TRASH

New Year’s Eve. 2018.

So much to think about and ponder upon and yet, I remember the old wives’ tale about sweeping. Don’t sweep on New Year’s Day or you’ll sweep someone out of your life. I don’t want to review memories and stories and sweep them back into my memories. And so I find myself not wanting to become all maudlin and auld lang syne-ish. I’d like tomorrow to be just another day, albeit wonderful as I will be surrounded by many of my favorite people, and make the best of it and try to leave the world a little better place at sunset than I found it at sunrise–just as I hope to do for the other 364 days of 2019.

“This is the day that the Lord hath made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

My Mama sang these words out more days than not, challenging us to find joy in each day and not take a single one for granted. She especially loved to remind us of this when we got down in the dumps.

With four children born in a nine year period, there were a lot of those days when at least one person needed that reminder.

So as I wish you all a Happy New Year, I offer you Mama’s greeting–Happy Everyday! And in keeping with my New Year’s Eve tradition, I share with you my Word for 2019.

TRASH

When I realized this morning what today is, I realized I hadn’t chosen a word yet, and I even thought about not choosing one. It was then that the word TRASH came to me.

Ummm, say what?

I wondered if it was an acronym for something that I was supposed to learn from. Truth…..Trust…..Respect…..ummmm, I don’t know. That didn’t feel right.

I thought about the literal trash that we put out by the curb every week and how it gets picked up by people who are too often under appreciated and who show up. We don’t always notice that they show up, but we sure do if they miss us, don’t we? I want to be present and notice the folks who show up. I don’t want to take them for granted. I also want to be that person who shows up for other folks.  For the big things and the small and all those in between.

I thought about the “trash pandas.” We have quite a few around here, as we live backed up to woods. One might say, and I have, that we invaded their home. We have some who come up and snack on this or that and they seem to think cat food is some kind of fine dining. Over this holiday season, the littles and I have had a basket of water, Gatorade, seasonal snack cakes, and chips in a basket for the people who deliver packages over the year. (The world’s best elves I call them.)  One night when I was locking up rather late, I noticed the basket was still on the porch. I saw two empty plastic cellophane wrappers on the porch next to the basket. I immediately just KNEW what had happened. Some little trash panda/raccoon had come up and discovered our little treasure trove and rushed back to invite a friend to join her. And together they’d shared a little joy…..and a lot of sugar.

I want to be like that little trash panda. I want to go and find someone to share in the treasures I come across. Joy multiplied, sorrows divided–that was something else my Mama talked about a lot. And y’all knows there’s a lot of joy in some Little Debbies and Oatmeal Pies.

I thought about the trash we come across in our day to dailies–and how important it is to make sure we put it in the trash can and get rid of it. Sitting something to the side with the intention to get rid of it can create quite the mess. Every night my Mama bagged up the bag from the small trash can under the kitchen sink and toted it to the bin outside. She was always wary of the critters (ants) that might come in after it if she didn’t. Not taking out the trash just created more trouble to deal with. In the days to come I want to remember to make the effort and take the steps to get rid of refuse when I come across it–let it go. Get rid of the trash. From within and without. Everything in its place and trash out the door and out of my heart.

As I was thinking on this word, I Googled the definition. And this is what I found.

trash
/traSH/
noun
1.NORTH AMERICAN
discarded matter; refuse.
synonyms: garbage, refuse, waste, litter, junk, debris, detritus, rubbish
“the subway entrance was blocked with trash”

verb
verb: trash; 3rd person present: trashes; past tense: trashed; past participle: trashed; gerund or present participle: trashing
1.INFORMAL•NORTH AMERICAN
damage or wreck.
“my apartment’s been totally trashed”
synonyms: wreck, ruin, destroy, wreak havoc on, devastate; More
2.strip (sugar cane) of its outer leaves to ripen it faster.

I read along thinking yeah, yeah, yeah, no surprises here until I came to the second definition of trash as a verb. “Strip of its outer leaves to ripen it faster.”

Yes.

I want to strip those outer toughened layers, let go of the mask that hides authenticity, and leave myself opening to ripening, blossoming, and growing.

I am not sure why this word came to mind this morning. Maybe it was because I was out walking Miss Sophie and appreciating and breathing in the beauty of the morning and breathing out a quiet amen. Maybe it was because I was listening or because I had let go of the pressure of figuring out a word.

Whatever the reason, this is my word. It’s the word I need for the coming days. It’s the word I need for living and letting go.

And I thought I’d share it just in case you need it too.

Love to all. Don’t forget to put out the trash.

And as my Mama said, happy everyday!

raccoon in trash can

Photo by Steve from washington, dc, usa [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

the unburdening

as the shadows grow long
I drag my bag now filled once again
down through the pasture
beside the still waters
and up to the tree
whose roots stretch out far and wide
above and below
the ground that sustains it

I slowly empty my load
carefully fingering every
worry, woe, and wondering
before placing each one in the hollow between
the two biggest roots
where nothingness is all that can be seen

upon emptying it,
turning and
facing the darkness,
I carefully lay the bag
over my shoulder
and head back to the house on the hill
where the only light for miles around
blinks in the void,
back by the waters and the pasture
that by morning will be covered in frost

the sigh I breathe, relieved to let it all go,
to leave it there for You to carry to who knows where
and dispose of in whatever way you are able,
lets out a puff of air that is barely
visible in the night–
I grow colder
as the light grows brighter

unencumbered for the moment
I climb beneath the afghan
made my hands not known to me,
gifted hands that moved in tune
to the songs of praise and thanksgiving
she hummed along to,
I too hum until the sleep quickly comes
and I dream only of light and hope and geese
that fly to parts far and near

they too are unburdened and light

until the dawn comes and I begin to fill my bag
again

Tree_with_exposed_roots_-_geograph.org.uk_-_668825

Richard Dorrell [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Bypassing the Short Cut to Find the Sacred

My little people (and maybe some of the big ones too) living with me have been known to fix themselves a glass of water and then leave it half-full sitting on the counter.  Or an end table.  Or bedside table.

Anyone else deal with this?

I finally made peace with this “wasting” of the water (I know, but it really hurts my heart) by watering our plants with whatever water I come across.  Now I’m a little thankful when I find an abandoned cup of water–it reminds me to tend to my friends who have moved inside since the first cold spell last fall.

This morning I poured out the one cup I found on one of my potted plants, and I thought it was probably time to give them all a refreshing drink.  I went back with the same cup, and I realized it was going to take more than one trip from the faucet in the kitchen to my back porch roost where I have them living right now.

IMG_7483

Extra steps.  For a second I considered rooting around for a bigger container to take a short cut in the watering process.

But you know what?

I like watering my plants.  It’s a sacred thing to me.  Being a part of a life-giving process.

Why would I want to rush that experience?  Why would I want it to take less time?  Less time to talk to them and encourage them and acknowledge the peace and life they give to my home.

Bottom line.  I toted that cup back and forth and didn’t resent any one of those steps I took.

Short cuts can be fine.  But not in every single instance.  I remember Mama telling me she wasn’t going to load the dishwasher on more than one occasion, for me to leave them for her wash by hand.  She enjoyed washing the dishes sometimes, and the hot sudsy water gave relief to her arthritic hands.  Bless her.  She loved efficiency–she was quite good at it, but she too found a sacredness in the motions of her day.

It got me to thinking–

I wonder if the focus and importance placed on short cuts is contributing to the brokenness in our world.  So many of us so busy rushing around with our short cuts that we can’t find the sacred in our days anymore.

May you find something sacred in your everyday that brings meaning and peace into your day.

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.

IMG_6734

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.

 

the sanctity of the sink

Last night at Evening Prayer we talked about finding the sacred in the ordinary.  Even in Mt Washmore and the folding of the clothes.  Ahem.  Over the weekend, my Fella was out of town, our Princess was sick, and Aub was working.  The emptying of the dishwasher was left to me and Cooter, who can’t do much more than the silverware and tumblers without climbing on stools.  And trust me, with this one, climbing is contraindicated.  As I faced the pile of dishes in the sink, on the counter, piled on top of piles, I realized I had put it off long enough.  If it were to be, it was to be me.  Last night I thought about that sink full of dishes and tried to see it with a different pair of eyes.  To see it as sacred.

the sanctity of the sink

All those dishes

dirty in the sink

beside the sink…..

but all reveals the blessing

in the having of dishes

and silverware and the food

that was prepared and served

and that left the spoons

and cutting board

and knife covered with flavor and

remnants of a meal lovingly created

for all

The hummus container

needs rinsing

for recycling because we can

and we should

The medicine cup used

to give a dose of relief

along with a prayer for healing

The cups that were filled with water,

clean water, to parch a thirst

and replenish our bodies

Such a simple thing

and taken for granted

but a gift to be appreciated nonetheless

The puppy’s kong for dispensing treats,

soaking,

a reminder of this one we wished for

for so long

and we love

The blender parts

left over from the fruit smoothie

that boosted my spirit–

thankful for those who grow and pick

and freeze the fruit,

the perfect timing of all three of those

or it’s no good to eat

The dishrag that I got

from Mama

I see her hands washing the dishes and

wiping down the counter

with this one–her favorite color

green

She loved washing dishes by hand

the warm water helped her arthritis

“Besides, it’s just me” she said, and

so she rarely ran the dishwasher

As I rinse and load

I remember the lesson she taught me

“A dishwasher will last longer if you don’t

work it so hard–rinse your dishes”

She thought the loading was like a Tetris puzzle

she could always fit in one more thing,

after all

she did once “fit a five foot swimming pool

in a little bitty Falcon”

That’s family lore there

As I rinse the remnants of another meal done

I give thanks

for those who grew it, prepared it, sold it,

transported it, sold it to me,

and I give thanks that I am able to cook–

nothing fancy, mind you

but it’ll do

and I give thanks that we have so many dirty dishes

at each mealtime

because that is more love and laughter to go around

At the bottom of the sink what Mama used to call

“dinner dandruff”

I used to marvel that she could reach in

and touch the stuff–ewwww

And now I watch my own hands,

not totally unlike hers

as I finish clearing out the sink

I find the dishwasher soap from underneath

and pour it in

I press a button and give thanks for this

gift of modern technology

the invention of someone who wanted to

change the world

and she did (or he maybe?)

Tomorrow I will do this all over again

and likely it won’t feel the same

It is easier not to feel and

hard to always think and give thanks

in all

but for tonight

I’m on Holy Ground

standing over my sink

in my bare feet

 

 

 

 

Playing with Ice Cubes and Holy Moments

So this happened this evening.

Sophie Ru chasing after an ice mouse.

Sophie Ru chasing after an ice mouse.

This is what happens when you have an overzealous ice dispenser, a playful puppy, and two littles (and okay, one Mama) to cheer her on.

Daddy was the first to call those pieces of ice that scattered when you were trying to fill a cup “ice mice.”  Try with all your might, it was hard to catch those things.  In the words of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, “Slippery little suckers.”

And so Sophie found out.  It was quite by accident.  Our ice dispenser sometimes shoots out one last cube though you and your cup might have moved on.  It has been known to land on the floor.  Sophie saw something moving and went after it.  And after it.  And after it.  It was funny to watch because sometimes she’d catch it and try to carry it in her mouth and then she’d act surprised and drop it and there it’d go across the floor again.

"I got it!"

“I got it!”

This.  This is why I so needed a puppy.

"Is it going to move again?"

“I’ve got my eye on you.”

Laughter has filled this house…..the littles (okay, me too) have been kicking that ice cube all over the place…..and then off she’d go again.  She loved trying to catch that ice cube. (or cubes, there might have been more than one–totally by accident.  Absolutely.)

Who needs cable or electronics when you’ve got this much fun an ice cube away?

Sleepy baby.  Wore herself out and crashed next to her water bowl.  Sweet dreams.

Sleepy baby. Wore herself out and crashed next to her water bowl. Sweet dreams.

Of course, as with all things, the fun must come to an end…..and we were all exhausted.  It’s hard being the life of the party.

Tonight I am thankful for moments like these.  Impromptu joy.  Unexpected laughter.  The exuberance of new life.  In the midst of sorting out all kinds of emotions and thoughts that come with living this life, it is a good and holy thing to laugh with my children, to watch them learn and grow with every moment, and to see the light reflected in their eyes and realize that, for a while, the shadows are gone.

Those moments when light and laughter and simple joy chase the shadows into the corners–that’s what I’m most thankful for tonight.

Go play with an ice cube.  Love to all.