Happy Moments

Life can be tough. Real tough at times. Thankfully there are happy moments too. As I try to find the joy in my journey, I find myself being intentional about thinking about happy moments.

One of my favorites is the moment that Mike asked me to marry him. I love to close my eyes and think about it. I can't really recall another moment in my life that I can remember so clearly. I believe this moment has such a strong pull, not only because the man I want to grow old with asked me to marry him. But also because I had my eyes closed when this moment happened. My eyes were closed so my other senses were engaged.

It was my birthday. And I was surrounded by the people I love most. When the gifts were opened, Mike stands up saying he didn't wrap my gift so I had to close my eyes. In that moment, I remember smiling big and thinking to myself "I love this man so much. He knows me so well. Knows I hate wrapping gifts so he didn't wrap my gift, knowing I would be completely ok with an unwrapped gift." Literally, that is what was going through my mind.

I was not expecting, that while my eyes were closed and my smile was big, he was getting on his knees in front of me and all my loved ones surrounding me. The next thing I heard was this man who has brought so much joy into my life, asking me to marry him. My eyes flew open and I said yes. This was probably the most perfect moment of my life so far.

Memories are strong. That can be a gift. It's been months since that day but occasionally I find myself thinking about that exact moment. As I close my eyes again and recall this very special memory, I remember having such a fantastic day surrounded by the most important people in my life. There had been a lot of laughter, good food and fun. And finally there was a great future to celebrate.

I was 39 before I experienced a moment in my life that I can recall with such an emotional response. That's ok. This memory is pretty perfect in my mind and will be pretty tough to beat. Have you been lucky enough to have a memory you can close your eyes and it feels like you are back in that special moment?

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The Hardest Part

Five years ago, I had no need or desire to ever work again. The same is not true today. This week has been a tough week at work. Very long hours, late hours, on call overnight, and the stress that goes along with all of this.

One thing that occurred to me yesterday. Yes, I'm tired of this schedule. I'm tired of getting home in time for bed, to wake up at normal time (I can't sleep in anymore) then go to work late. But I like working. I like what I do. It is challenging. There is definitely frustrating aspects to what I do. But I am so thankful for a job that I like to go to (Monday through Friday, from 8-5. Haha!)

The hardest part about being a working mom, is nothing shocking. It's the mom part. I've talked about this before. And it's all still true. School/activity schedules, days off, parental involvement in the kids academic world, all has to work around my Monday through Friday work schedule. I have a little flexibility and can attend some things for my kiddos during the day and for that I am grateful. But it's not the same as when I was home. I took my kids to school and picked them up after. Packed lunches. Volunteered in the classrooms. Went on field trips. Things I did for the fun and experiences. Now I feel stressed when I'm asked to send something in for a class party. I want to help, but it's just "one more thing" I have to get done. Usually I do it, but it's a burden, not a pleasure.

Not working is no longer an option for me. And I'm happy to say, I'm ok with that. I just wish there was some way to be a working mom without all the guilt and missing out on so much where my kids are concerned. Again, I know this is not a new problem and I imagine all working moms are very familiar with the struggle. It's just something that's on my mind right now. In a few weeks, my oldest begins middle school and my youngest starts her final year in elementary school. It is all going so fast. I am so blessed to be a mom. And grateful for a job that I like to go to each day.

Working moms, what is your biggest struggle? How do you work around it?

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Letter To Me

Every once in a while, I feel reflective. Today is one of those days. I'm thinking about what I would say to my younger self. As different ideas were rolling through my head, I decided to ask a few of my co-workers what they would say to their younger selves. What they shared was very interesting.

The first things to come to mind, are listed below.

1. Do what you want to do. Go to school and be what you want to be. You will have to get up and go to work every day. You want to be happy with your choice.

2. Have more fun. Taking life too serious is stressful and it can rob you of the every day joys in life.

3. You are enough. You are enough in your school life. In your work life. In your relationships. You are you, you are great. And you are enough.

The most interesting thing about this little list is that although I only wrote down one of these myself. Both of the other thoughts are ones I've definitely said about my life more than once in the past. Three different individuals. Three different journeys. I find it fascinating that we would say very similar things to our younger selves.

What would you say to the younger you?

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These Encouraging Words

First, I want to say, thank you for reading Java Talk. Then I want to say, I'm still here. It's been a crazy few weeks. And work is a bit overwhelming right now. So today, I'm going to share a few happy thoughts that I really need to keep in mind. I thought, if I need a few warm and fuzzy words, maybe you would appreciate them as well.

Today, I choose to remember...

1. Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.

2. Don't stop when you're tired. Stop when you're done!

3. Stay strong beautiful!

4. Keep going no matter what.

5. Above all, I keep reminding myself that I AM Blessed.

The next week will fly by and things will settle down. To avoid feeling overwhelmed, I will think on these little words of wisdom. I have to be mindful of a grateful attitude. And I will continue to look for ways to find joy in the journey.

When you are feeling the pressure caving in, what are the words that come to mind that help you keep focused and keep moving forward?

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The Power Of Trust

Trust is a necessary part of being human. We aren't meant to be alone and to live this life on our own. But to have part in a life where you depend on others in any way, requires trust.

Some relationships, you just begin with trust. I'm thinking of a child trusting in their parents. It doesn't occur to a child to NOT trust their parent. If a child doesn't trust their parent, it is learned through experiences.

We need trust in friendships. There are many different levels of friendship and the closer the friendship, the deeper the level of trust.

The more vulnerable you are with a person, the more trust is required of you. This is true with family, a significant other and with friends. This becomes tricky because I believe we need at least one person to be real with. One person who knows your strengths and your flaws and accepts you anyway. A safe place.

There are other layers of trust as well. We trust when we contract a service, it will be provided. We trust if we go to work, we will get paid. In general, we trust that when someone says they will do something, they will do it.

The problem is that we are all human. We all make mistakes. We all find ourselves at some point where we have let someone down. And then trust is in jeopardy. Trust can be innate or earned but once it is broken, it is hard to repair. Sometimes, it cannot be repaired.

I know for me, over the past few years I've wrestled with trusting people. I felt let down and betrayed by many people I felt close to and that hurt has been very hard to put aside. I'm no longer angry. I haven't been for some time but if I'm honest, it has made it nearly impossible to try to re-connect to most of those people. When that trust was broken, there wasn't anything left to say. I did attempt to reconcile with a few of those individuals. After some awkward attempts at conversation, I realized there was no going back to the friendships we had. And I no longer trusted them enough to even want to try to start over. This experience has also changed how I go into new friendships. I'm much more guarded. I don't think that's a bad thing, it just is.

Trust is a big deal. It is something we take for granted. Think about the people in your life that you trust. And be thankful. Think about the people in your life that trust you. And be thankful. For most of the people in our lives, trust is earned. And that is a privilege. Be careful with it.

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Happy Feet Are Here Again!

I don't do too many product reviews these days. And I want to be clear, I am not getting paid for this post in any way.

Last week I shared that I was sad because I was going to have to say goodbye to the days of my beloved flip flops (sniffle, sniffle). At the end of that post, I asked if anyone knew of a flip flop that existed that provided decent support. I was shocked and very happy to learn that there this does exist!!!!!

I had a few people make different recommendations. I did some quick research and then ordered a pair of Orthoheels by Vionic Tide.

They definitely cost more than I would like to pay for a pair of flip flops (about $65 from Amazon...with my Prime membership I had them on my feet in 2 days!). As you can see, I chose cute black, sparkly flip flops. (Ignore the peeling skin in the picture, I'm still recovering from my vacation at the beach.) And I love them.

The first day they were comfy but a little hard. They didn't hurt in any way, I could just feel a firm support. I have worn them almost exclusively since Sunday. And now they feel amazing. I am so happy that I am not leaving the days of flip flops behind me any time soon!

Thanks for reading and thanks for sharing!

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Back At It Again!

If you read back far enough through Java Talk (as in 4 years ago) you will learn that I was a boxer. I didn't compete in a ring but boxing was my passion. I know it isn't very "girlie" and sounds very aggressive but boxing is where I found my inner strength.

It made me feel a power I didn't feel in any other part of my life. It was something I was good at. It changed my body. At a time in my life where I had so little confidence in myself, I found something I was good at.

I loved boxing so much, I started the journey to become certified to teach. There were some obstacles along the way but then I finally achieved my goal and got certified.

And then my world went tilt...Depression. Divorce. Full time employment. Learning to live on a budget. Who had the time or money to bother with exercise of any kind? Not me.

While my life has never been better, I've gained about 25 pounds. When it comes to weight and food, I still have a few demons to beat. One day at a time, right? For the past two years, I've exercised pretty regularly but it's usually a struggle. I don't want to do it. It's not fun. It's something I have to do. Get it done and enjoy the rest of my day. Over the last three years, there have been so many moments where I have truly missed boxing. But it's not a very good solo sport.

I recently had a great idea (if I do say so myself)! I will offer to teach my friends to box and then work out with them. It will look something like this: I teach 4 combinations. I will catch the punches. Then we switch, and I put on the gloves and my partner will catch my hits. We go through this cycle for 30, 40, 60 mins...however long works that day! It's a fantastic cardio workout and it will tone your body as well.

Most importantly to me, it feels so good. I've missed boxing so much (I know I keep saying this but it's true). I've missed the sound. I've missed the feeling of the impact. And working out is fun again! Score one for me! I've already boxed three times over the past several days. My goal is to find a buddy two or three times a week. I'll never have the body I had back then, but I'm ok with that. I have no desire to workout for hours each day or to give up food. I really just want to be healthy and to enjoy the exercise that helps me get there. It feels good after such a long break. To be refocused and to have a plan to make it happen again.

We should all strive to find something that we enjoy that will make us feel good about ourselves. Is there something you've been putting off? What needs I happen to get started?

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Why Are People So Angry?

Yesterday I drove to Hershey to pick my son up from hockey camp. On the way back we hit terrible stop and go traffic due to a very bad accident. We were crawling for miles. A trip that should have taken 25 mins took over an hour and I even ended up re-routing to sneak past the accident site.

Anyway...so I'm driving (creeping really) patiently and enjoying the bonus time with my boy. When all the sudden, a honk sounds off behind me. I'm in the center lane and I look in my rear view mirror to see this man pulling in behind me from the left lane. Not unusual, but this man, he was irrationally fired up. He met my eyes in my mirror and called me a "F** B**!" The raw anger shocked me. We were driving so slow and I was pleasantly crawling along with everyone else. He must have had his turn signal on and assumed I didn't let him over in my lane. Which maybe I am guilty of this, but not intentionally. I never saw his turn signal. We were driving so slowly I wasn't looking around at other cars because no one was getting anywhere.

The look on his face was scary. But then it got worse. As he switched from the center to the right lane, he continued to look at me and call me a B**. Over and over. And when he turned his head to face the road ahead of him, he kept an eye on me in the side view mirror and CONTINUED to call me a B**, a few more times.

I don't get it. I get frustrated with other drivers sometimes. I'm much more likely to say something along the lines of "thanks a lot jerk!" but then I move on. This man was so angry, over something I was unaware of.

Maybe he was late. Maybe he was tired of being stuck in traffic. Maybe his entire day sucked. But seriously? Even if I had intentionally refused his entrance into my lane (which I did not), how does that warrant such rage? If we had been stopped, I would have been fearful he would have approached me. What is wrong with people?

Take a breath...listen Buddy, we were all stuck. I was simply enjoying conversation with my son, waiting to make whatever slow progress I could make. Getting that angry with me didn't change anything. I even raised my hands and shoulders in the gesture to express..."What did I do? And I'm sorry". It made no difference as he railed against me until he literally could no longer see me in his mirror.

This left me a little shaken and very disturbed. I do not understand how such ugliness was his first response. I hope he got wherever he was going and was able to enjoy the rest of his night. I on the other hand, kept seeing his face in the mirror and kept seeing the pure anger in the reflection.

Today, I will be more mindful of being patient with other drivers. I would never want to leave such an impression on another driver. Let's all try to remember we are all headed somewhere. If we can keep our cool, we should all get there safely. Drive safe everyone.

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Powerful Words

While driving to work this morning, I heard on the radio as a DJ repeated very powerful words said by former President George W. Bush. He was speaking at the yesterday at the Dallas Police Memorial.

Think on these words....

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Kids have bigger hearts

The sweet logic of my ten year old daughter. She has had this theory and every time she uses this logic it makes my mommy heart smile. It makes no real sense, but I love when she starts supporting her side.

What is the argument, you ask? It's so simple, really. It's the one where one person says "I love you" and the other person responds, "I love you more". One day, my girl Mini went a step further and explained, that "kids have smaller bodies which means they have bigger hearts. So it's not possible for you (remember she was talking to me) to love me more than I love you".

Hmmm...not really following that logic kiddo. But she stands firm in this matter. In fact, for the past few years this has been her argument for how she knows she loves me more. And I love it. I love it every time she sends me a text to say good night, and she tells me she loves me. I respond, "I love you more". And she quickly sends back, "not possible".

Some nights, that is enough. It's our special thing. It makes me smile and miss her. I love this little game we play. Some nights, I'm missing her a little more and I am quick to ask, "what do you mean?" Which is when I get the full, play by play of how she loves me more. On those nights, it's exactly what I need.

I love the simple words my Girlie uses to express how much she loves me. It make my mommy heart smile and I feel so blessed. Have you had a special phrase or game you played with your kiddos that you'd like to share?

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Such A Sad Time

There has been so much violence in the United States lately. The news is constantly throwing images and stories at us. Actually it's been going on for years. It comes and goes in spurts. Currently, we are in an actively violent phase. It's upsetting on so many levels.

I don't have any answers. I can't erase the violence. The pain. The fear. I just don't understand. I do not get this type of violence in our world where people have no respect for the value of life. Why do people think they have the right to take the life of another? Why?

Why do we all have to look the same? Or think the same? Or dress the same? Isn't that the beauty of America being the Melting Pot? Yes, there are challenges when you live among people who are different than you. But why is this so hard? I understand, different can be scary. It takes a little effort. But it can also provide us an opportunity to learn. Learn about another culture. Learn about what is important to the people around us. This is a great big world, with so much to offer. Why can't we be who we are without forcing our ways on each other?

I don't know. Like I said, I don't have the answers. I don't understand how any one person can feel they have "the right" to take the life of another. For any reason. How did we get to the place where we respect the value of life so little? It makes me sad. And scared. And angry. It makes me worry about my children growing up in this atmosphere, which will most likely continue to get worse.

It is overwhelming. Fear can cause panic which can and does lead to more violence. It needs to stop. We need peace. We need forgiveness. We need patience. We need healing.

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Timber! Or Not.

I feel like I always have to learn things the hard way. I have to tell you, it's getting kind of old. Recently, I've learned the value of being patient and taking the time needed to find reviews on the service people that I hire to do work for me. I hope that doesn't sound snotty. It's not. Here's what has happened.

On June 7th, we had a freak storm with hail that lasted 5-10 mins. No big deal, right? Well, for me, that storm knocked two huge branches out of my enormous trees in the backyard. The debris fell in my yard and in my neighbors yard as well as across the fence between us. As far as damage, I was lucky. Very lucky. But I had a real problem on my hands. I have 30 plus foot trees in my yard and they needed trimmed or cut down and it needed to happen quick. They were calling for heavy storms by the end of the week.

Right away I start looking online for companies. I came across a local business and left a voicemail message. I called a little after 9pm so when I got a return call a few minutes later, I was impressed. The owner agreed to meet me before work the next morning.

And he did. He showed up. We looked over both my back and front yards. We talked estimates and the next thing I know, I'm signing an estimate. I felt very worried about the upcoming storm and this guy was here and offering to get started.

I signed the paper June 8th. He showed up a few days later (which was expected). I was under the impression this would be done between Friday and Saturday that week.

They showed up and had one mechanical problem after another. Finally, they drove off for the day. One tree mostly down. Debris all over my yard. Oh, and he had a verbal run in with my neighbor that had parts of my tree now laying across his backyard. (I had to smooth that over)

They showed up another day the next week. The first tree is down and a good start on tree number two. But they had to pack it in again....this time because a machine was "leaking hydraulic oil all over my yard". Ok, fine.

By this time, I'm now on vacation and I expect to be notified that it's all completed while I'm away. Guess what? More excuses. My favorite is the one where he tells me he's left me a few voicemails. Yeah, ok. (I hate being lied to).

At this point, I've paid for half the job. It seemed like a fair practice so I paid at the time, expecting this to wrap up within a few more days. Fast forward another week (yes, it has been over 3 weeks since this started and it still is not done) and I get the story that a tire was falling off another machine. (Seriously? What is wrong with this guy's equipment? This is how he makes a living, right?)

This has been my view for 3 weeks. One tree is down and gone. The other...is just hanging around.

On June 30th, I have texted him twice and called a few times (guess who's voicemail is full?) and now I'm very angry because I've had no response and I still have half a 30 ft tree in the back yard and he hasn't even STARTED the front yard.

So, I sent him another text that day stating our contract only outlined the cutting down and hauling away the two trees in the back yard. I told him in "all caps", DO NOT cut anything from the front yard. I explained I have been extremely patient, that I understand things come up and I even let him lie to me about him leaving me voicemails (I totally call BS on this one.) but now he needs to call me so we can talk about when he is going to finish the job (minus the front yard).

Surprise....I got a call. Full of excuses "I left three voicemails" and "didn't you get my text?" I hate to tell you buddy, I text all day long AND people leave me voicemail and I get each one, from everyone but you....whatever. (Did I mention I hate being lied to?). I want to give him a piece of my mind. I want to tell him to get his supplies (yes he has left some stuff in my yard for over three weeks!). But instead, I know I have paid him for half the job and he has done less than half the work. So I put on my "patient, I understand voice" and accept that he will be by in the morning. To finish the job in its entirety. (I call BS on this too)

July 1st and he calls and reiterates he and his crew are coming over to get to work. But what he really wanted to tell me is that they are calling for rain and "you know I can't control the weather...blah, blah, blah".

July 2nd he called again...more excuses, not coming until Wednesday or Thursday next week... I told him to come next week and finish the work I paid for but I made it very clear I have been extremely patient and I'm now over this process. I told him without question he is not to touch the front yard. He is to finish what was contracted for which he began but has not completed, clean up and get out. He agreed. I want this all behind me and now I have to have someone else take care of the front yard.

We will see how long this nightmare goes on. But I have definitely learned a few things from my new "buddy".

The two big ones are:
*get a time frame for the project to be completed.
*read reviews on the business.

I was feeling so overwhelmed by the trees falling, damage to the neighbor's yard, how am I going to pay for this and so many other thoughts that were racing through my brain, that I signed the paper without getting other estimates or checking reviews on this business. I find it so stressful to have to make these big homeowner decisions on my own. This will not happen again. I just want this all over with and behind me. I have paid for a service that was started over three weeks ago. I have been more than patient and I'm so over it. I don't think it is too much to ask for business owner to provide the service that was paid for in a timely manner. I am choosing to chalk this up to another hard lesson learned. If you need someone to cut down/remove any trees, contact me first, I'll tell who NOT to hire.

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Party Craft Win!

A few weeks ago, I shared my idea for a party craft/take away for the girls invited to my daughters birthday party. This weekend we had the birthday party (insert whine because my baby is now 10) and we had a great time.

There was a photo booth.

There was karaoke.

And the girls made their Initial Craft. They turned out different from what I envisioned, but I loved that. Each girl did something different. And they were very happy with how they turned out. I wasn't sure how much I was going to help with this project and I'm happy to share that I did very little work on these projects. The girls really did a great job. Mom win!

My girl had a fantastic night with family and a few friends celebrating her precious life. I joke about being sad she is 10 by the truth is I'm very much enjoying the young lady she is becoming. I love her sense of humor and her view of the world around her. I'm so blessed that this girl calls me Mom.

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My 2 Greatest Pet Peeves

We all have things that drive us crazy. These are the things that happen (or don't happen) that annoy you. Usually, it's not worth doing anything about. It drives you crazy for a minute, you may huff in frustration but then you walk away and you go on with your day. The "fun" part about this is that each of us can be annoyed by totally different things. The good news is that we aren't all biting our tongue over the same issue. The bad news is that because we are not annoyed by the same things, the things that bother me will continue to bother me, because they might not bother you. Does that make sense?

What are my top pet peeves?

1. Not replacing the toilet paper roll. I feel this is one of the laziest things a person can "not" do. I just don't understand this. It is common courtesy. It is a simple thing that shows you care about your home, or someone else's home for that matter. I cannot count the number of homes I've been to, as a guest and when I have gone to use the bathroom, the toilet paper roll is sitting there empty. Most often, with a new roll sitting somewhere close by, visible for anyone to see.

2. This may sound silly but it drives me crazy. When you throw food trash away; paper plates, wrappers, etc, it makes sense to turn it upside down. When this trash is not turned upside down, it gets the food "yuck" all over the inside of the lid of the trash can. It's super simple. With just the flip of the wrist...sticky, stinky mess avoided.

I realize neither of these things really affects the world we live in. For that we can be grateful. But these are my two biggest pet peeves. I don't make a big deal about it. Usually, I just change the toilet paper roll or flip the paper plate over in the trash and then wipe down the mess. Simple. Done. Move on. I know these things don't bother other people and it's not my job to tell other people how to live (even if it makes complete sense, haha).

We all have pet peeves. What is the top thing that drive you nuts? Do you say anything or bite your tongue and move on? This should be fun, share below that thing that makes you crazy. I won't judge you if you don't judge me.

Thanks for reading Java Talk.

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Happy 4th of July!

Today is July 4th, in the U.S. its also known as Independence Day. This day is in honor of our independence from England...a long, long time ago.

Usually it means you get the day off of work. If you're lucky, you get paid for this day off. You may have picnics, parties, swimming and many other "summer" things to do. It's a great day. Most towns offer a show of fireworks to end the day.

On a day like this day, I am surrounded by my special people. I love it. It's always great to have a day off of work. But when everyone has the same day off, it is so much better.

It's going to be a low key day for me and my peeps. And I'm ok with that. My life is in constant motion. I'm always going. So I'm really looking forward to a relaxing day. Our big activity will be to head to the riverfront and watch the fireworks at dusk.

I hope you get a chance to slow down and enjoy your day. I hope you are surrounded by people who make you happy. And I hope you all stay safe.

Happy 4th to you!

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Sad Moment of Truth

I often hear how bad flip flops are for a person to wear...but, but, I love them. I mean, I'd rather be bare foot but if I have to wear shoes, flip flops are a go to.

I noticed last summer that I don't walk well in my much loved flip flops. I had bought a new pair and within two weeks I saw I had worn away the spot where the ball of my foot goes...ALREADY! Oh well. So that part of my shoe is thinner than the rest. Doesn't really matter. Flip. Flop. Flip. Flop.

This year, summer has kicked off and my happy shoes are in their rightful place. On my feet. But it's different this time. I notice my feet and even my ankles feel weird when I wear them. So I did what any smart flip flop girl would do in my situation. I bought a new pair.

Guess what? It still doesn't feel great. It doesn't really hurt, it just doesn't feel right. I'm more mindful of stepping down on my whole foot rather than putting all my weight on certain parts of my foot. Despite my efforts of even stepping, it still doesn't feel right.

This can only mean one thing. I'm going to have to give up my favored flip flops for some other type of shoe. This realization makes this day a sad day indeed. I don't care if it's a "getting old" thing or its just a "sucks to be me" thing. Same result. I have come to the place in my life where I need a more stable/supportive shoe on my feet.

And that makes me sad. I know it's not a "big deal". And I will adjust. I ask you to allow me this moment to mourn the loss of my beloved flip flops.

Have you had a similar experience? Flip flops or something else? Just cruising through life with your happy feet and then it's time to say goodbye? Any suggestions of what I can wear that will be close to a flip flop but offer good support for my "old" feet/ankles? If you have a shoe to suggest, leave it below. Looks like I'm in the market for a new shoe.

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