Lolly’s House…

Being a grandmother…now, three times over, the holidays take on a bigger significance for me.  After becoming a mother many, many years ago, things shifted to being about the children…my children. Holidays became a whirlwind of happiness and exhaustion!  Now, my children’s generation is experiencing that whirlwind first-hand, and I’m able to plan for each event with a little more energy since I don’t have to be up at night for the 3am feedings…

Even though I still have one child at home, I’m trying to find my new role as the supporter and enabler. My house is transitioning from “Mom’s House” to “Lolly’s House”.  But what does that mean for me as a woman…a person?

I’ve never looked at becoming a grandmother as a lesser-role. As far as responsibility and influence go, it’s like the rest of my life: as my age increases, so should my wisdom and influence…

And if that’s the case, then I have an increased responsibility to use that influence not just in my immediate family, but also everywhere I have a voice.

I think many women struggle to find their voice or their place as their nest becomes more and more empty. For me, I choose to tackle this by constantly filling my nest…

Every year my nest gets fuller, rather than emptier.  I could have never had biological children at all and I still could grow my nest and increase my influence.  

All women have a voice and a place regardless of their motherhood status.

So, how does this paradigm shift in my life affect my every day?  How does it affect my view of the holidays?

Well, of course, my role as “Lolly” is enriched by thinking about the holidays through the eyes of my grandchildren, but what if I didn’t have all these kids to help me find my role?

Halloween clarifies this for me every year.

If you know me, you know that I’m not a big celebrator of Halloween… The creepy and the scary is just not my thing.  In fact, when my kids were little, we basically just pretended that the day didn’t exist.  

Left to my own devices and in my own comfortability, I would just turn the lights out and act like no one is home…

But as I’ve gotten older and my influence has increased, I have begun to look at the world around me less from the perspective of my own comfort and more from the perspective of others.

Hospitality has become something that I cherish.  It’s become like an art-form for me.  So I don’t really feel that I have the luxury to not think about others during the holidays…

It’s not just about me anymore.

Nothing brings this fact into focus more than Halloween.

If it’s truly about others and making them feel loved and cherished, then I have to take a second look at this holiday.  The truth is that there is no other day of the year that people of all kinds come eagerly to my door…they bring their most precious possession: their children to my door and allow me to “ooh” and “aw” over their costumes, they let me give their little ones gifts in the form of treats…

They ask me to be hospitable and kind.

I have the privilege of showing them what coming to my house feels like…Lolly’s House. It may very well be the only visit to a grandmother’s house that they will get to experience during the whole of the holiday season. It may very well be the only kindness they experience all day…week…year.

I may be overstating the significance of this one day…but what if I’m not?

I’ve begun to look for meaning in life not just from being a mother or how many kids I have been blessed with, but rather how much of a blessing I can be to as many as God brings into my path.  And since I’ve begun to look for these opportunities, I’ve found my place.

So no matter how full or empty my nest is, I’m still “Lolly” and there’s always kindness to be shared at my house…Lolly’s House.❣️

And that makes me smile, even if I have to wade through scary clown costumes to do it!😱

Peace to you…

Angie❣️

A Conversation with myself…

This week I will officially turn “nearly 50”, and although my family jokes that I’ve been saying that since I was 42, it’s now a reality. So I’ve been thinking a lot about what I would say to my younger-self, if I were somehow given the opportunity.

Here are a few thoughts from the other side of the hill:

Begin before you have to: Don’t wait until you’re 35 to think about things like sunscreen and yoga…(especially if you live in the “Sunshine State” and you’re of Eastern European descent). You won’t always be able to eat french fries and sleep in your $6 makeup without consequence…even if those consequences aren’t immediately visible. Start good habits early. Don’t “YOLO” yourself and then deprive yourself of nutrients so that you can fit into “that dress”.  Start aging gracefully before you ever have to think about aging.

Don’t be a selfie kind of girl: Value yourself more than just posting one picture after the next of your own face. Say something to the world, don’t just let them look at you. There’s a difference between someone saying you look “pretty” and you look “hot”. Always strive for the first option – pretty is timeless and ageless, but hot…well, we all know what trying desperately to be labeled that way looks like…especially at 40.

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should: Sure, you can wear a t-shirt for a dress at 20, but that doesn’t mean you should…and for goodness-sake, if you can wear a bikini at 40, that’s awesome, you just don’t have to put it on your Facebook wall! Remember: there will always be younger and sexier women out there, so don’t feel the need to compete – it’s a losing game. Don’t be surprised or offended when someone judges you by your appearance if that’s all that you offer the world. Show the world what you’re really made of – Use your words!

Not all attention is equal: If you have to use your sexuality to get a man, you’ll always have to compete in that arena to keep him. Be the kind of girl -at 20- that you won’t mind your husband being around when you’re 40…because the world will be full of women who will try to catch his eye. Don’t be proud of getting male attention because of how you are dressed – believe me, it’s just not that hard to do. You teach people how to treat you.

Give grace to others…and yourself: If you want to age gracefully, then live in grace. Don’t say hurtful things to others or yourself. If kindness is not an option, then silence may be the next best thing. Don’t say things to yourself that you would never want someone else to say to someone that you love. Be the person that you needed when you were little and the kind of person you hope to encounter on your worst day.

Who your friends are will tell you what your future will look like: Don’t build your friendships on gossip – It’s been proven that women are more easily bonded by having a mutual complaint or enemy (or “frenemy”) than anything else. Rise above this. Remember: if your friends will talk to you about someone, they will talk about you to everyone. And never, ever talk bad about your husband to anyone, ever. Great minds discuss issues…small minds discuss people. Be kind.

Don’t be afraid to fail: The only true failure is never trying. If you fall down, learn something and don’t make the same mistake twice. We all fall before we rise. Failure can seem devastating when you’re 20, but by the time you’re 50, hopefully, you’ll see every experience as a lesson that is leading you toward your better self. It’s never to early or too late to choose a new path. Be brave.

Seize the day: Don’t think you will always feel as energetic as you do at 20, you may, but make good hay while the sun is shining. There may come a day when you don’t have the same capacity, or time that you enjoy in your youth. Don’t wait for a relationship or having a child to make you feel whole. If life isn’t going how you thought it would, bloom where you’re planted, and before you know it, you’ll have a beautiful garden – even if it doesn’t look the way you thought it would when you were 12. There are lots of different “fairy tales” that you can live – “Frozen” isn’t any less a beautiful story than “Cinderella”. Be you’re own “knight in shining armor” – you’re the daughter of a great God and an awesome King! Be you!

Enjoy each day.

Find the beauty in everything around you.

Never look at a sunset or the ocean without a sense of awe.

Never miss an opportunity to chat with a senior adult or play with a toddler.

Don’t put it off.

Don’t leave good things unsaid.

Don’t focus on what you can’t change when there’s so much good to be done.

Always remember that happy girls are the prettiest girls.

Choose joy.

Rise.

Shine.

Be kind. Be brave.  Be you. And, as always: Peace to you…
Angie

 

Living the Dream

ImageTwo years ago, my eldest daughter got married.

This is her “wedding party”.

Today this was what she wrote about that day, in light of our remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“I’m pretty sure that this picture displays “The Dream” Dr. King spoke about. The majority of us in this picture, who happen to be most of my bridal party, are mixed with more than one ethnicity and we all love each other with no conditions. Our race is a mere detail…unless we’re celebrating each other’s cultures. We see each other for who we are and who we can be. I am living the dream.” 

Of course, I realize that the full scope of Dr. King’s “dream” encompasses more than just having friends from different racial backgrounds, but I also know that watching my children embrace and appreciate diversity is the beginning of getting to that “Promised Land” of which he spoke.

I also know that this is what heaven will look like…like a tapestry…

So when I look back at this day, this group of friends…or look into my brand new grandson’s eyes, I see hope for the future…

…hope for love.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” – MLK, Jr.

Let us strive to be the light in the darkness and be the hope of love even in the presence of hate.

…because it does win in the end.

Peace.

The Happiest Wednesday of All!

Happy Wednesday!

22 years ago, my life changed forever…for the better!

And just 2 weeks ago…on a very happy Wednesday, my life changed again!!

When I was just 20 years old, I had my firsborn love, Kayleigh Hannah.

My beautiful baby girl!

 

She stole my heart then, and became a complete joy to her father and me as she grew into a woman after God’s heart.

Then, 2 years ago this month, she married Barry Oser, and he became a beloved part of our family as well.

And just 2 weeks ago, they made Byron and me so happy when they made us grandparents to the cutest little boy ever:  Truett James Oser!

This is “True” sleeping today in my arms!

Baby “True” sleeping soundly in Lolly’s arms!

So, Happy Wednesday, everyone!

It’s especially happy for “G” and “Lolly” (our names from now on!! 😉 )

I’ve heard it said that if I had known that being a grandparent was this much fun, I would have had them first, but I think it’s just the right order this way.

Getting to be “Lolly & G” to such a wonderful little boy, with many more to follow,  is just the icing on the cake after having been blessed to have such wonderful kids like ours!

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”  – 3 John 1:4
Peace.
(Love, Lolly)