the church is held together by duct tape and a q-tip.

The flaws, the lies, the theological differences, the disregard of an entire group because of their age. Then there is the “looking over” the things that should not be done by an age group. From there, you get threatened by your pastor, your pastor’s wife says that you should just “get over rape and be available to your husband. Suck it up, it’s over.” I still cannot believe that woman said that to my face.

Pastor’s who say your family is too big and to not attend a program offered. Counsel who forced my husband into “salvation” because they would not leave him alone and badgered the crap out of him.

“Friends” who told me that I was never going to be taken seriously because I was too loud, too outspoken, and my hair was pink. People who threatened to turn me over to CPS because I didn’t let my daughter have dessert one night. They demanded to know their personal story. I refused. It is not my story to tell and it is none of their business.

Luckily, I have still been able to maintain some respect and love for a few people from churches of the past. We don’t talk often but I hope they feel as if they can call me if they need me. I would do the same for a very select few.

I am so glad to have stumbled on Christian Fellowship. Richie and Jenny are two of the most genuine people I have ever met…no matter where we are. The love of Jesus and the desire to make Him known oozes out of their pores. I have never felt such family, love, and support, as I have felt going to this church.

Work Friends

Yep, again, only had one really. I called him my priest because when we met he was going to school to become a deacon in his Catholic Church. He did that. I was blessed to be invited and I know that he is one I can call. Other than that, there were none.

Fairweather Friends

These “friends” come and go like the ebbs and flow of the ocean. They get mad and step out of your life for a minute. Then, they get happy and start slowly beginning communication. Next up, they are all up in your stuff. Lastly, they flit off again. Several several several “friends” in this section of my life. I’ve decided to clip their wings so their is no more flitting into my life.`

Fake Friends

I think we can all say we have had fake friends. Honestly, most of my fake friends came from churches over the years. It is so funny to me, now, to see how spiritual they are on social media. Yet, when it comes down to slinging mud, getting dirty, being the hands and feet of Jesus, they are completely dismissive and judgemental.

I would LOVE to call these people out. There are so many people that knows these people and have horror stories of their behavior and actions towards others. It is embarrassing. Yet, I remember Exodus 14:14 and it says “The Lord will fight your battles. You simply need to be silent.”

There are days when I don’t want to be silent. Just saying. My flesh gets all up in my feels and I want to scream from every rooftop what a fake these people are and to be aware.

Social Media Friends

In the world of social media, the more friends or followers, the more you look special and important. I’m here to say that is a crock of crap. I went a long time with all my social media deleted but because I do reviews, I had to open some of them back up.

When I do reviews/giveaways, I check to see if anyone entered to win whatever is being given away but other than that, I am not active. Twitter, Insta, FB, Pinterest, etc. I do have accounts but they are all linked through my blog and I think most have my blog name on them. If you check (with the exception of FB and Insta), I do not follow or befriend anyone. On FB, I have like 50+ people on there and those are the people that I keep up with and interact with. Now, I don’t necessarily do it on the platform. It may be through messaging or texts.

Over the years, outside of family, I have made 3 friends that I have been friends with for almost 20 years. We are all polar opposites, we don’t talk often, but there is a mutual love and respect that we have for each other. I am closer to one of those people than the other 2. I treasure each and every one of these ladies.

For Now Friends

These are in the moment friends. Whether that is from adoption (for us), foster care adoption (again for us), special needs, etc. These people have been with me in so many situations. I can count on these people, right now, for the season we are in. Sometimes these friends (or any friends) are for a season. They ebb and flow like the waves of the ocean. You know what though? That is okay.

They were there for the season that you needed them. Glean what you can, apply it to your life, and then spread it to others who are entering that particular situation.

When something arises, I know that I can reach out to a few mamas that are raising kids from hard places. These are the ears I want because they are judgement free and they follow with prayer. I covet those friendships.

True Blue Friends

Well, this comes down to it. My college friend is definitely a true blue friend. She is there, hopefully, for the long haul. Our paths still may go in different directions, but her number is in my phone and I do not hesitate to call. My Lady and Donna they were my true blue friends. Now, they are with Jesus.

One of my social media friends can be counted in this group. We are so different and lead such different lifestyles, yet we respect each other and we look past the differences to see the heart behind the human.

My For Now Friend is still hanging tight with me. I swear, we are the only two people who actually get what we are saying and don’t even think twice. She is such a friend that she has stood in the gap when I had to take a break from parenting one of my more difficult children. There was never hesitation. She just said “you are doing this.” I was in such a state, that all I did was cry and barely utter thank you. She has 7 children from hard places and she literally took my child for a little over a month to help my family regroup. Love her.

My pastor and his wife. They would have my back at anytime. Another couple from church who we just think the world of would help us at any moment. My Steph. Forever. These are all people from church.

I could name more people, like Susan but know that my circle is small and that is what I prefer. Slowly, I am finding more people who fall into this category that are new but hopefully long-lasting. You know, like a really good battery.

I don’t have many (and I’m not even mentioning family) but the few I have are powerful warriors who would do any and everything to help our family if/when we need it. These people have seen us at our worse and still loves, prays, and tries to help. Lately, its been pretty bad!

Acquaintances

Let me sum it up with this meme.

Misuse of the Word Friends

Let’s start calling a spade a spade. A true blue friend is your friend through thick and thin. The most of rest are just acquaintances with some genuinely amazing exceptions. Guess what? That is OKAY!

Oh! Just in Case You Were Wondering

My mother (my Oak) is not my friend. She is my mom.

My daddy is not my friend. He is my dad.

My children and grandchildren are not my friends. I am their parent, they have enough friends. They need a parent to guide them not always agree with them.

My husband is not my friend. He is my lover, my rock, my person, husband, father of my children, grandfather of my grandchildren, stabilizer, leader.

Friends come and go in the night. Family stays forever.

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We are Not What We Seem

We are Not What We SeemWe are Not What We Seem

Do you ever stop and realize that jealousy has overcome your thoughts and emotions?  Well, We are Not What We Seem, this is where I am being convicted.  Honestly, I don’t even like the word jealousy, so I use the word covet LOL… how is that any different?  LOL

I’m so extra!

There are times when I look at people, situations, homes, social media, etc. and I struggle.  They look like the happiest, most in-love couple.  Their houses are Hallmark worthy.  The kids are well dressed with awesome haircuts and their dogs don’t shed.

I mean, let’s be real.

Big Daddy and I have disagreements.  Now, we certainly don’t “fight” but we’ve had our issues over the years.  One issue, in particular, has taken me a lot of time to forgive and come to peace with.  My house has all sorts of different flooring, there are vomit stains on our carpet, pee stains that have warped my laminate, and it smells a bit like green onions and feet at all times.  The children wear the same clothes day in and day out.  I mean, seriously, these clothes can walk themselves to the laundry room.  However, I have learned how to cut hair, so if you want to be bald, buzzed, or go for the Amish look…I’m your girl!

My animals.

Well, I have Karl who is very much a lover of people but is quite the exhibitionist, so we gotta cover him up quite often.  Karen likes to lick your face and get in your personal space while you pee.  Chip is a bit crazy and likes to bite toes.  Inez, well, she isn’t my cat.  I have named her and I feed her, but she isn’t mine.

Francis is a senior dog and she has bad hips and a bad back.  We think she is going blind and she doesn’t hear as well as she used to.  Her anal glands are a bit potent.  Ted has short man syndrome.  His mouth doesn’t shut all the way so the tip of his tongue sticks out all the time.  Lola.  She fell off the couch and swallowed 4 teeth.  Honestly, she falls going up and downstairs.  She falls walking across the floor or getting in or out of her bed.  Also, she walks with her right leg up, at all times.  She thinks she is a princess.  When you pick her up, she is a nervous licker so you get the full effect of her breath which smells like sewage.

Nothing I own is nice.

Parts have flown off my van while I have driven down the road.  I have buttholes (literal) in my walls.  There was a child that was thrown through a wall and lest we forget the head that was plowed into the wall.  The leaves and frogs in my pool.  Our chicken nooses still hanging on the mancave.

This is our reality.

So when I see the images, my brain perceives one thing when the reality is so different.  I feel those fleshly feelings of wondering why my life cannot look or be like another.  That person has the perfect marriage.  This couple never has to worry about money.  Their kids are so respectful, see where I’m going?

YET the Lord has shown me that what I “think” I see is not reality.

There are so many instances of Him showing me this.  Honestly, I can distinctly remember when I was chatting with a friend that I perceived as having it all.  I mean, a Hallmark worthy home, great kids, great jobs, a great marriage, always in church, etc.  It seems like nothing is out of their reach.

As I was speaking to her, I made a statement about something I had dealt with in my past and I looked over and tears were streaming down her face.  It caught me off-guard.  I sat there, in silence, with my arm around her.  At that moment, I knew that words did not need to be spoken, just love and silent prayers.  She shared, briefly, what was going on inside her Hallmark home and her heart was broken.

Which humbled me and broke my heart.  People, you just never know.  Unless your feet are under their table or you are able to jump into a person’s skin and walk around a mile or so in it…never assume.

The guilt I felt after the realization of the truth was profound.

There are no perfect people.  Also, no perfect families.  My job is to love one another.  Share my story and use my story for His glory.  Do my best for my family and live a life honoring to God.  I need to stop coveting (being jealous) of others and be thankful for what the Lord has blessed me with.

Big Daddy, I adore.  My kids are precious.  The animals bring us joy, most of the time.  We have a home, vehicles, and the ability to pay our bills.  God is good, all the time and all the time God is good.

I need to get over myself.  Simple as that.

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Thoughts from a Hospital Room

Thoughts from a Hospital Room

I have spent a lot (I literally mean A LOT) of time in hospitals since 2015.  Between my Lady, daddy, mother-in-law, son, and more…my job is night duty.  That is my thing, I don’t sleep well anyway, so why not stay so other family members can rest.  As I was sitting with my MIL last night, these were my Thoughts from a Hospital Room.

Spectacular Human

First and foremost, my MIL is an amazing woman!  Her love and devotion to her family are astounding.  She is humble, kind, and just precious.  I’m so thankful that I was blessed with her in my life.  We had some deep conversations.  Many, I am sure, she will not remember.  I will though!

Tears were shed, honesty was spoken, love was present.  Also, she is a freaking powerhouse.  I told her that she cannot be a superwoman, at this point, in her life.  She needs to take care of herself (she had a hip replacement).  The doctor said she took that hip as far as she could.  Honestly, he was amazed that she had endured so much pain. She pushed herself as far as she could.  Rockstar.  That is what she is.  A freaking rockstar.

Polar Opposites

We are polar opposites!  I mean, not just a little bit.  She is quiet, reserved, and self-assured.  I am loud, balls to the walls, and self-conscious.  Yet, we mesh.  It is so funny how I blew into this family and shook them all to their core.  I brought LOUDNESS to this family.  Honestly, I adore her.

Thoughts from a Hospital Room

We were talking about books (where we have similar tastes)!  I have not had time to read because I’ve homeschooled for 20 years.  The books I read are to my children because I am a firm believer in expanding your mind through the written word.  We are not big on tv, video games, or phones.  All my children have a deep love of books, unlike their father!  He is not a big reader.  Actually, he is a bathroom reader LOL.

We were talking about The Client and that I was struggling through it.  Honestly, neither of us like fiction too much.  I told her that I was read the first half of the book and then I put it down.  Deep down, I struggle with the fact that I have not finished it.  We talked about my Type A personality or OCD.

Type A

I read that “Type A individuals tend to be very competitive and self-critical. They strive toward goals without feeling a sense of joy in their efforts or accomplishments.”  HECK YES!  I would finish that book even though I could not stand it.  This time, I went against my grain and I put it down.  It is killing me that I did not complete something.  Seriously, I feel like a failure.

Stupid, I know.  Yet, that is how I feel.  Like when I get in my obsessive mode and watch a tv show, I have to watch every episode.  If I don’t, it disturbs me greatly.  Yet, as I was speaking to my MIL, she was like “if you don’t like it, why to waste your time and finish it?”

Revelation

That statement gave me permission and freedom to say “NO!”  This is a minor, first-world issue.  Sadly, it is still an issue and a thing for me.  Fellow Type A or OCD people get this feeling.  Lately, I have been very intuned with triggers that are not healthy for me.  I’m learning to step back, not complete, calm down, re-evaluate and not finish something.  So hard.

Triggers suck.  There are some topics I stay away from whether it is a person, situation, book, movie, or whatever.  Some things I stay away from is anything that surrounds sexual abuse or rape specifically.  That word, itself, triggers me and makes my stomach hurt.  Anything that deals with suicide or even actors or have made that choice.  I don’t watch movies with them in it.  That issue stabs me in the heart.  War movies or books.  I have mad respect for those serving and who have served.  It breaks my heart to think of what these people/families have endured for me.

Maybe it is Silly

Yet, to me, it is real.  It affects me.  Why would I want to purposefully do something that will alter or trigger my mental health?  Our job is to surround ourselves with things that bring us joy and/or happiness.  With my mental illness (clinical depression and PTSD according to my doctor), I choose to say no.

So, as crazy as it may sound, I put the book down, skip shows, fast forward through parts of movies.  Heck, I have gotten rid of movies and books.  If someone in my life is toxic, I love and pray for them from afar.  I don’t voluntarily jump into their lives and try to fix it (though I wish I could all the time).  It is not my job.  That is the job of Jesus.

Sincere Love and Appreciation

For my mother-in-law because in her hazy moments after surgery, she spoke such truth to me.  I felt loved, appreciated, and understood.  Today, I choose joy.  In all things, honestly.  Today, I give you permission to SAY NO and put things down that you don’t dig.  Let it go.  Just let it go!  Oh, and don’t forget…LET IT GO!

 

Life or Something Like It

Thoughts Swirling Through My Head

Thoughts Swirling Through My Head

Thoughts Swirling Through My Head

These are the Thoughts Swirling Through My Head.  If you want to go Back to the Beginning, you can click there.  I have been traveling many hours in vans, cars, planes, and buses.  There have been 7 hospitals, in 3 states, that I have slept in…oh…and one nursing home.  I have stood in more funeral homes than I would like to.  Also, I have cared for and prepared the bodies of too many people I love.  I have cried many tears.

It should be said that I have learned so much.  Possibly that I have found the meaning of life through births and deaths.  Sadly, I haven’t.  I would be remiss if I didn’t say something about growing closer to Christ.  Maybe that I have found the secret to peace in the midst of chaos.  Yep, haven’t felt or done those things either.

All The Things

This year, I vowed that I would not spend ANY time in hospitals, nursing homes, doctors’ offices, or funeral homes.  Guess what…that vow flew out the window as soon as it could.  Panic ensued when my mom said that daddy might need a “procedure.”  After he had a stroke and then quadruple bypass the following year…he needs no one to touch him because he is fine.

Then, Hunter got worse and we traveled for answers.  We got our answers.  Now, I travel monthly just so he can receive the medications he needs.  Another person, whom I love deeply, is facing the battle of her life.  All I can do is to cook and send cards or call.  Another dear person to my heart had tongue cancer.  Oh, then there are 2 people that were in my “tribe” growing up and they both have Alzheimer’s.

Hits Just Keep On Coming

I mean, seriously, it goes on and on and on.  In the face of it all…all the travels…all the tears, I have seen the face of Jesus.  We have argued, a lot (by we, I mean me).  I have cried so many tears but then I am reminded of this verse:

When I read that, I realize that He has not left me or forsaken me.  He has the perfect provisions in mind for every single moment that something comes up.  I have learned how to trust Him, most times.  Also, I have learned how strong my family is and how protective they are of their tribe.  Lastly, I have learned to let go…for the most part.

So, with all that being said

Why does it take a life-altering condition, a life-threatening disease, an accident, or a death to fully tell the ones that you love how you feel about them?

Take a moment and call, text, write a letter to someone.  Tell them that you love them.  Tell them what they mean to you. Don’t let another moment pass.  If you need to forgive someone, forgive them.  If you need to hug someone, hug them.

Life is too short.

Treat those around you with love and respect. Quit the judgment, quit the lecturing, quit the hate. Speak with kindness.  Who cares if that person is gay, straight, black, white, male, female, family, friend, someone you do not like, or acquaintance.  The Lord places every single human you see, in your visual sight, for a reason.

Have you ever thought about that?  It is all purposeful to Him.  How are you using that knowledge?  I set out to do better, but then satan whispers in my ear.  My goal has been to retrain my thoughts and words.

Stop focusing on the negative and giving Satan more power than what he needs.  I’ve been rewording things in a positive manner.

Life is but a vapor.

Today, I got a call from a friend.  We have been friends for about 10 years or so.  I was incredibly close to her daughter.  Her daughter chose to end her life a few months back.  I had the privilege of preparing my friend’s body for her mom and children to see.

That was one of the most difficult things I have ever done.  I still struggle…but those pains will stay within me for only Jesus to see and deal with.

However, today, she called to tell me she loved me.  She thanked me for all the years that I have been there for her and her family.  I heard how special I was, in her eyes.  What a precious thing to hear.

A Long Time Ago

I found out a friend of mine…her mom…had cancer and was dying.  Now, we all went to church together growing up.  Parents, kids, we were all friends.  One of her daughters was at my wedding.  The other daughter came, as well.  I love her family.

When I found out, though I had not talked to her in 10 years, I called.  First, I spoke with her husband.  It had been a long time, so I used my maiden name.  Of course, he remembered me.  I explained why I was calling.  I got the privilege to speak to Frieda and fully tell her how much I loved and appreciated her when I was growing up.

Months later, she died.  I thought no one knew of that phone call and that her husband was so grief-stricken…it didn’t really matter at that point.  I went to the visitation.  When I saw Buck, her husband, he looked at me and cried.  He hugged me and then told me how much he thought of me.  He said that that phone made Frieda’s day.  That he could never thank me enough for my words to her during that time.

What took 10 minutes out of my day meant the world to her and her husband.  That’s what it is all about.  Step out of self and reach out to someone from church, from your childhood, an estranged family member or friend.

Challenge

Reach out to 3 people a day.  Write a letter, send a text, call, send an email to someone that you love. Tell them 3 things you love or admire about them.  God will bless you and you will be blessed.

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Relaxation A Beginning

Relaxation A BeginningRelaxation A Beginning

Relaxation A Beginning.  I live in the land of stress.  It is not a nice land…..lots of moles, vermin, sewage issues, etc. My Lady fusses at me all the time about my stress level and how much I take on.  I mean, I care for her (I see that more as a privilege).  Also, I have 7 kids.

My Kids

There is one who is trying to find love and a job in her field.  Oh, and one just left love and is heartbroken, as well as going to college.  We have one in military school because of her behavior.  Then there is one who is finding himself as a “man” and beginning to drive.  Also, one with FASD and depression, along with learning disabilities.  Another one is hearing impaired.  Lastly, we have one with Opsoclonus Myoclonus Syndrome (OMS).

A Bit More

I have the counseling I do when I have the time, I have parents who I think/worry about, sibling issues, work issues, Big Daddy’s health stuff…..blah blah blah blah.

The first one, I experienced tonight!  The weather is starting to turn, so it isn’t too hot and it isn’t too cool.  My favorite times of the year.  I love love LOVE to have my windows down when I drive.  To hell with the snot that flings out my nose and hits the child in the seat behind me.  To hell with the bird’s nest that resides in my hair and I cannot get a brush through it.

Exhibit A:

This is what happens when you get a bright idea to be a girl and curl your hair…using LOTS of hair products.  This happens to be the same day that your daughter has therapy and it is one of those glorious cool/warm days when I drove 40 miles to the therapist’s office.

I got out of the car, with my daughter who never said a word.  I walked into a room full of clients who are staring at me.  My first thought was “I am on fire today and I look like a girl and they are all being jealous.”  I smile…I go to sign the register.  The receptionist looks at me and gasps.  I smile and say “yep, I know you never see me looking all nice with my hair curled, so yes…it is still me…just with my hair done.”

She gives me this weird smile.  We sit.  The daughter does her school work and I decide to run to the bathroom…and this is what I found.  This was the result of freshly fixed hair, lots of product, and my obsession with the window being down.  “It’s All About Mary” came to mind.  I about died.  Died.  I just about died.  There was no laying this sucker down.  Short of me sticking my head in the toilet to wet it…..I just decided to embrace it.

I Can’t Stop

As we were driving home from a family movie/dinner night…we rolled the windows down and I just sat there, with my eyes closed and the wind blowing in my face…I was at peace.  I couldn’t hear the children because of the wind in my ears (and hearing loss LOL).  I couldn’t see anything around me because it was dark.  Just glorious wild wind.  I’m glad Big Daddy was driving so I could enjoy the full scope of it all.

Try it sometime…..but carry a brush with ya 🙂

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