The One About Creating and Failing

Today the littles and I went on an adventure.  We went to our local art gallery to visit this lovely in person.  We had never been there before, so we had no idea what to expect.

This lovely painting by one of my favorite artists, Barbara Wilkinson

This lovely painting by one of my favorite artists, Barbara Wilkinson

 

This beautiful picture is painted by one of my favorite artists.  She speaks to my soul, as she paints my stories before I even tell them.  I saw a photo of this work of art the day I had just finished writing about my Daddy’s rows in his garden and how he laid them straight.  Perfectly in sync.  I love the story in this painting.

At the art gallery we were privileged to see all sorts of different works–some more abstract than others.  We saw animals and scenery and still life.  Several joined my wish list, as their stories became a part of mine.  We enjoyed an impromptu tour with another of our favorite artists, Miss Jackie.  What a gift she gave us today–her presence and her time.  She had me laughing with the stories about a couple of her paintings.  Cooter picked out one that she had yet to finish and said he wanted to hang it in his room.  I was surprised but pleasantly so.  If my children find their own love of art, I will be ecstatic.

I had both Cooter and Princess find one piece to make up a story about.  They entertained me with the stories on the way home.  Both had me laughing.  Such creativity!  These are the kind of days that make homeschooling especially joyful.

When we reflected on our visit, we talked about all the different kinds of painting we saw–all the different media used, the different sized paintings, the different subjects, right down to the way the artists signed their work.  As we talked, they began to understand.

“Is there any right way to create art?” I asked them.

I was thrilled to see the light dawning and a smile slowly growing on their faces.  “No, there’s not.”  I swanee I think I saw a look of relief on Cooter’s face.  He had been talking earlier about how he didn’t know how to paint like the artists whose work we had seen.

Exactly, buddy, do you.  Paint like you.  I can promise you I’ll love it for always.

On our way home, we stopped to pick up some frozen broccoli.  Yes, that was it.  Of course, I knew we would likely pick up a few other things, but I have turned into my Mama when it comes to shopping.  I get certain things from certain stores.  And from this store–frozen broccoli, rice, paper products, shampoo, and printer ink.  Those things especially but I can get others.  They are the only ones who carry the big five-pound bag of broccoli florets.  I was out, we eat a lot of it, it was time to make the stop.  And since it was on the way home and no one was in a wet swimsuit or dance leotard…..the timing was perfect.

Before we went in, I led our merry band of misfits in our shopping mantra, “Hey, we’re going in with nothing, and we’re coming out with…..”

“NOTHING!” they chimed in correctly.  This is my way of preparing them for no toy aisle expectations.  Eh.  Sometimes it actually works.

“Yes, well, except for frozen broccoli.  We don’t even need to walk by the toy aisle, y’all.  Let’s get in and let’s get out.  Okay?”

As they were unbuckling and moving to the door, Cooter said with a sincerity that was a bit troubling, “I will help you find the broccoli, okay Mama?”

Princess whipped her head back around to him.  “Oh, you are just trying to get on her good side so you can walk through the toy aisle, that’s all!”  She was livid.

Cooter had the good grace to look sheepish as a grin covered his face.  He caught me watching in the rearview mirror.  “Really, Mama, I want to help.”

Ha.  Whatever.  Busted, my friend.

As is par for the course, when we got inside the need for shampoo and detangler and lip balm was realized.  We finally made it over to the frozen vegetables.  I was thrilled to see some of my favorite veggies back in stock, frozen by a local company.  I loaded up on them.  We found the bananas we needed and a couple of other things, and we headed for the checkout.

The crew helped me unload the buggy, and we were on our way home.  We’d gotten about a half mile from the store when it hit me.  “Frozen broccoli!”  If I hadn’t been driving, I totally would have slapped my forehead.  I mean are you kidding me?  All that, and I forgot what. I. went. in. for.

Oh me.

I had to laugh.  I could almost hear Mama saying, “Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying.”  I looked back at Cooter and pretended to be mad.

“Dude, you said you’d help me find the broccoli.  And neither one of us remembered…..” I kept on teasing him, and then I dropped the “f” bomb.  Pretending to give him a hard time, I said, “Dude, epic Fail.”

They were both laughing.  Then I heard Princess say, “Yeah, Cooter, you’re a failure.”

Wait.  What?

Nooooooo.

I seriously almost pulled the car over.

A failure?  No.  I knew then and there I had to straighten that out.

“No!  Cooter is not a failure.  Y’all you can completely fail at something, but that doesn’t make you a failure.  Ever.  That means that you tried and it didn’t work out, so you need to rethink it and try again a different way.  Or let it go for a while.  But trying and failing DOES. NOT.  MAKE.  YOU.  A. FAILURE.  No way, no how.  Y’all got that?”

Yeah, I might have raised my voice.

I feel just that strongly about it.

Because fear of failure means they might not try.  And I want them to try.  Always.  Try their best, and see where it takes them.  Sometimes failures can take you to some pretty neat destinations.  I can attest to that firsthand.  But I never want them to label themselves OR ANYONE ELSE a failure.  That’s not okay.

I think they heard me today.  About being you, doing you, creating your art.  I think they understood a little of what I was trying to say about falling down not making a person a failure.  I do.

But if homeschooling and raising this zany bunch has taught me anything, it’s that usually none of us get it on the first go round.  We have to read it or try it again.  So we will be talking about these things again.  And often.  Because I think they are related–being you, creating your own mark in the world that isn’t a copy of anyone else’s, and not being afraid of doing so because you might fail…..yeah, I think they are.

Failing at something is a bump in the road.  It’s not a place to live.  You hit the bump and keep on going.  Creating.  Loving.  Living.

That’s a good lesson for today.  And everyday.

Love to all.

 

Three Things (or more) We Learned at the ER

Today started out soon in the morning.

4:40.

a.m. that is.

I awoke to the sound of the phone ringing in the other room.  Once fully awake, I moved with purpose to get to it, only to miss the call.  Hoping it was a weather alert or some such as that, I looked at the Caller ID.

Oh no.

My oldest.

Supposedly tucked in safely in her dorm room at the Oldest and Best.

But something wasn’t right or she would not be calling so early.

I was right.  Something was very wrong.  She’s had health issues similar to this before, but the pain has never been so bad, so terrifying–she felt paralyzed.

The calmness in my voice did not betray what was in my heart.  I was at least 45 minutes away and I was in my pajamas.  I suggested she call 911, but she said no, she could wait.

I have not gotten ready that fast since Mama called me and told me it was time to come tell my Daddy goodbye.   And this morning’s trip up the road to the campus was a long, long drive.  I played the radio on low as I drove as fast as I dared in the darkness.  Trying to distract myself, I flipped through a couple of different stations.  Finally I ignored it all and just thought.  About my sick baby.  About my Mama.  And for a few moments it was as though she were sitting in the passenger seat alongside me.  I felt peace, and a few minutes later my daughter texted that the pain had lessened somewhat.

That was news I could handle.  Definitely.

After five hours in the ER, where everyone was nice, the facility was clean and quiet (come to think of it, I never heard an intercom), and we were given a room almost immediately, we were heading out with news that nothing was seen that could be problematic.  It seems to be, unfortunately, something she will have to live with and deal with from time to time.  The good news is she can live with it.  So thankful.

In the middle of her visit, when they were pouring liquids down her to prepare her for the ultrasound, my girl did what most her age seem to be doing.  She took a selfie.

Oh me.

But instead of rolling my eyes, I laughed.  She must be feeling somewhat better if she felt like taking a selfie.  After we were able to share with her grandmother what was going on, my daughter shared her funny picture on Facebook, hospital gown and all, along with three things she learned today:

Things I learned today: 
1. Hospital gown blue is definitely my color 
2. Hospitals use Starbucks straws, and 
3. You’re never too old to call your Mama to hold your hand in the ER.

It made me smile.  Folks continued to check on her throughout the day and wish her well and ask her what on earth was going on.  I hope that girl knows how loved she is, and not just by her Mama.  But yeah, mostly her Mama.  I adore the ground she walks on, but I don’t hesitate a second to yank it out from under her when need be.

Today was not one of those days.  Today was a day of “poor baby’s”  and trying to make her laugh and asking the nurse to wait to take her blood pressure until this particular political commercial was over, because it really was making her crazy.  Today we memorized the weather in our town and all surrounding areas because we heard the weather report over and over on the morning news.  They really do design those shows for folks who are there for a few minutes and gone.  Seriously, same stuff.  Over.  And over.  And OVER.  We questioned Dr. Phil’s choices, and then questioned if he had run out of normal troubled folks, because it seems that he’s digging deep to find this sort of crazy.  For real.  Tomorrow’s show will be about two women–each one thinks the other is stalking her…..and they’d never met before the show.  Okay, that eye roll I skipped during the selfie?  Insert it {here} please.  I will not be watching.

When I narrowed it down to three things I learned, here’s what I came up with:

1.  This raising children is never over, it never gets easier, and no matter how old they are, when they’re hurting or in trouble, they’re your baby.  ALWAYS.

2.  You’re never too old to wish your Mama was there in the ER with you, no matter how old you are, no matter why you’re there–you never stop wanting her comforting presence.  I know, I sure wanted mine today.  

3.  Good news becomes more precious and appreciated the older I get.  When the doctor said, “all clear,” my whole body did the fist pump, “YES!”  

 

Tonight I’m thankful for that good news, for my baby girl who still wants me to hold her hand, and for the nurse who tied the back of her hospital gown because I had not done it.  (Epic Mama Fail there.)  I’m thankful for the Fella and Leroy who took care of the littles in style (I think they are working to have me replaced by their uncle–he is now their favorite! Adventures and lunch out will do that for a person).  I give thanks for all of those who love my girl and wanted to know she is okay.  I appreciate those who were there to calm my worries and anxieties so that I didn’t pass them along to my girl.  And I give thanks for the voice of one who loves her so and has ever since she became the other female in the family, whose voice quivered today when she thought about what could have happened to her little one–the one she will probably always see as 7 years old and in pigtails.

It’s always a good day to give someone good news and tell them how much they mean to us.  We really shouldn’t wait until they need us to hold their hands in the ER.  That’s a good message to hear anytime.

Love to all.

The Bricks and the Twine

I can still see, in my mind’s eye, my Daddy’s strong and weathered hands, tying the twine.  First through the hole on one clay brick, taking his time to tie it tight and knot it well.  Knowing how long he wanted it to be, he pulled his pocket knife out of his worn jeans pocket and cut it precisely.  He then went to work at tying and knotting it through the hole on the second brick.

The bricks were still warm from the rays of the sun.

He put his knife back in his pocket, and stood up to get on with the task at hand.

Daddy worked quietly and efficiently.  I enjoyed working alongside him, comforted by his presence and the songs of the birds near by.  He made his land a haven for many, birds included.  As he walked out to the plot of land he’d decided to garden that spring, his shadow grew long.  He was tall enough, but his shadows could stretch for yards that time of day.

Daddy handed me one brick and walked a ways before he set the other brick down at the edge of the plowed ground.  Telling me to keep a hold on my brick, he pulled it taut.

And so it began.  Daddy used the hoe to make a straight line for a straight row…..of corn, okra, squash, snap beans, peas…..whatever he decided he wanted to plant and whatever else Mama asked him to.  After he finished hoeing the straight rows, he handed me the bag of seed and told me how many and how far apart to plant them.

It just depended on what we were planting.

But the rows were always straight.  Daddy made sure of that.  As long as I followed what he’d mapped out, all was well.  I couldn’t go astray.

As it was for so much of my life.

Daddy guided, showed me the way, made suggestions on what and how much and the timing…..and then he let me grow.  I’m not saying I never went astray; there were times I did so with flying colors.  But with my Daddy there, I always knew where the right path was.  It depended on the situation, but he never failed to share his wisdom when I asked.  And he always had brick and twine to lay out the right course ahead of me.

The bricks out back are still warm from the rays of the sun.

But my Daddy’s hands are at rest, as is he.  The hands that were so strong–the same ones that held me when I was a baby, that toted the bucket of horse feed and me perched in on top of it, that lifted me up onto my horse, that guided my hands in brushing her and putting the bit in her mouth…..the hands that showed me how to do so many things, the hands that played cars with his grands and read books with them, and shelled peas that he’d just finished picking–those hands aged from the sun and hard work, the hands that wrote stories and love letters to his bride and poetry and letters to his children far away…..the hands that built and programmed computers and lifted knifes to slather peanut butter on just about anything it could go on…..those hands are no longer here to tie the twine and lay the bricks and hoe the straight rows to guide the garden…..or me.

Tonight I am thankful for the man who was the brick and twine in my life.  As time gets closer and the memories of those last days become more vivid…..again…..I listen to the birds and feel the warmth of the bricks and smell the fragrance of the tea olives he planted…..and I hug the children he loved so much.  I know that I have grown to be who I am because of the ground he plowed, the rows he laid, the seeds he planted and the weeds he pulled out of the garden of me.  As time continues to take me away from when he was here, I hope that I don’t grow too far away from the rows he planted, taking the time to lay them out.  With brick and twine.

The bricks that are still warm from the rays of the sun.

 

the strength of his hands

still carries me through hard times

and points the way home

~~~~~

the bricks are still warm

the same sun has watched him live

and knows he is gone

~~~~~

the garden, its rows

so straight and obedient

growing the good things

What Grown Looks Like

A little while ago, I saw where a young man posed the question, “What makes a man?”

I’ve been thinking on that.  So often we hear in graduation speeches, “Now we are adults,” or when a young person gets his/her driver’s license, “Well, so you’re driving, you’re grown now.”

Ahem.

I beg to differ.

I don’t think that any one thing makes someone grown.  Or not grown.  I think our lives are a series of mature and immature choices, selfish and not.  We can slowly become more “grown up” and in the midst of that, we can make some really “child-like” decisions.  Having a child, getting married, getting a job, turning 18 or 21–none of those makes one grown.  It’s what we do in each of these moments that determines if we are really “grown.”

Today I watched as my oldest made a decision that was not comfortable for her or what she really wanted to do at all.  She chose to do something for someone else because she loves them and they needed her.  She is growing up so fast right before my eyes, and today only served to remind me of that.

This afternoon Cooter came in and said out of the blue, “Don’t force love.  Let it come to you.”

I almost spewed my water.

What?!

I asked him where he’d heard that.  “Oh, Princess said it to K [a neighbor boy around her age] today when he was talking about the girl he really liked.”  The way Cooter imitated her, I knew she’d said it with compassion.

I’m not one for all these early boyfriend/girlfriend pairings–I think they’re way too young–but I am happy to know that my girl can be compassionate and sensitive to someone else’s emotions…..and show great wisdom in such circumstances.  Wisdom beyond her age…..

Yesterday morning, our Princess woke up and came to my room in tears because of a bad dream.  Cooter was already piled in there, staying warm under the covers.  He was a bit groggy, but to my surprise he leaned over and gave her a hug and asked her what happened.

Surprised by sweetness.  Right there.  I didn’t know he had it in him.

When it comes to my children growing up, sometimes I have a blind spot.  Often I don’t want to see it so I don’t.  Or I might look for it in my oldest because she’s over 18 and in college, but I forget to look for it in my littles.

The truth is we are all still works in progress and all still growing.  Tonight I am thankful for the ways each one of my children is growing.  I give thanks for the reminder that the most beautiful form of growth can’t be measured on a scale or yardstick or even by looking in the mirror.  The most beautiful and precious ways people grow can only be seen by looking in the heart and hearing their words and seeing their actions.  And for today, I am reassured by and thankful for the compassion and love I see in those gifted to me.

May it be a growing sort of day…..

Love to all.

stone mattress

in the quiet and the dark

I climb into my bed,

tugging up alongside me my worries and woes

about days gone by

and the things that they carry with them–

the regrets, the sadness, the doubts, and things not let go,

words left unsaid, things left undone

 

I tuck them in around me

and weary, I try to rest and fall asleep

on the stone mattress

I have made for myself

 

 

 

three story house

I live

in a three story house

tucked away in

the midst of the tea olives

whose scent makes me cry

missing the one whose

hands and back

planted them

 

I live in a three story house

with the books and the papers

and pencils and words

waiting to be written

by me or anyone

who will give them life–

these words what want to breathe

 

I live in a three story house

with the children

growing to be people

who can affect change

one day,

as they learn what 2 plus 2 is

I ask with a whisper

oh please let them learn so much 

more than sits 

in these books

let them dream, discover, build, create

comfort

let them love

 

I live in a three story house

where the squirrels romp

and the butterflies come for one last

sip

before they travel afar

and the cardinals, oh the cardinals,

they bless my heart…..

the cats lounge and make it feel like home

and the puppy plays and make us laugh

while the sun and shadows dance to music

we can’t quite hear but know the tune of anyway

 

I live in a three story house

with two flights of stairs

from the story of where I’ve been

to the story of where I am

and then the story of where I’m going

 

I often find myself on the first floor,

remembering, reminiscing, wishing

for things and people long past

As the days grow shorter and the wind

blows colder

I find the steps to dreaming of the places I

might one day go

harder and harder to climb

 

I live in a three story house

but the first floor I call home

 

 

 

frog music

the girl child says, “today, this moment, it truly feels like fall”

and time is passing whether I want it to or not

seasons changing, moments moving, people living

and dying

and grieving

and smiling

and the leaves begin to drift from the trees

 

their colors are slowly fading

one last vibrant moment

before falling

and I gaze into a treeless wood

sunlight kissing bits of earth for the first time

since spring

 

I am weary of it all

this changing

this carousel of seasons

and yet it must happen

fall will come

and winter

and the flowers will freeze and die

 

and I will set new ones out

 

the ground will no longer welcome bare toes and

the sun will no longer cause me to shed my skin

I will hibernate as the bear

tucked away next to a fire or

under a blanket

I have chosen to cherish

made by another’s hands

 

time to plant the pansies

just as my Granny did

this time each year

time to cook the soups

and the cornbread and sop

up the pot liquor

and wear socks on my feet

just to stay warm

 

as I turn out the lights and listen to the quiet

I hesitate–

the quiet

too quiet

ahh, summer is leaving

and I shall miss the

frog music

most of all

 

 

Rainy Days and Redemption

We awoke this morning, quite early, to the sounds of thunder rolling angrily.  And close.  It was so early, in fact, that most in the house went back to sleep to the sound of the drizzling rain.  The house still seemed quite dark when we stirred, though the day had gotten a good start already.

A rainy day in Georgia.

In the fall.

Ahhhhh.

Grateful for a break from the downpour I took Miss Sophie out for her morning constitutional and was thankful she was moved to be a little quicker this morning.  The littles had breakfast as did their big sister, still home for Fall Break.  The house was eerily quiet, a mood suited by the gray and the rain outside.

I set out the day’s lessons and encouraged the crew to get started.  I too began my work for the day.  Sitting at my desk, my back was to them.  Though they were chatting about some scenario they’d made up to play out, they were getting some work done, so I allowed myself to become immersed in what was in front of me.  Soon I realized the room had become very quiet.  I turned to see what they were up to.  Our Princess seemed to be daydreaming, her gaze aimed out the window.  I remember the days of sitting in our classrooms at the old school in town–windows all down one side of the room–and doing just that.  I think some of my best thoughts came from those moments of mind wandering.

Then I noticed Cooter, across the room, no longer sitting at the table working on his math.  Instead he was curled up with Goatillard the goat, who moved here to live with us after Mama left this world.  My little guy seemed in a trance, staring out from the window seat at the rain as it poured down.

My little guy curled up with Maemae's goat, staring out at the rainy day.

My little guy curled up with Maemae’s goat, staring out at the rainy day.

It took my breath away for a moment.  Beautiful.

I wonder what he was thinking in those moments.  If anything at all.

I looked back over at our Princess, who met my gaze with a sheepish smile on her face.  She shrugged lightly.  “My eyes are lost in the rain.”

Oh my. With all the rain and beautiful thoughts and staring out at creation and poetic words, how I could say that learning wasn’t happening?

I just about called school off right then and there.  No textbook nor I can compete with all of that.

Poetic thoughts.

I found myself thinking about all kinds of things this morning, as I went about my day to dailies.  A rainy fall day…..gray…..suited my emotions.  Bottom line–I miss my parents.  It seems as though each day a little more, if that is possible.  When I think about where we were three years ago, with Daddy doing so poorly and us not ready to admit to what seemed to be inevitable, it becomes almost more than the heart can bear.  Again.

This morning I saw this quote shared by author John Paul Schulz that stuck with me.

IMG_5108

And it is true.  While my heart and mind was steeped in sadness, suitable for a dreary day, my girl’s poetic thoughts and those of Ms. Woolf proved true.

As I let myself become lost in the rain, sitting on the couch that I can enjoy because of the goodness of friends, I found myself thinking of redemption and reparation.

Are there two things more life-giving than those?

I’m sure there might be, but for today, those thoughts and the actions I took refreshed my soul, and life came “breaking in as usual.”

When I finished, my heart was a little lighter and I breathed a little easier.  I’m still a work in progress and the pressure that tomorrow will be sunny, so perhaps my disposition should be too is a little more than I’m ready to take on tonight.  Perhaps after a good night’s rest…..

Tonight I’m thankful for moments that move me to tears.  For little boys hugging goats.  For poetic days and poetic words and little girls who speak them.  I give thanks for the love of those who have gone before, those whom the memories of make me laugh and cry and ache for just one more story, one more hug, one more word of wisdom, one more “I love you.”  And in the midst of that yearning, I’m thankful for the opportunity to share those things with the ones I care about.  Today. In this moment.

Life comes breaking in…..as usual.  

 

Love to all.

 

 

 

If a Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words…..

A week or so ago, I was “running my mouth” and said something about a picture not taken being worth zero words.  And then I paused and questioned that almost immediately.
Is it?

I’m all about taking the pictures.  (Rarely in them, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.)  I take them in important moments, whimsical moments, “make me laugh so hard I’ve got to get this shot right now” moments, and in moments that hardly seem special at the time at all.

Miss Sophie pulled the empty water bottle out of her sock monkey toy.  This made us laugh.  So glad I was able to get this shot.

Miss Sophie pulled the empty water bottle out of her sock monkey toy. This made us laugh. So glad I was able to get this shot.

Here’s one of those “laughing so hard, oh please let me get it” moments, just for the fun of it.

An old fashioned microphone for your home decor.  Oh-kay.....interesting, considering our conversation.

An old-fashioned microphone for your home decor. Oh-kay…..interesting, considering our earlier conversation.

I also take pictures of things I want to remember.  Like an item in a store.  About thirty minutes before I saw this in the store, we had just been talking about the old-fashioned microphones with our Princess.  I wanted to remember that they had them if I decided we really “needed” one.

 

Cooter picked up the empty tissue box and said, "Mama if you pull out all of the plastic it makes a great cup holder."  Then he proceeded to pick up the whole box and drink from it.  That boy.....

Cooter picked up the empty tissue box and said, “Mama if you pull out all of the plastic it makes a great cup holder.” Then he proceeded to pick up the whole box and drink from it. That boy…..

And then there are the pictures I take for posterity, because I never will remember such as this, but isn’t it something worth remembering?  The time that my 7 yo made a cup holder out of the empty tissue box and then picked up the whole box so he could drink his water.  That boy’s a mess, I tell you what.  And now I can remember what a mess he was at age 7.  (And far beyond, I’m sure.)

 

Once upon a time in my previous life, we were on a trip to Disney and I found myself lugging around a big video camera and trying to document each precious moment.  And you’re at Disney, for goodness’ sake–so each moment is precious if for no other reason than the average price per moment, right?

Yes.

But I got to the point where I realized I was spending a majority of my time watching everything from behind the lens, and I wasn’t really living in the moment.  I was going to go back later and enjoy watching the videos over and over.  Big fun.

So I stopped.  I took a few pictures that were treasures, but I stopped taking pictures of every little thing.

And I enjoyed things more.

I had kind of forgotten my resolution.  Our trip to the Mouse House this past summer went okay, but I probably did take more pictures than I needed to.  It was last Tuesday evening at the Fair that it came back to me.

Sometimes a picture not taken is worth a whole lot of words too.

I was sitting with my family watching Robinson’s Racing Pigs.  (These are the same pigs that led me to meet Phil Keoghan–yep, the guy from the Amazing Race–but you’ll have to wait on that story too.)  It was a beautiful night and the stars were out.  After dark the Fair seems even more magical.  As the pigs came out and began to race, I thought, oh, let me take a picture, let me get shots of my babies cheering on their favorites.

Wait.  A bystander? Watching from the sidelines–behind the lens again?

Cheering them on as they cheered pigs on?

No.

I decided to put my camera (okay, phone) away and get in there and cheer alongside them.  So no, we don’t have pictures of the little piggies waiting for someone to be the first one to jump in and swim across the waterway to get to the Oreo at the finish line.

But what we do have might just be a little more precious.

We have the stories from the night that both of the littles were selected to be the main cheerleader for his/her pig, how our Princess handed me her drink cup so she could throw both hands in the air to cheer her pig on.  How we oohed and ahhed when those little cuties didn’t want to get in the water, and laughed out loud when they eagerly swam across and gobbled up their cookie treats.

And we all did it together.  No side-lining it or staying behind the lens to be ready for the next perfect shot.

I love great pictures as much as anyone, but sometimes, sometimes I like being a part of the memory-making and not just the recorder of it.

And that’s when no pictures make for some fabulous stories.

Love to all.

 

 

 

Grace and Home Improvement

I learned something new today.

They say you should make that your goal each day, you know?  So today I did it, and that makes me glad.   Doesn’t happen every day, so it’s kind of a big deal.

Today Leroy and my Fella were hanging some shades for me.  It was no small task, and I am thankful they were willing to take it on together.

While they worked and Mess Cat and I visited, the thought occurred to me–the thing that Mama often quoted:

“Many hands make for light work.”

Truth.

But that’s nothing new; I already knew that one.

IMG_5088

And I thought about another thing I know from home repairs and home projects–“Measure twice, cut once.”

That one came in handy big time with this project.  We almost made a really big mistake.

It’s a good thing to remember–like “righty tighty, lefty Lucy.”  I use that phrase a lot–especially when I’m outside turning on the water spigot.  I love little memory tricks like that.

But it was when the project hit a snag today that I learned a new and important part of home improvement projects.

Leroy and the Fella were putting their heads together over what would be the best next step to take.  The Fella mentioned our local hardware store not far from here, and Leroy’s face lit up.  “Yeah, I’ve been wanting to go in there.”  They were both smiling at this point.  It was pretty close to precious.

“You know, it’s not a real home project until you have to make at least one trip to the hardware store,” Leroy told me.

Really?  No, I didn’t know.

But I do now.

After they returned and were working on putting holes where holes needed to be and not putting holes where holes didn’t need to be, Leroy put a hole in one of his fingers.  (Well, not a hole exactly, but there was plenty of blood.)  He asked for a paper towel and a band-aid.  As I went to gather them, I thought of another quote of Mama’s: “The right tools make any job easier.”

Leroy quickly cleaned himself up, put on the band-aid, and went back to work, announcing, “A trip to the hardware store and an injury.  That’s how you know we’re almost done.”

Again, good to know.  Duly noted.

Tonight I’m thankful for windows with shades and for the two guys who made that happen.  Isn’t it awesome that we all have different gifts and talents and that we can share those to help others around us?  I give thanks for a job well done and for lessons learned in the midst of it.  All other lessons aside, Leroy taught me once again about the gift of grace.  He set out to do the job, but his game plan allowed for grace.  Grace when all the necessary tools weren’t in place, and grace for when there was a mistake.  He didn’t beat himself or anyone else up and make the whole experience even more difficult than it already was.  He had built-in grace.  We need something we don’t have?  No worries, we can go see what they have at the hardware store that can work.   A slip of the hand and there’s a cut and blood?  No problem, clean it up, slap on a band-aid, and let’s finish this job.  I love it.  Today my brother-in-law and my Fella taught me that even in home projects, in the words of my Bubba, “It’s never that serious.”  It’s all about getting it done.   Doing the best we can with what we have and keeping our wits about us.  Working with others and helping folks out.  With smiles on our faces and grace in our hearts.

Kind of sounds like a good way to go about life too, doesn’t it?

Love to all.