When my kiddo went to kindergarten, I missed him sooooo much that I had to have something to do. His school had a very wonderful nurse who needed help with the Free Store.
The Free Store was a place where people could drop off clothes donations. It was set up as a place where the kids at school were provided clothing, if they needed it and for local families if they needed items for foster children or really fast placements.
When I started volunteering there, the place was a mess. Eventually, I got it all sorted and cleaned out and up. Although it wasn’t a real store, it resembled one.
On certain days, volunteers brought kids who needed clothing over and they got to shop. You guys, they were so excited! Everything we had was used, but they didn’t care. Another volunteer and I had the clothes all sized and on hangers, so they could go right to their sizes.
One time the principal at one of the school buildings told me that some of those kids were SO happy that they got to go shopping! Kind of like we do when we go to the mall or a new clothing store.
Then, I found out that some of the kids had-never-been to a store with clothes in it. Not even to Walmart. My heart cracked into a million pieces.
So, what did I do?
I made them their own store, in their school building.
I took real round clothing racks in, size tags, shelves, hangers, and more. I set it up as a beach shop. I made a huge mural on the wall with brown paper, fish cut outs, and nets. With chalk, they could draw on it.
On the door, I made a sign, like they’d see at a real shop. Our “store” wasn’t for all kids, it was for kids who needed a little help or didn’t have any clothes or had never been shopping.
It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever been apart of in my life.
Back at our other building, I had a list of kids ages, and when clothes were donated, I’d go through them and make clothes piles for the kids. That was really fun to pick out in-style clothes for them.
One day, someone donated a pair of little red tennis shoes. The old fashioned kind. Soooooo cute. I kept one to remind me why I volunteered to help those kids and I gave the other one to my friend.
I’d forgotten all about the school stuff until the other day. While I was looking for vintage potholders from eBay to put in my new booth, I saw the cutest thing!!!
How cool is that?! I had to have it!
Love when something suddenly brings back memories that warm the heart.
Today I’ve been thinking about kindness. Sure, the world catches holy heck for all the negativity, but I still have faith in all the glorious goodness out there.
For instance, today one of my friends asked for food to help some families out and let me tell you, people stepped up!!!
Even with groceries being incredibly high priced, many asked what was needed. I looked in our cupboards and will be making my donation tomorrow.
On a bit of a different note, I was also thinking about all the kindnesses extended to me during this weird year since I lost my momma. Initially, it was the cards, flowers, showing up, meals, etc.
But since then, my blogging friends have stepped up. Writing about loss is not easy and writing about parent loss is jaw-dropping hard. You all have been super supportive in offering your insights and support.
Another sort of kindness was given to me today that on the surface may not seem as profound as feeding someone who’s hungry or helping someone through loss, but I believe it’s monumental just the same.
You know I’ve been struggling with my bowling and I almost quit. It’s supposed to be fun, but it was stacking up to be annoying and frustrating…
In bowling and just in general, it seems like we can get a lot of advice about what we are doing wrong and sometimes it’s hard to feel good enough right where we are.
I am in touch with this. I get the last place score A LOT.
I’d seen online that there are bowling coaches. Like, that’s a thing. At a bowling alley about an hour and a half from here, I asked about coaching, then I went there today.
The beauty and the best part of the whole bowling coach experience was, I was being met where I am. The tips weren’t ‘change this, this, and this.’ In fact, it wasn’t any ‘change this.’
It was about adding to, not taking away. I love that on about a billion levels.
No one asks anyone to change in order to feed them and fill their fridges. No one asked me to change in order to support me in my momma loss. And, I didn’t have to take apart and put back together my bowling steps, throw, or swing.
These situations are not the same, of course, but the feeling of being able to stay authentic in any of them is pretty huge.
Today I took an art plunge. I set up my stuff in a local resale shop. I’ve never done anything like that before, so I was a bit nervous.
As soon as I started filling the shelves, I about fell over! One of my momma’s most favorite songs came on the radio in there! Followed by another one and another one. So, my gratitude today is about my momma and her love for music and that I’m proud of myself for not quitting art.
CCR’s “Who’ll Stop the Rain”
The Police’s “Every Breath You Take”
CCR’s “Suzy Q”
me, taking a leap for art
It felt good to actually get it set up. To give my art and myself a chance. Will it be successful? Already is, it’s out there. It never even would’ve been seen in my basement. So, that feels like a win.
Thanks for being here and for all the kind comments yesterday. Means a lot!
taking a leap when what I really want to do is run
encourage-rs who have my back
sticking things out, even when it’s hard
trusting myself some more
I’ve almost quit two things recently. Art and bowling.
Seriously. Twice at the bowling alley, I have said out loud, “I am going to quit!” The first time was a Saturday night when my son, husband, and I were practicing. I could not get anything right!
Gutter. Gutter. Gutter.
Gutter. Gutter. Gutter.
The second time at bowling was sooooo embarrassing. I’d been practicing with my son’s ball and the finger and thumb holes are smaller. So, I get up there on my first throw of the night, brought my ball back and…
As in backwards.
I heard someone say, “Oh Jessi” in a sort of ‘what in the world are you doing’ tone, then I turned around to see all these really great bowlers staring at me.
I could’ve crawled into a hole.
I almost walked out.
I mean, come on! I dropped the ball. I’ve gotten LAST place 25 out of 27 games. Everyone there knows I’m new. Hello. I’m sick of being last.
Enter art. I LOVE art. I make some pretty cool and unique things with vintage jewelry, but lately trying to figure out what to do with it after I make it has been wearing me out.
There are so many options and weighing the choices is simply exhausting. On top of of that, I’ve been trying to find my value in a world already jam packed with art.
All of that has got me to thinking about my momma and her art. She was an amazing artist. She never sold any of it, but she blissfully kept on creating it. I’ve been trying to figure out if that is my fate and purpose too, or if my pieces are meant to be with someone else.
Yesterday, I made a choice. I chose. I decided. That ever happen to you? Where simply deciding brings such peace and a joy that springs forth like a bloom?
With my art, I’m going to try something new. A new place, just to see how it goes.
I decided I’m not going to give up on bowling either! In fact, I got a new ball. I’ve been practicing my steps at home and in the yard and I’m going to work with a coach this week.
All those gutters and that dropped ball aside, I am getting better. My scores were in the 50’s, now they’re around 100. In only 9 weeks. Pretty darn good, even with the embarrassing ball drop.
My hunch is that losing my momma this year is at the root of all this indecision. Grief can really seem to pour on the doubt. But, I think my momma would be pulling for me in both bowling and art.
With that in mind, I believe I’ll keep right on going. Perhaps my art will find some homes and maybe I’ll even turn that lowest score of 25 out of 27 games into the highest score in 25 out of 27 games.
Yesterday we stayed put. Four days a week at least, we are somewhere else besides home, so staying at home was a treat.
After walking twenty two driveway laps, I ventured around the yard in search of something to photograph. The zinnias we planted for my momma and a tree with bright orange berries seemed like a good place to be.
Even the swing set seemed to sing, with its dark green slide and seats. Most of our yard has taken on a tan-brown view because of endless droughts this year.
Other shots are somewhat random, but I like how they turned out. It’s funny what can make a great photograph sometimes.
Today we are off again on grand adventures that include decorating a float for an upcoming Christmas parade. With cooler temperatures, I will be including long johns and a coat, ha ha.
Hope you have a wonderful Friday. Thanks for being here.
My son has a club on Wednesdays and I’m supposed to remember to take our bag with us. It contains the papers and pencils he needs and the notebook and pens I need to take notes to track the week’s story.
Yesterday, I forgot the bag.
So, instead of my normal note taking, I sat with the other moms. My goodness, it was divine! We talked, got to know each other better, swapped stories, and laughed. Maybe I’ll forget the bag more often!
Today I thought I’d share some of my favorite photos I’ve taken over the past couple weeks.
Today is our last warm day for awhile. We may stick around home and hang around outside or go to the river. Yesterday I took a nap! How glorious. I may even do that again, ha ha.
Thank you for being here! Hope you have a great Thursday.