Grab Ahold Every Chance You Get

This morning when I first went outside, I had prepared myself to see the moth from yesterday in the grass, gone.  But I didn’t.  I tried to believe that maybe, just maybe, she had only been “frolicking” yesterday, as she hovered close to the grass and danced only a few inches before landing once again.

But it was not to be.  A couple of hours later, as the littles and I headed out to run an errand, our Princess saw her just a few feet over in our neighbor’s yard.

She had not made it.

Sometimes my script writing is not so good at really predicting what might happen.

Still my sweet child tried to touch the moth.  I asked her what she was doing and she said sadly, “Just in case she’s still alive…..”

The moth was still on my mind as I took Miss Sophie out for her evening constitutional.  As soon as we walked out the door, I could hear music–loud and happy–from the next street over.  When the song ended, I heard a DJ, a real live, honest to goodness DJ speaking before he played the next song.  The music lent a festive air on this cloudy, cool evening, and for a moment I stopped and hummed along.  Some of my neighbors were out sitting on their front porch.  We visited for a moment, wondering what the celebration was and if they’d mind us joining them.

While I waited for Miss Sophie to do all her sniffs and whatnots, I texted my friend who lives on that street, asking her if the party was hers and teasingly asked why I hadn’t been invited.

It was later tonight that she wrote back, saying that no, it was two doors down from her.  A wedding celebration.  This young Mama, who had just tucked her son into bed, surprised me.  She wasn’t frustrated or worried that her son wouldn’t be able to sleep.  Instead she said she was enjoying the sounds of people celebrating.

You know what?  So was I.

For on this day that started out with the reminder of how short life is for all the little things and us too, it ended with the sound of laughter and music and joyful voices.  Life is too short not to celebrate all the moments, big and small.

I think it can best be summed up in the words of my friend whom I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting in person, Mr. John Paul Schulz, who shares his wit and wisdom daily over at Quotes and Notes Daily.  He commented on the story I wrote yesterday about the sweet dying moth.  He closed, after describing the life cycle of this buckeye moth, with:

“This completes the circle. This is nature, and
everything is going to be all right.”

And so it does.  This day, beginning with sadness and endings, ended with joy and beginnings.  There is such a raw beauty in that–the fulness of life experienced all in one day–that I feel a little raw myself.  A bit melancholy even.

That’s when I reread my friend’s trademark words.  He doesn’t say them for the sake of saying them.  He has lived his own stories–hard and joyful–and he believes them.

“Everything is going to be all right.”  

I don’t know if Mr. Schulz will ever know just how much I needed to hear those words tonight.  For his spirit, his encouragement, his joy and love of life, and his words, I give thanks.  I don’t know how to properly thank him, but if you have a moment to go over and visit him and read a page or two, please tell him I sent you and thank him for me, would you?

I’m also thankful for my neighborfriend who reminded me that we can choose our attitude in the face of the unexpected.  I’m glad she reminded me to choose joy.

Whenever we can, let’s choose joy.  There’s going to be enough of the sad and broken stuff to come along, and that can’t be helped.  It’s the circle of life.  But let’s not forget that joy is an important part of that circle and grab ahold to it every chance we get.

Love and joy 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.