Shutting down the world

21 Mar

Sometimes I dabble at writing a blog. Frankly, if you follow me, it’s been a minute… I honestly don’t pick the topics. They roll around on my heart and stay on repeat in my mind until the only way I can get them out is to put them on paper. That is the case with the writing below. I am not a super Christian, nor do I play one on t.v..

The world is a crazy place right now. Legit, crazy. We are living in unprecedented times. No one really knows what they are doing… What we should be doing….I find it difficult to follow those in leadership because while we are supposed to be “flatting the curve” we have no way of really knowing if it is working due to the lack of tests available… In a matter of just a few weeks, we’ve seen huge layoffs, school closures and a shortage of toilet paper. If you would have told me at the start of 2020 that a virus would shut down the world, I would have thought that was an impossibility. Yet here we are in the middle of a pandemic, and the Corona Virus is doing just that – shutting down the world.

It’s a scary time, no doubt. Worry and anxiety are at it’s peak. (At least it feels like it is at it’s peak – but let the chicken nuggets my kids eat run out at the grocery and I’m at a whole new level of anxiety!)

To deal with it all, I find myself diving deeper into prayer, into scripture, into places that I can latch on to other Christians to find hope before the curtain of darkness (which feels all to close) falls around us.

In my quest, I landed on a video where our church worship leader said something that just resonated deep within me. He said something to the effect of “We are all social distancing to keep the virus at bay. But social distancing is just unhuman.”

WOW!!! 

Yes….as Christians we are taught that we are created for relationship. Wayyyyy back in Genesis 2:18 we read  “The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” (NIV). We were not meant to be alone. Men, certainly were not meant to be alone. (I kid, I kid…)

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Here is where I know I’ll lose some of you…but stay with me, ok!

Say what you will but I believe in the spiritual battle between good and evil. I know there will be some people rolling their eyes at this point, and maybe you’ll even stop reading. I get it.

I didn’t always know about this spiritual battle nor did I believe in it. But it is actually in scripture. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of the evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:10.12, NIV)

Could it be then that this virus is a spiritual attack meant to divide our relationships? To cause distance between “them” and “us”? I’m not disputing that this is a REAL virus. I’m saying, could there be more to it? If you believe in scripture, this is not to much of a stretch.

So what do we do? How can we prevent the darkness from taking hold, from gaining ground?

1)  Spend time with the Lord. Let him lead you; calm you. My prayer is that you hear his voice. Dive deep into your Bible. There are so many resources out there if you are not a reader or find the Bible difficult to navigate. (I was there too – a good study Bible is everything!) I love watching Joyce Meyer, or Pastor TD Jakes. Find something that brings you closer to God. Pray on your walks around your neighborhood. Look for his beauty – and you will find it. Those are some of my sweetest moments….when I’m just walking outside, looking for something good – and God sends a special moment or ah-ha thought. Try it.

2) Be kind. Look for ways to help others. Don’t allow ‘me versus them’ mentality to take root. During a crisis, we will see the worst and the best of humanity. Be part of the best. If you have a few extra bucks, donate to a blessing box or food pantry. Offer to pick up groceries for someone who is high risk. Protect yourself but do what you can.

3) Spend time with your family. The ones that live in your house. Call or face time the people who don’t! Stay connected! Don’t let this time in quarantine be sucked up with hours of social media scrolling!

My grand-precious and I have a routine that she calls “relaxing”. It’s where I decide I’ve had enough of the day – and I go upstairs to the quiet of my room. I turn on the tv or read, but essentially all of my mom, work, and wife duties are over. I’ve clocked out. At some point during her five years on the planet, she has decided that she should join me in “relaxing”. This means that I’m not officially off the clock, but it does provide one-on-one time with my girl, and that is not lost on me.

Last night I said, “I think I’m going upstairs.” Her green eyes widened, and she said “I want to go with you! To relax! I can relax with you!”

Of course I said okay and before long she was snuggled under the covers with me on her Poppa’s side of the bed. She loves to learn (a child after my own heart), and we buy her these big learning books. She already sailed through the K5 book so we are onto the first grade book. This makes her sit up a little taller, as she says, “I can do first grade, Gigi!”. We get started on the first few pages, with me reading the directions and her doing the work. She has her blue crayon in her right hand, and she is giving it her all. Sounding out the letters “kkk aaa ttt …Cat!” and learning new words. At some point, ten-ish minutes or so in to “relaxing”, and she purrs, “I looove you Gigi”.

WorkThat’s it. That’s all it took to fill up my heart and wash away the day. We are created for relationship. We need it. I need it. Baby girl needs it. Hold on to your people and to God during this crazy time.

Join me in prayer:

Dear Lord,
I don’t even know how to deal with this Corona Virus. I don’t understand its presence in our world. What I do know is that you are not caught by surprise. Lord, help us through this. Strengthen our hearts and our immune systems as we put on the

“full armor of God…standing firm…with the readiness that comes form the gospel of peace.” We “take up the shield of faith..to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one”…and we carry ”the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:13-17).

Just like you did Lord during Passover this very time of year so long ago, please allow the virus to pass over this house. Over our friend’s and family’s houses. For you are not a God of favorites. If you’ve done it once before, you will do it again. Lord I ask for your peace that surpasses all understanding. I pray for your guidance, your protection and your wisdom during this trying time.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen

xoxo – Lady Chats A Lot 

 

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An optimist, a pessimist and a realist walk into a bar…

19 Jan

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I’m not exactly sure how the conversation started. This very young, cute-sy, twenty something year old tells me how optimism is really the cure for all things painful. That’s not exactly what he said, but that is what I heard. My eyes narrowed to slits, I took in his perfectly coifed hair do, not a single black strand out of place. His slim blue suit was on point… He could have just stepped out of a magazine spread. Legit. I wish I would have taken his picture just to show you. No doubt, his broad smile had opened a few doors, and likely even more zippers. No, no he isn’t at all my type, even if I were single (which I’m not.  I’m WAAAYYY married, like 22 years of marriage – married.) That’s not where this story is going, but I would be remiss if I didn’t give you the background.

I stood there taking him in (judging this book by the cover) and wondered if he really believed what he was saying. Could optimism really be the cure for all things? Could bad things cease to exist by simply not acknowledging them? Had he been successful with this concept?

My response, “hmmm… I’m not sure about that. I’m more of a realist. Neither believing all things are good, or bad. But allowing space for both.”

He sputtered a bit and I continued to stare. I do that sometimes when I’m thinking. I stare …and blink….and remain uncomfortably quiet. Wanting to be cynical and ask him for the resume of loved lost, evaporated dreams, crushed opportunities….and yet willing myself to not go there. For one, I didn’t want to have to share my list (if asked)….and I honestly found it hard to believe that he had experienced enough to hold the conversation. I stared until I noticed him blushing and then said “do you really believe that?”

Yes, of course he did.

Would he in ten years? In twenty? I don’t know.

I know that I’ve learned that life is not all good or all bad. It certainly isn’t fair. Bad things DO happen to good people.

Positivity is such an endearing quality and I really do try to “look on the bright side”. I start each day fresh.  I forgive (even when I don’t want to.) I believe the energy you put out in the world is the energy you get back. Some call it karma, some say it’s biblical with “you reap what you sow”.

I also allow space for heartache. For disappointment. On those days I don’t simply suck it up and power my way through.

I feed it Chick-Fila….and chocolate. Sometimes vodka …I smother my self with blankets and wallow in the sorrow of it all. I take the time to be there, to breathe in the heaviness, and to grieve. I allow myself to cry. Nothing feels more lonely to a  person struggling than suggesting they barrel through to the land of sunshine and roses powered only on fumes and a fake smile.

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No. No, it is ok to be sad too. Some where along the way I think we’ve forgotten that.

The trick is, not staying there for to long. At some point, you have to bid it farewell. Pack it’s lunch and send it on its way. It’s even okay to offer a warm goodbye hug or two. He will be back….sadness, disappointment, heartache… They always return at some point, knocking the dust from their boots as the enter through the threshold. They find their way to your table and ask for coffee. While it brews, you wonder how you got here, again….We can only pray the visits are few and far between…maybe that’s just my realistic world view. Maybe it’s not the same for everyone.

The ebb and flow of life. It’s hard to appreciate triumph if you have not experienced defeat. It’s hard to know true love without first knowing heartache. Sometimes the two are intertwined and inseparable.

A realist searching for balance –  believing that to far to the left or to the right is neither right or wrong …it is just to far.

What lens do you use to view the world?

Hermosa (beautiful) Costa Rica

31 Aug

 

Costa Rica is so beautiful! I’m grateful for the opportunity to visit, to sight see, and to learn about the culture.  Here are six things I didn’t know about Costa Rica last week – that I know now!

1) Costa Rica is 8-11 degrees north of the equator.  (I keep telling my mom this fact and she keeps rolling her eyes. We are on a girls trip. Traveling together.) Being this close to the equator means it is hot….like H.O.double TT. …and we are here during what is considered the winter months! Being a southern girl I’m used to the warmth but this is WAY warm…INTENSE, some would say.

My mom is a minalmilist (although she didn’t know this about herself until she read my Facebook post earlier in the week.) …..News flash: Anyone who sells all of their possessions and travels around the United States in an airstream camper for 18 months has to be a minalmilist!…Yes, she really did that! My mom is an awesome adventurist!

Anywhoo, I mention this as my mimimalist my mother suggested that we travel for 7 days with just a carry on.  I’m down for the challenge so I accept.  The problem is, I can’t fit all of my hygiene and beauty’s products into a quart sized bag for air travel.

I tell her, I’ll buy sunscreen there…She says it’s expensive…I say  how expensive can it be?  $45…that’s how expensive it is! A $8 bottle of sunscreen at home suddenly more than triples in value near the equator.  So here is a piece of advice…ditch the shampoo and pack the sunscreen.

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2) Lemons and Limes are the same thing in Costa Rica.

I kept ordering vodka soda with lemon and kept receiving vodka soda with lime. No biggie…it was a vodka soda by the pool, for pete’s sake! I’m not complaining! (First world problems, Ugggh!)

It wasn’t until the entertainment crew came by asking to play a game of “hit the lemon” that I realized the two were interchangeable.  REALLY! The lady next to me said “lemon? That’s a lime!”  To which the crew said, “Oh in Costa Rica they are the same thing!”  Go figure!

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It kind of looks like both a lemon and a lime!

3) I saw more naked butts than I thought I would.

Thongs, g strings and cheeky bathing suits (that show more cheek than a regular bathing suit).  Some of this is cultural….some is sexual, let’s be honest…  Size, shape, nor level of fitness was relevant to this equation.  Less is literally more! Listen, if you want to bare your butt, go for it. It’s yours.  I on the other hand can’t figure out why swim suit companies can seem to find enough material to cover mine.  I want the WHOLE thing covered….like granny panties – but cuter.  The search continues…..

4) My broken span-glish (Spanish / English) can pass for actually knowing the language – at least for the first two sentences.

“Hola, commo estas?” (Hi how are you)  “Muy bien, gracias”.  (Very good thank you)

Then they continue the conversation like normal people do and I said “No hablo espanol”….Receiving perplexed looks and sometimes blank stares,  I say  “un poquito” (a little).    Sometimes we chuckle…

Thankfully they speak better English than I do Spanish.  They were so kind and taught me many new words.  Pura Vida!

5)Pura vida??

Pura Vida in Costa Rica means all good things….It can mean hello, good bye, it’s good, all is well, life is good…..and more! It’s used constantly and interchangably.  Culturally, they’ve summed up all the good in the world into one phrase – Pura Vida! How fantastic is that?

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Bar Pura Vida (The Good Bar or the Good Life Bar)

6) Pack Dramamine.

We are staying in Guanacaste, which our tour guide describes as the “wild, wild, west”….before I get concerned, he says that it is because this is the countryside where  80% of the beef is raised for the entire country (his words not mine…don’t google check me!) We decided to take a day trip to Arenol to see a volcano. The trip is 3 hours long and consist of very, very, very (did I say VERY) winding roads. Cars are constantly negotiating for space on the road as they are just not wide enough especially when a giant tour bus comes through.  That said, I was car sick within the first 15 minutes, and naively thought it would get better.

When we stopped to change busses I asked the guy working the mini concession stand if they sold anything for motion sickness….they didn’t.  They literally could have had ALL OF MY MONEY  at that point for a single pill….I would have paid anything! Thankfully, this gracious young man dug in the bottle of a box for two pills, which he told me was for nausea.  He advised that I should take one now, and one on the way back from the tour as we headed home.  Nodding,  I looked at the back of the packaging, having no idea what it said, and took the pill immediately.  In hindsight it wasn’t such a great idea.  “Don’t take pills from people you don’t know” I can hear my father saying…but I’m traveling with my mother, sooooo….

Before I can pocket the second, a young lady walks up asking for the same thing. She is nearly green and I know EXACTLY what she is going through.  I decide to share, and pray that I make it through the trip without regretting the decision to take a unknown pill…or the decision to give the second unknown pill away.

Good news, the pill worked like magic! Both the young lady and I have a magnificent day touring Aernol.  On the way back though, the young lady doesn’t fare as well. Nor did at least two others.  She spent the majority of the next three hours well….you get the drift.  Sitting near the front, I was okay as long as I looked out of the windshield. … Long story to say – pack Dramamine! You could likely pay for your trip by selling them off!

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Costa Rica is beautiful and magical. The people are lovely and kind.  If you ever get the opportunity, jump at the chance.  You won’t regret it…just pack the sunscreen and the Dramamine!

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Sunset in Guanacaste – No filter needed

 

 

I like long walks on the beach….

28 Aug

My mom and I arrived in Costa Rica a few days ago. We’ve been bonding over food and vodka sodas while soaking in the beauty around us…drinking in the heat of the sun and learning Spanish from the locals. This morning I woke up early (6am) and decided to go for a walk on the beach. The ocean was calling my name and my spirit needed the detox of the salty air.

The day before, My mom found a rock, with a full white circle imprinted on the gray stone, while walking in the surf. I thought it was so unique and I admired her find. So cool! I thought, I hope I find one too! She said there were lots to be found!

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As I walked, I kept  my head down towards the volcanic sand for the first half mile, I looking for anything similar. Lots of rocks were scattered before me.  I could spend all day looking for this rock, I thought!

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On an evening stroll a day prior, my mom and I had seen two mana rays in the water, shin deep, swimming along. The edges of their fins reaching out of the water as they propelled forward. I could hardly get the words out…”LOOK! LOOK!” I said, as I quickly tapped my mother’s shoulder  before the mana rays could disappear. It was such a site! As long as I’ve lived near a beach, (nearly 43 years) That was a first!

With this thought reappearing I heard my spirit say, “Pick up your eyes. You may miss what is happening in the sea!”

There was so much to see. So much to experience. I want to see it ALL, I whispered. I meant (and mean) that to the bottom of my toes! My bucket list consists of anything I haven’t done yet.

As I continued my walk, now conscious that I needed to keep my eyes wide, some large hermit crabs danced along the sand. Cleaning their houses by emptying sand balls onto the beach. It almost looked like an arts and crafts project to me and I chuckled. So frantic they were. Never leaving to much distance between their home (hole) and the beach. I thought, I know people like that. To scared to venture out.  I said “Lord, thank you for my passion to explore. Help me to not be fearful.” Sometimes I say quick prayers for no real reason…this was one of those times.

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Further down I saw what I think was a some sort of Costa Rican shrimp. He was barely alive and I bent down to put him back in the water. Tossing him in the shallow end to make sure he could swim, I watched his tongue stick out to taste the sea and salt, no doubt parched from the sun that had nearly killed him. I thought, people can be like that too. They’ve drifted, and need a little help getting home. “Lord, help me to not venture to far from you.”

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A bird, similar to a herring, moved near the rocks that rose into a mountain. He scared me because 1) I’m afraid of birds…but 2)  he blended in so well that I never would have seen him had he not moved! I thought, we can be like that too… To afraid to show who we really are. “Lord, help me to see clearly.  Give me discernment. Help me to be transparent.”

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As I started to head back towards the resort, a rock caught my eye. While it wasn’t a full circle like my moms, it spoke to me. Curled on the ends, almost in the shape of a heart, maybe even a silly smile… This design seem to represent me…. I knew it was mine to keep, and to ponder. “Thank you” I said out loud.

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There are moments when God just shows up out of the blue.  As I was walking back towards the resort, rock clenched in my left hand, I felt his presence arrive on my right. It was like he took a break from swimming, and ran to catch up with me. His voice almost breathless but not quite. Speaking to my heart he said,  “Do you trust me enough to show you what you need to see?”

Hmmm. I think I do. Actually, I thought I already did! But as God often does, he showed me through this walk that I hadn’t come as far as I originally thought….

Yes, I nod in a silent childlike response. “Yes I do trust you. Look at all of these things you brought to me today. I would have missed them if I had stayed focused on trying to find the circle rock …trying to find what someone else has…….my voice trails off at the new realization…..”

He means more than just today as he nudges the depth of my spirit.  Will I trust him? Will I relinquish control ?

I realize I have more growing to do…..As he repeats his mantra… “trust me…”  “I will not let you miss what you need to see. Trust….me.”

I nod. My soul recognizes the voice of truth.

I grab his imaginary hand on my right. Intertwined, I thank him for the walk, for the small blessings of the day. I know I am his…and he is mine. There is no greater peace than this.

 

If I believe that God will show me what I need to see, when I need to see it – at just the right time, I’m free to just be… To effortlessly enjoy what is in front of me.  I am in awe of his beauty and of his magnificent  artistry….. I relinquish control (again). My job is to breathe….and see…and to be open to possibility.

He will do the rest.

 

Thank God!

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Caution: curves ahead

22 Mar

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This week I watched a recent video of myself that I made with my son.  I was shocked  at the image I saw reflecting back at me. I’ve had a rough couple of years with some things …and apparently, I am an emotional eater….or possibly an emotional drinker… maybe…I’ve found a fondness for red wine and it found a roomy home on my hips.

Over the last few months, I began moving the clothes that no longer fit to the left side of my closet. I’m still flabbergasted  when I’m unable to pull up the pants I’ve worn for the last 10+ years past my thighs….The pile on the left of the closet  is large.

This means I’ve also had to  purchased new pants – begrudgingly. My collection is minimal in comparison. It was either that or go naked… I had no choice in the matter. Yes, leggings work well and are cheap…but they hide the fact that I appear to be growing – out, not up. At this point, my ass could qualify for it’s own zip code…

So, I’m watching this video thinking – How in the world?  Really.  How did I let myself gain 30 pounds? When I look in the mirror I know I’m bigger…but this video.  Lord, please promise me that the camera adds 10 pounds…that I really don’t look that way in REAL life.

But the truth is I’m now heavier than when I delivered both of my children.  I know I’m teetering on the verge of no return….and I don’t know what to do about it.  Don’t get me wrong. I know there are many women larger than myself. This isn’t about them. THEY ARE BEAUTIFUL. This is about me feeling good, or not, in my own five-foot-five-and-half skin.

This is how my day starts:  I try on a new black skirt that arrived yesterday.  To tight.  I contemplated keeping it for “when I lose the weight” but more than slightly depressed at the likely hood of that NOT happening, I tossed the skirt on the bed to return later.

I then selected white slacks that I knew were a size or two larger. They fit, but the view from behind was not so cute….On went the Spanx – boy shorts.  Spanx, the well-known by ladies around the world (but rarely seen by men) undergarments that are made to make me look skinner.  Yet, I some how now feel like a sausage.  A bratwurst to be specific…But damn it to heck, I have to go with this outfit because I’ve already worn the other two pants that fit me this week.  Tomorrow it’s jeans….

I tossed on a cute shirt from a local boutique that I haven’t worn since last summer. It was a little snug across the chest but nothing terrible I thought…However, the more I moved my flat iron across my hair, I realized it was too constricting.  I no longer liked it.  Crossing my arms at my waist to lift the fabric….I find I can’t. I was stuck. I couldn’t get this damn shirt off my body.  I twisted, I tried….I grunted…I thought, “Imma have to cut this bitch off.”…For a second I contemplated running downstairs to wake up one of my children to help me pull this sucker off….I’m not sure I’d live that one down…EVVAHH… Five minutes and a few tears later, I wiggled out of  shirt looking like I’d been on a subway fight. Red in the face, hair a mess…

I promptly moved it to the left side of my closet.  My first thought?

You know you are fat when you get stuck in your freakin’ shirt. What the hell…

On to work. As I’m walking up the sidewalk I say a little prayer.  “Lord, I don’t like this. I don’t like how I feel about me. You love me and have helped me in so many ways.  Help me to lose this weight.”

Fast forward through my day.

I’m in the ladies room where a coworker asks How I’m doing. “busy. good.” I say.    I tell her she looks beautiful today.  She shrugs, not believing my words, her eyes drifting away from me.  Then she says, “You look good too. How did you gain your weight? Eating too much.”

Yessssss. She said those words.

Before you get riled up and ready to kick ass, please hear her story.

She is from South America. She LOVES curves.  Which until her recent weight loss, she had — curves for dayyyys!  She tells me, almost too eagerly, she can’t wait until she can put on some pounds.  She is serious…This I know.

I tell her I’ll shift her some of mine – If only it were that easy!   She then says with a large grin and wiggling eyebrows,  “I bet your husband is happy” as she points to my zip code carrying ass….

She is losing weight not because she wants to friends, but because of the chemo.  You see, she has breast cancer.  She wears a scarf to cover the hair loss which makes her self-conscious.  She has a hard time looking me in the eyes,  really – looking anyone in the eyes, these days.  Yet, I think she looks more beautiful than in any day prior.  Her warrior spirit is shining.  She is fighting and it shows. Without the distraction of her hair, which was indeed gorgeous, her eyes become the focal point, dancing in the light.  She is simply stunning.

I get back to my desk and think, “You know your fat when…”

Then I stop.  I close my eyes….I sense God’s hand…and I pray.

I thank God that I’m healthy.  Specifically, I thank him for my cancer free body.  With embarrassment, I apologize for believing anything different. A few extra pounds is nothing in comparison. I thank him for this lesson, for humbling my spirit.  I know I have some work to do…and I will.

Ladies, would you please join me in shifting our focus away from who we want to be and allow ourselves permission to be who we are?  Let’s not put our self-worth in our hair, our bodies, our curves – or lack of…

PS – If no one told you today, let me have the honor of doing so.  I love you. You are beautiful.

Put that on repeat.

Perspective.

Just a little more, please

7 Apr

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Dear Fashion Industry,

 

We need to have a chat…Pull up a chair and settle in.….

 

With summer on the way, I’m slowing emerging from my cocoon of sweaters and boots. Looking for a few new  items to add to my wardrobe is becoming more difficult than I remember it from previous years.

 

Let’s start with tops….Can I make a request?  Please do not  use see-through material to make my shirts.  Every SINGLE shirt I try on is see through….I don’t live in the Midwest and I don’t like to layer.  I want to wear ONE shirt….not six.  When I put my ONE shirt on, I don’t want others to be traumatized by seeing my bellybutton, moles, or random hairs that may or may not be present. Shirts are MADE to cover those suckers up.  Don’t believe me? Just ask, I’ll tell you the truth.

 

While you are at it, can you use a zipper longer than 1.5 inches on my jeans, please? I mean, really. It can’t be THAT much more expensive to throw a girl a couple of inches. I’m thinking 4 should do the trick….Don’t get carried away and use those long suckers you put in “mom jeans” but you know, just a little more zipper would be nice…Know why? Because it means you’ll also need to use a little more material to fully cover my hips. Muffin tops are not cute.  They.are.NOT.  You force me to show my muffin top and I’m not happy about it.

 

While we are talking “mom jeans”, let’s talk about shorts. Of the styles available,  I have to choose from a 1-inch, 3-inch or 24-inch inseam….can we not get something in the middle? I’m freaking serious here.  I’m 40 years old…no one wants to see me in a 1-inch inseam shorts…In fact, I’m pretty sure I own underwear with a longer inseam .……I also don’t want shorts that cover my knees…those are called capris…I just want mid-thigh length shorts.  Why do I have to beg for something that seems so reasonable to me? It is exhausting….

 

Now let’s talk bathing suits….WHY, WHY can you not give me enough material to both cover my crack and my hips simultaneously?  I know it’s possible. I have underwear that can do the job….so….

 

As I’m typing I’m thinking, my underwear kicks ass….maybe I should just wear that and be done with it…I mean if leggings qualify as pants, couldn’t my underwear qualify as shorts??

 

Frustrated and damn near naked,

Lady Chatsalot

 

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In the Eyes of the Beholder….

18 Apr

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In an effort to declutter our home, I’ve posted a few items on Craig’s List.  One item happens to be a heavy desk we’ve had in a spare room for many years without use.  Because of it’s shape and girth, the deal required someone to come to our home for pick up.

We’ve met some characters during this process.  The last lady, purchasing another piece of furniture, and her family came in our home as if they were looking for a place to shack up. Each eyeballing and commenting on the rooms as they passed.  “Oh you have xyz, that must be nice….Ohhhh, and the high ceilings….I’ve always loved those” …..I half expected to find them on my sofa when I came home the next day.

While I find humor in it all, and I like the cash, my husband finds it more burdensome.  Not because he doesn’t like cash….just because you never know what you are going to get when someone pulls up to your house…. and that makes him a wee-bit uncomfortable.

After several messages and missed appointments our buyer for the desk finally arrived….thirty minutes late.  My husband is now shifting his feet, anxious to get this over with as it  dinner time….  And dinner time takes priority over all else in this house!

I meet the young blond outside and noticed his slightly broken English. He states twice in a rather short period of time that he is not from the area so I asked the question, where are you from?  The Czech Republic.

What the heck are you doing here?

He couldn’t contain his smile and his eyes danced wildly as he told the story.  Turns out, he was “finishing university” and applied for a green card on a whim.  He received the notification that he won! His mannerisms and body language  told me that it was a major, lottery size win to get selected for the green card. He was joyous…boundless joy exuded from his every movement.

So, he said, “I packed up my book bag and came over.”  ….

That simple I thought….Just a book bag and a smile.  A new country waiting for you to explore awaits.  How fantastically scary, yet tremendously awesome. Brave!  Good for you!

My husband on the other hand, is now looking at him as if he were crazy…Our travel book bag, for day trips, barely zips with all the crap we tow.  He is thinking…a book bag? Your whole life fits into a book bag?  He clearly does not share our last name!

The young man goes on to talk about the work he found while here, a German based company.  He has high hopes that he will be able to transfer when his green card expires.   He states he will one day need to go back home because he is a “child of one” and will have to take care of his parents. The duty understood and accepted without question.

As he says this, urgency builds and he spins on his heels. He says “I’m sorry. I just need to look”…..pausing…  “This is so beautiful, his arms wide, an effort to take it all in. I’ve never seen anything like this… but in the movies.”

Huh?  My husband I both twist and turn trying to see what he saw.  Nothing.  Our faces perplexed he said, “I’m living downtown and it looks a lot like my home. But here, you have grass and yards, and trees….It’s so…so beautiful.  I’ve never seen anything like this.”  He truly is almost brought to tears.

We smile back, softly….kindly….unable to match his energy.

In our minds our house is nothing special in comparison.  We bought it with the sole purpose to keep our oldest child in the school district we wanted him to attend.  It has never been our dream home, only our in-between home.  In fact one of the reasons we are decluttering is to prepare to sell it over the next few years.  Sadly, we’ve never been in love with it.

His words, his pure wonder and excitement….sit with us through dinner and into the days that follow.

I recant the story to my youngest on our drive to school. He says, “that makes me sad for him.”

“Why?” I say

“Because, what must his country look like if he thinks this is beautiful?”

Taking a few minutes to ponder, I respond, “You know what? It makes me think I need to travel more.  I’d like to see his country. He said it looks a lot like down town.  Because he is so used to that, the beauty has worn off….It just is normal…boring…to him.  Yet people travel from all over to vacation in our city.  Here, with green grass and birds and trees…that is beautiful, because it is different.  I may feel the same about his country if I saw it.  It may be so, so beautiful to me because it is different than anything I’ve seen before.”

He nods in agreement.

Thank you Lukas for the lesson.  I’m not sure I’ll ever look at my home the same.  Your words echo in my ears when I pull into the drive way, and I am grateful.

I pray my young man grows up to be just as courageous one day. Following his dreams with his smile and his back back.  Ready to take on the world, fearlessly educating himself through experiences.

I pray that my eyes continue to open wide enough to see beauty in all things… even the beautifully… normal things.

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