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By the time you see this episode and read this blog, I will be in Iraq working with refugees on behalf of Mercury One and the Nazarene Foundation. Being over in the Middle East puts so much into perspective for me. While I love and adore my friends, I realize that our feuds are frivolous compared to what is happening to people on the other side of the world. The pain is permanent, and the scars are not just emotional but also physical in most cases. The women I have met have been enslaved and trafficked and sold…over and over. And another young woman has spent 22 years in complete silence without any method of communication, as they do not sign in this part of the world. Tomorrow, I will be with her as she hears for the first time. Today, I prayed with a woman that is very ill who barely escaped from the war with nothing but the clothes on her back. I, on the other hand, was worried about my luggage being lost. It makes one realize what is important in a very short period of time. We are lucky that we have our friends, and in most cases, we will see them again. These people are lucky to have a few family members that are alive, much less a group of friends to support them. My recap of this week’s episode is below. Please keep Jeremy and me in your prayers, but most of all, keep the refugees of this terrible war in your prayers. They need and deserve our help, care, love, and consideration.
One engagement ring, lots of hats, and a gavel later - boy do we have a crazy episode this week! I want to start by first congratulating my bestie, LeeAnne Locken, on her engagement to Rich! Jeremy and I love you both so much, and we look forward to celebrating this exciting time in your life with multiple parties and lots of champagne!
Now, onto the rest of the drama that happened this week. I am really over the talking behind one another’s backs in this group. No one is innocent, not even me! Let’s start with LeeAnne and the motivational speaking event that she prepared so diligently for, only to immediately backslide. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak, for me.
When LeeAnne’s friend Jay mentioned Cary Deuber, LeeAnne should have taken some advice from her own motivational playbook and said, "you know, I am not comfortable talking about that. I just finished an uplifting speech, and I want to keep things on a positive note.” That is a good way to shut down the chit-chat without being abrasive and overtly obvious. However, she was quick to jump into the pool on the negative Cary commentating and interjected her two cents without batting an eyelash. This really upset me because I was so proud of LeeAnne after she had just given such a powerful and uplifting speech. I was DONE with all the behind the back jabs and trash-talking from all parties.
A little background on my friendship with LeeAnne: LeeAnne and I have both had to overcome a lot in our lives. We haven’t even begun to scratch the surface this year of the deep scars we both carry inside. As I said in my interview, we both struggled and still do to this day. Our childhoods were marred by parents who were not completely there for us. In LeeAnne’s case, she was abandoned by her mother as a child and did not know her father, which has led to a mistrust of others and a tendency to act out at times in a negative way.
In my case, my father was absent from my life due to his addiction to alcohol. He was a wonderful person, and I loved him very much, but the alcohol made it very difficult to ever truly know who he was, and his actions put me in danger at times and confused my perceptions about adult relationships and communication in general. My father ended up taking his life two weeks after my first wedding, and I still have trouble forgiving him and wondering if there was anything I could have done to prevent it. Of course I am angry! I don’t think I ever truly grieved the way a normal person would. This explains a lot about my fear and reluctance to visibly show my emotions. I tend to keep everything bottled up inside and often live in a private pain that no one but me will ever understand or experience. This is why I understand LeeAnne and why we are such close friends.
LeeAnne was speaking at the Essential Energy event about overcoming. She needs to overcome her painful childhood as well as her need to gossip. In her speech, she mentions that nothing can stop us unless we let it, but she is letting her actions stop her from the career as a motivational speaker that she so desperately wants. She says that she still really wants to have friends and belong to a group, but you have to be a friend in order to have friends. I know this firsthand. LeeAnne is attracted to gossip like a bee to honey. Her biggest hinderance is her need to find out the scoop on everyone and pass it along as freely as she gets it. I think this information sharing is part of her need to belong and gain more friends, when in fact it is doing just the opposite for her. She is fighting a battle against herself, in essence. She is the only one hindering herself moving forward in her life.
On another note, I thought Brandi didn’t want to attend charity events because she thought they were frivolous? Here she says she hasn’t had time?? I am really confused on this one. One minute she is criticizing Dallas society and its charity events saying Kameron and I are pretentious and judgy, and the next she says she wants to attend more of these type of social parties?? Which is it?
Cary and Mark’s relationship is also disturbing me in a major way. Talk about awkward!!! I thought Travis was condescending to Stephanie Hollman, but Mark is taking it to a whole new level. The way both of these men speak to their wives is unsettling to me, to say the least. And Cary, thanks for perpetuating the long-suffering conversation about who lives where in Dallas. We will never get past this if you, “the one who says you hate chitter chatter,” keep bringing it up every chance you get when you are alone with Stephanie and Brandi. You are keeping up the gossip and need to take a tip from your own advice column. You say you are “Switzerland,” and if that’s true, then you need to promulgate a peace treaty, not a declaration of war!
My idea for the Honest Tea Party was just that…for everyone to be honest with each other. All the talking behind each other’s backs had really started to get to me, and I thought if we all came together, we might be able to air our grievances together and move on to a better friendship collectively…or not!
At this point, I am simply OVER hearing about the hot pink presents and who did and did not get invited to Memphis. I do believe it was unnecessary for Brandi Redmond to give Stephanie and Cary a gift in front of Kameron Westcott at Zuri’s birthday party. It was overtly obvious that she was testing Kameron to see what she would do. And then, bringing a pink gift to MY Tea Party and reigniting the issue didn’t do her any favors. It just brought the spectacle back to the forefront. And, I must address the prior comment Brandi made about Kameron not having anything in her brain. Kameron is my friend. My heart hurt for Kam, as she is a good friend and a decent human being, not to mention smart. That comment was a real disappointment to me and uncalled for on so many levels.
Back to the Honest Tea Party. I think it was unnecessary for the conversation to become as hostile as it did between Brandi and Kameron. Brandi immediately had her “hair on fire,” and it was clear to me she came to fight instead of to resolve the issue. There was no need for name calling and throwing around curse words just for the sake of it. It takes the argument to a whole different level, which Kameron is not comfortable with as she doesn’t use that type of vernacular as a practice. In my heart, I don’t know if Kameron and Brandi will ever be able to be friends or get along, nor LeeAnne and Cary. They both are like oil and water — they just don’t mix well.
I think in the case of Kam and Brandi, Kam was right. They don’t have anything in common, but I don’t think it has to do with “zip code” or where they live. It has to do with maturity and respect; one woman has it and the other doesn’t — period! In life, there are people we don’t like and those we just seem to mesh with and have a great rapport. LeeAnne and Cary are just people that quite simply don’t like each other, and I don’t see that changing, but I will remain hopeful because of my friendship with both of the ladies.
I was relieved that the hot topic of LeeAnne being allowed or not allowed into Brandi’s house came up from someone else after getting so much grief online personally last week for calling this unacceptable behavior in a friendship. This has become the source of TOO MUCH drama and needed to be cleared up. The story about LeeAnne’s friend Jarrod saying that she was using Brandi and wasn’t really friends with her was a complete mystery to me. I have no idea where that story came from, and I think Brandi relayed it to Cary just to stir the pot. However, it was extremely entertaining that Brandi, when called on the carpet by Cary, immediately changed the subject to target Cary’s husband Mark in order to start a new conversation and to “teach Cary a lesson,” so to speak, about repeating private conversations. Voilà! Bullseye off of the problem with LeeAnne and back onto the subject of Mark’s sexuality! Genius…match point, Brandi!
I believe that LeeAnne really did see Brandi as a close friend since they had bonded over the summer after her split from Stephanie. Brandi was someone LeeAnne had begun to trust, and the idea that she isn’t allowed in her home and wasn’t invited to Memphis really hurt her feelings and was a slap in the face.
By the time that things hit the fan between Cary and LeeAnne, everyone was feeling pretty tipsy. A long afternoon and libations don’t ease tension between women friends—they exacerbate it! Emotions and attitudes were running high. Did Cary say some slightly condescending things? Yes. Pointing the finger at LeeAnne about spreading the rumor that Mark was gay was just the tip of the iceberg. Did Cary’s accusations prove deserving of LeeAnne being called the c-word? No. Stooping to using that kind of language is a low and unnecessary blow — something LeeAnne knows better than to say, especially in my home. I do not blame Cary for being upset after being called that demeaning term.
I have known LeeAnne for a long time, and I know her much better than this group of ladies. You have seen me act out in what are NOT my best moments in scenes that were heart-wrenching and tough for me to recount…and even worse for me to watch. I want LeeAnne to move past the knee-jerk reaction to blame her childhood when she does something that as an adult, she knows is wrong. I can’t and won’t condone this type of behavior. She has to move past this tactic as a form of protection and avoidance. She has a conscience, and she has free will — now if the two of those could make peace, we may be getting somewhere!
It isn’t that I am not affected by LeeAnne’s tears; it’s just that I have seen this group of ladies use tears as a way to get sympathy and play the victim card, and it makes me question the waterworks. As I said, I am uncomfortable with crying in front of other people, so if you see me do it, it must be pretty serious!! When I cry, I am definitely at a breaking point!
At the end of the long day into night, the purpose of the tea was achieved as we started a dialogue. Did I really think that this tea would solve all of our problems? Of course not, that would be absurd! We got some of our issues out in the open and on the table. We even decided to go on a little vacation. Hopefully, we will have some fun and heal our hurts at the same time. At least we are moving in the right direction.
Until next week, a toast to tea and truth from Iraq…where the tea is GOOD!