Throwing Down Those Nets

Tonight at Evening Prayer, the story from the Good Book* where folks were asked to throw down their nets and follow was read.

And discussed.

While we were listening, the thought came to my mind–

What am I supposed to be throwing down “my nets” and doing?  

What?!

That’s a hard question.  I really wish I wouldn’t ask me things like that.

It is rare that I can throw down what I am in the middle of doing now and answer a question or need right away.

It’s usually–“Okay, hang on” or “Okay, in a minute. Let me get to a stopping point.”

Yeah, I don’t think that was the answer given in the story from the Good Book.

I think they just threw down their nets, were open to change, and went.

And while I realize that it might be a little unrealistic to think of doing that right now, I wonder–

what could make me stop what I am doing and GO?

Move?

Act?

Grow?

Oh, not as in leaving this life I lead, but instead, what could make me change my priorities?

What would I make myself interruptible for?

What could make me give up some of my creature comforts and take action that will make a difference in the world?

What can I give my heart and my all to?

I don’t know, but as we turn the pages of the beginning of this new year, I’m aiming to find out.

I want to throw down my nets and go and see.  And do.

And change the world for the better.

Even if that just means changing the path I’m on.   Sometimes slowing down and listening can mean a change for the better too, I think.

Change is hard, and I’m genetically predisposed not to take to it very well either.

Wishing you all a reason to throw down your nets and good people to go and see and do with.

Love to all.

 

*John 1:39-50

Mark 1:16-20

Beep Beep Boop

So as seems to keep happening in this world, at least in my world, things keep changing.

I mean, I just found out that “Mystery Science Theater 3000” is still out there, only the newer ones are different.

Well, that’s disappointing.

And don’t even get me started on when Steve left “Blues Clues.”  I grieved y’all.  And this is not a word I take lightly.  (I mean no offense to his cousin Joe, I just really don’t like change.  And I really did like Steve.)

Recently WordPress, this site right here where I sit and visit with y’all each night, changed their format.  I didn’t even know what to do with that.  After a night or two of trying to maneuver it, I was so relieved to see a window pop up that offered me the option of reverting back to the “classic” mode.

Ah yes, please and thank you.

And so each night when prompted, I opt for the classic mode.

The only thing I really like about the “new” version is this screen right here:

IMG_4298-0

This cracks me up.  It pops up while I wait to be redirected to the screen for my “new post.”  I even find myself sitting here, giggling, making the sound over and over–beep beep boop, beep beep boop, as the three lights alternate movement.

Beep beep boop.

Beep beep boop.

Waiting.

On the next screen.

Or the next thing.

In limbo.

Waiting.

I feel like that’s where I am on my journey right now.

Right in the middle of beep beep boop.

Limbo lower now.

Sorry, my brain took off without me there for a minute.

That whole waiting, waiting for the destination, for direction, for a path.

That’s where I live right now.  Only I have moments and days and weeks where it’s not as entertaining living it as it is seeing those words blip across my screen.

Beep beep boop.

I live with the hope that one day the screen of my daytodailies, of this journey, will change and I will see clearly where I’m heading–where I’m supposed to be heading.

Until then, I suppose I’ll choose to be entertained, and maybe I’ll use my waiting time to go read a book.  Or unload the dishwasher.

Or–I might need a nap.

Love to all.

 

Keeping the Creases

I finally got around to unpacking the kitchen box from my Mama’s that I had here.  Mess Cat did a beautiful job of packing it.  Everything was safe and sound, wrapped in Mama’s cloth napkins and placemats.

For years Mama used thin cloth napkins folded into a square to catch the sweat from her and Daddy’s drinking glasses, thus preventing sweat rings on the table, the desk, or her side table in the living room.

Mama's cloth napkins turned into coasters.....some of these have been around a very long time.

Mama’s cloth napkins turned into coasters…..some of these have been around a very long time.

As I was folding Mt. Washmore today, I came to her napkins.  It was amazing.  Some of them, after so many years of being folded in just the same way, even after being machine washed and dried, held their creases and were almost perfectly folded even after being soaked and tossed and thrown around under extreme heat.

Wow.

Sometimes we are like that, right?  Something is so ingrained in us after years and years of doing things the same way, that no matter the pressure, the hard times, we’re still going to do them exactly the same.

And I think sometimes that’s a good thing.  To be strong and consistent and hold our own in the face of adversity.  Of loss, pain, or grief.

But sometimes maybe it’s not.

Sometimes maybe we should let some of the things we go through reshape us–maybe we shouldn’t fight the change so hard.

A very wise therapist I know once talked about a furrowed field.  All the rows and lines, all nice and orderly, freshly plowed, ready for things to grow.  But when a storm hits, the field goes back to how it was before the furrowing.  When adversity comes along, it returns to its old patterns, its old way of being.

His point was we can think we are changed, ready for new growth, but when something hard happens, we tend to go back to our old ways of coping, of handling it.

And sometimes that is not healthy.

Tonight I’m thankful for some things that never change, like my Mama’s cloth coasters.  And their creases.  And I’m thankful for some of the things that do change.  Things that have me stepping outside my comfort zone.  Like writing and reading new books and meeting new people and sharing stories.

We have the power to do both within us–to change and to stay the same.  The true power is knowing when to do what.

Love to all.

 

 

The Winds of Change and a Beckoning Candle

The winds of change are blowing.

Still? you ask.

Yes.

But surely after Mess Cat moving to town, and Aub going off to college all by her big girl self, and starting Sister Circle a month ago, and the new puppy, and Sister’s adventure last week…..Tara, are you sure?  Maybe it’s just the settling you have left to do after all of THAT.

You’d think so, wouldn’t you?

But no, I’m pretty sure about this.  There’s something still stirring from within or without or around in the air above me.  Wherever, I’m fairly certain there’s still one thing more waiting on us, on me.

It might have something to do with a simple cupcake story I heard last night that made me cry those quiet, warm tears.  Turns out, after all those years of being a Daddy’s girl, maybe I’m more like my Mama than I thought. And I’m really, really okay with that.

Or I might just over think things.

A lot.

This afternoon, during a day so full of things that I really needed an entourage to keep my mini-entourage straight, Cooter asked about spelling the word “duck.”

I tried to get him to sound it out.  *sigh*  Then our Princess helped me help him figure it out.  He finally had it.  And he kept saying the letters over and over “d-u-c-k, d-u-c-k, d-u-c-k” until it ran together, sounding like he was saying, “Did you see Kay?”

Princess laughed and said, “Hey that’s how you can remember how to spell it, say that to yourself, ‘Did you–‘”

Cooter interrupted. “Or I could just write it down and look at it when I need to know.”

I laughed.  “Yeah, that could work too, buddy.”

I’m glad he doesn’t try to overcomplicate things.  Like his Mama does.

But then again, life is complicated.  Things are hard.  And sad.  And broken.  All too often.

Today we had Sister Circle.  K who came last week and encouraged me in my own art exploration was having a hard week and didn’t come in for our gathering.  One step forward, three or four back.  And T who has been there EVERY WEEK wasn’t there at all.  Someone said they haven’t seen her in a few days.  I won’t lie, I’m worried.  All the relationships she’s been in had a similar thread–abuse.  I hope she is okay.  But there’s really no way to know until she comes back in.

There are new little babies fighting against things that like to work on their tiny bodies.  Why they should have to fight so hard, and why I can’t just swoop in and fix it–I don’t know, but that’s heartbreaking and more than a little upsetting.

There are tired Mamas in this world, trying their best to care for their little ones.  Or big ones.  Or ones of all sizes.  And they don’t have the support that all kinds of Mamas need.  There are hard-working women who keep hitting a ceiling or have different expectations set for them simply because they are women.  Or they are trying to balance it all at the same time and they find out Wonder Woman is a fictional character.  No way she really exists.  Work hard, they’re labeled aggressive; not hard enough, they are acting “like a girl.”  Like the contestants on American Idol when facing the judges who all give polar opposite critiques, these women must feel very confused and more than a little bit frustrated.

There are young people trying to do what is right, to speak their minds, to share their thoughts and ideas–which are pretty good ones actually, but the adults in their lives too often either ignore these young people or don’t really hear what is being shared.

I wish I could get in my car and drive around until I find T.  I wish K was more open to talking today.  I would love to have the medical knowledge to be able to make these little babies better and stronger faster.  For healing.  I want to pick up a broom and a skillet and make life easier for these tired Mamas.  To tell them that one day it will get better.  Maybe.  And see their eyes light up for a moment that there might possibly be some truth in that statement.  I wish I could help the women struggling with their jobs or work situations or balancing it all to see just how precious they really are.  No one can do it all, but because they don’t stop trying their best, they are doing an awful lot of good in the world.  I wish I knew where Mac was and if he’s okay.  I take that back, if I’m going to wish, I wish his addiction into oblivion.

I keep hearing the Elvis song, “If I Can Dream,” playing in my head.  Written by Walter Earl Brown, the last lines of the song are–

Deep in my heart there’s a tremblin’ question
Still I am sure that the answer’s gonna come somehow
Out there in the dark, there’s a beckoning candle, yeah
And while I can think, while I can talk
While I can stand, while I can walk
While I can dream, please let my dream
Come true, ohhhhh, right now
Let it come true right now

That looking for the light–that beckoning light of hope.  I keep looking in anticipation that it is actually there.  But the lines in the middle of the song are the ones that hit home the hardest.

We’re lost in a cloud
With too much rain
Were trapped in a world
That’s troubled with pain
But as long as a man
Has the strength to dream
He can redeem his soul and fly

I’m not sure which way the winds are blowing this time or what’s coming down the pike, but I find comfort in the redeeming of my soul in the midst of a cloud with too much rain.  And l may not be able to do all the things that I dream of doing, but perhaps if I can do just one even, then maybe that will make a tiny bit of difference somewhere and become a beckoning candle for someone else.

In the meantime I find peace and joy in the laughter of littles, who are growing way too fast, being chased by a little white and black ball of fluff across the dew-covered grass.  And in the voice and writings and strength of a young woman learning to make it on her own.  And in the caring voices of those I love.  Those are the things that give me the strength to dream.  And not just stop there, but to move on to what comes next.  To do.  Because that’s what keeps the beckoning candles lit in this world.  The dreaming and the doing.

Imma Need Me a Puppy

It’s been a long decade so far.

I’m in dire need of change.

For the better this time.  Please.

The past three years have been filled with a lot of sadness and heartbreak and caregiving and tender, sacred moments.  I’m not saying I’ve had any more to deal with than anyone else, but, not for nothin’ y’all, I’m tired.

I need a little pick me up.

Or maybe a little something to pick up. *teeheeheeing gleefully*

As time winds down to the day that my oldest heads out on the next leg of her life journey, I find myself in need of something to care for, to cuddle, to sit next to when I’m reading.  And y’all, Cooter, my baby, is six and it’s just not his thing anymore.

I want me a puppy.

I grew up with dogs and puppies.  My great-grandparents were known in the area for the rat terriers they raised.  My Granny also bred dogs.  Her Bassett puppies were so adorable, I still melt when I think of them.  It’s in the family.

My first dog was Pete.  We had him when it was just me and Mama and Daddy and we lived in Meriwether County. He was a beautiful dog.

pic of puppy me and Pete 1

And a good buddy.

pic of puppy me and Pete 2

Later on we had Blue.  He was a little smaller but had a great big heart.

pic of puppy me and Blue 1

pic of puppy me and Blue 2A few years later, Daddy was working on a farm near my Granny’s, and one day a dog showed up.  Daddy took a liking to him and brought him home for us.  He was named Slocum, because I told Daddy he was slow to come when I called him.  But he was the greatest dance partner EVER.

pic of puppy me and Slocum

Over the years there were many other dogs.  Shadow and Sugarfoot came along when Mama took us to go get a new puppy.  Mama and my sister loved Sugarfoot and I loved Shadow.  The folks giving them away offered Mama a big bag of food if she took both.  I’ve already said how much Mama loved her a bargain, so yes, both of those little loves came home with us.  We also had Belle the Bassett, and Samantha the German Shepherd.  Samantha just showed up one day at our first house in Byron.  She attached immediately.  I remember one day a mean stray showed up when I went to check the mail.  That dog barked and growled at me.  Samantha walked sideways and pushed me all the way back to my front door, barking and protecting me the whole time.  A special one that one.

When I graduated from college, I got myself a puppy that was 1/2 Bassett, 1/4 Fiest, and 1/4 Chihuahua.  So sweet.  Her name was Madge.  She was my little lady.  Until she got aggravated and scrunched that cute little face up at you.  In my previous life I was part of the family with Millie, a Boston Terrier.  Smartest dog I’ve ever known.  You could ask her if she was hungry or thirsty or wanted candy.  And depending on what she wanted, she’d either be still or start bouncing on her back legs.  She knew what you were asking.  She also became very defensive of me, which I really appreciated.  Then there were Scarlett, Rhett, Prissy, and Pittypat, the Beagles–my attempt to join the ranks of the breeders in my family.  It might have gone well if I hadn’t had to move back home.  But that’s another story.

When my girl and I ventured out on our own we added Bosley and LizzieLou Ashalee to our family.  They were both sweet dogs and brought us comfort and protection and companionship.  Years later after our family returned from Japan and we settled into our own home, we added sweet Tater, the Golden Lab/Bassett mix we adopted.  He was a sweet dog, but he just got wanderlust and started digging out.  This started right after the boxers next door started digging out.  I swanee those dogs whispered their secrets to him under the fence.  *sigh* Anyway, we were lucky to find a farm to take him in where he could roam and roam and live with a beautiful American bulldog buddy.

And so here we are now.  Dog-less.  Because of allergies we are downsizing our cats to only the outdoor ones.  And I’m sad.

I want me a puppy.  A hypoallergenic, indoor, follow me around and remind me of the fun in life, genuine puppy.  I used to say it was hard to sit on your pity pot when you had a little one sitting in your lap.  Now that my littles have just about outgrown the lap-sitting phase, I’m going to modify that statement:  It’s hard to sit on your pity pot when you have a dog looking in your eye and licking your face.  I just know it would be.

The crew and I have talked about it.  I told them we’d name her “Miss Kay” when we get her.  (Note the positive thinking use of “when.”)  I’ve mentioned this want (dare I say need?) to some of my friends.  One sweet friend said she wanted to go with me when I get my puppy.  Another suggested maybe I should get a rutabaga instead.  That tickled my funnybone.  I think that might just be a good name for my new little one.  Aub says we could call her “Rudy” for short.  I like it.

And so the decision-making and discussion continues.  I think back over the years and dogs that my parents let us have.  What I appreciate so much now that I’m grown is that they let us get those dogs, despite being pretty sure of how it would turn out.  That they would wind up taking care of the dog, that hearts would be broken eventually, that ultimately one of the dogs would tear up or chew up something.  It’s just the nature of the animals–both the children and the dogs.  And yet, they still said yes.  More times than not.

As I do my research on breeds (Yorkie or Morkie) and remember all that having a puppy again would require, I know there are downsides to the warm and fuzzies.  I have had my share of piddle puddles and getting up at 3 a.m. to housebreak a puppy and heartworm treatments and losing a puppy to parvo or a dog to an automobile.  It’s hard stuff.  But in the end, for me, the warm and fuzzies win out.

Years and years ago, I gave my Granny a print by Mary Engelbreit which had a quote by Robert Whalen on it.  She and I both loved it so much that when I found the art on a t-shirt I got it.  It reminds me of two parts of my life that made me very happy–my Granny and my puppies.

pic of ME puppy shirt

As the winds of change come sweeping down the plain, I find myself more and more certain that, while a puppy might not fix everything, it would come mighty, mighty close.  Yep, I’m thinking Imma need me that puppy.