Wherein Our Normal Lies

I awoke today, not to the sound of my alarm, but to the sounds of my husband in the bathroom. I know he tries to be quiet with his morning routine and I appreciate that! But I still hear him. And that’s OK. He gets up and going at a decent-ish hour on work days so I usually need to be finding my way out of the coziness of the fluffy white blankets by then anyway.

Today, the husband is out of his at- home- upstairs- office with a view of our front yard and back at it in his office 8.9 miles from home. But still with a pretty decent view .

Today it’s back to normal.

As I sat at my end of the table this morning doing my regular morning things, I heard motion upstairs. Soon the 20 year old came down into the kitchen dressed in a nice white button down and navy pants. After a two week “really exposed to COVID” break from work, he left the house and headed to his office this morning as well.

Today it’s back to normal.

What would I do with my “back to normal” self today, I wondered. First on tap, was a trip to Kroger to pick up my Click List and then to Publix to pick up what Kroger didn’t have. Strangely, Kroger had paper towels today but no bacon or sirloin steaks. Since it’s always worth the extra miles to ensure there’s meat in my fridge, I welcomed the drive to an extra grocery store.

This was when it hit me. Just how “normal” was my day…really? First, I greatly dislike going into a grocery store…ever! So the thought of being excited to go to a grocery store, get out of my car, and walk into it was NOT normal. Then the sight of 75% of the people I saw coming in and out of the store wearing masks was NOT normal. For real, did you ever think it would be deemed acceptable to walk into any type of business with a face covering and gloves on your hands and not appear like you were there to rob the place? This may be “normal” today. But this isn’t normal. The way the workers had to back away from the asparagus before I could go near and grab a bundle wasn’t normal. The “go this way but not that way” signs on the floor, directing shoppers down one way aisles, was not normal.

I guess the directional arrows on the floor saved me from my previous “new normal” way of grocery shopping. If I turned down an aisle and there were actual real, live breathing people on BOTH sides of the aisle, I’d have a very definite “may the odds be ever in your favor” moment. I’d stop in front of the spaghettio’s, dead in my tracks, pretending to be fascinated by the wondrous display of canned kid food while I waited for the aisle to clear. But if I found myself forced to wander into the sea of people further down the aisle, I’d hold my breath and do my best to keep my distance. Tell me I’m not the only one!!

So many changes to our normal these days. Just like the directional markings on the grocery store floor, as we re-enter life outside our homes we may feel stuck between the arrows to go this way and the x’s keeping us away. One thing may feel OK for one person while the next person is still fearful. Masks or no masks? Gloves or no gloves? Pick up carry out food at your favorite restaurant , stay there and eat on their patio or simply just keep cooking ALL. THE. MEALS. AT. HOME ! Go to the salon for that much needed hair color or just let it keep getting rootier?

Speaking of salons, I couldn’t take my ridiculous hair another minute! So the second I got the go ahead to come in for my way overdue hair appointment, I jumped at the chance. THAT would feel normal, right? The overgrown hair would be cut to an acceptable length and the grays that had taken over in a most unbecoming way would be returned to their totally natural and normal shade of highlighted brown. That part did, indeed, feel normal. But having to wait outside the salon to have my temperature taken before I entered wasn’t very normal. Neither was the mask I was asked to wear in order to stay inside. I was grateful for the precautions taken so the salon COULD be open, but dang! These things were just so far off normal. I was happy to sit outside while my hair processed so I could remove said mask for a good half hour or so! To the folks who must wear a mask all day long to serve the community in any shape, form or fashion, THANK YOU!!! Seriously! And to the people who walked by me while I was enjoying a shady bench on a sunny day looking like a fridge full of leftovers, thank you for not making eye contact! I hope I didn’t scare your children!

Honestly, though, I’ve never been one who minded changes. Changes keep life from getting boring, right? Plus rolling with the punches life throws has always just seemed easier than resisting them at times. Chances are good the changes will keep coming and we may feel unsteady for a while. Some changes may feel OK. Some may be acceptable if only to keep the old normal things going. Some may feel like a big old NO WAY! One thing I feel certain of is that we’re all going to long for the days of old when we could go to the mall or to a ballgame or even to the grocery store and not have to worry about hand sanitizers and the appropriate face covering.

Another thing I know for sure is that when things feel wobbly and uncertain, it feels great to be able grab tight to something that is secure and solid. It keeps the room from spinning completely out of control. If only we had something in our lives right now that could be that solid, unchangeable bit of security we need. Oh if only we had something like that to hold on to…something completely trustworthy.

Oh wait!

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever”…Hebrews 13:8

“For I the Lord do not change; therefore you O children of Jacob, are not consumed.”...Malachi 3:6

“God is not man, that He should lie, or a son of man, that He should change His mind.”…Numbers 23:19

And with these reminders, suddenly this ever changing , wobbly, insecure time we’re in feels better. Because God! He doesn’t change. He’s that steady , solid, unwavering piece of security we so desperately need to grab hold of right now. He’s the one thing we can depend on when the news seems undependable. When we don’t have a clue what or who to trust, we can always trust Him. He’s the direction we need to take , our Perfect Guide. He’s our Protector and our Provider. He makes sure we don’t get consumed so why can’t we just allow Him to do that and stop letting ourselves BE consumed by bothersome things?

He can make the not normal things feel more tolerable.

And with that, all I have left to say is HallelujahThankYouJesus and Have a Good Day!

Until next time…Keep on joyfully clamoring!!!

The Good Fight for the Skinny Jeans

The Good Fight for the Skinny Jeans

I had finally done it! That long awaited, can-I-really-do-it goal was mine! And with it came a post card from a popular blue jeans company. The nice lady at the Weight Watchers meeting handed it to me when she announced that I had made Lifetime…HALLELUJAH!! I still remember that day so well. Taking that shiny postcard and checking the box that said YES SEND ME MY FREE SKINNY JEANS!!! Asking these folks to send a size pants I hadn’t worn since I was a senior in high school felt surreal! Would they really believe I was the size I said I was?! Mailing the card …snail mail was still a valuable tool back in 2004! Receiving that package a few weeks later with those glorious jeans wrapped neatly inside! Putting them on for the first time and that feeling of giddiness and pride that those teeny tiny jeans fit! I was certain those jeans would be my favorites forever because they symbolized the fact that I can really do whatever I set my mind to.

I also remember the feeling when I looked at those teeny tiny award jeans hanging in my closet just a few years ago. They hadn’t fit in years. I looked at them in disgust wondering if my big toe would even still fit in them. Like most women , I had hung on to my “skinny” clothes well after they no longer fit . But on that day, I realized the fight in me was hibernating so soundly I really had no reason to hang on to the skinny things in my closet. All they were doing was taunting me…

Hahaha! Look at you! You’ll never fit in us again!

I hope you enjoyed your time wearing us because look at you now.

Why are we still in here? We don’t fit you and we neeeevvvveeeerrrrr wwiiiilllll!! Bwahahahaha!

I couldn’t get those nasty, mean pants out of my closet fast enough! The sound of their mocking voices sent me into a fit of silent tears and woe. The messages they were sending me as they hung there next to my pants 6 sizes larger were too negative for me. But they were right. I was too big for them and I always would be so why keep them .

I found a box and filled it with everything in my closet that didn’t fit and never would again. My resolve to load my closet with nothing but larger sizes was strong. I threw that box of rude small clothes in the donation pile in my garage and commenced to filling my closet with as many upsized clothes as I could. And with that one move, I closed and pad locked the door on any motivation I could muster up to be fit again. But I didn’t really care. Nope, not one bit!

Until, of course, I did.

I’m three months into my journey back to healthy. And the fight in me is stronger than it’s ever been. I honestly can’t remember a time in my life when I felt so determined to do something. I mean, one night last week I actually stopped watching TV at 9pm and instead of heading to bed, I welcomed good old Leslie Sansone onto my screen so I could walk, walk, walk, walk, walk. (If you’ve ever done a Walk at Home video I’m sure you just read that in her voice, huh?)

I can hear the old me screaming “Why would you do such a thing? That’s so weird!!!”

But something has clicked in me that has finally caused me to realize my health and my fitness at almost 56 years old is a fight worth fighting! At this age, I feel the natural state of my body is plain, flat out rebellion. It wants to sit still because moving makes all the achy things ache. It wants to gain weight whenever I look at food because why not? Does my metabolism even still exist?? It wants to fall apart because it’s getting old and worn. It’s worse than a rebellious teenager sneaking out at night to do those teenage things parents tell them not to!

So yes!! It takes some work , a healthy dose of motivation and an amazingly good attitude. Sorta like parenting those rebellious teens! But my GOOD health is worth FIGHTing for. Being able to move with ease is worth fighting for! Not feeling 110 is worth fighting for! Having more energy is worth fighting for!

I spent the day at a spa with my oldest daughter this past weekend . We did some amazing, relaxing things…facials, massages, hot tubs, saunas. Aahhh! But we also worked out! Say what?!?! And when my daughter looked at me on my fancy treadmill and said with a bit of amazement, “Mom, you’re JOGGING! GOOD job! ” …..well that moment let me know that my worthy FIGHT was paying off !

While my ultimate goal is to live a healthy life and to forever believe I can, my little “side goals” involve losing weight. When you have 80 lbs to lose to get to that elusive healthy Body Mass Index, it’s smart to set small achievable goals along the way. That first 30 lb goal is within a half a pound…so what the heck. I’ll just call it because I like to round up! With 30 lbs comes the need to dig out the size “less than” pants or just buy smaller clothes. This has been fun. But remember that day I threw out my skinny jeans? I threw out ALL my skinny clothes.

Or so I thought? Procrastination and hiding things from myself real well sometimes pays off!

I was searching for a paint brush in my garage this week. I’ve been working on refinishing my beloved but very weathered front porch rocking chair. It has needed to be made new just as badly as I have! As I was digging through the things in my way to where I thought this paint brush might be, I literally tripped on a taped up Amazon box. My first thought was “What did I order that I threw in the garage and forgot about?” But then I saw the box was slightly open on one end and what appeared to be clothes was peeking out. I held my breath. Could it be?

YES!! The box was filled with pants of all the “less than” sizes I once determined were only worthy of donating. It was filled with the lie that I never would or could be at a healthy weight again.

But as I dug through the box and found those teeny tiny award jeans from 2004 , I knew something with every fiber of my being .

The GOOD FIGHT to get back into those teeny tiny jeans is worth it because I AM WORTH IT!! I WILL be in those jeans again. They may be horribly outdated by then but hey…jeans are jeans right! And at least they’re not bell bottoms!!

So I’ll persevere however long it takes. I’ll stand firm in my conviction to be a better, healthier me. I will fight the GOOD FIGHT and finish this race.

And I will win life!!

Until next time….

Tales from an Imperfectly Perfect Union…Part One

As My Man and I quickly approach our 25th wedding anniversary, I suddenly felt that nudge to celebrate that fact on my blog. Because a 25 year marriage is something to celebrate and talk about and share stories from. It’s something to honor! Not because we’ve done the past 25 years so perfectly and y’all will learn so much from how we’ve so grandly done marriage. But sorta the opposite! We’ve been so IMPERFECTLY perfect at most things over the past 25 years that someone is bound to see a bit of themselves in us and think “Shew! I think we can make it too!” Because as lovely as marriage is, it’s just hard at times.

So I’ll start from the beginning…because why not?

Valentines Day 1994 found me drinking a glass of champagne with a ring in it. Because I’m NOT the romantic one in our relationship, I had actually forgotten this detail of our engagement . Shocking, right? How could I forget any details of my long awaited engagement? Even though I longed for this moment when My Man would finally pop The Question…for real this time…I was probably so exhausted from single momming our seven month old son and my two young daughters that this memory likely got caught behind night time bottles, diaper changes and homework !

Hey wait a minute! Back up a second!! Hold please while I rewind this a bit…….

Late November 1992 found me not drinking a glass of champagne. It found me drinking nothing but water. Because I was pregnant. And not married. In the early 90’s, being unwed and pregnant wasn’t as hip and socially acceptable as it is in 2019…at least not in my church going, Jesus loving, God fearing mind. As a 29 year old divorced mom with two young children, I was still not fully grasping how big and deep and enormous God’s love for me was. So while I fully accepted and already loved the baby I was carrying, I felt shame for doing things backwards. I knew I needed to be married…and soon. So when My Man and I digested the news that we were going to be parents together, it was just sort of decided that we would get married. No grand gesture of a proposal was made . There wasn’t even a ring. There was just the decision that we’d get married over Christmas break. We invited my family out from Texas and we’d have a small, intimate ceremony…somewhere. But it didn’t happen quite like that.

My family did come for Christmas that year. But it was mostly to help me lick my wounds from the broken engagement that really never happened in the first place. My Man wasn’t ready to get married. And while I saw ALL the reasons TO be ready to tie the knot, somehow he was able to see the wisdom in not getting hitched right then and there simply “because we had to.” He had no raging hormones coursing through his body at the time to make him feel the false urgency I was feeling! Pesky old hormones!!

Sometimes God tells us “Not yet”. He stalls us with a “holy hold on” because HE sees the big picture! And He simply loves us too much to urge us down a path we’re not quite ready for. There was so much for us to grasp and learn in the journey to the day when the love we had for each other was true and real and not forced because we had to. There was so much God in the journey that got us to that Valentine’s Day in 1994 when I almost drank my engagement ring in a glass of champagne!

We trusted the journey and in the process we learned a valuable life lesson. One we’ve clung to many, many times in our 25 years.


Isaiah 40:31 tells us “They who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint”

If we had run ahead of God and gotten married too soon, I can only imagine the added heartache we would’ve endured. We both feel certain we would’ve ended up divorced after just a few years because we would’ve married for the wrong reasons. If we had gotten married too soon, we would not have built up the strength to endure the inevitable hard times. We would’ve fallen short of making our marriage fly. We would’ve grown weary of doing the right things because in the back of our minds, we would’ve always been doubtful that we had even started with the right thing.

Our marriage is certainly a mix of questionable decisions mixed with some excellent ones. Whose isn’t? But I have to say that NOT deciding anything in the heat of a moment and truly waiting to hear from God has been one of the excellent things… something we’ve gotten good at. We may have gotten off to a slow start but God took that…our humanness…and He made something beautiful.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

Ecclesiastes 3:11

I have more to celebrate and I’ll do that here over the next many weeks leading up to our big day. So until my next tale…