It’s funny how others remember things about us that we probably wouldn’t recall on our own. This past week I had the opportunity to visit with a young lady (she’s 2 years younger than me - lol!) I haven’t seen since 2003. My oldest two girls were on Spring Break so we decided to make the 8 hour trek to visit one of my sisters and her family who lives in Tennessee not far from the young lady I went to visit.
Her name is Emily. I had the privilege of serving as Emily's Platoon Leader in Operation Iraqi Freedom I back when we both served in the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Emily was a linguist in the platoon. Not only did we get to meet her sweet family this week, but I also got to hear a few of Emily’s recollections of me.
She recalled how the Platoon Sergeant and I marched over to the post hospital to have words with a medical provider who was giving her a difficult time. There were a couple of humorous stories, but the one that touched me the most was when she showed me how she remembered that I am a French speaker and that the French language is my jam! (Emily learned to speak French when she was young.) She walked to her bookshelf and pulled down a copy of Le Petit Nicolas. She then proceeded to tell me that I’d given her that copy years ago. She asked if I wanted it back. I told her no. I hadn't missed it all these years and I'd given it to her. That's her memory to keep.
Had someone asked me who I gave a French language book to all those years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to answer. I would have failed that quiz. To know that On some level I added something (and maybe even several 'somethings') positive to her life holds specially meaning to me. It’s one thing for a former Army peer to share how you impacted their life, but it’s even more significant and perhaps more touching when a former subordinate calls you “friend”.
Thank you for your hospitality and spending a portion of your Wednesday night with us Emily! The girls all had a blast and so did I. Brynn begged to go back the day after and the day after that.
Which brings me to my old stomping grounds The Looking Glass Restaurant in Clarksville, TN. On this same trip, my sister Kirsten, her friend Amy, the girls and I all went to The Looking Glass for lunch. Back in 2001, I lived just around the corner from the whimsical and then eclectic cafe and quickly developed a friendship with the owner, Mrs. Eddington. I think she was the first person I'd ever met who wore an asymetric hair cut. I even planned and hosted a unit hail and farewell at the Looking Glass - it was a luau and it was a hit! I'm not one to toot my own horn, but I'll give myself some props now! Looking back, I feel sorry for the next lieutenant in the Battalion who was assigned to organize and plan the next hail and farewell! Not too sure how he/she could have topped it! Lol!
This week I learned that Mrs. Eddington passed not long ago and that I’d practically just missed her. During our visit to The Looking Glass I had the pleasure of sharing my memories of her with her son Conrad who now tends to The Looking Glass. I always remember her drinking her coffee through a straw. The reason she explained was so as not to stain her teeth! Although I never adopted the practice, it has stuck with me to this day. The recollection brought a smile to her son’s face. He then told me that she was actually laid to rest with her iced coffee complete with straw!!
The impact we have on other’s lives and the impact they have on ours may never be known. They may never even be spoken. But when they are, soak them up and be sure to share them freely!
Gratitude in the Laundry Room
I just spent the last 45 minutes folding clothes. As I look at the top of my dryer there is more laundry to be done. As I look at the basket of clean and folded laundry, there is still more to be done. As I look at the laundry baskets filled with dirty clothes I sigh and leave the laundry room for fear of becoming a casualty. Being buried beneath an avalanche of a mix of clean and dirty clothes is not beyond the realm of possibilities today.
I can’t imagine I’m the only person who’s ever gotten behind with the never ending task of washing, drying and folding laundry. Have you ever thought about the times when you’re on top of it all and you’re holding it all down and there are no clothes stacked anywhere? What’s going on in your life when you’re managing the laundry (and the rest of the house) like a champ?
I took a few moments to reflect on my answers to these very questions and here’s what I came up with: My husband goes TDY for 2, sometimes 3, weeks every month. When he’s away I’m like an automaton. I’ve got the laundry, dishes, kitchen and meals all planned out and synchronized. Not one moment is wasted. Every minute is accounted for. I’m quickly preparing dinner while one daughter is at play practice, the other is at The Boys and Girls Club and the baby is with me. There’s no time to sit and watch TV while popping bonbons as if I had nothing else to do. To quote Sweet Brown, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” It’s not a perfect process, but it is a relatively well oiled machine.
When my husband is away I'd like to think I could be nominated for "Best in Laundry". So, what happens when he gets home? I slack off. I relax. I don't get as far as popping bonbons on the couch, but I do get out of my routine. He’s home, so I’ve got back up! I can take a breather, right? And that’s when it happens! That is when the laundry- piles -up yet again. Then it's back to rushing to empty then fill the washing machine when I hear from upstairs, "Mommy, I have no socks!" or "Mommy, do you know where my hoodie is?"
Many of you reading this can relate to this sort of cycle. Some of you are dads and others of you are moms and even grandparents. What this tells me is that it's a relatively universal experience. An experience that we should all give thanks for even if it can be tiresome and a bit maddening at times. If we didn't have any clothes there would be no laundry mayhem, so I think I'll keep the occasional mayhem around a while. What all this says to me is be grateful that there are clothes to clean and be extra grateful when they pile up. The pile itself is a sign that we have more than enough.
What else surrounding laundry can we be thankful for? Leave a comment. I'd love to hear from you!
“If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul.” — Rabbi Harold Kushner
What to do With All that Candy?
Typically, on Halloween, we aren't home. We are one of those dark houses people don't even make an effort to knock on. We go out to dinner as a family or go see a movie, so having too much leftover candy on hand isn't typically a problem we have. However, a couple of years ago several of the teachers at my daughters' school gave parents their addresses so that the children could visit known entities. Since then, either my husband or I have taken them out to trick or treat. Last year, we had 5 month old AND the 31st of October just happened to be the first snow of the season in our region of Kansas! Needless to say, I stayed home with the baby.
They typically don't collect mounds of candy, which I'm happy about, but they do get enough to be satisfied and excited! If you've found that you... have a different problem...too much leftover candy, either from the kids' buckets or candy that you didn't get to hand out try these tips to avoid over indulging.
1. JUST THROW IT OUT
This will likely put you in the running for Worst Parent Ever, but it's for the best! Have your kids choose their favorite treats and then donate or throw away the rest. The longer treats stay in the house uneaten, the more likely you are to give in and gobble it up.
DID YOU KNOW? Some dentists now offer to buy candy off kids in exchange for cash. That's right! This year the going rate at our Pediatric Dentist is a dollar per pound up to five pounds! Not bad! Plus, all of the candy collected is sent to our military troops! If you opt to go this route, your littles will earn some spending money and you’ll get that calorie-filled temptation out of your house and mind. Does your dentist's office offer a similar incentive? Shoot me a note! I'd love to know!
2. Eat Well
Sugar cravings can strike when you’re hungry and haven’t consumed enough fuel to keep your blood sugar in balance. "Eat protein and fiber-rich meals in the days before and after Halloween", advises Ann Marion Willis, a R.D. in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. "It’ll make you feel less tempted to create a dinner out of mini candy bars."
3. Savor a Single Treat - this may or may not work depending on your resolve to stay on the straight and narrow. Mindless eating is a good way to eat way more than you mean to — whether that’s nuts, chips, or candy. Instead of sitting in front of the TV munching your way through a bag of chocolate, try mindful eating. Select the one piece of candy that you most want to eat. Tune out all other distractions and focus on savoring the experience of eating it. Chew slowly, let it melt in your mouth, enjoy the sweetness, and notice how it makes you feel. Make your piece of candy go even further by chopping it into tiny pieces and sprinkling the bits on top of plain Greek yogurt.
4. Keep Your Mouth Minty Fresh
Brushing your teeth can be a deterrent similar to installing orthodontic hardware if you're trying to avoid eating candy. Especially that chewy and sticky kind! When you get the urge to tear open a handful of Halloween loot, run and give your teeth a quick brushing and see if that curbs it.
Here's to planning for the best outcome possible! You can do it!!
Allison Marschean is a wife and mother of 8 year old twins girls and a 2 year old baby girl who is kicking an autoimmune disorder to the curb with food and fitness, all while living her dimensions!