Slow Goes It

“It”.  Such a non-specific, tiny word to mean such a tremendously significant thing.  The thing?  The it?  Well, of course I’m referring to the Little Red House Reno!!  We’ve been plugging away on this track for so long, I’m starting to wonder if this is just our life now.  We will live with my mom and have this perpetual renovation project that never seems to come together and the more progress we make, the more projects pop up, pushing us further and further away from our target.  It reminds me of getting swept away by an ocean current and the more you try to correct your path back to where you started, the more you are carried in the opposite direction.

And, like I said, some progress has been made, but not enough for me to feel like it’s all going to work out somehow.  I thought, from our recent estimated project timeline, we would be moving in now…this week!  But, it’s apparently the contractor code.  Whatever time frame they specify, you should double it, maybe even triple it!  I can’t understand why they don’t take a page from the restaurant industry.  If you come in and there is a 30 minute wait for a table, they’ll tell you 45, so when your name is called around 30 minutes later, you’re pleasantly surprised…pleased, even with how they managed to get you a table in 30 instead of 45 minutes.  It feels like you are being treated especially well…like a VIP guest.  Contractors on the other hand, want to please you up front, just to get you in the door, because once you’re there, you can’t leave…or at least its’ very difficult to.  You can’t just say, “This is taking too long, let’s just go someplace else.”  It’s frustrating.

And, we are not unhappy with the new contractor (PJC Remodeling).  We actually really like him.  He shows up, everyday and works…a full day.  Amazing!  In that aspect, our expectations were super low.  I mean, just show up and you’re winning already!  You know!?  He even did some tile work that Josh and I were not totally satisfied with and he took it all down, bought new tile and fixed it the next day!  That impressed me.

So, where are we now?  All walls are up and plastered (except the kitchen), the upstairs bedroom is completely done, except for some baseboard trim, new windows are in, new entry doors for the mudroom and the master bedroom, most electrical and plumbing is in, the floors have been refinished (except the living room which is serving as a storage room right now, and the 1st floor bathroom has been tiled.

Check out the pics:  (Please excuse the horrible quality…I gotta work on that) 😉

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This is a couple shots of our master bedroom with a door leading to the backyard and future deck.  (another project) 😉 …and our his and hers closets.  I’m thinking the space above the closets could be book cases with a sliding ladder??  I’m open to suggestions up there! 😉

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These are the beautiful floors upstairs!! 🙂

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Master bathroom with a HUGE walk in rain shower!! 🙂

So, it’s getting there.  We’ll get there.  And when it’s done, it will be beautiful.  I told my step-mom the other day, “When we die in this house, I want whoever comes in to buy it say, ‘Eeewww, this kitchen has been redone since 2016 probably!  We have to replace everything!'”  Or, at least, that’s what I say right now. 😉

Til’ next time, be blessed!!
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How… (in the world), Do You Move On From Disappointment?

Have you ever been disappointed by someone close to you?  I’m not talking about full out betrayal’s… an, “excuse me, can you turn around so I can jab this knife in your back,” kind of thing.  I’m talking about someone significant in your life letting you down…gently, almost accidentally, without any meaning of direct harm to you personally.  But, its’ still hurtful and discouraging, regardless of intent.  It kinda’ stinks really.

Why does this happen sometimes?  Maybe because you’re not on the same page; a miscommunication of some kind, or when one assumes thought or action for another individual, or when there’s a difference in goals or direction.  Maybe one person veers away from what was previously agreed upon; possibly views or beliefs change, or just plain bad choices were made that we all make sometimes.  Uuggh!!  There’s probably a billion more reasons…but writing out the possible ‘why’s’ seem equally as frustrating as the disappointment itself!

I’ve DEFINITELY been there!  I think we all have.  And, I’m not going to go into disappointment detail, since the WHO and WHY are not nearly as important as the HOWHow do we deal? That’s WHAT this life is! Its’ figuring a way around, through, and over life’s obstacles,  disappointments, and challenges while we are encouraged and motivated in between with life’s joys and blessings.  The tools we use to conquer and come out on the other side stronger, wiser, and STILL HERE are crucial components to our “life survival pack”.   How can we move forward from being let down by someone we love?  THERE IS THE QUESTION!  AND THERE IS AN ANSWER!

…Jesus.  You’re welcome.  Til’ next time, be blessed!… 😉 Just kidding, sort of.

H O W ?

rustic broken heart

I see the “how” process as broken into separated pieces; as I, myself have recently been sifting through the pieces, trying to fit them together to make some sense of my own disappointment.  Each piece needs to snap into the other, one at a time, making the puzzle whole; creating a bigger picture that makes sense.  The first piece is in the acknowledgement of hurt. This sets the process of grief in motion, along with the rebuilding of a broken heart.  You have to allow yourself to let the disappointment be named, giving it a place in your life as part of the story. This is how we use it to our betterment; adding to our success story, and bringing us closer to Him.

1- Get sad   2- Get confused   3- Get angry   4- Get real

When we get sad, we are acknowledging the hurt and morning the loss of something we previously thought was there.  Something we thought was solid and true. (I.E., a friendship, a job, a position, a dependency, a trust, a point of view, a goal, etc.)

When I say, ‘get confused’, I don’t mean to throw your hands up in the air saying, “Welp, that’s it. No clue.  Its’ useless in trying to figure this one out.”  What I mean is to ask questions, converse toward clarity.  You can review past experience, behavior, and conversations to try and get a better feel about how this came about and why.  Its’ not a guarantee that you will find the answers, or that the answer may suit your piece of mind at all, but its’ important to explore the possible answers to identify the point of divergence in the road with communication or goals or whatever it is.

Getting mad is natural, expected, and good.  It is part of the process in releasing the hurt and pain.  You’re angry that what you thought was true, actually isn’t!  You’re angry that you now have to adjust to this new truth!  You’re angry that your new truth is not what you want to be true…its’ not what you planned on, or invested in, or value in any way!

Now GET REAL.  This is THE most important tool in your “life survival pack”!  Without this key component you are most likely going to hold on (for dear life) to one of the other steps in this process of moving on.  You’re going to get sad…and stay sad.  You might move on to the confusion and stay confused, never getting the sad-house-coloring-pageanswers you’re after.  You may skip really fast to getting really angry, and stay there.  Trust that you do NOT want to live sad, mad, or confused.  These places only build a barrier against those joys and blessings I mentioned that blossom in between or even amongst the challenges that are major in motivating us and encouraging us in beautiful ways.

This is total destruction and the exact opposite of what is intended for us in this life:

James 1:2-4
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

We need to see the trials we face as a sort of refinement or equipping process. Only God can use the sometimes terrible, awful, hurtful, disappointing trials in our life as a means of bringing us closer to Him while making us stronger, wiser, more gracious,  patient, faithful, and merciful.  We have to give Him permission to allow the transformation.  He won’t force it on us!

The GET REAL phase is also the place for decision and for action.  You decide based on beliefs and on what you hold most valuable to you what your next step should be.  It is imperative that you do not make any decisions of finality in the sad, confused, or mad stages.  Doing so would be relying on feelings alone to decide the fate of your predicament.  You might cut out a friendship or relationship that you regret later, or quit a job when just a straight forward conversation with your boss was necessary, you might vow to never do x, y, or z again that you eventually break, etc.  Feelings are fleeting, ever changing, unreliable, and NEVER permanent.  This may take days, weeks, months even, but you will NEVER regret waiting until all your emotions have been cycled and dealt with before you make some logical, faith based decisions, boundaries, moves, or adjustments in regards to the person who hurt you.

After accepting its’ real place in your life and go through all the emotions God has supplied us with as a means to mange the obstacles we face, I encourage you to see yourself as “more mature” and “more complete”; having persevered by faith.  That’s what God’s desire is!  To use our life; our every day, and our extraordinary experiences to transform us into something more like the image of God, more like Jesus who modeled for us everything we all so desperately want to be near.  (Whether we realize this or not.) And the goal is not to end there with you…the natural progression of this kind of transformation spreads.  This kind of love is contagious!

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The more I experience…the more I live, the more I realize and am comforted by the fact that my God is always there, with me, residing in me, and guiding me. Isaiah 46:4 says, “I have made you, I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” He is and always will be the unfailing beacon I can look to and rely on for all things…especially in times of disappointment and regret! It cannot get any more real than that.

SPREAD THE LOVE

Til’ next time, be blessed!!!
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A Poem: Tinkle in The Trash

(I’m pretty sure this is what went through my 7 year old’s head last week when he decided to forgo the toilet! …sans rhyming form though! 😉 )

Wouldn’t it be fun, and probably not so dumb to just…
Tinkle in the trash?

Then I could claim to be working on my aim if I just…
Tinkle in the trash!

It won’t be such a spectacle using a different receptacle if I just…
Tinkle in the trash!

I’m bored with the toilet, nothing could spoil it if I just…
Tinkle in the trash!

It will be a great feat, and I’ll think its’ so, so neat if I just…
Tinkle in the trash!

I’ll be happy and proud and will yell out loud that I just…
Tinkled in the trash!

😦

 Figuring out the brain of boys is one of my toughest challenges!  At times they are the sweetest, cuddliest, most thoughtful little squish faces…and other times…they tinkle in the trash.

Awesome

Til’ next time, be blessed!
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Why Don’t You Pray About It?

Have you ever lay awake at night worrying and thinking and weighing and what if-ing?  Wondering what the right choice is, the right path, the best decision, or ideal plan of action?  What to do?  What to think?  What to decide?

Welcome to my world! — The mental Olympic Games of WORRY


praying hands

Do you have a spiritual icon?  Apart from Jesus Himself, I mean.  Someone…human, that you look to in awe, amazed at the way they live like Jesus?  The person that Matthew 25:21 directly applies to?  Well done, good and faithful servant. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.”  I have one of those “good and faithful” servants in my life, that I get to witness, up close, what a life living through Him looks like.  

Pipe & Jerm

My sister-in-law, Piper and her husband, Jeremy

I also get to pick her brain in important situations to get a better idea of what God would also probably advise…since I swear they must be pen pal’s!  That’s my sister-in-law and best-est friend, Piper. I always joke that when she reaches the pearly gates, they will roll out a literal red carpet and all the angels will line up on either side, giving her those low high fives (like at basketball games) as she runs down, slapping each one, to explode onto the Biggest game of all!  I don’t know if there will be some pumped up, high energy music blasting her onto the heavenly scene or not…but wouldn’t be surprised.   😉   

Recently, when Josh and I were deciding who we should hire amongst the selected candidates of new contractors  to take over our little red house reno project, we were stumped.  More like terrified to make the wrong choice again and be in an even bigger pickle than we are now!

Side note:In_a_Pickle

(That’s a funny saying…doesn’t sound so terrible, I like pickles.  But maybe if I was actually trapped in one, I would think differently.  I don’t want that at all!)

They all seemed like good options, they all had balancing pro and con lists, if we went about the decision in a systematic, organized way. I would lay awake at night, thinking of each option, wondering which one we should hire.  Josh and I would have lengthy conversations about the best option, expressing our fear of making the wrong decision again!  Josh even said, “I wish someone else could decide; that way, if it all went wrong, then it wouldn’t have been because of my choice!”  We were scared of making a mistake and it seemed like the more we thought about it, the more we talked about it, the more everything seemed so uncertain.   What to do?!

I know!  ~~~  Call my spiritual icon, Piper and see what she has to say!

Me: “We don’t know what to do; who to choose.  This guy has A,B, & C…but also has X, Y, & Z.  This other guy has his own set of A, B, & C…but also his own X, Y, & Z’s too!  I went through our systematic pro’s and con’s list for each candidate.

Piper: “Well, did you pray about it?”

Me: “Oh. Ah…no.”

Piper: “You should probably do that and see if you can get some clarity.”

Me: “Oh.  Ah…right!”

*******
Philippians 4:6-7

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

*******

How is that when it’s crunch time, I forget to enlist the help of basic biblical principles?  Pray about it!!!!! Duh!!!!!  How could I forget to do this?!  But I did and I do all the time!

You’re probably wondering if praying abut it helped at all.  And YES it did!  The choice became clear once I allowed the spirit to calm my spinning what if’s, giving me pause to see the best choice with the information we had.  Now, is this a fail safe?  Is our selected choice the absolute correct one, who will not let us down in any way, shape, or form?  I don’t know, honestly.  But, what praying did for me was chilled me out…calmed my fears of making the wrong choice.  Once I prayed about the whole thing, the choice that was best for us, became clear and “the peace of God” rested over us and our decision.  For real.

peaceful breeze

The peace of God swept over our hearts like a gentle breeze, making our decision seem more clear…lighter somehow.

Now…you try it!!

Til’ next time, be blessed!!
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Thank you so much for reading!
(Photo credits to Amaree Davis @ Picture Made Photography)

Your Trash is My Trash

My neighbor is awesome…we haven’t officially met yet, but she’s already awesome from what I know.  She must be about 75 years old and walks everyday all over our town in Ashaway, RI.   I see her almost every morning when I drop my oldest at school.  If its’ clear and anything above 40 degrees, there she is.

She lives right next to the little red house, and must walk a few miles daily, making her way through the streets of Ashaway.  She is the cutest too!  She has these big rounded, clear glasses and wears a hand knitted hat, gloves, a warm winter coat over a nightgown or mu mu that dances around her calves as she walks, with athletic pants and orthopedic sneakers, while carrying a grocery store plastic bag on her journey.  I can only hope I have this much energy and dedication to staying active when I reach her age.  I think its’ amazing.

You might be wondering what she does with this bag I mentioned.  Yes?  This is the awesome part:  She picks up trash and weeds growing in the cracks of the sidewalk. She spends miles of walking cleaning the town!  When I see her, I can’t help but wonder about her…her life…her story.  Has she always lived next door to the little red house?  Did she grow up there?  Did she raise a family there? Does she spend her walks picking up weeds and trash because its’ something to do on her journey or does she have such a pride for the community in which she lives, and this is her way of doing her part…her contribution to the town? Does she enjoy her walks or is it a necessity…a compulsion maybe?  Does she have a hatred for weeds?  I don’t know…I could go on and on wondering about this woman!

Once my mom was bringing Jaxon to school and saw her up ahead on the sidewalk…face down!!  My mom was terrified, but couldn’t figure out why car after car just passed this woman by who clearly needed help!  I mean there was an elderly woman face down, practically in the road!  She discovered the reason, when she got a little closer, fully prepared to pull over and dial 911.  But, then, she didn’t…she joined the traffic just passing her by!  Why you ask?  Turns out my lovely neighbor was on her belly, meticulously pulling some stubborn weeds out from where the road meets the sidewalk!  That’s dedication!

Sometimes when she’s getting close to her way back home and I happen to be at the red house, I think I should stop her, introduce myself…get the neighborly thing going.  But, of course, I chicken out and settle for a friendly wave.  (CHICKEN!!!)…I did it today actually, as she picked up trash at the end of my driveway!  😦

We figured out what she did with the trash once her bag was full and the expedition IMG_2210was over.  One day Josh was working at the red house and noticed a figure traveling up the driveway toward our dumpster.  Josh poked his head out the back door to greet the visitor.  “Hi there!,” he called from the dirt pile that translates to our back door entry, as she was lobbing her bag of trash up into the dumpster.

He said she nearly jumped right out of her glasses and shrieked, “aaaahhhh!”  Poor thing… Josh scared her nearly to death!  I don’t know if she was just startled or frightened of a strange, sweaty man with a durag on his head and tattoo’s up his arms calling to her. The latter sounds scarier to me! 😉  (Just kidding…Sorry, babe!)

When we FINALLY got our contract ended with our original contractor on our little red house renovation (Rouben Balagian with buildPros), he removed the dumpster as his last “finishing touch” on the job he never did.

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Aaaaaaahhh…such a renewing, hopeful, peaceful thing to see our ‘red house slate’ wiped clean, to start again…full steam!


 

What was she to do with her bag now that our dumpster was gone?  A problem needing a solution!  So plan B was devised for “operation pick up”.

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That is our lovely neighbor’s house in the distance & a random post that stands at the end of our driveway.

Yup…you guessed it!  She hung her bag of trash and weeds on the post at the end of our driveway since there was no dumpster to aid with the disposal! 🙂  I laughed so hard when I was driving past and saw it!  I thought it was great!!  “Community in Christ is the aim!”  So, I will gladly help you, dear neighbor, on your quest of cleaning up our town!  (I got the easy end of the deal though!)  Examining the best tools I have in doing my part in living out that small town feel always leads me back to Him…

Ephesians 5:21 tells us to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

Throughout the bible, it is clear how important it is to live life in community with others.  The “one another” guides show up 100 times in the new testament!!!

Here are just a few!!:
(Overviewbible.com)

  1. Be at peace with one another (Mk 9:50)
  2. Don’t grumble among one another (Jn 6:43)
  3. Accept one another (Ro 15:7)
  4. Don’t boastfully challenge or envy one another (Ga 5:26).
  5. Gently, patiently tolerate one another (Ep 4:2)
  6. Be kind, tender-hearted, and forgiving to one another (Ep 4:32)
  7. Seek good for one another, and don’t repay evil for evil (1 Th 5:15)
  8. Don’t complain against one another (Jas 4:11, 5:9)
  9. Love one another (Jn 13:34, 15:12, 17; Ro 13:8; 1 Th 3:12, 4:9; 1 Pe 1:22; 1 Jn 3:11, 4:7, 11; 2 Jn 5)
  10. Through love, serve one another (Ga 5:13)

So, I’m trying…I should probably try a little harder and actually say “hello” and get over my crazy insecurities.  And I will…I promise!  I know it’s impossible to follow Jesus without living in community with others.  We all contribute to the body of Christ.  Each of us a small part of the major function of doing God’s work, of knowing God’s purpose, of seeing God’s love up close.  All of which is perfectly constructed in the way in which we do life together, serve one another, and are available to take some trash on if need be. 😉

Romans 12:4-5 “For as in one body we have many members and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.”

Til’ next time, be blessed!!
(Please re-post and share!  And I would love for you to follow us!)
Thank you so much for reading!!!!!
Check out Living Little Rhody for a feature post on Small Townology!

Check It Out!

Hey y’all!!  Would love for you to head on over to Living Little Rhody where my friend, Lauren Giammarco Silveira (Organized for Life) “captures stories from the smallest state with the biggest heart!”  Today there is a feature on Small Townology!!! 🙂

Living Little Rhody is at Home With Kate from Small Townology 

I’m Too Busy to Be Busy!!!

Once on Facebook my dear friend and sister-in-law, Amaree (Picture Made Photography) said something like, “This is what it’s like to talk to my sister-in-law, Kate on the phone who has three small boys, ‘Put that back in the refrigerator, that’s hot sauce…you cannot drink hot sauce.  What?  No, you cannot jump naked on the trampoline.  Hey!  Be careful!  That is definitely glass, put that down slowly.  What was that?  Where are you?!  Why are you in the trash?!…Oh, sorry, what were you saying?'”

IMG_1142And there it is.  That is exactly my life.  That’s the season right now.  My three crazy, lovable, ping pong ball boys are that busy from the time their beautiful blue eyes open, to the time they pass out from exhaustion at night.  And yes, I tend to dress like a homeless person, I have a permanent pile of laundry on my couch, my hair is never ‘done’, no matter how many times I bleach the bathroom it maintains the faint potpourri of little boy pee, the makeup I have on right now is left over from two days ago, and my nail polish I decided to add last minute for my birthday/Valentine’s day date with my husband is now chipping off every finger.  What’s left on each delicate nail is what looks like an inkblot test in pail pink.  Oh look, there’s Nebraska on that one, a butterfly on another…I now see chipping polish as a conversation starter!  Perfect for someone like me, who cowers in the presence of small talk.

As I was ‘dressing’ my two year this morning, which is more accurately comparable to wrestling a wild boar into human clothing, I was wondering how those moms who seem like they have so much substance in their life manage it all.  I know, I know…DEADLY, FUTILE, and USELESS to compare yourself to someone else when you don’t really have any idea what their life or inner chaos is like.  But we still do it.  I still do it all the time.

Like, the person I’m most perplexed and fascinated by, Joanna Gaines from Fixer Upper.  I’ve mentioned her before as an inspiration for giving me the guts to take on our version of a fixer upper.  From the outside, she seems to have it all…as a mind boggling talented designer, with a thriving business (including a store, home renovation for clients, a TV show, a blog, furniture line, paint line, an inn, a bakery, and a book), a loving husband, FOUR beautiful children, a farm (with a huge garden and livestock), gorgeous home they, of course, did themselves, a speaker, a passionate Christian who shares her testimony.  Blah, blah, blah…I know its’ sickening! 😉  How does she do it?!  It seriously blows my mind.  When I found out she and her husband have a book coming out, I threw my hands up in the air, ‘That’s it,’  I thought… ‘I give up!’  (Since I’ve been working on my own book for what seems like an eternity!)

*******

Our to-do lists, I feel, are very very different.  On my to-do list today:  finally pick up that sock that’s been hanging out in the hallway in the same spot for 9 days.  On her to-do list: design and launch her own line of family friendly cars and SUV’s.

*******

Theodore Roosevelt – “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

I can even do the comparing game with people and moms I know personally…amazed at what they are able to accomplish and how they seem to have it all together.  But, it’s so dangerous and pointless to go there.  I know it is.  For me, if I really focus on the things that I personally hold as most important to me…then, the answer gets clear as crystal…the joy in my life shines through.  Wrestling my two year old into his clothes that he is quickly growing out of is exactly where I want to be.  And I couldn’t trade the everyday I get with my little ones, before I lose them forever to the daily grind of school and after school activities and friends and their own lives separate from me.  Not a chance.  But I still wonder… could I do, could I be, should I give up, should I trade it in?    And I can’t possibly compare my life, comprised of the things I personally hold most important to me, to someone else’s who holds different things as most important to them.  Doing that can only create this unfair, unbalanced comparative in a false reality…painting myself as the one without or lacking…when, in truth, when I compare me to me, I am full and complete and accomplished in exactly who I want to be!

And what I’ve come to discover is, as mom’s…no matter who we are, we are always second guessing.  I met with a dear friend a couple weeks ago, who, from my perspective, has it all.  A fascinating career, loving husband, great house, and a super cute wee one. Talking with her helped me realize that us mom’s always wonder, is this the best way?  Am I doing it right?  Am I messing up and don’t even realize it?  Should I be doing something differently?  She told me she had recently read something that seemed to promote a style of parenting (of being a mom) that was the exact opposite of what she was doing and she was worried that her way was “wrong”.

But there’s that dangerous unbalanced comparative game again.  She was wondering if she’s doing it “wrong” because this other mom was making different choices than hers.  For my friend, when she really examined what was important to her, the answer became crystal clear also.  The choices she made for her own family and style of parenting perfectly suited the life she wanted to build and furthermore contributed to being the kind of mom she wanted to be for her lil one.  AWESOME.  Me too!  I know that if I added anything more to my busy life of boys right now…I would be tipping the scale into complete unmanageability and a tipped scalepossible extended stay at a mental care facility. 😉  I have all I want, all I can handle, all I want to balance….ALL of which is a great blessing to me and my life as a mom! (That, my friends, is knowing your right foot from you left!)

Galatians 6:4-5 Each of you must examine your own actions. Then you can be proud of your own accomplishments without comparing yourself to others.  Assume your own responsibility.

I encourage you to ask yourself the same kinds of questions.  What is important to you, what kind of life do you want to build, what kind of mom do you want to be?  Once those are answered, the path to get there or the realization you’re already there, will become clear as crystal and the balancing act will seem less of an act…more of an action.

I am too busy to be any more busy than I already am!  So, I’m happy to hold off on the store, and the home renovating business, and the TV show, and the furniture line/paint line, and the bakery, and the inn, and the farm, and the garden, and the speaking engagements, and even the book for now. ;)…  I’ll keep the blog though!

Til’ next time, be blessed!
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Do As I Say, Not As I Do

So, ya, I can talk the talk, but can I walk the walk?  Actually doing the things that help create that small town vibe, extending God’s love with abandon…where you go out of your way to know your neighbors and the needs around you?!  Well, if you take one day last week as the only sample in answering this question,  then the answer would be a BIG FAT NO! 😦

I decided to get an early start on one of my first days at my new job and decided to coffee splurge at Starbucks.  (Aaaaaaahhhh…Starbucks!  This is a special treat for me!)  The sun was shining; it was a bright, clear day.  It was chilly, but you could see the sunshine warming the faces of the people who were sitting outside with their coffee treats.  When I entered the store, it felt as though the place was buzzing with positivity.  For me, the mere act of getting my morning coffee seems to say, ‘ok, this is going to be a good day.’  Everyone in there just seemed so happy and chipper, which put me in a good mood and excited for my day as well.

After I made my way through the line and ordered my vente non-fat latte with 4 raw sugars (in case anyone wants to surprise me with one! 😉 ) I took a spot by the window and leaned against the counter top while I waited with anticipation for my order to be announced as ready.  I took this time, as I often do, to scope out the room and do a little people watching.  As I scanned, I came across a visual in stark contrast to the rest of the room who were all dressed in North Face jackets, new, shiny purses, and Sorel boots.  She sat just across from me in a chair, snoozing, while guarding her cart piled with plastic shopping bags, probably filled with indispensable life essentials.  She wore an old, over sized, army green winter coat, a tattered wool hat and gloves with a couple of the fingers missing.  While the whole room flitted around her in an excited buzz, she calmly slept , oblivious to all the commotion around her.

My heart started beating faster as I tried to think of what I should do to help her out in some way.  On the table next to her, I noticed there was Starbucks nothing.  There was a styrofoam plate, an empty Dunkin’ Donuts cup and a crumpled up napkin.  I’m just guessing, but I think she just went in there for the nap…I assumed.  So, I started thinking of ideas.  Should I buy her a Starbucks gift card and just leave it next to her by her pile of trash?  But, would she see it?  Would she know it was for her?  I thought about buying a pastry or something and leaving it on her plate.  But what if that wasn’t actually her plate afterall?  What if she didn’t gather her trash to see it before she left?  There was a man sitting across her reading a newspaper who looked like he was planning on being there for a while.  Should I buy the gift card and ask this guy to give it to her when she woke up?  But what if he wanted to leave before she woke up?  Or would this guy even make sure she got it at all?  Or was that asking too much of a complete stranger?

As these possibilities and ‘what ifs’ swirled through my brain, my order was called.  I almost forgot I was waiting for the coffee and it caught me by surprise.  It was go time.  What was I to do?  How was I going to use my resources to help a neighbor, right in my midsts?  Answer: NOTHING!  I took my $900 latte and left!!!  I figured none of the possible solutions were suitable and hoped I might see her there again some time.

Mother Teresa helping qoute

I was not satisfied with my non-solution after coming face to face with someone in real need.  So, you might think that when I got a second chance later that day, I might have done something differently to actually help in some small way.  You would be wrong!…Unfortunatley!

A short while after arriving to work, my new boss and close friend, Gina, asked if I would run down to CVS to get a few things for the restaurant.  Since I’m always happy to experience running an errand without the 10 minute unbuckling, gathering of supply’s, pep talk to the wee ones routine, I said of course!

Once I arrived for my errand, I quickly located the things I needed and headed to check out.  I took my place behind a woman who was waiting behind a pile of stuff, while leaving space for an imaginary person.  She was looking around expectantly, so I joined in on the looking around game, trying to spot the person we were waiting for.

From directly behind me, I heard the raspiest, roughest, most strained voice I’d heard since my Papa Jack was alive. (My mom’s dad)  Papa Jack had surgery on his throat from cancer and too many cigars; he never sounded the same again.   I turned around, following the sound, to see a miniature elderly woman hobbling down the isle.  She had on those Adidas athletic slide in sandals with no socks despite the 40 degrees outside, pajama pants with a giant ripped hole in front and the side revealing her entire undergarment, and a zip up hoodie.  As she teetered toward the register, it was obvious there something wrong with her foot or a leg or a hip as she lobbed from side to side, purposefully switching her body weight as she went. “Do I have enough?”  She tried to hollar, but a hollow scratchy whisper floated into the air instead, barely reaching the distance she intended.  I looked back to the register to see the pile of items accompanied by a crumbled pile of dollars as well.  She went as fast as she could through the stares from most of the people waiting to purchase their selections.  When she reached the woman behind the register, she repeated her question.  “Do I have enough?”  As she added more to the pile.  The clerk said, “No, I’m sorry, you don’t have enough money here.”  The poor woman started going through her essentials which included things like, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotion, nail polish remover, putting aside the things she thought she could do without.

My heart is breaking telling you this, and I’m sure you probably guessed, that I, again, did NOTHING!  The possibilities of what I could do, again, swirled through my head as I weighed each one, against stepping up in this crowd that had now gathered waiting for their turns.  I worried if she even wanted the help or not and how stupid I would feel if I offered to pay and she told me she didn’t need any charity or shut me down in some way.  (I feel stupid for sure now!)  I let the opportunity slide right by.  It happened so fast in slow motion.  I should have just stepped up, added my things to her pile, and said, “I’d like to take care of this.”  But I didn’t.

As Ellen DeGeneres says…and DOES btw:

“I stand for honesty, equality, kindness, compassion, treating people the way you want to be treated, and helping those in need.  To me, those are traditional values.”

I do too Ellen!!!…Believe it or not!

Now, I know the kind of help I could have given would not be life changing for them and in no way would have had a real affect on their current situation…but it would have been something!!  A gesture, a small boost, an example, showing that someone saw them and cared.  God could have put these people in my path on purpose or they could have been there just by pure circumstance.  Either way, it was a complete FAIL.  I totally blew an opportunity to show God’s love through my actions.  Acts 20-:35 says, “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

What will I do the next time I’m presented opportunities like these?  Will I act and just be kind, helping someone in need?   Or will I back down from the blessing of giving?  I pray this day will be on automatic recall and serve as a force of motion, reminding me to act in love first…think later.

Til’ next time, be blessed!
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