Hey you…

Yes you, sitting there scrolling and scrolling down whatever social media is your time killer of choice. What are you doing with your time? Where is your life headed? Do you want to sit there day after day, hour after hour, looking at memes, reading whiny posts from your depressed friends who are sitting there doing the same thing you are doing?

Stop it.

Get up and find a life with living. Turn that computer off, toss that phone across the room or simply look up!

Look up. See that?

Life is happening and you’re missing it.

If you have a dream or desire to do something different with your life, something radical, do it. Even if it is a simple as trying a new hairstyle or hobby, try it.

Don’t let anyone tell you that your ideas or dreams are stupid or unimportant. Your dreams and wants are just as valid as any ideas that anyone on this earth may have.

Take the chance. You might end up being the best at whatever it is. You may succeed in ways you had could not have imagined you could.

Look up, move yourself and live a life!

The one thing that is certain, if you don’t do it, if you keep doing the same old things you always do, you will miss out on unlimited possibilities.

Life may just turn out amazing if you look up.

I dare you.

~Lori O’Gara

Thank you for your time. You can see more of my writing here or sign up for the O’Gara Inner Circle here

Silent No More

I am usually the quiet one. I see all the chaos in the world and I keep my mouth shut. I do not share my opinions. I was taught at an early age that if you can’t say anything nice say nothing at all. Writing what I think is one thing, and saying it out loud is something altogether different. As a child raised in the southern United States, I was taught to always respect my elders and those of authority even if they do not deserve respect, respect their status. As a result, when I have a not so nice thought or my opinion is different from the majority, I keep silent.

I am no longer silent.

I am known for being transparent and honest in my work, writing, and lifestyle. Ask me a question, be certain you really want to know the answer or the truth as I know it. I am going to give it to you with a description, reasons, facts, history, spreadsheets, and sometimes pictures. If I don’t know the answer I will find it for you.

If you have a differing opinion I welcome your response. That is was decent humans do. They welcome a differing opinion. We can agree that we believe, feel, or think differently and still have an open honest conversation. We can still be nice to each other.

It is good, actually vital that we have some difference in beliefs as individuals. We should not agree with every ideology that comes around. 

It is not all meant for us. 

It is not all good for us.

It is also right to agree on the essential things that make us decent humans. There are some things that are non negotiables.

What we must do is communicate. We can agree or not, we will openly talk about it.

Not saying anything at all breeds negative energy. Negativity spreads faster through not so nice humans than positivity passes on through decent humans. We should speak out with the truth.

Life is not easy, I get that. You can’t always have life your way, because of a thing that you can’t change. I heard about your struggle and your hard work. You have issues. 

Hey, we all do. 

Are you going to let that stop you?

Keep going. 

Keep proving to those who think you are less or not good enough that they are wrong.

You are fabulous.

What is never good and should never be allowed is for someone to use what is unchangeable like skin color, sex, age, disability, or person’s past, just to name a few, to hurt others. We should never be allowed to use one’s position in life and in society to do harm to others just because we are in the position to do so. I do not care who you are or who you think you are? No….stop it.

Harming innocents is not what a decent human should do. It matters not in what capacity you claim that it is your right to do these things.

Discrimination is wrong. I do not care how you try to dress it up. 

Listen up, all of you, beautiful people who have been hurt because of who you are, I see all the hurt and grief caused directly or indirectly due to you being you. 

I do not care what the cause, real or imaginary is for such mistreatment.

This one human, me, does not condone it.

I also see the parasites who attach on to any decent human in the attempted to get ahead in life. They use mainstream media and their neighbors as catalysts for their own personal neurotic agendas. They use their position in society and on social media to spread their narcissistic negative agenda. They use what makes them unique to get ahead in life no matter who they hurt in the process. 

They are not decent humans. Hateful is as hateful does.

  • Do unto others as you would have them do to you….
  • You owe your neighbors, all of us, a public apology.
  • If you can’t say anything helpful, keep your mouth shut.
  • If all you can say is hateful and hurtful things, keep your mouth shut.
  • If what you say is not truthful, keep your mouth shut.
  • No one can argue with the truth. Truth does not change because it is not a popular opinion. Truth is truth.

There are ways of saying what you need to say without being rude. Some of you never had a shoe on your backside from your grandmother’s hand and it shows.

I said what I said… again.

~Lori O’Gara

Thank you for your time. You can see more of my writing here or sign up for the O’Gara Inner Circle here

I Said it

She grabs the soapbox. She steps up…to the mic and begins. 

Can you hear that? Listen to the sounds. The noise. 

 It is the sound of life as we know it falling down around us. We are no longer safe in our own homes. We can’t go to the store without worrying if we will catch a deadly virus that we will bring home with the groceries. There is no cure. People are acting like the government caused it and are complaining that the powers of man won’t do anything to get rid of it. 

It is a 

V

I

R

U

S

 It is nature’s way of saying she is pissed at how we have been treating her and get the hell off her back already humans. 

What can we do? Follow the guidelines and hope that we make it out of this with our health and most of our family intact. Yeah. That’s it. 

I can imagine that we are going to lose half our population during this. 

But wait…..

There’s more…..

Hear that shattering glass, screaming, and chanting? A black man was killed by a cop. The cop was white. He was arrested along with some other cops who watched it happen. They did nothing to stop the man, innocent or not? Doesn’t matter….they did nothing. Now people are trying to fix that, make it better by looting innocent merchants’ stores of goods. Stealing what they want. The dead man’s brother is pleading for the violence to stop. It can’t bring back a life. Stealing, killing, beating each other can not bring back a life. 

Politics take the story and run rampant with blame and hate speech. No real answers. That’s politics for you. 

All life matters. All humans are important. All humans deserve better than what we have now. 

We all need to understand that we are all the same. It makes no damn difference to the good Lord above who you are or who you claim to be. 

We

ARE

All

The SAME. 

We all bleed red. We all get sick when the virus comes for us. 

We all die. 

We all meet God on the other side. 

You don’t’ believe in God? Tough shit. He believes in YOU. 

Oh, wait you call Him something else. Like that makes any difference to an all-powerful Omni-everything God. 

I am but one voice. One writer in a sea of writers. I want to make a difference with my words in some small way. I know I can speak with resounding love and I can share that love with all of humanity. I can not make them hear. I can not make them listen to my words. To the voice of God who works in me for His or Her glory. 

I can not be the voice in the wilderness, but I am that voice. You are that voice. I am not special. We are special together if we speak the same words, the same truth. 

LOVE IS THE ANSWER

~Lori O’Gara

Thank you for your time. You can see more of my writing here or sign up for the O’Gara Inner Circle here

One Day I Will Be Her

I am jealous of all the women who get to shop in stores with small clothing sizes. Envy makes me hate myself that much more.

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

I know it is pointless to be jealous. I get so disgusted when I go shopping for clothes that are supposed to fit me and my curves. I look at the label and see the size, find my number, and head to the fitting room only to discover it does not fit.

Why?

Apparently the number means nothing and sizes vary. I leave feeling worse about myself than I did when I walked in.

I decided to shop online at least the sizing humiliation is in the privacy of my own home. I can sit on my bed and cry as I fold the thing neatly placing it back in the box in came in. I guess it is the same old same old for me for a bit longer.

Weight loss is a journey of hills and valleys. Hills when the scale drops a few numbers and valleys when nothing you own fits right. Hills when you walk an extra two minutes on the treadmill and valley when the jogging girl on the treadmill next to you sneers at you as you disembark. You know she thinks you are pathetic. Hills, when you praise yourself for skipping that amazing small yummy thing and valleys when you look at the worn-out condition of your clothes deciding shopping will have to wait for a bit longer.

I know it is a temporary state, this valley of jealousy. For now, I am going to allow myself to be envious of her the smaller woman, she who can shop anywhere.

I know that one day, I will be her.

~Lori O’Gara

Thank you for your time. You can see more of my writing here or sign up for the O’Gara Inner Circle here.

Luck Means Nothing

Photo by Mylon Ollila on Unsplash

If a circus performer wanted to be sure he or she would have good luck during a performance, they would keep the hair of an elephant’s tail in their pocket.

When good things happen or things work out for us we say we are lucky.

I recently went to the doctor about my aching knee. He said simply that I need a knee replacement. If I lose about eighty pounds and I am lucky enough to get my BMI down to 40, I will qualify for a knee replacement covered by insurance. The alternative, meaning if I am unlucky, I will end up in a wheelchair.

I started whining about my weight back in January. I toyed with the idea of eating differently. I made some minor changes. Cut sugar, calories, and carbs here and there. I told myself I was making baby steps.

When I left the doctor’s office, things changed.

Lucky for me I have a very supportive husband. I adore my husband, here’s why. I told him what the doctor said and he said, “Ok, Let’s do something about it.” He went to Amazon and ordered books on Keto. He then went to the gym that is less than a half-mile from our front door and paid cash for an entire year membership for himself and me. When I hugged him and tried not to cry, I am not a crier, he said, “Where you go I go. We do this together.”

We do not believe in luck. We believe in action.

When you are faced with a situation with your health if there is something you can do about it, do it.

That’s not luck, that is action. Luck has nothing to do with determination.

Are you looking for motivation? How about this:

You only get one chance to live your best life. No one can change your lifestyle but you. No one can make your situation better, but you. Is it going to be difficult, yes. I know you are scared. I’m scared too. To be perfectly honest, I am terrified of failure, but I am going to do what it takes to keep my fat ass out of a wheelchair.

It will take a lot more than luck to get us off this cycle of diet, fail, gain, and diet again.

Find your determination. Find your motivation. Grab it and do not let go.

Do not rely on luck.

~Lori O’Gara

Thank you for your time. You can see more of my writing here or sign up for the O’Gara Inner Circle here.

Nothing Tastes That Good

Why even one bit of that forbidden thing is never worth it.

Photo by Jacob Schwartz on Unsplash

I hear or rather read in support groups and in weight loss articles about how one bit of, let’s say mile-high chocolate pie, is worth it.

For, me a recovering food addict, one bite of that thing I have sworn off will just be the beginning.

It goes something like this.

All-day on track making good decisions. Following the healthy eating plan without missing a beat. Then it happens, the negotiations. If I eat just one bite of that beautiful delicious thing it will be fine, right? I have not slipped in a long long time. I can do this.

I look up about thirty seconds later and an entire piece of pie is gone. Not a regular person piece, but a Lori size quarter of the entire pie piece.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, the next thing that happens is the guilt and repair cycle that feels more like a roller coaster.

It goes a little something like this.

Wow, you really have no self-control do you? I can’t believe you ate that, better hide the plate before someone sees what you did.

After the guilt comes the comforter to repair the damage. Well, you messed up so you might as well eat what you want for the rest of this day or week. Get back on track later.

So, no, one bite is not worth it for me.

When you hear me say, “No thank you.” I mean it.

~Lori O’Gara

Thank you for your time. You can see more of my writing here or sign up for the O’Gara Inner Circle here.

Stop Hiding Behind Rules

Your soul is suffering for it.

Photo by Karsten Würth on Unsplash

Life on this planet requires rules and I like rules.

I like the consistency of knowing that I can do anything I want or not. If I choose to not follow a rule, the consequences are known. If I speed and get a ticket, I pay a fine. Simple life and it makes sense to me.

Rules keep us safe, keep us happy, and keep life moving as it should. These rules are necessary and have value.

Christianity is one place where man-made rules have little value to the soul.

I understand that there are certain commandments of God that are a requirement to call myself a Christian. When I say man-made, I mean church rules and directives that came from a human not directly from Jesus or God himself. Often these are an interpretation of a commandment that a human decided to manipulate into a rule.


Rules box in the sublime into impossible outcomes.

Modern Christianity is a man-made box that is familiar yet complicated. Tell me if this sounds like your life.

You were brought up in a church. Later you decide on your path to God. Maybe in the same church maybe not. You follow the rules of that path.

Like the rest of the sheep walking obediently along that chosen path.

You keep moving to whatever goal is set before you to fix whatever problem you are told needs fixing, by the rules that you have been given. No grazing on the side of the path in lush pastures for you.

If you stray from the path, you are chastised. The light of your individuality is snuffed out and you are like every other person in the heard.

You become a follower of tradition, not a spiritual soul connected to living God. Rules create a life of fear. Fear of being less than enough, not good enough, and rejected.

Live a life “that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Read that quote again.

I was hiding behind the rules. I was not seeking God with curiosity. I was using the rules I was given as an excuse for my failure to honest with myself and for not having the courage to live the life I dreamed of. I took a long look at how I was living and writing.

My writing was not reaching as many people as I had hoped, because I was following the rules. I was writing what I thought would be acceptable by people, not writing what was in my soul. I was not writing what God was leading me to write. I was playing it safe in the box of man-made rules. I was doing religion the way I was told to do it. I was afraid of offending someone, who? It doesn’t matter. Fear of not being accepted or good enough ruled me.

One day, I decided to stop hiding. I said to hell with rules. What I did next went against my Christian upbringing in a big way.

First, I made the choice to be creative my way.

I wanted to be unique and make a difference in the lives of people who read my words. I began to get curious about what my writing would look like if I wrote without the fear of being wrong. I worked outside the rules that I had been living in for my entire life. I stopped making excuses for not writing what I wanted to write because it might offend some Christian friends or family members. I wrote my words, my way.

Then, I made a decision to make my own path to know God.

Not only did my writing improve but my relationship with God improved. I stepped out of the confines of church rules and fell in love with the person of God, the why of God, and the reality of God.

What I discovered was that God is unfathomable. All the things I was taught about God just scratched the surface to what is really an unknowable truth. My faith in God and love grew exponentially.

I still intend to enforce rules in my home and follow them when I am required to. Rules keep us safe. Let’s not get crazy and start a rebellion. However, when it comes to creativity and spirituality, that is no place for rules.

No shame in being YOU a creative spiritual unique human who sometimes breaks the rules.

~Lori O’Gara

Thank you for your time. You can see more of my writing here or sign up for the O’Gara Inner Circle here

Not All Women Have a Best Friend

When you put all you have into your BFF relationship and it fails, how do you move on?

Photo by Yanapi Senaud on Unsplash

In middle and high school, we are taught by other girls in life, we’re required to have a best friend. We are told that even if we do something horrible, our best friend will be by our side. A BFF is someone you can trust with all your secrets.

As adults, we cling to the myth that a female best friend is a must. We often put the female friendships over family relationships since it is such an all-important facet in our lives. We call them our unbiological sisters and we make them part of our family.

What happens when that friendship is no longer convenient?

What happens when your real family needs you? Is that BFF still a part of your family if your family changes?


I had a best friend once. We had one of those, raise our kids together, do everything together friendships. She was my soul sister. No, we were closer than sisters. There was nothing I would not have done for her. Over our thirty plus years of friendship, she had proven to be what I thought a best friend was supposed to be. She was not my spouse or lover, but she was everything else to me. She was almost my everything.

The worst possible thing happened to our friendship.

When I needed her most, she bailed on me.

I went through a divorce, one of the most stressful times of my life, without her. As I write this, I struggle to explain what happened in any cohesive way. It was like we were friends and suddenly we weren’t anymore. She just wasn’t there.

When she did finally reach out several weeks later, she asked a lot of questions.

Where was I living? What was I doing dating already? (I had just reconnected with an old friend who eventually became my new husband.) I answered her questions and told her about my new life. I attempted to share with her how happy I was. I ignored the fact she had abandoned me in my darkest hour. I pushed that aside. I told her all that was wrong with my marriage and why it was failing before it reached the divorce stage. I wanted her to be happy for me now. She of all people knew the things I had lived through. She was there, she saw it. She was my BFF after all.

When I asked her about her life and how she was, she became distant and avoided answering.

Instead, she said she wanted to tell me that my divorce was my fault.

She did what all friends claim they will never do, she took sides and not mine. She went as far as to blame my divorce on my new relationship and said, “It’s him or me. I can’t be friends with you if you stay with him.”

“What the actual hell?”

I was confused. I was jealous that she chose my ex over me. I was devastated when she asked me to chose her over my new life. I took a step back to see if I had misunderstood her. Why was she walking away and cutting me off with such a strange ultimatum? Why was she letting my decision to leave an abusive marriage, which she witnessed, and seek happiness in a new life kill our long term friendship? Needless to say, we did not speak for weeks after that.

I thought I knew her. Over the years we laughed, cried, and shared life’s milestones together. The thing that makes two people best friends isn’t how long you’ve known the person but, the fact that that person was there for you through everything and never left you. She had failed me. What I didn’t know was why.


I decided to take one last chance on our friendship.

I invited her into my apartment before I moved into a home with my fiancee. She agreed to listen and talk. I did not try to convince her that I was right nor did I justify my life decisions. They were my decisions. I explained that my life should not affect our friendship so harshly. I was willing to ignore the fact she wanted to remain friends with my ex if it meant she would still love me as a friend and like a sister. I wasn’t naive to think we could go back like it was, but I was hoping for a chance to repair what was broken and hope we could remain friends.

She sat across the table from me, rigid. Her body language screamed she was not budging on her feelings that I was wrong.

She said, “You are wrong to move on and wrong for replacing him.”

She told me that my failed marriage was all my fault, my abusive husband was clearly the victim, and I should be ashamed for not giving him another chance.

She confessed that she was spending a lot of time with my ex-husband. As it turned out, they had their first dinner date days after he and I split. He had contacted her to tell his side of the story. As a result, she decided that I was wrong. The entire time I was spilling my heartache to her, she said I was wrong. She claimed that his abuse and mistreatment of me was because I ignored him.

My response was, “Wait…what?” then I kindly asked her to leave.

Suddenly, I had a huge earth-shattering epiphany, I had been wrong, very wrong, and in a big way.

My friendship with my best friend took precedence over my marriage. I loved my best friend more. I had ignored him, because of her.

For such a long time, she had been my go-to person. She had been my confidant and my rock. I had turned to her when I needed advice or when I wanted a shoulder to commiserate with when I should have been confiding in my husband. This, in no way, excuses his abuse or actions in our marriage. Yes, there was more wrong with my marriage and it would have failed anyway, but putting so much into the relationship with my best friend didn’t help.

I am grieving the loss of her still, years later.

It is like she died, but no, she is still out there somewhere living life. I miss her. I miss the fun times. I wonder if she misses me. Was the love and joy of the friendship worth the pain after it was over? Yes. The value of that friendship, the good parts was worth it.

None of that matters. I would never be able to trust her again. She discredited our friendship. All we shared feels like a lie.

I had turned to her when I needed advice or when I wanted a shoulder to commiserate with when I should have been confiding in my husband.


Maybe you are lucky enough to have a true best friend.

I thought I was. Maybe you will never go through this kind of loss. Do yourself a favor, do not listen to the peer pressure that says you must have a female best friend if you have a vagina and a husband. I am sorry to say that for some of us, it is a risky venture to choose a person other than your spouse to confide in.

When we trust in the wrong way, it is as damaging as trusting the wrong person.

One day, I might have a female best friend again. I might not. I am leary of trusting anyone that way now. It is not necessary as a woman to have a “best” female friend. I can tell you this, I will never again put a BFF upon a pedestal of importance and a higher priority than my relationship with my husband.

If you have a spouse, trust me, make them your BFF.


Lori O’Gara

Thank you for your time. You can see more of my writing here or sign up for the O’Gara Inner Circle here

© 2020

How to Start an Argument

Today I have discovered one of the easiest ways to cause people to lash out on social media is to publicly help a friend financially.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

My friend owns a small business and like many other small retail stores, Covid-19 shut it down. The business is not on the essential list in my state. In an attempt to help them, I started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for their immediate need. It is a very small family-owned and run business. The staff consists of a mom, a dad, and an adult son. For the son, the business is his sole income while his mom and dad have other income streams. My thinking was that a little cash in hand to buy food and keep the lights on would go a long way. This business is less than a year old. It is an entertainment retail store. As you know, the entertainment, restaurants, and pubs have been hit the hardest during the mandated closures. Sure, when the social distancing is lifted we will shop, eat and be merry at all our favorite places again. Some of us are intentionally saving part or all of the government stimulus to spend in that store and other local businesses. It will take time for these smaller companies to recoup.

To spread the word about helping my friend’s shop, I shared the link to the GoFundMe page on social media. One place I focused on was a private Facebook group that is associated with the business. I assumed that people in the group who patronize the small business would be more apt to be generous to help the struggling establishment stay afloat

and that’s how the fight started.

While a handful of loyal regulars stepped right up and donated, others were hesitant. They said that because a “third party” was asking for money it was “suspicious“. I was called all sorts of dishonest words. The lash out was harsh and the distrust was blatant.

There was a bit of back and forth between those who agreed with my strategy of a GoFundMe campaign and others who said I was looking for self-gain.

To be called “shady” and “sketchy” by people who do not know me is disheartening. However, it explains a lot about our society’s distrust of normal human decency and willingness to help others in the virtual environment where we live and conduct business every day.

We spend copious amounts of time online. We do tasks like shop, share life stories, educate our children, get diagnoses from doctors, conduct banking, and more online. All of that business, personal and public, was once only conducted in person.

When my grandfather’s automobile shop was faltering, he would never ask for a handout. That never stopped the community from pitching in to help my family. The help was active and wide-reaching. To help others back in the day, we rallied the housewives to cook, clean, and care for the children. Men knocked on doors and passed the collection plate at church to raise money for the person who needed it. Teenagers held carwashs. Grandmothers and aunts held bake sales and sold raffle tickets.

We can still do all those things, but today is different.

Websites like GoFundME, Kickstarter, Patreon, Fundly, Bonfire, Double the Donation, DonateKindly, Crowdrise, Razoo, and others make it easy for us to put our money where we want to help most. Unfortunately, it also gives snake oil salesmen and conmen a place to work. Hence the lash out I received.

I do not take the caution of those who responded negatively as a personal attack. Their distrust is a symptom of our society’s overall distrust of nice people. The reaction is to assume the person asking for money is out to scam you. That should be something you consider when giving away your money.

Still, the lack of confidence we as a human race have for each other when we see a kind deed or act of charity is poignant considering the shift in how we conduct our daily lives on and through electronic devices.

I encourage you to evaluate the motives of others and yes protect yourself when donating. Also, when dealing with people who are in your imidate community who are offering to help, give people a chance too.

Sometimes we have to trust and just act as our consciences lead us in the hope that what we are doing to help those who need it actually makes a difference.

Always do the right thing.

~Lori O’Gara

Thank you for your time. You can see more of my writing here or sign up for the O’Gara Inner Circle here

Do Not Allow Nostalgia To Control Your Happiness at Home

It’s not your grandmother’s house anymore.

Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

When my husband asked me to marry him, my answer was not a simple yes or no. It was, “Yes, if you promise not to make me a housewife.” I was not joking.

I am not a housewife.

I hate when society tells me I have to do certain things the “right” way. That includes my house. I can not look at house tip posts on Instagram. I can not follow those sweet blogs about how to make your home look like it belongs in a magazine. All the house related things my mother, grandmothers and all the traditional housewives of the past few decades stressed about is gone from my life. I do not worry about the appearance of my home for visitors. Who remembers hearing this, “Don’t use that, it is for company.” I can promise you, my children do not hear that come out of my mouth.

As I remember back on all the homes I have lived in as a child. They all blend to look the same in my memory. The houses all had that living room we rarely used. It was saved for when company came to visit. Each room had an assigned use you ate in the dining room, cooked and food prepped in the kitchen, and only slept in your bedroom. You had better not wrinkle up your bedspread during the day. There were collections of things on shelves and in curio cabinets just to look at that had to be dusted. Every side table had the required lamp. On the floor in front of every sofa was a rug and a coffee table. On every dining room table were placements and a bowl of fruit in the center. Often the fruit was plastic or wax. The living areas were filled with colonial-style molding, maple furniture, Americana wallpaper, and decore. Colors of draperies, carpet, paint, and other decore matched. Each room its own style.

I wasn’t always this freestyling with my homemaking. I tried to make my momma proud.

When I was a young adult, a Miss Suzy homemaker if you will, I did my best to replicate the perfect home just like mom and grandma.

Yeah, that didn’t work out so well.


Sure, I sometimes miss the orderly environment my mother and grandmothers almost killed themselves to keep up. I work full time as a librarian and write in between. I do not have time to spend four hours a day cleaning, organizing, and doing domestic things.

I am not going to put my self through all that to keep up appearances. Our house is clean enough and comfy. We use our home as a tool for living not as a display space for home decore. It is an extremely casual living concept of using all rooms for communal need and not as traditional separations of space by designed use. The exception is, of course, the bathrooms.

The living room doesn’t have a set of matching furniture. No crystal lamps or strategically placed nick-knacks. There is some art hanging on the walls and my Doctor Who collection is on a shelf. The other walls are covered with shelves full of books. Some bookcases were bought in a store and others my husband made. Nothing matches in wood grain or stain. I don’t worry about my children putting their feet on the sofa since it cost less than $200 at a discount store. I don’t have to worry about using coasters and water rings on a fancy coffee table since my husband made a trunk out of plywood as a flat surface and storage all in one. We have one television for all of us. No, there are no televisions in the bedrooms. Actually, there are no electronics in the bedrooms except for one Alexa Dot on my and my husband’s bedside table.

In our kitchen, we have all the normal things, food, and dishes. No bone china saved for holidays or special occasions. We also have a bench that doubled as a fort until the littles outgrew the space under it sitting at a breakfast bar. The counter holds all sorts of cookbooks, art supplies, and other things. The kitchen floor is also used as a dance floor and a small table is used as a maker space.

We do not have a dining room. We have a room that was once a garage now dubbed by my husband as an Omni Room. The room has a large table and chairs all around. We do eat meals there. We also sit around the box in the front room for dinner and a movie. The Omni room also has wall to wall shelves holding books, games, art supplies, and other various items. It is a game room, hobby room, workroom, and a party room. For now, it is also a classroom.

In our house, everyone has a space for their things and a bed, not a bedroom to themselves. Bedrooms are shared spaces too. Yes, even our master bedroom. Children can use it as a safe haven as long as they knock and ask to enter if the door is closed. There are blankets of every size and color. Piles of pillows in every bedroom too. The sheets and pillowcases don’t match or coordinate. Frankly, who cares?

As a result of our laid back home life, I am less stressed about what happens in the rooms. My children know they can relax without worry anywhere in the house. The only requirement, clean up after yourself, you are mindful of others in a shared space, and you respect other’s personal property.

Listen, Ladies, do not let your sentimental love for nostalgia control your happiness. Do not let other women who appear to be perfect housekeepers on Instagram shame you into living in a show palace and not a home. If you can’t enjoy your family’s company in a space because you are worrying that something is getting dirty or might get broken, something is wrong with that room.

Think about the space that you live in and how you can make it your own. Get rid of the tradition in favor of function. Make your spaces comfy for you and your family. It can still be pretty if you need it to be and it can certainly be clean. Clutter is optional.

If the company who visits doesn’t like it you can kindly ask them to leave through the same door they walked through. Bless their hearts.

~Lori O’Gara

Thank you for your time. You can see more of my writing here or sign up for the O’Gara Inner Circle here