When You Just Do Your Best

Hey, Happy Halloween!!

We moved to our new house in August.

Everything is neat and tidy…and NOT very decorated. That will change on Monday. But that’s beside the point.

2020 has been weird. But I’m not telling you anything you didn’t know.

Am I?

Also, I miss my mother. She’s been gone 22 years and 3 months. The longing is still there.

I have been craving HER biscuits and gravy. I LOVED how she made them.

And in other news that may or not be of interest to you, Philip and I had our first date on September 17, YEARS AGO now…in spite of the fact that we are still only 29.

It was a Friday that year. The weather was perfectly sunny and crisp, much like today.

He had a light blue 1976 Cutlass Supreme. It was a sharp car, I thought! Off we went.

The sun was setting at a brilliant angle and the sun visors were of no use. I still remember both of us trying to see the road in front of us by shielding the sun with our hands. He stole my heart and I never looked back!

Fortunately he gave me his heart in return!

We’ve weathered some storms and he never ceases to amaze me with his grit and determination to keep on. Stand tall…stay the course…I am blessed.

A few weeks ago one of my boxes of keepsake papers and cards and miscellaneous mementos were ruined by rain and I found them just as they were beginning to mold. There was a very random assortment of things in the box, like school papers written by little boyish hands and letters from family that I hold so dear and words written by special friends.

There were cards from when our little girl was born and one of my baby pictures. The rainy wetness in the box had set into mold and my tears began to flow as I spread the papers on every flat surface I could find.

I don’t outwardly cry much. But I cried.

I felt the brokenness of the passage of time and the sting of being so busy that I lack time for many things that matter to me. In those moments the essence of everything that the box held, felt dear to me.

The immediate “whys”, like why did I move the box where it could be damaged and why didn’t I get it sooner and why didn’t I have all these things “scrapbooked” like so many of the beautiful ones I’ve seen, led to deeper and more silent thoughts and questions of the “whys of life”.

We’ve made sweeping changes this year, to our business, to our home, to our life. It not always easy to make changes. To feel betrayal, to redo everything you know, to stand strong and tall in victory when you feel broken and withered.

We’re not finished yet. The year’s not over. And we aren’t stopping.

Hey! Why not cram it all in with a global pandemic and national unrest…

Tiffany told me not to think about stuff.

She said, “Just don’t have those memories.”

And in my brokenness and sadness, it’s hard for her to realize she’s not the cause of the tears. The tears are from buckets and buckets of tears stored on the shelf of “I don’t have time to cry right now” and then the shelf broke.

And the tears spilled.

Most of the “whys of life” can’t be answered, I suppose, but my box was ruined while I was doing my very very best taking care of the pressing immediate things that were my responsibility.

Just like you, many times my time is not my own to do as I please or work on a project of my choice.

And so as I huddled on the floor with tears pooling in my eyes and running down my cheeks I was blinking and sniffing as I tried to see the photo I had just uncovered.

In it I could see my husband (then my boyfriend) just as cute as could be and directly beside him was a smeared water stained blot.

Below the blot I recognized one of the outfits that I wore back then. Gone were my brown curls and silly smile.

At that moment my husband walked in. Without speaking I handed him the photo. His immediate reply was, “That’s our first date!” Apparently someone had snapped a photo of us that evening and then later gave it to us. I have no idea who took the photo. That was long before the days of instantly seeing your picture and adjusting everything by making a duck face and tilting your chin.

We had to take a roll of OLD FASHIONED FILM with an ACTUAL CAMERA to a store that processed rolls of film. Then we waited several days for the pictures to be developed and THEN picked them up, what we got is what we got!

Does anyone remember those types of photos?

In that emotional moment, all I wanted to do was throw the picture in the trash and run down the street, wailing to the top of my lungs.

I didn’t however! Because what purpose would that serve?

Instead I realized that with all of the smears and water blots, it’s still a remnant of a special memory. So now the photo is dry and maybe in 28 years it will find its way to a scrapbook and my great grandkids can wonder why my curly brown hair and silly smile is smeared from the photo.

If I’m around I will tell them the story of how the photo came to be smeared and what a wonderful man their great granddad is and that life is sometimes full of smears.

Yes, life is that way. There may be blots and smears and tons of unanswered whys along the way, but still life can be filled with special memories and fleeting moments to cherish.

My mother would often say, “Rachel always do YOUR best and if you’ve done YOUR best then that is all you can do. The rest will take care of itself.”

Today is busy. We’re going to make special memories anyway.

Check back for some fun announcements coming up!

Whatever comes and goes if I know I’ve done MY best, I have to let that be enough.

I intend to keep showing up and finding little ways to make every ordinary day, just a little EXTRA.

Sigh~it’s a process.

I’m still learning from my mother.

She’s been gone 22 years and 3 months.

I want some of her biscuits and gravy.

How ’bout you…what do you do to make special memories…

you know…little EXTRAS on ordinary days or holidays like today?

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  1. Love your stories Rachel.
    I have watched you grow over the years of North st.garage sales and you and the boys strolling down the st. I saw your sadness after each life problems. You always kept your faith and now you are writing about all of our lives in a few short stories. God blessed you with a beautiful soul.
    Thank you for being a part of my journey.
    Love from a friend Jan

    1. Jan, thank you for your beautiful comment. You are a dear friend to me. Isn’t it amazing how life long friendships are formed? Our friendship is special too. Thank you for always having a smile and a kind word. You are a wonderful part of my journey, for sure.

  2. WOW, beautifully written! My heart cries with you. God has them all bottled up, He knows what every tear drop represents, wraps His hands of love around us to give us comfort and peace during the storms.
    Have a good evening.

  3. I miss Mother, too. Her biscuits and gravy were unlike any others I’ve eaten! I’m so sorry about your lost possessions, but I’m thankful you still have the sweet memories. And what a special couple the two in the picture are! Love you.

    1. Esther, yes! Her biscuits and gravy were special. Mine don’t compare! I’m thankful we don’t have to throw memories away! Thank you for all your love and encouragement.

  4. I think your one of the strongest ladies I know your faith is so strong..I remembered working with u getting sights and sounds stuff ready with u always so much fun .i remember u sharing with me a story when we were waiting in makaeli.i remember I sharing some hard times that god brought u thought..U have a big heart u love others and your faith inspires me.i miss old first church the fun and laugh your beautiful inside and out love you friend we don’t talk much or see each other but do miss seeing u love to see god also how he worked and is with that sweet grand baby love becky

    1. Becky, thank you for your kind and sweet comment. I am honored by your words. My faith has been tested many times and I’m thankful that HE says that faith even the size of a mustard seed has value. He is a good and faithful God. The hard times make us appreciate and cherish the good times all the more. I am so thankful for the blessings and miracles in my life. And I know you are too. Thank you for your treasured friendship all these years.

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