One of the simplest pleasures in life is the ability to sit and be yourself with another human being. This is what I would call authentic friendship. I consider myself to be a person who puts herself out there....sometimes. Sure, I blog here, I blog there, I champion authenticity all around, but I find myself forgetting to just be "me" around all I meet. I suppose with anything in life, balance is key. There is no reason to be completely vulnerable with complete strangers, and yet I find myself wanting more and more to just take the moment to smile and be "real".
I am deeply blessed to have so many of those "authentic" friendships. They stretch from Dallas to California to (soon) Louisiana and all in between. Those friendships where I can sit and be quiet and not feel the need to fill the silence with useless chatter. I am able to be smile and laugh and tease and be teased. We share quiet moments of pain and shout joyfully from the rooftops together. It is a gift that I dare not take for granted (though I often do) and I am so thankful for those friendships.
Oh dear! Jade! It is 2 in the morning? What brought on this sudden burst of thanksgiving? Why now, when you should be tucked in your bed dreaming of dancing bears and painted wings, are you thinking instead at the foot of your computer of all these things?
Well, I shall tell you. :) I am working on pictures! Getting caught up on my summer of madness and making CD's left and right and exporting to my website. It is my favorite thing to have finished products and printed photographs in my lap. :) And one of the CDs I am making is that of my dearest friends the Stapper family. :) Chris was my boss at Zephyr and I was blessed to develop a closeness to his sweet little family. They bring a joy to my heart and I count them among my list of authentic friendships. They listen to my crazy ideas, they laugh politely at my lame jokes...and then at me, and they love deeply. I miss them when we are apart but when we get together, it is like no time has passed. And as I was printing a few pictures of them for my fridge, I was suddenly reminded that friendships are such a gift from such a giving God.
So if I don't tell you often enough...I will say it now:
I am trying not to be too sentimental right now. :) But it's reallllllly hard for me. This morning I caught my son straddling his crib, about to leap off it, very very angry with me for sticking him in it for naptime. Most of you know that my son refuses to sleep in his crib. He will eventually fall asleep if I just leave him in there "crying it out", but in his 19 months, he's never gone down quietly when I put him in there.
Well this morning, little buddy was falling asleep on his feet. He woke up earlier than normal and was playing hard all morning and so I thought, "hey, he's super tired...let's give a morning nap a try". So I stick him in there, wish him "night night" and walk out of his room. He screams. Angry, frustrated screams. So I think "I will wait 5 minutes and if he is still crying, I will go check on him". Well I heard him slowly wimper, then quiet down. Then SCREAAAAM. So I hurry over to take a peak....and low and behold, my son is trying to find the best way to get down from the bar that he had climbed up...and crying miserably because he did NOT want to be in there.
Of course I grab him quickly (and yes, the freakishly obsessed photographer in me wonders if I have time to take a picture...but of course the mommy wins out) and I hold him till he stops crying.
So then I think...well, maybe if I pull out his matress, put blankets on it to give it some padding, and give him his pillow, he will go lay down when he is ready.
Sooo...by the time 1:00 rolls around, we've had lunch, we've played and done some laundry, etc., I walk him to his room and ask him if he wants to go "night night" and he says yes and goes and lays down on his mattress. He pats it and points to an extra pillow suggesting I come lay with him. So I go sit by him and pat him a little, and next thing I know...he is fast asleep. In HIS room....on HIS mattress.
This past weekend I attended the Willow Creek Leadership Summit for the first time ever. Our church was one of the hosts for their nationwide telecast and I am so thankful that I went. I've heard big things about it before and pretty much ignored people's encouragement for me to attend. :) I tend to rebel in my own way and naturally the Lord pushes me until I finally surrender my pride. Oh how grateful I am that He never gives up on me. Hehe.
Well, many of the teachers, interviews, and worship moments stood out in big ways, but the one that struck a chord in my tiny life was that of a young woman named Jessica Jackley of www.Kiva.org. She was engaging, energetic, and had a radiant spirit and I was so enamored by her presence that I went straight to kiva.org the first chance I had. Jessica is the co-founder of Kiva, a business created to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty. She witnessed first hand the power of micro-financing when she was in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda while working with Village Enterprise Fund and Project Baobab on impact evaluation and program development. She and her co-founder researched what lending to small business owners in Africa would do for them socially and how it would help in the fight against poverty and she had a vision. What if peer lending became a reality for these people and you or I could just lend 25.00 or 500.oo? How would that help in their sucess? Well, visit www.kiva.org for more information. You will not be disappointed. Jessica's is a story that touches my very core. She, like me, had the desire in her to help fight against some social injustice, and the Lord has blessed her for it and more importantly, the struggling entrepreneurs of these countries she loves. Her story of success just gives me courage. It reminds me that I am living in a world of many great injustices, but that by being faithful, I can help to make a difference. I don't know what. I don't know how. I don't even know when. But I pray that with whatever gifts and talents that are in me can be poured out on this nation and on this world for the glory and for the kingdom of God.
I realize that you critics and cynics might be rolling your eyes at my over enthusiasm tonight, but really, truly, I feel in my heart such a great fire. I pray we all can take the small, but necessary steps in doing our part. There are so many small inspirations every day to be a part of something so much bigger than ourselves.
Well kids. You've missed me, haven't you? It's alway a whirlwind of activity in this house. Life is certainly never boring around here.
I feel the need to update this, but I am just so "empty". So much has been churning within my heart. This is definitely a growing season for Nathan and myself. The Lord has blessed us with some close friends who challenge us to be better every day and for that I am so so grateful. :)
Today is my friend Charity's birthday. Her and her twin, Leah. (both are on my blogroll). They are such joys to my heart and I just want to wish them both a delightful birthday! You girls are wonderful and live out Proverbs 31!! Charity, I am so glad we are friends and that my computer is full of wonderful pictures of us. :) I love you both! Happy Birthday!!
Ok...I'm out. More in-depth updates and noodles to come. Honest! :)