Nov 272013


(Keep it Simple, Sisters)

This will be quick. I almost skipped writing it – but I ultimately decided that if it saves one Domestically Challenged Friend out there – it will have been worth the effort.


All right. Let’s say you’re having family and friends over for Thanksgiving Dinner. And let’s say you have the excellent idea of not doing it all yourself and so you send out one of those “Potluck Sign up Thingees.” You know, the email that has a list of dinnery things and then the receivers are supposed to reply with which one of those dinnery things they will be responsible for bringing? And so people like me speed read through the list to find the easiest dinnery thing that is likely to cause them the most limited kitchen wailing and gnashing of teeth?

Kay. Here’s the thing. When you are making that list: YOU MUST SAY WHAT YOU MEAN. No insider fancy hostessy language, please.

FOR EXAMPLE: if you write “Bring a dish to share” on your list – it is highly likely that someone like me will become EXTREMELY EXCITED when she sees that option because: I CAN DO THAT! I HAVE A DISH! AND I’ll SHARE IT BECAUSE I AM INSANELY GENEROUS!

And then the person like me will show up at the potluck proudly carrying THIS.


And the person like me will place it on the serving table. And she will wonder why people are looking a little strangely at her but she will assume that she just looks really extra good and everyone is trying to figure out how she did her make-up.

But later, after she’s had a few glasses of wine, a friend of the person like me will walk her over to the serving table and point at her still empty (how weird- you brought your dish all the way over and nobody even DID anything with it. Slackers) and her friend will giggle a little bit and whisper that when a Potluck List says “bring a dish to share” what that actually means in fancy hostress language is “bring a dish WITH FOOD ON IT to share.”

And the person like me will stare widely at her friend and think, for the seven millionth time in her life, “WHY THE HELL DOESN’T ANYONE EVER JUST SAY WHAT THEY MEAN?”

This year I am thankful for this place- where no one uses confusing language and everyone can say what she means –clearly and simply and tenderly.  And where even when folks disagree, they continue to work hard to love and respect each other. This year I am grateful for this little slice of Heaven on Earth.



Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
Join the Momastery on-line community on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest

Nov 262013

I am an introvert. The reason I started this blog is because I was lonely and needed to make connections with other women without actually having to go out and meet any other women. And the reason I named this blog Momastery is because my whole life I’ve been obsessed with monasteries- those magical places where introverts live in solitary cells and read and pray and think all day and interact with other folks hardly ever and then JACKPOT – find a way to call it “spiritual.” This is actually, upon further investigation, not at all what a real monastery is like, but I try never to let facts get in the way of my ideas about things.

Anyway- my whole life I’ve thought there was something dreadfully wrong with me because of my social anxiety.  If I have to go to a party- I dread it for weeks. If I say yes to a coffee date, I start considering reasons to cancel immediately.

I live so far deeply inside of my head that if the phone rings- it feels terrifying and presumptuous and aggressive and rude to me. Every time my phone rings it is as if  I am naked in a hot bath, deep in prayer and silence and somebody just flings open the bathroom door, walks right in, jumps into the tub with me, grabs my soap and shrilly announces: HELLO. I’D LIKE TO TALK NOW. HOPE THAT’S FINE. And I’m like . . . hi. okay. but I’m busy thinking and being all by myself. You have stunned me. You are loud and scary.

And just forget about it if someone knocks on my door. That is just- I can’t. Nine times out of ten – if someone knocks on my door I actually HIDE. Like in my closet. Truth.  It’s such an insane boundary violation-  door knocking. Oh, my God.

That’s how it feels. That’s how I experience these normal, everyday occurrences about which extroverts don’t think twice. I realize I am extreme. Still – most introverts will understand what I’m saying, in a less extreme way.  And if you do know what I mean –please read Susan Cain’s QUIET. Please, please, please. She will help you understand yourself better and encourage you to offer yourself a bit of grace. She will also help you find the gifts in your introversion. There are many and they are wonderful.

But here’s what I need to talk to you about today: Introverts- do you find it difficult to be a good friend?

I am a really, really bad friend. Because how can you keep in touch when it’s so damn hard to make yourself pick up or answer the phone? Or God forbid – show up at a social event?

If I have a list of things to do, and on that list is: write three essays, give a speech, volunteer at school, clean the house, and return a good friend’s phone call – the returning of the phone call will be the thing that I have to talk myself into doing. That will be the thing that requires the most will-power for me to do and takes up most of my energy. Even if the phone call I’m returning is to one of my favorite women in the world.

Recently I met a new woman whom I loved immediately, and I just knew we were supposed to be friends. But I also knew that friendship would require phone calls and I just couldn’t do it. So when she asked me to call her – I said:  Instead, can you please just tell me the titles of your five favorite books? I feel like if I read those I’ll know you. And she told me the titles and I read ALL FIVE BOOKS before ever calling her.  And then I called her once and it was hard so I just asked for more book recommendations.

Anyway- I’m going to stop writing because I’m starting to realize it might be time to up the meds. But my question is this: How do you introverts keep friends? Because my friends feel unloved by me. I think they feel like I don’t care. They are all extroverts. They are each other’s crown jewels and they wisely wear each other around all day, every day. They are my crown jewels, too, but instead of wearing them around- I  put them away carefully in a drawer somewhere and think about them every day but never take them out to admire or wear them and so they get all tarnished and feel forgotten. I love them as much as they love each other- I KNOW that. But I don’t know how to show that without making myself really uncomfortable really often. And I’m all for growth, but I’m also only three years from 40, so I’m also all for self-acceptance.  I want to honor my way of being (introvert) while also making my friends feel loved.

I guess I just don’t really “get” friendship. I understand the rules of marriage and parenthood and work so I can pull that stuff off- but friendship is so slippery and confusing. But I know I need it.

Please advise. Love you.

Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
Join the Momastery on-line community on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest

Nov 252013



  1. After Thanksgiving -call a family meeting about gifts. Tell your children that each of them will receive three gifts this year. When they complain- say this: Listen, Jesus only got three gifts. Are you really prepared to argue that you deserve more presents on GOD’s birthday than God got on God’s OWN birthday? If they complain again – threaten to buy them only spices, like Jesus got. It will be just myrrh for them. If you cannot find myrrh it will be cumin. If they continue to complain they will open only cumin on Christmas morning. At this – they will quiet down. They will then tell you the three things they “want.” Write down the three silly things. Then: Yaay! Tell them that’s it. This year they can skip the December obsessing about what they want because it’s done. Commercials will not play a role in their Christmas needs this year. Kitchen’s closed, loves. The Christmas lists are off to Santa or Amazon or however you explain these things. Then say: CONGRATULATIONS, KIDS! Your minds and hearts are now officially free to focus on the real reason for the holidays: gratitude for what we already have.

Listen- if we teach our kids that joy comes from things you can write on a list – things you don’t already have- we are placing them directly on the consumer hamster wheel that WE ARE SPENDING OUR ADULTHOOD TRYING TO JUMP OFF OF- that cycle that leads only to wanting more, more, MORE, and believing that if we just get that one more thing- we’ll be happy. NOPE. Fool’s game. No winners. Because there is always JUST ONE MORE THING. That philosophy teaches that joy is always just out of reach. That’s a silly lie that serves no one but people selling things. Joy is within reach. Joy is looking around at what we already have and counting it all as miraculous. So if you don’t have a lot of money to spend this holiday- awesome. You are close to the kingdom of God. A good holiday season is not about making lists of crap we want. It’s about making lists of what we already have and love. Make those lists with your family this year. We just started a Holiday Gratitude Journal. Every night we write down three things each of us is grateful for. That’s my kind of list.

More Tips to Come. Maybe, if I can think of any more. This might be all I’ve got.


Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
Join the Momastery on-line community on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest