What’s in your closet?

I spent a good chunk of yesterday cleaning out the
“toy closet.”

I haven’t had children at home for years.
Deep sigh …
followed by a leap for joy!
(Don’t judge, I am happy to have healthy, thriving, gainfully employed boys who’ve grown into men.)

I’m reclaiming all the real estate in my house previously dedicated to storing their paraphernalia.
I will no longer keep art projects from grade school,
football cleats from high school or dental models of lost retainers.

Yesterday, I cleared the last bastion of their territory … the toy closet.
Toys spanning the decades spilled out to be sorted and bagged up

in preparation of their move to someone else’s home.

Candyland, all the chess boards and the Monopoly game … out.
Beanie Babies, action figures and matchbox cars … out.
Glitter pens, coloring books and the potholder loom …  out.
Puzzles, sidewalk chalk and the abacus no one ever knew how to use … out!

Can I just tell you, it’s liberating.
I am giddy with glee!

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Skipping Mother’s Day

I miss my mom even though
it’s been nearly two decades since she died.

Time has mitigated the intense pain of the loss
but Mother’s Day is a sharp reminder of her earthly departure.

I miss her touch, her laugh, the smell of her perfume and
the way her hands enhanced every conversation. 

She never cooked or gardened or scrap-booked,
 but she taught me how to solve problems,
contend for big dreams, and
be kind to others.

She was my lifeline when I was discouraged and
my anchor when I was successful. 

She held me close when I was small and
she let me go when I was grown.

Now that she is gone, the very presence of her absence
is a constant reminder of how much I miss my mom.

Mother’s Day is right around the corner.
Everywhere you turn, there are reminders of it.
It’s a $20 billion holiday!

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Are You Hiding Secrets?

Secrets rarely stay secret forever.

In the aftermath of Prince’s death, some pretty ugly rumors have surfaced.
Just like they did when Elvis died and when Michael Jackson died.

The very private lives of the deceased are no longer sacred.

The same is true of us.

When we die,
the hidden things will get exposed.

Our journals,
Our dresser drawers,
Our computer history,
Our credit card balances,
Every corner of every closet will be exposed.

Loved ones and strangers will sift and sort and dig and
ultimately judge us by the contents of our treasures and our trash.

I know this because I have been the one to sift and sort through the
 stacks and shelves of dead men’s things.  

I have buried many who were close to me.

They all left behind stuff that tells a story about the way they lived.
The choices they made.
The secrets they kept.

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Asking for Help is NOT a Sign of Weakness.

 

My Hot & Hunky Hubz was a gear-head.
Restoring old cars was therapeutic for Jay.

Girls, our garage looked like an auto repair shop!
Big tool chests lined the back wall.
Wrenches and widgets hung on pegboard wall to wall.
Shelves and shelves of solvents and solutions were propped up by
decades worth of car magazines and manuals.
A fat red compressor as tall as me hissed and clicked next to
huge welders accessorized by heavy metal masks and thick gloves.
There was a sandblasting stall that doubled as a painting bay.
Jay reserved one stall inside his precious space to park my car but

the rest of the building was all man cave. 

One day, shortly after Hot & Hunky died,
my car wouldn’t start.

Naturally, I called a tow truck.
After a short wait, a big truck backed up the driveway.

Beep… Beep… Beep… 

Out jumped a Burly Man.
“Thanks for coming so quickly. My car is in the garage and it won’t start.”

“Ok, Lady, let’s have a look,”
said Burly Man as we walked toward the garage.

When I swung open the garage door, Burly Man stopped in his tracks.

“Is this a joke, Lady?” he asked as he looked around.

“No! The car really… won’t … start ….”

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Not Really So Shiny As I’d Like You to Believe

I like blonde jokes as much as the next girl.

My favorite one is how can you tell if a blonde’s been using the computer?
There’s white-out on the screen.

Want one more? What is a blonde’s favorite color?
Diamonds.

Ok, last one, why do blondes always smile during thunderstorms?
They think someone is taking their picture.

These jokes make us chuckle because we can all relate to blonde jokes
Everyone makes mistakes.

But in real life, NOONE wants to look too “blonde”.

When my Grandma was young, she lived on the family farm.
Her mom, sisters, aunts, cousins and grandmother lived on the
same property if not in the same house. The advantage to having such close proximity
to family members of many generations is she was allowed to learn from them.
How to make a house a home.
How to grow and preserve food.
How to raise children.
How to handle husbands with respect.

You know what else you get to see in such close quarters?
Flaws!
Mistakes!

Which in turn gave her permission to be imperfect.

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Say Yes to Less!

You ever eat at one of those swanky fondue restaurants?

Mr. 4-Ever and I got to try one recently.
What a treat!

The hostess led us through a labyrinth of cubbies and cozy booths to our own intimate table.

First, a bowl of melted cheese was placed on the hot plate in the center of our table.
A tray with a variety of bread cubes and small pieces of fruit was delivered
along with those long pronged forks.

Yum.

A salad bursting with flavor appeared next.
You have to eat the greens to offset the barrel of cheese you just ate, right?

Next a pot of hot seasoned oil replaced the empty bowl of melted cheese and
a tray of raw meat and seafood was placed on the table.

One tiny bit at a time, we got full, but we didn’t stop
because the bites were so small, 

we could easily fit one more tidbit in.
And it was all SO GOOD!

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Letting Go Of Perfection … Again

Blog perfectionism

There is something about holidays that brings out my crazy.

Our church has a gathering after the Easter services to greet guests and visit with other members.  We all bring a plate or two of hors d’oeuvres to share and I always bring my
(practically famous in my small church)
deviled eggs. 

However, as fate would have it, my boiled eggs did not want cooperate with me.  The shells stuck to the egg white like they’d been super-glued. Big hunks of egg came off with the shells leaving me with the ugliest looking things I’d seen since I tried to cut my own hair.

I looked at those pitiful eggs and had a decision to make.
Take ugly eggs to church or take nothing.

The voice in my head chided
You can’t take those!
They look awful!
No one will eat them.
They aren’t worth taking.
Maybe you should stay home if that’s the best you can do.

I have learned to recognize the
lies my enemy uses to try to defeat me.

I put on the armor of God because

This. Is. War. 

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There Are Seasons For Everything

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There are seasons for everything.

That can be good news if you’re in the midst of a nasty one.

But what if you like where you are?

It is my experience that changes are not always welcome.

When my boy completed his training as a fire fighter in Charleston, S.C.,
he called to tell me about the details of his graduation ceremony.
He was ecstatic.
It made the fact that he lived 1000 miles away
almost worth it to know
we’d finally be celebrating his dream of becoming a firefighter.

“Mom,” he said excitedly, “The Chief will there to present my diploma personally. 
She’ll shake my hand and give me my official badge. 
I’m even allowed to ask someone to walk on the stage with me!
It’s supposed to be a person of importance. 
A person who has helped me achieve my goal of becoming a firefighter.”

I waited for it.

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3 Remedies To Keep Your Contentment

Do you ever have what my friend Lauren calls a MOMENT?

You know what I mean?

Everything is just “fine” and then you get triggered.
Something hits you sideways and you have a MOMENT.

Maybe you had a Facebook moment when you saw that
you weren’t included in a party or conversation or outing.

Maybe you had a home improvement moment
as you watched all the options HGTV had to offer.

Maybe you had a Pinterest moment when you
tried your best to recreate the image on your computer screen
and it was an unrecognizable failure.

Frustrated Woman Looking In Oven With Disappointed Expression

Maybe you had a travel moment when you had high expectations of
Swanky Suites but ended up at Bob’s Sleep Palace?

Maybe it was
your car, or
your house, or
your kids, or
your boss, or
your husband, or
your scale, or
your mirror …
and you just had a MOMENT!

The MOMENT dissolved your contentment.

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Turn Your NO-NO Into Yes Please.

 I never understood women who said, “I can’t keep food in the house!” Until … my boys were teenagers and they turned into eating machines.

(They inherited that from their father’s side.)
In high school, they were both in weight training and they were hungry all the time.

My baking dishes and freezer meal containers got bigger and bigger.

One night when I opened the refrigerator to take out that evening’s meal, I could see that a large scoop of the casserole was missing.
I smoothed the contents to fill in the divot, popped it in the oven and waited.
Sure enough, the guilty party asked, “Is this the same stuff that was in the frig earlier?”
“Yes it is, Son. Why do you ask?”
“It tastes different,” he said.
“That’s because it’s cooked now!”
He looked at me sheepishly.

“Sorry, I was hungry.”

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