“You can do this!”

I’ve had a chaotic week. In fact, I’ve had a fairly chaotic ….. six to nine months.
Life keeps changing … sifting …. adjusting and settling.
With every movement of the earth beneath me, comes a new arrangement of my days.
I wrote here about doing this thing called “life” without a “team.”
If you’re doing it alone, you know that yearning … to have someone who has your back.
I just spent several days with a friend who helped me … someone who had my back.

In the middle of the mess … with three dozen projects that were all partially complete
and sprawled out in pieces all over my house,
she stepped in and helped organize. She cooked. She cleaned. She held my hand.
She made phone calls. She helped me fill out paperwork. She drove me to and fro.
She grated cheese to top taco soup. She took off bandages. She was brave and didn’t flinch
at the sight of blood or nakedness or bodily fluids
or turn away when hard questions needed to asked and raw words were shared.
She listened. She loved. She helped.

Glory always laughs at me because …. a huge gift from someone is always appreciated
but sometimes it’s that tiny little gift that moves my soul.
As was the case this morning.
I escorted Glory to a doctor visit in Aiken while Mary Ann packed her things and headed home.
When I returned home, I saw a note
hung in my closet ….My closet

I walked closer to see the wording and read

You can do this!

You can do this!
I thought about team work
and how nice it had been to have someone to help …
to offer advice … to take the wheel … even if just for a bit.

Sometimes, all we need is just a bit of help.
Sometimes the smallest encouragement can make a great difference.

If you’re struggling through … your world is shifting and your life feels unsteady …
be encouraged my friend.
Though you may feel alone, there are those around you who have walked your road.
There are others who have worn shoes similar to yours.
There are people who have felt a pain that is familiar to yours.
Be open. Share your space. Tell people about your struggles.
And when they offer, let them help you.

Life is messy. Adjustments are rough.
But,  you can make it through. You can do this! 

Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Makes Me Happy Monday : Kindness

This last week was …. uhm ……. full of uncertainty.
The south-east was drenched with rain on Tuesday
then we had a flash-freeze on Wednesday
that brought life to a standstill.
Over a hundred thousand people in our immediate area lost power.
We were without for four days.
It was returned to us sometime after midnight Sunday morn.
Flames in the fireplace

During those four days,
I had one friend bring us a gracious amount of  firewood,
one friend to text me to check on me every day
and another one call from out of town to ask if he could help us in any way.
And as I walked into a store last night,
I had a gentleman hold the door open for me.
I told him “Thank you so much”
and as I walked past his graciousness, I felt the tears coming.

Kindness is so rare.
It feels as though people don’t pay attention to people around them.
We can’t save every lost puppy, heal every wound or comfort every soul.
I want to do so much more than I am physically, emotionally or financially able.
Sometimes, we’re doing what we can just to keep ourselves in motion
and life often feels isolated.
And honestly, even small acts of kindness can be monumental.
The man who held that door open for me …. saw me.
He saw that I was near him.
He saw I was walking in the same direction.
And he offered the kindness of simply opening a door.
Even a small kindness is anything but small.

Yes, simply, earthy kindness makes me happy …
the sort of kindness that “sees” people and extends a hand.
What makes you happy this mild Monday morning?

Categories: "Makes Me Happy" Mondays | Leave a comment

Grace for Single Mothers

Glennon at Momastery posted this on her Facebook wall the other night:

“You guys, it was one of those nights. Too many kids crying and whining and flailing and fighting and just ALL MY SENSES on overload and I finally had to tap out. I just said – Craig, you gotta take one for the team tonight- and I came to hide in my closet/office. My cloffice.

And now I’m sitting here listening to the lingering carnage and thinking about you single parents who can’t tap out. Who never tap out. Who keep showing up when you’re weary or angry or lonely or all of the above. Single parenting is simply one of the most tremendous acts of sheer will and love I can imagine.

Anyway- whether you’re single parenting tonight due to deployment or divorce or death or illness or non-involvement or some other circumstance – ALL MY AWE AND LOVE AND RESPECT AND ADMIRATION . . . ALL OF IT – goes out to you tonight. #carryonwarrior

I zoned out when I got to her words,
“I just said – ‘Craig, you gotta take one for the team tonight’… “
That’s the point where I wither and slink away in any blog post or status update.
It’s the point that I remember, “Oh. She’s on a team.” *looks away*
So, I usually stop reading.
Most of the time, the woman is just being honest and vulnerable
about a struggle in their life …
And what I know is … I can’t help them
and I don’t even walk in the same style shoes. anymore.
And their mentioning a helper and a safe place to hide,
reminds me of my lack of both.

It reminds me of an example I heard  years ago
of the woman in a grocery store who teasingly offers to give her badly behaving child away.
She is overheard by the barren woman who pines for a child, but doesn’t have one.
So, the mom who is sharing her struggles in a comical way … laughing to keep from crying …
is heard by someone who would LOVE to have those struggles
because the source of her frustration  … is a child.
We interpret every situation according to our own perspective.

When you are talking to a single mom and  you’re sharing that
your grass is tall because your husband is working late and he can’t cut the grass until the weekend,
or you can’t wait until your husband gets home so he can take your kids off your hands
or you’re mad because it takes your husband too long to pack the car for a trip
or you don’t like the way that he folds the towels,
she may very well be thinking, “Well, at least you have a partner. You have a team.”

Just because I don't do it your way doesn't mean I am doing it wrong.

Because …
Who makes the appointments and takes the kids to the doctor?
Who cuts the grass, weeds the flower beds and edges the sidewalk?
Who blows off the roof so it won’t rot? Or repairs the hole when a limb falls?
Who keeps track of money, pays the bills and saves for the future?
Who plans out meals, does the grocery shopping and puts away groceries?
Who prepares meals and lunches for school and then cleans up afterwards?
Who washes, dries, sorts and disperses laundry?
Who is responsible when the toilet leaks, the heater quits or ants invade, dryer quits?
Who makes sure the trash and yard waste make it to the street?
Who replaces broken windows? Repairs fallen gutters or deck? Re-glazes old windows?
Who protects you when hear someone walking on your back porch?
Who makes sure that there is firewood? Moves it from the yard to a covered spot, as needed?
Who makes sure homework is finished? And meets with teachers? And signs report cards?
Who finances this? Who is responsible for the income into your home?
Who plans your trips/vacations? Who plans the stops, figures out the cost and packs everything?
Who buys the presents at gift time? Who remembers birthdays? Who mails cards and thank yous?
Who stops the fighting/bickering? Who helps settle sibling disagreements? Is the mediator?
Who is the bad guy and makes the decisions of “No” that crush your child, but are needful?
Who vacuums floors, wipes down baseboards, dusts tables and changes sheets?
Who makes the 30-60 minute phone calls to the cable/insurance/phone when bill is incorrect?
Who changes the oil, rotates/buys the tires, makes sure there is anti-freeze in the car?
Who puts out decorations for holidays and celebrations so your home is festive?
Who keeps the records and files the taxes in your family? Who pays the monthly bill, if you owe?

She does all of these. She does all the jobs you do and all of the jobs your partner does.
Some may be  delegated to children, but she must still oversee that they get accomplished.
And the more children she has and the younger they are, the more difficult her job.

I have a tax guy do my taxes, but I have to keep all the records and make the payments
(Because, yes, I owe. I had never done my taxes or chosen my withholdings before my divorce
and didn’t pay enough in and I’m still trying to catch up.)
But, every other job above has been mine since my divorce.

And this is true for most single moms. I am surrounded by them.  They are exhausted.
They don’t want to ask for help because they’ve done it so many times. They save “asking”
for the “really big stuff”  … when they are completely out of ideas, time, resources and money.
But, a movie night, a note of encouragement, a phone call to say, “You okay?,” a Starbucks card,
advice on a house repair or the offer of some help with a home repair job would mean SO MUCH.

Your husband may do some things that you don’t like.
He may even do some things that are immoral in your eyes.
Maybe your weakness (gossip? gluttony? impatience? selfishness?)
is as unseemly in his eyes
as his weakness (pornography? bitterness? anger? dishonesty?)
is in your eyes.
Maybe …. a lot more grace needs to happen.
Trust me. I’ve offered it and I’ve been extended MUCH more than I could ever deserve.
But … he’s there. He hasn’t quit. He hasn’t walked out.  He hasn’t said,
“I don’t want to be on your team any more.”
There is still hope.

I beg you, offer support to your team member. Don’t fuss about him.
And know that there are others around you
who would prefer your style shoes for walking.
But, for whatever reason, they were removed.
Encourage those around you in whatever way you can.
For we could all use a bit more grace.

(Let me add here:
For all you sweet married mamas
that answered “Me” to most of the “Who?” questions above,
I commend you.
I know it’s tough to have the appearance of being on a team
when you are isolated, alone, battling and weary …
for your marriage, your family, your self-worth
and possibly your physical, emotional and spiritual health.
I think this is prevalent in our society …
and when it happens to women in a church, you are expected to
publicly and privately
support, respect and encourage your husband … even if he pours himself into
work or some outside investment
when in fact, his first priority (after God) should be family.
I commend you and pray for your strength, stamina and joy in this season. {{hug}}
I know the anger, frustration and weariness that you wear. I weep for you, dear one.
I have no “#7 Steps …. ” list to fix your situation, but I understand and you are “seen.” )

Categories: Detachment & Divorce | 3 Comments

- Knots & Hard Places

So, I’m working on this project and I am reminded
once again
that knots are gnarly and tough. wood knot

I learned this lesson when working with pallet wood.
I am reminded of the lesson as I work with these Grade #2 wood 4x4s.
Both wood types are messy and slightly imperfect … like people … and life.

When working with these, you must choose your cuts carefully
and be intentional about the choosing the places to drill holes.
If wood is thick enough, down deep inside the piece of lumber
may be a tough, dangerous knot …. one that can’t even be visually located.
And when cutting with a saw, a knot will definitely slow you down
with its dense, dark blemish.
In fact, you may be moving through the wood easily when
*BAM* you’ll hit the knot and it will
GRAB the tip of the bit or the blade
in a way that will make you lose control of your tool
if you don’t have a good grip and aren’t anticipating
that  sudden change in fluidity in of smooth movement.

Though, some people particularly like the way that knots look in wood.
They give wood more personality and character.
But, personality, beauty and character … are not without danger.

As a tree grows, branches sprout out from the trunk.
Sometimes a branch will break off. Bark will then scab over the open wound
and create a knot. wood knot

As I drilled three inches into the four-inch wood,
my drill bit began to spin without moving any deeper.
I could force the bit with some pressure,
but this would more likely damage my bit
more than it would move the bit deeper into the stiff, amber and wood lesion.

Looking for parallels in the spiritual physical world .... As I watched the bit spin round and round,
I thought about how much
we are like this piece of wood.
We are knotted with scars, scabbed over and stiff.
The more someone tries
to push through that tough spot with some instrument
that is intended to create something new and better,
the more likely that person is to be injured …. their blade dulled.
And, oh the friction. In dry, parched wood …
enough sawdust and friction
could cause a fire that will burn everything right down to the ground.
1" drill bitI pull out my bit. It’s brand new … right out of the package. I have drilled fewer than six inches into wood with this new blade. The tips are sharp. The edges still keen. I will have to be careful and patient as I drill, waiting for the bit to do its work inside that dark hole.

How often do I push away God’s drill? Ask Him to put it down? Tell Him I don’t want to be something “new” and different? My knots give me personality and character, but the presence of those tight, dense knots surely gets in the way of  changes that need to be made. One at a time, He bores them out … and I am better because of it.

Categories: Spiritual/Physical Parallel | Leave a comment

Makes Me Happy Monday : Snow Memories

Parts of the south froze over last week without the joy of snow to make it feel worthwhile.
But, Augusta enjoyed a few inches.Our "Snowmageddan" of 2014Our city and county, much smaller, of course, than the metropolis of Atlanta, planned ahead and told us Monday that schools would close on Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday was an extra gift.
So, for three days, our city sat still …
Children laughed and ran about in yards, on sidewalks and at our park where there is a slight little hill that at least offers a toddler an enjoyable quick slide on a make-shift sled.

Yes, my kids were the ones that were loud and outside at 10:30pm throwing snowballs on Tuesday night. Accumulation My two introverts (oldest and youngest) played outside a bit on Tuesday,
but huddled inside for most of the rest of their break. Snowball, anyone? But, this girl ^ would have none of that.
My more extroverted, middle child decided to play outside off and on all day Wednesday.
She made snowballs and threw them at anyone who dared venture out of the house.

Snow happy

She made pretty little snowgirl. Glory and her SnowmanIn fact, she crafted several snowmen around the yard.
Making a second snowmanIt brought me such joy to see her really play …. with her 22-year-old self.

Glory's snowmanRight after ^ this photo, her sweet little snowgirl came apart. The snow was so light and fluffy that it didn’t pack well.
Alas, we enjoyed her in pieces for the next few days.

Oops. Snowball partsAll that is left of her now is a memory.Snowman remnantsBut, memories are sweet and to be treasured.
We enjoyed almost a full week of homemade chocolate with real whipped cream,
damp hats, gloves and shoes drying by the fireplace
and warm homemade soups and chowders.

Chicken and dumplings

Everybody in the family was in the same home
and there was laughter and joy.
Our week was Snow Much Fun!
Yes, snow memories from last week make me happy!
What makes you happy this marvelous Monday morning?

Categories: "Makes Me Happy" Mondays, Glory and Sunshine | 2 Comments

Makes Me Happy Monday : Broken Juice Glass

Have you ever noticed how
you DON’T notice when something irritating or frustrating
STOPS happening?

The other day, a soapy coffee cup slipped from my hands
and landed on top of a juice cup that was already waiting for a rinse in the sink.
*clink* Broken juice glass in my sink
I was surprised by the breaking of the glass
because I think this was the first glass to break since I put in my new sink
way back in October.
 . . . four months . . .
With our old cast-iron sink, AT LEAST one glass item would break every week,
but more often than not, several would be broken.

It was quite a hazard because it is so easy to be cut by those unexpected breaks.

When I look at a photo like this, it appears sensationalized  …. or melodramatic ….
but a heap of dangerous glass shards like this was a common dishwashing occurrence.shards of glass intertwined with silverware

As I stood and washed and rinsed, I thought about
how I had forgotten about the fear of being cut.

It is a gift, isn’t it? … to forget pain?
Some of us save it … hoard it. Some of us stuff it and shove it away and never deal with it.
And some of us spend our lives re-living it wondering when it will happen again.
There is a healthy place in between.
There is a good place to live
where we live through it, look at it, deal with it
and move on.

I hated to lose that pretty amber beauty.
I have become a collector of amber. I love the 70′s feel. I have tiny juice glasses, several mid-sized glasses and just a few huge glasses that are perfect for tea-guzzling big kids. Amber Glassware

Some days, it feels as though I get nothing accomplished … as if I run in circles. Being a single mom takes a LOT of work. But, there are those days when I am reminded that much has been done here. And the really scary things – like replacing a kitchen sink – are big jobs that I am grateful are behind me.

I am thankful for the reminder.
I am thankful for friends provided by God who come along to help do tough stuff and spur me on.
I am thankful for the removal of dangerous things – like big, metal sinks.
And I am thankful for a broken amber juice glass.

Sink love

That broken juice glass made me happy
because it reminded me of protection, provision and moving forward.
What makes YOU happy this marvelous Monday morning?

Categories: "Makes Me Happy" Mondays | Leave a comment

Weekend Wishes

Craft Store Wisdom

This storage box made me laugh out loud as I stood in the aisle at a local craft store.
I posted this photo on Facebook and had a friend comment,
“I just need that on a sign I can hang on the front door.” Hahahhahahahaaaa.

Just admit it. There will always be socks without a match, papers that aren’t filed,
and home repair projects that need to be started or long to be finished.
What a gift to admit, “There will always be things that are left unorganized or unfinished.”
So, do what you can and let the rest go … at least for now.
This weekend, if you’re able, set aside some time to leave the fretting behind
and just enjoy … relax … rest.

If you can’t take the whole weekend off, find a few hours to get away.Kayak Rent a kayak and get on the water.  People watch at the mall. Ride a bike.
Read a book. Go see a movie. Take a hike. Take a nap on the couch.
Put together a jigsaw puzzle. Call an old friend. Have coffee with a new one.
Sit outside facing the sun for 20 minutes – no matter the temperature.
Buy a new CD and listen to it over and over. Sew or crochet something for yourself.
Bake some cookies. Begin a new journal. Get a massage, a haircut, or a manicure.
Think of something you would love to do … but don’t MAKE the time to do for yourself,
. . . . and do it. Bike ride on The Greenway trail in North Augusta, SC

Put aside the worries of bills to pay, things to do, places to go and things that need to be fixed.
We must care for ourselves  - rest, eat well, exercise, sleep, rejuvenate – to function well.
What good are we if all we have to offer
to our God, our spouse, our children, our friends or our co-workers
is a worn-out, exhausted, down-trodden self?
Find something to do that is rejuvenating for you … and do it.

Have a fabulous, energizing weekend, friend.

Categories: Weekend Wishes | Leave a comment

Lessons Learned from Carrie’s Pantry

Do you remember when you were little and adults did things that you didn’t understand? I never understood why my grandmother kept sugar, flour and meal in large, plastic containers in her pantry. I remember asking her about this  … probably more than once. And I remember that her answer was that she wanted to keep bugs out of them.

Until I had a pantry of my own and had a box of some-floury-sort-of-cooking-staple fill with little weevils and make babies and contaminate other boxes and bags way back in the back of my storage ….. I had no idea why plastic containers were a good idea. But, once I had to deep clean, cull and purge
and toss away good food,
the plastic containers became much more wise and useful.

My pantry Today, I use glass rather than plastic, in my own pantry.

Not so long ago, Joy, one of my raisin haters saw my jar of raisins and said,
“Really, Mom? Why would you even WANT to put raisins in a jar?”

I laughed. She would rather be hungry than eat raisins.
THIS is why I want to keep my raisins fresh.
I love oatmeal with raisins, brown sugar and butter. Oatmeal with raisins, butter & brown sugar

She won’t get the whole keeping-food-in-sealed-containers thing until
she is grown and has a few little mothy-bugs fly from her cabinet and she realizes that
she has to deep clean, cull and purge bugs from her pantry. But, her turn will come.

And, you know how hard it is to handle that last sliver of soap when your bar is almost gone?
Well, another thing that Carrie did that puzzled me
was she smashed that little soap flake
into a new bar when she opened one. Soap
I remember once washing my hands with a melding-bar
when the new fragment of soap wriggled loose.
I  …. g.u.e.s.s I tried to throw it away? I don’t remember.
I just remember that I was firmly instructed on how to make the old soap fragment
adhere to the new soap bar. I probably rolled my preteen eyes.
It seemed like …. a superfluous act to me. Soap

But, today, I am thankful. I mentioned HERE  that my skin is super-duper dry. The soap that I adored from Yardley is no longer carried at the grocery stores or pharmacies that I frequent so I have had to resort to a new product … which is also more expensive. More than ever, I am careful with ever last tidbit of soap.

My grandmother grew up in a time when there wasn’t excess. You cared for what you had and didn’t mindlessly toss things that cost money to purchase. She taught me many lessons on frugality.

In today’s world of consumerism, we cast aside things simply because we don’t like them or need them any more RATHER than donating them to an organization that can pass them along to someone who WOULD use them and want them. I am thankful that I was offered an example of frugal and careful.

On any given morning, you might find me eating oatmeal with delicious, fresh raisins
and then forcing the last sliver of soap from an old bar
into the clean, crisp form of a new bar
and giving thanks for lessons learned from Carrie.

Soap

Categories: Lessons Learned | Leave a comment

“STOP YELLING AT ME!”

In the course of any given day,
and probably at least once a week
possibly for months,
Joy would find a reason to raise her voice in irritation
and firmly command,  “STOP YELLING AT ME.”
This would accompany an about-face
as she turned to walk out of the room
and stomp down the hall.
A few times, there was a door slam
but that stopped quickly as I assured her,
“One more time and your door comes off the hinges
and sits in the hall for a week.”
She wouldn’t be the first girl in this house who was offered that furniture arrangement.

The conversations very well could have been about how eggs make her stomach queasy,
but at some point, she would feel she was being attacked and she would retreat.
Keep in mind, it doesn’t take much for her to feel attacked.
“You just don’t like eggs,” sounds like
“You’re being picky. Eat what I give you and I will like you.”
“You need to pull up your pants. I can see your underwear” becomes
“I don’t like the way you dress, so I don’t like you.”
“You HAVE to get the trash cans out on the street tonight” is
“YOU are failing at your chores, so you are a failure.”
Something as simple as, “Please go wash your hands,” could make her feel jabbed.

And, ya know what? I get it.
I’ve heard those same voices.
In fact, they . probably . have . the . same . roots . and . origin.
Joy
The thing is, I almost never, ever raise my voice.
It’s in my blood to be loud … but not when I get angry.
When James and Glory were young and Joy was a toddler,
I would find that I would yell …. simply explode upon everyone.
After refraining from caffeine for two years of nursing,
it was the reintroduction of chocolate after weaning Joy that helped me
put a finger my chocolate allergy.
It was that reintroduction to chocolate that illuminated
that mocha was the catalyst for those frightful eruptions.
But, when they were happening, I had not made the connection.
I had to use pure self-control to stop my outbursts
lest I leave my children verbally wounded and emotionally bleeding.
I learned to pay attention to my physical cues (because I had a physical reaction to chocolate)
and intentionally whisper when I became angry.
So, I don’t struggle with YELLING at my kids any more (because I don’t eat chocolate).
More than once, Glory assured her, “Oh, girl. Mom isn’t yelling.
Trust me on that one. You don’t remember what is sounds like when mom re.a.l.l.y yells.”
Joy just F.E.L.T  like I was yelling.
But, the Lord gently reminds me of the quote that I have heard over and over
during the past few years ; It isn’t what you say or do, it’s how you make them feel.

Joy has felt a great deal of rejection that has injured her in ways that
only she will be able to unravel, examine and knit back together into a healthy tapestry.
That rejection, coupled with her Introverted soul, has caused her to be
much more hard on herself than anyone that remains in this house has ever been towards her.
So, the smallest glance of displeasure or word that isn’t complimentary
can wound her in ways that it never would have hurt my other two children at age fourteen
because our family life was much different.
The older two were strengthened by the security of being home for school …
not protected from harm or injury …. not secluded and sheltered,
but exposed to life with the support of a teacher who
knew them, loved them and supported them
day in … day out.

Through many difficult afternoons,
Joy and I have had talks about
how you can’t always walk away from tough conversations,
but that we should remove ourselves from relationships that consistently injure our spirit.
We have discussed being disrespectful and what that looks like and sounds like.
We have conceded to the idea that life will always have people who say things that wound us.
Sometimes, those people are strangers … but they can, in fact, be from within your family.

But, one afternoon, we had this wonderful thing happen.
I asked Joy to do something simple that I knew she wouldn’t want to do.
We had a playful banter back and forth that was full of jest
and completely okay with me. It was Avoidance Comedy, I suppose.
At some point she teasingly yelled , “STOP YELLING AT ME!!”
Out of nowhere, I said,
“You mean, ‘STOP SAYING THINGS I DON’T WANT TO HEAR.”

It was a magical moment of revelation. That was it!
When someone says something that she internalizes as critical,
it is LOUD inside her head and SCREAMS inside her tender heart …
and she feels attacked and wounded and raw.
You could say, “That red flower is ugly,”
but if her favorite color is red, it would lance her open wide.
This was a wonderful new understanding.

All of life is a dance, isn’t it?
We learn new steps, figure out the rhythm and the moves
and then the song ends and a new one begins.
I’m thankful for the chance to live with and love upon this girl.
She’s a thinker who ponders and contemplates. She has rich observation skills.
She mulls things over and thinks them through. She’s learning not to be so hard on herself.
And she’s learning that she may HEAR things in her heart
that feel like yelling,
when in fact that are not intended that way.
Just as important as my being careful not to further injure her healing wounds
is that she learns to calm the lions that yell within
and value her own worth, value and beauty … no matter what messages she has heard in the past.

So, we have learned to have fun with the new phrase.
We understand the enormity  of it,
but we all toss back and forth teasingly.
It has become a valid response to most any statement.
“No, I’m not buying dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets” “STOP SAYING THINGS I DON’T WANT TO HEAR”
“Hey. Your car is now out of gas.” “STOP SAYING THINGS I DON’T WANT TO HEAR.”
“Are you using the dryer as a closet now?” “STOP SAYING THINGS I DON’T WANT TO HEAR.”
“Have you finished your homework?” “STOP SAYING THINGS I DON’T WANT TO HEAR.”
“Don’t let the cat out!” “STOP SAYING THINGS I DON’T WANT TO HEAR.”
“Your hair is sticking up.” “STOP SAYING THINGS I DON’T WANT TO HEAR”
“I think I’m catching a cold.” “STOP SAYING THINGS I DON’T WANT TO HEAR.”
or “I really need to go to the bathroom.” “STOP SAYING THINGS I DON’T WANT TO HEAR.”

And, through Joy and like Joy,
I am learning that
the words of other people
don’t need to be internalized.
I don’t need to let every person that crosses my path,
speak into my life and influence my heart.
Because, like I wrote about here,
not all of us were cut out to own an Ice Cream Truck.

Categories: Joy of my Life | Leave a comment

Don’t let others make your plans

I had a salesman contact me a while back. He had a business plan for me.
He read my blog and offered this advice:

“I have the perfect job for you. It’s a job where you can bring your daughter home from school and you can work it into your daily routine…make good money…have fun doing it…put smile on many kids and grown up faces and your daughter could help you do it. It would be loads of fun for you and I will help you get it going. If you do move in the future, it can move with you.

Ice cream truck! …. it can make you a lot of money. “

Then, this person went on to explain in great detail (over 1,000 words in the email) what type vehicle to buy (“a high top conversion van and by being a woman owned business, it takes away from the old, drunk man syndrome in the big bulky ice cream truck”), where to go (“select neighborhoods. I even have a website that lists the statistical data for each zip code as far as number of people and average income, because you won’t sell as many products going to a poor area as compared to nicer one”),  where to sell (“ball games, fairs, carnivals and other events like First Fridays downtown Augusta…. Arts in the Park…Upward Bound soccer games …. “), and where to buy my merchandise and how much I should mark it up for profit.

He also told me how to behave to be successful : “So…if you run a nice looking…funky and fun designed vending van and you are fun…nice…and polite…you will do very well.”

He ended with,  “I would be more than happy to assist you in getting it all together.

If I was Jon Acuff, I could have said,  “. Why don’t YOU buy a high-top conversion van, paint it pink and purple and sell ice cream to little kids in rich neighborhoods? If you’re nice and polite, you’ll make really good money!”
… but I’m not Jon Acuff.
I’m not bold. I don’t want to hurt people’s feelings (not that Jon Acuff does, mind you).
I didn’t know how to respond.
So, I don’t think I responded at all.
I am still in the practice of my Word of the Year for 2012: Disengage.

And there must be good in that. Because, fighting back … arguing … trying to make a point …
isn’t always the best way to live. Some people won’t get me … or you.
Some people won’t want to. It is what it is, right? Just let it go.

But, just as important as it is to disengage from the person
you must also leave their words behind.
You choose your song in this wonderful dance called life.
THIS is where I am still spending much energy.

You see, the salesman that contacted me
obviously doesn’t even know me.

When my kids were little, I didn’t let them run to the ice cream truck to spend $2.00 on an ice cream that costs .50 from the grocery store. In fact, the sound of an ice cream truck was irritating. It seemed that it would come close to dinner and cause strife. Ice cream is a rare, rare treat at our house. I don’t buy sweets, treats and sugary stuff. It spoils your appetite for good food and creates a sweet tooth. I really don’t like to spend time in my car (even when it works well). I even mentioned here that I don’t like to drive or use gas.  And pandering to rich neighborhoods … would  … well, it would just make me extremely uncomfortable.

So, the only real plus to this entire business adventure would be spending time with Joy.
But, spending several hours a day, several times a week, in a vehicle selling sweets for profit
does not sound like quality time to me.

The fact is, everything about this business idea is contrary my personal preferences
and the values that I hold dear.

Through the years, I have done so many things to please other people. I have joined clubs/groups/businesses that I wasn’t fully behind. I have worn clothing or worn my hair in a style that didn’t reflect my personality. I have tried so hard to do what I thought would make other people happy ….
at the expense of losing myself.

I continue to work on this. I’m searching my heart for what is important.
I am digging into tangles of messes that need to be unknotted.
I am unearthing creativity that I haven’t touched in years.
This past year has had a great deal of earth moving.
Things that I would have told you that I know for sure …. I do not.
People that I thought were friends … I found were not.
And places I thought I was strong …. have been demolished.
But, in that shaking, moving and demolition
has come a revealing of beautiful friendships,
glimmers of new truths
and unveiling of surprising strengths.

What about you? Are you true to your real self? Do you even KNOW who you really are? Have you been wearing a mask to please someone? Is there a chance you can peek behind that mask to see the real you? Are you afraid?

Take my advice: Don’t buy that conversion van if you don’t like Bomb Pops.
Don’t wear your hair long if you love a short, funky cut.
And don’t let someone else pick the song for your dance.
Figure it out on your own … and then tell the truth about it … even if your voice shakes. Karen Lee Cason (Haughton)

Categories: Beauty & Self-Acceptance | 3 Comments

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