I’m Now A Professional Yard Crasher

YC Collage

So last September I get a text from my Ansley in Nashville to let me know that she has just been chosen to be on DIY’s Yard Crashers…. WHAT?!?! And can I come up ASAP to help? Well of course I said YES! (ROAD TRIP!!) Seriously, I know if I can just get a break, I am meant to be a TV star. (Why me you ask? Well, first I can talk about anything anytime to anyone and second, they are really good with hair & make-up so they can make anyone beautiful.) But I digress… back to Yard Crashers.

For those of you that don’t know, the show is basically this: TV host (who is a real contractor) scopes out a local hardware store to find someone there who needs a new back yard. He goes to their house, assess the yard, tells them to call some friends to help, then comes back with a local construction team and incredible plans to make the yard AMAZING!! Then the yard is transformed in two days. Yep, I said TWO DAYS!! You cannot even imagine what can be done in a back yard with 6 TV people, 5 contractors, 3 stone guys, 2 home owners, about 9 friends and two days. Truly crazy!!

They took my friend’s completely useless back yard that they NEVER, EVER used and made it the most used room in the house. But it was not easy! I may be permanently scarred from this but it was so worth it. After all I can now put ALL THIS on my resume: deck sander, railing/fence/gate painter, street scraper, mulch hauler/spreader, pebble layer, champion shovel user, water passer-outer, trash picker-upper, mud boot buyer, sod roller, not to mention antique wood waxer. (Oh yeah, you are wanting to hire me right now aren’t you???)

I will confess I worked harder than I’ve ever worked in my life and had no idea that this many muscles could all be sore at one time. There is nothing like a little manual labor to put things in perspective. The professionals that worked with us (shout out to Brandon Nutt Construction, Franklin, TN… whoop! whoop!) were not only amazing at their craft but unbelievably patient people. Imagine having to do quality work quickly and with a bunch of untrained, unskilled, unruly friends while TV cameras rolled. Yep, those guys deserve a HUGE reward for putting up with all of us.

So, in the end how’d it turn out? Well you won’t see me with my own TV show anytime soon (I know, I worked my razor sharp wit while muddy and sweaty but they must have missed it…their loss) but that back yard? It looks like a dream. Once the plans were laid out, I thought nice but when it was actually completed, it was like something you only see on TV… oh, wait, that’s exactly what it is!!

Before: (You really can’t tell how sloped the yard is from this pic so trust me!!)

YC Before

During:

YC During

After:

YC After

Yes, I’m a pretty skilled worker at this point… but you’d have to pay me a ton to do it all again!!

Golf Tournaments and New Babies

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It’s been quite a busy week for us around here. There was a small golf tournament in our city, tons of family and friends came to town and just yesterday Delle Louise Hargather was born becoming the seventeenth great niece/nephew for Tim and I.
You guys know that I loved my job at the Masters but I knew when to say when and have loved being home for the last two Masters Weeks. I get to go to the “tunamint” (in the words of Hootie Johnson) and have no stress, visit with much loved friends, shop in the most exclusive shop in the world and see world class golf (yes, it is good to be me sometimes…) But hands down the best part is being able to sit and watch the final round on LIVE TV. I love to see what happens and not just hear about it later.
But this year, the very best part was not the “tunamint”. The very best part was getting to visit with our new born great niece Riley Kathryn Wills and anticipate the arrival of her first cousin who was born last night. In the past month my nieces, Molly and Robin Anne (who are sisters), both had babies and both had girls!! Even though they live two hours apart, I have a feeling that these two little girls will spend tons of time together and be the best of friends. I also have a feeling that, like their moms, they will bring lots of joy to this great aunt. Welcome to the world Riley Kate and Delle… and always remember, Aunt Wendy is your favorite, right???

Embracing Your Muffin Top for Lent

I got this text from a friend not long ago just days before she was heading on a tropical vacation: ‘I just had a talk in the mirror like this “Self, gig’s up. I think your friends know you have a muffin top. No losing it between today and Saturday. Let’s embrace it!” Oh sheesh. Who am I?’ I could so relate!! You typically know months in advance when a really big event is scheduled. How many of us decide we are going to get in better shape and lose a pound or twenty before said event, only to arrive two days before without having changed a single thing and giving yourself this exact same pep talk?!?!

Here’s the truth in the matter, regardless of your size, big or small, there are very few REAL people who love the exact size they are. I have friends who would love to lose weight and I have friends who would love to gain weight. We all find ourselves falling short of where we wish to be. Why? Because we mistakenly think that our size matters. So I have decided to be the voice of truth… you are the only one paying attention to your size because your friends love you regardless (and if they don’t, news flash, YOU NEED TO GET NEW FRIENDS!!!)

I decided this past summer, when I turned 45, to just embrace the size I am. After all I have a husband who adores me, sons who love me, friends who enjoy hanging with me, and strangers whose opinions don’t matter. Think about all the time you spend obsessing about your size… I mean really people, we could end world hunger if we spent as much time dwelling on that. Be honest, how great would life be if you didn’t have to spend a moment focusing on what you see as your flaws?

Today is Ash Wednesday and I have a Lenten challenge for the four of you who read this blog: give up your negative self-image and embrace yourself EXACTLY AS YOU ARE.

  • Stop looking in the mirror and seeing your flaws.
  • Stop talking about what you should or shouldn’t be eating.
  • Stop trying to be something you are not.
  • Stop thinking that how you look defines who you are.

It’s only for forty-five days (yes, I realize that Lent is forty days but when you add the Sundays you get about forty-five days total.) Who knows, you just might get to Easter and along with celebrating the resurrection of our Lord, you just might be celebrating the resurrection of a life lived by a woman who is out to make a difference in the world instead of obsessing over herself.

Birthday Lunch, Box Wine and Family

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You learn something new every day. This past Saturday, Tim and I went to Carrollton and took his mother out for an early birthday lunch. Dana, Ruth’s other daughter-in-law, joined us and even though I’ve known (and loved!) Dana over 25 years, I learned many things…

Tim and I dated at Tee (Tim’s brother) and Dana’s house. We would just go over and hang out with them or babysit their kiddos. (We were poor and they would feed us, so it was a win-win situation people!) We don’t get to Carrollton as often as we like, and we certainly don’t get to see everyone we want when there, so it was great to have some time with Dana. I learned so… very… much…

Being a just few years younger than Dana, I look up to her to keep me on my toes regarding what is hip and current. Lo and behold, box wine is now hip and current… who knew?!?! Well, it may not really be up and coming but I about spewed my drink when Dana told me she switched to box wine because she was getting embarrassed by all the wine bottles she was taking to the recyclers (can you say two bin habit?) Now I promised her I would not mention this to anyone, so y’all keep this on this down-low, K?? Thanks! She also may or may not have mentioned that playing into this decision was the fact that she kept running into a certain member of the clergy who she was certain now thought she supplied her whole neighborhood with wine. We got to laughing so hard and loud that I’m afraid I may never be allowed in Plates again… oops!!

I have said for many years that it was wonderful to have family that are friends… I know it’s rare and I’m grateful every day for all of my in-laws. Besides, Dana will be SO GLAD I didn’t mention the HUGE stack of ones in her purse that she “claimed” she had left over from a mission trip… yeah! That’s a good story… let’s go with that… seriously, where else could someone thin and beautiful get a HUGE stack of ones in the Atlanta area?!?!?!?!? Love you bunches Dana!!

The Kitchen Is Closed

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The Kitchen is closed… at least for a couple of days. Don’t get me wrong, it was WONDERFUL having all three of the boys home for the holidays but I have to admit, I’d forgotten how much of my time is spent in the kitchen while they are here. The best thing about the empty nest has been how easy it is to prepare food for two people neither of whom is a teenage male. I mean, when it is just the two of us we never run out of milk or bread but the boys had not been home for a day before I realized we were three sips away from a milk catastrophe!

Extra mouths also seemed to be more prevalent this holiday. My boys love their friends as do I, but not when they forget to tell me that they are all staying for dinner. Multiple times over the break, I’d realize about five minutes before meal time that there were anywhere from one to five extra guys in the house… oops! Hard to stretch seven corn muffins for ten people. Oh some of the time it was my own fault, I simply forgot there were extra people there but in my defense, a few times I didn’t even know there was one non-family member in the house much less four!

Yes, it was a wonderful holiday with some great memories made and stories that we’ll tell for years to come. Sure right now the house seems pretty quiet, and truthfully I really do miss the chaos of having them all here. But just between me and you, my grocery bill and kitchen are glad for the break. Now, where did I put the book I was reading before they got home…

Then I Met The General…

Col Robert & Ellen Edmonson; Jeannine and Walter Wilson with Tim and I;

Top: Robert & Ellen Edmonson; Bottom: Jeannine and Walter Wilson with Tim and I;

So I was talking with the General… you know General Patterson at Fort Gordon. Oh you don’t know him?? Well, I didn’t either until Sunday. Our dear friends Robert and Ellen Edmonson (Colonel Robert Edmonson that is!) had a New Year’s party on Sunday afternoon and gracious invited us along with another couple to be a part of a time honored military tradition where Robert entertained all the officers he commands. Now you guys may not know this, but that was a huge deal because we were the only non-military couples there. WHAT?!?!?! (yes, once again it is good to be me.)

You know I love to read but you may not know I also love to learn about new things and the military world is definitely new to me. It is so fascinating to see inside that world because of all the traditions and protocols that I find totally foreign. When you are invited to a military get together, if the invite says 1:00, your bottom better be standing at the door at one minute til. Not like the civilian world where if you’re on time you’re too early (which by the way is a pet peeve of mine… if I ask you to be here at 1:00, be here at 1:00, K?) It was fascinating to learn what all the medals and ribbons on their uniforms meant. Y’all, I’m so thankful these men and women volunteer to defend our country (yes, never forget they VOLUNTEERED.) I looked around that room many times and was almost overwhelmed with thankfulness at what these people were willing to do for me and you.

The party was in full swing when Robert walked over and said, “Want to meet the General?” Uh, YES PLEASE!! I mean, didn’t the General want to meet me?!? (I kid, I kid!) Tim and I followed him into the other room where he introduced us to General Patterson. Naturally, he was extremely kind and seemed truly interested in us and our family. I was impressed with everything about him especially the way he truly engaged in the conversation we were having. (I would tell you what we talked about but then I’d have to kill you…)

People, there is a reason we have such a stellar military. If you knew Robert and the other fine men and women we met Sunday, you would realize that we are being defended by some of the most incredible people in the world. (And don’t forget their spouses who also sacrifice greatly for us.) So, the next time you see someone in uniform, don’t forget to thank them for all they do. You can also tell them General Patterson’s friend Wendy says hello!!

Happy Birthday Jesus!

cards

I love getting Christmas cards, especially photo Christmas cards. Even though I’m not a card sender, there are still a lot of people in this world who love me and my family anyway (who knew?!?!) Oh I say I’m going to send cards every year but then I take a thousand photos of the boys and the BEST one looks like the photo this:

boys

I know, one looks ok but the other two… in spite of what they say, would be mad at me and probably not give me a Christmas gift. (and who takes their Christmas card photo in a restaurant?? Yes, the ridicule would never end…)

Every day from Thanksgiving on, I look forward to getting the mail in spite of the bills because it usually contains a Christmas card or ten. When sorting the mail I put the cards off to one side and open them last so that I can savor them. The very best part of the cards we get is watching the families expand and seeing the kids as they grow up. We have begun to get cards from children who we saw grow up that now have children of their own. We have so many friends that we haven’t seen in years who still remember us every year with a Christmas card. In spite of my lack of planning, these people who we have known forever, still think fondly enough of us to send us their smiles.

So on this day that we celebrate the most important birthday ever in the world, I wanted to share with you what I would say in my Christmas card to everyone this year:

For to us a child is born,

to us a son is given,

and the government will be on his shoulders.

And he will be called

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6

Merry Christmas to all of you from all of us!

Words To Live By

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It’s Thanksgiving and I realize this is a Christmas picture but I am a poor planner people so can we just go with this one? Thanks.

I’m thankful for many things including family, friends and all of those in our armed services. But I am also reminded of all that I have and often take for granted. Many years ago, my in-laws gave us a simple little quote written in calligraphy on plain white paper. That quote really sums up not only Thanksgiving, but how I should… no, how I WANT to live every day of my life:

THOU, WHO HAS GIVEN SO MUCH TO ME, GIVE ONE THING MORE~

A GRATEFUL HEART.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

30 Years And Counting…

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We’ve been friends for 30 years… 30 YEARS PEOPLE!! That is a really long time to continue liking someone who is not family and we not only like each other, we truly love each other and cannot imagine doing life without the others. We’ve definitely had our share of STUFF- cancer, divorce, career changes, infertility, marriage issues, faith crisis, children and so on but the one constant? Unfailing love and support.

It started innocently enough, we were at cheerleading camp the summer before heading into our junior year of high school. Each room was a suite for four people so my best friend and I looked around to find two unsuspecting souls others to share a room with us. Our eyes locked with theirs and a beautiful friendship was born. I know most of you found your dearest and best friends in college. Maybe you were sorority sisters or were random roommates/hall mates but we are part of the smallest friend group in the world- lifelong friends from high school. We didn’t go to the same college, in fact we set off to three different schools yet we not only stayed best friends we became closer with every year.

Once all the kids were old enough (we have 11 amongst the 4 of us) we decided it was time for some girl trips. (I’m sure when you think of girl trips you think of wild, crazy, not family friendly times but we are a different breed… no, we are NOT boring, just different thank you) We can spend an entire weekend watching movies, eating amazing food, playing cards and talking, lots and lots of talking. I use the term “watching movies” loosely because we’ve started hundreds of movies on these trips and yet only Shawn and I tend to see the endings. I don’t care if we start the movie at 8:00pm, Kay and Lynne are just not going to make it to the end. It’s like it is engrained in their brains to release melatonin and fall asleep before the ending. I’m seriously not making this up people!! Inevitably breakfast is spent with Shawn and me recapping the movie for the sleepy heads sometimes having to start from almost the beginning (Lynne has actually fallen asleep before the opening credits finished but don’t tell her I told you, K?) Is it weird? Yes, but it’s just what we do.

Now that the kids are mostly in high school and up, we’ve gotten more creative with our trips. When you have four people splitting one room you can afford to go places that are super nice like the St Regis or the Ritz-Carlton (feel free to comp our room hotel people) and that is exactly what we do. We’ve started working our way through the east coast Ritz-Carlton’s one by one always staying at club level. Why club level you ask? One word, MACAROONS. Yep, Lynne is our self-proclaimed travel agent and she is in LOVE with macaroons. (I think she single handedly created the great macaroon shortage in Key Biscayne Florida in the summer of 2012 but I can’t prove it.) Another perk of staying at club level at the Ritz? ADULT ONLY POOL. Hello!! We’re there to enjoy a break from our family so it’s the perfect place to hang out and what else, talk.

So ladies, as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of being the Awesome Foursome, I want to take this time to thank you. Thank you for not sharing with my kids all the trouble I may or may not have gotten into, times that I made a fool of myself in front of a boy and most importantly, how gifted I am with a roll of toilet paper and a few trees. Remember, I know your secrets too!

We All Like To Talk

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Shocking truth but like most women, I like to talk… a lot. Sometimes I don’t even really have anything to say but still I talk.

 Remember that Run DMC rap song from the 80’s

You talk too much   You never shut up   I said, “You talk too much”   Homeboy you never shut up

 You talk about people, you don’t even know   And you talk about places, you never go   You talk about your girl, from head to toe   I said, “Your mouth’s moving fast and your brain’s moving slow”

 I’m afraid I knew 10 girls who could have inspired that song. (After all the thriving metropolis of Carrollton GA was filled with fodder for rap stars in the late 80’s.) Anyway, I know for certain there are moments in my life when I am THAT PERSON. I’ve been chatting with someone before and I could tell the other person had checked out. It was SO tempting to just start spouting random nonsense. Did I start talking about the alien landing I had just witnessed? No, I wanted to…. but I didn’t.  Usually I just stop talking all together and mark that person off my friend list. (Ok, not really- I just wanted to.) The truth here was that I was most likely spouting random drivel and it was time for me to just… be… quiet.

 Hear me out, cause this is important stuff. When we are talking with another person we are being given an opportunity to get to know that person. To hear about likes, dislikes, habits, family, work, any number of things but unfortunately our tendency is to spend more time thinking about what we’re going to say next rather than hearing what is being said.

 On the other hand, everyone has THAT friend who is a really good listener and whenever something happens you can’t wait to talk with them. Why? Because you know that they care. God in His infinite wisdom showed me that being a good listener is a gift. You are saying to someone else “You matter to me and I want to know what you have to say.” It made me think about those I’m closest to. They’re the ones who listen to me when I need it and who I listen to when they need it. I tease my Ansley because there have been girl’s weekends when I only talked for 30 minutes the entire 3 days because she had so much to say! (I may exaggerate, I’m sure I talked for an hour) Funny part is those were some of my favorite weekends.

Don’t get me wrong, I still talk way too much (and I have friends that would wholeheartedly agree) but I try to remember in the crazy, busy, plugged in world we all need a good friend who listens more than she talks… most of the time anyway! Truth? We don’t all like to talk….we all like TO BE HEARD.

 “To answer before listening- that is folly and shame.” Proverbs 18:13

(Yes, yes I did…. I started with Run DMC and ended with scripture… BAM!!)