The Little Light…..It’s not on, Clark

This is a public service announcement:

Please make sure your children know that any and all light outages should be reported to those in charge–namely, you.

New Year’s Day started off lovely. Miss Sophie and I had a long, pleasant January summer (Georgia–check the calendar please) walk, and the rain didn’t come like we thought it would. When we got back I went to our freezer in the garage, as I was preparing our traditional dinner, and I noticed the things didn’t feel quite so cold or crunchy. They felt wet and soggy. Oh NO! Y’all, at some point the power outlet that the freezer was plugged into had shorted or whatever they do when there’s a storm and it clicks off and has to be reset. I immediately shifted my schedule around in my mind, as I knew that my priority had to be on assessing what had defrosted and what was still frozen.

I went inside to put down a couple of salvageable items and to grab my wits and wherewithal. This was going to require both. I saw Cooter, who had prepared frozen pizzas for him and his sister during our “lit” New Year’s Eve party the night before. Remembering this, I asked him, “Hey bud, was the light off in the freezer when you grabbed your pizzas last night?”

“Yes ma’am,” he answered, pretty distracted by the pregame show for the upcoming football game. (Are you kidding me right now?!)

“Ummm, buddy, what did you think was going on? Why didn’t you come tell me?” I tried to hide my frustration. I really did, but ummmmm…..

“I just figured the light was out,” he shrugged. Teenage boys, y’all. Check on your friends with them, we might not be okay. (Just kidding–I love him as I love my teenage daughter, but their brains are still figuring out the circuits and sometimes I think they need to be reset.). Also, maybe we should be more attentive to replacing bulbs that are out in our home *try to remember if I’ve shrugged when someone has commented about a bulb being out*–yep, I might have brought this on myself. *sigh*

After educating Cooter on the importance of telling me when said light is out or not coming on or the interior of the freezer is dark for ANY reason, I moved on to my next project–trying to save as much as possible by cooking what was still cold.

Life is so funny. I once heard that what you do on New Year’s Day, you’ll be doing all year long. I take that very seriously. Just as seriously as not doing laundry or sweeping on New Year’s. I even plan out what would be good. Do I want to take a nap–so that hopefully that opportunity will present itself more often in the coming weeks and months? Or do I want to keep on pushing through the day, accomplishing all of the things to set a great precedent for the year? I even sat my people down talking to them about their task of unloading the dishwasher, so I wouldn’t be *nagging* on New Year’s. I definitely don’t want that to be a thing all year long.

So here I was. After planning so carefully, I was having to shift everything around and be a good steward of what we had and try to save as much as possible. In addition to our traditional black-eyed peas and collard greens, for their dining pleasure, I also offered burgers, macaroni and cheese, okra, broccoli, spinach bites, veggie burgers, and French fries. A veritable smorgasbord, not exactly traditional. It was and is laughable.

So if that set precedent for the New Year, here’s how I’m reading it. May 2022 be a year of doing what is needed to be a good steward of what we have, a year of being flexible in the face of a need to change plans, and a year of laughing in the face of adversity. Did it go as I had hoped? No, but my unplanned abundance brought family around the table–including ones who don’t live here, and there was laughter and requests for seconds and mismatched crazy food on plates. And today there were plenty of leftovers, as there are for tomorrow, so as we get back into the swing of things–I don’t have to cook.

Though completely unexpected and in no way wished for, not a bad precedent to set for this year. The year I have deemed as the one where I will figure it all out. Or at least make the effort.

Love to all.

PS–You might all be pleased to know that my putting off defrosting my freezer saved a lot of our food. That piled up ice really kept things cold. (So no, that is not a photo of my actual freezer–bless it.) Procrastinating for the win! *sigh*

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.  

 

 

your next breath

when the battle is over

and all that is left

is the dust from the artillery

now quiet

and burying those who have been lost

 

when the battle is over

and they say a prayer

over the grave of the one you loved

 

when the battle is over

and you’ve lost the fight

to keep the one accused

alive

 

when it’s all over

and you find yourself numb

and surprised that you are still here

what will you do with your next breath

 

the one you were sure would never come

when the worst happened

 

and still it comes

and asks you,

what now?

 

A New Way of Seeing the World

Today was another checkup day.  This time for our eyes.  I loaded up the littles and went to our appointment.  I love that the office works with me.  They saw all three of us at basically the same time.  Very helpful.

They did the measuring with the machine followed by the puff of air test for me.  The tech told me they don’t do that one on children under twelve.  I didn’t hear either of my littles complaining about that.

We went back out to the waiting area to wait to be called by the optometrist.  I took a few minutes to look at glasses’ frames on display.  I wasn’t sure if my eyes have changed enough to warrant a new pair, but the frequency that I’ve been applying superglue to my current pair indicated that maybe it might be time to splurge.

Our Princess looked up from her math game and asked across the room, “Mama what are you doing?”  I walked over to where she was sitting.  “I was just looking at frames in case I need to get a new pair.”

“Oh, that’s nice.  I’m going to get a pink pair.  Or a purple pair.  Yes, probably purple.  Look at those right there, Mama”–she pointed–“I really like those.  Don’t you?”

Bless her.  She’s been to the eye doctor a few times before this.  Great eyes.  Perfect vision.  And all she is hoping for is a flaw, a vision problem, so she can get glasses. So she can accessorize.  She’s picked out “her pair” every time we’ve been there.

The doctor called us back.  We went in to the dimly lit room, and he asked Cooter to hop up in the chair.  As Dr. A was raising the chair up, he asked my little guy, “What’s going on?”

“Nothing much.” He replied with a shrug.  And then he smiled impishly.  “Not until Monday anyway.”

I think someone is very excited about his birthday.

His exam was quick and went very well.  Now that he knows his letters, his exam was just like ours and he liked that.  No glasses for him.  He shrugged it off.  He has bigger things to think about.  But Princess looked over at me with a perplexing look.  I could almost hear what she was thinking, that she sure hoped her brother’s good vision wasn’t contagious.

She hopped up in the chair next.  Her exam was identical.  And then the words, “You get an A+.  Your vision is perfect.”  She held it together.  I was proud of her.

And she held it together through my exam as well.  Through hearing that my vision hadn’t changed, which meant I still need glasses. She held it together through the news that the time has indeed come for “bifocals.”

Wait.  What?

Oh, I’m just kidding.  I knew it was coming.  I’ve known it for a few years.  When I first mentioned it way back when, the doctor at the time said I could probably hold off a little longer.  The amount of time my glasses spend dangling off my face so I can read ingredients at the grocery store or look at what I’m crocheting or knitting or the way I have to slide them back and forth so I can focus on something up close–it has only increased in the past year.  It all added up to one thing.

Bifocals.

So it goes.  There’s worst things.  Way worse.  I’m ready.  So much so that when picking out my new frames (I decided these won’t hold up to one more round of supergluing), I was in conversation about traditional bifocals versus the progressive lens, and I decided to go with the traditional.  At least then I’ll know where to look.  I like things to be clearcut and not so uncertain.  But that’s a story for another night.

I was trying on possibilities, and my Princess walked up.  She sighed.  “You’re so lucky Mama.”  She walked away, so dejected it was pitiful.  Bless her again.

I remember that feeling.  I don’t know when I first went to the eye doctor, but when I was in the fifth grade it was announced that I needed glasses.  I won’t lie.  The feeling of joy that welled up within me was huge.  I was thrilled.  I had so hoped to get glasses–I had probably been crossing my fingers.  Made my day.  I was so happy that even though I knew that LP would probably call me “four eyes,” I didn’t even care.  I had already “written” and played out in my mind my retaliatory response before the prescription was completely down on paper.

“Well at least four eyes are better than two.”

Yeah, because that’s effective.  And original.

But I digress.

Yes, I was excited to have them, but that joy was nothing compared to what I felt when I put them on and looked around for the first time.  I could SEE.  I had no idea you were supposed to be able to read words on the billboards.  Or that there were even words at all.  The ride home in the bed of Daddy’s truck was such an awe-filled one.  I remember being amazed at the clarity.

I can understand my Princess’ desire to wear glasses, but I hope one day she will appreciate that she has really been given such a gift.  Good vision.  She didn’t get that from my side of the family.  Mama was very near legally blind at 18, and it was only when her vision starting shifting like mine that she eventually reached the point she could go without glasses sometimes.  (She did try contacts at one point, but after one of the four of us flushed her contacts when we were little, I think she just gave up and went back to glasses.)  Daddy was far-sighted and needed glasses for reading.  I suppose it is possible that my girl will need them one day in the distant future, but for now, I wish she could be thankful.

But apparently she’s not the only one.  I told the doctor that she’d so been hoping.  He laughed kindly and said that he’s had girls from her age on up actually burst into tears when he said, “No glasses.”  He shook his head.  “It’s the age, I guess.”

Oh my.

I wonder how long it will take her to ask for a pair of the plain plastic-lens fake glasses.  And I wonder how long I’ll be able to hold out.  After all, I was nine once too.  I know what that feels like.  Thank goodness I don’t have to decide about all of that today.

But today I did make several decisions.  In a very short period of time.  And I didn’t break down.  Not once.  I said yes to bifocals, yes to the line, and yes to a pair of new frames.  Without consulting Aub, my oldest, who is quite helpful in matters such as these.

In the end, I chose my new glasses all by my big girl self.  (Well, okay, the very sweet tech did help me some.)

My new glasses.  The next time I see them they will have a horizontal line on each lens.  Bring it.

My new glasses. The next time I see them they will have a horizontal line on each lens. Bring it.

I think they are quite fun and whimsical and just right for entering this next phase of life.  Life with a different way of seeing things.  One where I can see things up close and near and dear to me, and the far away and uncertain things will be a little clearer as well.  Bifocals can do all that?  BRING IT.  I’m ready.  It’s time for a new way to see the world.   I can’t wait to put them on when they are ready in a week.  The ten-year old in me is giddy with excitement.  And so is the forty-five year old.  And that’s the best feeling of all.

this too shall pass

It’s a little hard to explain.  But here goes.

The tasks that are before me, the ones that take up so many “just a few minutes” in my day-to-day–the ones that are mine because she asked me if I would and I said yes–I do not regret having them to do.  I am honored that she asked and humbled by her choice.  And determined to do it right and make her proud.

So I do not begrudge the time it takes.  Or the energy.  Or the emotions.

I just get overwhelmed sometimes.  It’s a little bit here and a little more there.  Wait on this to happen, but I have to make that happen.

It seems like I might never have a conversation that doesn’t involve numbers or papers or decisions.  An irrational thought, but it feels that way nonetheless.

And then today…..in a conversation with a very wise and dear soul, I heard these words that give me hope.  I did hear them.  But it wasn’t until I was stirring the pot on the stove that I heard them replay in my mind, and they floated down to my heart and started soaking in.

“One day…..one day you will look back on all of this

and it will be behind you.” 

Oh, my aching heart!  Yes.  This.  Please.

And tonight, as supper was finishing itself up and I stood lost in thought, I saw that as a possibility for the first time ever.  There WILL be a time when I won’t be handling all of these details and bills and making all of these decisions.  It.  Will.  Come.  One day we might all get to sit and talk and remember and laugh together, without the decisions that need to be made rushing to the forefront, spoiling the stories that beg to be remembered and told just one more time.  We can remember without deciding.  Laugh without returning to the somber job of putting a life to rest.

After the sweet, quiet, wise words of this one who has guided me through so much of this journey, I heard another’s words, the words of the one who didn’t want to leave and leave all this to be done, but who had no choice.  I heard her wisdom too.  In words she said many times over the years.

“This too shall pass, Sugar Tag.”

Oh, Mama.  It’s okay that it hasn’t, but thank you, thank you for those words tonight.  And thank you for helping me really hear what the other one I love was saying today.  I’m hardheaded (yes, I’m admitting it) and I don’t always listen like I should.  But tonight, I hear you both.  And I give thanks for the hope that opened up and let a little light into my heart.

It gives me just enough strength to think about what comes next.  What I need to do to finish this up, so we can move on to the celebrating of your life.  Because that is what you deserve.  To be celebrated.  And loved. Always.

Love you both.  Thanks for everything.