with Lynne and Leslie

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?


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


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.


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.


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)

Saturday Slow Jam/Dance Party, The Sequel

by SweetMidlife


Put on your dancing shoes. Even if they don't match. We won't tell.

Put on your dancing shoes. Even if they don’t match. We won’t tell.

Hi ya! Lynne here!

A few Saturday nights ago, I was sitting at home. My kid was asleep, and my husband was upstairs catching up on his PlayStation time, and I had one of those Music Choice cable stations on in the background. Some old jam came on, and it made me want to dance and sway, so I went to You Tube and made a blog post out of it.  Well, it’s about that time again, y’all! I heard some really good music randomly this past week, and that led me to think about some other stuff that makes you move, or say “YEAH. That’s it.” So here it is, our second Slow Jam/Dance Party. Groove with us, won’t you? Ooh, and in the comments, tell us what you are jamming to tonight!


You’re clapping, aren’t you? You know you are. They played this in spin class this week, and I hadn’t been to spin in a month, and I was already feeling uncoordinated, but then this came on and I wanted to start clapping and singing because the singer says we are supposed to come on y’all and sing it with her, so I had no choice. I am only glad that I didn’t fall off of the bike. But y’all better WORK. and WORK!!

Let’s keep going…

I heard this in Wegman’s in the fish department last week and this song is contagious to me. Like I was shaking my shoulders and I couldn’t understand why the fish guy wasn’t doing the same. Because I have issues. But I am not lying when I say that this song is a party starter. I can’t stand it. Okay, I will be back. Have to go step-touch in some fringe. Hold on.

Okay I am back!!! Grooving on….

I want to go where the people dance!!! I want some ACT-SHONE!!! I want a liquid gold jacket and stretch pant set. I am not kidding. I do. Find me one, okay? ACT-SHONE!!!

I am out of breath. Let’s slow it down a little.

Okay, this one is sad because it is about the end of a relationship, but it is dang cool. You know, he beg, stole, AND he borrowed!!! That’s why he’s easy, y’all. Lionel is okay. And you are chill now, aren’t you? Aren’t you like, Lionel, you will be alright, you and your fro? It’s all good.

One last one….

You can’t have a Saturday night party without inviting a member of the Gibb family. I loved me some Andy. He was cute, and he could rock a satin jacket. I keep looking for ways to post this song on Facebook because it makes me happy, so now I have another reason. But aren’t you happy now? I know you are.

I hope that wherever you are this Saturday evening, that you are well, and that maybe this little post made you feel good. I leave you to the rest of your night. And I won’t think worse of you if you play through all of these again and have your own little celebration. I hope you do.

But did you even read the book?: On Internet comments and derailing

by SweetMidlife
Don't be this guy. Don't derail the train.

Don’t be this guy. Don’t derail the train.

Leslie here!

Say you went to a book club meeting, all ready to discuss the juicy ends and outs of the novel you just read. One or two folks sheepishly admit to having started the book but not finishing it, but assure everyone else that it’s OK to talk about spoilery details because they understand that the discussion is about this particular book, and because they enjoy conversation and also wine and cheesy things.

But then someone new shows up – and this person is often invited by the friend of a cousin of someone who doesn’t usually show up. New Nancy hasn’t read the book. She’s only kind of heard of it. She definitely heard of one with a similar name, and she read a third that kind of relates. Probably. But if you think for a second that Nancy’s utter lack of knowledge on the topic is gonna stop her from jumping in and trying to run the discussion, well, you’ve never been on the Internet, have you? Because Nancy got questions, girl. She needs to know, more than Marc Anthony. Tell her, baby girl, cause she needs to know.

And after the first couple of comments about the book by the people who actually read it, she’s off. Sure, she doesn’t know anything about it, but the plot doesn’t make sense to her. Are you sure that’s what it was about? Really? Well, she doesn’t quite believe you, even though she’s with a roomful of people who have read it, who are holding the book and can show her evidence. In her expert experience as whatever she is, she’s suspicious. OK, maybe you’re right. But can you take time right now, in the middle of the conversation, to break it all down from her, from the beginning? Like, tell her the whole plot, and also the history behind the story, and the writer’s background? Are you sure about that?

So, the people who came because they thought they were having a talk about something they all knew about and were invested in, they have to stop and play Yoda to someone who inserted themselves into the discussion. What really blows is that if Nancy didn’t read the book and seems hostile to anyone who suggests she should..then why is she there?

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how derailing works. It is the word equivalent of Snidley Whiplash tying Nell to the railroad tracks – the train stops and somebody dies. It can happen in conversations, in book clubs and in Bible studies, and most certainly on the Internet. If you’ve ever been on a comment thread on any page, anywhere, you’ve probably seen it – that insistence on either rerouting a conversation you just showed up to in the direction you want it to go, or shutting it down completely just because.

Sometimes derailers truly have a question that they believe people in this particular discussion can answer, assuming them to maybe be experts on the subject – often race, gender, politics and religion. Often they feel so strongly about one piece of what you’re discussing, and only want to discuss that point, and insist that you focus only on their argument because that’s the most important thing. And sometimes, they’re trolls who just like blowing stuff up like railroad tracks in a western. Whatever their motive, they either start fights or chase away anyone who actually wanted to discuss the stated topic. It doesn’t matter how many ways you try to answer the question and move on – they’ve got another one. It doesn’t matter that they can just Google the topic if they have need to know more. You opened a door now, boy, and they’re coming through it with every random thought they’ve ever had even distantly related because THEY GOTTA KNOW RIGHT NOW.

Derailers also fit into the Sweet Midlife’s tried and true BoBo’s Cousin theory of parties, which holds that the person most likely to act afool at your wedding, graduation shindig or book club is the person with the least emotional connection to you. It’s just a party to them, just another opportunity to make sure other people explore the wonder that is them, and they don’t give a crap about your real attachment and investment. They’re just being them.

I’ve run into derailers on message boards and on my own Facebook page. I like a good discussion, as long as it doesn’t get personal. But it’s frustrating when someone insists on either asking side questions they already think they know the answers to, or which aren’t going to be solved in one discussion, or just aren’t what we’re talking about. During threads about Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, some people kept insisting on black-on-black crime. Isn’t that the real problem? Well, it’s a problem, we’d say. But it’s not the problem here, and crimes aren’t interchangeable. But they kept on poking and sometimes we’d just end the thread because it wasn’t going anywhere.

Something similar happened during discussions on my page and others about the New York Times piece that cast “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal” showrunner Shonda Rhimes as the mythical “Angry Black Woman,” a racist trope that is not evidenced in Rhimes’ work. The discussion was about the inaccuracy of this and other parts of the piece, but too many people chimed in to wonder why they’ve never heard of that stereotype, and if it were real, and if we all weren’t just blowing this out of proportion, and could you tell them more about it. Their insistence on being educated on something that couldn’t possibly exist if they didn’t know about it was condescending, insulting and beside the point. I wanted to strangle those people.

Yet…I’ve been them – not maliciously, but I recognize it. I can remember Bible studies where I felt the conversation could benefit from my knowledge and insight about some tangent. I’m sort of embarrassed now to remember how clever I thought all my little brain nuggets where, when I was a big ol’ bore, probably. This isn’t an excuse, but I meant well. I was always plugged into the topic and the conversation and really thought I was adding something to it, even if I was hogging all the air. (Sorry everyone!) But at least my comments were about the book, Biblical or otherwise.

I love discussions, and try to make sure that I am as open to being educated and challenged as I expect others to be. But here are a few things I try to keep in mind when commenting:
– Why am I commenting?
– Does my opinion need to be heard in this situation, or have other people eloquently already said what I was going to say?
– Am I really commenting on the subject, or something adjacent that’s going to take the discussion somewhere only I care about?
– Am I listening?
– Do I know what I am talking about? Have I seen the movie, been to that city? Have I read the book?

And if not…do I really care?

Yeah Mondays! : Remembering the Time

by SweetMidlife
And so it began...

And so it began…

This is Week 3 of our Monday link-up, Yeah, Monday! It’s all about starting the week on a positive note! Link-up your sunshiniest, most forward-looking posts below, and tell your friends. The first week, it was just us, and we had 1 blogger join us last week. Get in on the ground floor, won’t you? Here is our entry..

Lynne here!

My fourth wedding anniversary is coming up this week, and we are taking a trip to the town that we honeymooned in. This morning, as I was getting ready for church, I remembered that I needed to look into trip details, so I took a minute to sit down and Google some restaurants and entertainment stuff. I only gave myself a few minutes as I was eating because this was gearing up to be a busy day, and this is the beginning of a busy week.

So, as I scrolled through pictures of yummy food and beautiful water, I started thinking about our honeymoon.

And I started to get giddy.

Because I remembered how exciting that day was, and I thought about…

The drive to the bed and breakfast and the anticipation of, umm, alone time (We waited until after we were married to have sex).

How the sky had never been so blue and the sun had never shone so brightly because we were so happy.

How the really personable and knowledgeable innkeeper wanted to tell us ALL about the town and show us menus and talk about pirate boat rides and brochures while we really wanted to get to our room.

That when we set out to eat, the only thing we could find was bar pizza, but how delicious it tasted.

How that pizza messed up my tummy for the rest of our honeymoon, but that didn’t slow me down.

How we spent days walking up and down the main street of the town, hand in hand, not even caring about the day that it rained, because we were together.

Because we were looking into the future, and it looked good. And as we got home, and he carried me over the threshold of what had been his and was now our house, I knew that this is where that feeling needed to translate into the work it takes to set a good foundation.

And today, 4 years later, although “find restaurants for our trip” was on my to-do list between “Put pants on the toddler” and “Maybe put some color on your lips”, I thought about all of those things, and I got excited.

Because even though we are busy and do a lot of running around, those feelings broke through the all of the duties and reminded me of why I am doing this.

Because I freaking love this man. And while every day can’t be a honeymoon, I am in for all of it. The Christian music duo Watermark (who are husband and wife), said it best in their song “Made For You”….

Remember I promised forever
Life brings change
But my promise is the same
And through these years we’ve been together
Life has made us grow
But through it all I know
No matter what may come
My heart was made for you forever

So while I have many things to focus on every day, the foundation of why I do what I do, is that God gave me the gift of the man I married, and I plan to continue to rock that, through the happy stuff and the things that rock us. Because that’s what this is supposed to be about.


SO, here is the scoop on Yeah, Mondays!!!!

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