Issue 2: friendship | home automation | ultrasound pic! View in browser
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Issue 2: October 23, 2019
friendship | home automation | ultrasound pic!

[9-minute read]

Dear sisters,

I want to free you from a popular misconception about how friendship is supposed to look. If we follow the hints we receive from social media and popular female authors, we should constantly be on the lookout for our “tribe,” a group of 3-9 other women who all effortlessly adore each other. Your tribe can be found through a sorority, a church small group, your workplace, a supper club or a group of girls you introduce to one another who instantly click. What’s even more amazing—all of our spouses will automatically fall in line and also be best friends! 

I don’t know about you, but I'm 30 years old, I’ve never experienced this and I'm tired of looking for it. I’m not saying this kind of group doesn’t exist. Maybe it does, and I’m genuinely happy for people who can experience wonderful relationships among a group of women without battling jealousy, gossip and insecurity.

But honestly? What I’m really getting at is not all of us are built for this kind of friendship. Some of us cannot handle the stress of the group dynamic, and that’s OK. I can say with complete certainty that “finding your tribe” is not required to have rich, fulfilling friendships. 

Believe me—I have tried. Since elementary school. I know some of you can relate. Were you always the girl on the outer orbit of all the groups? Tolerated, but not fully embraced? Never fully rejected, but never invited to the sleepovers? Even as an adult, feeling like you’re not part of “the pretty girls” group within your friend group (oh my God, yes this really exists, doesn’t it? I know I’m not the only one because I’ve had people describe this feeling to me! 🤪) 

To be part of a group like this, some assimilation is required. People thrive on sharing similarities with others—that’s totally normal. But for those of us who (for whatever dang reason) march to the beat of our own drum, it’s excruciating to forfeit our individuality or our opinions for the sake of the group. In addition, the lack of inclusivity in friend groups has always made me uncomfortable. I’m generally always scanning the room, looking for the person who feels left out. And for better or worse, close friend groups usually thrive on exclusivity. 

I want to tell you today it’s OK to stop trying to find your tribe. 🙀

Instead, find one friend. If you’re like me and need more than one friend at a time, find another friend. They don’t need to know each other. You don’t have to have a girls’ night so all your favorite people can meet. I did this once, wanting two close friends to meet each other. The night was so incredibly awkward—they did not connect, and I was anxious the entire evening. What if I had allowed those friendships to remain separate instead of trying to manufacture a tribe? 

“So how do I find that one friend?” Part of the allure of meeting people within a group setting is how easy it is! It’s all set up for you. I think that might be part of the problem. It's super easy on the front end, but gets complicated when everyone isn't miraculously on the same page. In groups, when someone doesn’t fit, it's nearly impossible to be direct in "breaking up" or to let the friendship fade out naturally. Instead, that poor girl just keeps getting left out over and over until she realizes, “Oh! These people don’t like me!” 

Deep, lasting friendships, much like dating relationships, eventually lead to some form of a Define The Relationship conversation. That sounds strange and terrifying, but stay with me. 

I never experienced this magical friendship definition conversation until I met my friend Lydia two years ago. I saw her with her husband and baby at a park and realized by the way they were dressed they were not from the area—where we lived at the time was an incredibly homogenous place. I walked up to them, introduced myself and asked if they were new to town. They had moved earlier that day from another state (nailed it!). I got Lydia’s phone number and texted her some recommendations of things I loved around the city (turns out, I've been into giving unsolicited recommendations to people for a long time—see "Helpful Happies" 😆). We began communicating via text regularly, grabbed coffee, had them over for dinner and vice-versa. My husband and I connected with Lydia and her husband, but I honestly thought they were too cool to truly want to be close with us. They were great at making friends and seemed to be surrounded by the most interesting people. They didn’t need us, I told myself. 

One evening, Lydia and I were on a walk and she point blank asked me if we wanted to be friends with them. “Sometimes it feels like we always ask you to hang out. We really like you and we want to be your friends, but only if you want to be our friends.” I was shocked. I explained I didn’t want to be overbearing or creepy and was trying not to ask them to hang out too much. We had a long conversation and defined the relationship. I never felt self-conscious around Lydia again. A few months later, we were texting and she told me “You are my best friend. I’m so grateful for you.” It was so refreshing not to have to guess how my friend felt about me. The friendship felt solid, concrete and incredibly real. I’m confident we’ll still know and love each other when we’re 95. 

To get there, we HAD to have that conversation. (Full disclosure: I’m still terrified to initiate a DTR conversation like that, but I can see the value in it and I’m hoping I can be brave like Lydia the next time I’m unsure about how a friend feels about me!) 

I’ve taken the "one friend at a time" mentality with me as we recently moved to a new city. I met a woman at my daughter’s school a few weeks ago, and I ran into her again at a church we’re visiting. I could tell just by limited interactions that she was my kind of person, and our kids are the same age! After I saw her a few more times, I said, “Hey, I like you and I think we should hang out. I just moved here, and I need a friend. Can I have your number?” Now, we’re friends and hang out all the time! The end.

The moral of these stories: be direct in your friendships. Be intentional. Be vulnerable. Tell people how you feel about them and what you need from them. If they don’t feel the same way, move on and find a new friend—how freeing to know you won’t be strung along for years, unsure of the status of your relationship. 

You don’t need a “tribe” to have meaningful friendships, sister. Quality truly trumps quantity here. You’re worthy of having friends who adore you for who you are, flaws included. You should not have to guess how people really feel about you or feel insecure about being left out. You deserve friendships with depth, loyalty, commitment and longevity. Give that gift to yourself—and to your friends. 

Love, Jill 

Home automation

Y'all, if Google Home/Alexa freaks you out, skip this. I am HERE FOR SMART SPEAKERS and all of the home automation things. We are in a rental, so we haven't gone all out, but our lamps have smart bulbs in them, and it's a lazy person's dream. Every night we turn off the overhead light, get in bed and turn on our voice-activated lamp to read. When it's time to go to sleep, we turn it off without one of us having to get out of bed. 🙌

In the mornings, I bring Julia in the living room, ask Google to turn on the lamp to 25 percent brightness and snuggle on the couch with her until we both wake up a little and are ready for brighter light (ohhh yes, she wakes up WAY before the sun rises).

This is such a small thing, but it brings so much convenience to our lives!!

Here's the bulb we use—it allows you to link to your phone and smart speaker, set a schedule, control away from home, adjust brightness and probably a lot more. And a 2-pack is only $25! If you don't have a smart speaker, don't worry! You can control the bulbs from your phone. 

Recipe: Chickpea and Yogurt Soup

This recipe comes straight from my beloved Milk Street Magazine, the only magazine to which I subscribe and the only one I'll ever need. The writing, photography and food staging are all top notch... not to mention the incredible recipes. Its tagline is "Change the Way You Cook," and it certainly has changed our cooking for the better. This is one of Milk Street's (relatively) quick and easy "Tuesday Night Meals." 

The only fussy thing about this recipe is the yogurt. Finding plain *whole milk* yogurt can be difficult. They discourage using plain full fat Greek yogurt, but I honestly couldn't tell a difference when I used it once. 

Chickpea and Yogurt Soup (don't let that name scare you—this is the best soup ever. My TODDLER loves it.) 

  • 2 tablespoons butter 
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup arborio rice (1/4 cup more if you like a heartier stew-like soup; 1/4 cup less if you want it soupy. Don't sub regular white rice.)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups chicken broth (I use Better than Bouillon instead of buying stock)
  • 1 cup water 
  • 15-ounce can chickpeas (did you know chickpeas have 39g of protein PER CUP? They are singlehandedly helping me meet the protein requirements for my pregnancy—75-100g per day—without eating a ton of meat)
  • Handful parsley
  • Handful dill 
  • 1 cup yogurt, plain, whole milk

In a saucepan over medium, heat butter and add onion and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and has begun to brown, 6-8 minutes. 

Stir in rice, garlic and pepper flakes and cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the broth and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. 

Add chickpeas and cook for 5 minutes more, until the rice is very soft and the soup has thickened. Off heat, whisk in the yogurt, parsley and dill. Taste and season with salt and black pepper. 

Enneagram in brief

In almost every issue of THDH, you'll probably see some reference to the Enneagram. If you're not familiar, it's an eerily spot-on personality typing system that is designed to help you grow, not just identify your "type." Lots of therapists, companies and churches use it to promote personal growth and/or a more cohesive work environment. When we understand ourselves and each other, we can have much more healthy relationships! 

There is lots of talk about personality "tests," and there are enneagram tests out there. However, most enneagram teachers agree that the tests are not always accurate, and to really nail down your type, you should just read a description of all nine types and find the one that resonates with you most. In reality, the whole point of the Enneagram is to learn about ALL the types. We all have a little of every type in us, and we all know someone who is a different type—but identifying and studying your dominant type is a great place to start. 

If you want to take a test to help narrow down your type, I recommend this free one and this paid one if you want to spend $12. I have done both, and both were accurate for me (I'm a 2). 

To read more about the types, visit The Enneagram Institute's website (in addition to a great explanation of the Enneagram and good type descriptions, they have a VERY helpful page for if you're stuck between two types and want to compare them... AND they have a killer relationships page). 

You should also follow these accounts on Instagram: 

@enneagramandcoffee

@enneagramexplained

@enneagramenthusiast

@yourenneagramcoach (for a Christian application)

@rudeassenneagram (for amazing memes)

A happy just for y'all...

This is not a "Helpful Happy," per se, but I wanted to share. 😉 

We had our anatomy scan yesterday for our second baby, due in mid-March. We don't find out the gender (hearing "it's a girl!" when our daughter was born was the best moment ever, and I cannot wait to experience that again), but the anatomy scan is about so much more than gender, of course! 

We are so grateful that everything looked great with Baby, and my cervix is nice and long and closed, which means there are no indications for pre-term labor at this point (thank God this is a newsletter just for girls, right? 😎). 

---

I'll truly never understand why so many families go through infertility, miscarriages and infant loss. I have hesitated to share a lot of pregnancy stuff on social media this time around because I'm so aware of many women who are struggling, and I feel so undeserving and deeply grateful for the sacred gift of two (so far) uneventful pregnancies and healthy babies. My heart and prayers are with you if you're in a hard place with this topic right now. I see you and I want it so bad for you it makes me (literally) cry. Please let me know if you'd like me to pray for you specifically. I'd be honored to. 

Y'all. No one answered this question last week, and I'm being super serious—HELP! 😉 Please hit "reply" and send me an email if you'd like to ask or answer a question!

Help me out. What foundation are y'all loving? I want something clean/environmentally friendly, affordable and easy to apply. I tried a foundation stick and really hated it, but I don't love super greasy liquid either. Need something with more coverage than powder. Haha. This might be too much to ask. Suggestions?

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