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cleaning the bathroomSo Harrison recently asked me how he could earn some money from me by doing things around the house. I’d half jokingly said that if he wanted to take over cleaning the bathrooms, that would be great! ;-)

He groaned and let it drop…until the next day, when the conversation went like this:

H: Sooo, how much would you give me if I cleaned the bathrooms?

Me: I was kidding. You don’t need to clean the bathrooms.

H: No, really. How much?

Me: Well, what if we started with just your bathroom. I’ll give you $5.

H: <Thinking.> Ok. I’ll do it!

So, he did. And he did a good job, earning his $5. Fast forward a week. I cleaned the bathroom this time, and the conversation went like this:

Me: So, did you notice that I cleaned your bathroom?

H: Yep. Why?

Me: Just wondering where my $5 is. :-P

We both laughed, and I thought that was the end of it. About five minutes later, he leaves the room and returns with $5. Can I just say that I was floored – and totally didn’t see that one coming. How many 10-year-olds would willingly turn over $5 of their own money because of a chore their parent did?

Needless to say, I informed him I was totally joking, and that I’d never expect money for any of the chores I do around the home. That they’re my responsibility as the adult and primary caretaker of the home – and of him. At the same time, it warmed my heart to know that somehow I managed to be lucky enough to be the mom of such a generous young man.

What has someone done to surprise you with generosity? I invite you to take a minute and share your common grounds.

the birthday crewI cannot believe it! My not-so-little munchkin turned 10 last month! Seriously? How is that even possible?

He has been a joy since he first came into my life. I am so lucky to have such a wonderful, intuitive, intelligent, perceptive, caring son. So, just a little post to say so! (Of course, I’m not biased, or anything.) ;-)

Surprise!

Happy 70th birthday!

Four generations: my dad (Gary), my aunt (Becky), my son (Harrison), me (Laura), my mom (Bobbi) and my grandpa (Ernie).

Happy 70th birthday to my parents!

I had the distinct pleasure of throwing a surprise birthday party – or rather, conning my aunt into doing so – for both of my parents. My dad turned 70 in May and my mom will be 70 this week.

And the surprises continue…

Do you know that this is the very first birthday party my mother has ever had?? Yep. True story. And while my dad was involved in the surprise, he too had a surprise of his own. My aunt had managed to get his cousin, Dave, and his wife Jodi, who were in town from Georgia, to come to the party unbeknownst to my dad.

From 7 weeks to 90 years, a GREAT time was had by all.

To make matters even more special, my grandfather and two of my great aunts were also on hand for the festivities, which means that Harrison had his great grandfather (he calls him Grandpa Great), a great aunt and uncle, and two great, great aunts there – not to mention many of my dad’s cousins and my cousins. How amazing is that? We also had the pleasure of seeing a new addition to the family, in my cousin, Lyndi’s new baby girl, Remi, who’s only 7 weeks old. And, we also managed to capture a pic of the four generations!

It was so wonderful to not only have a generous aunt and uncle to host the party, but also to have so many family members we haven’t seen in quite some time on hand to celebrate life – and our common grounds, of course.

Beginning again

A clean slateYou may have wondered why I haven’t written much during the past year and a half. And I decided it was time to share what’s been going on in my life.

A confession

This is hard for me. And yet, I feel it’s important to talk about it. My husband and I of 16 years recently went our separate ways. I’m now a single woman again. No longer a wife. Simply a woman and a mother.

The positive thing is that he and I are still friends – just as we were when we were married – if not more so. We actually talk more and share more now than we did then. During the past several years of our marriage, communication was limited to utilitarian-based statements: What do you want for dinner? What activities does our son have coming up? Have we paid the bills? Etc.

That’s it. Nothing more. Nothing less. We were simply roommates. Definitely not husband and wife.

Now? Now we speak about more important things, and share aspects of our lives with one another. In a way, this has been the best thing to happen to our relationship in a decade.

A difficult decision

This decision was not one I took lightly. As a Christian, I don’t believe in divorce. Ironic, right? And so I began to truly analyze what was going on in our relationship. Could it be repaired? Could we find the love we once shared? After much personal introspection, prayer, more prayer and, yes, a little more prayer, it was clear to me that, no, the love was no longer what it needed to be – for a marriage.

And I just don’t believe God would want us to continue in marriage just so we could say we stayed married. What type of role models would we be for our son if we continued in that fashion? He should see what true love can be. What a happy marriage can look like.

In the end, I just couldn’t believe that a just and fair God wouldn’t forgive me for wanting to be happy for the next 50+ years of my life. So, in faith, I moved forwarded. We parted ways, amicably, and with our son’s best interests in mind.

That was a little more than a year ago.

A new chapter begins

And while the path has had its challenges, my son has adapted well, as have my ex and I.

Please don’t view this post as encouragement of divorce. It is not. If I’d honestly believed I could have loved my ex the way I should love a husband, I would have done everything in my power to rekindle that flame. Sadly, that just wasn’t meant to be for me.

And so begins a new chapter in my life. I hope those of you who, like me, don’t believe in the idea of divorce, will find it in your hearts to accept this choice I’ve made, as I have. And, as always, please feel free to share your common grounds.

Listen up, would ya?

ImageWhy haven’t I figured it out by now? I mean, this has been happening for essentially the past 40 years. I should have a clue already, right?

And yet…I keep ignoring it.

God’s voice. Or, His urgings. Or His counsel. Whatever you’d like to call it. You would think by now I’d learn to recognize it.

Why is it I always second guess it when I feel it?

And it always happens the same way. Some people would probably call it a ‘gut feeling,’ but it’s more than that. A lot more. All of a sudden I get this overwhelming urge to do something or say something. Today, it was a simply ‘hi’ to a coworker who’s recently become a friend.

This is not someone I speak to often, and certainly not typically after work hours. Yet, today, as I was driving home, I felt I should reach out and simply say ‘Hey. Just felt like saying hi. ; )’

And then I second guessed myself. I thought, no, that’s silly. Why would I do that? The person may think I’m nuts and wonder why I’m sending the note. And there it was again. The nudge. The overwhelming feeling that I needed to send the message.

So I did. I sent a text. And you know what? It was needed. My friend had had a very bad day and was so thankful I’d taken the time to reach out and just say ‘hi.’ To say, hey, I was just thinking about you. To know someone cared.

It’s always the same. It’s always been this way. And yet, I still second guess the feeling when it comes over me.

Why? When will I learn? God knows best. God has a plan for our lives – even something as simple as saying ‘hi’ to a friend. God is in control.

Do you ever have this happen to you? Share your common grounds.

Third grade already?

20120826-094835.jpgHow is it that we’re already at third grade? Where did the time go?

I have a feeling I’ll be saying this a lot in the coming years, right?

New school, old friends & hopefully new friends
This year our school district shifted things around. There are two schools (West and Central), and they were both K through 8.

West is literally in our backyard, and for the past three years, the neighborhood has been filled with hundreds of kids walking to and from the school. Until now.

To better even out the distribution of students, teachers and expenses, the district decided to merge the two schools, making West 6 through 8 and Central K through 5. This means, the munchkin is now headed to Central, renamed Elementary.

This, as you can imagine, caused more than a little consternation on the part of my 8-year-old. We’ve tried to reassure him that all of his friends are in the same situation. The school administration has done a good job of helping the kids get acclimated, with field trips to the ‘new’ school at the end of last year.

We’ve also tried to explain that the students who had already been at Elementary are probably just as upset. They now have all these interlopers invading their space, their school, their teachers.

And the up side of this whole thing is the possibility for new friends. ;)

All of this seemed to help, and the first two days of school went off seemingly without a hitch! Yay!!!

We’re keeping our fingers crossed for a successful year! Here’s hoping your school years will be just as good!

Check Yes or No

Made famous by George Strait in 1995, that song immediately sprang to mind this afternoon here in 2012 as the munchkin pulled me aside, saying, “So, guess what? I did it!”

“Uh…did what?”

“Today in art class, we made a valentine. I made mine, and then turned it over and wrote: Do you like me? __ Yes __ No”

8-O Oh boy. “You did?!?!” I ask, trying to hide my smile. I couldn’t help it. I can’t believe it. He’s got guts; ya gotta give him that.

“Yep!” he says with a big grin. “Then, before she left, I ran over to her car, handed it to her and ran away.”

Shaking my head, I ask, “So, you don’t know what she checked?”

“Nope.” Long pause. “What do you think? Will she check yes or no?”

“Ummm…not sure, buddy. Guess you’ll just have to wait and see.”

“Yep. Maybe I’ll find out on Valentine’s day. ♥ That’d be cool, right?”

Yep. That’d be cool. Wow.

What a character. Where does he get this from? He’s in second grade. I certainly didn’t have the courage to ask the boys I liked in second grade if they liked me. Unbelievable. (Yes, I said boys, plural.) Hmm…maybe he gets a little of it from me, after all. Lol! 8-)

Any crazy kids’ valentine stories you’d care to share? Drop me a line below and share your Common Grounds.

P.S. I played the George Strait video for the munchkin, who promptly sees the note with the yes/no boxes, opens his mouth, gasps and says, “Hey!!! That’s just like my note! Do they have any other songs about love?”

Ha! Only a few hundred thousand or so…

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