New Year’s Eve Hoarders Unite: Let’s get it together for the New Year!

New Year’s Eve tonight means tomorrow is New Year’s Day and the beginning of those pesky New Year’s resolutions no one keeps past January 23rd.  Which is most popular I wonder: "Losing Weight" or "Decluttering the House”?  

Hoarder’s TV show would loooooove my cluttered basement.  I put my Beekeeper Dad on their show so I would know. (Deborah & Jim Season 2) Dad agreed to do it and we just expected a week of humiliation with a clean and tidy house in the end.  We got WAY MORE THAN WE EXPECTED.  They were kind, considerate, warm and understanding.  And funny.  I wish they would come back.  I haven’t been there lately but I am pretty sure the living room painting project Dad started last New Year’s is....going to be restarted this New Years.  One year of living room covered in drop cloths?  I love that man!  I just don’t take the girls to visit that man.  How lucky we are he comes to our house every week instead. He is awesome, just not much into housekeeping.

So there.  

I’ll bet the Hoarders show would love YOUR basement too, so do not start assuming there are dead cats or a community of poopy diapers under piles of....what have you in our basement.  Our basement isn’t lurking with ickiness.  It is just boxes of memories and things we are donating and things we used but do not use now.  John and I both had separate lives and separate houses and then a bigger house together than we have now.  We have two little bitties who keep us tired out and organizing an unfinished basement hasn’t been high on our priority list.  

The basement bothers us though.  We know it is there.  So finally I have been working down there this week.  I found amidst my five huge boxes of “Heather- Sentimental” debris a scribbled up sheet of paper with “Questions for the New Year” on it from Revive Our Hearts.  John and I went through them together four or so years ago.  It was fascinating to read back into our married past, into our pre-baby lives.  Portia would be born two months later. Libby another 22 months later.  WHEW.

I’m pleased to say my answer to one of those old questions,“What habit would you most like to establish this year?”  (Exercise more) has been a resolution I  have kept.  Otherwise our answers are the answers of new parents desperate to not screw up the little person God gives them to raise:  Pray more often, raise our baby to love God and People, a healthy child, watch less television...

This year we are having a few friends for a Happy Hour New Year’s Eve.  Everyone has small children so no one stays up late.  Good New Year’s Eve TV doesn’t start until 8pm.  So we are having cocktails and snacks and I have Tsh Oxenrider’s (Simple Mom) “Refection Questions for New Year’s Eve”  cut into slips of paper in a crystal bowl.  I hope the kids get distracted enough to let us adults pull slips and read them and share with each other what 2012 memories we will cherish and what we hope to find in 2013.  Here is the link for those if you like.  I also found a groovy little kid’s Scavenger Hunt from Cozi Calendar & Meal Planning we will do with the toddlers.

But for now I am working in the basement.  Unearthing treasures and donating...the not quite treasures we have grown out of or grown past. We have a little house and I want to get more out of it.  I know being organized and decluttering will help me find more useable space for our getting bigger family members.  And I do not really want to do the Hoarders show again. I think both top resolutions will be on my list this New Years.  Perhaps they will be unnecessary next New Year’s.  Any gambles?

The question I look forward to hearing answers to is “What was the best way you used your time this past year?”  

How will you answer that question today, and then a year from today?

In The Event of My Death

I’m ready to die.  

I am always ready to die.  

My mom died when I was thirteen years old and so I KNOW PEOPLE CAN DIE.  They are here and they they are not.  Each time I got pregnant, even the miscarriage, I gave that tiny, tiny life right back to God in prayers, thanking Him for the gift of this life.  I think that might be my most used prayer for my girls, for John, for my friends and family;  “Thank You”, second only to “Please keep them safe”.  I know the small daily joys of my life could be fleeting.

My husband chuckles often, embarrassed at how much I say to him about my love for him.  I think he likes hearing my appreciation of him, the value, strength, wisdom and love I see in him, but it also makes him feel...something else. 

In the event of my death I want to be certain John knows my heart for him absolutely.  So I keep telling him.  I do the same for the girls.  I tell them I love them, I am lucky to be their Mama.  I tell them God loves them.  I tell them they are beautiful and smart and kind and brave.  I speak into their little lives everything I can when I am not yelling at them, ignoring them, absorbed in my own silly, shallow wants and needs.

The drudge of laundry and dishes and the mundane details of caring for tiny children were disrupted the other day.  A simple text from my Dad, letting me know one of my many ‘Mothers,’ Sandra Winicur, had passed away.  The service, he texted, was that same day.  I took the news in stride, then fell apart in tears.  I have great friends who took my children in.  I dressed beautifully and went to a Jewish temple.  I hugged old friends, cried.  At the graveside service, Jewish tradition invites the mourners to shovel up dirt and pile it into the grave.  The Rabbi said it is the one service a person cannot repay.  I didn’t shovel, but I watched, prayed and mourned.

My friend’s daughter, Paula stood watching too.  Her husband held her and they looked so beautiful I took a picture, déclassé of me as it may have been.  It was so bittersweet I needed to keep that memory and later offer it to Paula.  If you have someone to hold you in your grief and your joy, you are beyond blessed. God holds you, whether you believe in Him or not.  He believes in you, holds you, loves you.  Sometimes by using just people.

Then the Horrible happened.  The Sandy Hook Elementary shooting the same week.  My heart was broken each time I stumbled across memorials here in Valparaiso Indiana, specifically for the children killed.   I cannot understand it and my little brain won’t let me think on it much.  I already know all life is fleeting.  My heart is already broken.
These sad days made me think about my own death.  I wanted you to know some things, in the event of my untimely death.  I needed to write them down and tell you the following:

1) I want to be cremated, then scattered near our cabin in Estes Park, maybe in Europe where I may never visit and Lake Michigan.  Plus if there is someone who is a jerk to you and would be freaked out about it, feel free to toss a tablespoon their way, aiming for the face.  My ashes will NOT be sacred, trust me!  A gravestone somewhere would be great, so family would have a place to go if they wanted.  I’m grateful for my Mom’s cemetery spot in Sterling, Colorado.

 2) There had better be rocking music and or course some wake-worthy booze.  I have brought many a bottle to funerals to help out my friends.  I would say cheap champagne at least, apricot brandy (Jean!) and of course my Dad’s flask.  (Yes Jen & Jean, I will expect you to shmoke a square for me.)  (No that isn’t lingo for drugs, just the good old fashioned tobacco we’ve all matured enough to give up but still somedays miss.)

3) If there are not A LOT of folks there at my services and really upset, I will come back and haunt you people.  I have worked hard to be awesome since seventh grade.  I expect results.  

4)  I’d like crazy fabulousness in attire.  Feather boas, glitter, lots of red instead of traditional black.  I felt trollopy at Sandra’s graveside, there is me, in a sea of somber winter coats in my lipstick-red-full-length-down-parka with a fur trimmed hood.  Ummmm embarrassing but still, so very moi.  So please wear red like normal folks wear black.  (OR that marvelous Turquoise I love. My Ya Ya Jenny sure wears both together well!) Wear that Wonderful Thing you cannot seem to wear anywhere else...full length or flannel just tell them you are wearing it for Heather.  Yep.  That would be AWESOME.

5) If you prefer, donate moolah to any charity you love.  Or do something pampering for yourself like a pedicure instead of buying flowers or donating if you need to.  Most of you NEED to! Of course I’d like wildflowers or houseplants, and the excess after a service party should go to homeless shelters or  nursing homes.

Most importantly, know that I lived WELL.  Sure I make mistakes and have some small regrets.  But overall, to this day, I live life as if it is fleeting, I love folks to the best of my ability and I cherish my days more often than not.  I am so grateful to God for grabbing me by the heart and opening my eyes to living for him.  Many of you know becoming a Christ Follower was a big jump for me.  I have never preached at you about Heaven or Hell, I respect differences in belief and I know God can find you and your heart anywhere.  

In the event of my death, or right this very minute, I DARE YOU to find a bible, even online.  Maybe read something from Ephesians, my favorite book and where I started reading.  I challenge you to challenge God to show up in your life.  Dare Him.  I did.  I said to him "I do not have faith but I would like to.  If you are real, I would like to believe in you."  I felt Him show up.  You might not.  But I dare you to start the conversation.  Call him 'Phil’ like writer Anne Lamott does.  Call him 'Ol Padnah' like I do, from Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood.  Find your own name or just call her God.  Read The Shack for my picture of God.  Forget the ugliness you see in some Christian people. All of you, all of us, are ugly too.  Forget the judgment and religion, just have an honest chat with God...He loves you and thinks YOU are awesome.  And so do I.

Maybe I will live to 86 years old, maybe I will die sweetly in my sleep.  Maybe I’ll die in a car accident tomorrow. Regardless of when, "In the Event of My Death", I will have lived well.  I will have known Joy and been loved by God through many, many friends, family and strangers.  Thank you, each of you.  And Live Well.  TODAY.   God bless you.

What one thing do you want people to know about you, in the event of your death?  I’d like to hear your thoughts on this weighty tome of a blog post.  Please.  Don’t leave me all vulnerable and hanging. I got tons of comments on my Fat Fanny, Skinny Jeans Post....please show this one some love!

Random Things #6: Yarn Bombs and Fireplaces Warm My Heart

I still cannot quite get over “Fireplace For Your Home” on Netflix.  We do not have cable, so our handy ROKU feeds the instant Netflix stuff(They just got DISNEY, PEOPLE!) through our TV.  I LOVE candles, a fireplace.  I have little monkeys for children so there are like two places in the house I can burn real candles.  I’ve started collecting the led ones...not too bad, really.  Our house doesn’t have a fireplace, but with this channel we TOTALLY DO have second best.  It snaps and pops like a real fire and it is good enough.  Now they have the Yule Log ‘episode’ too & it plays CHRISTMAS CAROLS behind the snap and crackle of the fire.  PLUS if I burn a scented candle that is woodsy....mmmmm welcome, Winter!

I think wearing a $2.50 (thank you TARGET) turkey hat on Thanksgiving is a thing that should nevah happen again, You?

I lovehate that as an adult I never really enjoy McDonald’s anymore.  But who should?  UGH.  Do you see the * after cheddar?  Turn that cup of chemical laden Coke Zero evil and see it isn’t really cheese.  But we knew that.  UGH (Thank you Carrie for hooking me on Coke Zero, and thank you Liz, because of your inspirational changes I am quitting Diet Coke & Coke Zero too!)

My Funny Hubby stick a broken pen doohickey into a random crayon.  I am endlessly blessed that I married someone who makes me laugh.  

I really resonated with this wall installation in Chicago, it is in a pedestrian walkway towards Navy Pier.  Advocate.  Action.  I need more action in my life and I am creating that into reality.  This week at least.

Yarn bombing, yarn graffiti, it has many names.  An urban hobby of placing a small bit of soft fiber in an unexpected place like a tree, doorknob, statue!  It makes me happy to bring a small spot of irreverence into other people’s daily lives.  Plus it is faster than making a scarf or whathaveyou.  This sad little notion was to honor one of my mothers, Sandra, who died this week.  It is on a tree trunk outside her temple and I pray it makes someone smile no matter what.

7 Ways to Tell if You are FAMOUS

Hope you enjoyed my post on being famous earlier this week.  Can you BELIEVE nobody knows I'm famous? At least I think I am marvelous once in awhile.  And YOU are marvelous look these over and tell me, are you famous?

1) You are ready for your close up.  You almost always leave the house prepared to be photographed.  You never know when a photo op will happen and that pesky paparazzi could be anywhere.  Like Santa's lap.

2) Everyone is just as excited to hear your story about you as you are to tell it.  Even if it is boring and stupid and only about how you decided which shirt to wear. Oh...wait....uhhh...

3)  You smile like a movie star.  Beam like Julia Roberts just in case somebody thinks you are maybe famous and just hanging out at Target with two little kids as your public shield.

4) You know how to drink too much and trash a room, famous style.  Except the drink is 3/4 of a beer you manage to drink before falling asleep on the couch at 8:30pm.  And the trashed room is just because you were too tired to pick up all the debris today. And yesterday.

5) You pamper yourself.  You are spoiled but instead of an entire  spa day with candles and a massage during your pedicure, you at least light a candle and lock the door for your three minute poop shower.

6) You dine well.  And during your dinner people chant your name while you wish you could eat in peace.  Unfortunately your spouse won't  make the children eat in another room, so you chew coldish food to the roar of MAMA! MAMA! MAMA!

7) You know how to enter a room.  Confidently, loving yourself, forgiving yourself, and telling yourself everyone makes an entrance wearing black yoga pants(the new sweats, admit it) marked with orange Cheezit cracker crumbs and toting a wailing small person under your arm.  Just rock a gorgeous scarf and a red lipsticked smile and you are MONEY, Baby!

Share this with somebody famous, you'll make their day & mine!

Are You a Shiny Mom?

I am Mumbling.  Again.  It has been too long but they have kindly allowed me to let it all hang out, or not.  Find out which it is in my post over at Mumbling Mommy where I share my thoughts on being a perfect mama and gorgeously polished in  both self and progeny.

Nobody Knows I'm Famous!

Nobody knows I'm famous.*  

That got me thinking, are any of you famous?  
Some of you are authors,mamas, bloggers, aging pop stars (Thanks for reading, Madonna!) 

I was in an Oprah commercial in my professional acting hey day.  Annnnd that was it.  I did some industrial films, a trailer for an independent film, took acting classes and improv at Second City in Chicago. I was an extra on films like The Fugitive, With Honors, Miracle on 34th Street, League of Their Own.  (And there was that time a friend saw me on an MTV special about the making of "With Honors" and I guess you could see me really well, so they wondered about me and this Joe Pesci movie! WHEEEE!)

Wow.  This sounds like the bragging of a stay at home mom wearing a leopard bathrobe with one sleeve dipped in bacon grease, black socks, pink slippers, dirty rumpled hair just crashing over the age of 40!  Yup.  

Shall I go on? 

Yeah?  OK!

Annnd I might have had a few tete a tetes with Oliver Stone and Woody Harrelson...but that is a whole 'nother conversation.  Over martinis. (Like the "Hot and Dirrrty Martini" at Paparazzi here in Valparaiso....WOW. Seriously.  Can you become an alcoholic for one drink you have like once a week?)

Lately my fun has been the NPR radio pieces through WVPE 88.1Fm in Elkhart.  Doing those make me feel like a million bucks.  I heart NPR BIGTIME.  I also had a few years at my wonderful old church Granger Community Church doing dramas with them in front of  five thousand folks every weekend....that was one of my favorite things.  After not acting for a long time, I got to honor God with my gifts and feed my only child lookit me lookit me lookit me at the same time!  

So some people know me.  I might even be small town famous.  In two towns.  YEAH!  But you are famous too.  Some of you are so precious and important to another person that they would rather see you than Brad Pitt/Justin Beiber.   Some of you are so generous with your time and love and friendship I would rather have lunch with you than Oprah.  Some of you are quiet and reserved and you honestly do not think you matter much as long as some kids have lunch made for them and the house doesn't burn down but you are WRONG.  

You matter deeply and your life makes a HUGE impact whether you know it now or not.  You matter to God, you matter to your friends and family and to that one neighbor you sometimes wave at.

Enjoy the follow up to this post "7 Ways to Tell if You are Famous."  Then, can I have your autograph?  I'll pay you!

There is a song, "Nobody Knows I'm Famous" which is my HILARIOUS new theme song by Peter Meyer. He is concert THIS WEEK at Front Porch Music check them out.  We are going on Friday for Libby's birthday, she has listened to his music since birth.  Feel free to join us for a thinker's song set.