The Eighth Day of Christmas

On the eighth day of Christmas…..

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By SeppVei (Self-photographed) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

eight things that I pondered on today as I was cooking the black-eyed peas and collard greens.

1–This is the last full year my oldest will be in college.  ACK! How did that even happen?  Too fast, y’all.  It’s all too fast.

2–This is a Leap Year.  So all those folks who, on December 26, said that there were 365 days until next Christmas were all wrong.  And many had no idea.  It seems like the older I get the quicker these Leap Years sneak up on me.

3–Even years.  This is an even year.  And I can’t remember if I like even years or odd years better.  Is it weird to have a preference?  Never mind.  Don’t answer that.

4–It’s good to have people.  So when you don’t have macaroni and cheese and you need some and you know your little people are tired of your recipe, one of your other people might step up and say, “Hey I have a great recipe–would you like for me to try making it?”  (It was a success, by the way.) Or when you are struggling with something but maybe no one or only a few know, someone out of the blue asks others to hold you in the light without your ever saying anything.  People are good to know and have and love.

5–Hallmark Christmas movies are addictive.  And I’m addicted.  Now I am very sad, because I am pretty sure they are done showing them.  Dear Hallmark, please start a Christmas movie channel.  Some of us need the magic and loveliness all year long.  I will subscribe.  I promise. Thank you, and Happy Everyday.  (P. S. Does Candace Cameron Bure’ live with you on site? She seems to be in a lot of your movies these days.  Just curious.)  

6–Eating at the Pizza Place on New Year’s Night is a tradition I could get used to.  Very much so.  Not packed, good food, happy children, happy grownups, and the staff are wonderful, beautiful people–and we can never be around those folks too much.  A great start to 2016.

7–As soon as the New Year arrived, Cooter, whose birthday is still several weeks away, started asking, “Can I just go ahead and say ‘I’m 9?'”  He is my baby boy.  NOOOOO. No, you may not say you are 9 yet.  Not even one day before you actually turn 9 may you say that.  Just stop.  I have all the emotions to work through before that day gets here.

8–I told myself I would not focus on the loss of our beloved coffeeshop/church/hangout/missional, fair-trade coffeehouse before the New Year.  I wanted to celebrate the holidays and then let my heart grieve.   Today the New Year arrived, and it hit me that the time has come to close the door on the hope of it staying open as it stands now and prepare to say goodbye.  The pain of losing it is real and hard and never so clear as when we pulled up to the Pizza Place down the row from the coffeeshop, and the lights were not on in the shop.  I had forgotten it would be closed today for New Year’s, so to see it closed and no one there and to know that THERE WAS NO COFFEE brewing today–something inside of me broke.  This will be a year of hard things and getting through them and walking with others who are also struggling.  But we will get through them.  Together.

Wishing you all a Happy Welcome to this New Year!  And that you get the year right the very first time you have to write a check.  (Does anyone even write checks anymore besides me?)

Love to all.

 

A Place to Turn Around

Being in a new place can be confusing.  The roads are all different.  It’s easy to get disoriented.  North.  South.  Left.  Right.  This road is a dead-end.  This one doesn’t lead to where you thought it did.  LOST.

It’s just hard.

When we were on our Adventure to the Mouse House (I refuse to call it a vacation, people–vacations are about naps and books and time on your hands), it was very easy to get off track.  Each morning we set out to visit a different park.  We’d think we knew which way to turn based on directions given at the place we were staying or by the phone GPS or mostly by what we remembered from the day before.  We were on a mission–cram in as much fun as we possibly could in the hours we were at the parks.  This required us to get to each park as quickly as we could.  So we could start having Much.  Fun.  We had no time for directions really.  Let’s just wing it.  And GO.

Ahem.

Every single time.  Not kidding.  Every single time it turned out we had turned the wrong way.  Magic Kingdom was in the opposite direction of Epcot and Animal Kingdom was not the same direction as Hollywood Studios (just giving an example here folks, still not sure which was where).  Sometimes we realized it as soon as we committed to the turn.  But it was too late.   And they don’t like U-turns down there either.  So each time we would have to find a spot to turn around in, get back to the light and correct our way.

The fire station that was our safe place to regroup and get turned in the right direction

The fire station that was our safe place to regroup and get turned in the right direction

And just about every single time–well every time that I can recall–this was our safe place.  Our place to regroup and get turned around.  The fire station.

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Such a cute place too.  Look at it all painted with its Dalmatian spots all over it.

It got to be laughable.  When my awesome sister-in-law talked about her family following us to Land o’ Legos, Aub’s clever friend said, “Okay, but we have to make a stop first.”

I looked at her, puzzled for a moment.  She continued. “You know.  The fire station.”

Y’all.  I nearly busted my seams laughing.  Out.  Loud.

That was a good one right there, I tell you what.  And true.

I was thinking about this as I drove home in the suffocating heat this afternoon.  We all get off on the wrong foot sometimes.  Headed in the wrong direction.  Sometimes that’s just what we need.  A place, a safe place, to collect ourselves, redirect, and set off again on the right path–in the right direction.  As I drove, I was thinking about where that place is for me, metaphorically speaking, where I go to regroup and redirect when I find myself headed down a dead-end road or feel like I’m lost.  For me it’s a person.  One whom I love and trust who will listen and help me find my way again–who will help me get better directions that I can follow this next time.

Any idea where or who that is for you?  I’d love to hear.

Wishing you all good directions and a place to go when you need to turn around.  Love to all.

Kicking Justin Out

Yes, that’s right.

My feeling the least bit hospitable is over.

I’m done.

With him and all his junk.

He has to go.

Justin has created chaos in my home, and I’m sick of it.

Have you ever had someone in your life like that?

Not for very long, I’m thinking.  You probably got more sense.

Me?  It took me a while, playing nice, being accommodating.  Giving him more and more room to stretch out.  “Oh you need another drawer?  Okay let me see.”  “Hmmm.  All that stuff too.  Okay, well let me run by and see what I can find in the way of storage containers, okay?”

If you don’t already know it y’all, storage containers are of that “ol’ debil.”  Buying more stuff to keep your stuff?

Facepalm.

And yet I’ve done it.  Justin talked me into it.  With his sweet words and promises that one day I’ll be glad I did let him and his stuff stick around.

Justin.  Forget it.  I’m tired of your lies.  It’s going to be hard, but I’m evicting you.  You have lived here long enough.

Y’all remember Justin, right?

Justin Case.

I have drawers and baskets and storage tubs with things belonging to him.

Keep this sock just in case you find the other one.  (Not going to happen.  EVER.  I think the dryer monster that never seemed to be at Mama’s came over to my house and started breeding with the one already here.  I can’t buy enough socks to clothe my people and feed the Sock Monster family.  I can’t keep up.)

Keep this broken piece of plastic thingy.  You might find whatever on earth it fell off of and maybe you might can possibly glue it back on and it might just work.  Maybe.  Probably not, but there’s always a chance, so…..

Keep this sweater belt to that sweater you gave away years ago even though you couldn’t find the belt.  Oh no, you’ll never get that sweater back nor will you find the person with it to give the belt too, but one day you might need this.  For someTHING.

See, how he talks fancy to me.  My head starts to spin and I nod and give him space for whatever he wants me to keep.  Justin Case.

But.  NO.  MORE.

There’s nothing like a fresh coat of paint in a lovely warm new color to make you want to straighten up and fly right.  I’m taking my time putting things back in place.  I’m telling Justin he’s out of here and I’m not taking no more of his suggestions and sweet talk and messing with my mind.  (Yes, it’s a double negative, which might negate the meaning normally, but where I come from it only reiterates the NOT and NO–doubly positive–I’m done with this.)

The lovely warm "Autumn Moon" walls that have inspired me to get my act together.  Ignore the foolishness on the table.  Working through that.  It's Justin's.  He's taking it with him.

The lovely warm “Autumn Moon” walls that have inspired me to get my act together. Ignore the foolishness on the table. Working through that. It’s Justin’s. He’s taking it with him.

Oh my.  Easier said than done.  He teams up with his best girl–Mem Ree Layne.  When I tell him no, he winks at her and pats her on her shoulder, and then I have to deal with her.   Mem Ree is a powerful girl, especially where I’m concerned.  I could be a hoarder of things that bring back stories and tears and laughter.  I might just be.  And Mem Ree knows this and reminds me of those times just when I’m ready to drop a piece of paper or a list or a trinket in the trash or giveaway pile.  Justin tells her to tell me I’d better keep something just in case I start to forget.  Good gravy she’s good. They’re a really good team.  But not good for me.

What I’m trying to tell Mem (she lets me call her that when I’m on her good side) and myself is that it’s okay.  My memory of that person I love, of that time we were together, of the laughter, the tears, the joy–my memories are not tied into that someTHING in my hand.  Not at all.  I have them in my heart.  Which doesn’t tend to get as cluttered.  Not very often.  So I can keep things there for quite a while without too much of an adverse affect.

I have a little over a week, y’all.  Before the paintbrush is back at it, transforming another room.  I need to get things cleared and moved around so it can happen.  It’s time.  Seven years of marks and handprints and dents and smudges and pencil marks–it’s past time.  And after years and years of cohabitating, it’s time I make an honest and well-kept woman out of myself.

Justin,  Justin Case, it’s not me, it’s you.  You.  Got. To. Go.

And honestly, I think Mem will be much sweeter and kinder and supportive if he’s not around. So she can stay.  For now.

Wishing you all freedom from Justin and his foolishness.

Love to all.