It Started with a Flat Tire

This morning we met in the hotel lobby to have breakfast and head to our next town.

Steve goes to the parking lot to get the car and returns…..”we have a flat tire.”

Becky proceeds to get on the phone with car rental agency and I am sitting beside her listening. Her voice changes a little with each response I hear.

“You want us to do what? That will absolutely NOT happen.”

“I don’t know if we have a spare. Isn’t that your job?”

We do not have a spare.

“I have absolutely no idea if we have an inflation kit.”

“No I will not send them back outside to look, it’s raining.”

2 1/2 hours later we have a new car and the previous one has been towed away.

We drive one hour to Mystic Connecticut and our first stop is Mystic Pizza. Its the inspired pizza joint showcased in the 1988 movie starring Julia Roberts.

The pizza was outstanding and it was fun to say we’ve now been there.

The weather was a little drizzly and cool but our plans were to visit the Mystic Seaport.

It did not disappoint.

It is the largest working wooden boat shipyard in the US and possibly the world. You can read more here: https://www.mysticseaport.org

It was fascinating.

We watched men restore wooden ships using some of the same techniques and tools used in 1800’s.

This boat is being restored from New York and it was used to rescue 300+ Jews from Denmark during WWII.

This was a church they had moved here from the 1800’s

This was a fire boat from New York.

We were able to go on the Thomas Morgan whaling ship. Obviously the crew were short people.

I however, did not have to duck at all.

Our day in Mystic ended with a snack of cookies and hot chocolate. Yes, Florida friends….hot chocolate.

We drove almost two hours to Westborough Massachusetts and met Kyle and Moshe for dinner. They live 30 away. It was fantastic to spend some time with them.

Tomorrow we head to Vermont!

Posted in Cinderella Project | Leave a comment

Steve almost gave Glenn a Black Eye

In the first hour upon arriving in Rhode Island:

We flew into Providence RI around 10:45AM.

We found our rental car.

Loaded up all the suitcases and while Steve was putting down the hatch, Glenn ducked under his arm and Steve accidentally hit him in the face with his fist.

We have laughed about it all day.

“Watch out for that right hook.”

“Be careful, Steve might hit you.”

Todays was the only day we didn’t have concrete plans. We spoke to the server at our lunch place and she recommended we drive to Newport CT. It was only a 30 minute drive so we were off.

It’s a lovey town situated right on Narragansett Bay. We strolled around admiring the old houses, some dating back to the 1700’s.

We even had a Tiller Firetruck drive right by us!

Never take for granted your friends. And it’s an extra bonus when you can travel together and still like each other afterwards.
37 years and still holding hands 😍

Our hotel is super cool. It looks like it’s been converted from something into a hotel. Lots of concrete (walls, ceiling and floor), exposed venting and pipes.

After dinner we went on a gondola ride along the Providence and Woonasquatucket rivers. Marciano was our gondolier. It was a cool evening on the water and it was fantastic. He spoke of the sights and he even serenaded us.

It was such a good day but as of 9:06PM, we are in for the night while Mom and Dad went to the bar.

Tomorrow we head to Connecticut!

Posted in Cinderella Project | Leave a comment

Smile Anyways

We met in the lobby at 5:30AM to be shuttled to the Orlando airport for a 7:30AM flight to Providence Rhode Island.

It seems like so many people are in a bad mood or just getting by in the way of emotions. Good morning to the shuttle driver resulted in a grunt and “when will the rest of your party be coming?” response.

“They are on their way “ I responded with a smile and a gesture of cheers with my very welcomed coffee cup.

I’ve taken notice since we left home on Tuesday evening that our husbands are both helpers. They both are eager to help with luggage. They are both more than eager to be of assistance and while our shuttle driver wasn’t the friendliest, I assumed she would be grateful for help with putting luggage in and out of the shuttle.

Not so much……smile anyways.

We arrive at the airport, walk to the check in desk and was almost immediately greeted by the clerk with a “what are you doing?” response as we lift our luggage and hand her boarding passes and passports.

We all look at one another, wondering if this was a secret question and we didn’t know the answer.

Checking in our bags?

Going on a trip?

Trying to check in?

We proceeded to hand her our boarding passes and hope for the best.

“Have a great day!”

We smiled and hurried away, hoping she didn’t want anything else.

It’s so obvious that people are either unhappy, full of stress or going through difficult times in their lives.

Currently we are just hoping that our rental car reservation is waiting for us in Providence.

Enjoy this clip from a Seinfeld episode

https://youtu.be/ZTvtSKXwu0o

Sometimes all we can do is smile, be thankful for the exit row a sweet hand to hold.

Smile anyways.

PS for Porch girls:

Southwest Orlando (MCO) Nonstop to Providence RI (PVD)

Avis rental car – Ford Explorer

Posted in Cinderella Project | Leave a comment

Never Say Never

This morning we drove the Bride.

The girl who said “I will never get married again.”

The girl who said “I’m happy with my life. I don’t need a man.”

The girl who planned a quick getaway with me, just in case, the night she met the guy.

Do you plan your life?

Of course you do.

However, sometimes God has a plan for your life better than you ever dreamed of. His plans are ALWAYS better than anything we could ever imagine.

“Never say never” was a phrase we spoke of last night as we celebrated the bride-to-be with dinner and drinks.

Her plans were to live in the cutest 266 square foot apartment and when we moved, she was moving with us.

Never say never.

God knows the desires of our hearts. Even if we say “never will I ever.”

This morning he pulled out his wallet. HA!

This morning they said “I promise.”

This morning they said “ I do.”

This morning they said “forever.”

This morning we celebrated with family and friends.

And then we celebrated some more

Now the cutest little apartment is empty and kind of sad but God has our stories already written. We just have to wait for the pages to turn.

Never say never. You don’t know what He has in store for you.

May 13 will forever be stored in the memory bank. That’s what the groom has said to me many times in regards to our “house family” times together.

Never say never ❤️

Posted in Cinderella Project | Leave a comment

A Hose, A Rag and a Toothbrush

I’ve been driving around in my car and just disgusted every time I open the door.

It’s dirty. It needs to be vacuumed and washed. It doesn’t just need a $5, after gas, car wash. It needs a toothbrush in all the cracks and crevices type of wash.

I could pay big bucks and have it detailed. I have a name in my contacts that will come to my house and detail my car.

I’m just cheap.

I’m a stay a home gal and I’m more than capable of detailing my own car.

I’m not belittling anyone that pays to have their car washed/waxed/detailed. It’s your choice how to spend your money.

However I have a story to share.

When Steve and I were younger with smaller kids, we were in debt. We bought things we didn’t need. We went places we didn’t need to go. We went when we didn’t need to. We made some poor choices.

In 1998, we went in a 7 week vacation out west. Steve and my Dad we both firefighters and could maneuver many shifts off in a row by stacking vacation and Kelly days to allow for many days off. We rode in our truck behind my parents pulling a fifth wheel that we had converted to sleep all 6 of us. all we needed was gasoline, and it wasn’t $4 a gallon in 1998.

During the many days of driving, I read a book out loud to Steve (this was before Audible unless you bought a “book on tape” from Cracker Barrel.) The book I read was “The Complete Cheapskate” by Mary Hunt. It talked about her story of debt, how to create a Freedom account, savings, and so much more. It was small and powerful. And while I know there are many, Many, MANY books on budgeting and such, this book hit me between the eyes. We decided right there on the highway, we would change our lifestyle. We would save money instead of spending. We would create “Freedom Accounts.”

Fast forward to 2022.

Today, I detailed my own car because I have ZERO desire to live like the Joneses.

I don’t need fancy. And while we live in a fantastic home and it might look like we have it made……we work hard. We do most things ourselves because when we couldn’t afford it, we figured it out.

We saved until we could afford whatever it is we wanted.

We saved before we went on the big trip.

We saved until we could buy the RV.

We still have the Freedom Accounts. You know why? Because they provide FREEDOM!!!

I feel like I just ranted and maybe I did but if you don’t say things that have helped you, how will anyone else reap the benefits and the joy.

Below is the book I referenced. it might not be for you and that’s ok. As I scrubbed my car with a toothbrush I just felt the need to share.

I don’t regret today. It actually felt good to be in the sunshine and my paid for 2016 Hyundai SantaFe looks fabulous!

Don’t live like the Joneses.

Be the Joneses.

Posted in Cinderella Project | Leave a comment

New Name, Same Place

I’m 2019, I asked a friend to start a ladies group with me.

Back story……. I sat with some co-workers at a table talking about small groups in the church. Small groups are great when they work. However it takes time and commitment to really make a small group GOOD.

Steve and I were in small group that was fun! We ate together and played games and really REALLY enjoyed each others company. I wasn’t in charge of anything, and I wasn’t interested in leading a small group.

Does the Holy Spirit tap you? Nudge you? Poke at you like a dang little kid trying to get your attention. Does He buzz you like a mosquito? No? Just me? Evidently I’m stubborn and does not listen well.

While the co-workers talked of how to grow our small groups, the poking began.

I whispered to myself, “I don’t want to have a small group.”

Women? Really? Women are so needy and judgmental. they require so much. More than I am WILLING to give.

I DON’T HAVE TIME!!!

All the excuses I could come up with. I had them all.

The conversation at the table with the workers went something like this.

Me: “The Holy Spirit had been seriously poking at me about a women’s group that meets on my porch once a week. I DO NOT want it to be a Bible study (while there absolutely nothing wrong with those) I do not want to watch a video and talk about it, I do not want it to be a therapy session. Lots of I do not wants.

I do however want it to be about friendship. I want to dig deeper into relationships and what makes people tick. I want to laugh my butt off. I want these women to know me and I want to know them. I want to serve in our community. I want to give and receive. I wanted a lot of things and I was scared.

What if I put out an invitation and no one came?

What if it wasn’t fun?

What if it was too hard. I don’t have time for a fancy spread every dang week. I didn’t want to get up at dark thirty and make stupid muffins each and every week.

Coffee is all you get people. Coffee and cups to put the coffee in. I can handle that. And water. I can do water too.

The friend said yes to being my partner and the first “Coffee Hour” invitation was sent.

People said YES!

What an absolutely fantastic experience it has been. We meet each and every week and the things I hoped for has happened.

I have wonderful friends whom I know and know me.

We have served together multiple times. Just last weekend, most of us showed up to a citywide youth event. What an experience to walk up to the venue and see so many porch girls. Some had kids that were at the event and some were like me. Medium aged ladies just wanting to support and love on our teenagers and the adults that love them.

We have raised money for local organizations.

We have helped one another.

We are continual prayers.

We are each other’s cheerleaders and shoulders to cry on.

We are the porch girls and while I named our group “Coffee Hour” from day one, I’ve sensed a name change is required.

Our Tuesday morning gathering will now be knows as “The Porch.” And while I know many of the girls have always called it “The Porch” I’m making it official.

Just yesterday, I texted one of my sweet porch friends. I said “I am so glad you come on Tuesdays.” It’s not necessary to say much to let someone know you care.

She responded “Thank you for that! I almost text you that I have too much going on this morning but I knew I needed that! Even for just an hour….
You ladies truly bless my soul! ♥️♥️♥️”

Satan is a jerk and will tell you that you are too busy for the things that fill you.

Fill you with joy

Fill you with contentment

Fill you with love

Fill you with ___________fill in your blank.

Don’t let him steal your joy.

You deserve so much.

It doesn’t have to be my porch, but for goodness sake, start your own porch, front yard, back yard, coffee shop, living room or wherever else you can squeeze some people in.

I promise you

I double dare you

Just do it. You won’t be disappointed.

From this porch girl with much love,

Charma

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Getting Ready for Summer

We are Summer people.

We love to be outside.

We love swimming in the pool. Morning, noon or night……it doesn’t matter.

We enjoy warm summer nights playing games around the table for 12.

This cold weather is NOT the favorite and while I enjoy sitting around the fire on a cool evening, I’m preparing for summer in January.

We have a pool house. It is the holder of all things. It allows for restroom breaks and a nice shower after a long day of swimming and play.

We invite people to hang with us but even when it’s just “us” we have 7 (sometimes 8) adults and 3 small children.

That’s a lot of towels, swimsuits, sunscreen, hats, baby stuff, etc.

It got out of control last year.

It all needs a space and I had the perfect thing.

These lockers have been in the hoard for YEARS. They had a broken leg, some of the openers didn’t work, they were filthy gross dirty and I had ignored them forever.

Yes, they are upside down to repair the broken leg

Me: “Steve, will you help me get the lockers out and fix the leg for me?

They made it to the garage

The leg was repaired

I had planned on sucking it up and buying spray paint for the outside because I DID NOT want to hand paint all the grooves, vents, frames, etc. and I haven’t invested in a sprayer yet. Spray paint is $5 minimum a can and I expected to need at least 10 cans. Who knew there was a shortage on black satin spray paint. I went to 3 different stores and found none.

I did however find a can of Satin enamel paint for $12 and I ended up painting by hand anyways. It wasn’t so bad and LOOK

The lockers fit perfectly in the pool house. It’s like they were meant to go there.

Each locker is so tall and I wanted to utilize the space to its best potential. I searched online and found locker shelves for $10-$20 each.

No way.

I went searching in the wood pike for scraps to build shelves to cut each locker in half. Now each locker holds items for 2 people and I even have lockers to spare after I filled one with baby hats, diapers and wipes and one with sunscreens and soaps and lotions for the shower.

I really don’t know if I ever shared the pool house so I took a couple of pictures for reference

The lockers sit immediately in front of the shower
This is the toilet room

Ok Summer, we are ready for you

Posted in Cinderella Project | Leave a comment

Thoughts of Heaven and Ohio State

Today is your Heaven Day.

1460 days ago you went to Heaven. I still remember it vividly. Every December while we celebrate the birth of our Lord and we also sit in the remembrance of you.

Did you meet Debbie at the gate this year? I know you did. She always talked about how you were her favorite Uncle Vern.

I wore her shoes on Christmas Eve and couldn’t help but wonder how she felt when she saw her sweet husband Buford in Heaven when she got there. When they got sick, they were taken to different hospitals and neither one of them knew the other had stepped through the gates of Heaven. I can’t even imagine the joy they felt.

The promises of Heaven , knowing that one day, we will all be together is the thing that holds me in times of grief.

The last week has been a wild ride here at the old house. It’s full to the window sills and you know how I love having all the birds in the nest. I haven’t had a lot of time to sit and think about how this time of year 4 years ago broke me.

Kate brought a gift for the boys on Tuesday morning. It was wrapped and in a bag. I remember her saying there was one for them and one for me. I placed it on the table beside the door and vowed to open it later. Last night, I was cleaning up and remembered the gift. I apologized to Courtney for having a gift that I forgot to give to them and preceded to open mine as well.

I lifted the lid to the box and saw a ball cap. It was red and had a big “O” on the front. Dad was a big Ohio fan and while I didn’t know why there a hat in a box, the tears immediately fell.

Dad had given Kate this hat and she was gifting it back to me.

I touched it knowing the his DNA was on that hat. I could hear his voice as he spoke of his beloved team.

I can see in my mind my Ohio family

I can remember times of joy and laughter with Kate and Charity playing dominoes and eating chicken wings.

People that come into our lives and KNOW you, and I mean really know you, don’t come often. They should be treasured and I don’t know if Kate can fathom how I felt when I opened that hat and read her words of love for me and my family. I guarantee as she wrapped that hat in a box, her sweaty eyeballs thought of you Dad. When she typed the words to me speaking of keeping the love of “Vernon” alive in our hearts and her love of our Savior.

Tonight we will eat chicken wings. Justin got a new smoker and is excited to create some new flavors.

My thoughts of Heaven are so vivid. I picture you sitting with your Momma and Daddy and your old friends. I imagine you speaking about the next loved ones that will join you and how you will meet them at the gates of Heaven. You were always the best greeter.

I’ll meet you at the gate Dad.

Love,

Your baby girl

Posted in Cinderella Project | Leave a comment

You are my Home

Yesterday I watched a cute movie title “Something Borrowed.” During one scene towards the end, there was a line that said “you are my home” referencing his love for her.

That line stuck with me.

Today, Thanksgiving 2021, more than ever I have people and places that are “home.”

My actual home is my favorite place to be. It holds people I love, it gives me a sense of pride, safety and comfort. It allows me to create, to rest, to care for and to host. It’s big, yet the small pockets of joy are in the front porch, the back yard and our garage.

Family is my “home.” My husband, our children that live under the same roof and others that live far away. My mom, my brother, our sisters, my Father in Law. Aunts, Uncles, Cousins. While most of this family lineage, I barely get to see…… they are still home in my heart.

Friends are my “home.” My tribe, my porch ladies, friends who have been friends for years and years. And while I have moved away from some, it is important to keep in touch. Friends who stand beside, friends who pray, friends who play games, friends who know us. Friends who can touch my arm and know that things aren’t ok. Friends that can laugh at and with us.

On this Thanksgiving day, I am thankful for a lot of things but mostly for those that are “home.”

Enjoy your day.

I’m looking for my stretchy pants!

Charma

Posted in Cinderella Project | Leave a comment

Sometimes I Don’t Want to

Does God ever tell you to do something?

Personally, most of the time it’s “I don’t want to.”

Not because I’m disobedient

Not because I don’t think it’s the right thing to do

Not because I don’t believe He has my best interest at heart

It IS the RIGHT a thing to do.

I probably need to apologize for something stupid I did or said (this is normally the case)

I’m sure that I am suppose to give encouragement to someone.

Yesterday, two different people said something sweet to me.

One said I was tender. What? Me tender? It was in reference to my tears and my ability to cry at any and all circumstance. I never consider myself tender (maybe towards the grand boys when they aren’t acting the fool)

Am I happy? I cry

Am I mad? I cry (this is the norm)

Am I frustrated? I cry

I want to be tender. I love that quality about people. Soft and gooey. Loving and kind.

Thanks friend for giving me “tender.”

The next person said I was Real and Honest.

Real to a fault. “How do you really feel Charma?” This is the most sarcastic sentence. I can’t seem to not be real. And if my mouth doesn’t say it, my face does.

I’m not always honest. If someone asks me an opinion, of course I will be honest.

My dishonesty comes from within.

If someone hurts my feelings, I won’t tell them.

If I feel something weird in a relationship, I won’t confront them. It has to be me right? I’ve done something wrong so I deserve it?

Today, my gut feels weird about a close friend. There is something stirring and I can’t put my finger in it.

God told me this morning to ask.

Ask what God?

Can you give me a hint? I’m terrified of being hurt or losing a friend.

Maybe it’s nothing but maybe it’s something.

Maybe if I sweep it under the proverbial rug, it will disappear. It will just go away and then I won’t have to deal with it.

Once a sweet friend told me that I should write out my feelings because I seemed to write what others are thinking.

So today, if you read this…..are you struggling with doing what God says? Are you having a hard time listening to Him? Is there someone or something in your life that has you questioning? Will you confront the issue?

It’s Monday and my list grows. It’s thanksgiving week and WOW do I have much to be thankful for. I’m trying to turn down the noise of “things that do” and focus on thankfulness. There is still a list..but this girl will remain focused on people vs. the list.

Happy Monday friends. I am thankful for you.

Posted in Cinderella Project | Leave a comment