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.

Dreams Come True, The Highway Don’t Care

Y’all know that Taylor Swift song–The Highway Don’t Care?  Oops.  Just found out it is really attributed to Tim McGraw.  But she sings in it and she’s Taylor after all (I live in a house dominated by females who LOVE TS, so my apologies, Mr. McGraw).

The song basically says that despite all that is going on in this person’s life, the highway don’t care.  Life goes on, sweetie, the highway don’t care.

So today has been the official launch date of dreams coming true.

*insert MAJOR happy dance here*

My oldest took a selfie with me on Sunday before she headed back to college.  “Next time we see each other, you’ll be a published author.”

She’s stretching it, but I’ll take it.

And smile really big.

The littles heard me talking about it, so I told them about the e-book and my story.  They were quite excited.  They love books, and we always talk about the authors and illustrators, so they can relate and, unless I am way off, I think they are just slightly impressed.  I can put together a full meal complete with dessert and I get nothing, but this–this, they get.

Cooter asked if I would be signing “my” book.  Funny how much they pay attention.  They’ve been to a book signing on more than one occasion and made friends with the authors–Karen Spears Zacharias, Ann Hite, and Renea Winchester–and all of those beautiful people became our friends.  So the bar is set very high about how this should go.  I explained to him that I wrote a story in a big book with lots of stories by amazing writers.  He looked at me and asked again, “Are you going to sign your book?”

So if you see my name in Sharpie on any electronic device around here, you’ll know why.

(He insisted, for goodness’ sake!  And have you seen that face?  Oh me.)

The thing is my life changed a little today.  A dream came true.  And I’m so tickled I can’t contain the joy.

But like going to school on your birthday and having midterms, life goes on.

First up Miss Sophie did not tend to *ahem* all of her business on our walk this morning.  So I felt the need to watch her like a hawk when we were back in the house.  She doesn’t have accidents often, but if she doesn’t go and I miss her signal (and she’s so subtle sometimes, that one), well somebody’s gonna have a mess to clean up.

Second our Princess accidentally poured almost an entire bowl of cereal WITH milk in her lap, all over her gown and robe and the table and the floor and the *sigh* fabric covered chair.  What do you know?  I was watching the dog like a hawk and STILL had a mess to clean up.

You know why?

Because the Highway don’t care.

We got through that, and I told the littles we needed to get lessons done before we could take on the task our Kindness Elves left for us. (We have Kindness Elves visiting us from England this year–when we wake up in the morning they have a suggestion for us about something we can do to scatter kindness.  This idea came from Imagination Tree.)  They suggested we make cookies, Maemae’s cookies, today to share–in honor of my story in the book (recipe included).

The littles were eager to get on to the cookie making portion of the day, so math happened.

I sit with Cooter to *ahem* encourage his little second grade self.  We are doing some review work right now.  He came to this word problem.

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We’ve seen this kind before, with smaller numbers.  But it never fails to crack Cooter up, and I’m thrilled that he finds it funny.  Dear Saxon, you have my homeschooled boy thinking that public school is really wacky with some of the things you say are in the classroom store.  Today he giggled so hard over eggs and rolls being in the classroom store that I had a hard time bringing him back around.

And then there was the sock question.  Y’all know those things are the bane of my existence, right?

The question was: Five pairs of socks were moved from the washer to the dryer.  When the socks were dry, only eight socks came out.  What happened ?

So I’m not really sure where Saxon was going with this line of questioning.  I mean, I know the math–10-8=2.  2 socks were missing.  But oh the joy that boy brings me!  I looked at his answer, and he had written, “NOTHENG.”

Okay, spelling’s not his forte, but you know what?  He’s right.

And Saxon, you know why he’s right?

Because this is NO BIG DEAL in our house.  It happens all the time. What would be a shocker and need answering as to what happened is if ALL THE SOCKS that were put in the washer and dryer came out SAFE AND SOUND and MATCHED.

Notheng, indeed, my boy.

He cracks me up.

He’s also slower than Christmas despite being motivated.  Not because he doesn’t understand but because he has so much to talk about.  Important stuff.  Star Wars.  Minecraft.  Interesting dreams. Dogs.  Cats.  Mushrooms.  Anything but math.

But they got it all done.

And it was cookie making time.

I know I’m already up for the Worst Parent award, so I will go ahead and confess that mine have never really been a part of the cookie making for very long at the time.  Either they get bored waiting on pans of cookies to get done to be refilled, or they make me so crazy that I thank them for their time and move it along.

Sad sad sad.  I’m sorry, crew. I’m trying to do better.

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So today I got one pan done and then left them to it.  I rerolled the dough as needed, but I let them cut and have fun.  I really did.  I kept my mouth closed and let them enjoy.

It’s Mama’s recipe and in memory of her anyway, so it was appropriate.

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Oh but was it an adventure!

I learned something very interesting.  I apologize to my Bubba, because I guess we never made cookies together.  At least I don’t remember him doing what Cooter did today.

It was a simple task really.  I have my Mama’s little boy and girl cookie cutters.  I handed each child their gender cutter and let them go to town.

And I have never seen as such.

I walked over to get a pan to put in the oven and–
Y’all.

Legless gingerbread boys.  Headless ones.  Ones with half a body.

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The girls were quite lovely.

Hmmmm.

Cooter.

Seven year old boys and cookie cutting are an interesting combination.

I finally asked that they cut out whole people as I wanted to have some to share (that was the idea, right, Kindness Elves?).  I asked that there be no more body part cookies.

Which sent the boy into fits of giggles.

Oh me.

He even suggested we could share them like that–as puzzle cookies or something.  *sigh*

The Highway don’t care, y’all.

(And yeah, I did pretty much laugh a lot this afternoon.)

All in all a good day.  Despite running a few minutes late everywhere I went and losing an earring in the process (the hazards of wearing clip-ons I reckon).  But I was given grace and my friend helped me look for my earring (found it), so all in all–

the Highway might not care but my friends and family do.

It’s been a special day.  A busy one.  And one that I won’t soon forget.

But here’s the lesson I want my children to hear whenever they get around to reading this–

First, our washer eats socks.  Don’t use socks for math problems.  Ever.

Second, if the dog doesn’t go, watch the cereal bowls, not her.  They are committing hari-kari around here.

Third, it doesn’t matter how wonderful life is going for you, or what awesome things are happening, life is still life–filled with bumps and bruises and logs in the road.  It’s never going to be perfect.  But it’s what you do with that–that’s what makes it special and beautiful and awesome.  Even in the midst of spilled cereal and lost earrings and body part cookies–keep smiling. It’s never that serious. That’s what deserves the happy dance in life.

Fourth, even when everything seems to be falling apart and the Highway ain’t listening to you or your woes at all–there is always someone who will.  A friend.  A sister.  A brother.  An Aunt.  You are loved.  From both sides of the veil.

Don’t let anything or anyone steal your joy.

And that’s why I’m still doing my happy dance with the book pulled up on that e-reader with my name scrawled across it in permanent ink.

Ha.

Tonight I’m thankful for all of you.  Thanks for sharing the journey and for caring, even when bowls and puppies and earrings and the clock and the Highway don’t care.  You do, and that makes all the difference in this world.

Love to all.

 

(If you’ve missed the link for the free copy of the book, click here.  *insert shameless self promotion here* 🙂  Thanks to all who have already gotten it.  It’s free until December 4th.  After that, it will be $1.99 and all proceeds will go to a program for children’s literacy.)

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This right here–MAJOR happy dance.  Oh, and the author whose name I share a line with–she’s my Fairy Godmother.  HOW PRECIOUS IS THAT?  ❤

some days

some days

it is incomprehensible

that life keeps going

that the world keeps turning

that laundry still piles up

family still needs to be fed

some days

it is beyond my ability

to do more than what absolutely has to be done

even now,

even still

after all this time

always

the missing and the hurting

it ebbs and flows

like joy and sorrow taking turns touching my toes

in the sand of this life

and neither will ever really go away

for without the one,

can there truly be knowledge of the other?

joy for the times that were

sorrow for the times that could never be

joy for the memories made

sorrow for the plans that never happened

in and out of my heart

the sights, sounds, and smell of you

yesterday I cried

when I smelled cinnamon baking

because it made me think of Christmas

when you were still here

and all was okay

contextually speaking, as we used to say

some days the laundry and the cooking

and the pots that need scrubbing

are why I rise and make the bed

and for the little ones of course

for the children they do not grieve as I do

they do not weep over lost moments

they sing songs and speak of you with a smile

and share what they have planned for when they see you again

as they are sure they will do

some days I give thanks for the things that need doing

they fill my mind and my hands

and my freezer and cake plates

some days when I am busy it is easier than

when I am not

but some days

some days

are not easy at all

you are loved and missed and given thanks for each day

love

 

 

Today a friend got the sad news surrounding the words “nothing else we can do” for her Daddy.  My heart aches for her.  Those words bring so much pain and worry and tears, and they require a paradigm shift.  I have friends who have stayed in the hospitals so much lately with those they love.  And I have heard of so many who are sick or grieving, here, right here in the midst of the beauty of the earth shaking off the slumber of winter, and as people call out to each other for the first time in weeks, “Alleluia!”  It is hard to fathom and wrap your brain around the idea that the whole world is not grieving with you.  That is where I have walked on more than one occasion.  It makes you want to cry out to everyone, “How are you still going and doing and functioning?”  Or it makes you want to crawl back in the bed and shut it all out.  I’ve been down both  of those paths.  This is for all of us who wonder why the earth doesn’t come to a screeching halt in its orbit when our worlds surely seem to be falling apart.  Love to all of you.