Monthly Archives: August 2016

To My Younger Self

It’s my birthday weekend and I just came across a note I wrote when I turned 50. I wondered what I would say to myself if I had the opportunity to go back in time. It’s a tricky thing… talking to one’s younger self. I didn’t talk about my chosen career, how many children I had or who I married because I didn’t want to affect any of those decisions. I didn’t mention my divorce as it might make me afraid to take a chance on love. Mostly, I just wanted my younger self to know that it all worked out. Here’s how it went…

When I was a kid, I had an irrational fear that I would not live past 40. Because of that, I was always in a hurry… to grow up, to get married, to have kids. Then I was in a hurry for them to grow up too! I rushed through the first half of my life and barely remember most of it. If I could talk to my younger self, I’d say…

“Not only did you live past 40, but your forties were exponentially better than your thirties. Now 50 approaches and you’re happier than you’ve ever been. Your children are grown and your parents aren’t old yet. You’re in that sweet spot of not having to take care of anyone else. You can focus on yourself. 

“Speaking of your grown up children.. they are smarter, more educated, more mature and better looking than you were on your best day (ok, more mature might be an exaggeration. You’ve been an adult since you were 3).

“You can’t take credit for their successes. You will make so many mistakes (seriously, for a smart girl you’re going to do some incredibly dumb things), but they love you anyway. Your husband will endure your daughters’ hormonal years only to find that, as soon as they’re over, you’ll begin your own. And yet he stays and loves you anyway. 

“You have been on the planet for FIFTY years now yet somehow you’ve managed NOT to do most of the things you planned. But guess what? Your unplanned life is fantastic!I wish I could tell you to slow down and appreciate everything that’s coming, both the good and the bad. But I know that you won’t because you’re in such a hurry. I have already lived your future and I can tell you that all of the bad will lead you to good. And the good far outweighs the bad.”

What would you say to your younger self?

young, inner child

 

First Of All

Have you ever played a game called Telephone? You may know it by another name… like Whispers or Rumors. The premise is a group of people sit in a row or in a circle. The first person whispers a phrase in the ear of the person next to them. This gets passed down the line until the last person receives the message and says it out loud. By then, the phrase has been completely distorted from the original message. This game is usually played in team building settings, classrooms or youth groups to stress the dangers of gossip or the importance of listening.

I was involved in my own real life version of this game a few years ago. I belong to a church called First United Methodist Church. I was serving on a committee that was brainstorming ideas for a fundraiser to help build a new sanctuary after ours was destroyed by a fire. This October marks ten years since the fire and we still haven’t rebuilt. However, we haven’t let that slow us down.  Our “open air sanctuary” has housed many wonderful services and ministries.

openair

In this brainstorming session, I borrowed an idea from two local churches who have hugely successful fundraisers in the form of festivals. These two festivals are so well organized, so widely advertised and so largely attended that many of those who visit them have no idea they’re attending church fundraisers.

While hosting a festival as large as Memphis Greek Festival and/or Memphis Italian Festival is but a dream for my tiny church, I am reminded that they too started out small. I suggested that we hold an annual festival and call it “Firstival” as a play on words.

I had several ideas for Firstival, the festival. The church has a fantastic rooftop where local musicians could volunteer to showcase their talents (Memphis has some of the best musicians in the world, but we can’t afford to pay them). We have the aforementioned open air space where the sanctuary once stood. This could house games, food vendors, craft booths, etc. There was much to work out, but I could see it all in my head, and it was incredible.

rooftop1

Here’s where the “telephone” game came into play. My idea got passed around to various church members who weren’t present at the meeting. Eventually, it was repeated back to me as someone else’s idea. However, I was thrilled not to get credit for it as the name had morphed into MethFest. Wrong play on words! I’m sure we’d get a great turnout for that one, but not the intended audience. I don’t want to think about what would be in the vendor booths. How disappointed would those toothless folks be when they showed up to find that “Meth” was short for Methodist, not methamphetamine? I think we could expect heavy police presence at this festival as well.

Firstival, the festival never happened. It never became an annual event and never grew to rival those other fundraiser festivals. As I write this, it makes me long to try again. If I do, the first order of business on the agenda will be to stress that it will not be called MethFest!!

First UMC, First Meth

First United Meth!

Here We Go Again

Seems like I’ve done this before

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, then you may recall last summer, while my husband was on a short deployment to Bulgaria, yours truly was thrust into the world of manual labor (i.e. yard work). As luck would have it, history repeats itself this month as he is on another brief deployment. If you didn’t read that post, or don’t remember what it said, I highly recommend it. Click here to read it.

I appreciate my husband’s (and all other military members) service to our country. So I’m willing, during these deployments, to step out of my spoiled little bubble to pump my own gas and mow the yard. It’s the least I can do for America. Literally.

My husband wanted to cut the grass right before he left, but I was quite insistent that he not do it. It was his last day before a very long flight and that’s not how I wanted him to spend it. When it came time for me to cut the yard, I felt of tinge of regret for that decision. Then a tinge of guilt for the tinge of regret. Et cetera.

Unable to avoid it any longer, and knowing that it was only going to get deeper, I headed outside to tackle the jungle that concealed my backyard. The first thing I did was check the gas tank, which was low. I looked around for the gas can to top it off, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. Again, if you’re a regular reader, you know that I recently organized the shed, so if the gas can was in there, it should have been visible. I decided that I would mow until I ran out of fuel.

Certain that I would run out of gas before the job was complete, I waited for that sputtering sound that would warn me that my mowing time was nearly up. I wondered who I would ask to finish it off and come back to mow again, as needed, until my husband returns. He’d already told me that I couldn’t call the hot guy who used to do our yard because he charges too much. If you saw him… uh, I mean if you saw his work, you’d agree that he’s worth every dime.

The one time you hope to run out of gas…

Still waiting for the sputter, I glanced at the shed, from just the right angle, and noticed that little red gas can hiding in a corner. Dang it! If there’s gas in that thing, I’m going to have to finish the yard. And there was. And I did. And I have the shoes to prove it.

green shoes

I also have the little green dog to prove it.

green dog