Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Prescription Frames and a New Found Perspective: Guest Blogger

Many of my tried and true followers know how close my mom and I are and how many traits she has so lovingly passed down to me (okay but really, mom? You could have kept the varicose to yourself). Just today at lunch while involved in a deep and interesting conversation about the proper way to load a dishwasher and scrub hard anodized pots, my lips sputtered some passionate idea about the heat at the bottom of the dishwasher ruining Tupperware and I tried to cover my mouth in time but, alas, my mother had escaped again. 

This is why I am so excited to show you all first hand another passion I share with my mother... our love of writing. She truly is a talented and comical writer so I know you all will love this guest post from my mommy dearest. Enjoy!

Prescription Frames and a New Found Perspective

So.....had an interesting morning. Quite an adventure if I do say so myself. An odyssey in my own home. A unique and unusual experience that began when I accidentally misplaced my glasses and ended when I located them. This is the tale of my vision quest.

I am very dependent upon my eye wear. I have been since a child when my dear mother noticed much squinting and exasperation during homework and music lessons. Eye exams, glasses, contact lenses, solutions, cases, and cleaners have been part of my life for 47 years. Improved vision has made colors crisp, letters, numbers, musical notes and faces readable. Transformed blurriness to clear.

Misplacing glasses or contact lenses isn't really an option for me if I hope to navigate my world. Upon discovering this morning that my vision aids were MIA, I drew a breath and glanced around, anticipating their presence, right...here...

No, not here, perhaps over there?? At first, I felt a faint glimmer, a hint of annoyance...they have to be right here on top of my reading materials or hiding under the Life section of the Ledger. Searching involved looking and patting, feeling for the familiar face wear. Eventually, hopeful assurance kicked into gear. Of course, ( head slap) I could've had a lapse and left them in the bathroom nestled in my well-stocked makeup bag, beside the toothbrushes or darn it, maybe in the messy drawer next to the hairbrush. Cursory looking transitioned to controlled rummaging. Those darn things should be RIGHT here!

Okay, break time, lil' spurts of nervous giggling and roving eyeballs....I spied my Samsung cell phone and had the presence of mind to distract myself with Facebook...ahhhh, that baby is soo sweet; she's in Alaska?? Hope they see the Northern Lights, I would love to see the northern lights, whose birthday is today?

Breathing returned to normal, equilibrium reestablished. Checked my fuzzy reflection while passing a mirror. Pasted a smile and gave a silent pep talk, usually an effective mood booster! Ready. Set. GO!!
I resumed my search for much needed glasses. Getting a slight headache from squinting, pretty strong prescription for nearsightedness and astigmatism. Don't think I'm exaggerating when I mention that "blind as a bat" describes my -5.00 & -5.50 prescription strengths.

I knew I had things to do, places to go, and people to see. I had to get down and dirty serious about locating the missing eye wear!! They could NOT have been stolen and I know they didn't just walk off. Think....think harder and smarter. Could they have inadvertently been abandoned at the coffee pot/toaster during breakfast? No, they had not been inadvertently or deliberately abandoned by the coffee pot or toaster. Then, without forethought, I threw open the french doors for a quick look in the refrigerator. I admit, I paused for a quick spurt of nervous laughter at this instance. Now that would have been funny (read: embarrassing) to find them next to the International Delight Hazelnut flavored creamer. Alas, they were not left behind in or around the Frigidaire, nor were they located in the pantry or languishing with the few, neatly stacked dirty dishes by the sink.

Exasperation settled into my psyche as I stomped to the laundry room and looked high and low for missing spectacles. No, they were not in the pile of clean clothes or the basket of dirty clothes, nor in the washing machine that had reached the Rinse cycle.

Desperation drove me to retrace my morning routine. Pressing my face close to every surface, top, bottom,sides, and all around the town. I flung sheets, towels, mail, art projects, dog toys, magazines. I looked in the dog beds, under my bed, sofa, and kitchen table. I emptied trash cans, found a partially emptied piece of Samsonite (unexpected bonus locating dirty socks, shirts, and unmentionables from a trip three weeks ago), teehee. I'm sure this never happens in well-managed households. During this period of shame and deep lament over dust, clutter, and the piercing agony of not having Merry Maids on a regular basis, I nearly shrieked with frustration. I wanted to pitch a fit, host a conniption, have a meltdown!!! When the red mist dissipated, I decided against having an undignified hissy fit. It wouldn't be fitting to disrupt and disturb the dust bunnies congregating nearby. They were, to be fair, just minding their own bunny business.They didn't deserve to witness dirtball carnage and I'm quite certain they were too young to come to such a tragic end. I came to the inevitable conclusion that the real tragedy was discovering my myopia had far reaching effects beyond being shortsighted. Vision, while important, is but one of my God designed senses. I still have smell, taste, touch, and hearing.

Comforted by these calming thoughts, I decided to scrub the bathroom. Have any idea how close you have to press your face into a sink, tub, and toilet to ascertain how much scouring is necessary to thoroughly remove soap scum and mineral buildup? Scrubbing Bubbles are truly fascinating up close and personal! Who knew that Ajax appears white until it comes into contact with water and miraculously transforms into a lovely shade of blue? Clorox Cleanup works miracles with that disturbing moldy colored ring in the toilet! Merry Maids may appreciate my unscientific discoveries. I tackled the grungy grout until the travertine was ready to cry for mercy. Then, while backing out of the throne room on my hands and knees, I glanced up at the sage green bath towel draped over the towel holder and noticed an arm. The arm was connected to the lenses and yahooooo! there were my glasses. They once were lost, but now they're found!!! Rising from my gleaming pine-scented floor, I did an impressive happy dance and smiled a true and happy smile. What a relief! What an odyssey! What an adventure! What a moron! Why were they there in the first place? Well, whatever the reason, it was a unique and unusual way to "see" my world for a couple of hours. Perhaps a new perspective is helpful every now and again.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Wear Your China

If you have ever seen my closet, you would know that I am at no loss for clothes. I have a very large walk-in closet full of all sorts of things. I am one blessed girl, this I know. And yet somehow, I frequently have nothing to wear. The other day was one such day, and I picked through my line of dresses a few times, feeling and remembering the purchase and wear of each one (yes, I love my dresses. And they love me.). A beautiful Giani Bini number stood out to me, a dress I spent a pretty penny on for family photos last year. I love this dress. It fits like a glove, comfortable, and in the prettiest shades of floraly blues and purples. I have only worn this dress once. 

 (My beautiful dress. And my beautiful family. And a logo over my  beautiful face!)

On this random Wednesday morning, I was feeling daring. I would wear this dress to work! It is a special occasion dress and I would wear it to no occasion at all. I felt liberated. More than that, I felt kind of gorgeous. 

People took notice; I received quite a few compliments from strangers. That made me stand a little bit straighter. When my friend Sonya also took notice, I explained my special occasion dress I chose to wear on “just a Wednesday.” She loved the idea, said a few “you-go-girls,” and told me that she took the same kind of outlook in her own life. She serves dinner every night on her fine china. “Someone took the time to buy me that china and I want to make every day feel special by eating off it! What good does its beauty do if it’s stuck in a cabinet?”

She is right! So much so that I coined a new life phrase from the conversation. You’ve got to wear your china! Forget YOLO and all that jazz, I want to wear my china and give these nice things I love and cherish the value and attention they deserve. And this goes so much deeper than just “stuff.”

In the video I posted in a recent post, I shared a video that a good friend showed me. In the video, the presenter shared some very important lessons he learned after almost losing his life. One thing about his presentation stuck out to me over the rest. He had a philosophy to collect cheap wine, because if someone wants to come over and visit, he is not only going to make the time for them, but he’s not going to make an excuse not to crack open a bottle of wine and enjoy the company. How often do we make excuses to hold off on things, put tasks off, or tell our family “maybe some other time?” Life only happens once, and it happens quickly. 

The moral of the story… Wear your china. You are not promised tomorrow so go ahead and wear that fancy dress you’ve been saving for a “special occasion,” open the bottle of wine, and serve dinner on your finest china. Spend time with the people who matter most; tomorrow is not promised to any of us and we need to make this moment count. 

Wear your china. Life is too short to feel anything but luxurious and special. Everyday. 

And you know what? Just go ahead and buy the matching shoes, too.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

An Engagement and a Favor

This blogger has some exciting news! Last Saturday, July 13, my wonderful boyfriend of over 2 years asked me to be his wife!!

On a morning kayaking trip, we took a breather on a beautiful piece of beach, much like we did on one of our first dates. As I was enjoying the sun, Shane told me he wanted me to see a picture of Sadie, our yellow lab. When I opened my eyes, it was a picture much like one I had fallen in love with on Pinterest only it was our dog...with my ring!! I looked to Shane who was on his knee with a sweet smile, sparkling blue eyes, and a BIG question. I squealed a "yes!!" and we excitedly hugged and laughed and basked in our lovely bliss.

During all this excitement, Shane and I entered into a contest for the ultimate dream wedding in Pensacola. Its called the Block Party Wedding and it brings together all of the top vendors in Pensacola, Fl who have graciously offered to donate their services to one lucky couple for a wedding in September!

Shane and I have made it into the TOP 10 and we are so excited!! But now I need your help, fellow bloggers and friends.


We are so excited about this opportunity that we want to make a donation to a local charity with the money we will have saved on our wedding  if we win this amazing wedding! 

You can read our love story on the home page, and vote under the Vote icon in the top menu bar. (That makes sense, right?) One vote per email address, so please please please send this to your family and friends and let's show Pensacola how tight knit the blogging world really is!!

(Courtesy of Aislinn Kate Photography- one of the vendors of the Block Party Wedding!)

Thank you so much!!

Monday, July 1, 2013

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

The 15 Most Difficult Lessons to Learn in Marriage

How many times have you been told, “learn from my mistakes?” Probably a lot, right? And yet, how many times did you actually do just that? For some reason, our human nature is to assume we know better and go off of the need to do things for ourselves. Well, while this may be necessary in some things, I would like to know that I can approach my future marriage with a few lessons already under my belt, thanks to some wonderful people around me who have been there, done that, and gotten the t-shirt. While it is inevitable that mistakes and tiffs will happen, I think the world of relationships would be a lot less tumultuous place if we just took the advice of those who have already had to learn the lesson the hard way. 

A few days ago, after a fleeting thought of “I wonder what the hardest – but most well worth it- lesson people had to learn in their marriage” was, I decided to pose my question to my Facebook buddies. I was overwhelmed with the honest and forthcoming responses and was really touched by how willing people were to share what may have been a very tough and humbling lesson- all in the name of letting someone else learn from their mistakes. 

I truly believe people are willing to put their pride aside to help someone else. It is up to the receiver of these lessons what they choose to do with them. Always willing to help myself, I want to share these lessons with you! (I’m just a doll, I know.) I encourage you to pass them along to someone who may also benefit from them (so….pretty much everyone) and if you have one of your own, please share!

The 15 most difficult, but well worth it, lessons in marriage (straight from the horse’s mouth!): 

  1. I am not in this alone and my wife does not have ill will towards me. We are on the same team. 
2      2. being loving is way more important than being right.

  3.   Always communicate with each other, no matter the mood. Spouses are not mind readers.

       4. Don’t put unrealistic expectations on your spouse. Enjoy and embrace their differences, instead. God led you to that person for a reason. 

       5. It’s okay to hold hands even after 20 years of marriage.

       6. Don’t vent to your family about your spouse.  Odds are, you and your spouse will work it out and your family won’t forget about it when you do. 

7      7.  I am more selfish than I ever dreamed I was. 

8      8. Communicate love on purpose. Discover their love language and act on it. (For more on this, see my post on Gary Chapman or visit his website to discover your love language.)

9      9. Never go to bed angry. You never know what tomorrow will bring. Work it out before you go to sleep and wake up without stress. 

              10. Live every day and love every day like it is your last. Good or bad, you can overcome it if you stick together. 

1      11.  Make sure you agree on how to manage your money. Money is the biggest source of marital strife. 

1      12.  When you are young, you nit-pick things to death.  As you grow older, you learn to pick your battles. Example: your husband empties the trash but doesn’t put a trash bag back in the can. Instead of complaining, put the bag in yourself and give your hubby a kiss and thank him for taking the trash out. Men need to be shown how much we appreciate the little things they do.  (I personally LOVE this example!)

1       13.  I can’t fix everything. Sometimes I just have to be a listener rather than a fixer. (Now what gender do you think the friend who offered this lesson is?)

1       14.  Learning to be more feminine and let him do nice things for me. (I hope we can assume the gender of this one…)

1       15.  Always kiss each other goodnight.

I don’t know about you, but I think I am going to print these lessons and put them somewhere where I can reference them often. Now that’s what I call free, fabulous pre-pre-marital counseling!

And as a bonus, some good friends of ours who have been married for 6 years and have the kind of marriage people wish for, shared this video with me that really touched me. He said, “I don’t like to fight with my wife, so I remind myself to choose to be happy as opposed to fighting to be right.” This man is giving us the framework to literally “live like we are dying” from his experience and the lessons he took from it.

What lessons could you share with someone about your marriage that you may have had to learn the hard way? 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Chivalry Ain't Dead!

I have always been an “old soul.” I wear dresses (I’d add petticoats too if I didn’t think people would gawk!), some of my favorite celebrities are Ann Margaret and Frank Sinatra, and I love my cast iron skillet. Over Christmas, Shane’s uncles and I laughed as we realized my personal tagline should be, “I like to cook and bake and be in bed by 8!” I mean come on, what 24-year-old do you know in this century asked for a sewing machine and spatulas for Christmas? 

Along with these attributes, I am also a big believer in the “old school” views of family, marriage, and gender roles. Yes, I am ecstatic for my right to vote, my competitive salary based on my merit and not on my gender, and that I can live on my own and not need a man to change my light bulbs. I do believe, though, that there were some things that America has “grown out of” and we may not be better off because of it.

Although I have always had very strong goals and dreams for myself and my career, I knew that my number one calling in life is to be a wife and a mother. I believe that those will be my most influential and important occupations…if I don’t throw myself into those things, I will have failed. I believe a marriage is a partnership but also that the husband is called to be the head of the household. Why? Because God called husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the Church. Christ laid down his life for his Church and didn’t make any decisions based on power or greed or submission… he made them all out of love and based on what was best for his bride. This doesn’t mean that the wife doesn’t have a say or isn’t an “equal,” it simply means that she is trusting her husband to lead her the way God intended. 

Call me Southern (GRITS- Girls Raised In The South), but I am also a huge believer in chivalry! Contrary to popular belief, it is not dead. On our first date, Shane, who had recently moved to Florida from New England, opened my car door for me and he has been doing it ever since. Most men in the South don’t even do that anymore, and I knew that wonderful man was rare that first night because he respected me enough to uphold the traditions of old. Why? They worked! If it’s not broken, don’t fix it, right? Every time I hop in the truck as Shane hold the door open for me, I am so grateful for who he is and how he views me as a woman. If a man is respectful in the little things, he will be respectful in the big things. 

This by no means indicates that women are damsels or are incapable of thinking and doing things for themselves. It simply is a gesture of love and tradition that radiates so much more than just holding a door open. 

Last week at a company-wide meeting on leadership at work, I arrived at the last minute and was looking for an empty seat. I spotted one in the front corner of the room near some of my co-workers but it was an awkward maneuvering to get to that corner chair. The presenters and “higher ups” of the company were standing near and I smiled as I attempted to get to my seat. Low and behold, I was astonished to realize that a new higher-up director of our company, one who came from the military and would later give his presentation on leader- and followership, stepped up to pull the chair out for me and waited as I sat down. This was such a sweet gesture, so unexpected and appreciated, and it let me know that not only did “his mama raise him right,” but also that he understood the impact of chivalry and respect. And you know what else? It really made me believe what he talked about later on. He is proving himself as good leader because he cares about the people around him. He understands that chivalry isn’t dead and it takes kindness and respect for those under and near you to be successful. 

So call me old school (no really, I hear it quite often) but I just believe that there are certain traditions that we had right the first time. Shane treats me with respect, and I him, and this will always allow me to rest assured that he will lead our family in the way that is best for all of us. I also know that, because of this, we will be able to show our children what it takes to be ladies and gentlemen through the example we set. They will understand that it isn’t about power or inability or manipulation. When a lady acts like a lady of poise, personality, and self-respect, it allows men to truly act like a man of brawn and chivalry. Now THAT is the kind of world I want to live in.