Rockin’ Around the Tree

Sharing just a few of the precious memories hanging on our tree…..

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A little porcelain doll that has hung on our trees for over fifteen years

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A snowman from my Aunt D I got so many years ago…..I’ve always loved him.  He spins!

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A gift from one of our favorite organizations doing amazing things–Bead for Life

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This little sweetheart was a wedding gift thirteen years ago from a very precious family.

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We have a few from our favorite movies.  Thankful we are.

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Hallelujah–the lights are all on! My decorating can’t hold a candle to Clark Griswold’s.

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There are ornaments reminding us of big moments or favorite things from that year.  (Marilyn and guitar–guess which one of my people these belong to?)

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There are ornaments to remind us of big life events….

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and ever so adorably small.

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We have ones that remind us of places we have lived.  (Yes, we have cute little sumo wrestlers from Japan on our tree.) 

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And we have ones that remind us of happy days with people we love and miss.  We gave this ornament to my Mama many years ago.  She loved Winnie the Pooh.  Now it hangs on our tree, and we find joy in the memories.  

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And we have sweet homemade ornaments that remind us of the Love and Light of the season. 

Tonight as I gaze at the lights and memories on our tree, I give thanks for the quiet and all of the memories that come flooding back in a rush.  So much love on one precious tree.

Love to all.

casserole kindness

the phone call came in the midst of the chaos
and hearts aching and tears
and all of the planning and rushing around
flowers, words written, songs chosen,
people coming and going
and no time to settle down and breathe
or think
or grieve

the phone call saying, “I’ve got this”
and “What time works best for you?”
such a little thing to some, maybe
but for us,
it was everything

supper was coming
and for a few moments
we–the new widow, the children, spouses,
and grands
we all could be together
and gather around the casserole dish
filled with loving goodness
and give thanks for the hands that prepared it
the loving spirit
who stepped outside of her own world
and showed up in ours

though she was plenty busy herself

because that’s what love does
it shows up
in the midst of sorrow and joy
and it sits with folks where they are
and takes their hands and holds on tight

the dumplings were so good
and gone way too fast
but the memory of that meal,
of the love from someone who didn’t have to,
who had many excuses not to,
that radical hospitality
and loving on folks
will never be forgotten

casseroles and covered dishes
speak a love language all their own,
healing hearts and
lifting spirits,
if only for a moment or two,
filling the darkness with a light
that feeds our souls

thankful
for that casserole
and the hands that made it
four years later
remembering

with a grateful heart

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the rest of October

October comes blazing in
with orange and pumpkins and bales of hay
everywhere

mums adorn porches and storefronts
and the smell of funnel cakes and
barbecue is in the air

and then suddenly the month is two-thirds gone
and the caravan of trucks move down the interstate
taking away the sights and sounds that had folks
talking and riding and laughing and screaming
with delight

ribbons are won and the quilts are folded
and put away
the cows go back to the barn
and the newly hatched chicks find their new homes

and suddenly, I’m tired
and worn out
like the leaves on the peach trees,
spent
and drifting

with the first chill that seeps into my bones
I am reminded of that October
when every moment was so very precious
and I sat by his bed and hoped–
I was still hoping in October

how could I not with the calliope music
and the lights
and the pony rides and rock walls
and the laughter he still shared when we spoke of such things

but then November came
and I knew,
I knew it would not be long
before this world would change forever
leaves would fall
as would the tears
and the days would grow shorter
and the shadows longer
and our hearts would be broken in bits

because he would leave us

and now when October is two-thirds over
and the Fair folk pack up and leave
a part of my heart goes with them
as I turn to face the
October that is left,
pregnant with sad anticipation

of all the remembering
November brings

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hot buttered popcorn

because I had forgotten and left the bag in the car
I walked across the parking lot in the misting rain
each little speckle of water landing and quickly dissipating
except for the one on my cheek
which seemed to remind me of emotions better left in check

the dark parking lot lit by four street lamps
was half filled with cars
all uninhabited
abandoned
for food or companionship
in one of the storefronts whose light reflected
on the wet blacktop

in the air there was a smell
and it triggered the memories before I could name it–
hot buttered popcorn
from the movie theater down the way
and suddenly
I missed you with an overwhelming pain

remembering movies
and laughter
and being scared (but not really)
and I wonder if we will ever
have a chance to sit
and be entertained
without the weight of the world on our
shoulders again

only what is in front of us
and the big tub of buttery goodness
waiting for us to take the world by storm

By Uploader; Vantey (Photographed by Vantey) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Uploader; Vantey (Photographed by Vantey) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

frog music, part 2

the point is not to hear them one night
and realize that they are back
and marvel at their harmony
wondering where they were all winter,
the ones who laid the eggs
which became tadpoles
who then grew into these talented musicians

the point is not to appreciate and move on
to the next thing
or moment

instead it is to sit and listen
each and every night
hearing the different nuances in the notes
from one evening to the next

finding delight in the beauty anew
and feeling the magic
again and again
holding the same hand for all these years

it is not to forget what “at first sight”
or “first listen”
felt like

but instead to hear and see and fall in love
time
after time
each
and
every sunset

By U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters (Okefenokee Sunset  Uploaded by Dolovis) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters (Okefenokee Sunset Uploaded by Dolovis) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

On Memory, Cats, and Amounting to Something

This evening Cooter and I headed up to Macon to join Aub for a special performance at Wesleyan.  It was something I really wanted to see, and Cooter really wanted to see his sister.  Our Princess had swim practice, so she and the Fella were off in that direction.

As we rode up there, I listened to the radio while Cooter read his new historical “Choose Your Own Adventure” books.  I was just listening and thinking, you know, so not really listening, until this song came on.

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How appropriate that this song stirred up so many memories for me.

How many children did my Daddy put to sleep, sitting there with him in the old burnt orange (that used to be a thing okay) recliner, while watching Cats?  Cooter was one of them.  I asked him if he remembered the song, almost willing him to.  He didn’t, and now I laugh as I realize why.  The song is not in the first third of the musical, I don’t think, so of course he doesn’t remember it.  He was never awake for it.

That Barbra Streisand sang this version was also interesting.  I remember being quite young and hearing admiration and respect in Mama and Daddy’s tones as they mentioned that Ms. Streisand refused to get plastic surgery.  I found that all intriguing, as it was the first I learned that people had the option of not accepting their looks and changing them.  I also learned at that early age that being yourself was the best way to be.  Never mind that they thought she was extremely talented, and then there was the fact that she had been in a movie with Robert Redford.  Which was really cool, because Robert Redford.

Despite the fact that I grew up with folks who respected and admired Barbra Streisand’s gift, I was thinking as I listened that there was something missing.  It just wasn’t–perfect.

What was it?

And then it hit me–

a cat costume.

Well, in a manner of speaking anyway.  Elaine Page and Veerle Casteleyn, the actresses who played Grizabella and Jemima in the recorded version, were also talented.  But I think their performance was amazing–flawless even.  More so than the very talented Barbra Streisand?

Yes.

Because not only were they singing, they were also acting while they were singing.  It took even more energy and effort to perform this powerful song than merely singing it on stage or in a recording studio.  They had their hearts wrapped around that song and its meaning, and vice versa.

I’m so impressed.

Daddy always was too. On more than one occasion, he commented on how young the actress who played Jemima was.  While he liked both actresses, he was almost awestruck by the younger one.

But then he always was one to see potential in someone and want to see them do their best and “amount to something.”

Tonight I’m thankful for the memory of Memory.  And Cats.  And of my Daddy.  And that old recliner.  I still have a button from it tucked away.  To remind me of the color as the memories begin to fade, just as the chair had begun to do.  I am grateful that they appreciated good music and good people.  And that they saw hope and promise in those around them and were always encouraging.  Most of all I’m thankful for the tears that still come when I hear this song.  From missing the ones I love and from remembering those sweet, sleepy babies curled up at their Cap’s side, as he watched and listened to the rest of the movie, saving up his own memories as they dreamed.

May this be a day of joy-filled memory making.

Love to all.

 

My Shark Tank Worthy Idea

Today I was folding clothes.

Nothing different about that.  Most days find me folding a load or two.

But today as I was taking on Mt. Washmore, I had a revelation–a business idea.

Somebody sign me up for Shark Tank.  I’m going to be an entrepreneur.

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I was folding these two shirts that we got on Monday when Aub and I attended the workshop with Hugh Hollowell and David LaMotte.  I smiled at the memories of the day and all the great discussions, and I realized that would likely happen each time I wore or folded these shirts.

And maybe, really, that was why I got them?

I thought about the shirt my oldest got at the Miranda Lambert concert.  Did she get it because, more than anything in this life, she wanted to wear Miranda Lambert’s face across her chest?  I don’t think so.  I think she got caught up in the moment and wanted to have something–a t-shirt–to remember it by.

Same thing with the Jonas Brothers concert, the trip to Disney, and the field trip to see Wicked at the Fox–something to wear to remember those feelings and emotions and the experience.

And so here’s where my business idea comes in.

An app (because, obviously) that you can hit a button and the moment is “captured” and a unique, custom-made t-shirt to commemorate the moment is immediately designed and you receive it in 24-48 hours.  Happy Wearing!  And Remembering.

I mean, when you attend these big events, the shirts and hoodies and whatnot are all already there.  But what about those times when there are no souvenir sellers?

When you cook a meal that everyone raves about…..*click*  “Mama’s cooking RULES” shirt at your door the very next day

When you make it to your appointment on time despite all the bad traffic…..*click* “Keep Calm and Let Mama Drive”

When you have solved the problem of how to fit all of the dirty dishes in the dishwasher AT ONE TIME…..*click* “Because #cleandishescleansink”

When you breathe in the smell of freshly washed hair when your little one comes in to hug you…..*click* “Mamahood–Best. Job. Ever.”

When you are reading a really good book and you hear your children calling you and so you tell them you’re playing hide and seek…..*click* “This is not the Mama you are looking for” (sorry, had to have the token Star Wars reference)

All of those precious, small moments that you just wish could last a moment or two or an eternity longer happen, you would be able to capture them and have a t-shirt to remember it by.

How cool would that be?

Tonight I’m thankful for the reminder that not every precious moment in this life is a big “live one night only show” one–that there are those small quiet and not so quiet ones that mean everything and we wish could last forever that are beautiful too.

Wishing you all a t-shirt wearing, slogan worthy day.

Love to all.

 

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In all seriousness, I will wear these shirts we got on Monday because I believe in their message and because the purchase of them went to help with their mission.  I do believe Love Wins, and it is my hope that we will all see the person beyond the homelessness and find what we have in common and celebrate THAT.  If you’d like to support the mission of Love Wins and/or wear a really cool shirt just like me–you can click here and order your own.  Now that’s something to smile about.

 

Going Way Back

Sometimes when I’m alone in my car, driving with the radio loud, I forget how old I am.

Depending on what song is playing,  I’m 12 and loving rainy nights, or I’m 16 and quite enthralled with Mickey–who is, by the way, fine, or I’m 19 and assuring the world it’s my prerogative, or I’m 24 and looking at the man in the mirror, asking him, I mean her, to make a change.  I’m never the age I am currently by the way.  Just not.

Today was one of those rare days where I had time in the car all by myself.  I was traveling up to see my oldest, Aub, at her college and my alma mater.  I had the opportunity to share with parents of prospective students why I loved it for me and why I love it for her.  It is home for us both.

So my heart was light as I turned the radio on, free of concerns about who might be hearing what from the backseat.  I turned it up and sang at the top of my lungs.  Now that I am a girl of a *ahem* certain age, I no longer care what folks driving next to me might think.  No worries.

It was a wonderful trip, alternating between songs from the 80’s (my high school and college years) and country music, which I have always loved.  Each song took me back to a specific point and story in my life.

By the time I got to campus, pulling in without thinking as I have done so many times over the years, I was exhausted.  Time travel will do that.  I was also a bit dazed and confused.

Because when I put the car in park, I was yanked back to the present.  I wasn’t parking on campus, coming “home” after going to the house to do laundry or eat home cooked food.  It took me a second to come back to the here and now.

How could I feel so close to who I was at nineteen when my very own nineteen year old child was sitting in MY Economics classroom telling future students what it’s like to be a Wesleyanne?

Just yesterday, I was the one sitting there.  Comfortable in my own skin, in my place at the college of my choice.  Talking with others, and planning the rest of my day out in my mind–paper to write, exam to study for, friends to meet up with for supper.  Maybe a trip to Denny’s for nachos and cheesesticks…..

In the jolt of my time machine landing, I came back to reality, where the lists in my mind included what to cook for supper, who needs what laundry done by tomorrow, and thinking about starting my Christmas list.

*sigh*

How can I be so far from nineteen and still sit with my nineteen year old self and remember and listen to her woes all over again?  Even knowing how it all eventually turns out, I want to weep with her, laugh at her jokes, and listen to every last thought she has.

This parenting thing can blow my mind at times.  That I, the nineteen year old in a way older person’s body, am a parent–what is that?

When I watched my girl speaking today, so poised and confident, growing into her own person more each day, I caught a glimpse of myself.  Of the person I was and what I thought back then.  I remembered things she knows nothing about that make us more alike than different, and I wondered–

does she ever catch a glimpse of me when she looks in the mirror?

 

Tonight I’m thankful for chances to go home again and that I feel welcomed when I’m there.  Chances to reminisce and laugh about our lives and stories from way back when are priceless.  For trees that haven’t changed and for buildings that have, I give thanks.  I am glad I had a chance to hop on that time machine and remember and dance with the girl I once was.

Turns out she’s full of life and laughter and dances way better than she ever thought she did.  Because she dances with a heart of joy and wonder, with her whole life ahead of her…..

may it be so for all of us.

Wishing you all a tune with a good beat you can dance to.  And a story that takes you back to something good, so you can dance with your heart and your feet.

 

Love to all.

 

three story house

I live

in a three story house

tucked away in

the midst of the tea olives

whose scent makes me cry

missing the one whose

hands and back

planted them

 

I live in a three story house

with the books and the papers

and pencils and words

waiting to be written

by me or anyone

who will give them life–

these words what want to breathe

 

I live in a three story house

with the children

growing to be people

who can affect change

one day,

as they learn what 2 plus 2 is

I ask with a whisper

oh please let them learn so much 

more than sits 

in these books

let them dream, discover, build, create

comfort

let them love

 

I live in a three story house

where the squirrels romp

and the butterflies come for one last

sip

before they travel afar

and the cardinals, oh the cardinals,

they bless my heart…..

the cats lounge and make it feel like home

and the puppy plays and make us laugh

while the sun and shadows dance to music

we can’t quite hear but know the tune of anyway

 

I live in a three story house

with two flights of stairs

from the story of where I’ve been

to the story of where I am

and then the story of where I’m going

 

I often find myself on the first floor,

remembering, reminiscing, wishing

for things and people long past

As the days grow shorter and the wind

blows colder

I find the steps to dreaming of the places I

might one day go

harder and harder to climb

 

I live in a three story house

but the first floor I call home

 

 

 

wishing on a star

 

for those who still wish on stars and believe and cross their fingers and pinky promise, stay young and always let the light in…..

 

when she hears his name and remembers

she is eighteen again and she smiles

always eighteen, nineteen, twenty

though the lines in the mirror tell a different story now

but then, she was young, filled with hope and dreams

and wonder

and wishing on stars in the sky

that twinkled back down

winking conspiratorially, as if to say

“we got this”

she loved without reason

or attention to convention

she wrote long into the night before turning twenty

her last words written as a teenager,

she wrote that on the paper too

she can no longer find those words, but she knows

them by heart

the same heart she carried on her sleeve back then

only with a few more cracks now

patched together by the promises kept by those who love her

the cracks let the light in, they say

and she craves the light

as the memory of the smile of the first one she loved

and the sound of her name lifted into the air by his voice

take her back in time to see dreams that never were to be

and promises that were never kept

and words that were never written

“how did that story go?” she thinks now

the one she wrote, when she loved from afar and wished upon a star

for the one

to come along

filled with enough light to

pour over into her soul

and fill the darkness

forever