Here is the latest Coffee & Pearls:

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Last week my new book, Not Of This World, splashed into the world and created a lot of noise. I am grateful for all the love and support I received not only about the book itself but about my mission to spread minimalism throughout our Catholic communities.

There were many people, both online and in person, who looked at me with genuine smiles and said, “You’re amazing!” And while I’m flattered by the compliment and grateful for these relationships… I’ll be honest… I don’t feel any more amazing than I did last month.

I’m still the same me. I’m still a stay-at-home mom who’s trying to love her kids and point them to Jesus in a distracting world. I’m a Catholic convert. I think that’s amazing.

I also, wanted to grab each one of my friends and say, “Actually, I think YOU’RE amazing!” Because truly, each one of them is really special in their own way. I don’t mean that as a cheesy, one-liner, I see beauty and talent in every single person I meet. And yet even as this occurred to me, I found that I lacked the vulnerability to be able to say that.

I didn’t want to seem ungrateful by turning the compliment around to my friend. I didn’t want the compliment to seem forced or coerced because it wasn’t. I didn’t want my friend to feel embarrassed.

I was surprised by these feelings! Why do we not feel comfortable telling our friends, our very good friends that we love them and think they’re amazing?

Picture it right now. Close your eyes and picture telling one of your friends, “I love you. I think you’re amazing and I’m glad you’re my friend.” I don’t know about you, but I feel uncomfortable with that scene. I feel nervous… like a girl asking a guy out on a date and waiting to be rejected. I feel laid out and exposed.

But why?

Why is it that after someone does something sensational, like writing a book, we finally feel free to throw out genuine compliments? Why can’t we do that on a regular Tuesday morning over coffee?

To be honest, this isn’t a post about having the answers because I don’t really have the answers yet. I want to be a better friend.

I want my friends to know that I think they’re amazing just for being Catholic in a world that really doesn’t like Catholics right now. I think they’re amazing for being open to life and having lots of little kids around. I think they’re amazing for balancing work with being a wife and a mom in a world that doesn’t value the latter!

So here’s what I think we should do and I’m going to do this too even though it’s outside of my comfort zone. I think we should start sending text messages, Facebook messages, or emails to our friends. Bonus points if you do this over the phone or in person!

I think we should say something like this to all the special women in our lives:

I love you. I’m grateful for our friendship. I think you’re amazing because <insert totally normal and every day thing here>. I prayed a Hail Mary today thanking God for our friendship.

I’m pretty sure if someone sent that to me, I’d cry. It’s sad that we live in a world with such little validation.. the real kind… not a virtual like. We crave community so much and yet we don’t know how to bring it about. Let’s start today but simply thanking those we do have in our lives.

I have a copy of The Friendship Project: The Catholic Woman’s Guide to Making and Keeping Fabulous, Faith-Filled Friends and it’s in my queue but I haven’t read it yet. I’m guessing it’s just what we need to help us with this problem. I’ll post a review of it as soon as I’m finished with it and let you know exactly how practical I think it is!

I’ll continue to pray for the Catholic community as a whole and specifically for lonely moms who need good friends for this rough journey of life.

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