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First Presidential Candidate for 2044 Throws His Hat in the Ring

“Mama, how did President Obama get to be President?” Cooter asked me today as I was fixing his lunch.

I explained that the President had to tell everyone his ideas and the people who liked them voted for him.  He got the most votes so he was elected President.

He took a bite of his homemade pizza.  “Wow.  So I could be President?”

“Well, yes, if you decided that’s what you wanted to do and people liked your ideas,” I answered.

“Yes!” He pumped his fist.  “Yes.  That’s what I’m gonna do.  I’m going to be the President and I’ll do a better job than even President Obama.”

I was immediately swept back in time.  I was a year or two older than Cooter I think.  I lay on the carpet at my Great Aunt’s house where I was spending a few days.  I had a big book of facts (wonder where that book got off to?), and one of the facts was all about being President–how old one had to be, the lifelong responsibilities and privileges, and so on.  In the front of the book I wrote out all of the election years from that year to  2004 (it seemed so far away then), calculating when I would be over 35 and could run.  That was the year.  I was so convinced that I was going to be the first female president.  That year.

Wow.

I even started a story/book about me being President of the USA back then.  United Stuffed Animals.  I lined them all up on my bed and wrote away.

My political career was short-lived.

Only time will tell if Cooter’s will be as well.

He did not mean his comment about being a better President to disparage our current President.  All politics aside, we don’t do that around here.  It’s an office that we respect.  The end.  He just thinks he’d do a fabulous job.

And I’m inclined to agree.  At least he seems to have his priorities straight.  I’m told he did ask for prayers last night in his Bible story class.  One for the safety of his cousin who was heading out of town.  And the other one for more doughnuts on the weekends.

Yep.  He’s got it together.

Well, you know, as together as a seven-year old politician can.

Love to all.

 

 

But What Does It Do?

This one starts off like the classic meme–

I don’t always watch the commercials on TV, but when I do…..

they make me sad.

Forget the ones that are inappropriate and the main reason I cannot watch live TV with my children.  (Well, don’t forget them, but we’ll set those aside to discuss another night.)

Never mind the ridiculous ones.  I’m a little over the two guys eating in the car at Sonic.  They might have been funny once, but, really?  Enough.

And don’t get me started on the movie trailers that get us all hooked and then they say, not yet rated.  I KNOW what that means, and sure enough, another one we were looking forward to is shelved until the littles are older.  Thanks Marvel and Disney.  Way to go.

No, this one’s about the ones that make me really sad.

The ones for the stuffed animals.  But wait, there’s more.

These stuffed animals aren’t just stuffed animals.  There’s one that rolls into a ball and bounces.  There’s another that you can use as a bag to hide your unsightly pajamas–you know, because tucking them under your pillow just will NOT do.  The one that really takes the cake is the one that has a fish tank in its belly.  I kid you not.  A fish tank.  Or you can store Legos or other small things inside the see through stomach on this stuffed animal.

Wow.

What a world we are creating for our children when even their stuffed animals must multi-task.  What happened to the cuddly stuffed animals that you just wrapped your arms around and let your cares melt away?  I’d even take the ones that talked when you squeezed them over this.

It’s what the world is like now, isn’t it?  We can’t just be.  We must also be able to do…..so.  much. more.  And it breaks my heart.  I see it a lot as a stay at home/homeschooling mom.  I saw it when I was a working Mama.  You’re introduced to someone and the next thing after hearing your name is, “Oh, what do you DO?”

It’s how we relate to each other.  We categorize and compartmentalize and move on.

Now we’re doing it to our children’s toys.  Nice bear…..but what does it do?

*sigh*

What these little folks must be learning from us.  Go, be, do, and then do more.

Just no.

I’m more than my Mamahood, though that is a huge part of me and I love it.  I’m also more than the homeschool teacher.  I’m more than I appear and way more than what I do.  I’m what I feel and whom I love and a composite of every moment I’ve breathed on this planet and every decision I ever made.  I am more.

But not because I DO more.

Simply because I am.

So no, I won’t be ordering the bubble belly bear or the boucing ball hippopotamus.  I just can’t do it.  We’re quite happy with the simple ones we cuddle with and wrap up and play ‘ten like with.  Then they can be and do anything we imagine.

And without letting myself be put in a box, so can I.

Love and wishes for a soaring imagination to all.

May They Never Not See

I’m not here to argue the Second Amendment.  If you’re looking for that battle, head over to Facebook or any other social media and you won’t have to look long to find someone who will take the side opposite yours and debate the merits of their side for hours…..and days.

So this is not about that.  We don’t have to agree, okay?

This is about folks carrying their weapons.  In plain view.

I’m not going to argue about whether that’s right or wrong either.  I’m not there.

What this is about is, as usual, my emotions when I saw the gun, and more importantly, my children’s reactions.

The first time I saw someone carrying–and not concealed and not a police officer or peace officer or any kind of officer–was in our favorite barbecue restaurant.  (I was getting catfish, but that’s another story.)  The man came in and sat down at the table cater-cornered from us.  He added a salad bar on to his meal so he was up and down.  Which drew all of our attention.  My children were all bug-eyed.  In the interest of having good manners, I insisted they look away and lower their voices as they asked me “Why?” and “Is there a bad guy in here?”  Their worried faces and voices worried me.  And made me sad.  I know people carry concealed weapons.  But still, it was a shock to my system to see a weapon out in the open like that without a badge accompanying it.  I tried not to let my shock show in front of my children, but yeah.  It was there.

Yesterday, after an *ahem* incident with my phone being dropped and not working, we were at the store where I have a protection plan, testing out just how good the plan was.  My littles and I were standing at the counter for quite a while, waiting for the service to first be approved and then completed.  As we stood waiting, people came and went at the customer service register next to us.  Then I saw him.  A man with a gun in a holster on his right hip.  Within reaching distance, quite close, of my little guy.  Cooter turned to me with his eyes bugging out of his head.  I shook mine and moved us a little further away.  Fortunately, the man wasn’t there long.  I had to answer questions again about why and what was going to happen in the store.  *sigh*

I am not gun-ignorant but I’ll admit I’m not overly savvy either.  I’ve known folks who carried their guns in racks in their trucks.  I’ve had an aunt who tucked a gun in her purse for protection. My point is, I’ve seen guns before.

But not like this.

I think what troubles me the most is there are countries, neighborhoods where children would not blink an eye at guns in plain sight.  There are countries where guns are expected to be out in the open, and children duck and go on their way when they hear gunfire.  Where the person not carrying a weapon openly is in the minority.

Oh y’all.

I have no answers tonight.  Just fear.  I fear that my children will become accustomed to seeing these weapons out in the open, and one day their eyes won’t even really see them, they won’t bug out, and the questions won’t follow.  It will be the norm.  That’s what I fear.

For some reason tonight, I have a hankering to watch “Andy Griffith,” where the sheriff didn’t even carry a gun and the deputy’s gun and bullet were carried separately.

It’s not the guns–it’s what they represent.  That there is seemingly a more pressing need for them, such that they need to be carried openly.  And often.

Remember I said last night I’m needing some balance in my life?  I’m also hoping for some peace.  In my heart, in my home, in my world.

Love to all.

 

 

On Buzzing Bees, Balance and Joy

The past two mornings as I’ve taken Sophie out for her morning constitutional I’ve been delighted to see bees.

Yes, bees.

See, I’m worried about them. I have friends who raise bees, and I’m really worried.  I’ve heard lots and lots about how the bees are disappearing, and folks don’t know why or they do know why and it’s not good news.  I’ve seen the pictures of all the food we would NOT have if we didn’t have bees.  It’s not a pretty picture.

So yes, I see bees dancing around in my front yard and I want to dance too.

I didn’t see them much as I walked on.  I think that’s the case for two reasons–one, our grass hasn’t been cut as recently so it’s a couple of inches high and there’s something tiny flowering out there.  Two, we don’t spray.  For weeds or bugs or anything.

I’m so confused.

I see folks asking about spraying for mosquitoes or other insects.  I pass folks’ yards on our walks with the signs in the front yard.  The name of the company happily emblazoned in big bold letters and in tiny print “Insecticide applied–stay off grass.” Or “weed killer applied, keep off.”  Oh me.  True confession time:  I am terrified to walk on their grass–even days later.  When the children were very small I made them cross the streets to get away from the “sprayed” yards.  And now, with Miss Sophie, I don’t let her near the sprayed yards either.

I was traumatized years ago by a large can of industrial strength insecticide used for cattle in the pastures.  It helped keep the flies down.  Only this was being used indoors, and…..I still shudder when I think about it.  I can’t and don’t do bug sprays.  That’s it.

We do have some all-natural sprays made with essential oils.  And if the fact that the mosquitoes circling around on July 4th, big enough to tote off a cat or small dog, didn’t bite us once is any testimony, it’s good stuff.  And it smells so good.

The word balance keeps coming to mind.  And not because my Cousin and I were just speaking about it.  I despise spiders.  Actually I don’t despise them, I am terrified of them.  When I was little, Mama read the book “Be Nice to Spiders” to me to show me they are our friends and we need them.

Spiders, flies, bats, frogs, rats, snakes, and so many more…..

all of them part of the balance…..

we need them all to be part of the world we live in.

They keep each other in check.  Making sure nothing gets off-kilter, out of balance.

I’m no scientist.  I don’t know a lot of the facts.  I get that mosquitoes can make people sick.  I get that the spray can take care of them, ridding the possibility of the disease.  But what else are we opening ourselves up to when we open that Pandora’s box? It scares me so much that I’m pretty sure I’m not ready to find out.

I have no answers.  So maybe I’ll just sit out on my porch and think on it awhile, as I listen to the bees buzzing or the frogs singing at night.  If you don’t have the answers either and just want to sit too, come on up.  I’ll be at the end of the street on the porch with the unmanicured yard and the bugs flying around.  You can swat at ‘em if you want or use some of my lemongrass spray.  Because for now, that’s as hardcore as it’s going to get around here.  My soul needs some balance and I’m thinking that keeping it in the nature around me is a good place to start.

Wishing you a place to sit and listen to nature’s symphony.  Love and balance to all.

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If you are interested in learning more about bees, here’s just one link among the many I found when I looked them up.  http://www.buzzaboutbees.net/

I’m using a bug spray made by a local company that doesn’t have it on a website, but I have used this and it worked great too.

http://www.amazon.com/Skedattle-Natural-Anti-Bug-Spray-8-oz/dp/B007P5AJV8/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1405739483&sr=8-8&keywords=natural+bug+spray

A couple of cool tips for caring for your plants naturally–  http://www.9news.com/story/life/home-garden/proctors-tips/2014/07/10/proctor-keep-pests-away/12422437/

And finally this:  http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=125636  “Why We Need Insects, Including “Pesky” Ones”

Just a little food for thought.

Perseverance, Bobs, and The Ones Who Took the Call

It’s been almost a year since I stared disappointment in the face, since our Princess found out that she wasn’t being invited to try out for the swim team.  That was one of those defining moments for me as a parent, and it broke my heart.

What a difference a year makes.  She and Cooter took lessons at the beginning of June this year.   Once again, our girl was disappointed not to be selected, but she bore it well.  She knew she had another round of classes, and she set her mind to just keep trying.

For the past two weeks she has done just that.

She has gotten stronger in her strokes, and her endurance is better.  She can go the whole length of the pool without me having to will her there.  (Okay, that’s what it felt like people.)  Her backstroke is beautiful to behold.  She set her mind to it, and today, this happened:

20140717-222242-80562286.jpg

Oh, the excitement!  The sheer joy in that sweet face.  In the words of our Princess, “It made the past two years all worth it.”  Yes baby, it did.

It’s funny her take on it.  Last night she had written herself a note on a Wesleyan College (her future alma mater, she insists) sticky pad.  It said, “Last day!  :)  Make it BIG.”  I was overjoyed to see her cheering herself on–thinking positively.

“Mama, you know that note I wrote myself?”  I nodded from the driver’s seat as we pulled away this morning.  “Yeah, well I think it was good luck.  I’m glad I wrote it.”

Ahem.  How far do you let this go?  Me?  Not far apparently.

“Well baby, I’m glad you wrote yourself that note, and I’m so happy you have been invited to try out, but all of that happened because of your hard work.  You set your mind to it and you practiced.  You got stronger, and you listened to your instructor’s directions.  You did well, and you earned this.”

“Yes ma’am.”  She paused.  Okay, good, she’s hearing me.  “But imagine if I hadn’t written it.”

Oh my.  *sigh*

I’m proud of her.  I’m proud of her for applying herself and for her determination, but what I’m most proud of her for are the bobs.

She and another girl who was also hopeful about meeting the requirements had just completed the swim back from the other end of the pool.  She told me they did their bobs while waiting for the other two students to swim back.  (Bobs–they duck their heads under the water while holding their breath and blowing air out of their noses.)

“But these weren’t ordinary bobs, Mama.  They were special.  They were hope bobs.”

“Hope bobs?”

“Yes ma’am.  Because we were hoping we’d made it.”

Ahhh.

Then the third girl made her way back.  Only she wasn’t able to swim the whole way without stopping.  By the time she reached the end where Princess was, the little girl was in tears…..”because she was sad she wasn’t going to make it.  It was her Mama’s dream for her to be on the swim team.”

Oh.  My.

I nodded, not being able to find appropriate words in the moment.

“So we did some more bobs.  We did think bobs.”

“Think bobs?”

“So we could think of how we could cheer her up.  Then we told her she did a good job, and that if she didn’t make it, she could try again.”

That.  That right there.  That’s why I’m proud of my sweet girl today.  She has such a precious heart that sometimes it overwhelms me.  Imagine what life would be like if more of us took the time to do “think bobs” and “hope bobs.”  Beautiful.

As we were leaving the pool today, bubbly and excited with more than one of us beaming from ear to ear, we talked about the day–our Princess’ exciting news and how Cooter had learned to dive into the deep end of the pool.  (And he is phenomenal diver–he literally takes my breath away each time he goes.)  I asked Princess if there was anyone she’d like to share the news with.  She called Mess Cat, Leroy, and my Aunt.  Each time her joy was new and fresh, and I wanted to cry.  I am so thankful that she has people she wants to share it with (all of the requests were her own), and I am even more thankful that they took the call and celebrated with her.  Tears welled up in my eyes as I thought about the ones she couldn’t call, but whom I’m sure were celebrating her stick-to-itiveness right along with the rest of us.

And I thought about the words I’ve heard so often through the years.

The Lord gives and the Lord taketh away. 

That’s from the Good Book, from the book of Job.  If ever a fellow lived that, it was he.  He had a time of it.  And I reckon that in the past four three years I’ve felt more compassion for him that I ever did before.

But today…..today I decided the order of that was all wrong.  (No offense intended to the biblical scholars in our midst.)

Today it felt more like “The Lord taketh away, and the Lord gives.”

Because in the midst of missing my Mama and my Daddy and all the others whom we’ve loved and who have journeyed beyond the veil, there has never been a moment when someone didn’t step in and love on me, on us.  Not replacing them, mind you, but sharing light and love and lifting our spirits just when we needed it the most.  Like today.

My parents are no longer here where we can see them, but when I look around with eyes that will see and listen with ears that will hear and I-get-myself-off-my-pity-pot, I am in awe of the gifts we have been given in those who stand beside us, with us.  Those who curl up next to us when we are too tired to go on.  Who wait patiently and encourage and love and…..

it’s almost too much to wrap my brain around.

Life is good.

My children have had the privilege of learning to be safe in the water.  They have learned a lot, including the important lesson that hard work can eventually pay off.  And they’ve learned that people and their feelings and relationships are the most important aspects of our being.  I am fortunate beyond comprehension to have the people in my life that I do who love on my babies–all of them–as though they were their own.  Because they are their own.  We belong to each other in this life, and that is a sweet, precious thing.

I’m off to do some gratitude bobs.  Because tonight my heart is full to bustin’.

Love to all.

 

 

 

 

The Zoo Crew Report

News from around the water cooler (or, you know, the kitchen sink):

I spent the ENTIRE trip home from seeing Mess Cat at Blackberry Flats this evening being interrogated–no, I don’t mean just questioned–by Cooter about the lineage of Lucious Malfoy, his wife, and the Longbottoms. (No, I don’t mean Draco and Neville.)  For those of you playing along, that would be some of the folks from Harry Potter.  Only he’s asking about a generation or two back…..before Harry entered the picture, before his birth even.  He also was very intent on figuring out who took Neville to his grandmother after his parents were tortured.  And here’s the kicker.

He’s only seen the first movie.  He hasn’t read any of them.  Princess is on the sixth book in the series right now, and he asks her questions, but she’s shut him down.  She tells him he will have to read it himself.  So these questions are coming from the knowledge he’s gained by playing the Harry Potter Lego game.

Wow.  Those things are spot on and include a lot of detail.  That’s impressive.

Oh y’all.  My oldest grew up with the books and movies and grew along with the Harry Potter characters.  I don’t know if this is real or if I dreamed it, but if JK Rowling comes up with a prequel, that would make me and my little guy very happy.  For him to have the magic come to life as he reads it, without knowing things ahead of time–that would be awesome.  Reading a story such as this for the first time as it is released is a wonderful experience.  One I want each of my children to have with a story that they fall in love with, one that captivates them.  That’s what the joy of reading is all about.

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Seen on the tissue box on our Princess’ bedside table tonight–a handwritten sticky note:

“It’s the last day.  Make it big.”

A note of encouragement to herself.  The note refers to her last day of swim lessons tomorrow.  I cannot tell you how much I love that she is encouraging herself.  And she’s not doing it by comparing herself to others or putting others down.  She is simply telling herself to be–and to go and do her best.  In the words of her older sister, “Awww.  She likes herself.”  Yes.  I believe she does.  I hope nothing ever takes that away from her.

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Last week my oldest, Aub, was in a situation where she could either sit and listen and stay put OR she listen and then speak her mind.  No one placed any kind of expectations on her.  It was entirely up to her.  And in a moment, she was every bit of her almost nineteen years and then some.  A lot.  She nodded and said, “I’ll do it.  I want to speak.”

Later when I mentioned to her that I was proud of her for doing what she felt was right in the moment, she replied, “I didn’t want to leave anything unsaid.  I didn’t want to walk away wishing I had said something, anything.  So I did.  And I don’t. Regret.”

It made me think of this quote from Mitch Albom:

“Nothing haunts us like the things we don’t say.” 

Amen.

I am thankful my girl knew this without even reading it.  And so she spoke.  She’s brave, that one.   She’s a pretty awesome and strong young woman–one who can speak up when she needs to.    And I think she just might like herself too.  That is my fervent prayer.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Tonight I’m thankful for these ones I’ve been given to raise.  Most of the time I don’t feel worthy, lots of times I laugh that I even think I might can do this, and every now and then I sit back and breathe a sigh of relief that there is peace in this house and all are well. Tonight is one of those rare and precious moments.  And I am grateful beyond measure for that.

Wishing love and laughter to all.  And may you really like yourself.  That’s the real gift right there.

 

The Bug or the Windshield?

This morning I was thinking of a line that I first heard in a Mary Chapin Carpenter song about twenty some odd years ago.  Some days you’re the windshield and some days you’re the bug.  As I was having a pretty good day at that point, I was thinking yeah–the windshield. All right.  And then it hit me–

wait, is that a good thing?

I mean I know the bug part is bad, but how good is it to have things flying in to you–splat, making a mess that is so hard to clean up?

Not so much, I’m thinking.

Kind of one of those caught between a rock and a hard place situations–bug or windshield.

Ironically enough, that’s kind of how the day turned out.  Started off with such promise and ended with me rubbing my head and wondering where the bus is that hit us as it passed on through.

And that’s when it occurred to me that there is some truth in those words.  Some days you’re just thankful that the worst that could happen didn’t.  That, even though it wasn’t a great day, everyone’s still here.  That’s all we’ve got and it’s enough.  It has to be.  That, even though there are tears, there are also folks around to pass a tissue or give a hug.  And listen.

For all these years, I was so sure it was a case of things being either good or bad–windshield or the bug.  Turns out, that as is the case with so many things in this life, it’s all varying shades of both and nothing at all ever is all one way or another.  Though this may not make sense, that actually gives me hope.  It’s okay if things are not happy happy joy joy in every single moment.  There are going to be moments that are bad and not quite so much.

That’s real life.  And that’s okay.

pic of not a bad life

In another ironic twist of events, a neat organization, sevenly, shared this today.  There’s a lot of grace in that.  Grace I need.

Love to all.

 

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