Monday, July 30, 2012


By Elisa Morgan
WANTED: Female Friend. Age: Less (as in age-less). Location: Present. Availability: When needed. Skills: Non-judgmental listening ears and voice given to both constructive critique and compliments. Pay: Reciprocity.

On the subject of friendship, I’m very clear: I know what I want in a friend. That’s easy. Harder – for me - is being friendable. Approachable. Open to the new. Willing to do the work of investing from scratch.

During a break at a women’s event, I’m lunching with the leadership committee. I respond politely to their inquiries, “Tell us about yourself, Elisa.” Where do I start? I could wade in and begin with the story of my parents’ divorce when I was five, my mother’s struggle with alcohol, my uber-vigilant life as a child and adolescent. That would take too long. And require too much energy. I still have another presentation ahead.

Instead, I could skim the surface of “me”. I speak, and write. Yep, I led MOPS International for twenty years. Great husband. One super duper grandchild. Two grown-yet-still-growing kids. Uh Oh. Suddenly I’ve dipped into the deep again.

I paddle back to the shore.

How do I open myself to friendship in such a way that I stay safe and yet risk knowing and being known?

Time for some honest self-examination. How badly do I want to be known? Honest answer: it depends. On my mood, my current circumstances, my schedule, my needs. But friendship doesn’t wait to form just when we are in the mood or need it. It’s formed in the daily and the dramatic so that when we need it, it’s there.

Deeper now. What am I doing to risk being known? Hmmmm. I share. I do. I open up. In fact, I can be honest to a fault. So much spilled out so that others sit staring and wondering how they can ever connect with my messes. That is, until they realize they relate. By that moment, the conversation has moved on.

But I also hold back. I busy myself with busyness. Busy busy busyness. “I’m gone all week!” “I could fit in a breakfast – oh but I have a meeting right after!” Three-minute voicemails serve as catch-up “conversations”.

I want friends. But how friendable am I willing to be?

For the rest of this Weekly ReFill click HERE and enjoy the My Fill Column in the Friend O Mine digizine. And tell your friends – be FRIENDABLE!

Monday, July 23, 2012


By Kay Wyma

"Only your real friends will tell you when your face is dirty." ~ Sicilian proverb

"Mrs. Wyma?"


"Um ... there's a hole in your pants."

My daughter, standing next to her truth-telling friend, slightly gasps. Together they try to stuff their snickers. I put my hand back to check. And sure enough, I had a rip in my pants. Not some slight dainty thing on a seam. No, a nice 2-inch flap on my left bum. It surprised me. Not that I'd have a hole (unfortunately I'm no stranger to wardrobe malfunction) but that an 11-year-old would be honest enough to tell an adult something potentially awkward, or dare I say, embarrassing.

But she did. And did so matter-of-factly.

This child's honesty revealed a lot about our relationship. She cared enough to tell me something that no one else had been brave enough to broach (I'm sure the hole had been there most of the day). Then, without judgment, she was sweet to open the door to laughter. Because really, what else can you do? Life is too short to cry about things like pant holes.

This child is not only my daughter's friend; but, as determined by her actions, she is also mine. The best friendships are based on honesty, authenticity, openness, trust and compassion-all of which we crave. But rarely do we feel safe enough to embrace them. Constantly worried about being accepted or scared of being hurt, we shy away from the very things that can knit us together. No matter the age, we fight feeling excluded, snubbed, ignored, and overlooked as we try to trust.

I often find myself telling my kids: "Friends aren't perfect. They can hurt us just like we can hurt them. Sometimes it's intentional, most of the time it's not. There are two things to remember: 1) If we were meant to be alone in the world, God would have stopped with Adam. 2) Lean into the anchor of complete acceptance and safety we have in Christ so you can be the best authentic friend you can be without worry of being tossed aside or laughed at. You've got The King watching over you. So, don't shy away from telling your friend the hard stuff or loving them when you're jealous. That's what real friends do."

Of course, ninety percent of the time, at this point, I've already gotten an eye-roll, but it's worth it. If the message doesn't stick with them, maybe it will stick with me.

So walking out of Fuddrucker's yesterday, it warmed my heart when one of my kids pointed out some lettuce caught in my teeth. As the rest of my brood walked up, we did it for each other. We were a mess. Literally.

Well, you have some pepper.

Oh, and there's cookie on your face.

Thanks (side whisper) your shorts need zipping.

To top it off, my ten-year-old boy squinted up at me and squealed, "Ewwww!" Then, while running away and pointing back at the stubborn lettuce remnant still lodged in my teeth, he added, "That's SOOOOO gross! (fake gag, fake gag) I think I'm going to barf!"

Well, at least he's my friend. Let's hope he can temper his friendship with couth someday . . . soon.

Kay Wyma, mother of five, is writes so moms of adolescents & teens don't have to walk the road alone and is author of Cleaning House, A Mother's Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement

Monday, July 16, 2012

Yielding the Floor

by Suanne Camfield

I recently attended a workshop in which the facilitator had all the elements of a great communicator -she was knowledgeable, passionate, empathetic and fun, and worked the room with ease. More so than wanting to absorb the content, I simply delighted in each moment I spent in her presence.

At the end of the day, as she was giving her concluding remarks, a woman in the audience raised her hand and asked if she could share something with the group. In all honesty, I thought the interruption was a bit disrespectful, if not borderline rude. The speaker's response, however, was one of the most counter-intuitive things I'd ever seen. Not only did she grant the woman's request, she did it with such graceful open-handedness that it left me shaking my head in awe.

"I'll gladly yield the floor to you," she said. And then with a small bow and wave of her arm, like she was welcoming a guest into her home, she stepped aside.

Beautiful, I thought. Absolutely gorgeous.

Let's face it-in a culture that eagerly stakes its territory around position, individuality and achievement, "yielding the floor" is not exactly a phrase that's sweeping the nation. I concede that there are times when holding firm in our convictions is the most courageous thing we can do, but the opportunities to put aside our own agenda for the benefit of others, as it turns out, is pretty limitless. Since the day I watched that speaker yield her floor, I've attempted (and failed) to do it as often as I can in my own life.
Here's just a few ways I've tried:

In my everyday. Taking a half-step back (instead of forward) so the business man who tried to edge me out at the barista can order first anyway. Waiting a few extra seconds to hold the door for the harried woman behind me even though I'm running late myself. Picking up my kid's towel from the bathroom floor even though I've asked him a zillion times to hang it up himself. Mustering a smile for the unfriendly customer service rep who, regardless of my inconvenience, is just trying to get through the day.

In my relationships. Picking up my phone when a friend needs to talk even though it means sacrificing the time I finally carved out just for me; listening openly to my faults, refusing defensiveness and extending forgiveness even when I'm certain I'm "right." Giving those closest to me permission to speak truth in my life when I'd rather amble along pretending my flaws aren't that big of a deal.

In my leadership. Resolving conflict directly and timely instead of grumbling behind closed doors. Asking for constructive feedback (and being ready to receive it) from those on my team and making adjustments accordingly. Accepting my limitations and surrounding myself with others whose strengths are not my own. Championing those who could realistically do my job (perhaps even better than I can do it myself), taking time to develop their gifts and making room for them to lead.

Yielding the floor to others, especially on the important stuff, may feel a bit like shaky territory. But, then again, maybe it should. The more I've practiced it, the more I've learned that these moments-the ones in which I intentionally choose to step aside, (teeth unclenched), wave a welcoming arm and gladly, graciously give permission for others to have the floor in my personal and professional life-is a character-shaping act of humility like few others.

Can you imagine doing it yourself? Next time someone wants to occupy the space that you think is rightfully yours-maybe even the space that you've undoubtedly earned -try to resist your instincts to squeeze a little tighter and instead try repeating these words: I'll gladly yield the floor to you.

Suanne Camfield is a writer, speaker and publicist. She is the blog manager for FullFill, founder of the Redbud Writers Guild and works at InterVarsity Press. Friend her on Facebook or follower her on Twitter @suannecamfield.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Being Abundantly For Other Women

By Margot Starbuck

My husband gives me the evil eye as I drink in a large gulp of store-brand orange juice. If there is an unwritten list of cardinal sins in our household-which I’m discovering there apparently is-drinking a large glass of orange juice, without being at death’s door from a vitamin C deficiency, is on it. Growing up as the youngest in his family, he was often shortchanged by thirsty older brothers. So, today, while he’s willing to overlook any household member sipping at a tiny glass of morning juice, a large glass at 4pm can still make him a little nutty. Both inside and outside of the kitchen, a lot of us-like my groom-operate out of a mentality of scarcity, rather than abundance.

Many of us even do it in our relationships with other women.

This is the only way I can explain how I felt when I recently saw that a popular clever female Christian blogger-like I’d be if I was popular and clever and paid any attention to my blog-had a single post which had been shared to facebook “282K” times. (Who knew that “K” was a thing that facebook’s share widget could even do?!) After doing the calculation-over ¼ million if you’re math-challenged-I started to feel a little panicky, like a failure, and quickly tried to find fault with aforementioned blogger. I wasn’t able to, but I certainly tried.

Mentality of scarcity.

No matter how you spend your days-whether you blog or craft, teach or sell, build or minister-it is tempting to be drawn into this devilish way of thinking. When you learn that a group of women friends had a girls’ night at the movies without inviting you, a mentality of scarcity can put you in a bad green-eyed place. With a mentality of abundance, though, you realize, “That sounds like fun. I wonder who else would like to do a girls’ night as much as I do? I’ll text them right now.”

To approach the world with an economy of abundance-one which trusts in a faithful Provider-is to be set free to be for other women. Specifically, we’re liberated as we act on that confidence: becoming share # 282,001 on the hot blog, buying something from the local Etsy crafter we admire, or sending a quick note of appreciation to the wildly patient supermom who has the nerve to look great in a bikini five months after the birth of baby #5.

Though it is an admittedly unlikely way, try living with a mentality of abundance when it comes to the women around you. . This week, live free.

Margot Starbuck is a communicator who is itchy to live out the kingdom Jesus ushered in. She’s planted in Durham, North Carolina with her husband Peter, their three children, and a faith community she cherishes. Visit her at

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Different Kind of Friendship

By Helen Lee

I have a confession: I often feel out of place in this world because the things I enjoy doing are contrary to that of many women I know. For example, my husband once bought me an expensive set of services at a local day spa for my birthday. Years went by and I never used that card--it ended up becoming worthless because the business closed its doors. There's more. I have to force myself to go clothes shopping because doing so feels like torture. And my introverted self would much rather be home alone than on a girls' night out. Over the years I have wondered, "Is something wrong with me? Why don't I pursue friendships like most other women I know?"

I wasn't always this way. Back when I was in college, I was the quintessential "cruise director" of the dorms I lived in. I was the one who knocked on every door to meet every person in the building. I was the one who said hello to every person I walked by and knew each resident's name. I was busy. I was active. I had numerous groups of friends. But what I learned from my college years is that merely doing things with people is no guarantee of a lasting friendship.

As I've gotten older and more cognizant of the limits of my time and energy, I have realized that meaningful friendships look very different from when I was young. I am not so interested in just hanging out and getting my nails done with other women--although I know that can be a point of true bonding for many. What I am interested in is connecting with other women who want to know my hopes and dreams for the future, who understand that I want to make a difference in the world, and who support and encourage those aspirations. An anti-clothes-shopping introvert I may be, but I also know that just as our triumvirate God lives in a community of three Persons, so are we created not to go it alone.

Friendship can take many forms. It can be strengthened in common experiences and activities, over a cup of coffee, in the mall, at the spa. But for some of us, friendships will emerge from dreaming big dreams together, from a common place of dissatisfaction with the status quo, from a shared desire to change the world and not merely subsist in it. If you are like me, seek relationships with those for whom this picture of friendship resonates. You may not have as many moments of "girl time" with them, but your heart, mind, and soul will be nourished by the presence of these women in your life. It's a different picture of friendship, but one no less worthwhile and meaningful.

Helen Lee is the author of The Missional Mom. You can connect with her on her Facebook page or at her website.