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Take the SpaghettiOs

2 Jan

I’ve been thinking an inordinate amount lately about life and how I really feel about it. Being the daughter of a psychologist means I have a deeply rooted sense of empathy. I want to understand people — why they feel and act the way they do. But this good, innate sense of trying to grasp humanity also makes me susceptible to distress.

As we were strolling into an estate sale and I was waxing poetic my thoughts on life and current events with my dad, he pointed out that empathy is great, unless it leads to anxiety.

That’s where I run into trouble.

I generally have a hard time comprehending things that happened in our history. Dinosaurs? An ice age creating a bridge to North America? The American Civil War lasted four years? Our country participated in slavery? Lincoln existed and was assassinated? The Holocaust? The crucifixion of Jesus? Pearl Harbor? 9/11? Floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes…

The list quickly shows how memorable moments in history can be greatly negative ones. We remember the tragedies in our history so as (hopefully) not to repeat them. And these moments of calamity ultimately show us we are not invincible, but we are capable of great love, generosity and kindness.

I wonder if every generation feels like the dangers of their time are great. Or maybe the fact that they are more apparent to me now is simply because as adults, we realize and understand the dangers more. When you are living through things that will go down in the history books, it feels surreal.

I grew up in a semi-rural setting, one that allowed us to play in the dark, ride our bikes down the street, and walk to the corner for snow cones. It wasn’t until I was in high school that bomb threats began occurring and then the ultimate defining moment for our generation: Columbine.

I don’t know if it’s adulthood or just how times have changed that make me more afraid to walk down the street to the drugstore with my son or have me eyeballing every single movement in a movie theater (such an enjoyable experience now).

But it sucks. I don’t want to be afraid.

Last month was pretty excruciating. The killing of innocent children and brave, brave teachers; family friends losing a young child with no explanation; an amazing man losing an amazing wife to a long, hard-fought battle; and multiple friends unable to conceive a first or second child, with no answers.

Life, as they say, is anything but fair.

But tragedy, even as I struggle with the anxiety that ensues, has taught me two things: All life is precious and death comes to us all.

The Psalmist wrote: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”

I’ve heard that quoted hundreds of times, but this world in which we live, makes it real.

Every person has the capacity for good and for evil. Sometimes we choose evil. And in those times of inconceivable pain and loss, we cannot allow evil to win. We cannot allow fear, fear of a life we have no control over, to guide our existence.

In these times, when I’ve felt I cannot walk, I cannot comprehend the evil, or understand why things so precious are taken away, all I can do is feel God’s hand on my shoulder and hear his tears hit the ground with mine.

Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me, because when nothing else makes sense, God says keep going, do good, trust me that we will get through this together.

And until recently I didn’t really get it. But tragedy has made me less afraid of the end of this life.

I love the words of Sir Paul McCartney:
“At the end of the end, it’s the start of a journey to a much better place, and a much better place, has got to be special, no need to be sad, no reason to cry.”

God’s ultimate goal for all of us is eternity in a much better place. A place with no death, no sorrow, no tears. I choose to believe that. Because without a better place, none of this tragedy makes sense.

We watched a few episodes on TV about people who are preparing for various disasters/attacks and I started to wonder if those people were smart or crazy. From tyrannical governments to hurricanes, terrorists to nuclear power plant meltdowns, some things will happen, others, maybe not. I just don’t know. It seems less unlikely the more time goes on. But for some reason it’s just not enough for me to want to arm up and defend the can of SpaghettiOs in my basement from looters (or zombies).

If it comes to that, you can have the SpaghettiOs. I’m overcoming fear.

Love Doesn’t Stink

10 Dec

I don’t often put my hopes in celebrity relationships, but the rate at which they are failing is unsettling. Maybe it was the demise of “Jelena” (that’s Justin and Selena for all people out of touch with all things important). Just kidding. It wasn’t. I’m full of sarcasm today.

But it very well could have been the fall of Bachelorette Emily and the adorable Jef, with the nail on the coffin being the demise of Amy Poehler and Will Arnett.

Despite the feigned and forced romanced brewed on TV, we route for people to actually find love and live happily ever after — especially when they’re as funny as Amy and Will.

But alas, something is teaching people, even celebrities, that love should be easy and should always feel like The Notebook (and I lurrrve The Notebook).

The thing is, if everyone gave up when they lost the proverbial “spark” I doubt anyone would be married anymore. If only people believed the person they first felt that spark for was worth fighting for.

I get that sometimes people make mistakes, rush into things, or are in abusive situations, but if all that’s missing is a spark, may I politely but lovingly say, “Get over it”?

I was a mere 21 years young when I wed my love. Looking back nearly 10 years, that’s young. Very young. And probably a tad stupid. 🙂 But we’ve been together for 13 years. Thirteen joyful, heartbreaking, blessed, hard, hopeful, frustrating, loving years. Love is not easy. And we’re not giving up. Not even close.

But enough about me.

I went to a small Christian college in my younger days, where I met some truly amazing people who also happened to get married young. I feel encouraged and blessed watching how their relationships have also grown, matured and overcome challenges these past 10 years. When the media plays love as a fool, it is inspiring to know such people willing to fight and cling so tightly to their mate.

I know a couple of people who have made big compromises, like moving away from their families for their husband’s job. You know who you are. And I respect you for the support you show to the love of your life.

Then there’s my grandparents. In their generation, divorce was the exception, not the norm and they fought through a lot. I mean a lot. And as I watch my 82-year-old grandpa care for my grandma whose health has been failing the last few years, I know what love is. My grandpa is a farmer and I’m pretty sure my grandma fixed most every meal he ate in his adult life, so it’s adorable and heartwarming to watch him cook for her now, with love. I’ve never heard him complain.

At Thanksgiving, my 2-year-old sat at a rickety old folding chair at a small folding table. Grandpa pointed out that his girls (he had four) used to bring him lunch in the field and sit at that very table and chairs.

Love.

The point was driven home when my grandma spent this past Thanksgiving in the hospital and Grandpa, while enjoying our company and the amazing food (didn’t I say he had four daughters?), was concerned with getting back to my grandma’s side.

When in the hour of our twilight, I look forward to that love. Not the unrealistic love we see in movies, but the kind that gives, sacrifices, compromises, supports, defends, nurtures and encourages.

Here’s to love. Undying, unconditional, enduring love.

 

And now for a (terribly embarrassing) treasure from way back when. 😉

Image

More Birthday Fun

28 Jun

While we had a big blow-out bash last Saturday for Liam’s birthday, we decided on his actual birthday (Sunday) we would make the day all about him: what he wanted to do, what he wanted to eat, and how much we truly love him.

When he woke up at 6:30 a.m. I thought maybe he was just too excited about his birthday (he usually sleeps until 8:30), so I brought him into our bed and he and I slept until 9:30…whoops!

When we finally got around, we made it to Touch a Truck and let’s just say he loved it.

We had no idea this event was so popular. It was free with donations for Harvesters. Hopefully this is the last time he’s in a police car! 😉

He thought a small race track was particularly awesome.

And Deanna Rose Farmstead brought some goats.

Then he got to decide what to eat. His decision? Chips and salsa of course. I swear the kid loves dipping stuff. But we didn’t complain and took off for our favorite Mexican restaurant Chapala.

While Liam took a much-deserved nap, I put together his water table from Grandad and Yia Yia.

Needless to say, he loves it and with this 100+ heat, I’ve loved it, too. If only it were adult size…

We had a much smaller cake celebration. He even tried to blow out the candle this time.

And then of course he ate it…frosting first. When I asked Liam what he wanted me to make for his birthday, the answer was always cupcakes and frosting. That’s an easy yes for me. 😉

I think we’ll make this a family tradition of spending the day just the three of us on his birthday. It really solidified our love of and appreciation for him. We couldn’t ask for more.

A Boy Turns 2

25 Jun


You may have heard about my son. He’s pretty cool. And despite my sneaking suspicion that his existence has all been a dream, he turned two yesterday.

2…

A year ago I had a child who had just turned 1 and who would not walk for five more months. A year ago this bright child ‘o mine was still developing his personality, which is in full-swing, hey-I’m-2-and-I-have-an-opinion mode. But he truly is the most wonderful gift I ever received.


We celebrated Saturday with a Yo Gabba Gabba-themed gala. And while my son likes YGG and knows all the characters, the theme was really more for me. And really this is the last year I really get to decide the theme, right? Two rules I have for Liam’s birthdays: Never go as overboard as I did the first year; and there can never be too much color.


If you’ll notice there are only 18 cupcakes…odd number right? Well when Uncle Ross stopped by to deliver Liam’s birthday present (his old matchbox cars…how sweet is that?) early, a certain rat terrier who shall remain nameless did this:


My reaction was two fold: Kick the dog out the back door/Thank God he didn’t get more than six.


I made fewer things this year. Last year I made three cupcakes from scratch all with made from scratch icings. This year I used two box cake mixes and made the buttercream from scratch. The cake was fun with a surprise inside:

I’ll put a tutorial on this cake up later. And see these adorable napkins? They’re vintage from 1985 and I found them at a flea market in Branson. Love.

I also made the Brobee watermelon and the pennant banner, which only took one Bachelorette’s worth of work. 😉 And the colorful rice krispy balls in the cups are meant to look like flowers. They’re just balled up rice krispy treats made with a big ole bag of fake fruity pebbles on sticks. Kids loved them.


Fun was had by all even though it was 90-some degrees outside and Liam got some wonderful gifts and spent some great time with family and friends.

And kids left with awesome tattoos…

Happy birthday little man. I am so thankful you chose me to be your mommy.

P.S. More birthday madness continues later this week. We spent all of Sunday with Liam doing everything he wanted to do. 🙂

Dreams and Courage

11 Jun

It’s been more than a month since my last post and just more than one week since the first printed issue of VintageKC hit the Kansas City scene.

Last week was the longest week of my life.

I’ve had such an overwhelming response to the premiere issue of VintageKC Magazine that I can hardly keep up with the loving readers, stores wanting copies and businesses wanting to advertise.

I did not expect this.

I knew this was a good idea. The vintage scene in Kansas City is growing, vibrant and so creative. But the extent of love and support from the community has been beyond my wildest dreams. They embraced VintageKC with open arms.

In one week I’ve lined up the next home tour and fashion photo shoot for the fall issue. That took me months to do before. And I’ve made so many wonderful connections with such inspirational, amazing people.

And I couldn’t be more grateful, humbled.

I’ve discovered a lot about myself in the last few months. And I’ve found that Matt Damon was right: All you need is 20 seconds of insane courage.

It’s taken a lot of courage, a lot of picking myself up and pushing forward.

And it was worth every second.

I’m fulfilling my dreams and I never thought that would happen. I’ve been in the magazine industry for 6.5 years and I know that each step I took was a step to get me to this very moment.

In GGTs news I have yet to unpack boxes of treasures and I’m honestly not sure how much I can keep up with at this time. But I’ll do my best! I do so love treasure hunting.

For those who live outside the KC area who would like a subscription, you can purchase one here. Copies are available around town for free.

Follow your dreams friends.

Until next time…

One of my Favorite Thrift Stores

3 Apr

Shortly after we moved into our home I discovered a nearby thrift store called Through Our Children’s Lives. It’s a small shop tucked in among other stores, but you can’t miss the big moving truck they have out front with their name on it. As thrift stores go, it’s good. If you dig, you’re bound to find some treasures.

But that’s not what I love about this store.

I’ve been going to this store since Liam was a baby and the sweet woman who runs it has always been so loving to him. I don’t know why this surprises me though, considering the name of her business.

The store’s proceeds go toward helping victims of domestic abuse. It’s a wonderful cause.

But it gets better.

Whenever you bring your child in with you, they let you pick out a free book. I love this. I strongly believe in the importance of reading to a child.

They also have donated bread you can choose from every time you make a donation or purchase.

Last week I strolled in to browse as I sometimes do and I walked out with this loot for $2.72.

And here’s the breakdown:
The shorts were originally $2.99, but because they also have awesome sales, that day clothing under a certain price was automatically $2.
The dinosaur must have been about $.50.
The car was free because the sweet owner rummaged through a bin and picked it out for my very grateful son. Who does that? Loving people do that.
The books were free. Technically you’re supposed to get one, but I think she likes us. It is one book and one coloring book.
The bread was free! Although I recommend using or freezing this bread right away because it is donated, I usually never have a problem eating bread. I used the asiago cheese round to make grilled cheese sandwiches to go with tomato soup and the Italian bread I cut to make meatball subs.

If you’re in the OP area, I definitely recommend stopping in to Through Our Children’s Lives. I have friends who have found great deals and you can’t beat the love you’ll receive. 😉

Liam’s MRI Results

30 Mar

First I had to show this picture of my son in the shorts I found at the Just Between Friends sale. They crack me up!

When we left the house at 7:30 in the morning, my dad in-tow, I had found peace with my son getting an MRI. By the end of the morning I was wondering why I had been so scared. But only because he handled it like a champ. He didn’t shed a single tear when they inserted his IV. Granted we did a lot to distract him, but add toughness to the list of things my son exudes.

After less time than they quoted us, we were back in the recovery room and Liam was pretty wide awake, though woosey! Let me tell you it was funny to take him home all drugged up and saying funny things. He was mentally so awake but his body couldn’t keep up. High-fives were more misses than hits. 🙂

We had to keep a close eye on Mr. Stumbly for the rest of the day. We snuggled on the couch, watched movies, and ate goldfish in three flavors (since he hadn’t had food since the night before). Then we all took a much-deserved nap. Mommy and daddy didn’t sleep too well the night before.

In the afternoon his pediatrician called with the scan results. What they found was a small area in the left center part of his brain that contained an old injury. It was caused by some stroke-type event that caused his brain to bleed. It’s only about 2x2x3cm (or maybe it was mm?) and is surrounded by healing tissue.

This is what we expected.

I’m happy they found what we were looking for. Sometimes injuries are so old they can’t see them anymore. And since we suspect Liam’s is about 18 months old, I’m glad it was still visible.

We’re still waiting to hear from his doctor at the hospital, but knowing this was probably a one-time thing and there’s no tumor or anything involved is relieving.

Last night my sweet step-sister dropped by and gave me the perfect gift. Evidently Pura Vida Bracelets are a big deal — guess I missed the boat. The bracelets are all hand-made in Costa Rica and 1% of the profits are given back to the Surfrider Foundation to clean up beaches worldwide.

What made this gift even more special to my heart is that they also have bracelets for awareness. Everything from autism, suicide prevention, Alzheimer’s, MS, CP, etc. Yep, she got me a bracelet that represents Cerebral Palsy awareness. I cried. The best part is they donate $1 out of the $5 to that specific organization.

The company believes in living life simply, enjoying life slowly, celebrating good fortune and not taking anything for granted. That’s something I can get behind.

So do it friends. Live simply and slowly and appreciate much. I have a lot to be thankful for in this new day.

And stay hydrated. 😉