Forgiveness for Better Memories

My sister Annie lives with our 88 year old mother in Columbia. Annie asked if I would come and stay for a week with our mom while she took a vacation in her hometown of Mill Valley, CA. Absolutely! Because I only live an hour and a half away, it is easy for me to run down here for a day or two to see my family. This was going to be one of the longest visits in my childhood home since going off to college 34 years ago. During this week with my mom, I would take my sister’s dog, Kobe, for a walk a couple of times a day. I’d let him lead me left or right out of the driveway. It was interesting that during the first days of our walks I would be transported back to the sad memories of my years in middle and high school. I’m not sure how your years as a 13-18 year old were, but mine were filled with pimples, awkwardness, bad fashion, and feeling like an outsider wanting to be “in”. Don’t get me wrong…I had a loving home, friends I would pass notes with in class, read “Tiger Beat” to keep up with all the latest heart throbs and twirled a flag in the marching band.

But during those first walks around the block with Kobe, my heart would sink as I passed the houses where I went to my first girl-boy parties. I’m not quite sure how it always happened, or why I even went, or even why did my parents let me go?!?Innocently enough they happened. A dozen or so kids would show up at someone’s house for pizza, chips, soda and music. It always started out fun, then the lights would go dim. The couples would pair up and old Mar would literally sit in the corner alone. Every. Time. No pimple faced boy would ever pick me. Why would I keep torturing myself by continuing to show up? Because there was always that one friend who would just have to have me there.

The next walk with Kobe I would remember never being asked to go to prom. I would think about the unkind things I did or said.

I passed by the house where I was a mother’s helper a couple of times a week. I would do the grocery shopping, light housework, change diapers, play with the four children and then get paid in CHANGE! Yes! I would come home with a bag full of coins!

These walks were emotionally killing me.There was no way I was going to be able to last a whole week doing this, so I decided to concentrate on the good things.

Here is the light post covered in gorgeous purple clematis that I backed right over the first time I was behind the wheel of a car. My daddy was going to teach me to drive. “Everyone needs to know how to drive a stick shift”, he said. So he stuck me in my sister’s car, which was parked on an angle to the driveway and he sat in the passenger seat. So not only was I learning to drive, I was learning to use the clutch AND I was backing up on a curve. Needless to say, we took off like a shot when the gas met that sweet spot in the clutch and we sailed right into this light post, pulling it right out of the ground and right through my mother’s brand new bushes. I was horrified! I ran inside, threw myself on my parents bed and sobbed. My father came up behind me laughing so hard he was crying, and said “the light post went right back in the hole. You somehow missed the bushes, so come on, we need to learn to drive a stick shift.” (I did and drove that little blue Honda hatchback until it died.)

I smiled as I passed this house where in the upstairs playroom/attic, Kathleen and I played school. She would always be the teacher and I would be the most dutiful student. Kathleen recently shared with me her memory of learning how to diagram sentences and COULDN’T WAIT to get me in that classroom and teach me! Down on Kinlock Road, my friend Pam introduced me to sweet iced tea. My family being Yankees never had that southern nectar in the house. Every day, it was Pam’s responsibility to get dinner started and make the tea. She had a “tea pot”, in which she would boil the water and three large tea bags, then pour it into the designated Tupperware “tea pitcher” with a cup of sugar. Sweet, glorious tea.Around the back corner of the block, where these houses are now, there used to be a ditch of white sand and an open area which led to our elementary school. Every morning I would walk to school with my friend Melanie. Wearing our school dresses, carrying our metal Partridge Family lunch boxes and our two dogs by our side, we would take off down the street. I remember being in 5th grade, our classes were in portable trailers, Melanie, Dipper and Taffy and I walked to school as always. Then about 10:00 that morning our principal asked if I would please walk the dogs home, for they were sleeping outside the the class. So I did. (I’m not sure if that would happen today.)Kobe and I passed this beautiful mess of honeysuckle. Oh the memories of pulling out the stamen and licking the touch of sweet nectar from the end. (Here is a Link that tells you how to collect this nectar….you’re welcome.😊) Which took me to the summer days of running barefoot all day long; going from house to house to jump on neighbors trampolines; packing up a bag lunch to take with us on our daylong bike riding adventures; and creating very detailed storylines with our Barbies. I had a wonderful, happy childhood.As this week went on, the house itself became more comfortable. It became more natural to move around in. The walks with Kobe gave me time to think, pray and listen to God. No, my teenage years were not filled with the happiest memories, but they are my memories. I can choose to dwell on them and make myself miserable or offer forgiveness, not only to those who tore me down or hurt my feelings, but most importantly to myself. I forgave myself for the bad decisions, awkwardness, and ugliness that I allowed. Then accepted the grace that I undeservedly am given. This grace allows me to make mistakes and know that I am loved. Grace is freely given to me because of God’s perfect love. Because of this undeserved love, I can make more beautiful memories.There is joy in sharing the discovery of a nest full of eggs in the geraniums with my mom.Treating my mom to a relaxing and beneficial pedicure.It’s never too late to make new memories. My sisters and brother have created this little garden oasis. This is a perfect spot in the late afternoon to have a sip of wine while watching the garden grow.Our past has a tremendous power over our lives. My mom has allowed events and people’s words said decades ago to continue to influence how she reacts to the world around her. The words and actions from friends and family send her reeling back to anger and self doubt. I, too, have let painful memories shape who I think I am.

When I took my mom to see her doctor this week, he asked her how she was doing. She responded, “You know what? I think this is the happiest I’ve ever felt in my entire life.” After 88 years, she feels happy….choose today to forgive. Choose today to offer grace and accept it too. Choose today to love. Choose today to just be nice, because being nice is always the better answer.

Thank you for dropping by!

Taking the First Step into Fear


What do you fear? Is it spiders and snakes? What about the dark or thunderstorms? Do you start having anxiety over heights or flying?

I remember during the summers growing up I spent e.v.e.r.y. day at the pool. Our neighborhood pool had two diving boards, a low one and a high one. I very much doubt that in this day and age either of these would be allowed. We lived in a much different age and time back then…trampolines without nets, rode bikes without helmets, roller skates with no knee pads, and ran all over the neighborhood with no shoes on.

Although I was at the pool every day, all day long, I never got over my fear of the diving boards. My friend Wendy had no fear. She’d cut flips forward and backward, on the low board AND the high board. Me? On the low dive, I could do the step, step, spring and maybe sorta do a swan dive. But more than likely it turned into a big old kerploosh. And the high dive? Well, about two times a year, I would slowly climb all the way to the top, and with my knees literally shaking. I would walk verry slowly and verrry carefully to the end of the board. I hated being up there! My stomach would be in knots and I just wanted to be off of there. But I tried to conquer that fear by taking a big breath and taking a step off the board. I’d come to the surface pulling my bathing suit out of places it shouldn’t have been and feel a little bit proud. (Then Wendy would be right behind me doing a backwards flip with a twist and flair. oh well.)

etsySo here I am facing another fear. Although my feet are planted firmly on the ground, my knees are still shaking and I’ve got knots in the stomach. I know I need to open an Etsy shop. What am I so afraid of? What’s the worse that can happen? I’m afraid of the unknown. I’m afraid of failing. I’m afraid that I will put a lot of time and effort into it and no one will come knocking. I’m just afraid.

Again, I have no idea what I’m doing, but as usual for old Mar, I’m strapping on my big girl panties and taking a step forward. I’ve written many times about my foray into the craft fair business. I was afraid then of putting myself out there. And yet, I’ve been able to give over $2500 to different missions and groups who serve, encourage and feed the poor here in my hometown and around the world. Not all of my friends and family can come to a local craft fair where I am selling my goods, so opening an Etsy shop will be a way for me to reach a few more people.

I’ve poured over sites that teach you how to open a shop, read articles on how to up your SEO, how to tag, words to use. I’ve thought about buying a “proper” camera, a tripod, lighting system and even looked at plans to make a photo box. I’ve spent so many hours researching, talking, dreaming I guess to make me feel like I’m doing something, but actually I’m still just climbing that ladder on the high dive. I bet every week for a year now I’ve said “I’m gonna do it….starting Monday.” IMG_1854

Well, today is Thursday many moons later and I decided to JUST DO IT! I never bought a fancy camera, lighting system or photo box. I grabbed my I-phone and set up a photo staging area here in our ghetto basement entrance area. Much of my decision making has been trying to figure out what my background was going to look like. When I opened the back door, immediately the bricks spoke to me, so I got to work. (Why did I waste so much time thinking about light boxes and the such?JPEG image-7315DFF1DE5C-25I stuffed my little cosmetic bag with salvaged pieces of quilting batting to give the bags some shape and also to help them stand up a bit better.5D923D87-39B5-4D40-8997-44E4C38E301BJPEG image-7315DFF1DE5C-29Then I tried several different surfaces for it to sit on. The ultra white tea towel caused too much glare. Grey polka dots didn’t match the fabrics. The suitcase was ok, but it didn’t work with all of the bags. The dark beige looked a bit…umm..dark. In the end, after consulting my marketing team Facebook friends, we came to the same conclusion that the off white drop cloth canvas worked the best.

Don’t you agree?JPEG image-7315DFF1DE5C-21Then it was off to the races.JPEG image-2E624E2B07B0-42I stuffed…JPEG image-2E624E2B07B0-36Shot pictures of the front…JPEG image-2E624E2B07B0-24Of the inside (because you just don’t know what cute fabric you might find inside!)JPEG image-2E624E2B07B0-39The backside got photographed too!JPEG image-2E624E2B07B0-27I even found a few props to show off some of the extras in a few bags.JPEG image-2E624E2B07B0-11Since I was in the photographic mood, I pulled out a few of my hoop art pieces.JPEG image-2E624E2B07B0-7Oh Yeah!! Mary’s poppin now!JPEG image-AF57B5D57FA4-3Show it…JPEG image-AF57B5D57FA4-4Turn to the right…JPEG image-2E624E2B07B0-3Nice, very nice…JPEG image-2E624E2B07B0-4Girl! You are lookin good!…JPEG image-2E624E2B07B0-9Whew! I was done. The humidity is like at 90% and I’m dripping wet.

I think it’s time to shut this place down for the day.

I took the first step. I held my breath, faced my fear and jumped into the world of online selling. I have many more steps to take before my shop is up and running, but I’m in the game. I’ve got the ball rolling. I don’t know what the future looks like, but I do know that this shop has the potential to help so many in need. I know that God gave me the gift of creating and the heart to give. I know that He is going to help me every step of the way. He doesn’t expect me to know all the answers, but He does ask that I trust in Him for the details.

So my friend, what are you afraid of? What is holding you back from achieving your dream? Are your fears grounded in truth or in fleeting feelings? Let’s be brave together.Do not be afraid i am with you. isaiah 41.1 edited printer sharper 5 x7 printable

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