Monday Morning Randomness.

1. It is official. I have sneezed more in the year 2013 than in my entire life. What is up with all the wicked illness going around this year?

2. This morning, I dumped the last of the Starbucks Christmas Blend into the coffee filter. Let’s pause for a moment of silence…

3. In other news, today I am going to Starbucks and getting a couple pounds of this yummy deliciousness.

4. I have too much stuff. I realized it while cleaning this weekend. Usually, I move stuff from one place to another. I have now officially run out of “another” places. Not sure which room I will tackle first, but something is getting purged today.

5. In two days, my baby turns 17. I am at a loss for words regarding this turn of events.

6. Speaking of loss for words…Downton. That’s all I’m going to say about that. Except that I watched Season 3 while it was also airing in the UK, thanks to the wonders of technology, and I stopped watching the rest of the season after this particular episode aired. I was that mad. I might skip over this episode on the DVR.

7. Also, this is on its way to my house and should be delivered tomorrow.

8. Early this morning, unable to sleep, I was thinking of a few things that have been bothering me lately. I am having some struggles with a few people in my life and, after a bit of reflection, I realized that we all have stuff in our lives that has happened to us. Things that we keep hidden, or suffer in silence or maybe even something that everyone knows, to our shame. And if I gave you my stuff and you gave me your stuff, we would probably very quickly switch back. I remember each of our children coming home one day, upset about an incident that happened at school. Usually involving a child who was a bully or who had said hurtful things. While we sympathized with our own child’s hurt, we also very quickly reminded them to think of the other child and what might be going on in their life that caused them to act in a hurtful way, physically or verbally. The same is true with us adults. The same compassion I tried to cultivate in my own children needs to be shown by me. It was definitely an “ouch” moment, this morning.

9. My self-imposed book ban of 2013 is quickly approaching. If you recall, I had decided my New Year’s Non-resolution would be to purchase no new books in 2013. Well, that lasted about 12 hours into January 1. So I revised my non-resolution to begin on February 1. And yes, I have been in a book buying frenzy ever since. My husband, or maybe it was his clone, my oldest son, pointed out (from a great physical distance, I might add) that I might have more room if I got rid of at least one of my book shelves. I contemplated the wisdom of this suggestion for a half a nano second before totally dismissing it. I do think I am done purchasing books, but am open to any and all suggestions of any books y’all think I must have to get me through the rest of the year. Contact me immediately with your suggestions!

10. While watching the clock last night, waiting to see if Mr. Soon-to-turn-17 would blow curfew, I heard the fox out back. If you have never heard a fox “talking” at night, it sounds like a baby crying or screaming. Always gives me shivers when I hear it. We have noticed that since Jack Bodacious adopted us, we only hear the fox out back when Chloe is outside at night. During these night time escapades of hers, we refer to her as “Fox Bait.” I got up shortly before midnight and opened the door and called for her and she didn’t show up to come in. But, after The Wild Boy got home, I heard her attacking her food bowl and a short while later, she jumped up on our bed to snuggle in for the night. I seem to be the only one ever concerned about her not returning home. Well, me and Nana. This is a picture of her this morning, looking none the worse for her late night adventure.

Love you guys. Stay warm and healthy! And keep your germs to yourself, please.

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I do what I want.

Andy was known to say this, but the truth is, he got the “I do what I want” gene from me. This gene came down the Hart/Wheeler gene pool to his Nana and she passed it on to me. My sister also received this gene, but mostly, she was able to suppress it. Not so her boy nor her big sister.

Some mornings I wake up and, while still lying in bed, I reach for my iPhone and quickly hit the highlights on Facebook, my home email, and Twitter. This morning I went to Twitter first and Beth Moore had tweeted a photo and the caption read: “Settle down.” I clicked on the picture link thinking it would be a picture of her sweet dogs, but it was a photo of hand-written scripture on an index card that read:

“Your salvation requires you to turn back to me and stop your silly efforts to save yourselves. Your strength will come from SETTLING DOWN (Beth’s emphasis) in complete dependence on me. Isaiah 30:15, The Message”

Even though Beth had the scripture written there, I still ran to get my The Message bible to look it up myself. The next line also states, and it’s a killer, baby, “The very thing you’ve been unwilling to do.” Let’s read that again, because I know I need to: “THE very thing you’ve been UNWILLING to do [Susan].” (Emphasis mine.) I like to add [Susan] to scriptures that really speak to me and it helps me to make them mine.

You see, I’ve really been struggling lately with my old nemesis: disobedience. Also known as, “I do what I want.” This is nothing new…I have always been disobedient, rebellious, all those “not words you really want used to describe yourself.” Funny thing is, I also know that it doesn’t work for me. I was texting with my best girlfriend, Joanne, this week and told her the same exact thing. She has been “encouraging” me (bossing me, actually) to do something I know I am supposed to be doing but don’t want to do because I’m a big, fat, chicken and I told her I haven’t been doing it. I also went on to say everything else in my life (a bit of an over-exaggeration) is spiraling out of control because of this lack of obedience in this one area. She reminded me I just need to do the thing.

Setting down. I just looked up this verse in the NIV. It, too, is a killer:

“In repentance and rest is your salvation,
    in quietness and trust is your strength,
    but you would have none of it.” (Isaiah 30:15, NIV)

“But you [Susan] would have none of it.” Seriously. So describes me.  “You, Lord, can keep your repentance and rest, quietness and trust…I will have none of it.” Translation: I do what I want. Notice the connecting words:  repentance, rest; quietness, trust. I keep saying these four words over and over and they calm me; they quiet me; they settle into my soul like a light blanket of powdery snow that quiets my heart and my disobedience.

For the record, I’ve been doing the thing lately. Seeking God’s will and His command for what I am to be doing, and often more importantly, what I am to not be doing. Obedience. It is challenging for a rebel like me, but when I come back around to embrace it? The reward and the peace are so worth it.

By the way, when our Andy would say to his momma, “I do what I want,” he would always follow that up with, “is that okay with you, mom?” If I could just remember that.

“I do what I want. Is that okay with you, God?”

Love you guys. Go do the thing today.

(Andy and Doo-Doo)

For the love of coffee.

Morning would not be the same without a cup of coffee. I’ve given up trying to give it up, rationalize it, and/or pretend coffee doesn’t exist.

Coffee, it appears, is here to stay.

I suppose I would not struggle so much with my love of coffee if it weren’t for the sugar (raw, thank you) and half and half (confession: in the winter I switch to whipping cream). If  could drink my cup of joe straight up, I wouldn’t have such guilt, I am sure.

But the half and half and sugar (raw, thank you) are what makes getting up in the morning worth it. I seriously have tried to give up the sugar. I’ve also switched to a sugar substitute. GAG. And, if you think I am going to give up my half and half (or winter whipping cream), well, that is just ridiculous and cannot and will not be considered. Coffee is caramel colored…period. And without the liquid white deliciousness…I’m at a total loss for words just trying to imagine it.

I will do just about anything for a good cup of coffee in the morning. Like, get out of a toasty, warm, cat snuggling bed, no matter how little sleep I have had.

My Man does not “do coffee.” When asked at a restaurant if he would like coffee, he will always wrinkle his nose and snarl out of one side of his mouth, “I don’t drink that stuff.” Like they are offering him panda urine. His momma clearly didn’t teach him any manners as a simple, “no, thank you” would suffice. Which I have been known to remind him of. Loudly.

Our boys and the girl will, however, partake of the coffee, on occasion. My Girl…a huge coffee lover… usually has a cup every morning. She is like her momma…sugar (raw, thank you) and half and half, or better yet, Winter Whipping Cream (notice how it has grown in stature throughout this post). At restaurants, she will nudge me under the table and stage whisper, “COFFEE???” while nodding her head. As if I need to be convinced.

Prior to any family tradition morning outing…tree farm, road trip, church…we always make a stop at The *$. It’s, well, part of the tradition. Weekend mornings, as a rule, My Man heads out to get his beloved wife a Venti Bold. And nothing, not sleet, nor wind, nor gloom of night, will keep him from his assignment. In fact, the sleetier and gloomier, the more cheerful he is about heading out. We have four four-wheel-drive vehicles and the opportunity to actually use the four-wheel-drive is an opportunity too good to miss.

My obsession love of coffee is well known throughout the land. For Christmas I received, no lie, 5 pounds of Christmas Blend and $200 in *$ gift cards. Bless you people for knowing what a girl needs loves! As of this morning, one day short of a month out from Christmas Day, mind you, I have half a pound of Christmas Blend left. I do have gift card money left, but not a whole lot. I transfer all of the gift card money over to my Starbucks iPhone app which in turn adds it to my Gold card and I am racking up the points and getting free drinks regularly. Again, thank you people who appreciate my coffee loving self.

Clearly, I’ll not be giving up my coffee anytime soon, but I have been toying around with the idea of limiting my coffee intake to just one cup each morning. Who am I kidding? That’s never gonna happen.

Love you guys. And keep those *$ gift cards coming!

Procrastination Alert.

I’m procrastinating. By writing a post for La Blawg. I’m just too comfy to get on with what I need to (have to) do. The fireplace is on; the mantel clock is ticking (rather loudly). The mantel clock, by the way, not only ticks loudly, it gongs very loudly. It is driving My Man insane. I packed it up several years ago because I got tired of battling him about it. I would come down in the morning and it wouldn’t be ticking. I would wind it up and it wouldn’t wind. Come to find out, My  Man was stopping it before he went to bed so that the gonging wouldn’t wake him up. I get that. Whenever I go to my parent’s house, the cuckoo has to be locked in because I’m not used to the noise and it wakes me up. Every 30 minutes. I try to explain to my husband that he will get used to it if he just waits a night or two. After that, sheer exhaustion kicks in, he sleeps and we never need discuss it again.

Tonight, I am winding up the small mantel clock in the dining room. I mean, let’s really do this thing.

I haven’t been sleeping well either. But it’s not because of the clock. Today My Girl and I are hitting the gym after she is done teaching preschool. I’ve been a slacker the last week so I am ready to jump back in today. Hopefully, the New Year’s Resolution gym rats have given up on their hopes and dreams for 2013 and  are lounging on their sofas in their yoga pants with a donut. Oh. Wait. That was me yesterday. But not today! Back at it. With renewed energy and commitment and fortified with oatmeal and freshly juiced juice concoctions that most certainly contain ample amounts of kale, thanks to my friend and neighbor, Mrs. D.

Speaking of cleaning, what does this look like to you?

I’ll tell you what it is: it is Jack getting up on Blue Beauty during the night. Today, BB will get a good vacuuming and tonight she will be covered with laptops (we have five in the house these days) or an old sheet. Not sure which yet.

Having all of the children home these days is turning out to be quite…interesting. I find that I am repeating common phrases from when they were littles: “be nice to your sister;” “don’t leave your cup sitting there; put it in the dishwasher;” and my personal favorites, “please flush the toilet” and “your underwear doesn’t belong there.” Just so there is no doubt, all of these comments were directed to a man child. My Girl isn’t around long enough each day to warrant many chastisements.

That’s about all I can come up with this morning to save myself from getting on with the cleaning. Time to dive in. After I fix and eat breakfast. Also, I am sure there is laundry that needs to be started. And, hey! I haven’t watched Downton from Sunday night yet…

Love you guys.

The Sun.

Sunshine streaming through the glass on a cold, January morning is Da Bomb, don’t get me wrong. But, after several weeks, could be months for all I know…I’ve lost so much time being SAD, of gloomy darkness, the sun, enlightening the dust, dog fur, oh and look! there’s a Starbucks cup on the floor…is not making me happy.

I have to admit though, that this day started off well and I’m not going to let a little laziness lack of time to clean ruin it. The Big (Graduate and now Coaching) Boy was in ultra stealth mode when he headed out early this morning for baseball practice with the Mt. Vernon Varsity, JV and Freshmen teams and wannabes. We never heard him. Which is saying a lot since he is a big guy and we live in a house full of wonderfully old and creaky wood floors and stairs. The cats cannot go up and down the basement stairs without us hearing them. My Girl is at Massanutten for the weekend. The Wild Boy is at DNow all weekend, including sleeping at host homes. Of which we are not one. In fact, I didn’t sign us up for a single duty (just for you, Jenny A.) for DNow. It’s just the man and I home right now and he just handed me a steaming Starbucks Venti Bold and a warmed up apple fritter. This is the life, people.

Speaking of DNow. Last night we took the boy up to drop him off. You would be able to pick him out because he was the tall kid with the ratty old pillow without a pillow case on it *sigh*. I didn’t want to leave; not because of him, but because there was a festive mood amongst all of the parents dropping their youth off, and the leaders and youth greeting each other. We have a handful of our own youth who have come back this weekend to be DNow leaders. I truly love that about our church. We grow them; we send them out to be leaders; they come back and lead and inspire and grow the next generation in their own church. One of our (My Man and my) favorites is Steve Able. Steve was brought to Christ on the basketball court by the founding Pastor of our church. Steve is now in leadership with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and while he wasn’t able to pull our older two children into FCA, the Wild Boy is a leader with FCA and loves. it. Steve has come back and preached at our church and I always feel like a proud momma when he does.

In case you couldn’t tell…this post is like one of my random list posts, except today I felt like including all the filler and smoothing words and lingo.

I am still using the excuse feeling the impact from my three weeks of illness prior to Christmas. I just cannot catch up! Never mind the condition of my house, I still have not settled into a routine; I haven’t written any Christmas thank you notes (actually I’ve written several but they are not in envelopes yet); there is still Christmas stuff out and every time I look at it I think, “what in the heck am I going to do with this stuff?” and I keep walking. I do spend inordinate amounts of time on Pinterest planning and decorating and painting. In my head and on paper. Is anyone else having the same problem of settling into the New Year? I can’t be the only one!

I’ve been a slacker at the gym. By not going regularly. So frustrating. I am a work-out-in-the-morning-or-it-won’t-happen kind of girl. All of the New Year’s Resolution people are still hanging in there and the gym is crowded and it makes me really grumpy and irritated so, when I have gone, I usually hit the treadmill only and then leave. It’s just too crowded over at the free-weights, which is my true love. People don’t understand the rules of the gym. You don’t grab every weight and ball and mat that you are going to use during your entire workout; you use one thing at a time and then put it back. I’m not just using my frustration as an excuse to not work out since I’ve been using our free weights in the basement instead. So there.

Took the Wild Boy to the orthopedic surgeon yesterday afternoon for a follow-up appointment. He’s still having shoulder pain and “apprehension”…which is the feeling that if he uses his injured right arm, he will dislocate it again. It’s not an imaginary feeling, apparently it is a real thing. The body’s way of telling the mind not to push the arm. Fascinating, no? In any case, we are on for shoulder surgery February 12. His arm will be completely immobile for 3-4 weeks and around 6 weeks he will begin to use it again, physical therapy, etc. He was sternly warned that this injury repair is a long-term recovery and he has to do exactly as the doc tells him. That’s perfect since the Wild Boy is exactly like his mother and is such a rule follower. *ahem* I’m thankful we are getting it repaired but I’m pretty sure I will be complaining about his recovery. A lot.

Speaking of complaining a lot…this is my birthday month and while it’s not a stand-out-birthday-number it is rather annoying to officially be a couple years into 50. Or half a century as my youngest likes to tell everyone, especially me. At this age, birthdays are just annoying. Except for the gifts. Big numbers equal big gifts. It’s the law. I’ve put enough hints out there to my family so I’m hoping for some cool stuff. Oh, yeah…it’s the Wild Boy’s birthday month also. He is turning 17. Whatever.

Just kidding about the “whatever.” We are all about the gifts in this family. Because the momma is blessed with the giving and receiving of gifts as her number one Love Language. The Wild Boy is getting some awesome gifts for his 17th birthday. It truly is just as fun for me to pick out and give gifts as it is to receive gifts. Okay, almost as much fun. I’m all about being real here.

This photo totally captures our house this morning…two dead ducks on the living room floor…Dwight the Fourth on the left and Quackers the First on the right. And if you look closely, you can see the dead Starbucks cup under the snack tray.

Guess what I’m doing today?

Love you guys.

A list. You’re welcome.

1. I cannot be trusted to cook or bake anything if NCIS is on the telly. Flames, smoke and explosions have been known to occur. More than once.

2. Gas dryer’s cost about $100 more than electric dryers. Either way, a lot of cash especially right after Christmas.

3. It’s scary when your husband decides to save an additional $150 and install said gas dryer himself. Thankfully, he has done it before. But still scary.

4. So far, Physical Therapy isn’t helping the Wild Boy’s shoulder tear. We have a last minute appointment with the surgeon this Friday. We are on the schedule for shoulder surgery February 12. I am already a wreck worrying and stressing about it. I wasn’t this way when My Girl had her knee surgery. At that time, there were six grandchildren. Since her surgery, we have lost Andy and while his death had nothing to do with surgery, well, I don’t need to say anything else, I’m sure.

5. Writing is on my mind. Just received this book yesterday. This book is “out for delivery today.” I love Amazon.com. Thank you to all of you who encouraged me to join Amazon Prime. (I always think Optimus Prime…name that movie.) I have been taking advantage of that free, two-day shipping.

6. Going back to #3 above, My Man just called me down to check out the new dryer. Which was running. I walked up and said, “I smell gas.” He says, “impossible…we checked all the connections.” I stepped back, gesturing like Vanna. He walked up, leaned over and says, “Hunh. I smell gas.” Okay, at this point, I’m ready to open all the windows, doors, shut the dryer off and shut down the gas line. He says, “Nah. Tell Brett to come down here with the dish soap.” *please know as I’m typing this I have 9-1-1 typed into my iPhone keyboard and all I need to do is press SEND*

7. My Girl and I had breakfast together this morning at iSkip (IHOP, for those that don’t get the Wheeler/Smith humor). When we are together, she and I do not have awkward periods of silence. In fact, just the opposite. We are quite chatty when we are together. This morning, My Girl proceeded to share with me some things that she realized she is struggling with and has been chatting with God about. If I typed out these “struggles” here, those that have known me longer than the last few years would recognize them as my own struggles. I am no longer surprised by this phenomenon…My Girl so closely walking in my shadow. A few years ago, when I was still shocked by this cloning, a wise friend pointed out that my having gone on before has helped My Girl get through this earlier in her life, more quickly and less scarred. I do have sympathy for her, but I celebrate that she. gets. it. God is so faithful and cool.

(A fave pic of My Girl and I)

8. A bizarre thing happened as we were leaving the iSk, er…IHOP. It was raining when we walked out chatting, of course. As I rounded the back of the truck, Sarah was getting into her X-terra next to me. I heard her say something and I peered through the truck cab to see a funny look on her face as she jumped into her driver’s seat. I looked back over my shoulder, between our two vehicles, and saw a man standing there. He was looking straight at me through the back of the cab window: wild-eyed, wet, hair all shaggy, and a scary look on his face. I looked back to Sarah and she was motioning “let’s get outta here” and I turned around again and the man was…gone. I looked all over…didn’t see him anywhere. She backed out and then I backed out and suddenly, seriously, suddenly he was standing next to my window, hand held out, a few pennies and a nickel in his palm. I have to admit, I was pretty freaked out by this time. I kinda floored it and got around him and when I looked back…you guessed it: gone. Seriously. Gone. I was pretty shaky getting home. Sarah pulled in behind me and we went into the house. As I was taking off my coat, it occurred to me what might have happened. It was an angel. Had to be. The more I think of it, though, I’m not convinced it was a good angel. In any case, I was glad I was there with her when we ran into him today. I also wish I had not been so freaked out and had given him some change. Next time, I won’t be so caught off guard. Don’t believe in angels? I do.

9. The dryer is working great, by the way. No smell of gas anymore. Proud of My Man for getting the job done. Been doing laundry all day to catch up.

10. Last, but not least, a dear friend has joined the blogging world. Check her out here and leave her some love. Please.

Love you guys.

It is Sunday….now it is Monday.

The words are definitely not flowing these days. So frustrating. I have a lot to say; just not sure I want to share it and I’m pretty certain you don’t want to read it!

I am taking the advice of my bff, Joanne Heim, however and I’m just sitting down and making myself write.

Speaking of bff, Joanne, she blogged today for the first time in a long, long while. It was so good to read her words this morning. The stroke severely impacted her physically but mentally…she is the same as she was, but with an entirely new perspective. She does refer to me on her blog this morning as, “my bossy friend, Susan.” I have no idea why she would call me bossy…everyone knows I am just the opposite!

Jo has been encouraging me to sit down and just do it…write, that is. I use the term, “encourage” very lightly…she has been commanding me to do so. It is impossible to tell her no. She wouldn’t allow it, in any case. This afternoon, after I eat my chick-fil-a number one with sweet tea and lemon, I have put aside a couple of hours for some dedicated writing time. No iPhone, no texting, no facebook, no laundry, no music; nothing but writing.

Because honestly, I do have a lot to share with you, in a much larger way. That’s all I’m going to say about that. For now.

So yesterday, Sunday, was an interesting day. Last week, I stepped back up onto the church “stage” and (re)joined our Praise Team for my first practice in, come to find out thanks to Ben and confirmed by Beth, over six years. Seriously, I swear it was just a year or two ago that I could no longer handle the fear of performing became too busy and had to let it go. I was reminded, by a wise friend, that God used those six years to beat a whole lot of crap out of me so that I was able to step boldly and confidently (in Him) back up on that stage and obediently get the thing done. And that’s exactly what happened. I had planned on attending a few practices and getting back in the groove before participating in Sunday morning Worship. I announced to the Praise Team that “February 3” would be my official return date. As life would have it, I ended up taking my 12-string to church yesterday to get in a morning practice with the Praise Team and ended up playing for Worship. God is just so incredibly amazing like that…bff, Susan, stated that He knew I would worry and fret (get it? fret? guitar…guess you have to be a musician to get that one) about it until February 3 and threw me into the fire.

And It. Was. Good. And fun! Anyone from church reading this (that’s you, Sarah Wolfe) thank you for your encouragement!

Something else on my mind…I have a whole new respect for those who are care-givers. My in-laws were, thankfully, smart enough and blessed enough to be able to put money aside and have insurance enough that Russell’s dad is able to be well taken care of in a nice assisted living facility. I hesitated using that word, facility, by the way. Sounded so…harsh. But really, he is in a nice place. That does not mean that our responsibility is over; that we are still not under a ton of stress by the situation. And by we, I really mean my husband. I have a sweet blogging buddy, Sandy, who speaks quite honestly about the strain and the heartbreak of being the primary care-giver for her very young, early onset Alzheimer diagnosed husband, Curt. She is on my daily prayer list…I truly do not know how she does it, with children still at home and work on top of it all. You can read her blog here…pop in and encourage her today, please!

That’s really all I have to share today.  Except for this: One Hundred-Eighty Days Til Beach Week!

Love you guys! Chat soon…pinkie swear.

Thoughts on the gym.

So I’ve been hitting the gym regularly. I have to say that what “they” say is true…the gym is about 5,324 times more crowded the first few weeks of the New Year. Resolutions and all, apparently. Annoying, definitely. I’ve tried several different times to go and guess I will stick with my usual time of 7:00 a.m. The “have to get my workout in before work” group is on the way out at 7 a.m. and the “my kids have finally left for school” crew hasn’t arrived yet. I am pretty sure, and “they” confirm, that it will lighten up again as the New Year resolutions people go back to their old habits of not going to the gym regularly.

*I will not be one of those*

The gym is a funky place. It’s been eons (my new fave word, by the way) since I’ve belonged to a gym. The one I belong to now, Onelife Fitness, is brand new and they are growing. It’s nice and clean, both in the women’s locker and out on the fitness floor. Equipment is all shiny and new. One of the funky things I like is the wide array of people. There are serious work-out people there like my trainer, who went to school with the Big (Graduate) Boy and My Girl. She played basketball in college and, while I was there today, was next to me on the treadmill in a flat out run for 30 minutes. There are also a ton of seriously senior, senior citizens. Speaking of which, I don’t know how it rolls over the in the men’s locker room, for obvious reasons, but in the ladies locker room, the older the lady, the more inclined she is to not be modest.

That’s all I’m gonna say about that.

Most of the men at the gym, by the way, all think they are Da Bomb. They strut, they flex, they spend an inordinate amount of time standing in front of the mirror gazing at themselves, whether actually working out or not. Women are there to Work. It. The men spend more time standing around, wandering back and forth between the racks of free weights and coming up with extremely awkward moves on the Smith Machine. When I was there today, every treadmill in the place was in use. By women. Two men were on elliptical machines. One man, an older gentleman, was barely moving but kept on moving; the other man was totally engrossed in One Life to Live, but had a good pace going.

The ladies locker room is a really interesting place. Over the last week or so I’ve run into the following there:

…a young woman putting on fresh make-up before working out…a ton of it;
…three ladies who arrived together, spent forever chatting in the locker room, before wandering around the fitness center watching each other “try out” the equipment, all the while chatting and laughing and clearly enjoying socializing, and successfully avoiding getting sweaty;
…a woman who worked out really, really hard, was absolutely drenched with sweat and came into the locker room where she used a paper towel to wipe up her arm pits and then put her work clothes on, including heels and headed on out, presumably to go back to the office. She did reapply deodorant, but no shower, no toweling down;
…a young woman who, following her workout, showered and dried her hair and put on her make-up having brought all of this into the locker room in two medium sized suitcases clearly used for just such an occasion.

Funky.

Before you wonder, I don’t spend a lot of time in the locker room. All of the above I’ve observed during my quick in and out. Although I admit I spend a few minutes mentally psyching myself and walking through, in my mind, how I want my workout to go. And I always spend a few minutes after my workout checking my phone for text messages and phone calls and finishing off my bottle of water if I hadn’t done so during my workout.

Also, check out my cute new lock…

I really thought I would be self-conscious in the gym, but I’m not. Clearly, there is an unwritten rule about keeping your eyes to yourself and no checking out other folks while they are working out. I like that rule. That one and the wipe down your equipment before and after use rule.

My favorite rule, however, is my own personal rule. I begin every workout with the same song on my iPod (which I’ve lost, somewhere in the house, dang it) or my iPhone…

Enter Sandman in honor of my Andy B’s. Training like a freak, boy…

Four days into Twenty-Thirteen.

Also known as January 4, 2013. So far I have totally blown New Year Non-resolution #1: no new books in 2013 has turned into, “I just need these last few to get me through the year.” Cuz I don’t have enough books that I’ve never read in any of the book shelves, baskets and stacks in the bedroom and living room. And dining room. So I’ve revised that New Year Non-resolution from No New Books in 2013 to No New Books in February-December 2013. January will be a book-buying-free-for-all because that is how I roll. All or nothing, baby.

Back in the day when I had three children in the Fairfax County Public School system, our morning routine was, as you would expect in my household, wild and crazy and never routine. Except for departure. Each child had a ritual they clung to when leaving the house. (I would like to insert right here, before I forget, that The Wild Boy, being the spoiled-rotten much-loved third child that he is, NEVER rode a bus to school after 8th grade…he has always been driven or has driven. Just thought you would be shocked (not) to learn this.) The Wild Boy, when younger, always gave hugs and kisses when he left for school. That was quickly replaced with a snarl (or grunt, on a good day) and the door slamming. And that remains his ritual through today. Literally, today.

My Girl, always our cheery, woke up singing child turned girl-child full of teenage angst at the age of 16, always said goodbye when she left for school. Not always in a pleasant tone or with any sort of affection, but goodbye, nonetheless. Almost always with a “love you, mom!”

Then there is The Big (Graduate) Boy. He being the favorite according to his less loved siblings always stood at the kitchen door and shouted out, “I’m leaving!” And then would wait until I responded, “okay! Have a great day! Love you!” (For the record, I said LOVE YOU! to all three of my monkeys before they left for school.) If, for whatever reason, I didn’t respond he would yell a little louder, “MOM?! I’m LEAVING NOW” and would wait for me to give the required, “Okay! Have a great day! I Love you!” before he would leave.

Well, this morning, The Big (Graduate) Boy, headed off to school for his first day (as a substitute teacher.) I was upstairs in the office reading blogs working and I heard him holler out, “Okay, I’m going to go ahead and go so I can stop at 7-11 for a bottle of water.” And I waited…and was rewarded. “Mom?! I’m going!”

“Okay, honey…have a great day!”

And, oh yeah, “I love you!”

Some observations.

Just a fancy way to say, A List.

1. The wreath hanging on the mirror in the living room above the fireplace still smells heavenly, and it has been there since the day after Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, because it does hang above the fireplace and the fireplace has been used almost every day since then, it is getting a tad brownish. Sponge Bob and Patrick are still hanging out in the middle of the wreath, by the way. I reminded the Man this weekend that my charity in this regard was pushed to the limits this year and to expect no such largesse next year.

2. I am loving my brass angels on the mantel. They were my mom’s and came from Turkey. I might leave them there after I take the rest of the Christmas stuff down. The three Nutcrackers definitely have to go. They give me the creeps. Katie gave each of the children one years ago and it is one of the first things The Big (Graduate) Boy pulls out of boxes first.

3. While I am anxious for everything to be packed up and put away, I am sorely lacking in the motivation to actually have to be the one to do it. The boys did the first half of their part: all of the boxes are back down from the attic and are at my disposal.

4. Sadly, I stopped them all from helping me undecorate yesterday because I wanted to “sort, purge and organize.”

5. What was I thinking?

6. For Christmas, I purchased each of the kids a new devotional book: Live Second. You can find out more about the I Am Second project here. I also bought a copy for myself. I haven’t seen my copy since before Christmas, however. Yesterday I searched for it and never found it. I thought this morning that I would grab The Wild Boy’s copy and read today’s devotion and, of course, put his copy back on his desk. When I went into his room and found the book, it had a pencil stuck in it. Clue number one that he might actually be using it. I opened it up and there is writing on Day 1 and Day 2; yesterday and today. As soon as I saw writing, I snapped the book shut. After all, haven’t I beaten drilled into them that my journaling is sacred and private and should be destroyed UNREAD following my demise? Writing in devotionals, in my book, counts as journaling. The fact that he is actually using his devotional book is not lost on me. I tossed up a thankful prayer that he is continuing to seek to grow in Christ and I’m excited for the man He is making him.

7. So I had to find another devotional to use this morning. I had just put away my copy of Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young but saw one of her other books, Jesus Lives, sitting on top of one of my book baskets, so I grabbed it. God so knew what He was doing by not allowing me to find Live Second. Clearly, He had a message for me with the first two devotions in Jesus Lives: God’s love and laying down my life for those I love; and Joy and rejoicing. I could still be journalling about both devotions. Also felt a couple blog posts could evolve from my journalling. You’ll be the first to know.

8. I set my iPhone alarm this morning to get up at six to do what I needed to do and get to the gym before seven. Five a.m. to seven a.m. is already crowded at the gym and I know that for the first few weeks, while folks are still basking in the New Year’s Eve Resolution high, it would be even more packed and, most likely, packed during my usual time of seven to eight-fifteen. Normally it is pretty cleared out during that time of the morning with all the work folks been and gone and the stay at home moms not having gotten their darlings off to school yet. I forgot to check the volume on the alarm and I slept right on through til seven. Which has totally turned my day upside down.

9. I am thinking I need to tweak my morning schedule, in any case. I’ve pretty much sat in front of the fireplace since I got up, with coffee in hand, journaling and now blogging and I haven’t even read through my bible study material yet. Two hours of the morning already gone and I am way behind.

10. I know it will all work out…starting a new year is always a challenge in scheduling. Did y’all make any New Year’s Resolutions? Change in scheduling? Goals?

Time to get moving. Love you guys. Chat soon!