Watching The Rock Die

So there was this day I found myself sitting at the Emergency Room with my sisterfriend there alongside, and I looked up at the TV right in front of me whose sound was not minimal, and the violence was jarring.

It would have been jarring in any circumstances, but with the background sounds of the young woman in the wheelchair crying out in pain as her husband rubbed her back in gentle circles, and the voices of the nurses insisting that no one else go back to a patient’s room or security would be called, it was dizzying.  Surreal.  Confusing.  Not to mention all the worry and anxiety.

And it was more than I could bear.

When a character on the TV walked into a room and shot The Rock, a man whom I’ve only seen in Disney movies and in brief interviews and that time he lip synced the Taylor Swift song, “Shake It Off,” it sent a shock though my system.  I really like him.  Okay, I’m in the ER, and The Rock is now dead.  Only he isn’t.  But in a room that has seen its fair share of gunshot wounds, it just seemed WRONG.

More than wrong.

Here’s the thing.  I’ve sat here thinking about that day.  And about ERs.  And the thing is, I cannot think of a single reason that wouldn’t be at least somewhat worrisome or troubling that would bring one to the ER.

Let’s face it.  It’s not a happy place.  Somebody is sick or hurt or struggling or something is WRONG and that’s why each and every person is in there.  If it’s not them hurting, they are there because they care about someone who is.

So maybe, could we all agree that these TVs that seem to be in every waiting space there is these days should be tuned to something that would take our minds off of the worry, pain, fear, concern, aches, hurt–or at least attempt to?

Like maybe “I Love Lucy” greatest hits.  Or an “Andy Griffith” marathon.  Or some other show that is devoid of violence or high speed chases or anything else that quickens the pulse and raises the blood pressure.  No more added stress.   I’m sure it would be a different show for all of us, but at this point, I’d take elevator music playing in the background.

Can we just remove the violence, the blood and gore and terror, at the very least?  (There’s enough of that in the world, in that very room, already.)

It seems that the older I get, the more sensitive I am to it.  At this point, I could do without ever seeing anything like that again.

Thanks for listening to my thoughts.  I welcome yours…..what would be your choice to pass the time in a place like the ER?  What do you think is appropriate?

Love to all.


By Thierry Geoffroy (Thierry Geoffroy) [CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons


Telling Folks Where to Go

So there was this sign out yesterday a couple of streets over, advertising that there was going to be a neighborhood meeting tonight.  I texted with my sweet neighborfriend, curious if she or her husband were planning on attending.  I had a question or two, and I’d been trying to figure out how I could make it work so I could go.  But it wasn’t looking promising.

“Probably not,” she wrote back.  “It doesn’t even say where it is.”

Huh.  You know what, she was absolutely right.

Y’all, there I’d been spinning my wheels trying to head in a direction that I didn’t have a clue about.

Not the first time that’s happened on this journey.  I found it ironic that in all of my planning and thinking it all through, the ultimate direction I needed to go wasn’t even part of the equation.

All too often, my friends.  All too often.

This evening I sat at the pool, watching Cooter practice and trying to keep from getting chilled (it was in the 60’s–brrrr!), and I thought about the folks at the meeting.  The ones who planned it and set the sign out, letting the rest of us know about it.

Don’t you know they were sitting over there (Wherever THERE was), wondering why no one else was showing up?

Folks, if you don’t tell people where you are, how are they going to meet you there?

I have friends who are able to speak to their pain, their sadness, their worries, their struggles, and I admire them for that.  We can’t walk alongside them, toting a light to help see the path or help them up when they stumble if we don’t know WHERE THEY ARE, can we?

And yet, how often do we think we’re leaving signs that we are struggling or upset or overwhelmed and get our feelings hurt when no one shows up to say, “I’m here–  I’ll sit with you in this darkness,” when we would be so much better off if we just came out and said exactly how we are hurting?

No?  Just me?  Okay then.

Tonight I’m thankful for my neighborfriend reminding me that if we don’t have directions, there’s no sense in worrying over if we can get there or not.  And I’m thankful for the folks who speak from their hearts and let me know where they are and how I can help.  Most of all, I give thanks for the ones who come to my side when I do speak up about the hard things, when I show them where I am.  I couldn’t keep traipsing along without them.


Leave a map, y’all.  Folks want to be there, but you have to be brave and let them know where you are.

Love to all.

I’m a Monet, Y’all

Last week was my sweet neighborfriend’s birthday.  The past two Tuesdays we’ve had the opportunity to paint together in celebration.  It was something I never would have taken on by myself but when she agreed to go together, I was all for it.  Though for the record, this was a style of painting I’d never done before.

I’ve gone to classes where we painted an owl or a tree on the beach or something more concrete and I’ve sat with Mess Cat on the back porch and painted things we’ve seen on Pinterest or ideas we’ve come up with ourselves, but I’ve never done an impressionistic painting.

Until now.

Our teacher reminded us that the idea behind this was to be loose and free in our painting and covering the canvas.

I have OCD say what now?

Yeah, it was hard at first.  But when I started letting go of what I perceived as imperfections, I really began to enjoy what I was doing and worked to make it my own.  I was doing fine until I made the silhouette of the man on the sidewalk look like he had no neck.  When I went back and touched him up, I could breathe again. He looked more like a human and less like the Hulk, thank goodness.

Last week we did all of the base colors, and outlining, but yesterday was all about adding the color and the detail.  We moved quickly and with purpose.  As we were finishing up, I stepped out of the room to rinse my brush.  I walked back in and saw my friend’s painting from the doorway.

“Girl, that is fabulous!”  And it really was.

She laughed.  “Yeah, when you’re looking at it all the way across the room, right?”

As I tried to protest, our teacher spoke up, “Well yes, that’s how it is supposed to work.  It’s impressionistic.  When you look at it from a distance, it will look ‘better.'”

All I could think about was the movie “Clueless” and how they referred to someone as a “Monet”–“far away she looks great, a masterpiece, but up close she’s a mess.”  (I’m ad libbing here, y’all.  I haven’t seen that movie in YEARS.)

As we gathered our things and paintings and said our goodbyes, I saw this sign that I don’t remember being there before over near the front door to the gallery.


Amen.  Some of the best things in my life came about when I took a trip outside my comfort zone.  Some of the most beautiful and broken and hard and precious and moments I hold most dear in my heart came from crossing that line into the unknown.

Tonight I’m thankful for my friend who stepped way out of her comfort zone to paint for the first time something other than a room or piece of furniture.  That’s the thing about comfort zones–they are much easier to leave when you have a friend at your side.  And way more fun.  Also, I’m thankful for the reminder that up close we can all be a mess, and that what we see from afar–from the outside looking in–that can be very deceiving.

And here’s what I am most thankful for in the midst of a day of painting–

this canvas I painted, this picture I created–it is an “up close mess, far away lovely thing” all together in one.  Broken and beautiful.  Messy and magnificent.  Wacky and wonderful.

All in one.

Just like me.
Just like all of us, I’d daresay.

We are all of the beautiful and broken things, and maybe it’s time we start hanging that on the wall and letting folks up close enough to see all of who we are.  The realness of our being.

It means being vulnerable, it means being raw and open, but if we really ever want people to see who we really are and all of our magnificent colors–not just the shadows or an impression–maybe it’s time to hang ourselves up for folks to see and appreciate and love.  Up close and everything.

May we all begin to love the Monet that we are.  One point at a time.

Love to all.

My painting from across he room.  I can handle y'all seeing this.  It's not perfect, but I rather like it.  "Tardis in the Rain" our teacher called it.

My painting from across he room. I can handle y’all seeing this. It’s not perfect, but I rather like it. “Tardis in the Rain” our teacher called it.

But this. This, I didn't want to show y'all.  It's rough around the edges and way less than perfect and there are things I'd love to touch up.  But this is me--being vulnerable--and this is the REAL me.  Leaning, off-kilter, but here.  Go love yourselves, y'all.  All of you.

But this. This, I didn’t want to show y’all. It’s rough around the edges and way less than perfect, and there are things I’d love to touch up. But this is me–being vulnerable–and this is the REAL me. Leaning, off-kilter, but here. Go love yourselves, y’all. All of you.

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.

It’s About More than Geography

Yesterday evening I was sitting watching swim team practice, when my neighborfriend arrived with her family for her son’s swim lessons immediately following practice.  He, his brother, and my two littles are the best of buds, playing and riding bikes together, but when they arrived at the pool, it was like they hadn’t seen each other in ages.

As my friend settled herself on the bleachers, I introduced her to the others I’d been visiting with.  When I went to introduce her, I told them her name, and then I added, “She’s my…..ummm…..”

“Neighbor,” my friend laughed, shaking her head at my hesitation.

I laughed too.  And yet I felt like I needed to clarify–point out that our relationship was more than a geographical one.  I mean, after all, she washed, dried, and ironed mine and Princess’ clothes for my Mama’s funeral back when our washer fell apart two and a half years ago.

That’s more than a neighbor, right?

Today I’ve wondered what that was all about.  My hesitation.  My need to explain how she was “more” than a neighbor.

When did “neighbor” become not enough?

We are called to “love our neighbors as ourselves.”  So in that context, I think that neighbor would be a pretty esteemed title to hold.

And my sweet neighborfriend is one who deserves every bit of that esteem.

Tonight I’m pondering what being a neighbor really means–how to do it right.  Folks use to greet one another with affection and respect, “Howdy, neighbor!”  When did that change?  Was it because we are losing the art of front porch sitting…..standing on the sidewalks visiting…..borrowing a cup of sugar or a can of diced tomatoes?

I’m extremely fortunate that my neighbor and I have done all of these things.  I love her, her family, and what it means to live close to them.  Neighbor is indeed a term of endearment around here.

May you all have a great neighborfriend in your life–someone with an ear, a shoulder, an extra hug or cup of sugar, and who laughs when you try to explain exactly what your relationship is–and may you ever be close, no matter the geography.

Love to all.