Friday, September 22, 2017

Friendship Friday - on being the initiator (part 543, or so it feels)



I feel like we've spoken a lot on the blog about being the initiator.

I have gone through so many iterations of initiating and before listening to the podcast I spoke about here, I think I'd finally settled on being the initiator in my mind like this:
  1. Yes, it is true that I do take action quickly so to get the item ticked off my list, I'm happy to initiate so that it's done. The whole dance of "yes, we must get together" over and over gets old for me real quick.
  2. If I initiate, I can first check my calendar and make sure the time and date suit the rest of my life before proposing a date.
  3. My one introvert friend told me that the introverts don't like reaching out, so I give extra grace for the introverts ;)
  4. I have completely stopped initiating with friends where there is zero reciprocity. That's not to mean we're not friends, but I am free from using my energy to reach out. And I do feel free.




All of that sounds good, right?

It is good. Mostly...

Since I stopped initiating so much, I’m obviously much less busy with socials. I've also found that my world is getting smaller; I realised the other day that I'm never out at night anymore, because I no longer see the two friends I used to meet for supper. I only drive 5 minutes to Spanish while it's dusk and back again in the dark.

I don't think this is good because I don't want to become one of those people who lives in a tiny bubble and never ventures further than 5 minutes away, as convenient as that is.

That's the one thing.



As I mentioned above, I'm not completely cutting people off because (1) that's not my style and (2) in the podcasts I listened to on the Never Unfriended book, she said that we can pull back but we shouldn't shut the door, which I love.

I recently felt that God was therefore saying to hold all this stuff loosely and really only do things from a good heart. God loves a cheerful giver, right? So if I’m feeling resentful about reaching out, maybe that’s not the best time to do it. But when I do think about someone, to use that impetus and contact them there and then.

This seems to be working for me.

What do you think?

I know most of you reading this post do not enjoy initiating.

My questions are: 1) do you still see your friends enough? or are you happy to only see your friends rarely? or 2) are your containers so well set up that that is the reason you don't need to initiate? 3) how do you make it all work for you?

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Books I read in August, the Iranian version


Despite having the very best intentions for my birthday month's reading, I did not have the best month for reading (I tell you, it's all the socials!).

However, I read two fantastic books I want to tell you about later.

Total books read: 8
Non-fiction: 3
Fiction: 5

Most disappointing book: My name is Lucy Barton

Despite getting wonderful reviews all over the internet, yes, there were a few things that I loved but I didn't enjoy it very much at all.

The saving grace was it was short.

Other books I really didn't like and the internet loved? The Royal We and Where'd you go, Bernadette.



Moving on to our book club reads...

Crazy Rich Asians 3*- this one is going to be made into a movie and it is perfect movie material.

Glamour, riches, style, love, etc.

The Idea of You 4*- this one made me think about my infertility. I'd forgotten how all-consuming it was at the time. Sigh.

Lovely book.

I posted a quote on Instagram from this book :)

But now, for the two 4.5 star books.



I'd started listening to Funny in Farsi: A memoir of growing up Iranian in America but I listen only in the car (3 days a week) and usually only on the way to work because I'm too tired to concentrate after work.

I'd listened to maybe an hour if that, and then that weekend I happened to read Anne Tyler's Digging to America.

It's the story of two families who adopted kids from China at the same time, and how they stay friends through the years of the story.


This is not a book you read like a thriller; instead it's a beautiful story about relationships. My only regret is that I didn't read this on Kindle because I wanted to highlight so many parts.

Gorgeous book. Terisha, you should definitely read it.


Anyway, so then the following week, I listened to the rest of Funny in Farsi, and I think having just come off another book about Iranian people just made me love this one all the more.

So that was a good week of reading for me.

Tell me, have you read any Anne Tyler? This was my first one. If yes, which do you recommend I read next?

I definitely recommend both of those books very much! And do get the audible version which is read by the author!

What was the best book you read in August?

Friday, September 08, 2017

Friendship Friday - on having friendship containers

Sometimes we don't know until listening to an episode if it's one we want to discuss for Podcast Club. We both loved this episode so much that we each listened to it twice 👍🏼 and immediately afterwards I bought the book. . . One of my biggest aha moments was that you need a container for friendship. E.g. if you're work friends and you haven't cultivated the friendship outside of the work container, it'll probably fizzle if one of you leaves that employer. . . Have you found that this has been true for you with work, or another "container" like church, a class, etc.? . . PS podcast club is a container for us 😊 . . PPS from @jenhatmaker's podcast - episode 3 with @shastamnelson . . . . . . . #podcastclub #marcialovespodcasts #bujo #bulletjournal #bulletjournallove #bulletjournalcommunity #bulletjournaljunkies #schneiderpen
A post shared by Marcia Francois (@organisingqueen) on

So let's discuss this podcast episode.

It's Jen Hatmaker interviewing Shasta Nelson on friendship. (you can listen at that link, read the transcript, whatever floats your boat)

This lady says there are three things to a good friendship:
  1. consistency
  2. vulnerability
  3. positivity

 All great stuff. Do take a listen.

The one thing I want to talk about today is on the containers piece.


She said that when we have work friends, for example, and one of us leaves that place of employment, if you haven't built that container outside of work, then the friendship fades/ stops in almost all cases.

The container was work.

This also applies to containers like church, clubs, gym, kids' pre-schools, etc.

It's so true for me. The only friendships from my previous company that have survived are those that already had other containers in place.

The rest - gone. And if you know me, not for lack of trying a bit from my side.

So what she says for friendships to flourish, either a container must exist (go to gym together/ run together/ craft together, etc) or one of the parties will have to initiate the get togethers.

It's kind of obvious but like great insights, it takes someone spelling it out for us!



I have 4 containers in my life - work, book club, spanish dance and podcast club (although since our curriculum ended, it's been a bit loose).

The scheduling for the book- and podcast clubs are on my end so take a little bit more admin, but they work.

And it is true - the friendships that I feel are really satisfying for me are set up with recurring meetings (I have two) and I love not having to think about them, and just knowing that they're there to anticipate and enjoy when the time arrives.

Now I have some questions for you:

What are the containers in your life? Do you have friendships inside those containers only, or have you extended them outside of the container too?

PS This is not all I wanted to say but this post is already too long. Meet me back here next Friday? :) 
PPS Here's an excellent post (well, the excellence is mostly in the comments!) on female friendship

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

The less you blog, the less you blog :)



I have such good intentions but at the end of the day, I suppose I want to read more than I want to blog. Or listen to podcasts and edit photos more than I want to blog #sorrynotsorry

On the bright side, I'm so up to date with photos it doesn't even feel like me, best it's been in years.

I am trying to be a better steward of my time though so I've been tracking (very loosely) what I do every evening.

And now that I write down every evening what I did (again, verrrrry loosely), I'm aware that I have much more time than I think I do, and the same is true at work.

So I'm going to try to be more mindful so I can use all the time better.



But let's talk about August.


Life (and every month) is made up of both good and not-so-good things. It's just the way it is; as Glennon Doyle says, "life is brutiful"

Good things
  1. I had a birthday and I did a full birthday review like I do every year. Here's a little write-up of my process.
  2. Lots of friend dates, a podcast club discussion on friendship... but we'll talk about that another time
  3. I got all my work goals done.
  4. I finally tried out a barre180 class and as a result, I moved fitness clubs.
  5. Tried three new recipes, one for book club.

Could have been better things
  1. I feel like I missed out on some of winter :(
  2. Only had 1 walk
  3. I'm feeling a bit...weird about friendship. So yes, I need to write about that podcast!

What I learned
 This :)

 

How was your August?

Monday, August 21, 2017

Books I read in July

Edited to add:

Thank you for all the great comments on my last post. I don't know if it's the topic or the 3 weeks without a blog post :) but I loved the engagement!

*****************************************

Gosh and golly!

I realised the other day that I didn't ever post about my July reads.
 


My July numbers:

Books read: 10.... and with those 10, I reached my reading goal of the year, 72.
Non-fiction: 3
Best non-fiction: Born a crime 4.5*
(the other two are blogger books which are never my favourite genre)

a note on Born a Crime - if you've read it and would like to discuss, I'm hosting a group Skype call soon. Comment and let me know as I want to schedule it for mid-September. 

Fiction: 7 
Best fiction: A Window Opens - Elisabeth Egan 5*
Honourable mentions: In twenty years (I love reunion books :)) and Summer House which made me think a lot about ageing.

This month I started a new page in my bullet journal - my books read page.

I continued and did a similar page this month - it's quick to update and helps when I'm doing my big Goodreads update every month.

What have you read recently that was a pleasant surprise?

Mine was A Window Opens - I LOVED it - surprisingly so or maybe because I hadn't heard about it all over the internet? Hmmmm.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

A few thoughts on friendship, not on a Friday - is it all worth it?




I have so much I want to say about lots of different topics (within the friendship category) but in the interest of time, let me just get this out.

So yesterday I was at work and two colleagues were talking about how they don't have friends and their family are their friends.

And anyway, the whole friendship thing is such a drag, lots of work, drama, etc.

Do you think I kept quiet?

If you said no, you would be correct.


Obviously I piped up and said that yes, it is "work" and Lord knows, we've spoken enough on this blog about how someone has to be the initiator, and yes, there can be drama, etc. but through all that, I would still remain open to friendships and invest in friendships because through all that, I still think it's worth it.

Even going through friendship drama has taught me things about myself, like where I need to strengthen boundaries, how I need to show more of God's love in some instances and whether, in the interest of reaching out, I'm actually overextending myself because others don't care. All valuable lessons.

One colleague mentioned that it's perhaps because I'm an extrovert and I need people, that I feel this way.

They are both introverts and told me that once they're home, they are all peopled out and are quite happy never to see another soul except their family in the evenings and on the weekend.



So then two things popped into my mind:

Gosh! Do some of my friends also feel this way? And perhaps that's why when things get a bit hard sometimes (busyness, sick kids, overwhelm) it's easier just to withdraw?
I need to ask the internet :)

Tell me - how do you feel? Is friendship worth it? When the going gets tough, do you give up easily or do you persist?

I'm very curious to hear!

In 90 mins, it's podcast club. Julia and I are talking about a friendship episode and I need to write about that too. So fascinating!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Tuesday Talk on friendships and Trevor Noah

Gosh, I keep thinking, “today is the day I will blog” and then I get sidetracked and instead blog on OrganisingQueen, edit photos or read.

 So let’s just start, shall we? I’m literally the only one in the office - such a rarity – so I’m taking a few minutes to get writing!

Yesterday I had a great friend day.

A post shared by Marcia Francois (@marcia0608) on


  1. I caught up with a friend after travelling to a client meeting and it was so good to chat over a quick lunch in the soft winter sun. These catch ups are always too short but we both had to get back to work. And I always say, something is better than nothing. One of my secrets of adulthood. 
  2. Then I left a whatsapp voice message (best things ever!) for another friend wishing her happy birthday (I was a day late!) and she responded to say she’d emigrated! What the what?! So the minute I got home and started warming supper, I whatsapp called her and we had a good 35-minute chat. Divine! 
  3. It’s actually been quite the month. I wrote this on Instagram. And since then, I learned of so many more deaths. They have been very concentrated but also, I suppose it's this age...

But let's end on a lighter note.

I finished listening to Trevor Noah's book on Sunday night. We are going to have a Skype Group Chat soon-ish (after middle of August) so if you intend reading it, I highly recommend it and we can all talk about it.

D and I spoke about this book and nothing else for over an hour yesterday. So interesting to hear different people's points of view.

Let me know if you're in. If you commented on my Instagram post, ,no need to do so here - I will invite from the comments on this and that post.

Oh, I listened to the Audible version but D read the physical book. I obviously prefer a memoir narrated by the author so I'd recommend Audible if you can (only 8.5 hours).

What's been happening in your world?

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Guys, I have 8-year-olds

So my two darling children turned 8. I've already bought this book and can't wait to dig in.



If you click through, you'll be able to see the books from all the ages. I highly, highly recommend all of them - they've been a huge help to us through the years. I bought the first one at age 2! And the best is they're short so you can easily read it in two hours (helpful for D who is not a fan of non-fiction).

Anyway, here are some pics of us on their actual birthday. I was so pleased that I insisted because they were the only pics I took that day.

D is taking this with his left hand and we're all trying not to fall over and topple down my steep driveway!


We had separate birthday parties for them - Kendra's on the Friday and Connor's on the Saturday.

We were knackered but both kids had exactly the experience they wanted: K - small, intimate, girls-only, and C - lots of noisy boys!

I'm of two minds if we'll do it the same next year. On the one hand, they both loved it but I prefer D around to help so I can take photos and such. And, as I say, we were exhausted.

D wants them to spread out the parties more like one one weekend and the other two weeks later :)

Anyway, we have a whole 50 weeks to decide on the game plan for when they turn 9!

I will say this - K asked for books for her birthday which was an excellent idea so she got 6 new Enid Blytons and is in heaven!!!

What's going on in your life? What's been happening the last two weeks?

PS I will post about the holiday next :)

Thursday, July 06, 2017

What I read this month - June 2017

June was an interesting reading month.

I read 9 books - only the second month with less than 10 books this year. I do, however, plan to remedy that this month :)



I loved Alec Baldwin's memoir, Nevertheless. It was not as entertaining as Rob Lowe's one, but then again, he's had a much tougher life. And I am now following him and his wife on Instagram, shamelessly stalking them and their gorgeous children :)

I loved the Jodi Picoult (she is becoming a fast favourite, but you have to be in the mood for the heavy topics), the Jill Mansell and a new-to-me author, Milly Johnson.

I also loved Bittersweet much more than I thought I would. Today when I printed out my notes, there were 11 pages :0 I did an Instagram story to show how this works a few weeks ago, but go to your book in Kindle or Kindle app. On the top, click the little page with lines, it says My Notebook, click the box with the arrow pointing up, and Export Notebook to Email. I then print it.

I did not love the Carol Mason. If you like books like The Notebook, you possibly would enjoy that one.

I've also discovered when you highlight something, you can highlight, use that same box with arrow to share and then email just the highlight, or copy it into whatsapp/ Instagram (!!!).

Like this:




Kendra just came to ask me when I plan to do supper so that's all from me for now.

What did you enjoy reading in June? What are you looking forward to reading in July?


Friday, June 23, 2017

Which 5 things are always in your fridge or pantry?


There's quite a lot swirling around my brain (a death of someone I used to do ministry with this week; another divorce; too much work) all of which just stops me in my tracks.

Instead, let's chat about a fun topic like we did in this post.

This question is from the Shauna Niequist podcast but I'm going to tell you 5 food in
I'm going to break it down since that's the way my mind works.



Things I always have in my fridge:
  1. Granny Smith apples
  2. Cheese
  3. Eggs
  4. Yoghurt
  5. Orange juice


That sounds quite boring but it's true - I always have those things. On the rare occasions when I'm sick and I have no appetite, I know I can always eat a yoghurt and apple to be able to take my meds.
 
In fact, Tsh used to ask on her podcast if you had to choose one type of food for the rest of your life, what would you eat? I can't say for sure - some days I think Thai, some days I think Mexican, some days I think Italian.

What about you? What would you eat for the rest of your life?



Things I always have in my pantry:
  1. pasta
  2. cans of tomato 
  3. many, many litres of long-life milk
  4. rice
  5. a can of baked beans/ sweetcorn/ kidney beans/ tuna, etc.
So I can always whip up some supper!

What's always in your fridge or pantry?

PS Connor's list of his 10 favourite foods:
  1. sweet things
  2. curry/ biryani
  3. eggs
  4. pizza
  5. jasmine rice
  6. pasta
  7. juice
  8. water
  9. cucumber
  10. cauliflower

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