I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up

Have you ever found yourself sitting on your pity pot and somehow you just can’t find the strength to pull yourself up and off of that thing?

It’s okay, my friend, it’s okay.

At least I hope it is, because that’s where I’ve been today.

Out of the blue, I reached boiling point and exploded.  And it wasn’t pretty.  It was about things specific and life in general.  And it wasn’t every moment of this day I’ve been gifted but it was enough that I gotta tell ya, I don’t mind calling it a night early and hoping to start over again tomorrow.

I can honestly say it was all about my attitude.  Nothing extraordinarily awful or hard happened today.   As a matter of fact, it was more like what we call the “same ol’, same ol’.”  And well, I’ve had enough.

And to be honest, I’ve had enough with having had enough, so I need to change my attitude.

In this life I’ve led, there was always one guaranteed way to get my attitude to do a 180.

My Mama.

And silly me, often I’d call her, knowing what her reaction was likely going to be, but hoping against hope that maybe she’d rise up and go to swinging after whomever, whatever was bringing me down or messing with my groove.

But no.  She’d ask me how many poor baby’s I needed (we got that from a book we read many years ago), she’d give them to me, and then she’d get real.  She cared, she sympathized, but she also knew me better than anyone else ever.  She knew how long to poor baby me and when to shift gears and tell me to get over myself and move on.  Get beyond whatever “it” was.  Even when, like today, it was nothing specific–everything and nothing–all at once.

She probably would have told me I had some apologizing to do, and then she would have said for me get some rest.  That was her thing.  I need my sleep and Mama knew that.  But above all else, she would have made sure my attitude was called out and put in check.

My Mama was good at loving on us, but she was also good at calling us out.  Because she loved us.  She wanted us to be our “very best” selves, as she told us so often.  And she didn’t mind correcting us and *ahem* helping us figure out how to get there.

There was only one time that someone other than my Mama brought me off my pity pot–it was when one of my children was quite small.  That little bit of love climbed over in my lap and cuddled close.  It is nigh unto impossible to stay balanced on a pity pot when a wee one is sitting in your lap.

I’m rambling tonight.  I miss my Mama.  I wish I’d handled myself better today.  Not that certain situations didn’t call for action and response, but I wish those responses had been more grace-filled.  I am sure the Spirit of peace and love flew off in the moments of the fits I threw today.

And goodness knows, I need her back.

In the absence of my Mama on the other end of the phone line telling me to go to bed, I’m listening to the frogs play their instruments out back, with a cricket or two joining in.  I’m enjoying the break from the heat as the sun settles behind the trees and the stars begin to shine.  It’s quiet and I can almost hear her through the veil.

Go on to bed.  You need your sleep.  Happy pink and blue dreams, sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite, happy turnovers…..tomorrow will be another day. 

 

Wishing you all a better tomorrow.  Love to all.

 

The Miracle of Mostly Dead

At the end of last summer, the cherry tomato plant I’d put in a pot on my front porch and watched grow, withered away in the late summer heat.  Exhausted from its efforts to grow, bloom, and bear fruit all pretty much simultaneously, the stem and leaves browned, dried up, and crumpled back down toward the earth.

It was gone.

Being the avid gardener I am *ahem*, the “empty” pot sat on the porch all winter.  Rain, snow flurries, and various and assorted little critters found themselves landing in the pot before moving on.

As spring I arrived I had grand intentions of planting more “summer” vegetables in my pots.  The best I did was create our fairy garden.  While that feeds our hearts and souls, nothing was planted that would feed our bodies.

And then, one day, I saw a sprig of green rising up from the twisted brown tentacles of last year’s plant. I wasn’t sure what it was until, on a whim, while I was watering all my other “front porch greenery” I decided to water the little green twig in the soil.  The smell was unmistakable.  There’s nothing like the smell of tomato plants.

Well I’ll be.

How beautiful is this, where once all there had been was darkness and what looked like nothingness?

How beautiful is this, where once all there had been was darkness and what looked like nothingness?

That little plant wasn’t dead.  It was mostly dead.  (There’s a difference, I know–we’ve watched “The Princess Bride” over and over many times.)

And mostly isn’t all the way.  Bless it.

It quietly came back.  And today, this happened.

The cherry tomatoes our Princess harvested today.

The cherry tomatoes our Princess harvested today.

Isn’t that amazing?

You can take away from this that if you are a lazy gardener and let things slide, every now and again you might get lucky.

Or you could think about how amazing it is that there was still life under all that darkness, all that death–resilient–life that didn’t look like life as we know it but it was there all the same, gaining strength to blossom and grow and bear sweet and beautiful fruit all over again.

Either way.  Up to you.

But yeah.  Life.  There even when you can’t see it.

I needed that reminder.  That’s the stuff miracles are made of.  Believing in something you cannot see.  Believing in the possibility.

Love to all.

 

A Lesson From the Lyrebird

We are traveling around the world with our homeschool lessons this year.  We’ve been in Australia, and we’re about to move along to China next.  There is so much to learn about each one that it’s hard to decide when to stop and move on to the next country.

One of our favorite parts of our Australian studies has been the folk tales.  We’ve been reading from this book.

http://www.amazon.com/Stories-Billabong-James-Vance-Marshall/dp/1847801242/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1406077911&sr=1-1&keywords=stories+from+the+billabong

We found our copy at Amazon.com

 

The littles have asked me to read their favorite stories to them again and again.

One story stood out for me, and I learned about an animal I’d never heard of before.

The Lyrebird.

They are fascinating animals who get their name because the males have tails that resemble the ancient Greek musical instrument, the lyre.  They are simple yet beautiful to me.

Photo by Debra--  https://www.flickr.com/photos/damselfly58/6302167338/in/photolist-aAUfMy-7eTRFh-eCh5QV-2kf66M-9bpNor-kzK5z9-5UFd4k-9AvxYg-9KHRzc-i9sWkS-bcY7Pa-co5bUW-dgMjBz-891SkC-azSEXh-5Ftocb-nEU6yd-8Epepn-burUjR-7GqmpE-9ARvPb-5jtmHq-bzL2BP-nTezgq-7zjbD8-8hBYDS-6pKDBc-9NzLm3-82aie5-fM8bH-85NQPx-4Luxcq-9ANyh8-8WV39C-bGQ8eH-9crjcF-9Nkh7T-7UmTwN-bR2QUF-7BUrQu-7M1SXL-4gExqd-8EFoFM-4Ng4Wy-busn5i-burXQK-8Aa7NQ-6bMzoR-dr8pvK-dr8Uhf/

Photo by Debra– Thanks to https://www.flickr.com/photos/damselfly58/

What is most amazing about these birds is that they can copy the sounds of other birds and the things they hear around them.  Even–the click of a camera and the sound of a chainsaw.

What?!  Yes.  Watch this video.  I have yet to tire of seeing this.

(Is the song “Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree” playing in anyone else’s head now? No?  Okay, just checking.)

This bird is captivating, isn’t it?  I mean, that camera shutter and forwarding?  The chainsaws?  The CAR ALARM?

And while the talent of this beautiful Australian bird amazed me, it also made me sad.

Why is this bird of the wild able to imitate such things?  Why is he hearing a car alarm or a chainsaw out in the wild where he lives?

Sad.

And he thinks it’s beautiful as he incorporates it into his mating song.   He doesn’t even know what he’s “singing.”

The lyrebird is a lot like our children.  They listen and hear the things we say and the things said in their presence wherever they go, and they repeat them.  Not knowing what they are saying, only that it’s a part of their world, so it must be okay.

Or not.

That’s the lesson I learned from the lyrebird.  I have a tender spot for these birds now, maybe because in the story he was especially kind and generous.  Or maybe because he is able to sing such beautiful things, and bless him, he thinks the sound of a car alarm is just that.

Either way, the lyrebird reminds me that more are listening than I know.  At any given time, my children and others are watching and listening to find beauty in this world.  May what passes through my lips only add to it.

May your day be graced with sounds of beauty.  Love to all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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

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.