Tag Archives: Family

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

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

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

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 

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…)

Quote

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 

 

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.

Values

12 Aug

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Most people would readily say, “Yes, of course, I have values!”

If pressed to explain how you experience those core beliefs, well that is a bit more complicated.

Defining the shape of your values is said to provide harmony between your mind, body, and spirit.  The idea is, the more you align your choices with your moral compass,  the happier and more satisfied you will become.

Happier? More Satisfied?  Yes, Please! Where do I sign up?

 

VALUE – noun

1) the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.

2)a person’s principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgment of what is important in life.

 

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I’m very verbal. I communicate with ease. Yet, I found this process extremely laborious….What pained me the most is that I didn’t know why. Presented with a laundry list of key words to  get my juices flowing and construct my top six, I froze.

Deer in the headlights.

 My eyes skimmed over the pages, looking for a word to snag, as if fishing in one of those stocked fish farms. All of the words gasping at the surface for an opportunity to be chosen. If they didn’t leap out at me, why? Shouldn’t they be important too?  Pressure….

I started this assignment…several times…without headway…

Why was this so difficult.  Of course I have morals and ethics, right???

Diving deeper, I wondered what it meant to “experience values”? Was I allowing my moral compass to direct and organize my life?   Or, was it residing in a dusty file cabinet, under the dim flickering lights of a back room  that I only visited when in dire straits?….I knew they were there…but how often was I pulling them out to review? I thought I was living out loud, but maybe I wasn’t….Ah-haaaa….

Abandoning the official list,  I allowed my heart to take the lead to illustrate and craft what this all means to me.

Her voice is ALWAYS the one that speaks the loudest.

The truth is, I realized there were times that I was ALL in and others, that I simply wasn’t.  If the goal is to utilize your core beliefs in every decision, I should consult with her more often.  Investing in this relationship is imperative.  Her voice can’t be submerged by the day to day hustle and bustle, but so engrained that it rolls off my tongue with ease.

She holds the key to more happiness and satisfaction.

She is kind of a big deal.

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At the end of this project my list consisted of :

Balance, Family, Growth, Faith, Happiness, Kindness.

I am a work in progress.

The season of thanks

28 Nov

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The season of thanks and of giving is so much fun. Having a month that revolves around expressing gratitude is right up my alley. To top it off, it is followed by a month of giving to those I love. I simply couldn’t ask for a better combo.

As I prepare to sit around our table, stuffing my belly, I want to say thank you.

I’m thankful to be an American. I can’t imagine living any where else. I’m thankful for the opportunities that come simply from being born here, rather than in a third world country. I’m tremendously thankful for all those fighting for this country and standing up for freedom. You are my hero.

I’m thankful for my husband, aka bacon maker. I attempted to make my own bacon this morning and burned it. I guess I need to keep him around another 16 years! All kidding aside, he is actually so much more than my bacon maker. He is my biggest supporter, best friend, confidant. I would be lost without him.

I’m thankful for my boys. They have taught me every thing I know…they are in fact, geniuses. (wink, wink) They remind me that I’m not in control as much as I think I am…and yet everything still works out okay… I mean, they still have of their limbs and all… They make me smile from the pit of being. It fills my heart until it spills around my face. I’m a proud momma and I love them more than words.

I’m thankful for family, mine and my husband’s. Where would we be without family? It is where we first learned to love and to be loved. They love us through it ALL!

I’m thankful for my friends. Each unique, you hold a special place in my heart. You make me laugh until my belly hurts, pick me up when I fall, and are honest even when it hurts. Thank you for loving me and for allowing me to be a part of your life.

I’m thankful for my co-workers. I truly work with amazingly smart, talented, people. They make it easy to come to work every day….and enjoy it!

I’m thankful for the unconditional love I receive from my puppies (all 3 of them). I am the pied piper in this house. They follow me from room to room. They make me feel special and loveable, even on my worst days.

Thank you for reading my blog. I know, I know….I’m not a REAL writer but, I love the process… I muddle my way through. Thank you for your notes of encouragement, your ‘likes’, and for your support. It honestly means the world to me. I savor each one.

Above all else, thank you for being you.

It is my prayer that you are blessed and blessed abundantly. That in turn, you are able to be a blessing to others.

Wishing you all a wonderful season of thankfulness and of giving.

thank you

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