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Living Up to the Purse

When I look back over the past year, I begin to realize all at once what a difficult, challenging, exasperating, exhausting year it was, and yet also what a ridiculously funny, and amazingly blessed year it was, too.

I think one of my greatest lessons of 2008 will sound quite selfish to many of you, but in actuality I learned that I need to be a bit more selfish.  In homeschooling, bookselling, doing home OT/Floortime therapy with my middle child, cooking, cleaning, (well every once in a while), being a mommy, being a wife, trying to be a friend, attempting to blog, I got hopelessly lost in the fray.

I became lost in being 40…feeling old…feeling tired…and just plain old feeling like every day there was absolutely no way I could accomplish a third of what I needed to do.  Add to that my feeble attempt to do all this in my own strength instead of relying on God, and you have a recipe for depression and despondency.

So, I quit reading, I quit putting on makeup.  I wore the same sloggy black, van-ravaged, bleach-stained pants for days in a row.  A baseball cap became my grandest accessory.  I began to hold pity parties regularly, reheating thick morning coffee, (I didn’t deserve fresh), and using cheap powdered creamer.

(Ever notice how that powder floats on top of cold coffee…simply won’t mix in…wretched…)

All of a sudden I woke up and realized that I was nowhere in all this.  I was buried under piles of laundry and unfiled homeschool papers.  I was tormented by incomplete behavior checklists and unused recipes.  I was tortured by unreturned phone calls, unmade doctor’s appointments, delayed hair appointments, neglected feet, worn-out clothes and badly-crafted knock-off designer purses.

For some reason, the purses are what pushed me over the edge.  I actually have two grand blogging friends to thank for this sanity send-off.  Andrea at Crazy Jugs wrote so eloquently about her love of Coach and how she had nowhere to brandish her purses now that she had become a stay-at-home mom in a smallish town.  Then Kia at Good Enough Mama wrote poetically about her new Coach Christmas purse purchased by her darling husband.

I thought about these purses a lot.  I mean way too much.  I am not sure I can explain the relationship between the purses and my own self-concept but when H gave me a decent spot of cash for my recent birthday, I decided to spend it, for once, on myself.  I would not spend it on Christmas presents for other people, nor would I use it for groceries, prescriptions, sensible cotton panties or homeopathic attention aids.

I waited to shop until we visited H’s parents, since they live in a larger town known for fabulous after-Christmas sales.  When my mother-in-law announced she would be arising early on New Year’s Day to be the first in line for some 75% off 75% sale, I knew I needed to be with her.  (She truly is an inspiring shopping partner!)

I arrived at the planned store, entered immediately at 9:55 and headed straight for the designer handbag section.  Waiting there, alone on the shelf, yes waiting just for me was this beauty:


75% off  the admittedly excessive, extravagant regular price.  My pulse raced.  I grabbed for it.  A woman rushed up to me.  “Are there more?  Is that the only one?” she asked feverishly.  “Yes, it appears so,” I replied cooly.  She gasped at the reduced price and sulked away.  I clutched my find and beamed.

You know, God put that purse there just for me.  He did that, I believe, to delight me, to remind me that He is in the tiniest details of my life, and to remind me that I matter…even when what I am focusing on is superficial and esoteric.  Because on the outside, this purse might seem to scream “statement” and “unimportant fashion,” yet to me, after this year of trial, acknowledgment and acceptance, it speaks something quite different.

You may not get it.  But I do.  And that’s what matters at this point.

“Does it look like me?”  I asked H, somewhat fearfully.  “It looks like the fun, bold person you used to be,”  he encouraged with a smile.  “Nah…it does look like you,” he encouraged.

OK friends, I’ve laid it out there.

Help me live up to the purse!

Posted on 6 January '09 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany.

27 Comments to “Living Up to the Purse”

#1 Posted by Jean (06.01.09 at 23:22 )

I love your story and I’m right there with you, You are a very special person and the bag is now yours. Now go some place and show it off. you go girl. 🙂

Jeans last blog post..About The Casino

#2 Posted by Tari (06.01.09 at 23:49 )

You can do it! Do less this year, and carry that purse a lot!

Taris last blog post..D-Day

#3 Posted by Patty O. (07.01.09 at 00:18 )

What a great post!! I can really relate to what you wrote. Especially about spending my Christmas and birthday (my b-day is 3 days before Christmas) money on presents or things for my family. I have struggled with this loss of self this year, as well. Actually, as I have been working on getting a handle on my emotional eating, I realized that I needed to spend more time and care on myself, not just wear myself out for others. Though it sometimes feels selfish, I am making more of an effort to treat myself to wonderful, happy things: time for reading or exercising, a bubble bath, a night out with a friend, etc. This has really helped me a lot. Yet, I still struggle with it. I guess it will be an ongoing battle. Thanks for blogging about this, because it validated my feelings and makes me feel less alone and less selfish, because it is obvious to me that you deserve a break and a treat, so maybe, just maybe I deserve one too.

Patty O.s last blog post..I love Wall-E!!

#4 Posted by mrsbear (07.01.09 at 00:48 )

You will totally live up to the purse! As well as some half and half for your fresh coffee. You deserve it. I think a lot of us moms can relate as far as not considering ourselves a priority, your post is a great reminder to love ourselves occasionally, especially if it’s 75% off. 🙂

mrsbears last blog post..When It Rains It Pours…Vomit

#5 Posted by acarlson (07.01.09 at 09:11 )

I love it, love it, love it. Not just the purse, the whole concept. I’m totally on board. And the purse is divine.

#6 Posted by kim (07.01.09 at 12:33 )

YEAH!! That has totally inspired me
We do need to remember that God is in all things and rejoice in that Promise!
Now we need to go out and show off that purse 🙂
Love ya

kims last blog post..Merry Christmas!

#7 Posted by goodfountain (07.01.09 at 14:21 )

I totally, totally get this.

It’s not that I begrudge giving up things for myself for the ‘betterment’ of the family. At the time, it *always* feels like the right thing to do. It’s later, after months and months, that I realize I feel like a big nothing.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the marriage. And my husband and I are both sooo guilty of putting the kids ahead of spending time together. That is a 2009 goal for us … date nights. We need to do it NOW before we NEED to do it later.

I love your choice of purse – it’s such a simple thing but it does indeed say that you value yourself. I get that. I need to find my “purse.”

goodfountains last blog post..Silver lining

#8 Posted by Kia (GoodEnoughMama) (07.01.09 at 14:31 )

Well put, babe. Well put. 🙂 Nice shoulder candy there, too! 🙂

Kia (GoodEnoughMama)s last blog post..UNCLE! UNCLE! Can’t you hear me? I said, “UNCLE!!”

#9 Posted by Steph at the Red Clay Diaries (07.01.09 at 14:46 )

Gorgeous! Both the purse and the message you shared.

I’m with @goodfountain: At the time the self-sacrifice seems totally logical – even spiritual. And certainly we ARE called to unselfishness. But doing what you think you “should” do without an ear to God’s voice on the matter is basically religion, right?

I’m glad you gave yourself permission to use your gift money on yourself. (Novel concept!)

And the purse is really pretty. I love a good leopard print, and it looks nice and roomy.

#10 Posted by Carla (07.01.09 at 15:15 )

I can sooo relate to this post.


Carlas last blog post..Enjoying the little things

#11 Posted by Tonggu Momma (07.01.09 at 17:33 )

I loved this story! And your husband sounds awesome. I don’t believe these self-sacrificing moments are inherently bad, not taken individually. It’s really the cumulative effect, where you suddenly find yourself lost. Enjoy your gorgeous purse!

#12 Posted by goodfather (07.01.09 at 17:41 )

You know, I’m seriously getting a ‘man bag’. Seriously. That purse has style.

goodfathers last blog post..Weaning, on a Jet Plane…

#13 Posted by Kate @FromaDesperateHousewife (07.01.09 at 23:33 )

Yes- you have got to spend some time on yourself this year. I’m praying and hoping that this year is full of designer purses.

Kate @FromaDesperateHousewifes last blog post..A Crashed Modem and Confessions of a Philosophical Three-Year-Old

#14 Posted by andreacook (08.01.09 at 14:43 )

This post made me laugh out loud. Seriously, my pug started barking when he heard me laughing at this post. I can SO relate to how run down I have become too.

And then when I saw the purse I heard angels in the back ground singing for it was so beautiful! One angel said, “Look at Elizabeth’s purse, it matches her KIA shoes!” How cute!

Then, the quote from VanPan master: It looks like the bold and fun person you used to be…

This quote makes me tear up and serious sob out loud! Why can’t we parade around and treat ourselves with nice purses? A woman’s purse says so much about her: not only the way she appears outwardly, but also how she feels about herself inwardly!

Good for you friend. It is my prayer for you that this purse will remind you of who you are in Christ. That you are God’s workmanship, made perfect in Him to do good works. God does love you and know you and your needs and desires. I hope that you will be renewed and inspired and that this new year will bring you a reminder to care for yourself, to care for God’s workmanship.

And keep on being bold and fun. That is the EC friend that I have met this past year and have loved! Sorry for pushing you off that sanity edge, but glad we did it if it meant a new purse for you to enjoy!

andreacooks last blog post..Fitness Queen or Flatulence-Challenged Middle Aged Fat Housewife?

#15 Posted by andreacook (08.01.09 at 14:49 )

Just realized that your friend’s name is KIA. I thought that was the brand of those leopard clogs… Anywho, the shoes are what I was referring to on my previous comment… I think there was some banter about the shoes from KIA and that is where the confusion came from maybe…


andreacooks last blog post..Fitness Queen or Flatulence-Challenged Middle Aged Fat Housewife?

#16 Posted by Charlotte (08.01.09 at 23:40 )

I can totally relate! Go read the January issue of Her magazine. The picts of you and the kids are gorgeous. Love the new purse!

Charlottes last blog post..Fire on the Mountain: Prescribed Burn at Sprewell Bluff State Park

#17 Posted by Stimey (09.01.09 at 20:02 )

This is a wonderful post. Really, really wonderful. I’m so glad you got the purse. It’s really easy to get lost in your family. Thanks for the reminder that it’s important to come out too.

Stimeys last blog post..Mother of the Year, Part IV

#18 Posted by Helene (10.01.09 at 01:09 )

I loved this!! Good for you!!! It’s hard to put ourselves first sometimes! So I’m glad you splurged on yourself! And that purse….wow!!! It’s a beauty!!!

Helenes last blog post..What’s so wrong about eating cake while watching Biggest Loser?

#19 Posted by hellokittiemama/MT (11.01.09 at 13:21 )

I can relate to this on so many levels.

You WILL live up to the purse!!!!!!!

🙂 🙂 🙂

hellokittiemama/MTs last blog post..Temple Grandin Video Clips

#20 Posted by ali (12.01.09 at 13:45 )

Great post and beautiful purse–and all it stands for! I’m forwarding this purse to my sister, I think she can really relate to it:)

#21 Posted by the domestic fringe (13.01.09 at 20:49 )

It’s a fabulous purse! I love it and I love that God set it aside just for you. You deserve it. It will be a reminder of God’s care for you each time you pick it up.

the domestic fringes last blog post..The Doctor Says…

#22 Posted by BQkimmy (13.01.09 at 20:55 )

I get it! Oh boy do I get it! I get every single word and every single thought and feeling behind them. Good for you!!!

#23 Posted by Danette (14.01.09 at 00:06 )

Great post, and good for you!! 🙂

I finally managed to post the awards you so graciously gave me a while back and I have some for you too 🙂


Danettes last blog post..Mondays in Motion: Random moments 2008

#24 Posted by angie (14.01.09 at 00:49 )

My sister, Ali, sent me this post – I love it! And I love the D&B Chiara!

Sometimes it just takes a purse to turn things around. Women carry their lives in their handbags – they should be fabulous!

#25 Posted by Maddy (14.01.09 at 10:45 )

Yes it’s all to easy to get buried. If a new bag is what does it for you then more power to you. Let’s hope that this year is a blast for you with lots of energy.
Best wishes

Maddys last blog post..How to ensure your carpet remain clutter free

#26 Posted by Kia (GoodEnoughMama) (15.01.09 at 13:12 )

Doood, where’d you go? Are you ok?

Kia (GoodEnoughMama)s last blog post..Wordless Wndesdyadnsy

#27 Posted by Three Channels » Thrift Store Profiles (06.03.09 at 09:44 )

[…] These people talk to me, share their stories, pour out their woes.  They have allowed me a glimpse into a part of society I would probably never have known much about.  Yet what is more fascinating is how they have accepted me into their culture.  Me with my minivan, my now-bobbed hair, my unfake purse… […]