Wednesday, November 08, 2017

My Big Fat Fabulous 40th Birthday

Most people view turning 40 as an occasion to be dreaded and greeted with black balloons and much sobbing. I am not most people. Oh sure, getting older is not always fun. I have more aches and pains and creaks and groans now. I also have more experience. I've done a lot and been through a lot and survived a lot in my 40 years on earth.

Over all, my life so far has been pretty charmed. When compared to a large percentage of the world's population, I am living the dream. Still, I've had my ups and downs, but I wouldn't trade any of it or wish it away. Not one moment. Each moment has brought me to right where I am, and to be honest, I like where I am headed.

I am cresting that proverbial hill, but I still see a lot of life ahead of me. I feel as if I am finally settling in to who I truly am and what I am called to do in this life. The puzzle pieces are at last coming together and I am beginning to see a clearer picture of myself.
And I look pretty darn good!

Since I'm 40, my kids are older and much more self-sufficient, so I have more time to devote to my passions. Lately, those passions have taken less of a hobby type role and more of an Oh-my-goodness-I-can-make-money-doing-this type role. Just a few years ago I never would have considered such a thing. I didn't see myself as a real artist because I didn't have the confidence to put myself out there and share what I created.  I began slowly and anonymously, but over time I have learned and tried and worked to hone my craft. 

I am grateful to the community of artists and kindred spirits who helped me find my way. I am also enormously grateful to my husband who has been so supportive of my journey. He has had a huge part in helping me get over my crippling fear of failure and gain my confidence. I spent such a long time feeling unworthy and useless and he helped me to at last feel as if I have a voice and a purpose.  

I look at turning 40 not as the end of my youth, but as a positive turn towards finding myself and my raison d'etre. There are so many things I want to be and do and see. This is not the beginning of the end; it's only the end of the beginning. 

I remember when my parents turned 40 and I thought they were ancient. I see now that 40 is not nearly as old as I thought it was when I was a teenager. And as much as everyone likes to joke about everything being "downhill from here," I just choose to view it differently. 

Standing here now, at the top of THE HILL, I have a clear view of what's ahead and do you know what I see? I see another hill. You see folks, Life is not a hill at all. It's a freakin' mountain chain. I choose now to move on from this hill to the next one and climb it like it's a jungle-gym. 

I may moan and groan at times about being old, but I really feel as if my best years are still to come. There's a lot of life left in this gal and I'm not going to let a number like 40 make me slow down. 

I am just getting started!

*A very special thank you to Leann Hill for the amazing photos. Check out her portfolio here.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Pant Rant

Maybe it's the sinus meds making me stupid bold, but I just gotta say it...

I freakin' hate LuLaRoe.

I keep getting added (without my permission) to LuLaRoe Facebook groups and parties and it's making me crazy.

Y'all, I get it. Leggings are comfortable. Fine. Wear them, but wear size appropriate and AGE appropriate leggings please.

I am thoroughly confused by the number of women over 40 who are sporting "pants" that look like they were purchased at Justice or The Limited Too. Come on, ladies! Do we really need to wear neon leggings with ice cream scoops or puppy faces printed on them?

These are just plain pugly. *Ba-dum-bum!*

The ladies who sell these things shell out big bucks to purchase inventory and if they don't sell, then what? Do they get any of their investment back? Is anyone besides the LuLaRoe company making any money? The way some of these gals are aggressively pushing their "parties" I'm guessing the answer is no. Speaking of parties... there is usually wine there, right? I suppose after knocking back a few glasses of Pinot this stuff might look good. 

Lisa Frank got totally trashed and decided to make pants.

"But they're soooo buttery soft," all the SAHMs coo. That does not make up for the fact that they are butt ugly and should not be worn by any female older than 6. I have come to terms with the leggings-as-pants fad. However, these prints and styles are totally ridiculous outside of a Kindergarten classroom. 

These double as a play-mat if little Jimmy gets bored in church.

Ladies, I know comfort is key when juggling kids and work and life in general, but that shouldn't mean sacrificing style. LuLaRoe is laziness. Seriously, I can go pick out the same outfit in the Garanimals section at Walmart. Whatever happened to dressing with sophistication? 
Candy corn ain't sophisticated.

We Southern ladies have always been known for our class and elegant style. Why are we sinking to wearing stuff our daughters would find juvenile? Is it about fitting in? Is LuLaRoe the new cool thing? Just remember how you laughed when you looked at old photos of your mother from the 70s and 80s. Think ahead 10 or 15 years to your daughter howling at your many Outfit-of-the-Day pics and see if those banana print leggings are still appealing.
Get it? A-peeling? 

And we won't even go into this:
Holey obnoxious leggings, Batman!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Repairers of the Breach

We are 11 days into 2017 and I'm just now settling on my claim for the New Year. To be honest, I've spent the past week and a half just trying to catch up after the holidays. 2016 was such a looooong, disturbing year and I've needed a few extra days to "get over it."

So, here we are. 2017! I'm happy to have the past year behind me. It was so full of loss and heartbreak that  touched EVERYONE! Bowie seemed to be the catalyst, dying on this day one year ago and setting off 2016's year-long celebrity massacre.

I experienced loss in my personal life as well. My dearest aunt died quite suddenly and unexpectedly, leaving me and my family in shock. It was a tough blow to lose the woman who had been more than an aunt to me when I was a child. She had been a wish-giver, a secret play-mate and a source of love and laughter that I needed in those days.

On the day of my aunt's funeral I also said goodbye to my dear neighbor to whom I had grown very close, and who had become a motherly figure and mentor for me. Unable to live alone anymore. she moved hundreds of miles away to live with her daughter.

Just before Christmas I lost my former Sunday School teacher, fiercest prayer warrior and sweet confidant. She was a great lady who prayed me through my teenage years and taught me by example about how to live a godly life.

Now, as I'm a week and a half outside of that painful year, I have decided that 2017 is going to be the year of Redemption and Restoration. It's not really as serious and solemn as it sounds. If last year was a year of loss, this is the year that I will reclaim and restore what I can. Many things have already been set into motion and I eagerly await the chance to share them.
Return to Oz?

I will begin with myself. I want to restore my body and reclaim my long-dormant creativity. I want to exercise my body and mind. I miss the person I once was, full of energy and imagination. I will find her and reclaim her. I watched a video this morning about a man who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. In the midst of his pain and suffering, he began working on an old church, repainting and restoring it. Over the three years he worked on it, his body healed. His cancer went into remission. The restoration of the church brought restoration to his body and soul.

I'm tired of sitting around wishing I could do this or that. I want to reclaim my life and live it to the fullest. I have let my personal identity and dreams once again get buried beneath the day-to-day stuff. Responsibilities are important, but I have sacrificed a lot of who I am to things that won't really matter tomorrow. Sometimes I even use those responsibilities as an excuse and a place to hide, telling myself, "I can't write right now, I have to fold the towels."

No one will remember me for how neatly my towels were folded. If I want to make a difference in the world (and I certainly do) I need to stop hiding behind my "real job" and get out there and do things that matter. Not just for myself, but for society. I want to use my Art and creativity in ways that make things better. The world is hurting, and if I can create one moment of beauty out there somewhere, I will count myself a success.

So here's to 2017. Here's to hoping for a restoration of things lost, a healing of wounds and a reclaiming of peace. We've got a lot of work to do.
Isaiah 58:12