Assault with a deadly pair of socks.

 

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I’m not sure if it’s a blessing, or a curse. Maybe it’s both.

I’ll just come straight out and say it. I have an unusually good sense of smell.

I hate to brag. But, yes. I’ve got a good sniffer.

Case in point, I have called the city gas company on several occasions alerting them of a specific address or intersection where I smell a potential gas leak. Do you know how many of those times I have later seen a crew repairing said gas leaks in the exact spot that I’ve reported? Every single time. I’m not saying the city should hire me as a “gas sniffing unit” just yet, but they might want to keep the idea in the back of their minds.

Anyway, this sense of smell can come in handy, but it can also lead to suffering. Suffering in the form of extreme awareness of foul odors.

And let me tell you, I have I met some foul odors in my day. But just this past weekend, I experienced a new level of one particularly rancid odor.

And it wasn’t it a gas leak.

It was my son’s socks.

Granted, the poor kid has been hearing complaints from me for years about his socks. They’ve never smelled like roses. In fact, roses are probably now offended that I even dared make the comparison. Please forgive me.

Anyway, one time, in a hotel room, our family decided to put Karson’s socks and shoes in the hallway overnight because none of us could stand the odor with them in the room. We figured if anyone dare steal them, then bless their hearts. And noses. We’d buy new ones. But, his socks and shoes were there in the hallway the next morning, and my son’s pride remained in tact. Karson owns up to it. He’s just thirteen, but he’s a true man when it comes to owning his stinky feet. He’s not ashamed.

So, this past weekend, my husband and I “divided and conquered” with the kids. I took two of the kids to Michigan for my son’s basketball team to play in a tournament, and my husband stayed home to coach our third child’s game. We all had fun. It was a wonderful weekend of friends and basketball, and my son’s team got to play in seven basketball games over the course of two days. And bonus, they won them all! What great memories!

But here’s the problem. Minutes after getting into our van to drive the two hours home Sunday evening, I smelled trouble. I did not even have to turn around to verify my suspicion. Karson had taken his shoes off.

And I was about to pass out.

And then I find out why it’s this bad. This whole new level of awful. This “my eyes are burning” odor that is now assaulting me from the back seat.

He wore the same socks for all seven basketball games.

Yeah. You heard me. All seven basketball games. Same pair of socks. No washing machine. No spray deodorizer. No “airing them out outside.”

No comprendo. 

So… the conversation went like this.

“Karson. Something has to happen right now with your socks. I can not make it the rest of the way home in this condition. This situation is not going to work.”

Deep breath. Hold it. 

Exhale.

I continue. “I don’t care if you like those socks or that they’re Under Armor socks. Do we need to pull over and throw them away?”

“Hmm.” Karson thinks. Karson shrugs. Karson barely notices the odor and doesn’t understand why wearing socks seven games in a row without washing them is bad.

I exhale and reload. 

“Okay,” I add. “I have an idea. Why don’t we find a bag and you can put your socks in it and wrap them up SUPER tight to try and stifle the odor.”

Karson thinks. Karson shrugs. Karson slowly wraps the socks of death in a trash bag that we miraculously found in the van.

And we made it home.

Who knows, we may have passed several gas leaks on our way and I was not able to sniff them out and call them in because of the sock situation.  I guess I may never know.

But this I do know.

Seventh grade boys aren’t always going to smell great. Or even acceptable.

And they don’t care.

But, if you can hold your breath for awhile, and remember how much you love them, stink and all, you’re in for a great ride!

 

 

17 Things I Learned During the Christmas Season of 2017

Each year for the past several, I have taken the time to sit down and write out my thoughts and ponderings at the end of the Christmas season. Granted, by the end of Christmas break (yes, it’s January 6th, but my kids haven’t been back to school yet) my “thoughts and ponderings” have been boiled down to bullet points. No deep philosophical quotes are being conjured up here. Even that last sentence took longer to write than I’d like to admit. But regardless, I like to summarize what I’ve observed during the month of December.

And so, I give you:

17 Things I Learned During the Christmas Season of 2017

  1. If you’re losing to your son in a game of Checkers while on a date with him at Cracker Barrel, you can get out of the loss by claiming probable victory when your food arrives before he takes your last piece.

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  1. Just because the candy/icing/sprinkles say they are edible doesn’t necessarily mean they should be eaten.

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  1. You are never without holiday entertainment when you have two daughters ages seven and nine. Show times and themes vary.

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  1. If you invite a group of fifth graders over to your house for a Christmas party, you might as well take the mistletoe down before they arrive. The shrieking, pointing, and giggles will be quite disruptive until you do.
  1. Handmade cards with misspellings are my favorite. (Unless they’re from my husband. He should be able to spell correctly by now.)

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  1. If, due to sickness in the family, you all binge watch an entire season of a Hallmark show in a matter of two days, the sappiness in the acting and script may in fact lead to more feelings of illness.
  1. Sometimes your husband gives you three flashlights in your stocking with no explanation. Go with it.

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  1. Children love to shop at the school “Holiday Shop” and surprise their parents with “real gifts” on Christmas morning. They also like to hide said gifts in their shirts.

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  1. Pretzel rods dipped in chocolate > pretzel rods. This should really go without saying.

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  1. Eaves dropping on two sisters playing a strategy game at the table is well worth your time.

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  1. Store bought cut-out cookies don’t taste as good as homemade sugar cookies. However, the fact you don’t have to make them from scratch brings their taste level up to “rather delicious.”

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  1. You’re never too big to sit on Santa’s lap.

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  1. There’s something hopeful and fresh about the blank page of a calendar.

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  1. Candlelight services are beautiful and meaningful. Hot wax that drips from said candle onto your youngest child’s hand causing weeping during Silent Night seems to steal a bit of sanctity from the moment.
  1. When you are used to calling your son’s basketball compression shorts his “special undies,” and you need to take some back to the store and exchange them for another size, don’t ask the male sales clerk if he has “special undies.” Instead, stare at him for an uncomfortably long amount of time while trying to think of the words “compression shorts.”
  1. There’s nothing that will put a spring in your step quite like when you’re in what is literally the world’s largest high school fieldhouse and you’re sitting three rows from the bottom and have at least 50 steps to climb to get to the restroom, and your youngest child looks you in the eye and says, “I think I’m going to throw up.”
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  1. Sharing with groups of women during the Christmas season about the “Light of the World,” Jesus, and why you have chosen to live in His light instead of darkness is quite possibly as special as it gets.

 

Cheers.

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My turn signal pinged its rhythmic song. I heard it, but wasn’t really listening. I watched the oncoming traffic, and waited for my chance to make a right turn.

My thoughts were ringing in my head, playing the harmony to the accompanying noise around me. I was trying to give my thoughts my full attention in hopes I could corral them into orderly conduct.

“You, over there. Yes, I know I have laundry in the washer that’s been sitting there wet for three days. I’ll run that load again when we get home. And yes, I’ll add detergent again. I know it stinks.”

“Excuse me, what? I have to write two checks to the school when I get home? One for a lunch account and then I have to order that sports gear. Oh, and the photograph form. Got it. I’ll try to get that done before picking up Karson from practice. Wait, is his jersey in the washer? What time is his game Sunday afternoon?”

“What’s that, Mr. Stomach? I haven’t made dinner plans yet for this evening? Give me a break. I’ve barely even been home this afternoon. You’ll just have to wait.”

My own mental conversation was not the only one echoing in my ears. In the backseat of the van, my daughters, ages seven and nine, were having one of their own.

I could hear them, but I wasn’t really listening.

“Let’s make up our own cheers, Kenzie.” My oldest daughter was saying.

“Okay. Let’s use letters and then think of words that they stand for,” Kenzie replied.

I tuned them out again.

Where did I put the checkbook?

“I know. For the letter ‘O’ we can make it stand for ‘Honesty!’ ‘O’ says ‘Ahh’ so honesty is a good word! I like honesty!”

“Yeah! ‘O’ for ‘Honesty’. Good idea Kenzie!” Karly responded to her little sister.

“Honesty actually starts with an ‘H,’” I chimed in. “How about ‘Octopus,’ instead?”

“No way, Mom!” Kenzie said. “I like ‘honesty’ better.”

I looked back at the road. I never was a cheerleader. What do I know?

“Okay, now for the letter ‘C.’ Kenzie continued, “Let’s use the word “Kind!” I looked in the rearview mirror. She was smiling and enthusiastic.

Once again I broke in to the conversation.

“Kind actually starts with a ‘K’ not a ‘C.’” I informed.

“No, it doesn’t.”

“Yes, it does.”

“No, it’ doesn’t”

“Yes, it does.”

The turn signal kept the beat.

“Well, we don’t really care. We like honesty and kindness so we’re going to use them.” Kenzie said.

I thought about it.

Whose team mascot is an Octopus, anyway?

“You know what?” I said in my best Mom Authority voice. “I like honesty and kindness too. Go for it!”

And they did. They completed their homemade cheer and happily chatted the rest of the drive home.

They may not be winning the spelling bee anytime soon. But, I’ll tell you what, I don’t really care.

Honesty and kindness trump winning in my book, anyway.

Hip. Hip. Hooray! You go girls! Let honesty and kindness be traits you always cheer about.

And who knows. Maybe I could have been a cheerleader, after all.

Math is easier without numbers.

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I don’t have a beautiful mind like the guy in the movie by that title who is a brilliant mathematician. In fact, when it comes to math, my mind is anything but beautiful. Equations go into my mind to scoff and mock.

“Larry, get a load of this mind! She’ll never get us. We’re safe here!” (Yes, math equations are sometimes named Larry.)

I’d say instead of a beautiful mind, I have a busy mind. It sometimes serves me well. Minds need to be busy, right? We have places to go, people to see, things to do.

But there are times my busy mind is not a good addition to life, but a subtraction. (Wait, did I almost make a math problem? Larry, is that you?)

When my mind is busy with the wrong things, things like worry, irrational thoughts, fears, imaginary scenarios, I suffer.

But I have a little equation that helps me pull out of it. (Okay, maybe I really CAN do math- just not with actual numbers.)

Truth + Trust = Peace

When I find my busy mind is focused on questions like,

“What did my friend mean by that comment? Does she hate me now? What did I do to offend her?”

“What if my daughter doesn’t know how to navigate this difficult situation at school today? What if I’ve completely failed as her mom?”

“Is this health symptom weird? Am I dying of some rare disease?”

When those questions haunt me, I go back to my equation.

Truth + Trust = Peace

Truth. What do I KNOW to be true.

Trust. Who do I KNOW to be in control, no matter the circumstance (spoiler alert: it’s God).

Peace. Ahhh. There is it. The wonderful resulting exhale of relief and hope filled inhale of comfort.

When I go back this equation, this simple formula without numbers, my busy mind becomes more beautiful after all.

That’s right, Larry. Deal with it.

 

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This post is part of the Five Minute Friday community where bloggers are challenged to write for 5 minutes based on a one-word prompt. This week’s word: TRUTH

Conversation Cafe Podcast

I will doing some traveling and speaking in the coming months (starting tomorrow!) and will be sharing about the messages in my new book, Brownie Crumbs and Other Life Morsels.

But, before the “live” speaking started, I was able to record three podcast interviews- two of which have already been posted.

I really enjoyed this one which was just posted yesterday. I loved getting to know the host, Bekah Shaffer. I have a new friend now, and it seems we’re a lot alike!

So, if you have about 30 minutes while you’re in the car, folding laundry (one of my least favorite jobs!), or on the treadmill, maybe you can have  listen.

Here’s the link:

https://soundcloud.com/spill-the-beans-404985658/the-conversation-cafe-episode-12-christy-cabe

Thanks!

Christy

It’s My Book’s Birthday!

Today, after three years of labor, my book has been born! (Phew!)

I’m so excited to announce that my first book, Brownie Crumbs and Other Life Morsels, is now available on Amazon in paperback, and for the Kindle.

You can find it here:

 

Also, I had a book trailer made to give everyone a short glimpse of what the book is about – much like you’d discover from reading the back cover. If you’d like to see it, it is here:

 

 

And finally, if you’d like to follow my writing page on Facebook, you can find it here:

https://www.facebook.com/christycabewriter/

Thanks for your support, reader!

Happy Birthday, Book!

Christy

My Top 5 Blog Posts from 2016

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I’ve spent a little time with Numbers today. We are not close, but we are on friendly terms. We just don’t click the way that Words and I do. But, Numbers proved to be loyal and hardworking once again. He also brought his buddy Statistics to the meeting. He was a little boring for my taste, but I’m told he doesn’t lie.

Our collaboration and research brought forth the stats for 2016. With the data we discovered my top five blog posts for the year.

Drumroll, please (don’t).

From the fifth most-read post, to the one with the most readers:

5. 5 Outsider Observations about the 2016 ACFW Conference 

A recap about a writing conference that I attended in Nashville, Tennessee. I called myself an outsider because it was a fiction writers conference and I write non-fiction (gasp!)

4. Temporarily Derailed. 

The story about a sight that stopped me dead in my tracks.

This post was part of the Five Minute Friday community where a group bloggers write about a topic for about 5 minutes based on a one-word prompt. I enjoy this challenge and participated 14 times in 2016. Thanks for hosting, Kate Motaung!

3. Island Issues. 

Apparently, a few of you can relate to the humiliation of public uncoordination.

(This was also a Five Minute Friday post)

2. Our Reality (TV). 

Our brief stint on television. I cried in front of a bunch of people.

And the top post for 2016 was…

1. Our Marriage Needs A Prefix.  

Chalk one up for love!

 

Thank you for taking time to stop over to christycabe.com this year. Your friendship and comments mean the world to me!

I like you a lot more than Numbers. But let’s keep that between us.

 

Is this going to be on the test?

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I’m a big fan of mnemonic devices. I know that may sound a little intimidating. I promise, I’m not going to hurt you. A mnemonic device isn’t a weapon, it’s a tool. Big difference.

According to Wikipedia, a mnemonic device is “any learning technique that aids information retention in the human memory.”

I’ve got many of these little aides running around in my brain and plugging the leaks where the memories are threatening to ooze out of the crevices.

These aides help me to remember the notes on the treble clef scale (Every Good Boy Does Fine) (PS: This phrase happens to be true in parenting a middle school son as well.)

The aides help me to remember that when writing an email to my daughter’s principal, I can address it to her as the princiPAL, not the princiPLE, because she’s not only in charge of the school,she’s my pal. See what I did there?

The aides helped me to memorize the names and birth order of Jacob’s 12 sons in the Old Testament. That’s right. You never know when you’re going to need this information, and quickly. I haven’t come across a time yet, but I’m prepared for when I do.

And just last night my son was studying Latin root words for an upcoming test and he told me his own mnemonic devices for each one. It was a proud moment as his mother when he explained that he remembers the definition of “superfluous” by thinking of a super hero named “Super Floss” who has too much floss. Brilliant. (And I think most of us can relate to this super hero as we also have too much floss and not enough motivation to actually use it. Actual flossing must be the superpower of another hero?)

All of these little mnemonic devices help me keep things straight. I don’t have to remember EVERYTHING, that’s what Google is for, but it does help to have a few stored memories when I’m not getting a good wifi signal.

And we’ve all learned from school that the real question is, “Is this going to be on the test?” Translated, this means, “What do I really have to remember here?”

And granted, this is a big question when it comes to life. What do we really have to remember here?

There are many things that seem important. Traffic rules (‘Hands on the steering wheel at 10 and 2 like on the face of a clock!’) The order of the planets in our solar system (My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Noodlesand who can forget ROY G. BIV. Everybody knows him and his colorful personality.

Yes, all good things to know. But when it comes down to it, I believe the most important things to remember in life are these:

  1. Love God.
  2. Love Others.

Those are the big ones.

Everything else is just superfluous.

 


This blog is part of the Five Minute Friday community where bloggers are challenged to write about a topic for about 5 minutes based on a one-word prompt. This week’s word: TEST.

Island Issues.

My dad called me earlier this summer and sent me on a mission. He was out of town and afraid Costco would sell out of a large raft he’d seen and he thought we needed it for our upcoming lake vacation.

Operation vacation floatation accepted.

And then I stood frozen in the aisle at Costco. I stared at the box that contained the said raft and dialed Dad’s number. Actually, I shouldn’t use the word raft. The thing comfortably seats seven adults and boasts six cup holders. It may be visible from space.

“You know this thing is ginormous, right?” I said into my phone with raised eyebrows as I tried to figure out how to lift the box into my shopping cart.

“Yes, it will be fun. Just grab it. I’ll pay you back.”

Never mind the story of how I got it into my van with only my six-year-old’s assistance, and how we blew it up and got it into the water and anchored at the lake.

Bottom line: we’ve got our own island now. Zip code not included.

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But here’s the problem. There’s no good way to get on this thing. No ladder. No handles. No flight attendant holding out her hand for assistance.

My process to board the island resembles a walrus rolling onto shore, only not nearly as graceful.

One time my son, who was already on the island, offered his assistance. He pulled me up and our momentum continued until I knocked us both over and landed on top of him.

“Are you okay?” I asked once I found which way was up.

“Yeah, you didn’t hurt me, you just held my head under water for awhile.”

Oh, that’s all. Glad it wasn’t more serious.

The kids are the most successful at boarding the island, but teenagers and grandmas alike have had some serious island arrival issues. We’ve laughed at each other and cheered our successes. Sometimes we tell others to look away so as to save some embarrassment. Other times we own the hilarity.

And as in life on dry land, it helps to know we’re not alone in the struggle.

Sometimes we help each other by offering a hand. Other times we make life better by laughing together at our failures and encouraging each other to try again. Sometimes we take each other down in our desire to be a team, and sometimes we lift each other up in triumph.

But we’re in this life full of struggle together. It’s a lot better that way.

No man is a floating island.

 


This post is part of the Five Minute Friday community where bloggers are invited to write for about five minutes about a topic after being given a one-word prompt.

This week’s word: HELP

 

 

 

Snail Spa

I’ve heard it said that no lake vacation is complete without a man-made snail habitat. Er, something like that. But I can’t argue with the saying, because it certainly rang true for us.

While spending a week with our extended family, my daughters and their cousin not only discovered the snails in the shallow water of the lake, but “rescued” them and carried them a good twenty feet from the water to our deck railing. The girls then spent hours caring for the snails and building a natural habitat out of paper bowls, water from a squirt gun, leaves, scissors, and dish soap.

Of course the scissors and leaves were part of the snail clothing design unit and not so much the living quarters, but useful nonetheless.

The habitat was complete and the snails were quite spoiled with their own bathtubs, showers, and even a hot tub. I can’t speak for the snails, but who could really dislike such a variety of hygiene and relaxation options?

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As I watched the girls bathe the snails for the forty-second time it occurred to me that as parents we really don’t need to create fun for our kids as often as we think we do. Sure, sometimes it’s good to play a family board game or a round of “I Spy” in the car, but most of the time, kids just need a little freedom and maybe some Palmolive.

It’s a delight to watch a child’s imagination at work and to see their little hands design and create- even if it leaves you with a mess and a few less paper bowls in your stash.


This post is was inspired by the Five Minute Friday blogging community where bloggers are invited to write about a topic for about 5 minutes based on a one-word prompt. To see more of this week’s post from other bloggers visit here: http://katemotaung.com/2016/07/14/five-minute-friday-create/

This week’s prompt: CREATE