The Really Great Thing About Thoughts…..

Today Aub and I took a trip down memory lane.  After dinner we found ourselves together in the living room, and we decided to watch an old episode of “That’s So Raven.”

For those of you who might not know the show, Raven Symone plays a teenage girl who is a psychic, and it’s all about her figuring out how to live with her “gift.” It is a comedy, and her facial expressions remind me of Lucille Ball’s ability to get a laugh with a simple twist of her face.

On the episode we watched today, Raven had a “psychic cold,” which allowed her, for a short period of time, to hear other people’s thoughts.  It created quite a mess, which is typical of the show.  I laughed and cringed when her parents figured out what was going on and asked her, “How much did you ‘hear?'”

“Too much,” she replied, with an exaggerated look of horror on her face.

Funny.

But there was a part of me that wasn’t amused.

What if people could hear my thoughts?

Oh me.  Just pack me up and set me out to live in the middle of the woods.  I couldn’t take the pressure, quite honestly.

Because we are free, you and I, to think what we want to think.  That’s the great thing about thoughts.  They are in our heads.  No one can hear them.  They are private.

Which is very, very good.

However, lately I’ve noticed some folks must not find comfort in the fact that their thoughts are their own and private, because they seem to be sharing anything and everything that comes to mind.

Whether it hurts other people or not.

Y’all, we gotta stop that mess.

Mama often said, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

Clairee from “Steel Magnolias” said, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, come sit by me.”

There has to be a balance between the two.  My Mama was not one to be run over or let anyone harm anyone else on her watch, but she was one who guarded her tongue and made every effort to be tactful.  And considerate.  The one thing that could get us in trouble worse than anything was to hurt someone’s feelings with unkind words or to leave somebody out.

This is a small world, folks.  We have to live here together.  All of us, including me, need to keep that in mind.  We are free to think whatever we want about people, places, and things, but we need to be sure that our words do not leave our mouths until we have weighed all of the possible consequences of our sharing them.

Yeah, sure, I get it.  “Heat of the moment” and all that.  I’m a parent.  I know about those moments.  But the heat of the moment can cause a lot of messes.  And bottom line–it’s no excuse.

Just because a thought goes through our head, it does not necessarily mean that we need to speak it into existence for everyone else to hear.

Another thing my parents said, “If you know better, do better, and folks will like you better.”

We know better than to be spewing some of the things that are coming out of our private thoughts–out loud and on the computer screen. (Social media, I’m looking at you.)

We.  Know. Better.

Here’s to a day of lifting others up with our words and keeping those other kind of thoughts to ourselves.

Love to all.

the song I seek to live

as he played the guitar and told his stories in song,
the smell of coffee permeated the air,
the dull roar of the blender and quiet conversations the only other sounds in the shop

I watched him play, his fingers strong and pliable
his voice smooth and folksy
and the lyrics took me back in time
to before
all that has fractured my heart

the people walking up and down the street
through the window behind him caught my eye–
some meandering, some with purpose
singles, in pairs, in big smiling groups
enjoying the blue sky and sunshine of the lovely summer evening

and then there was the One
who approached the window timidly
his attention riveted by the guitar and the man playing it

as though in a trance he walked right up to the window
I expected to see his hand reach out and touch the glass
I wondered if he could hear the music from the outside looking in

if he could hear the words at all,
the chorus
“a place where all are welcome, all are kin”

the man through the glass turned instead and walked to the door
contemplating whether to open it I guess
and after a decisive moment he did

he smiled shyly as he entered and stood off to the side,
and it was then that I recognized him
he was not intrusive, did not sit down in the empty seat
and when invited kindly by the one who had recently lost so much
he waved his hand and looked at him and gently said, “No thank you, I’m only here a minute”

he listened to the chorus once more
“a place where all are welcome, all are kin”

and though he was only a visitor
I was drawn to the peace and joy surrounding him

then he smiled again and turned and walked out the door
headed to a place that God only knows

he didn’t look like I expected,
but then they say he never does
slipping in and out of stories,
turning them for the better,
bringing light into the darkness,

only maybe we don’t see it right away

it was later tonight, long after the sun had set
and the music faded, that my tears fell,
thankful for the timing of the One who welcomes all,
joining us during that song, touching the one who was grieving
and leaving without preaching a word

I know he turned this story
for I felt it in my heart,

and though I’m not quite sure how
I know that this evening,
that moment of watching his loving gaze
land on the one who played and the one who grieved,
will be a night that I will look back and see
as a pivotal point

to what I don’t know
I only know I follow the path
of the One who welcomes all
and makes us all kin

and I walk into the night,
for once unafraid of the darkness
singing the chorus of a song I seek to live

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Catharsis

I’ve been having some trouble with my left shoulder for a few weeks now.  I tell you this not for sympathy, but to explain why I was where I was today.

It’s bothered me so much lately that I’m not sleeping well, because I tend to flop a couple of times during the night, and now I wake myself up when I do.  I am coping fine.  Getting things done and all that.  It’s just I’ve had to compensate for it being out of whack.  And I’ve stopped doing planks with Justin every morning.  Enough is enough.

Finally I decided to do something about it.  Me + lack of sleep = unhappy me = Unhappy Family.  It’s the new math.  Or Mama math, as I like to think of it.

I made an appointment with a very skilled massage therapist.  He has helped with our Princess’ leg issues to the point where she rarely has the leg aches anymore.  He has straightened out my neck and shoulders and LOWERED my shoulders (stress, I know where you live) more times than I can count.  I knew if it could be fixed, he could do it.

When folks hear about massages, they picture relaxing and gentle with calm music, candles, lovely scents.

Just no.

This guy is kind and compassionate, but it hurts, y’all.  He chases those little knots around and pushes them out of you.  And it hurts like the dickens.  Until it stops.  And he releases the pressure, and you feel like a new person.

End result is awesome, but it takes some work to get there.  (Hmmmm, that reminds me of something I like to call life…..)

I walked in today, and told him the news that my neck was actually fine.  He listened to me whine for a couple of minutes and nodded.  He said he knew just what to do.

And he did.

But oh me.  I bit my lip and made fists and my feet came up off the table a time or two.  A couple of times I was worried my reflexes would kick in and I’d punch or kick him.  Each time the knot released and he let go, I could tell it was working but the pain got a lot more intense before it let go and felt better.

About halfway into it, he found a spot at the top of my shoulder, one of the instigators of all the trouble I’d been having.  When he went after it, it took my breath for a second.  As I remembered to breathe, I felt tears welling up in my eyes.

But they weren’t from the pain.

I was sad. And the tears welled up and dripped to the floor where I was looking through the hole in the table.

Oh the brokenness.

What.  on.  earth.

I couldn’t figure out what was going on, and then I remembered a wise doctor telling me that we carry our stories with us, even on a molecular level.

Ah.  So that’s where all the stuff has been hiding.  No wonder I couldn’t move my arm easily.  I’ve been holding onto some things.

I wasn’t sure if it was worries over future plans or the grief of my friend’s passing or the stress of spending a night on anaphylaxis watch with our Princess a few nights ago…..but I knew it was all in there.  Hiding in these little knots.  When he finished, I felt a weight had lifted.

Off my arm.  Off my soul.

Last Saturday night I sat listening to my cousin’s husband play at our favorite coffeehouse.  He shared his stories through song.  I laughed and listened and really enjoyed the evening.  He is talented and so open with the stories he shares.  It was all going really well, and then he played the song he wrote for his daughter.   The one about their connection at her birth and how he hopes he will see her as he takes his last breath.

It hit me at once all over again.  And the bandaid was ripped off, and the pain of my Daddy dying was raw and new, and I wept.

And it was good.

I don’t want to ever think about that and not feel, you know?

It was good to shed those tears.  It opened up something in me, I think.

Silly, isn’t it, what can bring us catharsis?  A release of all that is pent-up inside.  Of all that is screaming to get out.  We sometimes tell ourselves we have to pack up all of those emotions and feelings and tears and push it in a corner and keep on going.  Because we have things to do, people to see, places to be–we’ll get to it later.

Only we rarely do.  There’s no spot on a calendar for grief work or meditation, is there?

And so when we sit in a darkened theater and see a movie that moves us beyond tears, the box gets opened a little bit.  Or when we have to pull over to the side of the road because Colbie Caillat’s “Try” has us sobbing all of a sudden for some strange reason, a little more escapes.

It’s important not to stuff it all in and push it out of the way, I’m finding out.  At least for me anyway.  My arm and shoulder are begging me to keep working on taking a little bit out of that box everyday.

I don’t think it will every completely be empty.  Our hearts and souls rarely work like that.  But if I don’t stuff it down and keep sitting on it to keep the box shut like I’ve had to do on occasion with a suitcase, that’s progress.  If I can take a moment or two each day to take a little out and let it go, I will have done something.  Something cathartic.  Cleansing.

And that is a good thing.

Wishing you all a sad song on the radio just when you need it most.

Love to all.

Call Me

First of all, before I tell you this story, I have a confession to make.

We are old school.

We have a home phone.

This is NOT our home phone.  This is the home phone I grew up with.  I was thankful for the long cord that stretched just behind my bedroom door or to the bathroom where I could close the door and talk in private.  If this phone could talk.....

This is NOT our home phone. This is the home phone I grew up with. I was thankful for the long cord that stretched just behind my bedroom door or to the bathroom where I could close the door and talk in private. If this phone could talk…..

It may very well be one of those things that happens because “we’ve always had one.”  Nevertheless, we have it, and we use it.

So this morning when I finished talking on it, I asked our Princess if she would please go hang it up.

She took the portable phone from me, turned it over in her hands, and said, “Hang it up?  How am I supposed to hang this up? Where do you want me to hang it?”

The sad thing is, I think she was serious.

And then it hit me.

We now have a whole generation of children who will never have to worry about having a long enough cord to stretch so that they can have a private conversation.  They will never have to panic in the midst of dialing and have to hang up and start spinning the wheel again to dial on a rotary phone.  (I have nightmares about this.)  Nor will they ever have the satisfaction of slamming a phone down to end a call.  (Not that I would know anything about that.  Ahem.)

Wow.

I just have a hard time fathoming that they won’t be able to fathom what it’s like to have a rotary dial wall phone.

This evening I was talking about that with one of our neighborfriends.  They don’t have a home phone at their house–they just use their cell phones.  It occurred to me as we were talking, that our children, this next generation, will have a totally different phone etiquette than I was raised with.  We answered whatever call came through (this was before caller ID).  We politely asked someone to hold while we got the person they were calling for–even if it was Mama and she was cooking supper and it was a telemarketer.  (They didn’t call back again, I can assure you of that.)  We didn’t KNOW who was calling, so we answered.

Even with our home phone, with the introduction of caller ID, my children rarely answer the phone.  Only when one of them is for certain SURE of who it is will he or she answer the call.  I’ve come in from walking Miss Sophie to find out we had a call, but no one answered it.  Fascinating, really.  I can remember my siblings and me racing to answer the phone.  Except during supper.  Either we didn’t answer it, or we did the “We are eating, can I call you back?” thing.

Will it be when they enter the workforce that this generation of children will learn how to answer a phone call that more than likely isn’t for them?  To say politely, “May I ask who is calling?”  or “Hold a moment please, I will go and get him.”  Will the onslaught of cell phones, and children getting them earlier and earlier, and with texting and social media being all the rage, I do have to wonder if our children will ever learn the art of good phone conversations.

It’s something to ponder for sure.

In the meantime, in our “old school” home, I think we might have a new subject to study this next school year.  Phone etiquette.   I fear that it might soon go the way of the lost art of letter writing.

How about y’all?  Where do you see our children headed when it comes to telephone communication?

Here’s hoping it isn’t lost forever.  There’s nothing like a good phone visit to get me through a sink of dirty dishes or several loads of laundry to fold, and there’s nothing better than chatting while I sit and listen to the birds and watch the leaves bouncing in the breeze back there in my roost.  May you all have a good visit today with someone you call friend.

Love to all.

Yo Mama

Last night I heard the sound that brings me such joy, no matter what is going on around me.

The sound of Cooter laughing.  Laughing hard.

It’s contagious.

I went over and peeked at what on earth his sister had him watching on YouTube.

It was a video by Rhett and Link.  I recognized their names as folks that Aub likes to watch on YouTube.  The video was called “Yo Mama Battles.”

Oh me.  Y’all remember the “Yo Mama so…..” jokes from way back in the day?  Apparently they stuck around like a bad penny, because Aub told me today that she didn’t like those when she was in elementary school.  Those jokes made her upset.

And now she’s letting her eight year old brother watch this?

What.  On.  Earth.

And then I listened to what the video was saying.  I didn’t pick up on much until they watched it the second time because Cooter was laughing so hard and loud.

“Yo Mama is so nice I gotta say it twice…..she’s nice.  Nice.”

“Yo Mama is so wise, Yoda often texts her for advice.”  (That’s the one my little guy’s been going around repeating all day.)

It was hilarious and heartwarming at the same time.  These two guys were trying to outdo each other, complimenting the other one’s Mama.

Y’all.  How awesome would that be?  How great would it be if we could start the trend of outdoing each other in praise and genuine compliments?

I’m in.  That sounds like a much better place to live than the one where we are often pointing fingers of blame or judging another for any number of personal traits or attributes.

Just plain ol’ pure tee simple, You’re so…..

Your voice is so lovely even the birds are jealous.

You’re so talented if you went on “America’s Got Talent,” all the others would walk away because you are just that talented.

You’re so trendy there should be a hashtag in front of your name.

And so on.

Okay, maybe those are a little silly, but you get my point.

We should be scattering kindness like it’s free for the giving.

Oh wait.  It is.

Please take a couple of minutes and watch the video.  I think you will enjoy it.  (“Can I stay witchu?” laughing so hard I’m crying) And afterwards let’s make it our goal to shed some light in this world that can be quite dark at times.  Share a laugh, a word of encouragement, or offer someone a genuine but silly “You’re so…..”

We only have a limited amount of time to share unlimited kindnesses.  Let’s make the most of it.  Every day.

Love to all.

the secret of magic

the secret of magic
does not belong to the one performing
instead it is in the eye of the one who is watching
and in her heart
for if she will not believe
she will not see all there is to behold

but if she has even the tiniest bit of hope
of faith
if she can believe even just a little bit

wonderful and amazing things
will happen
right before her very eyes

 

 

 

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The Healing Power of Batman and Bandaids

It’s been a very busy weekend full of swim meet activities and birthday parties and listening to live music. While we wrapped up our Princess’ swim meet (day 2) activities yesterday, Cooter went to Mess Cat’s house to play with Shaker. He was “Guess What”ing me the whole drive home afterwards. Obviously, he had a great time.

As we were getting ready to leave Evening Prayer last night, he wasn’t feeling good. He started complaining about his stomach and his head. I couldn’t determine whether he was really hungry or nauseated. I moved us post-haste to the car and towards home, handing him a cookie and a trash can for the trip–trying to cover all of my bases. He ate the cookie and continued to moan and cry out and in general make me wonder if we would actually make it home before he threw up. Or worse.

We got home and I ushered him inside and together we sat. We camped out on the couch together until he started lounging so much that I moved him to the recliner. I gave him ginger and ginger ale and still nothing happened. Except the moaning. And the worry.

I can do that like nobody’s business.

As in if it were an Olympic sport…..
gold medalist right here.

He had bumped his head at the swim meet on Saturday. Though he’d done fine that evening and all day Sunday, I started questioning if maybe something wasn’t bad wrong. If I should take him to the Med Stop or something.

And then he asked for crackers.

Okay. Okay. That helped my feelings.

He ate a few and continued to sip on his ginger ale. We turned on the TV in the hopes of distracting him, and it did seem to lift his spirits. At one point in the show he started laughing really hard–pretty sure it was some bathroom humor. He’s eight after all.

That was when I breathed a little bit, and his big sister smiled.

“Awwww Fweetie, are you feeling better?”

When our Princess was little she called everyone Sweetie, only we heard it as “Fweetie.” She would use it especially in those tender moments, “Oh Fweetie, don’t cry, it will be okay.”  *pats back of Fweetie*

Because she would get booboos of various kinds–both real and imagined–she got a lot of bandaids when she was small. They were magical, curing all the pains and hurts and owies almost immediately. So much so that when she got a tummy ache, she thought her tummy needed a bandaid as well.

So last night when Aub asked Cooter that question, he smiled a little. Then he sighed.

“No, my tummy still hurts really bad.”

She hopped up and went into the kitchen. When she came back, she was carrying a bright yellow bandaid. “Here, Fweetie, this will make it all better.” And she put it smack dab in the middle of his little belly.

That got a laugh out of him. A good laugh.
And that was good for my worried heart.

As one by one all the others went to bed, I decided to find something that Cooter would enjoy watching since it didn’t look like either one of us would be settling in for sleep soon. I kept hoping the discomfort would ease up enough that he could go to bed, or at least sleep in the chair, but each time I thought it might happen, he’d start up again about how bad either his head or his stomach hurt.

It was then that I remembered I had recorded the old 1966 Batman movie with Adam West. I decided to give it a try. I figured it would be appropriate–cheesy maybe, but not offensive.

I am so glad I did.

From the moment the movie started, I had a different child on my hands. He was still a little puny, but he was watching and paying close attention and calling out from time to time, “What?! Does everything have to be bat something or other?”

Holy repetition, Batman, why yes it does.

As it got later, Cooter still didn’t want me to leave him alone, even just long enough to get a shower, but halfway into the movie he barely nodded when I said I was going to shower. He was entranced.

Yes, I let him stay up and watch the whole movie. Way too late. But doing just that made him ready to get in his own bed when it was over, and while he still wasn’t 100 percent, he definitely felt much better.

And this morning his little face was the first one I saw, staring me in my eyes.

“Breakfast. I need food.”

Color this Mama thankful.

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I am thankful for a beautiful weekend of unexpected twists and turns and grace abounding. I appreciate the whole family working together to make things good for all. Most of all, I am thankful for a well little guy today and for the healing power of Batman and Bandaids.

If only all ailments and woes were so easily fixed…..

Wishing you all a day with no hurts that can’t be covered by a bandaid.

Love to all.