Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday
another page torn off the calendar and tucked away
to use for scratch paper
when I need to jot something down

not much has changed since yesterday
except now I can wear the white shoes
that I haven’t owned for about five or six years

(and what is that about–I used to
welcome spring by buying a new pair of
white sneakers every year while
the old ones were relegated to lawn
mowing duty)

and yet, today was a resurrection day
one of culling the old and worn
and the way things used to be
and allowing for new things to happen

one of laughter and
conversations about the best way to
cook a hot dog–turns out everyone
has their own opinion
and some folks *ahem* are quite
serious
about this

the sound of laughter all through the house
like a bell on the cat’s collar,
letting us know where the children are
at any given moment,
apparently mattress surfing is
pretty awesome
and time with your friends makes this
the “best Easter ever”

on days of resurrection and finding
joy in the most unlikely of places
things like chairs and socks can be sources of great
entertainment
and stories of goats
and why no one wants to take cake home
can have folks literally laughing out loud
and nearly rolling on the floor while doing it

and so as another season has come to pass,
and we can breathe a little easier
(figuratively only, because pollen)
with the focus and intensity of Lent behind us,
I write this all down so I can remember

this is what it felt like in the beginning
and a year from now
when we look back and see how far we’ve come
I hope it won’t be too far from this picture
we painted today

colorful and vibrant
unique and brilliant
like newly dyed Easter eggs

as we carry the soul of where it first began
with us
alongside the folks who have the oil to light our lamps
when we are running low

as together we travel
on unbroken ground

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Grocery Carts, Granola Bars, and Gratitude

Yesterday as the littles and I were pushing our overloaded buggy out of the grocery store with two of us carrying additional bags that wouldn’t fit, I saw him.

The young guy.  With two bottles of water and a snazzy brand of high protein granola bars or some such.  He was in the self checkout lane.

For just a second I zoned out.

(partially because it took great effort on ALL of our parts to get our cart moving with purpose in the right direction and we had made the mistake of stopping to readjust our load)

I wondered if he’d ever find himself one day apologizing to the cashier every. single. time. he approached the checkout conveyor belt with his full cart.  I wondered if he’d feel guilty putting someone through ringing up ALL THE THINGS he had taken so long to painstakingly find, only to get up there, remember three things he’s forgotten, and decide it’s just not worth going back for.  I wondered if he’d watch closely to make sure his littles weren’t reading the trashy headlines on all those magazines on display.  (There’s just some questions you don’t want to answer quite yet. If ever.)

I wondered if exhaustion would ever overtake him to the point that he’d drive straight up to the drive thru window at the place on the other side of the grocery store parking lot, with a van full of FOOD, to order supper because the trip through the store with the littles was more than enough work for one day.  And it all still had to be unloaded at home.  And put away.

I wondered if he’d ever map out how to place all those bags of food in his vehicle, so the freezer stuff could be put away quickly but the other things not so much, as in maybe a couple of bags stay on the floor in the kitchen for a day or two, just because.

I watched him ringing up his few items, and I wondered if he’d ever use a self checkout again, later in his life, except for maybe when he is picking up items for his wife who asked him to pick up some personal things on the way home.  Or when his children beg him to let them “do it,” causing the supervising cashier to have to come over and clear things out or fix the system a total of four times during the transaction.

I thought about where he might be headed, and I wondered how long those bars would last him.  I knew the average on my cart–this not even being a full-fledged stock up trip–and I’d be back before him I was pretty sure.

For just a moment, I wanted to walk out the door with what he had and let him push this stubborn cart across those bumpy things right outside the door taking care not to fling anything off the top or bottom of the buggy.  I wanted to leave without my arms full of food, keys, wallet, receipt, and just go.

Granola bars and all.

And then I realized that if my hands were empty, my heart would be too.  As my littles helped me unload the buggy, first clearing the floor of the vehicle of all their STUFF THAT THEY ABSOLUTELY MUST HAVE ANYTIME WE LEAVE THE HOUSE to make room, and then stacking bread here, chips there, frozen stuff at the front so it could be unloaded first…..I looked at them and all the food and assorted things it takes to take good care of them, and I was humbled and near about knocked to my knees with gratitude.  I am sure that young fella has a good life.  I hope he was headed somewhere to do something good that would bring him joy.  But my life?  I’m lucky.  I have children who put up with my wackiness as much as I put up with theirs.  We’re able to afford providing food and shelter for them, and we enjoy little extras too.  We tend to get along well with each other, except when someone touches someone or goes in their room WITHOUT permission.  (Also spying on each other when playing with friends is frowned upon.)  But other than that, we’re a pretty decent bunch, and I’m quite fond of all, individually and collectively.

Some of my favorite sounds are when my oldest walks through the door, home from college, and Miss Sophie’s tail starts wagging and our Princess’ and Cooter’s tales start wagging and all the laughter and games and music and impromptu dancing ensue.

I wouldn’t miss that for all the quick self-checkouts and snazzy granola bars in the world.

This is my season for full buggies that are hard to push, hour long grocery store trips, and bags of groceries on the kitchen floor.

And for now, that’s a beautiful thing.

Love to all.

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By Unknown photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Who Decided This?

Life is hard.

I’m trying to eat healthier, and it’s not only expensive, it’s also confusing and hard.

Add in food allergies, and it’s pretty much impossible to do it right 100% of the time.

Still I’m trying.

So the other day I was going to fix me some roasted Brussels sprouts for lunch.  It’s the craziest thing, but I didn’t like the things when I was growing up.  Mama didn’t fix them often, probably because of how I (we?) acted when she cooked them.  But in recent months, I’ve discovered that I really don’t like them.  I LOVE THEM.  There are all kinds of things I could think of as possible reasons why, but I think it just boils down to–tastes change.  I don’t eat sweets very often at all anymore, and I have learned to like black coffee–something I never thought I could do.  I think the bitter, strong taste of the sprouts that used to turn my tastebuds off is now the very thing I like the most.

When I was putting some in my toaster oven on broil the other day, I wondered how many to fix.  I usually eat them with something else, but this was pretty much all I wanted.  Is there such a thing as too many Brussels sprouts?  Curious, I checked the bag they came in from the frozen foods department.  I ran my finger down the nutrition information.  Ummmmm, calories, protein, etc etc etc…..ahhhh, yes.  Serving size.  Five.

Wait. What?!  Five sprouts is a serving size?

In what world and for whom?

They aren’t even all uniform size, so that’s just misleading.

But seriously. Five?

I can eat these things like popcorn, y’all.  Five is not going to cut it.  That’s like an appetizer.

For a toddler.

But I mean, we do have to wonder, right?  Who decided that five sprouts is a good amount for one person to eat at any one meal?  Or that this size of that is perfect for one person?  Is there a room somewhere where folks sit around eating different portions and hit a thumbs up when the amount they intake is the “Baby Bear” just right amount to fill them without making them feel stuffed?

If so, I want to go there.

Because we need to talk.

How is one serving of this cereal one cup and one serving of that only one-half cup?

How is one slice of this kind of bread one serving, but it takes two slices of that loaf to get there?

And how in the world is five sprouts a serving and so is a big ol’ Whopper?

I need to know this, y’all.  Because I really don’t like feeling like I’m pigging out when I eat a dozen (give or take) Brussels sprouts.

I can’t handle the guilt.  And I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t.

Aren’t they like good for you or something?

Leastways that’s what Mama always said when she put them on my plate way back when.  (Like that’s ever been what convinced a child to eat something. “Okay, you don’t like it, but it’s good for you.”  “Good for me, you say?  Well, why didn’t you say so before?  Of course I’ll eat it.” Ahem.)

Tonight I’m thankful for the food we eat and the choices we have.  I’m thankful for the good information that is out there that can help us make wiser choices.  I really appreciate my changing taste buds that have me learning to love new foods even at my age. Most of all, I’m thankful that I have a mind, and I know when to throw out bad information and go with what I think is best.

Five?

I think not.

Wishing you all a healthy serving (whatever that looks like to you) of a food you never thought you’d love but do.

Love to all.

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That looks to be about a serving, right?

Catching Sight of Him

Cooter is enjoying his drama program.  Each week he heads through that door and doesn’t look back.

Well not much anyway.  When he is on stage delivering his lines (yes, he’s already memorized them! what a relief), he will glance over and smile with this “nailed it, did you see that?” look on his face.  I smile and sometimes offer a thumbs up.  He’s in his element, and that is a joy to see.

They’ve progressed to the point in rehearsals that all of the children wait backstage for their scenes.  Once they begin, I don’t see him except on stage until it’s time to leave.

This week there were a group of parents waiting for their children near the front door close to the end of rehearsals.  Since I stick around the whole time, I had already walked over and signed him out.  I stood off to the side, waiting.  As the crowd of children headed our way from the back, I finally saw Cooter.  He was moving with purpose towards our direction, but his eyes were steadily searching…..for me.  Oh my heart.  And then that moment when I moved into his line of sight and he saw me…..

bless.

His eyes lit up and he smiled that smile, and his stride was a little more relaxed.  It warmed my heart and soul and made my life to see the expression on his face.

And then just like that, I was his age–or maybe a year or two younger–again.  I was on the playground right after school was dismissed, and I was carrying something that Mama had sent treats to school in.  I was looking for my someone to find me and take me home.  I can still remember that exact moment the crowd parted, and there he was, that handsome, smiling fella I called Daddy.  In that moment, I was relieved, safe, and home.

So it was a very precious thing, this moment that Cooter and I had, where I got a small taste of what that day was like from Daddy’s perspective.  He found me just as I found him.

March 23 is my Daddy’s birthday.  The day to make a cake, light it up with candles, sing, and have him blow out the candles.  It’s the day I give him way more than one card because there were always several that made me laugh and think of him.  It’s the day that we all try our best to make him feel loved and bigger than life.  Because he was.

This will be the fifth year we celebrate his day without him here to give me a pickle or two off of his cheeseburger pizza.  The fifth year I don’t spend an inordinate amount of time in the card section and perusing ideas of what to give him on Amazon.  The fifth year we don’t hear his laugh or watch the children trying to help him blow out the candles.

But it will still be special.

Tonight I’m thankful for the man who first looked for me and never gave up finding me, no matter how far away I wandered off.  I give thanks for every single year of his life that I got to spend with him, listening to his wisdom, sharing my ups and downs, and swapping stories.  I am especially thankful for that day that I was feeling so lost and there he was.  And I know that’s how it has always been–when I was the most lost, Daddy has always been there to help me find my way back.  And in a way, he still is.

Most of all, I am thankful for my little guy whom my Daddy named Cooter because he loved cars just like that mechanic on that TV show years ago.  Because I was loved and looked for, I can do that now.  Now I get to see what being found looks like from the other side.

And it is beautiful.

May you all have someone to look for and who looks for you.

Love to all.

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My sweet Daddy, at age 26, and me at 9 months old. The man who has always looked for and after me.  Love you, Daddy.  Thanks for everything.

 

 

Eighty Percent Chance of Rain

This whole past week I have clicked on my Weather app or checked the weather website every day.  Several times a day.

And then some.

We had our family Easter hootenanny planned for today, and so the weather watching was part checking, part praying, and part trying to use sheer WILL to bring good weather into being.

The chances of rain for today have been as high as 80% and as low as 20% for a few short hours this week.  We were real worried about a rain out.

Rain and things like wienie roasts and egg hunts don’t exactly mix too well.

When the percentage dropped down to 20% by Tuesday evening, I could see that downward trend wiping the rain all the way off the map by Saturday.  I sent a celebratory message with a picture of the forecast to the Gracious one who was hosting the whole event.

Yep, called it a win way too early.  The percentage went way back up and then down and then back up.  It’s been a roller coaster this week.  Last night it was still looking really iffy.

Such that I waited until after 9 p.m. to make the potato salad.  You can’t freeze that stuff, y’all.

I woke up this morning, a day that, as of last night still had 45% chance of rain around lunch with the percentage getting higher by afternoon, and my room was brighter than I expected it to be.  I went to the windows, and the sky was blue with white puffy clouds and bright sunlight streamed down from above.

I felt like I was in an alternate universe or something.  This was TOTALLY UNEXPECTED and definitely not predicted.

And the whole day was just like that.

BEAUTIFUL.

Maybe it’s just me, and if you don’t do this, that’s okay–better than okay, it’s great.  That whole preparing for the worst, and then it turns out no worrying was necessary after all–

yeah.  Where.  I.  Live.

Today was such a gift, a gift wrapped up with a bow of sunshine and good people and hugs and laughter and great food and time together with folks who knew me when and know me now and have my bail money and I have theirs (looking at you, girl–love you) and children running around proving they can look and find things…..

I am thankful.

And it soothed the soul of this Eeyore spirit, who figured that yeah, rain, that sounded about right.  We’d have to change all the plans and “make do,” and then the worst didn’t happen.  In fact, the best did.

I’m not even sure what to do with that.  I’m still beaming, and my mind and heart are still reeling from the shock and surprise of sunshine today.  And all of the wonderful things.

Or maybe the reeling is from the pollen.  It is springtime in Georgia after all.

May your heart be surprised with something fabulous that you never expected today.

Love to all.

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a picture perfect day that no one could have predicted

 

holding my hand

if we are all, as the writer Ram Dass says,
walking each other home
then I am so thankful that you are here
to listen when I laugh and when I cry
to take in my stories
and keep them safe

and when I lose my way,
it is you, always you,
who gently takes my hand,
just as you did when I was little–
I do remember–
and walks me back down the dirt road
to the little house
that holds all those we love
and their stories

all I can offer you in return
are eyes that see all the beauty you are
the sweetness of your soul
and the depth of your heart

and my hand
as we take turns walking each other
back up the path
to find what is sure to surprise all of us
at the end-shaped beginning

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The Most Precious Part of the Goodbyes

Tonight we said goodbye to a place that we hold dear, Bare Bulb Coffee.  I wasn’t sure if I could or would be able to be there as the lights were turned out for the last time, but as the time grew closer, I knew I couldn’t be anywhere else.

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Driving up to the shop one last time. Sunsets can be so beautiful…..

A few of us who have shared many cups of coffee and moments together in that space gathered tonight to play games, sit and talk, have coffee.  We ordered some pizza and hung out–making precious memories that I hope all of these people I love will carry with them for a long time.  There were friends there whom I was with last night, and there were friends whom I haven’t seen in far too long.

It was an unofficial Bare Bulb reunion of sorts, and it was good.

What I will remember most are the laughter and the stories.  And how folks whom we hadn’t known as long were brought around the table with open arms just like those we’ve known for years.  I’ll remember that strangers were invited to share in the pizza and the celebration and the light.  One more time.

I’ll remember the smiles on the faces and the gentle strumming of a guitar.  The children on the stage, playing games and eating pizza and coloring signs as tributes to this place where they grew up.  I’ll remember ordering my large decaf, no room for anything one. last. time.  The smell of the coffee.  The sound of the beans grinding.  The glittery tiles on the coffee table, the cool feel of the tile on the big table where the group gathered for one more round of Apples to Apples.

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The thing I’ve noticed is that when we are saying goodbye to someone we love, there is one thing that is always a part of those moments.

The stories.

And tonight was no different.  I heard all the stories being shared, and it made my heart glad.

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Tonight I’m most thankful for the ones who have gathered there over the years and those who gathered tonight.  Thank you for filling this sacred space with laughter and all the stories that we can hold close and use to fuel the flame given to us by this special place.  That we sent her out with laughter and fun and friends who have become family is a gift I will always be grateful for.

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…..and there was. For ALL.

May we honor what Bare Bulb Coffee was and what she taught us by letting our light shine–even in the darkest of times.  Together.

Love–and light–to all.

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From the first moment my feet stood in this place to the last time tonight, this place has always been a sanctuary for me. Holding me close and allowing me space and grace to do what my heart and soul needed to do. Thank you, friends, for sharing the journey.