Posted in Travel

I’m leaving on a jet plane…

And always with a journey ahead.

As a disclaimer, this is a bit of a quirky post but I’m kind of in a quirky place…(not literally, just in my head).

Uneventful travel would be such a drag. Good thing mine is always the opposite.

It started off last Monday morning, waking at the hour of 4am, which entailed a 1 hour drive to the airport, trying to leave Knoxville, only to find myself in a mess by the end of it. First the plane changed from a 76 seater down to a 64 seater. Now, I’m not sure how the airlines do that, nor am I criticizing that this is a rare commercial transaction where it seems you pay for something and sometimes don’t get in return what you paid for exactly, but I did feel bad for the poor guy delivering the news that 12 people needed to give up their seats… Upon boarding, we find out about a slight delay because of storms, and naturally I start praying, cause ain’t nobody want to fly in that!

“Please be sure to collect all personal items & carry ons upon exiting the plane.”
Yep, we deboarded and returned to the airport gate, to wait it out…

As I’m sitting waiting for our 1/2 hour updates, I get an email that my connection has been cancelled. I call the travel agency and they have already re-booked me for a later connection. Great! I continue to chill out & peruse work emails and social media. This is not me y’all! I was calm the whole time. It’s crazy. Normally, I would have been a hot mess, but from the time we deboarded I had the thought, “what is God trying to teach me from this?” Now I’d like to say the rest of my trip was this spiritually insightful, but it wasn’t. I reverted back to my flesh at some point, but between a book I finished reading in 4 days (it usually takes me 4 months) & my husband, we decided God is teaching me to breathe. (More on that in another blog post, on another day)

Anyway.

An email of my new travel itinerary comes through only to find that my “re-booked, later connection” was 24+ hours later. The next day! I called back.

Now it’s Tuesday. I finally leave Knoxville because all other options left me stuck in Charlotte airport, in a dress, with heels, until 10:30pm Monday night…~I’ve always wanted to be that carefree passenger. You know, the one not worried about anything. He’s not preoccupied with getting on the plane early, so he continues to sit until time for him to board while the rest of us stand in group, hovering around the gate entry, even though we still just stand and wait, while he sits and waits… He also has no carry ons because he’ll just buy whatever might be needed; yeah totally not me. I love my stuff. Well I don’t love stuff, because if you know me, you know I hate excess “stuff” but I do like to have my necessities. Snacks. Notebook. Gum. Phone chargers. Ear buds. Lotion. Hand sanitizer (even though I haven’t packed it the last 3 times I’ve traveled, but it’s a nice thought).  So as I’m looking out my window, one of those carefree travelers boards. He’s pretty much a modern day hippie. Long hair. Flat bill hat. Backpack. Probably had ear buds in. And the last one to board.

“This is going to New Bern, right?”
The flight attendant says “Yes, what seat are you in?”
“I have no clue.”
Wait, what? You are given a ticket. How do you NOT know your seat. That is too far carefree for me. I’ll keep to my OCD travel ways.

~And then there’s That One person. You know, The One. They have no clue of airline etiquette, that or disregard that it may apply to them. So we land in Charlotte and a lady stands up as the ‘fasten seat belt’ sign goes off with a “ding” 🎶. Now this is typical behavior but what comes next is not. She makes a bee-line to the front of the aircraft. Even up through first class. I always chuckle inside when I see the folks that do this, because then the rest of us just kind of look around at each other.

But wait. Before my cynical & critical thoughts take off, perhaps people just don’t know. I myself still don’t know all there is, which is why I have such eventful travel. Maybe there should be a class.  A class to teach all the pieces of airline travel. Like proper boarding etiquette, how to check-in, how to get through security in the most efficient way, when/where you have to have extra passport checks while flying internationally (this one gets me every time). Yes, there should be a class.

~And finally, as we prepare for take off and hear from the cockpit,it seems that our American Airlines pilot has a fake British accent. (Try that on for an oxymoron).

It’s like when you can tell someone is trying to fake an accent, in the sense of, it becomes so thick and heavy that it seems like an act. That’s how this was. It didn’t feel natural.

And so now, regardless of if he’s real or fake, I am wondering what would make one fake an accent. If I tried this, it would end with myself, mid-sentence, reverting back to my Tennessee southern drawl, probably not realizing it except to finally stop and ask myself “why is this person giving me the strangest look.”

And then that led me to think, do WE ever “fake an accent”? Not for real. But in life. Maybe we fake to have the perfect family. Especially as we walk into church, because we definitely don’t want to be real in front of those folks, we want to be perfect (or maybe your like me as we prepare to leave church, yelling at my oldest while the van doors are open, and my husband asks me to lower my voice…no shame here). Or maybe fake at work and trying to constantly please everyone (that is so tireless). Or here’s the real kicker, maybe with money, by decorating our home and “ourselves,” while credit card debt piles high.

So my final thought inside this quite random post is: Let’s be real.

Real about the fact that we can all be panicky travelers sometimes, or have moments where we fail to adhere to proper airplane etiquette (or any etiquette for that matter), or that sometimes we simply have no clue which “seat” is ours and that’s okay because that is what can make the journey a little more interesting.

And by being real, we become what the world needs, what our co-workers need, what our people need, and importantly, what our children need.

And Coke. We all definitely need Coke. (My husband disagrees).

Posted in Uncategorized

Always Remember, then act…

I was in Mrs. Wright’s (or was her last name Adams?)  Home Ec class. She was a hoot! Fashionable in wearing black of what I can remember, with a loud, in-your-face personality, kinda chaotic but in a knowledgable way that made learning fun!

It was second period, on a 4-block type schedule. At this point most of us were counting down to 3rd block, which meant 1 of 2 things… You either had to endure another class before lunch, or you were preparing to partake in the standard lunch line choices, or a slice of grease-soaked pizza, or perhaps just grab a pack of crackers at the school store. Anyway, everything seemed to add up to a quite normal day until during our lesson she got word to turn her TV onto the news. This was odd. And then we began to watch. In awe. In terror. In sadness. Witnessing the horrific events of what would become known as 9/11.

My dad worked at the high school, and it would be best to note here, that he’s a retired Army veteran, who lives exactly what he was taught and trained…love your country, even to the death. I asked if I could go to him. I knew if I wanted to feel safe, getting to my dad was key! He was on planning period and as I entered into his office, I fell into his arms. I hugged my daddy as if I were a toddler scared of a dog about to “get her.” But I was. I was scared. What’s happening to the safe place we call home? Is more still to come? Will life as we know it be the same?

I don’t remember much else about that day, besides keeping the news on that evening with my family to see the coverage. To see the replays of those planes and the smoke billowing through the streets of New York as the towers fell & people run for cover.

15 years later, and I watched those replays today. I listened to Darryl Worley’s song “Have you Forgotten?” I saw the planes. The smoke. And heard the cries and horror of voices on those videos. And I thought “my how we live our lives filled with worry, and anxiety, with arguments over differing opinions of parenting, religion, car seats, even bullet journaling (as I’ve found through a FB group), etc…, yet we should be thankful for the freedoms of free speech and free worship and, and, and…”

We should live from a place of love.

So like many of you have posted today, remembering where you were, what you were doing, let’s continue to never forget, always remember BUT let it drive you to act.

To act with love❤️

Posted in Always Coca-Cola

but first…Coke

I think the original “but first” phase started as “but first coffee.” Well, that’s according to a Google search and we all know Google is Gospel! Beyond that, I cannot tell you if it originated from a shirt from some boutique on Instagram, a meme on someone’s Pinterest board, or just a blog, as there’s no WIKI site for explanation (and for the record, I am not the first person to google “where did but first coffee come from” because it pre-populated into my search bar…)

Anyway.

I have loved this phrase, but it doesn’t work for me because, I have a love/hate relationship with coffee…

You see, since my childhood I always loved watching my grandparents and dad drink coffee and always thought I would grow up to do the same.

Until I tried it.

Then I wondered why in the world would someone ever want to drink the stuff.  It’s bitter.  It’s tasteless.  It’s strong.  It’s typically hot. (I hate hot drinks).  And while I know there’s sugar and cream and flavored creamers, all that is just…work!

I want to pick up and drink something and have the reliability that it will have the same consistent mix time and time again, and if that variable is dependent on me… Well let’s just say I can’t even boil water some days, so creating a perfect mix coffee day-in and day-out, is Out of the Question.

And did I mention that I do LOVE the smell of coffee.  It’s so warm and awakening to my nostrils, even to the point that every time I get a whiff, I want some.

Then I end up trying it again.

And no. Just no.

So in my mind, every time I see the phrase “but first coffee,” for me and my “vice” it needs to say

“but first Coke”

Preferably McDonald’s fountain Coke. Or Weigel’s Vanilla Coke.  Sometimes Cherry Coke from a can.  Rarely Coke from a bottle😝.  And on occasion, Mountain Dew.  (I’m not picky or anything…)

So yeah. Coke is quite important for my daily ability to function, even my toddler sits in a drive-thru and yells “I want Coke.”  Not because she’s had it, but because she knows this is regularly ordered.

And while I’m not clever enough to change the phrase, someone did & thanks to a sweet friend, I copied her and vuala, my knock-off Yeti is complete!❤️

Fun Fact: For all you die hard coffee & Friends sitcom fans…I found it interesting that the country of origin for coffee is…Yemen😂

Posted in Jesus Jabbers

Airplanes, Airports, Anxiety, & Jesus

I truly believe that all of us have some anxiety when it comes to travel, especially alone. For some it’s probably suppressed deep-down, almost to the point of non-existence & for others it’s like a “glow.” You know, like the “pregnancy glow,” which by-the-way I’m not certain why it’s called a glow, it’s just sweat from all that extra weight you’re now carrying around…anyway, kind of the perfect analogy.😉

On one of my many traveling excursions, it turned out to be quite life-changing. One, which of course held moments of blatant obvious anxiety, that I hide SO well, but where as soon as I landed back home, I would know the exact purpose for my whole trip. So let’s begin, shall we…

You know the old saying, “Third time’s a charm,” well sometimes that’s even true with airline check-in desks…

Just like everyone, I started my journey at the check-in desk, only to find I was actually in line for the “Cargo” check-in. For those like me, this is Not for the average traveler, thus I looked like a fool standing at the desk. Just waiting. Thankfully a nice Delta agent asked if I had cargo, “yes, but I only need to check one of my bags.”🙈  He politely informed me I was in the wrong line, so I proceeded to move over…to the United Check-In (I was flying Delta). Again, the nice man picked up on my “glow” & asked if I was flying United. Of course, still unaware at the time (yes, one can be THAT blonde), I replied “No, flying Delta.” Let’s just say, I finally made it through security, onto the plane, and in Germany.

After sitting in economy for an 8+ hour flight, overnight, feeling like death as you start your day in Europe (this never changes), I had somehow thought it would be a great idea to head to our company headquarters for a meeting. Meaning, after picking up my luggage & getting my rental car, I headed to the airport’s womens bathroom to “get ready” & slip into a business suit… Hindsight is 20/20. Never. Again.

As the trip proceeded, there weren’t many high points above what I’ve already noted. No WIFI. Rain everyday. Forgot my umbrella. No fridge in my room (for the Cokes I packed-Duh!). Practically falling asleep at dinner with my colleagues (that same first day when I had decided it was a good idea to attend a meeting after no sleep in an airplane seat for 8 hours). And the worst migraine ever!

At this point I’m sure you’re wondering how I ever gained purpose from this trip.

Me too!

Turns out, it was all about the flight home. Every piece that contributed to a negative experience was All worth it for what I was about to encounter.

About halfway through our 10 hour flight home, I noticed this woman. A mom. Like the rest of us. Put together enough to look like we “have it all together,” but inside we are tired & worn out from the endless demands of motherhood. She was traveling with her young son, somewhere about the age of 3-5. Her son had been good but was getting to the point of being “over it.”  Mind you, my kids would have been obnoxious about the time they make the announcement that it’s safe to use electronics, so I wasn’t complaining. As I turned around, I saw her. The real her. Wiping up her spilled drink from her son’s tantrum that he was beginning to throw, & I could sense her urge to want to break down…but how could she? On a plane, surrounded by at least 80 people, who would become witness to a solo parent having a breakdown, & no one to console her. So I went to her.

I offered my iPad, but as I’d observed, she said he was simply ‘over it.’  Now I could have returned to my seat, felt like I had obeyed the unction of the Holy Spirit, or how some say, I had “done my duty,” but I hadn’t. So I bent down beside her, placed my hand on her arm, & God did the rest. I told her it was Okay the point her son was at, & not to stress. I encouraged her to know that those who have kids understand & those who don’t, don’t have a clue. I prayed with her. I let her know that if she needed anything the rest of the flight, I’d be glad to help. And I went back to my seat…feeling like I should have done more. At that point, I just prayed. For her. Her son. And an opportunity to help more if needed.

As we landed & went through passport security, retrieving luggage, customs, security, etc…I would see her. Never in a moment to offer help, but randomly.  And at the same time, I saw others see her. Mis-judge her. Critique her parenting. Comment on the child’s behavior, who at this point had been up for 15+ hours, drug through airports, sat on the longest flight of his little life, & still had to endure more. Are you kidding people?? At that point, even I want to act like him and throw myself onto the floor in refusal to remove my shoes for a security checkpoint, when I’ve never even left the airport.

And as I saw all of this, I realized how we are often too quick to pass judgement on others, offer them our expertise, without knowing what time their day started, or what flight path they have just disembarked from.

“Be kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” ~Rev John Watson

I read this at the start of that trip. Such words have never rang so deep in my soul.

Posted in The Home Front

…or maybe not!

While doing the 8+ loads of laundry for my family of five this weekend, I actually had this thought.  Well not the exact thought from the quote above…more along the lines of, “wow, wonder what I’ll do with all the free time I’m going to gain when the 3 kids move out!”

I mean I love my kids but one only has to pick through a basket of 3-day old burp clothes and baby onesies, that were once soaked in slobber and spit-up, and have now dried to take on a new shape and smell that will pretty much make you gag into the washer, one time and the above quote becomes meaningless.  Don’t get me wrong, I think I will miss them. (It’s too early to say for sure. All of them are under the age of 4, which means they have/are living the toddler age together, they will be tweens at the same time, and then teenagers. Actually, let’s just pray I’m still alive to do their laundry at that point). But, I’ll miss the pitter patter of little feet running through the house, and their sweet voices, and playing/talking with them, and so much more that I have yet to even live through.  However, I do not envision standing over the washer wishing for just one more time to wash a poop stained pair of Minion undies or hope to have 5 loads of baby clothes to wash in one week. It ain’t happening! (sorry the country girl side gets out every now-and-then).

Plus, I don’t even like doing my own laundry, except for the fact that I enjoy wearing clean clothes. So I think I could stop washing my clothes and not miss doing so.  And if that’s the case, then why would I miss the never-ending battle of children’s clothes?

Well, just in case this quote is in fact true, & I will someday yearn to see an over-piled basket of stinky, stained kids clothes, I’m taking preventative measure now…I’ve started teaching my oldest how to fold socks and am now looking for the best opportunity to do washer/dryer training. You might want to join in!

 

Posted in Uncategorized

And so it begins…

This site. That I’ve spent a bit. Maybe some. Okay ALL day thinking and branding and deciding and working on. Yet, next week when you visit, it may look completely different because…well mainly because I’m indecisive.

This Blog. That I’ve wanted to start for what seems like ages. Where I created a list in October 2014 of blog post ideas, with some far-fetched hope that this list would actually motivate me to ‘start’ a blog, and instead ended up with me re-writing the list 3 different times as I changed planners (yes I know it’s only been two years…have I mentioned I’m indecisive). That my social media friends (most of those even being “real” friends, ha) have encouraged me to start…mainly because I think they are sick of my extremely long substitute blog posts on Facebook. And that I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this now, had my husband not started it for me (especially if I had seen the subscription fee-Geez Louise).

This journey. Of you and me. Dealing with life. Being real, being relevant (sometimes) and definitely being random.

On this night. So we add some flavor…Cherry Coke!