Dancing Amid Disaster (A Beautiful Life: Week 2)

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To read last week’s introduction, click here.

MISSY

I’m so excited to introduce you to Missy! We first became friends through the power of the blogosphere, and when we met in person at Allume this year, it was more than obvious we were sisters from another mister. My goodness, we’re practically the same person — down to realizing we’re even sorority sisters! Laughter is her spiritual gift (one of her many, many gifts) and she blesses me to no end with it. 

Missy writes anonymously at www.missindeedy.com. She longs to get it right, but often gets it wrong (her words, not mine!). The mishaps are a’plenty, but there is grace galore. She’s wife to one, a mama to two, and likes to write words. But above all, she’ll tell you that she’s saved by grace and strives to remember that mishap by mishap. Oh, yes indeedy!

We love to dance in our house. We love to crank up the music really loud and go all dance-crazy! This fun activity has proven to be quite the stress reliever and family bonder. We’ve even discovered that the pace of our dancing has a pattern: the more challenges adventures that our family is experiencing, the slower we like to dance; and the more relaxed our family life is, the wilder our dancing becomes. It’s almost like the calm brings on The Carefree!

Lately, though, we’ve been experiencing a budget crisis in our home. And this stilted our dance parties.

A huge lack was suddenly present when, with little warning, we were forced to work with roughly one-third of the previous monthly budget amounts. I found myself in the middle of a financial disaster as I scrambled to relearn words like “budget” and “delayed gratification”. Readjusting our outgoing to more responsibly match our incoming revealed a lack, alright, but not really in our budget…it was in my heart.

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also be.” (Matthew 6:21)

I first realized that my idea of treasure needed some major rethinking while standing right in the milk aisle of the grocery store. Because our cost-cutting measures involved a very tight meal plan with no deviations, we were trying to limit the number of times we visited the grocery store to once a week. The need for a quick stop to pick up what we honestly needed to finish out a week of meals, provided a jolt to my mindset. That few dollars left in my purse for the remainder of the week was a stark reminder that there was no room for frivolous “just because” purchases.  “Is your treasure in the Oreo aisle, Missy? Or is it with the knowledge that I will feed you all you need?”, I heard God whisper to me.

My eyes were opened, yet again, in the middle of the mundane of my typical daily errands. Driving through town became painful, as I passed shop upon store upon restaurant that I used to frequent without thought to “what was in MY wallet”. Once I began sorting through my emotions relating to the “treasure” I missed having the freedom to buy, I realized that my daily routines demonstrated a complete disregard for The One who provided it all. And I began to see that I was counting on what was in those stores to fill an emptiness that was in me.

And then, there were my pants.  Our budget wasn’t the only thing that was tightening! My pants were getting tighter, too. Those pants of mine seemed to be trying to tell me that I’ve been feeding the wrong hunger.  With less money to carelessly throw on a muffin “to go with that coffee”, I miraculously found extra room in the budget and in my pants! They became a literal reminder that being bound up in debt can result in other, physical and mental, kinds of binding, too.

But, the turning point came when I was on the verge of lying. I found myself engaged in a discussion with other parents at the bus stop about the coming school vacation. Everyone was sharing the exotic locales they’d be visiting or the hot-chocolate laden snow-skiing trips they would be on. The conversation left me waffling between trying to make our pending “staycation” sound glamorous and fudging the truth. “Do you treasure the opinion of these people so much that you would lie?” I heard God pointedly asking me.

It was then, that I began to grasp that what I really needed wasn’t another trip to this or that place, a meal from such-and-such restaurant, or even a new pair of pants to match “that shirt” for that special event. My need wasn’t in the threading that covered my heart, but within my very heart, itself.

At that point, I looked into the eyes of The One who gives me All Things tearfully asked His forgiveness.  I laid my head on His shoulder and entered into a slow dance of rediscovering the treasure, from Him, that I desperately needed to begin storing up in my heart again.

Treasure like:

His promise to place a new song in my mouth. (Psalm 40:3)

His reminder that He will provide “pleasures never-ending” if we will but walk (and I’d add, dance) with Him. (Psalm 16:11)

His reassurance that He is aware of my every earthly need. (Matthew 6:31,32)

I wanted my heart to rest, again, in the truth that God will provide all that I need. And that realization brought on a desire to turn that slow dance, with Him, into a jig.

Not only because my heart began to sing for the newfound understanding of what had been missing, but because joy had been restored. The joy that comes from knowing that Jehovah Jireh, who knows everything I need and considers me far more valuable than the sparrows in the sky, will indeed provide.

In fact, as I began to consider this Truth more and more, and desire what was inside one of those stores less and less, I realized that He already has. God truly has uncovered my lack and filled it with His best, just as He promised. (Click to tweet that)

“You did it: You turned my deepest pains into joyful dancing; You stripped off my dark clothing and covered me with joyful light.” (Psalm 30:11)

That calls for some dancing.

Don’t you think?

Additional Resources: Looking for some tools to help? Check these out!

1. Who is Jehovah Jirah? A deeper look into this name of God meaning “God is my provider.”

2. Tools for Getting Financially Fit. Resources from the infamous Dave Ramsey on getting yourself financially healthy.

3. The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. One of the greatest ways to intensely get out of debt!

4. Cheaper, Better, Faster: Over 2,000 Tips and Tricks to Save You Time and Money Every Day by Mary Hunt. Come on, who doesn’t need this??

Watercolor hearts photo ©iStock.com/beastfromeast (modified by Elevate Ideas)

A Beautiful Life (New Series: Introduction)

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“You direct me on a path that leads to A BEAUTIFUL LIFE. As I walk with you, the pleasures are never-ending, and I know true joy and contentment.” (Psalm 16:11, Voice)

There has been pain.

Pain when two boys we used to care for in our home were killed. Pain when a fellow student in high school died. Pain when my family shifted and changed unexpectedly after college, and the foundation of everything I thought that was suddenly wasn’t, and everything I thought I had vanished and a series of heart-bursting earthquakes left me shaking, empty and broken.

Yes, there has been pain. But there’s also been beauty.

There was beauty when I was a teenager and would sneak in the back of church on Sunday nights — when I had done something I knew I shouldn’t, or was feeling something bigger than I knew how to express, or was confused or sad or lost. I’d sneak in the side door on the far right-hand side of the sanctuary and sit right there, on the second to last row under the balcony, where the lights were dim and I felt unnoticed.

And every time — every single stinking time — God would have gotten there first, and sat there so quietly and invisible that it wasn’t until I felt His huge arms wrap around my body tightly that I realized I actually had sat on His lap, not just the pew. And for the entire service, He would just hold me tight and I would cry until there was nothing left.

There was beauty when as a young adult I reached the end of my rope — when the path of pain and shock and tears all converged right there at God — and my options were simply Will You? or Won’t You? and out of sheer desperation I fell to the side of my bed and whispered, I will. 

And it wasn’t until I felt His huge arms wrap around my body tightly that I realized He had gotten there first and I had actually fell into His lap, not just the floor. And He held me tightly and I cried until there was nothing left.

And there was beauty when I a real grown-up and faced tragedy and loss and shook my fist at God asking, Why me? and He gently…oh so gently…whispered back,

Why not you?

and my pride vaporized and I again found myself in His lap, arms tightly holding me as tears fell until there were no more.

There has been pain. But there has been even more beauty.

We all know suffering. We know the question-raising, faith-doubting, back-turning pain this life brings — whether we’re affected by it, or it’s our own personal story to tell — we know it. We see it throughout the Bible, in our communities and in our world. The consequences of a fallen world mean we will have pain.

“I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. BUT TAKE HEART! I’ve conquered the world.” (John 16:33)

And the secret to not just surviving the suffering but thriving in it is tucked right there in the end of the verse. The take heart, or be of good cheer as it’s sometimes translated. The original Greek of that phrase is wrapped up in one word — THARSEO — literally meaning ‘be of good cheer’ or ‘be of good courage.’

And that phrase — THARSEO — is either spoken by Jesus or in direct relation to Him each of the eight times used in the Bible.

THARSEO – Your sins are forgiven. (Matt 9:2)

THARSEO – Your faith has healed you. (Matt 9:22)

THARSEO – It is I. You have nothing to fear. (Matt 14:27)

THARSEO – Do you see? It is I. (Mark 6:50)

THARSEO – He calls for you. Get up and go to Him. (Mark 10:49)

THARSEO – Your faith has made you well again, daughter. Go in peace. (Luke 8:48)

THARSEO – I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

THARSEO – You have successfully told your story about Me in Jerusalem, and soon you will do the same in Rome. (Acts 23:11)

Our defining moments — the moments that lead us to a life of beauty or a life of ashes — come when we’re standing facing that fork in the road deciding between the Why Me? path or the Why Not Me? path. As we stand there we hear Him call THARSEO! and we either choose to be of good cheer or we don’t.

 And it’s choosing the Tharseo path — the Why Not Me? path — that leads to a beautiful life. (tweet that) 

“Protect me, God, for the only safety I know is found in the moments I seek You.” (Psalm 16:1)

This series is called A Beautiful Life not because it’s about how to avoid suffering, or agonizing over our pain, or asking why me. It’s named A Beautiful Life because choosing God and the joy and contentment He alone brings — regardless of our circumstances — is what makes life beautiful. Because God is in the business of making beauty out of ashes, if we first choose to Tharseo. 

“God has sent me to give them a beautiful crown in exchange for ashes.” (Isaiah 61:3a)

He’s in the business of abundant futures and eternal riches, if we first choose to Tharseo.

“You, Eternal One, are my sustenance and my life-giving cup. In that cup, You hold my future and my eternal riches.” (Psalm 16:5)

He’s in the business of making glad hearts and joyful souls if we first choose to Tharseo.

“This is a good life—my heart is glad, my soul is full of joy, and my body is at rest. Who could want for more?” (Psalm 16:9)

He’s in the business of giving us victory in life, not making victims, if we first choose to Tharseo.

“To anoint them with gladness instead of sorrow, to wrap them in victory, joy, and praise instead of depression and sadness.” (Isaiah 61:3b)

This series has been on my heart a long, long time. It is my prayer and belief that through this series God is going to raise up Victors. That He is going to bring freedom to those that have been enslaved to their circumstances for too long. That He is going to show you how beautiful life truly is and empower you to choose the Tharseo path — to give you a heart of courage and good cheer.

And the best part about this series is that I’m not doing it alone.

“The beauty of faith-filled people encompasses me. They are true, and my heart is thrilled beyond measure.” (Psalm 16:3)

I’m beyond honored that some of my favorite writers are partnering with me in this series, and starting next week you’ll hear from them each Tuesday. You are going to be so blessed by their insights and wisdom and how choosing THARSEO — even as the smallest and faintest whisper — has brought beauty to their lives. We’ll hear from Missy, Katie, Allison, Sara and possibly one or two others as the Lord is leading. It’s going to be incredible. I pray you’ll pop back next Tuesday.

THARSEO! He calls for you. GET UP AND GO TO HIM. Here’s to a beautiful life, my friends. 

Watercolor hearts photo ©iStock.com/beastfromeast (modified by Elevate Ideas)

Thanksday #93

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Please don’t turn me in, but we sorta kinda played hooky yesterday.

We got a sudden influx of snow on Tuesday night, which caught everyone off-guard. They delayed the school day a couple of hours but the back roads by our house were still icy and slick, so we made an executive decision to keep everyone home. And then church was cancelled for the night.

So we sledded and threw snowballs (me and the kids) and took naps (Paxton) and drank coffee (not the kids) and played video games (not me). And for the first time in a long while, not a single one of us had to leave the house at all (not a single one of us).

Except to sled.

It was as glorious as it sounds.

Here’s the thing about me — if finances and time permitted, I’d be jettisoning off to Paris or Europe or Africa on adventures and mission trips all the time. But if you make me leave the house multiple times a day to do school and grocery and church and doctor appointment runs, I’m going to complain pretty much non-stop about how I just don’t want to have to go anywhere for one stinking day, please! and can I just have all my people under one roof for that day, too?? That’d be awesome.

Thankfuls this week:

1. Glee. Do you know what pure, unadulterated glee sounds like? It sounds like a four year-old boy who sleds down the same hill time after time after time laughing his adorable little head off, then jumping up and shouting “again!” and running with a bad case of the giggles up the hill just one…more…time.

2. Dirty Dishes. The dishes need to be emptied from the dishwasher — it’s been hours and hours since they were washed — and the sink is full of a whole new batch and the floors need to be vacuumed. But I haven’t done a lick of it yet, and feel no stress or anxiety about making sure it gets done right this minute! Instead I’m going with the flow of today, and it doesn’t include dirty dishes. Yet. (I’m calling that maturity, not laziness, FYI.)

3. Super Bowls. And I’m not talking soups for bowls. My hometown team — the team I grew up watching, the team that had the greatest duo ever, Zorn and Largent…IS GOING TO THE SUPER BOWL! It’s so stinking exciting. I feel like I’m 10 years old cheering them on again and stalking Jim Zorn around my church when he was a guest speaker. Or something like that. #goseahawks #12thman #hashtagsinblogpostsdontmakesense

4. Be Still by Bethel Music. This song here is my mantra right now.

Be still my heart and know
You are God alone
Stop thinking so much
and just let go…

5. A Listening Ear. Do you know what’s absolutely priceless? A doctor who listens — really listens — to what’s going on with you and doesn’t brush you off or make you feel like you’re crazy. A doctor who actually verifies some things you thought were going on. For the first time in years, I felt completely heard. This new doctor took me seriously and offered real solutions. It meant so much to me I cried right there on the paper-covered exam table.

6. No Distractions. Our pastor challenged the church to a week-long distraction-free fast this week…to put down any social media or technology that is a distraction to us and instead focus on praying for those in need in our lives. After assessing the things most distracting to me, I decided to fast Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. And I have to admit — the first day was hard. I’m so used to mindlessly scrolling through each of these apps throughout the day — in carline, when I’m procrastinating, when I’m watching TV even. But after day two, it got a lot easier. And by day three, I haven’t really missed it at all. I know I’ll be back on each of these after the fast, but I’m hoping my involvement is more intentional and active, not just a passive way to pass time. (And it forced me to personally connect with people — specifically, two friends who are literally about to have babies any minute! And personal connection wins every time.) (I just tend to forget that.)

7. One Hour. After sick days and snow days and doctor appointment days, it was heavenly to have just one hour alone at the coffee shop this week. (I adore all my people together under one roof, but all the togetherness has to be balanced with some solo time for Mama. You know?) It was just me, my roasted red pepper soup and drip coffee with two shots. Just what the doctor ordered.

8. From the Mouths of Babes. This month at church is called “Famuary” where we have our kids with us during the worship part of our service and some of our kids even help lead worship. And I am here to tell you — being a part of a service led by kids ranging from 5-12 years old is about the most holy thing you’ll ever experience. If your heart isn’t moved as they proclaim scripture and sing their hearts out to Jesus, you’re just a mean one, Mrs. Grinch.

9. Hilarity. Laughter is the best medicine, and I love, love, love, love, LOVE that it can be found almost daily at my house. “You have filled me with joy, and happiness has risen in my heart, great delight and unrivaled joy, even more than when bread abounds and wine flows freely.” (Psalm 4:7, The Voice)

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10. Freezers. This is so ridiculous. But due to our snow day yesterday we didn’t get to church last night. And since there was no church, there was no dinner planned at my house, since we usually eat at church on Wednesdays. Fortunately, I had a hodge-podge of french fries, fried pickles and boneless wings in the freezer, and therefore, we feasted like kings.

I’m so grateful for you — you make this post the most fun one of my week! Please share your thankfuls so we can all celebrate together. Happy almost-weekend, everyone.

What are you thankful for this week?

Thanksday #91

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(tap, tap, tap)

Check one, two…check one, two, three…

Is this thing on?

(ahem)

Hi, my name is Monica and it’s been FOUR MONTHS since my last Thanksday.

(My penance will be abstaining from the Cheez-It.)

I know, four months. It’s pretty ridiculous. It’s not that I haven’t been thankful — because believe you me, the thanks are thick — I’ve just been focused on some other things. Like kids and husband and kids and husband in school and this BE thing, and because of all that, I’ve let this little ol’ blog slide. But as I mentioned on one of our BE podcasts recently, I miss my Thanksdays. I miss being silly and letting loose. I miss keeping track of my thankfuls in Evernote. I miss the consistency of writing each week.

And mostly I miss your comments about what you’re thankful for. Those always make me laugh and inspire me to no end.

So I’m stretching and creaking and blowing off the cobwebs and getting this ship pointed back in the right direction. (Did you hear my knees just crack?)

Without further ado, thankfuls this week are (in no particular order):

1. 9 am School Starts. My kids’ school and preschool both start at 9 am. And it is the most wonderful, blessed thing on the face of the earth. I cannot count how many mornings I’ve blowed dry my hair at 8:15 am and thought, “Thank you GOD that school doesn’t start until 9!” Our mornings are smooth(er) and calm(er) than they would be if we all rushed around like crazy people to leave the house at 7:40. It would be pandemonium. Chaos. Anarchy! (I’d be the anarchist, purposely making them tardy every. single. day.)

2. FitBit. I got a FitBit over Christmas break and I’m in love. It’s the Flex — I wear it on my wrist and it tracks everything I do, from showering to walking around the house to sleeping. I’ve linked it to my Lose It account and so I am keeping meticulous track of activity and food, and it’s been incredibly insightful for me. (Such as, I like to eat. Who knew??) In fact, I’ve discovered since I got it that my sleep patterns are totally whack. Every single night, it seems I follow the pattern of restless sleep for 10 minutes, restful sleep for 30. Restless for 10, restful for 30. And that happens all night every night. No wonder I’m a fatigued mess and IV coffee all day long. Just have to figure out what to do to fix that. Any ideas??

3. Down Time. I started something new this week — I won’t call it a “resolution” per se, but a plan to be more intentional at home. From 5 o’clock each day until the kids go to bed, I put down the computer, phone and iPad, and allow myself to be present. This not only provides down time for me, but makes me more aware of the kids and the house and helps me to slow down and enjoy our evenings. It’s made our nights (really, it’s made ME) more relaxed and enjoyable…and while the kids might be playing on the stuff and doing other things, I’m not. I’m just there in the mix with them…ready if they need me or are asking me anything. It’s been a blessing for me.

4. Vanilla Creme Liquid Stevia. I’m trying to limit my artificial sweetener intake and use just pure Stevia when necessary. But since most coffee shops and restaurants don’t carry it, I bought a bottle in the Vanilla Creme flavor to keep in my purse everywhere I go. I’m sure I look incredibly sketch doing it — like I’m sneaking drops of liquid crack into my coffee — but it’s working for me. Score.

5.  Aloneness. I admit, I’m that weird mom who loves having her kids home from break. I was fervently praying we’d have a couple snow/bad weather days to stay home after the new year to prolong school just a little. bit. longer. I love the lack of schedule, the hanging out in PJs, the laughter and giggles, naps — all of it. HOWEVER. Now that the kids are back, my introverted self who thrives on silence and being alone has been very, very happy and has a much fuller energy tank after a couple mornings alone in her house. Just sitting here by the sunny window in an eerily quiet house with my hot stevia’d coffee warms the cockles of my heart. Yes, the cockles of my heart.

6. HCJ and AI. Listen, I haven’t watched American Idol in years. Once Simon left I couldn’t care less about the show. So I’ve had no intentions of watching Idol ever again. Until. One night, mindlessly watching TV and reading, I heard that smooth voice and charming personality leap through the screen into the living room. I looked up in amazement as I saw Harry Connick, Jr as a judge for the upcoming season. And in a split nano-second, I decided I AM ALL IN. I will be watching every single episode all season long. I’m back, I’m hooked, I might actually call in and vote. Well played, Idol.

7. Be Still Be FreeI am beyond blessed that God has allowed me to be a part of this amazing thing He’s doing with BE. Week after week, with every podcast and post, He is so faithful to us. I shake my head in amazement often.

8. Seat Warmers. It was a balmy 1-degree earlier this week. Need I say more?

9. A Hilarious Husband. There is no one — not a single one — who makes me laugh as much as my husband does. This has been a particularly hilarious week, and I’m beyond thankful for a spouse who loves to enjoy life, not just live it.

10. Grown-up Furniture. For the first time in our marriage we have a real dresser. And real nightstands. And our master bedroom — for the first time in almost 11 years — isn’t the shabbiest room in the house with all the leftovers. #whatadifference

Well friends, that felt good. Real good. I guess Thanksday blogging is really like riding a bike.

Steely. Out.

What are you thankful for this week?

Thanksday #86

I’m at the beach.

Actually, this is my 11th day at the beach.

So I think you already know what my thankfuls for this week are going to be. But as we wrap up our time here and prepare for just one last full day of fun, I have been reflecting and thinking over all I’ve been thankful for this week, and it might not be exactly what you’d expect.

Not that I’m entirely sure what that would be.

Regardless. Here is what I’ve been thankful for this week, in no particular order:

1. Swimming Pools. My kids, they like the actual beach pretty okay. Paxton used to be vehemently against it — he was too prissy for the sand on his feet and the waves splashing him. Now he is a fanatic and could spend all day there. Jaana, on the other hand, used to adore every single thing about the beach and could spend hours there. But somehow in the last year, her love has waned and the sand in her swimsuit thing has become a bit of a bother. So while we have enjoyed quality time with the beach, we have spent quantity time with the pool.

2. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. And introducing my tweeny girl to it for the first time and watching her die laughing at DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince.

3. Aloe, Aquaphor and Advil. The second day here, I got a sunburn on my bottom lip. Yep, just the bottom. It was minor and took me awhile to notice because it didn’t hurt. And then one morning I woke up, and it looked as if it were I was a finalist on Lip Injections Gone Bad. I honestly was dying laughing because it was horribly swollen and the entire situation is so ironic. Because here’s the deal — of all the oh-so-many-places I could use some kind of surgical assistance, my lips is just not one of them. And I began wondering why I couldn’t have gotten burned on the stress wrinkle between my eyebrows so that it would puff up and fill itself out?

4. Getting Back on the Bike. Literally. I can’t tell you the last time I rode a bike. 17? 20? It has to have been at least 20 years. But Greg went for bike rides almost every morning, and after a few days of wogging/jogging at blissful sea level, I wanted to shake it up. Because I’m crazy like that. So I picked up a bike and went for a ride. And after a few hundred wobbly feet, I found my footing (wheeling?) and was off. It was just lovely. (Although I had to remember not to be like Meg Ryan in City of Angels and close my eyes and ride with my arms wide open.) (Because as I remember, that ends badly.)

5. Vitamin D. Cheers to getting it the natural way, and browning up in the process.

6. Alone Time. Y’all know my need to be alone is a most desperate need. And you probably also know that when your entire family goes to the beach, it’s an elusive find, like that bird Charles Muntz tries to find in Up. And somewhere around day seven, I started l-o-s-i-n-g my mind. And there’s not much to spare. So one afternoon, Greg took care of the kids and I ended up having two hours alone in the house. Alone. In the house. I showered without interruption and blew dry my hair in peace. I listened to the new Justin Timberlake album at full volume and danced around while I got ready. (Should I admit that part?) (The JT part, not the dancing part. I’m fine with the dancing part.) (Sigh.) And when I was done, I sat on my most favorite chair in the world (which happens to be here in this house) and finished a book. With the TV off and no bickering in the background. I think I lost five pounds, it was so freeing.

7. Fully Present. When you’re home in your own house, it’s hard to not give primary attention to the mounting dishes, the stinky laundry and the unswept floors. But on vacation, it’s a hall pass, is what it is. And since being here, I was able to let go of all the house stuff for awhile. And our time was spent snuggling, drinking coffee, reading books, watching movies, swimming, playing, shopping. Many afternoons, when Paxton would sleep and Greg would do work, Jaana and I would have Mommy-Daughter time. Sometimes at the pool, sometimes at the Barnes & Noble. Sometimes at the Steinmart. It was wonderful to be able to ignore the noise that tries to be louder than the moment and be fully present. I’m going to try and take that home with me.

8. Good Friends, Good Eats, Good Laughs. What’s better than vacationing at the beach? Vacationing at the beach when others you adore are there, too. And getting to spend quality time celebrating them and birthdays. And experiencing new restaurants. Kid-free. And new laughs to old stories. Stephen King is quoted as saying, “You can’t deny laughter; when it comes, it plops down in your favorite chair and stays as long as it wants.” I love nothing more than chair plopping with dear friends.

9. Hair Tricks. Y’ALLLLLLLLLLLL. I accidentally discovered The Best thing that has made my hair sing. Backstory: the day I sunburned my bottom lip, I also sunburned my shoulders. Not terrible, but enough to make my bra straps hurt on them. (I know, TMI.) So after my shower I put my hair up and slathered Aquaphor on my shoulders. Then after I put my shirt on I took my hair down. Except that maybe it didn’t happen in the order I just listed. Because when I went to blow dry my hair, it would not dry on the ends. Not dry one bit. It was Aquaphor’d and goopy and stayed slicky. Which is exactly what I need with fine, stick straight hair in 1734% humidity. To try and rectify the situation without the agony of reshampooing, I picked up my dry shampoo bottle and sprayed all over my head until I developed the black lung. And do you know what happened to my slicky hair? It was transformed. TRANSFORMED! It was voluminous and full and very Housewives of Orange County-ish, which was very fitting because of the bottom lip situation.

10. Dressy Tees for $7. I got a couple of these shirts from Target on the way to the beach and they were on sale for just $7. (They look better in person.) (I got teal and cobalt, but the online names are too fancy.) (Ain’t nobody got time for that.)

And since it’s the 11th day here, I have to add one more:

11. Sleeping In. My daughter has slept in until 8 am every day. It’s Christmas in June, people.

To sum it all up, I think it’s safe to say that if I were to ever have to love anywhere with 1743% humidity again, in a heartbeat I’d choose Hilton Head Island. The place where dreams come true and miracles do happen. Where getting your lips done is as easy as stepping outside and your daughter stops waking with the sun.

When my brother has to wrap up a call or visit quickly, he always begins with “so check it out” which I find highly annoying in that I-adore-my-little-brother way.

So check it out.

The final game of the Heat v Spurs battle is on. And while I care squat about the game or the outcome, it does mean that it’s time for me to hunker into my chair and settle into my next book.

Love ya, mean it.

What are you thankful for this week?

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