And it all started out as a simple trip to a church garage sale

Retracing the steps of this past week almost makes me dizzy.  And I've tried and tried to figure out how to craft an interesting, life lesson filled post including everything.  But I just can't.  So be warned.  And the week  - much like this post - has been lengthy.  So best sit down and relax. 

Last Saturday I went to a church garage sale and bought a lovely antique mirror - and a car.  A used Toyota 4 Runner with plenty of life already lived,  that was being sold at the sale, with 20% of the proceeds going to help fund a summer mission trip.  I'm just a girl who can't say no. 

It's old, has its fair share of bumps and bruises, and it looked like a perfect beginner car for my growing boys to learn to drive.  Better an already pre-loved car than my pretty one, I say.  So in the meantime, it will become a to and from the fire station car for husband.  

All looking to be a win-win situation till this morning when I drove it for the first time and it left me stranded with a dead battery in front of the donut store.  With a dozen donuts and a kid late for baseball practice.  And I sat there and had flashbacks of all the cars of my youth that left me in less than ideal situations and made me call my dad whenever and wherever I could find a pay phone to cry in.  

Once I left my broken down car in the busiest turn lane in College Station, Texas ... blocking all sorts of impatient traffic - and walked to the McDonald's across the street and collect called my dad at work and cried.  200 miles away from being able to help me, but somehow he did anyway.  He always did.  

But the good part of today's dead battery is that fireman Dave came to our rescue right after mowing the station lawn.  And when he got there, the car magically fixed itself and started right up.  He works wonders that way sometimes.  Just the presence of a man to point out a female's lack of car knowledge is enough to liven up a dead battery and bring another laugh to my husband's heart.  Anyway, I gave him a donut for his trouble and he followed me home like any gentleman would. 

And on Memorial Day, as we prepared for company to come over.... the neighbor across the street backed into the side of our other car... the 14 year old Honda that has also seen its fair share of living over the years.  But now it's an unsightly mess.  Like me at the donut store this morning not expecting to be stranded.  But our lovely neighbor was extremely sorry and her insurance is taking care of everything -  so really, just another day here in dented car land.

And then when going downtown to register the new to us Toyota, husband lost his checkbook and had to jump through a million hoops trying to retrace his steps and take care of all the account closures and payroll changes and stuff.  Lots of inconvenient stuff.  But the checkbook was found - by a kind and honest person who called and had found it in the men's room at the building downtown.  And David has never regretted a bathroom trip more.  

But sadly, kind man texted me with the good news instead of David. And 2 hours later when I got the message, David was already in the middle of account change hell and sweating endlessly until people were concerned for his welfare and theirs.  Maybe he was having a medical emergency.  Maybe he's a would be bank robber feeling nervous about his life choices ..... he's sure sweating a lot.  

So all the excitement exhausted us and we laid down on the couch for a nap.  And forgot to pick up our 10 year old from school.  We were only 20  minutes late, but he had already been returned to the unclaimed child room.  

And it all started out as a simple trip to a church garage sale.  Maybe I should've just bought the mirror.  

Oh, and .... someone helped themselves to a brand new plant out of our yard.   A beautiful, full size lavender plant valued at $15 pulled right from the ground.  So they just left us a hole in the ground without even a dirt trail to follow.  Geez.  

Anyway, I'm a believer in right and wrong answering for itself.  One time I realized a mistake at the store on my receipt that benefited me $20.... and I thought about going back in and making the world right.  But I didn't.  Now that and a few other things are forever etched on my heavenly record in the what NOT to do column.... but it all came out in the wash as they say.  That $20 bonus I was saved on my receipt was spent the very next day on a broken car thing and having to pay a taxi to get my husband to a super important work thing - or he may have died.  Not really, but it was hugely important ... and the light shown on my shame and I ended up paying the $20 as penance for my grocery store indiscretion.    Lesson learned.   

So to my plant thief... be on the lookout for something that will unexpectedly cost you exactly $15 - the price of your very own plant had you chosen to buy it at Home Depot.  

So trying to tie all this together to wrap up the week... here's what I got...

The world is full of good and bad - things, situations, times and people.  But as I told my late for practice baseball player this morning as we sat stranded with our donuts,.... we can worry that we made a bad car purchase and assume the worst.  Or we can be thankful that the car decided to take its break at a safe and yummy spot rather than somewhere else.  And we can be thankful for helper Daddy who was quick as a flash - and as fast as a fireman in any rescue situation - who came to our aid.  As the wonderful Fred Rogers of Mister Rogers Neighborhood said about teaching kids to be confident in unsure times,...    Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.

Cue the helper who found the missing checkbook.  Note the father who always managed to fix things - be it with duck tape or a tow truck.  Notice the sweet neighbor who so kindly told us about the mishap with the car and got right to fixing it.  And hope for the good that will come from the impulse buy of a beat up old Toyota at a garage sale.  

Then sit still for a few minutes to reflect on a week filled with opportunity... opportunity to see the insanity of it all,  or the good of it all.  And really, there was a healthy mix of both.  

.......  The rest of the story... No, my husband isn't really a would be bank robber - or any other kind of dastardly evil.  He would so want you to know that.  And yes, he did eventually reclaim his sanity and the sweating stopped.  

My home tour....Otherwise known as What can Kristi do with a can of paint and some lucky garage sale finds

Some bloggers do a regular post called, What I Wore.  Where they take cute pics of themselves in great outfits... but since I mostly wear sweaty aerobic clothes and messy hair ... so much for that.  And lots of bloggers also do Home Tours...  which I considered and then thought no, and then thought yes.  

Today I thought Yes.

Because we went to church and had little to no incident there, other than me trying to get them all dressed and ready and to stop playing army men naked.  Not naked army men, because the army men are dressed.  My little guy was not. And there was one arm bite during worship but that was almost nothing compared to most Sundays.  

So with so much energy remaining, I came home to continue my home remodel on the cheap.  Otherwise known as What can Kristi do with a can of paint and some lucky garage sale finds.  

And while painting this adorable table which started out brown and water stained..... kid 1 joined me outside with a big pitcher of lemonade all for himself and a seat in the back of the car, doors all open and radio on.  Till it all died, and now the key is stuck in the ignition with no power and we're stuck at home.  Being crafty. 

(The red pie safe in the right side of this picture was a found item in a trash pile years ago by my grandfather.  He put it all back together and it's looked pretty and red like this as long as I can remember.  I'm lucky to have it.)  

Remember the magazine salesman who thought my hair looked nice?  That day I was working on this dresser....  that I bought years ago at a preschool fundraiser garage sale for $5.  Really.  And it sat in my house for all this time and looked ugly but was loved for more than it's beauty - as we all should be. 

And now it looks like this....  the big reveal.  With a clearance rack lamp that I got at  Marshall's.  Anyway, I spent about $50 total on the dresser including paint and hardware.  The labor was free and the time with my 12 year old helper, priceless.   

And this weekend I bought this old mirror at a church garage sale for $6.  Even though the tag said $25 because they were about to close and everything was crazy on sale. 

Now it looks like this and is going over my bed.  The cuteness continues.

So with so many new projects to share, YES, we're gonna take a home tour.  Here ya' go.  

Disclaimer..... We are not a fancy people.  So many things we have were inherited from grandparents, and a sister who died far too young. So I enjoy all the things not only for their beauty, but for the beauty of the gift of family.  Also, for these pictures I took today, I picked up stray socks from everywhere, stuck backpacks behind a chair, put the laundry to be folded behind the couch, and I hid a pile of papers off my bedroom dresser under the white rocker.  I know there is a light bulb out in the bathroom, and I know the mirror on the bedroom wall is a little crooked.  It's just hanging there by a tiny nail to snap the pic.  Thought it was gonna fall and shatter and give me a hundred years of bad antique mirror luck.  

I also know my front door is scratched up, and we'll discuss that in a bit.  I also closed the TV cabinet doors for the first time since electricity was discovered.  I didn't dust for you, but I did turn on pretty lamps to make it look dreamy.  And, I will not show you the boys bathroom or bedroom right now.  They're really pretty nice.... but ...  you know, getting all that photo shoot ready would've required a nap afterwards so I just didn't. 


Here is the front entry hall with a sign that says something about welcoming and blessing all who enter.  Which I find hysterically funny - because when you come to my front door, you're met face to face with a vicious dog that has almost destroyed the door and walls with her claws.  Every day I have to wipe her angry fang marks off the glass from her battle with the mailman.   

And here is the den, family room area.  This is where it all happens.....  

the cute table I painted today, the green rocker that belonged to my grandmother and has its own story, and the big dining table in front of the fireplace... which was also my grandmother's. 

We moved it in here so the kids can do homework or draw or just leave their junk all over it till it piles up like a mountain.  (That fireplace mantle?  Fireman made at the station by my husband and a friend.  I love it.) And I'm pretty sure that's a giant kid made sword in the corner next to the Mickey Mouse back-scratcher that no family should be without.

The rugs in every room are actually outdoor patio rugs from Lowe's because my dog has stomach ailments.  We went with easy to clean. 

The chair in the far corner with palm trees on it?  Hate it.  But husband crazy loves his palm tree chair so up till now we've lived with it.  But on this subject I can't promise him forever.  

And when we bought this house the den was divided by the old existing sliding glass doors.  It also had a full sized bar with sink, brass foot rest and a TV connections alongside the liquor cabinets.  It looked like Cheers, where everyone knows your name.  Those were the first things we ripped out.  

And here's my kitchen.  Original, just as it was in 1956, and still in great shape.  We did the floor tile in house - meaning we did it ourselves with the kids plopped in front of Disney movies so we could work.  And of course we replaced the appliances, the newest being the dishwasher that we got when we bought a whole bunch of ants at Sears.  

The beautiful vintage glass lamp on the counter was an online purchase for $20.  $20 of cuteness and kitchen love. 

But what I love most about our kitchen are the glass front cabinets.  They started out as solid, nothing special cabinet doors, painted green...  till my husband and another fireman friend worked their magic on them at the station and cut the holes for the glass panes.  They gave me their time, talent and a beautiful new kitchen all at the same time. 

And here's my new kitchen sitting area.... the chair is on a trial basis and may be switched out for another.  But the whole situation brought drama and chaos and some exchanges of dirty looks between me and husband.  He thinks once furniture has landed the first time, it should die in that very spot and never be moved again.  Because he doesn't want to be the one to move it.  But I've seen him sitting in this cozy chair drinking his coffee when he doesn't think I'm looking.  The red pie safe in the kitchen belonged to my other grandmother and my sister rebuilt  and painted it.  Another inherited item.  

The dining room is a work in progress so it's bare bones in here now.  And on the floor is the dog that will try to eat you alive if you ring her doorbell.  

So off to the back of the house.  This is a 2 bedroom, 2 bath house... so when I call ours the master bedroom it sounds funny to me.  It's just the one with the attached bathroom so we chose it as ours.   I love the old fan on my dresser.  We use it every night.  It's a find from a vacation trip to North Carolina.  The framed photo on the wall is one we took on vacation in Arkansas and I found the great frame at a garage sale a few years ago.  Lucky me.  The black dresser belonged to my great aunt, was passed to my mom, and then passed to me.  I painted it black and love it.  And the rocking chair is actually blue denim that was our rocker for all our babies, very well loved and worn out but I  just can't part with it.   So I just covered it with a bedspread.  


The bathroom is 1956 original as well.  We replaced the mirror and light fixture and painted everything white to look a little prettier...but that's about it.  The tile is still in great shape (and what a find to have neutral color tile in an old house.  Our first house's bathroom had yellow walls and a blue tub.)

So this is home.... the front of the house.  The chair if you can see it on the porch was a trash pile find of mine.  Found it, stuffed it in the car, and now it welcomes us to sit outside and often catches our mail when the mailman is afraid of the dog.  But you can't talk on the phone out there because there's NO service on the porch or in the yard.  Weird.  Hopefully I'll never be at my last dying breath out there needing to call 911. 

So welcome to our home. I hope my little tour shows that things don't have to be perfect to be beautiful.  And that it doesn't have to be all new - that new to you is great, too.  And that creativity can grow from love and a desire to make a house a home for your family.  

Maybe one day soon the dining room will be all done and adorable and I'll show you.  We may even be brave enough to visit the boys' room and bathroom.   

So y'all, we are now THAT family

This week a new acquaintance asked me how many kids I have - and I paused and really, REALLY, almost said 12 because it feels like that sometimes when I do all our laundry.

But I told her three.  Three beautiful boys - 2 of which are always at war with one brother or another and the other one is doing daily pushups so he'll be ready to protect himself.  

So y'all, we are now THAT family..... Two separate and very informative interactions with people I didn't want to hear from -  about things I didn't want to hear - basically filling out a survey on my parenting skills, successes and failures thus far.  And the people doing the talking about my kids found no angels in the bunch this time,..... only pirates and thieves. Thus the reason for my blog title.   

One kid has drawn a line in the never ending school year sand with his teacher - and they're currently trying to negotiate their places in this big 4th grade world before someone goes crazy.  Or quits teaching school forever and blames her lasting emotional scars on my kid....

And one kid called home to tell us he was in a bit of trouble. And can we come get him?  Daddy took the call, and I didn't ask if he considered no as an answer.
So this week we've had lessons in integrity and consequences and a basic review of right and wrong even when you think no one is watching.

And really, these days... someone's always watching.  As the kid who got caught by the school police officer climbing on the roof of the elementary school can attest.  Nice.  So now we have a record.  A school district, climbing on the school roof  kind of  record - but it can go either way from there.   A life of crime or a life of ...integrity.  Our giant, billboard sized word that has been spoken again and again in our family till maybe they just drown it all out now....

And the end of school drama which has really been going on for months now.... but increasing at a rapid rate with no valuable return to anyone involved.... is just a big old 4th grade mess.  And tears have been shed, and words have been said, and there have been some noted battles of the wills ..... and I think a bet as to who will cry first. 

And so when we asked WHY? WHY? WHY?????  To both of the boys involved.....

One thought he wouldn't get caught.   And the other just wasn't ...isn't ... thinking - about anyone but himself.  And taking the nerves of his sweet teacher down with him on the road to juvenile delinquency. 

So when the time came to discipline and teach and encourage.... because those all go hand in hand around here most of the time, there were consequences to their actions.  Little guy lost all his favorite things till he can get a good report each day from you know who.  And the other one,  the one who sat there in his baggy jeans and ball cap looking at the officer who - at that moment, may have thought him the biggest loser - and not the TV weight loss show kind -  learned that there are eyes everywhere.  Parents, teachers, security cameras and neighbors.... even cars driving by.  

And I pointed out to him that his choices  - whether visible to the eyes of others or not, are there for his heart to live with.  For his mind to consider for their worth, and to ask himself if he would be proud to do this and  - anything of question, really - in front of me or his dad.  Because in the big scheme of things, my eyes are small compared the eyes of this world who are busy hunting high and low for some good to grab onto.  Looking for a light to shine and a voice to be the one in the crowd that says no to bad and yes to good.  And he has an opportunity to be that, daily,  to lots of people.  Even when he thinks no one notices.  

And over the years I've breathed a million breaths explaining that integrity - our theme, our motto, our family code if you will - means doing the right thing even when no one is watching.

And that brings it back to me, to the parents who are charged with so very much.  Maybe more than ever in the history of parenting.... I don't know.  But maybe.  
We're in charge of not only our kids minds and hearts, but their bodies as well.  And we're challenged with their care and supervision daily.  And I'm of the belief that we as parents can't go this one alone.  Because as soon as they walk out the door for school, they're already in the hands of other people.  Friends, teachers, and those that have influenced them along their way.  The circles grow huge. 

So knowing that, I pray for their protection of heart, mind and bodies daily.  I really try to do that in the car on the way to work each day.  To get it all in there first thing so I don't miss my chance. 

(And for my boys who will read this one day.... you have a mom who has filled a lifetime with choices both good and bad.  With mistakes big and small - that have been forgiven by some, and not so much by others.  I am a mom that can't tell you that I've done it all right.  Don't tell anyone.... but in high school I stole a For Sale sign from one house and put it in my teacher's front yard under cover of darkness.  And then there was that oddly peculiar situation with my geometry teacher.... that and countless other unmentionables dot my path from youth till now.... 

But here you go, my loves... you are a combination of so many things - good, and more good, mixed in with a little confusion and youthful enthusiasm.  You are a mix of me and daddy and all the wonderful qualities that have grown in you over the years of your own making.  And all are turning out to be ....lovely.  Lovely and loved by a mom that has committed a life to teaching you and leading you down a path to what I hope are good things.  And no, I was never really mad about the whole climb on the school roof thing - just thankful there was no spray paint or rooftop skateboard  tricks involved.  Or stitches.  And the end of the school year antics?  That's something we'll keep working on....) 

But I, along with the Maker of all our days - am a believer in new beginnings.

Looking at people's hearts, ... getting to know them before I assume that I already do

I was just checking email and got one from Common Sense Media which is a really good website for evaluating the appropriateness or lack thereof of movies, TV, and such for kids.  And the email title said, How to Raise a Reader, BUT... I thought it said, How to Raise a Teenager... and I hit that open button like I was winning a million dollars on The Price is Right.


And y'all a lady in class today said something to me that was shocking.  S.H.O.C.K.I.N.G.   - Or maybe just rude.  I'll leave it at that and let your minds wonder and question.  But she upset me and made me lose focus and look altogether unprofessional for a matter of minutes.  Till I decided that I wasn't the one who should be all flustered like that..... no sir.  So I just danced till my heart got happy again.  And then I complained about her to other people that I knew would counteract her meanness with a whole lotta nice.  

But my observation for today is this..... we tend to speak first and not give it a lot of thought before hand.  Like that time in Branson on vacation and we were about to see the awesome karate show .... and tickets were sold and seated in a giant auditorium by color codes.  Red, white, blue,...... Our tickets happened to be black.  So when I yelled a little too loudly to the family that, This is the black section..., my husband half laughed and half wrestled me to the ground with his hand over my mouth.  Not really.  But he did point out that maybe I shouldn't talk so loud with any sentences that might suggest I have racial issues. 

Y'all so here's the deal.... this is all about misunderstandings.  All about interpretation and feelings and built in ideas that color the things we hear and see.  All about projecting those assumed ideas onto others..... and then things get messy.   I think I've said all this before.  I need to write a book.  Or a song. 

Maybe the things people say and do are just things people say and do.  With no hurt or bad intended.  But people...we... I... seem to be pre programmed to assume bad instead of rejoicing over the good.  And I just don't understand. 

My husband is still to this day - 13 years down the road - trying to explain to the world that he did not actually leave me, all big and pregnant with one kid already on my hip - standing in the grocery store meat section..... as he wandered away happily chatting with a lady fireman friend.  (Who was not big and pregnant with a baby on her hip.)  Just left me standing right there next to the bacon with a big ol' water retention face full of questions.....  So my hormones got mad at him and didn't give him a chance to explain or discuss or whatever.  You know me,  .... whatever.   Anyway, I'm like that a lot.  Jumping on an opportunity to see one version of the truth - but maybe I missed a piece?  Maybe he just wanted me to see if bacon was on sale.   I never gave him a chance to say. 

So here it is.  Plain truth and a super simple idea.  One day at a time.... I'm gonna try to hear and see some good all around.  I'm going to try to set assumptions aside and listen to actual words spoken, and seek out the heart that has motivated the words.  There's where I'll find the true meaning.  

Looking at people's hearts.  Getting to know them before I assume that I already do.

And also today?  A  friend asked me why I wasn't writing on here much lately.... a few reasons really, but I'm still around.  But those were words of beauty to me... placing value on this space and the words shared.  Beautiful words that let me know that something was noticed missing, and even more, that it was missed.  That was good for the soul....   

I wasn't paying attention. Because I was all caught up in our sweet dreams and hungry for donuts.

It's been one of those loud kid, messy house kind of weeks.  One of those multiple trips to Target kind of weeks - trying to find just the right lamp for my bathroom counter because I get a notion and go crazy with it.  It's been one of those kid falling off his skateboard and hurting his tailbone kind of weeks.  A kid with girl troubles, and one who just cant seem to find any pants kind of weeks. 

It's been ants on the kitchen counter and late library book fines.  It's been an impromptu husband road trip kind of weeks  - the kind where he says, I might be gone on Tuesday - when it's already Sunday and he actually knows for a fact that he will indeed be gone on Tuesday. 

It's been one of those hellacious storm kind of weeks - with tornado sirens and power outages and texts from a far away child that they've been removed from the bus and placed in shelter back in the school.  

It's been one of those come home from school and immediately take off your pants and eat all the potato chips you can find if you're a 13 year old boy kind of weeks. 

And a drop off a kid at the fire station for daddy to deal with kind of weeks.  He ended up washing dishes.   

It's been one of those we're totally out of gas in the car and out of food in the house kind of weeks.  And someone needs a last minute purple shirt and black pants for a school program. Pronto.  Oh yeah, and the dog had no food.  So I cooked her some scrambled eggs. 

It's been a guitar lesson and karate class and flag football game kind of week.  

And a neighbor who made the news for doing a very bad thing kind of weeks.

It's also been one of those I don't feel like writing about much kind of weeks.  

I guess because my thoughts keep going back again and again to the neighbor incident  - 3 doors down.  To the house where my kids use the circle drive to ride bikes and skateboards.  To the house that we didn't know the owner well, and right now I can't decide if I'm glad or sad about that part.  

Y'all it opened my eyes.  It made me wake up on a beautiful Saturday morning and see a street filled with police and firemen and TV news vans.  And it made me want to go right back inside.  To our safe place where we just woke from sweet sleep and were headed out for donuts.  To our quiet home where we had movie and pizza night the night before.  Where I had no idea that things like this happen so close to home. 

And  maybe that's the big part - that I had no idea that things like this were going on so close to home.   Or anywhere.  I wasn't paying attention.   

Because I was all caught up in our sweet dreams and hungry for donuts. 

A good hair and kind words combo moment

Yesterday kid 3 had a friend over after school.  And first thing he showed him in our home is our ant colony in the kitchen.  Then they studied the dirty potato salad bowl soaking in the sink.  Then they both agreed to wash their hands in the bathroom instead.  But Sam made his friend feel right at home.  He's good at that. 

And this past weekend 2 kids and a husband went camping.  The cub scout and dad pair got robbed by a band of hungry raccoons that left them only a jar of peanut butter and a can of spam to eat the rest of the trip.  

The big kid  - in order to earn a super honorary level in boy scouts  - spent his entire weekend living on 3 crackers and a box of raisins for each meal, doing manual labor and sleeping in the woods with no tent.  Now he has poison ivy extraordinaire.   And has been put on a 5 day steroid regimen from the pediatrician.  Adding that to the list of reasons I don't go camping.  He also fell off his skateboard and has a terribly painful tailbone.  But that happened later. 

So that left me with a couple of days and a 12 year old....  here's a recap. 

9pm Friday night , home alone with my hero, someone knocked on the front door and was looking around the porch with a flash light.  We didn't answer because Christopher suspected a robbery in progress.  Double checked all locks, confirmed dog ready to protect, and Chris got an old walking cane we found in our hall closet when we moved in here 11 years ago.  His plan, and I saw him rehearse, was to just shy of kill any intruder with it. Turned out to be the UPS man trying to pick up a package that husband totally forgot to leave out there.  A great example of a man risking his life for his job. 

Next day, we skipped baseball practice because we wanted to. Because it's only once in a lifetime, or almost, that brothers are gone and a kid gets the TV and couch all to himself.

We did a few home improvement jobs.... paint a little, paint a little more, go to Target at least three times. Then we figured we deserved a mexican food dinner as reward for all our hard work. 

Saturday afternoon, answered door to a stranger on porch selling magazines.  And probably checking out anything he might want to come back for later.  Stranger tells me my hair looks nice.  Somehow he knew that flattery will get you lots of places with me.  He also told me he was an Eagle Scout when he was younger and that he is raising money for a trip to London with his communication class - or Toastmasters International - he was confused about which.  So after all his unsure came out, I also doubted if he was sincere about my hair.

And not believing a single word stranger said to me out on the porch, I had to deny a magazine purchase.  That, and he smelled of cigarettes - so I figured if he can afford those things, he should start directing some of his smoking habit dollars toward his make believe trip to London.  

But here's the thing....  I still talked to him, and I was obviously not mean to him.  Because he offered to help us paint that dresser we were working on - and leaving, he said, why can't everyone be as nice as you? Said by a man that may or may not be a crazy serial killer by night. 

Why can't everyone be as nice as you?  Well I'm flattered, and now I'm thinking that maybe he really DID like my hair.  But truthfully, maybe he just caught me at a good time.  A good hair and kind words combo moment.  Because it wasn't long ago that a lady at work asked me to settle down and use my gentle voice

And you know, I wish I could help everyone, but I can't.  And I get really confused about when to and when not to.  And wonder what kind of example I'm setting for the kids each time I give help or deny.  Gosh I just don't know.  Maybe I should just keep them all from trying to sell at my house in the first place?  I'd still be confused, though.  Flash back to the sweet young man who tried to sell us electricity service and we ended up sitting in the front yard chairs filling up on ice water and encouragement. 

And I had to tell mister magazine sales that as much as I wish I could help him with his trip to wherever... I'm trying to send my own 3 kids to summer camps and activities.  And they're also doing their part.  Yard work, odd jobs, selling things for Boy Scout fundraisers.  And I hope that all the people that my kids run into along the way will help them - either help them get to camp - or help them be encouraged to keep trying to get to camp.  Both parts are big and important. 

One thing I've learned of late - wisdom of my age I suppose - is that it always seems that the most timely and appropriate words of scripture find their way into meaning through the goings on of my days.  And this magazine guy?  .. and the electricity sales guy?  and some of the frustrating people out and about?  I am NOT talking about YOU.  Let's be clear.  Today I learned a verse that just seems to yell kindness and love and encouragement for everyone we meet.  Not just the ones we choose. 

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.   Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.  Romans 12:9-10,12 -13

I tend to think about hospitality being all the adorable decorating and entertaining ideas that I wish I could copy and call my own off Pinterest and other creative blogs I read.  But y'all it's not.  Hospitality isn't just loving the lovable - the friends, and people we choose.  It's not about providing the best things and atmosphere.  And it's not about choosing the time or place to share our good - maybe even our best - with others.   

Even in the smallest of ways, it's all about loving the unlovable. 

And that's all of us sometimes. 

I am hopeful for this young fireman and his recovery. But from a wife's perspective, I am even more hopeful for her.

I went to Walmart today for potato salad for a boy scout pot luck tonight.  My last minute plan is to put the store bought stuff in a pretty bowl, and it call it semi - homemade.  Don't tell anyone.  And as far as potato salad goes at Walmart, there is apparently only the choice of huge or ridiculously huge.  I went with ridiculously huge.  I also bought allergy medicine because kid 1 woke up this morning, after his weekend camping trip, with hives and big lips.  Super big, like he had lip injections big.  But he was still handsome, I assured him.  Just a little more kissable.  

And I worked today - normal schedule.  And worked on some home improvement projects over the weekend.  Making our house a home, and all.

But driving home from work and errands, potato salad in the seat next to me, I had a nagging sense of guilt, because right now - that's the key part - right NOW - my family is fine.  My fireman husband is fine.    Because once again, y'all Dallas Fire made the news.  We have a guy seriously burned and in ICU as I write this.   I don't know him.  But I remember meeting him and his wife and kids on a shared flight home from our summer vacation trip last year.  So now I can put a face with a name, and a wife with the man, and with them, young children that may be far too young right now to understand that daddy works a dangerous job.  

So I do feel a little guilty each time someone asks me, following another incident, if my guy is okay.  And I really want him to be okay.  But when I answer that question, I know someone else is sitting at the hospital hoping to be able to say the same thing soon.  Or even again.   

And I'm also more than a little selfish about it all.  Because I don't spend my days thinking that in a blink of an eye, these guys can be in a no return situation.  I just can't let my days be managed that way.  What I do think of, and probably too often, is how I don't know how I could do all this on my own.  How I could raise these kids on my own.  How I could manage the finances and the house and all the stuff that I enjoy every day having a husband around to help and share with.  

And of course my thoughts go toward how I would tell the boys.  How I would start even the very next day with an all new routine and all new set of demands.  And an all new heartache.  And I think that's the big one.  

Today I am mindful of moments that can change without notice.  Of times together that need to be fully appreciated and taken in.  Times that need to be memorized and held in such detail that if the time ever comes, I can have those memories to hold me through the difficult times.  

I am mindful of families who are not okay.  I am aware of hurt and worry that is very real to those around, but not hanging around my minutes and days counting them till they finally pass.  I am aware that any of that can happen to him, and to me, and to us.  

I am hopeful and even a prayer of lofty prayers that we as firefighter wives never have to worry about getting a phone call or a departmental visit again.  But y'all, those are dreamy prayers, not ones that I think God is really going to answer.  

What he will answer, however, is this.  He will give a sense of peace when needed the most.  He will grant courage and wisdom and the strength to go the next step.  

And I am hopeful for this young fireman and his recovery.  But from a wife's perspective, I am even more hopeful for her.  

When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. 
Psalm 56:3
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