Lying in Wait

Today I was out on a mission of madness and magic trying to find, hoping against hope, that something I didn’t get at the GW Boutique last night was still there.

Actually a couple of things.  Thought about them overnight and realized they were all good choices.

One was a Target return bamboo throw in the loveliest of off white shades.  (My Great Aunt who lived in, as Daddy would tease, “one of the finest homes in that there Eastman, Georgia” would have approved–it was just that elegant.) Why I didn’t grab it last night, I cannot say.  I offer as my only excuse that perhaps I was overwhelmed with the cart full of treasures hidden from this one and that one, and that I just wasn’t thinking straight by that point.

Figured out today it was at least a $75 throw.  I think they were asking 5 or 6.

Let’s all gnash our teeth together, shall we?

Ah well.

It’s not like there’s a blanket or throw shortage in this house or anything.

*sniff*

But I did find a couple of really awesome treasures otherwise, so it was still a successful trip.  One thing is going to make the Fella laugh on Christmas morning, I’m pretty sure.  (and that’s all I’m saying since he does venture over this way every now and then)

On the way to the GW, as I was by myself in the vehicle and could listen to anything I wanted to, I had the radio on a classic Christmas station.  About halfway there a song started playing, and when I realized who was singing, I could scarce believe my ears.

Cary Grant.

Cary Grant?

Yes.

Wow.

It is called “Christmas Lullaby” and in the song he is speak-singing to his baby girl who is already asleep.  He tells her how much  he looks forward to Christmas morning and seeing her joy.  And all of the magic.

And as I teared up–CARY GRANT, Y’ALL!–I thought about all the years of lying in wait in my twin bed at Blackberry Flats and in the double bed in the house on Boy Scout Road before that–waiting for the magic of Christmas morning.  I could hardly wait.  I remember late one Christmas Eve sitting up in the bed, talking to the air, hoping Santa could hear my last minute wishes.

There is a Santa and the magic is real, because I was not disappointed.

And now that I’m “grown up,” just as Mr. Grant did on Christmas Eve, when I do get to bed (I’m all about the staging y’all–it’s a production such that I have elves quitting on me who just can’t stay up that late), I find myself lying in wait for the magic all over again.

And it really doesn’t feel that different.

Well, maybe I’m a little more tired than I was when I was young.  Maybe I fall asleep a wee bit quicker.

But for the most part, I find myself lying in wait with the giddiness and excitement of a child–a child waiting for Christmas morning.

The song was written by Peggy Lee for Mr. Grant.  The sweet words that touched my heart this morning–

 

It’s Christmas Eve

and you are asleep, my little one

This is such a special night for you

and for me

For you, because you will awaken to a joyful morning

filled with wonderful surprises

and all the things our love can do to delight you

There’s a shiny Christmas tree

and a doll, a music box

and some toys

And for me, because I will watch your happiness

All this joy we will share because of the birthday 

of the Christ child,

who taught us that in loving and giving

we find our own happiness

and that angels do watch over us

 

Angels bless you, little one

While you’re fast asleep

You’ll awake to dancing toys,

candy canes,

Christmas joys

And I pray your whole life through

angels will watch over you

loving you 

the way I do

my little one, sleep well

 

Loving you the way I do

Oh my dear little one, sleep well

 

Merry Christmas

 

 

One day my children will learn that on Christmas Eve it’s not just the children who are lying in wait with excitement, and they will find the joy in creating magic for the children they love.  All the time and energy put into making magic for the children–my own and those who are not–every minute is worth it.  To share the delight that our love can do.  The loving and giving do bring great happiness.  Precious.

Just like Mr. Grant, I pray that angels will watch over my children their whole lives through, loving them the way I do.

But I’m not sure that’s possible.  Because, even when they are being real stinkers, I find myself giving thanks (well not every time, I’m no saint) that they are here and are mine for a while.  And loving them through it all.

And all that joy and delight and magic?

I’d best be getting my sleep now, because Christmas Eve is a time of lying in wait for all of us in this house.  It’s so hard to sleep the closer it gets.

And it’s for the joy and anticipation that comes with lying in wait that I am most thankful.

We are so fortunate.

Wishing for you all to have someone to make joy and share delight with on Christmas morning and every day.

Love to all.

 

 

 

Road Tripping Down Memory Lane with My Crew and Marie

Today the crew and I made an impromptu visit to the GW Boutique.  We popped in with the idea of doing “shelf checks” as the Fella calls them.  Two years ago I think it was, we made an in-house rule that gifts for all of the family living in this house had to be either homemade or purchased from a thrift store of some sort.  It has been the most fun, as we have had to get creative and really think outside of the box.

I can still remember Mama sitting on the couch right where I am sitting now, watching as we all (including her) unwrapped our GW gifts.  She looked over everything and said with awe in her voice, “You did so good.  This is amazing.”

What?  I outshopped the “on sale with a coupon” Queen?

So thankful for the memories of the joy and laughter of that last Christmas with Mama.

And yeah, I’m proud that she was impressed.

Today was a flurry of this one and that one (even the nearly grown one) coming up and handing me things to “hide” in the cart so the person whom it was for wouldn’t see it.  They don’t know it, but I’ve been shopping right in front of them like that for years.

At one point Cooter walked over to me and pointed to the cart I’d parked a few feet away.  “Okay, so don’t look under the cart.  I put your present under there.”

Ummmm, okay?  And who’s checking out with all of this stuff anyway?

A quick glance told me it was sizable and I knew what it was–I remembered seeing it on the shelf.  It was the Snoopy Sno-Cone Maker.

Oh my.

I explained to him that his sister or Daddy would have to bring him back if he really wanted to surprise me.  I also told him our blender would make ice for sno-cones I was pretty sure, so he amiably put the box back on the shelf.

They were all so excited it was precious.

The fact that they were excited about giving was not lost on me, and I am very thankful.

At one point during our shopping Cooter and our Princess came running up to Aub and me, “Look!  Look who we found!”

He's a little bit rock and roll.....

He’s a little bit rock and roll…..

I nodded.  “Wow, that’s cool.  Donny Osmond!”

They looked at me as though they’d never been so disappointed in me in their lives.

“Mama, NO!  It’s Elvis.”

Ummm, I don’t think so.

I explained to them who it was and how I knew this.  Many moons ago, I had a Marie Osmond doll, whose dress was a perfect match to this Donny’s outfit.

My great Aunt Hattie used to send Christmas and birthday packages that rivaled Santa’s pack.  She was just as good-hearted as she was generous and she loved us like we were her own.  Over the years she started sending my two sisters, Mess Cat and Sister, who were seventeen months apart in age, different Barbie dolls.  I was a little old for them I guess, and so the first year she sent them a Barbie, I got Marie.

She was loved.

Both of them–Aunt Hattie and Marie.

I told my crew the story as we walked through the store.  They nodded, and I asked them to go put Donny back.

A few minutes later, they came running up (yes I’ve told them not to run indoors, but this time I forgave them–it warranted running).

“Mama mamamamamamamamamamama!!!!!”

I turned to them to see what all the excitement was about.

They said, nearly in unison, “Lookit what we found!”

And there she was.

A little bit country.....bless her.

A little bit country…..bless her.  I reckon that’s why she’s barefooted.  

They were so excited.  Princess had found her, shown her to Cooter, and they both agreed I needed to bring her home.  And Donny too.

And for 88 cents apiece, that’s exactly where they came.

The littles were beaming and so tickled, and that was the best treasure of all.

But finding Marie–that was a close second.

Marie spent a lot of time, ummmmm…..unclothed, shall we say, over the years.  I loved to make clothes for Mess Cat’s Barbies.  Once I crocheted a whole set of dresses for bridesmaids, flower girls, and the bride of course.  And poor Marie? She was the model for them all.  I can’t follow a pattern to save my life, but I can crochet and try on and make adjustments and keep going.

See, Marie, she’s built just like Barbie.

Go figure.

And bless her, she never once complained.  After a while I stopped getting her redressed and just tucked her under my bed between fittings so as not to offend the delicate sensitivities of my way younger brother.

Oh the memories.

I’m not sure at what point Marie disappeared from my life.  It wasn’t as traumatic as the time Raggedy Ann left, so I really don’t know.

But I am glad she’s back.

And Marie is retired.  She won’t ever have to work as a dress model again.

Always the model, never the bride…..

Tonight I am thankful for the joy of giving I saw in my children today.  I am thankful for the fun treasures we found, and that I hope show up wrapped by Christmas morning.  Right now they each have their own gifts for others hidden away in their rooms.  If they are anything like their Mama, we’re in trouble.  Ah well, there’s always next Christmas.

Most of all I’m thankful for the excitement my littles found in bringing a memory to life for me today.  And I remember and miss my Aunt Hattie.  She was a dear soul whom you don’t find often in this life.  She’d have given us her purse she always toted around if we had asked her.  Bless her, I want to just like her when I grow up.

May you all come across a treasure that brings you a smile and a memory that warms your heart.

Love to all.

 

 

Throw Your Arms Around the World

Today I sat next to my friend as she told me how discouraged she was.  She is in school and taking care of her family and other people, and she’s doing an amazing job at all of that–I have no idea how.  She’s just that determined and amazing.

As she is so busy her time on Facebook and other social media is limited, but today she told me that when she has had a break to “hop on,” her heart has been heavy and troubled.   So much going on in the world that suits the mood of this dark time of year.  Darkness.  Death.  Violence.  Protests. Anger.  Hatred.  Murder.  Brokenness.

I could see it in her eyes that she is exhausted.  This is really where so many of us live, isn’t it?  Exhausted before we can even begin to think of what we can do to change things.  Worn out from taking it all in–never mind trying to make anything better.

I just wanted to hug her and tell her it’s all going to be okay.

But I need someone to do that for me first.

So we sat and drank our coffee and talked about other things.

Though our minds never left the troubles.

Not really.

I found a new “old” treasure a few days ago.  It’s an old globe on a stand.  Because I don’t have the floor space, I want to put it up on a cabinet, so I need it to be shortened.  I found it and decided to bring it home because I have seen some really beautiful displays of great words to think upon inscribed on old globes.  I didn’t know what words I would write on the globe or if I’d have the nerve to do it at all, but still, home it came.

Or rather, it rode around in the vehicle until I had the time and nerve to bother my Uncle and ask if he would be willing to cut off the legs.  I was over in his garden this evening, partaking of his delicious cabbage–I’m not sure what he’s putting in the soil, but suffice to say I cooked some last week and I’m back for more already!  Before I left I asked him if he would be willing to help me, and he kindly agreed.  He sent the globe home with me, and when I brought her inside I asked the Fella to examine her a little more thoroughly.  She’s a little faded.  Old but not precious old.  So I won’t feel quite so bad writing over an ocean.  Good.

Because on the way home I figured out what words I’d write on her when the time comes to do so.

“Do They Know It’s Christmas?” by Band Aid (the original 1984 version) played on the radio tonight.  Words were leaping from my ears to my mind and then to my heart.  Yes.

“We let in light and we banish shade…..”

Yes.  Light.  Banish what hovers over us creating doubt and fear and darkness.

And then–the perfect ones for my globe–

“Throw your arms around the world…..”

Yes.  You know those hugs–the ones that when the arms envelop you, they help ease a lot of pain.  And heartache.  If only for a moment.

http://en.musicplayon.com/play?v=821276

Another song played shortly after that.  One that I don’t hear very often at all.  “Belleau Wood,” written by Garth Brooks and Joe Henry, tells the story of a truce at Christmas in World War I.  The line that touched my heart and had tears rolling silently down my face were–

“And he raised his hand and smiled at me
As if he seemed to say
Here’s hoping we both live
To see us find a better way”

The song ends with the storyteller saying just this, something I believe with my whole heart–

“But for just one fleeting moment
The answer seemed so clear
Heaven’s not beyond the clouds
It’s just beyond the fear

No, heaven’s not beyond the clouds
It’s for us to find it here…..”

 

I wish I’d had all of these words with me when I sat next to my friend today.

All of the brokenness?  The anger?  The fighting and choosing sides and battling against each other–on Facebook, in letters to editors, in phone calls, text messages, in person…..? The pointing fingers and claiming innocence and pain and loss?  The pictures of everything from abandoned animals to tortured human beings?

It’s all too much.

I don’t know how to fix it.

Shoot, I didn’t even know how to reach out and hug my friend when she most needed it today.

But what I do know is that we can try.

When there is darkness,

throw our arms around the world.

Love.

When we see violence and hatred,

throw our arms around the world.

Love.

When folks are angry and can’t see light for all the pain and betrayal,

we can throw our arms around this world.

And love.

Somebody.

Anybody.

And here’s the thing–

Everybody.

We have to move beyond the fear.

Of others.

Of those who are different.

Of ones who believe differently, talk differently, speak differently.

We have to move beyond the fear.

It’s imperative.

There are no guarantees.  When we go to love somebody, it might not fix much.  It might not fix anything.  But if we keep trying, here’s hoping we will live to find a better way.  And to see a better day.

For all of the hell that this life is filled with, it is up to us to find and share the Heaven that love and patience and kindness and listening can bring.  Right.  Here.

Tonight I give thanks for good cabbage and old globes, for old songs and for Garth Brooks’ storytelling.   I’m thankful for those whom I get to sit by, sharing stories and worries and joys and sorrows.  I am thankful for them sharing the journey and sharing light when I need it most.  For when there is light, the shade of troubles seems to dissipate a little more…..

Go throw your arms around the world and bring Heaven right here.  Banish shade.  Share light.

It can start with two people.  You.

And the person sitting next to you.

Go say hello.

And then listen.

It’s a start.

Love to all.

 

#############

https://imightneedanap.com/2013/12/17/sounds-of-the-season-that-touched-my-soul/

from the outside looking in

my Christmas list

this year

is filled with mere things,

because what I really want

and need and what my heart aches for

can never be given again–

-the sound of your voice

-the warmth of your hug

-the taste of the chewy bars you baked just for me

-the gift of your wisdom

-the wonderful stories you told

that we never wrote down

-the feel of your hand in mine

-the secure feeling of knowing you would make

everything okay

-the joy in standing next to you,

warming our backs against the fire

-the smell of the kitchen

when we’d come home from school

after you’d been baking

-the joy of making you laugh

-an afternoon of watching football together

and appreciating those Clydesdale commercials

and getting in trouble with Mama for betting a quarter

-awakening to the sound of you stirring the grits

or making the toast on a cold school morning

-your face being the last I saw at night

and the first I saw in the morning

 

they were the best of times

but also the worst, to borrow from

Mr. Dickens,

because

I didn’t appreciate

those precious,

ordinary moments for what they were

 

a gift, moments that would all too soon

become a memory

 

and now I stand outside in the cold of winter

looking in through the window

at all that has gone before

 

I cannot feel the warmth of the fire

or hear the laughter or smell what’s cooking

or reach out for you,

the lights twinkle but there is a haze and

it is not clear anymore

 

the door is locked and the key is lost

 

some days I stand there and watch for hours–

they never seem to notice me–

but most days I pull my sweater close around me,

turn

and walk away

 

 

Guest Post: Miss Sophie Writes…..

A note from the paws of Miss Sophie:

Miss Sophie Ru

Miss Sophie Ru

These people, I sure have a hard time figuring them out sometimes.  They know my name, and yet, they call me “No” and “Stop It” almost more than they call me Sophie.

And it’s not like I picked out that name for myself or anything–they chose it.  If I’d had my druthers I would be called Geraldine.  Yeah.  I like that name.

Anyway, yesterday they said, “Bed,” and I went and they gave me my treat on command.  I’ve got them trained well.  When I sit in my bed, I wait, and they give me a treat.  It’s a pretty sweet deal actually.  They left for a few hours and when they came home, I could hardly believe my eyes.

And I have pretty good vision.

The people brought a tree in the house.  You know, one of those things that lives outside that I like to sniff around and eat things out from under?  In. the. house.  Well!  I mean, these are the same folks who take their shoes off in the house and flip out if I go anywhere near the mud puddles way back in the yard behind our house.

I don’t get it.

It immediately started shedding, something I can proudly say I do not do.  It was pretty disgusting.  The Fella promptly vacuumed it up.  I actually chose not to bark while he was vacuuming this time, and the people didn’t notice or anything.  Really?  Fine.  Next time then…..

After all of the hullabaloo about getting this tree in the house, I watched as the Fella brought in a big box of things on the ends of green wire.  (I like green wire.  I like wire.  Twist ties are my favorite, but they never let me play with one for long.)  They spent much time discussing these things and untangling them.  It was torture.  They did all of this beside the tree which they put in the room I’m not allowed in.  Honestly, you mistake a rug for a piddle pad once or three times too many…..

After things were untwisted, the people talked some more.  The one they all call Mama, the one who sits up with me late at night, kept saying the letters, “LED” over and over and wrinkling up her nose like she does when she tells me my toy is “nasty.” (It’s not, it’s delicious.)  I don’t think she cares for whatever that LED thing is.  The Fella took several of those strand thingies outside and the littles went with him.  Then the one they call Mama twisted the rest of the wire thingies all around that tree.

Can you imagine what that’s even about?

When she was done, she stood back and then flipped a switch.

Wow.

They’ve been doing some pretty crazy things around here, like putting some lights in different places and putting these red and green things all over the place, but this was amazing.

It was all lit up, that tree, only there was no fire like what the one they call Mama turns on in the living room at night.  These were all sparkly and warm and I wanted to crawl right under that tree, drink from that big water bowl, and gaze up at the twinkly lights.    And look for treats…..

Tonight they went through a box, each one of them, and they hung things on the tree.  It’s the strangest thing I’ve ever seen.

That tree--INSIDE the house with lights all over it!  Have you ever heard of such?

That tree–INSIDE the house with lights all over it! Have you ever heard of such?

And they won’t let me anywhere near it.  I can’t imagine why.

They keep me away from everything fun–the trash can, the mud puddles, and now this–this tree.

I just don’t get it.

But tonight I’m thankful my people are back home and that it looks like we’re going to bed a little earlier tonight.  I’m thankful for the food in my bowl and the water in my dish, but I still think that tree offers a lovely new eating venue.

Most of all, I’m thankful for the happy faces and the singing of songs that keeps happening around here.  It seems like they are more relaxed these days.  And happy, relaxed people make for a happy Sophie.

Love and barks to all.

 

*Note from Tara: As I was stringing the lights on the tree this morning, I saw Miss Sophie watching intently from the other side of the gate.  I wondered what she thought of all of the goings on, and she was more than happy to share.  Tonight I’m thankful for that.  And for a word my Daddy taught me long, long ago.  Anthropomorphism.  I love that word.   Love to all.  

Another Trip to the Grocery Store

So today was St. Nicholas’ Day.  And as we are learning about holiday traditions from around the world, we read about St. Nicholas and (a day late–didn’t have necessary items in hand last night–ahem) tonight we are putting our shoes out in case St. Nicholas might do a return trip and swing back through here to fill our shoes with candy.

As I mentioned, we didn’t have the necessary things to make this happen, so after our tree hunt today, I asked the Fella to stop and let me run in the grocery store while he sat in the car with the littles.  I dashed in, grabbed the goodies, and (a rare occurrence) was able to go through the express lane.  I could have done the self-checkout but I worry about whether the sale prices will go through and frankly, I enjoy talking with the folks who work there.

Today did not disappoint.

The lovely lady in front of me was purchasing a gorgeous arrangement from the floral department.  It was a plant with a poinsettia tucked in the bowl as well.  BEAUTIFUL.  Really.  So much so that I had to say something.

Which I did.

“That’s beautiful,” I told the lady.  (It just had to be said.)

She nodded and smiled.  The cashier, Quintavious, jumped in and laughed, saying, “I know, isn’t it lovely?  She got it for me.  I am just in shock.”

He was so engaging and delightful that I couldn’t help but laugh and jump in the game.

“Oh yes, the customers here are the best in the world, aren’t they? Buying lovely arrangements for the wonderful folks who work here….” I teased.

“Yeah, I don’t get off until 7 tonight though, so I’m not sure what I will do with it.”  The cashier looked perplexed as the customer smiled and finished making her payment.

“Well,” I said, “I guess you’ll have to let her take it home with her until you can get it home later, right?”

Quintavious looked at me like I had lost a little more of my mind than I actually have.  “Oh noooooo.  It will sit right here, and then when I go home, I will carry it in the house, and my Mama will reach out and say, ‘Oh you shouldn’t have,’ and I will say, ‘Oh I didn’t have…..’ and I won’t be letting go of it.”

I laughed again–it was his intonation and his voice inflection–‘Oh I didn’t have…..’ This young man missed his calling as a comedian.

After we both said goodbye to the lovely lady and the exquisite arrangement, we continued our conversation.

“That’d be ugly, wouldn’t it?  If I went home and told my Mama that?”

Before I could answer, he dropped his tone.  He gestured at the treats I was purchasing.

A little quieter than before, he said, “You know, not many people know about this, but I am a taste inspector.”

Because of his hushed tone, I mistakenly thought he said, “I am a taste and spitter.”  (Which could, in essence, mean the same thing if you really think about it.)  And yes, I probably do need my hearing checked.  But he was talking quietly.  Apparently he’s been certified and it’s a bit hush-hush.

“Yeah, not a lot of people have heard of it.  But it’s a service.  A service here in the store.  I can check these”–he pointed to the chocolate– “and make sure they’re okay.  You wouldn’t want to buy something bad, would you?”

No, Quintavious, no I wouldn’t.

He’s a giver all the way, that one.

If someone hadn’t been behind me in line, someone who wasn’t taking part in the banter, and if I wasn’t thinking that St. Nicholas will drop the whole bags in the shoes instead of individual candies (I’ve smelled the feet that go in these shoes–won’t nobody want to eat them if they go in without the protection of a bag), I would have opened a bag or two right then and had him taste test them.

Because his teasing reminded me of a few things.

First, life is more fun when we are interacting with people.  I could have stood in the line and played with my phone.  *sigh*  Yeah.  I’ve been known to do that.  (When the magazine covers weren’t particularly interesting…..)  But when we talk and say hello and open the door for conversation–oh, the joy that can bring!

Second, grocery stores have amazing floral departments.  At least this one does.  Note to self–if you ever have to take flowers anywhere…..

Third, Quintavious’ story reminded me of my Mama.  When we were little and she’d bake chocolate chip cookies or peanut butter bars (ah the pre-food allergy days) with chocolate chips dropped in–basically anytime she’d use chocolate chips, she would call us in. We didn’t always know why, but once we saw the chocolate enter the equation, we started making sure we answered on the first call.

Mama would hand us each one or two chocolate chips, saying, “Oh I need someone to taste these chocolate chips and see if they’re okay.  We wouldn’t want to use them if they were poisonous.”

Yeah.

She said that.

Morbid, I know.

But at the time, it was delightful.  She played it up big, telling us how necessary it was for us to check them.

And we never had nightmares or anything.  It made us laugh.  And we felt very important.

Turns out there’s a title for that–a taste inspector (though “taste and spitter” is growing on me).

This evening I was making more of Mama’s cookies and, at the request of the Fella who was taking them to a shindig, I used our Star Wars cookie cutters.  Cooter and Princess eventually helped with the cutting out.  They are getting to be quite good at it.  When the first ones came out of the oven, Cooter wandered over and looked at them appreciatively.  He was about to reach for one, and I stopped him.  “Don’t do that.  Those are for Daddy’s get together.”

IMG_6035

Look at those cookies, just waiting to be taste tested…..

 

Cooter eyeballed Yoda for a long moment and said, “But Mama, I need to inspect it.  I need to make sure they are good enough for Daddy to take.  You wouldn’t want him to take bad cookies, would you?”

See, I’m a pretty proud Mama right now, because apparently, I have a certified taste inspector in my own home. I now know that’s a thing.   Who knew?  Maybe he’ll be able to get a job someday after all.

That’s a relief.

Tonight I’m thankful for the joy of happy memories–even the odd ones like taste testing chocolate chips to make sure they weren’t poisonous.  I love the joy that is in this house when cookies are being made, even when they aren’t for us.  And I give thanks for folks who do their jobs, no matter what it may be, with laughter and a joy-filled personality and who make others feel good when they are around them.

Would it be weird to call the store and find out when Quintavious is on the schedule and plan my grocery shopping accordingly?  That was more fun than a little bit today.  #stalkingnotstalking

As you go forth in your day, may you find joy in what you do and share the light of laughter and fun with all who cross your path.

Love to all.

The “H” word

Today the Zoo Crew and I were busy preparing for an evening of mischief and merriment.  We pulled out some of our Christmas treasures and our Princess was happily putting them throughout the house.  It was fun watching her plan where she wanted to put what, and I only naysayed her twice.  Once on my Granny’s Santa, which I wanted to grace my back porch this year and second, a pillow that belonged to my Mama.  Everything else I let stay where it was.  She was happy, and so was I.

I was in the kitchen working when I heard her talking to Cooter in the other room.  She was trying to get him to assist her in putting up some decorations.  He was lounging on the floor with a book, and she was flitting all over, putting Christmas lovelies in different places.

I was only half-listening when I heard her say to him, “Cooter, have you ever heard of the “h” word?”

Oh law, where was this headed?

I leaned toward the doorway to hear better.

He muttered something that sounded faintly like no.

“Well, it is H. E. L. P.  Help.  Have you ever heard of that?”  She sounded fed up.  But this Mama was quite relieved.

As far as “h” words go, that’s a good one.

I don’t know what Cooter said back, but his sister asked him didn’t he want to help her and he said no.

I could hear her voice as she moved about the room, “Well why not?  It really makes you feel good.”

Well.

Just–

Wow.

Now while I am glad she is beginning to get it, I can reassure you this hypothesis of hers is still in its experimental stages, or else she would be doing it more.  Since it makes her feel so good and all.

Actually, she has gotten better at seeing what needs doing and–okay, truth, she’s getting better at responding when I ask her to do something.  She dusted today.  That, my friends, was huge.  Y’all know how I feel about dusting.

Tonight I’m thankful that the “h” word, according to our Princess, is “help.”  When she first started spelling it I wasn’t sure what conversation I was about to have to have with her.  I give thanks for her willing and cheerful hands today–from dusting to caring for Miss Sophie to vacuuming and helping at the grocery store, she was my right hand girl today, and I appreciate her and her cheerful spirit so much.

I’m also glad she feels good when she helps.  That is a beautiful thing, and I hope she always feels that way.

And it reminds me of something that I often forget–helping others makes folks feel good–so maybe the next time someone asks if they can help…..

maybe I should just share some joy and say yes.

Too often we try to carry our burdens and tasks and life all by ourselves.  As Princess reminded me today, we don’t have to do it alone.  If we let others help us, it just might bless them too.

Yeah.  I need to work on that one.

Whether you are helping another or letting them help you, I hope your day is full of the “h” word and all the good feelings that come along with it.

Love to all.

 

far worse than a tummyache

my little guy came in from his shower tonight,

crying with a tummyache

he couldn’t decide if it was hunger

or something else

I treated it with a ginger cookie,

a cold drink, and love

 

and I thought about how thankful I am

that tummyaches are treatable

and how I hope he is still years away

from the untreatable, unfixable ache

 

that of the heart

 

when the heart is in pain

there is no cure

but time,

and even that is never a steady

or hurried or permanent fix

 

the symptoms can return

at any time

 

tears, panic, sadness, worry,

not understanding,

wondering why

 

the pain of losing someone,

of watching justice come undone

at the hands of those we trusted,

the people who make promises

and then soon forget,

those who misuse the power

and leave folks hurting and in need,

those who forget about loving people first

and getting ahead second

 

the hurt and pain can come back again

and again

despite the passage of time

 

and as I watch his peaceful slumber

no trace of pain left to see

I am thankful for ginger cookies

and cold drinks

and those little hands I love to hold

and I wish I could find something

that would give me and my heart

a peaceful night of rest

as well

 

the pain of heartache–

of questioning why–

can be hidden behind a mask

and carried well over time,

but in the dark of night

and the quiet of the solitude,

the questions echo loudly–

and the pain becomes once again

an open, gaping wound

that knows no cure

 

and so we love…..

and wait.

 

 

 

ode to a q-tip

This morning as I was getting ready it appeared that I had run out of q-tips, and this distressed me greatly.  For two reasons.  One–I really thought we had more.  (Does that ever happen to you?  You KNOW you have more of something, it’s just out of sight.  Or gone…..Just me? Oh, okay.) And two–there is NO substitute for a q-tip when you need one, is there?  I mean, that’s just something that cannot be replaced.  And so, when I did find my stash, I held one in my hand and gave thanks that such a thing exists.  

ode to a q-tip

aren’t you an interesting

thing?

basically a paper stick

with two poofs of cotton,

one at either end

and yet,

try as I might,

I cannot replicate or

come close to creating

anything that can do

what you can do.

you are very task oriented

and yet you have ventured out

beyond the ear department

not because you had to

but just for the fun of it

I suspect.

that fine point of cotton is

the best

at cleaning up

sloppy manicures.

we have even painted with

a few of your friends–

those were fun and unusual

works of art,

a lot like you.

but I think my

favorite thing about you

is that each time I use one of you

a little bit of a rebel comes out in me

as I hear my Mama’s voice

“don’t EVER put ANYTHING in your ears…..”

and yet, there’s a whole section

in the store

devoted to

things you put in your ears,

devoted to YOU…..

you remind me that grownups

say the silliest of things

to get their points across–

and that

is

perfection

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Dreams Come True, The Highway Don’t Care

Y’all know that Taylor Swift song–The Highway Don’t Care?  Oops.  Just found out it is really attributed to Tim McGraw.  But she sings in it and she’s Taylor after all (I live in a house dominated by females who LOVE TS, so my apologies, Mr. McGraw).

The song basically says that despite all that is going on in this person’s life, the highway don’t care.  Life goes on, sweetie, the highway don’t care.

So today has been the official launch date of dreams coming true.

*insert MAJOR happy dance here*

My oldest took a selfie with me on Sunday before she headed back to college.  “Next time we see each other, you’ll be a published author.”

She’s stretching it, but I’ll take it.

And smile really big.

The littles heard me talking about it, so I told them about the e-book and my story.  They were quite excited.  They love books, and we always talk about the authors and illustrators, so they can relate and, unless I am way off, I think they are just slightly impressed.  I can put together a full meal complete with dessert and I get nothing, but this–this, they get.

Cooter asked if I would be signing “my” book.  Funny how much they pay attention.  They’ve been to a book signing on more than one occasion and made friends with the authors–Karen Spears Zacharias, Ann Hite, and Renea Winchester–and all of those beautiful people became our friends.  So the bar is set very high about how this should go.  I explained to him that I wrote a story in a big book with lots of stories by amazing writers.  He looked at me and asked again, “Are you going to sign your book?”

So if you see my name in Sharpie on any electronic device around here, you’ll know why.

(He insisted, for goodness’ sake!  And have you seen that face?  Oh me.)

The thing is my life changed a little today.  A dream came true.  And I’m so tickled I can’t contain the joy.

But like going to school on your birthday and having midterms, life goes on.

First up Miss Sophie did not tend to *ahem* all of her business on our walk this morning.  So I felt the need to watch her like a hawk when we were back in the house.  She doesn’t have accidents often, but if she doesn’t go and I miss her signal (and she’s so subtle sometimes, that one), well somebody’s gonna have a mess to clean up.

Second our Princess accidentally poured almost an entire bowl of cereal WITH milk in her lap, all over her gown and robe and the table and the floor and the *sigh* fabric covered chair.  What do you know?  I was watching the dog like a hawk and STILL had a mess to clean up.

You know why?

Because the Highway don’t care.

We got through that, and I told the littles we needed to get lessons done before we could take on the task our Kindness Elves left for us. (We have Kindness Elves visiting us from England this year–when we wake up in the morning they have a suggestion for us about something we can do to scatter kindness.  This idea came from Imagination Tree.)  They suggested we make cookies, Maemae’s cookies, today to share–in honor of my story in the book (recipe included).

The littles were eager to get on to the cookie making portion of the day, so math happened.

I sit with Cooter to *ahem* encourage his little second grade self.  We are doing some review work right now.  He came to this word problem.

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We’ve seen this kind before, with smaller numbers.  But it never fails to crack Cooter up, and I’m thrilled that he finds it funny.  Dear Saxon, you have my homeschooled boy thinking that public school is really wacky with some of the things you say are in the classroom store.  Today he giggled so hard over eggs and rolls being in the classroom store that I had a hard time bringing him back around.

And then there was the sock question.  Y’all know those things are the bane of my existence, right?

The question was: Five pairs of socks were moved from the washer to the dryer.  When the socks were dry, only eight socks came out.  What happened ?

So I’m not really sure where Saxon was going with this line of questioning.  I mean, I know the math–10-8=2.  2 socks were missing.  But oh the joy that boy brings me!  I looked at his answer, and he had written, “NOTHENG.”

Okay, spelling’s not his forte, but you know what?  He’s right.

And Saxon, you know why he’s right?

Because this is NO BIG DEAL in our house.  It happens all the time. What would be a shocker and need answering as to what happened is if ALL THE SOCKS that were put in the washer and dryer came out SAFE AND SOUND and MATCHED.

Notheng, indeed, my boy.

He cracks me up.

He’s also slower than Christmas despite being motivated.  Not because he doesn’t understand but because he has so much to talk about.  Important stuff.  Star Wars.  Minecraft.  Interesting dreams. Dogs.  Cats.  Mushrooms.  Anything but math.

But they got it all done.

And it was cookie making time.

I know I’m already up for the Worst Parent award, so I will go ahead and confess that mine have never really been a part of the cookie making for very long at the time.  Either they get bored waiting on pans of cookies to get done to be refilled, or they make me so crazy that I thank them for their time and move it along.

Sad sad sad.  I’m sorry, crew. I’m trying to do better.

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So today I got one pan done and then left them to it.  I rerolled the dough as needed, but I let them cut and have fun.  I really did.  I kept my mouth closed and let them enjoy.

It’s Mama’s recipe and in memory of her anyway, so it was appropriate.

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Oh but was it an adventure!

I learned something very interesting.  I apologize to my Bubba, because I guess we never made cookies together.  At least I don’t remember him doing what Cooter did today.

It was a simple task really.  I have my Mama’s little boy and girl cookie cutters.  I handed each child their gender cutter and let them go to town.

And I have never seen as such.

I walked over to get a pan to put in the oven and–
Y’all.

Legless gingerbread boys.  Headless ones.  Ones with half a body.

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The girls were quite lovely.

Hmmmm.

Cooter.

Seven year old boys and cookie cutting are an interesting combination.

I finally asked that they cut out whole people as I wanted to have some to share (that was the idea, right, Kindness Elves?).  I asked that there be no more body part cookies.

Which sent the boy into fits of giggles.

Oh me.

He even suggested we could share them like that–as puzzle cookies or something.  *sigh*

The Highway don’t care, y’all.

(And yeah, I did pretty much laugh a lot this afternoon.)

All in all a good day.  Despite running a few minutes late everywhere I went and losing an earring in the process (the hazards of wearing clip-ons I reckon).  But I was given grace and my friend helped me look for my earring (found it), so all in all–

the Highway might not care but my friends and family do.

It’s been a special day.  A busy one.  And one that I won’t soon forget.

But here’s the lesson I want my children to hear whenever they get around to reading this–

First, our washer eats socks.  Don’t use socks for math problems.  Ever.

Second, if the dog doesn’t go, watch the cereal bowls, not her.  They are committing hari-kari around here.

Third, it doesn’t matter how wonderful life is going for you, or what awesome things are happening, life is still life–filled with bumps and bruises and logs in the road.  It’s never going to be perfect.  But it’s what you do with that–that’s what makes it special and beautiful and awesome.  Even in the midst of spilled cereal and lost earrings and body part cookies–keep smiling. It’s never that serious. That’s what deserves the happy dance in life.

Fourth, even when everything seems to be falling apart and the Highway ain’t listening to you or your woes at all–there is always someone who will.  A friend.  A sister.  A brother.  An Aunt.  You are loved.  From both sides of the veil.

Don’t let anything or anyone steal your joy.

And that’s why I’m still doing my happy dance with the book pulled up on that e-reader with my name scrawled across it in permanent ink.

Ha.

Tonight I’m thankful for all of you.  Thanks for sharing the journey and for caring, even when bowls and puppies and earrings and the clock and the Highway don’t care.  You do, and that makes all the difference in this world.

Love to all.

 

(If you’ve missed the link for the free copy of the book, click here.  *insert shameless self promotion here* 🙂  Thanks to all who have already gotten it.  It’s free until December 4th.  After that, it will be $1.99 and all proceeds will go to a program for children’s literacy.)

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This right here–MAJOR happy dance.  Oh, and the author whose name I share a line with–she’s my Fairy Godmother.  HOW PRECIOUS IS THAT?  ❤