NEW.

New. I guess that’s the best word, or at least the most frequently used one, to describe my state of being.  All of the sudden, it’s like everything’s new. I don’t mean that by some extravagantly romantic point-of-view.  It’s not at all a flowery declaration of revitalization. It’s an, oh bunk…all this is new. I have no idea what I’m doing.

It started with a kindergartener and a teacher (for whom the verdict remains in sealed envelope), and a complex list of expectations for a group of 5 year-old kids that I had to read 3 times to understand. Bear Binders, volunteer lists, homework, procedures etc. swirling in my head. “Sign this, read that.” I began to construct a new compartment in the left-wing of my brain, with file drawers, and I painted them in magenta chevron (just for fun).

And then I was abruptly introduced to the school’s child transport process, which is actually deserving of its own blog:

THE CAR LINE.

On day 2, Owen and I decided to leave at 7:15 to get an extra early start. After all, the tardy bell doesn’t sound for another hour.  When we arrived, the car line trailed all the way down the main avenue, around a long stretch of road owned by the school, and then creeped its way into the streets of a local neighborhood.  Both drop off and pick up that day took 45 minutes.  I mean, shall i bring a pop up tent, some Starbucks travelers, and a megaphone to car-line?  I see it in my future. Message to entrepreneurial kids: Forget the lemonade stand….bring the coffee and a lock box. You’ll be rich before the Miss Wizda can sound the bell.

So new. So different. And then there was the diagnosis:

Patient: MWF. 35. BP 180/110. 3 year history average of 134/90. Consistent spikes for 1 week reporting 160/104, 143/104, 180/110, 165/100

diagnosis: HYPERTENSION

Treatment: 25 mg Toprol xl, once per day.

ugh. And, I  thought I was handling life so well. I look at my watch.  Wait, I don’t have time for this. Car-line starts soon….

I rode with my new boss yesterday.We had a great morning, followed by a lovely lunch where  I received a coaching memo at work for “missing a deadline on a computer module”, that occurred while I was on vacation…in July. My boss says, “I don’t want you to stress about this, A LOT of them went out. It’s just a NEW policy.” She followed that by a discussion around a possible promotion for me. Confusing, bizarre and of course, NEW. My husband and I are flying to Colorado next week to be with friends as they launch their new church.

Olivia is posing and coordinating fine fashion now. I only have myself to thank for that.  It is hysterical. Her conversations are becoming more involved, detailed and animated, thus requiring me to be WAY more engaged. She calls me out for not listening….a skill I’m quite sure she’s honing in on at school. She asks everyday what she will wear, which has absolutely taken priority over what I will wear, or anyone else for that matter, followed by the same question “Does this match?”

New is exhausting.

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So… What Happened To You?

When you’ve won ground in a battle, it’s yours. You slap your flag in the ground and you take it.  You won. And, even when future opposition or pressure comes to bear, you remember the way in which you conquered before and you use those strategies to contend for what is still yours. This is how we overcome….how we win personal battles against the enemies that war against our soul.

I’ve talked a bit about my personal issues with shopping addictions, and frivolous spending.  Last year, I spent 365 days blogging about it…a journey where I just didn’t buy any clothing, unless I had a gift card. Seemingly silly and insignificant, it was one of the most profound acts of spiritual obedience of which I actually cooperated. It transformed my perspective about life, things, and people. The fast helped me redefine priorities, friendships, situations and stumbling blocks that kept me from being true to myself and my beliefs. It even impacted my family both emotionally and financially. Fasting shopping for a year, taught me more about identity than any wardrobe consult could.  And today, I find it ironically hysterical that designers, stylists and fashion industry experts everywhere hang their hats upon helping you find a newer, fresher, more fabulous self by adding more stuff.  So interesting.

My growth came in the shedding of layers and layers of stuff.

I still shop, but with much more restraint.  I just showed you a couple of my favorite little  $5 deals, in fact. I still love pretty things, but i don’t have to have the next best “whatever”. For every sale I take advantage of, I passed on 100 of which I would have formerly engaged. I read Vogue, but I don’t covet. I don’t long for designer anything. I’ve retired the ever-so-famous “I die” over some over-priced python leather bag with a “Made in China” label on it.  I used to want to live in New York City. Now, I want to live where I’m called.

The glamour of life is really  found in the depth of your personal peace.  I’m finding these days that many of the best dressed would shed a handbag or 10 to have an ounce of clarity, a little peace of mind… direction in life and a purpose.  You don’t read about this in magazines because it’s masked by a self-indulgent charade of fancy. It’s denial of the truth covered in a costume of couture.

And I wonder, what would it take for a mass awakening? What would it take for light to penetrate the darkness….to shake off the game of dress up played by so many women I know? They are so busy entertaining fantasies of grandeur, while neglecting the reality of life at home.  What would it take to shake yourself out of keeping up with the Jones’?What would it take to surrender lavish lifestyles sought to cloak pain? What is the use of a closet full of clothes with tags but a home in shambles? What about shattered families wrecked by addictions? What about the  unhappiness, anxiety, fear, pressure? All of these things masked so often by a great party and a lot of shopping! But no one wants to talk about that. I guess it’s just too real. They just keep buying, traveling, partying, pretending…..and sinking.

And I look back 2 years ago and again at where I am today, feeling grateful. Grateful that a God awakening shook me out of a make-believe world, indulging fantasies at the expense of my family. I am humbled everyday by the fact that I’m only one obsession away from a backsliding. Every day, I pray that God will help me. Amazing…the truth that was revealed through something as simple and silly as shopping.

“Can You Say Fi Dolla !?”

We survived the first week of school!  No easy feat, I tell  you. Fully prepared to deal with the unexpected, as any mom would when her kids start a new chapter, I failed to consider that I may be the one with a bit of personal chaos. I won’t bore you with details, but in the midst of shuffling kids through car lines, packing lunches, signing agendas, completing/approving paperwork, dealing with doctors and insurance companies while also tending to my day job, a physical annoyance presented itself.  On Wednesday, my blood pressure shot to 160/106. For the rest of the week it continued to go buck wild without a license. So, Friday afternoon, I found myself in priority care, with a 180/110 reading and left with a prescription for Toprol Xl. Not so fun.

That being said, I’m not discontented by these light afflictions, and in celebration of a great week, I made some great unauthorized purchases!!!  As part of my therapy, I thought a trip to TJ Maxx would be the perfect remedy…in conjunction with the medication, of course. Doctors orders (that’s what I told Steve, anyway).

When I walked out with 4 blouses for $34.75, I felt cured, quite relaxed and also happy that one of my items cost less than a #1 at Chick-Fil-A.  See? Shirt in lieu of high fat meal!  We are DEFINITELY making progress.  Check out two of the finds below….

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Welcome to the $5 Dolla Club!

And Just Like That….

Poof! Owen went to Kindergarten. I skipped the school’s boo-hoo breakfast, mainly because I was in denial.  Surely, my baby is not a school aged child. His sister is also going to preschool. Life is changing. Fast and furiously…whether I’m ready for it or not. My kids? Yea….they’re ready, for sure.

Floral Britches

I’m glad to know that my instinct on identifying trends is still somewhat in tact.  I  went shopping at Tar-jhay recently, only to notice a rather bold floral print splashed across some lightweight denim. Moments after becoming completely smitten, I wondered if, in fact, this was suitable casual attire or if I’d just taken a small blow to the head. After all, we do remember my wallpaper-wearing incident, right ? Honestly, I haven’t been following much in terms of trends, magazines, fashion blogs, etc. so I was oblivious to the  printed denim phenomenon.  But, for $20 and a smile, I bought the jeans.The next day, after posting to FB what I believed to be a bold fashion assertion, my friend shared a photo she saw. “This reminded me of you.”  A picture of fashion savvy ladies everywhere sporting’ the floral!   Later in the week, a store’s catalog came highlighting similar looks! It’s everywhere. Reassured and in very good company, I felt relieved to know my style mode isn’t completely dysfunctional. Take home message? Get yourself some floral britches!!!

Ruche Photo Courtesy of of Page.

And here are mine….

A Lofty Idea!!!!

When I think about the evolution of this blog, I can’t help but chuckle. We went from shopping addict to budget babe. Next, a transition to outfit diary which shifted toward a more internal analysis and thus, personal epiphanies. It seems now, the posts will probably manifest as a diatribe of my real estate experience and some whining around, “Have we sold this house yet?” Just kidding.  Not really.  Today, I’d like to get back to shopping for a moment because a little birdie told me that 6 boxes of Lilly Pulitzer just arrived at The Stationery Loft.  I love this place for a variety of reasons, but namely I can ALWAYS find something unique.  Today, I’m going to stop by to find a few teacher gifts.  Owen is starting kindergarten next week. Believing deeply that the “the gift makes way for the giver”, I intend to bring a peace-offering to his teacher (aka: the saint). Any person who commits six hours everyday with my energetic little people, certainly deserves a present.  Or is it a buffer? Either way, I know Stationery Loft will have just the right thing (and maybe something for me? A self-pity purchase of sorts? ) Do you think I get extra credit for having it monogrammed?  Heidi and her team can do that too!!! Omg..Check out all these cute locker decorations!

Photos courtesy of FB Fan Page.

Where have you been?

Well…

A friend blessed my family with a week at her lovely beach house in Anna Maria so we vacated.

We returned home to find  a week chalk full of back-to-school preparations so I bought clothes and supplies and began to coordinate schedules.

I also learned that my Realtor scheduled  3 showings, so I scrambled to keep the house together, while also packing boxes.  After all, if you anticipate a move you should plan for one.  I started packing before we left for the beach. That being said, I also planned a garage sale….for Saturday. Very ambitious.

Monday rolled around and I separated trash from treasure, packed kitchen items we don’t use daily, and other goods that are not necessary for survival. They were stored and labeled. Simultaneously, the north to south end of the garage accumulated merchandise for my Home edition of the Storage Wars.

We painted the front door, a bedroom, repaired some dry wall and kept on cleaning. Tuesday was dentist day and Owen presented with his very first (and last, I trust) cavity. The house and yard sale preparation continued. Wednesday came and we showed the house twice. This was also my first day back to work post vacation, and while on the job, I fell ill with the worst headache I’d had in a long time, but continued to press. That night we learned we had a second visit scheduled for Thursday at 8am.  More scrambling…

Thursday morning rolled around and the headache persisted. I went to work, but also to my doctor. Medication administered. Back to work….but not before a lunch break and there it happened….

While sitting amongst good friends,masking painfully the throbbing of my head with gentle laughs, I received a text from my relator.

“I have an offer. Can you meet me at my office after 4 to discuss.?”

Overwhelmed with emotion, I was overcome with sobs. My friends and I all weighed the meaning of this, for it is quite significant.  Ironically, my in-laws just so happened to walk through the door of the restaurant. It was clear to me, we were in a moment. A very important moment. The offer was not received by the person who made two visits, but another who offered after only seeing it once. I was elated.

A series text messages went out and the day continued with a mid-year review call with my boss and of course, the anticipated trip to the relator where we made our negotiation. A counter offer. Everyone very hopeful for a deal and September 14 closing.

Friday morning, the buyer came back to see the house and her decision promised by 5 pm.

I waited…

…and waited.

By 7 pm, my deal had gone south. The contract dead. I felt slapped.

But then I remembered, faith is alive it is active. Those things that look dead only sleep. And when He breathes upon them life takes form.  Through tears of disappointment, I look to the one who writes my story. Although there may be twists and turns it will be alright. After all, I’ve determined that God is the very best storyteller.

And that, my friends, is where I’ve been…if you were wondering.

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I Never Knew….

In my rather short tenure as a mother, a significant truth has been revealed; I take MANY things for granted. Things I never really realized were luxuries, compromised by an infestation of children, are now the objects of insane desire for me. We’re at the beach this week and I’ve had a lot of time to give some thought to such things.

I can’t help but wonder how transformative it would be to actually finish a HOT cup of coffee before leaving the house each morning,

or enjoy a meal without getting up for something ( who am I kidding, enjoy a meal at all),

to start a project without being interrupted by shrieks from the playroom,

to release myself from the angst of stress that someone is going to get hurt, hurt somebody or terrorize some material good…namely ones that don’t belong to us,

to be responsible for wiping only my own bottom,

a  restful night’s sleep without 3:30 am creepers,

to hear my own name, rather than mommy,

the joy of freedom without emotional strings,

personal space,

having to say things only once,

a morning to sleep….or at least lay in my bed longer than 6:15.

But, then again….

I’d miss the excitement of a 6-year old fisherman, who also hunts alligators and snakes in the backyard,

the soprano princess who can hold the sound of my name for 8 measures of song (girl’s got lungs),

cackling laughter,

hope in even the most dismal circumstances (“NO! You’re not getting a toy!”),

suffocating hugs,

unsolicited compliments (“Mom, you beautiful like a princess”)

and the opportunity, finally, to be someone’s heroine.