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When life gets real in the grocery store parking lot

I can really only count on one hand how many times I have lost control of my emotions in public… and that’s not counting when I’ve been moved to tears in church.

A few years ago, when my youngest baby girl was starting her first day of pre-school, I decided to go to the grocery store by myself.  I had this idea that it would be a magical experience because I was BY MYSELF without any children running around and asking if they could have every bad thing or toy they came into contact with.  As I entered the produce section, an overwhelming feeling took hold of me and tears began to roll down my face.  My little helper – the one who loved to get the plastic, see-through sacks and twist-ties for me – would no longer be making these morning trips with me.  I remember someone coming up to me and saying “Hey!  How’s it feel?  You don’t have any kids with you!”  As I turned to look at her, her face changed and she said “Oh no!  What’s wrong?”  All I could say was “I don’t even know what I’m doing right now?  I thought I would enjoy it, but I am so not!”

It got worse as I went through the store, too – because, what is up with that music?  There have been a few times where I have danced around to the tunes playing in the grocery store, but I go to that place A LOT and, for the most part, the songs have an “institutional” quality to them.  I find myself shaking my head in disagreement with most of it.

A few days ago I was having an emotionally charged day…and it was still pretty early in the morning.  It was a Friday, so I should have been happy, but we were in the middle of “stupid-busy” season – where every member of our family has something important they needed to do or somewhere important they needed to be all weekend – and all those things were miles apart.  I had a birthday date scheduled with my husband (and it’s for a milestone birthday) that was going to have to change because of said schedules.

And I was tired.  Tired of trying to figure out everyone’s stuff – including my own, which is bad enough in itself.  Come to think of it, I believe it is always about this time of the school year when I have my first big mental breakdown.

On this day it would take place in the grocery store parking lot (before I even went in).

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I had lost all control while I was parked in my spot, talking to my mom on the phone.  It wasn’t anything she had done or said, it was just us talking about life.  After we hung up, my face hit the steering wheel and I sobbed.  I kept urging myself -“Get a hold of yourself, woman!  You have things to do – dry it up!”

Looking around the parking lot, it didn’t seem to be very busy, so I cleaned up my mess of a face as much as I could (luckily, I hadn’t put on makeup yet, so I had that going for me?) and headed in to get what we needed as fast as possible.

I spent some time in the greeting card section – one, because I actually needed some birthday cards, but also because I didn’t want to make eye-contact with anyone for a while and this seemed like a great place to hide out.  However, something made me look up and there was one of my friends, with her dad, whom I had yet to meet.

Isn’t that the way it works.

I hid out there for a little longer – and I’m not real sure what God was trying to do to me, but I turned around and saw a good-looking man that looked really familiar walking right toward me.  Crap… I sleep with that man.

“Hey!  You were hiding!” and then his face changed – “Why have you been crying?”

What I wanted to say to my husband who I never run into at the grocery store was, “What the heck are you doing here?”  Instead, I started crying again.

I mean, HELLO!  What is the deal?  First of all, why am I crying?  Secondly, why am I crying in the grocery store?  And also, what is that music???  I felt like I was on the edge of insanity…

Before I had turned onto aisle four, I had seen the friend and her dad, my husband, my grandma, and my ex-boyfriend from high school’s parents (true story).  I really should have remembered that you run into everyone you know when you are about to lose your mind.

Life gets real at the most inappropriate times.

Sometimes life makes you say “yes, yes I will buy the pre-packaged cookie dough today – and I will enjoy every raw, risk-taking bite!”  Sometimes life has you buying a bag of Cheetos Puffs so that you can do your best Winona Ryder impression from Reality Bites.  And that’s okay, as long as we remember that the day will come soon when we will be crying in the gym parking lot.

My friend said it well in her text to me as I left the store that day… “A good cry never hurt anyone.  Just be sure to pick yourself back up.  You are blessed!”

If I wasn’t blessed, I would have nothing to cry about.  I’ll just try to do it in the comfort of my closet next time.

Blessings, friends!

Roxanne

 

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THIS should make us ALL rethink the way we live

There are times in our lives when we have what are called “a-ha moments” or moments when an idea is put in front of us in such a way that it changes the way we think about certain things…

I am in major self-development mode, which means I am digging into books and bible studies and talking to people I can learn from in order to – well, be a better person all the way around.

So, it was while I was reading the book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” (please bear with me here) that one of those ideas took my breath away momentarily, made me sit back in my chair, and go “whoa.”  The author, Stephen Covey, presents the following to us… (and he suggests that you are undistracted as you read this, make sure things are as quiet as possible, if possible):


“In your mind’s eye, see yourself going to the funeral of a loved one.  Picture yourself driving to the funeral parlor or chapel, parking the car, and getting out.  As you walk inside the building, you notice the flowers, the soft organ music.  You see the faces of friends and family you pass along the way.  You feel the shared sorrow of losing, the joy of having known, that radiates from the hearts of the people there.

As you walk down to the front of the room and look inside the casket, you suddenly come face to face with yourself.  This is your funeral, three years from today.  All these people have come to honor you, to express feelings of love and appreciation for your life.

As you take a seat and wait for the services to begin, you look at the program in your hand.  There are to be four speakers.  The first is from your family, immediate and also extended – children, brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents who have come from all over the country to attend.  The second speaker is one of your friends, someone who can give a sense of what you were as a person.  The third speaker is from your work or profession.  And the fourth is from your church or some community organization where you’ve been involved in service.

Now think deeply.  What would you like each of these speakers to say about you and your life?  What kind of husband, wife, father, or mother would you like their words to reflect?  What kind of son or daughter or cousin?  What kind of friend?  What kind of working associate?

What character would you like them to have seen in you?  What contributions, what achievements would you want them to remember?  Look carefully at the people around you.  What difference would you like to have made in their lives?”


Did you say “whoa?”  Or maybe something similar?

This is actually something I have thought of before.  I’m sure you have, too – at some time in your life.  But, seeing the words written out in front of you puts it in a different perspective.  It really is something to think about!

So I will ask you the same questions I asked myself… What are you doing right now that is changing lives for the better?  What contribution are you making?  In what way do you want to be remembered?  Is the impact I’m having on my children, on my husband, positive or negative?

Here’s the deal, friends – even if you aren’t doing the things RIGHT NOW that you think can make a POSITIVE difference or influence in others’ lives, you can START doing something now.  Just because we haven’t yet, doesn’t mean we are a lost cause.

What do you want your loved ones – people you work with – people you know – to say about you after you have left this world?  I would think we would ALL want to have made a positive, lasting legacy – even if it is “just” within our own family.

This – this is about the way we live our lives on a daily basis.  This is about our attitudes and the way we treat people, every day.

This is one of those things we may need to print out and put on our bathroom mirror.  “What do you want people to say about you when you’re gone?”

Live today like you’re making a lasting impact – because you are.

Blessings,

Roxanne

 

(Selection in italics is from the 25th Anniversary Edition of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey.  Obviously, I highly recommend it.)

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Have YOU answered this question?

God did not make me funny – or quick-witted.    I’m one of those people who thinks of what they SHOULD have said hours after the conversation took place.  I am not organized nor am I especially disciplined when it comes to time management (I will use the ‘I’m creative’ excuse on this one.)  I am not an “academic,” but I will sure study what I’m interested in so that I can grow!  I do not have all the scriptures memorized, but I love the Lord and know that I would not be where I am without his guidance.  I am definitely not a lot of things, and that’s okay with me.

I have been thinking about this very thing a lot lately – about the different gifts that people posses and what their purposes are in this time on earth.  Isn’t it funny that, when we are thinking about something and digging into the Word, God takes his “divine highlighter” (to use a term from Pricilla Shirer) to it and it pops off the page and into your face?

This morning, as I was doing my study, this quote from Beth Moore stood out to me…

“She knew who she was.  She knew who she wasn’t.”

I am extremely close to turning the big 4-0, and it has been just recently that I have started owning who I am.  Not only that, but I have realized that I am not going to have all the cool gifts my friends have.  What is even cooler, is that I don’t want to have them!

If I had to be all those things, I would be exhausted.  Heck, I’m exhausted already!

It was in my written-out prayers that I really started asking for direction…for why I am here…for me to be used and for me to realize what my gifts are and what my purpose truly is.

I cannot tell you how hard it was for me to say publicly for the first time, “I am a writer.”

I could never “own” that title before.  Was it because not enough people read my blog?  Was it because I wasn’t a ‘published’ author?  Was it because I felt irrelevant and inadequate?

Yup.

But it was also because I believed all the doubts and insecurities that were plaguing me.  I invested too much time into worrying what others would think of me when I would answer the “So, what do you do?” question with “I’m a writer.”

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What happened after I said it out loud?  I believed it.  And other people believed it.  A speaker from the leadership training I am currently in told me “I love it that own your writing!  That is the first step to being a recognized writer.”

So, my questions to YOU are, who are you trying to be that you’re not?  What are your gifts (and yes, you DO have gifts)?  Have you prayed for direction?

And most importantly – What is it that you are believing about yourself that is keeping you from BEING WHO YOU ARE MEANT TO BE?

Own who you are!

Blessings, Y’all!  😉

Rox

 

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