The Really Great Thing About Thoughts…..

Today Aub and I took a trip down memory lane.  After dinner we found ourselves together in the living room, and we decided to watch an old episode of “That’s So Raven.”

For those of you who might not know the show, Raven Symone plays a teenage girl who is a psychic, and it’s all about her figuring out how to live with her “gift.” It is a comedy, and her facial expressions remind me of Lucille Ball’s ability to get a laugh with a simple twist of her face.

On the episode we watched today, Raven had a “psychic cold,” which allowed her, for a short period of time, to hear other people’s thoughts.  It created quite a mess, which is typical of the show.  I laughed and cringed when her parents figured out what was going on and asked her, “How much did you ‘hear?'”

“Too much,” she replied, with an exaggerated look of horror on her face.

Funny.

But there was a part of me that wasn’t amused.

What if people could hear my thoughts?

Oh me.  Just pack me up and set me out to live in the middle of the woods.  I couldn’t take the pressure, quite honestly.

Because we are free, you and I, to think what we want to think.  That’s the great thing about thoughts.  They are in our heads.  No one can hear them.  They are private.

Which is very, very good.

However, lately I’ve noticed some folks must not find comfort in the fact that their thoughts are their own and private, because they seem to be sharing anything and everything that comes to mind.

Whether it hurts other people or not.

Y’all, we gotta stop that mess.

Mama often said, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

Clairee from “Steel Magnolias” said, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, come sit by me.”

There has to be a balance between the two.  My Mama was not one to be run over or let anyone harm anyone else on her watch, but she was one who guarded her tongue and made every effort to be tactful.  And considerate.  The one thing that could get us in trouble worse than anything was to hurt someone’s feelings with unkind words or to leave somebody out.

This is a small world, folks.  We have to live here together.  All of us, including me, need to keep that in mind.  We are free to think whatever we want about people, places, and things, but we need to be sure that our words do not leave our mouths until we have weighed all of the possible consequences of our sharing them.

Yeah, sure, I get it.  “Heat of the moment” and all that.  I’m a parent.  I know about those moments.  But the heat of the moment can cause a lot of messes.  And bottom line–it’s no excuse.

Just because a thought goes through our head, it does not necessarily mean that we need to speak it into existence for everyone else to hear.

Another thing my parents said, “If you know better, do better, and folks will like you better.”

We know better than to be spewing some of the things that are coming out of our private thoughts–out loud and on the computer screen. (Social media, I’m looking at you.)

We.  Know. Better.

Here’s to a day of lifting others up with our words and keeping those other kind of thoughts to ourselves.

Love to all.

Yo Mama

Last night I heard the sound that brings me such joy, no matter what is going on around me.

The sound of Cooter laughing.  Laughing hard.

It’s contagious.

I went over and peeked at what on earth his sister had him watching on YouTube.

It was a video by Rhett and Link.  I recognized their names as folks that Aub likes to watch on YouTube.  The video was called “Yo Mama Battles.”

Oh me.  Y’all remember the “Yo Mama so…..” jokes from way back in the day?  Apparently they stuck around like a bad penny, because Aub told me today that she didn’t like those when she was in elementary school.  Those jokes made her upset.

And now she’s letting her eight year old brother watch this?

What.  On.  Earth.

And then I listened to what the video was saying.  I didn’t pick up on much until they watched it the second time because Cooter was laughing so hard and loud.

“Yo Mama is so nice I gotta say it twice…..she’s nice.  Nice.”

“Yo Mama is so wise, Yoda often texts her for advice.”  (That’s the one my little guy’s been going around repeating all day.)

It was hilarious and heartwarming at the same time.  These two guys were trying to outdo each other, complimenting the other one’s Mama.

Y’all.  How awesome would that be?  How great would it be if we could start the trend of outdoing each other in praise and genuine compliments?

I’m in.  That sounds like a much better place to live than the one where we are often pointing fingers of blame or judging another for any number of personal traits or attributes.

Just plain ol’ pure tee simple, You’re so…..

Your voice is so lovely even the birds are jealous.

You’re so talented if you went on “America’s Got Talent,” all the others would walk away because you are just that talented.

You’re so trendy there should be a hashtag in front of your name.

And so on.

Okay, maybe those are a little silly, but you get my point.

We should be scattering kindness like it’s free for the giving.

Oh wait.  It is.

Please take a couple of minutes and watch the video.  I think you will enjoy it.  (“Can I stay witchu?” laughing so hard I’m crying) And afterwards let’s make it our goal to shed some light in this world that can be quite dark at times.  Share a laugh, a word of encouragement, or offer someone a genuine but silly “You’re so…..”

We only have a limited amount of time to share unlimited kindnesses.  Let’s make the most of it.  Every day.

Love to all.

The Packing Up and the White Shoes

Twenty-five years ago today I graduated from college.  I don’t remember a lot of the particulars but there are a couple of things that stand out for me about that day.

The night before, Sister had come up to spend the night with me.  Though she is three years my junior there have been times in my life when she has taken over and helped me through a hard time.  This was one of those times.  We visited while we packed my things–something I had been putting off.  About midnight we ran over to Denny’s for some sustenance in the form of fried mozzarella sticks and nachos.  (Two of the basic food groups for us back then.) When we got back to the dorm, Sister told me to go on to bed, rest well for my big day, and she would keep packing.

Which she did.  I should probably call and tell her thank you for that again.

The next morning I woke up and hurriedly put on the special one piece dress/culottes outfit that I had splurged on from Karats and Keepsakes–the only way to describe it is to say it was completely and totally ’90’s.

And I loved it.

I threw on my white shoes, because they matched it best, and because well-it WAS after Easter.  As I ran out of my dorm heading towards Porter Auditorium, one of my classmates pointed out my white shoes (“yes, thank you, they are pretty awesome, aren’t they?”) and kindly “reminded” me that all graduates were supposed to wear black shoes.

Oops.  Did I miss that memo?

Nowadays all information at my alma mater seems to be disseminated by e-mail.  Back then I am sure this was announced in a meeting. I can pretty much guess which one it probably was.  Only my mind was in a million different places about that time…..my future plans, moving back home, saying goodbye to sisterfriends I would miss dearly, and how to leave this place I had begun to call home.

Two thoughts for the young women I know who are about to graduate soon–actually no, this is a message for all of us.

Pay attention.  Listen up.  Don’t get so bogged down in worrying about your future that you miss out on what’s going on in your present. You might miss out on something important.  And it might be more than a fashion faux pas.

And here’s the other, even more important thing:

Have each other’s backs.

No matter what.

See, my sisterfriend who called out to me about the shoes–she was in a hurry too.  She had her mind on the BIG THING about to happen.  But she took the time to notice and to help me out by pointing out my mistake.  Kindly, I might add.

It’s so easy in this world where pushing ahead and success are so valued to just focus on ourselves, isn’t it?  But I challenge each one of us to take the time to notice.  To make the time.  And to help.  Offer a kind word.  Let someone know something they might have missed before.  It doesn’t take anything at all away from me to take a minute and say, “Hey, those are cute, but today we’re all supposed to be wearing black shoes.”

And it sure gives a lot to the one who hears those words.  (Seriously, what was I thinking? While the white shoes matched the outfit UNDERNEATH my graduation gown, they stuck out like a sore thumb with my black cap and gown.)

Two days ago I helped my rising junior finish packing up her things so we could move her back home.  Home from the same dorm where my journey at Wesleyan began.  As I moved around her room, consolidating and packing, I remembered Sister and gave thanks.  Paying it forward seems only right, you know?

Tonight I’m thankful for Sister and my sisterfriend, both of whom were interruptible.  Both of whom set aside what they had going on–for a minute, for a night–to help me.

That’s humbling right there.

May we all be so fortunate to have such a gift in our lives.

May we all strive to be that gift to someone else.

Love to all.

scatter seeds of kindness

spring breezes
sunshine
planting and tilling the soil

and the thought washes over me
like the rain pouring on the dark, rich soil

all those years, each one of them,
Daddy planted the seeds
always dropping more than one in each space
patiently, gently, with his weathered, worn hands

in all those years
he harvested what grew from the seeds
he’d sown

with gratitude he gathered and picked
and cut and dug

and never once did he waste a breath
or a moment’s worry
over the seeds that did not grow

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Where Was Her Biffle?

This afternoon I had the pleasure of being a part of a girls’ outing.  Aub, our Princess, a dear friend, and I went to see “Cinderella” together.  Cooter didn’t want to go, not because it was a Princess movie, but because he had heard about the “Frozen” short film that was to precede the main feature.  He’s so over Frozen, the thought of watching that short was downright off-putting.

We gathered in the lobby and headed down the hall to the third door on the right.  The previews started shortly after we arrived.  And still folks came in and wound their way to find seats in a nearly packed theater.  By the time “Frozen Fever” started, we were ready.

The short was actually cute and entertaining, and I can predict what Disney’s new stuffed critter item will be (spoiler alert–baby snowmen).  Then Cinderella started.  I watched the old and comfortably familiar story; yet I still found myself on edge, wondering what would happen.  Which part would they change, and which part of the story was so sacred that it could not be touched?

Photo via eonline.com

Photo via eonline.com

I enjoyed the movie, once I employed suspension of disbelief.  I think that the enthusiasm of my friend who is the mother of a son was infectious, and I was able to forget about the overall message and fall in love with the beauty and romance and magic.  Our Princess was enchanted, and her eyes shone brightly all through the movie.  She missed nothing.

A time or two during the movie a particular thought tried to surface, but it never quite made it.

Until the movie was over and I was sitting quietly with my thoughts.

Then it hit me.

Where were the people who knew Ella and her family?  Where were her friends?  Their friends?  Surely there was someone who, at some point, thought to him or herself, “Hey, wonder where Ella’s been?  I haven’t seen much of her since her Father passed on. I should really check in on her.”

I wondered where the people were who would feel inclined to pay their respects after his death.  Bring a casserole.  Drop by for a visit. Why was there no one to realize that this girl was being mistreated by the very ones to whom her care was entrusted?

Why didn’t someone notice and do something?

My friend who joined us reached out to me two weeks ago with a message: “Hey, if y’all are going to do a girls’ outing to see ‘Cinderella’ and I wouldn’t be intruding, could I join y’all?”

Absolutely.  It would be our pleasure.  And it was.

It was so good to see her, to sit and laugh over the hideous dresses of the stepsisters and gasp at the wickedness of some in the movie and to agree that we like to sit until the credits are pretty much over.  Most of all, it was good to visit.  To catch up.  To share stories.  To check in with each other.

The greatest gift is that she wanted to be with us, and she said so.

That right there.

How would the story have been different if Ella (Cinderella) had been able to call up a friend and say, “Hey, I would really love to spend some time with you”?  Where was her tribe?  Her friends?  Her “biffle,” as my college girl calls her best friend?

And then the next question is begging to be asked:

Who am I supposed to be reaching out to?  Whom should I be checking in with?  Who has locked him or herself away, and needs a friend to help bring him/her out?

Tonight I’m thankful for my friend who reached out and made time to be with us.  For seeing an age-old story with new eyes and feelings, I am grateful.  In this world of busy-ness and to do lists and running here and there and yon with littles in tow, it is good to be reminded to be still.  Be quiet.  Listen and look.  To check in with those I care about, and help those who need to be free and loosened a little from their worries and woes.  To be a good friend.

Wishing you all someone who will do that for you.

Love to all.

 

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As I was wrapping up writing this post, I saw this shared by Love Wins Ministries, folks who know how important relationships are and work hard to get them right and make a positive difference.  I think this is spot on and wanted to share it with you.  

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Cinderella could have survived locked in the attic, but what kind of survival would that have been?  

Just a thought.  

 

 

 

Hey! Watch Where You’re Aiming That Thing

Remember that old saying about pointing fingers?

That while you’re pointing your finger at someone else, there are three other fingers pointing back at you?

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Yeah.  That one.

Tonight I was finishing up supper for the crew after a long day of thinking and wondering about why folks behave the way they do.  Why certain choices are made.  Why what happens, happens.

And before I could finish my “finger pointing” thoughts–you know the ones:

she must’ve lost her ever-lovin’ mind

some folks just got no raisin’s 

there’s just no accounting for how some folks behave

I sure as shootin’ never would’ve…..

You’ll never find me doing that…..

 

Ummm, yeah.  Those kind of thoughts.

Before I could finish one of those in my mind, (thankfully) I was reminded of those other three fingers pointing back at me.

Three fingers for three thoughts that are TRUE, whereas all those that I was trying to finish in my mind MAY OR MAY NOT BE TRUE.

*You don’t know what you don’t know.

*You will never know the whole story.

*So you should probably hush your mouth.  Oh, and put your finger away.

This was what my heart said to my brain.  Or vice versa.  Either way, they both got the message.  In those few seconds of realization, I let out a major sigh and so much “bad stuff” was released.

Not my monkey, not my circus.  Not my story to write or tell.  Or to judge.

I don’t know how we can get so all fire set on judging someone else’s behavior or choices or lifestyle.  But we do, don’t we?

It’s a struggle.

Tonight I’m thankful for the reminder to keep my nose in my own business and keep my fingers all in a row–the better to offer a handshake, a pat on the back, or a hug.

I sure can’t do any of those when I’m pointing, can I?

And right now, I’m thinking the world needs more hugs than fingers pointed anyway.

Love and a big hug to all.

 

Waving in the Rain

So Miss Sophie is very particular about her morning constitutional.  As I am limited as to how far I can take her in the mornings, there are days we go up and down our street, back and forth, until she is able to focus and make things *ahem* happen.

Rain, rain, and more rain

Rain, rain, and more rain

This morning it was cold.  And wet.  And raining.  I don’t mean drizzling.  It was pouring down as we went out for her to take care of business.  I was surprised to see the guys working on the new house on our street.  In this weather?  They are solid and hard workers, I’m not even kidding.  And skilled.  It fascinates me to watch them bricking up the house–they are true artists.

Because of the weather I was very eager for her to take care of business and for us get back in the shelter of our home.  Unfortunately, it took a few minutes for the rain to saturate through her lovely fluffy coat so she was unaware and happy.  She was all about sniffing the new smells and hopping over puddles.  Finally after a few minutes I saw signs that she was ready to “go.”  I breathed a sigh of relief and stood ready to wait with my bag in hand.  That was when I saw two of the house builders getting in a truck.

Nonononononono…..

But yes, they closed the doors and started up the truck.  Distracted, my particular girl gave up her intended task and watched them leave.

Oh me.  I was cold and wet and frustrated.  Having no idea how long it was going to take her to get situated again and thinking about the 100% chance of rain All. Day. Long. I was really frustrated.  And I found myself muttering under my breath, “I hate these folks working on these houses.  Man!”

Wait.  What was that?

On a fluff reality TV show where the word “amazing” is used almost every twenty seconds, a guest host came in and put a jar on the counter and called it the “amazing” jar.  A dollar in the jar every time that word was said.  By the time the episode was over, the jar was quite full of dollar bills.  Yep. Sounds about right.  They do say it a lot.

After I said what I did this morning, almost without thinking, I thought of that jar.  And it hit me–

those guys had no idea what I’d said about them.  They weren’t hurt at all by what I’d impulsively uttered.

But I was.  My heart hurt almost immediately.

When I thought of the jar, I wondered–

what if every time we utter a hateful word or have an unkind thought–

what if it helps to fill the Dark Side’s “jar?”

While I know those men didn’t feel a bit of hurt–they even gave a friendly wave as they drove past my bedraggled self and my wet pooch–I know something shifted.  My heart ached.  I wished I could take those unheard words back.

 

When they were working on the bricking yesterday.  It is amazing to watch.  They know exactly where to put each one, how to turn it, and they work as this amazing team, very efficient and organized.

When they were working on the bricking yesterday. It is amazing to watch. They know exactly where to put each one, how to turn it, and they work as this amazing team, very efficient and organized.  I don’t hate them at all.  I want to be as skilled and focused as they are.

Because I don’t hate them.  I’m actually quite impressed and thankful for them.   They are doing a beautiful job.

And yet, I think that somewhere, “Darth Vader” was probably cheering over the view of what he saw and heard me say.

I can picture him, fist pumping–“Another one for our hate jar!  Yes!”

I don’t know about y’all, but I don’t want to be a part of that.

Tonight I’m thankful for a reminder of the ripples our attitudes cause, even if they’re ever so small, and the reminder that every single word we utter and thought we have can change this world.  Even if it’s only in our own hearts, something shifts, something changes–

and I really want it to be for the better.

I’m sad for where my mind went in its frustration today.  I have a long way to go.  A major character flaw, and something to work on.

(Note to self:  When I’m wet and cold, I can go over to the Dark Side very quickly and quite easily.  No cookies required. Be sure to guard against THAT.)

Wishing you all a day of filling the “amazing” jar instead of the hate one.  Let’s make it a good day and smile–and wave in the rain.  In the words of my brother, “It’s never that serious.”

Love to all.

 

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas…..

The holiday season is upon us.

I mean, officially.

Hallmark Channel has been showing Christmas movies for weeks, and I actually heard Christmas music on the radio two weeks ago.  It’s just that now I can enjoy it all guilt free.  I used to be one of those who would not listen to a single Christmas carol before Thanksgiving Day was over, but I have to admit that last year and this, I’ve snuck in some listening a little earlier.  I’ve needed what the music does for my soul.  And now, I can listen without shame.  Without hiding.  Without worrying that the littles were going to throw me under the bus about what I’d been listening to.

We have a gentleman who lives about a mile from here who decorates his yard elaborately every year.  Except for last Christmas.  Big trees had fallen on his home after a tremendous rainstorm, so while he was rebuilding, no lights.  But this year, road construction going on in front of his house and all–he’s got them out.  And he started lighting them up at night a week or so ago.  I am so happy to see those lights again.  They were missed last year.

This past week my next door neighbor has been putting lights up all over his house–eaves, around the windows, bushes, etc.  It’s impressive.  A few nights ago he was working on some finishing touches with his teenaged son.  I teased my neighbor that he was trying to make all the rest of us look like slackers.  He laughed and said his goal was to have lights like Clark Griswold (“National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”).  That made me laugh and of course I had to say, “Clark, the little lights, they’re not twinkling.”  He replied, “Yeah,” nodding towards his son, “I just asked him if I could call him Russ, just for today.”

I love it.  And I love that I can see their lights from where I’m sitting near the fireplace right now.

But us?

Well, no lights outside.

But turns out, we have decorated for the season.

And it was no trouble at all.

The mistletoe peeking out from the beautiful fall foliage of my Bradford Pear.

The mistletoe peeking out from the beautiful fall foliage of my Bradford Pear.

 

I first noticed this growing on/in my Bradford Pear tree a couple of months ago.  When everything was green, it was hard to completely decide that one of these things was not like the other, but I had my suspicions.  And sure enough, now that the tree that I chose because of its beautiful, flaming, fall foliage is in full “bloom,” I know exactly what that is.

Mistletoe.

See?

Decorated.

I remember stories of folks going out in the woods and shooting down mistletoe to bring back and hang in their homes.  I am delighted–downright tickled–that my front yard can boast such an old-fashioned Christmas decoration!

It is interesting to read about mistletoe.  Turns out that clump was probably started over a year ago, from just a tiny little seed left there by a bird who likely ate a mistletoe berry from somewhere else.  It is slow growing and has to function on its own for a bit until it can really root into its host tree and then it grows right there with the tree.

All concerns about whether this is harming my Bradford Pear aside, this plant that is growing as though it was always a part of the original tree all along got me to thinking.

About Christmas spirit.

And hope.

It’s hard during dark times and times of loss and pain to have either of those.  And yet, one day someone comes along and smiles or offers directions or compliments you on your shirt, and suddenly you are stepping a little lighter, if only for a moment.  And then later on, it takes root, down deep in your heart and soul and it becomes an integral part of your being.  Your way of life.

Hope, spirit, love, light–it’s a part of your very being.

And it stands out just as much as that mistletoe does on my beautiful Bradford Pear.

Tonight I’m thankful for those who light up the world with their holiday spirit–even if it might seem a little early to some folks.  I’m thankful for laughter and funny movies and things that lift our spirits in the midst of times that otherwise might bring us down.  I give thanks for surprises and discoveries that send me reading and learning and that make me smile.  (And I’m thankful that I have a nurseryman/horticulturist in the family whom I can ask what is best for me to do for my beautiful tree and its parasitic friend.)

As we go about our days, may we never miss a moment to drop a seed that could help grow someone’s hope and Christmas spirit.  For it is through those small kindnesses that we can light up the whole world, not just during the holiday season, but everyday.

Love to all.

 

 

We Can Do Better…..

I’ve been fascinated with the journey of the “Humans of New York” photographer.  From Europe to Africa to Asia…..the stories of the people he comes across in his journey have made me laugh, cry, and fall to my knees in thanksgiving.  Sometimes I forget how good I have it.  Brandon’s photos and stories often remind me.  And, as painful as it can be, I am thankful for that.

Saturday he shared a picture of a man from Saigon, Vietnam who described what it was like to be on the ground when the American planes were bombing them.   He finished with:  “When they dropped their bombs, I don’t think those pilots knew what it was like on the ground.”  (Click here to see the photo and story from Humans of New York.)

The grace given in those last words blew me away.  I don’t know that I’ve ever extended grace that looked anything like that.  That’s powerful and challenging and I just don’t think I have what it takes to forgive like that.

And that makes me sad.

Below the photo on the Facebook post were the comments that people had made about this mans’ story.  The ones most liked by others were at the top.  And that’s where I read the other words, the ones that have stayed with me today.

It’s an African proverb:

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This has moved me to tears more than once today.  Our world, our country, our community, our families are in turmoil.  And who is paying for it?  Those who don’t have a dog in this hunt, a bone to pick in this fight.  The innocents.  The ones who don’t get a say in how this all plays out.  The ones who have often have no idea why the fighting is going on at all.  As if those of us in it do…..

*sigh*

Tonight I am thankful for the peacemakers in this world, for the ones who stand up to speak for those in need.  I am thankful for those who use their words to put down on paper stories that teach us it’s in our hands to make a difference for the ones who have no voice.  And I am thankful for Brandon, whose brave journey and stories from around the world have yet again touched my heart and challenged my soul with the task of growing and doing better.

My parents used to say, “If you know better, do better, and folks’ll like you better. ”

Amen.

Love to all.

 

Touched by Random Words of Kindness

Remember that I was mistaken as the newest family member’s grandmother by not one but two nurses? Not even Sister grabbing my hand in the midst of her discomfort and worry and her whispering, “I just must be looking really, really young today” could console me. It only got worse. I was at the grocery store on Thursday morning stocking up. Our resources had gotten a little low, and it was go to the store or we’d be eating jelly on tortillas with a side of avocado and orange juice. And Cooter, my creature of habit, was already stressing that we had run out of milk and there was none for cereal for breakfast that morning.

I stocked up on the buy 5, get $5 off your bill sale. Suffice to say, our cart overfloweth from my bargain hunting. I had a good visit with our cashier. I’m pretty sure she was new; at least she had yet to become jaded. I apologized for having such a hefty order to ring up and she told me never to apologize–that they get bored when they don’t have enough to do. Ahem. Note to the Grocery Store–KEEP. HER. We had two baggers on the case, and when they finished loading up my bagged groceries, they asked if they could help me out. Y’all, that whole deal stresses me out. With the exception of the one store which does not allow tipping, I always worry if I should or not. Then there’s the arranging of the groceries in the car. If I’m tired or hungry or whatever, it might be that only the cold stuff comes out at first, I take care of business, and then I go back for the rest. Which requires that I pack the car a certain way. So I rarely accept their generous offer of assistance.

Thursday morning, when I declined, the sweet cashier said, “That’s a lot of groceries. You should let them help you.” She then started tilting her head and staring at the baggers in such a way as to say, “Go. Help her anyway. Insist. I mean, look at her.” Yes, a look can say all of that.

I again said I was fine, and she assured me they didn’t mind, again with the head tipping thing. A little more urgently. At this point, I had been having symptoms of vertigo for a week, and I was getting a little concerned. When this sweet girl kept insisting, I was really worried. Finally I asked, “Do I look bad or something? I mean, I think I can do it.” Sweet Girl assured me I looked fine, just that it would be good for them to help, that they didn’t mind. I pointed at my “help” checking out the folding Georgia Tech chairs against the window, and said, “Don’t worry, we’ve got it.” I pushed the cart out with a wave goodbye, a quizzical mind, and a thankful heart.

The next day, after we picked up our Aub, we all went to the GW Boutique. Our Princess is not satisfied with me making her a Princess Leia costume; she keeps insisting on looking for one. They are out now, y’all, if anyone is looking–new and much lower-priced than they were originally. So she looked for that, and we made a round of the toy aisle where we look for Legos and K’Nex and educational toys. Cooter is fascinated with all kinds of weaponry, and no matter what it is, he usually asks if he can get it. And usually I say no. Such was the case this time. While they continued to look, my eye was drawn to this vanity top organizer. It had a glass base with chrome accents and two glass jars with chrome lids sitting on it. It was around $8 I think, so that gave me pause. As Cooter checked out the assorted weapons and cars, and Princess looked for all things pink and purple, I asked Aub what she thought. She was nonchalant, and I finally said, after much thought, “Nah. It will have to be kept clean. I’ll have to clean under it and wipe it down regularly. Probably more trouble than it is worth.”

Just a moment later I heard laughing. I turned around to see a beautiful white-haired lady pushing her cart past us. She said, “You’re too young to be talking like that.” Oh dear. I wondered what Cooter had been re-enacting with what weapon. I said, “Ma’am?” And she looked straight at me, pointed at the item I had been looking at and repeated, “You are too young to be worried about something like that, about cleaning it. But you are right, you know. It will be a bear to keep clean.” Well I declare. I placed my hand on her arm, and looked in her eyes, “Thank you. Thank you. You don’t know what that means to me.” I told her about my escapades at the hospital, and she clucked her disdain. (Yes, I will talk to anybody–I get it from my Mama.) “Pshaw, you do NOT look old enough to be anybody’s grandma, and don’t let anyone tell you any different.” I looked over at Aub. “You heard her right? What she said? You’re my witness!” We all laughed, and I left with a lighter heart. (and a less light head, as the vertigo finally seemed to be going away)

I am thankful for the random words of kindness from this sweet woman. She could have just laughed to herself at what I said and later called her BFF Forevuh and told her the story. And they could have shaken their heads together at how silly I was to be worried about such as that. Instead her kind words touched me and healed a wound for me–albeit a superficial, silly, and perhaps vain wound, but a hurt nonetheless. With words, she lifted me out of a funk. Isn’t it amazing what we can do when we are intentional about what we say?

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This is from one of my favorite songs ever, “Hey Jude.” Turns out it was the number one song the year I was born. I love what it says, because it is true–we can take a sad song and make it better–with a look, a touch, a smile, kind words, listening, or even just our presence. And these words come later in the song:

And anytime you feel the pain, hey Jude, refrain
Don’t carry the world upon your shoulders

Good advice for all of us. Not easy, but good. And perhaps it is through the kindness of others–their words, their acts, their presence–that we can begin to let go of some of that weight.

And in the spirit of that, my friends, I leave you with this video. I love the Beatles, as Daddy enjoyed their music almost as much as he did Elvis’. He would make me laugh by calling them the Be-at-les. While I enjoy seeing recordings of their performances, this is my favorite version of this song. Because you see, it makes me very, very happy. Let me know if the surprise that comes in lifts your spirits as it did mine. And let’s go and scatter words and acts of kindness and laughter together, shall we? You never know when it could make someone’s day.