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Archive for the ‘Lessons’ Category

Off to the park

We’ve recently moved across town and happen to live closer to nieces and nephews. You know what that means. We’ve been added to the speed-dial sitter list.

Last weekend was our maiden voyage.  A full day with the 3-year old twins. As you might imagine, we had no trouble sleeping that night. We had a lot of fun and enjoyed the girls, but they certainly kept us going all day.  To any of you who have children or nieces/nephews, this will come as no surprise, but we came away from the day having been reminded of some important things. These are lessons I gained from a day with three-year olds:

1: SLOW DOWN. Normally, it takes Brent and I about four minutes to get to the park on our bikes. Not so with three-year-olds. No, it was a 45-minute walk each way. The trip to the park wasn’t my brightest idea on a 95-degree day. But they were troopers and never complained. Yet it was a slow, deliberate pace the entire way. There was no rush, no sense of needing to get to our destination quickly. No wonder it’s only adults who deal with things like high blood pressure. We’d all do well to slow down our pace a notch or two!

Stop & Smell the Flowers

2: STOP & SMELL THE FLOWERS: One of the highlights on the trail was to stop and smell the flowers. If we’d been in a hurry, the beauty of the landscape and wildflowers would have been missed. It was sweet to see one sister want to share her flower experience with the other. What a great lesson. Stop, take a look around. Be present in the moment, enjoy what God puts in your path and share it with those around you.

Quack Quack!

3. INJECT FUN INTO ORDINARY THINGS. The girls knew we’d be having a cold treat when we got home, but we kept the fact that it was smoothies a surprise. Unwilling to allow an unnamed treat, the twins decided to refer to the surprise as “Quack Quack.” Silly as it was, it brought us all lots of laughter for the rest of the night.

4: KINDLE THE JOY OF READING (no pun intended!). I’ve always loved books. Most of my life I’ve been a voracious reader. But, for some reason, recent years have drew my attention elsewhere. Watching the girls bring me book after book after book to read was contagious. I think we put away about 20 books before the night was over.

5. REMEMBER THE SNEETCHES. One of the many stories we read was Dr. Seuss’ “Sneetches.” It’s a book I’ve had since I was a child and it shows by its well-worn corners. It made an impact on me as a child and I often recall its lessons even as an adult. The basic message is not to get caught up in the latest trends or judge others just because they’re not caught up in them. I think about how our society is so influenced by the latest

Sneetches

hot gadget, fashion or topic. Too often we’re judged by what toys we have or what we wear or how informed we are about the current trending Twitter feed. Yet, being on top of those things has nothing to do with strong character, kindness and living a godly life.

Isn’t it amazing what God shows us through children? What lessons have you learned lately?

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Admittedly, it’s a frivolous problem. But I currently feel quite trapped in my nails. Some of it is no doubt due to my relative ignorance of the whole manicure world. Oh, and I suppose it didn’t help that there was a major language barrier during the process.

Here’s the problem. About once, maybe twice a year, I treat myself to a manicure/pedicure. I just can’t bring myself to do it more often. Other things win my priority list. But, after a long winter, it’s a lovely way to usher in spring and summer sandal weather.

Usually, it’s business as usual. You go in, pick a color, they clean up your nails, paint and let them dry and you’re out the door. A week to 10 days later I’m back on my own for nail care. While I’m in the salon though, it’s a pretty relaxing process, if you don’t count those few awkward moments my ticklish feet are set off.

However, since we moved recently, I went to a different establishment and the language barrier seemed particularly challenging. I finally thought I understood the young lady asking if I wanted a special coating to make the nail polish last longer. Who wouldn’t want that? Sure I said.

That simple “sure” was my first mistake.

Two weeks have gone by. The nails looked beautiful, but it seems a couple weeks is the limit for this special coating. The only problem is that I scrubbed and scrubbed with remover to no avail. It’s like I’ve got car paint on my nails. And it’s not budging.

So, of course, I turned to Google for help. And I was shocked. After going to the salon’s website to find out exactly what was on my nails, I learned that this special treatment, Axxium gel, is not removable by any normal method. Go figure. You’ve got to go back in to the salon to have it professionally removed. And the procedure doesn’t thrill me. That might have been a helpful little piece of information.

I also discovered why the bill seemed more than I had expected. Turns out I paid handsomely for this special coating that is now glued to my nails.

Perhaps some of you seasoned nail salon clients will have some tips I’m not aware of for removing this now dreadful looking shellac. Otherwise, it looks like I’m headed back to the salon. Or might it be wiser to check out what other salons are in the area?

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Commercial-grade washer

Before this week, I can’t remember the last time I stepped into a Laundromat. I have a vague recollection of waiting in one for what seemed like an eternity with my mom when I was young. If memory serves me at all, I think we were on vacation. Can there be a worse spot for a kid on vacation, let alone on my day off this week?

I was dragging my feet that morning, wavering on the question, “Should I go to the Laundromat or not?” Our new wash machine wasn’t due for another 10 days and we had a pile (a VERY large pile) of wet towels. My mother-in-law is kind enough to let us use her appliances in the meantime, but those towels were getting rather nasty. When the flood of water came rushing across my feet while doing laundry earlier in the  week, every towel within grasp went on the floor to mop it up.

I had many other things I preferred doing that morning than sitting in a dirty, crowded Laundromat for hours. Besides, I had no idea where one was located or exactly how they worked these days. (Brent reminded me later that I should have asked Siri!) And so I dragged my feet and went about doing other things on my list. When I ran an errand, I drove past a Laundromat just a few blocks from home. I’d never noticed it before. Never needed to. Hmmmm. Seemed just too convenient not to seriously consider now. Drat.

It would be a new adventure, right? So, I piled up the mountain of wet towels, grabbed some soap and gathered enough activities to keep me occupied for hours.

When I arrived, I first noticed how clean the place was. There were about a half dozen other women there

Your basic washer

and once the mom with four energetic sons left, the place actually became quite peaceful. I was pleasantly surprised to see how HUGE these washers were. Could I do the entire, overflowing pile in one load? I started buying into the whole Laundromat thing at this point.

New to the scene, I read and re-read the instructions to the commercial-size wash machine, filled it with towels (all of the towels!) and soap in the dispenser, and then inserted $5.75 in quarters. (I’ll bet my mom didn’t need that many quarters!). I shut the door and sat down. The best news was that it took just 27 minutes! This one load would have required about three loads in my home wash machine. I was almost disappointed because I didn’t get to finish one project in my bag.

What had I been dragging my feet over? Yeah, it’s a bummer to be without a wash machine right now and sitting in a Laundromat for even a short time still doesn’t rank high on my list. But here’s the good news:

• I’ve wondered where to take some of my larger loads, including things like comforters and blankets. Now I know a nearby spot that’s clean and easy to use.

• The towels were done in one load vs. three at my mother-in-law’s place.

• I pretty much have the system down when I revisit. It’s really not difficult. Just remember to bring:

– LOTS of quarters. I used the commercial-grade washer which seemed to indicate it could handle 4X the normal load. There were also small units that may be less expensive. And then there were a few mongo-size washers. I wonder if I’d need to stop at the bank before loading up one of those.

– Something to pass the time. Have a grocery list to finish? A good book? If you have a smart phone or iPad, you’re taken care of. Maybe some headphones in case the four energetic boys arrive.

– Need I say it? Your laundry, soap and whatever else you use in the whole laundry process.

– A friend? Next week a friend of mine has agreed to join the adventure. We’re going to pick up some lunch on the way. This could actually be fun!  

Most importantly, this all seemed to be yet another reminder on a larger lesson in life. What else am I dragging my feet on that probably isn’t that big of deal and, in the end, would provide huge benefits that I’m missing out on? What are you dragging your feet on that may actually not be as big a deal as you think? Is it time to jump in and give it a try?

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