Tag Archives: Mary Jensen

What Kind of Friend Are You? Healthy or Unhealthy? (Part 3 of 3)

“Uh, yes… we’d like the Grilled Chicken with Spinach and Strawberries Salad, please, dressing on the side.”  Verdict:  Healthy!

“Uh…and could you please bring us some of your biscuits with those salads?” Verdict:  Unhealthy (but oh-so-fun…)!

Highly amused, our waitress trotted off to retrieve piping hot biscuits with butter, honey, jelly, and more butter to “accompany” our salads.  Surely the salad would counteract the calories of the biscuits???

Country Fresh Biscuits

This meal was part of a recent “banner day” with a long-time friend from Indianapolis.  She’s not just any friend.  She’s a wife, mom, accomplished and published writer, a teacher, a life coach, and an ultra crafty note card maker.  We hadn’t seen each other in WAY too many years.  Allow me to introduce you to Robin Chaddock.


Good news: Robin’s newly married daughter lives in Elizabethtown, Kentucky.  Better news:  Robin was coming to visit!  We snagged a tiny window in our schedules, jumped on  I-65, meeting in the middle, at the Cracker Barrel south of Louisville.

We had lofty ambitions to go antiquing after lunch and to “check on” potential bargains at Zappo’s.  Shocking, after our very long lunch, we only got as far as the rockers on Cracker Barrel’s porch.  With a lovely, warm breeze in our hair, we solved a few of life’s problems.


Isn’t it fun when you can steal away with a friend?  Even if only for a meal, sometimes it’s the boost we need to navigate the day.  Verdict:  healthy!

This quote is a favorite from a book on friendship (compiled by Snapdragon Editorial Group, Inc.) :  “A true friend is someone who has met your family and is sure you will overcome the law of genetics.”  Smile.  Plain and simple:  Sometimes friends “get” you better than family does.


Proverbs 18:24 says, “A true friend sticks closer than one’s nearest kin.” (NRSV)

These past couple of weeks we’ve been learning tips on being a faithful, Mary-like “Friend Chick” (to see previous posts on friends, click on… for Faithful or Flaky or Mary and Martha).

Holly Wagner’s book, God Chicks-Living Life as a 21st Century Woman,  has been opening our eyes about the different types of God Chicks we were created to be.  We’ve learned about the Just-B-U Chick, The Princess Chick, The Warrior Chick, and the Champion Chick.

God Chicks

This week, in learning more about being a Friend Chick, we’ll pick up where we left off in a favorite book, Over Salad and Hot Bread—What an Old Friend Taught Me About Life by Mary Jensen.  We met Mary Jensen who is a “Martha” and Nancy Bayless who was most definitely a “Mary”.

Mary and Nancy had a favorite activity: taking car trips.  In addition to writer’s conferences, they found fun anywhere they went.  As the years rolled by, Mary realized their car trips were taking on a different distinction.

Not having gone to a doctor in fifty years, Nancy was suddenly in need of several doctors.  Recently widowed, with health deteriorating, and now dealing with the “Big C”, Mary  said, “Nancy dealt with age in one primary fashion:  She didn’t talk about it.”


Why is it we all deny aging, thinking we all will escape it?  Verdict:  Unhealthy!

I love how Mary puts it, “Tho’ the body sags and fails, our dear little souls stay young.”  So  true.  Each year when John and I take our sons to the University of Kentucky, I typically will don one of their backpacks. Magically transported back into time, I think I’m the student….until someone calls me “Mam”…Sigh.

After my Dad had a stroke and we realized he and Mother could no longer function in their home, John and I took them on a tour of an Assisted Living facility nearby.  After the tour, John posed the big question, “Well, how’d you like it?”  Not skipping a beat, Mother said, ”Oh, it’s just a bunch of old people!”


Back to Mary and Nancy:   Mary and two other close friends, plus family, are learning how to care for their beloved Nancy. Here’s where the topic of this week’s post comes in:  Are your friendships healthy or unhealthy? 

I won’t even attempt to address the mental aspect of friendships…Best resource for such is a book by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend called  Boundaries—When to Say “Yes”, How to Say “No” to Take Control of Your LifeAdditionally, my friend Jane taught me, “If there’s something that bothers you in a relationship, and it’s still there six months later, MOVE ON…”


Where I’m wanting us to head is in the physical aspect of healthy or unhealthy friendships.  I’ve had so many friends battling cancer recently.  It’s a scary place to be if you’ve not dealt with it before.  Mary and her friends:

Handled Nancy’s cancer journey with respect,

Aspiring to meet her needs,

Loving her NO MATTER WHAT.

Verdict:  Faithful friends STAY during good health and bad health.

In spite of all the changes, Nancy kept her chin up.  Visitors lined up to glean more wisdom from her. Her three closest friends received a cram course in how to keep their marriages alive.

“Nancy, always on a quest to protect the marriages around her, climbed up on that soapbox without leaving her chair.  Before her illness, she actually worked up an entire seminar on the subject of touching.  ‘Physical contact’ became her signature recommendation for marital staleness or difficulty.”  Verdict:  healthy.

Young couple in love holding hands

Finally, Nancy and Mary’s shared faith became a rock to cling to.  Nancy kept her Bible open to Zephaniah 3:17: 

 “The Lord your God is with you,

He is mighty to save.

He will take great delight in you,

He will quiet you with his love,

He will rejoice over you with singing.”  Every phrase had meaning for Nancy.

When asked how her spiritual life was going, Nancy said, “I’m overwhelmed with the Lord’s presence.”  May we ALL be overwhelmed with His presence.

Don’t miss this lesson at the end of the book from Mary:  “I suppose when someone seems so alive, so interested in you, so vested in what matters to you, that you come to pay homage, to mend breaches, to comfort, to console, perhaps to catch one last glimpse before your friend slips into eternity.  Or sometimes you come just to be loved for a few more minutes.” (Can’t tell you any more other than to fetch some Kleenex!)

You also must read about Jerry Jenkins and his wife, Dianna’s visit with Nancy.  It was their wish to be with Nancy just one more time.  Jerry has a special nickname for her.  He mentions it in the forward of the book, and he explains it during the visit.  (Not spoiling that either!)

You’ll be happy to know Jerry read Psalm 91 to Nancy.  They, too, shared a love for God’s Word.  More tears.

Mary gives us the best advice on dying:  “…death is aptly defined as bittersweet.  There’s no denying the sorrow, the loss, but it’s such a sweet privilege to be there.  And when the dying one is anticipating a reunion in heaven, and the face-to-face meeting of her God and Savior, and when you believe it, too, there is little to mourn.”  Verdict:  Healthy!!!


White coffin with pink sympathy flowers


So does Mary carry on Nancy’s legacy?  Not tellin’, but bet you can guess. You must see how it all unfolds.  Hint:  God is glorified.

May we all take these tips on being a faithful, Mary-like, in-sickness-or-health Friend Chick.  And may we serve up some chocolate so Nancy will smile over us.

‘Til next time!

(This week’s post is dedicated to my friend and mentor, Robin Chaddock.  See her fabulous books below….I met her years ago thru’ a divine appointment, thanks to my cousin Bonnie.  Robin has also been a speaker for us at Book Club.  I’m beyond tickled that she has more than one reason now to blow thru’ Louisville!!! God Bless you and your family, Robin!)








Filed under Book Reviews, Friends, Life Lessons

What Kind of Friend Are You? A Mary or a Martha? (Part 2 of 3)

“Martha, dear Martha,….you are fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing …” Yes, Jesus said that to Martha AND… I know several of us, myself included, whose names could be inserted in Martha’s place.

The above Scripture is Luke 10:41-42, from The Message.  The NIV uses this phrase:  “You are worried about many things…” Yep, gifted in that department too…

How ‘bout you?  Are you a “Mary” or a “Martha”?  Do you revel in sitting at someone’s feet (as Mary did with Jesus while Martha stewed),  listening intently, completely spellbound by their every word?  Then you are a “Mary”.


We “Martha”s (!!!), fume and fuss over every single, solitary, silly detail and want everything “just right” at the expense of all who cross our path. (Pity the poor person who makes that crossing!)

Happy with Housework

This week and next, we’re going to become acquainted with two gals who are polar opposites, a la Mary and Martha.  They also hail from different generations.  We’ll glean “pearls” from their unlikely friendship.

Last week we started learning about the “Friend Chick”, from Holly Wagner’s book, God Chicks—Living Life as a 21st Century Woman.  (click on…for Friend Chick..To learn about other chicks we’ve discussed, you may click on… Just B U Chick, Princess Chick, Warrior Chick,  Champion Chick)

God Chicks

You can meet these Mary-and-Martha-types  in a beautiful book called Over Salad and Hot Bread—What an Old Friend Taught Me About Life by Mary Jensen.  It was a favorite in our Book Club.  This true story blesses women of all ages.


You will laugh and cry (a lot!).  My goal with you over these next two posts is to walk us thru’ some highlights without giving away too much of the book in case you haven’t read it yet!

Allow me to introduce you to Nancy Bayless and Mary Jensen.  Oddly enough, Mary is a “Martha”, and Nancy is a “Mary”, thru’ and thru’.  They met at a writer’s conference.  They had “a common love of books and good writing, a passionate faith, and a fondness for each other.”


Nancy said, “We write together like one mind.” Thinking they had all the time in the world, they began setting deadlines, outlining, etc., excited about writing a book together.  Mary said, “Nancy and I had a few years to learn how to be friends and just a few months to learn how to die.”

Hebrews 12:1 was their go-to verse:  “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” 

 One of Nancy and Mary’s favorite activities was taking car trips together.  (Think Thelma and Louise minus the cliff dive.)  While reading this book, you’ll feel like YOU are in the car with them.  Nancy never left without packing snacks, never forgetting the chocolate!  Wise woman…


Mary was always the chauffeur.  Nancy navigated with maps.  Mary was the anxious type while Nancy was adventurous.  Nancy called Mary “a classy young chick” while Mary said Nancy was an “indefatigable optimist”!  Their differences are hysterical.

Happy senior lady with hands out stretched against blue sky

Nancy was tough tho’.  She pegged Mary almost from the start.  She actually said, “I don’t see how you can believe in God the way you say you do and be so worried about everything.”  Ouch!

Mary said, “Here was my first major lesson:  keep a positive attitude.”  Nancy recited Philippians 2:14 to keep Mary on track: “Do everything without complaining or arguing…” 

One of my favorite parts in the book is where Nancy challenges Mary to grow her faith.  Do you have a friend who challenges you to grow your faith?  Be thankful if you do!  Pray for one if you don’t!

Mary said, “So I began praying earnestly for a passion for God.”  Isn’t that beautiful?  Wouldn’t we all do well to pray such a prayer?


Excerpts of Nancy’s writing are throughout the book.  Each one is more lovely than the next.  Her expression of loss over her husband’s death is a tearjerker that’ll melt your heart.  She concludes, “And I know my season of joy will come again…when my husband enfolds me with an eager hug…on a street of gold in heaven.”

One fascinating element in this book is the relationship Nancy had with best-selling author, Jerry Jenkins.  You’ll hear more about his visit with her next week.  Nancy was very fond of Jerry.  He helped her with her writing as she did him. (One of the many books he’s known for is Left Behind which Nancy was blessed to get to read in manuscript form!)


Another lesson Nancy hammered home was:  “Get your eyes off yourself!”  Mary marveled at how Nancy “collected people”.  She was intent on figuring out what made people tick.  The “Rx” for that became a prayer from Mary:

“Lord, now that you’ve given me a passion for You, give me a passion for others, a feeling to go with Your command to ‘love one another’.  Help me be obedient, and flood me at the same time with that remarkable love of Yours that sees everyone as precious, valuable, and worth my while.”


Like Frieda McGee, who I talked about in the “Champion Chick” post, at ninety years of age, she’s extremely  “others-focused”.   Nancy, at eighty years of age, was exactly like her.  Mary’s children saw in Nancy, “courage, perseverance, acceptance and overwhelming patience with people.  They saw a life that Christ rescued and a woman who loved Him for it.”

Mary was amazed at how the friendship she and Nancy had taught her so much about living.  Next week we’ll see how Nancy observes and boldly addresses married couples. If you are married, tuck your toes under the table as they’re about to get stepped on! (She could have been a counselor!!!)

We’ll also learn a little about dying.  Tough subject. Nancy insisted on dying with dignity and grace—another excellent lesson.

Before we part, let’s recap this week’s lessons:

Keep a positive attitude. 

Grow your faith.

Pray for a passion for God. 

Get your eyes off yourself. 

Be ready for MORE in the next post! Blessings to you!

 ‘Til  next time!

(This week’s post is dedicated to one of my dear friends, who is a TOTAL, 100%  “MARY”.  Best listener on the planet.  Funniest friend on the planet.  Funnier, her name happens to be NANCY!!!  And her favorite word is “indefatigable”!!! Remember Mary used that word to describe her Nancy.  My Nancy loves Jesus more than anybody and wants EVERYBODY to know Him and love Him like she does.  When she calls me on my cell, and I see it’s her, I start laughing before I ever answer the phone.  Many of you know her….let’s give a big shout out to Nancy Aguiar!  God Bless You, Dear Friend!)

Nancy Aguiar


Filed under Book Reviews, Friends, Life Lessons