Thursday, March 3, 2016

Mimosa Monday - Finale

Are ya'll sick of me talking about this?  I keep saying I'm no expert, but I feel like I have sooooo much to say about it!  I just feel that life TOGETHER is so much easier...more fun.  I've heard stories of efforts being made and ideas thrown around and friendships rekindled...'tis my jam.


Someone has to plan the gathering.  Someone has to open their home or call the restaurant.  There's the notion that a certain amount of risk or vulnerability comes with being the hostess.  Allow me to dispel it!

I believe there are two kinds of hostessing.  There's the scary one, the Martha Stewart kind, the linen napkins and fresh flowers kind.  And then there's the one I'm talking about.

To the first, hosting the SPECIAL: the baby shower, or the birthday party, or the Christmas party.  These are events in which the ultimate goal of the hostess is to make those attending feel SPECIAL.  Puttin' on the dog, if you will (that's what my momma would say).  These are necessary, and important and FUN things to plan and attend....BUT THEY ARE NOT WHAT I'M PASSIONATE ABOUT.  Consult Pinterest, I am not your girl.

The type of hostessing that I urge you to do is the one where the ultimate goal is to make those attending feel COMFORTABLE.  Don't host a baby shower and have a pile of laundry on your living room couch.  DO, however, host your girlfriends for coffee without hiding it.  We looked fancy in our Mimosa Monday picture shoot.  We got out the nice clothes and the nice dishes and did our hair.  We did that because we knew it was a photo shoot!  On any regular Monday you'll see yoga pants and ponytails and solo cups...and not because we are lazy (or at least not ONLY because we are lazy).  No, because we are vulnerable, comfortable.  Because the being together is more important that the prep work.

Hosting is important to me, so here are so practical ways I keep it easy:

  • I stay stocked with paper goods
  • I always have coffee and a dozen eggs to spare.  A frittata can be made in 20 minutes with anything from all your leftovers to simply some eggs and cheese.
  • I add to my friends comfortability level by making them work: 'Hey Erin, could I have some ice water?' 'Sure, the glasses are above the dishwasher.  Help yourself!'  You only have to do this once to give another woman the permission to make herself at home in your kitchen.
  • I never 'put on the dog' or make it fancy.  Easy, reproducible, unintimidating - yes.  Fancy - nope.

You don't have to be a party planner or have nice dishes or even have groceries to be the have to invite them over and then open the door.  Period.

As I leave this little series on community and move back to either not blogging or to ridiculous stories about the kids, let me throw out some ideas for you:

  • Meet at a restaurant after your kids bedtime for a drink and a chat
  • Meet at a park so the kids can play and rotate who brings coffees and kid snacks
  • Host a monthly freezer cooking class
  • Meet at a track or walking trail in the predawn hours

Or get the whole family involved:

  • BBQ's
  • Family Game night
  • A day trip to a state park with a picnic

It's important, people.  In our social media world where we can have 678 facebook friends and still feel lonely I am convinced this is the answer.  The best way to make a friend is to be one.
Call your people and open your really is that simple.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Mimosa Monday - Part Two

Friends! Guess what I learned from the response to Mimosa Monday - Part One? We all crave community!!  We cheer it on when we see it, we want it for ourselves, we miss it when we don't have it!  Which brings me to Part Two...

Now, before I get wound up, let me preface this.  I am NO expert on any of this.  I do feel that God created me with some innate slant toward hospitality/hostessing/girlfriending/gabbing, but this is just me being me.  Please hear where I'm coming from with all of this...this is not a how-to, or a suggestion, or a show off...but goodness, if it's the gentle nudge you need to figure out your own innate slant, your own giftedness, and find your people and share that with them, well, sweet.

The Commonality of the Human Experience.  This is it.  When we learn this, when we accept this, when we embrace THIS, the rest gets real easy, real fast.  The Commonality of the Human Experience - or...Everybody's Poop Stinks - or...Yeah, Me Too - or...The Absense of Shock and Awe - this is the secret to the ability to be vulnerable, which is the secret to community.

Someone, somewhere sold the lie that your specific kind of crazy is the kind no one else will relate to.  It's just not true.  This is the thing that I'm most certain about: when you get brave and tell or whisper or write that thing that holds you back from being vulnerable with your people and then brace yourself for the 'Oh wow!!' or flinch or awkward laugh - you'll be left waiting.  It just won't come (if the right people are across your table, and if they made it to your table, they're the right people.)  It won't come.  You'll get a 'Oh, thank God, me too!' or a 'Oh honey, that blows, I'm so sorry.' or a 'Damn, what can we do?'.  You'll be so disappointed you didn't deliver the biggest shock of their lives.

You see, it's all the same.  My short fuse temper and your phone addiction and her post-partum depression and that one's general, constant irritation toward her husband (or all of the above depending on the day), well, that's what mid 30's raising a family just looks like!  Or take it bigger: my mom's cancer, and her son's reading delays, her husband's possible job loss, and that one's looming doctor's appointment...even the big stuff, if at the right table, still just receives hugs, and 'what can I do's', and 'dude, that sucks.'

Maybe you're in a season where it all feels big!  I promise that it'll feel smaller, more manageable, if you'll share it.  Maybe you're in a season where it all feels rosy!  Then spread some cheer, be an ear for someone.  Basically, get over yourself - God made you special and unique, but not THAT unique.  Your crazy is no better than anyone else's.  Promise.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Mimosa Monday

Photo Cred: Lauren Rundle

When we moved back to Oklahoma I had very few goals.  WE had many goals. Dan had buckets full of goals.  I, personally, had very few.

1) Don't break all the babies.  (Remember we had 3 under 2 that year)
2) Make friends.

Making friends as an adult is weird.  I didn't excel at it while in Albuquerque.  There is possibly no more awkward stage to make friends than grown, professional, new to town, single, and no kids.  I would walk/jog next to a girl on the treadmill at the gym wondering how to 'make a move' without it feeling like I was making a move.  Weird.  My bests from ABQ were from work...colleagues or patients.  I knew I'd have to do better in Oklahoma as there was to be no 'workplace' for me.

So I got creative.  We joined a church soon after we moved here, I assumed it would be a great place to make friends!  And it was...but it's kinda like being the new kid at a new high school - not that we weren't welcomed or included - we were!  But there were shared histories, they new each others' stories.  So, we joined a very small Sunday school class with a few other new couples - fresh meat!

I decided Jac (absent on picture day) would be my friend before she even knew my name, I'm sure.  So kind and funny and genuine.  I picked her out and then was patient.  Our friendship cement came when she and her husband called 2 minutes before ringing the doorbell while delivering cinnamon rolls at Christmas.  Our house was a disaster.  I hadn't showered in days.  I had just changed a dirty diaper and it smelled like I may have rubbed it on the walls instead of just throwing it away.  The kids were half dressed and WOUND.  And we welcomed them in.  And they (newlywed with no children) came in and sat and SAW US.  And that, my friend, is friendship cement.

Photo Cred: Lauren Rundle

I stalked Sara out at church like a coyote hunts a wounded rabbit.  She was new too.  She had a gabby husband too.  She had a 'lively' girl Jack's age.  She wasn't 'in' yet either.  I sunk my teeth in and declared us friends.  Done and done.  'What's your number?  What are good zoo days for you?  Do you like coffee and wine?  Yes?  Done.  You're my best friend.'

Then, my Jen.  Jen made me work the hardest.  I met her at a park.  I have come to LOVE this approach to making friends.  Her kids were playing, mine were playing, no one was touching us...we could chat!!  And when you're kids are RIGHT there, you have plenty of things to talk about - how old? any others?  what other parks do you like around here?  No awkwardness!!  Well, unless you're Erin.  Then you overshare a little.  Whatev, man.  So, we exchanged numbers and I walked away with HIGH hopes.  Then I texted her a few days later and .... crickets.  Nothing.  I persisted and tried a few days later.  REPLY!!  The rest is history.  She's my sister.

Photo Cred: Lauren Rundle

Then, God showed me how much He loves me, and arranged many moving parts so that my best from college moved to town...a short 9 months after we moved here.  Megan is my calm.  She knows all the stories.  She loved the new little group I'd found and they loved her back and it was like coming home.  (Seriously, just writing her little blurb, made my fingers move more slowly and my coffee jitters subside.)

Photo Cred: Lauren Rundle

And then Kerri.  Kerri was grafted in by Sara and I only know that because I sat and thought for a very long time.  As kind and sweet and real as anyone I've ever met, it feels like she's been at the table forever.  She mothers Harry (and two precious big girls - the big kids rarely get to come for MM because, school) who is Jack's protege.  Harry is 18 months old and hearing her stories of the struggles of mothering that boy gives me scary flashbacks and so many smiles.  I keep reminding her how cool Jack is NOW.

Photo Cred: Lauren Rundle

This group.  Working moms and Stay At Homers.  Home school, public school, and private.  We vary on our politics (I mean, probably, we don't ever talk about that nonsense), beliefs, and backgrounds.  But we gather as often as possible, and drink whatever seems appropriate, and laugh and cry and nod and wipe each other's kids' noses.  Most importantly, we just hear each other.  Like Glennon Melton Doyle says, we pick up the gifts of each others' stories and treat them like the presents they are.  We group text ridiculous memes.  We dream of a clubhouse all our own...or a vacation.  And if crisis happened, these are the girls who would mobilize and get it handled.

Community is a big deal.  Face to face, across a table, real life community.  It's when we see each other and really connect over the commonality of the human experience.  Start your own Mimosa Monday...or Hot Toddy Tuesday...whatever, I am partial to alliteration.  Ours started as Monday Morning Moving Mommas (I can't help it).  We met at a park and walked with our 49 children strapped into strollers.  That season of life demanded it.  We've now graduated.  Maybe you can only swing once a month.  It's worth the effort and the awkwardness and the vulnerability.  Do it.  Or come on over here...we'd love to have to get a bigger table.

Photo Cred: Lauren Rundle

All photos by the fabulous Lauren Rundle, number available upon request!