THE BEACH AND THE PIT

 Photo by Adrian Garcia.  This image is subject to LASDI© by Life As She Does It. Please do not reuse without linking credit.

Photo by Adrian Garcia.  This image is subject to LASDI© by Life As She Does It. Please do not reuse without linking credit.

Every year somewhere around the 4th of July, The Hubster and I go camping on our Annual Beach Date Trip.  It's only one night, but it has become a tradition I look forward to so much, that when we are leaving the beach from one trip, I am already talking about the next one to come the following year.

I am a girl who thrives on tradition; the history of things excites me.  I can't explain it.  I'm the one who buys a beat-up torn-down table because it is that way.  I've had someone ask me as I made a purchase like that how I was going to refurbish it, to which I replied, "I'm not.  I absolutely love the cracks and weathered appeal.  It tells me all about it's character."  The person looked at me like I was mad, and it made me smile.

Building traditions is like that for me.  I believe it creates the legacy we live in the present and the one we leave behind.  I don't think anyone is going to remember things I said or did in 100 years, but perhaps I can build traditions in our family that continue to be passed along from generation to generation and that may make a difference both now and long after I'm gone.

It is crucial to part of that legacy that The Kiddos and Grittles (GRAND Littles) see The Hubster and I make time for one another; that we still date each other.  It is vital to the lifeline of their own marriages and relationships.  Hence, the Annual Beach Camping Date Trip!

It's pretty simple, really.  We take our tent, which we set up in the back of the truck instead of on the sandy beach.  There has to be a thermos of wine and two plastic wine glasses.  We take along hot dogs and tortillas to wrap them in - and don't forget the skewers to hold them over the fire!  

Ah, the fire.  It's essential to a successful night, and I mean ESSENTIAL.  We go around the beach collecting wood and shells to create a pit for the fire.  We roast those wieners, sip our wine, look up at the stars, and listen to the roar of the ocean waves (and maybe a little Enya).

We play verbal games that remind us of how rich beyond riches we are.  We play "What's the Top-Five Most-Beautiful Places We've Ever Been" game, and "Top Three Favorite Restaurants", or "Best Family Vacay Memories".  We talk about our wedding, which by no coincidence, took place on the beach.  We never let any sad or unhappy memories interfere with our date - we have enough of those during our regular-life days together!  #Reality

One of our favorite games is something we actually do on our regular days together, but this time with a twist.  On normal days at dinner together, whether we are by ourselves, with The Fam, or with friends, we play "The Pit and the Peak".  This game is where everyone goes around saying the worst part of their day first (The Pit), and then to end on a good note they must say the best part of their day (The Peak).  

Since no worst part of any day is allowed to be discussed on this date, we call it "The Beach and the Pit".  This is where we sit around that fire pit we built in the sand, and talk about all of the best parts of our marriage - the things one has said or done for the other in order to edify them; the times that stand out to us in a great and fond way.  Now sometimes things are repeated from the same game the year before, and that is more than okay.   And there are the new moments from the time we left the beach the year before to the present that we talk about.

It is so easy for we, as mere humans, to cling to the bad.  It is, in fact, easier to place any good on a forgotten shelf if something bad occurs.  We all do it, really.  But life is too short to allow that to happen, so I will fiercely fight for the memories of the happy things - the good parts - even if it means I fight fire with fire by sitting around one and forcing those memories to the surface.  It is the best medicine for those regular days that bring reality back into play.

Do you have beat-up torn-down memories in your own history that tend to make you feel like you need a refurbished life?  Do you allow them to make you feel cracked and weathered or know that it builds character in you and can create a good-and-long-remembered legacy you can leave behind?  Does it make you look back and feel like a mad person or make you smile?

Real life is not always beachy and full of fun and games - trust me, I know.  But it is definitely what you make of it and what you allow it to make of you.  Don't put all the good on a forgotten shelf.  And mark out those times to remember the peaks - even if it means you must fiercely fight to do so.  And in order to see you are rich beyond riches, let the fondest pit be the fire.

beachdate

OH, CHRISTMAS TREE

 LASDI©

LASDI©

Christmas is coming!  I love the Christmas season.  I don’t really have a standout favorite thing about it.  Well, that’s not true.  I LIVE for Countdown to Christmas on The Hallmark Channel.  But rather than have to decide what I like best about the holiday, I choose to like all of it equally: the decorations, the Christmas music, the lights; ALL of it!  But there are certain branches of Christmas that kindle special memories and spark a few flames in the heart.

We are definitely a family that stands united and that stands on tradition.  For us, Christmas starts the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  Every year we go pick out the perfect-not-perfect tree. When The Kiddos were Smalls, we went together as a family and it would take us hours to find the right tree.  Even though they all liked something different, we wouldn’t leave until we all agreed on one.  The Hubster and I would nearly always agree on the tree we liked, and of course, each Kiddo would choose a different one.  At that point, it was time for all of us to go to each tree everyone liked and “sell” the others as to why that would be the Christmas tree for the house. 

But no matter which one we ended up deciding upon, we knew what awaited us when we got home.  Christmas-tree-decorating-day meant The Hubster climbed into the attic and brought all the packed-up Christmas boxes down for us to deck the halls, and it also meant cinnamon popcorn and homemade eggnog.  We turned on Christmas music (the classic kind, of course) and away we would go.

Now that The Kiddos are Talls, they still hold that day as the day for putting up the tree and getting their ornaments up in their own homes.  And so, still, do we.  Now each year, The Hubster and I go and pick out our own tree knowing it’s a reminder of times gone by.  For the last few years the tradition has been for Aunt Lu to come with us and help us choose.  The three of us still do the walk-and-find.  My choice is not always what most people would want, though. 

When I go a-tree huntin’, the big winner is always one that stands up straight, because I believe we stand up straight when we’re confident about life.  We shake the tree, and if the needles fall off right away, it doesn’t get picked.  That means it’s not healthy enough to last, and I intentionally choose health for The Fam so that we can last and be together as long as we can.  To pull a tree out and see if it’s rounded all the way around or flat on one side, and that the trunk is large enough to be grounded into a tree stand, is a big deal.  My goal for my family and myself is to be sure we are grounded, and well-rounded in everything we do.  I especially like the ones that are a little imperfect; the ones that maybe have some sort of gaping hole or seem to have some branches that jut out further than the others.  I like the ones that are blemished in ways that show the flaw, though it may be a little hard to see.  Isn’t that how we are as mere humans?  We try so hard to look a certain way or stand out, knowing each one of us is imperfect on the inside, though it may just barely be enough for anyone to see.

Once we find the precise tree, we place vintage ornaments on it with the greatest care.  Each one gets unwrapped and hung in just the right place.  Now I know some of you have that ornament OCD The DAUGHTS talked about in her blog, The Untidy Tribe, but as for The Hubster and I, we just put them on the tree where we really believe they belong.  If that means a couple hang close to one another, then so be it.  Even with that, there is a parallel to what we feel for our family and community not just at Christmas, but every day – we want to hang close to one another, believing we are in the exact right place with the right timing for each season.

Christmas is coming!  How have you stood united with those you love?  What traditions have you kept or created to give a sense of who you are and the legacy you build to tell your story?  Do you embrace your imperfections, no matter how you decorate the outside?  How do YOU choose YOUR Christmas tree? 

“Oh, Christmas tree, how lovely are thy branches.”

BEAUTIFUL GUTS

BeautifulGuts

As All Hallow’s Eve draws nigh, it seems that ghouls, goblins, and grossy guts are everywhere.  I get it.  I get that we have this one day for us to gather in unity to celebrate and glamorize our fears and dark sides.  But for the last few years, I think of Halloween much differently.

To start, I think of a young, gangly girl walking into my home for a midnight premier party I threw for The Hunger Games.  I think of her skinny legs on the highest heels I’ve ever seen – and they were paired up with a mini-skirt and croppy toppy.  Our eldest son had invited her as his date, so she was on the arm of someone I love very dearly, and it put me on the defense instantaneously.  Now I’m a fairly reasonable woman, but when said defense kicks in, I tend to go all “Sheila From The Block” - and that can be quite scary to a youngster like the one I’m describing.  It takes real guts to get through a night like that.

I think of a little sprite who came to a Thanksgiving evening without warning, and started asking for a “sliver” of this and a “sliver” of that, and licking her chops at all the food fare without care.  She was a tiny little thing, and I couldn’t believe the amount of food she ingested.  It reminded me a bit of Gollum referring to his “precious” when anyone came within the vicinity of her eating arena.  It was alarming and charming all at the same time, as she filled her guts with the glorious food feast.

Thoughts take me back to a more mature young lady, filled with quiet countenance as my family embarked upon our Annual Family Festivus at Christmas.  Family picture time came about, and she willingly became the photographer instead of assuming she was to be in the photo itself.  She was content to have been asked to be part of Family Night at all, it seemed, and wrapped arms with me and slid her hand into mine as we crossed the street for dinner.  She then quietly and authentically whispered, “Thank you for having me” in my ear.  And my guts did a butterfly flip.

I think of a quirky young woman, daring enough to be different and wear knee-high socks with the character Jack Skellington from the movie ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’  on them all year long (to go with her Jack Skellington earrings and hair bow, of course), no matter what holiday it is.  Now that takes guts!

I think of someone with so much talent it baffles people.  I see in my mind’s eye all the colorful and creative ways she paints, draws, and pieces things together to make the most incredible art.  I think of the upright work ethic in her gift of artistry, and really anything she does for that matter, and I know how very rare a quality that is.  I see her work her guts out.

I think of a strong female, coming into a family of strong females, somehow knowing just how to graciously fall right in line with them without having to gnarl her teeth in order to prove something.  Gutsy move.

When I think of Halloween, I even think of a hot, breezy day in August near the beach.  I know that one does not necessarily coincide with the other for most people, but for me the two are harmonious.    That was the day a beautiful and blushing bride who looked like an angelic woodland fairy got married.  To my son.  And with all her guts pledged her undying and forever love to him.

Why do I think of Halloween when I think of all of these things?  Because my whimsical and wonderful Daughts-In-Law, Kiren, was born on that day, and we celebrate the holiday much differently from most people.  We don’t celebrate our fears or dark sides.  But we do celebrate in unity.  We celebrate how beautiful she is.  We celebrate how unique and exceptional she is.  We celebrate her ferocious-yet-gentle love for her husband.  We celebrate her fierce loyalty to a family she fits so perfectly into.  We celebrate her beautiful guts.

WHEN THE KUCHEN HITS THE FAN

  SHE2016

SHE2016

I was thumbing through my favorite spice magazine.  Okay.  Let's get this out of the way - some people read gossip mags, some like the cerebral-sciency type of mags.  If you're like The Hubster, perhaps you like fishing magazines.  Personally, I find it extremely provocative to carefully peruse the free quarterly magazine sent to our home that houses all the gorgeous spices and seasonings, and all the published recipes sent in by "others" like me.  

So I was thumbing through my favorite spice magazine, and I came across a picture that stopped me in my tracks.  It was a warm photo showing layers of sliced apple, caramelized and formed into some sort of delicacy unlike any I had ever seen.  I did one of those things we do to get an even closer look - you know, like when you fold the magazine in half and then hold it right up to your face, or tilt it from side-to-side as if to see around the item in the picture?  I looked to the left of the photo and saw the title of the recipe: "Grandma's Apple Kuchen".  (pronounced koo-ken)

I knew this recipe was meant for me and I knew I had to conquer it.  I wasn't sure why, but I just knew.  I made my shopping list right away.  There were a few obstacles to overcome in order to make this happen.  Hey, nothing good comes easy, right?  It called for a very specific-sized glass pan I didn't have, nor had I ever heard of, and a few ingredients that were not easily found in a regular grocery store.

As fate would have it, I was in my local Goodwill spot and heard something calling my name.  "I'm over here, She!"  There, with what seemed to be a rainbow with confetti streaming down over it, was the odd-sized glass pan.  $2.99??  I think I can handle that.  Check.  I perused Amazon to find the specific ingredients needed and found them.  CHECK!!  Sunday Supper was looking like the perfect time to make Grandma's Kuchen.  In my mind, I could see the proud faces of my family and hear all the accolades I would be receiving.  Oh yea.  Meant to be.  This was going to be PERFECT.

I carefully did exactly as the recipe said.  I painstakingly sliced the apples so that they were uniform and lovely.  I whisked with fury, and stirred with passion.  I slowly placed each apple slice in layers to be ever-so-exact.  And into the oven it went.  And THE AROMA!!  The smell of the vanilla, the cinnamon, the apples!!  I cleaned the mess that is usually left on the path behind you when you work so hard to achieve greatness.  The kitchen.  But I wasn't bitter.  Oh, no.  Not with what was waiting on the other side of that oven door.

The timer went off.  The potholders came out.  The oven door was opened.  And there, Ladies and Gentlemen, was THE KUCHEN.

I took it out of the oven with tears in my eyes.  I breathed in the hard work I had seen come to fruition, and set it down on my granite counter.  I stepped to the doorway and proudly announced, "The kuchen ...... is cooling."  And the smiles of anticipation spread across the faces of The ManChild and The Hubster.  I was in the clear.  My artwork was complete.  Now all we need do was eat it.

I walked back over to it to rest on my laurels.  Of course I did.  I couldn't help but stare at this incredible beauty as it cooled and brought us all closer to being one with its tasty morsels.  And then, BOOM!

You may find what I'm about to say hard to believe.  But every word is true.  Out of nowhere, the kuchen exploded.  I mean EX.  PLO.  DED.  Glass hit my arms, my neck, my face, luckily missing my eyes.  Kuchen hit the walls, the floor, the ceiling.  The sound of it was deafening.  Cameron and Adrian came running into the kitchen, only to see me standing there, eyes wide with shock and arms out in the air to my sides, as if I were attempting to fly.  "WHAT HAPPENED?!?"  I just stared at them.  "WHAT HAPPENED, She?!?"  And the tears began to flow.  "Are you okay??  What happened?"  I looked up at them, giant tears streaming now, and screamed at the top of my lungs (get ready for it)" "MY KUCHEN EXPLODED!!"  

I wish you could have seen the pity-slash-comical-slash-confused looks on their faces.  The "awwwwwwww"s coming out of their mouths, rolling from deep inside their souls for me as they both put their arms around me to console my broken spirit were so sincere.  All that hard work.  All that mountain climbing to get to the top, only to slide back down.  Everything I had worked SO HARD FOR.  Ruined.

Or was it?  Those two went into action.  They cautiously cleaned me up, and led me to the couch with a tall glass of wine.  They cleaned up the kitchen.  They loved on me.  They offered me kuchen condolences all night.  And I was reminded that life was good, even and especially in the moments we think it isn't.

I changed that recipe to morph it into my own and chose simple ingredients and more practical tools to do so.  I make it often and think of that day every single time I do.  I know it grew me and helped me stretch and climb.  I know it taught me that there is almost always a mess left behind you when you work hard, not to rest on my laurels, and to understand that in all toil there is profit.  I know it helped me see what's really important.  All that because the kuchen hit the fan.

Sometimes the most beautiful things can explode in your face, even if you think you've conquered something after a long, arduous process, and it turns out incredible ...... you feel proud and think you're in the clear.  And then, BOOM.  What was once lovely artwork is in pieces everywhere, reminding you how truly delicate life can be.

Be careful and practical as you stretch and climb, but climb just the same.  Know that when something goes wrong  after you've worked so hard, it is only to show you what's really important so that you don't lose sight of it.  And NEVER put a hot kuchen in a glass pan on a granite counter. 

SHE'S CONDOLENCE KUCHEN

Kuchen:
1 1/4 cups  flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 stick butter, cold and cut up
2 egg yolks
2 tsp milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 medium-sized green apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thin
 
Streusel:
3/4 cup sugar
3 tbs flour
1 tsp cinnamon
3 tbs butter, cold and cut
 
Combine all streusel ingredients into small mixing bowl and blend with your fingers until the mixture resembles small crumbs. Set aside.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and butter. Use your fingers to blend all the kuchen ingredients to large-crumb consistency. In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks then add the vanilla extract and milk. Pour milk mixture into the crumbled dry ingredients and mix until it is just blended. Press this dough into the bottom and up the sides of a prepared baking dish.

Arrange the apple slices in three lengthwise rows on top of the crust. Sprinkle the streusel mixture over the apples. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the apples look glazed and caramelized.

EAT SLOWLY.

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1 LIFE 1 MISSION - A GUEST BLOG

 Links International - All Rights Reserved  ©

Links International - All Rights Reserved ©

What a special day for Life As She Does It!!  Not only do I have my first male Guest Blogger, he is someone I largely admire and consider a hero of sorts.  In a world that is so profoundly broken as a whole, it can sometimes feel discouraging to even try to help where we are called or needed.  Not this guy.  Jason Bollinger, along with his wife, Holly, are saving the world one trip, one person, one step at a time,  And that's how it's done, isn't it?  One foot in front of the other??  You can find more of Jason's moving words, adventures, and mission stories over at 1Life1Mission.com, or any of 1L1M's social media.  Read on to find out more about the ways Jason is doing it and how we can do it, too - CHANGE THE WORLD!!  Take it away, J-Bo!!

I’m so honored to be the first “HE” on the LASDI blog. My wife, Holly, and I are big fans of SHE, and we are blessed to have a front row seat into all the different ways SHE makes the world a better place. She is the real deal, and our lives are fuller because of SHE and Adrian (HE). 

We work with a mission organization called Links International. A lot of our time is spent traveling to the developing world bringing Good News to the poor. We also spend time working with churches, businesses, and families who are interested in connecting with mission opportunities. Our network provides Gospel-based solutions and resources for poverty’s most devastating affects. 

SHE wears us out all the time telling us we are changing the world. The encouragement is actually awesome, but the reality is that we’re just scratching the surface doing what we can. We go to the needs. We work hard on solutions. We empower people to break free from poverty. We get a front row seat to lives being changed by Good News. 

Our hope is that changed lives become transformed communities and transformed communities become transformed regions and transformed regions...well you get the idea. Big impact usually happens from something small. 

We haven’t always worked in International mission. For 18 years we were in full-time church ministry, but we experienced a turning point in 2010 surrounding the adoption of our girls. We went for what we thought was one daughter under 2 years old and came home with two daughters aged 6 and 8. In a traumatic experience of everything going wrong...almost...God miraculously delivered our girls into our family. We ended up spending just shy of three months in Ukraine. A month of that time included spending time in the orphanage every day.

 HollyBollingerPhoto.com ©

That was our first time in a foreign country other than England. It was our first time to spend an extended time with what the Bible calls “the least of these.” It was our first time to get to know missionaries who were sacrificing a comfortable life at home to serve those in need. We didn’t realize it at the time, but we were deeply impacted by those things. While we were there, it was just life. We were focused on our adoption. We weren’t planning a radical transformation of how we would live the rest of our lives. 

I heard Bono say after his first trip to Africa that he wouldn’t be able to unsee what he had seen. Not only that, he would have to do something about it. After we got home, we experienced that to be true. We still loved the church and serving the church, but we couldn’t unsee what we had seen. Not only that, we started to see it in places we had never seen it before. 

The first step was just seeing it. Mission trips are great for this. Before we saw it, we overlooked severe needs and fatherless kids in our own community. They were there all along, but we missed it. We didn’t see it. Or maybe the truth is we didn’t want to see it. 

It was definitely easier and more convenient to not see it, but not seeing it is the barrier to mission. We can’t change a world that we pretend doesn’t exist. When we travel to places that suffer from extreme poverty, “need” suddenly has a name, a face, a sweet hug and a beautiful smile. I don’t think we’re motivated toward Mission until we experience that reality.  

 Links International - All Rights Reserved  ©

Links International - All Rights Reserved ©

I like the idea of changing the world, don’t you? I plan on continuing to do all I can to work toward that end. However, I know many think they can’t or don’t have time. Many think they’re not qualified or gifted enough. Some are just overwhelmed thinking about where to start. 

The truth is changing the world may actually be easier than you think. You can be good news to bad news around you. You can bring light to something dark. You can bring hope to something hopeless. Maybe even today. You can change someone’s world. You probably don’t even have to go somewhere you don’t already go. You can make a difference. A meal. An encouraging word. A prayer. A listening ear. A hug. An invitation. Don’t underestimate the significance of what you can do.

Once you see it, you’ll see more. You will even crave more. You might start to set your sights on other needs, bigger needs. You might find yourself rescuing orphans. You might find yourself creating jobs in Africa. You might find yourself doing healthcare training in Nicaragua. You never know. I think we can do it. I think we can change the world. I think you can change the world.

Blessings,
Jason Bollinger

We are available to help you connect with your missional potential. We would love to talk to you about things you’re interested in and places you can plug in. You can contact us at office@linksintlusa.org.

BollingerLove

PRICELESS

  SHE2016©

SHE2016©

Have you ever thought about the birth process, and how priceless it is?  A lot of people think of the blood, sweat, and tears as gory and the thought may even make them nauseous, and I totally get that.  But the process itself – gory or not – well, it’s what got us all here, right?
 

I am, of course, writing this because very recently I became (dare I say it?) a GRANDMOTHER.  It’s not the precious little bundle of joy that makes me cringe when I hear that name.  It’s the name itself.  I have always pictured a sweet little old blue-haired lady with a cane and thick glasses who says things like, “Wait for Granny, Dears!  You know my dentures fall out when I try to keep up with you whipper-snappers!”  And let me tell you, Folks, if you don’t know already:  That is NOT me.  Well, sometimes I have blue hair, but it is often in streaks and under some kind of turbi, hat, or ‘do-rag, and accompanied by a new Jesus tattoo and cute-but-crazy-accessories.  GRANNY SHE IS NOT FOR ME.  Nope.  My name is She.  So The Daughts decided SheShe would be appropriate and quite suiting.  And I agree with her. 
 

But I digress.  Back to birthing.  I sat in a different place altogether when Sage Ellie was born a little under a month ago as opposed to when my own children were born: not only a place where I could see the brilliance of a baby being born, but a different perspective.  My baby was having a baby.  And she had fought a long, hard battle of the game called life to get where she landed, and I knew she was going to make a wonderful mommy.  
 

But what about me as a mommy; as a parent to my own children?  Had I done enough?  Did I show enough love?  Did I discipline enough?  Was there a balance?  Had I given it my best shot?  I knew I had made my fair share of mistakes, but were they mistakes that could not be undone or even forgiven?  Would they scar my children enough to sully the joy of being a parent themselves?  Believe it or not, as she labored, I saw my life with them flash before my eyes and was truly pondering those thoughts and at least a thousand more.
 

And then came a different moment.  The moment The Daughts handed me comfort and hope that I had done well thus far: she gave me a hand-written letter from-her-to-me.  The nurse had asked us all to step out – “all” meaning The Son-In-Law, The Hubster (now referred to as PoPo by The Grand Daughts), and me.  Just before piling out of the room for a few minutes, she handed one to each of us.  It helped me to muster up an ounce of faith even before I looked at it. We sat in silence in the waiting area, privately reading the words she had thoughtfully penned.  
 

As I read through my tears, in the back of my memory bank, thoughts of hand-made helicopter-sized hair bows in her fine, wavy locks as a two-year-old came to mind.  I thought of laying her little head down in my lap when she was five after her bath to floss her teeth for her and how absolutely sweet and lavender-like she smelled.  I thought of the time she had chicken pox and I put mittens on her hands so she wouldn’t scratch.  The thoughts of singing together each and every Thanksgiving in front of friends and family and hearing her sweet, natural harmonies pierced my heart with joy.  Standing outside the kindergarten door the entire day where she couldn’t see me but I could see her to make sure she was all right on the first day of school reached out to me.  I remembered her telling me she wanted Jesus in her heart.
 

But coupled with those thoughts were the times I cried myself to sleep because we had screamed at each other for an entire afternoon.  I felt a strong hurt at remembering the time I lost my temper to a sincere breaking point, and thought if I could go back how differently I would handle that moment.  I was brought back to a time of desperation because I could not connect with my teenage daughter, no matter how hard I tried, and thinking what a failure I was as a parent.  It shattered me, as I was almost positive it had her, as well.
 

And then this (don’t worry, Readers.  I checked with her first to make sure she didn’t mind if I share):
 

“Mom, you have always been there for me and through the years have become my best friend.  I’m so excited to make you a SheShe today!  
 

You have taught me to love without ceasing and without fear.  My whole life you have been preparing me for motherhood by the example you have set for my life.  I just didn’t know it until I started thinking about the mom I wanted to be to Sage.  
 

Thank you for loving me like you do.  I cannot wait to watch your relationship with Sage grow through the years.  I am so thankful to know that I will lean on you as I set my own examples for Sage.  <3
 

I love you, Mom, and I’m so thankful for you.
 

XOXO – Chelsea”
 

That, to me……was PRICELESS.
 

So perhaps at the end of the day, you are second-guessing if your best is even good enough.  Or maybe you feel like a failure at something and that shatters you.  In this one life we have been given, nestled amongst the good will always be the bad.  Without those times, we will not grow; we will not learn to love without ceasing and without fear.  So we MUST value those times as well and know that life is good, even when it isn’t.  If we have truly given it our best and have had even an ounce of faith, the reward will be the way you see it returned to you…..and that – IS PRICELESS.  

 

IN A PINCH

  SHE2016©

SHE2016©

There are bad pinches and there are good pinches.  It is much like salt.  Too much of it can ruin a dish.  But I happen to know that just a pinch of salt can make the flavor of something pop.

A pinch doesn’t always make one feel warm and fuzzy, though.  

As a little girl, there were two different kinds of pinches I remember: the kind that was wonderful, like the kind my grandfather would gently give me right on the tip of my nose after he would kiss me hello.  And then there was the one that would leave a sting on the back of my arm or hi-nee from my parent when I would misbehave in public.

Some pinches can hit ya right in the feels.  Like the moments that pinch your heart.  

I can remember the very second each of my children were born.  I can remember how my heart felt like it would explode because I was overwhelmed with joy as they took their first breath of life (and screamed their bloody heads off).  I could literally feel a lovely wrench in my chest.  It is the kind of pinch I will never forget and always hold with me.

Then there was the moment someone I loved passed away.  The pinch I felt in my heart was there, but much different from that of the joy I knew from life being given.  I distinctly remember standing where I was for what seemed like forever, thinking how much I was going to miss them; how I thought the terrible, achy pinch in my heart would never go away.  And I must say, though it has eased up some, the scar from that particular pinch is still there.

I’ve been in many a precarious position in my life.  Sometimes I put myself there, and sometimes it was merely the circumstances.  But either way, I wound up in a pinch.  

When I was a teenager, I made the conscious decision to go into a store with someone I knew was going to shoplift.  I didn’t take anything.  Well actually, I was GOING TO.  But at the last second I chickened out.  I was questioned when she got caught because I was with her.  Luckily the cameras showed I had not taken anything but simply because I was with her I found myself in quite a pinch!  (For the benefit of the reader needing an ending to that particular story, I did NOT end up in the slammer.)

Back when I was a young, single mom of two small children, my tire blew out on the highway. I had never changed a tire before, let alone on a busy road.  (I sure did learn FAST!!)  Even though that was something out of my control, I was most DEFINITELY in a pinch!  (No worries, Folks.  As you can see that one turned out all right, for I am writing this many years later.)

I used to always wonder what a pinch-hitter was when I heard the term used in baseball, until someone explained to me it was a substitute batter – someone to replace the batter when the team is in a pinch.  

I married my Pinch Hitter.  He is definitely my substitute batter when I find myself in a pinch.  Example:  the other day I had a catering gig that called for – wait for it……SIX-HUNDRED cake ball truffles.  Now these beauts cannot be stacked on top of one another or their gorgeous candy coatings and lovely decorations will crack and break.  I was going to have to make several trips back and forth in order to get the beloved cake ball truffles to their destination with no harm to befall them!  But my Pinch Hitter got me out of the pinch in the coolest way possible.

It’s too hard for my non-engineer-way-of-thinking brain to explain, but essentially, he took some cardboard and wine bottles we use for projects (not the hardest part of my job, emptying those bottles......wink!) from the garage, and did this:

  SHE2016©

SHE2016©

Hence, it took one trip, and all the truffles were unscathed.

Think about the pinches – the bad ones and the good ones.  Some of them hurt and can leave a sting or even a scar.  Some of them are wonderful and make you remember the joy life can bring.  Think of the pinch hitters in your life that have helped you make it through something unscathed.  Or perhaps you were that pinch hitter a time or two.  Either way, with every pinch comes growth in our lives – like the pinch of salt that can make the flavor of something pop.  

 

JIVE TURKEY

  This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.

This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.

To me: How do you make him do it??  What kind of bribery do you use?  Did you strike some sort of bargain?? 

To The Hubster: How did She manage to make you do it??  Did She bribe you?  You must hate your life.

These are questions and comments we get every time we dress in costume (which, by the way, is more often than any other adults - and MAYBE even kids - I’ve ever known). 

It could be a theme night.  We’ve done French (berets and tiny moustaches are just fun), Winter Wonderland (we were the Snow King & Queen, of course), UK (that was fun because I got to see Adrian in a kilt – hubba, hubba), or even Japanese (because Geisha makeup is a MUST).  It could be the ever-regular-reason, Halloween.  We’ve been Peace & Quiet, Gomez and Morticia Addams, Sick & Tired, and Mummy & Deaddy.  It could be for a party.  We’ve been mega-trends from every era from the 20s to the 90s, and literally everything in between.  We’ve been Wonder Woman and Captain America (both circa 1940s and circa 1980s), and we’ve been Janis Joplin and Jimmy Hendrix.  We’ve even been Thomas Jefferson and his wife, Martha.  I’m telling you:  the list goes on and ON.

Just a sidebar:  He especially loves keeping the costume boxes (yes, PLURAL) very organized.  He recently catalogued our wigs.  Yep.  Now we have a wig library. 

I’m telling you, WE COSTUME UP.  But therein lay the key word: “we”.  I’m never alone in it.  Adrian suits up no matter what, and never complains and never declines. 

The Hubster knows life is fleeting and very short.  He knows we are partners.  He knows it is not threatening to his manhood, but rather a fun way to be present and in-the-moment.  And he knows me.  And he loves life.  And he loves life with me.  And he loves me.

We jive.

This particular costume (yes, that’s him in the picture), I simply said, “Turkey Costume”.   And he donned it as though he were a proud peacock instead of a turkey.  He danced around with kids, and he pretended to peck at people’s heads.  And, as most rock-star turkeys do, he wore sunglasses and drank trendy coffee.

I’m not saying costumes are for everyone.  But I am saying all the things that make The Hubster jive with me and with life ARE.

As Thanksgiving approaches, I want to be sure you know life is fleeting and very short.  I want to make sure you are present and in-the-moment.  Do you love life?  Even when it is not going perfectly?  PS -  it never will (go perfectly, that it is).  If you don't already, learn to love it and give thanks for it.  Embrace the costume moments.  And I promise you – it WILL jive.