The Thrift

Everyone who knows me know the thrift store is my favorite place; besides the beach. I get lost at the thrift store and focus only on what I’m looking for. And what I’m looking for varies from day to day or even week to week. This past week I found a great bag by Botkier, its blue; a color I don’t have believe it or not. The bag is in really great condition and it’s times like that I wonder why someone would donate such a great item. It’s so true that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, well woman’s…

I love when I’m on a mission for someone like my girls will send me off with instructions of what they want and their sizes. In this age of technology I don’t have to worry that they will not like what I buy. A simple text with picture and bam instant answer! I also keep in mind what other members of my family like. My mom is a big Coach fan so I love finding bags for her. Just the other day I was cleaning out my hall closet and “found” a cute coach crossbody bag I forgot I had bought. I sent my mom a picture and there you go she likes it.

In the coming weeks I’ll be on vacation so I won’t be in the thrifting game. Where we go has thrift stores but there’s nothing worth buying. One year my friend’s husband drove me to every thrift store along a strip of highway and I brought home nothing…a sad situation for me anyway. There is one store I love to go visit. Its kind of a salvage store. They sell big pieces of older indoor furniture and vintage outdoor sets. They also have quirky galvanized wall hangings, key chains and an antique or two or three. Definitely a good place to go rummaging around.

I think thrifting runs in my blood. My grandfather was a huge yard sale fan. We used to go every Saturday when we were kids and both our parents were working. He used to get the Saturday paper classifieds and we were off! “Get in the car!”I love those memories of being with him. He was also an avid coin collector and on some Saturdays he used to take us into Manhattan by ferry. In those days you could drive your car on the ferry and go sit upstairs. The ferry would dock and you’d drive off the boat, right into downtown Manhattan. Very cool. My grandpa would take us to these very dusty, old looking stores with creaking floor boards in search of some elusive treasure of a coin. The shopkeepers were always so nice to us. I loved those times with him.

My Aunt Marge, my mother’s duster was also a huge thrift shopper and yard saler. When we would visit her in Upstate New York she had a mental map of what thrift stores we would visit and it was an added bonus to find a yard sale while driving around. I remember calling her cell phone many a time while at a yard sale asking her if something I came across was a good deal or not. I needed that expert opinion of her’s. She was awesome at spotting gold jewelry, she just knew by looking at a piece if it was ” good ” or not. I’d say she was gifted in that manner. Aunt Marge passed away 7 years ago and I still miss her.

So the thrifting gene carries on in my own children. They love seeing what I come home with and many times Alyssa will go either by herself or with me. Last week Lelly came along with me and we had so much fun! It’s nice to have company every now and then.

So wish me luck this week!  You never k ow what you’ll find at the thrift!



A Beach Day

The other day my husband and I had a beach day all to ourselves. Samantha was at camp and the other 2 girls were working so that left him and I flying solotogether. The weather was absolutely gorgeous, a bit cloudy at first but then wonderfully sunny and about 75 degrees.

We set up our chairs close to the water and got settled in for the day. We brought water and chips; neither one of us are big eaters at the beach. It was high tide when we arrived by the time I went in the water the tide had started receding. The water was fantastic, just enough cold to cool you off and warm enough to be inviting you to come in further.

I had such a great time with my husband. I see now that everyone is older and more independent we have more time together as a couple. And we like being together. It’s nice. Somedays when it’s just Tommy and I we run errands together, Home Depot or Lowes he’s even gotten me to go to Harbor Freight the tool warehouse. What we do for love…  In all fairness he’ll go to the mall with me but we usually split up and meet together again, I get it he’d rather check out tools at Sears while I’m at the Gap.

One thing I won’t ask him to do with me is thrift shop. Tommy is not a lover of the thrift. And that’s ok we all need our own thing and that’s mine. He has his motorcycle, I’ve gone on rides with him but it’s not really “me” and Tommy is ok with that. I’m not afraid to ride with him I know he’ll keep me safe.

I never thought this far in the future when our kids were younger. That one day we would have time to ourselves as a couple and really enjoy each other’s company again. I don’t care what anyone says raising kids is tough on a relationship. Throw in a special needs kid and you’ve really got some tough times.

I feel as though there are separate lives of Tommy and I. The time where we were dating and then engaged. Having kids (Thomas was born within our first year of marriage) and raising them, including all the years of dealing with Thomas’ issues and diagnosis’. Now we’re in the time of rediscovering each other and realizing yes I still love and like to be with this person! I’m sure there will be another part of our relationship when or girls start getting married and have children of their own. I’m not rushing anything. I’m quite content with the way time is marching these days.

What if I’m Wrong?

That was what our Pastor lead with during this past Sunday’s service. Pastor John has been doing an interesting series called “Major messages from the Minor Prophets” or something to that effect. I’ve been totally into his message these past couple of weeks.

This Sunday’s message was taken from the book of Obadiah. It is a very short book in the Bible, only 21 verses and it spoke to the people of Edom. Warning them that they will be destroyed because they continue to go to war with the nation of Judah (Israel). Pastor John gave numerous examples that face us in real life today that relate to Obadiah’s message that was recorded so long ago. Pastor John preached that there may be certain parts of our lives that even though it goes against God we keep that part of our lives to ourselves “I can do this myself without God”. I can say that I felt convicted. Before I was saved I lived with my now husband before marriage. I was raised in the church and knew it was a sin to live together without being married yet I chose to do things “my way,” without God. I decided that I could do that part of my life without God.

There are plenty of situations in our lives that we chose to handle without God’s involvement. I know once I started to surrender and let God take the lead things became a lot easier to handle. For example waiting and waiting for our son Thomas to move into the group home 10 minutes from our house. I’ve surrendered that entire situation to the Lord and I no longer worry about the why’s and the when’s. I know I’m not wrong to trust in the Lord.

There have been plenty of times I chose to not trust in God and things still turned out  alright, but the time and energy I wasted worrying and being anxious could have been better spent elsewhere. The day I took the nursing test and interviewed with the Board of Ed for my new nursing position I prayed that whole time. It was only when I oprayed and told God “ok we’ll do this your way if this is where I’m supposed to be then I will follow.” The next thing I knew I was being told I had the job. I wasn’t wrong to follow Him and I can’t think of one time that I did follow God and was full of regret.

For years I did everything I could think of rather than work as a nurse. I did retail, Macy’s and then high end retail. I enjoyed both positions but the money wasn’t there to make it worth the while of upsetting Tommy’s work schedule. I tried personal shopping and while that was something that I enjoyed as well, the business wasn’t there to sustain me. It was only when I accepted the fact that God wants me to work as a nurse did I become I successfully employed person, making a salary that was worthy of my work and experience. I always knew deep down that I was meant to work as a nurse but I tried to do things my way and it didn’t work.

What if I’m wrong?  There are many questions we can ask ourselves and not like the answers we get in return. I know I was wrong and I’m still growing as a Christian. I can’t imagine anyone being “right” all the time.




Off For the Summer

Since my job with the Board of Ed doesn’t begin until September we’ve decided it would be better for me to take the summer off, why get another job to leave it in a month or two? Thankfully we’re in position where it is doable for me to stay home…again. At first it was difficult, I went from working full time and making a nice full time salary to not working at all and collecting unemployment. I’ve never collected unemployment before so it took me a couple of weeks to get the hang of it. You have to file every week or they don’t pay you. Making that mistake once was enough for me to learn that lesson.

It so different to be home when your kids are at an age where they don’t really “need” you compared to when they were small and calling you for every little thing. Alyssa is 19 and Lelly 16, Samantha turns 11 next month and is pretty independent for her age. I feel like I’m “on call” for them. Lelly will need a ride for an  appointment now and then, both the older girls like to talk to me and for that I am so grateful. I love hearing what is going on in their heads.

I’ve been back to thrifting more often now that I have the time, and I have posted for sale more items that I have in the past, it seems like it anyway. I’d love to do more personal shopping again, I had a blast doing that a couple of years ago. (Warning; shameless plug) if anyone would like me to shop for them or keep an eye open for something feel free to call or text me 347-404-2300 (shameless plug over).

Im also enjoying a beach day here and there with the girls. Last week my parents met us at the Jersey Shore at this town called Ocean Grove. It’s a great little Christian town, very clean and quiet; perfect if you ask me. Anyway we were trying to figure out how my dad was going to walk on the sand with his walker when the guy selling beach badges asked if we would need a wheelchair. I almost fell over, we looked to the left and there was this beach wheelchair, a cool mesh seat and these huge wheels in the front. They got my dad settled on the wheelchair and rolled him out on the beach where we were waiting; umbrella already set up  for him. And when it was time for them to leave all my mom had to do was ask the lifeguards to radio over to the boardwalk for them to come back.  It was so cool and definitely a Godsend.

Being home has definitely made me feel like summer is flying by. I wish time would slow down a bit. In 2 weeks Samantha’s camp will end. I should be encouraging her to do her summer school work but I don’t have the heart to right now. There’s plenty of time left. Famous last words…

Watching God work

I had a great time in the city.  I was only 15 minutes late for my appointment and I was able to hit up my favorite thrift store for a few great scores. One of which is a new with tags Vera Bradley backpack. Whoever ticketed it at the Salvation Army either didn’t care or didn’t look at the suggested retail price tag of 105.00. They stapled their price tag right over that. I almost fell off my seat while on the ferry when I saw the Vera Bradley tag.

My appointment was with my therapist, Nancy. I don’t see her as often as I used to, in fact I see her as I want these days. I like talking to her. And it’s really nice that I’m not in crisis mode. I stopped seeing her when I started working full time back in October of 2016. I didn’t know if I was ready to stop seeing her but God had other plans with my employment situation.

I asked her if it was ok that I come back to talk to her. She exclaimed, “Yes! Yes, it’s so nice to talk to you about your life and how nice things are for you these days instead of worrying about you when you left”. She listens to me talk about my kids and how calm my life is these days. She always ends our sessions with, “You have a nice life.” And I’m almost embarrassed to agree with her, like I’m bragging somehow. I believe everyone should have a Nancy.

I have no doubt that God orchestrated my past two jobs to culminate in my future career with the Board of Ed. When I started working for the medical ear piercing company I wasn’t ready mentally for anything more than extreme part time employment. I stayed there for two years hoping for more hours, when that didn’t happen I applied on a whim for the charting abstracting job. The Lord knew I was ready for a full time job. And it was quite the transition for my family. I enjoyed working full time. It was what I needed and God always gives you what you need.

Now I’m soon to be embarking on a new employment path as a school nurse for special needs students. I’d be lying if I said I’m not nervous, I am but it’s not full blown out anxiety and panic as it would have been in the past. I’m enjoying my time off right now, enjoying the company of my girls and looking forward to September when I start training for this new position.

I stand in awe at the work of the Lord in my life. He gave me exactly what I could handle when I could handle it. Our God is amazing and worthy to be praised.



I’m off to Manhattan today. It’s like a mini vacation from my life when I go to the city. I love the anonymity Manhattan gives you. As I’m on the ferry I get to people watch and note who’s a tourist and who’s a “native” or transplanted native. The natives sleep on the boat or get busy doing something to kill the time all while not paying attention to the sites such as the Statue of Liberty that we are passing on our way.

My next step of my commute is the subway. I’ll have to switch from a local to express train as I’m running late for my appointment. I don’t mind the express train I’m always in awe of how fast I get to my destination when I take the 2 or 3 trains. I’ve made it from Chambers St. to 96th Street in a half hour taking the express train. Of course today there major delays with the express trains so I’m forced to stay on the local and be late for my appointment.

I cant help by people watch while on the train. Almost everyone  (including me) has their head down staring at their phone. I notice the “natives” they’re the ones getting ready to sleep for their ride.

The bag lady in me notes just about every handbag/purse I see. I notice that in Manhattan, people are more inclined to use bags that aren’t recognizable meaning no common monograms or logo’s. Here and there I’ll recognize someone’s bag but I am a self admitted bag freak. Today I am wearing a plain yellow leather Longchamp purse that wouldn’t be recognized by anyone unless they were as big a bag junkie as myself.

After my appointment I’ll go to my favorite thrift store in the city. As most of you know I love thrifting and the thrill of the hunt. You never know what you’ll find in the thrift store and for how much money. One time this shop had a very outdated, scratched pair of Christian Dior sunglasses for sale. They wanted; get this; 125.00 for them. I almost laughed out loud but didn’t. Those sunglasses sat there for weeks before I noticed they were gone. I would imagine that they had to have lowered the price. Either that or someone payed the inflated outrageous price for them.

So I’m stuck here on this local train. I’m not a happy camper and I can only assume I’m not alone in this situation. Hopefully I can catch an express train soon and I’ll be quickly on my way to my (late) appointment. Whew! I just transferred over to an express train. Now we’re moving!

I’m on my way!




How I Used To Be

I think back to how I used to be, physically and emotionally. I was thin, I didn’t exercise but watched what I ate and for the most part I was happy with my physical appearance. I liked the clothes I had and I liked the way I dressed. I was comfortable in my skin. Emotionally however I was a mess. I was worried all the time, anxious about everything and I wouldn’t hand anything over to the Lord. I found it impossible to just accept that His will, will be done whether I worried about it or not and whether I agreed with it or not.

Today I’m very different. I’m not thin anymore. I am in fact overweight. I don’t like this part of myself. I do not like the way I look and where I once enjoyed clothes shopping; now I do not. I’m more than happy to go thrift shopping so I won’t be spending a lot of money on clothes I’m not that happy to be wearing anyway because of the size I must buy for things to fit properly. That’s not entirely true I love thrift shopping no matter what size I am. I love finding treasures such as yesterday’s find of Dolce and Gabbanna denim in my current size. So I guess there is a silver lining of sorts.

Today I trust in the Lord. I hand over my deepest worries and I know He loves me and I am worthy of that love. In the past I didn’t feel worthy of that love. I used to think that God would never use me because I wasn’t good enough, not “Christian” enough if that makes sense. I know now that I am worthy of being used by the Lord and that His love is relentless and endures forever. I’m forever grateful that He chose me, He pursued me when I was “busy” with other things of this world.

I wish I could go back to the days where I was physically different yet keep today’s beliefs and knowledge of our God. I feel like they are a package deal in a way. I feel better mentally due to properly prescribed, much needed medication. However with that medication came weight gain. And it’s the type of weight gain that comes from a change in metabolism; as a result it is difficult to reverse without going off the medication. And if I go off the medication I’ll be as I was before; riddled with depression and anxiety yet a thinner version of myself. The solution or answer seems simple. And some days it is an easy choice, other days especially the summer time where there’s no heavy sweaters or hoodies to hide in the answer is not so apparent. I’ve slowly gotten rid of my “skinny” clothing. Each piece that’s been removed from my wardrobe seems like an admission of defeat. There are some I’ve kept more of museum pieces; just clothes I like so much I selfishly don’t want anyone else to have them. Most of the clothes I’ve sold, donated or have for sale on Alyssa’s Poshmark account. And there are other pieces of clothing that I’ve kept in the ever so small chance I will lose the weight and fit into them again.

I’ve tried weight watchers and while I did lose some weight I found the minute I go off of the plan I gained the weight back. So it doesn’t seem like a realistic plan for me. I know it’s worked wonders for other people. One day I’ll find the ever elusive happy medium and when I do I’ll be sure to write about it.




My Girls and the Beach

IMG_2799Today was a beach day for my two older girls and me. Alyssa is just shy of 19 and Lelly is 16. I remember the days when they were small and by small I mean the days after I just gave birth to Lelly. Alyssa was almost 3 years old and Thomas almost 5. Lelly was such an easy baby.  I mean she had to be what with the chaos she was born into with Thomas undiagnosed and unmedicated at that age. I remember that just getting through the day was an accomplishment with 3 kids under the age of 5. Everything you want to do is put on hold when your kids are young. Hobbies, spare time activities (“spare time” ha!), even friendships take a hit if they aren’t in a similar boat as you. I remember my best friend Jenn was my life saver, always there to talk to when the kids were on my last nerve or Tommy was working overtime as he often had to. Without that friendship at that time I don’t know what I would have done.

I never imagined my children as young adults or older children when they were young. I was too busy trying to figure out what was for dinner that night. I’m glad I didn’t have any plans preconceived notions about them. I like that they surprised me and turned out to be people I actually like being around and they like being around each other. Especially Alyssa and Lelly. They are very close and I  love that. They fight; don’t think it’s always goodness and light around here but they don’t hate each other when they do fight. And they are quick to make amends. They are also quick to include me in many plans they have. Like today; they wanted a beach day and I was more than happy to go.

We had a great time just the three of us. Taking and laughing, laughing at ourselves and each other. It was nice plain and simple. To be around family and it is effortless is such a gift. We can talk about probably anything, we talk about church, school, their peers, God…no subject is taboo or off limits. Sometimes  we dont talk at all. I’m grateful for my girls. The Lord has gifted me. I never thought in those early days of me pulling my hair out that I would be in this awesome place now in my life where we can just hang out and be together. It’s wonderful and I look forward to more days like this in the future.



IMG_2756My Thomas. He turns 21 today. Twenty one years ago I became a mom. Twenty one years ago my life changed in a way I would never have dreamed it would. Twenty one years ago Tommy and I were set off on a parenting trip we couldn’t have planned ourselves, with no instruction manual, no direction and no knowledge of how to raise a special needs child. Heck raising a typical child is challenging on a good day, throw in tantrums that never ended, aggresssive behavior, speech impairment, mental retardation and a good measure of loving behavior along with unsupportive medical “professionals” you have Thomas as a toddler and young child.

I don’t think I could have loved him more during these past 21 years. Through every challenge, every meeting with agencies to provide services, every school IEP meeting, every change of school, every residential school we had to visit when Thomas was 8 years old and again at 15 yrs old; every new set of obstacles we had to make our way through I loved him. So many times I wondered why we were the ones chosen to raise him. Some days I saw it as an honor somedays as a sort of punishment for something I didn’t know I did.

I had many anger sessions towards God and many more prayer sessions requesting help and guidance for my son. The Lord never let me down. I asked for guidance; there would appear in my life an advocate to help us have appropriate IQ testing performed; Thomas’ psychiatrist recommended us to a famous renowned neurologist who diagnosed Thomas with brain damage at the age of 12 years. Something we hadn’t a clue that was even a possibility.  I needed someone to come to meetings at the psychiatric hospital two hours away, my friend Sheryl was there to give up her days plans without question. Yes, God was there every stop of the way even the times I didn’t or wouldn’t acknowledge Him.

21. I can’t think about that age without crying or at least tearing up. He loves me this son of mine. There were times I felt I didn’t deserve his love that perhaps I wasn’t being a good enough mother to him. in my early years with Thomas I had no one to really talk to about him other than my own mother and husband. I had no other mothers going through similar circumstances to compare notes with. I finally connected with other Moms online when Thomas received a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. God placed these wonderful, caring, funny, knowledgeable  and warm women in my life.

21. I still can’t believe it. I remember my labor and delivery as if it were yesterday. I remember how enamoured Tommy and I were with him. How we were so nervous but so very happy. I was your typical neurotic first time Mom and it was glorious.

21 years passes incredibly fast as I’m sure my experienced mom friends can tell you. I couldn’t be more proud to be this young man’s mother. Mistakes, tears, advocating, and frustrating moments in all. He was mine 21 years ago and he’s still mine.