being a mom and wife, being real, Christian, encouragement, God's Plan, grateful, love, memories, slowing down

Family is not always about Blood

Mr. Webster defines family as such

The first thing most of us think of when we hear the word family is those people related to us by blood or marriage. The people we live with. The people we grew up with in the same house. The crazy uncle or cousin that always wanted to pick at you at family gatherings. I know most of us have those and if you don’t you are truly missing out (not really).

But family can be so much more than blood and marriage and crazy relatives. Family can also be those friends that you still have after 40 years that you don’t see very often. You are both busy with life and kids and taking care of business that getting together and hanging out just isn’t a great option. But they are still your family because no matter how far apart you are geographically or no matter how much time it’s been since you saw each other or talked to each other you can pick up right where you left off and still talk about anything and everything. Still share your deepest secrets and fondest memories. They are your PEOPLE. Your family. These are the people whose family is your family because they love you like their own and you love them like your own “blood” family. You walk in their house and look in their fridge cause it’s like home. You never leave them without a hug and an “I love you” much like you do when you leave your own Momma’s house and they do the same when they come to your momma’s house. You know every room in their house and they know yours too. Even now, 40 years later, you could go there and see reminders of your childhood, reminders of yourself. A ceramic duck that she keeps in her room which was a birthday present that you got here forever ago and even though it was something you weren’t, at the time, excited about giving because you forgot to tell your mom about the party and it was the only thing in town that you could find last minute. But she always had it sitting in her room even years later when you both were Mommas of your own. Means the world.

This is Your People. And though I can’t say what the future holds I venture to guess that they will be in your heart and soul until your heart stops beating. ❤️

encouragement

Rerouting

On my way to work yesterday before light and in the pouring rain I came around a curve and there across both lanes in the road was a fallen tree. It was completely blocking the road and there was no way to get around it. Thankfully I have a small compact car and I just turned around in the middle of the road and REROUTED. Grateful for more than one way to get where I was going. This scenario reminds me that life is not always a straight easy road. It is sometimes dark rainy and the way you want or plan to go is completely blocked.

Around this time of year every year I am also reminded that my life did not take the road I had originally planned (spoiler alert: it NEVER does). I am reminded that my little wonderful family is not the textbook picket fence that I had planned as a young girl. This is not to say that I’m not completely and utterly happy and content with my current situation. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in my life than right where I am at this very moment. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t have to travel to get here in the dark, in the cold , in the pouring down rain just to get to a point in the metaphoric road where there was a big old metaphoric tree blocking my way. Let’s just say the concept of rerouting is not foreign to me.

Some of these so-called road blocks I totally put there myself and some were just dropped right there without me having anything to do with it. The moral of this story is…you come to a big old tree in the road…guess what you do?? You grumble if you need too but then you REROUTE. I know that all sounds so easy. Just go another way. Yep because that way is not your way to go. The New route may be uphill and rocky and it may be slippery and really really long but it’s getting you where you need to go. Where God has a plan for you to go. He put that tree in your way for a reason!! So embrace the new route whatever it may be because the destination is right where you need to go. Even if you didn’t know that was where you were going and when you get there you will find that you are content and happy and that old tree never really bothered you at all.

Merry Christmas my friends and enjoy the ROUTE!! Even if it’s a detour! ❤️

being a mom and wife, being real, Christian, christmas memories, encouragement, Food, grateful, love, memories, slowing down

Taste and Smell

It’s funny how the slightest scent can bring back such memories.  Taste and smell can recall feelings in your mind, heart and body that you have long forgotten.  Most of these involve food but some are just the smell of people and places and things that make you think of that certain someone.  Doublemint gum…I always think of my Pawpa.  He would always keep a pack in his pocket and give all us grandkids a piece.  He and my Granny didn’t have much at all but he always had that gum handy.  Safeguard Soap… (they have it in the Kroger restroom, just in case you needed to know) it makes me think of their little trailer that we all loved and piled into every Thanksgiving and Christmas when I was a little girl.  It was hot as thirty hells but we loved them and loved being there.  The smell of dressing. Oh my Granny’s dressing was the very best and we loved to “test” it to see if it needed anything else.  She always, always said it needed more sage. Makes me smile as I read this. Petunias…She grew these every year in every corner and spot on the front porch.  They were always beautiful and smelled and looked amazing.  Apricot Salad…Simple dish with cream cheese and apricot jello.  One of my Dad’s sisters would make it every year and in the same clear/opaque Tupperware brand dish.  Years and years…same dish in the same container.  Fried Chicken….My Granny would take a knife with a blade that wasn’t even two inches long with a plastic handle and cut us a whole chicken and fry it.  Now if there is ever a taste of heaven that was it.  I still wish that I had tried to learn her recipes years ago and how to cut up that dang chicken.  She never bought a package of thighs or legs. NEVER EVER was a package of boneless skinless chicken breast ever brought into that little trailer in the country.  AquaNet….My Granny had the typical old lady gray hair helmet.  I don’t ever remember her going to the hair salon but she always had a perm and when you hugged her all you could smell was her hairspray.  Some of the other favorite memories were the nutcrackers and bowl.  She had a bowl that looked like a hollowed out slice of a tree, bark and all on the outside and the inside was always full of nuts and a silver nutcracker.  Every Christmas that would be set out.  More traditional that the Christmas Tree

My grandparents had very little.  My Granny never had a drivers license and my Pawpa took her everywhere she needed to go.  They were happy even with a hard life.  They both worked hard.  He worked at the factory in town and he could fix anything you had mechanical that could break.  She could cook like a well studied chef and she could quilt and crochet anything that you could imagine.  She had a green thumb that I am thankful to have inherited a slight bit.  Everything she touched grew and prospered and she and my Pawpa always had such a beautiful garden.  She canned and froze food for the winter and that chicken trick deserves to be mentioned again.

I miss them all that time and I’m disappointed that my kids did not get the pleasure of meeting them and loving them like my cousins and I did.  They have both since passed on and their little place in the country is occupied by a different family.

Taste and Smells can bring back so many memories.  Savor them when they do.  Remember the people, places, food.. whatever those smells bring back take a minute to conjure up those memories and keep them close to you heart to tell to your grandkids.

 

 

encouragement

Enjoy the Ride: Part 2

Ok, I guess I wasn’t quite finished talking about enjoying the ride.  Last night my three youngest and my husband and I traveled in the car for over 2 hours to have dinner with our oldest on his 21st birthday.  Talk about enjoying the ride.  I actually drove up there and let’s just say the rest were not a fan of the driver.  But anyway,  we enjoyed each other. We talked. We laughed a lot. And we had wonderful food to celebrate. We are a foodie family.  Food snobs as I like to put it.  We like food but we like good food.  That being said we took from each other’s plates and put our food on the other’s plate.  We tasted and savored every bite and all while enjoying each other’s company.  We are a blended family.  The two youngest belong to me and the two oldest belong to my husband. But in the end we all belong to each other.  We are blended and stirred up and kneaded and simmered all together.  We are all a part of each other even if we didn’t start out that way.  But most of all we enjoy the ride together.

On the way home we stopped for Starbucks and then headed on back to the house.  After all the caffeine we were a lively bunch, myself probably the worst.  We sang and danced and played the music loud.  We laughed and told stories and made funny voices.  All in all we enjoyed the ride.  We are family and we can be silly and crazy and little goofy.  It’s who we are.  We try to enjoy the ride every day we can still ride.  My babies will all be gone in less than 5 years and I won’t say the ride will be over but it sure will be a lot less interesting but until then we will ENJOY THE RIDE.

being a mom and wife, being real, Christian, encouragement, grateful, love, slowing down

Enjoy the Ride

Y’all I’m in the car a lot. I drive an hour one way to work three days a week. Yep at least 6 hours in the car just to go to work.  That doesn’t even touch the time I’m in there driving the kids to school and back and practice and games.  You get the idea.  But here is the thing I have learned about being in the car so much. You have to ENJOY THE RIDE.  Everyone is so busy these days. Running here and there. Hustle and bustle.  Always on the go. But we have to remember to enjoy the ride.  I have teenagers now and if you know anything about teenagers you will know that they like to be left alone.  They spend a lot of time in their rooms and on their phones.  But the time that I am in the car with them. They are MINE. Almost like a hostage situation.  (kidding, not really) But it is a time that I can talk to them and ask them questions.  They are a captive audience, and well so am I.  They play their music (that’s where the hostage situation thing comes in, and you thought I was talking about them). So I get to listen to their music.  They tell me stories about their friends and what is going on at school or with their team.  I cherish these moments.. yes even the music, God forbid.  They are only going to be with me for a very short time and I am reminded of this daily.  I want to soak up as much as I can while I can.  On the other days when I’m in the car by myself I still ENJOY THE RIDE.  I look at the beautiful world that God has given us.  Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter.  We can always find beauty in nature.  I also use this “ride” to listen to encouraging words and music.  I have just recently discovered podcasts and I am addicted to them.  I listen to them everyday and when I exhaust all the ones that I subscribe to then I start listening to music.  I prefer contemporary Christian music but whatever calms you or lifts your spirits remember to enjoy the ride.  I know everyone is so busy like I said earlier and some are at different stages of life and the music is from the latest Disney movie.  Trust me is was just like two days ago that I was in that driver’s seat.  (it is perfectly normal to sing the song in the car long after your kids are dropped off at daycare…perfectly normal..scientifically proven, trust me on this one)  But also enjoy the ride because in two days you will have teenagers like mine and the songs change…THEY CHANGE A LOT!!

I also have a time that I drive my sweet 87 year old grandpa to the doctor.  No music…even though every time I get in his car he has XM radio blaring with Elvis Radio.  He is cool like that.  We drive about an hour to the doctor with no radio.  We talk and laugh and he tells stories and I tell stories.  I realize my time with him is short.  I try to soak up every single word. Every single smile. Every single laugh.  We ENJOY THE RIDE.

So I encourage each of you to ENJOY THE RIDE. Whatever that looks like for you, take my word for it.  It will change very soon.  ENJOY the RIDE in every season and aspect of your life.  It will be short lived but the memories that you have of the RIDE are PRICELESS.

 

being a mom and wife, being real, Christian, encouragement, grateful, love

Being vs. Doing

I was watching a video last night on Facebook and it had a very interesting message.  It had about five beautiful older ladies and they were basically talking about the concept of “if I knew then what I know now”.  The common theme with each of them was the following:  BEING vs. DOING.  This really got me thinking.  Are you doing the things you do or are you being who God wants you to be?  Are you doing all the things that society thinks or says you should do or are you being the person God has truly designed you to be?  Are you doing things or are you PRESENT and being the things? This wisdom is so good.  So many times we go through the motions of doing the things that make our lives look so wonderful on the outside that we forget to just be who we are.  We polish up the outside…clean the house, clean the kids, drive the cars, post the beautiful things that are going on in our lives that we forget to actual do the living. TO BE. It goes back to the saying about how at your funeral you really don’t want people to think of you as the lady with the clean house,  the lady with the clean kids.  You get what I’m saying?  We get caught up in what the world wants to see, expects to see and hear from us that we forget to actually enjoy the moments we live.  Enjoy the yuckness (that is a word, it has to be) because that’s what we all have.  SPOILER ALERT: Life is not all rainbows and sunshine and unicorns.  It’s tough sometimes and it is truly messy sometimes under all that polish no matter who you are and what you are going through.  We like to sugar coat it for everyone else.  We like to DO the right things to make everything seem just wonderful.  Wouldn’t it be a cool idea if we were just really honest and transparent?  If we stopped DOING and started BEING who we really were.  Let people see the mess.  You know, the mess you are but GOD still loves you.  The unorganized ball of craziness that you really are but GOD loves you right in the middle of it.  Don’t get me wrong there are times when I feel like I pretty much have all my ducks in a row.  Yeah it lasts about 8 minutes at the most.  Kind of like a bull ride.  If I can make it those 8 minutes I feel like a winner.  People need to know that it’s perfectly alright to not have it all together, to be a mess.  God loves us in all seasons.  He loves us best in our mess! (that totally needs to be a on a shirt!!) (I’m a t-shirt-with-cool-thought-provoking-sayings junkie) He does his best work when we are mess.  So I say BE instead of DO. It’s TRUTH. It’s FREEDOM. Be in the moment and love the life you live even if you haven’t polished it in a few days.

 

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weaknes.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

2 Corinthians 12:9

being a mom and wife, Christian, encouragement, grateful, love

Going Postal

I have never really understood that term.  Don’t get me wrong I know where is comes from but I just don’t have the same experience with “postal” as many do.  Growing up in my little bitty town my grandmother was the front window clerk at the post office.  She worked there for over 35 years.  She once filed her papers for retirement but then decided that she didn’t want to leave.  So my “postal” experience was much different.  My mom and grandpa would take me there to visit and I would sit on the high counter.  I really thought I was something special and the people there did too.  She was stamp my hand with “Fragile” or Special Delivery” in the bright red ink and everyone was sure to see how special I was.  My grandmother was known my so many in the town.  This was all before internet and email and on-line shopping and bill pay and such.  You went to the post office and you mailed your bills and picked up your mail.  She would always buy for the me the newest and neatest stamps that came out.  She always wore this rubber fingertip things on her thumb and forefinger.  I am only to assume that they help sift and shuffle the mail without the worry of a paper cut.  She was “postal” to me.

I have visited a few more post offices since she passed away and I still get the same feeling of nostalgia every single time, no matter what I’m there to do.  I have mail packages and picked up packages and bought stamps.  Every single time I am there and I have contact with the clerk I see my grandmother in them.  I see it in their smile. I see it in their continuous, no matter where I am, willingness to help.  They all have a smile on their faces and always greeting people and asking them about their families.  I see her in each one.  Just the other day I had to mail a package.  I went to a post office that I had never been before.  When I got to the counter the lady helping me had on those same rubber finger covers.  It hit me hard.  It was like she was right there with me.  I almost asked her if she would stamp my hand. (Kidding) But it did take me back and remind me so much of the lady that everyone adored in town.  I was always proud to tell someone that I was her granddaughter.

So every time I have to go the post office in whatever town I’m in I always remember that “going postal” is really so much different to me than the intended use. “Going Postal” is about stamps on the hand, about a little girl sitting on the high counter like a princess, about the rubber finger things, about new stamps, and about a grandmother that I loved and miss everyday.