Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Rainy Woo-Hoo Days

It's a gray, dreary, drizzly day. Can I get a "woo-hoo"? As much as I love the sunshine and warmth, I've discovered that days like today are kind of nice, too. Of course, I have absolutely no energy and don't get anything productive done on days like today. Give me a blanket, a good book, a handful of chocolates and I'm good to go. Throw a little bit of a nap in there and I'll be one happy camper.

Personally, I think God throws days like today in the mix just for me. I tend to be a little bit of a "over-doer". Okay, I'll admit it -- I seem to run myself ragged most of the time. There are always places to go ... things to do ... people to see, call, or text ... deadlines to meet ... events to plan for ... things to clean ... laundry to wash ... items to buy ... dogs to be fed or groomed ... gifts to purchase ... showers or parties to attend ... cards to send ... work to be done ... errands to run ... food to be cooked ... you're getting the idea, right? There's always something urgent that needs my attention, and needs my attention NOW. Because I keep going until I fall over in a dead faint or become dreadfully sick and at death's door (yeah, I'm exaggerating a little bit), these gray days are a good reminder for me to slow down ... to have a little bit of "me" time (which I've decided is NOT one of the seven deadly sins). And let's face it, in an empty-nest-household, there's definitely more time for me to spend time on me. (Don't tell my husband. He thinks I work just as hard as I used to when our house was full of a gazillion kids and their friends.)

God continues to watch out for me in this busy life of mine, and gives me the periodic gift of rest and recuperation (even when I'm NOT sick!!). Please note, He gives me those occasional days for rest, but if I don't pay attention and keep going, He'll become pretty insistent that I slow down and will force convince me to stop and rest. Unfortunately, that usually only happens due to illness or injury, so I've learned to look at rainy days as my vaccine against days of overwork. So, for today, I'm grateful for this gray, drizzly day ... and looking forward to my reading, chocolate, and nap this afternoon. Hope that you grab a little bit of "you" time for you today as well!

Monday, February 13, 2012

So-Called Empty Nest

After a weekend of having just Wes and me living in our house, I've learned:

     * When I clean the house, it stays cleaned.
     * When we sit down to eat dinner, there's always at least half of the food left over to stash away for another meal.
     * I wake up in the morning and the house is quiet. In fact, the house is still quiet in the afternoon and during the evening, too.
     * The laundry hamper doesn't overflow. Laundry only needs to be done a couple of times during the week.
     * Our calendar looks oddly empty.
     * Planning menus or activities for only two people is fairly simple ... and basically cheap.

Describing our house and life like this seems strange to me. But that's what an empty nest is -- strange. Although, come on!! Is it really an empty nest when all of the kids' stuff is still in our attic and spare rooms?!

There are good things that go along with the so-called empty nest (my term for the nest that is devoid of children but still full of their belongings) -- more time for Wes and me. We can actually eat steak once a week if we want to (and be able to afford it!). We rule the remote and can watch what we want on TV (if we can both manage to watch it without falling asleep). Household chores don't seem as bad because the house stays pretty well cleaned. If we decide at the last minute to go out to eat and to see a movie, we don't need to tell anyone -- we just go. And, if Wes wanted to sit around in his underwear to read the paper and drink coffee, he could. He doesn't (in case you really care to know), but he could.

I always thought I'd hate this time because our kids were so much the center of our lives. And man, did we love having those kids!! We loved the ball games ... the late-night talks ... the huge family meals ... the chaos, the noise, the busy-ness of it all. Don't tell them, but I even loved their messes and cleaning up after them just because it meant they were there! But I'm finding that the empty nest, like all of the other stages of life, is good ... and right ... and welcome. Yes, we love it when our kids are home. In fact, we hope they continue to come home to visit ... a LOT!  We love it when our grandbabies are here, and we're looking forward to filling up our home with even more of them! Yet we also love this time for just Wes and me -- relearning each other, being the best friends we were meant to be. It's a stage of life that I honestly wasn't looking forward to, but one that I've found myself seriously not hating. Of course, it's only been a weekend. (After I wrote that, I realized it sounded really bad, like I'm pessimistic, but that's not the case! I'm actually anticipating that this new stage will be a good one for us.) Stay tuned!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Make-up for Wal-Mart

My biggest fear is that I'll wind up on the People of Wal-Mart website. You know the one. Someone with a camera catches a woman walking around in her furry houseshoes while wearing a bikini and earmuffs. Now, before you go thinking I go out in public wearing either houseshoes or a bikini, you can definitely rest assured that I do NOT. But that website is really scary -- the things that people wear when they go out in public is amazing! In fact, after looking through the website, I find myself being a little smug that I'm one of the Beautiful People of Wal-Mart, except there's not a website for that.

So, the website of folks wearing incredibly awkward things to Wal-Mart is one of the reasons why I make sure that not only am I dressed decently when I go out, but I also have my hair done and my make-up on. In fact, I basically don't go anywhere where my hair and make-up aren't done and I'm decently dressed. I used to be so strict about this that I didn't even go check my mail without make-up!! I don't know who I was afraid I'd run in to in the 30 feet between my front door and the mail box, but you never knew, right?!

Do you know how many times I've just wanted to run to the store to grab some eggs or milk and have had to take the time to prepare myself before I go? I've had to take the extra 30 minutes or so to run a straightener through my hair, throw on some make-up, change out of sweats, and go grab some dumb ingredient from the store so I can finish dinner. I used to say it was because I didn't want to look bad in public, but I've come to realize it's to spare the other people, particularly if it's in broad daylight. No one deserves a scare like that.

Actually, as I've gotten older I see that it's all vanity. Yes, I admit it. I've fought being vain for years. Not that I think I'm gorgeous and beautiful. I just want OTHER people to think I'm gorgeous and beautiful. And vain people want to cover up the imperfections ... to show a perfect picture of themselves to other people -- a picture that has been airbrushed, redone, and is utterly false.

How nice it is to know that I don't have to pretty myself up for God. He loves me just as I am -- sweaty, dirty, not particularly attractive. There have been times I've been even worse than just unattractive. I've been broken beyond repair, and still He welcomes me.

I've got a sneaking suspicion that God has a website of people He loves, people that He counts as righteous and beautiful because of His Son. And there will be a picture of me on that website -- no make-up, hair curly and messy, in sweats and a t-shirt -- because God loves me just as I am. And THAT is wonderful to know!