Inspire. Lately.

What’s inspiring me lately? Well let me show you…

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1. I love this wood burned art.  I’ve seen this quote before and every time I read it, it inspires me. Timmy and I decided this year would be our summer of yes. Saying yes to things more often and taking advantage of opportunities.  When we are invited out to things, just say yes!  Source: here

2. First off, i hope to one day have an outdoor dinner party that looks like this. But in the meantime I want to spend time outdoors, with friends and enjoy life. Source: here

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 3. I just plain love this watercolor. I’ve been keeping any eye out for some art pieces for our home. I really want to get a couple of great pieces that I know we will have in our house for a long time. Source: here

4. What a great idea to display pictures.  I love the idea of displaying old photos of our parents and grandparents around our house. This would be such a great way to do this. Source: here

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4. Ain’t that the truth.  That’s something that this year is teaching me. Be my own best friend. I’ve mentioned before the transition we’ve had of getting used to Timmy’s new crazy work schedule and I’ve had to learn to spend some time with myself, and truthfully I’m ok with that.  I don’t mind evenings sitting out on the couch and watch stupid TV or Saturdays running around town. Just last week I ended up going to the movies by myself and it’s actually quite enjoyable. It’s not that weird! Source: here

5. This just a really cool entry way. We don’t have a great spot in house for something like this but maybe something like this for the bedroom would be cool. Source: here

Life Lately // 05.13.15

How is it May already? Weren’t we just celebrating Christmas and wishing away the cold and snow? Now we are in 70+ degree days and enjoying the sunshine and the great outdoors! I’ve always loved fall, but I think my new favorite is late spring/early summer. When its that perfect weather for short sleeves and no jacket until the evenings, sandals with jeans and getting your skin turning a little pink after sitting outside for a bit. ah… love it!

This past weekend I went up to Michigan for a quick weekend to hang out with the family.  I flew into Indianapolis (where Kate lives) and drove up to Michigan with her and her family to my parents house.   It was a wonderful, crazy busy, fun filled weekend!  I really do have the best family.  Unfortunately Mandy was out of town herself, so I didn’t get to hang out with her….But she was enjoying a weekend in Florida with her sisters!

Watching lately: It may be the nerd in us, but Timmy and I LOVE Marvel and superhero movies and shows.  The new Netflix show Daredevil just started and we are loving it.  Its a bit darker and has a great story line.  Last week end we walked down to our local movie theater to see the new Avengers movie, which was great, one of the best so far! I also have to say I just love our little neighborhood and the fact that we can walk to the movies! {its all very Stars Hallow-esque}

Reading lately: I keep meaning to pick up some good “life” books, something to challenge me or to teach me something new or better my life. But instead I’ve been reading The Maze Runner books. We watched the movie after it came out on DVD and it was a decent movie and both Timmy and I thought the books would probably be good, so I downloaded them. I’m still on the first one but Timmy’s already made it half way through the third!

Drinking lately: I can’t get enough of iced coffee drinks right now.  My current favorite is a simple iced vanilla latte from The Roasterie Cafe. It’s the perfect afternoon pick-me-up!

{Life Lately in Photos}

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 {Pictures from my trip to Michigan!}

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Disney World // Fall Break planning

We just let the girls know about our trip to Disney World over fall break this year! We are all SO excited! The first time we visited was 2008 and the girls were only 3, 5 & 6. Their ages for this trip will be 10, 12 & 13 – so BIG difference. We are excited to see how they like it and everything *should* be easier this time around – no stroller, no diapers, hopefully no whining…. we’ll see on that last one.

My husband is a super planner for vacations, so he has been on the ball with making plans for the past several months already. We just couldn’t wait any longer to tell the girls – we think the planning and anticipation will be even better this way.

We are working with a travel agent this time around and so happy she’ll be making the calls first thing in the morning to get our dinner reservations booked for us. 🙂  Another tool we have been utilizing is http://wdwprepschool.com/ – Dave has been listening to a lot of the podcasts and it’s how we found the travel agent we are working with.

We have our resort booked and we’ll be driving down this time instead of flying. I’ll be posting more on how plans are coming along as we get closer!!

Can’t wait!

Here are some photos from our trip in 2008!

disney_2This is one I want to recreate this trip!

disney_1Pretty Princess dresses that their Grandparent’s bought for them. Grace and Kaylee loved Minnie Mouses’ house.

disney_4Not quite sure why Grace is cranky. lol Eva loved seeing Nemo!

disney_3Eva enjoying the Dumbo ride. And waiting in line with Papa for another ride.

disney_5Eva was wiped out after our first day. Dave video taping some fun moments.

Friends for the Journey

This weekend was our 7th annual Easter weekend trip with our best friends, Travis and Sarah. {ok so this weekend wasn’t actually Easter, but we couldn’t make it up there this Easter so we had to postpone a couple of weeks}

Our weekend was filled with laughter, wine, terrible movies, and more food than 4 people should eat. We love trying new restaurants, they always have new places for us to try, so we spend most of the time eating! We discovered this year that we have yet to repeat a restaurant in all the years we’ve been going up there. {more to come on that in a later post!}

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{Sarah and I at Jasper’s Winery}

This weekend really got me thinking on life and how far we have come in both Timmy and I’s relationship as well as our relationship with Travis and Sarah.  The boys had figured out that this year marked 10 years since Timmy and Travis  first met, which soon followed with me meeting Timmy and then just a year or so later Travis met Sarah and then it was the 4 of us.  Travis and Sarah moved to Des Moines after they got married but it didn’t stop us from getting together both here in Kansas City and making a trip to Des Moines at least annually. They were the ones that encouraged us along in our finances, paying off debt, getting on a budget and are always our go to for advice before making large purchases. I don’t think we could have done it or stuck with it without their help.

We are now both ready to start families. They have had some set backs and are now starting down the adoption road and we couldn’t be more excited for them. We just can’t wait for a little baby to become theirs.  It’s so wonderful to have people in our lives that are going through the same things.  We have been trying to get pregnant for a while and it is so nice to talk it through with someone that has been going through it was well. They understand the frustrations and the disappointments. We can be real with each other. We are on this journey together and whatever the reasons are that life does not turn out the way we had planned or hoped, we have each other to lean on.

This couple is so special to us, they have amazing hearts and are such giving people. They challenge us and encourage us to be better people.  I’m amazed at the work they do within their church and the time they give to helping others. It’s amazing what life is like when y ou have friends for the journey. 

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Life Lately// 04.20.2015

 

Spring is in full swing!  The past few weeks have flown by but we’ve been enjoying the outdoors plenty.  Soccer is about to start for the kids which is exciting.  My husband is coaching and it will be the first time the kids are really involved in a team sport like this.  We are all excited.  However, we may end up living at the soccer fields.  The practice/game schedule means we’ll be giving up swimming for the time being but I think it will be worth it.  This weekend was great!  My husband was out of town so the kids and I were left to our own.  We spent most of the time outdoors, with friends, and doing yard work that I usually leave until Memorial weekend.  It felt great to get a little sunshine and beautify the front of our house.

Busy doesn’t feel like it quite describes things around here.  There is no shortage of things we are doing but I’m trying my darndest to make sure we have down time and time for just talking.  It is amazing the thoughts that come out of my kids when we have time to just talk.  The quiet conversations on the floor in the hallway or kitchen because a snuggle was required STAT are what make being a mom so fulfilling.  I love the closeness with a little one and their questions/thoughts on life.

Reading lately:  Scary Close by Donald Miller  (will be doing a review soon since all of us girls are reading it.

Watching lately:  The latest season of Wilfred on Netflix and some of the HBO shows that are back: Game of Thrones, Veep, Silicon Valley, and Louie.  (This latest season of Louie is different than usual but good)

Loving lately:  Trying new classes at the gym with friends and keeping up with yoga, floral shoes ( I have my eye on a pair of heels), the new Rifle Paper Co Notebook Set,  going makeup free more often, evening walks with the family.

 

 

Life lately in photos.

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My mom & I, Izzie wanted a photo with a rose, yoga class with my SIL, Oldest daughter looking old and stylish in her scarf from Aunt Erin, coffee and books outside with Daddy, Festifools Art Parade in Ann Arbor, MI. It was fantastic!

 

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My son before school the other morning. We had some lessons in grace that morning. Life lessons–sometimes it can be hard to decide how to handle a situation. He forgot his snack for school and his special game for his outdoor picnic because of distraction from video games. I made the choice to give him grace and fix his mistake– it made for a great life lesson conversation that evening.

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Me and my love Izzie.

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Jumping on the trampoline with some crazy static hair.

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Berlin and I made this M spring wreath type decor for the door using a pizza box and some flowers. Hot glue gun to pizza box made this beauty! So easy and cheap too.

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Tricks in photos. I’m designated photo taker for these crazy kid ideas. We were waiting in the alley in Ann Arbor while their dad was shopping for records.

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Among the things we’ve been up to lately… finishing our upstairs bathroom and preparing for painting rooms downstairs, I came across this shelf and thought it would be great in the kitchen. I kind of love it.

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And tricks.

 

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And I don’t know. 😛

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Locked out of my house. Yep, great way to start a Sunday. Ended up so late for church we went to Home Depot instead after having to scale the house to climb through the second story window. Spare key inside was not so helpful. Not sure if you deal with trying to use your brain while inundated with kid chatter but sometimes this happens because my brain malfunctions.

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Walks in woods.

10 Easy Mood Boosters.

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I’m not particularly ‘moody’, per say.  I’m human.  I have moods.  Most times my negative moods are brought on by being cold or hungry.  Too much noise can get to me.  Those things can be remedied easily but sometimes I just need a little more to get out of a funk.  I can get deficient in my motivation to do anything useful because of those negative moods.  Yesterday I was angry for a good part of the day because someone did something to hurt someone I care about and it permeated my thoughts causing me to be distracted and a little lacking in my ability to accomplish things.  Right now I’m actually cold and eating leftover stir-fry while trying to get motivated to finish painting my bathroom.  I was thinking about the ways that I usually get out of an unfavorable mood, some of which I did or will do today even!

1.  Open the shades and let some sunshine in.  Nothing can keep me in an unmotivated cocoon like living in a dark cave.

2.  Put on music.  Music is a serious cure!  Dinner time prep chaos turns to joy when my husband puts on a little Miles Davis.  Dance parties are always welcome and can make cleaning into quite a sexy chore as I’m dropping it low with the toilet scrubber.  Ha, yeah…  Just unless you need to wallow, avoid Elliott Smith or the like if you need a boost.

3.  Treat yo self!  It doesn’t need to be extravagant but sometimes a little splurge of a nap, a shower and prettying your nails up, spending a little extra on a favorite treat (I will sometimes buy a new Fair Trade chocolate to try.), 30 minutes of anything just for yourself can do wonders.  This week I bought a book and then read it!  It may be funny to some but yes, that is a privilege to me.  If you have not seen Parks and Rec, here you go. 😀  This show is hilarious.

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4.  Clean or organize one area.  Sometimes just choosing one area and having it fresh and organized can improve a mood.  Clean car to climb into….boom!  Happy!  That pile of mail on the counter organized….boom.  This is really good to get motivated to continue on cleaning if you don’t feel like it.  Commit to 10 minutes of cleaning something and usually the accomplishment spurs itself into more cleaning.  For me, clutter free living means less clutter in my mind.

5.  Flowers or plants.  Picking some flowers or buying a bouquet/plant and bringing it into your living space can bring you closer to nature and improve a mood.

6.  Get some exercise!  Those endorphins really help to kick a mood to the curb.  Combine getting your body moving with some music to really get it gone!  I noticed a big difference when I can relieve stress by running after a long day.  My entire evening was more energetic and the following day goes better with less stress being held in.

7.  Write it out.  Blogging or writing in a journal helps.  Whether it is a list of things to accomplish so it gets it out of my brain or just thoughts that are organized into words.

8.  Aromatherapy.  A candle burning or putting a little essential oil in a diffuser or on your skin can do wonders.  One of the reasons I love bookstores so much is the feeling I get from smelling coffee and paper books when I walk in… it is relaxation in scented form.  Lavender oil or eucalyptus is fantastic as well.

9.  Be Quiet.  Meditating, praying, or just being still and clearing your mind can be so renewing for your spirit.  To be honest, sometimes I have to do the above things to get me to a place where I can be quiet but I notice a huge improvement when I take time to just be quiet.

10.  Get Outside! Getting outdoors with some fresh air can do wonders.  Take a walk.  Sit on your porch.  I will sometimes just sit on my porch to write out my grocery list.  I have to do it anyway and being outside can be calming.

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I Created a Monster!

No, I’m kidding.  My girl is incredible.  She does have some ideas though… large and fantastic at that.  We just celebrated her birthday and our first real slumber party.  When we were in the discussion period of “planning”, presenting her with options and asking what she would like to do.  One of those questions is always “What kind of cake do you want?”.  Mainly to see if they would prefer traditional cake and what flavor, ice cream cake, pie, etc.  This kid had an entire theme planned out with an idea of what the cake should look like…. this year it was Candyland.  Last year, she drew out her request of a 3 tiered topsy turvy wedding cake.  This one was a bit tame in comparison but I had to smile at her excitement.  I also had to tell her that we weren’t going to do a Candyland theme because this year we were doing a more casual party with her friends.

I LOVE that she enjoys her birthday.  I love that we’ve made every year special for her and memorable.  But, I thought it was time to reign her in a bit.  Her first request was to go to Florida for her birthday.  Which seemed reasonable to her since last year we took her on a trip to Chicago.  I love it but I don’t.  I want to keep the kids grounded and not entitled and I don’t want to miss the signs that I’m not doing that job.  That is a hard thing assigned to parents.  You want to give them the world but you also want them appreciative and not materialistic.  Balance. Balance…. tricky business sometimes.  We all as a family needed a chill celebration though this year and she was just as sweet and appreciative as other years.  I thank God everyday for her heart.

In the past, I would get ideas of things I wanted to do for her and I went as far with it as I felt like…. I’d get theme-y and craft away.  I had so much fun.  My favorite to date was her Japanese street style party because she was really into that at the time.  All rock star, bright colors, Hello Kitty, sushi, and purple hair.  It was great.  I was relaxed about it though because it was something I wanted to do and had ideas coming from my own head on what I wanted to do.  I’ve noticed a change happening over the last few years though.  This bar is now being set.  An unspoken standard for celebrating something and it takes the fun out of it for me.   Growing up party inspiration was in magazines–styled and not real life.   It is different when it isn’t coming from a celebrity or a styled editorial but just a regular suburban housewife through Facebook, Pinterest, or blogging.  It lends this idea “you can do this too” which often turns to “you should be doing this too“.   Then unfortunately,  “I can do this better than you.”  As if we don’t have enough pressure already, the trend of aspiring to have these “if my life were on TV type parties” for a lack of anything coming to my brain to call them is starting to get old and sad.

It isn’t just birthdays.  The Facebook profile life is slowly creeping into all areas.  Our family holidays, sadly.  Weddings, obviously.  Announcing babies.  Having babies.  Toddler life.  It is one issue I had with doing this blog over the last year.  I want what I say or show to be authentic.  Real life and real me.  The way I intentionally live. Of course, inspiring someone is great!  Not if the bar is put out there just way too high and unreal.  I know I’m not the first person to comment on this plastic lifestyle. ( You like that?  Mean Girls reference. :))   But I really don’t want to be a part of the problem, perpetuating this myth of what life should be like.  We live in a look at me culture and I get that (and participate to an extent by way of Instagram and blogging)– but I hope more people start realizing that the way it is heading is crazy.  These celebrations….or heck, LIFE becomes less about the person and more about the personalized details.

I really hope that I’m able to find a good balance.  Celebrating and enjoying moments with my family while keeping them grounded.  While also not letting the rising culture of Pinterest crazy get to me.

Here are a few fun images from her party (minus her friends because of protection):

IMG_1035 copyHer grandma makes gourmet cupcakes and my daughter requested rainbow frosting… each had a different mystery filling and then these rainbow swirl tops.  They were sparkle-fied and we giggled that these could be called her Unicorn Poop cupcakes. 🙂

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Here with Grandma and then later painting nails with her friends.  (Target had this fun photo booth prop kit for only $6!  It was a hit.  Also, painting nails is such a cheap thrill for tweens.)

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Lunch with the fam.  Party games and breakfast of donuts and yogurt parfaits.

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Birthday girl!  Her brother was appalled at her lack of toys.

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Using her new curling iron.  How  is my girl this old?!

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Hiking into your Nature.

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It is strange how a blog post can just take off on it’s own.  I sat down the other day to write a post about hiking and it turned into something totally different.  It is cathartic to just let my words come right out–brain to fingers and allow the filter off.  It is my favorite way to write but also a little scary.  The guard comes off and opening up comes with that vulnerability.

So my plan is that this post will be about hiking…. let’s see if my brain agrees.  🙂  Spending over half of my life with James, we can look back over our relationship and see how much we’ve changed.  Our interests and thoughts on life have both grown apart and together like a vine climbing up a tree in the forest.  Sometimes swirling up one side and splitting apart to join on the other side…. sprouting another little vine or leaf.  We are still a part of the same vine but our growth adds to the strength and complexity of the whole.  I just made that up.  I think in analogies like that all the time.  It is probably weird but I like that I can compare myself to a hamburger or whatever.  Anyway, we’re talking vines.  Now that we’ve been climbing up this tree for some time, I couldn’t have imagined how it would be to look down and see all the twisting and twirling below, filled with little offshoots and leaves.  I love it.  I love the natural change and growth we have gone through.  It may not have been all comfortable growth but the end result is usually worth the means.  Our interest in hiking is one of those unexpected little offshoots.  Never would I have expected either one of us to be into hiking.  I have always loved the woods and exploring but usually not one for physical activity or exertion. More of a Thoreau type sitting by a pond reflecting.  He wasn’t all that interested in nature.  Somehow we’ve both converged on this point and would like to add hiking adventures to our new hobby list.

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Beginning a new hobby is thrilling.  We started walking more trails last year and it has made us want to explore more.  We would love for it to be a family activity but we’ve found we need to only do short hikes with the kids because one of our children complains quite a lot and doesn’t make for a fun outing.  Hopefully we can cultivate a love of outdoor exploration in them but forcing isn’t always conducive to that.  I have been researching some good places to go hiking here in Michigan.  I’m not exactly sure where to start.  After researching, I came across hiking groups that do Moon Hikes… Now that is exciting too!  I’m not sure I want to do group outings but I like that idea.  Here in Michigan is finally becoming weather for comfortable running and outdoor exploration and I’m ready to just take off!

If you are in MIchigan, where would you suggest to explore?  Not in Michigan, any tips on places to add to our list, I would love the suggestions!

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We didn't realize one of the trails would take us to Lake Michigan...so we walked along the shore for quite a while.

We didn’t realize one of the trails would take us to Lake Michigan…so we walked along the shore for quite a while.

Had to throw this one in from one of our nature walks.

Had to throw this one in from one of our nature walks.  Eli with his nature journal.  🙂

 

Challenges.

I have come to realize that I am a bit of a lazy person. And I have finally come to a place where I know i need to make some serious changes.  I get caught up in excuses of being unmotivated or telling myself I deserve to have a lazy Saturday and the go to of “I don’t have enough time”…. when in reality all of those things are lies I tell myself. Yes, I think an occasional lazy Saturday is needed for rest and revival, and I am fully in support of binge watching TV shows or staying in your PJs and sitting around the living room until noon on the one Saturday a month that your husband actually has off. But that has become my norm, not the exception.

So I am giving myself some challenges… and I figured if I put it out in the universe of this blog, then it will help me keep these goals. I figure if I’m already like this and haven’t even brought kids into my life then I’m in real trouble!

1. Read – I’ve always struggled with keeping a daily time with God. It’s something that I know I NEED in my life but it always takes the back burner, its the first thing I skip when I don’t feel like i have time, but really, i can take 10 minutes to look through Facebook that I just looked at less than 12 hours ago, but I can open my Bible??  I learned of a blog/daily reading site out there called SheReadTruth and it is exceptional.  I’ve only been reading it for about a week, but its a group of women that share scripture and a short blog post. It’s been a great way to start my morning, even if its less than 10 minutes. I need to make this a priority in my life.

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2. Exercise – Ok this is a big one for me.  I hate working out…. I love the idea of working out and wish I was one of those people that LOVED to work out, but I just don’t, I never have… I will get started on a workout and do it for a week or so and then quit. I’ve never joined a gym because I’m always fearful that I would pay all this money and never go… So I’m challenging myself to workout at least 3 days a week for the month of April. I’m using some DVDs I got from the library and I’m also going to add in some yoga as well.  If I make it through that I will consider joining a gym or taking up some yoga classes. Or better yet I’ll buy myself some new workout clothes, now that will get me motivated!

3. House – I love our house, we’ve been in our house for almost 2 years and I have yet to do a lot to it.  It looks great and there wan’t a lot of work that had to go into it. But I still haven’t hung anything on the walls or painted any of the rooms that I’ve wanted to paint.  We’ve worked on the bathroom (but we were a bit forced into that because the floor had rotted out!) But even that project has not been completely finished yet.  So this year I want to get some stuff done. Turn this house into our home, make it cozy and warm.  I think the way to do this is to start small. work on one room, or one corner and just get started.

I found this quote on Pinterest, which sums it up pretty well.

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Real Conversations//Making Friends in 30s

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It is a dreary Tuesday morning.  I woke up too late to have hot coffee because the automatic shut-off turned off the warmer.  So warmish coffee morning until the new brew is finished because I decided to not own a microwave.  Most of the time it doesn’t really bother me but cold coffee makes me question that decision.

I’m thinking that today is going to be a chill at home day.  I have the feeling that I’d love to go on a hike with the kids but gauging from their moods, I think they need some home time.  We had a busy weekend with Easter and then yesterday we spent the day out at the park, then an indoor play area and swimming at my gym with their cousins.  I had a great day as well.  I was able to spend time with my sister-in-law Sarah and enjoyed adult conversation…the life and thought sharing kind that is welcome, connecting, and a little exhausting at the same time.   I miss that kind of conversation most weeks.  I’m grateful for the times I’m able to meet up with these special women in my life.

Sometimes I am painfully aware that my social avoidance creates the lack of those deep conversations that I enjoy.  I have some amazing women that I can talk with and share life with…but most aren’t available for stopping in for a cup of coffee.  I miss my sisters.  The miles between can be bridged with Facetime but it isn’t exactly the same as meeting up for shopping and coffee.  There is value in being physically present and involved.  Making new friends over the age of 12 is difficult.  The real friends where you can be honest and share in life.  Add in the busy family life and work, it feels darn near impossible. Plus, there is so much competition for women that may be ridiculous, but it is there.  I’ve come home from meeting with a group of women many times and just felt exhausted from the subtle manipulations or not-so-well masked insecurities which come out as judgmental jabs–it makes it harder for me to want to attempt friendship.  This is where my INFJ intuitive nature envies my extroverted friends.  Why subject myself to opening up?  I’ve been told by one very straightforward type that she feels like I have a guard up.  That I don’t fully express what I’m thinking and hold things back.  It really made me examine myself and how I communicate with women in social situations.  I didn’t feel like I did have a guard up because I always spoke honestly–but after examination, I do hold back.  Except for with those few very close friends and family.  That is why I get so drained from those conversations but fulfilled at the same time.  To share and really feel connected because I’m being fully honest and not fearful of being judged while hearing someone else fully in return.  Oh, ladies…. I don’t have an answer except that I should probably take more risks and make more time for cultivating new friendships.  I know I’m not the only one that feels this way.  But this makes it more unfortunate to me…so many of us ladies in our 20’s, 30’s, 40’s…with kids and family, involved in activities and not social hermits still feel a lack of true friendship and yet it continues.

Moving doesn’t help.  One of my friends is a military wife and when I met her, she told me that she wasn’t sure she wanted to be my friend because she was tired of losing friends to location changes.  She was not very happy when I told her I was moving back to Michigan…. and I get it.  Making friends is difficult and an investment in your time and heart.  The older I get though, I realize how valuable those friendships are to the quality of life.  Life is crazy and unpredictable.  Exciting and maddening.  It really makes all that crazy much more manageable when you can share it.