Monthly Archives: April 2012

On the Receiving End

I had a new experience yesterday. One that caught me totally off guard and touched my heart.

I had Hubby’s car and it was so dirty inside. I needed to pick up a presenter for a program we were hosting for work. There was really no way I could have them in that car as it was. Normally, I would go to the car wash and do it myself, washing and vacuuming with the coin operated machines. But there was no time for that. I decided to go to one of the car washes where they do it for you – exterior, interior, the works.

I have never done this before. I’ve never had someone clean my car for me (unless you count the kids – and, well, they aren’t so detail oriented when it comes to things like that). I wasn’t even sure what it was going to cost me, but I just didn’t have a choice.

I pulled into the Waterway and copied what the car in front of me was doing. When the attendant asked what he could do for me, I said clean all this up! The Whole Thing is the package he recommended. Sure. I’ll take it. He handed me the slip and I followed the car in front of me. When it was my turn the next attendant told me I could take the slip inside to pay while they washed, waxed and cleaned the car.

Let me back up here and give you a little perspective. Saturday was a brutal day for me. I was up at 5 am and worked at one of our local walks, swung thru the local QuikTrip for a soda and back on the road. The rest of the day involved prom and after prom and I finally got home at 3:30 am. It was a long day and I was pretty much useless on Sunday. Didn’t go anywhere or do much of anything.

So back to the car wash. I go inside and watch the man in front of me pay. That’s when I thought, “I should get my card out to make the line go faster.”

I pull my wallet out of my purse and open it to get my debit card.

It’s not there.

There is no debit card in my wallet.

And just that quickly I remember pulling it out to run into QuikTrip on Saturday. I bet it’s still in the back pocket of those pants.

But the car is already being washed.

Now, I’m rather panicked. What am I going to do? And no, I didn’t have a checkbook or cash. I asked the cashier if she could take the number off of my old card. Could that work?

And that’s when the gentleman ahead of me in line stopped, pulled his wallet back out of his pocket and said, “Here, put it on this card.”

I was stunned. This wasn’t a $4 car wash. This was a $30 car wash!

I protested.

He insisted.

I cried.

I was so moved that someone could be that generous with a total stranger in line at the car wash.

We walked outside together and talked while we waited for our cars. I told him about my 45 by 45 and how I had been in a slump. I promised to pay it forward.

And then he shook my hand and said, “I’m George, I hope the rest of your day is good.”

I don’t think it could get better than that.

I want to be like George.


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Filed under 45 times by 45, Faith, Legacy, Positive, Uncategorized


We’ve got plenty! One of the many projects on our “before graduation” list is a new deck and patio. We are well on our way and have a plan to get it done in plenty of time. Let’s just hope it isn’t the old “best laid plans.” The retaining wall was built over spring break. Now we are on to the deck. Hubby has been digging holes. Every night after work he comes home and digs, and digs, and digs.

The first hole was the hardest. It looked like it would be right over the main power line to the house. That meant digging very carefully. Like with a hand trowel.

The hole has to be 16″ in diameter 36″ deep.

Dug with a hand trowel. It took a LONG time. But the careful digging paid off when Hubby came across the conduit with the power line inside. Lucky us it was right on the very edge of the hole. Dodged a bullet on that one!

After finding that he was good to go on the other three holes. They were much easier to dig with a shovel and post hole digger! Duh.

Do you know how deep a 36″ deep hole is?

That’s my 6′ tall hubby in the hole. And this is the pile of dirt left behind.


Our yard is full of roots from a huge white maple. Like huge roots. Like 4″ in diameter. I thought I took pictures before they cut the biggest one out, but apparently I was so in awe I forgot to snap a pic. So here it is out of the hole. Crazy I say.

Right smack through the middle of the first hole. But it’s out! And the hole inspector is coming today!


I hope he likes our work. Then we pour concrete this afternoon. Oh my!

Should be fun?! Right?

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Filed under Home Improvement

Senior Year – Life in Fast Forward

Wow! Where did March go? In fact, where did February go? I feel like someone pushed the fast forward button on our lives and we are whizzing at break neck speed. It’s all a blur – only able to see snipits at a time. By the time I’ve figured out what I’m seeing, we’re on to the next event. I knew this year would go by fast, but honestly I had no idea. The fall semester seemed like any other year. I think it lulled me into a false sense of security. Spring semester has gone super fast!

It seems like once WPA hit there is no slowing down. And now we are into the home stretch with party planning, elementary school reunions, spring concerts, and finals. The calendar is filling quickly. It doesn’t help that this is a notoriously busy time of year at work and this year there are lots of staffing changes to manage as well. Throw in tennis season and a few doctors appointments for the boys and you have a highly scheduled life.

Fortunately, a friend shared her graduation timeline with me last fall. I spent some time then looking it over and thinking about what we will need to do. We have a plan and we’re ticking through it now. Tops on our list has been work in the backyard. It’s going super slowly, but we did make progress over spring break.

Three boys worked really hard! (And so did Hubby & I)

They dug this seriously long trench. And hauled lots of dirt!

Then we leveled it out and put down paver sand and the first row of blocks for our retaining wall. I was the one putting the blocks in place; carefully adjusting each one, turning the level both ways to make sure I created a perfect base for the wall. It was tedious. And not very comfortable sitting in there …there is a good reason there are no pictures of that part!

Our contractor friend who is helping us with the rest of our project came over when we had the first row on. He looked at my handiwork…and proceeded to step on the back of the blocks to make them tilt backwards! Apparently they need a little lean in them. All that leveling….for naught. The bright side? We only had one level in – can you imagine if the whole wall was built. We may have had a mutiny on our hands!

With our solid footing we moved on to the rest of the wall.

*Some boys definitely worked harder than others. I’m not mentioning any names, just sayin’ a picture’s worth a thousand words.

Coming together quite nicely.

That may or may not be a supervisor’s chair.

Contemplating the work.

You know I had to include one pic with a fun perspective!

Next it’s on to the deck and patio! And we have 36 days until the graduation party…no problem…

Live in the moment, let go of the ideal, keep it simple and laugh.

It’s all good and we are blessed.


Filed under Home Improvement

In the Moment

In the midst of life being so chaotic I received a good reminder yesterday. And of course it came from Facebook. I posted this:

“Can it be June please? I really need it to be…

It came from a place of total overwhelm and a feeling that there is no way I can accomplish all that needs to be done in the next 6 weeks. I made the mistake of looking at the calandar in macro instead of micro and WOW! But I was reminded by a friend (several actually!) that these next 6 weeks are way too important to wish away.

“Joy:  no no no Judy! Remember these lines from a Billy Joel song, “This is the time to remember, ’cause it will not last forever. These are the days to hold onto, ’cause we won’t although we’ll want to. This is the time, but time is gonna change…” SAVOR April and May”

She’s so right! This time is going to be over in a flash and I don’t want to look back with regret. Isn’t it easy to do that? So often big life events come with tremendous amounts of stress. Much of it from our expectations of ourselves. We have a lot of years to think about  these milestone events and build them in our minds. It makes reality a challenge.

But I think there is a way to experience it with our sanity in tact.

  1. Live in the Moment – It’s so cliche, but true. When I look at my calendar for 6 weeks at a time I get overwhelmed. So my goal is to only look long-term once a week. Take a macro look once and then live in the micro. Its easier to enjoy the moments when you keep your focus on today.
  2. Let go of the Ideal – Reality is so different from what we can imagine. Our minds are powerful things. The mind can create in fractions of a second, things that will take every ounce of time and energy you have to implement. It’s great to dream, imagine, brainstorm but you have to bring it home to what’s reasonable.
  3. Keep it Simple – There’s no award for the most elaborate! At least I haven’t seen one and ignorance is bliss. Stick to the basics, be true to your core, and keep it simple. You’ll thank yourself later.
  4. Laugh – Take every opportunity to laugh. It reduces stress, works your stomach muscles and most definitely lifts your spirits. Find something each day to laugh about. Maybe it’s being asked point blank a question you don’t want to answer or being elected to a position you didn’t know you were nominated for, whatever the case just laugh! No one else has to understand why (let them think you’re a little bit insane) or even find it funny. Just let your funny bone get the best of you and laugh like a crazy person.

That’s my plan for the next 6 weeks. I think it’s a good plan, but like any, implementing it will take discipline and persistance.

And a wee bit’o’the crazies! That I can do!

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Filed under Advice, Goals, Senior Year

T-Shirt Quilt

I’ve been saving the kids’ t-shirts for years! When Oldest Son out grew something it went to Middle Son, then Youngest Son. After everyone had outgrown a shirt we decided if it was for the t-shirt quilt or Goodwill.

And now we have three bins like this! Bags and bags of t-shirts. For the most part they are sorted by kid. I was pretty good about labeling the bags, but there are a few shirts that they all wore.

This was one of the projects on my “before Oldest Son graduates” list. Over Christmas break I dug out all the shirts and started sorting and counting.

I had 44 shirts for Oldest Son! And what a walk down memory lane that was! So fun to remember the outfits he wore and where he wore them.

I have seen lots of t-shirt quilts with all different kinds of designs. Most were traditional quilts with sashing between the shirts. They were awesome, but I had so many small shirts to use. I didn’t know how that could work. So I had something different in mind. I’d really been dreaming of essentially a crazy quilt. I wanted a style that would allow me to use all those tiny shirts I had kept. One that worked for all different sized pieces. I was thinking I could do this if I just picked a base size – like 3″x3″. Then as long as the pieces were all multiples of three it would work. I had this idea in my head, but really wasn’t sure if I had the time to figure out the details. And then…I stumbled on Too Cool T-Shirt Quilts.

AAaaHHhhAAaaHHhh…like the hallelujah chorus! I have a solution!

They have a website and a book with great directions. And you can purchase plexiglas templates to use in cutting your shirts. I had the great fortune of borrowing the set from a friend (Thanks Cindy P!).

It was quick and easy to cut out all the shirts. Just lay the template on and decide which size to use. Then came the really creative part! There’s a formula to use at this point to figure out how big your quilt will end up. Then I created an Excel diagram and started arranging pieces. I thought this part was fun! Once I had all the sizes working out, I added in the colors to make sure the colors would be mixed up and look good.

Two super awesome friends spent a day over spring break helping me sew the pieces together. It took us about 6 hours. Not bad for a 76″ x 80″ quilt top. And we did lots of chatting while we worked.

Such a sense of accomplishment!

And tomorrow it’s off to the quilter! Can’t wait to see what it looks like when it’s all done.

One down 2 to go!


Filed under Creativity, Senior Year

Thankful Thursday – Random

It’s Thursday! My day to remind myself of all I have to be thankful for. Today is a random list – enjoy!

I’m thankful for… 

  1. big fluffy clouds
  2. perennials that you forgot you planted
  3. random moments of conversation with teenage boys
  4. Reese’s peanut butter eggs
  5. blogs that inspire me
  6. choices – I have so many!
  7. Picasa – it’s made my life easier
  8. perfectly cooked bacon
  9. Sonic Route 44 Diet Coke
  10. change

Have a great Thursday!

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Filed under Randomness, Thankful

Tennis: A Refining Experience

I’ve watched a lot of sports in my days; soccer, basketball, baseball. Watching tennis is different…in lots of ways!

Here are a few things I’ve noticed in my short history with tennis: 

  • It’s not designed for the spectators. The best viewing for matches at the hight school is laying on the ground looking under the screens or standing backwards at the top of the bleachers over the football field. Otherwise you are looking through the mesh designed to keep the wind down and you only see slices of the action.
  • Though everyone wants the team to do well, they are really there to watch their son play his match(es). Unless they are playing doubles, your son is the only one involved in their match. And though there are others playing on the other courts, their all playing different games.
  • Meets last a long time and your son won’t be playing the whole time. There is a lot of sitting around waiting for them to play. Especially tough when you leave work early to go to a meet. There’s really no way around it. As the coach described it, coaching a tennis meet is like shoveling air.
  • Spectators at tennis are supposed to be quiet. They don’t scream at their kids on the court, cheer when their opponent misses a point, or even clap much. I have to remember this part when I’m waiting for Middle Son to play. Not saying I’m loud, but….
  • There are no referees! They enforce the rules themselves. The players call the ball in or out, long or short. They let their opponent know (with a funny little index-finger-in-the-air sign) when their serve or volley goes out. It’s all quite civilized! I’m sure there are bad calls, but I think knowing your opponent will be judging your serves and volleys is motivation to be honest.
  • The players don’t get caught up in themselves celebrating a good point. Half the time you wouldn’t be able to tell from their body language if the won the point or not. It’s really quite civilized and refined. Gentlemen on the court. And there’s lots of hand shaking!
  • But the biggest difference I’ve noticed so far…I have to pay attention to every play! There are no score boards. They call out the score each serve, but when they are three courts away and have the softest voice (not mentioning any names – Middle Son), you can’t hear what they call out. If you don’t watch every point, and keep track of every game, you have no idea who’s winning! And there are a lot of points to keep track of!

You might say tennis is making me a more refined spectator.

Just don’t count on that the next time you see me at a soccer game!

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Filed under Sports