Quicksand

“If there’s anything to be amazed at,” said MayDean, holding the toothpick out of the side of her mouth with amazing skill while she talked, “it’s that all of these folks–look around you, ever’ single one of them, they all have fallen at some point or another in their lives.  There’s just no way around it.  There’s no way to know the pitfalls afore you on the path you’ve chosen, the one you’re on right now.  So yeah, they’ve fallen and don’t you believe anyone that tells you diff’rent. You hear me?”

“Yes ma’am.”  There was no sense arguing, and yes, I had actually heard the words she was saying.  Only now I was wondering what else was coming.

“So get ready ’cause this here’s the part I don’t understand.  Ever’ one of ’em have fallen. But ain’t nobody talking about it.  Everybody out here has a story that could help somebody else.  A warning flag for the pitfall or a lesson about how to get out of it.  Or even who to call when it feels like the quicksand is pulling you under.  But nobody’s saying a word.  Zip.  Nada.  Not a blame thing.   And that just feels wrong to me–to hang on to the one thing that could help another person, all to save your own skin from facing truth.” She shook her head.  “I just don’t get it.  But then, me, I’ve gotten old enough that most of the folks are gone who know much of my story, so I can tell what I want.  And I’m telling it.  I don’t want to leave this world holding within my hands and heart something that could save another.”  She looked real thoughtful for a moment.  “Would I hold on to a cure for the cancer if I found it by falling in a mudpit and rolling around with hogs?”

She bounced the toothpick up and down with her teeth, looking out toward the  technicolor painted sunset on the horizon.  “Nope.  I’m here to say I wouldn’t.  I don’t care how I got it.  If it’ll help, it’ll tell.”

And with that she pushed up out of the creaking rocker, made her way off the porch, and headed down the path to home, leaving without another word to those of us whom she called family.

And that was then it occurred to me how much of my childhood I spent terrified of stepping in quicksand, and I wondered why no one ever mentions it anymore.

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“Quicksandwarning” by Hughesdarren – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Always Heading East

Tonight after the pizza supper that Cooter requested special for his 9th birthday (I can’t even with this whole 9 year old thing y’all, so that is why we are NOT talking about it right now), we were headed home.  The sun was setting, and as we do from everywhere we are at any and all given times, we were headed east to go home.

Apparently we never travel east of our home because we always seem to head into the darkness this time of night.

The Fella had to stop for something, so he pulled off the main road into the store parking lot.  I sat, peering into the darkness feeling, well frankly, sad.  Tired.  Listless.  It’s dark.  I can’t see.  There’s so much I can’t see in the unknown ahead.

To get out of the parking lot, my Fella had to turn the car around to the west before getting back on the main road and heading east.  When I looked up from my gloomy thoughts, what met my eyes was breathtaking.

One of the most beautiful sunset paintings I’ve ever seen.  I can never get enough of those, but this one–this one was truly spectacular.

We started back on the road to home with the painting behind me.  I turned in my seat to see it just one more time.  When finally I had to turn back and face the darkness to the east, I was different.  I felt different.  I was better.

Sometimes we can feel overwhelmed by the darkness, by what’s ahead.  Maybe when we get to that point, we need to take a moment to turn all the way around and see what else is out there. What is directly in front of us is rarely all there is.

I believe in the power of pulling over.  Of taking a breather.  Or a shower.  Or a nap.

You know.  Whatever it takes to change perspectives.  To lighten the load.

Love to all.

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Your Magic Power

You have a magic power.

Did you know that?

Within you lies the power to change the world, to change the lives of those around you, one smile at a time.

Today I saw this video, and it amazed me.  Each one of these precious souls is beautiful in his or her own way.  But after being told he or she was beautiful, can you see what happens?

Go ahead.  Watch the video.  I’ll wait.

*elevator music playing here*

Do you see it?  Do you see what happened?

Yep, each one of them became even more beautiful.  Their lights shone brightly!

All because of kind words from a stranger behind a camera.

We can do this for each other.  We have that power.  We can speak the truth and light into each other’s eyes and hearts.  With a sincere and kind word that encourages.  When we are brave enough to reach out to another with a gentle touch, the possibility of good grows exponentially.

How will you use your magic power today?  Start by telling the person in the mirror how beautiful he or she is, and then carry on from there.

Because you are.  Really.

Love to all.

 

 

 

Cam, Cooter, and the Reason I’m a Fan

It all started when we found out the Broncos were going to the Super Bowl.

Or maybe it started last fall when the boys on the street started playing front yard football.  It looks a lot like wrestling but there’s a football involved, so they call it football.

They talk a lot of smack about different teams, too, so somewhere along the line–I’m not really sure when or how–my baby boy became a Carolina Panthers/Cam Newton fan.

…..you try to raise em right…..

See, I can smack talk with the best of them.

Last week at our dental appointments, my hygienist friend told Cooter a funny story involving Cam Newton and someone who was a huge Alabama fan.  Cooter started talking about Cam even more.  His birthday is this week, so I thought it would be fun to get him a t-shirt/jersey.  Come to find out there was no such thing anywhere in our town.  Each store told me that Corporate hadn’t sent them anything.  Well, they just missed out on a huge business opportunity, let me tell you.

Well a shirt sale anyway.

One $2.97 teal blue shirt and a jersey iron-on number and a printable iron-on sheet later, and we were set.  I found out that Cam Newton’s jersey number is 1, and we made it happen.  I might not be a Panthers fan, but I am a Cooter fan, and I like to make him smile.

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Aub and I stayed up late Saturday night creating the shirt, and Cooter was quite happy with it on Sunday.  We had a good day, teasing each other back and forth–him in his Cam Newton shirt and me in the Manning jersey the Fella got me a couple of years back.

The game was fun for me, not so much for my little heartbroken guy which made it not so fun for me in the end.  The outcome made me happy in the moment, but seeing my son heartbroken and melting down–I would have done anything to change that.  That kind of thing stays with you.

Today there has been all kinds of drama on social media about an interview Cam Newton gave after the game.  People have pointed fingers and said what a bad sport and example he is for his young fans.  A bad sport.

Sigh.

Who does that?  Who sticks a microphone in front of someone whose heart has just been broken?  Whose dream has been crushed?  Who gave it his all and it still wasn’t enough?  WHO EVEN WANTS TO SEE SUCH AN INTERVIEW?

Please, people.

I watched the little clip of him walking out.  The first thing that came to mind was my Mama’s words she said to us over and over through the years:

“If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”  

The truth of the matter is that I teach my children to do exactly what Cam did.  If you can’t say something kind–and I do not fault Cam Newton for not having any “It was an honor just being nominated” words–then WALK AWAY.  Don’t let it escalate to where you are really out of control.

Just a little while ago, I saw a story that apparently a Broncos player was being interviewed within earshot of Cam Newton, and Cam overheard the things he was saying disparaging the Panthers.

Y’all, my Mama said…..

I would’ve walked away too.

And I’m a Manning fan.

But grace abounds.  He’s young, his heart was broken, dreams dashed, and he had believed in himself and his team.  Let’s cut him some slack.

To my children if you are reading this–especially Cooter who is probably going to hear some of the folks trashing Cam Newton:

He did the right thing.  Instead of blowing up, yelling, throwing things, fussing and saying things he might regret later, he WALKED AWAY.  And that is okay.  Do that.  When things are more than you can handle, walk away and get help.  

No one is perfect.  Would it have made a lovely story if he’d been very cordial and laughing on this major loss in his career?  If he’d been singing the praises of the Broncos and been full of the “we’ll get ’em next year” bravado?

Maybe.

But two thoughts.

First, that would not have been real.  Or authentic.  I would have called Face Mask on him.  Because no way that would have been anything other than putting on a front to cover up all the pain and hurt.  He’s a football player, and a good one at that, but he’s not a trained orator, and to expect him to be otherwise is very unfair and unrealistic.

Second, it’s a story we wouldn’t have heard, because the media loves drama.  They wouldn’t have commented much on a congenial Cam Newton, because that’s not how they roll.  Or they would have because he’s derned if he does, derned if he doesn’t.  It’s what they thrive on.

And we encourage it by buying in to the drama and making all the negative comments.

These little people we love, they aren’t just watching Cam Newton and his reaction.  They’re also watching us and ours.

Let’s show them what grace and love really look like.

Thanks for listening.  And Peyton, if you’re reading, congratulations.  I’m happy for you.  And Cam, I’m happy for you, too.  You have a good career ahead of you, and you didn’t show out in the face of adversity.  You walked away from creating a scene and from letting all that mixed up, pent up emotion out in a really bad way.  Well done.  Thanks for keeping your cool, because, well, Cooter’s a fan.

And I think I am too.

Love to all.

 

 

The One Thing They Never Told Me

On my out and abouts and errand running yesterday, I found myself in the Getting Place looking for a birthday present and picking up some things that we needed around the house.  I was walking past the endcaps in the baby section and I saw these.

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Adorable.  Right?

Yes.  They are too cute.  Robes.  For those little bitty babies with their little bitty toes and precious little smiles and coos.  Robes.

Don’t do it, people.

I can just about guarantee you that every Mama to be with that clicky gun thing in their hands, creating their gift registry for that very first baby shower–she’s clicking on THAT.  Yes, she has to have that little robe.

Oh me.

I remember (over twenty years ago) when Aub was a little bitty 3 week old baby.  We went and stayed with my folks for a few days.  One afternoon while we were there, Daddy noticed that she was still wearing the same thing I’d put on her after her bath the night before.  (One of those rare days when a wardrobe change was not necessary every three or four hours.  Ahem.)  He teased me and pointed out I used to change my baby dolls more often than I changed my live one.

Yessir.  And there’s a reason for that.

All those precious toes?  And fingers?  And hands and arms and feet and legs?
They wiggle.

All.  The. Time.

They make changing clothes and getting dressed after baths a very difficult undertaking.  It’s the epitome of “take two steps forward and twenty-five back…..” or something like that.

So why for the love of everything little and wiggly–why on earth would you want to add in one more change between bath and pajamas?

Trust me on this.  If you are a parent to be, go ahead and click the little clicky gun on the bathrobe.  Open the wrapped present, because people WILL buy it for you and not tell you the truth of it all, and oooh and ahh over it.  Wash it and hang it up in your little bathroom.  But please.  Do not pressure yourself to use it.  You will be functioning on little sleep, you will be so tired that bathing your little one and keeping that slippery little love above water will take all you have within you.  So use the hooded towel, the cute one with the duck face or name embroidered on it–use that to wrap up your little bundle of joy–no arms or legs tucked anywhere required.  Then go straight from A to Z.  Diaper and pajama that wee one and move on to the next thing.  Trust me.  The robe is cute, but making the effort to get it on–and then off again–and then into pajamas?

Ain’t nobody got time for that.

I share this only because I care.  And I wish someone had told me that.

Before the cute little yellow ducky robe that I just had to have.

Learn from my mistakes.  Pick your battles.  And trying to get your little wiggle worm dressed is only the beginning of those.  Don’t make it harder than it has to be.

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And y’all don’t even get me started on this one.  Just NO.  LET THEM BE BABIES FIRST.  PLEASE.

Love and laughter to all.

 

In This Moment

Today I stood with friends I first met in first grade, fifth grade, ninth grade…..and as we stood reminiscing and talking about the nows of our lives, for about five minutes I wished we were standing around at recess again.  Hearing their voices was like coming home, and I remembered what that other life, that younger me was like.  Just hanging out at age five, ten, fifteen–worrying about things that now seem so small.

But then I’d have to relive 1998, 2009, 2011, 2013…..

and those were pretty hard years.

And so in the moment of accepting that now is the place where I’m meant to be, I realized there’s a reason clocks don’t run backwards.

And so we press forward.  Holding close the ones we have and loving them.

Making that a priority.  Now.  In this moment.

Love to all.

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“Double face” by Pierre EmD – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

The One About the Parking Garage

The day my Aunt and I found ourselves in a parking garage was a day of rain and slick roads and hard things and laughter and stories and all the good things of being with someone you love and adore can be, despite what the Universe has going on around you.

Because, in case I haven’t mentioned it, I do love and adore her.

As we pulled into the garage, intent on parking and getting to our destination and reason for the nearly three hour trip, I began the descent (yes descent–interesting setup in that one) on the first deck.  I was remembering other times in parking garages maybe or maybe I was finally relaxing after driving through some heavy rain, not exactly sure of the route. Whatever the reason, I kind of zoned out. (Kind of nothing–I was in another world.)  I remember looking to my left and thinking it curious that I was still seeing an outside view even though we had circled down a couple of floors and should have been underground already. 

After making three complete circles of floors and not seeing a single parking space, my Aunt gently interrupted whatever was going on in my brain.

“You do know we are just circling around on the same level, don’t you?”

 

 

Ahem.

Well actually I didn’t.

All I could do was laugh.  She is the sweetest soul, and she was so gentle in her prodding me back to the present.  But y’all know as she rode shotgun and I didn’t do anything to go below to another deck that she had to have been thinking, “What the French toast is she doing?  No one is going to have pulled out of one of these spaces that quickly.”

With her help I finally figured out how to go down a level and then another.  It was on the third level below that we found the perfect spot.  One easily pulled into and out of, with plenty of space around it–excellent and desirable qualities in a parking garage parking space.

I’m pretty sure we laughed the whole way to the elevator that led back up to ground level. 

I’m thankful for my Aunt for so many reasons, but right now I’m thankful for her gentle prompting to keep me from continuing to go around in circles.

Because if she hadn’t y’all, I’d still be there right now.  Circling around.  Wondering how come no spots were opening up.

In this life we have those moments, don’t we? All of us.  When we get our wheels stuck.  Or we circle around and around, never really advancing or getting anywhere, unable to move forward.  Isn’t it nice when we have folks who love us enough to gently call us out on it, and then laugh with us when we wonder what on earth we had been thinking?

If you have one of those folks, give ’em a hug.  If you are one of those wonderful people who help the rest of us keep on keeping on, thank you.  Here’s a hug from me.  We need you in our lives, with your caring ways and gentle reminders of how to move forward.  Thank you.

Love to all.

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By Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of New York (Metro-North’s North White Plains Parking Garage) [CC BY 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons