Friday, August 19, 2011

The Clearance Bin

Yesterday, I went shopping. My intent was just to purchase a pair of black pants and leave. But as soon as I walked in the store, my eyes were drawn to one of the most amazing sights since D'Angelo's "Untitled" video:

80% OFF!

I was a goner.

I rifled through the racks, looking for some things I needed to update my fall wardrobe. I was just about to leave when I hit the motherload--a pair of high-waisted, dark denim trouser jeans for SEVEN BUCKS. I didn't even take the time to try them on; I just did my "cheapskate" dance, paid for them and walked out of the store with a huge smile on my face.

When I got home, I tried them on and discovered exactly why they were so cheap--these allegedly long jeans are exactly three inches too short. I looked like Steve Urkel as a woman....whom I suppose would be Myrtle Urkel, but I digress. I sighed and made a mental note to take them back in the morning.

You realize I'm going somewhere with this, right?

The single life has always been fun for me. Even the bad dates--and I have had some BAD dates--have been awesome, in retrospect. Who can forget the man who took me to a shooting range for our first date....and had a trunk full of military-issued rifles? How about the Interviewer--the man who, on the first date, inquired about my income, the square footage of my house, my credit score and my investment portfolio?

At least they make good anecdotes for blogs about dating.

There's something about the end of your 20s that causes you to reflect. As I look back, I still find these tales quite amusing. However, I also see the pattern: the man who seems like a great catch; feels and looks like the real thing....but no matter how you pull, squeeze or even accessorize, he just doesn't fit.

Am I shopping in the Clearance Bin of Men?

Please don't get me wrong--this is not a man-bashing, Waiting to Exhale kind of post. I do not believe all men are evil; I don't even believe the men in my past were all that bad. The problem? I just don't know what I want.

Studies have shown that if you do not have a shopping list in your mind before you enter the store, you will spend almost double what you intended to. In dating, I feel as though I have spent more--more time, more energy, more pain and heartbreak than I ever really had to experience.


So, dear hearts, that is where I am in my life. Time to make a shopping list; time to see what's in and what's out.

No Clearance Bin either. This time, I'm willing to pay full price.

Be Encouraged,


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Where Do Broken Hearts Go? Musings of a Road Trip

For the last few months, I have been in (what feels like) the fight of my life. My strength, sanity and even my faith has been tested. I found myself literally at a breaking point, so I did what I always do when life happens...

I hit the highway.

As the mile marker numbers decreased, so did my stress level. Literally, the past was in my rearview mirror and I found myself looking forward with anticipation and laughter.

Of course, I never do road trips by myself. My partners in crime, Shayla and Jeanette, held it down with me as we passed through most of northeast Texas. Along the way, we learned some things.

1. "No one knows me like you do."
Lately, I've been suffering in silence, too embarrassed to share my struggles with anyone, even my sisters. Nevertheless, there's something about the open road that just made me feel free to lay down my burdens.

Surprise--there was no judgement or discouragement; only empathy, support and love. Sometimes, you have to encourage yourself. But sometimes, God sends people to encourage you when you need it the most.

2. The little things.
Have y'all ever been to Ruby Tuesdays? It is my secret love. Any time I am within a 50-mile radius, I am drawn there like a moth to a flame. They make the most fantastic turkey burgers I have EVER tasted, including the ones I make at home. I don't even need to see the menu at this point--just give me the turkey burger and add the salad bar.

I'm telling y'all, that meat will lift up a bowed down head!

(Honorable mention: Lofthouse sugar cookies, snack bags by Jeanette, and the lobster buffet at Boomtown. Needless to say, I'll be eating celery all this week.)

3. Laughter heals.

I wish I could share with you, my dear FBRs, all of the jokes we shared this weekend. Some of them would make you laugh until you cried; some of them would be hard to understand (if you don't know us); some of them would make you think we are complete idiots.

We are, but I digress.

In life, everything just cannot be serious. Even when you are in the midst of a storm, take some time to laugh--not chuckle, grin or give a half-smile, but REALLY laugh. Laughter truly puts things in perspective....

Nothing is as bad as it seems when you LOL.

4. Southern Hospitality

Maybe I'm biased, but I love Texas people. They don't know how to be anything but friendly, sweet and kind.

(This excludes all my exes who live in Texas, thank you very much.)

Once again, God nudged me and I was convicted all over again. Instead of worrying about this or that, I just need to keep showing kindness to those around me. Not just any kindness, but sacrificial kindness. There is a difference.

Sacrificial kindness costs you something--time, money, etc. Nevertheless, it is truly a sound investment. Whatever you spend will be returned to you. Luke 6:38 says it like this:

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

In a time where the stock market can drop 500 points in a single day, I would much rather invest in the kingdom of God.

5. There's no place like home.

My girl Dorothy was right. Even though I love getting away from Oklahoma City whenever I can, my heart rejoices whenever I see the sign that says "Oklahoma City Limits." If I'm not in the driver's seat, I'm already collecting trash and getting my stuff together so I can be in my house as soon as possible.

And here I am. Home.
Now more than ever, I am grateful for this--not the material things or even the house itself, but that feeling of peace in my heart. To me, that's home.

So, maybe you are going through something right now. This situation--this storm, trial or whatever you choose to call it--has a hold of you and it seems like it is never going to end. The way I see it, you have two choices:

-A road trip. Even if you don't have the time or the finances to cross state lines, do it in your mind. Put the past in the rearview mirror and floor it.

-Go home. Find your peace....'nuff said.

Be Encouraged, y'all.