It’s Sunday, two days before Charlie’s tenth birthday. I’m at a loss for words and lacking motivation to do much of anything, anticipating the day in a way that has me paralyzed.

I would suspect that’s normal, though.

I was texting with my friend Karen earlier, and she suggested I make a goal of running 10 miles this week. Then we decided we should ALL make that goal.



This solves a couple of problems for me personally:

One, I’m likely going to eat pizza every night this week since my husband is traveling, so I’ll be able to burn off a few calories.

Two, Henry and I can burn off some energy and (my) anxiety in the evenings with a run around the block.

It seems so very easy, really. Just pick your favorite activity — running, walking, skipping, biking — and log 10 miles this week.

If you tweet, use #10ForCharlie hashtag. If you don’t, let me know on my Facebook page.

Throw on your running shoes and get outside!

The Key To Grace

The Key To Grace

The other day, I stopped at the mailbox to grab the mail. That’s a task I dread most days. It’s never anything fun. Bills, sale flyers, notices that are for people who may or may not have lived here previously (there are like 12 different names on mail that comes here — strange).

There was an envelope in there with an unfamiliar handwriting. It was “bulky.”

I opened it and was left breathless.

grace giving keys

This is a Giving Key.

If you’re unfamiliar with The Giving Keys, take a minute and head to their site. It’s an amazing story of how a musician simply made a few keys with words of encouragement on them and turned it into a movement that employs people who are down on their luck, on the streets, or in transition. Each key is stamped with love and carries with it, love, hope, and possibility.

My friend Dawn sent me this key with a note that made me cry the ugly cry. I wish I could share it here, but really, I want to keep it between my heart and Dawn’s.

My word for the year is Grace.

This key is being worn around my neck, close to my heart, to remind me to Be Grace, to Share Grace, and to Learn Grace.

And when I’ve gotten all the Grace and Love out of this Giving Key, I will pass it to someone who needs to feel it close to their heart.


My Vanilla Is Better Than Your Vanilla. And Other Things I’m Thankful For.

I don’t remember how old I was when I realized the vanilla we used in recipes at home was “adult vanilla.”

Maybe it was when we found out our housekeeper was stealing it and getting wasted off of it while she ironed our clothes. That was probably it.

For all my life, there has always been a fancy bottle with a hand written label on it in one of our cabinets. My mom would add little bits of liquor to it every now and then – sometimes it was bourbon, other times it was brandy. When she got crazy, it was rum! When she found vanilla beans on sale, she would buy some and slip them down into the bottle and remove the old ones.

She would pull out the fancy bottle when a recipe called for a teaspoon or tablespoon of vanilla. I never knew there was anything called Vanilla Extract.

You can call me a vanilla snob if you need to.

Anyway, a few years ago, for Christmas, I believe, my mom gave both me and my sister fancy bottles with hand written labels on them.

She passed down bottles of her own vanilla.

The label read:

Yes, that says “Originally bottled in 1983.”

This was one of those gifts that brought tears to my eyes because it was a childhood memory that was ever present. Every time I reached for (crappy) vanilla extract, I longed to have “real vanilla.” Vanilla out of the pretty bottle in the pantry.

I’m thankful that my mom saw fit to pass this on to us now instead of later. Life tastes better because of it. Silly? Yes.

But whatever.

The only downfall to this magnificentness? You can’t make ice cream with it. BECAUSE IT DOESN’T FREEZE! (Lesson learned the very hard way.)

Time and persistence taste delicious.

I’m thankful for time. Time that helps heal wounds, physical and emotional.

I’m thankful for persistence. Persistence to train, to love, to pick up my feet day after day.

I’m thankful for the obvious. My husband, my son, my Guardian Angel with a name. I’m thankful for my parents and sister and her beautiful family. I’m thankful for my house and my health and the ability to do most things I want without much effort.

I’m thankful for my job and my coworkers. They are a great group to work with and I never could have imagined being excited about going back to work. See also: Benefits.

I’m thankful for my Disney Half Marathon training team and the Ronald McDonald House.

I’m thankful for my friends, the ones I’ve had all my life, the ones who only live in my computer, and those in between.

I’m thankful for the freedoms that our country allows us. I’m also thankful for the freedom to keep some of my opinions to myself.

I’m thankful for pretty fall colors, bright spring flowers, light dustings of snow and refreshing summer showers.

But most of all, I’m thankful for fancy bottles with hand written labels that are full of memories.

What are you thankful for?


Today I am feeling extremely thankful for so many things.

I’m thankful for people who are supportive.

I’m thankful for my energy healer (aka awesome therapist) who helps clear out the cobwebs when they get thick in my head and heart.

I’m thankful for a husband who is a cheerleader while I make some decisions (that I’ll tell you about later).

I’m thankful for opportunities. Both big and small.

I’m thankful for people, namely one twitter friend, who says things like this:

 every time I see you tweet I check to see how close to 9:19 it is

— lis (@LeLeIsMe) July 27, 2012

I’m thankful that Charlie sits on the shoulders of perfect strangers, nudging them with a Charlie kiss (9:19) every now and then.

I’m thankful for Legos and TV and colored pencils and paper, for without them, this summer would be a total disaster!

I’m thankful for the fact that, with each passing day, we are closer to fall and cooler temperatures.

I’m super thankful for good friends who call at the last minute, you tell them they’re going shopping with you, and then they help you find a dress so you can “own it” when you walk in a room. And finds it on sale. In a department store. And I don’t have an anxiety attack. You know who you are.

I’m thankful for not having died so far while trying to work through Couch to 5k. Just hope the half marathon in February doesn’t do me in.

I’m thankful for air conditioning and Starbucks and a little boy who still likes to cuddle occasionally.

I’m thankful for you (yeah, you) (said in your best Jake Ryan whisper).


Summers To Remember

Summers To Remember

We’re seated by a young girl with a brand new Mullet Bay t-shirt on. Just by looking at her fresh pressed shorts and brand new tennis shoes, I know her deal.

The waiter fumbles to remember today’s specials because it’s his first day of work.

The adorable waitress from Japan doesn’t know what a Shirley Temple is, but when I tell her it’s Sprite and cherry juice, she writes it on her little cheat sheet. She won’t forget now.

This is the beginning of a summer to remember for so many people on the Island.

From now on, they’re going to be able to say, “I worked a summer in St. Simons and it was the most fun I’ve ever had!”

I know because I can say that, too.

I’ve been back to St. Simons a zillion times since I nannied here in the summers of 1995 and 1996. I was married here. I’ve vacationed here and yet, for the first time, I’m feeling almost weepy with nostalgia when I think about the boys and girls who are here to work, get paid, enjoy their freedom and most of all, make memories.

Granted, some of those memories will end with massive hangovers and huge regrets, but whatever… it’s summer.

I see them huddled together, nervous and self-conscious, waiting to see which tables they get to serve, rehearsing what to say, but in the back of their mind they’re really wondering whether the guy who’s helping the bartender is interested in them. Will he be the one who asks me to the beach on our day off? Does my hair look ok? It’s not too frizzy is it? 

I know them because I WAS them.

Luckily, my job involved keeping an adorable (now freaking grown) elementary aged girl. (You people don’t want me waiting on your table, I promise.) Haley and I spent our days at the pool, doing arts and crafts and generally goofing off. The second summer I had a friend with me and we ventured out more at night, eventually both finding boyfriends — locals who were bartending for the summer. Of course those weren’t long-lasting romances, but they were fun. We enjoyed ourselves and the memories I have of the things Haley and I did will surely stick with me forever.

And that’s what this new batch of kids will do this summer.

Whether they’re bartending, waiting tables, putting up umbrellas on the beach, nannying or working in a retail shop, the memories will be made. They’ll dance to bands at night, swing on the swings at the King and Prince with their dates, climb the lighthouse, bask in the sun to perfect their “I lived at the ocean” tan, and sleep until noon if they can.

Maybe they will appreciate it while they’re in the moment, but probably not. More than likely it’ll take them a good 15 years before they realize what a wonderful experience they had.

And when they do? They’ll be the one tearing up in the middle of Mullet Bay because they’re flooded with emotions and gratefulness for the summers they spent on the Island.

(What? That wasn’t me tearing up. I’m just saying.)

(Ok, fine. It was me. And I’m proud of it.)

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