Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Friends’

<sigh>

I had an interesting day.  I was overwhelmed with returning to work, I was overwhelmed with all of the tasks and expectations after such a relaxing weekend.

So, I told my friends to brace themselves as I was on my way to Chelsea for dinner.  I had kind of forgotten that the entire house was going to be filled with people.  Normally, my Monday nights involve my friend Burrill and I having dinner and then laughing at retro tv shows.  Instead, we were joined by a friend and her son who were passing through and another couple from my church with their 1.5 year old.

Hilarity ensued as the two kids got to know each other, and I decided to play with the little ones.

I don’t know what we would do without little kids on this planet.  They might bring some headaches, they might bring some aches and pains, however, they brought me the most laughter I’ve had in many months.  I don’t know what my evening would have been like without the laughter of those little ones.

<sigh>

But no, I’m not ready for kids….not by a long shot.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

As we approach the end of the month, I find myself wondering if I will actually keep up writing in my blog with the daily news and things that I have been learning.  I haven’t actually fully made that decision, however, I think it would be good to at least do something at least 2-3 times per month.  We’ll see 🙂

This past month,  I’ve had the joy of seeing that people actually like my posts! It’s very humbling.  I have no idea who the majority of you are, however, I have been visiting some of your blog sites and am honored that some of you have actually subscribed to my blog.  Thank you so very much.

Tonight, I am mentally preparing to go on a women’s retreat that starts tomorrow afternoon on the west side of my state.  I have been looking forward to the trip somewhat, and yet it sometimes just makes me nervous.  It’s mainly because, as someone who has done about six women’s retreats to date, there are sometimes groups of women that I don’t know.  I don’t know what their humor is like, if they will like the style of worship that I lead, if they will like the message that my mentor will be bringing, etc.  At a certain point, I just give up and know that everything really is not in my control.  I just wish that I would get to that point earlier.

My difficulty this weekend will be loving the women that I come into contact with, with the love of Christ and everything that He would like to speak to their hearts.  I really want for them to experience his joy and peace and refreshing during this weekend getaway, and the conference center seems pretty amazing, so all I can do is wait for Him to give me an opportunity to love well.

I often wonder how many people worry about the odd details that I do, but I think that once my worry is turned over to God and I start getting excited for everything that He is going to teach me/us, I begin to find the peace and can prepare my heart.  OK…now I’m getting really excited for the weekend.  You may see some interesting posts this weekend!

ONE LOVE.

IMG_0588

Read Full Post »

There are so many things swirling around my mind right now.  I am thinking about a married couple that found out they may finally be parents via adoption, a married woman concerned about her grandmother’s health, a friend who doesn’t know where his life is going and may leave his home state for another, a married couple preparing their hearts and supporting friends and family for the impending loss of a brother, a friend who strives to maintain purity of mind and spirit, and me, a girl who is just trying to figure out how to love well.

I’m mainly thinking about the pain of loss and how one can maintain a loving and healthy relationship with someone who is experiencing a loss, but also how to lovingly respond to someone trying to love YOU through a loss.

One of the main reasons I started my blog in the first place was to have a sounding board after the death of a very good friend, Lisa Radtke.  Stories can be found in earlier posts dating back to 2007 or 2008, however, it still remains as the most difficult part of my life to walk through.  Current circumstances of life are really difficult for me, however, the death of a friend is permanent, and I will never see her again.  As I have often shared with friends, she displayed the very presence of Christ to me.  She loved like the Lord wants us to love.  She saw the strengths in me that were from the Lord and she encouraged me to use them for His glory, but also called me out when I wasn’t doing things in line with the Lord’s will for me.  She was a great lover of the Savior and His word.  She was incredibly funny, full of life, and I miss her….I miss her so much.

When I got the call about Lisa, I was getting ready to go out to run errands.  I heard a frantic and hysterical voice of a friend on the other end.  At first, I thought she was laughing, but instead was screaming and crying about a woman who called from Lisa’s phone to say Lisa had been killed.  I couldn’t believe it.  I mentioned to the friend to stay where she was and that I would be coming over.  When I hung up, I almost immediately got a phone call from Lisa’s cell phone.  A concerned voice began talking, but it was one that I didn’t recognize.  It was a cousin of Lisa’s, who had her phone and was calling the contacts to let them know.  I asked her for more information and then instructed her to stop calling everyone in Lisa’s phone as it was very distressing to the people she had already contacted.  We hung up and I then began going through the details.  I don’t remember the trip to the friend’s house who was frantically telling me these things about Lisa, however, I remember feeling that this was going to be a lot to go through, a lot to process, and a lot of crying was about to take place…A LOT.

What I will ALWAYS remember about that week that we lost Lisa was THE LORD.  The Lord, Him alone, gave me an incredible peace that I cannot describe.  An immediate forgiveness for the person that took Lisa away from us, the ability to think clearly and communicate to those about her death, and the ability to help with the funeral and memorial preparations as a family friend who took part in family communications.  I don’t remember every single moment, but I do recall a lot of sitting in dark bedrooms with crying friends, offering up prayers as they laid in my lap and wept and were sometimes inconsolable, and lots of hugs and comforting words.  For those that were too overcome, we would sit for hours. Just silent.  Sometimes no words will do for something like that…you just need the peace of  hearing weeping or hearing nothing.  That was my existence for almost five days.

At night when I went home, I would lock my bedroom door, and pray to the Lord that I wouldn’t wake up in the middle of the night because I would be reminded of her death.  I knew that I would not be able to go back to sleep after that point.  I locked my door because I was afraid of the night and what could happen.  One night, I did wake in the middle of the night, terrified to move, and overcome with sorrow.  I had comforted, I had prayed, I had sat with many, but I hadn’t cried yet; I wasn’t ready.

The morning of Lisa’s funeral was the worst morning of my existence.  I had almost no interest in getting up out of bed.  I just kept thinking “today is the day that we bury her” and I couldn’t face it.  An hour after waking, I got up out of bed and prepared to go to the funeral.  I wasn’t prepared for so many people.  The funeral home wasn’t even prepared for so many people; the overflow rooms….overflowed.  So many people, so many people that she loved and loved her.  She loved very well.

I had made it through the funeral and we were all getting ready to head to the cemetery.  I don’t remember too many other details from later that day, however, I remember getting ready to leave for the cemetery.  During those times, I had two pretty sweet friends, Janni and Burrill; we were thick as thieves (still are) and they LOVED and SUPPORTED me that day because they knew what I had been going through during that week of preparing. They just stood with me in the funeral home parking lot.  Very few words were spoken, but they knew I hadn’t truly begun to mourn my Lisa.  They knew I wouldn’t cry in front of them, but they wanted me to know they knew.  I wanted so much to acknowledge their support, but all I could manage was a ‘Thank You’, but that, as I found, was all they needed.  They just needed to know I was on the right path and their support was acknowledged; I was so grateful for them.  As we gathered to bury her, I knew the Lord had prepared a time for me to speak with Him and cry and plead and shout at Him.  That time came two weeks later, and He still had such compassion and love and patience with me.  God knew exactly what moment that I needed and he met and loved me perfectly.

The Lord’s way is perfect.  Deuteronomy 32:4 says- “He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He.”  Psalm 18:30 says – “As for God, His way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; He shields all who take refuge in Him.”

I gotta take my hints from the Lord on this one.  There is no way we can truly love our brothers and sisters in Christ when they experience a loss without the divine intervention of the Father so that He can put His hand on us and steady us as we enter into mourning, into the darkness, into the sadness of losing someone close to us.  We cannot do it without Him; I don’t care what grief book you read, I don’t care what counseling you took…ok, I might care, BUT, you cannot do it, you cannot even think of going through the process without His presence.  He is the Center and Safe place in this process. Loving during loss and accepting love during loss requires Jesus.  You need Jesus.

jones20110213-55

(A few of Lisa’s belongings)

Read Full Post »

I’m excited to type that I may be having a guest blogger join me! I’m very curious to find out what they decide to blog about, however, I will just be patient and wait!!

I hope that everyone took at least one thing that was positive from Valentine’s Day yesterday.  I know that I enjoyed myself, but was also glad that the day was over.  I had forgotten that some people refer to Valentine’s Day as ‘Singles Awareness Day’.  I still had to chuckle. It’s clever and at the same time just a little uh…bitter.

In addition to yesterday being Valentine’s Day, it also marked the live album release (‘We Belong to the Love’) date of the band that I work for, The Ragbirds.  The Ragbirds have been a local band performing live since 2005.  Their roots, at least to me, have been in Michigan, even though I know that the lead singer, multi-instrumentalist, and songwriter, Erin Zindle-Moore, is originally from New York.  Their music is at times difficult to describe, however, most have put them in the category of folk and world music.  Erin has written songs that have that Zydeco style, celtic style, country/bluegrass style, as well as acoustic style.  She is a versatile person, and I believe that she is someone who loves very well.

Erin and I met well over 12 years ago now when she was in another band.  She stood out as a very compassionate and loving person.  She definitely had a story, and I never thought I would be someone that would hear quite a bit of it.  I won’t go into detail about it as it is not my main intent for this post.  What I will share is that I believe she loves well, because of her whole heart being focused on a goal.  Like an imperfect person, we get distracted, we are discontented with the way we go after a goal at times, however, Erin is someone that is determined to love.  She has a great passion for the planet and its well being, she is loyal to her family and her friends, and she manages to balance all of this songwriting, touring, and planning while still being married to the love of her life, Randall.  I was recently reminded of Erin and Randall when I saw a picture this morning on the Facebook page of a project called Humans of Ann Arbor.  They asked Erin and Randall if they would like to do a quick interview for Valentine’s Day.  You can look at the picture and read the responses here.

Last summer, Erin and I went out to dinner and just did a straight forward talk about love and relationships.  I was moved by our conversation and challenged to look at love in a very practical and helpful way.  I guess in a sense I was looking at love in an isolated way.  I just looked at love as something that existed between families, friends, and marriages.  The thing with love is that if it is in you, it permeates, it should be spreading and covering over everything that you come across.  Whether you know the person working next to you or walking next to you, as a person, a human being on this earth, there should be love and compassion there.  It was definitely a different concept for me.

Now for a shameless plug as the band’s publicist.  Tonight, (if you live in southeastern Michigan or kind of close by) Erin and the band will be sharing many songs about love, joy, loss, learning, and happiness tonight in Ferndale at ‘The Magic Bag‘.  I support and work for this band because I think they are an awesome group of people that support one another and do what’s right. Erin truly writes from her heart about the experiences in this life, her life lessons, as well as those learned by others.  She truly does have a joy and excitement about her and is passionate about the music that she performs, the songs that she creates, and enjoys the company of friendly people…who doesn’t??  Their music is definitely something you can dance to and feel.  I’ve been holding onto their live album for over a month and seriously enjoy every single track; it’s good stuff and I’m glad it was finally released yesterday.  It’s good for you.

It’s always a lovely thing when you have people around you that love like you, that love differently from you, but also take the time to share about what matters to them.  I think it’s all a part of loving well and respecting those around you.  Love and respect and an appreciation for the balance of the earth are really important things.  Come out and see us tonight.  I’ll be the one dancing and singing along…oh wait, that just described 99.9% of the people.  Oh well, come find me and say hello. Let’s dance.

We Belong to the Love (Ferndale!)

Read Full Post »

I have something saved up for tomorrow’s blog since tomorrow is some “special” day.  I don’t know what people are thinking about fancy dinners and chocolates for…Diehard 5 comes out tomorrow; I’ll be in the theater, thank you very much.

For today, I’m going to share about ex-boyfriends…..

Yipes.  This is a delicate topic.  I had dinner with a newer friend last night, and we were talking about our pasts and our present lives.  She thought me strange as I still spent a good amount of time around my ex-boyfriend, even though he is currently dating someone else.  She kept repeating the same phrase of “I don’t know how you do it.”  I guess I really didn’t think about it as much as I should have?  I mean, I do respect him enough that I keep my distance as he tries to figure out his dating life and relationships, however, we’ve never really condemned our friendship even though our dating relationship ended over four years ago.  I don’t find it unhealthy as I don’t try and sabotage his current dating relationships, I don’t wonder ‘what if’ when I spend time with him; I genuinely do enjoy his company, however, I just don’t feel that way about him.

At first, I was dating him because it made sense because we had had so much fun together just hanging out, however, after a weekend retreat with about uh, 25 girls all excited about who I was dating, it became abundantly clear after just three questions that certain needs weren’t being met in terms of what I’m looking for in a mate.  I was blocking it all because (I know now) I was just wanting to be in a relationship.  THIS WAS UNFAIR TO HIM.  I didn’t feel the same way that he felt about me.  His feelings were growing for me, and I was denying what I was really looking for.  When I got home, we hung out, did lunch, and talked.  When I broke up with him the first time (I don’t have time for the fullness of THAT story) he understood.  The important part was that he was willing to move on with our friendship.  I think this is where it’s miraculous.  I think this is what makes it different is that he was willing to let the friendship remain.  And our friendship has grown so much in the last five years, I can’t imagine life without this friend.  We’ve made mistakes along the way, we had some really REALLY hard times together, but the fact that I can still call him my friend is truly a gift.

I guess now, I just take it for granted as so many wonder why I have such a great relationship with him.  He is kind, funny, happy, focused, and dedicated.  He is a provider, he is a protector, he is loving, and he is gentle.  Even after typing all of these things out, you may wonder why in the world I stopped our romantic relationship.  I did it because of the blog post from the second day of this journey.  Unrequited love is a pain that you needn’t go through in this life if you don’t have to….and you should never have to.  Also, I found it to be deceitful to spend time in that relationship if I didn’t feel the same way.  As I get older, it gets more difficult to see those in relationships with great people, however, I will never ascribe to the belief that it is better to be in a relationship with someone/anyone, than no relationship at all.  Those people, I think, have the most to lose; they lose themselves hoping that perhaps love will bloom within a relationship by forcing it to continue because they don’t want to be alone.  AND, if they let it continue and it translates into a marriage…I just can’t imagine that.  I really can’t.

Summarizing everything above?  I really don’t know.  I would say pray for your friendships and your romantic relationships.  I think I got lucky with my friend, however, the process I took of discussing ending the relationship with him, I considered it to be delicate surgery in separating two joined parts.  In terms of conversations, it was one of the longer ones of my life, however, I took great care in accepting the blame and letting him know how much he meant to me.  The other part to this equation is that, perhaps he was feeling the same way, too.  I’ll never know because I’ll never ask, but the Lord granted us both some peace and understanding in this area.  I don’t think it would have been as easy if I let the relationship drag on after the realization that it should have ended.  I think I just respected and loved his heart more than wanting us to work out and wanting a road for us that led to marriage.

Read Full Post »

Image

Over the past decade, I have sometimes forgotten who I am.  I really don’t know if I am at home with the person that I did become.  Did I become someone that I really wanted to be, or did I compare myself with someone else in order to become like another person?  Who is the real me, anyways?

Over the past few months, I have definitely had some ups and downs; I have been able to easily see who I am in a sense, and, in a sense, of who I am not.  I have been able to say ‘no’ to some things that I know will not benefit me in the long run, and closeout the relationships that hurt me.  I guess in essence, this blog would have to be the example of how to love oneself.  I really don’t have any solid advice about how to go about getting there 100%, however, I have some thoughts….of course:

FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU WANT TO DO AND BE…AND THEN DO IT. BE IT.

If you have figured out what you like to do (that is something you can make a living off of), I think that you should start to pursue that as a goal.  It has taken me most of my adult life to become cognizant of the things that I enjoy doing and would like to continue to do, but it has caused me to start in a direction toward a goal.  In that, I feel like I am able to have a face, to have a reason for existence (for lack of a better description).  In that, in a sense, I can face my next task, my next hurdle, knowing that I am heading down a track/road that isn’t necessarily easy, but I am content in, knowing that’s for a certain purpose.  All of that, leads to a sense of having a little bit of a “chin-up” moment; a moment when you realize that you like what you are doing, and therefore can push yourself knowing you can love who you are while working towards that goal.

There are a lot of bad voices out there; too many to really name specifically, however, they say sometimes that you aren’t good enough to do what you want, or be who you want to be.  Sometimes, the voices say that the world is better off without you in it.  I can tell you that these things are not true, that your life most definitely has value; the people around you really don’t want to lose you, but, YOU have to make that decision of belief for yourself.  These voices can stay with you hours, days, weeks, months, years after you have originally heard them.  I think sometimes I have stayed so busy in an attempt to block them out.  That could be true, however, the people that have stayed around me, have had to constantly tell me that they enjoy spending that time with me; that I’m loved.  I’m still here, haven’t left town or the people that I love, so I guess it’s me deciding that I do indeed trust and believe what my loved ones are saying.  It’s up to each person to decide if they desire to trust.  For the parties getting the negative vibes, etc.:  do you really trust your friends and family when they say that they love you?  Sometimes that is the key to being able to stay in a town, stay in a lifestyle, or staying alive.

To come to a conclusion of sorts, friends, what you say to others and how they respond to you is very important.  You are helping each of your friends and family members determine how they feel about themselves; you’re letting them know they are worth the time and effort to know; that they can be loved.  As much as I’ve absorbed over these last 33 years, the one thing I’ve taken closest to heart is the people in my life that haven’t changed how they feel about me and the life path that the Lord has chosen for me.  Those people are sometimes are the reason why I love myself and what I do.

Read Full Post »

The Sixth.

Today (as well as in general) I am trying to figure out how to love well.  I am trying to think of how to balance out all of the relationships that I have with so many people.  When I was in college, it felt like it was so much easier to make time with the people that I cared about; mainly because they were all around me and we did so many things together as a crew.  Today, we have graduated and have taken different paths that have led us to different counties, cities, states, and continents/countries.

When I was first out of college, I was attempting to make it my mission to reach out to everyone that had had any impact on my college life.  I wanted to let them know that I hadn’t forgotten about our friendship and what it meant; that they still meant something to me and that I wanted to keep in touch with them because it was important.  I found myself constantly disappointed with the results because it became increasingly difficult to reach out to so many people and not get the response that I was hoping for.  A lot of friends didn’t really reach out to me as much as I had reached out to them, so I began to get discouraged about the whole attempt.  Part of me began turning inward and getting a little bit discouraged and bitter because they didn’t respond the way I wanted.  I was beginning to think that perhaps it was something that I had done during that time when I was in college with them.  Wouldn’t they have told me that something was wrong?  I just wanted re-live and remember some really great times…

I think during my attempts, Facebook wasn’t one of the biggest things out there yet, so I was still relying on snail mail, emails, phone calls, etc.  Either way, I wasn’t hearing back from people.   I kept going back and forth about whether or not I should continue reaching out, when I started to realize that it was draining me.  It was no longer a search to reconnect with people, it was this tireless mission that wasn’t yielding any real result.  I stopped, sought counsel, and asked some other friends that were close by to see if they had encountered something similar.  I wasn’t alone, it was increasingly difficult to try and manage past relationships as well as present and then entertain future ones.  Overall, most of my friends had the same thing to say, it’s a matter of picking out those relationships that you know you really want to commit to.  It’s not about trying to keep in touch with every person; it will never work.  Me being the people pleaser that I am, didn’t want to exclude anyone, however, I found myself excluding many because I would never hear back from them.  Those that I did hear back from, I would visit; spend time in their homes; some even had kids that I got to meet.  Others lived in different countries, however, I was able to email them, get updates from them and find out what I could pray for.

For those that didn’t reach out…that I sorta missed?  If I was friends with them on Facebook, but never really got a response, I would simply pray for them.  That was easy enough to do.  I missed the old times and would find it really easy to reminisce, however, everyone has something different to face in their current lives.  That’s not to say that they are trying to be mean, however, they are trying to balance life just as I am.  Sometimes I internalize so much and think it’s my fault, but that honestly….is a bit vain and selfish on my part.  I have been learning to put myself own dealings with life aside to think about what others could be going through.  When that has happened, it’s easier for me to see what may be going on in the world….outside of me.

As a result of all this, I have been able to keep in touch with the friends that really meant the most to me.  Facebook has been extraordinarily helpful at finding everyone whom I wanted to keep tabs on, however, the people from my past that I wanted to be in a deeper relationship with, I am, and I’m grateful that I sought counsel and prayed.  I think that as the Spirit and time allows, I can reach out to others to let them know that I have been praying and thinking about them, however, I know that it has been the Lord that has guided me on which people to love and reach out to.

About the loving well part?  I think we’ll save that for the seventh day….as well as a guest post from Sadie.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »