with Lynne and Leslie

“Let’s Get Together”-itis

by SweetMidlife

Lynne here!

I heard this story recently about this guy who has given himself 3 years to have coffee with everyone of his over- 1000 Facebook friends because he realizes how important it is to have in-person connection. I think this is a fantastic idea too, because I too, have a whole heaping bunch of friends on the Facebook.  Now, some of them are high school classmates who I don’t remember too well, and some are the cousin of somebody that I met once at a wedding. But many of those are people who, even though I haven’t seen them in ages, I actually feel close to because we are in each other’s daily online lives. They pray for me, I pray for them, we share pictures and hope and dreams, and we make each other smile. I don’t know if we will all be getting together in person, although that would be fantastic. And some of these good friends and I often chat on FB, or text, and someone will say, “Hey, we need to get together soon.”

And I am sorry to say, this doesn’t usually happen.

I think that we have good intentions of actually following through. But they don’t always translate into actually putting something on the calendar, and then actually following through with actually hanging out. Sometimes you push through, and you actually see each other. Sometimes, you set dates that keep getting canceled. Other times, unfortunately, the cancellations pile up, or you never schedule in the first place, and you realize that one or both of you has become the dad in “Cats in the Cradle”.

“When we hanging out, Lynne?”

“I don’t know when. But we’ll get together then, friend. I know we’ll have a good time. THEN.”

Whenever that is.

I decided once to stop making quasi-plans with people if I wasn’t going to make actual plans, and it worked for awhile, but I find myself lately quasi-ing again. Things happen that change plans, and I get that. I have been on both sides of that. But I want my friends to know that I actually value that face time, and if we can get it done, even if it is in a few months, we will set the date.

And this has been a good run lately. I hung out with a friend I have had for 20 years and her daughter when they came into town for a family celebration. I am having dinner/lunch with 3 of my best friends in the next few days. Just this morning, I had with a good friend, who I recently texted to say that we should get together and should set a date. I said I would check my calendar. I ran into her at a funeral a few weeks ago and realized that I never wrote her back. And that it had been 4 months since then. I got home that night and sent her dates. And voila, Cracker Barrel, biscuits, and friend time. Good times, that is.

20141030_191238

We brought home pancakes and memories.

So, I am sure that there are people that I really want to see, but that might not happen. But I hope I get to actually put in REAL face time with the people I call friends.

Drop me a line, okay? We will check our calendars.

Really.

 

 

 

 


And stuff to do before I sleep: 5 tasks before shuteye

by SweetMidlife

Leslie here!

So it’s nearly 10 p.m, on a Tuesday (and you want me to say “The regular crowd shuffles in” but I’m old and the only regular crowd awake around here are me, the TV people and Sweater Bear, although he’s not all that awake. Milk overdose.

sweater bear

This is the time of night where we start – and by “we” I mean you, because I want you to share in the blame – trying to pass tonight’s chores off until tomorrow when I’m fresher, more awake, and it’s not right now. But I will be strong. I was pretty much 3/5 on the Saturday list. So I’m kinda ambitious,

– Wash my face. I cannot let heredity or the “black don’t crack” myth make me cocky. Gonna look old sometime.

– Put leftovers in plastic containers and not just in the fridge with the giant pan.

– Fold laundry and put whatever that is buzzing in the dryer out of its misery. (I assume it’s some sort of garment.)

– Lay out clothes for the kid we live with so I can have a chance of getting out of here tomorrow in time to go to the 8 a.m. Crossfit class.

– Finally throwing out that coffee I bought a day ago at Dunkin Donuts because I’m not gonna drink it, and the Dunkin is up the street and I can spend $2 on more coffee. It’s not even a thing.

What do you have to do before you go to sleep? Sweet, sweet pretty sleep.


2005 Lynne was Fierce. 2014 Lynne is, too.

by SweetMidlife

Happy Monday! Lynne here.

Twin Leslie and I have both been posting a lot about the exercise/eating habit/losing flabby/getting it together thing. Here, and here, for example.

It’s hard, man. And it used to be easier.

I have this picture hanging up in my office (well, the room that holds a desk, printer, and bunches of other things that need to go in files and such) of Leslie and I from October 2005, after we completed the Baltimore Marathon. We are sweaty, and tired, and eating a funnel cake, because we just went 26.2 miles. And we were both on Weight Watchers, so running for hours gets you MEGA points.

And we were both smoking hot.

Now, I have weighed less, more, and the same as what 2005 Marathon Lynne weighed over the years (I did the Marine Corps Marathon in 1998 as well, but I weighed less this time). But she holds a special place in my heart. Because not only did she look great, she was strong. And disciplined. At least enough to finish that race. Okay, there is a story behind that. We started training for that race earlier in the year, but months in, decided to run the half-marathon that day instead. But when we went to register for the half, we found that it was full, so we switched back to training for the full. But if we weren’t in shape, we wouldn’t have been able to do that. It took us 6 hours to finish, which is slow, and slower than we wanted. But we did it. And I have the medal and picture to prove it.

That is 2005 Marathon Lynne on the left, her fierce twin on the right.    That is our friend Funnel T. Cake on the plate.

That is 2005 Marathon Lynne on the left, her fierce twin on the right. That is our friend Funnel T. Cake on the plate.

Fast forward to 9 years later. I am currently on the “more” side of 2005 Marathon Lynne’s weight. I am post-baby weight, post-losing and gaining back some of my baby weight-weight, and also very tired quite often and all over the place as a teaching artist and mom of a toddler. And I sometimes look at that picture of me, and I get sad. I am sad that I don’t weigh that anymore. That my arms don’t look like that.

2005 Marathon Lynne mocks me sometimes.

But not really.

Because even though she is 9 years younger and 30 pounds lighter, she is a part of me. I DID that, and it can’t be taken away. I shouldn’t take that away from US. Which leads me back to the thing I admired the most about her.

She stuck to something. She had a plan, and she worked it, even if she was tired, and people were walking back to their cars with their medals as she was still racing.

This is what 2014 non-marathon Lynne finds hardest. I can’t seem to commit to the gym because of work, or because someone here gets sick. My eating isn’t always consistent. I mentioned that toddler, and there are the FT home and also the husband and freelance job. I have a play that I need to finish writing by this weekend. And I would rather browse Hulu sometimes than do anything else.

But that person who finished 26.2 miles (twice!!) is still in here. And though my races might look different, that oomph is still here, somewhere. Just have to find it, and decide where to direct it.

I just started this running program, Couch to 5K, that trains you to be able to run a 5K in 9 weeks. I laughed at this in my head at first, because  I used to be able to run a 5K with no training. But as Neil Diamond sang, “Used to be’s don’t count anymore. They just lay on the floor ’til you sweep them away”. Neil and I will both tell you that I am starting over. So. I ran outside last week for the first time in awhile, and as I laced up, and before I went downstairs, I looked at that picture of 2005 Marathon Lynne.

And she wouldn’t be ashamed of me. And I am not envious of her. We are each other. And we like that.

And I smiled.

And I went running.

Today we are linking up with Motivation Monday and Lisha Epperson’s “Give Me Grace“.


Say What? Saturday: The five things I swear I’m getting done today

by SweetMidlife

Leslie here!

It’s Saturday, the one day no one really wants to have a “to-do” list, but whose scheduling fluidity lends itself to doing stuff. And not the stuff I like to do on Saturdays, which include eating leftovers and watching “Blue Bloods” reruns.

OK…I admit it : I’ve already done those things, which leave now the non-fun stuff. So in the tradition of accountability, here are five things that I need to get together today. I want y’all to hound me about this and say “Leslie, did you deal with that well-dressed teddy bear yet?” And hopefully I won’t say “Yes” and be lying because y’all don’t live with me and how would you know?

dishes

1) Calling the dishwasher repair guy. To avoid this situation.

boca

2) Evicting some of these unemployed animals from the “gated community” of the kid who hangs out with us, because of overcrowding.

scarf bear

3) Putting away my laundry and random clothes that are squatting on my couch, including this scarf I just bought, modeled by the lovely and talented Sweater Bear.

rental car

4) Cleaning out this rental car so that I can return it to the shop where my husband’s car is sitting all ready to bring home, so I’m not throwing stuff in bags at the car lot because tacky.

me

5) Going to my Crossfit class so I can keep looking like this and not like a black Oompaloompa.


Toddler Wisdom: Optimism Edition

by SweetMidlife

HI! Lynne here.

Toddlers are random people. They will ask for mustard for no apparent reason, or refuse to wear the orange socks that they loved yesterday. Actually, the things that they do and say make perfect sense TO THEM, and they are just waiting for us to catch-up.

My son said something very profound today, and it hit me on a level that he didn’t mean, but he is still a genius.

A couple of months ago, my son saw the episode of Sesame Street where Elmo and Rosita learn about rainbows, and after that show was over, I forgot about it. But a week or so later, the sun had just come up after a rainstorm, and the boy kept pointing to the window and saying, “E-bow? E-bow?”, and I had no idea what the heck he was talking about until I went through Parent Word Find, that game where you try to understand what your kid just said until it dawns on you, usually the next day. But I pulled up a picture of a rainbow on Google Images and pointed to it and asked “What’s this?” and he said “E-bow!” and he’s a genius.

So this morning, we woke up to really cloudy skies, and when I went in the boy’s room to get him up, he asked me to open the window shade. I was about to tell him that the sun wasn’t on (because he thinks it’s a light that gets turned on and off), when he looked at the clouds and said “E-bow?”

He saw the clouds and immediately started looking for the rainbow. He expected it.

And that made my day better because I saw color behind the grey, the upside to the laundry, the excitement to the onion chopping.

Smart right? I told you.

If you look hard enough, it's there.

If you look hard enough, it’s there.

 


The Joy of Your Kid Breaking Your Cellphone

by SweetMidlife

Hi! Lynne here.

Psalm 118:24, ESV This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it

This post is about living in the moment, and it happened because my son broke my phone.

That part isn’t fun.

 

This was not taken yesterday because I didn't have my phone. And that was alright.

This was not taken yesterday because I didn’t have my phone. And that was alright.

But it meant that I didn’t have a cell phone for a few days, and that meant some changes. I don’t realize how much I am attached to my phone until I don’t have it. This means I can’t check my Facebook status at the Trader Joe’s, and I can’t call my mom when I am driving (on speaker or Bluetooth, thank you). And it meant that yesterday, I couldn’t take my phone with me when we went to our neighborhood playground.

Now, in this day and age, it is really helpful to have a phone with you so you can be reached for emergencies, especially when you are at an outdoor place like a playground, a place where there is no land line for people to call. And I am not downing people who bring their phones with them while their kids play. I am only talking about me. But honestly, what I was worried about was that I couldn’t call people, or catch up on work e-mails, or see who responded to the thing I just posted on Facebook. I actually had to watch my kid play, with no distractions.

And it was the most fun that I think I ever had at the playground.

I didn’t have to worry about not climbing up the tower thing, afraid my phone would fall out. I didn’t have to make sure that some kid didn’t jump on the phone I put down so I would NOT drop it. But above all else, I didn’t distract myself by, for example, reading things on Huffington Post, and calling my sister to discuss the thing I just read on Huffington Post, and taking work-related calls beside the sliding board. Now don’t get me wrong. I rarely sit when I am at the playground, and I follow my kid all over the place, especially when he is climbing high things. But I find myself having to put the phone down to reassure my son that I heard him playing the plastic drum, or taking a break from Twitter to cheer.

Yesterday, playing was the main event. And it should always be. He isn’t something to be fit in between other things that could have waited. I was able to play with him, with nothing else taking my attention, and I have never climbed so high, or twirled so fast, or enjoyed counting steps on the bridge thing EVAH as much. And my son was THRILLED.

My new phone arrived last night, and now it is active. And I am debating whether or not I will take it to the playground the next time I go. I might, in case someone is trying to reach us. But I won’t treat it as a crutch, or as something else to do while he is playing. Because I am there to play. And I won’t get that time back.

Linking up with Lisha Epperson’s “Give Me Grace” community. #GiveMeGrace


Yeah, Tuesdays: Little Things Edition

by SweetMidlife

Hi! Lynne here! This is week 4 of our Yeah, Monday link-up, where we post all kinds of positivity and whatnot. You will notice that this is Tuesday. I am behind.  But I invite you to link up below anyway!!!

Life is busy. Sometimes amazingly huge things happen. And sometimes cool things happen which seem ordinary. But they are no less amazingly wonderful bringers of joy.  Here are things making me happy this week…

1. This peeler.

Bring some potatoes. I am ready.

Bring some potatoes. I am ready.

We had this veggie peeler that was always falling apart and was hard to grip and was slow and it took me like 5 minutes to peel one potato. It made me want to cook frozen tater tots and squeeze out the insides and make mashed potatoes out of them. I never did it, but I thought about it. But THIS wonderful thing is sharp and fast and makes my life easier. And it is a spunky orange. We all need spunk.

2. Playing “What’s In That Plastic Container?”

Any guesses?

Any guesses?

My husband was home yesterday and he was looking for something to eat, and he asked me what some of the leftovers were, and I had no idea. Because some of that stuff had been in the fridge for awhile. Most of it was leftover sauces from some recipe that I made too much of. There was lots of sniffing and such. This may not seem like fun. But it is better to get rid of hardened stir-fry sauce that you are never going to eat. Because it is fossilized. Eww.

3.  New cotton undies.

Aw, yeah.

Aw, yeah.

Sometimes pretty lacy undies are nice. And other times you just want comfortable drawers (yeah I said it) that pull up over your tummy. And for me, those are cotton undies. Simple and easy. And they were on sale. Happy.

4. This really goofy ad.

 

 

This is the first in a series of really silly ads for the Dodge Dart, featuring the hilarious Craig Robinson and equally funny Jake Johnson. They are all about Craig buying a Dart and Jake wanting to touch it. That is it. And there are like 5 or 6 of these spots and they make no sense but they make me laugh. A LOT. Go to You Tube and watch them all. I may have done that.

When life gets heavy this week, I will remember these little things that make life lighter.

 
Now it’s your turn!


Littering in the Comfort of My Own Home

by SweetMidlife

Happy Sunday! Lynne here.

The playground down the street from us is one of our favorite destinations.  My son and I love to hang out down there, as he runs and climbs and slides and swings on everything that he can find, even things that aren’t made for that, like the picnic tables. But whatever. It’s a nice, safe place for him to have fun in and also meet other kids who are there to do the same thing. I love most things about the playground, but there is one thing that I don’t like about it, and that is the litter.

It bothers me that people would come to a place of joy and leave their empty water bottles and hot dog wrappers on the ground about 50 feet from a trash can. Even my kid knows where the trash cans are, because he likes to touch them. Eww. But he’s trying to be a good citizen or something, I guess. But anyhoo, it makes me angry that people would have so little regard for a space used by everybody, and that they leave their messes for someone else to clean up.

Which is a crazy thing for me personally to think. Public littering is bad. But if you have ever been to my house or been in my car, you might find a water bottle. And lots of Cheerios. And some receipts from something I bought 2 years ago.

Yep. I litter in my own space.

Even my pillow is afraid of the things lurking behind my nightstand.

Even my pillow is afraid of the things lurking behind my nightstand.

You know that verse in Luke in the Bible that says that whoever can be trusted with a little can be trusted with a lot? It means that if you can’t take care of what you have, then how can you be expected to be able to take care of more? In my case it means, “How can I get mad at other people for leaving their trash in public when I trash my own stuff?” And why do I value my own stuff so little to the point that I walk past it every day while the stray candy wrapper next to the sliding board turns me into a crusader?

Because I have decided that my own spaces aren’t worth cleaning. That only what is out there for the public is worth keeping clean. I have decided that the things that are entrusted to me are little, so it’s okay if I keep them a bit dusty. But I am wrong.

The things that have been given to me ARE big. Because they are mine. My car, my room, my kitchen, my mind (and that is a whole ‘nother blog post, right?) are worth keeping nice, and uncluttered. Because I have to use them. And I am special enough to have nice stuff, and taking care of that stuff is telling God that I am thankful for that stuff. More stuff would be nice. But I need to appreciate this stuff. No more littering in my own  space.

And I will start. One car Cheerio, one ugly thought, one old receipt at a time.

Linking up with Lisha Epperson and Give Me Grace.


Holy Dishwashing (Yeah Mondays, Week 4)

by SweetMidlife

Hi there!! Lynne here!!

My mom’s spiritual gift is washing dishes.

 
The Bible doesn’t name busting suds in it’s list of spiritual giftings, but it does mention service, and that is what my mom does whenever she visits my sister or me. After we eat, and as I am clearing the table, I see that she has already run water in the sink, and has started scrubbing away. And this is huge, because not only is she helping me and giving of herself when she could just sit down and let the cheese settle in her tummy (because if I cooked it, cheese may be involved), she is speaking to my heart. Because doing the dishes is one of my least favorite things EVAH. I have often thought of ways I could get out of doing them, and envisioned self-cleaning plates, all when I could have just washed what was in my sink and been done. So by doing something seemingly mundane, my mother is taking a load off of me in ways she can’t imagine. Well, actually, she is my mama, so she knows exactly what she is doing for me.

If my mom was here, those forks would be in a drawer. I would rather write about them.

If my mom was here, those forks would be in a drawer. I would rather write about them.

You might think that the ordinary things that you do for people are just, well, ordinary. Like when you cooked them a meal, or when you inboxed them on Facebook because you were thinking of them, or  when you sat with their kid in Panera when they not only locked their keys in the car but also had to run to the store next door and buy a new charger for their phone because their battery was dying and they couldn’t remember their husband’s work number or their car insurance info and need to ask him. And it will surprise no one who has me that that I was on the receiving end of all of those examples of simple goodness.

So if you are ever wondering how you can make a difference in someone’s life, you don’t have to go big. Big is cool. But sometimes things that seem little can have the hugest impact. Meet people where they are now, from where you are now.

That makes even soap bubbles sacred.

———————————————————————————————————————

 

Now it’s your turn!


Then Sings My Soul, or Hanging with the Pharisees

by SweetMidlife

Happy Sunday! Lynne here. Getting in a little late blogging.

God made all of that. I know, right? Awesome.

God made all of that. I know, right? Awesome.

“How Great Thou Art” is one of my favorite hymns. It’s majestic and lovely and descriptive, as it talks about God’s greatness being illustrated in the gift of Jesus, and also in what He’s created in nature. I saw Mount Rainier in Seattle once and burst into this song because I couldn’t get over the sight of something so amazing, so real, and so miraculous up close.

A few years ago, I heard a modern version of “How Great Thou Art”, and to quote Blaine Edwards and Antoine Merriweather (the great philosophers from “In Living Color”), “HATED it.”. I didn’t like the instrumentation. I didn’t like how they repeated lines. I felt like it took too long to get to the chorus. And when it finally did, and I was ready to let loose, it said “How great You are” instead of “How great thou art.” I was done. I understand modernizing things, but I felt like this wasn’t a song to be tinkered with. It was already beautiful. It didn’t need anything else. It had even inspired Julia Sugarbaker to find her voice, darn it!! I think I immediately looked for a copy of the original hymn, and comforted myself in it’s simplicity. And in my own rightness.

Yeah.

This morning, our Pastor spoke about idols, and the things that we hold dear and put in front of God. He even talked about things that we keep close because we truly think they bring us closer to God, like traditional rituals, and even though those things can be symbolic of our devotion to God, if we are so busy following rituals that we miss out on an ACTUAL relationship with God, well, that ain’t right. And I thought of people that I know who do that. Then I thought of myself. A little.

Then the worship band sang that new version of “How Great Thou Art”.

And my soul almost stopped singing, because I remembered how much I reveled in NOT liking this version. And my pride in myself was in full effect. But something in me told me, well, to shut it. And I listened to the words. The same words that the hymn writer wrote. And I let myself go, and I let the Spirit in, and I looked around at the people around me, with their hands up in the air, drinking in God and His glory. And I realized that if I object to something that can bring people closer to God because I don’t like the package it comes in, well, I am the Grinch when he couldn’t get over the Whos and their insistence on being happy without gifts.  That makes me a Pharisee.

And that is wrong. But you know the good thing about conviction? It should result in admittance, then turning the heck around.

Because God is great. No matter the vehicle. If He inspires someone to write something, it’s beautiful. Even if it’s not my taste. It’s beautiful. Because it wasn’t written for me. It was written for Him.  For You, Lord.

And as my new favorite song says, “How great You are”.

(Linking up with Lisha Epperson and her “Give Me Grace” community)


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