Tag Archives: shoes

Dear Me

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Advice to my younger self…

Dear Me,

You are about to turn 51 years old, which used to sound ancient but now seems merely middle-aged.  And over the decades you have managed to learn a few things that would have been really helpful had you known them earlier.  So here is a list of Do’s and Don’t’s from Present-Day Me to Younger Me.

Do take the nap.  Anytime the grown-ups encourage (i.e. try to force!) you to do so, TAKE THE NAP!  Someday you’ll be exhausted and wishing for the chance to nap and you won’t have the time to do it.

Do ask for piano lessons, as early as possible.  You will choose to study music in college and having some piano training will help you more than you can possibly imagine.  And keep asking until your parents let you do it.  Don’t take no for an answer.

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Do kiss that boy at the party.  He really likes you.  A lot.

The other boy at the other party…don’t kiss him.  And don’t give either of them your phone number!

When you find those perfect black pumps, the comfortable ones that make your legs look great and take you through countless performances, all four choir tours and both your recitals in college—do buy a second pair.  It’ll be more than worth the money and you’ll be glad to have a backup pair when the originals eventually wear out.  (I still miss those shoes.)

The same goes for any other “perfect thing” you find and love—your favorite pantyhose (especially in the most flattering shades of black and nude), good tweezers, the slumber mask that fits just right and provides comfort when you have a headache.  Do buy extras.

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Do get your bras custom fitted.  It’s not about vanity, it’s about your health.  Your neck, back and shoulders will thank you.  And follow the Lingerie Lady’s advice: always have at least 3 properly-fitting bras, 1 to wash, 1 to wear and 1 to spare.

Don’t wear a white slip under a black dress.  The last thing you want is for your underwear to glow in the dark.  And don’t skip the slip.  Mama was right about the need for one.

Do take care of your skin, remembering that your face extends down to your chest.  Your neck is especially vulnerable, and so are your hands.  Learn to be satisfied with the pale complexion God gave you.  Trying to get a tan is pointless for you, and you will regret it later when sun damage starts to show up.  Pray that spots and wrinkles are all you have to worry about!

People you love are going to get sick and die.  Your Dad, in his misplaced desire to protect you and keep things “normal” for you as long as possible, is going to tell you things that go against what your gut is tellling you.  Don’t listen to him.  He is WRONG.  (You will learn that he has been wrong about a lot of stuff.)  Follow your intuition.  Go and see Uncle J.B. in Texas while you can, even though your leg is in a cast.  Take time off from work sooner and spend more time with Mama before she goes back into the hospital.  And when she is gone, spend more time dealing with your own grief and less time worrying about Dad’s.  He will be just fine.

After Mama dies, you won’t feel like singing for a while.  That’s OK.  But don’t let it go for too long.

Don’t let anyone tell you that your dreams are foolish.  You can decide later on which ones are worth following and which ones are not.  But it’s your decision to make, not theirs.

Do have a plan…but be open to surprise.

Do start reading the Bible daily.  God will use this discipline to change your life.  It will become as vital as food, water and oxygen…and just as nourishing.

Always remember that God loves you.  There is nothing, NOTHING, He can’t forgive.  No tragedy, no crisis, no failure, is beyond redemption.

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Walking Shoes

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A journey of a thousand miles…

I am a casual dresser most of the time.  My work environment is informal so my attire often consists of jeans and sneakers.  In recent years I have rediscovered a fondness for what I used to refer to as “boy tennis shoes”, which are Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars.  They are comfortable, cute and available in every color imaginable.

A couple of the fellows at work have Chucks in colors that I also own, and they kindly agreed to allow me to photograph our feet in our matching shoes for this blog.

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The smaller feet in the pictures are mine.  The blue shoes belong to Jacob, and the red ones are Matthew’s.   Big feet and little ones side by side in matching shoes are sort of comical…but for me, the images remind me that we are all journeying through this life, walking side by side with our neighbors, yet each of us on a unique path.

Imagine me trying to walk my path in Matthew’s shoes, or in Jacob’s!   My little feet would have trouble keeping those shoes on because they are much too large for me.  And Jacob and Matthew could not even begin to fit their man feet into my tiny girl shoes!  Our footwear looks the same, but my shoes were made to fit me, just as theirs were intended to fit them.

I think our gifts, talents, personalities and experiences are just like our shoes.  God equips each of us with a set of tools—shoes, if you will—for life’s journey.  My shoes might look like someone else’s, but they fit me alone.  And the longer I walk in them, the more miles we cover together, the more my shoes take on the shape of my feet.  The toes scuff up in a certain spot, the sides wear in a particular fashion, and the soil on the soles is unique to my path and the places I walk through.

I am thankful for my “shoes”, the gifts of God that take me along the path of my life.  I am grateful for the gifts of others whose journeys intersect with mine along the way.   Lord, guide my steps.

“Trust in The Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he shall direct your paths.”

Proverbs 3:5-6

Thanks to Jacob Simms and Matthew Lloyd for sharing their shoes with me!

Steppin’ In It

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Because life is short

Sometimes walking along the path of life, I step in it. You know the “it” I mean…the metaphorical pile of poop that stinks up my shoes and makes a bit of a mess. The only way to avoid steppin’ in it is never to take a step at all.

Before Mama died, I was much more insecure about reaching out to people who might reject me. I was afraid of getting hurt and looking foolish. Mama’s death changed my perspective about many things, including risk. In the 18 months following her death, 5 of my co-workers experienced the death of a parent. In each case I had a choice, either to risk reaching out in compassion or to stay inside myself and my own grief. And in each case I opted to reach out…to take the risk of opening myself to another hurting person. And I never regretted it.

Right now I have several friends who are dealing with illness and grief in their lives, and since their lives touch mine, I am touched by their suffering. My heart hurts for all of our feelings of helplessness and lack of control over circumstances. Self-preservation nudges me to isolate myself from their suffering in an effort to minimize my own.

But my heart of hearts urges me to step into their pain, to lean into human frailty and to try to shore up those around me who suffer. As I walk alongside, my shoes may become soiled with their blood, sweat and tears, and my arms may ache from trying to help carry their load. But it’s the only way I know to live.

My life is constantly teaching me lessons about how fragile we humans are, how fast time passes and how important it is not to leave things undone. I do not want to die regretting the thing I DIDN’T do or say. Sometimes saying what needs to be said or doing what needs to be done means steppin’ in it…and if that’s the case, then so be it.

Jesus knows the path we walk, including through the valley of the shadow of death. He knows what we step in. He washed the disciples’ feet, after all. I like to imagine a welcome mat at the pearly gates where we can shake off all that we’ve stepped in here as we prepare to enter Heaven.

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