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:

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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.

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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.

 

A GW Boutique Tale of Transformation and Appreciation

It had been a while since I’d been to the GW Boutique before my visit last Monday.  A long while.  As in, if I sat down and thought about it, I’d probably find myself in the middle of withdrawals.  I’m not making light of withdrawals, y’all.  It is a serious need I have.  To find great bargains and bring them home or give them to folks I love.  It makes me happy.

So last Monday, I looked around and found a dress that I really, really liked.  The Fella looked at it and asked, “Isn’t it too short?”

Well, without trying it on, ummm, well…..yes, it probably is.  But you know what?  I brought it home anyway.  And I tried it on and wouldn’t you know it, it was too short. I spent the morning of our Alumnae weekend festivities back in April in a dress that hit my knees when I was standing, but when I sat down, well…..I was raised to know better.  Now that I’m a girl of a “certain age” I just don’t think I can pull it off.  (Actually, I should pull it off…..that would solve the whole problem.)  I was so relieved to change into my shorts and shirt for the afternoon events.  I came home and told my Fella not to let me walk out of the house EVER AGAIN with a dress that short.  (It was okay ten years ago, but no more.)  And he didn’t let me down.

I was sad though.  The dress felt good and I loved the way the top was made.  After thinking on it for a bit, I decided to take the leap.  It was from the GW Boutique after all.  If I messed it up, I wouldn’t be out too much.  But if I succeeded…..well, a girl can dream.  Even one of a certain age.

A call to my Aunt, who is a talented seamstress, and a trip to get the right needle, and I was set.  With a pounding headache, I cut, I pinned, I wound a bobbin, and I was set.  Five minutes later, the hem was done.

From a dress hanging at the GW Boutique to my new favorite summer top.

From a dress hanging at the GW Boutique to my new favorite summer top.

And, oh y’all. My new favorite summer top. Seriously.  I’m ready to raid my closet and attack the rest of the dresses from my twenties and thirties…..well the ones that have survived the cut so far.  I love the transformation here.

Another great find that day sent me on a trip down memory lane.   This cute little number right here–

Miss Sophie photobombing the picture of my cute little bag.  I didn't retake it, so you can see just how little it is.

Miss Sophie photobombing the picture of my cute little bag. I didn’t retake it, so you can see just how little it is.

It is a fun shade of green, one of my favorites.  And it is tiny.  My friends, for those of you whom I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting up with in “real life,” I must confess–I am not a “tiny toter.”

If anyone has watched Anita Renfroe’s Purse-onality performance, you know the different kinds of folks–from those who are tiny toters to those whose cars serve as their purses.  Ahem.  *looks away* And I, alas, am not a tiny toter.  Remember Justin Case?  He requires that I carry a massive bag with smaller bags inside full of all sorts of things.  Justin Case we need them.  Unfortunately, Anxiety Girl concurs.  She also thinks I need to carry everything but the kitchen sink with me whenever I leave the house.

I so aspire to be a tiny toter, y’all.

It’s nothing new.  Many years ago, maybe fourteen or fifteen, Aub was taking dance as was her friend, whose Mama was my dear Joyful friend.  We were supposed to meet them there on Saturday morning. But they never arrived.  I was on my way home when I got a call that they had been in an accident and were at the hospital.  Before I could get there, another friend called me and said she’d seen the vehicle being towed through town.  Totaled.  A mess.  My heart was pounding.

When Aub and I got to the hospital, I saw her girls.  They were both okay, thank goodness.  I was told my friend was back in the ER room, and that I should go back to see her.  I left Aub with the family in the waiting room and went back.  I walked in that room, and what I saw filled me with gratitude.  My friend was sitting up on the bed/table.  She looked okay.  She was very sore, and I can’t remember what other injuries she had, but she was okay overall.  So thankful.  It could have been so much worse.

I went over to hug her.  I asked her how she was feeling.  She was in pain and told me so, and then she looked at the tiny toter I was carrying very unsuccessfully with things hanging all out of it and over the sides, and said, “I’m really hurting but I’ll be okay.” She paused and pointed.  “And YOU need a bigger bag.”

Y’all.

That’s the kind of friendship I have always loved.  The one where she loves you so much she calls you out on your junk and you love and respect her enough that you say, “I know, right?  I’ll try to do better.”

Which is pretty much what I said.

I think that’s the last time I really tried to be a tiny toter as an everyday thing.  I graduated on to diaper bags, twice more, and wound up embracing it as my style.  I carry the convenience store around in my bag–baby wipes, pain reliever, homeopathic remedies, bandaids, gum, fruit snacks, crayons, paper, keys, matchbox car or two, extraneous Legos, Polly Pocket clothes, extra clothes, tissues, gloves, a book or two ALWAYS, and all kinds of electronic chargers.  I’m ready y’all.  Until I’m not.  And then I reassess and sometimes get a bigger bag. To carry.  More.  Stuff.

But I love that little green bag.  I carried it for some business we had to handle last week.  I tucked in just what I really needed for those few hours.  (I was on this little venture without my littles, so that made a difference too.)  I have to tell you I felt rather chic carrying my tiny toter, dropping my keys and phone inside and being able to see them–right there–anytime I glanced over.  Sometimes during the meeting I just glanced over.  Hello over there, keys and phone, I see you in there.  I like seeing you. Aren’t y’all just too precious, right there waiting so patiently for me in this cute little bag? 

*sigh*  I wish I were a tiny toter all the time.

But it’s not to be.  As Mama said, to everything there is a season. And right now is not the season for me to tote tiny bags.  Everyday, anyway.

But I’m going to hang on to this little cutie.  I think from time to time I will find it appropriate to carry.  And one day, it might just become an everyday bag for me.

In the meantime, I am thankful for my new summer top and for the ways that we can find beauty and usefulness in transformation.  I appreciate my Aunt who empowered and encouraged me to go for it.  The courage to transform anything, including ourselves, takes bravery and encouragement from those we love.

I’m also thankful for the great friends who have joined me on this Journey–who, like my Joyful friend, see my “stuff,” call me out on it, and never stop loving me through it all.  That’s a treasure beyond compare right there.

And finally, I give thanks for an ordinary extraordinary trip to the GW Boutique.  One that had me transforming and appreciating where I am all at the same time.  See, one day I know I’ll be back to the tiny toter.  The last one I carried with any success I put away on September 19, 1995, the day my first baby was born.  And one day, I know, when I’m carrying this little green bag or another cutie like it, I will look back wistfully and wish I had a reason to carry my big ol’ convenience store bag again.

Or maybe I won’t.  Who knows?  Life’s an adventure, and I’m thankful I’m not just standing in line waiting to get on.  No matter what bag you carry, it’s all about where you are, where you’ve been, where you’re headed, and most importantly, who’s along for the ride.

Love to all.

 

 

Heroes and Villains

Growing up we watched Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday nights.  We rarely went to the movies but I do remember seeing “Sleeping Beauty.”  I’m not sure if it’s one my parents or my Granny took us to the theater to see, but I do remember watching it.

Because I never wanted to see that movie again.

We had the album soundtrack too.  And I did not want to look at the back of the cover.  No way, no how.

That woman, that creature was the scariest thing I had ever seen.  She was the stuff nightmares are made of.  Terrifying.  And when she turned into the dragon and fought Prince Phillip?  Oh my land, cover my eyes and just know there’s no way I’m sleeping by myself then.

Scary.

So it’s interesting that today I was conflicted.  Part of me wanted to see the movie “Maleficent” and part of me wanted to run the other way and never look back.  Guess which one won?

It’s been out since May 30.  The way movie math goes these days, I am certain it’s going to be pulled from the main theater any day now.  Our discount theater is closing, so I figured this might be my last shot unless I wanted to wait for the DVD release.  The fascinated little girl in me did not.  As scared as I was of the evil fairy growing up, I had heard intriguing things about this movie, and I wanted to go.  Today.

So we did.

Y’all.

I loved it.

Every bit of it.

This is a movie about redemption.  About how hurting people (and fairies) hurt people.  It’s about revenge, regret, and loyalty.  About what greed can do to friendship and how love can protect and heal.  It’s about revenge, regret, loyalty, and faith.

Really good stuff.  There was even a bit of redemption for an actress I’ve loved to hate for years.  Imelda Staunton, with whom I spent some time last night as I watched her play the role of the much-hated Dolores Umbridge in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.  Again.  Each time I watch her, I just get so angry.  She’s that good.  In Maleficent she was delightful as a spunky little fairy.  It was interesting that my feelings could change just that quickly.  The mark of a good actress?  Perhaps.

At the end of the movie, something was said about heroes and villains–and the truth is there is a little of both in each one of us.  It depends on which side we listen to and what actions we take that determine our fate.

If you have an opportunity to see this movie, it is a beautiful retelling of a much-loved fairytale.  Whether you hurry to the theater now or wait to watch it on DVD, I hope you’ll try to make time to see it.  No, I’m not getting paid to say that, but if someone were to send me a ticket or a copy of it when it is released on DVD, I could be okay with that.  😉 This movie ranks right up there with Drew Barrymore’s Ever After for its clever retelling of an old classic.  It was just that good.

Redemption.  Grace.  Love.  Hatred.  Greed.  Revenge.  Regret.  Love.

It’s all there.  The writers are to be commended.  What a story!  It all fit together in the context of the story we’ve all heard, and it made sense.

And you know what else?  There will be no more Malificent-inspired nightmares for me.  I know our own Princess loves her Anna and Elsa (from Frozen, for those of you who have somehow escaped the madness) but for me, I’ll take Maleficent.  A strong woman can admit when she’s wrong and then work to do something about it.  And I empathize with the pain Maleficent feels when she is robbed of something very dear to her.  Those tears…..that sobbing…..

And that’s all I’ll say about that.  I don’t want to spoil it for anyone.  If you’ve seen it, I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Thumbs up?  Loved it?  Fell asleep right after the previews? What did you think?  What moment was your favorite?  (These are the kinds of questions we heard in the go-mobile on the way home after the movie was over.)

Tonight I’m thankful for movies that entertain and make me think and feel.  I’m grateful for another reminder of this fact: we may think we know someone’s story, label them as evil or bad, and write them off.  But we don’t know.  There’s nearly almost always more to the story.  And when we take the time to listen to the stories of others, sometimes it becomes painfully obvious that all is not what we thought.  Many folks just need a shot at grace and redemption to rewrite their whole tale.

Love to all.

 

Because Life’s Too…..

Such a treat was in store for me today, and I had no idea.

This afternoon my oldest and I headed out to run an errand.  The littles were off with the Fella, so it was just the two of us.  We were off seeking treasure–the last five jars of No Nut Butter that Aunt had seen at the Big store.  After we finished there (got ’em), we decided to pop in at the GW Boutique across town before heading home.

And it was there that we came upon a second treasure.  Quite unexpectedly.

We had scanned shelves and flipped through some of the clothes racks.  It’s always fun to ponder what one could wear or how something would look and to search for new crock pot lids.  But that’s a story for another time.

As we traveled down an aisle, headed to the check out counter, we crossed paths with a lovely looking older lady.  She said something about how much she liked the skirt we’d picked out, and before long we were chatting and visiting like old friends do when they meet up at the library or the grocery store.

She told us a little of her story, widowed twice over because of that horrible cancer.  After her second husband died nearly twenty years ago, she started on her bucket list.  She will be 82 in the fall and still has two things left on her list.  One of which she plans on doing on her birthday.  As she told of her adventures, long waterslides, ice skating, skiing, there was a sense of peace and grace about her.  Such a beautiful person, inside and out.  We shared some of our story too.  About Aub’s upcoming sophomore year and post-graduate plans.  About how I was looking for a dress to cut off and make a fun top out of.  As we talked she looked at me intently and said, “You have the loveliest complexion.”

Oh my.  I was surprised.  I thanked her.

“Well if I do, I give my great Aunt credit for that, I guess,” I told her.  “She told me two things that I’ve carried with me all through my life.  First, don’t hold my nose every time I went underwater–it would make my nose pointy.  (too late)  And second, don’t wear makeup–she told me the sooner I started wearing it, the sooner I’d need it.  And so I just didn’t.”

This sweet lady smiled and gave a melodious chuckle.  (I told y’all she was lovely–everything about her.)  “That reminds me of my son and daughter-in-law when they got married.”

She shared the story with us.  This was many years ago, and the day of the wedding, her daughter-in-law’s bridesmaids decided to empty the bride’s suitcase of many things and pack it instead with rice or something like that.  Of the things they removed, her makeup was included.  The newly married couple traveled to Atlanta to spend the night, ready to fly out early the next morning for their honeymoon.  When the bride woke up and started to get ready for her day and the trip, she couldn’t find her makeup.  She was distraught, but her new husband looked at her and said, “You are beautiful just like you are.  You don’t need makeup to be beautiful.  You already are.”

Y’all.  Yes, we swooned.

That Mama raised a good boy, didn’t she?

And to this day, our new friend told us, all these many years later, that bride has never worn makeup again.  And from the way her mother-in-law described her today, she’s still just as lovely as she was when she was a newlywed.

Love.  This.  Story.

What an impact this short visit had on us.  Miss R (we are on a first name basis now) somehow looked my girl straight in the eyes, though she was a head shorter, and told her to get her education.  That if any fella came along, she just needed to tell him to hold on, that she was going to finish her education FIRST, so they could have a better life together after.  That no one should talk her out of that.

Then she looked at both of us, then back at Aub.  “Enjoy your life,” she said.  “Find something you love to do and do it well.  Because life’s too…..important.”

Oh how my heart sang in agreement with those beautiful words!

I had been so sure she was going to say life is too short, and while I am definitely in agreement with that, my soul rejoiced.  This. This is what I’ve been feeling.  Life IS too important.  To let the little things get us off track.  To let the big things derail us for very long. It’s too important not to just love on every one we meet. Too important to just accept things as they are with a shrug and a “I’m just passing through.”  It’s too important.  Beautiful, broken, and important.

Truth.

We left Miss R today, after reassuring her that her children and grandchildren were not wrong when they told her she could get away with outfits like the one she was wearing today.  She was adorable and elegant and graceful all rolled into one.  At one point I felt like she might be channeling my Mama in some of the things she said.  I just wanted to hug her.  So I did.  Twice.  Turns out she knows Aub’s godfather’s parents.  I love how small this world is sometimes.  And I love that there is a connection with this beautiful soul.

After our reluctant goodbyes and Aub and I were in the go-mobile headed home, we shared our thoughts on our visit.  We both were touched by this sweet lady who took time to visit with two strangers in the GW Boutique.

“That story about the makeup.  I LOVE that.  I think that should be a new tradition.  All bridesmaids should take the bride’s makeup,” my girl mused.

I agreed.  She then shared that she hadn’t worn much makeup all summer.  And she sounded happy about it.  Good on you, baby girl.  You are beautiful, and you don’t need it at all.  And one day you will find a lucky Fella who will think so too.

In the meantime, go and do exactly what Miss R told you to do today.  Live, laugh, do what you love, and enjoy life (“but not by doing things you shouldn’t” ahem).

Wishing you all an unexpected treasure or two.  Love to all.

 

Mud

I’ve been thinking about mud.

Yes.  Mud.

Lately I’ve been reminded of the grime and grit and dirt that is left from the past.  Leftovers from hurts and loss and betrayal.  The residue of pain.

And it occurs to me that no amount of sweeping or thinking or “letting go” will ever get rid of all the dust and dirt from the past.  It hasn’t worked so far.  There’s always some lurking in the dark corners waiting to drift back into view.

Always.

And then, overwhelmed, the tears come.

Suddenly there are drops and rivulets flowing.  Down into the dust and dirt and grime of memories and things better left unremembered.

Then, as it all runs together…..

there is mud.

Remember playing in the dirt when we were little?  It was really hard to do anything with the dirt alone, but if you added a little water…..

mud.

And all kinds of things could happen.

Things could be built.  The mud was cool and soothing on our hot bare feet. Frog houses were made and pies were “cooked.”

The versatility of mud is nothing new.  Long ago it was used for all kinds of things, including putting together a house.  In some cultures it still is today.  Mud is also used for beauty treatments.  Imagine that, beauty coming from mud.

And there’s even a story in the Good Book about a blind man being healed, given his sight, when a caring man named Jesus made mud and applied it to his eyes.  His vision became clear.

Mud.

The only difference between the residue of pains past–all that dirt and grime–and mud is our tears.  If we can stop holding it all in and be brave enough to let the tears flow, a beautiful transformation can occur.  All of that from the past can become something we can build on, that we can create something new from.  Beauty can be found in the midst of the brokenness.

And I’m guessing our perspective, our vision, our view on life might change for the better too.

It’s okay to cry.  Let the tears flow.  That’s how the healing begins.

Love and wishes for the healing powers of mud for all.