On Friendship … When You’re an Introvert

“Strangers are just friends waiting to happen.” Rod McKuen Looking for a Friend

I try to cover it, but I’m an introvert. I have friends–really, I do–I promise, but I love days of solitude, writing in my cabin in the woods–so much that¬†sometimes I overdo it.

A few weeks ago Robin called. We’ve been best friends for forty years.

Oddly, or maybe miraculously, we have the same autoimmune illnesses, Sjogren’s and Celiac disease.

“I’ve never met Heather,” Robin said, “but she reads my blog. She was diagnosed with Celiac a year ago and is inviting a few friends over for coffee. Everyone who’s coming has Celiac.”

Hmmm. “And you’ve never met her?”

“No, but she’s so sweet. You’ll love her. She wants us share our experiences.”

I felt the familiar tug to do what comes naturally, but for some reason, I didn’t.

I said yes.

Walking into Heather’s home, I never expected to feel so welcomed.

So instantly connected.

See what I mean?

A Celiac celebration.

Everything was gluten-free, and she had coffee and hot tea–lots of flavors.

Sometimes when you have Celiac (or anything about you that’s a little different) there’s that awkward moment when you have to explain.

But that didn’t happen at Heather’s. ūüôā

We laughed about it.

Because we all understood.

Heather on the left and Robin on the right …

Robin and me …

My new friends … and sorry, I didn’t take my good camera that day. ūüôĀ

Here’s the best part …

We bonded the way it happens in childhood.

And in novels.

We even prayed together.

See the Scripture on Heather’s chalkboard?

“God will meet all your needs…” Philippians 4:19.

Sometimes, God meets my needs when I’m in community —

When I break out of my routine, let go, and trust Him.

Sounds like SURRENDER, doesn’t it?

Are you somewhat of an introvert too?

Have you ever¬†been surprised by¬†unexpected friendships? Aren’t they just wonderful!

P.S. If you haven’t visited Robin’s blog at All Things Heart and Home, please do. You’ll love her too.

Love,

Julie

 

 

 

Laughin’, Talkin’ Southern, and Cookin’ Fried Green Tomatoes

Last week, I wanted fried green tomatoes in a bad way. Just couldn’t remember how to make them so I called Mother. After being diagnosed with CELIAC DISEASE¬†six years ago,¬†I hadn’t¬†eaten any.

¬†“I love it when you ask me cooking questions,”¬†she said. “Makes me think I’m a good cook.”

“You are. You just don’t like to cook.”

“I’ve never made fried green tomatoes, but it’s probably like frying okra. Oh, look,” she said. “One of the stray kitties I’m feeding is sitting in¬†my jardiniere.” ( Jawwww-den-ah-yah is how she pronounced it.)

I had no idea what the¬†word meant. And once Mother starts talking about animals, you’ve lost her. I just wanted¬†some fried green tomatoes.

“I’ve been feeding two of the sweetest–”

“I know about the cats. I don’t know what that other word means.”

Jawww-den-ah-yah? It’s the cement thing¬†on the porch¬†that holds flowers. Your grandmother loved jawwww-den-ah-yahs. I’m going to start saying it all the time. Jawwww-den–ah-yah. Jawwww-den-ah-yah. It’s a wonderful word.¬†Say it.”

I wanted to talk about tomatoes, but the softest, sweetest thought bubbled up.

This moment is a gift. Enjoy it.

“Okay. Jawww-den-ah-yah,” I said.

Then we got tickled for a minute or twome calling for a recipe and her talking about jawww-den-ah-yahs.

When we finally stopped laughing, she told me to soak the tomato slices in egg and milk.

“For how long?”

“When I don’t know¬†the answers to your questions,¬†I make something up.”

“Mother!”

“Soak them¬†ever how long you want to.¬†Just get your¬†oil good and hot.”

“Do I dip them in cornmeal and flour?”

“If you want to.”

The only thing that beat my fried green tomatoes was laughing about jawwww-den-ah-yahs.

Mother doesn’t follow recipes. Or too many rules.

She believes laughter bonds people together.

She’s right.

I just had to let go first.

 

¬†Say jawww-den–ah-yah¬†a couple of times and make some fried green tomatoes today. ūüôā

P.S. For my gluten-free friends, I used PAMELA’S¬†GLUTENFREE PANCAKE AND BAKING FLOUR. No cornmeal.

Love,

Julie

 

 

What I’m Really Thankful For…and 2 GF Recipes

“What are you thankful for in our marriage?”¬†I said at Saturday morning’s porch party.¬† I didn’t really expect an answer. I mean, what husband loves relationship questions, especially first thing in the morning? And this December, we celebrate our 34th anniversary–maybe too many years¬†spent together to answer my question.

Rick rocked and drank his coffee. Stared toward the November trees.

“Camaraderie, I guess.”

“Really? Even though I don’t get into sports?”

“Yeah, we do life together.”

“I love that! Tonight will you cook with me? I have two new recipes, but they’re not¬†your kind of food. Harvest Pumpkin Soup and Gluten Free Carrot Cake.”

“No problem. I’ll make some nachos too.”

We’ve started cooking together on the weekends–so much fun! Wish you could have seen him Saturday night. He was just like Snoopy¬†fixing Thanksgiving dinner.

He grated a big pile of carrots (which is a labor of love!)¬†and chopped pecans for the cake. That’s¬†our pumpkin soup in the blender.

Here’s the cake before I frosted it with¬†homemade cream cheese icing–which is simple to make. Who knew? Note the Betty Crocker GF yellow cake mix, but¬†I added special ingredients. ūüôā

The finished dishes….

We¬†couldn’t tell the cake was GF!¬†I’m serious. And we ate every bite of our GF Harvest Pumpkin Soup.

All these years and I had no idea I was married to¬†a pumpkin soup and carrot cake lovin’ man. ūüôā

Recipe for Harvest Pumpkin Soup from Country Living Magazine, November 2012.

Recipe for Gluten Free Carrot Cake from Betty Crocker. (I was diagnosed with Celiac disease 5 years ago.)

I’m¬†REALLY thankful for doing life together. And I’m REALLY thankful to connect with each one of you~~

What are you REALLY thankful for?

P.S. Have you ever made carrot cake? Sorta like marriage.  Some work required but so worth it!

Love,

Julie

 

Are You Tired, Worn Out, Burned Out?

I am.

Tiredness came slowly, sneaking up behind me like a shadow on my heels.

I tried to outrun it. Move faster. Work harder. Accomplish more. It’s the way I’d always approached life.

I have two autoimmune illnesses–Celiac Disease and Sjogren’s Syndrome, which plays a huge part in my fatigue, I’m sure.

Finally, at 51, I’m¬†learning to rest. Slow down. Be still and quiet.¬†Wait on His Strength.

Taking care of Julie is new for me.

And what I’m experiencing ties in beautifully with my word theme for the year…Surrender.

Last week, my sweet stepfather Gene read me this scripture. If you’re tired, worn out, burned out , I pray this scripture will bring a slow but steady healing.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to Me. Get away with Me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me–watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with Me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 The Message.

‘Til next time,

Love,

Julie

Robin and Her Rain Boots

When I met Robin 36 years ago, I was instantly drawn to her. She laughed at herself, she loved people (especially the underdogs), and she listened with her whole heart. She still does all these things and more. She’s my best friend.

We both married young and had our first babies (girls) in 1981–Robin in July and me in September. She encouraged me before I gave birth and throughout motherhood. Years later, she became mother-of-the-bride and cheered me on when it was my turn.

This year, she shared the secret of joy with me.

Four years ago, I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. It’s an autoimmune illness and the only treatment is to eliminate all wheat and gluten from your diet forever. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s a major life change.

This past May, Robin was diagnosed with the same thing. My heart broke for her. I knew how difficult it would be. Because Celiac affects the body’s ability to absorb vitamins and nutrients, she was extremely iron deficient and needed four infusions. I read up on the procedure, and it didn’t sound fun.

Her first infusion lasted six hours. It was a rainy Monday.

I imagined her strapped to a chair, drenched from the downpour with a huge needle in her arm. She called me. I squeezed my eyes shut and tried to keep my voice peppy.

“Julie, I’m having the best time! I’ve met so many friends. Everyone around me is having chemo. These are the most grateful people I’ve ever met. I wish you could meet Eva. She’s 83. I’m getting to know her. She’s lovely. And guess what? I’m wearing my new rain boots.”

Blinking back tears, I pictured Robin in her polka-dotted rain boots, doing what she does best–forgetting herself, listening, encouraging, and smiling.

Joyfully.

“...she smiles at the future.” Proverbs 31:25 (NAS)

P.S Robin’s now adding delicious gluten-free recipes to her website.

Love,

Julie