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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The One About the Finger Injury, Birthing Goats, and Green Yarn

My Cousin is one of the most fascinating and beautiful folks I know.

Wait.  Perhaps I should start at the beginning.

So Saturday night, after a lovely afternoon of painting and then a massive trip to the grocery store, I came home to unload and start supper.  I wasn’t doing the best I could do, and I cut my finger.  No blame anywhere except myself.  I was tired, I wasn’t paying attention and slice–right through my left ring finger on the side up near the nail.

Bleeding. For days.

Okay.  I exaggerate.  Slightly.

It bled for an hour.  Which can seem like an eternity when it’s your blood.  I put ice and pressure on it and every single time I checked it, it started right back to flowing forth.

Anxiety Girl came and sat down on the couch with me where I sat trying to stop the bleeding and keep my finger elevated.  She shook her head at me, and then she whispered, “So you think this could finally be IT?  I mean, that’s a lot of blood coming out of there.  You might even need stitches.  You probably are feeling a bit woozy, light-headed, huh?”

And you know what?  She was RIGHT.  I was feeling dizzy.  Just how much blood had I lost? Could you lose too much blood through a finger cut?

I finally did what I’ve done for close to three years now.

Without my Mama to talk me down and tell me what to do, I called my Cousin, because she’s all about the healing.  She knows all the things.  When she didn’t answer, I called my Aunt.  Because she knows just how many “poor babies” I need in any given situation, and she has met Anxiety Girl, and she is all about the healing things too.

We assessed the situation and realized that while I didn’t have the perfect remedies here, I did have a *fingers crossed* suitable substitute.  At least until I could talk to my Cousin.  So I applied the cream I had here and covered it with a bandaid and thought all the positive thoughts.

Okay, mostly positive thoughts.  I was still worried.  A bit.

Okay, a lot.

But that Anxiety Girl–she’s a persistent one.  It’s hard to shake her.

It was then that my Cousin called back.

She said the cream could maybe help, but that applying cayenne pepper to the cut would stop the bleeding very quickly.  “It will sting,” she said. “But it will do the job.”

Well, doing the job was what I was worried about.  Stinging I figured I could handle.  I was raised with that one bottle of Mercurochrome at my Granny’s, so I know stinging.

Aub stood by with the bottle of cayenne pepper, a little too eager for my comfort level, but she insisted she was only trying to help.  I unwrapped the bandage and lo and behold–no blood!

Hallelujah.  That cayenne pepper is so good it worked metaphysically.

My Cousin and I celebrated over the phone, and I thanked her.  She is such a blessing to all of us, and I hope she knows that.  As we talked, she apologized for not getting the call when I first tried to call her.  She had been out checking her very pregnant Mama Goat.  She said it looked like it could be another little bit before Mama gives birth.  She just hopes the birth won’t happen on one of these nights with the lows in the 20’s.

My mouth dropped open.  “You are one of the most fascinating creatures God ever created,” I told her, and I meant every word.  She is.  And she’s funny and clever and kind too.

She and I are each working on a temperature blanket for 2016.  We will crochet a Granny stripe each day with the color based on the high temperature of the day.  We planned out our original colors, but the more I thought about it, the more I didn’t like the true green with the other colors we chose.  I stayed up late into the night worrying over it a couple of nights ago.

My Cousin stays up late worrying over birthing goats.

Ahem.

I owe her this.

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An epilogue to the story:

Due to all the injuries, both real and imagined, that happen around here and with our neighborfriends, we were nearly out of bandaids here at the house. This sent me into mini-panic mode Saturday night, as I knew I needed a band-aid to hold my wound together–at least until it started healing on its own.

The next morning Aub and I went to the Getting Place, and I went straight to the bandage section.  I found all kinds of neat things to wrap around my wound–er, ahem, I mean–cut.  As Justin Case handed me several different packages including finger “covers,” Aub shook her head and said, “Mama!  You’re going to wind up spending $100 on band-aids and bandages.”  She sounded more than a little exasperated and very near to being fully incensed.

I held my finger up high for any and all around to see, and I announced a little louder than usual, “I have injured my finger.  Do not judge.”  And I added a pack of Star Wars band-aids to my cart for good measure.

Because Star Wars.  And if you have to wear them, why not wear ones that are cool and make you happy?

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I hurt my lil’ ol’ finger, y’all.  

Tonight I’m thankful for the ones who are here who take my calls.  Or call me back.  Either way.  The ones who put up with my silly woes and worries and help me heal.  Not just my finger, but my heart and soul–the little bits of me that miss the way my Mama would tell me in that way she had that “it will either get better or it will get worse–and then you’ll know.”  She usually followed up that statement with words that let me know she fully expected “it”–whatever it was–would get better.  Just give it time.

Wishing you all folks in your posse who love you and have all the best healing powers.  And I wish you matching yarn and plenty of band-aids–whatever your favorites are.  Because sometimes it’s the little things that ease your spirit.

Love to all.

***oh and I’m thankful I didn’t have to actually use the cayenne pepper this time around***  But NOW I know…..

 

 

 

 

Light and Warmth Everlasting

There is something sacred about sitting around a fire and listening to stories when the weather is cold and the season is dark.

I think we tell ourselves we sit there for the warmth that the fire gives.

But I also think that while the warmth might begin as a spark from the fire that rises toward the sky, it’s only the beginning.  That spark lights a flame in the hearts of those gathered round that is fed by the laughter and love and shared joy in the moment.

It is then that we are loathe to leave, telling ourselves that when we move away from the fireside, we will feel the chill in the air, and the warmth will be gone, and we will be cold and all will be dark again.

Turns out that isn’t true.

Giving thanks for the warmth that is long-lasting, the kind that comes from good friends, good conversations, lots of laughter, and light and love.

Hang in there.  Though the dark seems long-lasting, the Light is coming.

Love to all.

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oh, brother

It’s quite late, really, and I’m sure you’re already sleeping.
Worn out, tired, the good kind
that comes from chasing your three boys
and all the memory making you do together.

And so I will tiptoe down the hall
and just leave this outside your door
much as I did when you were new to us,
sleeping in the room with the door cracked
and I’d peep in to see your eyes closed
and watch you breathe.

Standing here in the dark
I wonder where the years have gone
from the moment I first saw your eyes so blue,
unblinking as we memorized each other’s hearts.

You, so tiny and frail,
with the strength of a little giant
have become a rock for me–
a safe place to lean when the journey
is hard
and too much to bear alone.

Your laughter echoes in my heart,
stirring up memories from days before it was cracked
by the pain of losing the ones we love–
memories of the days when we took long walks looking for rocks,
holding hands and waving at folks in cars
as they passed by
like the years,
way too fast.

I was walking at sunset this evening,
watching the shadows get longer,
and your words from this afternoon came to me
again
and I smiled.

It is good to be known
and loved
and to know that someone
has my heart surrounded, holding the
hounds of darkness and hurt at bay.

Your voice holds a thousand memories,
and I smile at the memory of when I used to chase
the dark away for you.
Hours spent up late talking, whispering long after
all the others had fallen asleep.
The wee hours are sometimes the best.

And so are the wee ones
who grow up
and become the greatest of people.

Sleep well,
for dawn will stir your boys
and you will be off again.

But for now,
thank you.

For–
everything.

The Healing Power of Batman and Bandaids

It’s been a very busy weekend full of swim meet activities and birthday parties and listening to live music. While we wrapped up our Princess’ swim meet (day 2) activities yesterday, Cooter went to Mess Cat’s house to play with Shaker. He was “Guess What”ing me the whole drive home afterwards. Obviously, he had a great time.

As we were getting ready to leave Evening Prayer last night, he wasn’t feeling good. He started complaining about his stomach and his head. I couldn’t determine whether he was really hungry or nauseated. I moved us post-haste to the car and towards home, handing him a cookie and a trash can for the trip–trying to cover all of my bases. He ate the cookie and continued to moan and cry out and in general make me wonder if we would actually make it home before he threw up. Or worse.

We got home and I ushered him inside and together we sat. We camped out on the couch together until he started lounging so much that I moved him to the recliner. I gave him ginger and ginger ale and still nothing happened. Except the moaning. And the worry.

I can do that like nobody’s business.

As in if it were an Olympic sport…..
gold medalist right here.

He had bumped his head at the swim meet on Saturday. Though he’d done fine that evening and all day Sunday, I started questioning if maybe something wasn’t bad wrong. If I should take him to the Med Stop or something.

And then he asked for crackers.

Okay. Okay. That helped my feelings.

He ate a few and continued to sip on his ginger ale. We turned on the TV in the hopes of distracting him, and it did seem to lift his spirits. At one point in the show he started laughing really hard–pretty sure it was some bathroom humor. He’s eight after all.

That was when I breathed a little bit, and his big sister smiled.

“Awwww Fweetie, are you feeling better?”

When our Princess was little she called everyone Sweetie, only we heard it as “Fweetie.” She would use it especially in those tender moments, “Oh Fweetie, don’t cry, it will be okay.”  *pats back of Fweetie*

Because she would get booboos of various kinds–both real and imagined–she got a lot of bandaids when she was small. They were magical, curing all the pains and hurts and owies almost immediately. So much so that when she got a tummy ache, she thought her tummy needed a bandaid as well.

So last night when Aub asked Cooter that question, he smiled a little. Then he sighed.

“No, my tummy still hurts really bad.”

She hopped up and went into the kitchen. When she came back, she was carrying a bright yellow bandaid. “Here, Fweetie, this will make it all better.” And she put it smack dab in the middle of his little belly.

That got a laugh out of him. A good laugh.
And that was good for my worried heart.

As one by one all the others went to bed, I decided to find something that Cooter would enjoy watching since it didn’t look like either one of us would be settling in for sleep soon. I kept hoping the discomfort would ease up enough that he could go to bed, or at least sleep in the chair, but each time I thought it might happen, he’d start up again about how bad either his head or his stomach hurt.

It was then that I remembered I had recorded the old 1966 Batman movie with Adam West. I decided to give it a try. I figured it would be appropriate–cheesy maybe, but not offensive.

I am so glad I did.

From the moment the movie started, I had a different child on my hands. He was still a little puny, but he was watching and paying close attention and calling out from time to time, “What?! Does everything have to be bat something or other?”

Holy repetition, Batman, why yes it does.

As it got later, Cooter still didn’t want me to leave him alone, even just long enough to get a shower, but halfway into the movie he barely nodded when I said I was going to shower. He was entranced.

Yes, I let him stay up and watch the whole movie. Way too late. But doing just that made him ready to get in his own bed when it was over, and while he still wasn’t 100 percent, he definitely felt much better.

And this morning his little face was the first one I saw, staring me in my eyes.

“Breakfast. I need food.”

Color this Mama thankful.

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I am thankful for a beautiful weekend of unexpected twists and turns and grace abounding. I appreciate the whole family working together to make things good for all. Most of all, I am thankful for a well little guy today and for the healing power of Batman and Bandaids.

If only all ailments and woes were so easily fixed…..

Wishing you all a day with no hurts that can’t be covered by a bandaid.

Love to all.

It Was a “Pink Toilet on the Side of the Road” Kind of Day

The littles and I were riding down the road one day last week, and I saw this.

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There is no filter.  That is indeed a pink toilet sitting on the side of the road.

A rose commode.

A throne.  The can.

Whatever you want to call it, it’s still there.  And still pink.

I was thinking about it tonight.  When I first saw it, it made me laugh.  And the song, “One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn’t belong” immediately started playing through my head.

Tonight it occurred to me that this is the perfect picture to describe my day.

Joyful–seeing this on the side of the road filled me with laughter and delight.  It’s whimsical.  Sticking a toilet there like that.  And a pink toilet makes me happy.  This is not the first one I have ever seen.  My Great Aunt had one in the master bedroom of her fine home.  It was color coordinated with the tile walls.  Ahem.  I had joy in my busy day with my sisterfriend, as we had fun sharing the joy and cookiebombing our sisters at our alma mater who are getting ready for finals and graduation and the next step on their journeys.  We laughed and laughed.  (Laughter’s my favorite pastime.)

Perplexed–what on earth is going on here?  This goes for the toilet on the side of the road and the state of affairs all around me.  As Niecy Nash said when she’d walk into a home on the show, Clean House, “Whose foolishness is this?”

Sad–What happened that this individual or family found it necessary to place this there?  It doesn’t make sense, and that makes me sad.  So many things I heard today just don’t make sense to me.  Things sure do seem broken right now–and all out of place.  Like that pink toilet.

Curious–There’s a story there.  (I came across more than one of those today)  And I want to know it.

Ah well, maybe that will have to be next on my agenda.  Writing a story about the pink toilet and why it sat on the side of the road for days.  Not joking, that first day, traffic moved a little slower as we were all rubbernecking for a better look.  I was in such a shock that I didn’t immediately think to stop and snap the pictures–it was our Princess who woke me from my mind’s meanderings and hollered, “Mama, take a picture!”

She has always been partial to pink, that one.

Tonight I’m thankful for the unexpected things that brighten my days–like a pink toilet sitting on the side of the road and all of the memories it brings back.  Or a visit and time spent with a dear friend.  The privilege of hearing about another’s passion and dreams.  Or a cool breeze that brings one more evening of reprieve from the gnats.  Or a little boy who still wants to hold my hand.

Despite all of the hard things and things that bamboozle me, and all of the brokenness folks are sitting on the side of the road, I am glad for the whimsy and surprises that make my heart smile.

Hoping you find a pink toilet to make you smile.

Love to all.

Creature of Habit

Isn’t it funny what we become accustomed to?

And what we don’t?

I am a creature of habit.  So is Cooter.  This morning I needed to head out the door and run over to the hardware store to get something notarized (yeah, I know, I love that place), and I didn’t have time for dillydallying.  Cooter had been more worried about Legos and the like this morning, so I was lucky he was even dressed.  He didn’t accept the cup of yogurt I offered, so it was almost lunchtime by the time it occurred to him that he was hungry.

“Okay, we’re about to have lunch.  Just give me a few minutes.”

Wrong thing to say, Mama, wrong thing to say.

He was devastated.  Cue the meltdown.

“But I haven’t had breakfasssstttttt!” he wailed.

Oh me.

I somehow pacified him with something halfway healthy to munch on before I got lunch together.  I only wish he would be as rigid about the order of math before playing.  Maybe one day…..hey, I can dream, right?

Yes, so I’m a creature of habit.  Not quite as much as my little guy, but yes.

It takes me a little while to get in the habit though.  I think the studies say 2 weeks?  Maybe 3, is it?  I don’t know, I just know some things fall into place easier than others.

Like something that began last fall.

I don’t know which of my friends commented on or a liked a post by this gentleman, but that little “stalker” box that tells what your friends are up to, in the upper right corner on Facebook?  That’s probably how I first came across the writer I have come to appreciate so much.

Mr. John Paul Schulz.

I won’t tell his story–he does an entertaining job of that himself. (Now you know you have to go read his blog, right?)  But what first caught my eye is that he has a book coming out called, “Sweetie Drives on Chemo Days.”  After our long journey with Daddy‘s fight with lymphoma, I was intrigued.  I “friended” Mr. Schulz, and he kindly welcomed me, a stranger, into his fold.

I’m a lucky girl.

I asked questions when he described treatments similar to Daddy’s.  He was patient and answered them.  When I first stumbled upon his page last October he was sharing a quote or two from his upcoming book each day.  They brightened my mornings and many I shared with my Aunt or others I thought would enjoy them.   In recent weeks, he has started numbering these thoughts.  Today was number #102.

One hundred and two days of sharing a laughter, a smile, and an encouraging word.  And 102 days of Mr. Schulz reminding us “Everything is going to be all right.”  That’s his mantra, I think.

Some days that’s mine too.  That’s what gets me through the day.  The words straight from the page to my heart.  Yes.

It was over the weekend when it hit me what a habit this has become for me.  Reading and thinking on these words shared by a wise man who was born two years after my Daddy.  Over the weekend, I missed him sharing his thoughts as he was out of town watching the sunset with his mother.

Of course I forgave him.  And crossed my fingers he’d be back safe and sound and sharing wisdom again soon.

He was.

And it was on February 11, #101, that it hit me that I was being downright selfish not sharing this Georgia gem with y’all.

He started off quoting Robert Frost:

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Mr. Schulz follows the quotes each day with his own thoughts on the matter.  On the 11th, he continued with:

“Every day somebody gets another chance to get it right—or keep it right. That person may as well be you…..”

I won’t spoil the rest of it for you, but to read the whole post,  you can click here.  While you are there, treat yourself, and sign up to follow his blog.  You deserve it.

I can’t tell you really how much those words meant to me.  The day after the second anniversary of Mama leaving this earth.   It may sound cold, but the one thing I’ve learned in all of this is indeed, thank you Mr. Frost and Mr. Schulz, that life goes on.  I remember Mess Cat and me sharing with each other, somewhat in shock, that even though our world was tumbling down around us with the deaths of the ones who raised us and loved us, the laundry still needed doing.  Meals still needed preparing.

What is that even about?

Life.  Goes.  On.

And what John Paul Schulz says about second chances–oh me.  I need those all the time.  I never deserve ’em, but I do get them.  And I’m so thankful when I do.

Tonight I’m thankful for the words of others which make me laugh, make me cry, make me think.  And tonight I’m thankful for whichever one of my friends who was commenting or liking on a post, and yes, I’m even thankful for that Facebook stalker box.  Because now I have a habit that I enjoy–one that starts my day off right.  Reading the “Quotes and Notes” by John Paul Schulz every single morning that he writes one.

If you are on Facebook, pop on over and say hello.  Just for fun, I’ll leave you with another story from this man who shines such light into the world and makes me laugh.  I’m always thankful for the laughter.  It helps me to remember and to appreciate–Life goes on.

 

 

Today on the job one of the guys asked, “John, what’s so funny?”
I was surprised, “Nothing special, why?”
“Well,” he said, “You’ve been grinning all morning.”
I said, “Oh–I see–today I realized that a couple of years ago I thought I was going to die and everyone who knew me thought I was going to die.”
He looked at me quizzically–
I continued, “And I didn’t. Ain’t that something to grin about?”

–John Paul Schulz

Love and laughter to all.

Broken For You: The Tale of the Pie Caken

While my brother and his family were here staying with us last week, several things were less than perfect.

Our Princess succumbed to the upper respiratory crud for two days.

Thirty minutes into our outdoor viewing of “The Apple Dumpling Gang,” it started drizzling, and we shut it down. (But it was really, really cool while it lasted!)

The cake fell.

Miss Sophie got overexcited and barked and was quite upset when folks ran through the house.  Which, with a houseful of 10 and unders, was bound to happen.  A lot.

The blueberry custard came out a little soupy.

It rained.

And it rained some more.

None of which I had any control over.

In every single case, it was what it was.

And–

we dealt with it.  It was all about our attitudes.

And thankfully, when the tears (okay, my tears) threatened to fall over the cake AND pie messes, my brother had me laughing over the whole “pie-caken” idea–the dessert version of the turducken I suppose.

I don’t know what I’d do without that crazy, belly filling laughter.

It saves me.

Our Princess and I had a few minutes before she had to be at dance the other day, so we stopped by our favorite used bookstore.   As I walked down the shelves, remembering how I used to do the same thing all those years I worked in the library, a title caught my eye.

“Broken for You.”

I have no idea what the book is about, nor will I likely look it up anytime soon.  (Okay, just kidding, I just did.)

But those words.  They have been zigzagging back and forth in my mind all evening.

Broken.

For You.

For me.

For us.

This life is full of brokenness.  Children are going to get sick, and we can’t control that.  (If you’ve figured out how, PLEASE let me know.  Three different viruses in less than three weeks’ time–I’m a little over it.)  Cakes, despite our best efforts, are sometimes going to fall.  All it takes is a child taking a misstep on the stairs or one happily hopping through the kitchen or just a lousy coincidence.  Soupy pies?  Well Mama’s not here to tell me why that happened, but you better know one day she and I are going to talk about the vagueness of that recipe!

I don’t really think that the Universe is out to get me (despite what I say sometimes) nor do I think things are broken on purpose–sometimes they just happen.  But if I can look at the brokenness as an opportunity to share laughter (thanks Bubba) or to slow down or to be thankful for what did go right…..

perhaps the cracks are how the light of good thoughts gets through.   If I can look at it as being broken for me to work on my response, then there is a redemptive quality to so many things we are facing (I get it, not all things)–including a fallen poundcake.

I mean, we get better at something by practicing, right?  (I sure hope so–at least that’s what I’ve been telling my reticent mathematicians.)

So how can we get really good at being thankful,

at finding light in the darkness,

at laughing despite the hard times,

at choosing the right attitude…..

if we don’t get any practice, if everything always goes as planned?

Perhaps that’s what purpose fallen cakes and fevers and soupy blueberry custards can serve–

broken for me–

so I can work on not letting it all get to me.

In this life, we can let things break us, or–

maybe–

we can see it as being broken for us to practice our “attitude adjusting” and show what we’re made of.

I can’t say that I won’t get a little *ahem* upset the next time my pound cake falls (oh me), but I will remember the pie caken and find something to smile about in the midst of the frustration.

It’s a start.

Wishing you all the ability to laugh when things fall apart.  Or just fall.

Love to all.

 

My poor fallen sour cream pound cake.  Some folks around here say they prefer them fallen--they might be telling a tale, but I'm okay with that.

My poor fallen sour cream pound cake. Some folks around here say they prefer them fallen–they might be telling a tale, but I’ll take it.

 

Ode to Blue Pool Cue Chalk

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So much is wrong in this world,

so much not okay.

That’s what was going through my mind yesterday–

bullying, people fear mongering to get what they wanted,

spending money foolishly,

manipulating other people,

ignoring the needs of other folks,

leaving people out because they are different,

so many things like this and more,

as I scrolled down the screen thinking

THIS IS NOT OKAY

I opened another window

I needed out of this room with too much

heartbreak, anger, frustration

foolishness

I wanted to shake some sense into some people,

so I left

 

When I opened your door, and I found you

sitting there, waiting to be chosen

you took my breath away

and you brought back memories

of my friend and the first

two-story house I’d ever been in

Stairs were a big deal back then

we played up and down

up and down

and back up again

and there it was

The Pool Table

 

It made us feel quite grownup,

well me anyway,

to hang out, taking turns hitting the

balls

knocking them mostly

sometimes using our hands and the cue ball

instead of the sticks

We’d say “Rack ’em up” and laugh

as though we knew what we were doing

 

But when I discovered you and

how it felt

to hold you and use you for what you

were created to do–

make that stick work better

(I guess, I’m no expert here)

it felt right

It felt OKAY

 

Yesterday when I opened that window

and saw you standing there, waiting,

my heart slowed and steadied

and I almost said, yes, I’ll take you home

But alas, there are no sticks or tables

or numbered orbs here to keep you company

and somehow just putting you on a shelf

for show

doesn’t seem right or

OKAY

you were created for a task

and when you, in all your blue loveliness,

give yourself, your whole existence

for just what you were created for–

it is a beautiful thing

 

Thank you for reminding me that

despite all the wrong in the world

there are still blue pool cue chalk cubes

in this world

ready and willing to be used,

a beautiful azure, already etched out

to make life a little easier

 

Thankfully,

there are some things still right with the world

and you are one of them

 

 

 

Breathe, Shirley

It’s been over a year and a half since my dearfriend had her out-patient procedure.  The one that gave us the words that we go back to and use with each other so much.

Breathe, Shirley.

She went in to have the procedure and was put under anesthesia.  She doesn’t remember a thing until she started waking up.  She was in some sort of recovery room and hadn’t come fully to yet.  The nurse was doing things to take care of her and encouraging a person named Shirley at the same time.  As the nurse took vitals and made notes, she continued to say aloud, “Breathe, Shirley.  You can do it.  Breathe.”

My dearfriend, in her semi-conscious state, felt awful for this other lady in the room who was having a very difficult time in recovery.  After all, Shirley wasn’t even breathing.

And then, as she came to even more, it hit her.  The nurse was talking to her.

Only her name isn’t Shirley.

*sigh*

The story is a lot funnier when she tells it. (Especially the way she says, “So then I asked the nurse, ‘Are you talking to ME?'”) But most things are.  She can take those everyday mundane and even hard things and have us both laughing over them by the end of the story.

I love having folks like that in my posse.  Don’t you?

We have laughed and laughed over that one.  There she was feeling bad for poor Shirley who wasn’t breathing well enough on her own, and turns out it was her.

Oh me.  Y’all hang on, I gotta wipe my eyes from laughing so hard.

I told my Mama this story shortly after my friend shared it.  We had a good chuckle over it ourselves.

And then came Mama’s HospitalStay, the one where she was on a vent and many of our days consisted with them attempting to take her off the machine that was helping her breathe.  I found myself saying on more than one occasion, “Breathe Shirley.  Breathe.”

That’s not my Mama’s name either, but I was hoping deep inside, beneath where she was resting so peacefully, that maybe it would stir a giggle and she’d remember and be able to breathe on her own again.

And maybe, just maybe, like my dearfriend, I was the one who needed to be reminded to breathe.  Sometimes in the midst of hard times and stress and anxiety-filled days and nights, we tend to forget to do just that, don’t we?  And we need to be reminded.  To stop.  And take a deep breath.

Breathe, Shirley.

I have another sisterfriend who writes and shares stories about “finding balance and grace in the midst of life,” over at Centering Down.  I am blessed that I get to share stories both on-line and off with her.  She has a calming spirit, and she knows all about breathing.  As a matter of fact, she has published her 100th post, and it is about breathing.  Y’all take a minute and go read “Calming Anxiety with Breathing Techniques.”  It’s good stuff, and I can attest to the fact that breathing does help with anxiety and stress.  I just have to be reminded sometimes.

After all, if it’s good enough for Shirley…..well…..

Congratulations to my friend on her writing triumph.  And thanks to my dearfriend who allowed me to share her story and gives me the gift of an hour with her each week while we wait for our girls–where we laugh and remind each other to breathe.  And we call each other Shirley.

It’s become a term of affection now…..

Love to all.

And don’t forget to breathe.