My B+ Attempts at Being All That

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Trash, Stuff and Hope: putting on my big girl panties and making something pretty great.

on August 3, 2015

I’ve had a bit of an ongoing pity party for myself this summer. Sometimes I invite friends; other times, I cry in my bathroom when no one is looking. Powder covers a multitude of emotions. And who doesn’t love full makeup on a 95-degree day?

Anyhoo, I got invited to a bridal shower for a lovely young couple that I have known and enjoyed for many years. I was excited to go and take a wonderfully fabulous, creative and generous gift because it’s what I love to do. Then, about a month ago, I heard the door open early on a day it shouldn’t have. It’s happened three times since Lydia was born. You see, companies typically lay people off early on the day before a weekend. They are also usually gracious and let him collect up things and don’t make him finish out the day. It’s the least they can do, right?

So, we go into regrouping mode. Do we need all the cable we subscribe to? Are any of the recent purchases still accompanied by tags and receipts? What junk could we collect to sell to other folks from our garage? You know the drill. Or maybe you don’t. Either way, it’s not the greatest, but we at least had options. We regrouped. We continue to regroup. And part of that includes removing the nonessentials. (Read: politely bow out of any invitation that requires the purchase of a gift.)


I love giving gifts. I tell people all the time that I would make an amazing rich person because I could give so many people so many fabulous things. Yes, my tenure would be short, but boy, would it be a great ride! Side note: be my friend in case I hit it big in Vegas one day. You will not be disappointed!

So, in one of my non-pity-party moments, I decided to try to make that lovely young couple something. Something cheap. Something that I could use things in my house and supplement with a few things from the dollar store. Something that could express love, not coming from a garage sale and support. And I did. And it was good.

I felt I needed to explain my gift and why it had so much crap from my recycling bin. The first part of the card to them:

Kevin got laid off about a month ago. I hesitated with replying to your shower invite because I knew I wouldn’t be able to bring much of a gift, given the circumstances, and even though you both would be very gracious and understanding, it’s just not my style to show up with merely a “nice idea, and isn’t it the thought that counts?”gift. But I really wanted to celebrate with you. So, I decided to get creative and a bit repurpose-ful.

 Repurpose-ful was not an exaggeration. I literally dug glass bottles of different shapes out of my recycling bin. I used paint left over from my daughter’s birthday bathroom redo. I dug through my stash of burlap and ribbon in my (Kevin calls it crap, but it’s really a) craft room. And I dredged up a thing, a seemingly meaningless at the time thing that my dad made when the kids were little. I’m not entirely sure if this gift in its entirety was more indicative of my frugality and ingenuity as a gift giver or of my mini hoarding tendency. Of clearance aisles with “things I don’t need now but might use later,” I am master. But I digress. Back to the card.

My dad was a woodworker. A good one. He made my kids’ crib, a beautiful dresser and many, many other wonderful things that will stay with our family for years to come. He also made what he liked to call “silly” and “fun” things that took almost no time or effort but still got him in his shop. Your gift is one such thing. It was meant to be a toolbox to hold some fun toy tools, but it really just became a catch-all for some craft items. Surprise, surprise. Anyhoo, as I was perusing Pinterest with the theme of outdoor entertainment on my mind, I came across several caddy ideas, and it got me thinking that this would make a good one. So, I got to collecting, crafting and painting.

Now, did I mention my pity party? Well, you see, dad is dying. And in a bit of a cruel twist on things, he is slowly being paralyzed bit by bit as his body betrays him. His shop is a memory; his creations, now that much more special because the supply chain is now permanently confined to a chair in the living room.

Now, the part that is sad but hopefully will be special to both of you is the fact that my dad is near the end of an ugly confrontation with ALS. He has not been able to work in his shop for months, and that has been difficult. So, while this was merely one of his “silly” and “fun” things, I hope it is something that will serve as a reminder not only of new beginnings but also to look for the good and to make the best of all circumstances.

This couple – this lovely young and fun guy and gal – WILL remember to look for the good because they already do. They are ones that I know will make it. Even though young in years, they are old in heart. They acknowledged the “card” and gift with a softly blown kiss and a hug filled with gratitude, love, support and hope. They appreciated.

And because today IS a gift, I think the idea of making the best of circumstances is a good one.

Sometimes, this is all we have but also is all we need.


2 responses to “Trash, Stuff and Hope: putting on my big girl panties and making something pretty great.

  1. Ashley says:

    Wow. I love you sis. Keep your head up, your smile strong, and your faith immense. You are a blessing to this world and such a thoughtful caring soul. The gifts of love are the best ever.


  2. Andy says:

    Wow, where would we be without a Monica in our lives!! That was a awesome gift!! I am sure the will cherish it for years!!
    Keep your head up and keep being you!! You are an inspiration to many!!! I know you are in our house 😊👍


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