Monday, March 29, 2010


As I have continued to go through things in my garage, I have found all sorts of things that I have kept through the years.  I have found all sorts of things from my early childhood through my first few years of teaching--still my childhood in so many ways.

I have relived a lot of memories, but at the same time I have also wondered time and time again, "Why did I keep all this stuff?"  There are so many things that I really have no clue why I kept.

During my prayer time before bed last night, it hit me. 

I kept these things so that I could find them again now.  It is now that I needed to see these things to give me a glimpse into the person I once was.  I needed to see these things, touch these things, so that I begin to answer questions about my life as it is now.

I have a different perspective on my life today than I did on Friday and I am grateful.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

One man's trash is another man's treasure

I continue to work on my 40 bags in 40 days, with Easter only a week away.  We moved into our house in December and until this weekend I haven't been able to park in my garage.  I, like most Americans, can't believe the stuff that I moved.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I used to be a bit of hoarder and it became clear the results of my former habits are still following me.  Thankfully we have a great Freecycle group for the metro Atlanta area.

I have freecycled the following things this weekend:
  • A computer desk.  (Great desk, but I didn't need it in our new place.)
  • A crate full of car cleaning supplies (I don't wash cars.  Not to mentions, it better for the environment to go to a car wash.  The water at car washes is recycled and you don't have to worry about chemicals entering the water system.  It also saves on your water bill.)
  • Two paper grocery bags of incandescent light bulbs.  (I have moved to florescent in almost every light fixture in the house.)
  • Two boxes of cleaning supplies.  (We are slowly moving to having a chemical free household.  I do worry about having all those chemicals around with a one year old in the house.)
Fifty percent of it is picked up already and I can't wait for the rest of it to be picked up.

If you aren't already familiar with Freecycle, check it out.  It is a wonderful way for your old stuff to find new life.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


I recently hit the local consignment sales to outfit my son for spring, summer, and, because we live in Atlanta, fall.  I got all kinds of cute, useful things for him.  Everything has been washed and is in the process of being hung in his closet. 

It is only as I began to hang everything up that I realized how overboard I went.  I am afraid that I won't be able to fit it all in his closet.  There is no way that he needs all he has.  I doubt he will be able to wear everything he has.  I had no idea that I had gotten so much stuff.

What is done is done for now, but when we move back into winter clothes I will stick to a list.  I am thinking...
  • seven bottoms:  a combination of cords, jeans, khakis, sweatpants
  • twelve tops:  a combination of sweaters, button down shirts, sweatshirts, long sleeve t-shirts
  • twelve pairs of socks:  five pairs of "church" socks and seven pairs of athletic socks
  • three pairs of pajamas:  footie pajamas, of course
This is pretty much what he has now and it has worked well.  I still can't believe I went so overboard on clothes.  I am embarrassed, but I have learned my lesson and have a plan for next time. 

Now, if I can just create the same type of list for my own clothes.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Pink eye and quality time

Little man has pink eye--again.  I have decided that this is what happens when he gets a cold.  He gets congested and then gets pink eye.  This is the second time this school year. 

I started drops (leftover from last time) last night because I am well aware of the--must be on drops for 24 hours before he can return to child care--rule.  And I refuse to be THAT mom.  You know, the mom who brings her child to school sick even though she knows she shouldn't and doesn't care that her child may (most likely will) infect all the other children.

The great part is that we got to spend the day together and I got to pretend, if even just for a little while, that I was a stay at home mom.

We went to the doctor and then I did have to go to school for one meeting.  Thankfully my assistant watched little man while I was in my meeting.  The Parents' Club at school were hosting a luncheon for all the faculty and staff, which meant that I got to have a great lunch and it gave everyone a chance to see little man.  Little man was the center of attention and I got to sit and eat a meal.  The moms insisted that I sit down and eat, while they took care of little man.  I am so blessed!

As I was leaving I saw a colleague of mine, a religion teacher.  He stopped me and told me that since I had little man I have just blossomed.  He told me that is wonderful to see this other side of me and that it is beautiful.  Thank you, Lord!  Apparently I am doing alright.

We came home.  I fed little man lunch. We played. We napped.  We ran an errand.  We played some more.  It was such a great day!

Is it weird to consider pink eye a gift?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Trying to accept life as it is

I never expected that my life would turn out the way it has. I had dreams, I had a plan, and I did all that I could to make it happen. Then I realized that I can only control so much, the rest is how I react to what happens to me.

Through no fault of my own I had a difficult childhood. Not super hard, but not super easy. A cake walk compared to some, but treacherous compared to others. I think I handled it mostly in stride, but I honestly thought that the hard part of my life was behind me. I was sure that because I had a tough go of things when I was young, God would grant me good things from then on. I was sure my life had nowhere to go but up.

Achievement and success have followed me in my professional life due primarily to hard work, but also because, in certain instances, I have been in the right place at the right time. I am very blessed and very thankful.

My personal life is a different story. I am constantly striving for achievement and success in my personal life. Personally I never feel good enough and I am always striving for acceptance.

I so wanted the perfect family. I know this has always been important to me because my family was so far from perfect. I wanted a husband who would take care of me in a way that my father never could. I wanted affection that my mother could never give me. I wanted to have children of my own to care for and love in a way that I wish I had been cared for and loved.

I married a man that I thought could be these things for me. I found out that, through no fault of his own, he has a difficult time taking care of himself, much less a family. I do love him and care very much for him, but a traditional family we can never be.

I am grieving this loss of my idea of the perfect family and trying to come to terms with my new title. My role hasn’t changed, only my title. New title—single mother.

Being a single mother seems to put you in a different class. You can see the pity in people’s faces when they find out. You can feel people emotionally back away from you. It is like you have a disease they may catch and they don’t want to be around you because of it.

It makes me hesitant to tell people.

Am I embarrassed about being a single mother? I don’t know the answer to that question.

Am I sad about being a single mother? Yes, because I so wanted to have the perfect family.

Would it have been worth it to stay in an unhealthy marriage, so that I could pretend that I had that happy family? No. It wouldn’t have been the right thing for me or my son. It was an extremely unhealthy situation and did not want my son to grow up in that type of environment.

Are things perfect now? Not by any means. I am figuring it out day by day. I know I can’t be all things and all people to my son and I have no intention of being. It does take a village to raise a child and I thankfully live in a wonderful village.

And thankfully my son’s dad and I get along great. We still care very much about one another. We do things as a family and he is a big part of my son’s life, as well as mine. It is just that our family isn’t traditional.

A dear friend of mine asked me today how my husband was doing. She has been by my side through it all and knows we are divorced, but she also knows that in so many ways we are still married. Does this make it easier or more difficult? I don’t know.

What I do know is that I want to be the best person that I can be in all areas of my life. More specifically, I want to be the best mother I can be. I don’t want to give my son the best life, but I want to prepare him to live the best life he can live.

I am just at the beginning of this journey called real life. It may not always be perfect. It may not always be pretty. But it is real and it is mine. As my mother always said, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

Right now I have more questions than answers. What is the ratio of lemons to sugar? How many quarts of water will I need? I probably always will always have more questions than answers, but with God guiding me, I know the lemonade will turn out just fine.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


My son, who is one, wakes up at the exactly the same time every morning. It is uncanny.

Although I know exactly what time he is going to wake up, I can’t seem to get myself out of bed in time enough to get a shower and get myself ready before he wakes up.

He wakes up at 5:20. I usually get to him by 5:30 or so.

I love to go into his room and see his face light up when he sees me. I love to pick him up and feel him snuggle up close to me. I love to let him leisurely nurse—yes, I am still nursing. I love to sing the good morning song to him and play with him for a few minutes on his bed.

The time is fleeting and I know I have to get him dressed for the day, feed him breakfast, pack his lunch and in less than an hour we will be out the door to deal with the business of the day, but

There is nothing like those first moments of the morning.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

2010 Census

I have filled out my 2010 Census form. Have you?

I can't express how important it is to participate in the Census. It takes such little time. I opened the envelope, filled out the form, and had it back in the postage paid return envelope within five minutes.

I know it is just one more piece of mail to deal with, but take the time to go ahead and do it. It will be one less thing for you to worry about and, in the end, the results benefit you, your family and your neighborhood.

So, if you haven't participated in the 2010 Census, what are you waiting for?

Monday, March 15, 2010


As I continue to try to simplify my life and fill up my 40 bags in 40 days, I realize that, although we are conditioned to think differently, in most cases, one of any item is enough.

I recently moved.  Before I moved I pared down a lot of what I had. I now have one set of pots and pans and one set of dishes.

I thought that I needed a new set of glasses for the new house. I bought a set, but took them back. I don’t need a set of 16 glasses, not to mention I have a one year old who is years away from using a glass.

I have more space in my cabinets. It is easier to find things. I have not once wished that I had a multiple of any item that I got rid of.

I will and need to continue to pare down in other areas.

Even though I have gotten rid of tons of make-up I still have more that I never use or is outdated. Do I really need multiple tubes of mascara, when I only use that one (if any at all)? The same goes for hair products, body lotions, and bath products.

It is hard for me to get rid of things because I can’t help but think of the money I spent on the stuff in the first place. I then ask myself, “Which is more important money or quality of life?” The answer to that is simple and simple is what I am striving for.

Conscious living choice: One is enough.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Everyday Angels

I had to go pick up some groceries from Trader Joe's today. We went right after church and my son fell asleep in the car. I had no intention of waking him up, but I was wishing that I had someone to stay in the car. I knew that could have been in and out of there in no time if I had someone to stay with him.

I read the church bulletin. I listened to my favorite XM channel—The Coffeehouse (51). I tried to enjoy the moment of peace and quiet, but I wasn't having very much luck.

I realized that I had my camera with me (which I always try to do) and decided it would be a perfect time to take some precious sleeping baby pictures. Okay, honestly, I was thinking that when I opened the back door to the car that little man would wake up.

He didn't wake up, but I did get some great pictures.

Little man took off one of his shoes during the children's liturgy at Mass. This is not uncommon. He always, always takes his left shoe off. I don't bother putting it back on because I know that as soon as I do, he will have it back off.

He did wake up a few minutes later and we headed into Trader Joe's. There was a super nice woman who asked if she could help me find anything. Yes. She helped me find exactly what I needed. I browsed around some more and then we headed for the checkout line.

The man who checked us out was an angel. Truly, an angel. The first thing he said to us was, "Hello, little family." It brings tears to my eyes as I think about it now. Yes, thank you, Lord, that is exactly what we are, a little family—him and me.

God puts all kinds of people in our lives. Each person is put in our lives for a reason—even if the person is only in our lives for a moment.

Thank you, Lord, for the angels that are in our everyday lives.  Help me be an angel to others.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Getting rid of excess baggage

Sarah, at Clover Lane, is getting rid of 40 bags of stuff during the 40 days of Lent. Her system of purging in a lot more organized, but I stole the main idea and I too am getting rid of 40 bags of stuff before Easter.

What I am finding is that while physically not having the excess stuff around feels good, emotionally getting rid of the stuff is liberating. I have been amazed at how emotionally draining things, items, objects can be. I never realized that certain items in my house held such emotional energy, until I got rid of them. Wow! Really the feeling is indescribable.

I used to be a bit of hoarder—an organized hoarder, but a hoarder nonetheless. I would see something on sale and buy multiple of the item with the rationale that it was a great deal and that I was sure I would need it one day. I always wanted to be prepared. And prepared I was.

But what I came to realize is that I never really used half of what I had bought, if I used any of it at all. I felt guilty that this stuff was sitting around and I wasn’t using it. So, I gave myself permission to quit my habit of stocking up and finally gave myself permission to start getting rid of what I wasn’t using.

(Full disclosure—I still buy the following items from Costco: toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, paper towels, tissue, toilet paper, soap. These are things that I don’t want to run out of and do use every day.)

To help myself refrain from stocking up, I had to make some lifestyle changes.

I no longer read the ads. Do I miss some good sales? Sure, but I am willing to pay a little more for exactly what I need when I need it. I have found that in the long run it actually saves me money.

I skip the dollar store and the dollar section at Target. The stuff is great, but I really don’t need any of it. For example, I recently saw a great deal on some note cards in the dollar section at Target. I was tempted, but then I remembered that I just ordered a set of monogrammed correspondence cards for all my correspondence needs. The correspondence cards were more expensive, but I enjoy them. They also came in a set of 50, so I don’t need to worry about running out anytime soon.

I don’t make impulse purchases. I found that things I buy on impulse are the things that I am usually least happy with. These impulse purchases sit around the house and never really get used. I have a 24 hour rule. I wait for 24 hours to pass to see if I still really want the item. Most times, I find that I don’t. If I still am not 100% sure if I want it or not, I wait another 24 hours. I know this seems extreme to some, but it works for me.

Conscious living choice: Get rid of the excess. It doesn’t matter if it was one dollar, one hundred dollars or one thousand dollars. If I don’t need it and I am not using it, I need to free myself from it physically and emotionally.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Goals, Re-evaluated

Recently I have gotten into the habit of letting life happen to me, rather than being in control of my life. Now, I don't mean that I am trying to control every little aspect of my life. What I mean is that I have not been good at making conscious decisions about my life.

I have always been a firm believer in goals. I believe that goal setting is essential. Yes, life is about the journey, not the destination, but do you want to choose what road to take or do you want to wander aimlessly? Goals help you determine the path you will take.

Lately (read: now) I have been feeling extremely overwhelmed. I don’t feel that I am able to accomplish anything in any part of my life: home, work, personal development, relationships. I feel like I am floundering in a way that I never have before and today I realized that it is because I am letting life happen to me, rather than making conscious decisions about my life.

Every minute of every day we each face a small fork in the road. The one we choose is our life. The one we don’t choose is no longer an option. We don’t end up where we are in life because of one great big decision, but because of a million small decisions.

Because I have not made conscious decisions about the small things, I now feel like I am spinning my wheels. I am overwhelmed. I am floundering.

Enter, goals.

It has been too long since I have really re-evaluted the goals that I have for my life. I have been putting a million other things before taking care of me. I have reached that point where I am not as good at taking care of the people and responsibilities in my life as I could or should be, because I am not taking care of myself.

It is time for me to really look at my life, re-evaluate my goals, and determine what I want my life to look like. I won’t get there, if I don’t know where I am going. I realize that road I am getting ready to go down is not an easy one, but with God at my side, I am ready for the challenge. 

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Story Behind the Picture

I have been drooling over a fancy, super-expensive camera, while taking a zillion shots with my point and shoot and not being happy with any of them.

For some reason the lens cap did not open all the way on my point and shoot when I went to take a picture earlier this week. I started to freak out a bit, but thankfully I was able to turn the camera off and then back on again and the camera fixed itself.

When I downloaded the pictures, the picture in my header was the first picture on the card. In my opinion, it couldn't be a more perfect shot.

It is a wonderful reminder that I am good enough just the way I am, with just the things I have. I didn’t need a fancy, super-expensive camera to get this shot. As a matter of fact, I never would have achieved this shot with that type of camera.

It is a wonderful reminder to look at life from a different perspective. I am able to focus on things that I haven’t been able to focus on before because of the perspective of this picture. You can’t see little man's face, but you can see how he crosses his feet. How many pictures have I taken where his feet have been crossed just as they so often are and I have completely overlooked that part of the picture because it was not the focus?

It is a wonderful reminder that we never really have the full story. There is more to every story, just as there is more to this picture, even though we can’t see it. Only God has the full story. God is constantly trying to talk to us and fill more of the story in for us, but we have faith in Him and listen to what He is telling us.

Thank you for the reminders, Lord!  Everything does happen for a reason. I am truly blessed and incredibly thankful.