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25 years

3 Jul

We met in high school, just two young, scrappy teens, with no direction. No plan. We were headed to McDonald’s for chicken nuggets and fries on a Friday night…. wasting time in a very small, cottage town.

1991 /2022

There wasn’t a lot for teens to do where we lived. We didn’t have a movie theater, or skating rink, or a mall. So, we’d talk for hours under the moonlight, sitting on the hood of his hatchback. Dreaming of where life would take us.

We soon found ourselves pregnant and confused…over the years, some have questioned how young we were…The truth is, we started our family before either of us graduated high school.

The road we were on was difficult and stressful. It was just too much for these two kids to navigate. By the time our son’s first birthday rolled around, we were learning to co-parent, albeit not well in the beginning.

1993, First birthday. Co-parenting

In three more years, we had the co-parenting thing down. We were very comfortable with the situation and with each other.

Like a gravitational pull, our souls kept drawing us to each other and we’d find ourselves (unsuccessfully) trying to push the other away again. Surprisingly, we somehow became best friends along the way.

After many late night conversations, we agreed to what we deemed as “our last chance”. With lots of heartache in our rearview, it didn’t make much sense to anyone around us.

Our friends and family warned against it. But we leaned in.

We lived in two different states. He packed up and headed my way (800 miles). I told him he could stay two weeks in my apartment until he found his own place. We would then “date” to see how it went.

He never moved out.

1997

People said two teens couldn’t really know what love is.

People said this was “puppy love”.

People said we had to give up our dreams if we wanted to keep our baby.

People said we should consider other options.

People said I was trash.

People said I’d never be able to finish high school.

People said I was ruining my life.

People said I was ruining his life.

People (A history teacher) said teenage moms can’t love their babies.

People said we’d end up divorced in five years.

Or with 15 children, broke and desolate.

People said we’d never make it.

People said we’d never be able to go to college.

People said we’d never have decent jobs.

People said we’d never amount to much.

People said there is no way we’d find lasting, long-term happiness.

People said ….

And we refused to listen.

This year we celebrate 25 years of marriage.

Deeply connected. We developed our own communication style through lots of therapy – together and alone. We know that the secret is to never stop growing, together. Our hands and hearts are intertwined in love, in sickness, in health, in poverty, and in wealth. God-loving, college-educated, multiple home-owning, empty nesters of two healthy, well-rounded, fantastic young men. Grandparents to two adorable, spunky, set the world on fire, littles. Travelers, adventure-seeking, joy finders, soul mates with a desire to see as much as we can, dream as big as we can, and live our lives out loud.

It doesn’t have to make sense to anyone.

Forge your own path. Your life is the only one you’ve been gifted. The only one you’ll get.

Live without regrets.

We have crafted a damn good life. It’s one that I’m proud of.

25 years down, 100 to go.

I've always been drawn to crooked paths, likely because mine has been a bit off-center too.
Picture from a random stop on a road trip. I’ve always been drawn to crooked paths, likely because mine has been a bit off-center too.

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood and sorry I could not travel both….I took the one less traveled and it has made all the difference.” – Robert Frost

It is real…

17 Apr

A few years ago, we spent 10 days touring Israel with our church group. It was an amazing, life changing experience. I’ve been a Christian as long as I can remember. Surrendering my spirit with every alter call, more times than I could count, until I learned that you only needed to do it once.

I tell you this because I have always been a believer. I don’t have all the answers and I can’t quote every scripture at the right time, but I’ve always believed in a God that is greater than I. I’ve witnessed “only God” moments and have seen Him work things out in my own life that seem unexplainable. I also know that bad things happen to good people and I don’t know why. I can’t explain it beyond the fact that sin is in the world. I know one day I’ll crawl up on God’s lap and ask him all about the things I don’t understand. Until then, I hold my faith tightly in a world where it seems so easy to just let it go.

The trip to Israel was a whirlwind. I intended to journal every night…and I failed most nights as I fell into bed exhausted and a bit overwhelmed. Several times during the trip, my husband and looked at each other and said “This is real. The Bible is REAL.”

I’m not sure what we expected. Neither one of us can really answer that question in hindsight. Maybe we thought we’d see artifacts in a museum….or stories in front buildings where your imagination had to be sparked to see what was there so many years ago. Maybe we thought it would be a bit like Disney…over commercialized.

What we saw though were the actual buildings and landmarks described in the Bible. Still standing…still exactly as described.

Skull Mountain (Golgotha) from my camera
From a google search

The garden tomb is nearly at the feet of Golgotha.

John 19:41: “At the place where Jesus is crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had been laid.”
My husband and I near a mock stone that would have been rolled in front of the tomb at the Garden.

In addition to these landmarks, we saw the Temple Mount, the pool of Bethesda, The Garden of Gethsemane, The Mount of Olives, Herod’s palace (it was indeed a palace)…and so much more. We sat on the steps where Jesus would have walked to access the temple…this stuff is real. It’s real…and it’s still there for you to see too.

If I can touch it, walk on it, see it…it’s not a hard leap to believe the rest of the Bible is real too. I’ve always been a believer but this trip cemented faith into my soul and grounded me there. It is real. He has risen!

Happy Easter friends!

Love

Lady Chats A lot.

XoXo

The entrance to the Garden of Gethsemane
The Garden of Gethsemane with olive trees.

Not Hard

27 Feb

“For we are God’s masterpiece.” Ephesians 2:10, NLT

Kevin and I were working the side door at church today. It’s something we like to do at least once a month, sometimes more. For some reason, around midweek I felt a strong pull to volunteer. My soul has been exceptionally tired with normal life stuff: work, kids, grandkids…and not normal life stuff: covid and the real potential for war… I often find just what I need to refuel at Cathedral and it helps me get through the week ahead. So after discussing with Kev, I signed us up.

We assumed our position, chatted with friends, said hello to a few acquaintances, and welcomed in tired mommas and daddies by the handfuls.  One of our favorite things to do while working the door is to toss out compliments like confetti and watch the smiles spread across faces.

Right before service started, three young ladies and an older gentleman stopped by our door to chat. The young (teen) ladies reminded me of myself in 1987…ripped jeans, fishnets, heavily rimmed eyeliner, blue hair, and nervous energy. In all honesty, they are probably way cooler than I was in 1987. I didn’t have blue hair, but I wanted it! My combat boot loving soul longed for a pair of hand-shredded jeans and a concert tee at that exact moment… as I stood there in my dress pants and heels. I was unsure of the relationship between the man and the girls, but what was clear is that he wanted them to have a good experience. We chatted some more about where to sit, and they chose the balcony. I watched as they found their seats. Waving to them as they got comfortable and saying a little prayer that the message would be one that landed on their hearts.

As Pastor Megan took the stage in her own ripped jeans and heeled work boots, I knew these girls were in luck. We’ve been attending Cathedral of Praise for twelve years. Watching Megan on stage, being completely who she is, in heels and glitter, or ripped jeans and sweatshirts, or in blouses and beautiful clothes, has made me more comfortable in my own skin.

The message was on relationships. 

“You need people and people need you.”

As Pastor Megan dove into the reasons why we ALL need healthy, rooted relationships she paused. Taking a purposeful timeout, she said

“You are NOT hard to love.  You are just…the…way… God made you.  You are easy to love. You have to find your people. People who love you the way you are. You are NOT hard to love.”

My eyes welled up…it was just what my 1987 soul needed to hear and what my 2022 soul knows very well.

My hope is that it also spoke life into the young ladies’ hearts.   I glanced to the balcony to see their beautiful faces.  The older man tilted his head to the heavens. Maybe he needed to hear it too.  Maybe he was thanking God for the same reason I was…. answered prayer.

Love,

Lady Chats A Lot

XoXo

The perception of Love

16 Jan

I’ve been drawn to the color red lately. With valentines on the way, it’s the perfect opportunity to add the pop of color to my home. So, I added a few things to my Target cart, like this welcome mat, that called my name.

I had to have it!

My husband and I were going out for date night Saturday evening. Since I am (always) waiting on him, I started rearranging. I put this “Love” rug on top of a red and white buffalo plaid one that I repurposed from Christmas. It is adorable and I snapped this picture to post to insta:

Cute, right?? But the rug isn’t straight! I tried three MORE times…Each time, it was slightly… off…FRUSTRATING!

Trust me when I say, to the naked eye, it was straight. I stood back and looked from several angles. I rearranged, pulled, fluffed…. But that camera lens, it told a different story. Try as I might, I just couldn’t get it perfect….I paused looking at this crooked/straight Love rug and thought….well, isn’t that how LOVE really is?

From the outside, it can look perfect ….but up close, and through the right lens, you see it slightly differently.

I giggle a little when people in my circle comment on how “perfect” my life is….always “happy” they like to say to me.

No.

I’m not always happy. I don’t have a perfect life. Truth.

What I’ve learned from my days as a newlywed is that marriage is not all cake and sunshine. If you have that perception going in, you’ll be looking to jump ship the first time it gets hard. Here is a news flash: It will get hard. My husband and I have been married for 25 years. We are each other’s biggest cheerleaders. We are best friends. We have the same goals. We not only love each other, but we really like each other….and it has still been hard. You just can’t be in a relationship that long, with flawed humans, and not go through difficult, painful times. The hope is, as you grow individually, you also grow together.

That said, as we enter the season of our 25th year, I’m surprised at just how sweet it is. Even though we may argue (about making beds, dishes, and dinner), we don’t fight. We’ve gone through enough counseling and have developed a communication style that works for us and we lean into it…hard. We don’t press each other’s buttons on purpose, and when we mistakenly touch those sensitive issues, we apologize quickly. It’s as if we are in the harvest season. All of our hard work has paid off.

Here is what I know for sure. Perfection is a thief. It robs you of any joy and causes you to work endlessly for something that is unattainable. I know this because I am a self proclaimed recovering perfectionist. The day I laid the burden of perfection down was the day I was able to really live! It has been life changing and freeing. Facts: I don’t expect perfection in any area of my life – kids, family, friends, work, marriage, or home decor.

Our LOVE isn’t perfect, but it’s true. It’s kind and gentle. It rallies. It fights for itself and for each other. It is celebrated. It keeps trying to get it right even though we sometimes fail. Our love doesn’t give up.

If you see us from the outside, your perception may be different …but inside, through our lens, we know the work, the dedication, the truth. The hard. And we still keep going. 25 years and counting, baby. We got this.

Slightly crooked. Pulled, fluffed, rearranged.

Perfectly, Imperfect.

Love,

Lady Chats A Lot

XOXO

Shortlisted

20 Dec

A few weeks ago, my littles participated in our small-town parade. My husband had to work so I was by myself, ready to record every second of the smiling goodness on my phone for him, for prosperity, and for Facebook 😊. Getting there early, I set up my folding chair on the empty sidewalk, sipped my (as skinny as they can make it) peppermint mocha, and watched as the path around me quickly filled with other littles and their families. Everyone was ready to see Santa!

Before I go on, I need to say a few things. This story isn’t one of judgment. In fact, I almost didn’t write it because I don’t want it to be misinterpreted. However, I made a pact with God this year that if he puts something on my heart to write, I’ll do it. Even when it’s uncomfortable or even when it could be misinterpreted. I thought about writing this story moments after the parade, then tossed it out the window. It woke me up at six am this morning….and well, here we are.

Reminder: No judgment, just observation.

The sidewalks are filling up, our folding chairs are nearly touching those of others.  Covid six-foot rules don’t apply on limited, parade viewing pathways in the South.  I’ve noticed a little girl two families down from me.  She is maybe four and she is so stinking cute, dressed in her adorable Christmas outfit. Her white-blonde hair is pulled up in a ponytail, where the ribbons bounce when she talks.  

She caught my eye again because she is now stomping her tiny rhinestone tennis shoes, and is doing something between a shout and a whine into her mother’s face “I have to GOOOOOO.” Her hands trying to stop the flow and her legs are crossed. Her mom, yells “OKAY…OKAY…Then let’s gooo.” She shouts back shoving her hands on the armrest to push herself to her feet….Her response is angered. I now realize that I’ve heard the child asking to go to the bathroom a few times over the course of the last half-hour, but I’ve dismissed it like much of the other conversation around me. The mom doesn’t want to leave her friends that have joined her. She has been chatting and laughing since they arrived. She waved a few folks over from the opposite side and had us all slide down a little to accommodate. She was excited to experience this moment of Christmas together.

The mom snatches the blond child’s hand and pulls her across the street to Starbucks to use their facilities. She is back in what seems like only seconds. Her friend, enthusiastically says “THAT WAS QUICK!” To which the mom replies

No. I have to get my keys. She wet her pants.

Crestfallen. The little girl is standing there looking at people she loves, and people she doesn’t even know. Ashamed. Her eyes are pointed at her shoes. 

My heart breaks.

My first thought…and I nearly said it out loud before catching myself… “SHE TOLD YOU. SHE TOLD YOU SHE HAD TO GO POTTY.”

But my heart tugged again. I remember those days. I remember being a new momma. Ragged, tired. Trying my best. I remember getting so lost in doing unimportant things, that I forgot to focus on my real job. My most important job. The one where I’m not replaceable. The “being” of a mom.

The truth is, not a parent on the planet can say that they have all been fully present ALL the time. It’s so easy to become distracted with nonsense. With our phones, friends, work, t.v., football, housework, chores, social media, stress, parades..…it feels like the list never gets shorter. What I wish I would have known back then, is that none of that other stuff matters. Unraveling yourself at both ends isn’t helping anyone, least of all you.

This momma was no different. It was obvious this beautiful child was well-loved. There was simply nothing to indicate otherwise. I can only imagine that momma had planned for weeks to take her little to the parade, picked out her perfect Christmas outfit, and told her all morning how much fun they would have while doing her hair. Maybe they even sang Christmas carols on the way there. She wanted to create sweet memories. She had the best of intentions…Then life happened.

As I reflect on the Christmas season and the upcoming new year, I’ve decided to use this time to get better at sinking in. To be fully present, immersed in the moment. I encourage you, friend, to do the same. Sit. Hold hands. Look into your children’s eyes. Fall in love again with your spouse. Listen to your parents’ (and grandparents’) stories. Play.

Sift through life and toss out the things that no longer serve your purpose.  Your purpose is where you find your passion. For me, I’m deeply passionate about my family. I don’t want to miss a moment. Find those important things and hold on tight. Handcuff yourself to them and settle in. Let them fill your heart with joy.  What I know for sure, is that joy is what carries you through when life gets twisted. 

We don’t always get it right. The list of distractions never gets shorter. But your list of priorities can.

Create your shortlist and stick to it.

Sharing this message with you, friend, because I needed it too. No judgment. No mom shaming. Just observation.

I’m coming for you 2022. 

XoXo,

Lady Chats A Lot

Covid Tired

12 Oct

The crevices of my bones are tired.  My spirit is weary.  It’s not the kind of tired a good night’s sleep will fix.   I could sleep a week, I’d still feel this heavy, laden cloak of exhaustion. Like the kind the dentist lays across your chest when they take an x-ray and you struggle to inch beneath it.  Sometimes, I’m so exhausted, I can’t even find sleep.  I chase it around my head, forcing my eyes to close. Only to have them pop back open a few moments later, grabbing my phone to pass the time, and hoping the scrolling will induce slumber.  Sometimes, it does. Most of the time, it doesn’t. 

This level of tired comes from the daily pecking, peeling, away of all the good things that once were.  The news…peck…The politics….peck…arguments over masks and vaccines…peck, peck…The loss of community from working from home…peck…The isolation from quarantine…peck…Covid…. peck…

It’s doing much more than stealing our happiness. It’s stealing pieces of our humanity. It’s creating a further divide where people are arguing over who deserves care and who doesn’t….Let that sink in just for a few minutes.  Where is the empathy, compassion? That behavior, that thought process, doesn’t stay in that one bucket, that one specific topic. It moves and spreads across your daily interactions.  It’s now an “us versus them” conversation…. An, “I’m going to get mine.” society…  The covid battles are what is wearing us out.  The constant bickering, fighting, entitlement. ….peck, peck, peck.  

I have to believe the whole world is tired.  I just do. Because it keeps showing up in the behavior of strangers. Like little toddlers that have gone far beyond their nap time and are now in a total melt down mode because someone won’t let them lick the wall, or drink from the dog’s bowl… or some other random thing that toddlers do.   Like the guy who followed my young adult son home shouting “You don’t know who you are messing with” from the end of my driveway because he was unable to pass him on a short stretch of road into the neighborhood where the speed limit is 25mph….  Or the lady at Aldi that wanted to literally throw down because I said “excuse me” before she was ready to move.   (This is real life, folks.)

I have to believe that people who are well, who are happy, and rested, do not act this way.  People who are bone-tired from Covid act out like this.

I’m not one who likes to look in the rearview mirror often. I like to move in a forward direction…but damn, how do we get back to pre-covid? It wasn’t perfect…but it wasn’t …this.

When I was writing this message, I stumbled upon a blog post I wrote in the early days of Covid. I had so much hope then…and it’s a little sad for me to read it now. But because I don’t have any other words of inspiration to offer to re-right this ship, I’ll share that post with you now…Maybe we can all cling to a little sliver and pull ourselves out of the darkness.

Rewind to March 21,2020:

 
Sometimes I dabble in writing . 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.. Please be kind when you read the message below and if this is not your thing, cool.   

The world is a crazy place right now.  Legit, crazy. We are living in unprecedented times. No one really knows what they are doing… 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 its peak. (At least it feels like it is at its peak – but let the chicken nuggets run out at the grocery and I’m at a whole new level of crazy!)  

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.

Wayyyyy back in Genesis 2:18 it is written 

 ““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…maybe)    

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. Dive deep into your Bible.  Spend time with the Lord. Let him lead you; calm you. My prayer is that you hear his voice.  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,  and God sends a special moment or ah-ha thought.  Try it.   
  1. 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 latter. 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. 
  1. Spend time with your family and friends. The ones that live in your house.  Call or face time the people who don’t! Stay connected!  

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 of my crazy family – and I go upstairs to the quiet of my room.  I turn on the tv and scroll through social media, but essentially all 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!”  

Before long she was snuggled under the covers on her Popa’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!”. 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 in or so, she says

“I looove you Gigi”.   

That’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.   

Xoxo,

Lady Chatsalot

Love well

9 Oct

I caught myself breathing deeply and letting out a sigh, more than a few times this morning. I heard my husband do the same. Today will be difficult.

In an attempt to clear the anxiety thumping between my ears and running down my neck, I laced up my sneakers and headed outside . Just a few minutes in, my feet glide over this leaf. Turning around to look closer, I snapped the photo.

I whispered a thank you to God for reminding me, he is here too. In the little places. In the big places. In the need to escape places.

We are headed to the funeral of a good, good man. One who loved well, and who was loved well.

We’ve already stuffed our pockets with tissue. We’ve already blinked back the tears …so many times. We won’t be able to contain them much longer. We know this.

Today we will love on his family. The heartbroken. Those left behind with no answers, but with great faith. They hold tight to belief that they will reunite with him again on the streets of Heaven.

Light rain has begun to fall. The skies are gray and cloudy. It’s as if the earth knows… and is mourning with us.

“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” ~ Psalms 34:18

Love well,

Lady Chats a lot

Xoxo

Be the light

29 Aug

Come sit down and let me tell you a story. 

A few months ago, a friend who I highly respect and admire, sent me a text as I was boarding a return flight from a week of business in Florida. It had been an exhausting week of late hours and hard work. My brain was mush, over taxed and over processed.  My limbs hung heavily to my side, longing to be home, in my own bed, with my own family.  Do you ever have those days when you are just pushing to the finish line?  I was literally calculating how many hours it would take until I could pull into my driveway.

I flipped open his text and began to read.  His business was growing, and he was looking to add an employee to help manage the operations.  He was willing to train and was actually looking for someone that may not currently hold the skill set, but would be able to learn.  Helping people makes my spirit smile broadly and fulfills something inside of me that I cannot put into words. When I see a need, I try to fill it.  However, in this case, I just couldn’t think of anyone who was in the market for a new position.  Admittedly though, I couldn’t think. My brain was in the process of a forced shut down. 

I sent him a return text saying I would send it out to my friend groups and see if anyone was interested.   

Then I boarded the plane, put my book bag under my seat, and pulled out my phone to begin my nightly ritual of scanning Facebook…Facebook is like the adult version of show and tell. It’s mindless and frankly, I just enjoy it. I likely spend way to much time on it but I find it relaxing.  (Judge me if you’d like.)

In what I could only describe as a full on tug on my spirit, I thought “Maybe you should post that job to the Israel page.” ….We had just come back from a trip of a life time to Israel a few weeks prior. There were about 45 of us on the trip organized by our church. The group had bonded through our travels and they created a Facebook group to share thoughts and pictures.

I jumped over to the Israel page….then thought, “No. That’s weird.” No one in that group is looking for a job!

I resumed scanning my timeline while watching the plane fill.  Scan. Scan…then a repeating message, “You should post that job to the Israel page.”

Okay I thought.  Whatever. I typed out this message:

“Not sure this is the right place to post, but I thought someone may be looking for a job.”

Then my nerves and ego rose up. I said – “This is ridiculous. They are a group of professionals and retirees. They have jobs or don’t want jobs. They are going to think YOU are ridiculous posting this here. This is the ISRAEL group page – not the FIND A JOB page.”

And I deleted it. 

Sighed and went back to my Facebook time line.

By now the flight attendant was giving her safety speech. While I’ve heard it so many times I could likely be a stand in, and do it off the cuff, I do think it’s rude to not listen. I glanced up and gave it my best effort to pay attention…within seconds, the same thought came back around “You should post that job on the Israel page.”

UUUGGGH

“Fine. Fine. I will post it God. I will post it and I will look ridiculous. But I will post it.”  

I typed it out frantically, included a print screen of my friend’s text, and posted to the Israel page just as the wheels of the plane were leaving the tarmac.  “There. It’s done.” I sighed, shaking my head from side to side.  

Truly when I tell you, this bothered me so much. The next morning when I was catching up with my husband, I relayed the whole story – the text, the tug on my spirit – not once but three times, and how I felt incredibly silly in this new group of friends… that I didn’t really know well enough….

But at the end of the day, I clearly felt called to post.   So whatevvvverrr…. I suppose I’ve looked ridiculous before. I wouldn’t spontaneously combust if I did again.

I checked the group page several times over the next few days…nothing. Not a single confirmation (like). Not a single comment.  My ego said, “See. Told you. Ridiculous.”

After a few days, my friend sent me another text. “How do you know CM?”

“CM? She went on our Israel trip and she goes to our church. Why?"
(My mind had not put the coincidence together yet.)

“She applied for the job. Is she good?” He said.

I couldn’t believe it. Someone from the Israel trip applied!! I checked the post again – nothing. Okay….maybe she didn’t want me to know??

I decided to reach out through messenger – and it’s there that I see she sent me a message the day before…She was in the market for a full time job and this one sounded like something she could sink her teeth in.  For whatever reason, I never received the message notification… 

This story turns out magically. She interviews and of course they love her. No doubt they can see how intelligent she is, right off the bat. It was a win-win for both parties. She has been working there since March and by all reports, she loves her job! We recently had a conversation about it, and I couldn’t help but get teary.  I get teary every time I think about it because I know how much I argued with the prompting and to see it all work out…it’s just beautiful.

It serves as a reminder (to me) that God often has bigger plans for us than we could ever imagine. His ways are not our ways…and sometimes, we can’t see how the pieces to the puzzle are coming together – until they do. When life doesn’t look picture perfect (hello Covid), I lean on memories like this and know He has me (and you) in his hands.    

I’m committed to listening, to learning, to action, when my spirit feels those tugs. I don’t always get it right. But I keep trying….. What I whole heartily believe is that God uses people.

He uses people.

Be the light.

Magnolias and Memories

17 May

It’s the beginning of summer. When the air is still cool enough to enjoy being outside even when the sun is at its peak and high overhead. The wisteria and honey suckle are long since gone, but the magnolias are blooming.

Magnolias are not our state flower, but I have no idea why. They embody our great southern state of South Carolina. They represent us…Just go to any tourist jaunt and you’ll find something magnolia….a candle, a plate…a sign. They pepper our back yards and line the parking lots of nearly every place I can think of.

Magnolias = a southern state of mind.

magnolia

When my grand-precious and I take our bike rides,  her on her beloved frozen bike with silver tassels swaying from the handle bars and a fuzzy pink troll helmet a top her head, me walking briskly behind, we make a pit stop by the grand magnolia trees lining our neighborhood to drink in the fragrance. Burying our noses into the blossoms deeply, until the dream like fragrance fills our lungs and reaches our toes. They always bring a smile and a bit of amazement. Giant, bold blooms. Stark white petals, unfolding one by one to reveal the cone. The cone is a wonder all its own to be honest. Dancing with the branches, it releases the seeds (or carpels according to google) as the bloom begins to die. A last ditch effort for survival, I suppose. Hoping one of the seeds returns to ground to become a new. My grand-precious collects the seeds in her pockets as if they were treasure. “Look at this one Gigi” as she points to a new bloom. Scooping out the seeds of another to add to her collection.

I watch her and the corners of my smile nearly touches my eyes. When we first started this routine, I just wanted to point out new things for her to wonder about and to stretch her imagination. To ride around (and not over) the centipede crossing the sidewalk. To notice the way the stream moves and winds under the bridge. To see new wild flowers that were not there yesterday and wonder where they came from.

Today as I was watching her, I thought…when I’m long since gone, I hope she smells a magnolia bloom drifting through the early summer air and thinks about me.
The way I do when I think about my Gram….I can’t see a Burger King commercial without thinking about her. The lady loved her a whopper! Or the way my son does – my grand-precious’ father, when he sees a Sonic….because she equally loved a banana split and often used his visits to indulge in one with him! It’s funny the way the mind works and triggers memories.

Yesterday we were in Gram’s “neck of the woods” over on Folly Beach. We passed a Sonic and my 28 year old said “I think I had my first banana split over there.” We talked for a few minutes about Gram, banana splits and whoppers until the air fell heavy with the sadness that rises from losing someone you loved. My son said, “I miss Grandma Cox.”

“Yeah, me too buddy. But man did she love us. She loved us so hard.”
‘Yeah, she did.” He replied softly.

And so when I saw my little, beautiful, grand precious breathing in that big, bold magnolia blossom, I thought – I hope these memories get etched in her magnificent mind. When she is grown and I’m long since gone, it will serve as a reminder that she was loved. Loved so hard, and so deep, with every ounce of my being. Down to her toes and to the very tip of head. She is loved.

The way I do when I think of my Gram.

lina

 

XoXo,

Lady Chats A lot 

Image

You can’t always get what you want…

31 Mar

Veryjane

From my IG feed: Photo Credit Very Jane.com

Ya’ll….We are living in crazy times…CR.AAA.ZY  times.

I’ve been on the search for toilet paper for the last week. We are not dangerously low yet, but we are creeping up on it!

I’ve gone to SEVEN…SEVEN  stores over the last week and have yet to find a single roll. I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve google searched it to no avail. Even AMAZON.Freakin’.PRIME is out of toilet paper. FOR REAL YA’LL….WHY can’t I find toilet paper? Why is this a thing? Like a  real  thing?

I already feel like I’m taking my life into my hands when I enter Walmart. I try not to breathe the entire time. I have my sanitizer wipe in my hand. I wipe down the surface of the cart and nearly everything else. By the time I’m through, my wipe is shriveled and dry.  I’ve pre-mapped out my game plan in my mind based upon my shopping list and the store layout.  I’m half exhausted before I even walk in the door….I secretly curse anyone who comes within my six foot radius. There has been at least once that it was not so secretly ….

Now, I’m out there going in and out of SEVEN different stores looking for something I clearly took for granted just weeks ago.

My husband, who is already very picky about his TP, thinks he has an idea. When I say picky – I mean to say, we have to pack toilet tissue on any over night trip because he doesn’t want to risk using whatever they may have there, picky….SOOOO he says “well, we will just use wipes”….Nope…Those ARE ALL OUT TOO! Someone already had that idea, Fred. (That’s not his real name, it’s just what I call him from time to time.)

So I mention this  rant  to a few friends.  They have some they will share with me they say.   No, no, not yet. But I leave the door open in case I do get desperate.
Oh my geezee…

And then…then ya’ll

My coworker calls me. She is at the store shopping for her elderly parent and has found the holy grail! She asks me if I still need it, to which I practically leap through the phone YES! And, then – she offers to deliver it… To do a drive by and toss it on my porch. (Six foot Corona virus rules.)  I mean…How freakin’ great is that.

I have tears.

TP Delivery

Text between my husband and I after our delivery

You guys – I love my coworkers. I really, really do. I count myself so blessed that I get to go to work and spend time with these fantastic people. Over the years we have been through so much together. They are my work family! Today, one of them rescued me in more ways than one.

I’ve been trying so hard to find the positive in this Corona Virus mess. But truthfully, it is wearing thin. I. WANT. TO GO. BACK. TO WORK….Like physically, go into my office. Chat with my work friends at the coffee pot, argue with my work friends in the conference room, and have “ah-ha”, breakthrough, fantastic ideas to “fix” or “resolve” a seemingly impossible problem. It’s what we do. It’s my favorite work thing in the world – to make hard things simple…I want to go back to work (in the office).

I also want to go to the beach…I want to hang out with my girlfriends…I want my kid to go back to school…I want to go to the park…to the store without holding my breath….I want to stop worrying if my family and friends will get this damn thing…to stop worrying if the economy will ever recover and if my friends who have lost their jobs or those who run a small businesses will find their way back again… I want this virus thing to be over with already. The thought of it lasting eight more weeks makes my insides hurt.

And yet, with a deep sigh and adult understanding (I get it…I really do)  I will stay home – and I be grateful that I still get to work with these awesome people from my make shift desk in my home “office”.

If you don’t have people like this in your life – people who will hunt for toilet paper for you and throw it on your porch in the middle of a pandemic – get some! Get on it pronto! Seriously! It’s not to late…Because when you are stuck and a friend rescues you – it puts your world back together again, if only for the day.

“You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, well you just might find, you get what you need.” ~ The Rolling Stones

Today, I didn’t get what I wanted…but I got what I needed.  I’m so thankful for my TP Angel and for drive by deliveries.

xoxo,

Lady Chats A Lot 

 

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