Mama Said

there’d be days like this.  There’d be days like this, my Mama said.  (Thank you, Shirelles and others.)

Days where there are way more questions than answers.

And those questions lead to more questions.

But wait!  That’s not all…..

sit and think about this particular something, and then there are all the questions cropping up from a totally different situation in addition to what is already churning through your mind.

And it just goes downhill from there.

Today hasn’t been an awful one, not by any means.  Days that bring beautiful people across my path and ones that have me savoring the leftover memories from past days…..those can be actually quite lovely.

But the unexpected things that can crop up…..and expected, dreaded ones as well.  Those are what can turn one’s sanity all topsy turvy and toss it around like a tennis ball in the dryer.

All over the place.

It in the midst of those that I feel the most lost.  I’m the one some folks are looking to for guidance now, bless ’em.  Like my 11 year old who came in with so much anxiety, I suspect it could have been a panic attack.

It is enough to fling me straight into one right along with her.

I don’t know exactly when the shift happened.  Maybe it was when my parents were no longer here or years before when I became a parent for the first time myself.  All I know is, it can get really awkward when folks are looking to me, and I turn around looking for the one who really knows what is going on.

I don’t have the answers to all the questions.  I don’t even have any good advice to offer on the days when all the questions keep roaring through, refusing to allow for rest or peace or comfort.  All I know is, some days it’s okay to simply survive.  It’s okay to make do, to do what it takes to get by, and to take the grace offered in sleep and waking up to a new day.

I guess that’s why I’ve clicked like on every single one of the memes that proclaim that resurrection can be an everyday experience.  Yes.  That.  I need to believe in that.  That each and every day, hour if need be, we can rise from the death and doubt and find new life.

Every single time.

Some days are just like that.  And those are the ones when resurrection matters the most.

The courage, the love, the faith, the determination, and the good people around us–and we rise up and try again.  One more time.

Love to all.

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via LoveWinsMinistries.org  Go check them out.  They are doing amazing things and showing the beauty that can come from practicing resurrection.  

 

 

That thing you give others so freely

People.

This one is going to be short and sweet tonight.

 

You can only do the best you can do with what you have at the time.  

Don’t look back and question yourselves.  Don’t give yourself a hard time because, looking back, you can clearly see what you should have done.

I am putting these words on “paper” tonight because I’ve had to speak them to more than one of my sisterfriends this week.

Just as my Mama said them to me numerous times over the years.

She was all about doling out some grace, that one.

And more importantly, she was all about telling me to give myself some grace.  (And ironically, she didn’t cut me any slack or give me any grace when I wasn’t giving myself grace…..if you can follow that train of thought.)

Grace.  I know you can give it.  I’ve seen it.  I’ve been on the receiving end of it.  (Thank you for that, by the way.)

Now how about you give yourself some?

You did the best you could do at the time.

Yay, you!  Well done.

And so now, we move forward.  To tomorrow.

To do the best we can do with what we are given then.

Grace and much love to all.

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Or Maybe He’s Not Creepy…..

Today Aub and I were doing the Out and Abouts and wound up at the grocery store.  It’s very unusual for me to find myself there twice in a week, but sometimes it happens.  We were just there Wednesday, but I didn’t get enough of this and forgot to get that, so there we were.

Saturday.

At the grocery store.

I promised myself I wouldn’t do this again.

Still.  There we were. Circling the parking lot.  This time I knew I was circling–looking for a parking spot that wasn’t way on the other side of the gas station.  I am a picky parker, especially at the grocery store.  I admit it.  I like to park very close or–yay–right next to the buggy corral.

As we headed up to the prime spot next to a corral, Aub pointed out the guy pushing one of those race car buggies made especially for shoppers with small children.  “Ewwwww, look, that guy is pushing a child’s cart, and he’s all by himself!  What is that?  Is he planning on picking up one or two inside?  That’s creepy as mess.”

I took in the situation as I eyeballed my parking space and made sure no one else was gunning for it.  (I can multi-task like that sometimes.)  The guy was fairly young, wearing a coat, and sure enough, he was pushing a cart for children with no children in sight.  That was when I caught a glimpse of something underneath his jacket.

A name tag.  He worked at the grocery store and was commandeering shopping carts from the parking lot.

Well, now, that makes a whole lot of sense.

Bless my girl, it was one of those moments where we laughed a lot longer than anyone else would have, and it was funny to us.  But all kidding aside, we all do this at times, don’t we?  We see something without having all the facts and looking at it with face value, we tend to pathologize it.  Point out how messed up it all is.

When in fact, it very well could be something else entirely.

Like maybe the clothes someone’s wearing out to the Mart isn’t an indication they’re crazy or broke or really messed up.  Maybe they’re grieving or their washer is broken or they haven’t slept in days because of something they are going through.

Maybe it’s because of something not…..very creepy.

Just a thought.

Life is hard, and it is easy to jump the gun and make quick judgments.  That’s called survival, right?  Tonight I’m thankful for those times when we can take time to pause and reassess…..

and discover it’s really not creepy after all.

Love to all.

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By Jim (http://www.flickr.com/photos/alphageek/121953651) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

P.S.  I’m really proud of my Aub though. She’s always a good advocate for those who need it most, and children who might be picked up by creepy people are definitely in that category.  Love you, Aub.  Good looking out.  ❤

 

Cam, Cooter, and the Reason I’m a Fan

It all started when we found out the Broncos were going to the Super Bowl.

Or maybe it started last fall when the boys on the street started playing front yard football.  It looks a lot like wrestling but there’s a football involved, so they call it football.

They talk a lot of smack about different teams, too, so somewhere along the line–I’m not really sure when or how–my baby boy became a Carolina Panthers/Cam Newton fan.

…..you try to raise em right…..

See, I can smack talk with the best of them.

Last week at our dental appointments, my hygienist friend told Cooter a funny story involving Cam Newton and someone who was a huge Alabama fan.  Cooter started talking about Cam even more.  His birthday is this week, so I thought it would be fun to get him a t-shirt/jersey.  Come to find out there was no such thing anywhere in our town.  Each store told me that Corporate hadn’t sent them anything.  Well, they just missed out on a huge business opportunity, let me tell you.

Well a shirt sale anyway.

One $2.97 teal blue shirt and a jersey iron-on number and a printable iron-on sheet later, and we were set.  I found out that Cam Newton’s jersey number is 1, and we made it happen.  I might not be a Panthers fan, but I am a Cooter fan, and I like to make him smile.

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Aub and I stayed up late Saturday night creating the shirt, and Cooter was quite happy with it on Sunday.  We had a good day, teasing each other back and forth–him in his Cam Newton shirt and me in the Manning jersey the Fella got me a couple of years back.

The game was fun for me, not so much for my little heartbroken guy which made it not so fun for me in the end.  The outcome made me happy in the moment, but seeing my son heartbroken and melting down–I would have done anything to change that.  That kind of thing stays with you.

Today there has been all kinds of drama on social media about an interview Cam Newton gave after the game.  People have pointed fingers and said what a bad sport and example he is for his young fans.  A bad sport.

Sigh.

Who does that?  Who sticks a microphone in front of someone whose heart has just been broken?  Whose dream has been crushed?  Who gave it his all and it still wasn’t enough?  WHO EVEN WANTS TO SEE SUCH AN INTERVIEW?

Please, people.

I watched the little clip of him walking out.  The first thing that came to mind was my Mama’s words she said to us over and over through the years:

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

The truth of the matter is that I teach my children to do exactly what Cam did.  If you can’t say something kind–and I do not fault Cam Newton for not having any “It was an honor just being nominated” words–then WALK AWAY.  Don’t let it escalate to where you are really out of control.

Just a little while ago, I saw a story that apparently a Broncos player was being interviewed within earshot of Cam Newton, and Cam overheard the things he was saying disparaging the Panthers.

Y’all, my Mama said…..

I would’ve walked away too.

And I’m a Manning fan.

But grace abounds.  He’s young, his heart was broken, dreams dashed, and he had believed in himself and his team.  Let’s cut him some slack.

To my children if you are reading this–especially Cooter who is probably going to hear some of the folks trashing Cam Newton:

He did the right thing.  Instead of blowing up, yelling, throwing things, fussing and saying things he might regret later, he WALKED AWAY.  And that is okay.  Do that.  When things are more than you can handle, walk away and get help.  

No one is perfect.  Would it have made a lovely story if he’d been very cordial and laughing on this major loss in his career?  If he’d been singing the praises of the Broncos and been full of the “we’ll get ’em next year” bravado?

Maybe.

But two thoughts.

First, that would not have been real.  Or authentic.  I would have called Face Mask on him.  Because no way that would have been anything other than putting on a front to cover up all the pain and hurt.  He’s a football player, and a good one at that, but he’s not a trained orator, and to expect him to be otherwise is very unfair and unrealistic.

Second, it’s a story we wouldn’t have heard, because the media loves drama.  They wouldn’t have commented much on a congenial Cam Newton, because that’s not how they roll.  Or they would have because he’s derned if he does, derned if he doesn’t.  It’s what they thrive on.

And we encourage it by buying in to the drama and making all the negative comments.

These little people we love, they aren’t just watching Cam Newton and his reaction.  They’re also watching us and ours.

Let’s show them what grace and love really look like.

Thanks for listening.  And Peyton, if you’re reading, congratulations.  I’m happy for you.  And Cam, I’m happy for you, too.  You have a good career ahead of you, and you didn’t show out in the face of adversity.  You walked away from creating a scene and from letting all that mixed up, pent up emotion out in a really bad way.  Well done.  Thanks for keeping your cool, because, well, Cooter’s a fan.

And I think I am too.

Love to all.

 

 

Two for the Price of One

When the unexpected words came out of her mouth, I almost wept.

Oh, the grace.

I was so thankful for it, and I thought to myself, “I’m not the only one.  I wonder if there’s more of us out there.”

The bad ones.  The parents who didn’t.

Complete.  A.  Baby.  Book.

Last night though, after 19 years of guilt, I was freed.

It felt so good.

Last night my dear friend of many, many years, my oldest child and I went to hear Theresa Caputo speak.  She has a dynamic personality and is an engaging speaker.  As she was talking to one of the audience members about a lock of hair, she said, “You know, like in a baby book maybe.”

Then she turned to the side and with her dry wit said, “I didn’t do baby books for my kids.  I was a little busy.”

I laughed out loud while my soul was fist pumping, “Yes!”  Oh me, what a relief it was to hear that.  I’m not the only one.

And yes, I remember being a little busy too. Which is why there exists only one scrapbook that covers about six months (from 1 year to 18 months I think) of my oldest’s life.  It took me a while to put it together too.

Ah.  Well.

I am not knocking the parents who are diligent and keep a wonderful record of their child’s first and big moments.  My hat is off to you.  You are awesome.

It’s just that I never could get it together and make it happen.  (I’m sorry, my little people.)

But I did try my best to make the moments we had together scrapbook/baby book worthy.

I hope that counts for something.

Tonight I’m thankful for a beautiful evening with two people I love very much.  I give thanks for a wonderful speaker from whom love and peace and laughter and grace exude.  Most of all, I’m thankful that through Teresa’s confession I found grace.

I hope she knows the good she does.

I wonder how many of us have had that same opportunity to be honest about something in our lives that would give relief to another if only they knew.

Be truthful.  Learn from it.  But when you tell your story, you offer someone else the opportunity to learn from it as well.  So if you have the chance to share, do.

Two learning for the price of one experience.

I love a bargain.

Go love on someone today, and give them the grace you can easily give and they so need.  Share your truth.

Love to all.

What I Was Wearing…..and the Why

The night my Mama died, it was after midnight before we left the hospital.  My sister Mess Cat and my oldest Aub and I headed back to my Mama’s house since it was so late.  We were exhausted, and despite the fact that there were at least three beds (two doubles) in the house, we all three piled up on the two couches in the big room and tried to get some rest.

The only clothes I had with me were the hospital-filthy ones I was wearing.  Perhaps you know the ones–those that you can’t wait to get out of and drop to the floor and only touch again with two fingers to drop into a washer for a long soak and washing.  I also had a pair of clean knit pants that I had thrown in a bag when I planned on spending the night with Mama at the hospital–purely for comfort’s sake.  When I got up the next morning and began to get ready for the day of meetings with the funeral home, florist, and many others, I threw on the knit pants and grabbed a sweatshirt I’d gotten for Mama at the GW Boutique.  It wasn’t lovely, but I was clothed, and that was a far cry better than I felt like I could do on the inside.

We went and did what had to be done.  Driving around in pouring down rain, putting the pieces together to honor Mama and her life as best we could.  It was a hard day.

But here’s the thing I’ve been thinking about lately.

I was out.  In public.  In those knit pants and a sweatshirt.  An Eeyore sweatshirt.

It wasn’t a pretty sight y’all, I can promise you that.

I remember my one friend we saw, smiling and saying, not unkindly, she’d never seen me when I wasn’t in my jeans.  And that is probably the truth. My jeans are pretty much the staple of my wardrobe.  Everything goes with them, and they’re comfortable (if not always fashionable–as my Fella says, “Comfort is king”).

Occasionally a picture comes across my feed on social media where someone (sometimes it’s a person I know and sometimes not) has taken a picture of a person out “in public” who is dressed in a unique way. Or their look is unusual for one reason or another.  And someone chooses to take a picture and point out just how unusual the person is.

Okay, I’m just going to call it what it is.  They’re posting it to make fun of that person in the picture.

And it’s not just on social media.  There’s a whole website devoted to the shoppers of a certain Mart, where photos of folks who come “as they are” have been photographed and put out there for all to see.

Oh me.

If someone took a picture of me the day after my Mama died, I could have made one of those pages or I could have been an interesting Facebook post for someone.  I am sure my fashion choices (oh did I mention the main color of the outfit was grey, but the only shoes I had were camel colored suede?) made some folks’ heads turn.  But the thing is, there was a reason why.

And I would wager a bet that there usually is in most cases.

I’m not innocent of this myself.  I point out interesting folks.  But I have to draw the line at taking a picture and poking fun.  I just don’t see how that is serving any purpose other than giving the darkness and brokenness in our world a more solid foothold.

I have to wonder why this makes folks feel good about themselves or why it’s considered entertaining.

Tonight I’m thankful for this memory and for the reminder to be on watch for my own pointing fingers.  People are people, and most are doing the best they can with what they have.  Who am I to point out their mismatched clothes, their peekaboo underwear, their fascinating hairstyles, or anything else for that matter?

We’re all in this together.  I need to remember that, and that there’s always more to the story than what meets the eye.

May we all begin to truly understand that.

Love to all.

 

Real

Every now and then a thought comes to mind, and something sitting beside it whispers, “Yeah, move this one to the head of the line.  This one needs sharing now.”

Today has been one of those times.  The thought that has been nudging me for a couple of days insists on being shared.

And heard.

So here goes.

What you see here is only a snapshot out of the thousands that are taken.  What you see here is only a sliver of all that is.

What you see here is not representative of all that I live.

This is accurate about my blog, about our Facebook posts, and about what we tweet or pin or post on instagram.

Each of them just a blip of what goes on, and then it is only what any one of us is comfortable showing.

There’s so much more that isn’t.

 

I’ve been thinking about this in the context of my Daddy telling me many times, “You compare, you lose.”

And you know why?

Because we don’t know.  We don’t know what all someone else is going through.  We don’t know what they don’t post about, what goes on in their home when they aren’t on Facebook or taking pictures to share later.  We.  Don’t.  Know.

My life is good.  I’m very, very fortunate to have what I need and so much more.

But what I don’t write about sometimes are the really messy times.  The times I ugly cry or worse, ugly yell.  The times I sit in traffic and mutter (mostly) under my breath about the crazy drivers around me.  The projects I start and then give up on.  The projects I never start.  Mount Washmore piled up on Cap’s couch waiting for my attention.  How high the sink of dirty dishes gets before it’s on my nerves enough for me to get in there to remedy the situation.  How sometimes my children have to call my name more than once to get my attention.  The OCD that makes even me a little crazy.  The tears I cry over things that happen because of decisions I made and the things that happen that I couldn’t prevent.  The arguments over clean rooms, messy rooms, not playing at the house around the corner, showing each other respect, what’s for supper, whose turn it is to do (fill in the blank here) first, lights not turned off, toilets not flushed, dirty clothes on the floor, and so much more that my head is spinning (and not from the vertigo, I don’t think, it seems a little better today).

Here’s the thing.

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I’m real.  I’m human.

We all are.

And while this isn’t an excuse for poor behavior, it does mean that I’m not perfect.  None of us are really.  Except for well, maybe, perfectly broken.  That one could work.

And it’s in that brokenness that I find myself.  The real-est me.  The one who has to dig deep and try harder.

And that’s when my soul grows.

Someone up in this brain of mine thought we might all need to hear that.

We’re all messy, broken, hurting, hurters, loving, loved, and beautiful.

So next time someone’s story or comment or picture or even their presence right in front of you causes you to question where you are, what you are worth, why you are even here, know that this is only a glimpse–a glimpse they are letting you see, and that’s it.

There’s so much more than what meets the eye, as we are standing on the outside looking in through the only open curtain.

Tonight I’m thankful for a story shared by a guest speaker at Evening Prayer tonight.  She has quite the presence–tall, lovely, excellent speaker, and she exudes a peace and tranquility that is a rare treat to find in a person.  She told the story of shopping and having to stand at a counter for twenty minutes before being addressed at all.  She was frustrated.  Well, of course, right?  In that moment I saw her as human and broken just like me.  I saw myself mirrored in her eyes, and I realized that the grace I offered her in the “well of course you were frustrated,” I could also offer myself, because we are not all that different.

I love how she finished her story.  She had a decision to make.  To be THAT person–complaining and letting the world know about her much-justified frustrations or to be THAT person who is patient and kind and handles it with grace.

We all have that choice, don’t we?  To be frustrated that we’re not having the kind of awesome day that Jocelyn just posted about, that Twila got a new car and we’re still driving our old one that breaks down every 52.5 miles.  That Junior got a promotion with a huge bonus and we can barely eke by on what we’re making now, no raise in sight.

We have a choice.  We can be frustrated and feel less than–

or we can know that these are just glimpses into the lives of folks whose whole stories we really don’t know.

And we can be okay with who and where we are.  And be THAT person.

The one who doesn’t compare, the one who wins, the one who is content with where she/he is and is all in.

Wishing you all a day full of learning everyone else is just as REAL as you are.

Love to all.