I’m in my thirties, with a husband and kids, the stay out all night-ness of it all has long passed and I do miss those days sometimes. It’s much harder to make friends in your thirties, your responsibilities give you less time to make new ones and it’s hard to find them. The secret club of friends is not taking on new members at this time or ever. For me, unless it’s a homeschool thing or a church thing, I rarely meet new people, and I thrive on meeting new people. I do have friends, the good ones are so good and not that many, which is preferable to me. I’d rather have five close friends than a gaggle of acquaintances. Forever friends (the ones that will be there for you at every important milestone and vice versa, the ones that will grow old with you and never judge you, no matter how messy your house is, or your life) are hard to come by. This article in the NY Times articulates it well. You are so right, NY Times.
I didn’t go away to college when all my high school friends did, I stayed in town and went to ASU while everyone left to form those lifelong friends I didn’t know existed. I grew up always moving not able to stay in touch with my childhood friends. I wish I had. I was always jealous of people that maintained the same friends since they were kids, what a luxury. While I struggled to stay in touch with people from my past either because I was the “bad” friend back then or our paths became further and further apart. I wonder how I could have made things different. I have a few suspicions.
I am incredibly thankful for some amazing people in my life. If we are close, you and I both know it, there isn’t any guessing about it. I hope I am as tenaciously loyal as I wish to think I am. also, I may not always be an easy person to love; I speak my opinions with confidence but it’s not always the right time and place, I don’t like being left out (a lifetime of rejection has insured that), I’m often misunderstood (might be perceived as rudeness), I can be too much personality for some people and sometimes people can’t deal with the level of closeness I expect out of friends. So, to the people that have stuck around through all of that, Thank you.
I especially struggled with other girls or woman nowadays. I hear a lot of woman say this but then alot of those woman have close girlfriends, so they are wrong. Growing up all of my closest friends were boys, they didn’t judge my tomboyishness or unnecessary roughness. I was at home with their jokes, their demeanor, their boyness. Girls didn’t know what to do with me and I much preferred hanging with the guys, going to shows, talking music, making jokes, etc. Then I got married and there was only one boy I could truly be friends with. You can’t hang out, in truly platonic ways, on the couch listening to music and talking about the world with other people’s husbands. That isn’t cool. I am happy that I still have a boy I can do that with, though, my husband is a truer friend than I will ever know. Girls though, I was as lost as ever, never a bridesmaid, only a bride, that one time.
I never had a best friend. I mean someone I called “best friend” and they called me. That may seem weird, I know. I had close friends and people that served in that capacity but never anyone that called me their best friend, with the exception of my husband (who is my best friend, truly) All my closest friends all had best friends already. A lot of times in my life I have perceived a closeness that in the end wasn’t recipricated and so my quest for BFF-dom was lost. Even to this day it stings when I hear my closest friends talk about their “best friends”. I am happy for them and maybe more than obviously jealous. I don’t know what magic has to happen to make friends, best friends, a mixture of stage of life, kindred spirits, time of year, aligning of the planets, data points on a plot chart, I don’t know, it’s far beyond my understanding and seems to me impossible, but it obviously isn’t. I’ve learned to manage expectations, somewhat. We can’t all have friends like “Friends”, do I want friends like “Friends”? I am thinking more along the lines of Ann Perkins and Leslie Knope, if Leslie Knope was mashed with Daria in a very bi-polar sort of way, that would be me. Now for my Ann?
So back to making friends in your thirties…It sucks. It’s either really difficult or non existent. I mean it’s hard keeping friends in your thirties let alone making them. It’s especially difficult when your friends are at very different stages of life, such as kids, marriage etc. it feels like the worst thing in the world when all your “single” friends or “couples without kids” friends do stuff together without you, or invite you out last minute when it’s far too late to make arrangements for kids, work, school, sleep etc. I’ll just cry about it assured in the most hyperbolic way that they “hate me” and then give them the benefit of the doubt and laugh maniacally to myself, in the quietest possible way, “One Day, One Day”. That’s probably horrible. I’m getting better at trying to show grace in these situations. So I think to myself, “Make new friends, ha, I can’t even keep the ones I have”. There are exceptions, you know who you are, a friend made in my thirties, a nice surprise. All in all I’ve learned a few things about friendship, some do’s and don’ts mostly for my sake also for others, learn from my mistakes and experiences:
-hit your friends. This may see obvious to most, but obviously not to me, current friends and past friends can attest, I’m a bit heavy handed with the jabs.
-get overly upset over being “snubbed”, people aren’t always out to get you, they don’t mull over that kind of evil, it’s usually not intended.
-blurt out everything you are thinking. God only knows I’ve frightened many people away with brashness. Although I have one or two friends that truly get it and are equally such.
-hold grudges, just don’t.
-overwhelm them, even though I get so excited about friends I want to send 500 texts, calls, emails, Facebook statuses, twitter @’s, etc. The worst feeling is no response, so don’t be too much, temper yourself when needed.
-be selfish of time, energy, gifts etc.
-get angry when you feel they are being inconsiderate, perhaps when it comes to making plans you could not ever make arrangements in time for like spur of the moment fun. They are being gracious enough to not forget you, they aren’t in that stage of life where things are better planned ahead.
-get jealous when you aren’t the selected “best friend”, even if you did introduce the new besties to each other. Be happy they found each other.
-cancel plans repeatedly, it’s a bit much if there isn’t a valid reason, like illness.
-be disingenuous. Say what you mean. Don’t tell someone you want to hang out and then avoid their attempts to do so. Don’t tell someone you miss their conversations but are always to busy to have one.
-be so cynical, so know-it-all, so you know.
-forgive always. Explains itself.
-return texts, calls, emails etc. Don’t be that friend that doesn’t respond to your friends texts. Being bad at texts or emails is not a good excuse, and is just that, an excuse. You will have a reputation amongst your friends that you will not want. Take two seconds to respond with at the very least, “can I text you later” and then actually text later.
-manage your expectations, these people aren’t fictional tv characters and won’t act as such. Your dream to lunch like the SITC girls or be as close as HIMYM crew may never happen, that is television this is real life.
-say thank you, a lot, for any kindness shown you. I’m working on this.
-get excited for them when good things happen, there is no need to compare your life to theirs or get jealous when things go their way, regardless how hard things may be for you.
-contact frequently, friends that are married with children have a lot on their minds, so remind them that their your friend by a kind text every once and a while. Single and couples friends need love too.
-be considerate of their time and circumstances. Some people can’t afford to hang out all the time at expensive eateries and bars, some don’t have time after long work shifts ( make time when it’s convenient for them) that need post shift sleep before their next shift, some friends need consideration if they have children, you can’t take babies to bars and they have to be home to get their kids to bed early, so give them time to make arrangements or make outings family friendly, don’t start events so late that it’s not even an option.
-be genuine, real, honestly interested, not distracted.
-be thankful you have friends, some will never have the luxury.
I myself am working on all of these, and im sure there’s more I’m not thinking of. It may all sound silly talking about making and keeping friends in my thirties, but it’s a battle, one worth fighting. Here is to your continued happiness with friends you love and admire. Am I forgetting something?
To blogging again, It truly has been a flurry the last few months since we brought home this little life.
She as been a true joy and has kept is on our toes since she got here. I thought I loved being a mother before but with another child in my home, I can’t get over the beauty of motherhood. Also, Emma loves her sister so much and has declared her the queen of babies. This queen of babies has my heart.
Alice you’ve changed me, I can only suspect for the better.
So, my first little mama is growing into a beautiful little lady, right before my eyes. It is a bittersweet thing because as a mother you will always see firstly that baby you carried that changed your life so completely in the best possible way.
Emma, my first child love, you take my breath away when I see you in the rear view mirror, My heat skips a beat when you enter the room. When I hear your beautiful little voice singing from afar, I am beside myself. You will always be my first, the first time my heart learned to love more completely than I ever had before. You turned six this month and I can’t wait for every year, every month, week and day ahead.
Yesterday was Father’s Day, and I am thankful for my Father and beyond blessed by the Father of my children. My Father (Poppy) taught me to love SciFi, comic books, superheroes, science and reading, also that it’s cool to be a square. My husband has enjoyed all those geeky things with me and has taught me so much about sacrifice.
Babe, Lets do dates like this more often, you’re cute dressed up.
That’s the Walmart parking lot, by the way, because we are classy people.
I am beginning to feel human again after a trying pregnancy. Pray to God that you never get preeclampsia, bronchitis and gestational diabetes in the same pregnancy ever and then deliver a baby with all that going on, that honestly was the worst pain I’ve ever been in. I survived and it was so worth it.
Kenny and I have been trying to refocus on art after years and years from art school. He’s been screenprinting a lot in the shed we got this year and we opened an [etsy](https://www.etsy.com/shop/bensonbenson) for our prints. I’ve mainly been sketching my ideas out right now, working my way up to printing a few. I have a love affair with printing of any kind and sorely miss college late nights printing etchings and wood prints in the studio all alone. Although its been a while, we will be fast friends again. I’m also working on a photography series’s that I would like showing locally in the Fall that touches on some deep things in my life. I’ll explain more as those images come into fruition, they are just images in my mind.
So now we are trying to settle into our new normal and getting this house to feel homey. Also, praying about some opportunities for Kenny career wise and more. Life is an adventure, we are attempting to take it one step at a time.
Y’all now I haven’t been blogging as much as I would like because of sheer pregnancy exhaustion. I’ve also been somewhat of a hermit except for doctors appointments, ballet runs and occasional playdates. So, it was so nice to get out of the house for the weekend for a sweet shower for me in honor, thrown by my dear friends Elisa and Gracie. I am really blessed by the people on my life, and so grateful for the love they show me. The food was amazing, as well as the company and we got some much needed things for baby Alice. So Thankful.
Take a look:
We also took a quick overnight trip to Atlanta to do something special with Emma before the baby comes and get some things from Atlanta we needed for the girls room. We took Emma to the zoo because she loves animals so much. I’d never been to the Atlanta Zoo and it was a lovely experience. Emma said it was the best day ever, so I guess we did good on that front. She was really excited for the Pandas, who wouldn’t be? All in all it was a great weekend and I was super thankful we had time with family and friends this last weekend. It really lifted my spirits.
Also, some Instagrams from the zoo and our trip.
I love technology…I do. Even though I feel like we as a society may over do it with our technology addiction at times, it is a wonderful tool and I am amazed to live in a time where good technology is so accesible. When I was in middle school, we begged our parents for pagers and nintendos and that was the coolest technology we could imagine. A lot has changed since then and we couldn’t have imagined some of the amazing things we have now. Touch screens, wi-fi, smart phones, etc. I personally have an iPhone that has been an amazing tool for helping my procrastination and distraction filled self to get more organized, and also have a little enjoyment on the side. We plan in the near future to save for an ipad to help with homeschooling and general things, but I wanted to share some of my favorite apps in this new calendar year for an iphone.
Fantastical is a calendar app that is simply, beautiful. It is smart enough to use natural language to register all that you input into a New Event and translate it into all the details of your event. This is such a time saving app and is a great app for moms who have to quickly jot down the details of something, like a doctor’s appointment, without wasting time entering each field of details. It syncs with your ical and google calendars, so you don’t have to start from scratch. I access my husbands icalendar as well through Fantastical so I know what his work schedule will look like that week. It is always different week to week, so this has been extremely helpful. There is a cost for this app, but it has been worth the money.
I’ve said it before friends, Wunderlist is wonderful. It really is. Wunderlist is a great app for your to do lists and staying on task. Send reminders to yourself or schedule when the task must be completed by. It is simple, clean and easy to use. I don’t need a lot of messy apps for staying on task, all I need is this.
This is a given, dropbox fans, you are probably aware of this app, but if you are not, if you aren’t familiar with dropbox, get familiar. It is a great way to archive and share information straight from your phone or computer and being able to access and send files while on the go is priceless, so it’s nice to know this is a free app, as well.
Google Drive is a stand alone app for your google docs. Access your documents, spreadsheets, images etc. You can create new documents within this app for whatever you need it for. I haven’t used a wordprocessing program since I fell for google docs because of the ability to create documents, spreadsheets, etc. in Google Docs and save as a word document or pdf or what have you. I love being able to access my documents from anywhere, I don’t know why more people don’t use google docs/drive instead of expensive and wonky word processing software, plus this app keeps all my documents at my fingertips and I love it.
I have a lot of camera apps and I have finally settled on Afterglow. Being a retired photographer, I love being able to adjust exposure, temperature, brightness etc. right in my phone. It is an all in one camera app, a beautiful and seamless app which makes the powerful little camera in your iphone incredibly useful. I am able to send my edited images straight to Instagram or whatever social media app I choose from this app.
Instagram is an obvious pick. Everyone loves Instagram. It is photo microblogging done right. Share images with friends and family of what is going on throughout your day, or just keep it to yourself for memories in the future. It’s quick, easy and fun, I do wonder how new apps like Vine will affect apps like Instagram, if at all, only the future will see.
Flipboard is like a selective newspaper filled with only the stuff you want to read. You input what feeds and sites you want to stay on top of and can do it here without ever opening a reader. I browse every morning from current big news events but also the funniest things that come across the web to balance it out. They are only so many boxes for content so it makes me have to be selective in what I include and I like that, because information overload is a real thing, at least for me.
If TocaBoca makes it, there is a guarantee that we will most likely love it. There are a variety of apps, both free and paid, by this developer and we love everything we’ve tried. There’s Toca Tailor Fairy Tale, Toca Hair Salon, Toca Band, Toca Doctor, and much more. These are well designed, kid smart apps, that parents will get a kick out of too. Emma loves to shave Santa bald and play dress up with her Fairy Tale girl, but most of all making music with the Toca Band. I highly recommend anything made by TocaBoca.
I have a secret, we aren’t a TV free household, (you’d definitely know that if you follow me on any social media platform, I love good television) but all good things in moderation is a definite goal for us, especially when it comes to keeping tabs of Emma’s TV intake. No TV before homeschool and none until school and chores are done, and even then we are trying to keep these shows to educational shows and at a minimum, with the occasional super hero show thrown in (because what child doesn’t need an education in Kicking Butt Awesomeness?). I really like the PBS kids app on the iPhone and can only assume how much better it is on iPad. You can watch a large variety of clips and shows from quality PBS, also you can customize tv times and know what your kids are watching.
Game Apps for Grown ups
I’m a little obsessed with this game. I like puzzle games mainly, I am not your typical iPhone gamer, and it has to be a challenge or I bore easily of it. Vubu is a great challenging puzzle game and the first that I have found that I haven’t gotten bored with. It’s not that easy and that’s why I like it. I’ve moved through the standard stages at this point and am in the advanced ones, I play a little at a time, when I can. It is true leisure play for when I’m waiting at the Doctor’s office or just trying to pass some time. I won’t explain how it works and let you figure it out for yourself, but this is my favorite game on iPhone.
These are some of my favorite apps right this moment, I may share some more I really like in the future. The world of apps is always changing and getting better which is exciting for nerds like me. Do you agree with my list? What are some of your favorite apps?
The New Year has begun and as I watched the Golden Globes Sunday night in my finally clean house after a beautiful time with friends at our belated housewarming, I couldn’t help but look around and be extremely thankful. He is so good to us. In comparison to the celebrities across the screen fancily dressed and awaiting the adoring press, my life may seem sub par, but it is far from that. Everything I desire,need is here with me, in my home, in my life. There is nothing material that can make me happier than what I have here.
My wonderful little family that is growing plus one in a matter of months, is an overflowing blessing. The way my Husband understands me and loves me, the way that we’ve spent these years just getting to know each other better than I know anyone on this planet, all of it is blessing. The way my daughter is a mirror of me in nature and in showing me what resides underneath even though she does not even know she is doing so, beautiful. She is lovely and healthy and blesses me daily, teaches me to love better, be better. Never forgetting, the way He has always provided for us when we thought we couldn’t make it through the day or week or year, yet we did. Yes, there are material things we bookmark and put aside for later but those things of the least importance, the fillers that are nice but not necessary for living right where we are with joy and gratitude. I always love hearing Ann Voskamp’s reminder to live fully right where you are. The last few years in our life has been an unraveling of sorts. The thread unraveled and we didn’t know what to do, but we didn’t truly understand that all things we’re working together for good. So the thread begins to wind the way it should have in the first place and we are blessed because of it.
This is my first post of the New Year, I took a much needed break to focus on the important parts of my life and it was really good. I don’t really believe in resolutions per se, I believe in refocusing on what is important. For more than a year I have been doing C.H. Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening and was struck by the simple request to make continuing in prayer our resolutions or focus. It’s so simple, yet we often forget. I never want to forget to bear all things to the One who has taken us through all we’ve faced so far in life. The other part of that resolution/non resolution is to simply love God and love others. I want to love all the people that come into my life, and the ones that have been here since the beginning. Most importantly let me never forget to love God for all the blessings above and below, for the gifts He gives, for everything I see He is doing and because simply, He is God. 2013 could be a very revealing year for us if we hold to these truths, which I believe it will be. Kenny painted this old bulletin board he got from the library and it is blank for us to add all the beautiful reminders of love and thankfulness in our lives. We just started filling it and I am excited to see what is made from the collage of our lives this year, while we create and love and abide.
Posted on January 15, 2013 by Ellie
So, we went to the doctor a few weeks ago for our ultrasound and received a wobbly answer of girl for the gender of the Baby. The sonographer told us she was pretty certain, girl…so, if that does not change we have our name…
Alice Jane Elizabeth Benson, very literary and perfect in my opinion. We went again with a nod to Jane Austen, Emma was named after the novel of the same name and this time a middle name in homage of the beloved Author. Alice, well, of course cannot be mistaken for any other than the curious little darling who goes through the looking glass. Emma loves the name Alice, she is going to be Alice (Alice in Wonderland) in the Christmas Parade this weekend again for the second year and she thinks it is pretty special that the baby would be named after the book character. Emma and Alice does sound pretty darn cute together.
Last week was a great week of family time and I am looking forward to some downtime as we get back into our home life schedule and anticipate the start of Advent. Our Advent Calendar starts this week and we are pretty excited about it, It is one of my favorite traditions. Hoping things are looking merry and bright where you are.
This week is a baking week, lots of caramel and really delicious recipes coming to the blog, but here is what I have baked recently.
Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Whoopie Pies
(modification for recipe link below: I used slightly less pumpkin than in the recipe, I would suggest you add to taste, too much can be overpowering for me, that loves pumpkin only in moderation and I also used Maple Syrup instead of Vanilla (which is an appropriate and yummy substitute because I had run out))
They were a little messy, but oh so delicious. You have few more days to get in all your pumpkin goodies.Recipe: Curvy Girl Kitchen
White Cake with Pink Ombre Buttercream Frosting
This Best White Cake Recipe I have ever had…..
You may remember this cake from Emma’s birthday. Well it is the same cake. I just made more layers for Emma’s Bday. This one I made for Kenny’s grandmother that turned 90 this month, which is amazing accomplishment. The only difference is the ombre effect made by mixing three different colors of pink icing and layering. This recipe is in my favorites and although being labor intensive is the best white cake I have ever eaten.Recipe: The Merry Gourmet
Enjoy! I have more food posts coming soon.
All the things that made me laugh quite recently…
Get it…Wolf Blitzer
Mindy Kaling killing it on the Mindy Project
Man Finds his old school Doppelganger
You can always count on Fox and Friends for a good hyperbolic laugh inducing statement…just in case you thought the SNL sketches were extreme.
Clever and Funny, Friend
The Vibrant Ron Swanson
This made me laugh, also my Husband’s favorite show.
Mending the lace on an vintage blouse for Emma
I think I know the reason they call get married and having a family “settling down”. Even though it may seem counter intuitive to the exciting busyness we try to thrust upon our younger selves, “settling down”, is a beautiful thing. I guess it would be called boring by some, or lonely by others, and it may be both at some times, but for the most part it is peaceful and happy. The world unraveling all around us it feels, but we choose how much of that we want to let into our nest.
Settling down, to me, is the act of making your family, your family, and your home, your home. I mean that it is a refining of the things you already have been given, family and home.As a wife and a mother, the task hat I have been slated with is just as grand as any others. I don’t long for high powered business suits and the respect that it garnishes. I think I did once, and felt guilt over what was weighing on my heart to aspire to, a wife and a mother. While there is nothing wrong with those aspirations, the world doesn’t always see eye to eye in these matters, but it doesn’t bother me anymore. I’ve owned my own business and worked my mind and body to insomnia, that was a season, and this is another one that I am very thankful for. As I transition from semi-domestic to full blown domestic, I am excited to see how it changes me. Being a good wife to my husband and mother to my daughter is my first and second priorities. During the day, I am preparing the home to be comfortable for a husband that work two jobs for us, and I am homeschooling my girl, learning with her the bible and about the wonders of life, and I truly love it.
You get to a point in your your life where you look at friends in different seasons that “do it all”, I am just thankful that my “doing it all” in regards to my family, my life, is just settling down with my family in our routines and traditions and loving each and every moment of joy it brings.
Posted on October 30, 2012 by Ellie
I don’t believe that heart ache and joy come independent of one another, at least in my life. Some of the biggest joy times are intermingled with things that hurt and break our hearts. I so wish it wasn’t the case at times but I see the beauty in the darkness while it blends and becomes light. That is why I am not afraid to talk about what I wrestle with and what I see in that struggle. I believe in transparency, I believe in showing our true selves over the facsimiles of perfect people we so easily pass ourselves off as in the arena of watching eyes. If that is too much for some, I do not apologize. I am imperfect and I don’t feign what I can never be in my own right, so I lift the veil that hides my bare face in hopes to see….
This year has been the one; the one where I cried the most, I felt the most, I called out the most, and felt like the vice of brokenness harm me the most. It seems (I know) as though God is teaching me through this and even though I don’t know the message on the other side of this yet, I am hopeful in the hurting. There is so much grace in the joys that we receive in the dark times, when we feel the furthest from any and everyone. We bought a house this year, thank God, and we are expecting another child, a blessing. All things that sprung forth in hurting and broken times, are beautiful. Some are easier to notice like a house and a baby, some will take some time for us to recognize. All things working together for good, and His good is beauty unending, a story in trans media. He tells it and it is beautiful, we listen and wait for the next chapter anticipating the next and the next. We know that He protects us and shows his grace and love when we feel we are at the end of what we can handle. We know it, it doesn’t make the hurting less hard but it gives hope to know I am not alone, we are not alone, He is with us, He has been with us and will be at the end and forever after that.
I have struggled with Clinical Depression for over a decade, sometimes it has gotten so deep that I truly felt I could not survive another day. Other times, it has been a soft, sad lapping over me that brings me down with its ebb a little, a little, a little at a time. Only those that have dealt with the horrors of the darkest points of depression can truly know what it feels like. The suffocating grip and soul wrenching, you can’t breathe, can’t see, can’t believe, and feel you can’t endure, all the while, putting on the joyful face of someone else’s happiness. Those that know will try and help with well meaning words, so be thankful for those that pray and grieve for you. I don’t know why some of us fight this conflict in mind and heart, but we do. If there is one thing I know for certain is that deep despair will never defeat me, even if I woke this morning crying for the loss felt of once present people in my life or the nights I cry over the circumstances that feel like the world, there is still victory because this is just the middle of the story working it’s through all of my being, the silver strings that connect this present, to that past, to what we all feel in our broken bodies is coming.
This Poem by Isaac Watts speaks to me :
Psalm 130:2 [From Deep Distress And Troubled Thoughts]
From deep distress and troubled thoughts,
To thee, my God, I rais’d my cries;
If thou severely mark our faults,
No flesh can stand before thine eyes.
But thou hast built thy throne of grace,
Free to dispense thy pardons there,
That sinners may approach thy face,
And hope and love, as well as fear.
As the benighted pilgrims wait,
And long, and wish for breaking day,
So waits my soul before thy gate;
When will my God his face display?
My trust is fix’d upon thy word,
Nor shall I trust thy word in vain:
Let mourning souls address the Lord,
And find relief from all their pain.
Great is his love, and large his grace,
Thro’ the redemption of his Son:
He turns our feet from sinful ways,
And pardons what our hands have done.