Do You Have a Bossy Friend Too?

I have a great friend. A writer. She’s a member of my critique group. We call her Bossy Pants. You’d think with a nickname like that, we don’t like her. Not true. We adore her. But this weekend, I knew she was wrong about something.

A few of us from our critique group attended a Guideposts workshop at The Peabody Hotel in Memphis, TN. Lunchtime came and the hotel staff arranged a gorgeous platter of meats and cheese beside a mountain of bread. I’d told them earlier that I have to eat gluten-free. (I have Celiac.)

“I’m putting your tray by itself,” a server said. Picking up my food, I noticed someone had accidentally put a plate of bread on top of my tray. Bread’s a no-no for me, so I moved it and sat down to eat.

“Julie,” Bossy Pants said. “That’s probably your bread.”

“Can’t be.”

“Why would she have given it to you?”

Servers make mistakes. “I’m fine with just meat and cheese.”

“Don’t you want a sandwich?”

Well, of course, but I can’t have one.

To prove I was right, I headed down the hall and found the server. “You must’ve put this bread on my tray by mistake. I can’t–”

“That bread’s especially for you, honey,” she said. “It’s gluten-free.”

I didn’t just get enough bread for a sandwich. I got SIX pieces of soft, warm GF bread!!

“You’re right again!” I hugged Bossy.

“Told ya.” Her real name is Stephanie Thompson. Saturday, she was presented with a plaque that says, “I’m not bossy. I’m just helpful.” 🙂

And she is.

Stephanie cares enough to:

1. Stand alone (if necessary) for what’s right.

2. Push you for your best.

3. “Speak the truth in love.” Ephesians 4:15

Do you have friends like Stephanie? Aren’t they wonderful!

P.S. The bread was from Rudi’s.

Perils of People Watching

The other night, my hobby of people watching brought out the ugly in me. Maybe because I’m a writer with a big imagination, I like to spy and figure out what might be going on in other people’s lives. I study mannerisms, reactions, and outfits. I’ll think things like…

He’s watching football and not listening to a word she’s saying. Now she’s texting. She looks mad. He’s gnawing on hot wings. Maybe she wants a baby and he doesn’t.

Restaurants and malls are great for people watching.



So last week, my husband and I went out for pizza. (Incredible gluten-free pizza from Your Pie.)

I spotted a group of college-age girls. Boots tucked in designer jeans. Long sweaters down to their hips. I tried to create a storyline but they were chitty-chatting way too loud about nothing.

Wish I could say I came up with sweet scenarios.

But I didn’t.

In my heart, I moved past observing.

I judged them.

It happened so quickly. Less than 30 seconds. Mean thoughts…

You’re not all that funny. Do you have to be so loud? You’re just trying to get attention.

And then guess what…

Their pizza came and the girl with shimmery blonde hair said the blessing. It wasn’t a hurry-up-let’s-eat kind of blessing.

She prayed passionately. Honestly. Not for show. 

They even shut their eyes.

I wanted to crawl under the table. Ahhhhhhhh! They’re talking to You, Lord. Like I should’ve been doing instead of judging. Forgive me.

I was wrong. Way wrong.

After she prayed, she looked right at me and smiled.

I smiled back. From my heart. I’m so sorry.

I’m adding “people praying” to my “people watching” hobby.

Have you ever done what I did? Pleeeease, someone say yes…



 *above photo




Don’t Take My Cake Away!

Date nights are just as much fun when you’re in your fifties.

Friday morning Rick said, “Where do you want to eat tonight?”

“How about gluten-free pizza at Your Pie? Then maybe I’ll get a piece of gluten-free cake.” (I was diagnosed with Celiac disease disease four years ago.)

“Whatever you want.”

True love.

I thought about my carrot cake all day long. Could hardly wait to taste it. I’d found a spot that sells homemade baked goods not too far from the pizza place. After dinner we zipped over to get my cake. Yay!

There it sat. My very own piece of cake full of nuts and iced with cream cheese frosting. (This is not the exact cake, but you get the idea.)

I placed my order.

The guy behind the counter said, “You don’t have Celiac, do you?”

“Umm, yes. Please don’t take my cake away…”

“You shouldn’t eat this. We can’t guarantee it’s not cross-contaminated with wheat.”


“Do you think it would hurt you?” Rick said.

“It might. Probably.”

I handed my cake back and found a box of Ugi’s Snickerdoodles. Guaranted to be gluten-free.

Yuck. They probably taste like cardboard.

Back at home, I zapped a few of them in the microwave. I took a bite. Totally amazing! They were delish–soft, warm, cinnamon-y–even better than carrot cake! I poured us both a glass of milk.

I sensed there was a message for me buried in my snickerdoodles. After picking the word Surrender for 2012, there’s been a message for me in almost everything.

What is it, God?

Saying no to carrot cake means taking care of your body.

Surrender means taking care of your soul.

When you’re tempted go back to your old ways, remember these sweet cookies were from Me.

You have a new way to live–really live.

“…for Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” Matthew 6:8 (NIV)



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.


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

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