Put trash where you should

It’s sad but true. Life is made up of a thousand things we don’t want to do. Putting the cap back on the toothpaste; washing the dishes; making the bed; folding the laundry; AND
Taking out the trash.
As adults we usually discover that all the above have some kind of merit, though they are not the most exciting part of our day. Who really enjoys taking the heavy stinky trash bag or can to the street? No one. It’s five minutes in a day that could be spent otherwise.
However not taking the garbage out opens up a whole other can of worms (which could be literal), plus stinkiness, vermin, insects, dogs and disease.
Cleveland contracts with RES, our garbage collectors, to pick up resident garbage twice a week. This service is paid for through the water bill.
So why, when the service comes out of a household budget, would anyone bag up their garbage and carry or drive it to a city pumping station for dumping.
Ray Bell, Cleveland Public Works director, told aldermen this week, "When they first put in this station, a big rain come through and part of it (the ditch) washed in and a lot of stuff settled in the pump station. The issue now is that people are using it for a dump station. There is about two or three hundred feet of open ditch. If they miss the garbage truck I guess they are just bringing their trash there.
"People throw garbage bags in the ditch, animals tear up the bags and all of the trash is ending up on top of the sediment in this pump station. There is so much trash in there the vacuum truck can't pick it all up. Every time it rains, we have to have someone there because the pump can't work properly with all of the trash floating around it," he continued.
There are several ways to combat missing trash pickup: 1) Wait until the next trash day; 2) Put the trash out the night before; and 3) Wake up earlier in the morning to get the trash to the street.
What could possibly be going on in a household that taking a trash bag to a city built, taxpayer funded flood protection station is easier than carrying the bag to the street curb?
When the rain comes, and it always does, it will be you paying when your home floods because the station isn’t able to its job.
Stop throwing trash where it doesn’t belong.


 Learning to love what God created, frizz and all

I have curly hair. 
When I was a baby my hair sat in pretty black ringlets all over my head, often held out of my face with a large bow. 
However, because my mother lacked the thick curly hair her child was blessed with, she didn't know how to take care of it, much less teach me. 
Through the years that hair became a frizzy mess I was often teased for in elementary school all the way up to high school. 
I tried everything I could to tame it from high ponytails to gel to blow-drying it straight. 
It wasn't until high school that I discovered the more expensive flat irons and began to straighten my hair every single wash. 
Because of all of the heat treatment to my hair, those ringlets are no more and when I wear my hair in its natural state it's more of a soft wave. 
I won't lie, often people prefer my curly hair to my straight but I never feel quite right. I don't feel put together. 
Once Berit was born, Brett and I knew her hair would be curly. With two curly-headed parents there was no way it wasn't going to happen. 
As her hair has grown it's developed the most gorgeous curls on the nape of her neck and this perfect swoosh right on the top. 
Her hair is gorgeous and that's not me being bias, it's just the facts. 
A few months ago I went an entire month without using any heat tools and tried to really embrace my curly hair. 
I want Nana to understand that her hair is beautiful and she should love it because it will be something other women envy. 
It's difficult to really embrace what makes us special and it's hard to teach that to our children when we ourselves struggle to do so. 
In college I spray tanned every other week because I thought that tan look was going to make me more attractive when in reality I looked like I was covered in Cheeto dust. 
It was a mess! 
Lately, I catch myself critiquing my body in the mirror when I get dressed in the morning. 
I wish to be taller. 
I wish I had clearer skin. 
I wish my skin wasn't so fair you could see every hair follicle on my legs. 
I wished those things until a tiny human smooshed her face in-between my knees to get right up to the full-length mirror. 
There, she smashed her face into it, scratching her belly, lifting her shirt, and turning this way and that. 
She was copying her mommy. 
What a wake up call! 
It devastates me to think she sees herself as anything less than the absolutely breathtaking creation God blessed her to be. 
And that's also not bias, that's a fact. 
But if I don't view myself as important, special, and pleasing in God's sight, how will she?
Little eyes were watching once again and I'm sure that won't change over the years. 
I'm still going to straighten my hair, that's how I prefer to wear it, however I will remember that my curly hair is something to be embraced because it allows me to match my beautiful little girl. 
So, as I go into this next year with her, I'll try to do a little less mirror staring and lot more life enjoying. 
Sunscreen and frizzy hair included.

Courtney Warren is a contributing writer with The Bolivar Commercial. She may be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Laying the foundations of life

The house buying process is a long one but I've come to learn there are several huge red flags you have to look out for, one of which we came across this weekend. After our home inspection report, we learned the house we are trying to buy has foundation issues. With cracks in the foundation, we knew this was not a home we could safely and confidently purchase for our family, which was both frustrating but also eye opening. Now that I'm writing columns I tend to be on the lookout for topics and strong foundations immediately stuck with me. I can easily say having a strong foundation is important in literally every single aspect of your life whether it be in your home, in your marriage, in your family or in your heart.


My shining Christmas present

My plan was to wait and write a column about Crawford’s progress with reading and school in the spring but my excitement has just got me too anxious to wait.

Those who may not know, Crawford was diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD several years ago. Our journey has been long, painful and frustrating but we are finally on the other side of the rugged mountain.


The gift of family

A church children’s program can somehow always put a different spin on what is going on around me. Maybe it is seeing things through the eyes of a child or because it brings the point of the whole holiday home right to your heart.
The kids dress up, sing and follow the story of Jesus’ birth. That is the reason we do all we do this season and it puts my heart on my family.
Family ... it is something we take for granted but it is something a lot of us have. We don’t just have one family; most of us have many families in our lives if we think about it.
I have my personal family, and I love mine more than anything. I have the best Mama, the greatest husband and my miracle baby. I have aunts, uncles and cousins that I wouldn’t trade for the world.
But, I have more families in my life. They all are important to me and have made me who I am today.
I have my childhood friends who I don’t see a lot but it feels like we just pick up from where we left off when I do see them. They know my past and are still my friend despite anything they may know about from when I was a kid. They helped make those skeletons in my closet and certainly don’t judge.
My church family is equally important. Most of these people have watched me grow up or have grown up with me. We have all been through the church changes, funerals, holidays and babies. It is something about a bond you have with folks that you worship God with every week. We are all there as human beings who are flawed and need forgiveness for one thing or another. Hopefully we all find the peace we need to continue on through our lifetime journey.
Crawford has given me another family. His school is a wonderful family. The administrators, teachers and staff are all a great source of friendship and caring especially for Crawford. I myself have made friends with many mothers who respect those who educate our children. We all can talk about what is going on and help each other out when someone needs it. We all want our children to be the best they can be.
Still on the school front, this year I have made another family with my fellow officers of the Patron’s League. We have all learned together about the way we need to support our school. We brainstorm together and come up with ways we can help but most of all we have fun. We do have fun even if our kids are in different levels of school because we support one goal. It shows our children the importance of volunteerism.
I wouldn’t trade my work family for anything. We laugh and cry together. We help each other out and we love each other’s kids. We know each other’s families. We spend so much time together that we all blend together. Our strengths and weaknesses balance out to where we are a great team. Most of The Bolivar Commercial is so much more than coworkers ... they are friends and some are like my siblings. We are a fun and quirky group.
While thinking about all these families that I have and some that are in my past, I am thankful for each and every one of them. This Christmas time we should reach out to each other. Think of those who have lost family or those who have sick ones. Remember the elderly who in some cases don’t have anyone to bring them joy in this time of year. Try to help a hungry child or a homeless person. These people need someone ... someone just to make them feel like they are important just because they are a part of our human race.


Caroline Laster is an employee of The Bolivar Commercial. She may be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.