50 Shades of Grey… and Then Some!

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I’m looking for a grey paint color for my walls… and y’all there are WAY more than 50 shades of grey! Now, I am not one of those people who instantly see what colors go together in a room. Oh, I have several nieces who are just gifted in that way and wow can they put a room together! (Hint, hint) But what I am good at is seeing something I like and then being able to copy it. So I saw a photo showing a gorgeous den in a magazine with this really beautiful shade of grey on the walls and thought “YES! This is the color for me!” Easy enough right?!?!

I confidently walked into the paint store to quickly pick up a gallon of said grey paint and be on my way. I just knew I’d be in and out in minutes with the rest of the day to get my entire room painted. Yeah, that didn’t happen! I walked over to the paint chips to get the exact grey that I desired and ummmm…. well… there were more shades of grey than I could imagine! Blue grey, purple grey, green grey, aqua grey, pink grey, yellow grey, tan grey….. IMPOSSIBLE!! My confidence level went from 20 to 1 in less than a second. I grabbed a few paint chips but knew in my heart that none of them were my grey.

You know what I really like when decorating? Someone else to make all the decisions! Yes, I’m that girl… if offered a blind home makeover with no input from me, I would totally jump at the chance!! I think that is why I’ve never had the desire to build a house. TOO MANY DECISIONS! Now don’t get me wrong, I can make a decision but I like to choose from three maybe four things. Those are easy for me but when there are HUNDREDS of choices?!?! Yeah, I just walk away… which means that my walls? Yes, they are still white and it’s not looking good for them to change anytime soon…

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A Real BFF…

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I was seven years old when Lynne chose me. Chose me for what you might ask? To be her best friend, confidant and partner in crime. Why did she choose me? I’ll never know but I’m oh so blessed she did. When Lynne and I met, I was a shy, introverted second grade little girl who did everything she could to fade into the background. As the youngest of three kids each a year a part, I was most concerned with not causing trouble. Of course that ALL changed with time and most importantly with Lynne (yep, I’m blaming you!)

My first clue that life as Lynne’s BFF would be different should have come when we were in middle school and she walked into homeroom to inform me that we were going to be in a community play where she would have the lead and I would have a secondary role. K? Ok…and we were. Lynne has the gift of giving… not of gifts (even though she’s good at that) but of true potential. She gave me the confidence to be on stage in spite of my total lack of talent and ability not to mention my terror of speaking in public.

My ballroom dancing skills, tennis prowess, date to the Junior Prom (hi Jeff!), bizarre sense of humor and uncanny ability to burst out laughing at the MOST inappropriate time are all credited to Lynne. For some reason when she was doing life with me, I had no fear of failure, rejection or falling short. She embraced life with such joy that I just assumed it would all be fine. And you know what? It was.

Those that know me now struggle to believe me when I tell them how painfully shy I was before Lynne. You see in just the last 10 years I’ve spoken at women’s retreats & events, been the design coordinator for a major golf tournament, led countless Bible studies and often get accused of working the room wherever I am. The very confident woman you see today was many years in the making.

I know that much of what I am today is because Lynne refused to take “no” for an answer. Now we were not always building character and good life skills but since I’m not sure if the statute of limitations has expired yet, I’ll keep most of our adventures to myself. What I will tell you is that 38 years later with us both happily married and mothers to seven kids total, we are still best friends (yeah, yeah I know I’m supposed to say my husband is my best friend but realistically, I never would have had the courage to go out with much less ask him to marry me if it weren’t for her… so he understands!) So to all of you out there like me, make sure you thank the Lynne’s in your life for helping you become the woman you were truly intended to be. If she’s anything like my Lynne you can do that by sending her a few dozen macaroons.

Mrs. B Where Are You Now?

Mrs. B was my senior AP English teacher back in the last century. She was known far and wide (well, at least around Central High School) as not only a difficult teacher but one without any sense of humor. People please! Who doesn’t have a sense of humor?!?!?! Sarcasm has always been my love language, so I knew early on it was going to be a long year. My ace in the hole was my best friend Lynne who was a killer writer and I knew she’d do what she’d always done- rescue me!

Way back in the dark ages, you spent 90% of AP English writing essays and term papers. Now, I’ve always been a reader but back then no one would confuse me for a writer. I tried really hard to do what I was asked, spending hours writing paper after paper editing them over and over and over. It never failed to elicit a “C”… EVERY SINGLE TIME. I’m not trying to brag but some of those papers were pretty good. Way better than a “C”. So I came up with what I surmised was a GENIUS plan. I would write my paper, Lynne would write hers then we’d exchange papers, recopy them and turn them in. (I know, brilliant right?!?) Well it worked out just like we thought. Lynne received her normal “A+” and I received my normal “C”. But there arose a problem… we couldn’t tell Mrs. B what we’d done because then “F’s” would be had by all!! So my brilliance hit a snag and I realized that I would have to (GULP) talk with Mrs. B in order to find out why in her mind I was nothing more than a “C” student.

There are a lot of things in life I don’t like (mayo, tomatoes, poorly written books) but nothing more than confrontation. However, I knew I deserved better and wanting to get into a good college knew I had to do everything I could to raise my English average as high as possible. So I put on my big girl pants and asked her if we could talk. I’d love to tell you that she saw the light. That after I poured out my heart and soul she declared me to be the next Margaret Mitchell but alas it was not to be. She simply felt I had no talent as a writer and there was nothing I could do to improve.

WHAT??? What kind of teacher tells a student that not only do they have no talent, but no way to get better?? Mrs. B that’s who. But I’ll tell you this, I decided right then and there to prove her wrong. And you know what? As an adult, I think that was her plan all along. She knew me well enough to know that I loved a challenge and I would be determined to prove her wrong. She knew if she suddenly changed her mind and made me a “B” student I’d be content to never get any better, never try any harder and never be anything more than a mediocre writer at best. I’m sure some of you may think of me as less than stellar as a writer but I know that not only have I gotten better, I gained the confidence to find my God given love for writing.

So, Mrs. B, wherever you are now I hope you read this and think to yourself, that you were successful. Successful in helping me find my voice, successful in showing me that confrontation may not always be easy but is often necessary, successful in teaching a young girl that believing in herself is the greatest gift she can receive.

And for that I say, Thank you Mrs. B!!