Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Garage Sale

Hey Guys!  Welcome my very first Guest Blogger!  Jen Womack is my newest bestie!  She's the one this blog was written about.  I never told you that I didn't scare her off!  She took a few weeks to reply to my text, but we are friends - like for real!  Our littles are similar in ages, our sense of adventure and humor are in sync, and....importantly, she had enough junk in her garage to make my junk into enough to be a fabulous garage sale!

Here's her take:

I remember so clearly my first garage sale. It was summer, and my sister and I were looking for ways to earn money. We picked weeds and washed windows but, frankly, we had our eyes on a bigger payout.  My mom agreed to a garage sale as long as; one, we did all the work, and two, we absolutely did not have it at our house. No problem! We enlisted a friend and had our first multi-family sale. I remember the sorting, and pricing, and the thrill of a sale. I remember haggling with strangers, but mostly, I recall the stack of cash at the end.

Until this summer, these childhood yard sales were my only point of reference. Perhaps because I associate said sales with such rosy memories, two decades later, I jumped all over the invitation to combine my unwanted things with a friend’s (Erin’s) in yet another ‘multi-family’garage sale.

Now, I know this sounds a little heavy for a topic like garage sales, but it was such an  insightful weekend. I would never have guessed two days of unloading my ‘junk’ on others could invoke such a range of emotions. Here’s my take-away:

1) Garage sales are a lot of work! As a kid, the prep work was fun. It’s easy to price and sell something you didn’t pay for yourself. It is also easy to sit around with friends and make signs when you have no other obligations, namely 3 kids and a household to manage. This was so different! The week prior to the big sale was manic and my kids watched a month’s worth of cartoons and scavenged for many of their meals while I priced items and strategized with Erin. I felt like a bad mommy by the end of the week and was so happy when it finally began and we could think and talk about something else.

2) Friday is THE garage sale day in Edmond, Oklahoma. I would have never guessed this, but the crowd on Friday morning blew us away. The bargain-hunters descended long before we were set up, and didn’t let up for hours. Erin and I barely spoke the first half of Friday. Saturday, though, was painfully slow at times.

3) Letting go of your baby’s things is all kinds of hard. I had zero problems selling the plastic slide or turtle sandbox but was surprised at the pain I felt selling some of the baby clothes and tiny blankets.  “Don’t you know,” I wanted to say to the person talking me down a dollar, “that Avery wore that in her first days home,” or that “Hunter took his first steps in that romper,” and so on. But memories have no cash-value and I am no hoarder, so I let go….but, it hurt.

4) Two hormonal women + too much caffeine and sugar + too little sleep = tears. We watched an expectant mother carefully shop the cheapest used clothes for her firstborn and listened as another mom explained how she wanted to come by after pay day and shop the leftovers. It’s hard to put into words what made me want to cry. It’s not pity for them, or guilt that I feel….we’re all just doing the best we can. It’s that, pay day never enters my mind if the kids need new shoes, clothes, etc.  This was a good reminder to not take that for granted.

5) A thing is only worth what someone will pay for it.  I’ve heard this saying countless times but a garage sale is absolute proof. I had people talk me down to scandalous prices. I lost count of how many times someone tried to haggle for Erin’s liter of apple cider vinegar we were using as a bookend. One lady offered me a quarter because, ‘it’s leaking a bit.’ We sold things I would never have guessed anyone would want. And other, ‘nice’ things, just didn’t move ‘til we were willing to almost give them away. I had a woman try to give me one dollar for a pair of shoes I wanted two for with the excuse that they were a half size too big. Worth and value are certainly in the eye of the beholder.

6) Lastly, garage sales, like most things in life, are better with a friend. Without Erin, I would have made a few more trips to Goodwill and called it done. Instead, we plowed through together, laughing and sweating, and made a great team. We began our weekend with a shot of espresso and too many Krispy Kremes and ended it drinking iced white wine through a straw (no judgment…it was good.) The de-cluttering that took place in that weekend was downright therapeutic, but, for me, the most exciting part was bellying up to Erin’s kitchen table and counting our stack of cash….we were giddy as little girls.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Universal and Personal

God is stirring up some stuff in me and our life.  Sometimes it gets ugly and hard while He's working something out...at least that's my experience.

One truth that's been made clear and repeated many times to me in the recent weeks is that we are all the same in God's eyes.  We are all His children...He loves us.  Period.

That truth has been demonstrated to me in the commonality in the human experience.  The struggle I have as a wife or mother or daughter or friend most any wife or mother or daughter or friend can relate to.  Sure, we have unique experiences and short term memory loss of some stages of life, but for the most part...we can insert ourselves into another's shoes and see the world.  It's our job to empathize.  To lighten the burden on others for the simple reason that there is no reason why that burden isn't ours.

I was aware of this last week in church.  I was feeling pretty good about myself.  I hadn't screamed at the kids while getting to church, Dan and I were using our nice words, I had showered...I was good.  And during praise and worship my eyes scanned the crowd and I saw a woman who wasn't.  She was hurting or hurt or sad or mad or sick.  I didn't take the opportunity, so I'll never know for sure.  Here's the thing...she may have 4 dozen friends ready to help.  She may have just needed a minute to get some stuff out and it happened in front of people at church.  I may have accidentally given her the stink eye on my way in and have been the cause of her tears.  And maybe a stranger asking if she could help would have made it worse...but what if it had made it better?  We're the same, crying lady and me.  We are God's children, and we are supposed to make it a little easier on each other.  But I didn't.

But there's a whole second layer to this giant cake of God's love.  So today, I'm struggling to reconcile the God who loves us.  Period.  With the God who loves us.  Personally.  Do you see how that feels different?  It's that empathy versus sympathy thing (thank you very much for Latin root words, Ann Wright).

Today it was personal.  Today, I wasn't alright.  Dan and I were not using our nice words this morning.  And it escalated into ugly...and there were 6 baby witness eyes and ears.  This means that my hurt and anger and indignation were accompanied by every mother's constant friend - guilt.  But God made it personal.  He showed me He cared for MY marriage, not just marriages.  You could argue coincidence, but I would call BS if you did.  While standing side by side, arms crossed, going over every jab and thinking of a way to make it sting worse next time...the praise band sang the song we lit our unity candle during in our wedding.  It's not a popular song.  I've never heard it at our church...but today, it happened.  And it was personal.  It didn't fix anything.  Forgiveness still had to be sought after and wounds will still have to heal.  But God whispered down to two of his, and reminded us that yes, we are just two of MANY of His children.  But He loves us personally.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

All of a Sudden

You know...the 'all of a sudden' that takes three years to arrive.  The 'all of a sudden' that you'll miss if you're not careful.  The 'all of a sudden' that will probably change tomorrow.

But, all of the sudden, things are a little easier in these here parts.  Yes, there are still three under three and a new business to grow.  Yes, Dan and I are still trying to figure out who WE are, and somehow turn three blobs into human beings in the process.  Yes, I know a JINX is waiting for me tomorrow.  BUT...all of a sudden things like this happen:

**sometimes we sleep through the night.  We still have to work REALLY hard at bedtime, and morning still starts WAY earlier than I'd like, but, for all intents and purposes...WE SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT!

**yesterday, one time, I peed by myself.  And I didn't even lock myself in.  The door was open, but no one came in to check on me/be held/try to unroll the TP/...nothin'.

**Jack can run a spoon!  I usually just 'slop' his high chair tray anyway, but for things like yogurt and rice and oatmeal we were still spoon feeding him.  Not anymore, folks!  It's a disaster, it requires a hose to recover from, but, Jack runs a spoon.

**They give a little.  For almost three years, there's been a whole lotta take.  Sure, they smile at me, and when it really hurts they yell for 'Momma!', but over and above they are little mooches who only take.  But last night as I was snuggling with Lauren, she petted my face and said, 'Momma, you're my best friend.'  And sometimes when I tell them that I love them, they say it back.  And Jack will waddle right over to me and tilt his little face up for a kiss.  That's giving, friends.  That's a whole lot of filling my love tank WAY up.

**They play together.  Without me in the room.  Nicely.  For longer than 45 seconds.  Sometimes.

**The girls can be trusted to obey well enough to walk into stores just holding my hand.  This one's huge.  I don't have to park right beside the cart return, load them all up, and wear Jack to go grocery shopping.  Now, I carry Jack, hold one girl hand who holds another girl hand, and WE JUST WALK IN.  Yes, we stop traffic.  Yes, someone always comments about my hands being full.  Yes, it makes some people in busy parking lots nervous...but not me.  We walk in, boys!  I still sweat a lot.  It's still not among my favorite weekly chores.  But it's a whole lot easier than it was two months ago!

This all is said to update you on where we are.  Basically, the kids are grown, and I'm thinking of taking up tennis and cross stitching to fill my day.  (Ha!)

This is for the Mommas who are not yet at their 'all of a sudden' moment.  It comes.  It comes so gradually and so very freaking slowly, that you might miss it.  You cannot predict it.  Repeat after me: You cannot predict it.  Quit trying to calculate the ages of my babies...it won't be the same for you.  But it will come.  And it'll make you really, really happy.  And it'll give you time, finally, to teach that 14 month old #3 brand new, never been mentioned before things...like, this is your nose!  Cows go 'moo'.  Can you say 'Momma'?