Category Archives: friendship

Slightly burnt toast

I am enamored with the phrase “slightly burnt toast”. Although, I am not entirely sure why. There’s a parallel somewhere in there between my life experiences and the phenomenon of slightly burnt toast. I’m gonna see if I can suss it out.

I love toast. Golden, crispy, all melty with butter (and sometimesb jelly). There’s something about well-made toast that just makes me happy and all melty inside. I’m a little fussy about how my toast is cooked. I don’t like it undercooked. I don’t like it overcooked (Sam I am must be around here somewhere). I like it to be the perfect shade of golden brown.

I don’t own a toaster due to the fact that I have about 1 foot square of counter space to do all of my cooking and dirty dish stacking. So, we cook our toast in the oven under the broiler. This can be a little precarious if one gets distracted easily(ahem) and forgets they are cooking toast in the oven. Sometimes my toast gets all crispy and black. Yuck.

I’m sure you can imagine my disappointment if I burn my toast to the point of carbonization.

But I’m not talking about toast bricks here. I’m talking about toast that is slightly burnt. Not quite black, beyond golden brown, but still somewhat edible (Especially if I slather it with cream cheese and jelly). Slightly burnt toast is not quite perfect in my mind. It is slightly left of my ideal. Not burnt enough to hate, but too burnt to fully love.

I realized the last time I made slightly burnt toast (which involved a little bit of whining to myself), that sometimes I feel the same about myself as I feel about slightly burnt toast. Not bad enough to hate, but not good enough to fully love. Tainted, slightly to the left of center, just a little off, a little too sinful, a little too burnt.

Sometimes I don’t feel good enough to be loved. By God, or by other people (mostly other people). I’m not perfect enough, pretty enough, popular enough, witty enough to be loved. I’m slightly tainted with my sins, idiosyncrasies, weirdness, genetic makeup, acquired habits, weight problem, opinionated mouth. The list goes on.

Don’t get me wrong. I realize that I am not perfect because only one Man on this Earth was ever capable of being perfect. I also realize that I am a mostly okay person. But that slightly burnt feeling keeps me back from fully being who I was created to be. It keeps me back from fully expressing myself. Mostly because I crave to be loved by people. I am pretty sure God loves me the way I am, although sometimes I wonder. But that’s another story for another day

Sometimes I wonder why so-and-so doesn’t talk to me. Or why such-and-such (I have changed the names of people to protect the innocent) won’t even look my way. I imagine that it’s because I am slightly to the left of what I need to be to be their friend. But my Friend won’t let me settle there with my tent and campfire, burning my toast and cursing myself for it.

I get the feeling best place to be is right where God has me right now. Not looking for approval from those that aren’t meant to be my friends. Not comparing myself to my imagined “ideal” person. Instead, He pushes my thoughts towards the friends who approve of me. The ones who like and love me despite my deficiencies. The people who pick me up when I am down. The ones who make me tea and imperfect toast when I am sad. The ones who celebrate my successes with parties. The friends who take my delicate dreams carefully into their hands to encourage me. The ones to whom I can pour out my appreciation love and reciprocate with tea and toast. The people that God has put in my path. These folks help me to feel perfect, even when I’m not.

So, friends, don’t look for friends in the wrong places. Don’t compare yourself to your imagined ideal friend of those who don’t notice you. Rather, celebrate the friends you have. Make them tea and toast. Wipe their tears (or cry with them). Shout with joy at their successes in life. Tell them about your successes. This is what makes life golden and perfect.

5mf and other things

First things first.  I did not write in my blog on Wednesday or Thursday.  I feel guilt about this.  Part of me just wants to give up on this whole endeavor.  It’s too hard, I have no audience (that I am aware of), I feel adrift and alone on an ocean of words.  The past couple of days I have been lying in bed in the morning asking the Lord to show me what to do about this whole writing thing, because I am reluctant.  I doubt my skills and my purpose here.  I am trying to be okay with not having an audience and with writing whatever is in my heart, even if other people don’t like it or respond to it.  This is hard.  It is hard to do just because God said so.  I am struggling to be faithful.  I have been asking the Lord for a system that I can count on that would facilitate writing in this blog day after day.  So here is my schedule for the week:

Monday: Monday Morning Meditations (1-word prompts)

Tuesday: Telling My Story

Wednesday: Weekly Bible Study (currently hosted by MK at Beauty for Ashes)

Thursday: Anything goes

Friday: Five minute Fridays (Thank you for this Gypsy Mama!)

Also, I have been holding on just a little longer because something big is coming this Saturday.  A BIG healing.  So the past few days have been just about remembering to breath.  So, if you tune in Tuesday I will explain what did or did not happen Saturday.

Hopefully this will work for me and I will write every day.  Pray for me.

So, this weeks prompt from Gypsy Mama is Ordinary

Sometimes I think I would like to have an ordinary life.  But, really?  My life is anything but ordinary.  Ordinary can be boring.  Sometimes when I talk to people with ordinary lives they say, “Nothing much as changed”.  I feel sad for them.  But, maybe they are okay with ordinary.  Maybe ordinary is their “happy place”.  I guess I find ordinary boring.  Gave me the gift of being a visionary, an adventurer, and a pioneer.  I am constantly building, seeking, pushing forward, and trying something new.  Not out of a need for my life to be less boring, just because I find these things exciting.  I know not everybody is like me.  Some people thrive on maintaining things like a gardener maintains his flowers and vegetables.  Loving, consistent, gentle care come from these people.  I am explosive, hyper, pushy, demanding (in a good way) visionary.  I like to start things and move on to the next thing.  I need the maintainers as much as the maintainers need visionaries.  One without the other would be meaningless.  God made the hand dependent of the foot and vice versa.  With the foot the hand would never get anywhere, with out the hand, the foot would have nothing to do.

Here’s to the visionaries and the maintainers!

On Friends- 5mf

Having friends hasn’t always been so easy.  I moved around a lot as kid so I didn’t grow up with the same group of people.  I often wasn’t accepted at school because I wasn’t part of the “growing up together” friendship circles that existed.  I  had a few acquaintances that I talked to and hung out with, but not a soul friend that knew me through and through.  As an adult,  I had a few friendships that ended in disaster because I did too much, or they did too  little.  Or I picked the wrong kind of people.  I  had to be more deliberate and less needy to form some true friendships.  In the past 10 years I have carefully worked on being the kind of person that people would want to be friends with.  I stopped being clingy and needy, stopped trying too hard.  I was just there with all my quirks.  And eventually, my friends were there too.  Nowadays,  I have a few friends that know me through and through, that know my quirks and deep dark secrets, but love me anyway.  One of my friends even called me “sister”.  I cried when she said that to me.  Finally.  A true sister-friend.  Thank your Lord for true friends.  I Thank you Lord for the mamas-friends, the sister-friends, the brother-friends that I have now with good healthy connections.

Sweet- Day 3 of the Just Write! campaign

Welcome to day 3 of the Just Write! campaign here at Beauty in it’s time.  Mary Kathryn Tyson is hosting this campaign in an effort to get her creative juices flowing, and other people’s as well.  I have chosen to participate because I need a kick in the rear to get myself writing more frequently.  So,everyday that she does this she will give us a one-word prompt and we “JustWrite!” for five minutes without editing (note: editing for grammar errors is okay, just don’t do a total rewrite). We are not trying to craft masterpieces here, we are attempting to “Just Write!” and get the creative juices flowing. MK has offered to allow us to write in her comments section, or to put a link in her comments if we have our own blog to write in.

Sweet

I like to eat sweets, I like to be sweet, and I like to be treated sweetly by others.  In other words, I like a lot of sugar in my life.  But, I don’t like false sweetness, that makes the sweetness sour.  Being sweet means being kind to others and going out of  my way to say or do something that puts a little sugar in someone else’s life.  It’s sort of like giving a gift that is both a delight and a surprise.  I like it when God is sweet to me.  He has infinite resources that he can tap any time, and he frequently does for you and I.  Like, when I’m worried about finances, and we go out to dinner, but try to keep spending in check, and I find a $10 bill lying on the ground.  I think, God must have dropped that there for me, how sweet.  So, really, our dinner only cost $15.  Sweet.  Being sweet to others is difficult sometimes.  The passages in 1 Corinthians 13 concerning LOVE reminds me that I need be sweet to others.  And, God is an eternal source of sweetness that I just need to tap into and let it pour through me to others.

5mf Post- Rest

<a href=”

Five minute Friday’s are a stream- of- consciousness exercise hosted by The Gypsy Mama every Friday.  In an effort to get myself writing more frequently, I am going to participate as frequently as I can.  I am also participating in a weekly bible study at Beauty for Ashes onWednesdays, and in “Just Write!” campaign also hosted by Beauty for Ashes.  The 5mf exercise is simple, The Gypsy Mama gives us a word prompt and we write for 5 minutes.  There is no editing and no backtracking.  Just write whatever comes into your mind.  So here goes this week’s edition of 5mf:

Rest

I just got up from a  nap.  I was attempting to rest, because I feel so tired.  I just needed a nap.  Instead of actually sleeping, I thought of all the reasons that I don’t have time to sleep, or that keep me awake.  Secrets about my sins, things that stress me out, physical pain, spiritual hunger, needing more God in my life.  It’s easy to look at someone and say, “You need more rest!” without actually understanding what keeps them from resting.  Truly resting is not an experience that involves sleep.  Truly resting involves trusting.  Trusting that everything will be alright.  Trusting that God’s got it covered, that He has my back.  I struggle and struggle to find this place of rest and abandon.  I struggle to just let go, and let things lie where they in my life.  I want to be able to feel the sweetness of utter and complete rest.  Of lack of control.  I mean, if God is big enough, why do I need to worry?  He says he wants my burdens, so why not give them to Him?  Why not let Him fight the good fight on behalf?  The pain, the worry, and the frustration don’t have to be mine.  Here is a prayer hoping to let go and let be.

Thanks for stopping by!

Steph

<a href=”

Tender (the first day of the “Just Write!” campaign)

Mary Kathryn Tyson, of Beauty for Ashes, decided she needed help getting un-stuck in her blog writing. She decided to start a month long campaign called “Just Write!” (named by moi) in which she will do stream-of-consciousness writing on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Wednesday is a bible study of the book of Romans that we are engaged in until the bitter end. And Friday is devoted to Gypsy Mama’s stream-of-consciousness writing “Five Minute Friday”.

So, I am participating in this campaign because I am reluctant to write. I am sure that God wants me to write. But I just can’t get past myself. I was excited when I read MK’s proposal hoping that this would spark a lifelong habit of blogging. Everyday that she does this she will give us a one-word prompt and we “Just Write!for five minutes without editing (note: editing for grammar errors is okay, just don’t do a total rewrite). We are not trying to craft masterpieces here, we are attempting to “Just Write!” and get the creative juices flowing. MK has offered to allow us to write in her comments section, or to put a link in her comments if we have our own blog to write in.

Day 1: Tender

GO!

Sweet softness of light and mercy,

Your love shines gently on my soul.

Sweet softness of light and mercy,

Your life fills my heart’s hole.

Sweet softness of light and mercy,

Prompt me with you tenderness.

Sweet softness of light and mercy,

Touch me with your tender caress.

Sweet softness of light and mercy,

Bring me into your light.

Sweet softness of light and mercy,

Help me through to the end of this fight.

Sweet softness of light and mercy,

Help me understand the mysteries of the deep.

Sweet softness of light and mercy,

Let me know the sweetness of your sleep.

Sweet softness of light and mercy,

Bring me into your dwelling place.

Sweet softness of light and mercy,

Let me know the beauty of your face.

Sweet softness of light and mercy,

Fill me from my head to my toes.

Sweet softness of light and mercy,

Lead my heart so my head follows.

STOP!

So there you have it, five minutes of stream-of-consciousness writing.

Feel free to add your own in my comments, to put a link in my comments, or just leave a note letting me know you were here and what you think about my efforts.

Who would attend my funeral? Some thoughts on friendship.

Don’t worry, I am not planning my death or anything crazy like that.

In It’s a Wonderful Life, we spend the first two acts getting to know George Bailey.  He grows up in a small town of no real consequence.  He has loving parents, and a brother, he is friendly, loyal, honorable, part of a local community, and is bent on seeing the world.  But, life takes some twists and turns he did not expect.  Instead of traveling the world, he marries, takes over a business he does not want (his father’s Savings and Loan), has a few kids, builds homes for others, and does his darndest to keep the local baddie at bay.  He has some friends and life is okay.  Until something terrible happens, and he effectively wishes he were dead, or had never been born.  The third act of the movies shows us what life would be like in his small town had he never been born.  Life is ugly without him in Bedford Falls.  A measuring stick was held up to his life when the townsfolk started to show up to help him out of his crisis.  George needed that angel to show him that alternate reality to help George to understand what his life has meant to others.  George definitely made a difference and it showed.

Sometimes I lie awake at night and wonder if I died, who would show up at my funeral?  How would I be eulogized? What would people say to those closest to me in an attempt to comfort them?  I used to have a morbid fascination with this idea because for a time I felt that no one would show up.   I felt lonely and afraid that I would die alone and unnoticed.  I struggled with invisibility (and often still do) and felt disconnected.  I really wanted connections in my life so people would show up at my funeral.  Initially, my motives were selfish.  I wanted people to care about me enough to care about  my death.

God does not like selfishness.  He likes selflessness.

Forging lifelong friendships is a long and difficult process fraught with danger and pain.  There were some relationships that were toxic, some that just ended, and some that kept going.  The friendships that kept going were eventually based on a mutual exchange of time, trust, and energy.  At some point, this process became less about what I could get from others, and became more about what I could give.  A bowl of soup here, a friendly and kind word there, a much needed moment of free childcare, some empathetic tears, a hug, a kiss, a little cash, trusted advice, helped others to know their worth to me.  And I receive these things in return and can feel my worth to those people.  The Holy Spirit gives us energy to maintain relationships with others because He desires an exchange of love between Him, us, and others, above all things.  Relationships matter.  Jesus said that the world would know us by our “love for one another” and that “no love greater is this; that he would lay his life down for his friends”.   Having friends is not really about what you can get from others, it’s about what you can give to others.  It’s about offering yourself, your gifts, your wisdom, your time, and your energy to other’s benefit.  The more you pour out, the more is poured into you.

I have many people that I love dearly outside of my little family.  Let’s cross that out; these people are my family.  I rejoice that these people are my brothers and my sisters.  They really care about me, and I really care about them.

To quote Clarence the angel, “…no man is a failure who has friends.”

Would love to hear your thoughts here….