I Got Big Thighs and I Cannot Lie

I Got Big Thighs and I Cannot Lie

I can’t hide it.  No matter what size I am, my thighs stay the same.  Large and in charge.

Last week a sweet friend shyly whispered to me, “Can I ask you something delicate?  While you were at Disney World, how did you keep your thighs from rubbing raw?”

Girl!  Do I have some tips for you!!!

Years ago I got a heat rash where my thighs touch and it took me months to get that to go away.  It was pain when I walked, pain when I sat, pain, pain, pain.  And you can’t get rid of it easily because it gets irritated anytime you move.

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There’s actually a name for it.  Chub Rub.

Nice.

After that nightmare I was determined to do anything I could to keep that from happening EVER AGAIN!  If you are a big thigh girl, this list is for you!

Thigh rash is the WORST!  Prevention is key!!!

1. SPANX.  If there was ever a product that deserved a poem written in its honor….it would be Spanx.  They cover what bike shorts would cover, but they don’t make you as hot on a warm summer day.  Lots of big girls say they don’t like that they make you hot, but I have never had that problem.  I love them!  But you have to know a few things before you buy.

Here are my Spanx tips….
a. Get the RIGHT size!  If you’re like me you might try to fit in a smaller size because that number on the label is depressing.  Let it go!  Get a size that really fits your body and I am telling you….you will thank me.
b. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, get the higher power version.  Those are the kind that reach right up to your bra line and they might be great on smaller gals with flat tummies, but they are not a friend to the big girl.  Nobody likes the feeling of their underwear s-l-o-w-l-y rolling down their midsection while they are out to dinner with friends.  No thank you.  You want the Power Panties (there’s a link above).  They stop at the waist.
c. You can get an off brand called Assets Mid-Thigh Shapers. They are made by the same people who make Spanx and they are about half the price.  Now, they don’t last as long and if you’re going for support in addition to thigh protection you are better off investing in the name brand.  But if you’re like me and need some for every day, get a few of the off-brand pair too so you always have a backup (again, use the link above so you don’t get confused…there are a lot of styles!).
d. I tried one style called Assets Remarkable Results .  This pair was still comfortable (but not as comfy as the Mid-Thigh Shaper and a bit pricier) and it….ahem….really brought out the best in my behind.  I didn’t think “bootylishous” would look good on me, but it really made my skirts fall nicely.  I definitely will wear these when I am dressing up!

2. Powder.  When it gets hot, you can bet I carry powder or cornstarch in my purse.  You want to be sure you use powder made for that area of your body.  You don’t want any perfumes or toxic ingredients.  Since powder tends to come in large containers, I pour some into a small, empty McCormick spice container and carry that in my purse, or when traveling.  When I am really working to keep it away (like during extreme heat or activity) I will reapply the powder anytime I use the restroom.  It instantly cools me off.

3. Stay clean.  Let’s be real….the problem here is skin rubbing together with sweat.  Sweat is salty and irritating.  So you have to keep the rash prone area clean of that irritant.  When I am home I use a damp rag to just wipe anywhere my skin rubs together.  When I am out I like to grab a towel from the restroom dispenser and put a little water on it before going into the stall.  Then I wipe off any sweaty places, and I have lots of them…not just my thighs.  (sorry, TMI, but somebody needs to talk about it…it’s a real struggle!)

4. Jockey Skimmies Wicking Slipshort These have similar coverage as Spanx but they are very different.  They don’t offer any support (which I want….I’m not into the jiggle in my walk).  But they are cool and definitely do a nice job of protecting thigh rub.  And they have colors, which is something Spanx doesn’t have, so if you want the look of a bike short instead of looking nude under your skirt, these are good.  For only $20 I like them and will use mine when my Spanx are in the wash.  You definitely want more than one option!  And if you’re wearing jeans this might be a better option for you since the jeans already kind of hold everything nice and snug.

5. Natural Anti-chafe Balm Stick This stuff is kind of amazing.  There are several brands on the market, but I like this one because it’s all natural.  I don’t like using chemicals at all (you know about my essential oil obsession), but especially in delicate areas.  This stuff doesn’t feel slimy or messy.  It stays on for a long time and really helps with chafing.  I always use it if I know I am going to do a lot of walking!

Those are my 5 TOP ways to avoid the dreaded thigh heat rash.  If you’ve ever had this struggle then you know.  You NEVER EVER want to go through that again.

If you are traveling or active you will want to have several of these on hand.  Don’t go to Disney World or on a weekend camping/hiking trip with only one pair of Assets and a stick of balm.  Prevention is the name of the game when it comes to this problem, so stock up and be prepared.

I hope this helps and let me know if you have a different tip!  We big thigh gals have to stick together #nopunintended.

 Be sure to follow me on Facebook for more tips and encouragement!

A Rainbow with Sprinkles Weekend

A Rainbow with Sprinkles Weekend

In case you haven’t heard, we have had a little bit of rain around here lately.  Thankfully our home hasn’t floated away and since the weather app says no more storms this week I feel safe in saying we don’t need to buy that boat.

Normally I like to sum up our weekend in a simple theme for y’all, to make it easy to follow.  But this past 2 days was so all over the place that it can’t even be gathered in my brain.  Between the big party my kids had that lasted much later than James or I expected, to my drive to Austin, to the weird audiobook I listened to…and that’s just Saturday, Sunday had its own share of busyness, I can’t give it a theme.  Unless we want to call it “rainbow with sprinkles“.

That’s what it was….every color of activity and emotion and then some extras.

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Photo Credit Sweet Bake Shop

My drive to Austin on Saturday was excellent.  Did I tell you that I got a new (3 years old but new to me) car?!  Yep.  It’s such a blessing!!  I drove it to Austin as my first big outing in it and felt so low to the ground.  After driving only a minivan or 15-passenger van for the past 17 years, it feels weird to be cruising around in a regular sized vehicle again.  It’s like a Mom-graduation-present.

“Here are the keys to your car that only fits 5 people.  Congratulations!  You are on the downhill slide and next thing you know you will only be paying for 2 meals when you go out to eat.”

But I can’t start counting that extra money yet.  I still have 4 kids in homeschool and a long way to go. #worthit

On Saturday I had an audiobook ready for when I got tired and about an hour into the drive I turned it on.  It was, let’s just say, not keeping me awake {{yawn}}.  So I turned it off and went back to jammin’ with TobyMac.  He will definitely keep you awake!

For the drive home I decided to download a different audiobook and it was so much better!  The first was a children’s story  that I was going to check out for my boys and the second was a success-in-business type of book.  You’d think the second would have been the most boring, but the narrator was so good and the author tossed in a bunch of surprise funny lines and it kept my attention.  PLUS it inspired me in several ways with my business.  SCORE!

I got home from Austin around 6:30 and my kids’ big party was still in full swing.  James and I took our youngest out to dinner and when we got home at 9:00…yep….the party was still going.  It gave me flashbacks of my own young adult parties and seeing my parents slip up the stairs and go to bed long before my friends went home.  I never knew how nerve wracking that must have been for them until last Saturday night when a houseful of “kids” (who probably wouldn’t want to be called kids) were here.  James and I sat in our bedroom in the recliners trying to stay awake, but we just couldn’t.  Our old age and full day got the better of us and we gave up and went to bed long before the party ended.

OK kids, you win.  Mom and Dad can’t outlast you anymore.  That may seem like good news to you now, but it’s only a few years from us needing you to buy Ensure and show us how to change the channel every half hour.  Don’t get too excited.

On Sunday after church I had a nice, long nap then worked on some final edits for my book.  Afterward I made the mistake of watching “Little Women”, which, as you would expect, made me cry buckets for an hour.  Why-Oh-WHY can’t they all just be together?!

Although it may not be just the sweetness of Jo, Beth, Meg and Amy that got to me.  These days tears seem to be right below the surface and I have myself a little cry at least once a day.  It’s usually over something sweet and the gratitude I feel, but once in a while I tear up because a crowd of 20-somethings are in my living room at midnight.  OK, I didn’t actually cry over that because I was sound asleep at midnight.  I can’t pull anything over on y’all.

Looking back, my rainbow sprinkle weekend was great.  Our home is intact, our family is still strong, I got to drive my new-to-me car, I learned some business stuff and I have a boring audiobook to give to my kids.  (and if I wasn’t off of sugar I would be wanting a slice of that gorgeous cake in the photo above!)

Thanks for stopping by!

 

R & R & More R

R & R & More R

What do you get when you cross a whirlwind trip to Ft Worth with a woman who has been detoxing from Disney and sugar?  I think you can imagine.  It’s not pretty.

I’d say that sums me up for the past weekend.  I’ve been tired and feeling low and pretty much taking naps between my naps for 2 days.

Last Thursday I popped out of bed early and my son and I drove for 6 hours, picking up a friend along the way.  The 3 of us had a nice visit while we drove and we were giddy about the Young Living meeting we were going to attend (OK, just my friend and I, my son doesn’t get giddy).  It was actually really fun and inspiring and on the way home Friday we talked about all we learned almost the entire way.

I thoroughly enjoyed the time with my adult son.  He and I rarely have one-on-one time together, but now that he’s doing Young Living with me, we spend more time together and it feels like a Mom-Bonus!

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But no rest for the weary because we were having people over for dinner on Friday night.  Yes, that’s right, as soon as we walked in the door from the trip it was time to get ready for company.  Craziness.  A missionary from India was in town and this was the only night he could come over and we really wanted to hear his stories of miracles and God’s goodness to the beautiful people of India.  So we invited some friends and we threw together some tacos and picked up some store-bought cookies (none for me ‘cuz I’m sugar free) and really was a fabulous night!  My kids were especially blessed to hear about another part of the world.

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After our friends left, believe it or not, one of my girls needed me to run an errand with her.  It only took about an hour, but that still put me getting home at 11:30 and by the time I rolled into bed I was so tired I wondered if I would be able to get up and exercise the next morning.  I actually wondered if I would be able to get up at all.

I did sleep an extra 30 minutes on Saturday, but then I made myself get up and go for my morning walk.  It does me so much good and since I had missed it for the past 2 days I was glad to back on my little road.

The kids had breakfast ready when I got home and we were all there together for food and sharing, which is one of my favorite times all week.  We sit at the table for most of the morning and talk over everything from the schedule for the week to why cows can’t walk over cattle guards.  It’s like a roller coaster conversation….up with rolling laughter then down into deep, theological discussions.  More flips and turns and it’s really a get-to-know-you time.

After that we kind of all go our own direction for the day.  Me, I took a nap.  Then I did a LOT of writing and ended the day with another nap before bed.  I think all of my travels were really getting to me because on Sunday morning I felt like I had been hit by a truck and I told James, “I don’t think I can go to church this morning.  I feel totally worn out.”

He took the kids to church and for the first time since 1989 I was completely alone in my own home.  I had no idea what to do with myself.  Sure, I could sleep more.  But the urge to clean my bedroom hit me so I started picking up clutter and putting it where it belongs.  I hung a few pictures and organized some drawers and hung some vintage style posters (that I bought in March and have been in the corner of my bedroom ever since) in the hallway.

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Then I cleaned out my purse and filled a trash bag with junk and by the time the fam was home from church I felt a lot better.  I may have to make this a semi-annual event.  Or a semi-weekly one.

I spent the rest of Sunday just letting my soul relax.  It’s been a long, hard few months and I think my mind and spirit are telling me I need to chill out for a bit.  So I plan to just lie low for the next few days and let myself unwind.

I’ll be doing pretty much nothing this week but hanging with my kids and maybe even see a movie.  I’m ready for swim weather when I can jump in after my walk and float until the kids come looking for me.

Hey….speaking of Young Living (yes, we were speaking of Young Living in the beginning…the trip to Ft Worth, remember?!), I am sending some special things to all of my new May members!  I get so many questions about how I dilute my oils to make them last longer.  So this month I am giving you a hand with 10 ready-to-use roller bottles, a little sprayer and my favorite reference book!

Go HERE to join with the Premium Starter Kit and I’ll send you that stuff as a gift from me!

Have a great week!!!!

A Second Honeymoon

A Second Honeymoon

Last week was BIG for me!  James and I, for the first time since having kids over 25 years ago, went away for the week.  Just the 2 of us.  It was a second honeymoon and where did we go?  Disney World of course!

Yes, just me, James and thousands of couples with small children.

We had a wonderful time together.  We flew to Florida early last Sunday morning and had the entire day to wander around the different resorts and see what they are each like.  It was something I have always wondered about….those fancy places that I’ll never be able to afford.  We texted pictures to the kids because I was feeling pretty awkward being there without them.

I did get over that after the first day.  They were having a great time at home watching all of the movies they wanted and eating pizza.  They kept telling me to go enjoy myself.  So I did.

That first step into Magic Kingdom gave me such a thrill.  It’s so clean and cheerful, like walking into a dream.  We ran around all day and unwound amidst the crowd and lines.  I kept looking at the castle and thinking, “I can’t believe I’m here!”

On day 2 we went to Hollywood Studios (my favorite park!) and I decided to do my hair in honor of the starlets of past eras.

Fun hairstyles for Disney!

It was fun to go glam for a day!  So much fun that I went all animal kingdom the next day.

fun Disney hairstyles!

I made a crown with my hair…..It was a lot bigger in person than it looks in the photo.  I plan to mess around with more if I ever go back to Disney so I can really make a BIG hair crown!

By my last day I was in the mood to really play, so of course I did it total Disney style.  Minnie Mouse ears!!!!

fun Disney hairstyles!

The whole week we ran around like youngsters, riding rides and eating snacks and really had a grand time!

One of the things I enjoyed the most was watching the young families.  There was plenty of time while we waited in lines or on buses to just people watch.  The men especially interested me.  Young guys, in their late 20s/early 30s who were there with their wives, a few young kids and their in-laws.  I kept looking at their faces and imagining these guys who only a few years ago were in college working toward their dreams.  I thought that they must have never pictured themselves walking around Disney World lugging a stroller and wearing a t-shirt with a Mickey Mouse silhouette that said “Daddy” on it (matching the “Mommy” t-shirt his wife wore, of course!).  At first I thought these guys seemed a little defeated, as if he would rather be doing pretty much anything else.  But then I’d see it….the twinkle.  Every time he looked at his kids.  Every man.  On every bus and in every line, lit up when he looked at his little princess or pirate.

And it just warmed me inside.  I know that James and I twinkle when we look at our kids, but to see so many families really enjoying their children was such a delight.  I didn’t notice that on my last trip, probably because I was too busy staring at my own adorable crew.

On Friday night as we drove home from the airport I said to James, “Hey, I don’t think we talked about kids or money or the house falling apart even once while we were gone!”  It was like a teeny tiny miracle.  Total relaxation mixed with eating too much sugar and watching a lot of 3D shows = heaven.

And now we are planning our NEXT Mom and Dad only getaway.  Only next time we think we might want to do something a little less….um…..tiring.  Like maybe a beach somewhere that has cabana boys bringing you drinks and the waves just come to you.

I mean, it was great, but I was so worn out when we got home that I wasn’t sure if I would recover.  I’m still exhausted.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great week!

Good Thing I’m Not Keeping Score

Good Thing I’m Not Keeping Score

In case you’re keeping score in the challenge between me and my messy closet, it’s closet 1-Lisa 0.

A week has gone by since I stepped into the disaster and declared war on the pile.  I have done, oh, pretty much nothing to get it cleaned up since then.  I did pick up a few things and either threw them away or found a place for them.  But then I also moved some more junk into the closet that takes up more space than the 3 things I removed.  So it’s a wash.

And the next 2 weeks aren’t looking promising for getting any closet cleaning done.  Please tell me I am not the only person who looks at their calendar and sees a light schedule, then a week later it’s full beyond what seems humanly possible to accomplish.

I thought I had a few weeks of free time before James and I leave for our second honeymoon.  But, as life inevitably goes, I now have something planned for almost every day between now and then.  Oh well.  for every point my closet racks up, I will throw away two unnecessary items later.  No stinkin’ tiny room with shelves is going to beat me!

Speaking of full schedules, I sometimes long for the days when we were less mobile and less busy.  Although, if that means I’d also have no A/C I might have to stick with the hustle and bustle of 2015.  I’m useless if it gets above 73°.

I’m serious.  When it’s 73°, I’m comfortable.  If it hits 74°, I’m sweating and leaning over the oscillating fan.

James says I’m like the princess and the pea, only with the thermometer.

We had a lovely weekend.  On Friday night we went to a wedding where we were friends with the families of both the bride and the groom.  That makes it fun because there are very few strangers and you get to kick it up with people you haven’t seen in a while.  It was absolutely lovely, we were outside for the ceremony and inside for the reception and, while I am sure there were plenty of headaches going on behind the scenes, to those of us not in-the-know, it seemed to go off without a hitch.

All of us agreed that one of our favorite, so simple, things was the Oreo “cake” that they had instead of a groom’s cake.  It was a fun dessert!  There was a milk station right next to it.

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And the great thing about having the wedding on Friday night is that it left the whole weekend free for us to do other things.  My older kids went back out on Saturday to play volleyball with the wedding party friends while the younger boys and I worked on my front porch.  It was entirely too gorgeous outside to be stuck inside my closet, plus I really just wanted some mom/boy time.  So we took it slow and cleaned off everything around the porch and rearranged and added some new plants.  It took us almost all day but we had a great time.

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The flowers perk up the whole place!  Of course, with my black thumb they’ll be dead in 6 months.

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Sunday was church and naps.  I’m pretty sure when God said to rest on the 7th day He meant to take a 2 hour nap that is so deep you wake up not sure where you are or what your name is.  And so I did.

This coming week we have something happening every day from birthdays to dinner parties to appointments in the city.  Can’t complain about that!

Have a great week!

 

 

 

Spring Has Sprung!

Spring Has Sprung!

We sure have been enjoying the lovely spring weather!  It’s been, to quote my mentor Mary Poppins, “Practically perfect in every way.”  I am not normally so cheerful, but the Texas wildflowers have that affect on me.  It’s just something about the explosion of colors and 70° temps that make me want to skip and dance.

Unfortunately it only lasts a few weeks, then I revert back to my regular personality.

This time of year we eat outside for most of our meals.  We added an outdoor dining area about 7 years ago and never regretted the effort.  It makes life so sweet to all sit together in the cool of the evening and often we find ourselves lingering long after we have finished eating to just talk and enjoy the breeze.  front01It was GREAT spot for our anniversary party a few years ago and our daughters’ graduation party last summer. It’s “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!”

But I wasn’t here this past weekend to enjoy the outdoor dining because I was in Dallas.  I drove the 5.5 hours on Friday morning and stopped to visit an old friend that I haven’t gotten to see for years.  We talk on the phone sometimes, but with 23 kids between us there’s not much time for getting together one-on-one.

We sat on her porch and talked for just 2 hours before I had to leave and it felt like we were there for 10 minutes.  She’s just one of those friends who loves me no matter what and our hearts just connect no matter how long it’s been.  I hope you have a few of those friends.  They are worth more than gold!

That night I got a second treat and had dinner with my sister-in-law and her family.  I got to be entertained by my sweet nieces and nephews complete with a choreographed routine to Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off”.  I can die happy now.

On Saturday morning I headed to Grapevine, TX to attend an event hosted by some amazing Young Living leaders.  I didn’t really have any expectations, but I was blown away and left inspired and encouraged.  It definitely got me pumped to be more vocal about how much I love my oils.  I tend to be kind of, oh, you know, all introverted and “you might like them, maybe” about it.

In case I haven’t been clear….I love these oils!  (and you don’t need a spoonful of sugar the get them down)

They have been a vessel God has used to change my life and why am I not shouting it from the rooftops?!  I don’t know.  I don’t want to be pushy so I use the excuse that I want to be reserved.  But in truth a little bit of it is fear.

So…..I am getting out of my comfort zone.  In the words of Mary, “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun and the job’s a game.”

I decided to share the love, so I will be hosting monthly classes sharing ways to use these wonderful oils (and other Young Living products!)  I want to encourage y’all to find your own balance and even if you never buy a single product through me, I want to encourage you!

Do you ever, like me, feel like areas of your life get out of balance?  Then come on by and let’s talk about it!

 

It’s also kind of a celebration of the end of tax season.  Just THREE MORE DAYS and I get my husband back.

The rest of my week looks empty if you look at my calendar, but you just don’t write down things like “find those shoes you lost” or “watch the boys do magic tricks”.  Nevertheless, my week is full of that stuff.  I keep it all up in my mind, it’s s steel sieve.

Thanks for stopping by!

Be sure to follow me on Facebook!

 

50 is the New FABULOUS!

50 is the New FABULOUS!

Well friends, I did it.  I survived for 50 years.  I know, it comes as a shock to me too.

When I was a girl I thought being 50 looked like this picture that always hung in my grandmother’s hallway.  These were twin sisters and I don’t know much about them except that my grandmother adored them.

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But it turns out that 50 looks like this….

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I can honestly say that I have been really looking forward to this birthday.  There are so many things about turning 50 that are wonderful that I have decided to make a list.

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1. Contentment.  There’s just something about having this many years behind me that gives me a sense of peace and contentment.  I don’t feel like I have anything to prove anymore.  This is it.  And I like it.
2. Knowledge.  The saying, “The more you know, the more you realize how much you don’t know.”  Yep.  That.
3. Wisdom.  Wisdom is something that doesn’t automatically come with age, but it comes from God.  I have a long way to go and, hopefully, a long time to get there.  But I appreciate what little wisdom I have and ask for more every day.  I guess what I’m saying is that my appreciation for wisdom has deepened as I have aged.

Proverbs 3:13 “Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold”

4. The loss of youth.  Truly, I look back at my youth and while it was fun to be young, I wouldn’t want to go back to that for anything.  This is where it’s at, man.
5.  Older kids.  Sure, I loved my years of having babies; it was wonderful!  But this time in my life when my kids are older and can take care of themselves is so, so sweet.
6. Health.  I have been so blessed with great health.  Even though I am less bendy than I used to be, I am loving my sense of well being.
7. Freedom from pleasing others.  This one took me longer than necessary to get to.  But I am blessed to have learned that if pleasing others is my goal in life I will never succeed.  If pleasing God and honoring the path that I believe He set me on is my goal then I can’t fail!
8. Wrinkles.  You know what?  I don’t mind my wrinkles.  They are a mark of honor and a blessing.  I think of them as well earned.  They are my beauty lines.

“And the beauty of a woman, with passing years only grows!”  Audrey Hepburn

9. Being established.  It seemed like the last 3 decades of life were about establishing ourselves.  My husband built his career and I worked on homeschooling my kids and my writing.  In the past couple of years we have felt that the groundwork has been laid and now we can move forward with more strength.  Although I don’t know if it needed to take this long….I am glad to be there.
10. Confidence.  It took a lot of loss and heartbreak to learn where my confidence lies….in Christ and Christ alone.  I will fall and fail and mess up and blunder my way through life.  It’s when I am able to stop leaning on my own strength and use His strength that I find a deep sense of confidence.  The older I get, the easier that is to do.
11. More suffering behind me = More Joy.  I learned a long time ago that suffering adds great joy to your life because it draws you nearer to God and you lean more on Him and less on yourself.  After 50 years I have had my share of suffering and I can say that I am all the better for it!

“Many men owe the grandeur of their lives to their tremendous difficulties.”  Charles Spurgeon

12. Body image.  My body went south long ago and I stopped trying to hide it.  After many pregnancies and years of gaining and losing weight, stretch marks and saggy places abound on my body.  And you know what?  I don’t care one bit.
13. Laughter.  I laugh more easily than I used to.  I have always taken myself much too seriously and that has changed as I have gotten older.  I will probably always be a bit OCD, but now I find it funny.
14. I lose things and I don’t care.  The old thinker ain’t what it used to be.  I had something in my hand a minute ago and now it’s gone….sometimes forever.  But I don’t stress it like I used to.  It’s just stuff.
15. Stories.  The more time that passes the more fun stories I have to tell.  Accidentally wetting myself little when I laugh too hard with my girlfriends has happened to me more than a few times….it just gives me more to laugh about.
16. Dancing.  I have always wanted to learn to do the jive, so I am teaching myself through YouTube videos.  I may show you someday.  I even have a few hip hop moves thrown in.  You’re never too old to learn new things!

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”  Walt Disney

17. Going to bed early.  As I age I find it harder and harder to stay up late and you know what?  I don’t care what I’m missing.  I’m tired.
18. Discounts.  Yep.  This came in the mail….
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19. Confidence for my kids.  I love how it boosts their confidence in being adults and helping out their old mom.  It’s positively adorable when they look like they want to pat me on the head.
20.  Looking like myself.  I can color my hair if I want or wear clothes that don’t match exactly or buy myself odd shaped glasses and just embrace being me!  I used to think about others when I got dressed, but now I just think about what I want to look like for myself.
21. Helping younger women.  Like it or not, I am generally the older woman in the group and I love putting Titus 2 into action.

Titus 2:3-5 “Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children,  to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”

22. Loving others.  As I age I find that I love others more.  I sympathize and care more deeply and forgive more easily.
23. Shaking off negativity.  Even though I forgive, I also more easily give myself permission to let go of toxic people.  I love them and want them to have joy-filled lives.  But I don’t let their negativity bring me down and sometimes that means letting people go.
24. No more rat race.  I am free of the idea that I have to keep up with anyone or do anything by tomorrow.  I just do what I can when I can.
25. Gluten-Free! My mid-life enzymes aren’t what they used to be.  I eat more carefully and frankly, I feel better than I have in years!
26. Loving my bones.  As long as I am eating better, I am also exercising.  My bones need it and I am loving my quiet time that naturally goes with my daily workout.
27. I know who my friends are.  I have gained and lost many friends over the past 50 years.  Some have been deeply painful losses and others came and went so quickly that I hardly noticed.  But all in all I have learned something from each person and I am better for it.  And I have learned to recognize a true friend and to trust my instincts.

“When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.”  Maya Angelou

28. No more oats.  I don’t feel like sowing any of those wild oats anymore.  Been there; done that.  Now I get to reap the harvest of my life.  Sure I will change things about myself in a million ways and try new things.  But I don’t have a sense of a life unexplored.
29. Cleansing.  I am ready to get rid of all of the junk sitting around that isn’t serving my life.  I don’t see any more reason to hang onto old stuff, but instead I am ready to open my world up to a clean space.
30. No more jumping  I do like jumping, but I can’t do it anymore.  (see #15).  That’s OK.  I can still jump with joy on the inside.  Some things you just have to accept.  Life’s too short to wish for things you just can’t do.
31. More to give.  The more I grow and accomplish the more I have to give to others.  I love, love, love helping others and I think my 50s are going to be my decade for giving and I can.not.wait!

Hebrews 13:16 “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have,  for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”

32. Marriage strength.  After being married for nearly 29 years, I can say that it is better than ever.  We have a rhythm and understand each other.  Well, maybe not understand as much as accept.  And we’re still frisky.  Longevity in marriage is an incredible blessing!
33.  Oblivious.  I see the award shows or hear a song and I don’t recognize any of the artists or actors.  Unless it’s Meryl Streep or Robert De Niro I am lost.  And I don’t really care to find out who they are because I have other things to do that are more interesting to me.  I just let my kids load new songs on my iPhone (see #19) and leave it at that.
34. Being a real grown up.  Maybe I am the only one, but I always felt like a kid pretending to be a grown up.  Until now.  Being 50 gives me permission to say I am all adult and proud of it.  But I still act silly….don’t mistake being a grown up with never having fun.  I have the BEST kind of carefree FUN!
35. I remember the 70s.  I actually remember wearing bell bottoms and watching Sonny & Cher and the day Elvis died.  I am blessed to have lived in a time when there were no cell phones and no Internet and life was simpler.

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36. Still young.  While I am not young in the sense of years, I am still able to learn to do new things and figure out how to use the Facebook.  I really have the best of both worlds!
37.  No more “lady days.”  It may be TMI, so men, if you’re reading, just skip this one, m’kay?  Ladies, I have passed through the menopause years and it is AWESOME!!!  No more cycles and I am loving this.  It wasn’t easy though….I have deep sympathies for those of you going through the change now.
38.  Travel.  I have always wanted to travel and couldn’t for various reasons.  Now that I am in this phase of my life I can do more traveling and I am thoroughly enjoying it.  Waiting for so long makes me thankful even for the parts that are less enjoyable, like being frisked by an airport security officer or squeezed on a plane.  I like every little part of it after waiting for so long to be able to do it.
39.  Knowing the Word of God.  With this much time to study, I ought to know a lot about what the Bible says.  I read it every day and I have been through years of BSF.  All of that has equipped me to have a better understanding of who God is and how He wants me to view the world.  I am looking forward to another 50 years to study and learn even more about the nature and love of God!
40. The grass is green on MY side. Looking at what everyone else is doing and comparing it to your life is for the birds.  I like it on my side of the fence.  I don’t even look on the other side anymore.

“Instead of comparing our lot with that of those who are more fortunate than we are, we should compare it with the lot of the great majority of our fellow men.  It then appears that we are among the privileged” Helen Keller

41. Finances are easier.  We aren’t loaded, but it’s been a long time since I had to count every penny at the grocery store.  I learned a lot from those days in my life, but I sure am glad they are behind me.
42. I wear any underwear that I want.  I feel no pressure to wear anything that creeps up my behind or makes me look attractive underneath.  My granny panties serve me just fine, thankyouverymuch.
43. I don’t need to win.  I used to be more competitive and I wanted to win games and push my way to the front of the line.  Now I chill.  I enjoy the time in line and I am happy if I in or lose.  I don’t care at all….that drive to win just went away as I aged.  And I am so glad.  (but don’t worry, if we are partners in a game I will still be fun to play with!)
44. I like lifting others UP!  There are very few things I enjoy more than helping another woman reach the height of her dreams.  If there is any way that a word or boost from me can help….I am all over that!  Seeing other women succeed, unlike the envy years of my 20s, brings me great joy!
45. I still love the movie “Grease”.  I know…it has a terrible message and doesn’t reflect anything I believe.  But I can’t help it.  37 years after seeing it for the first time (I’ll bet I saw it 20 times at the theater the year it came out because back then you couldn’t watch it on DVD 2 months later) I still can’t hold myself back from dancing when I hear those songs.  Hey!  Maybe I’ll do my jive (see #16)  to “We Go Together”.

“It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, it’s what you do with your dancin’ shoes!”  Vince Fontaine in “Grease”
46.  I know myself.  I know what I am good at and I know what I am NOT good at.  There is so much joy in building your skills in the areas that God gifted you in and letting go of trying to be good at everything.  My strengths and weaknesses make me unique, and why would I want to be like anyone else?!
47. Early mornings.  The older I get the earlier I naturally wake up in the morning.  I don’t know if that’s true for everyone, but I sure do love seeing the sunrise!
48. Playing with makeup.  I have enjoyed discovering and trying new things from the makeup department.  My aging skin needs care and I like beauty products and I’m a sucker for those bright promises.  It’s a delightful indulgence that I’ve enjoyed even more as I get older.  And I have more time for my skin care at night too, since my kids can put themselves to bed (usually long AFTER I go to sleep).
49. I am calmer.  I don’t get as upset over little things and I calm down more quickly when I do get irritated.  If getting older has taught me anything, it would be that life is too short to fuss over little messes and disappointments.  I’ll probably never be completely easy-going, but I am definitely more relaxed than I used to be and I have hope of chillin’ even more in the future.
50. More life ahead!  I have so much left to live and I am acutely aware of the preciousness of every day.  I can see that the 50s are going to be fabulous.  Not because this time in life is trouble-free, but because it is a blessing to be alive and know who I am in Christ!

The little girl I was 50 years ago would never have believed that this was her future.  Nine children, homeschooling (of course, who heard of homeschooling 50 years ago?!), obsessed with natural health care and living in an old house on a little farm…it’s crazy that this is my life!

It’s better and richer than anything I would have dreamed for myself!

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Someday I’m Gonna Live Underground

Someday I’m Gonna Live Underground

Well it was another travel weekend!

I went to Nashville for a conference that was put together by Young Living members to help us learn more about the company, where the oils comes from and how to use them.  It was wonderful to be around other people who love using essential oils as much as I do.

I go to a lot of conferences.  I know the traveling isn’t for everyone.  But I love to learn and grow and build my ministry.  I love to meet new people and it always inspires me in some way.

What I don’t love is being away from my family.  I missed them so much last weekend that I thought I might break my phone texting them.

Me: Hi!  What are y’all doing right now?
Them: The same thing we were doing 5 minutes ago when you asked.

Sadly, I have to travel again for a few days this week and then…..I am going to come home, dig a hole in the backyard and build a room underground where no one can find us.  I plan to put my husband and kids down there with me and a stack of board games.  Don’t worry about us, I’ll poke some straw holes up through the ground for air.

Or maybe I could just lock the doors on the house and turn off the phones.  That may be a more practical option.

This being Valentine’s Day week and all….I am also cooking up some secret love messages for these favorite people of mine.  Not having much extra time I am avoiding Pinterest like the plague.  I don’t need a bunch of crafty ideas, like making roses out of strawberries and edible gold, to make me feel inadequate.  My Valentines will be closer to pieces of red construction paper folded in half and cut into lopsided hearts.  Think Kindergarten, but messier.

I’m shooting for quantity over quality.  Lots of messy hearts with candy from the seasonal section of the grocery store is how I plan to express my abundant love.

We all like to wear red on Valentine’s Day, which of course means my red boots will make an appearance.  I wore them all weekend at the Opryland Gaylord and they seemed glad to revisit their hometown.  I bought them when I was here last fall and I have been surprised about how often I wear them!  I have never had a pair of western boots before and I don’t think I own any red clothing.  So I wasn’t sure when I got them if I would wear them.  But I wear them at least twice a week.

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For today it’s about rest and hanging with the kids.  And laundry.  And maybe going through receipts for my husband, which is his love language.

Have a great week!

 

9 Things You MUST Have at Disney!

9 Things You MUST Have at Disney!

This post contains affiliate links.

Last November our family took a dream trip to Disneyworld.  It was just as magical as they say…except for the part where James and I had to keep up with 9 young people with varied levels of energy and interest.  He and I were like ships in the night….I knew he was in the vicinity but we rarely saw each other.

So we decided that since we never do anything for our anniversaries or take romantic trips, we would go back together…just the two of us.  And believe it or not, we have actually made plans and put down a deposit to go this spring!

I learned some things while we were there last time that will definitely help us have a great time this next trip and I thought I’d share some of my best tips with you!

Planning a Disney trip?  This is a must have list from a mom of 9!

1. Camelbak – I tend to get dehydrated very easily.  And I am a little bit (OK a lot) picky about my water.  I like bottled.  No tap water.  No drinking fountains.  And I am ultimately lazy and don’t want to carry a water bottle around with me.  So I got myself a Camelbak and I LOVED it!  I would fill it with a few water bottles and some ice, then I had cold water for hours.  PLUS it held my other needs…money, lip balm, tissues, etc.

2. Pockets! – Since I only wear skirts and dresses, I don’t often have pockets.  But I found some great tops that have big pockets and MAN did I use them!  It was so great to slip my sunglasses into my pocket when I needed to take them off and hold something for my kids.  I came home with pockets full of smashed pennies.

3. Comfy shoes – according to my UP band, I walked an average of 17,000 steps a day.  We were on.the.move!  So I wore my OTZ Shoes every day and seriously, my feet never hurt at all.  Whatever shoes you are comfortable in…WEAR THEM!

4. Smart Phone – well, I never go anywhere without it anyway, and of course we took all of our photos with it, but I was doubly glad to have it with me because the app, My Disney Experience, was a lifesaver!  It kept up with our fast passes, dinner reservations, maps, wait times on rides, everything we needed!

5. Ziploc bags – speaking of phones, I kept a Ziploc Snack Bags in my pack to stick my phone in when we went on water rides.  I never worried about it getting wet!  And I carried a few extra that came in handy many times.  Someone didn’t have their retainer case (although that probably won’t happen when it’s just James and I), leftover food from dinner, a kid wanted to keep something they found…over and over it was nifty to have a few small Ziplocs with me.

6. Dining Plan – no, seriously, I will never go there again without getting the dining plan!  We had a fancy dinner reservation each day and ate places we would never have gotten into, much less been wiling to spend the money while we were there.  We got a second, quick meal each day which was amazing and then one snack, which I mostly ate frozen lemonade and plan to eat lots more of it when we go back.  It was so great for the kids because they had their meals on their Magic Bands and could just get food when they wanted without asking permission.  Brilliant Disney.  Brilliant.

7. No jewelry – Yes, I love my jewelry.  But this is not the place to wear it; I only wore my UP Band (which I don’t think of as jewelry).  I didn’t even wear a wedding ring.  You really want to be as free of extras as possible, especially anything that would be upsetting to lose!  Sure, carry a Ziploc bag, but leave the earrings at home.

8. Free time – on our last trip it was go-go-go from sunup to sundown.  James and I, being old and all, plan to slow it down significantly.  Yes, we may miss a ride or two but the slower pace will undoubtedly help us enjoy it more.  You can’t see it all anyway, believe me.  We tried.

9. Thieves Mints – I kept these in my pack and handed them out often, to whoever I was with (we were split up a lot).  It not only kept our breath fresh, but the Thieves helped keep our immune systems strong.

That’s my simple list of how I plan to make my future trip to Disney as magical (and easy) as I possibly can!

Do you have any Disney tips to share?

By the way, all of our Disney arrangements were made by my friend Amy at Polka Dots & Wishes and she was incredible!  I didn’t hesitate to ask her to plan our next trip for James and I….if you reach out to her to plan your trip, be sure to tell her I sent you!

Thank God It’s Not Friday

Thank God It’s Not Friday

Oh man I LOVED having a weekend AT HOME!  It was like a vacation from my vacations.

I went into the city on Saturday with my girls for a baby shower and some shopping.  It was so nice just to be leisurely.  Then on Sunday it was literally just EASY NORMAL.  Church, lunch, naps, laying around, oh it was heaven!  Especially since I will be traveling twice again over the next 10 days.

But before all of that loveliness was last Friday {cue horror music}.  It was such a long, hard day that I thought I might need some smelling salts by the end.  (do people use those anymore?)

I got up Friday morning long before dawn because my final book edits were due and I needed some quiet time.  If I wait until after my morning walk then the house is buzzing and I can’t focus as well.  By 9:00 I felt pretty good about the progress, so I opened my bedroom door and wandered out to see what chaos I was missing.  I went around the house locating each child and said hello and talked about their day and helped with what they needed.

I did as much as I could with them, but at 10:00 on the nose I had to get online to buy a ticket to the Young Living Convention in August.  They were opening up registration at 10 and I KNEW that the session I wanted would sell out quickly (which it did…in about half an hour!).  I did get into the session (hooray!) but spent another hour making calls to try to find a hotel room.  Nada.  No such luck.  I guess 24,000 people converging on the area at once causes a bit of stress on the hotels.

OK, plan B.

I hate to do it, but I asked a family member if they would mind my staying with them.  You know, I don’t think they mind at all and it never bothers me if someone asks, but it feels kinda stinky when you’re all like, “I don’t have time to visit with you but may I use you like a bed & breakfast?”.

While that was happening I was also getting questions pouring in from people asking about essential oils and what to use for ____, or people on my team with questions about their Young Living business.  The end of the month gets pretty crazy as people try to wrap up their monthly needs.  Actually, I don’t think the word crazy describes it well enough. I need a thesaurus and twenty-seven exclamation marks to fully express it.

As I was doing all of that, I was sitting on the floor in the boys’ room helping Levi organize his “collections”. They have gotten out of hand and he had been waiting all week for me to help him.  He has piles of sticks and cans and scraps of paper and broken things and all of the little things he likes to “collect”.  I put “collect” in quotes because the only thing these items have in common is that they are all garbage (oh boy, that brings back so many memories for me!).  But he loves it, so we gathered some boxes and kind-of-sort-of organized it.

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I kept trying to get back to work on the book, but little fires kept popping up  Then there was also the matter of a baby shower we were co-hosting on Saturday and a few small projects that we needed to do for that.  (I was dreaming of a Calgon bath right about this point)

By 2:00 I had eaten a light lunch (aka crumbs from the kids’ lunch) and had a conference call with a sponsor, then tried to fill a few etsy shop orders.  At 4:00 I was hanging by a thread and feeling like I was spreading myself WAY too thin.  So, I decided to just click the button that would put the shop on vacation until I get a handle on some of this other mess….er….I mean happy work.

Really, I do love my work and it is all a dream come true for me.  I have wanted to write a book ever since I can remember and the fact that I am actually getting to do that blows my mind with the goodness of God!  And the Young Living part of my work gives me so much joy to be helping people in a way that I am so passionate about that I love every second of it.

But it’s a balance.  I am a homeschooling mamma and that, plus my marriage, is my number ONE priority.  My family and home will always be the things that drive me.  My kids and their blossoming futures are my heart and soul.  Serving my  husband, who is pretty great and never complains when I am distracted, is my honor.

And Friday….it was just about all I could do to make it from one mission to the next.  I hate that.  But it happens.

Afternoon time with the boys, more questions rolling in, some school homework help, dinner…..it wasn’t until after 8:00 at night that I finally settled back into my book edits and sent them off long after the sun went down.

I know we all have days like Friday.  I am just so glad that it isn’t like that every day!

It did, however, make the simple weekend so much sweeter.

There’s always a blessing that comes from the hard days!