Tag Archives: friends

5 Things

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My lovely friend Stacy likes to post 5 positive things that have happened to her that day.  At the turn of the year, I started writing 3 things, got discouraged, and gave up.  Sometimes it is hard to see the light…today she inspired me to try.  Here is my list for yesterday:

1.  I was on time for work: At my job if you are even a minute late, you have to conference with the Big (literally and figuratively) Boss.  I don’t like her and have no desires to dialogue with her.

2.  Cleaned the aquarium: A yucky, time-consuming job–but somebody has to do it.

3.  A Surprise Call:  My cousin El called to see how I was doing, which was nice and unexpected.

4.  Texting: I love this form of communication and it’s easy to send a cheerful message or get some instant support.

5.  Living in America:  Even on our worst days, we Americans live so much better than our counterparts in third world countires.

The Sisterhood

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There are places in cyberspace where sisters of all ages, creeds, and colors meet up as often as they can for a little girl talk, motivation, support, love, candor, and fun.

This is only one such place. 

You all are like sisters to me! After I read the comments left on Date Night I started laughing, then I started crying.  I cried out of sadness  (just the fact that I even have to date) but more so out of gratitude.  I am so thankful that you all have been here with me.  It has been a long, strange trip, my friends!  Who knew that I would begin as stepmom and end up Ms. Singlemama?

Maybe God knew (of course He did) that I would need this circle of love to get me through a very tender season?  Blogging has no doubt helped carry me through the abysss.

I take your advice and suggestiions to heart because I know you gals want the best for me and vice versa.  I just value you ALL beyond belief!!! So I thank you Stacy, Joy, Doraz, Suzanne, Justaglimpse, Rhonda, Leila, Crys, Been There, Dragonflymama, Serendip, Kweenmama, Starla, Old Freind, Kelly, Destined,  Natalie, Yo, Amy, and anyone else that I forgot to mention who has been kind enough to leave a comment on this blog!

One love,

Morocco

A Diet Dr. Pepper and a Smile

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Monday afternoon I received some very sad news.  My mom and stepdad’s dear friend, Terry, died.  I immediatedly started crying as I listened to his SIL’s voicemail.  I called to tell George and he was clearly devastated.  Terry was his “buddy.”

Terry and my mother attended the same dialysis clinic for years.  My mother loved him, and he likewise.  Everytime we talked she would tell me the lastest stories about him.  Terry was also the stepfather to a boy I had a major crush on in high school, so that scored more points for him!

When my mother died Terry was at the service sharing his memories of her.  That meant a lot to me.  He reached out to us in our time of need.  A few months ago, we all went out to dinner and had a great time.  He was such a charming, eccentric person, and the perfect gentleman.

After I calmed down a few hours later, I called his SIL to get information about the arrangements.  I thought I was okay but I starting crying again.  She replied Now you know Terry wanted everyone happy.  He didn’t want anyone crying.  He left specific instructions  to be cremented.  Half of his ashes will go in a Diet Dr. Pepper bottle (his favorite beverage) and spread over one of the Canadian mountain ranges.  The rest will go to his family.  He didn’t want a funeral, but he wanted a party to celebrate his life.    LOL, I should have known!  Everytime I see a Diet Dr. Pepper, I’ll think of him! 

I was telling my friend Kara about his request when she mused that since we both loved tea, maybe we should get cremated and have our ashes placed in teabags!

Of course, George and I  will be there on Saturday to help celebrate his life over Diet Dr. Peppers and lots of smiles.

Gossip Girl

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I’ve written about this particular “friend” before and her burning need to gossip.  Tasha is known for being a busybody.  She attended the same junior high as both my husband and Eliza.  He said she was the same way then, too.  He felt she was a person that I needed to feed with a long handled spoon. 

In a way I don’t want to cut her off because she does have good qualities.  But here lately, her bad qualities are overwhelming her good ones.  For starters she viewed attending the funeral as a social event–a reunion of sorts.  Tasha stated that she wanted to be “cute” for the service as she never knew who would be there!  On the otherhand, she was very supportive in the aftermath of his death (she was the one in the photo with me on the post Be There).  Not to mention she has a wicked sense of humor and a fair sense of fashion.  When she is not being controlled by the green-eyed monster, she gives good advice and is a great listener.

I try to ignore her malignancy as much as possible.  When she gets to gabbing about others I change the subject or remain quiet.  I wish she would grow up.  However, I know Tasha is suffering from insecurity.   It makes her feel superior for a little while when she is slandering others.  Yet she hates when others do the same to her.  Tasha was complaining about a woman we both know spreading rumors about her!  I wanted to point out that it hurts when the shoe is on the other foot, but she can’t accept constuctive criticism.

She is highly competitive with all of her friends (not just me because I have heard all about them as I’m sure they have heard all about me!) and is very consumed by people who have “more” than her.  I rarely tell her about my accomplishments because I know that she can’t handle hearing such news. 

One day I was combing Jazmine’s hair when she called.  When she inquired about what I was doing, she responded Don’t you mean brushing?!  It was a snide comment that I didn’t play into.  No, I’m combing it.  Her hair has grown quite a bit since the last time you saw her, I patiently explained.  Sometimes she amuses me with her lack of decorum!

She also gets pretty annoyed with me because I do not divulge every detail of my life.  She is very free in her speech and talks about many things including her sex (blush!) life.  I’m not that way with any of my friends!  She often says I hate when people act like they can’t share details.  I know that the “people” she is referring to means me because she thinks that I am too secretive.  But I am very careful about what I say to her knowing that everyone in town would be privvy to the information a few hours later.  I keep the conversation on general terms with her–kids, recipes, shopping, movies, careers–nothing too revealing.

I am pretty good with managing money which I suppose gives her the impression that I have more than I do.  In in my present circumstances she is envious of me!  Who in their right mind would be jealous of a widow?!  She always makes comments that she wishes she could be like me and buy whatever she wants.  When she visits, she surveys the house and starts talking about how she to wants to buy a home and all of the other things she needs to get for her apartment that we already have.  A few times she has even bought her friends with her to show off our house!

I always feel like I am on “display” when she is around.  I can feel her studying and watching my every move.   And she has an opinion about everything!  To be honest I feel sorry for her because she is obviously hurting and unhappy with herself.  But she is too immature to seek another avenue to release her insecurities.  I don’t know how to build her self worth even though I try.  I am not willing to sacrifice my sanity for the sake of  friendship.  But I would like to attempt before ditching her completely.  So how do you help save a friend from this disease of the mouth?

Soul Food

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I really relish a good meal and food comforts me in many ways.  It plays such a big part in our lives–from wedding feasts to repast meals.  Frankly I don’t want to be anywhere that food is not!  I like to cook and bake as an expression of love and appreciation.

I need something to munch on when I’m watching movies or reading an intriguing book.  In fact, this weekend I am going “slumming” at a friend’s house.  We are going to watch “Slumdog Millionaire.”  The evening wouldn’t be complete with snacks! I’ve requested spicy garlic hot wings from BW-3 and a couple of Red Velvet Elvis’.  I plan to bring the champagne cola.  But my friend has a well-stocked pantry, so I know I will be able to eat to my heart’s delight.

Food serving  as a comforter is not a novelty.  I feel embraced by meatloaf, mashed potatoes with gravy, and southern fried corn.  It’s just so inviting!  With every bite I take it’s like going home again!  I also like hearty breads slathered with rich, creamy butter.  And pancakes, casseroles, and chicken and dumplings, grits (with butter, cream, and sugar!), sausage and gravy biscuits…the list is endless. 

What about you?

More Than a Conqueror

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“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. ” ~Romans 8:37

I first met her when I was in middle school.  We were not the best of friends.  Our journey continued on to high school.  We pretty much ignored each other.  Fate would have it that we would continue on to the same college.  Somehow we ended up talking casually being that we were both strangers in a strange land.  We having not stopped talking since. 

In 2005 she was diagnosed with breast cancer.  I was shocked beyond words.  She was so young!!!  I felt so afraid for her and could not stop my tears from flowing.  But through her trials she never gave up.  She is the epitome of courage.

She has been a fount of strength for me in my time of sorrow.  I can’t even articulate how her support, love, and positivity have kept me afloat. 

And she is currently going through another bout of cancer.  Her faith could move mountains.  She is such an inspiration that I encouraged her to start a blog.  Because I know that her life and experiences will bless others and keep their spirits buoyed, too.

Be There

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Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep..For none of us lives to himself…

Romans 12:15,14:7

As death is apart of the life cycle, it is bound to happen.  This is the one fate we all have in common.  I’m sure many of you have been in the seat of mourner.  During my period of mourning I have had some great support.  Death leaves a bitter taste in everyone’s mouth.  Sometimes you don’t know what you can do to help the person through their period of sadness and loss.  Here are a few things that I think are helpful to consider when helping those you are close to are grieving:

  • Silence is for Lambs: Always acknowledge the loss of the mourner’s loved one.  This can be done without words in the form of a simple hug, a greeting card, or a heartfelt smile.  Pretending like nothing has occurred is rather callous.  My own brother (Jazmine’s father) did not bother to attend the service or even acknowledge his death.
  • Practical Makes Perfect:  It was so helpful (and much appreciated) when friends, relatives, and coworkers provided me with meals!  Cooking is the last thing on your mind.  And of course, this is really a time that you need to nourish your body with good food.  Nicholas, Jazmine, and I were often invited to breakfast and dinner by family and several coworkers bought my lunch everyday or prepared it themselves.  If it wasn’t for these people, we would have starved! My cousin also volunteered tireless hours driving me around.  She made the roundtrip so that I could talk to Evan about his dad, too.  Another practical form of help is to assist in addressing thank you cards.  This is something that I didn’t feel like doing but my good manners would not allow me not to.  I even had several babysitting offers when I needed to take care of business.
  • 21 Questions is a Game Not to Play:  I say this because I have been asked some rather insensitive questions, such as was my husband overweight (no, he was not), did I cook healthy meals, (mostly) or was he ill (no again).  Allow the mourner the opportunity to grieve first.  They may or may not feel like divulging details of the death, and if  they don’t, then that’s okay, too.
  • Lipservice is Not Service: “If you need anything, let me know” is a common one.  Now I know people mean well and  hate to see a person that they love or care about hurting.  But only offer services that you are  truly capable of or are willing to lovingly provide.  One day, someone just might take you up on your generous offer which could create an ackward situation for both parties.  Also don’t offer simplistic platitudes such as “God needed him more.”  Even if it is true, that’s not what a grieving spirit wants to hear.
  • Rose-Colored Glasses Don’t Look Good On You:  One of my coworkers who is a wonderful man, is determined that I will not be sad.  He does everything to try and make me laugh.  However, it’s annoying.  I’m sad–sadder than sad and will be for quite some time.  But I have every right to be.  I don’t feel like laughing even when others think I should.  It is totally alright for people to experience a wide range of emotions while mourning.  Please give them this gift without the pressure of feeling that they need to “get over” their loss and be happy again.  I will be okay again one day in my own timing.
  • Disappearing Acts Are For Magicians: This is one of the most lonely and vulnerable times of grieving.  I imagine one could really lose their minds without proper support in place.  So don’t “go missing” after the service!  Grief is not something that ends with the funeral.
  • Use Your Ears for More Than Hanging Earrings:  I am so thankful to my friend Stacy, whom I met through blogging.  She listened to me cry and babble one night for over three hours!  I am grateful that she cared enough about a perfect stranger to sacrifice her time to make me feel better.  My friend Angela was wonderful as well.  I can’t stress how important it is to be a listening ear. 
  • Jumping to Conclusions is Not an Olympic  Sport: Don’t assume that a person grieving is “okay”  because they may appear to be fine. I am a perfect example of this because I hide my emotions very well.   Tears of a Clown is my theme song at the moment!  Check often on the person via email, text,  personal visits, cards, voicemail, or telephone calls to let the person know you are concerned about their wellbeing.  Also, don’t forget to include the mourner in on activities that you normally would.  It is eay to make the false assumption that “they won’t feel up doing anything.”  This is hurtful and not always the case.
  • Uh Huh…Okay…Shut-up: I have had several people tell me that I am “young and will marry again” or “you’ll be fine after a few years.”  Sometimes the best words to say are none at all.  Our society is so used to idle chatter that people are under the false impression that they have to say something when they don’t.
  • Be Clueless:  Feel free not to have a ready explanation as to why their loved one died.  We don’t know the answers to God’s many mysteries of life.  Just be there, your presence is enough.
  • Don’t Tiptoe Through the Tulips:  It is okay to talk about the deceased.  I’ve had a few of my coworkers look in horror when my students discuss the many times they saw my husband and I out.  He was alive once and it doesn’t bother me when people remember him.  Our family talks about him all the time.
  • Lace Up Your Nikes:  Don’t ask IF the grieving person needs something because you know they do!  Even if it is something as simple as a hug.  If you notice they haven’t been eating, buy them lunch.  Invite them to your home, baby-sit for a few hours, offer to run errands for them.  Most people are too shy/proud to admit that they really need someone to lean on.  Most mourners won’t interpret this as being intrusive.  I view it as people wanting to do something to help ease my pain.  The point is don’t wait for a vulnerable person to make a request because that may never happen–just do it! 
  • Orisons Are Awesome: This is the most beautiful and lasting form of support.  I know many of you have sent up prayers for me and I am in awe.  When I feel so low, which I often do, I can only wonder how much worse off I would be without the prayers of family, friends, fellow bloggers, perfect strangers, and coworkers to help keep me afloat.  I am so very grateful for all of the comments and warm thoughts left on my postings!  Thanks to all who have been  grieving with me.

It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times

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Reading Stacy’s lastest post inspired me to review the year.  Here is a list of  the best and worst things that happened in my life during the year of our Lord, 2008:

Best:

1.  Our family vacation in the Wisconsin Dells

2.  Getting Jazmine

3.  My class being featured on the news

4. Full Moon

5. Becoming stronger in my faith

6. I remained healthy

7. I made it through the year financially solvent

8. Turning 30

9. Weekend getaways with my husband

10. Nicholas playing football and winning 2nd place City Champs.

Worst:

1.  My mother dying

2.  My husband dying

3.  Losing Ethan and Evan

4.  Dealing with Eliza’s family

5. Dealing with Eliza’s accusations, paranoia, and flucuating moods

6.  My cousin’s breast cancer diagnosis

7.  My friend’s breast cancer returning

8.  Jazmine’s hair getting chopped off

9.  The massive, stressful changes at work

10. My wedding ring being stolen at work

Gossip or Gospel

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…but no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. James 3:8

I have an acquaintance by the name of Tasha.  In the past year I’ve lessened my contact with her.  Tasha is a lover of gossip and she spreads it around like peanut butter.  She also happens to know Eliza and her family very well because they grew up in the same neighborhood for 15 years.

Not only does she know Eliza, she also knows my husband because he attended the same junior high school as Tasha (and Eliza).  Tasha, my husband, and I attended the same high school.  Therefore we know many of the same people.

A few years ago I actually looked forward to the juicy tidbits of information because it validated my opinion that she was a crazy, hateful, spiteful person.  I relished hearing “dirty” details about her.  Tasha was the resident expert on all things Eliza.  And sure enough what ever Tasha reported usually turned out to be dead on–give or take a few embellishments!  

But now I am relunctant to listen to stories about Eliza.   It takes away from my character and keeps me stuck in the past.    Gossip is a real trouble spot for me.  Even the listening part is not as harmless as it appears.  It’s almost as if Tasha wants me to keep the bitter feud with Eliza going.

When the kids came to live with us, Tasha was apalled at my peacable attitude about the situation.  She could not fathom why I would help raise her children after the many acts of terrorism Eliza had performed.  She was disgusted at the notion that I was willing to interact with her at all.  Of course, she was not shy about telling me this!

Her attitude was so poisonous that I stopped talking to her for six months.  I really could not deal with the negative vibes that were spewing from her.  This past April Tasha called me.  Not recognizing the number on the caller ID, I answered the call.  Immediatedly she wanted to know why I had stopped talking to her.

And because she does have a few endearing characteristics, I gave in and talked to her for a spell.  I was disappointed.  Even though I told her why I stopped accepting her calls, she was on the same wavelength as before.  She couldn’t wait to tell me that Eliza’s nephew’s mom and former best friend now dates (of all people) her brother.  Tasha was determined to sully my mind with her rancid talk about Eliza and others.  Listening to her made me realize that I was too old to be engaging in such minutia.  Plus, my grandmother always said a dog that brings a bone will carry a bone!

Gossiping is a dangerous game.  Why not spread gospel instead?  Sometimes gossip is rooted in truth, but I have come to find that usually it is a matter of opinion.  I was reminded of the old adage Just because someone said it doesn’t make it so.  Therefore, the next time you are faced with listening to someone gossip, just ask yourself, is it the gossiper’s truth or the gospel truth?