I was in a doctor’s waiting room the other day reading a magazine. There was an article that caught my eye. It was all about preventing wrinkles. Apparently, you can do face exercises to counteract wrinkles. This really interested in me, because as a 40-something year-old I’ve started to develop some laugh lines. The face exercises involved frowning like this.
I looked so funny that it made me laugh. Oops. Mission Defeated. I guess I will just have to live with the wrinkles.
Have you ever noticed how many styles and brands of toliet paper there are at the store?
15. There are 15 different options. Don’t feel bad if you didn’t know that. I just recently learned that myself.
Yesterday, I was at the store staring at toilet paper. I had made decisions all day at work and all day in my life. I was tired. I couldn’t make any more decisions. So, I didn’t. I just stood there and started looking at all the options. I even read the backs of the different toliet papers.
After agnozing for what felt like forever, I finally picked the brand on sale. I went to pay for my purchases and a little candy bar found its way into my shopping cart. I don’t remember analyzing that decision.
I’ve been thinking about my decision overload experience. At first I thought I was crazy. Does it really take 5 minutes to pick out toliet paper? I did some research though. It’s actually a real thing. It’s called decision fatigue. Decision fatigue can cause you to either not make a decision or to make a rash decision. Universities have studied it and they have found people make worse decisions when they are tired, hungry, overwhelmed, stressed and worn out from working all day. Yep, that makes sense.
What has been your experience with making decisions?
I’ve written before about my incredible parents. I had another experience today that confirmed again how much these two human beings are good people who love me.
Today was a hard day and I was feeling a bit emotional. In the middle of this day, I was accidently forgotten and not given Skittles like everyone else in a Church class. I felt left out. I knew it was an accident. It wasn’t anybody’s fault and I wasn’t angry at the person who forgot me. It just happened in the craziness of the moment. My logical side knew it wasn’t on purpose. My emotional side started remembering every other time in my life that I have been left-out or not gotten what I wanted.
I try to visit my parents a few times a month. Today was one of those planned visits. I ended up telling them how I felt. Yes, I’m a 40 year-old who sat on my parent’s couch this afternoon and cried that I didn’t get candy. It’s not about the candy though. Even though it was completly an accident, my feelings of being left-out were real. We talked for a bit. I felt lighter when I drove home. It helped to talk about my feelings.
Then my Dad did something so incredibly loving and kind. He came and gave me a bag of Skittles.
Let me tell you something about my folks. They are true believers in keeping all of the 10 Commandments. They don’t lie, cheat, covet or do any of those other don’ts. Mom and Dad go to Church every Sunday and growing up my siblings and I would never even think about asking to go to the movies or the mall on a Sunday. It wasn’t keeping the Sabbath day holy. My parents also hate Skittles. They don’t keep them at the house which means that my father made a special trip to the store just to buy them.
He went to the store for me. I felt so incredibly loved. As I held the bag of candy, I remembered a scripture written by the Apostle John.
“We love Him because He first loved us”. (1 John 4: 18-19)
The scripture is speaking about my Savior Jesus Christ and his great love for all mankind. Today it was also talking about my parents and their example of true love for me–their daughter.
I love you, Mom and Dad. You will always be my favorite people. I am who I am today because of your goodness and light. I will remember your example of Christian discipleship for the rest of my life. I hope to be like you when I grow up.
With love forever,
I think my alarm clock is against me. Take a look at this picture.
The Snooze button is huge. It’s larger than the button I press to get going for my day. My alarm clock does not want me to get up. It wants me to keep sleeping. It wants me to be late for work. This realization made me giggle this morning. I added it to my joyful list.
The conspiring alarm clock is my #311 joyful moment since I started this blog. What made you joyful today?
Some people live in this world
Like a cookie cutter.
Never being more than
What everybody else is
Never doing more than
What everyone else does
Never venturing out to discover a beautiful world
Beyond their mold.
I wrote this poem when I was in high school. I rediscovered it today when I was cleaning out some papers. At the end of the poem, I had written the following in bright red ink. “I pray that is not my fate. It would be very sad if as a really old 40-year-old I wake up with gray hair and realize that I am a cookie cutter person without a single spark of Amee left in me. Oh, how very tragic indeed.”
At first, I laughed. I am now that really old 40 year-old with a few gray hairs starting to appear out of nowhere. 40 just doesn’t seem as old as it used to be. Then, I got reflective. Have I turned into that cookie cutter person that I feared so much? Am I a person who just lives her life, checks off her to-do list but has forgotten she was going to change the world? Am I still me? ”
It was a hard question to ask and an even harder answer to accept.
Sometimes, I am that cookie cutter person. Life. Work. Family. There are molds you accept in order to get a job done. You can call it growing up or you can call it the great tragedy. It really depends on your perspective. Other times, I am still the sparkling soul who loves greatly, grieves greatly and wants to leave her mark on this spinning planet in some heroic way. There is one thing for certain. I must never stop being Amee.
My Aunt and I went to the royal wedding this morning. You might have heard about this wedding. It’s been on the news for months. Since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle forgot to send us an invite, we did our best to enjoy the festivities on a teacher’s and an artist’s salary. (In case you didn’t know, I’m the teacher and the Aunt is the artist.)
We watched the ceremony on the TV while sitting on my hand-me-down couch. We wore plastic tiaras that I bought from the dollar store. We ate pastries on my thrift store china and toasted the new couple with sparkling apple juice that was purchased with a coupon.
We both oohed over the wedding dress. It was simple and beautiful. The news said the dress is estimated to cost 100,000 pounds which is around $135,000 US dollars. Given that the average American worker has an income in the $40,000’s, you would have to be pretty rich to afford a dress like that. The social justice side of me started calculating how many school lunches you could buy for disadvantaged children with that kind of money. The “Happily Ever After” side of me started imagining that it was my wedding day with a beautiful dress, adoring groom and enough money to never have to worry about paying the bills ever again. The last part about having enough money to never have to worry about bills sounds very nice.
It was a lovely wedding. The couple seems to really like and love each other. I enjoyed watching the little glances between them. There’s something sweet about watching a couple in love. You feel hopeful for the world. The real star of the show was the Episcopalian minister. He was delightful. Reverend Michael Curry gave an amazing sermon. I said Amen a couple of times when he was talking. I completely agree with him. God is love and we can make the world a better place by treating each other like brothers and sisters. He was also just plain fun to watch. He was so animated and passionate about the word of God. It was like I was sitting in a revival meeting and not a wedding.
This is what the Esteemed Duchess of the Dollar Store looks like at 3:00 a.m. in the morning. I’ve got frizzled hair, bags under my eyes but I’m still smiling.
Her Royal Highness Princess Aunt Marla declined to have her 3:00 a.m. photo taken for this blog. There are some benefits to being an average American at times. Privacy is one of them.
It was a memorable royal wedding even though it was dollar-store style. I’m a little tired. I think I will go back to bed now for a much deserved nap.
I don’t like confrontation. I’m usually the one at the social event who finds a way to change the subject once a controversial topic comes up. It’s not that I don’t have an opinion on whatever issue you are discussing. I do. I’ve just lived long enough to see good people stop being friends with other good people just because they voted differently than them. I don’t want lose my friends so I bite my tongue.
The last few months my state has been in a huge debate about public education. I felt strongly about the topic of educational funding and I wanted to participate.
So, I marched. I participated in some of the events at the AZ State Capitol and the Stand Out to Stand Up event on Baseline Road.
I felt a change when I went to the Capitol. Yes, the rally was fun. The crowds had energy but the change inside of me was more than the change in the state budget. As I stood there with my sign and red shirt, I decided it was okay to talk about the hard topics.
Changing the subject may not always be the best idea. Especially if it is something you believe in.
You may have a different opinion than me on the Red For Ed movement. That’s okay. We can have an open and honest dialogue with each other and still be friends. That’s what I learned the day I marched.
This is the girl who was peacefully sleeping
Unaware that disaster was silently brewing.
This is the pipe that leaked in a wall
Where water was collecting for who knows how long.
This is moment the girl walked in the room
And felt a river of water and saw a gushing typhoon.
This is the valve in the front of the yard
That the girl pulled and then sat by to cry really hard.
This is the husband who was out of state at the time
Who got the phone call that the house was now slime.
These are the fans and the bills and demolition holes
This whole experience is vexing to one’s soul.
(A Note for my family and friends: Nate and I were able to file an insurance claim. We will be able to fix the damage. I am always happy to accept homemade dinners though. Just kidding about dinner. You are not obligated to cook me dinner. I know how to order pizza. Life is never boring around here. I hope I never see water again. It’s a mess to clean up.)
“Only you can decide if you are able to do this”, said the zipline worker. “We have a van. We can take you back to the waiting area if you aren’t able to do this today.”
I’m afraid of heights. Very afraid of heights. My whole body was shaking as we hiked the nature path and then climbed the stairs up to the first platform. I imagined myself falling to my death. I also imagined myself not being able to step off and having to walk back down to the van.
I was the last person to start the canopy zipline course. I was the first in line to start the zipline course when we reached the platform but I kindly let others go ahead of me. I watched all 7 of my fellow adventurers be hooked up to the safety gear and step off the platform. They glided to the second platform alive. I was still hesitant. I’m scared of heights and it is a long way down.
“Once you start the course, you have to finish it”, said the worker. “Do you want to do this today?”
“Not really”, I said. “I’m scared of heights. But it’s something I need to do even if I have to do it scared. I may never have this chance to go on a zipline in Costa Rica again.”
The zipline worker hooked me up to the cords and I stepped off the platform screaming with my eyes closed tight. The last thing I heard was the worker saying, “Pura Vida, Amee. Pura Vida.”
I finished the zipline course. I did all 11 ziplines. I was scared every time I stepped off each and every one of those 11 platforms. I kept going. I even opened my eyes a few times and saw the trees during the ride.
The Accountant and I have heard the saying “Pura Vida”a lot on our trip to Costa Rica. It means “simple life” or “pure life” in Spanish. Today it means I ziplined scared but I did it anyway.
I was so proud of myself at the end of the course that I gave a loud victory shout.
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year”, belted the singer on the radio.
I think I’ve heard that song hundreds of times before and I never batted an eye. It’s just a Christmas song but today it was different. I heard the words and then I started crying. It isn’t always the most wonderful time of the year. In fact, sometimes it is the worst time of the year. I cried for those whose loved ones were lost in 2017. The shootings at the Las Vegas music concert. The church shooting in Texas. I cried for my family and friends who got a cancer diagnosis this year and the pain they’ve experienced during treatments. I cried for job losses, home foreclosures, unfulfilled dreams, divorces, hungry children, war and the pains of getting older. I cried for my friend who has watched her mother’s dementia progress into a changed personality this year. I cried for Puerto Rico and how there are still so many of our fellow citizens without reliable power. For Houston. For the people who lost homes in the California fires. I cried for a country that is more interested in political parties than helping people and enacting real progress. There’s been a lot to cry about this year and it all came out when I heard that song on the radio.
And then I cried for myself. I cried, because like you, I’ve had my own grief battles and unfulfilled dreams. The whole time I cried the radio kept telling me it was the most wonderful time of the year. It was a little annoying.
So, I turned that silly radio off. It’s not always the most wonderful time of the year and that needs to be said.
I’m a Christian and I believe that someday Jesus will come again and make everything right. I also believe that we don’t have to wait until that glorious day. Be a little kinder to people today. It may not be the most wonderful time of the year for them.
Merry Christmas, Everyone.