Female friendship, first impressions, little league moms, motherhood

Hand Warmer and The Gypsy: Judgement, Friendship and Little League

Shreveport Little League

The aluminum stands chilled by a frosty Spring night cut through my long skirt and coat with ease sending shivers up to my floral headband. My 5th grader with 3% body fat shifted weight back and forth, waiting for his turn in the dreaded little league  draft. Two long-time female friends to my right were huddled together when the one in scrubs loudly proclaimed a crude comment about hand warmers. The two laughed uproariously. She glanced my way and I nodded politely but with kids within earshot, I was a little taken aback. The ballplayers were released and I warmed the car and readied the Gatorade for Jack. Try-outs were over but the real work had only just begun.

With back room politics which would make Huey Long blush, the 2010 draft was complete and Jack landed on The Dodgers. To his delight he discovered that many former teammates would also wear Dodger Blue. Being the Tiger Mom that I am I was most excited about the hours of guilt-free social time with moms I never got to see. I know there are awesome mothers who know how to bubble in the little score thingy and run the scoreboard. I always considered my lack of volunteering for the book or board my highest contribution. At the end of the first practice I heard a loud laugh from behind me and realized that someone else was a Dodger Mom, too: The Hand Warmer.

The season progressed and within that little league environment of camaraderie and overexposure, peanuts and sweet tea, friendship grew. Hand Warmer proved to have comedic observation skills, unique phraseology and a keen wit. I had to love that. I enjoyed her stories about growing up with deaf parents and began to appreciate so much more about her than I could have ever known at first blush. Coach Trey drove the boys hard and brought out a championship title from them. He repeated this the next year and almost a third. Acutely superstitious, Coach wore the same shorts every game. In support, we vowed to wear the same clothes as well. I was all in before I realized that my commitment meant wearing my peasant dress every night for five nights. In a row. I was deemed the village wench before it was all over.

Our third season together, Hand Warmer and I reminisced about our false first impressions of each other. I said, “Do you remember watching the draft that frozen night and what you said about HAND WARMERS? I quoted her phrase back to her and told her I thought she was a thoroughly brash woman. This time we both howled with laughter at her comment. She laughed and said, “How hilarious, I thought you dressed like a gypsy! In fact before I knew your name I called you the gypsy. You always had some crazy colorful skirt and matching earrings on!”

I thought about Hand Warmer today in the fondest way. Thankful for the seasonal friendship we shared and the respect I still carry for her. While the golden days of little league have passed and our boy’s interests and schools have taken them different ways, I still reflect with love and admiration for the women behind the raucous laugh: a sensitive, kind and beautiful soul. An unlikely woman whose spirit surprisingly warmed me.

What are some of your first impressions of other people which turned out to be all wrong?

Female friendship, freedom, friendship, Overcoming loss

A Return to Baylor

Hilarious Video of Mom Jeans running: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhJxlrqlsX4

There are a few women in my life whom our concentric circles of crazy align so perfectly that it makes us far more dangerous together than we are individually. So it is with Maureen. Mo and I were room mates our sophomore and junior year at Baylor. People would tell us that they could not take being inside either of our brains for five minutes. Which we thought was full-on awesome.

It is strange that we ever became friends, really. She was the brainy and brash Irish St.Louis girl and I was the only slightly-less brash Southern Belle who relied on brownie baking to get through college. But then again if you are from the same tribe you have an unavoidable way of finding each other. She has been my friend in sunshine in rain; weddings, funerals and all other momentous seasons in-between. After John and I were engaged, I told him that we could not get married until Mo came back from Japan in 9 months. And yet John still likes Mo.

With Baylor now being on the map football-istically thanks to Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III, (RG3,) a new bazillion-dollar stadium was built on campus in Waco. I caught wind of friends coming from Atlanta, Houston and Dallas to be there for the inaugural game against SMU on August 31st and I decided that our return to campus was long overdue. 

On August 22 I texted Mo that we needed to be there for the game on he 31st. She assumed October 31st, but silly her, no, I meant 9 days from then. She booked her flight, I scavenged for impossible tickets, began searching for matching shirts (vital) and because time was short, crafting matching Baylor jewelry for us. 

I squeezed in visits with two other of my Dallas / Ft. Worth steel magnolias (Gina and Stork,) and picked up Mo from the airport with “We Are Family.” blaring from my Rogue with all windows down. Because you are always the same age inside and darn if I’m not still 18. We did the scream / sing / dance reunion hug, grown men laughed at not with us and Maureen invited one old guy to come with us just for fun. Which I told her he may take the wrong way and there was no room since she had her huge suitcase.

Hair did & jewelry on we headed West to Waco Sunday Morning. First on the agenda was the Baylor Bookstore. Check. Bear Pit. Check. Old dorm room: roadblock. We quickly learned that the dorms are now on lockdown to keep out the riffraff. Which totally did not work. Soon with the help of a new friend who could tell we were not human traffickers we were on Memorial third floor. It smelled the exact same: burnt microwave pop corn and hair product with spray starch undertones. Yummy.

We crept down the sacred hall amused that the wood paneling survived the renovation and arrived at our Sophomore year dorm room. This venerable spot, with views of The Browning Library, was holy grounds for all we became in the 9 month time period of our lives. We snapped a picture of ourselves in front of our room and since the room next door was open, Mo tapped on that one first.

“Hi. We used to live next door. We used to have old ladies come back to look at our dorm room they lived in 30 years ago and now we’re the old ladies. Can we take a look around?”

“Of course! Come in.” said our new sweet friend.

Since she showed signs of cooperation, we asked if she would take our picture. In the bathroom. Reenacting shaving our legs. She said that the girls who lived in our actual room were there and they wouldn’t mind our looking around. We knocked on the bathroom door expectantly, curious yet nervous that we would be turned away. 

The co-ed answered the door as though she routinely received middle-aged women via her bathroom and told us to feel free to look around. Which took three seconds. Little had changed in our room despite 25 years of wear and tear. The formerly sophomore dorm was now a Freshman honors dorm. She said her roommate was coming back in a minute and would love to meet us which we found hard to believe. Sure enough, a few minutes later, the door opened and we yelled, “surprise, we used to live in your room!” to a shocked Freshman. What else could we have done?

The girls politely asked us to lunch and we told them we’d catch up with them at the Student Union Building. They insisted on walking with us, threw on their Baylor Line jerseys and we ventured to the SUB together. Maureen and I grabbed salads and reminisced about how only guys used to run in the Baylor Line (The Freshman who form the line for the football team to run through) We looked at each other, began laughing hysterically and knew that we owed it to the generations of Baylor Women who never got to run to open McClane Stadium and run in The Baylor Line. 26 years later.

Yes, George and Laura Bush and a ton of other important people were there, yes security was NUTS and yes, we did have tickets to the game which cost a kidney. We are law-abiding citizens, and typically make excellent choices. But there are in every life those handful of times when fate taps you on the shoulder and beckons you under the rope and you really would be crazy to hesitate.  Maybe it was the late Robin Williams’ sentimentally whispering “Carpe Diem” in my ear or maybe just because I am woman hear me roar or maybe it was regret over those four years of wearing dresses, hose and pumps to football games, but I did it. I ran with the Baylor Line. 

The scene from the field unfolded in slow-motion; beautiful green grass, jubilant alumni like me so thrilled to have a winning team, thousands on their feet cheering, reliving their glory days. And I ran. In flip-flops and mom jeans with purse slung over my shoulder. I ran on pure adrenaline from the utter joy of living life to the fullest. In total awe and disbelief that life could be this flat out beautiful. I ran, until I felt a velvet swoosh to my left which stopped me cold.

The perfect dreds swayed in slow motion as my crazy dream sequence suddenly got totally out of hand. There to my left was Robert Griffin III, whom I totally adore. I caught up with him (i know, right?) and swarmed him with the others, my iPhone randomly capturing me, then him, then me screaming. It did not capture his gentle yet firm velvet right arm prying me off of his body. This Moses of a man brought us into the promised land after wandering in the desert 40 years and I got to stalk him. Up close.

The Bears emerged from their locker room, the fireworks began in circular motion around the top of McClane and the Freshman ran to get to their seats. So I did as well. They all peeled off to the right and mom jeans went left. I was reunited with Mo at our seats who still cannot believe that I got to and she was prevented from, running in The Baylor Line. Together we continued to soak in the surreality of the epic day, thick in memories of our felt-like-yesterday past, amazed that so much time had passed and we had come so far. 



Christian Faith, friendship, kids making a difference, Maggie Lee for Good, Sharing God's Love, Uncategorized

Kids Making a Difference

Kids Making a Difference

There is so much truly bad news in the headlines today. On Monday a student at Sparks Middle School in Nevada armed with a semi-automatic weapon killed a teacher and wounded two others. Between tragedies like that and rediculousness like Miley Cyrus’ dance moves its easy to be discouraged about this generation of kids. But there are so many more quietly living impactful lives, doing good for others in need and living lives of character. Here are a few who have made a difference.

Shreveport 8th Grade Cheerleaders have raised over $1,500.00 for pediatric brain injury support groups on MLfG Day through their snack stands. They met  Live! hosts Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan and shared their MLfG story in New York last year.
Contact: Petra Barber:

Sixth-grader Kathleen and fourth-grader Meredith Doucet of Flower Mound, TX held a hot chocolate stand on MLfG Day in 2012. They raised $400.00 for Maggie Lee’s Closet. They will again be selling hot chocolate for good on November 2nd.
Contact: Colleen Doucet:
video of hot chocolate stand:

Every year High School Sophomore Jessie Keener sponsors the Maggie Lee for Good Costume fun run to benefit North Carolina Organ Donation services. The athletic beauty queen will again have a fun run on October 27th at Fayetteville Christian Academy. This year’s event is MLFG 4 EJB- dedicated to another young girl Emmi Barbaro (pictured above) who passed away this year who embodied the one day, one deed, one difference spirit.
Contact: Millie Keener:

The Ponder boys of Shreve Island Elementary are holding a book drive for Maggie Lee’s Closet and recruited Eden Gardens and South Highlands to join them.  Benjamin Ponder did 10 good deeds on his 10th birthday: one of them was working in Maggie Lee’s Closet.

There is good being done in the world. Despite the sensationalism of the bad, rest assured that this generation has those looking beyond themselves and their phones to make a difference.

Christian Faith, friendship, Maggie Lee for Good

Drive Thru Hot Chocolate MLFG Project

Drive Thru Hot Chocolate MLFG Project *click here for video

This is a video of Meredith & Colleen Doucet’s drive-thru hot chocolate stand they convinced their whole neighborhood to attend. The donations purchased uniforms for under resourced kids through Maggie Lee’s Closet. These girls make a difference and have a blast doing it.

 Your fifth Maggie Lee for Good Day is happening in just two weeks. I say yours because God keeps inspiring you and you keep listening to His still, small creative voice to do good on purpose on October 29th. You touch the world with His passionate pizazz and color greyed-out faces with your blush brush of kindness. You love in brilliant, fun & festive ways and that your expressions of kindness are done with Maggie Lee in mind is like the greatest, biggest chevron bow on top.

Today I got the most knowing, loving smile. An elderly African American lady walked past my car today as I waited for Jack and 3 other football players to come out. His school is in an older part of town and there are always lots of pedestrians on the sidewalk.  This lady wore the clothes of a housekeeper with her silvery hair needly pinned in a bun at the nape of her neck. She glanced over her left shoulder, caught my glance and gave me the most genuine smile I have ever received. Love practically shot out of this woman’s wrinkles and on to me as I sat mindlessly waiting in the carpool line.

Why was I given such a gift today? Why was this nonverbal sign of love and affirmation shown to me by a stranger? After considering all of the possible motivations behind her familiar, loving grin I instantly realized that her smile had nothing to do with me and everything to do with HER. She reached out with to me with her beautiful, kind smile not because we are friends or even acquaintances. No, she was just filled with so much love that she had to share it. I’m telling you it arrested me and made me feel amazing.

On Maggie Lee for Good Day you may not be able to organize a food drive, give blood or mow your neighbor’s grass which is so unruly that toddlers get lost up in there. You may not crank out an awesome hot chocolate stand and catch the UPS guy’s attention. You may not find the white shoe polish to write “Happy Birthday Maggie Lee,” on your mini van with like you planned. And that’s ok. But you do have a face and if you’re not using it for The November cover of Vogue perhaps you could give a heart felt smile to someone…and here’s where it gets crazy…you don’t even know.

It costs so little to be kind. A few nano seconds to hold the door for someone, yield the right of way for a fellow motorist or look up directions on your phone for a confused person (I thank you in advance.) These tiny things are monumental because in doing them you demonstrate the belief that others have dignity not because of what they’ve made of themselves but merely because God made them. They breathe. That’s enough reason for me to be kind to them.

Your fifth Maggie Lee for Good Day. How will you use it…for good?


The Power of Encouragement

Three encouragers overhear, fly to Peter, and implore him to keep trying
Three encouragers overhear, fly to Peter, and implore him to keep trying

“Peter gave himself up for lost, and shed big tears; but his sobs were overheard by some friendly sparrows, who flew to him in great excitement, and implored him to exert himself.” –The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

Upon re-reading The Tale of Peter Rabbit, I was struck by a new revelation about this beloved, disobedient icon: Peter was really kind of wuss. It didn’t take very much for this bunny to throw in the towel.  You’ve heard the story: Mrs. Rabbit needed to run errands, left the sisters in charge and forbade the children to go to Mr. McGregor’s Garden (where her husband was caught and cooked into a pie.) While his sisters were distracted on their blackberries Peter snuck out and ran straight to the forbidden garden. Once there, he ate too much, lost his loafers and got stuck in a net. Hope vanished and Peter gave himself up for lost. Loudly. With the big rabbit tears apparently.

As I glanced at the image of Peter’s corpse-like body which looked hot-glued to the net I recognized something: myself. I recalled times in my not-so-distant past when I was the one helplessly horizontal and utterly discouraged. While the girl in those Baylor pictures with the big bad hair would have singularly identified with the sparrow, now I know what it feels like to be on the needy end of the encouragement equation. What also took me no time to recognize was that while I have logged time in the net, I have never done so without the company of someone who was quick to listen and share in my distress.

Although I have been falsely accused of reading too much into things (You’ve seen the cartoon where God, watching a preacher sermonize on Sunday morning leans over to St. Peter and says, “Can you believe how much this guy is getting out of that one verse? I never meant any of that!”) there are some notable cues we can take from the birds in this story. First of all, the sparrows were first responders, they heard Peter’s cry and rushed to investigate. These friendly guys “flew to him in great excitement” when they heard his sobs rather than ignoring his very loudly-vocalized needs.

Also, the birds “Implored him to exert himself. ” I imagine that there was little in the way of opposable thumbs the sparrows had to offer. I mean, really, what tools did these birds have to help Peter? Nothing save intentional encouragement. Only Peter could free himself but he would never be free if he quit. Sometimes the stuck among us have simply lost heart to try. But if someone cared enough to arrive on the scene without condemnation but rather with a few words of earnest encouragement, change could surely take place. God can take our concern and liberate the lonely and stuck.

Just as the sparrows found Peter in his hour of need perhaps this will sentiment will find you. Even in a ridiculous over-interpretation of 32 words written 100 some odd years ago about a fully clothed rabbit whose mother uses and umbrella and buys currant buns. Really? Perhaps.

Conversely, if you are the strong one out there today don’t forget to lend an ear. Listen and if you do hear that sob today, fly swiftly and implore. Don’t think too much about it or you will talk yourself out of it. Perhaps all the hopeless struggler needs is the simple message that they will not become a pot pie today.

“He comforts us in all our troubles , so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”  2 Cor. 1:4


The Weirdest Thing Came in the Mail


My first thought when I held the envelope was that this was one of those sales ads with handwriting font posing as a personal letter (You know those heart breakers:  Pizza Hut coupons hiding deceptively in an envelope.) But when the sticker- adorned flap caught my eye I realized that this was no Big Lots Buzz Club circular but rather an actual letter. 

Three weeks ago my friend Elisa stumbled upon a storage tub of old papers.  A few layers deep in the polypropylene time capsule were notes from me.  After reading the decades-old sentiments she decided to go retro and write to me.  In this letter she challenged me to join her in bringing back the art of letter writing.  I immediately texted her that this idea didn’t have legs.

No, actually I wrote Elisa and it felt pretty great.  So great in fact that I wrote seven more epistles to cherished friends.  All the while I wondered why something so gratifying had fallen out of Vogue.  Here are my thoughts:

1. Too much equipment is needed.

School just started so we are flush with composition notebooks and Bic pens now but just wait til November and I’ll be scratching my grocery list on the back of a crumpled Target receipt with a jagged eyebrow pencil. One in need of a go with the sharpener no less.  Since dirty blonde Kohl Kajal does not an impressive correspondence make, I tend to skip the personal letter.  In my alternate universe I have a marvelous stationery wardrobe bursting with monogrammed Crane notecards so thick that one could dislodge a filet mignon shard from one’s 1st and 2nd Premolar.  In reality I lack the essentials to communicate anything greater than “this notepad is being used only because it was too large to get sucked up in the neighborhood car wash vacuum and bent in the middle because I unsuccessfully tried.” Not to mention securing the postage stamp, a veritable field trip in itself.  It seems the impractical hassle of securing the proper equipment prevents me from writing letters more often.

2. It takes too much time to string together sentences into a coherent communique.

Not that this will scroll across the bottom of Brian William’s desk tonight as breaking news but writing a letter takes time. The act of composing a note requires not only an actual pen but an unhurried chunk of time to properly write, rewrite and un write.  Not since the second grade have I ever been remotely pleased with a first draft of anything I have composed. Self-awareness blows. I have penned entire three-page letters only to notice at final review that my vacillation between cursive and print s’s made me come off like a dysgraphic Sybil.  The opening greeting matters, the penmanship matters and obviously the content matters. Certainly a personally written note requires more profound contemplation than that which is needed for a flippant text. Tufts cognitive neuroscientist Maryanne Wolf states that “It takes time to think deeply about information and we are becoming accustomed to moving on to the next distraction.”   While text messages are perfect for relaying short bursts of vital info like, “U sure its ok 4 Jack & Pat 2 filet catfish unsupervised?” as John Ortberg says, “We cannot listen or love in a hurry.” I would also add that neither can we write a letter in a hurry.

3. The delayed gratification.

It seems so archaic to send a message through the postal system with so many other correspondence venues at our finger tips. Kind of like choosing to ride on an Amish buggy when a Bullet Train is readily available.  Email and text messages offer the recipient the option of instant response and even futuristic George Jetson-like face time is an option for those desiring visual as well as verbal communication feedback. Not sure about which shirt to buy at Old Navy? Put pictures of both of them side by side on Instagram (via Instacollage) and let your friends vote on their favorite. #crucial decision. Have something witty to tweet about Miley Cyrus? Something profound like “Don’t judge a man’s daughter until you’ve walked a mile in his mullet.” Launch that nugget out there and most likely someone will give you their thoughts on your tweet. Immediately. We’ve become spoiled rotten by swift feedback from Face book posts and people’s knee-jerk repins of our pins on Pinterest boards. No wonder the effort to write a letter for an audience of one which may take weeks to be acknowledged seems to us a poor ROI.

Strangely enough today when I checked the mail I received another hand-written letter. This one from a lady my mom’s age who lost one daughter in her 40’s to breast cancer and whose other daughter is now battling the very same disease. At the end of her note she told me that I didn’t have to write her back but that I could email her if that were easier for me.  Yet since I’m warmed by this tangible treasure in my hand, sentiments written and rewritten in ink on stationery and everything, a response in kind seems only fitting.  Plus I have all of these stamps and it’s not like they will last forever.

Christian Faith, friendship, God, Maggie Lee for Good, Overcoming loss

Therapy by Food Drive

This is my friend, Gina’s Maggie Lee for Good story…what’s yours?

Maggie Lee For Good (North Texas Food Bank)

Why was my 11-year-old so driven to organize a canned food drive at her school?  I think it was a way for her to have action or maybe control over a situation that left her feeling so helpless and so insecure about how she saw her world.  When your best friend dies when you’re in elementary school it certainly doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t even make sense when you’re 40.  How can all your dreams of your future be taken away from you when you haven’t even lived long enough to have much of a past?

Just a few weeks before Maggie Lee’s accident the girls discussed and daydreamed endlessly about their future and the role each of them would play in it.  They engaged in sweet little girl fantasies that included living in an apartment together in New York City, working in musical theater together, being on Broadway, being famous in L.A. , working with the Jonas Brothers, walking down the red carpet hand in hand, and encouraging each other through every glorious success.  They believed the fantasy…I believed their fantasy.

I could picture Maggie Lee by my girl’s side being her cheerleader.  Why wouldn’t I believe the fantasy, she had always been a positive force in her life since she was two years old.  She was an unselfish encourager even then.  I don’t think she had a jealous bone in her little body.  I would often shake my head in amazement at what an unusual child Maggie Lee was.  We were surely blessed by this gale of wind, filled with sunshine, which would blow through our house when she would visit.

So how does a little girl tie down this pervasive feeling of insecurity along with a feeling of emptiness that only a deep sense of loss can create?  She gets busy.  She focused on a goal.  Maggie Lee for Good was created on Maggie Lee’s birthday, October 29th.  With a new goal in mind she was able to channel her grief and somehow make purpose of a tragedy that made no sense to her.  It also helped her t be able to share with all the kids in her school how even as a child you can affect and help others.  You can change them or create change for them.

She got the permission from the principal at Grace Academy of Dallas to have a Maggie Lee for Good cannedFood Drivebenefitting North Texas Food Bank.  Along with the student council, they made posters asking families to donate food, either bringing it to school or doing online shopping at the North Texas Food bank website.  They stood in carline with posters asking for donations and advertised in the school newpaper.  In the end they collected enough canned goods to change the lives of 100’s of families…for good.

friendship, Overcoming loss, Uncategorized

Just Don’t LOOK at it, Betsy!

Freshman year at Baylor, my roommate, Betsy and I partied like it was 1999. While some college co-eds celebrated their new-found freedom binge-drinking at George’s, we overdid it at the bar… the cheesecake bar. You could even get cheesecake at Collins Dorm for breakfast. Oh, yeah.

Juxtaposed against the soft serve ice cream machine was the pressure to be Barbie thin. Darn those gorgeous Dallas girls. This drive to be beautiful was enough to make you want to eat a chicken-fried steak.

By November, Betsy was fed up. Staring headlong into the two foot by three foot dorm room mirror, she started flapping the turkey gobbler of her underarm and declared, “Aughhhh! Look at this. I cannot stand this anymore!”

Seeing as though I still had a good dress size on her, I gave her this advice; “Betsy, just don’t LOOK at it!”

“What do you mean don’t LOOK at it?” She asked.

Plainly I answered, “If you don’t look in the mirror, it won’t bother you.” With that, I motioned dramatically to the bottom half of my pear-shape and we burst into laughter.

Breath caught and eyebrow raised, she said, “Seriously, Jin, I can’t stand this anymore.”

Luckily for her, Betsy continued to look in the mirror, observe when she had put on a few pounds and quickly shed them before her Levi’s were too tight to wear to Melody Ranch on Thursday Nights.  That is why today, after baring triplets, she looks better than she did when she was 18 while I by and large remain unbothered. I’ve found that sometimes looking away isn’t the greatest strategy.

When loss finds its’ uninvited way under your roof, whether in the form of divorce, illness, natural disaster, job loss or in our case, a child’s death, there is no avoiding it.  At once you are faced with accepting your powerlessness to change your circumstances.  There is no ignoring the extra place at the dinner table, the daunting task of single parenthood or the bill collector’s harassment. Without a straightforward assessment of the situation, moving forward will be virtually impossible.

Then again, perhaps there is wisdom in selective visioning. I continue to be impacted by the reality that what I focus upon grows. My friend, Karen, told me about how she started every morning during the first year of being divorced thanking God for three things. Many mornings when gratitude was too difficult to muster, she repeated the memorized script; “Thank you, God for my kids, my job and my health.” Though she was devastated, this daily discipline started her off in the right frame of mind.  

I do not think that time heals all wounds but it does allow you to learn how to navigate your new life, unwanted as it may be, and realize if you so choose what you still have left.  Sometimes the greatest view one can have is away from the mirror of personal loss to the open window of gratitude.

friendship, Sharing God's Love

Katie’s Song

Katie Ashcraft, a dear friend of Maggie Lee’s, composed this beautiful song for her. Katie is such a sweet, sweet young lady. One time when a classmate was picking on Katie, Maggie Lee took her aside and taught her how to stand up for herself. Maggie Lee told me that she gave Katie, “Mean Lessons” that day.

Listen only if there is Kleenex available. 🙂 We love you, Katie



You Gotta Have at Least One Honest Friend

As I tweeted today, “Very few women have both Spandex pants and honest friends.” Or, as it were, a full-length mirror. We all need at least one honest friend to save us from ourselves. If only Charlie Sheen had one.  I’m not simply referring to integrity-type stuff here, I’m speaking of someone honest enough to let you know when you’ve got a self-tanner streak wedged between the valley of your bicep and the unfurled sleeping bag of superfluous arm flap.  Someone who’s got your back when a tight strap cuts that back in half.

I have an embarrassingly phenomenal group of women; my Steel Magnolias. And, yes, at Maggie Lee’s visitation, Kathy grabbed Gina by the shoulders, shoved her in my face and screamed, “Hit HER!” which brought a desperately needed laugh. It is Gina, whom I did not hit at the time, who has always breached the gulf of hyper-politeness to speak truth into my life.

A few years ago, Gina picked me up from the DFW Airport and took me to a comedy gig. Ten minutes before I was to go on, she looked at me and said, “What’s going on with your chin makeup here? Something’s a little off.” A quick jaunt to the ladies’ room confirmed her suspicion: my pale neck belied my bronzed cheeks. Something WAS going on with my chin makeup – I needed a turtleneck and yet I had been totally oblivious to that fact.

Horrified, I scrubbed my chin with Baptist Wood-grain paper towel which left my face splintered and ruddy. Eventually, my jaw line returned to a neutral flesh tone and I had a blast laughing with my new friends that day.  Thankfully, Gina stepped in to save me from my makeup misstep.

One of Gina’s strengths is her ability, as The Bible says, to speak the truth in love. She has earned the right to speak truth into my life. She does so with kindness and tact and not to fulfill her own agenda. She is 100% for me and has always let me know when my thinking, or even my makeup, goes awry. That is the beauty of an honest friend.