Wednesday, June 5, 2013

stuff. (or simply, how I am addicted to Amazon Prime.)

I am a "stuff" person.  I realize that in all of my "I don't want to be so First World-y" thoughts, this is a contradiction.  I've read all the books, and I agree with them in theory... but in practice, I'm a stuff girl.

Yep. I'm not quite the extreme of Madame Blueberry, but I understand her issues.

Part of my issues are healthy.  In the idea of "Love Languages", mine ends up being a tie between "Words of Encouragement" and "Gifts".  (Which is probably why I love stationery so much.  Words of encouragement packaged as a gift?  Perfection.)

But part of this is unhealthy.  The unhealthy stems from the time when we didn't have money when we were first married.  Those tight years of making returns to Wal-mart at the end of the month because we needed cash more than we needed the unopened item are moments that are permanently etched in my head- and more so in my heart.

Now that we are not as strapped financially, the decision to make purchases comes quite easier.  In fact, too easily sometimes.  Rather than think about if I *really* need to body tattoo glitter pens, I click on sweet little Amazon, add it to my cart, and within an instant it is heading my way.  (Yes, this happened.  Saturday.  And yes, the package is scheduled to arrive on my doorstep this afternoon.  I'll be sending all of your children home from events at my house this summer glittered up like a bad prom dress.  You're welcome.)  Rather than think about if I *really* need the coffee that I had at Laurie's that was so yummy, I click on sweet little Amazon, add it to my cart, and within days I'm drinking it for breakfast.

Free shipping!  Instant gratification!  Win!

Realistically, some of that is frugality.  I chose to find the cheapest version of the coffee, I saved myself a trip to the store, and I saved myself a moment from being tempted to buy something else.

But what about the little guy making coffee down the street that I care so much about?

And what about the waste I end up with because I buy in a moment of want rather than need?

And even more... what about the frustration I feel when I go into Elizabeth's room and see just how much CRAP she has accumulated... the stuff-apple hasn't fallen far from the stuff-tree.

I can justify all day long my reasons for buying things.  And in the end, some are valid, some are not.  Some are mere retail therapy- and in the last year of my life, I will admit that there are moments that even a "bad" purchase can feel great.  But, ultimately, that's not what I want to teach Elizabeth.  That's also not how I want to live my life.

In this "middle space" of learning who I am now, I am hopeful to change.  While I know I won't give up shopping, nor will I give up gift giving, I hope to give up impulsive buying.  I hope to think more about where my money is going and how it is "doing good"... and not merely making me feel good in the moment.  I hope to purge the unnecessary clutter from my house- from my life- and live more simply.  I also hope that I have friends who will celebrate second hand gifts in the days and weeks to come as I begin the big purge.

This is not a cry for help.  Shoot, it's not even a cry for accountability.  It's merely a girl thinking through her junk and wondering if you share some of the same issues.  If you have some of the same, I'd love to hear about it.  If not, congratulations.  And for the rest of you, your children will sill benefit from the same glittered up glory in the days to come.  Again, you're welcome.

Monday, June 3, 2013


Saturday, I was at a birthday party for one of E's friends.  I started talking to the dad and after we discovered we had a mutual friend and we talked about what it was like to grow up in Asheville.  He remarked that he thought that would be a neat place to grow up (indeed)... and then said, "Do you still have family there?  Do you get to go home often?"


Um.... yes and no.

I don't have parents who still live there.  My brother and his family live in Tennessee.  My other closest family members are in South Carolina.


But I do go "home" often.  Recently, I've been heading home to take care of my Daddy's estate and Mom's accounts.  Every time that I'm home now, it feels so strange to be in the house in which I grew up... without any of the key players from that growing up period.

It still feels like home.  My car can get there on auto-pilot.  It smells familiar.  I still have a "routine" of restaurants and stores that I visit on a regular basis.

At the very same time, it doesn't feel like home.  I don't get to share laughs with my Daddy and don't get to catch up with my Mom.  I don't worry about how I will fit in seeing everyone while I'm home- a struggle that used to consume my mind on the drive from Chapel Hill to Asheville.  And don't even get me started on the realization that I've now lived away from Asheville longer than I ever lived there.

So regardless of not having my family of origin in Asheville, I have so much of my heritage there.  And it comes back to me in an instant...
... as I share a High Life with my oldest friends on their front porch.
... as I pass the Middle School and remember the butterflies in my stomach during those years of dances and first kisses and working through the mean girl years.
... as I stop at Food Lion and remember that I drove there on my first solo trip in my Buick.
... as I enter my childhood church and smell the hallways of space where my faith was shaped.
... as I see the High School and remember the feelings of confidence and true love and best friends and spirit week.
... as I drive the Parkway and remember summer days with a hacky sack and Steve Miller Band on the car radio.
... as I pass other childhood friends' homes and think of sleep overs and Doritos and breaking some rules but following most of them.
... as I catch up with friends who held me accountable during the breaking rule period.
... as I see Pizza Hutt and remember so many Friday nights spent feeling "grown up".
... as I laugh at the Indian on the Hill and all the memories there.
... as I stand on my Mom's deck and remember parties and laughter and dancing and belonging.

Of course, I realize that "home" is wherever I am with Dan and E.  They are my home- the city or the dwelling is insignificant.  Even still, when people ask me where I'm from, my answer is "I live in Winston-Salem now, but I'm originally from Asheville."  The mountains are what shaped me... and I've yet to give that up as my response.

Is it everything that you were dreaming of?