The Clean Spot

Recently, my daughter told me something that I could have taken the wrong way. She said something to the affect of, “I’m not sure you taught me good things growing up.” Here is her example.

While she was growing up, I didn’t want to get upset over a spill, or if she dropped something on the floor, and it made a mess. I enjoyed showing her the proper way to clean up the mess. Life can get messy, and it was my job to show her what to do if it did.

I’m her Mama, not her lifetime repair woman.

To make light of the situation, I would tell her, “After you clean up that mess, it will be the cleanest spot in the house!”, and that became our motto.

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She was at a friends house helping them do laundry.

She spilled some laundry detergent on the carpet.

The detergent was blue, and the carpet was white.

She said as she was down on her hands and knees, scrubbing the carpet, she was shaking her head and laughing at my voice in her head! She said out loud, “This is going to be one heck of a clean spot!”

She had heard those words many times before.

We were newly on our own, and standing in the check out line of a grocery store. The check out line was always a stressful moment because she was hoping I had enough money to pay for the purchases. What she didn’t know was, I had already tallied them up in my head to avoid embarrassment.

She wanted to be helpful, and insisted on carrying the milk. She looked so small, holding that gallon of milk. It was gathering condensation being out of the cooler, and was slippery. She was trying to hold onto it, but it didn’t take long for it to slip from her hands, and go crashing to the floor.

She was sure everyone in the store was looking.

The gallon of spilled milk looked more like a lake.

The cashier sympathized, and called for a clean up.

I placed my arm around my daughter’s shoulders and guided her mortified body to the exit saying, “That’s gonna be one heck of a clean spot.”

Watch and Learn

She said, “Wow! Why do you look so nice?”

Me: “It’s camouflage for the way I really feel.”

She is used to seeing me in pajama pants until noon because I work from home. She has learned, “Put on an outfit that feels good, and the mood will catch up!” One of the best decisions I ever made was working from home.

I gave birth to this girl at 35, and was in ‘Success’ mode.

I placed an ad in the local newspaper for a Nanny, and began interviewing. The woman who stole our hearts, and became our Nanny was only there for a little while, but she is still a part of our lives to this day. She reads this Blog.

Last week, my daughter needed to drop her Jeep off for service. She called and asked if I could pick her up, and I happily agreed. We ran some errands while it was being serviced. At some point, we missed a call from the service center. She stopped to call them back, and here is what I heard.

Her: Hello. This is (first name), (last name). I just missed a call from James? Is he available?

They handed the phone to James, and she sat and listened. Once the conversation was complete, she thanked him for his time, and wished him a good day. Her Jeep was ready.

I used to say those words. When she was little, my office had a secret door adjoining her bedroom. It never failed, she would come bursting through every time I was on the phone. She learned if she waited until I hung up the phone, she would have my full attention, so she waited close by.

That is what I did. Talked to people on the phone, helping them build a business. If I helped enough people be successful, my success would come.

I created scripts for people to learn phone skills.

Nowadays, people don’t answer the phone, and most of those calls are automated. Just now, my phone began ringing, and I glanced over not recognizing the number, so I didn’t answer it. They left a voicemail, so I listened to the beginning of it, and it was a recorded message, so I hung up within seconds. Relationships aren’t automated.

Listening to my daughter make that phone call, and handling herself so beautifully reminded me of all of those scripts. Not only was she watching, but she was listening.

Doing life with her is my greatest success of all.

The Christmas Tree

Being a single Mom at Christmas has a little more pressure to it. There’s not a lot of gifts under the tree. The way I see it is, everyday of our life together is a gift.

There’s one thing that I’ve always done for Christmas. If you’re a single Mom, choose one thing and do it well.

Ours is a fresh-cut Christmas tree.

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This is important to my daughter and it’s become one of my favorite parts of the season. We pick it out together every year.

I cover it in lights and she’s in charge of hanging the ornaments. Our first Christmas tree together after leaving my marriage consisted of a large container of balls from a hardware store. The tree had lights and balls, but fast forward five years to today and it’s a reflection of our life together.

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She flocked it herself.

Over the years I began buying ornaments after Christmas at half price. Any little thing that resembled our life that year. You can look at our tree this year and it tells our story.

For us, it’s not about what’s under the tree. Our most treasured memory this time of year is the Christmas tree.

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Slowly and Suddenly

This mum was given to me weeks ago.

I was told if it didn’t bloom right, to let them know. The store selling them has had returns and complaints. How do you bloom right?

When my daughter brought it home, it was wrapped in plastic, bone dry and the buds were shut tight. I began drenching it with water.

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I placed a dish under the pot so it could sit and soak up the overflow. It was so thirsty some of the buds were DOA, but slowly it began soaking up the care that was given. It began to bloom and it has buds waiting to bloom.

For some it didn’t bloom fast enough.

This mum shows me how God works.

Ever so slowly and then suddenly.

Live Like Chemex

My daughter and I are serious about coffee. Over the years, she has seen me use a coffee maker with a timer, so it’s ready before my feet hit the floor. The beeping of the coffeemaker was my alarm clock. Then came the Kuerig. That was fast and convenient, but it didn’t make itself. Have you ever run out of those pods? Stressful.

My daughter loves the Chemex. I’ve been watching her all year to see how it’s done. Now, I wake up and give myself time to be fully awake to make a Chemex. This is new for me. I’m waking up to make the brew, instead of it waiting to wake me up.

It’s more than coffee. It’s a moment.

Over the weekend, I bought a new trivet.

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Kazigoods

I thought I was buying it for the Chemex, but found myself using it for the goose-neck kettle instead. It’s handmade and affordable, but you can only spot clean it. The Chemex process can get messy. Sometimes it decides to sputter coffee everywhere. My daughter is not a fan when it spews, but I see it as a part of life. 🙂

Today, I pulled out this hot plate designed to keep coffee hot. This actually came with a KitchenAid coffee maker I had 20 years ago. KitchenAid was built to last, but it wasn’t designed for the wooden collar around the Chemex. The wood absorbs heat and will burn your hand, so drink the coffee before it gets cold, or keep it on low.

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My daughter will love this trivet.

Pretty catches our eye, but we don’t buy a lot of things. Life itself is simply beautiful. Things can be affordable and useful, but still be pretty. It doesn’t matter if she uses it for the kettle or the Chemex, as long as she enjoys it.

Moments happen slowly, but go by quick. A gradual decrease in the pace of life creates a steady flow. Live like Chemex.

What You Love

When my daughter was 5 years old, our home looked picture perfect. A designer helped furnish and decorate the main rooms of the house and wanted to invite her photographer in. She thought they would win a contest.

Holmes Living Room
Our living room.

 

It was the saddest season of my life.

The room was used when we entertained guests and every item was a financial investment. You couldn’t sit and relax because there was no love in that room even when it was full of people.

Looks can be deceiving. In 2013, I left my 25 year marriage, and took my daughter with me. It was in that house my marriage hit it’s breaking point. My husband lost his job, we eventually lost that house and a few years later, each other.

We still have a few of the furnishings from that room and my daughter and I enjoy them. We’ve moved every couple of years and each home was a little bit nicer and life became more beautiful. We gave up stuff with every move, but we never gave up on each other.

Today we would be called minimalists, but I see it as only keep what you love.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

The Right Amount

One evening I was craving macaroni and cheese.

I looked at my favorite recipe, and went to the kitchen to see if I had what was needed. It looked promising.

As I was pouring each ingredient into the pan, I was amazed by having the right amount of each. This wasn’t planned by be, but it was obviously planned for me.

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My fave homemade Mac and Cheese.

That’s how God works in my life.

I realized if He could give me the exact ingredients for mac and cheese, He surely had all of the ingredients measured out for a spectacular life.

He wants me to trust Him.

And I do.

A spectacular life sounds like the right amount.

Make it Beautiful

When I walked into the house, she rapidly announced, “I made a mess.” I just looked at her, smiled, and followed her gaze to the hallway floor. It was covered in chalk.

blue red and yellow chalk
Photo by Viktoria Goda on Pexels.com

We have a large adhesive chalkboard on the pantry door. We use it to write down our schedules for one another. My daughter reached up to retrieve the box of chalk from above the pantry door, and it fell out of her hand crashing onto the tile floor. Tile is obviously more solid than chalk.

It was an accident. Pause Mama’s. Place a hold on your immediate reaction and wait for a response.

Some of our most magical moments began as a minor disaster.

Stepping over the mess, I walked into the bathroom. After washing my hands, I noticed one piece of chalk laying right inside the doorway. Squatting down, I grabbed the chalk, and wrote a note on the tile.

My daughter loved it and followed suit.

She wrote a note on the tile in the hallway.

My daughter could have cleaned up the mess before I returned home. She didn’t because she knew we would make something fun out of it, and was waiting to see my thoughts. When she moves on with her life, and has children of her own, I imagine her home with tile floors.

She will probably skip the chalk altogether, and allow her children to finger-paint the tile floor. She will teach them that an accident is really a beautiful mess in disguise.

When life gets messy. Make it beautiful.