Important Update: My Toes Are Not Cold

Today was filled with wonderful moments and stressful ones.

Which really isn’t that different than any other day I suppose.

Except that today the things that brought me joy were the simple ones I often lose sight of in my day to dailies–a shared laugh, the perfect color of blue-green, the smiles of friends reflected in the light.  And the things that brought me stress were things that are also nearly always present–the ever growing dust bunny population, the inside of my pantry, my spider problem (okay, to be honest, even ONE is a problem, but yes, this is a thing), and the lack of action by my people the first time I ask them to do something.

I got to the end of the evening, having just sat down here to write, and I noticed Miss Sophie panting.  She ran around and had the best time outside this evening, and she just enticed two of us to play her twisted game of Fetch.  She’s worn out, but I also realized she is probably warm.

Warm.

In that moment, I did a quick assessment and realized, my toes aren’t cold.

My toes are NOT cold.

Well, hallelujah and color me ecstatic!

While some may claim we’ve had a mild winter or that I’m a wimp, I still have to say that my toes have been cold for months.  I’VE been cold for months.

And, no offense to Winter or anything, I’m over it.

Tonight in the hustle and chaos that comes with even the best of things, I had slipped in and out of my sandals several times, and it didn’t fully register with me.

Y’ALL, I WORE SANDALS FOR THE FIRST TIME AGAIN TODAY.

And this wasn’t the “flip flops are the only thing by the door, I’m only running out to the car, surely my toes won’t fall off frozen in those three minutes” kind of wearing sandals.  This was no kidding, this is the attire of choice AND weather appropriate.

WEATHER APPROPRIATE.  I don’t know if Spring is really here, since my Granny always warned about the Easter Cold Snap and we have two more weeks until Easter, but what I can tell you is TODAY WAS GLORIOUS.

And yet, in the midst of it, I was totally oblivious to my toes’ joy.  I wasn’t fully appreciating that this was what they’d been waiting on for months, until I sat down and reflected on it tonight.

 

Y’all.  We wait on something.  We hope for something.  We think on it and, in the middle of a cold season, we dream of what it might be like for that thing to BE.  And then one day it is, and so much is going on, we have a hard time recognizing it and really getting that, WE MADE IT.  All the good has come that we dreamt of, and we are so distracted, it just slides right in there as our reality and we don’t even notice it or fully appreciate it at first.

Here’s to the moments of realizing the joy of being warm, of finding light, of wishes and hopes becoming reality.  Here’s to all of us who dream in winter of longer days and laughter and love and toes that aren’t cold.  And here’s to those realities that just slip in the back door and surprise us so much we laugh out loud and wiggle our happy toes.

Love to all.

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Happy toes.  Unpainted, yes.  But Happy.

 

bad news

so it turns out
I really can’t handle
any more bad news

I’ve decided that
based on the scientific fact
that I am sitting here
and everything in my head
resembles a ticker tape
running below the news reports

and we know nothing good
ever winds up there

so no more bad news

okay?

instead can we sit on the porch
and watch the breeze tickle the leaves
that are left after fall’s brigade came through
can we laugh at the children as they
do their best to imitate the big folks
while they play football or ride bikes
and just seem so free

can we pick up a brush and
splash the world with color
brights and lights and darks
and bring them together in one big
beautiful canvas that brightens
and lights up for miles around

can we curl up with a book
one that is light and witty
and whose characters find themselves
in the most unlikely of situations
but always work to find the happy ending
that is surely out there
if one
just holds on
long enough

can we sing at the top of our lungs
and dance in circles around the room
as the dog barks and the children giggle
and finally join in
when that certain song comes on that lifts
everyone’s spirits
every single time

can we measure and mix
and bake
and add all the sprinkles
to the cupcakes that make
everyday a celebration
eating them together in four bites
and downing them with the sweetest tasting water
ice cold and refreshing
laughter and cupcake wrappers
the remains of an afternoon well spent

so yes, just for today,
could we please let go of the what if’s
and what are’s
and what never will be’s
that drag my soul through the muck
so thick
that I can hardly stand up after

can we please turn off the news
and sit together
and tell the good stories
the ones that bring us all a little closer
and make us all smile

for today, it turns out,
I can’t handle
any more
bad news

tomorrow will be soon enough

Pinkcupcakesprinkles2005

By Hello Darlin at http://www.flickr.com/photos/hellonheels/ via Wikimedia Commons

love, lightning bugs, laughter, and light

Tonight I am thankful for the freedom to sit back and enjoy time with family

watching littles chasing lightning bugs–nature’s fireworks show, and

seeing how they catch them, rushing over to show me with gentle amazement,

and then, just as gently,

they let them go

their sweet faces reflecting the goodbye flicker of light

from the tail of the ascending fairy-like bug

For laughter in the circle of stories and joy

in the shared memories

of those not there

For food that is plentiful and oh so good

and for the honor of joining in the simple act of

the washing, drying, and putting away,

elbow to elbow, more shared moments to tuck away

for when the winter comes

For bare feet and the smell of citronella

For children, big and small, swinging on a tire,

hung on the tree planted when I was only a teen

and sat under its stick-like shadow, dreaming dreams

and writing, even then

Tonight I give thanks for all of these things,

for flickering lights of fireworks in the yard where I grew up

and continue to grow

For the voices and sighs of my children who will

continue to make their own memories there,

as they watched fireworks sparkling and bright

THANKFUL

JOYFUL

PEACEFUL

In this world where children are kidnapped simply for wanting to learn

and parents don’t love the ones trusted to them as they should

Where animals are treated unkindly

and the stories of folks are filled with pain and brokenness

and darkness

Tonight I give thanks for the light–the lights,

and for a chance to get up again tomorrow,

another day to live and love and scatter rays of freedom

for all

with each step and in all that I do

For until we are all free

the lights are not bright enough

to show the ones who follow the way

20140704-230949-83389345.jpg

 

Love to all–

#bethefeather

 

Which You are You?

Social Media has been overrun.  At least three times a day I see a related post.  Thanks to sites like Buzzfeed and Zimbio, all of us who are lost can get one step closer to finding ourselves by taking a quiz and finding out such soul-shaping information about ourselves like which Beatle we are, which character on Parks and Recreation we would be, and which Disney Villain we are most like.  The past couple of days has revealed a “Which Food Are You?” quiz–I’m seeing a lot of cheeses out there.  People don’t seem to be  too happy about that.   I’ve come across which breed of dog are you, and rumor has it there is a “Which Girl Scout Cookie Are You?”  I’m thinking my good friend and Girl Scout mom could find a way to use that for marketing purposes.  Just an idea.

It’s fascinating, isn’t it?  Aub and Mess Cat and I spent a little while on a lazy Sunday afternoon with Aub clicking through quizzes and asking us questions.  It never failed.  My answers always led to the most mellow of characters or the ones you barely remember.  I don’t know why.  Ahem.  I just shook my head and swore off any more quizzes.  When you get the one Disney villain that gave your Mama nightmares as a child, it’s time to stop the game.  (The Queen of Hearts from “Alice in Wonderland.”  I don’t even know, y’all.)

Why are so we intrigued by finding our identity in fictional characters or animals or food?  There are even quizzes that pinpoint where you should live.  I do not have time for that one.  Some days I barely find the resolve and wherewithal to leave my house–I certainly am not going to be able to move to a different state, based on a quiz telling me I don’t belong in Georgia.  (Which are fighting words, by the way.)

I think we are always looking for connections.  Links to others, a string that joins us, hands to hold–so we are not alone.  If I’m like “Hey, I’m a chocolate chip shortbread” and you say, “Hey me too,” then we are connected and I am not alone.  If the synopsis of said cookie says I’m a really, really superb human being, and you nod and say “It’s true, so true” well, then bam! Validation right there.  Thank you very much.

Then there are the quizzes where I get someone or something I don’t think is accurate.  (Or wish it wasn’t most likely.)  Guaranteed I’m gonna retake that thing.  And hope for a different answer.  It’s madness, isn’t it?  Who am I–but tell me who I want to hear, not who you are really programmed to link me to.

Ahem.

We are always seeking more information.

About ourselves.

But from on-line quizzes?

I don’t know why, but that feels a little sad to me.

I know many of these quizzes are just for fun.  I’ve taken a few just for kicks.  But down deep, I wonder if it isn’t symbolic of us looking for ourselves in all the wrong places, to paraphrase Johnny Lee’s song.  We are taking quizzes, and haven’t we been doing this for years?  What are you on the Enneagram?  What season are you?  What color is your best?  Who is your ideal mate? Remember the INFJ/ESTP personality tests? So many questions, all leading up to the one answer we are seeking.

Who am I?

The truth is I have found out more about myself, my authentic and true being, on a long walk on a dirt road.  Mama used to have mowed paths out back at Blackberry Flats, and walking those I dreamed, I sang, I cried, I talked to God, and I talked to myself.  And I came away with a little clearer sense of who I am and who I want to be.  And peace.  When I was at Wesleyan we had some great places to walk where I could clear the cobwebs in my brain.  Sometimes with a friend, but often alone, walking off with questions and returning with one or two answered.  One of the best days of clarity and peace and feeling in touch with ME came when I was sitting on the swing out by the pond at my alma mater on a sunny spring day with a notebook and a pencil.  Just me and the geese.  And quiet.

I’ve lost touch with that way of seeking answers, of reaching inside myself and coming back up in touch and at peace with my life. Or with a game plan to get to that point.  I’ve not found a place to walk and wander and wonder.  To shut out the noise and messages and commercial interruptions in my life.  And just be.  Instead I’ve let life wrap me up in busy-ness and day to dailies.  The quizzes are fun…..and funny.  I am curious going into the quiz, but truthfully, I know what I’d like the result to be.  Most of the time I find myself left with a lingering sense of “Do what?” or “How is that even possible?” with only an occasional “Nailed it.  Yes!”  When it comes to really knowing who I am though, I’m still left with a sense of longing.

Do we ever really get it?  Do we ever really fully know WHO we are or figure out exactly what we are supposed to be doing?  One of Mama’s favorite shows was “The Greatest American Hero,” about a guy who was given a superhero cape but no instruction manual.  Or did he lose it?  Regardless, he had no directions.  Mama found that very ironic and funny.  We are put down here to live our lives, to build and nurture relationships, and to do the best we can with what we have.  No instruction manual.  And while it’s funny and a great Facebook post or conversation starter to know that I am Jerry from “Parks and Rec” or a number 2 with a 1 wing on the Enneagram or a Pug, none of that is going to bring me peace or help me look in the mirror tomorrow morning.  None of these results are going to help ME keep becoming ME.

Will I take another of these quizzes?  I’m not promising anything.  (After all, no joke, as I was writing this another one popped up–“Which one of Jesus’ disciples are you?” NO WAY am I touching that one!) But what I do know is that this is the next quiz I will be taking–

Where is the closest and quietest dirt road to walk on around here?

It’s time I go out and do some “wondering” around again.

I’ve been missing me lately.  So I’m packing up the 2, the pug, Jerry, INFP, Fall, Lumiere and Cogsworth, and chocolate shortbread–the whole lot of them–and we’re all going to have some time together with ME.  It’s time we all got together again.  And just be.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In case you haven’t been exposed to the world of these quizzes, here are some links:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/quiz

http://www.zimbio.com/quiz

for the INTJ/ESFP quiz:  http://www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test

for the Enneagram quiz:  http://www.enneagramquiz.com/

Just promise me you’ll take a good long walk or soak in the tub or something just you yourself afterwards.  Don’t let them mess with your mind or define you.  Because they will try–they’re crafty like that.  And one quiz leads to ten.  Not that I know this personally or anything.  Ahem.

Wanted: A Grateful Heart and a Satisfied Soul

This afternoon after our Sister Circle was over at Daybreak, I saw my friend Mr. B sitting in one of the comfortable chairs in the gathering area.  He waved me over.  I was glad to see him.  He had heart surgery before Christmas and wasn’t able to get his medicine filled until January 1.  (Oh the things we take for granted.)  He smiled his wonderful smile and asked about my Fella.  They became good friends when the Sunday night suppers were being served each week.

The last time I saw him he was staying at one of the overnight shelters.  I asked him how he was doing, and he said he was still staying there.

“I’m okay, though.  I don’t mind it at all.  You know, I was thinking about this the other day.  You know how when Jesus was here?  Walking around on this earth?”

“Yessir.”  I nodded.

“Well, think about this.  Everything around him was His, belonged to Him.  EveryONE around him belonged to Him really.  But the Son of Man had no—”

“place to lay his head.”  We finished together.

We both nodded.

Mr. B continued.  “So then, who am I to want stuff?  When God’s son Jesus didn’t even have anything to his name, why should I spend my life wanting stuff?  Why shouldn’t I be okay where I am?”

Preach.

It was more than a good sermon.  What he didn’t realize was he was calling me out.  Me, who does love her GW Boutique bargains and who spends way too much energy mooning over pretty scarves and cool handmade jewelry and things I have no real need for.  Who has a hard time letting go of “stuff” that has a story behind it.  I stood there looking him in his precious face and thinking of how I have failed and how much I want to have the heart this man has.  A heart not weighted down by stuff.

It was a surreal afternoon.  When some of my friends who live in their “camp” close by asked what the weather is expected to do the next few days, I looked it up on the Weather Channel App.  My heart sank as they groaned at the lows the next couple of nights.  As we said goodbye, we waved once more, and then headed across town.

But it might as well have been to another world.  So much of my life is filled with this grotesque contrast between the world of the “haves and the have nots.”  I found myself sitting in a lovely office with amazing chairs listening to someone who knows how to handle finances and all of that “stuff.”  As we visited, the word “stuff” came up.  He laughed and asked if we had heard George Carlin talk about “stuff.”  I have.  This comedian described our houses as piles of stuff with tops on them.  That we have to lock so no one will come in and get our “stuff.”  And when we run out of space for our “stuff,” we have to buy a bigger place to hold our “stuff.”  The funniest part to me is when he mentions that there is a whole industry devoted to taking care of our “stuff.”  *sigh*  Funny but sad.  Because it’s true.

Tonight I’m thankful for a friend who knows what it is like to be satisfied where he is.  He is not wanting more stuff.  I want his focus and faith and heart.  And I want to share it with my children.  Christmas is not even a month gone, and I’ve already heard a want or two.   I am ashamed to share that.  It breaks my heart.  Did they learn that from me?

I want to raise children who are thankful and satisfied–to be adults who are thankful and satisfied…..and not always wanting “the next big thing” or “more stuff.”  I could blame it on the commercial and advertising we are exposed to, but in reality, I know it’s not completely their fault. I need to set an example of a grateful heart and a satisfied soul.  Like my parents did before me.  Live simply within my means and be thankful and take care of what I do have.  That’s what I want for my children as well.

Tonight I am thankful for those around me who show me what it’s like to be satisfied, and I’m thankful for the stuff I do have…..but I really want to let go of the wants and focus on the good of where I am right now.  Wherever that might be.

 

Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head. Luke 9:58 NIV

Skype and Indoor Plumbing…..What will be the next big thing?

My cell phone sounded with a tone I don’t remember hearing before.  I pulled it out from under the pillow on the couch where we were all hanging out, watching the latest cooking competition show.

It was a notification.  A Skype message from one of my near and dear who has been in Asia.  She’s headed home.  Finally.  Whoo hoo!

I was trying to ascertain what time she’d be getting on the plane but the difference between her time/my time/Seattle time was confusing us.  Next thing I knew, my phone indicated a call was coming through.  On Skype.  Very cool.  It was she.

Giving thanks for the technology of Skype that lets me hear a voice I miss and know that she's okay

Giving thanks for the technology of Skype that lets me hear a voice I miss and know that she’s okay

“Hey,” I heard her voice.  All the way, thirteen hours ahead of us, she was talking to me from her hotel room. I could hear her zipping her suitcase and the television playing in the background.

“Can you hear me okay?” she asked.

I laughed.  “You won’t believe this,” I told her.  “I can hear you better with you a half a world away than I can when you are in your house a half hour away.”

Unbelievable.  I mean, seriously, I’ve never heard a phone call so clear.  It was like she was in the room with us.

Except of course she wasn’t.  Because if she were here, we probably wouldn’t have paused the show for her.

Just kidding.

After we hung up with promises of talking when all the travelling is over and done, I was thinking about this crazy and amazing world.  We can communicate almost instantly with people who are thousands and thousands of miles away.  Clearly.  Without saying “over” after we finish speaking.  We can text our friends in Germany and overnight packages just about anywhere in this country.  We can share our thoughts, feelings, gripes, triumphs, and goofy photos instantly–with just the touch of a button.

A. MAZ.  ING.

It reminds me of a story of Daddy driving home from somewhere, I can’t recall from where.  My brother, among others, was in the car with him.  This was probably 25 years ago.  Daddy was looking over his glasses (I’m feeling you these days, Daddy) and then back through the lenses, his head moving just so as he changed his view.  Bubba made a comment, something like, “Daddy, what are you doing, looking over your glasses like that?  It don’t seem natural.”

Daddy almost stopped the car.  “Boy, we are travelling through space in a vehicle, all of us together, at 45 miles per hour.  What part of THAT seems natural to you?”

I laughed and laughed.

I get what he was saying.  Things are advancing at such a rapid speed that as soon as you purchase or learn the latest technology, it is on its way to being obsolete.  And we take things that amazed our grandparents and great-grandparents, like riding in a vehicle on the interstate, telephones without party lines, and indoor plumbing, for granted.

Tonight I’m thankful for the technology that let me speak to someone I love and know that she’s okay.  At the same time, I’m thankful that the littles and I are learning about life in the New World, where you mended your socks and pants that had holes, you fixed what was broken, there was no grocery store to run to when you were out of cornmeal, and the evening’s pre-bedtime entertainment was storytelling while knitting by a fire.  It is a good way to remember that what we have hasn’t always been, and it reminds us to appreciate what we do have.

Wonder what the proverbial “they” will come up with next…..