It’s His Birthday!!

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Today is the love of my life’s birthday!! I thought about telling you fifty-three things I love about this man since today is his fifty-third birthday, but I decided no one would read past number ten except for him, so I’ll just spare you. Tim and I are different in many ways and when it comes to birthdays we are really different! When it’s my birthday, I like to pick the restaurant and truthfully the gifts as well. Not that I don’t trust Tim to do it, it’s just that he has less than stellar taste in gifts and Waffle House is his go to place (he once gave me a shower stool….you feeling me now?!?!) So when it’s getting near his birthday I start asking him where he wants to go and what gifts he wants. The answer is always the same, “wherever you want to go” and “I don’t want anything, I have everything I want.” See how easy it is being me?????

But really that sums up this wonderful man. Tim is content with spending time with people, doing what they want to do and just enjoying every day as it comes. He rarely gets mad, never raises his voice, puts others first and doesn’t even understand the concept of holding a grudge. (Told you we were really different!) I know that I am the most blessed woman in the world to get to call this man my husband and though we have our differences we also have our similarities. From simple things like pretzel dogs at Sonic to our love of traveling to our total joy in getting to raise our sons. Even though he is a mountain person and I am a beach person we can agree on the fact that we love to be together. (yes, in typical Tim style, the beach usually wins.)

So today join me as I celebrate the greatest husband, father, son, brother, uncle, friend in the world. I have loved you for over half of my life and I don’t plan to stop… Happy Birthday Timmy! Waffle House here we come…

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What’s Really Important

As I was driving over to my niece’s house, I realized it’s almost Masters Week… and truly for the first time in ten years I have no idea the actual dates of the tournament. Even though last year was my first year not working there full time, it was still engrained in my brain because I worked about eighteen months out and it is hard to un-know something. But this year? I couldn’t tell you the actual dates for love nor money.
People ask me all the time if I miss working there and I can honestly say yes. Mainly because there are SO MANY people I worked with that I miss seeing on a daily basis and I truly loved what I did for almost all of the nine plus years I worked there. In all truth, there was a time when I could not wait to get in the car and head to work… I just could not believe that I got paid to do what I had so much fun doing with people I loved being with. When that changed, I began to realize that maybe it was time to move on…
The day Tim and I decided it was time for me to resign, I felt like a million pound weight had fallen off my shoulders. It was nothing that anyone else had done to me, simply put, I forgot that my job was not supposed to be the most important thing in my life. How in the world could I have gotten so mixed up that I put my job before God, my amazing husband, my three incredible sons and my wonderful family and friends?? Easy, the more attention I got from people because of what I did, the more important I thought I was…and that’s a HUGE problem my friends.
Now, I’m still pretty important but to a vastly different group of people. Mainly, my family. As I held my nieces brand new baby girl, I realized that were I still working I would have been far too busy to stop for a few hours and enjoy the newest member of our family. What a shame that would have been because Riley Kate told me that I’m her favorite Aunt Wendy… but let’s keep that between us, I wouldn’t want the her other aunts to be jealous!

Then I Found This…

And then I found this:

I attended a Women’s event at my church recently with my friend Jan. I had such a nice time being with girls! I really enjoyed the talk that Wendy gave. It was on what is important when everything is important. It is so funny how in the blink of an eye, the things that are important in your life change. I found her speech very encouraging and uplifting and when I realized I knew one of her children and what a delight he was…I knew that she truly knew what she was talking about.”

Tara Salley Update August 19, 2009

I don’t even know what to say. I remember being asked to speak at this event at my church. It was to be the first Girls Night Out and they wanted me to talk. I said sure and thought “I’m certain I can come up with something to say to the 15 to 20 women who will be there.” Then I arrived and there were 200 women …. seriously there were 200 women! I wanted to ask “Do you people not have a life? It’s a Thursday night in July and you have nothing better to do? You know me, why would you want to hear me speak?” I got through it just fine because y’all, I like to talk and can pretty much talk about anything especially my love for Jesus! Of course later as I left I was thinking that it was a complete wreck! Did I touch on everything I wanted to? Did I talk too fast? Was there food in my teeth? Did I speak clearly? Was it enough of a funny/informative balance? And the worst, did it even make sense?

Then four years later I find this in old emails I got caught up in (don’t judge, you know it’s happened to you before) and you realize “I did nothing, God did everything.”  That is the truth- then, now, forever. How funny we are when we think we actually do something for God. HA! It’s finding nuggets like this that remind me I am but a speck of dust (I like to think a speck of dust that communicates well, but a speck of dust no less!!) Why do we even try to do things ourselves when God is sitting there waiting…. simply waiting for us to remember not only does He have this, but it’s going to be REALLY good if we just get out of the way.

Tara, thank you for writing this and hearing not what I had to say but what God wanted you to hear. And my sweet friend Carol Spires, thanks for passing this on.

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!!)

Doing My Very Best to Do My Very Best

I sometimes laugh when it’s not appropriate… oh not just a giggle but a shoulder shaking, eyes watering, can’t hold the sound in laughing. I know, I know, I’m an adult and I should be able to control myself but I can’t. Sometimes I wonder if it’s a disorder I have, like inappropriatitis or giggle-mania. But really I think it’s simply my lack of ability to control myself…oops!

The very first time I remember this happening was when I was about 14. It was a Sunday night, Lynne and I were sitting about four rows from the front in our church doing our very best to do our very best (let me tell you that was hard at 14!) A member of our church had just begun to sing a solo when Lynne calmly leaned over and whispered in my ear, “I’m pretty sure his name is Mr. Potato Head.” Well that was it. I. Was. Done. The laughter started and could not be stopped (it is 31 years later and I started laughing while I was writing this!) It seemed like the harder I tried to stop, the harder I laughed! Like an out of body experience, I could see myself shaking and trying my every loving best to hold it in but just could not. My rule following self was MORTIFIED! I was certain God was watching and He surely was not pleased.

Many years later it happened at work. It was during a HUGE pre-tournament meeting at the golf club where I worked. One of the young assistant golf professionals was explaining a map of our new practice facility and he was pointing out some of the new features for the players. As he pointed out areas around the equipment office he said, “Upon arrival at the club, the players can get their balls cleaned here, get their balls checked here and pick up their extra balls here if they need them.” Yes, like an 11 year old boy I started laughing and could not stop. I knew full well that I was sitting near the front and there were more than fifty people sitting behind me who were all above my pay grade but once again, I could…not…stop. Horrifying!! For the next week I just knew that at any moment I was going to be called in to my boss’s office and fired or at the least chastised for my behavior. However as time went on no one ever mentioned my inappropriate laughter during that meeting… makes me wonder… had they all been laughing too?!?!?!

My Ansley

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               It started oddly enough. Our church’s women’s ministry was beginning a new mentoring program. Now this is something that has always been near and dear to my heart because I’ve always been blessed to have an older friend to help me navigate life. Cindy showed me how to be a wife, Peggy showed me how to be a mom and Leigh showed me how to be a Godly woman. (hey, they did their best… they’re not miracle workers) So when the sign-up for this appeared, I was SO in!!

                There was an initial meeting to see who was interested and then a second meeting where you found out your match (yes, it felt somewhat like match day at med school… would I get picked? would I like said pick??) When they introduced me to my mentee, I was perplexed to say the least. She was single, young, career oriented and worst of all A MORNING PERSON!!! What were you people thinking?? I knew without a doubt this was never going to work.

                She insisted we get together the very next night to decide when our required weekly meetings would take place. I began to soften when she wanted to meet at California Dreaming since they have croissants to die for. We were not far into our conversation when she dropped the BIG BOMB “Let’s meet early one morning.” Those of you that know me might need a minute to stop laughing…. those of you that don’t, should know that I sleep until the LAST POSSIBLE SECOND because I am not, nor have I have ever been or even aspired to be a morning person. So I quickly responded, “I can’t I have to be at work by 8:30am.” (insert sickeningly sweet smile on my face J) to which she quickly replied in her self-assured twenty-something way, “Get up earlier. It will be like found time.” Well, what do you say to that?!?! I rolodexed through my brain to find an excuse, any excuse to get out of this horror that I found myself in and I. HAD. NOTHING. So I agreed.

                That was the beginning of many realizations for me: we are never too old to learn or make a new friend, I was oh so wrong about this not working out, God’s plans are SO MUCH better than ours and a diehard non-morning person can change. Our meetings (yes, she not only convinced me to meet TWICE a week but to meet at 6:45am- over an hour and a half before I had to be at work) not only were the highlights of my week but seven years, one move to Nashville (her), one retirement (me), two babies (her!) and one empty nest later (me) we are closer than ever. We text/email daily and see each other no less than once a quarter. She is a part of my boy’s lives and I am a part of her kid’s lives. We keep each other on track especially where our faith is concerned. She even had her own “Are you kidding me reaction?” when we were paired and if she’s really nice, I’ll let her share that one day.

It’s funny because a co-worker once pointed out that when I’d refer to her in front of others I would always say “my friend Ansley” like that was her whole name. Before long, I noticed that I’d shortened it even more because she is my dearest friend, my confidante, my book-loving twin, my cheerleader, my pride check, simply put people, she is MY ANSLEY.