Today, let's talk about something that everyone, everywhere, at some point in their lives, deals with.
Specifically, being a friend, having friends, keeping friends, losing friends, and nurturing friendships. You've all seen this saying floating all over Pinterest, "Comparison is the thief of joy". Well that is all good and true but I want to make one that says "Comparison is the serial killer of friendships."
Not quite the same ring to it? Whatevs. The point remains. Comparison, jealousy, and insecurity murder friendships. Annihilate them.
I can trace back a large amount of the rifts and tears and bumps and bruises in my friendships to insecurity. Either mine, or theirs, or both of ours. I can think specifically of one friendship right now that has grown distant and cold, largely due to my own insecurity. I just never feel good enough around her. Like I could never compare, or measure up. And so that insecurity builds a wall between us, brick by brick right in front of my eyes, and it makes me so sad, but I feel helpless to change it.
I can think of another friendship that has never really managed to get off the ground much at all, once again due to my own pile of insecurities. She is the epitome of feminine grace, sweet disposition, and nurturing gentleness. And I just feel so....opposite whenever I'm around her. I feel loud and clunky and opinionated and wild and boisterous and just.....too much. And so my own insecurity stifles what could be a great friendship between two very different personalities.
I KNOW what you're thinking. Shelley? The extrovert? The outgoing one who quickly makes new friends? How could she be insecure in friendships? But if I've said it once I've said it a 1,000 times....we deal with insecurity just as much as anyone else. Maybe even more. We just know how to hide it better.
But before I get too far here, I think you need to drop everything and head on over here and check out this video on Friendship, by the Girls with Glasses. And let it just marinate with you for a minute that if these women (who are completely amazing and creative and warm and friendly and incredible) can struggle with finding a healthy balance in their friendships, then you my friend, are certainly not alone.
I love all of their points:
1. Don't Gossip.
2. Be Helpful.
3. Don't Judge.
5. Rejoice with those who rejoice.
And I also really loved what Brooke said in the beginning about not only trying to make good friends, but learning how to be a good friend. Because I think sometimes we're all a little bit too concerned about everyone else needing to be a good friend to us, without stopping to think about how we could be a good friend to them. It takes time, work, energy and effort, and it doesn't come easily. Sometimes it is giving when you'd rather receive. Sometimes it is listening when you'd rather unload. But if you want to have good friends you need to be a good friend. It really is as simple as that.
Oh, and the rejoicing with those who rejoice?! I cannot emphasize that enough! Boy howdy is it hard to be happy for that girl who gets the promotion, the new house, the husband, the baby, the fancy car, the vacation, the National bestseller, the fur coat, whatever. It's hard. Duh, we all know that.
But you still need to do it! And this is not just another Pinterest cliche, or something the Girls with Glasses thought up. It's in the Bible. God thought of it first. We need to rejoice with those who rejoice. Be happy for others when something good comes their way. Don't be jealous, don't begrudge them, don't feel sorry for yourself. Just rejoice with them! And then one day maybe others will do the same for you.
But coming back around to my original point, I wish they would have elaborated more on comparison in friendship. (Which they didn't, probably because they have a whole other video about comparison! Check it out!!! I'll save my thoughts on that for another entire post:)
And I wish I could say I've discovered some mystical elixir or magic bullet that has eliminated all of its ugly root systems from my life, but unfortunately, insecurity remains. It rears its ugly head at the most inopportune moments, sometimes causing me to act in a way I very much regret later or make words come spilling out that leave me frantically grabbing at the air trying to stuff them all back in. But the fact unfortunately remains, it is fatal to friendships.
So what to do? Well, other than the points already listed and mentioned, I would say the biggest, most profound, and yet unconsidered vaccination against comparison, is finding your security and your identity in Jesus Christ. I even had a friend recently tell me that when she is having her quiet time with God consistently, these other friendship struggles seem to become just a little bit smaller.
And it just makes perfect sense, doesn't it?
That when we are trying to find security in our own accomplishments, or in other people's opinions of us, or in something else of our flesh, we will be left disappointed and disillusioned and defeated every time. Because we don't have what it takes, in and of ourselves. We aren't perfect. We are flawed. But when we are finding our identity in Christ, we are able to then love ourselves and love others.
And obviously it's SUPER difficult to be a good friend when you don't even feel like a very good person. And that's precisely what insecurity does. It's conceived in comparison, matured in jealousy, and produces insecurity. And then it begins to spread its roots and poison farther and farther into all of our relationships and friendships until we're not even sure we like ourselves anymore.
BUT.....(thank goodness there's a 'but')
Greater is He that is in us than He that is in the world.
We are made in His image. In Him, we live and move and have our being. We were not a mistake. Our days are written in His book. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. He is the complete expression of love, and it is His desire to lavish love on us. His plan for our future has always been filled with hope. His thoughts of us are countless as the sand on the seashore and He rejoices over us with singing. If we seek Him, we WILL find Him.
And He is able to do more than we could possibly imagine.
Well I received such positive feedback from my Fashion Friday post last week, I think I will try and keep this series going! You are were so sweet and encouraging, and it was so fun to receive such uplifting feedback on trying something new.
Everyone needs cheerleaders like you in their life.
For this Friday's post, I will propose a solution to that "The-ONLY-things-I-want-to-wear-today-are-leggings-and-a-tank-top" feeling. We ALL have those days. We wake up, pry our eyes open, and peel ourselves off of the bed only to realize that nothing in our closet appeals to us more than a pair of comfy leggings and a tank top. Or maybe even less than that. But we're going out, and unfortunately, we need to put something on.
In my case, it was Thursday morning and I was headed off to Bible study, but when you're scrambling around the house getting showered and bathing little girlies and combing everyone's hair, finding shoes and trying to get some breakfast down too....you don't want a lot of constricting layers or thick fabrics making you sweat before you even head out the door!
So go ahead and put on those soft leggings and a thin layering camisole, and then throw on a loose-fitting, lightweight dress, (maybe something silk or chiffon) and you won't even notice it! It feels just as perfectly comfortable as wearing leggings and a tank top, all the while offering a lot more modest coverage.
I like to keep my eyes open for lightweight dresses year-round (this one was on clearance at Old Navy) because even if they're not technically "in season" they transition so seamlessly through different weather.
In the summer, throw it on with a hat and sandals. In the fall, style with tall boots and leggings. In In the winter, layer with a scarf, blazer, and knit tights. Then when spring comes around again you will find yourself reaching for it with rain boots and a light cardigan. My favorite pieces are always ones that can be utilized any month of the year!
That's all for now! And now I'd love to hear from some of you what your go-to, "comfort first" outfits are. Because let's be honest, when chasing after little ones all day, comfort pretty quickly becomes a top priority.
It's the weekend people, hope you have a great one!
The last leg of our vacation found us camping in tents in Whistler's Bend. Do these places have cool names or what? I didn't really think of it at the time, but while working on this post and editing these photos, I noticed that it is already cool and cloudy and gray today, I wore leggings and boots earlier this morning and I just FEEL it........summer is over. And so that would make this kind of the last "trip"of our summer, closing the chapter of summer 2014.
Which is extra sad when you stop to think about the fact that you only get maybe 17, 18 summers with your kids TOTAL. And they're off on other adventures of their own, and not tagging along with you on every camping, swimming, frozen yogurt run adventure you come up with.
Kinda terrifying, isn't it?
These pictures were taken during a little mama/daughter time down at the river trying to help pass the time because Randy wasn't with us. He had driven back home to squeeze in a day of work and everyone was missing him and I was tired of the single mom life.
The girls were grumpy and tired and long story short, one of them ended up throwing a rock at me. It certainly was not as idyllic and peaceful and perfect as these pictures portray, but really, is it ever??
But that's the beauty of photos....I won't remember the little frustrations of those moments, but I will remember the breathtaking landscape on a sunny September day, with my little adventurers beside me. I mean......WOW Oregon is so beautiful. I feel like a total broken record, but I never really get over it. Every time I venture out again I am astonished all over again at the rugged, wild, raw BEAUTY of this place that we call home.
We are blessed.
Randy returned that evening and all was right in our little world. We sat around the campfire late into the night as the children slept in their tents and all told stories and laughed and laughed. It seems like growing older results in laughing a little less. Maybe it's because bills and home owning and parenthood all gets a bit weighty and serious after a while and less of a laughing matter. I don't know.
But that evening I laughed and laughed, and it felt GOOD.
In the morning we had a big brunch, complete with a delicious egg scramble, bacon, and homemade sourdough french toast topped with strawberries and syrup. Maybe a little bit of an over-achievement for a camping breakfast but that morning we sure weren't complainin'! YUM.
Later on in the day we took the kids to the playground to burn some energy and eat a picnic lunch. I discovered later that it was also burning right through their nap window and so that turned out to be a little bit of a difficulty, but all was well in the end. Randy and I floated down the river on inner tubes while others watched our kids (lucky us) and then we held down the fort (or the camp) while the others got to float. Who says parents don't get to do fun stuff??
All in all, it was a wonderful vacation and just what we needed to try and wind down our crazy, whirlwind summer. And with a little more camping/summer fun under my belt, I can finally say I'm ready for the new season.
Bring it on, Fall!
While we were staying at the lake house, we were not very far from the coast, so one afternoon we drove to the beach and spent some time breathing in that salty ocean air.
I never tire of watching my girls enjoy the ocean. Perhaps it's because Jocelyn was such a timid soul, it took her a long time to finally warm to it, and now that they have I don't want to take it for granted for a single moment. Charlotte, on the other hand, seemed to form a bond with the beach immediately, and rarely hesitates to get her hands dirty and her feet wet. She cries when we have to leave, begging for more sand and waves. I can already tell she will be my little sandy-blonde beach babe.
Long before I ever knew anything about it, someone was filming a documentary called "Project Wild Thing" that while very interesting, failed to teach me anything I didn't already know.
Kids need to be outdoors.
Everyone needs to go outdoors more.
In our world of technology at every fingertip, we are missing something.
We are sicker, sadder, lonelier, and more depressed when we don't venture out.
And while I feel like I knew all that it had to say already, it was still so stirring to watch. To really see, process and FEEL the need anew to get children (and adults) outside again and back to nature. I am passionate about it for sure, but I am even more passionate that all of the exploration and discovery and adventure points to Something, or rather, Someone.
The documentary left me feeling a bit empty because it was all about Mother Nature and how being outside is calming and relaxing and recharging for.....well....no particular reason. It was all a bit of a mystery.
When really, I think it's all rather simple. Being outdoors is rejuvenating because we are taking in the glory and the beauty of the Creator God. We are being reminded, constantly, that there is something bigger than us.
Bigger than our stress.
Bigger than our fears.
Bigger than our problems.
And we feel smaller and higher and deeper and lighter all at once, and the clouds part and the sun shines down and we feel ourselves smiling way down to our toes.
But that is not the power of "nature".
That is the power, of the CREATOR.
I was gonna try my hardest not to make this little mini vacation into a 3-parter or anything, but I'm afraid it's just going to have to be! It wasn't even THAT long....we were only gone Tuesday night through Friday evening, but there are just too many goodies for one blog post!
For the first couple of days, we stayed at a lake house with friends near the coast. And let me tell you.....this is one of those places that leaves an ache in your gut that you know you just simply HAVE to return to one day. It's name was "Loon Lake" and if you know anything about Anne of Green Gables, then you know she would've approved.
Its raw natural beauty was simply breathtaking and I could not get done exclaiming over it. I only realized what a broken record I'd become when my 3-year-old started exclaiming, "It's SO BEAUTIFUL here!" over and over. :) Hey, if she somehow manages to absorb a love for Jesus and the outdoors through this wild life, my job will be well done.
We spent most of our time lounging around and talking, playing games, eating good food, and soaking in the beauty all around. We've been running around like headless chickens all summer, so it was just what the doctor ordered. But the next time I head out there (and trust me, there will be a next time) I'm taking a BOAT. Or kayak. Or floatie. Anything to get me out on that lake!
Deer seemed to be roaming all over the place, venturing near the house and seemingly unfazed by the high-pitched shrieks of excited children. Even small spotted fawns seemed perfectly at ease in our close proximity. It was as if we'd stepped right into that magical forest in Bambi where all of the woodland creatures break into song. It was almost that magical.
And let's talk for a minute about how good it felt to see this guy relax for once! Jimminy Cricket's...he's been racing around like a Kenyon marathoner with work and his myriad of other responsibilities, and I just love to see him slow down, even if it's just for a day or two. He did have to return home to squeeze in a day of work in the midst of the trip, but he let the girls and I keep right on vacationing, even without him. We were sure happy to see him when he came back to join us though! It certainly wasn't the same without him.
These sweeties played so well together, and my two girls were ALL over Gibson (pictured above), quite literally at times. They loved him Just. So. Much. They begged to feed him, hold him, pet him, tickle him, every day and all day long. I just love seeing them so nurturing and having that desire to mother and love little ones already.
Why is it so much easier to connect with God in a place like this?? It's as if the grandeur of His creation all around you tugs at your heartstrings as He whispers "Come spend time with me."
I'm reading in Romans right now and in chapter one it says, "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse."
I think that was so beautiful, and magnificently generous of God.
That not only did He send His son, but He designed the entirety of His glorious creation to display his power and divine nature. Incredible! So that even something as simple as taking a walk through the trees, a hike over the mountains, or a swim in a lake can become an act of worship. A time of drawing closer to Him, talking with Him and communing with Him.
What are some of your favorite outdoor memories from this summer with your family? I'd love to hear!
We're back from our mini vacation, and I wish I could say we are completely relaxed and rested and rejuvenated, but...that is just not the case. We got back friday night and spent Saturday at our church's Heritage Day and then Sunday was busy as usual, and here we are on Monday, still trying to recover.
The pickup still needs to be unloaded of some things, the laundry is not caught up, I'm canning pizza sauce today and continuing (sort of) to potty train, and the girls seem intent on devouring hidden packs of gum and coloring themselves green with markers, and so you know.....life goes on.
The catch-22 of vacations is that they are really awesome but they are also a lot of work. But I guess that applies mostly to vacations with children. Because I think of our trip to Hawaii and I sigh melodramatically and get lost in wistful nostalgia of how EASY and SIMPLE everything was.
But then the beauty of vacation with children is that you're not missing them every 15 minutes and wishing they could be there to experience what you're experiencing because, they are! And so that is work but it is wonderful, and it is tiring, but it is so very rewarding.
I don't have time to blog about it now because of aforementioned pizza sauce canning, and children trying to out-do each other in a competition to tear the house apart, and the only reason I'm writing this little blurb is because they are taking a little mid-afternoon bath. Oh did I mention they decided not to nap today??!
So I will just leave you with a few shots from Instagram.
Tune in later (on a less crazy, hectic, frazzled day) for more of our camping/coast adventure!