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

 

Seeing the Rainbows

This afternoon as we headed east on the main road, Aub, who was riding shotgun, pointed out the front window to the right of the heavy storm clouds.  “Look!”

A rainbow.  So big and bright that you could see each individual color on that ROYGBIV spectrum.  Beautiful.

Breathtaking really.

My only regret is that I didn’t pull over right then.

The littles were able to see it after we turned and headed south.  They were excited and watched it until we got to our destination a few minutes later.

As the busyness of getting our Princess where she needed to be ensued, the rainbow was quickly forgotten.  Until I saw two little girls running over to where they could see it, pointing and jumping up and down with excitement.

Jumping up and down over a rainbow.

For the love.

A few minutes later we settled in to our seats to wait on our Princess to finish her practice, and I looked up at the sky.

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Rainbow gone.

Ah.  Well. It had been lovely.  No rainbow lasts forever I suppose.

The thing that made me sad was that the sky was unchanged.  If you hadn’t known about the rainbow from a few minutes ago, you wouldn’t see anything that would let you know it had been there at all.

How many folks just continued on their way, never noticing the beauty in that Promise spanning across the sky?

And how many of us pass by someone in their shining moment, never noticing what it is taking for them to step outside their comfort zone and say hello, smile at a stranger, draw a picture, write a short story, sing a melody that touches their heart…..AND SHINE?

How many of us don’t see the rainbows in the eyes and hearts of those around us each and every day?

*raises hand*  I know I’m right up there with so many.  I get all wrapped up in my woulda coulda shouldas and my to do’s and tunnel vision kicks in.

And I am missing so many rainbows.  Right there in front of me.

That makes me want to cry.

Summer is here.  We’ve wrapped up school, for a few weeks anyway.  I so want this to be our summer of rainbows.  For this one tonight to just be the beginning.  I want to keep my eyes and my heart open so I don’t miss the joy and the fun and the laughter that is in the hearts of those I love.  And those we meet in our day to days.  And every time I see one, I want to jump up and down with excitement!

And one more thought before I call it a night–

How many of us look in the mirror and fail to see the beautiful rainbow spirit that lives inside that person we are looking at?  How many of us fail to see the beauty and strength and inspiring person who lives inside our own skin? (Yes, I’m talking to you, sweet one.  Right now, stop and go look in the mirror, and see the beauty there that the rest of us see–inside and out–you lovely amalgam of color and thought and emotions.  Now tell yourself how beautiful you are.  And recognize it within.  All the good you do in this world.  Yes.  That right there.  Thank you.)

May we all spend a day of seeing the rainbows that usually go unnoticed.  In others.  And ourselves.

Love to all.

My Heart Overflows

This afternoon a dear friend told me I seemed happier than I had in a long time.  And that made me even happier.  I showed her pictures of where my day had taken me so far and she agreed–stuff worth being happy about.

Leroy, my big brother, invited my crew to come over to the new house and play today.  And he told me to go do “whatever.”  Whatever?  I thought through the possibilities and then picked up the phone to call my Aunt.  I asked if I could come and pick beans, as we’d been talking about this for a couple of weeks.  After questioning my thought processes that led me to decide to pick beans in my “time off,” she said well sure.  I guess it might seem an odd choice to some.  This is my first “free without plans or a doctor’s appointment” time in a very long, long time.  I couldn’t think of anywhere I’d rather be.  Picking beans without folks with me who might whine about the heat?  Bring it.

I can’t remember my first time in a garden.  I just remember always picking with my Daddy.  My Granddaddy planted quite the garden at Granny’s when I was small.  I can remember sitting on the edge of the bucket picking butterbeans, trying to be so careful not to pull up the whole plant.  Later when we moved to Blackberry Flats Daddy planted and we all picked and snapped and shelled and Mama canned.  I remember helping him plant as recently as just a few years ago.  Using the bricks with a string tied between to line up the row, and then dropping the seeds along every so often.  Oh I miss it.

So, time in a garden today?  Yes please.

My destination today

My destination today

My Uncle pulled corn, and he, my Aunt, and I sat and shucked and silked it under the shade of the trees in no time.  My heart was full.   So often I spend my time with my children trying to make a good moment that will become a precious memory.  Today was for me.  I will treasure the memory of how it felt, sitting there with them, shucking and visiting and smelling the smell of summer.  A treasure.

Summer sunshine growing on a stalk

Summer sunshine growing on a stalk

After we finished with the corn, my Aunt and I headed out to pick beans.  What a treat a pot of fresh beans and cornbread is for supper.  Throw some onion and a few new potatoes in the pot and it’s a veritable summer FEAST.  And now I have corn as a side dish.  It just doesn’t get any better than that.

The beans that will be my supper tomorrow night

The beans that will be my supper tomorrow night

We picked a mess pretty quickly, sharing stories and visiting the whole while, which made it seem like it took no time at all.  After that it was time to take off my garden boots and head off for the next adventure.

I was rockin' the garden boots, right?

I was rockin’ the garden boots, right?

But first I wanted to say goodbye to this glorious place that turns water and light into food for the body and this land that was food for my soul.  There’s something about being outside that does that for me.  And being with family.  I was hot and had sweat running down my face, but oh boy, were my spirits lifted.

A beautiful day

A beautiful day

Next I picked up our Princess from Leroy’s and took her to an art class at our favorite coffeehouse.  It was a surprise for her.  She was a bit nervous because the last time she did this over a year ago, she didn’t think her picture turned out so well.  I hugged her and told her no matter how she thought it looked, I would love it.  I left her to her class, had a quick impromptu visit with friends at the coffeehouse, and then headed next door to the GW Boutique for a quick once-over.

When I returned our Princess had finished her painting, and it was FABULOUS.  She even used my favorite colors.

The puppy's name is Teresa, according to our Princess.....that's a "t" on her collar

The puppy’s name is Teresa, according to our Princess…..that’s a “t” on her collar

I loved that when we were helping clean up, she pointed out what was left where she’d been working her artistic magic.

What was left around where she created her work of art

What was left around where she created her work of art

It occurred to me that we should do that in whatever we do.  Be so enthusiastic and thorough that we overflow–with light, with love, with compassion, with grace. We shouldn’t be so cautious in any of those things that there isn’t overflow.  Makes me kind of wish I had kept that tablecloth.  Maybe my word for next year will be “overflow.”  It sure was my word for today–my heart overflowed.  So much so that my friend saw the joy in my face.

And on the way home, after the littles had their summer gymnastics class this evening (yes it was a VERY full day), when my spirits were sinking over something that happened late in the day and my heart felt very fragile, my littles pointed this out to me.

I kind of have the feeling this was my Mama's way of letting me know she's around

I kind of have the feeling this was my Mama’s way of letting me know she’s around

My Mama showed me the rainbows in the midst of the storms of life.  And tonight, when I felt like one was blowing in, this rainbow caught the eyes of my precious gifts who still get excited over rainbows and bugs and tadpoles and good stories.  When I saw it, my heart knew and I felt some peace.  I am pretty sure Mama was saying, “Don’t let anyone take the joy of this day from you.”

Tonight I am thankful for family who loves me despite all my craziness; for the generosity of my family with their time, their love, their listening, and their vegetables.  I am thankful for friends who pay attention and who know me and are happy when they see me happy.  And for the same friends who walk the path of brokenness and heartbreak with me.  I am thankful for a little girl who loves bright colors and tells everyone, “Mama couldn’t quit smiling when she saw my picture.”  I am thankful for loud cousins playing and growing up together and for their parents who make that possible.  I am thankful for the bounty of the sun and rain this summer and for my Aunt and Uncle who share it.  And I’m thankful for my Mama who hasn’t stopped talking to me just because we are separated by that thin veil.  I needed that rainbow tonight, to remember the joy of today, and not let it slip away. Joy.  Overflow.  Yes.

She Showed Me the Rainbows

It sure has been raining a lot this summer. I’m not complaining. It’s been nice, keeping things green and not as hot as usual. It reminds me of my summer in Valdosta in 1985 when it seemed to rain around the same time every afternoon, leaving the evenings unbearably humid when the sun would come out again. I am grateful it’s not imitating the summer of 1994–the one when it started raining and didn’t stop until we had all kinds of flood damage around here.

Yesterday evening we were at Daybreak up in Macon. The meal was over and folks were heading out, trying to find cover before the impending storm hit. I kept watching out the back window of the building as the dark clouds came closer and closer. I wondered if it would hit before we left. I used to love rainy weather and all that it entailed until I started going up to Come to the Fountain and Daybreak and getting to know our friends who have no place to call home. Now it comes with worry–where will our friends go? How will they weather yet one more downpour?

As I was gathering my thoughts and the discarded plates and soupbowls, one of our friends and fellow volunteers tapped me on my arm–“Hey look, a rainbow!” He pointed out the side window. The whole time I’d been watching through the back windows, focused on the storm approaching, there through the side window a beautiful rainbow could be seen.

My littles gazing out at the rainbow through the side window at Daybreak

My littles gazing out at the rainbow through the side window at Daybreak

Well, the picture doesn’t do it justice, but it was there.  I gathered my littles and took them over to the window for a closer look.  As it seemed to be fading, it was harder for them to see it, but once they did, oh the joy on their sweet faces!

Today I’ve had my Mama on my heart more than usual.  I miss her so much.  She was good at that, you know.  In the storms of life, instead of watching the storm approach or cowering in the midst of it, she was always looking for that rainbow.  Some days feel a little stormier than others.  I sure could use her here to help me look at things from a different point of view and see the rainbow, instead of panicking about the storm.  She was someone who saw many storms, bad ones, from a very young age.  Yet she worked to prevent storms from hitting us, her babies (always her babies, she’d say), head-on.  When one inevitably did, she was there with open arms–to gather us close, to dry our tears, and to help us seek the rainbow–a sign of hope.  And if we were headstrong and just wouldn’t look, so bogged down in our own misery, she was the first one to call us out, and say, “Get up! Look around.  There’s a whole world of good out there.  Don’t let this define you.”

I am thankful for the time I had with my Mama.  Is it okay to say it wasn’t enough?  I am so thankful that today when my Aub and I were talking about what Mama would have said about something, we were both quoting her back and forth verbatim.  Because she’s in our hearts, we know what she’d say most of the time.  It’s just we miss having her say it, hearing the love in her voice and seeing the light in her eyes as she did.  I really appreciate that my friend, who had no idea the turbulence in my heart right now, was looking out for the rainbow and took the time to share it.  I think that’s what we are called to do–show each other encouragement.  And hope.  And point out the rainbows even as the storm clouds gather.  Sometimes, when there’s just no words to fix it, that’s the best we can do.