Christmas Creating

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This.

This beautiful piece.

Someone I love is very clever, and she created this beautiful wreath all by herself–bow included. (I know–I was VERY impressed.)  She told me about finding the pan on sale a while back and waiting for the right time to make gingerbread in this pan.

But the time didn’t come.

And so she recreated it.  She repurposed it.  She thought outside the box and figured out a way it could work for her.  And what a lovely thing she made when she did.  I adore this wreath.  Almost as much as I love the one who made it.

I think of how my Daddy talked about us owning our things, not letting them own us–making them work for us and not the other way around.

And this is a lovely example of doing just that.

Wishing you all the inspiration to think outside the box, to recreate and repurpose, and to make spirits bright!

‘Tis the season.

Love to all.

 

Joy After the Door is Closed

Today I found unexpected joy in rebirth and re-creating.  Thanks to an event shared on Facebook by a friend, we were able to see a play today.

I love plays.  I love live theater.

I absolutely adore holiday plays.

We attended a revision of “White Christmas,” performed by young people in our community.

It was different and well-done and completely fabulous.

Looking at all of those faces and their eagerness and thinking about how much of their wonderful lives they have ahead of them, I got teary-eyed.  When I saw a young teenage girl at the curtain call eyeing her parents who were sitting behind us and noticed that she was getting teary-eyed, I started to lose it.  When I leaned over and hugged my dear One who had joined us, I was undone.  The tears came, and I didn’t care.

Sheer joy.

The way the play was worked, all of the children who wanted to participate were able to.  They danced and they laughed and they delivered their lines and they told a story.  An important one about holding others above self.

The whole afternoon was joy-filled.

It was held in  a building that used to house a Family Dollar.  Since this was our first time attending a play there (not my first time in the building), I didn’t know what to expect.

What a lovely surprise!

New life was breathed back into that building and a theater was born.

From Family Dollar’s ending, something truly beautiful came to be.

If you haven’t picked up on it by now, change is very, very hard for me.  I do not like it at all, it’s not my friend, and it will never be on my birthday list.

And yet–

I think there was a lesson in what I felt today.

Things can end.  The darkness can come.  And yet,

joy shall rise again.  New life will come.

The light will shine again.

And I give thanks for that–for all of the lights that shine, from spotlights to tree lights to the bright, warm sun that kissed our faces as we left with our souls touched and spirits lifted.

A day of merry and magnificent memory-making!  I’m thankful.

Love to all.

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The Family Dollar never looked so lovely…..

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so homey…..

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or so completely wonderful.  Scenes from the back of the theater.  

 

A GW Boutique Tale of Transformation and Appreciation

It had been a while since I’d been to the GW Boutique before my visit last Monday.  A long while.  As in, if I sat down and thought about it, I’d probably find myself in the middle of withdrawals.  I’m not making light of withdrawals, y’all.  It is a serious need I have.  To find great bargains and bring them home or give them to folks I love.  It makes me happy.

So last Monday, I looked around and found a dress that I really, really liked.  The Fella looked at it and asked, “Isn’t it too short?”

Well, without trying it on, ummm, well…..yes, it probably is.  But you know what?  I brought it home anyway.  And I tried it on and wouldn’t you know it, it was too short. I spent the morning of our Alumnae weekend festivities back in April in a dress that hit my knees when I was standing, but when I sat down, well…..I was raised to know better.  Now that I’m a girl of a “certain age” I just don’t think I can pull it off.  (Actually, I should pull it off…..that would solve the whole problem.)  I was so relieved to change into my shorts and shirt for the afternoon events.  I came home and told my Fella not to let me walk out of the house EVER AGAIN with a dress that short.  (It was okay ten years ago, but no more.)  And he didn’t let me down.

I was sad though.  The dress felt good and I loved the way the top was made.  After thinking on it for a bit, I decided to take the leap.  It was from the GW Boutique after all.  If I messed it up, I wouldn’t be out too much.  But if I succeeded…..well, a girl can dream.  Even one of a certain age.

A call to my Aunt, who is a talented seamstress, and a trip to get the right needle, and I was set.  With a pounding headache, I cut, I pinned, I wound a bobbin, and I was set.  Five minutes later, the hem was done.

From a dress hanging at the GW Boutique to my new favorite summer top.

From a dress hanging at the GW Boutique to my new favorite summer top.

And, oh y’all. My new favorite summer top. Seriously.  I’m ready to raid my closet and attack the rest of the dresses from my twenties and thirties…..well the ones that have survived the cut so far.  I love the transformation here.

Another great find that day sent me on a trip down memory lane.   This cute little number right here–

Miss Sophie photobombing the picture of my cute little bag.  I didn't retake it, so you can see just how little it is.

Miss Sophie photobombing the picture of my cute little bag. I didn’t retake it, so you can see just how little it is.

It is a fun shade of green, one of my favorites.  And it is tiny.  My friends, for those of you whom I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting up with in “real life,” I must confess–I am not a “tiny toter.”

If anyone has watched Anita Renfroe’s Purse-onality performance, you know the different kinds of folks–from those who are tiny toters to those whose cars serve as their purses.  Ahem.  *looks away* And I, alas, am not a tiny toter.  Remember Justin Case?  He requires that I carry a massive bag with smaller bags inside full of all sorts of things.  Justin Case we need them.  Unfortunately, Anxiety Girl concurs.  She also thinks I need to carry everything but the kitchen sink with me whenever I leave the house.

I so aspire to be a tiny toter, y’all.

It’s nothing new.  Many years ago, maybe fourteen or fifteen, Aub was taking dance as was her friend, whose Mama was my dear Joyful friend.  We were supposed to meet them there on Saturday morning. But they never arrived.  I was on my way home when I got a call that they had been in an accident and were at the hospital.  Before I could get there, another friend called me and said she’d seen the vehicle being towed through town.  Totaled.  A mess.  My heart was pounding.

When Aub and I got to the hospital, I saw her girls.  They were both okay, thank goodness.  I was told my friend was back in the ER room, and that I should go back to see her.  I left Aub with the family in the waiting room and went back.  I walked in that room, and what I saw filled me with gratitude.  My friend was sitting up on the bed/table.  She looked okay.  She was very sore, and I can’t remember what other injuries she had, but she was okay overall.  So thankful.  It could have been so much worse.

I went over to hug her.  I asked her how she was feeling.  She was in pain and told me so, and then she looked at the tiny toter I was carrying very unsuccessfully with things hanging all out of it and over the sides, and said, “I’m really hurting but I’ll be okay.” She paused and pointed.  “And YOU need a bigger bag.”

Y’all.

That’s the kind of friendship I have always loved.  The one where she loves you so much she calls you out on your junk and you love and respect her enough that you say, “I know, right?  I’ll try to do better.”

Which is pretty much what I said.

I think that’s the last time I really tried to be a tiny toter as an everyday thing.  I graduated on to diaper bags, twice more, and wound up embracing it as my style.  I carry the convenience store around in my bag–baby wipes, pain reliever, homeopathic remedies, bandaids, gum, fruit snacks, crayons, paper, keys, matchbox car or two, extraneous Legos, Polly Pocket clothes, extra clothes, tissues, gloves, a book or two ALWAYS, and all kinds of electronic chargers.  I’m ready y’all.  Until I’m not.  And then I reassess and sometimes get a bigger bag. To carry.  More.  Stuff.

But I love that little green bag.  I carried it for some business we had to handle last week.  I tucked in just what I really needed for those few hours.  (I was on this little venture without my littles, so that made a difference too.)  I have to tell you I felt rather chic carrying my tiny toter, dropping my keys and phone inside and being able to see them–right there–anytime I glanced over.  Sometimes during the meeting I just glanced over.  Hello over there, keys and phone, I see you in there.  I like seeing you. Aren’t y’all just too precious, right there waiting so patiently for me in this cute little bag? 

*sigh*  I wish I were a tiny toter all the time.

But it’s not to be.  As Mama said, to everything there is a season. And right now is not the season for me to tote tiny bags.  Everyday, anyway.

But I’m going to hang on to this little cutie.  I think from time to time I will find it appropriate to carry.  And one day, it might just become an everyday bag for me.

In the meantime, I am thankful for my new summer top and for the ways that we can find beauty and usefulness in transformation.  I appreciate my Aunt who empowered and encouraged me to go for it.  The courage to transform anything, including ourselves, takes bravery and encouragement from those we love.

I’m also thankful for the great friends who have joined me on this Journey–who, like my Joyful friend, see my “stuff,” call me out on it, and never stop loving me through it all.  That’s a treasure beyond compare right there.

And finally, I give thanks for an ordinary extraordinary trip to the GW Boutique.  One that had me transforming and appreciating where I am all at the same time.  See, one day I know I’ll be back to the tiny toter.  The last one I carried with any success I put away on September 19, 1995, the day my first baby was born.  And one day, I know, when I’m carrying this little green bag or another cutie like it, I will look back wistfully and wish I had a reason to carry my big ol’ convenience store bag again.

Or maybe I won’t.  Who knows?  Life’s an adventure, and I’m thankful I’m not just standing in line waiting to get on.  No matter what bag you carry, it’s all about where you are, where you’ve been, where you’re headed, and most importantly, who’s along for the ride.

Love to all.

 

 

Parading It on the Front Porch

On my way home from my OutandAbouts today, I took the backroads.

It’s how I roll.

I’d rather take a backroad anywhere than ride on the main roads.  Especially with all this construction of the main highway near our house–I’m afraid it’s only going to get worse before it gets better.

So I drove through the old part of our little community, stopped at the four-way, crossed, and drove past the log cabin that we all love.  They have the best decorating sense–exactly my taste: old farmhouse style.

I was on autopilot, so I almost missed what was sitting on the other side of the road.  Up next to the little road, since they were throwing it out.  As I glanced back, I could see that it was an old broken chair of sorts.

My treasure I rescued from the side of the road.  Every single piece of it.

My treasure I rescued from the side of the road. Every single piece of it.

It is not far to go from there to the stop sign near the old church and its cemetery; but I promise you that, in my imagination, I had used that chair in about five different ways and places around my abode before I could STOP at the sign.  I was about to shrug it off and keep on trucking home, when I thought about it once more before my foot pressed the gas to move forward.

Forward.  That’s exactly what I need to do.  Move.  Forward.

A lot of times I let life happen to me and a lot of those times I have no choice.  But many times I do.  And way too often I just shrug an idea or plan off, and go on with whatever is in front of me.

Sometimes that’s okay.  But sometimes I wind up regretting–that which I did not try.

And somehow I had a feeling that if I didn’t go back for the chair, I would regret it.  A small thing, I know, but I knew it was symbolic of bigger, more important things.  If there’s something there for the taking, and I want it, why do I just walk (or drive) away?

I don’t know.

But what I do know is that today I didn’t.

I turned the go-mobile around and headed back down the street where the speed limit is about 15 I think.  I pulled over, turned on my hazards just in case, and opened the door to load it.  There were broken pieces laying on the ground.  I picked them all up and threw them in the vehicle.  I didn’t want to be that kind of scavenger–one who just takes the goody and leaves the other.  If I was in, I was ALL in.

This evening after the sun drifted behind the trees back of us, giving us a little bit of a reprieve from the heat, I unloaded the pieces.  It was a beautiful rocker in its heyday.  Nice wood, solid.  I can’t imagine how it came to be all broken like this.  Maybe fell off the back of the truck as they were moving?  Someone got scared late one night playing in the yard, and knocked it off the porch in their haste to get inside?  Too much wear and tear and not enough know how for fixing it?  I don’t know.  But I’m tickled to say I found a spot for all the pieces.  It was fun and only a little challenging to find a use for all of it.  I think my porch is the better for it.  Not sure the Fella feels the same, but since he didn’t express a preference, it’s staying put for a while.

A stake for my "Phoenix" tomato plant.

A stake for my “Phoenix” tomato plant.

This is my “Phoenix” tomato plant.  I don’t know what variety it is really, but it rose from an empty pot–there was nothing alive there in April and now look at her.  Better than she ever did last summer.  Amazing.  Rising from the ashes, just like a phoenix.  I was proud to give her a spindle as the high-falutin’ stake she deserves.

One arm made a lovely backdrop for our fairy garden.

One arm made a lovely backdrop for our fairy garden.

This was my belated Mother’s Day project.  A fairy garden.  The birdbaths are especially dear to me–the frog is for Mama and the cardinal for Daddy.  The arm off the old rocker makes an interesting backdrop I think.  We could even hang a fairy swing from it later on if we find one around here–which I’m sure we will.  😉

Beside our front door.

Beside our front door.

This plant has never looked so happy.  Neither has Madam Frog, as long as the cats don’t knock her off.  There’s a little fairy wishing well in the pot if you look closely.  I love this old broken rocker turned plantstand.  I don’t know if it’s too tacky to be quaint by normal standards, but around here we embrace the brokenness.  And the crazy.  And we parade them all on our front porch.  Literally.

This was a good day.  It felt good to have a vision, and instead of thinking of a million reasons why I shouldn’t do it–go and pick up a broken rocking chair that once belonged to the folks who live right there and are probably watching thinking “whoo hoo it’s gone” or “can you believe that crazy chick is actually loading that into her go-mobile?”–I just took a deep breath, leapt, and did it.  I know it’s a small, small thing.  It’s not like starting a non-profit or writing a book that can change the world.  It’s not like putting grief aside and moving along towards a new and different future.  It’s not even like doing something handy such as making a clever supper out of minimal ingredients or having all of the laundry done and folded AND put away all at once.

But it is a step.  A baby step.  And one that fed my soul on this sultry summer evening.  And for a Thursday in June, that’ll do.

May you have a vision and go for it without thinking too hard.  Just go forward.

Love to all.