Uncertain

 An open hand.  Fingers uncurled, lifted up and waiting for what will fill them.  That is the image in my mind left by the first chapter of One Thousand Giftshttp://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=m0bdd-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0310321913&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr.  I came home the other night to find a small box from UPS.  The box itself was no surprise.  One of my salt of the earth friends texted me to say it would be waiting for me.
I tiptoed out onto my Antarctica porch, grabbed the cold cardboard box and quickly raced back into the warmth of my home to find a knife.  I wasn’t sure what to expect.
A thoughtful note wishing me the same blessings found in this book by my friend.
Curious.
I unwrap and find a book that seems to be ready to tackle my story.

One Thousand Gifts beckons you to leave the parched ground of pride, fear and white knuckled control and abandon yourself to the God who overflows your cup.

Who is this God you speak of?  My ground is parched.  I am afraid. My knuckles are white. Who is this God to whom surrender is safe and whose goal is to fill and not empty.

As Ann Voskamp invites you into her own moments of grace, she gently teaches you how to Biblically lament loss, turning pain into poetry, intentionally embrace a lifestyle of radical gratitude, and slow down and catch God in the moment.

I am the book of Lamentations.  I am Job before he decided that the Lord gives and He takes away.  The sackcloth and ashes are in fashion this year.  I am unsure which part to be grateful for and if I want to catch God in the moment.
I am sure that I am tired of fingering this scab.  I am exhausted of all of the fierce pointing at God…why did you let this happen? some God you are….. I think my rage is just about bottoming out.  
Now what? 
In the book, surrender is suggested.  We who sin cause the pain in the world.  He who created the world heals it.  Satan is the confuser of those roles.
This is not news to me but my fist is now closed around the steering wheel.  Pulling fingers off one at a time is painful in a new way.  It causes panic.  Trusting God with our whole being means accepting what may come and what already has. It means accepting pain caused by sin with a hand ever open to God.
Heavy breathing. Fingers curling back in.
Curious but uncertain.
http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=m0bdd-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0310321913&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrI’d love to read this in partnership with you.  Let me know if your interested by leaving a comment and we will find a way (via skype, discussion page, phone or meetings) to make it work.  I have a feeling about this book.  A glowing that comes from the inside when I open it. You can also find a copy in my store, Fine Things…
Hopefully,

Tuesday Girls to the Rescue: Rule #5

The fifth rule of Tuesday Girls to the Rescue is one fight at a time. 


Listen to each other and be willing to give what you take.


I love a good conversation and when one starts, I can’t get enough.  The connection made, even in disagreement when done correctly, makes my neurons fire.  I love to find out how people tick.


However, when I am going through some sort of personal turmoil, I become this girl….


Did you click the link?  Not yet.  Okay, I’ll wait.


*elevator music*

No, I don’t get thin and blonde.  Have you ever seen In Her Shoes?http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=m0bdd-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=B000CCW2P2&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr  Maggie makes everything about her.  She steals her sisters shoes, borrows her car without permission and sleeps with her (almost) boyfriend. 


By the way, Jennifer Weiner, the author of In Her Shoes is one of my favorite writers.


Have you ever been seated at one woman’s tale of woe?  She never stops for a breathe.  There are no solutions and nothing you can say to make it better.  You are just providing the captive audience.  A necessary role for all girlfriends to play at one time or another.


Sometimes making everything about you is fine.  There will be times when you need to wallow and lick your wounds.    It is difficult but even when you are hurting, once you seat yourself around that table it’s not just about you.  It’s about every woman there.


I am contemplating this morning how that is possible.  


We share, we console, offer advice and then we move on to the next.  There is no timer.  Just consideration.  I think my friend Nichole is the reason.  The more I think of it, the more I see her as our mediator.  She keeps time for the group.  I’m not even sure if she is aware of it.  I just realized it now.


She is the one who gently nudges us from one woman to the next.  I love that.


So there it is.  Go get yourself a Nichole for your Tuesday Girls to the Rescue.  THE END 

Tuesday Girls to the Rescue: Rule #4

The 4th rule of Tuesday Girls to the Rescue is, try to keep the group small.  
Ya’ll probably thought that I was done with these type of posts.  I have to admit that my new job has kept me very busy.  They don’t call it a full time job for nothin’! I have actually missed my Tuesday morning coffee twice!  This week, I am setting up some better boundaries regarding my new position and I will be sitting around that table by the time you read this.  
How many times have you gone out for a MNO (Mom’s Night Out) and found yourself wading through a mass of surface discussion.  Around the table sits many, many women of varying degrees of friendship all looking for an evening of escape, camaraderie and connection.  For me, it can be overwhelming and I am no wall flower.  I love parties. I love social settings in general.  I will talk the ear off of a cashier if given the opportunity.
I can sum up the topics of conversation very easily.
  • children and their antics
  • husbands and their antics
  • household pet peeves
  • budget savings
  • shopping
  • labor and delivery stories
  • discipline of any form
Now, please don’t take me for saying that the above is meaningless conversation.  I’m not.  I love to laugh over all of these topics.  We all relate to each other because the stories are priceless and the material endless.  What I am saying is that in a large setting of women it is difficult to talk about your heart.  We put our questions and responses on auto pilot.

How are you? = Great! And you? 

and the like.

When I sit down with a few women that I have gotten to know very well my responses are true.  I can say that I am not fine.  I can let down my guard.  We can all allow vulnerability. We can address real issues in our lives in a way that makes us feel some solidarity.  

My dear friend, Heather
When I go to MNO’s, I talk about the generic topics but I am seeking a heart to heart friend.  I have a few now, which makes the MNO’s less about seeking as they are about comfortably sharing.  I think every girl needs a bosom buddy like Ann of Avonlea.  We all need someone to share our lives with outside of those we marry and give birth to.  Women that can remind us that we are individuals and that our person does not end with the four walls of our home and the bodies of our family.  

My prayer is that for every Naomi, there is a Ruth and for every David, there is a Jonathon.

Love Always,

Tashmica


True Story

This morning I woke up thinking about writing.  I think it’s amusing that I always think I have nothing to say. 

I always have something to say.

In my loss for words I went around reading the blogs of some friends.  Coffee mug in hand and a few online errands completed, I sifted through their impressions, thoughts and ideas.  I smiled at their jokes and their insights.  I even left a few comments when the spirit so moved me.  I love that some of my girlfriends have blogs.  Especially those who saw fit to leave me and move to some place far away, no matter how I prayed to impede their growth.

(Tiff, you know who you are…and I never actually said those prayers. I just really, really wanted to!)

I have always kept a journal.  In my old apartment, I used to have a wall that I painted words on…and repainted and repainted when those feelings changed.  It was all very Mad Love.  When my emotions get too big words start spilling from me like an open tap.  I want them all around me.  I suppose that’s why Facebook and Twitter are so appealing to me. 

Lately, I keep hearing people say that everyone lies when they post status updates. 

Huh.

Like, I’m-meeting-with-President-Obama-today-to-discuss-my-shoe-addiction lies or I’m-bloated-but-I’m-not-posting-that-so-I’m-gonna-use-a-quote omission kind of lies.  I think we would all be completely nuts to share everything online.  The omission lie online doesn’t bother me so much.

I kind of feel like my loved ones from far, far away (not the acquaintances we all have surfing on the fringe of our lives) keep me posted….literally.  I love watching their posts and feeling like I get a glimpse into their lives.  I love their pics, great quotes and funny anecdotes. I love knowing that they are surviving hardships and celebrating landmarks.  To each I post comments that say, “I’m thinking of you” or “Woo Hoo! Good for you!” respectively.

Not everything I write on my wall goes live.  Trust me. I censor but no more then I would in real life.

For example…



How are you?


What kind of response does that illicit?  In a room filled with 600 people you say what we all say…Fine.

In a room with a couple of confidants, you tell the truth.  Whether that truth is really bad or just a day with crabby underpinnings.  We don’t lie on facebook anymore than we do in public.  The real story just always happens face to face. (skype to skype, one on one…you choose your poison) This is the way it should be. 

Even for a girl who likes to write on the wall.

This acknowledgement begs us all to forego the lazy followings online and actually pick up the phone, drop a line or meet up for coffee with those we truly care about.  The people you want the whole story from.  It makes me want to purchase pretty stationary to send letters with flower petals, pictures or random memorabilia folded into them.  Notes that say, “This made me think of you.”  I want to send a true story out into the world to have a true story come back.

Doesn’t opening a letter sound delicious. 


I think I may have to start gathering addresses….and that makes me smile.

Tuesday Girls to the Rescue: Rule #3

The third rule of Tuesday Girls to the Rescue is if someone says stop, goes limp, taps out, the fight is over.
A couple of weeks ago, I skipped our regular meeting.  This may seem counter to everything that I have been telling you through these little blog posts.  
I had to stop, go limp and tap out.  I drew myself off of the mat and headed to the locker room where I just sat.  Too many questions and not enough answers.  I will admit I was a little paralyzed.  It was one of those days where you know that getting up and moving will help you.  You know that watching countless episodes of court TV and never getting dressed past a sweatshirt over your p.j.’s will not help you.  
I couldn’t do it.  I turned off my brain and went all comatose on the world.

My girls texted me to see where I was and I decided I wasn’t budging.  That Tuesday was not a day for rescue. It was a day of self pity.

Really.  I know.  You’re probably thinking who is this girl!?

It’s me.  Tashmica.  On a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

I told them I needed some time to think.  Translation? I needed a day to not think, not process and not talk about solutions.  Their collective reaction?
Please call if u need to talk anything through or if we can kidnap you again tonight?
The last time I had a day like this, their collective response was a flower delivery and a sweet card.

When you surround yourself with Salt of the Earth friends they gently give you space.  They allow you your court TV days.  They allow you days of locker room self pity.  Your days of purposeful immobility are recognized as neccessary for healing.

They do not allow you to feel like you are alone.  They reach out with a rope, a kind word a gentle reminder that they are waiting in the wings for your big come back.  

ADRIAN!!!!

Can you honestly blame me for a Rocky reference with all of the fight lingo in this post.  Seriously?  :)

So today is a new day. I am dressed all the way down to my shoes.  I have just started my dream job and today I will be taking my lunch break with the fantastic Tuesday Girls to the Rescue.  My frame is a little bent and not quite what it was a couple months ago but I’m working on it….and I suppose they are helping me strengthen it.


Tuesday Girls to the Rescue: Rule #2

The second rule of Tuesday Girls to the Rescue is, you DO NOT talk about Tuesday Girls to the Rescue.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, this rule has been left extreme to follow the Fight Club theme.  Mainly because it makes me giggle and I love using pictures of Brad Pitt.

Even lookin’ all scuzzy, he looks good.

  I have not always been so lucky to belong to this secret society.  I have belonged to a few mommy groups; MOPS, Bible studies and a few different semi-regular play dates.  Around the time that Levi was born I was invited to come to this Tuesday meet up of women.  One of whom was already a friend of the heart.  The rest I didn’t really know very well at all.  

Once I started to come, they asked me not to.  

Yep, you heard me right.  They called and said today is not a good day for you to come.  One of the girls you don’t know so well is going through something and it would be uncomfortable for her to share with a stranger in the room.

Some of you may be feeling a little rustling of your feathers….

Nearly two years later and I am the one dealing with some issues.  They have taken what can only be described as a protective stance over my heart.  They have done the same thing for me by either not asking other women to join us or plain asking them to respect my privacy by staying away.  That is why you don’t talk about Tuesday Girls to the Rescue.  Not because other women are not worthy or because you have some elitist standards.  It’s because you guard the secrets and the hearts of friends that you love.

When I was asked not to come a couple of years ago, I understood.  I thought it was brave of them to risk offending me in an effort to protect a friend who was hurting.  I am not sure I would have done that.  It would never have occurred to me.  The lessons of life hadn’t taught me this yet.  

When creating your own group be sensitive to the needs of the women you invite.  Keep the group small and never be afraid to defend the size and the substance.  We are talking about cultivating true heart to heart relationships here.  This is not a social club whose success is determined by the number of attendees.  To determine the success of this secret society all members must feel safe and supported.

Love,






If you are new to this series, here are some places to get you all caught up! :)

Tuesday Girls to the Rescue: Rule #1

Tuesday Girls to the Rescue: Rule #1

The first rule of Tuesday Girls to the Rescue is, you don’t talk about Tuesday Girls to the Rescue.

If you were born of a woman, you probably have had a secret.  If you are a woman, you have probably had a secret that you shared with another woman.  At some point in your life, you have also met a blabber mouth, hiney-biter or a gossip girl.  You have woken up to a world reveling in your secret.  It is a painful breach of trust to find judgmental strangers tromping through your decisions and rolling in your missteps like mud in a pig pen.

In an odd coincidence, my bloggy friend Toni at Simply Sienna, just shared a post on avoiding gossip.  For some practical tips, read her blog post Giving Up Gossip.  Honestly, we did not plan this.  I love happy accidents!

Those of us who have suffered such treatment take steps to never suffer that humiliation again.  We start to treat our confidants like FBI agents applying for the highest level of security intelligence.  We clam up.  Another option, one most favorable to me, is the choosing to never participate in things you would not be proud to declare to the world.  Obviously, that whole human imperfection thing makes this not only difficult but impossible to stick to without exception.

The first rule of Tuesday Girls to the Rescue is extremely important if you truly wish to cultivate a heart to heart relationship with your own Tuesday Girls.  What happens around that table, over that cup of coffee or between those swings, stays there.  That time your husband did…..or your child struggled with…..or when you….. No matter the topic.  The best sharing only happens in a completely safe environment. 

We have all had to make some hard choices about the company we keep as adults.  When you decide to build a small, safe and comfortable group of women to share your life with, don’t invite a gossiper.  Just don’t.  Unless you are starting a rehab group for the lose lipped.  Other wise, spare yourself the drama (unless you like that sort of thing) and invite women who you can trust.

Today is Tuesday and I have personal struggles that I am going to share with my girlfriends.  They will do their best to support me with advice, prayers and best of all, they will lock it up and throw away the key.  I never have to worry that they will share my own personal daytime drama for kicks and giggles with strangers.  There is no better way to spill your guts.  

My children will be wandering around that table.  All of our children will break in for a snack, a drink, a potty break or a tattle tale session.  My hope, is that through all of that, they will also see an example of true friendship.  I hope that someday, while cultivating their own relationships, they will now which friends to glean from the chafe.  I hope they learn this lesson early and well.  Long before they have to learn the hard way.

Don’t you want to sigh with relief already?

If you just started following this series, start here.

Tuesday Girls to the Rescue: An Introduction