The memory a smell can evoke

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The dollar store is one of my favorite stores. Everything for a dollar. Everything (actually there at items that are even less than a dollar!). There are websites and Facebook groups dedicated to all the things you can do with items from the Dollar Store. As a bonus, I can placate my toddlers with a snack or toy that doesn’t blow the budget, especially when they’re going to lose interest or break it anyway. And don’t get me started on the fact you can buy helium balloons for $1 each. I may just start to hyperventilate in my excitement. I can fill my entire house with helium balloons for the price of what i would pay for the latest new found gadget for my kids’ birthday and the balloons will last a whole lot longer, plus provide hours of entertainment when we turn the ceiling fan on and wait on the edge of our seat for the balloon to be swept into the rotating blades. The kids’ squeels of delight make it worth the brief moment my heart stops beating because it sounds like someone is shooting at my house.

A couple of weeks ago I was in this beloved store going through the checkout lane and then going for a massage two doors down. First, let me point out that I said “I was in the store”, as in just me, no kids. Second, let me point out that I had time to go for a massage afterwards (Thanks to a gift card from Mother’s Day). Pretty sure I also saw pigs flying.

As I checked out, on a whim, I grabbed a pack of mints to make sure I had fresh breath. Apparently impressing my masseuse was important to me. Apparently that’s also a problem they must deal with because they have bowls of mints for their customers in their lobby. I stepped outside, opened the pack of mints and as the smell wafted up to my nose, nostalgia hit me. It was like an old, familiar friend I hadn’t seen in years.

Grandma. Immediately I saw her, her house, her apartment, her buffet, her end table, and the small bowls that always, always, held her mints and her chapstick. Oh how I loved searching out those two items every time we went to her house, which, by the way, was almost every day since we lived in the same town. Needless to say, I ate a lot of mints and used a lot of chapstick as a kid.

What good, good memories of an even better person. Oh that I could see her again and share a mint (or two). I think she would be delighted that my kids are now hooked on those same mints and love getting my old chapstick tubes (old, as in all used up except a tiny bit smooshed down in there because their idea of using chapstick is to eat it). I think I’ll be buying these mints on our almost weekly trips to our beloved dollar store.

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Dream kitchens and hungry babes

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Though I don’t watch much TV to begin with, HGTV is a semi-regular channel on our TV. I like to dream of my perfect house, get ideas for DIY projects around my current home and laugh at the little things home buyers get so worked up about, as if the knobs on the kitchen cabinets are really worth not buying a house because of.

However, recently, a gnawing in my gut has started as I watch these shows about people buying a vacation house, remodeling their home to be more sophisticated and modern, and searching for a house with a master bedroom the size of my entire house, 3 car garages or kitchens that a restaurant gourmet cook could only dream of having.

Instead of dreaming about what I want, these shows now make me think of the third world countries where people live in one room shacks that may or may not have something covering their windows, much less a large bay window over-looking a lake. What gives me the right to sit here in my air conditioned house, which apparently is small at less than 1400 sq ft for our family of 4 according to HGTV, with a fridge, freezer and cabinets stocked full of food while a mom on the other side of the world sits outside of her shack because she can at least have some air flow in the stifling heat, rocking her babe who hasn’t eaten in days? Why am I able to go to my small but fully functional kitchen to get a glass of filtered water while that other mom has to choose between her child dying of thirst or giving him muddy water that may or may not have fecal matter or other contaminants in it? While my kids nap I get the luxury of a quiet house to either get some chores done or sit and watch TV. Meanwhile, the other mom doesn’t have to worry about folding clothes because the only items they own are the ones they are wearing, but she does have to worry about if today will be the day her child dies from malnutrition.

And yet, while people die every. single. day, we sit here and continue to think about our dream kitchens, lose ourselves in HGTV and shows like The Bachelor and spend our money on ourselves because we’ve worked hard and we’ve earned it.

Y’all, we are a blessed nation and God says that He blesses us in order that we may bless others. I weep as I write this because I am so guilty of being so caught up in my own life, my own house, my own kids, that I forget that I can do something for that mom on the other side of the world. I don’t know how to help, but maybe it starts with shutting off the good ol’ boob tube and actually looking for a way to help. (Side note-while I talk about the mom on the other side of the world, there are plenty of people here in our own country, state, city that need our help). Instead of using social media to look at what other people are doing today, perhaps I use it to find an organization that is intimately involved with providing help for those who are in need, and I link up with them. It may be giving money, which if we’re honest, can be freed up in our budget if we are willing to sacrifice one or two wants of our own, or donating needed items, spreading the word and information, or perhaps it’s volunteering even one hour of our time each month.

Far be it from me to think that I am too busy or strapped too tight financially to tell the mom of a dying child that my life is more important than hers, that my kids matter more than her babes.