Thursday, August 01, 2013

Lessons Learned

A lady walks up to the boys and I in the Walmart parking lot.  She is selling twine braided necklaces that she has made.  She wanted to know if I would like to buy one.  Instead of just kindly saying, "No thank you" OR taking out a couple of dollars and giving it to her, instead, I said this, (which I greatly regret), "Do you have a license to sell stuff in the parking lot?"  Where did that come from?   I should have been more thoughtful.  No, no one really wants to be approached in a parking lot to buy anything after just parking their car.  Yes, it's irritating.  -However, after giving this a lot of thought, I realize that I am not her judge.  I think I already knew that but I spoke before I thought.

What ensued after I asked her that question was quite a little scene.  Ask the boys.  She started ranting and raising her voice and telling me how hard it was to be in her position and 'did I think she liked asking people to buy her stuff?' and I began to feel smaller and smaller.  Now, there was a voice in the back of my mind that said she could be scamming people, and trying to scam me BUT here again, who was I to judge?  She said its hard to find a job and she had been applying all over.  Hmmm, I wanted to say "Try WalMart, Target, and York County has a need for bus drivers" but this was not the time or place for me to be 'technically right', she was very upset and this conversation was going nowhere fast. The whole time I felt my boys eyes BURNING holes in me.  I could not make out what their eyes said but they were full of something...I just didn't know what (yet).

I finally got the woman to a place where she was not yelling and talking in circles and just when I thought I could wish her well and good luck in her endeavors, trying to leave with as simple a 'exit stage left' as I could, she began to openly cry and put her face in her hands.  Oh my Lord.  I really did it. With my Police of the World, unthinking sassy pants question, now this woman was crying and I wanted to hug her.  Who cares if she was trying to scam me or anyone else?  Yes, actually, technically, anyone "soliciting" has to get a permit or license to solicit in the parking lot but we all know that York County is not going to give her any such thing. Likely, no city would.  So, my question was just mean, wasn't it?  Rhetorical.  I already know the answer.  I did not hug her.  I did not give her money.  I just stood there and said that I wished her well and good luck.  That was it, that is how I ended that situation.  She actually thanked me and walked away talking to herself under her breath.  

As we walked away, I quickly got filled in to what the boys' burning eyes were trying to tell me.  The Oldest said he was glad I did not give her money and she could be lying--and I immediately realized I was a poor parent in that situation.  My goodness!  I should have just given her what I had.  I normally give to everything I can, if I can,  even if it is only change.  I have been known to stop my car and put money in buckets in crazy areas that I am unfamiliar with.  Here around town too.  But for whatever reason, this time I pushed back and boy did I regret it.  If someone is asking for money and they intend to do something other than what they are asserting they need it for...that is on them; not me.  I KNOW THAT! I am not here to judge one person.  How do we balance this with kids?  Teach them to be kind and giving yet cautious at the same time?  This has been tearing through my mind all day.  SO... I spent the next 30-45 minutes trying to counter what happened.  The boys were concerned about going back in the parking lot in case she approached us again.  I wanted her to!  I was ready for her, I was LOOKING for her.  I wanted to fix it.  I finally explained to the Oldest, "Imagine how humiliating it is for her to walk through the parking lot.  Whether or not she is being genuine and feels this is her only choice or whether she is being  deceitful, it's still hard to make that choice to walk through a parking lot and ask folks if they want to buy what you've made or for them to just give you money."  That seemed to make a light bulb go off for him.  Finally, I think I helped him understand why maybe I was wrong and we are not meant to judge.

I will go back over all of this with them tonight.  Lessons all around in this life.  Just want to make sure they know it's a tough thing to balance and we just have to do the best we can.  Even though I might have messed up in the parking lot, now, I want to make sure that they understand it's our job to be kind.  That's it.  Just be kind.  Be smart; yes, but be kind.  I don't think I was kind.  I think some crazy person took over my normal brain today.  Yes, that is what happened.  In all my life, I just want the boys to learn goodness and have good morals.

Wonder what tomorrow will bring..and what lessons will lie there?  Surely they are waiting right around the corner.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Volunteering at The Boys Schools

Well, part of the reason I work only part time is to be able to spend time at the different schools to help for things that are needed.  I am not one of those Moms that are there every day (no time for that) or involved in every single thing.  I see those Moms, and I usually say hello, maybe make small talk, and keep walking.  "Ain't nobody got time fo dat",  as a wise lady once said (Sweet Brown).  I do however, have time to help for specific things, when it appears no one else is stepping forward, I do.  Or if it rings high on my interest scale, I do.  If the boys want me involved in a particular thing at school, I try to make time for it.  I am perfectly happy to do it.  Usually.  Until I regret it.

The Oldest is in 8th grade.  His school/PTA usually plans a big 8th Grade Celebration and I knew from the beginning that I wanted to be involved and help.  For lots of reasons, but mainly, because I just felt it.  Long story short, I am now involved.  Let's just say there is a lot of red tape involved with the schools and PTA.  If a person was only half hearted about wanting to help, by now, they would have said 'forget it'.  I'm not so half hearted; I'm pretty FULL hearted.  Though someone else would have walked away, here I am sticking in there and I JUST GOT INVOLVED a few days ago.  Already thinking, what in the world? Doesn't matter, I'm going through with it.  Donations and solicitations, here I come.

Some Mom's are Presidents and Vice Presidents of the PTA and they do other stuff on other committees too PLUS they work full time and have multiple kids.  Kudos to them!  I do not say that lightly.  I mean it.  Having said that, I know that it's not for me.  Can't do it.  I refuse to do that to myself.  I will help where I can and try to remain sane.  Too much going on in my brain.  I probably have helped out more than most, but certainly not more than some.  Make sense?
I've helped with Carnivals and run BookFairs and volunteered in classrooms more times that I can count.  I am on a first name basis with every child in the Littlest' classroom and know all of their personalities pretty well by now.  They are adorable and I have come to love them.  But I'm glad I'm only there one day a week for two hours.  Translation; I do what I can.  Could I do more?  Maybe.  But I like balance.  I have to find balance.  If I added more to my plate, I could not handle the imbalance.

So I'll deal with the red tape and do my little job with donations and try to help make the Oldests' 8th Grade Celebration (8GC) the best it can be in my own little way.  Not to mention I am working together with a friend on this subcommittee so there you go; even easier.  It is volunteering after all; we aren't getting paid to do it so I won't let myself get stressed over it.  Roll, roll, roll.  Rolling down the road of life.

Sunday, April 14, 2013


I feel like I have been at a crossroads since 2008.  Well, really, probably, truthfully, since 2003, when he died, but that aside, and getting it together a little at a time, 2008 has been the year that seemed to have rocked our world the most, or since then, in my mind its been about 2008 when the market took a big giant tumble.  Then job loss.  Then another (mine) in 2011 and we got the wind knocked out of us a little more each time.  I wanted it to end with my previous employer.  Though I enjoyed many many good years there and the President of the company was in my mind, the fairest in the land, through my sunny filled shades, I could see dark clouds rolling in on the horizon.  Sometimes in certain relationships, there comes a time when two must part and part we did.  I needed that break from them.  Too much unhealthy micromanaging, intense demand (and I was part time so imagine the poor folks working full time) from above and a very unhealthy working relationship with my direct boss who had issues for miles, it was definitely time.  Still and yet, I was very sad to leave, even though I knew it was best, they were my family and I had been truly cut off before I left.  That was 2011.  Here we are in 2013 and still, every time my mind rests on 2008, I feel a dark sense about things.  It was the beginning of tough times and that is saying a lot as previous to that, it had gotten pretty dark.

Part of me thinks, wow, can't we get a break as a little family?  But then, I immediately realize two things; one, change your thinking NOW, its unhealthy,  and two, we are indeed very blessed and lucky in a myriad of ways despite all the challenges we have come across.  Maybe you truly don't know how strong you are till you have been tested.  And it's quite true that no one was ever promised a rose garden with no thorns.  How boring would that be and what would we learn about ourselves as people?  How would we grow if we had no obstacles to overcome?  Faith in God, whichever God you believe in (if you do) is a test in and of itself.  You SHOULD have doubt in your faith every once in a while, I feel it is normal and keeps you searching and yearning and for me, it has made me more steadfast.  I no longer believe prayer is the answer for everything.  When I hear someone say stuff like that I roll my eyes on the inside.  Oh, I believe in God with all I have, but I know for a fact, a true and honest fact, that prayer does not always work.  What I have learned as this more confident 42 year old is that prayer helps but our destinies are pre determined.  Our paths may seem happenstance, and at times coincidental, but I believe its all laid out before we are even born.  Which troubles me even more about Lucas --but I will leave that for another day.

When my mind somehow runs across that year in my wild daily thought processes, I suppose even if subconsciously it realizes that 2008 was a distinct hard turn in our path as a family, it was supposed to happen, all the challenges that came after, the tests of our relationships, our marriage, our beliefs, were meant to be.  I stood as strong as I knew how in the wild winds of it all.  Despite some who doubted me or could not believe my actions, I still stood as strong as I could and stayed true to my heart and what was right for ME.  We grew stronger because of it.  And now, as those little hurdles have died down a little, rear their heads now and again but have become a bit more tame, I realize, they were meant to be.  I was to feel tested, he was to feel tested, even though it was already determined what we would do, we couldn't know that at the time.

I am a true Gemini.  I am voiceful yet I am quiet.  I laugh and I cry all on the same line of emotion.  I am passionate yet I contain myself quite well.  I am both.  I think learning big lessons myself has given way to teaching to my children these huge lessons of life.  Be strong, even when you think you truly cannot.  Feel joy even when others around you are not.  Be kind, give love and exhibit self control in tough and easy situations.  If my boys can do those things, it matters not what they choose to do in this life, they will be successful.  I am so proud of them as I have set forth to teach them to be selfless and that you cannot have nearly everything (or sometimes anything) you want.  And that is ok.  I loathe to see a child throw a fit over material things.  -It's a sign that things are off balance; and I like to find balance in whatever I can.  Love yourself even when you do not like yourself for the moment.  I have lived that much I think, more than I care to admit.  Of course, I want 2013 to be a year that I can just snap my fingers and say 'Done, all better, we are in the middle of the perfect little rainbow' but that is unreasonable.  And besides maybe all these tough times and challenges have made me a better person.  I could never have let my mind rest on positive thinking or the possibility of it with out this precious book my Aunt D gave me several years ago.  I believe I have referred to it before; The Secret.  It was not an easy book to absorb.  I wrestled with it and the concept, putting it down and picking it up--wanting to understand the core subject of the book for a couple of months before reading it for the 15th time -letting it finally wash over me.  The light bulb moment and finally 'getting it' was so gratifying.  My life changed after that.  No, I'm not a millionare.  Not financially.  But emotionally?  I think I might be close.  I chose my path (of thinking) now.  I am in control of that.  And that, I can already see evidence in my boys, is resting on all of us like a sweet song of life.'s there, its real, but it's history.  Living for the here and now....that is real.  Making each moment count in the history of our little family of four and beyond.  I set these things forth in writing so one day they can come and read it when they need a boost from their Mom or to know her thoughts on life and what was truly important.  Not the toys, or the clothes, or the money, but the way we have lived our lives.  What else is there at the end of it all?  Only love.  Love and faith.  Crossroads will come always-but keep your Faith and show your love and you will be served well.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

If I Love You, You Know It

If I love you, I say it.  Sometimes I say it a lot.  Sometimes I say it when its important, or just when I feel it.  That can be a combination of things!  BUT our lives are too short and as we all know, its promised to no one.  My greatest fear is not being here to help my sons as they traverse their youth; I want to be here for them.  I want to be their biggest cheerleaders and their comfort but also, to help them stay on the right path.
I hope they do.  It's hard now.  The environment is so different and our culture in this country has changed dramatically.  It's cliche to even say 'kids are exposed to so much more these days' while it's true, it's so obvious that it's an unnecessary statement.  It just is.  Kids talk terribly.  Using such foul language and so freely like its air or water; limitless.  It has no meaning to them.  Many times respect is lacking in what 'kids these days' do.  It's appalling to those of us who grew up with parameters, expectations, and rules.  I want my kids to grow up that way; the way I did.  They may not like it, but its the best way, it's RIGHT.

My friends, the few core true friends I can count on one or one and half hands, they know who they are and they know how I feel about them.  I pray I have let them know individually along the way how important they are to me.  I have learned lots of hard hurtful lessons along the way with regard to friends; who really is, who really is not.  Hopefully I'm at a place of wisdom and knowing when someone is toxic for me.

My actions and my words tell those I love that I love them.  And when I love, I love hard and unselfishly.  Hopefully I can pass that legacy on to my boys.  Hopefully my husband feels wrapped in that fully, without thinking or reflecting on it too much.

Happy Valentines Day.  It's a day of love, commercial though it is at times, still, a day of love.  The Littlest thinks its a 'Family Holiday'.  Ahhh, yes.  I suppose it is.  Not many romantic moments when you are raising children and worrying about the day to day.  We steal them here and there.  So, Family Holiday it is.

Spread the love and kindness.  Pay it forward.  Yes, it's a movie, but it's also a way of life.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Parenting in 2013..

This could literally be a book.  It's SO hard to be a parent. When I was a little girl, I remember thinking, 'when I grow up, I want to be a mamma.' In my little girl brain I wanted to have five kids and just be a mom.     Although I did not have five kids, I did have three and one is no longer I have two.  Two is what it was supposed to be.  And two has been enough, these two boys have kept us contentedly busy in lots of ways.  Five?  If I think of five children, someone would have had to knock me silly a couple of times a week and send me a maid too.

As it is, we are happily happy with the four of us, yes, we miss Lucas, but its clear God meant it to be this way.  So having said that, we go on.  And we get busy and we do the best we can.  My husband and I are pretty on balance with how we parent, ways we think things should be done etc etc.  Of course, we don't agree on everything.  Would be no fun that way.  It's good to have two dissenting opinions, then you can find the balance of the two and hopefully the kids benefit from the middle ground.  Let's pray it makes them more open minded to know we had to 'meet in the middle' on stuff from time to time.  

However, the hardest part of parenting is knowing if what YOU BELIEVE is really right to teach them and what they need.  Yes, its easy to know what you think and do what you know....if that makes sense..but that is for YOU.  What about what is best for THEM?  We all know when they sent us home from the hospital there was no binder or how to books.  I remember driving home with the Oldest sitting in the back seat thinking, "Are they frickin' kidding me?  They're letting us TAKE THE BABY?"  Sheer panic set in and on that long drive home when my honey probably drove the slowest he's ever driven in his life, for fear of crashing with the baby in the car, I remember being in a daze.  Happy?  Yes.  Very happy.  But in a daze.  What in the world did we just do?  What just happened here? Oh yes, a lot just happened there.  We knew NOTHING!  But pretended we were in control.  I'm sure it was pretty hilarious.  

 ---Flash forward...along comes the Middlest, Lucas.  

This was me as we were taking Lucas home from the hospital.  We were a bit more seasoned by then..just a bit.  Life back then was fairly simple, the boys were little.  There were no terribly difficult decisions (yet).  It was pretty straightforward, feed them, make sure they get plenty of sleep, change their diapers, make sure they feel loved 24 hours a day.  

NOW.  They have grown.  There are bigger decisions.  There really are decisions and tough choices to be made.  Sometimes indignation even!  I pray pray pray we are doing things right.  We hold our ground on some of the things that their friends' parents don't.  It makes us the bad guys sometimes.  I'm OK with being the bad guy.  But will it be worth it?  Hard to tell.  Have to go with your gut.  And pray.  A lot.  

Everything is so fast forward.  Kids with iPhones.  Kids with iPads doing and interacting in ways we could never have imagined when we were little.  Kids in 6th, 7th and 8th grade having boyfriend/girlfriend relationships.  Violence in the media, violent video games, provocative imagines flying at them in warp speed on the main channels of TV, it's too much to absorb for an ADULT sometimes, let alone a child.  How can they process it all and be expected to make fully informed decisions?  There's no way, and I'm not trying to take away anything from them, as they are very smart!

It takes a village.  And lots of attention from us as the parents!  I can't even imagine how it will be for OUR BOYS to parent when its their time.  What will it be like then?  Futuristic parenting...I wouldn't even want to begin to guess what a futuristic world will be like with regard to parenting.

All I know is, we are doing our best and we love them.  At the end of the day, I pray that shines through more than anything else.  Any of the 'no's they will hear or disappointments they may have....I hope they hear, feel, and see how much we love them more than any of that other stuff.  Our society is throwing so much at them on a daily basis, they have to be smart to navigate it all.  And us parents?  We have to be SMARTER.  Maybe that's the takeaway.  Gotta be smart.  

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Girl and her Glass of Wine..

You know, I find that in the last year or so, I have taken to having a glass of wine every night while I cook, if I can help it that is.  What does that say about me?  I really don't know, but I like whatever it is!  Sometimes, I will even have a second with dinner.  I never used to do this. It absolutely mellows me out and takes the day down a notch or two.  Things that previously sent me over a rainbow, get taken with a grain of salt when I am drinking a glass of wine.

It's a good thing, right?  Yes, yes, its a good thing.  Come on now, let's all agree on this one.  I have slowly begun changing (slowly) from white to red.  WOW!  If you know me, you know I like it white and sweet.  But, I am finding that every now and then a nice glass of warm red wine is just PERFECT and while I swing around the kitchen and dance in and out of the traffic (boys, husband, and dog) I keep a more level head and less bitter thoughts come out of my mouth when nursing a good glass of wine.  Let's consider our days as women...wait, let's consider mine.  Some think I have it easy.  I only work part time.  Wow!  I must  have it easy, right?  Sure.  My life is SO easy.  NOT.  

BECAUSE I am part time (which is exactly how I think I want it right now, note the key word, 'think') I put a lot of pressure on myself to do more and get it all done on time.  I think it drains me more.  I am quite afraid of losing time with the boys.  I have already lost a lifetime with Lucas, I have no intention of losing any more if I can help it with the Oldest and Littlest.  So each day is crammed full of more than I probably should and by the evening, whether I've just been at work or had a day at home, I'm spent.  That little glass of wine helps me be balanced.  Sounds crazy, but yes, I have found that it is true.  Thank goodness for the creator of wine, whoever discovered it.  I am thankful.  

Now when I am OUT, with a friend, with my honey, at an event, just OUT with no kids (ok, sometimes with kids) I

a good margarita.  Oh yes, that is my huge weakness.  Or a martini.  Ok, I digress. Margarita it is.  :)

A girl has to relax.  A girl has to let loose.  A girl needs to have fun!  Even a 42 year old girl, its true.  I am good, I never take it too far, PWOMISE.  :)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Grateful Heart

When I think of my life..and all that it has encompassed, I think I have been very blessed.  I am sitting here in the same room with the boys who are arm wrestling with smiles on their faces.  13 and 7.  I think their love for each other will always be there.  Makes it all worth it.  They are making me laugh as they are having a sour candy contest and their faces are all sucked in as they say 'I can take it' and the Littlest is now spitting it out saying, 'this is gonna kill me!' and I'm cracking up.  The Oldest is giving him sound (not so) advice and saying, "just don't swallow the spit, get past the sour layer!" and the Littlest is not buying it.  The Oldest' face is contorted and his cheekbones are very pronounced as he tries to pretend the candy is not sour.  Oh they slay me, I love their antics....

We have a wonderful roof over our heads.  We are very blessed to have that.  We have worked hard for it and we have sacrificed a LOT to keep it that way.  We don't buy things on a whim, we don't do grand improvements to our home just because we want them; things that we improve are definitely NEEDED, not just wanted.  -We have made it through some very tough times but here we are.  Not by luck, but by smarts, hard work and stick-to-it-iv-ness.  By our fingernails sometimes.  But all for these boys.

With losing your child, your entire Universe is altered permanently, first, very starkly, then in smoother ways, like a pebble being smoothed by the waves of the unending crashing ocean (which I've often compared grieving to).  It ultimately comes to just a knowledge, a knowing, a certain intangible thing that is just added to your life that makes you love harder, laugh louder, hug a little more, and become more protective.  That last one, well, that's probably putting it lightly.  Protective.  You could say that.

But beyond that, the normal ups and downs of life are made sweeter by love.  The love I feel for what I work for--our boys--my boys--it fuels everything I do.  I'm not unlike other moms in that way. I know we all are driven for the same things.  I get it.  ~I feel that common driving factor is enunciated in our lives by Lucas and his absence.  So for ME, its magnified.  How I feel life, look at life, appreciate life and protect it.

So in sitting back and listening to the boys banter about silly things and get along and laugh (and fight) and laugh some more...I KNOW how blessed we are.  You could never take that away from me; that knowledge.  It's infused in how I wake up in the morning, when my feet hit the floor each morning, I feel gratitude, it might be groggy gratitude, I might be stumbling to the bathroom with my gratitude..and I will hold my pee until I brush my teeth (gotta do that first you know) with my thanks rolling through my brain and no matter how hokey it sounds, its the truth.....and I pray it makes me a better person.  Sometimes it is not easy you know!  I could easily be bitter and stay that way.   I know people like that.  -Not interested.  That would be so easy!  It would be easier to feel that way and be down about what we don't have!  You have to work at gratitude sometimes you know....

At the beginning of 2013, I enter it with a grateful heart.  Despite the downs and because of the downs but mostly, because of the ups.  We have had many.  And we are still here, still standing, and still a close family BECAUSE of it all.  


Saturday, January 05, 2013

New Year

It's the beginning of a new year.  I refuse to make resolutions.  Well, maybe one.  Time to be a better example for the boys in my relationship with God.  That is easy.  Just need to go back home.  Where I am supposed to be.  I'm there in my heart so I'm comfortable with that; but the boys cannot visually see that.  So-that's a given.

Other than that, no resolutions.  Continue with my same theme, keep it as simple as I can, be kind in every situation possible, hold my tongue more, and love harder than I think I can.

There are too many people in this world.  It's too crazy, too much chaos, its almost too much to take in some times and you just have to block it all out. I think one day it will all just come crashing down. I hope it does not, but it seems somewhat inevitable.

This year will bring improvements and success.  Not just materialistically but emotionally.  Definitely that.  That is my focus.  The boys, and improvements.  Whatever else comes will be icing on the cake.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

New Birds in Town!

We live on a little man made lake.  It's pretty.  I love living 'on the water' if you will, even though it does not in any way feed into the Ocean or the Bay, I still love it.  Peaceful.  With it comes all kinds of birds.  When we first moved in, we were inundated with Canadian Geese.  I thought it was so cool, until they starting POOPING everywhere.  Green logs all over the place and soon the love affair with the geese was turning into a nightmare.  We couldn't play in the yard without fear of stepping in goose poop.  And they are not exactly friendly.  Not mean, but menacing..  We eventually built a fence on the backline of our property and the geese never figured out that they could 'fly' over it to get to our yard to graze.  Silly Goose.  :)

After a while, we caught on to their patterns and knew when to expect the arrivals and departures of the geese.  I started noticing other birds like egrets.  They've been here for a while.  Beautiful, graceful, quiet and stilling birds.  Sometimes it seems they will stand still forever and not move a muscle.  Then Blue Herons entered into the mix.  They are more fleeting.  More prone to just taking off and flying for any little sound or change in environment is my sense.  Ducks always intermingled off and on throughout the year.  Just common ducks it seemed.

Now suddenly we have Loons and wait for it....this totally completely new bird has arrived at the lake and rocked my little world.  Gorgeous.  Black and big white patch on its head.  A Bufflehead Duck?  Maybe.... but after much research and a little help from my online friends, it has been determined that we now have Hooded Mergansers!  They are a type of duck and quite distinctive; both in their looks and sounds.
This is a Hooded Merganser in our own little lake!  

He is a male.  And he makes this throaty little banjo string low twangy sound.  Apparantly he does that when he's preparing to mate.  Well I heard that a LOT yesterday morning when walking the puppy.  Then today, I saw another and they were in a pair.  You KNOW I had the camera at the ready.  

The one on the left is a female and of course the more handsome black and white one is the male. 

 Well, I wonder if they will stay?  I wonder if they will have babies here and stay?  I think they are just so pretty.  And apparently they spend a lot of time under water feeding on crayfish and other fish found in freshwater lakes.  Love these things.

I will keep this updated with what I continue to see, whether or not they stay or go.  I hope they stay!  With so many types of waterfowl in the lake now, its beginning to represent a little bird village in a way.  Like it!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Organizing Christmas Bags, Tissue, Bows, and Ribbon

Thank you Pinterest.  It's not the best but its a start.  So here I go.  I think my next step is to get binder organizers that stand alone like this:

But for now, the first pic will have to do.  I can't stand it anymore, I literally have to do it now or I will lose my mind.  Step two/picture two will come later in January.  Once done, I will post my after shot.  I'm too embarrassed to show you the before.  It was a MESS.

Funny how we collect things in this life, sometimes truly unaware of how it is piling up because it becomes part of the normal tapestry of our lives.  Then one day we look at it, really look at it and we are shocked.  Yah, that was me this morning.

I don't have much space to put the organized bags and accents in, so I will have to make the most of it.  I am determined.  A little post Christmas straightening; coming right up.