Posts Tagged: friendship

May 15

When to Accommodate

Margaret's dish towel“Margaret?”

“Yes, dear?”

Gladys smoothed the crease of her skirt.  “Why are you always so accommodating?”

“Whatever do you mean, dear?”

“Well, you always put everyone else first.  You always consider other needs before your own.” Continue reading →

Jan 15

The Only Survival Skill an HSP Will Ever Need

the only survival skill an HSP will ever needThose dear souls flock to your door.  They can’t help it.  You draw them in with your counselor/helper/listener magnet.  (Think moth to flame.)  You’ve probably tried leaving the magnet on the dresser, or stashing it on the top shelf of the closet, thinking that if you hide the magnet, you won’t ooze that helper vibe.  That helper vibe clings to you the way hurting souls cling to an HSP.

That’s our lot.  We listen.  We counsel.  We comfort.  We care.  That’s who we are, even if/when we pretend we aren’t.

And so you open your door, pour the wine, stoke the fire and fluff the pillows.  Their shoulders relax, the furrows in their brow release and the flood gates open.  And you sip wine and listen.  You refill their glass and listen some more.  You offer them sustenance or a hug and most certainly a tissue.  You do this automatically.  You’ve done it all your life.  You don’t have to remember how to be compassionate.  You don’t have to refer to your cheat sheet on how to be kind and caring.  This treatment defines your character and drives your actions.  It flows from you the way their story flows through those flood gates.

When they leave – after they’ve purged and cleansed and lightened their load – you are left holding their big mess in your hands.  But more times than not, you’re still holding another person’s mess in your hands.  So you end up standing at the door, saying goodbye, juggling 2 or 10 or 100 different messes from souls who came to your door for comfort.

As you close the door, you wonder how you will clean up the wine glasses, re-stock the firewood, and go about your day while still holding the messes from all those hurting souls. Continue reading →

Aug 14

Random Thoughts at the Five Year Mark

starting overwow.

This blog is five years old.



Things have changed a lot in five years.  We not only survive, but we thrive on a mostly daily basis.  The health of my kids (and myself!) is testament to the power of connection, the awesomeness of being heard, the cathartic healing found in knowledge and the magic of friendship. Continue reading →

May 14

“We Were Brainwashed!”

playground“Hey!  Nice to see you!  Isn’t this new play structure wonderful?”

“Do you live around here?”  She helped one of her two navigate the climbing wall.

“Yes, that house on the corner.  How about you?”

She pointed in the opposite direction and said they lived that way.  “Geez, I guess the last time I saw you was at the grocery store?  How’ve you been?  Is Jen playing hooky today?”

“We’ve been homeschooling for about four years now.”  I turned to watch Jen navigate the monkey bars. Continue reading →

Feb 14

When Chickadees Thaw Out or The Bitter and the Sweet

pillow-topped bird house“Whew!  How ’bout that last cold spell?”  He hops further along the branch, “I was starting to worry that we wouldn’t have enough seeds.  The humans weren’t venturing out to fill the feeders.”

She hammers at a sunflower seed to expose the nut inside.  “I know, right?  I wasn’t sure I could lower my body temp much more.  You figure Mother Nature is on a holiday somewhere?  Maybe she left town and forgot to turn up the heat.”

“Oh, that sun feels good.  We might get a chance to thaw out a bit before the next storm moves through.”

“Yes, I should think the humans will have a chance to restock the feeders.  We better fill up our caches while we can.”

Stretching his wings and fanning his feathers, “I know.  But we’ve earned this thaw.  We can spare a few minutes to just soak up some sun and sing without having to worry about anything.”




I heard them this morning outside my window.  The sun lit their stage.  Pillows of snow topped the roofs of their houses.  They were singing and chirping as if they’d feared they’d never warm up enough to sing again.

I stood for a minute and listened.  They sounded frantic and excited and optimistic – like kids when the temps raise enough to go out and sled without the fear of windchill temps on a wet face after a face-plant.

And then they quieted for a moment.

Tucking in his wings and hopping closer to his companion, “So… if the humans begin to come out, does that mean the cat will be out again, too?”


And then the chirping and singing crescendoed.

Feb 14

A Happy Accident

magical buttery basil spreadI love a happy accident.

It’s fun finding a $20 bill in my ski pants.

Not long ago, I learned that a favorite cousin is also an INFJ.  It’s no wonder we click so well.

I happened upon an article about the many uses of Vicks VapoRub and came up with my own use  – no more cracked, sandpaper heels.

The other day, Jen and I were fondling the fabrics at Jo-Ann’s.  A friend from college walked by hunting for something.  She looked up and said, “Hey, I’m back in town.  Let’s get together.”  Now that’s a happy accident – either that or it’s the Universe answering me when I complained about a girlfriend moving and asked, “Could you please send another friend?” Continue reading →

Feb 14

Helping Kids Set Boundaries

helping kids set boundariesA child’s world is full of boundaries – boundaries designed to keep her out of harm’s way and help her get along in society.

“Stay on this side of the fence.”

“Don’t go beyond the hill.”

“Don’t play in the street.”

“Keep your hands to yourself.” Continue reading →

Oct 13

The List of Lessons

list of lessonsShe drew a thick black line down the center of a sheet of unlined paper.  On the left she wrote the names of people she’s known.  Some no longer played an active role in her life, and some impact her life on a daily basis.  Some stand in the periphery.  Others are knocking at her front door, and some sleep in the rooms at the back of her house.

They all carry clipboards full of notes.

A lot of the names appear on her Christmas card list.  It might be the woman she’d had coffee with on a daily basis in college, but now she was hard-pressed to remember the woman’s adult children’s names.  It might be the guy she’d lived with in college who made it hard for her to look her grandfather in the eye because of the whole “living in sin” thing.


The left column listed names of individuals – all of whom left a print on her life. Continue reading →

Sep 13

“She’s a Tough Cookie”

“Your coffee’s always better than mine.”

“That’s cuz you had someone else make it for you.  Here…  have a little more.”  She fills both mugs and reaches for the half and half.

“Thanks, Ann.  Look, she’s up on the roof.  Is she cleaning her chimney?”

“Yep.  This morning she was up there cleaning her gutters and trimming tree branches.”

“Why doesn’t she hire that stuff done?” Continue reading →

Jul 13

“There Might Be Mermaids!”

“There might be mermaids!  Could there be?  Why not?”

They’d been hiking around the park, hunting for grasshoppers.  They kept hearing a whooshing sound.  They gave up the hunt to follow the sound and discovered a mini waterfall spilling from the side of the hill.

They ran back down the hill to get me.  “Mom!  You’ve gotta see what we discovered!  Come on!”

As we hiked the hill, I noticed the expanse of greener grass that had been watered by the spill.  It spread down the hill like a lush blanket.

When we arrived at the point of discovery*, their imaginations took flight.

“Well there could be mermaids down there.  The water is cool and clear.  They like that kind of water.”

“Let’s call grandpa!  He’s gotta see this!”

“There is so much water every where!   Can this be our discovery?”


They were excited and pleased with what they hoped they were the first to see.  They imagined all possible and impossible explanations.

We stood in the sun and watched the park drink up the sparkling pools of water.

For 60 minutes, I forgot about laundry, dirty dishes, weeds in the garden and to-do lists.  For one whole lovely hour I was a kid who believed in the unbelievable.


There could be mermaids or pots of gold under rainbows or unicorns or charming princes.

There could be _________________________.

You fill in the blank with whatever it is that makes your day brighter – even if for only a minute.


*It turns out the source was a broken irrigation line, but it was fun imagining until reality set in.


Postcards From a Thriver is a new category on the blog.
Look for bright spots and examples of a thriving life.




Feb 13

On Packing Light

Meet me on the hill – the one where
we used to start at the top and race to the bottom.

Remember how we’d pick the sunniest day
and wait until after lunch
when the grass had sunned enough to be warm.

We’d start at the base of the biggest tree,
lay on our sides,
stretch our lean bodies and scream as we rolled,
mowing over dandelions and Johnny Jump Ups.

We’d make crooked zigzags all the way down,
and for the length of the ride,
the world turned into a blur of puffy clouds and green grass.

We’d reach the bottom,
gasping and laughing.
We wouldn’t even brush off our knees
before we started back up again,
pumping skinny arms and legs to reach the top. Continue reading →

Jan 13


Most of us,
swimming against the tides of trouble the world knows nothing about,
need only a bit of praise or encouragement –
and we will make the goal.
– Robert Collier

Nov 12

When Kindred Spirits Have Coffee

“I can’t believe we haven’t really talked since before we were both married.”

“… and divorced.”

“Yeah.  That, too.  So how are you doing with it all…  the being divorced?”

“Well, I’m sleeping.  I’m eating.  My stomach doesn’t hurt all the time.  I’m not afraid to get out of bed in the morning.  How are you feeling?”

“Same for me.  I’m not waking in the middle of the night with panic attacks.  For the first time since…  oh….  probably when I was newly married, I look forward to things.” Continue reading →

Nov 12

When Your Best Friend is a Narcissist

Best friends have tea together.Guest Post by Anonymous


At the age of 12, she didn’t know why she cared so much about her friend, the one who was a notorious mean girl.  The one who played the games that mean girls do…  She didn’t understand why that friend mattered so much to her, even more than those she had known forever, even more than the ones who had proven themselves to be kind, caring girls….

She didn’t understand until nearly a quarter of a century later why that person seemed “right” – seemed familiar….  In the two years before she ended the friendship with her narcissistic friend, she often questioned herself, “Why do I even care so much about someone I don’t respect, someone that has hurt me so many times?”

She didn’t put two and two together, that the friend who called her names and ignored her, was a lot like her dad, who shamed her and ignored her. Continue reading →

Nov 12

On Ignoring Each Other

snow weights down the heads of wild grass

It’s amazing how much noise
people ignoring each other can make.
– Eoin Colfer