THE BIG GAME

Today I went to the grocery store with Cooter, taking only one thing into account.

We needed food.

The three things I didn’t take into account were:

1–It’s Saturday.

2–It’s the day before SUPER BOWL SUNDAY. (that was me yelling with the special effect echo right there, in case you missed it)

3–They were grilling some good smelling ribs outside the grocery store to sell.

So, to say it was crowded would be an understatement.

So I won’t say it.

 

But I will share what Cooter said as we were leaving.  “Mama, this is what you call ‘rush hour.'”

“Really?” I said, holding back my laughter.  “Why?”

“Well, everyone’s getting ready for the BIG GAME.  Am I supposed to watch the BIG GAME?  Have you ever watched the BIG GAME, Mama?  Wait, who’s playing in the BIG GAME?”

(And yes, his voice did boom all announcer-like every time he said those two words.)

“Well, it’s the Seattle Seahawks playing the New England Patriots.”

“Oh well, I’m for the Seattle Seahawks, yes.”

I nodded and said, “Good.”

“Wait, who’s playing the other team?”

I laughed and teasingly said, “The Seahawks are playing the other team.”

He laughed too.  “No Mama, who are the Seahawks playing?”

“The Patriots.  The New England Patriots.”

(And to show you how packed the store was, it took us this entire conversation to get to where we were parked.)

As he got into the car, he said, “Yes, okay no, I don’t think the Patriots need to win.”

“Me either, buddy.”  (Long story, but yeah.)

“You know why?”  he asked me as he buckled himself in.

As I unloaded the cart, I absentmindedly asked, “Why?”

“Because England has no business playing football.  That should definitely NOT be their national sport!”

I laughed out loud and made a mental note to focus on a little more geography in our homeschooling.  SOON.

As I was about to take the cart back to the corral, I heard him say, “You know what should be the national sport for them?  You know what they should be playing instead?”

“No buddy, I don’t.  What?”

“QUIDDITCH!” he yelled, kicking his legs and laughing gleefully.  “QUIDDITCH IS WHAT THEY SHOULD BE PLAYING INSTEAD OF FOOTBALL!”

And so there you have it.  The Zoo Crew’s Super Bowl predictions.  Not only should all balls at the BIG GAME be properly inflated, but there should apparently be three of them.  As in Quidditch.  Because those boys from England, that’s all they should be playing.

Giving thanks for the laughter and wishing you all a SUPER day, whether you watch the game, just the commercials, or nothing at all.  Make it SUPER whatever you do!

Love to all.

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Learning from a Bear

The littles and I have been reading A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond.  In anticipation of the movie, don’t you know.

Because I am THAT parent.  The one who treks all over trying to find a copy of the original book.  (Speak to me of the “movie adaptations,” and I may not be able to look at you the same way–or at all–ever again.  #booksnob)

And the one who has us reading it BEFORE we go see the movie.  After all, that’s what it says to do right there on the cover.

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Finding the original was harder than I thought it would be.  The on-line megastore was sold out; they said it would take weeks to deliver.  Our local bookstore sold out every time a copy came in.

We finally saw one behind the cash register as we were checking out at the other bookstore in town, and no one had claimed it.

So we did.

We’ve been reading it a chapter at a time.  We were all excited because there are only 8 chapters.  We thought we could zip on through it.  But the chapters are very long, so it’s taking us a little longer than we anticipated.  We are enjoying our time reading aloud to each other though.  In the car, at home–it’s an amusing story.  And precious.  I laughed out loud over the spelling of “Modom” when the store salesman snootily addressed Mrs. Brown.  I could hear his tone perfectly.

Today it was my turn to read aloud.  Poor Paddington.  He was in quite a pickle.  He just got this new overcoat that he was quite thrilled about, but when he bent over the hood covered up his face.  Only he thought the lights had gone out.  So he headed towards what he believed to be the door and wound up in the window display, knocking everything over.  When he realized what had happened, he said, “Oh dear. I’m in trouble again.”  He realized that some people, most likely a lot of people would be cross.  And then he thought–

“People weren’t very good at having things explained to them, 

and it was going to be difficult explaining how his duffle coat hood had fallen over his head.”*

Bless him.  And he’s right, isn’t he?

How often do I jump to conclusions and start my ranting?  Rarely taking the time to let someone explain…..

Over spilled cups, broken toys, things missing, unlocked doors, locked doors, things not picked up, assignments not done…..

Oh me, Paddington, I’m one of THOSE people.

And I’m sorry.

Tonight I’m thankful for time reading with my littles.  I look forward to seeing the movie with them. I just hope we finish it in time.  It seems like movies come and go so quickly from the theaters these days.

I’m also thankful for books published almost sixty years ago that still have important things to say to us today.  I give thanks for the little bear with the hat that is his best so he doesn’t want a new one, and for my children’s innocent laughter over the things he says and does. (A bear who loves bacon and tucks it in his case to take along for the day?  Who wouldn’t love him, right?)

Most of all, I am grateful for a little bear who touched my heart and softened it a bit today.  I want to be the patient one so very badly.  I want to be one who listens first and reacts second.  I am afraid I have a long way to go though.

Wishing for us all a patient and listening heart and mind…..after all, hoods that fall over faces, that sort of thing could happen to anyone…..

Love to all.

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*Love this story by Michael Bond, copyrighted 1958.  To read more about it or order your own copy, click here.

the low road

 

over and over

I’ve heard them say,

“take the high road”

take it and you won’t regret it

 

but I wonder,

if that’s all I ever walk along,

how will I ever meet those you told us to help

how will I ever know the burdens they carry

 

was the high road where you met those you helped

those you shared the News with

those for whom your kind of love was a very new and precious thing

and it made them laugh with a buoyant joy like never before?

 

or was it the low road

down yonder by the creek

where folks gathered day after day

lost and lonely even in the crowds,

hearts hurting from choices made

hearts that saw no second chances

hearts weary and without hope

 

I’ve walked down there myself

though I’d rather folks not know that

I’ve tumbled headfirst into that creek

and found myself lost

on this journey

and when I looked around

I saw my own reflection in the eyes

of those also there

 

we have felt the pain

carried the shame

and lived to walk again

 

and I wonder if

it’s not so much about the road

we’re on, I think,

but maybe

it’s more about whom we love

and how we love

as we are walking it

and what we do after

that matters the most

 

pic of Granny's road

 

Hey! Watch Where You’re Aiming That Thing

Remember that old saying about pointing fingers?

That while you’re pointing your finger at someone else, there are three other fingers pointing back at you?

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Yeah.  That one.

Tonight I was finishing up supper for the crew after a long day of thinking and wondering about why folks behave the way they do.  Why certain choices are made.  Why what happens, happens.

And before I could finish my “finger pointing” thoughts–you know the ones:

she must’ve lost her ever-lovin’ mind

some folks just got no raisin’s 

there’s just no accounting for how some folks behave

I sure as shootin’ never would’ve…..

You’ll never find me doing that…..

 

Ummm, yeah.  Those kind of thoughts.

Before I could finish one of those in my mind, (thankfully) I was reminded of those other three fingers pointing back at me.

Three fingers for three thoughts that are TRUE, whereas all those that I was trying to finish in my mind MAY OR MAY NOT BE TRUE.

*You don’t know what you don’t know.

*You will never know the whole story.

*So you should probably hush your mouth.  Oh, and put your finger away.

This was what my heart said to my brain.  Or vice versa.  Either way, they both got the message.  In those few seconds of realization, I let out a major sigh and so much “bad stuff” was released.

Not my monkey, not my circus.  Not my story to write or tell.  Or to judge.

I don’t know how we can get so all fire set on judging someone else’s behavior or choices or lifestyle.  But we do, don’t we?

It’s a struggle.

Tonight I’m thankful for the reminder to keep my nose in my own business and keep my fingers all in a row–the better to offer a handshake, a pat on the back, or a hug.

I sure can’t do any of those when I’m pointing, can I?

And right now, I’m thinking the world needs more hugs than fingers pointed anyway.

Love and a big hug to all.

 

Hopeful

Click, click, click.  I heard the clicking of her paws against the floor as I went into the kitchen to fix lunch for me and the littles.  Miss Sophie followed at a close pace.  It’s become so much a part of my everyday that I hardly even notice she does it.  I account for her in my feet’s personal space almost without thinking.  She’s there.  She hangs out.  It’s what she does, and she’s rather good at it.  Nothing gets made in that kitchen that she’s not in the know about.  Ah, the recipes (good and bad) she could share.

Today Cooter and our Princess were sitting at the counter eagerly awaiting their food.  After I got them settled, I started fixing my plate of leftovers to be heated up and feasted upon.  (Leftovers are pretty much my favorite meal, y’all.)

“Mama!  Look at Sophie!” Princess was loud and excited.

Cooter looked over and started laughing.  “She’s watching your every move, Mama.”

I looked down at her.  Nothing new there.

“Mama, she looks–” Princess paused for a second–“hopeful.”

“Yes, hopeful!” her brother echoed.

I looked down.

Miss Sophie--"hopeful"

Miss Sophie–“hopeful”

I’ve seen a lot of expressions on our precious pooch, but I’ve never used hopeful to describe them.  And yet–

spot on.

She DID look hopeful.

Hope?  FILLED with hope?

I’ll take some of that please.

This evening in the car as we were running from one thing to the next, I asked my crew about being hopeful and what that looked like.

My very literal children made faces that looked more pained than anything.

“No, no, no–I mean, what does it feel like?  To be hopeful?”

Cooter answered without pausing.

“A wave.”

Wow.  Really?

“Yes, yes, a wave!” Princess said.

“You know, ’cause you’re hoping, ‘yes, it’s going to happen’ then ‘no, it probably won’t’ and then ‘yes, it’s going to happen’…..” Cooter explained.

“Mama, poor Sophie was probably thinking ‘she’s going to give me some food’ and then ‘oops, no I guess not’ and then ‘hey, I think she’s going to…..'” Princess did her best imitation of our pup.

And that was when both my children got distracted and started laughing all over again.

(For the record, Miss Sophie never had a chance.  The only “people” food she gets is what hits the ground that she can grab before I do.)

A wave.  I believe it.

And I love that image.  With all that is going wrong in our world right now, I could use a good soak in some hope.  Dip my toes in first, testing it out, and then just plop right down and let it wash all over me.

Hope.

A balm for the soul.

Here’s wishing you all a “puppy wishing for some ‘real’ food kind of hope,” complete with that precious expression.  May wave after wave of hope crash all over you until you are laughing and running towards it to ride the next one all the way back to peace and light.

Love to all.

 

where were you?

some are going to ask you, “Where were you?,” you know

and others will claim you were never absent

that all things work to the good

and words like that

 

I won’t ask you

I’m not sure I’m ready for the answer

but I do wonder why all the brokenness

in the midst of a day where my little boy

is beaming because he built his first

Lego model from start to finish

all by himself

and on a day that found my girl

dancing and singing and making up stories

while her big sister beamed and found joy in the

silly and yet important things

 

in the midst of all of that

why this brokenness?

the sun was shining, for goodness’ sake

so many had spoken to you and asked for help

 

my heart aches because they were after a dream,

but because someone was hurting and lost

they are no longer here

to dream

to laugh

to love

 

and I want to know why

but I am hesitant to ask

because I’m afraid of what the answer might be

was it me?

did I fail him?

or another like him?

did I fail to stop and smile,

pay attention, take up time,

give away the love you so freely give

just for the sake of giving it?

 

some will ask where you were

but I think I know–

weeping with the rest of us,

tears streaming down your face,

wishing it could have all been different

 

and it could have

 

if only

there were no brokenness

 

and that, you’ve left up to us, haven’t you?

 

Where were you?

pleading with us to look

and see

and love

 

and love

 

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And the Award Goes To…..

What a beautiful day!

I hope it was a sunshine-filled day where you are too.  We’ve had our fair share of cloudy/cold/gray/rainy days, and I love those too, to be quite honest, but today the sunshine and blue skies just suited.

It’s been a day of taking care of business.  (More cleaning out of things that belonged to those I love.  Today it wasn’t as hard as it has been, and that tells me I can do this.  It’s not easy, it’s not fun, but it’s doable. Which is good, because it has to be done eventually.)

It has also been a day of laughter.

My sister Mess Cat and her little guy Shaker mixed in with this crew?

A blast.

While my Fella and Leroy were hauling the heavy things from over yonder back to the house, we watched the children.

Ahem.

Well, we did.

And we talked about silly things like TV shows and things our children have been up to.  We talked about serious things like worries and the like.  And we talked about books we have been reading.

Mess Cat and I both LOVE books.  We both love to read.  Over the years we’ve shared many a good book back and forth and enjoyed talking about them.  (Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor, I’m especially looking at you. #tearsofsorrowandjoy )

Hey, Mess Cat, I think we’ve had our own little book club going and didn’t even know it.

But that was before.

Before the heartbreak and pain and grief.

It was interesting and somewhat comforting to me today when Mess Cat said that she really hasn’t been reading like she used to.

I was worried it was only me.

And since she’s making a concentrated effort and being intentional about picking up a book and reading it, I am encouraged.  Maybe we will get back to being the avid readers we were before the grief and anxiety took over.

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As we were talking, I hopped up from my Roost and found the book I picked up for a bargain price the other day.  I had to buy it for the blurb on the back alone.  HILARIOUS.  I shared the first chapter with Mess Cat and my oldest, and we were all three laughing until tears were rolling.

Good stuff that.

I’ve missed it.

Aub said that her Psychology professor has used some of this writer’s material in her classes.  I found that fascinating, so I read the author’s biography on the book jacket.

And this grabbed my attention.

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I read it aloud to my sister and my firstborn, and again we laughed.

It felt so good.

Mess Cat said through the laughter, “Self-awarded!”

And then the question came that simply had to be asked.

“So what award would you give yourself if you had that power?”

We laughed some more and batted around ideas.

After much contemplation this evening, I decided I would give myself the “most likely to compliment a stranger in a checkout line, at the grocery store, or anywhere else in the general public.”

In addition to this, I also award myself, “Mama who can frustrate her children in 10 seconds flat using less than fifteen words and no body language.”

I’m just that good, y’all.

Tonight I am thankful for the laughter.  For the feeling of not being alone in this journey of raising children, missing parents, cleaning house, and not reading books, I am especially grateful.  I’m also happy that I could find some things about myself that were “award worthy.”

What about you?  What award would you give yourself if you had that power?

(and here’s the thing–you do have that power)

So go ahead.  What’s your award?

Wishing you a day of appreciating all the wonderful and quirky things about yourself.  Name them.  It’s a good thing to love the person you spend most of your time with.  It just makes you a kinder person with everyone else.

Love to all.