Three stories – and #payitforward

Well, I won’t lie – it’s been a hard week, for reasons I don’t want to explain to you. Would you like to be entertained? Here are three snippets that made me laugh.


Dear Stranger in the Thrift Store:

I do not usually bum a diaper off someone I do not know. Thank you for being gracious.

You see, I had moved all of my baby’s diapers and wipes to a different purse, to give to the babysitter on the night I had a date—and I forgot to return them to my shopping purse. So that day in the store when I was smelling whiffs of diaper trouble, and whisked my girl off to the bathroom for a change, I got as far as unfastening everything and assessing the damages when I realized I was completely, entirely, 100% fresh out of options.

Several ideas flashed through my mind, none of them pretty.

Then I remembered you and your little girl playing by the toy section, and how we’d smiled at each other. Thank you for letting me come beg from you, and for refusing my money, and for offering me your wipes too as I turned away. I’m sorry that I smiled and clung to my pride and said I was okay, I’d use the paper towels in the bathroom. They were not as helpful as I’d hoped.

But I will remember you and your kindness. If you ever need one, you know where to come.



I’ve been trying to find new coping strategies for worry.

The other day when something was eating at me I thought I would text it to The Boss, but suddenly wished I could text it to Jesus instead – as a way of forgetting about it and letting it go. So just for the kick of it I typed Jesus into the address line (53787) and wrote my little worries and hit send. I knew the message would bounce right back to me, but I didn’t care. What I didn’t anticipate was what my phone said – in large letters on the left side, JESUS, and on the right side, FAILED.

Not quite the sensation I was going for, but it cracked me straight up.

Since then my husband outfitted me with an extra number by which I can text to Jesus, that only he will ever see. I have been keeping it hot.


I do not usually write here about my speaking engagements, for two reasons. First, it feels like showing off, and second, I don’t have many of them. So if you come here hoping for my opinion of your event, I’m sorry – you’re logging up the wrong tree.


Last year about this time I was preparing to speak at an unusually stressful venue, for me. It was going to be a large audience, both men and women, in a Christian setting so conservative-minded that I figured if I mis-dressed or mis-spoke I might as well build my own coffin and go lie down in it, cuz it was all over.

While packing to go, I dithered about what shoes to wear. I’m not a big shoe person, so it came down to a choice of two pairs: snappy black dress shoes with inordinately high heels, which I had not worn for months – having a faint memory of discomfort associated with them – or black flats with big cream fabric flowers on the toes. I thought with a long skirt, the heels would be the less offensive of the two, so I picked them.

All went well, and I wore those shoes for two long days without mishap, until a week or so after the event when I developed shooting pains in my big toes. Both sides.


So, if you were at the event or if you come from a church that has Opinions on such matters, I thought it would comfort you to learn that I lost two toenails to that wretched experience, and everything your pastor tells you about high heels is true. They are from the devil.

I can’t remember just now if I threw them vindictively into the trash can, or donated them to the thrift store to ensnare a new owner.

Like I said,


My kinda fitting room

Confession: I hate fitting rooms.

hate like love

You would think that any business owner with a scrap of intuition could work this simple math:

Any decent woman

(+) one dog-ugly room

(-) any homey touches whatsoever

(+) glaring fluorescent lights

(+) the merciless babble of the woman in the next stall on her cell phone

(does not equal) a sale.

I mean dim the lights for Pete’s sake. Turn on some gentle music and slap something pretty on the wall. Make her feel like a woman, not a concentration camp victim shut in a cube with the gas about to start, alright?

Last week I found a gem of a room, in a Camp Hill consignment shop called Hello Gorgeous.

It actually had its own light fixture. How shocking.

And low music. I’ve never danced in a fitting room before but I couldn’t help myself.

And playing cards to stick on your door telling how many items you’d taken in.

And an adorable sign in red brush script on the mirror.

you look beautiful

I can forgive a store a lot for a dressing room like that. I can forgive overpriced sweaters, and low ugly shoes tagged to the ridiculous tune of two hundred forty-seven dollars a pair.

They say it used to be cuter yet. It used to have an ottoman and a rug. And then one day they went in to vacuum and found a collection of price tags tucked under the furniture.

[So that’s why fitting rooms are so bare…]

I don’t care about cuter yet.

That’s my kinda fitting room.


Visit my Current Reading page to view new recommendations…

Denim redemption

Confession: My boys go through blue jeans like most people go through Kleenex.

Before I was a mom, I thought denim was one of the more durable fabrics. I am rethinking this.

I’m considering starting a new trend: patches on knees. I’m not sure it would go over well, but it would be worth a try.

We buy our sons’ jeans secondhand, which makes them affordable, but I always groan when it’s time to hit the Salvation Army again already, time to start praying my standard prayer: “Lord, you know what my family needs. Please prepare it for us…” Decent jeans in the right sizes are a precious commodity. When I ask Jesus to get them ready for us, three things happen:

a) I stop worrying, realizing He knows our sizes

b) I stop grasping, realizing He may intend that ‘perfect’ pair for another of His children, and

c) He really does it.

That’s one redeeming factor for worn-out jeans. The other is this: a something-from-nothing purse.

blue jean purse

I learned the trick from a local sewing wizard, Joanna Schlabach.

  • Cut off a pair of old jeans below the seat.
  • Invert, and sew a straight seam across the bottom. Turn right side out.
  • Add a strap as desired. Mine is simply strips of denim, braided. You could use wide ribbon instead, making the tote as boyish or girlish as you wish.
  • If desired, add a velcro or hook fastening to keep it closed.
  • Front and back pockets are already in place!

The only problem I see is that around our house, supply exceeds demand. I could outfit my entire church with blue jean purses, but… … … you know… you can only make so many.

Any other ideas for worn out jeans?