My Peaceful, Easy Feeling

Monday afternoon I saw the news that Glenn Frey, the founder of The Eagles, died. People all over are paying their respects online, telling story after story of his gift touching their hearts.

What a connection I had with his brilliant music. I’m among the mourners.

Just about a week ago, my family of five was driving from Denver to Phoenix to watch Clemson play Alabama in the National Championships.

Although I was in an F150 and not a flatbed Ford, when we passed through Winslow, Arizona I sang one of my favorite lines from that song. And sang loud.

Winslow Arizona Take It Easy

My singing is part why I’m convinced my husband stayed awake on that 13+ hour both ways family road trip. He may politely beg to differ. My love for music [and car singing] is no surprise though for those who know me best.

I even pulled up Take It Easy on Youtube from my phone for my entire family to hear. After playing [and the two adults in the car singing] the song, I explained to my kids who The Eagles are. They willingly obliged with listening ears. I think it went right over their heads.

I didn’t explain it all, though – who The Eagles are to me. I have a feeling one day I will.

Aside from remembering their song Heartache Tonight as a little kid, I was introduced to the band during my Freshman year in high school. Circa 1989. We went to the mountains of North Carolina to Windy Gap for our Young Life camp.

Seven Bridges Road was one of the songs we sang. That and All I Want is You by U2. I remember thinking it was so cool that we had a little rock-n-roll in our worship time + that God and music were pulled together in such a beautiful way. And whoever these people were, I wanted to hear more.

I also listened to The Eagles’ songs on my walkman in the backseat of my parents car on the way to my basketball games. Every week. I realize The Eagles may not be some people’s pump up music on game day, but they sure were mine.

Speaking of cars, do you remember your first one? Mine was a Mazda 626. Powder blue. Four speed. Nothing automatic about it. Not the transmission, not the door locks, not the windows.

It was a car my Dad had bought from his older brother to give my older sister, which was then handed down to me when she left for college.

I always had hoped my Dad would buy a car from his older brother but had a different one in mind. My cousin Angela drove a cherry red Honda prelude. With a sunroof. And personalized license plates.

I remember the first time I saw those plates [I’ve always had an eye for detail] was Christmas Day at my Grandma Long’s house. The coolest of cars displaying “APL” on the tags was parked street-side as we drove up Sunset Drive.

As a girl who loves a monogram, this spoke volumes to me. My cousin also wore monogrammed sweaters. I was in awe.

However, I was sincerely grateful when it was my turn to have a car no matter what kind it was, and I loved that I could drive a stick. At the time, my parents thought it was important we girls know how.

My Dad had me practice in the parking lot of his business which had a slight incline. If you didn’t get it right, you ended up in the middle of the four-lane highway which was Main Street in Mauldin, South Carolina. I learned real fast.

Just before I finished my senior year of high school, my parents surprised me with a white Mazda RX-7, also a stick shift. We were at the old Greenville Mall after church to eat one Sunday afternoon.

My Dad kept getting up, going in and out and I wondered what was going on. When we walked outside and I saw the giant orange bow, it clicked.

I squealed, jumped up and down, and leaped separately into my parents arms like a little kid.

PeacefulEasyFeelingCar

My Mom gave me a gift that day in May 1993 just as memorable as the new car. Two cassette tapes of the Eagles…Their Greatest Hits and Eagles Greatest Hits, Vol. 2.

I left that afternoon and went straight to pick up my best friend and give her a ride around town. Then I picked up my boyfriend and we did the same. Then I drove by myself.

I put 100 miles on my car that day and was gone for almost 3 hours. All listening to The Eagles with the windows down and sunroof open.

Such a happy day in my memory bank of teenage life. That car + that music represented freedom to me.

I had a chance to see them in concert when I was 20. I bought tickets. They came to Clemson in June 1996 to perform in Death Valley the summer between my junior and senior year in college.

Boy was I looking forward to seeing them live! Except there was another big adventure waiting for me that summer. For that reason, I didn’t see the show.

I accepted a summer job at a mountain resort in Grand Lake, Colorado. Across the country, two time zones away from everything I ever knew.

And yet a whole new kind of experience that would eventually bring me out west after graduating from Clemson.

I remember interviewing on the phone. After a lengthy conversation, the owner asked me why he should hire me.

With my 20-year old confidence in need of a little refinement, since in my mind I had already answered all his questions, I said “I’m a hard worker. And I don’t do anything half-as*…I mean half-way, sir.”

Once he stopped laughing, he said “You’re hired! We’ll see you in June.”

And although I didn’t want to miss out on that concert, I’m really glad I didn’t miss out on that summer, and on Colorado.

Whenever I hear The Eagles on the radio I always stop to listen to the station. I used to have their piano book and loved playing Lyin’ Eyes, Best of My Love, and the powerful chords in Take It to the Limit.

I see Amazon still carries it and have added it to the business book in my shopping cart from earlier today. I’m ready to be reacquainted.

I never did see them live in concert. I’ll now play my own to an audience of one.

So as the surprising news of Glenn Frey’s passing was sinking in, a flood of memories came back. A few minutes later tears formed in my eyes.

I can be stoic, which has been of great benefit at times in my life. At other times, I wonder why I’m the one who can cry at what seems like unusual situations.

I’m learning to embrace that instead of fight against it. What a relief! Know why?

God knows what He’s doing when He wires us. After all, I’m made in His image + He created me this way for a purpose.

Plus, I’ve seen a couple of awesome quotes on Pinterest about us sensitive types. Me being a lover of language, I get excited over a powerful stringing of words 🙂

Dreamer Doer Seeker

After praying for Mr. Frey’s family and bandmates, mine turned to prayers of gratitude for his gift and his sharing of that gift.

I have a friend who’s recently challenged me to look at when strong emotion strikes. Notice when change surfaces and stop to think why instead of brushing it off.

I did that today.

I knew that some of my unexpected tears accumulating in my eyes were grateful ones. Tears for his sharing of an innate gift of music with others, which gave me freedom at a time in my life when I so desperately wanted it. Music that made me feel calm when my world sometimes felt like shaky ground.

I’m taken back to the 17-year old girl that day in May 1993, and what was occurring in her life then and in the not so distant future ahead.

And what I would give as a grown woman today to wrap my arms around her. Hold her face in my hands and look her in the eyes. Speak truth into her heart.

Those were the other half of the tears that filled my eyes and, for a moment, the ones who fell free down my cheek.

But you know what made them all dry beautifully? Knowing now that God had His arms wrapped around me. The whole time!

There are days I would give most anything to see the stars from the southern sky. The moonlight and moss in the trees.

Yet I also know the view of seeing those same stars even closer from a gorgeous Rocky Mountain sky.

My Mom remembers me calling her that summer almost 20 years ago. Gushing over how beautiful looking at the stars could be. I’d never seen anything like it.

No matter where I’m seeing the stars, there is indeed a taste of time sweetened honey. Because as a 40-year old woman I can see that He has been there every step of the way, on whichever bridge or road I traveled.

He has loved me like a baby
Like some lonesome child
He has loved me in a tame way
And He has loved me wild

And that is the best kind of peaceful, easy feeling there is.

Why Have You Stopped?

Have you ever stopped doing something you were good at?

Have you ever stopped doing something you weren’t so good at?

I’ve done both.

I’m most bothered by the things I stopped doing that I was good at. Here are my three.

Basketball: I remember Saturday nights as a child playing ball in our driveway with my sisters in our nightgowns, while Dad was grilling steaks + Mom was fixing the rest of dinner inside. Certain cracks in the concrete marked our spots for “Around the World” as well as the slightly off centered free throw line.

Dad would pause from grilling duties and get scrappy with us while we dribbled, which made me a better player. Then he’d swing me around as the laughter would ensue. I loved those Saturday nights.

To this day, swishing a 3-pointer gives me a high like no other. I loved stealing the ball from an opponent. I was a hustler. Aggressive for the ball. Absolutely loved playing. I stopped after high school. I’ve often wished I played as a young adult even in a church or rec league.

Instead, I’m teaching my kids the basics + enjoying shoot outs on our double set in the basement with my basketball loving husband. By the way, the night we met we discovered we both had donned #24 on our basketball jerseys as teenagers. ***swoon***

On the 2nd anniversary of my Dad’s passing, I went outside in the middle of the afternoon all alone. I shot hoops in our cul-de-sac. I actually had my phone and took a picture after the release of what became a swisher.

I smiled + cried at the same time while saying in my heart and out loud to the empty streets while the wind whistled in the air “That one’s for you, Dad. All net.” He was my coach.

BasketballSwish

Want to know something weird? As an adult, I’ve had recurring dreams of feeling panicked, being in a game and not being able to dribble correctly. Not able to shoot the ball. Unable to lift my arm.

The truth is, I love dribbling and, in fact, the drills. I can still sink a shot. What happened in my dream? I was paralyzed by the fear of not doing it right.

Playing the piano: My Mom and my Nana spent countless hours taking us girls to Yamaha Music School for our piano lessons. It’s one thing I’m most appreciative for now as an adult.

I’m grateful my Mom allowed me to choose songs I wanted to play in recitals instead of the traditional pieces we had to learn in class, and what seemed like everyone else was playing.

Mom has always encouraged me to stay true to me, and I’m grateful to have her influence on my life. Parents, never underestimate how far your belief in a child will take them.

In 4th grade, I remember the rest of the kids choosing eloquent classical music for their performance in our Spring recital. Although beautifully composed, they were so boring to me.

Mom knew what I wanted to play, and got the sheet music for me. With every ounce of confidence I walked out across the stage, sat down and tickled the keys to “Total Eclipse of the Heart”. I was 9 years old.

The shade of my sheet music’s cover? I can still remember it to this day. It was lavender – my favorite color. Everyone thought the song choice was so bold, but I didn’t.

I wasn’t trying to be bold; I was being me, and that moment being me meant not doing what everyone else was.

One song I still play by memory is Stand By Me. I learned it in elementary school, and that’s also when I stopped taking lessons. My skill level is still that of a pianist my children’s age. I will hear a song and can play it by ear, although very basic. I used to have a book of Journey’s greatest hits – Open Arms and all! Wish I still had that and my Alabama one.

From classical hymns to Christmas music to Dixie, I often play to an audience of one: me. Why? I get nervous and mess up when others are listening.

And I don’t like messing up, much less when someone can hear me. It’s a perfectionistic tendency I acknowledge and own, but regardless it’s still there. I am paralyzed by the fear of not doing it right.

Earlier this year, Ben E. King passed away. I discovered the news on Twitter and was home alone. I immediately went downstairs. Took my phone out to record, and started playing his song. Music has always resonated with me. I become drawn in by lyrics and lost in the song.

I wanted to write about it that day, but I didn’t. I didn’t quite know what to say until now. This video is my first take, unedited. Promised myself I would record it once and only once…and that one day I would share it when I knew why. Here’s my moment.

Have you ever read The 5 Love Languages? If you haven’t, buy a copy. And if you’re a parent, read The 5 Love Languages for Children. I promise you it will be time well spent and your relationships with those most important to you will flourish from what you learn.

One of my love languages is Words of Affirmation. Looking back over my life, I can see this pretty clearly. I keep notes and letters that should have been long thrown away. I keep cards so I have the handwriting and sentiments of love ones no longer able to send them.

When I was a child, my mother had a stationery set made for me personalized with my name on my favorite shade. To this day, I get excited when the stationery catalog arrives in the mail. Yes, they still make them and I’m on the mailing list 😉

I want to write. I’ve become so timid in the process, that I’ve fallen short on sending thank you notes, birthday cards, and hand-written words of encouragement in the mail that truly used to feed me and I hoped fed others. Plus, I view sending thank you notes as showing good manners.

I use words to encourage others…I was a cheerleader…still am in many ways…a nurturer…I try to always find the good in someone, and sometimes share it out loud with them. Not false praise, but just like there’s always something to be thankful for [1 Thessalonians 5:18], I believe there’s always something good in everyone.

To me, that verse does not mean we give thanks for everything that happens, but in everything that happens we can find something for which to be thankful. There’s a difference. So with people, I believe that even though someone can be mean or make horrible choices, there is some good thing in them.

I feel that so often we hear what we’re not good at, and I’ve been guilty of this with myself as well as with others. What I’ve found is when we lift others up with genuine words of encouragement…not flattery…that person may be inspired to do small + big things. They may even go on to make a positive impact for someone else in their own way.

My daughter often asks me “Why do you talk to strangers?”. I tell her it’s just who I am. Honestly, I find people fascinating. I simply love conversation. Everyone has a story – a different story from you + from me. I’ve noticed over the years that people just want to be heard and listened to.

How do we validate others? Listen to their stories. We don’t have to agree with them. We don’t have to fix them. Don’t have to share the same point of view, political party, or religion. Just share time in their space.

After all, it’s at the nature of who we are to live in connection with one another. Want to do this in a small way? The next time you ask someone how their day is going in passing, actually wait to hear the response!

Have you ever found it easier to not do something because you think you may get it right? Then what?

I think this boils down to a fear of success. A lot of times I hear people say, “what if I fail.” Well, you might. I might. So what? Then you know. And what if you fly? What if it takes off?

I’ve been scared of that before. Apprehensive to walk back through parts of the muddle that on the other side, made me become who I am. Even if only going over things in my mind, not even sharing to anyone else directly, I’m concerned over how to phrase in certain ways not to hurt someone’s feelings or be disrespectful to their story, no matter how theirs may have impacted + in turn molded part of mine.

Not to dissect the past, but through it help to be purposeful + present in the now. Maybe in even a small way shine some hope for someone else’s future.

I’ve asked myself does anyone really care what I have to say, why does my viewpoint matter, and will anyone besides my sister read it? Whether by humor, vulnerability, or just sharing the stories of life, will my words positively impact someone…anyone?

I’m a recovering people pleaser. Perhaps not so recovered.

I’ve become so paralyzed that I’ve stopped doing one small, tiny, seemingly insignificant thing that I used to love to do, and I’ve realized it’s enveloped in a much larger paralysis.

Want to know what it is? Writing notes. It sounds so silly! I’ve stopped writing little notes because what I’m really scared of writing is a much bigger story. Writing is my #3.

So, I’ve made a promise to myself. I’m going to spend time daily penning my thoughts to paper. Some I’ll share, some I’ll keep tucked away until I know just what to do with them. Some of those will only be known by me + my Savior. Regardless, I will move forward.

Friends, will you ‘stand by me’? Think of what you’ve been good at, something you used to enjoy. Do one small thing towards something that’s made your heart smile before.

Whether it’s going out in the cul-de-sac and shooting hoops, to writing words of encouragement either in a note, a post-it in your kid’s lunchbox, or drafting a book, to playing the song that’s been in your heart all along.

And if you want to share it with me either in the comments or in a private message, I’ll cheer you along the way 🙂

xoxo,

Mindy

Mindy practicing piano at home

Did You Know IKEA Offers Humble Pie?

IKEA Memorial Day

IKEA…it’s a great idea!

In Colorado, we’ve had what feels like a monsoon of a May. We are used to our 300+ days of sunshine each year, and May has been wet and dreary.

All.month.long.

To say the least, everyone here is over it. We chose Denver over Seattle for a reason. We miss our sunshine and mild May weather.

I long to sing “Here Comes the Sun”. I never heard that song until I came to Colorado for the first time in the Summer of 1996…and it’s one of my favorites to this day!

I always equate Colorado with sun. And this song. And me falling in love with Colorado.

“Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces

Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been here”

As I saw friends posting about their lake and beach outings for Memorial Day weekend, I laughed that my family’s big Sunday afternoon adventure was going to IKEA.

I even took a picture of the “Welcome to IKEA” sign upon our arrival, thinking I’d say something tongue-in-cheek on my personal Facebook feed.

However, two hours later all I left with was a piece of humble pie. My family had spent the last part of the afternoon walking that glorious 3 story building of a store with a pitstop for dinner in their cafeteria…where a family of five can eat for $25. Nevermind one family member ended up sick in the middle of the night…

I digress. Back to the giant mecca of organizational goodness. One of my kids was disappointed, and let’s say showing such in that regard since we didn’t leave with a desk and were simply looking to see what we liked and what would fit in said child’s room.

It was an ordeal. And that’s an understatement and putting it politely.

We were trying to beat the closing time clock, and on our way out saw an organizational rack that was the second item we wanted to check out while there. Our garage desperately needed something to wrangle our shoes, cleats, gloves, bats, helmets, and folding chairs for all the kids’ sporting events.

Just at the time I was admiring the bins that perfectly fit on the shelves and thinking of one per child to contain each of their shoes in a gloriously organized fashion, literally seeing the beautiful structure in my mind and practically salivating at the thought, my youngest announced he needed to get to the bathroom stat.

This would make round two or three since we arrived. It was my turn to take him.

If you have a three year old, y’all understand the need to not wait in those moments. My husband took our older two kids and was headed to the self serve center to pick out our box of unassembled goodness. Less than five minutes before closing time.

We were on a mission.

Before leaving he said he was trying to find a pen to write down the item number to take to self service section to find, and I said I’d take a picture of the number instead and text it to him. Forget not taking your phone into the bathroom…little man was the one using the facilities, but I followed him in to the stall just to make sure. I texted from the bathroom stall in a sense of “whew!” on both fronts as my youngest made it and I quickly sent the attached photo.

I saw Todd from across the room as we were making our way to the checkout. I noticed he didn’t have the bins. “Todd! Toodd! TODD!” I secretly love projecting my old cheerleader voice with such depth. We needed those bins. He didn’t hear me (or maybe he did 😉 ).

I raced down that aisle to see if perhaps they had the accessories to the shelving close by. No go. Two minutes until the store closes. No time to go back upstairs to that department and get them.

I picked up my 3 year old and ran.

All this to say, when we met up at the check out line, just as the cashier greeted us and I was catching my breath, I asked “Todd, where are the bins?”. He said he didn’t see them. I asked the cashier where we could find them. We needed three, remember?

The cashier said he could call that store section and ask someone. I thanked him profusely. Todd interjected he didn’t think we really needed them right now. The store was closing and it wasn’t that big of a deal. I totally ignored him and proceeded to look at the cashier with a glance that must have made my point known that I didn’t want to leave without those bins.

Any of you who have wrangled three kids under 10 to IKEA on a holiday weekend where the free onsite childcare is full because it’s so crowded can appreciate wanting to get what you came for. And not making another trip for the stupid bins.

What happened next? Let’s just say we had a “difference of opinion” right there in the IKEA checkout line. Me, my husband, and the poor cashier right in the middle of it.

Next, I did what any mature, 39 year old, gracious Mom of three would do. I gave…the eye roll. Hard. I may have even grunted somewhat audibly and nearly burst a blood vessel in the process. I went to walk off. I wanted to make it known I was mad and didn’t want to be around anyone. I stomped my feet a little in my mind. 

I quickly realized little feet were beside me. Following. “Mommy, why did you just roll your eyes like that at Daddy?” Goodness gracious. Out of all three, SHE was the one to see that? The one we’ve been talking with about how to express ourselves, even when things don’t go our way, without pitching a fit?

That’s it’s fine and normal to feel frustrated but how we go about showing that frustration should have some parameters? Not to storm off making noises under our breath?

The one not 30 minutes ago I had to talk with in the desk section about how we don’t always get our way and sometimes we have to wait for things? The one who had me channeling our beloved kindergarten teacher from years prior singing “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit”?

Well, I now see the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. My middle child heart embraces, understands, and breaks for her middle child heart. I was ticked because I didn’t get my way, and she was frustrated for me.

Almost in the same moment of feeling convicted on the inside of how I was acting, I was convicted on the outside by my daughter.

My daughter became mad at my husband on my behalf, and I had to draw the line. That’s not OK. I get she’s sticking up for me, and I remember doing the same thing with my Mom and Dad under different circumstances.

Time to pivot.

As we were walking to the car, I told Carson we’d need to talk about this as a family. I told Todd what happened somewhat in code words and am grateful that with a well known look he took the cue of “we need to have a serious conversation here.” I apologized for acting like a brat who didn’t get my way, and the kids were able to hear us say it’s completely fine for Mom and Dad to not agree with one another.

I even took it so far, as I am trying not to gloss over things anymore (my sister will be so proud!) to say “I did it because I’m angry. I wanted those bins to go with the shelving, and I didn’t want to come back for them, and yes I got mad at Dad for putting a kink in my plans as the store is closing.”

I was owning it. I wasn’t proud of my actions. At the same time, I don’t want my kids or my husband to stuff their feelings, and I wasn’t going to stuff mine.

I grew up not allowed to express much of an opinion and it’s not healthy. Bless my sweet husband’s heart in understanding 21 years of pent up opinions have started to come out with a vengeance in the last few years! He gets me. He knows. I am guessing when I go on one of my rants in his mind is “this too shall pass” 🙂

We all had a good laugh and there may have been some impressions of me given. A healing laugh + a healing talk the whole 30 minute ride home. We both made sure to give our point of view in even this tiny situation so that our kids could see and hear what it’s like to not be on the same page, even get mad at the other person, and still work it out over something that seemed so little.

I didn’t see that growing up. It’s something super important to me for my kids to know.

What’s that saying – the little things are really the big things?

My kids got to see that parents can disagree, even argue, and be okay. I got to see that husband and wife can disagree, even argue, and be okay. Even in our 14th year of marriage I still need to be reminded of this.

I want them to speak up when they feel strongly about something. I want them to know they can speak their mind in a healthy relationship, and even if they disagree – everything be ok. They can talk quietly, raise their voice, or even scream and shout if need be, and still be heard. And if you can’t speak your mind, it’s not the right relationship.

Todd and Carson ended up having some great Daddy / Daughter time putting that shelving together when we got home. They listened to Dave Matthews as the sun set and used the power tools and put the whole thing together by themselves. She was SO excited and so proud to help and have that one on one time with him.

And for all this rain? My church had a women’s conference recently I was fortunate to be a part of, and during the conference we agreed amidst all the bad weather…it felt like we were in a state of cleanse. I can’t help but feel mine has been extended all month long. As much as I miss the sun, I will be the first to say it’s been a solid month for me of much needed cleansing. And for that, I’m grateful for all this rain.

Who would have thought a trip to IKEA would leave us with some of that yummy Swedish chocolate plus a slice of humble pie?

And truth be told? I still want those bins. But, the lesson learned here is even greater.

God's Protection

Love Songs from the Minivan

Do you have certain songs that instantly make you want to sing in the car? What about those that make you cringe? Laugh? Dance? I do. Music has a way of getting to my soul. Most every genre, in every season of my life. I simply love music.

Last week I was leaving my house and a Bryan Adams song came on the radio. I used to be a big fan…even making a road trip to Charlotte with a group of my friends and sister Kristin circa 1992, complete with a pit stop to the Waffle House on the way back home via southbound I-85.

His gritty voice, singing about a summer when I wasn’t even born but still enjoyed the lyrics, his encouragement to never surrender {which I found out was really sung by Corey Hart after being disappointed Bryan left that one out at the concert}, and my favorite, ‘Heaven’. I pretty much liked all his music with the exception of ‘Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman’, which I thought had more cheese coming out of it than a squirt can pressed full throttle.

sisters high school cheerleading

Sisters – MHS Fall 1991

However, there was one of his songs featured in a Kevin Costner movie that at a time in my youth reminded me of a high school boyfriend. Did you ever have special songs?

Mixed tapes made, calling in to the radio station requesting the song and sitting there ready to press the play and record buttons at the same time to preserve it on cassette, and wondering how the DJ knew just when to stop talking before the words started. I even learned to play this particular song on the piano when the sheet music came out. So this one that was special eventually turned into a I-don’t-ever-want-to-hear-it-again song once that relationship ended.

I remember being at the Haywood Mall and literally walking out as fast as I could, trying to fight back tears as it was pumped through the department store airwaves. This song would have made the ‘Top 5 Torture Songs to Hear After a Breakup’ on the soundtrack of my teenage life.

As a grown woman with lots of life experience, I realize that may sound juvenile. However, at that time in my life, it was truthfully painful to hear.

So I’m backing out of my driveway, headed to pick up my youngest child at preschool. Lo and behold this song is on. And after about 5 seconds, I started LAUGHING. Instantly. Seriously. Could not stop cracking up.

Did I really used to cry at this? Race to turn the channel? Mindy Long – bless your 16 year old heart!! How cheesy is THIS song?

I wasn’t laughing at the girl who back in the early nineties had a struggle with hearing this song, as those were valid feelings at the time. I own them, and to a brokenhearted teenage girl, those emotions were authentic.

I wasn’t making fun of me by laughing. What I did do was begin to thank God through my laughs that He had a bigger, better plan for me.

That momentary heartache was a life lesson I would learn from and years later be so thankful for on more than one occasion, coming through a stronger and better person. Despite wishing the now-me could have given the then-me some swift advice on navigating the teen years {OH what I would tell her!}, all my life experiences both positive and negative shaped who I am today, and for that I am grateful.

God's protectionAll this said, I pulled over to the group box to check our mail as Mr. Adams was crooning about how I should know it’s true, that everything he does, he does it for me. I’m smiling thinking about all this wisdom I’ve gained since my teens {and admittedly shaking my head at the same time} and what I’d tell my younger self, and all these great things that come with age, and how 39 is starting to feel closer to a well-earned badge on the journey of life.

As I pull out the package in my mailbox, I laugh even louder! How ironic that during all this gratitude-for-age moment is my new bottle of fancy anti-aging serum I ordered… to help SLOW DOWN the aging process. Here I am wanting the wisdom that comes with age, yet longing for the skin of my youth {heck I’d even settle for the skin of my 20’s}.

Remember that graduation speech “Just wear sunscreen”? It’s true. I should have listened to my Mom and one of my dear friend’s Mom, who was a makeup artist and used to get on to me constantly about getting burned in the tanning bed and the South Carolina rays. Hey though – that was fun going to Patsy’s Sun Room with my friends for $2 a pop in Simpsonville, South Cackalacky (those where I’m from know what this means). Good times, not so good skin to show for it.

I was always able to relax in the tanning bed and was bummed when they upgraded to the quick-that-could-tan-you-in-less-than-ten-minutes beds. I enjoyed lying there with my own thoughts for a solid half hour, the radio on 107 WANS and a plug-in oscillating stand fan to help control the heat and humidity…yes, even inside the building. If this new serum works like the YouTube lady and the reviews say, I’ll be grateful!

Fast forward a couple of miles down the road, and the next song that comes on the radio makes me laugh and smile even harder. This is getting comical. A song I used to could not stand. I mean turn the radio as fast as I could. Tears for Fears – ‘Everybody Rules the World’. It just grated my ever loving nerves. Anyone remember Real Genius and the popcorn scene at the end? Yep. THAT one. Please tell me I’m not the only one who checked their dorm room closet for a secret elevator shaft when arriving at college?! True story.

Why is this funny? My husband REALLY likes that song. Like crank it up, sing it loud, loves that song. Don’t ask me why. I discovered this when we were dating. It was one of those things I chose to overlook, like he chose to overlook my pet anxiety CD’s for my little dog and the birthday cake I flew in from a Southern pet bakery for her {he even had it delivered to his business so it could be refrigerated until I was off of work – the ridicule he suffered for me and my Pawley!}.

dog pets beach

Ocean Isle Beach – Pawley and me – May 2000

He likes to pump up the volume when this song comes on, knowing how I can’t stand it. After all these years, it’s like an inside joke between us. And now I laugh.

I hear it and see his smile in my mind – so I crank it up and sing in an exaggerated way, thinking of his cute smirky grin and the looks we exchange whenever we randomly hear it. Come to think of it, me casting a scowl look about that song all these years probably aided in the advancement of my fine lines my new fancy serum promises to correct.

By this time I’m nearing my destination, and have realized the quick trip down memory lane has been provided by the local easy listening station, and I’m driving a minivan. Sobering thought. Who comes on next but Michael Jackson. I turn in to preschool with MJ softly asking me ‘Why? Why?’.

Why these particular songs in this order on this day? A song that at one time was special, then was sad to hear and now seems just plain silly, followed by a song I used to dislike and now I’ll listen to purely because my husband likes it and what he enjoys makes me smile. This all balanced in the middle with a healthy dose of age fighting when I am actually in the process of age embracing.

So I decided to talk back to the gloved one, giggled and said “I don’t know Michael, I’m asking why, too!” I guess it really is all just ‘Human Nature’. Ha! Can I get a witness for a song I actually want to hear?

Now, as much as I love music, I’m sure it’s no surprise I’m a sucker for ringtones. Of course he has one! Initially I was disappointed I couldn’t find our wedding dance song to use {disclaimer: Verizon, will you please consider a version of ‘By Your Side‘ with an option to start at the chorus?}.

Then, I found the perfect one.

My eyes light up at the lyrics. My heart skips a beat. Every time I hear this new-ish song, and usually this happens to be when we’re together, I squeal and say “This song reminds me of you! Turn it up!”.

Wedding Dance First Dance

First dance as Mr. and Mrs. – ‘By Your Side’ – April 6, 2002

And just at the moment I am pulling up the hill to pick up my son, one final song is played. The music isn’t coming from the radio, but from my phone. It’s him. And all of a sudden Ed Sheeran starts singing that sweet melody…and all I see is my husband’s face. I love it when he calls, usually once a day, just to say hi and see how my day is going. No other reason but to show he cares, and that’s one of those precious little things that’s actually a big thing to me.

And that, my friends, is saving the best for last.