Oh yeah…I made ya brownies

Everyone has their people.

And if you have ever met Michaja (pronounced: Mick-Ki-Ya) Prendergast (pronounced: good luck), it should be of no surprise that she is easily one of my top five favorite people in Chicago.

And not surprisingly, we recently discussed our respective rankings in one another’s hearts, and it looks like we both came out on top…that’s normal, right?!

Well true to one of our favorite sayings, “shit just got weird”, very little about our friendship would be described as normal.

It might be because she is always up for doing anything involving costumes and not taking showers, or the fact that we proudly introduce our roommates as our wives to strangers, or the fact that most inanimate objects have been given a name of their own, but Kia, you complete me.

(It also doesn’t hurt that you laugh at all of my jokes and cry when I sing karaoke…this woman knows how to make a girl feel like a showstopper!)

But the most amazing part of this little slice-o’-heaven friendship is that it is real.

“Shit’s gotten real” (yeah, we’re real creative with our catch phrases) a few times in the past few years, but we just roll with it.  And by roll with it, I mean we (and the rest of the inner circle friends) live through it together.  There’s prayer, lots of wine, tears, laughs, dark and twisty moments, awesome amounts of truth, Jesus himself and the occasional crazy girls night out…

But to have a friendship like that?

Or a friend who will be that constant?

Or a friend whose love is absolutely unwavering?

Well that is a treasured gift.

And I am undeserving.

So it’s of no surprise that when Kia recently got diagnosed with thyroid cancer, we all went through our own version of the coping mechanisms listed above (mine mostly involved making inappropriate cancer jokes #proofbelow, while Kia’s involved turning to Jesus—she’s a freaking rock).

I mean, this is not an okay way to present a baked good…

But it’s been amazing to watch her walk into this season of life with undeniable tenacity and relentless faith in God’s plan.  She is reminding us all that prayer is real, friends are family, and jokes never hurt.

If you don’t know much about thyroid cancer (I was clueless), it’s considered curable cancer.  Praise the Lord! So Ki will go through some testing tomorrow to ensure it hasn’t spread and then they’ll take that cancer-ridden sucker out of her…

Phew!

She’ll be on drugs for the rest of her life, but she’ll most likely get to avoid all the yucky chemo/radiation stuff.  Which is good because Ganski was threatening to shave her head…

So while talking about cancer is probably not going to get my blog ratings up, I write this post to tell a faithful friend that I love her.  And that God’s got this.

And to ask y’all to throw up a few prayers to Jesus for my dear friend, Michaja.

Thanks for being there.

Lyss.

I Ate Croutons For Dinner

And I liked it.

Sometimes you have these moments where you feel really single.

For me, it might be when I get hit with another marriage announcement in the upper corner of my Facebook homepage (so like every Monday morning).  Or when Ash and I received our fifth shared wedding invitation (there better be an open bar).  Or when I have nobody to go to Fright Fest with me (#dreamdate).

But the other day, when I was running down the stairs with this mouthful of croutons, headed out to play football at 9 PM on a weeknight with my friends, I didn’t feel single at all. I felt free! And blessed. And thankful.  (Plus, it didn’t hurt that they were the cheddar garlic ones from Trader Joe’s…delish)

But in that moment, I realized that I was exactly where God wanted me to be.

You’d think my pathetic diet might make me feel sad that I had nobody to cook for, or eat with, or just someone who actually cared about my daily nutrition, but rather I had an awesome moment of clarity that there won’t be too many more chances to live this way (Lord willing, of course).

Social calendar is so full that all that’s left in my cupboard is booze and croutons??  I mean it’s no problem a little Chipotle can’t fix, right?!

So I’m feeling blessed.

I can be anywhere I want to be at any time.  I can go on a random trip to Vegas with my best friend, or stay out til 4 in the morning for no reason, or fill up my Google calendar to the point where I literally have something to do with every second of my free time through Christmas…

And I can have a handful of croutons for dinner.

But how much longer will I have the opportunity to do this?  How much longer will God allow me this freedom to live in single independence?

So rather than focusing on what I am and am not eating (or with whom I’m eating), I took this moment to focus on what I am and am not doing…

…with all this TIME.

So, single friends, what are we going to do with the gift of time that we have right now?  How can we be spending it in the way we were meant to spend it?  How can we allow God to work through us in this season of life?

My first step is to stop focusing on what hasn’t happened yet, and start surrendering to what God has for me now.

For as God promises in Ecclesiastes 3, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.”

So I am choosing to celebrate this season and am expectant for great things.  Who’s with me???

And in an effort for being fully transparent, I had leftover ravioli and a pumpkin cheesecake bar for breakfast.  Peapod, anyone?!

#dontjudge.

Ridin’ solo.

Lyss.

Exposed: My Girl Crush on Tina Fey.

Tina. Oh Tina.

I want to be you.

But I would settle for just being your friend.

Or just being two degrees separated from you so I could have the chance to run into you at a bar (mitzvah. duh.) or be copied on the same email chain sharing awkward family photos.

You would probably ‘reply all’ (you seem like that type) with an old favorite highlighting your prepubescent uni brow.  And when I quickly bounced back with a picture of me and my long-term
“roommate” Ashley coupled with the one of me circa 1993 on a pogo stick where my dreams were coming true, our friendship would be off.

You’d insist we just HAVE to grab daiquiris soon and chat about how excited you were that our friendship was moving to the next level.  Laughter would be around every corner and we would be designing our matching airbrush t-shirts to wear to Disneyland in no time.

I imagine a joint birthday party with karaoke and a cheese buffet to follow. Pray tell, T-Rex (you guys just don’t get us), do you prefer cake or pie for dessert??

I thought so too. Less guilt around the candles…

Well, a girl can dream.

But until the day we finally meet (I should probably be concerned with how much I pray this prayer), I will just share one of my favorite things about you.  This…

A Mother’s Prayer for Her Daughter

First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.

May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the Beauty.

When the Crystal Meth is offered, May she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half And stick with Beer.

Guide her, protect her. When crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock ‘N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.

Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes And not have to wear high heels.

What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, Youdammit.

May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers.

Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen. Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, For childhood is short – a Tiger Flower blooming Magenta for one day – And adulthood is long and dry-humping in cars will wait.

O Lord, break the Internet forever, That she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.

And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it.

And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back.

“My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.

Amen.

Source: Bossypants

Thursday Afternoon Jam Sesh

I love Mumford & Sons and listen to them on repeat on a fairly regular basis. Perhaps it’s because I can use the f bomb in one of their songs and it feels sort of poetic, or it’s because Babel, their new record, is pretty much life changing. Either way, I dig.

Anyway, as I was jamming out in between conference calls in my office today (read: laying on my couch with my laptop in my lap), I felt like I really heard Roll Away Your Stone for the first time.

Here’s my favorite part:

It seems that all my bridges have been burned,

But, you say that’s exactly how this grace thing works

It’s not the long walk home

that will change this heart,

But the welcome I receive with the restart.

I mean that’s just it, isn’t it? The root of the gospel in the middle of one of the most popular songs of the past year?  God’s a genius.  Well, God’s God.

I think the first time you experience the ‘welcome I receive with the restart’ is that moment when you finally just get it and you’re on fire and you love God and you want everyone to know about it…

But then it fades. At some point. With some measure. It fades. And we’re off to building our own bridges again.

But when they burn, our story isn’t over.

Even though we should know better this time.

But we’re welcomed home again and again. And our hearts are changed. And we are free.

Why?

Because we are loved beyond measure even when we don’t deserve it!

I mean, really…what’s better than that?!

And THAT is why I love Jesus. And Mumford & Sons.

Crazy blessed and thankful,

Lyss.

Joy. Junk. Jesus.

My small group is this amazing combination of women.  We have a lawyer and an artist and an engineer.  We have athletes and volunteers and world travelers.  We have quiet and smart and outgoing and funny.  We have leaders and servants and prayer warriors.  And we always make sure we have snacks🙂

We’re a motley crew, but man, do we love each other.

I think that what makes our group so beautiful isn’t the laundry list of things that make us separate, but the parts of our stories that bind us together.  The similarities among our differences.  The things that we share just for being human.  And women.  And loved by God.

He has broken our hearts and healed us from our pasts.  He has given us dreams and quieted our fears.  He’s challenged us to be more than we are in our present and comforted us in our times of need.  He has brought immense joy and allowed great pain.  He’s shown us we are not alone and given us each other to prove it.

He has redeemed us.

And made beauty from ashes.

And allowed us to witness His work in each other to help us believe it in our own doubt.

And I’m thankful.

For these women.

And their stories.

And for showing us You make beautiful things.

And it’s on purpose.

To my small group,

Lyss.