Wednesday, December 21, 2016

regifting Christmas

Growing up I remember being told
that certain things you don't talk about
in polite conversation...
religion and politics being the big two.
Fair warning...I might just mention both today.
Click away if you must.
I wish you well and have a great day.
If not, let's see where this thought takes us.

I've been writing snippets of this post in my head for months.
You may have noticed that my posts are random and irregular this year.
You know I've done a lot of self work this year
as well as working on my new career path.
I'm sure you're sick of me talking about my courageWORKS class
and how that course changed me.
In all honesty I feel like every time I mention "her" name
that there are some eye rollers out there...
like "not again Nancy...will you shut up about brene brown?"
I get it y'all.
I do.
Let me just throw a funny aside in here...
one day I'm running with my peeps
and one of them says
"hey Nancy, have you heard who Molly's daughter is working for?"
I was like "noooooo????" but the look on their faces said it all.
She who shall not be named.
Ms. B and I don't mean Beyoncé.
I about died right there on the street
 and had to restrain myself from asking too many questions.
I'm really proud that I haven't called Molly's daughter like a stalker
to tell her what a lucky duck I think she is.
But I did tell her mom that I'm pretty sure she won the job lottery.
And I may have said if a job opens up for a middle aged woman,
with say a chemistry degree
who is also a money saving DIY enthusiast/serial redecorator,
in general a multitasking mom of multiples,
then she knows where to find me.
Seriously though...I've been working hard
on me, on my life, on my job, on every aspect truly.
If you haven't experienced fear and loss and {insert your struggle of choice}
then I get it, I do.
But if you have, then you know where I'm coming from.
I alluded to it slightly in my last post,
that just because I took this class
and did a lot of self work this year
doesn't mean that life is all perfect or without struggle.
But I will tell you, and maybe my age has something to do with it,
that I've cut a lot of chaff from the wheat this year.
I've thought about what adds or detracts from my life,
be it people, or habits, or what I read...any thing and every thing.
In other words I've tried to separate the valuable from the invaluable,
recognizing what adds or detracts, what's worth it or worthless,
doing more of what's good for my soul,
and letting go of what's not.
I noticed it from the smallest thing...
like not clicking through on so called news articles,
not watching crap reality shows while I multitask and do laundry,
not picking up the gossip magazines in waiting rooms to pass the time...
these little things of meaningless, useless drivel
that really don't affect me or how I want to roll in life.

Seriously how many of us pick up a magazine that promises
to help us lose that last five (or ten) pounds
or how to get your {sexy} back...
whatever the headline grabbing promise is,
and you read it voraciously thinking it contains
the secret to the holy grail you're looking for in your life.
I feel like this stuff sinks in to our subconscious
and sits there like a fungus ready to grow and take over.
Convincing us that there's something wrong with us
even if there's not,
as if we all need to "fix" something.
And maybe we do, but then again,
maybe we're just perfect the way we are.
 I was reminded of this recently
when my youngest came in to the bathroom one morning,
got out our scale without a word,
stepped on and proclaimed himself fat.
He read a headline on a magazine at the grocery store.
He thought it was a bad thing to gain weight...
I pointed out that he's growing lengthwise
and with that comes longer bones and muscle.
What a wonderful world it could be
if we all just accepted ourselves and others as we are.
Which brings me to the politics part...
I don't know about you but we personally took an electronic break
around the election...I didn't watch the debates...
I tried to once and my husband walked in the room
and was like "aw hell no...I can't take it!"
The blackout was nice actually.
I think a lot of people stepped away from technology
and I personally think that's a good thing.
I did see this one thing online before I stepped away
and it said something like
"you're not going to change my mind about my vote,
and I know I won't change yours,
so let's just agree to not talk about it."
My friends and I all know that we can't change each others minds
and I personally don't want to change theirs...
I'm happy to have such a diverse group of friends,
to look at things from a different perspective,
and to be able to talk {loudly} about it.
that's what my grandfather fought for on the beaches in France
and generations before him in other wars...
so that we could have freedoms we do,
free speech included.
I love my friends for who they are in their heart,
not for whom they did or didn't vote for.
For the second election in a row
I went with my friend Joyce to vote.
We kind of laugh about it...
because we know when we go
we are actually canceling each other's vote if you will.
She votes one side, I'm on the other,
{but neither straight party I would say}
You might remember her as the one I called
last spring when we got word about our niece's accident.
Within ten minutes she was on my doorstep telling us
that she had our kids and to just go.
Because of her we made it in time to say goodbye.
Political parties don't matter y'all.
Remember that.
My point in bringing up politics
was that all the political crazy
pushed me to exit the building on info input...
it was an awakening in many ways.
I don't carry my phone around like I did,
I don't check it like I used to,
I'm pretty sure you could have called me addicted.
Why, I'm not sure?
I often wonder if its like the fear of missing out on something?
Now emails, texts, everything can wait.
If something bad happens in the world,
send up a smoke signal and let me know...
otherwise I'll check when I remember and not regularly.
I'm enjoying life without the added chaos.
I've got enough of that with three growing guys.
Whomever came up with the saying
"little kids, little problems, big kids, bigger problems"
was a freaking genius...
I only wish I'd believed them when my kids were younger...
I would have enjoyed diapers, potty training and middle night wake ups more -
because that was the easy stuff.
All of you with full grown, launched kids
I know y'all are giggling because you've been where I am...
it ain't pretty but y'all have told me that we'll get through it.
I'm choosing to believe that.
I'm clinging to that thought.
In the meantime I've been reading the Bible.
As in for realz.
If you're not a religious person click away now.
Don't say I didn't give fair warning.
Let me give some background.
I'm a Christian.
For as long as I can remember.
My parents didn't really go to church.
I could probably count on one hand
the number of times I remember them going.
But they did take us to Sunday school.
They'd drop us off and pick us up an hour later.
I'm not sure why they did it like that
but in the scheme of life
that's none of my business.
They planted a seed in me
and I'm glad that its grown
but not without its stops and starts.
I sit here typing this as big a sinner as the next person.
I don't think for one iota of a second
 that I'm any better than anyone
just because
I believe in Jesus and have a relationship with God.
I'm on my own journey,
my own path,
and honestly
while I feel like its been a broken road in places,
I've always known who lights my path
and who whispers directions in my ear.
Some footsteps I've had to take on blind faith,
knowing and believing that He would catch me if I fall.
And I have and He has.
Even knowing all this to be true for me
you know I've had issues to face.
Faith does not make you immune to problems.
The truth is that
I've found my greatest strengths from my biggest struggles.
I guess its all in how you look at things.
I'm human and I fall down and off the wagon.
Late in the summer it happened again.
There was this "situation" that happened
and it was keeping me up at night.
Because the idealist in me was mad as a hornet
that "people' were getting away with some stuff...
one day maybe if they ever figure it all out
they'll have it on one of those 48 hours mystery shows...
until then radio silence will continue on the issue...
part of what was getting on my last nerve...
long {unexplained} story short
I found myself wide awake one night at like 2am
unable to sleep and all I could think about was -
was me being mad about something I had no part in,
either the deed or the sorting out of it or anything other than
trying to solve a mystery with only gossip to go on...
At one point it popped in my mind...
was this really what I wanted to spend time and breath on?
The short answer was no.
The long answer became me reading the Bible.
Because as I lay there that night,
when I thought I was having a panic attack
and my blood pressure spiked
and then insomnia was on like donkey kong,
I felt so sick in my stomach and my heart at that moment
that I seriously felt paralyzed.
A little whisper in my head said go get your Bible.
And so I did.
I clutched it to my chest and got back in bed.
I stayed in that position all night long,
the Bible just laying on my heart.
When I got up I took it downstairs with me,
got my coffee,
and started reading from the beginning.
Something said just start there.
I've tried many times in my life time to do just that.
I always got curtailed or maybe rather overwhelmed.
Within a few days I got a better idea, to download it on my iPad.
I could blow up the font and it would remember my last page.
Winner winner chicken dinner.
I'm two verses away from my favorite verse ever...Psalms 121.
I'm cooking with gas y'all.
To me its just like exercise...
a daily practice that makes me feel better,
spiritually and mentally.
At this point if you're still awake reading might be wondering
what the point is in me telling you all this...
what started this topic in my mind was a recent sermon series at our church.
It was called "Regifting Christmas"
but he, our minister, has had a bunch of good series this year.
I almost thought he took Brene's class too
because earlier this year it was all about courage and fear.
My husband was like nope, I don't think so but I have my suspicions.
Recently another one was "three magic words...please, thank you, and I'm sorry."
Tell me we don't all need these lessons at some point.
This church, this minister speaks to me.
Listen, much like politics I believe its more about your heart
than your declared "side" about things.
I don't think denominations matter is my point.
And please don't think I'm saying you have to do what I'm doing,
believe what I believe,
go to church,
read the Bible,
I do not have the keys or the secret to life.
You know I will not pretend that I do.
I'm sharing my story is all.
Since we met over fifteen years ago
we visited a few handfuls of churches,
of all denominations and beliefs,
until we settled where we are now.
The minister made a joke of how this church will always be in business
as long as {one certain denomination} marries {another}. 
It was the background equation of my husband and I.
We looked at each other and I said to him "we've found our church home."
And we did.
Its not perfect, no place is and you know that too.
But the sermons speak to my heart on more Sundays than not and
I feel like God is talking directly to me through the minister.
Like God says "hey, Nancy in the back, she needs to hear this."
My husband used to say, still does say actually, that the one hour service
is his favorite hour of the week.
I shamefully admit when he first started saying that,
I would roll my eyes internally,
like you have got to be kidding me.
I think at that time I was so frazzled from trying to get three littles and me
dressed and ready to go, and it was always a toss up
as to whether a fit would be thrown about staying in the nursery
while we went to church that I wasn't a fan of Sunday mornings for a while.
I'll say this now...that one hour...
I get more from it than I deserve.
Part of what our church teaches we should do as Christians are
what they refer to as five inside out habits...
We pray.
We study the Bible.
We make friends.
We tell our stories.
We give ourselves away in generosity and service.
The last one...
that's where its at right now in my heart.
Especially during this time of the year.
I've mentioned here before
that I love this time of the year best.
I think part of it is the cooler weather
and part of it is just the season itself,
giving thanks and giving in general.
I'll tell you a secret...
this year my husband and I changed roles in a way.
Pretty much every year until this year
I was the one shopping and wrapping up a storm.
His My goal was to have us done with everything by Thanksgiving
so that we could just skate through December.
As of this week, today, I've bought one thing for my husband,
some baseball stuff for my youngest,
and the biggest crocs I could find for someone I don't really know.
My husband kept saying
"I'm stressed, we haven't gotten anything done yet.
Are you stressed? Why aren't you stressed?"
My answer was simple.
We already have all we need.
Because we do.
And I know, before you can say it, that our kids are just kids
and that's no way to be.
But in my heart I wasn't, nor am I, stressed.
As my husband found out, amazon is our friend,
and less is sometimes more.

The thing I bought him was a Yeti coffee cup.
You know we're addicted to coffee
and he can nurse a cup for hours.
{Not me, I don't nurse, I chug.}
So I saw a Yeti at the hardware store and was like
"Yes! My first gift!"
Bonus it was on sale!
Then last week he came home and said he knocked over
and broke his favorite nurse's coffee cup that morning.
He said "could you buy her one of those cups that is stainless
and everyone loves and swears by?"
"You mean a Yeti?"
"Yep, that's it."
"When do you need it by?"
"I mean tomorrow would be great but any time."
I walked over to my closest hiding spot and pulled out the bag.
"Merry Christmas to Mae" I said.
He's so funny.
He said "you're good, you know that?"
"Uh yeah, I know. You're just figuring that out?"
I said "it was the only thing I've bought you for Christmas."
He said "you know I'll just lose it. She needs it more than me."
She loved it.
More than he ever would.
To me, that's what I want for Christmas to be.

I've been driving around with the crocs in my trunk,
waiting to see a guy who hangs out on a certain corner.
If you go to the med center in town you've probably seen him.
Back in the summer someone inquired about him
on our neighborhood info website.
People asked about him, what his story was.
There began a discussion about what might help him.
He sits there all day.
I've watched him from the parking lot a few times,
trying to gauge his shoe size.
He wears slippers because his feet are swollen.
I've tried to figure the best thing I could do for him,
but because his feet are so swollen
I never could imagine him wearing the socks and sneakers I shopped for.
Then one day it hit me.
Crocs...the ones with the fur lining.
Now don't go all podiatrist on me.
I know how some people feel about crocs.
But as a person with foot problems
I personally have found great relief in wearing their brand.
So I bought the biggest size they made of the lined clog.
I got a friend to take me last week to deliver the shoes.
I was shocked that he wasn't there.
In the spot I've seen him in every time I can remember passing by.
We went to a nearby store and I showed them a picture.
The lady at the register said she went to take him a plate of food
but that he wasn't there when she went...
she thought it was the cold weather.
I'm on a mission to get them to him before Sunday.
Its the one thing I want to do for Christmas.

I'm not sure how to wrap up this idea
of how I'm trying to re-gift Christmas,
but I think you get my drift...
sometimes the gift you can give to others
is not always a gift you can wrap with a pretty little bow.
Sometimes its just telling your story,
to say I've been there, done that, it's all gonna be ok.
It can be just a wish for peace,
of saying I'm sorry or turning the other cheek as the case may be,
of realizing forgiveness is a gift to both give and receive.
More times than not, the best gift you can give
is to give something to someone else
who needs it more than you,
especially when its hope, or joy, or love.
In these cases, I think re-gifting is more than ok.
It's truly the gift that keeps on giving.

If I don't pop in again until next week or beyond,
I hope you have the love-liest of weekends,
the merriest of Christmases,
the happiest of Hanukkahs,
and any other holidays I'm forgetting.
I wish you well.
Be safe and happy my friends.


  1. You have a talent. Beautiful. You spoke to a sleepless mom of 4 in Kearney Missouri tonite. I'm on a similar journey. I clicked over to your blog from The Preppy Empty Nester. I was born in Hermann hospital 50 Years ago. This is my year I have decided. Thank you for your beautiful words. Someone is listening. Jilly

    1. Hey Jilly! thanks for clicking over and for your kind words. that's too cool you were born at Hermann! i highly recommend the courage works class i took and am excited that you've decided this is your year! you go girl! feel free to email me if you want to chat.


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