Or Maybe He’s Not Creepy…..

Today Aub and I were doing the Out and Abouts and wound up at the grocery store.  It’s very unusual for me to find myself there twice in a week, but sometimes it happens.  We were just there Wednesday, but I didn’t get enough of this and forgot to get that, so there we were.


At the grocery store.

I promised myself I wouldn’t do this again.

Still.  There we were. Circling the parking lot.  This time I knew I was circling–looking for a parking spot that wasn’t way on the other side of the gas station.  I am a picky parker, especially at the grocery store.  I admit it.  I like to park very close or–yay–right next to the buggy corral.

As we headed up to the prime spot next to a corral, Aub pointed out the guy pushing one of those race car buggies made especially for shoppers with small children.  “Ewwwww, look, that guy is pushing a child’s cart, and he’s all by himself!  What is that?  Is he planning on picking up one or two inside?  That’s creepy as mess.”

I took in the situation as I eyeballed my parking space and made sure no one else was gunning for it.  (I can multi-task like that sometimes.)  The guy was fairly young, wearing a coat, and sure enough, he was pushing a cart for children with no children in sight.  That was when I caught a glimpse of something underneath his jacket.

A name tag.  He worked at the grocery store and was commandeering shopping carts from the parking lot.

Well, now, that makes a whole lot of sense.

Bless my girl, it was one of those moments where we laughed a lot longer than anyone else would have, and it was funny to us.  But all kidding aside, we all do this at times, don’t we?  We see something without having all the facts and looking at it with face value, we tend to pathologize it.  Point out how messed up it all is.

When in fact, it very well could be something else entirely.

Like maybe the clothes someone’s wearing out to the Mart isn’t an indication they’re crazy or broke or really messed up.  Maybe they’re grieving or their washer is broken or they haven’t slept in days because of something they are going through.

Maybe it’s because of something not…..very creepy.

Just a thought.

Life is hard, and it is easy to jump the gun and make quick judgments.  That’s called survival, right?  Tonight I’m thankful for those times when we can take time to pause and reassess…..

and discover it’s really not creepy after all.

Love to all.


By Jim (http://www.flickr.com/photos/alphageek/121953651) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

P.S.  I’m really proud of my Aub though. She’s always a good advocate for those who need it most, and children who might be picked up by creepy people are definitely in that category.  Love you, Aub.  Good looking out.  ❤


Christmas Creating



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.


The Words Worth More Than a Thousand Pictures

At the beginning of this school year, I was a bit concerned about where my two elementary aged children were, regarding their comprehension of basic math skills.  I did what has turned out to be one of the best things I’ve ever done as a homeschooling parent–I asked for help.

Our tutor turned friend turned family was a huge gift.  She gave our Princess what she needed to be able to approach math with a different attitude–a “can do” attitude.  And I am thankful.

So while I am still very focused on math and practice practice practice, I have shifted my concern over to writing.  Both in content and in handwriting.  *sigh*  We have a lot of issues around here.

While they both love to tell stories, and they both are avid readers, when it comes to writing those stories down, well–the motivation factor seems to be *ahem* missing.

So I’ve been encouraging more creative writing, especially with our Princess.  She has a workbook that we get writing prompts and activities from.  We choose one together and she works on it on her own.

On Wednesday, she had a list of twelve words–nothing spectacular–and she was to write a sentence or two about each one.  Mailbox was one word.  I think flower was another.  Pretty basic words.  She did this task without too much gnashing of teeth, and I was pleased.  The next day the assignment was to pick one of those words and write about 200 words–anything having to do with the subject.

And then it was meltdown mode.

“Mama I can’t think of another thing to say about any one of those words!” she said, adding in a bit of whine for good luck.

Oh me.  I decided to take a different tactic than the one that came to mind first.  Raising my voice and telling her to sit down and think probably wouldn’t be good for getting the creative juices flowing.

“Okay, fine.  I will give you a subject, and you can write whatever you want to about it, okay?  At least half a page or longer, okay?”

She nodded through her frustrated tears.

I thought for a minute.  “Okay, Aunt’s.  You can write anything about being there or anything having to do with her place.  Got it?”   I wondered if she’d write about picking vegetables from the garden or playing with her cousins or our yearly family get together there.

She smiled.  “Can I write about the Easter Egg Hunt?”  It was on her mind since it was coming up soon.

“Sure,” I said, relieved.  Now we were getting somewhere.  There would be a lot she could write about.

A few minutes later, she came back.  “Mama, how ’bout I draw a picture instead of writing about it?  I will go get the paper now, and it will look great…..” She started to go after her art supplies.

“Wait.  What?  No.  Nonono.  You are not going to draw a picture.  You have to write about it.”

She turned back around.  And smiled.  While she can be the sweetest and most tender-hearted child most of the time, she has these moments of pre-teendom that make me worry about the future.  This was one of those moments.  I saw the glint in her eye, and I wondered what was coming.

“Well, Mama, they say a picture is worth a thousand words.  And since you only asked me to write 200 or so, I’d really be doing more than you asked.”  And then she smiled.  Knowingly.

Y’all, I may wind up with more than one of my offspring becoming a lawyer.  I mean, really?  #Loophole.

She began to giggle, and I couldn’t help but laugh too.  Unfortunately, contrary to what she thought, my laughter did not equate to letting her off the hook.

She wrote her story.  She decided to interview everyone in our family and ask them what their favorite thing was about the Easter Egg Hunt/Wienie Roast/Family Hootenanny.

It turned out pretty good too.  She used complete sentences and proper capitalization and her reporting was spot on.  While more than one said the hot dogs were their favorite part, it was usually paired with being with family.  Her big sister threw in that her favorite part was sneaking our Princess’ Nerds from her Easter basket.  (Princess correctly used parentheses to note “I’m going to get her!”)

But what really got me, and what told me that no matter what her calling in life is our Princess will always have that same tender heart, were her closing words:

“For me it’s seeing everybody happy.”

Oh baby girl. Me too.

Me too.

(And just for the record, she was wrong.  There’s no picture that could have been worth more than those six words right there.)

May you all have a ray of sunshine around to remind you of the important things in life.

Love to all.


Outside the Box Kind of Mama

or…..I Wish I Were the Kind of Mama She Was

Y’all, confession time:

I need my sleep.

That’s why Mama told me I might need a nap.  Often.  If I don’t get enough sleep, I just can’t function properly.  “Properly” meaning up to and including not snapping at people or being downright rude.

I am reminded of this as I haven’t been getting enough sleep at night lately.  When one of the first thoughts you have when you wake up in the morning is whether or not you will be able to get a nap….you might have a sleeping problem.

It was the same when I was young.  I had an early bedtime.  I can remember it being as early as 8 p.m. and then 8:30 and finally 9 before it was up to me to set my bedtime.  As the oldest I was the first to have an advanced bedtime, and when I hit that 9 p.m. I thought I had arrived.

The problem with any and all of these bedtimes was that I couldn’t get up in the mornings.  At least the way Mama preferred.  Cheerfully.  That whole “Rise and shine and give God the glory glory” song?  Yeah, Mama could have written that.  That was her morning attitude–just all “isn’t this a wonderful day?” and “I can hardly wait to get started on all this awesomeness I have ahead of me.”


Don’t get me wrong.  I loved my Mama then and I still do today.  I miss that cheerfulness and sassiness that she would use to make me do right in any given situation.  (She loved me but she flat called me out on some stuff.)  But that early morning, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed…..let’s leave that to the squirrels, shall we?  I heard my oldest describe herself recently–she said that she wasn’t a night owl or a morning person…..more of a 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. kind of gal.  I’m thinking she comes by it honest.

When I was in second grade, I just couldn’t get up on my own very well.  Mama would try and try with all her cheery might, and I was still a grump.  Back then Mama sewed a lot of our clothes.  I remember the jeans with the contrasting denim pockets that I wore on the kaolin mines field trip and watched the blue get lighter as the day progressed.  And the bandana shirts.  I loved those.  She even made me a bathing suit.  It was a lovely 70’s shade of orangey-yellow.  But looking back I think the most precious thing she made that year was my nightgown.

I added the nightgown so lovingly made for me when Mess Cat and I were painting together on Saturday.  Happy memories.....

I added the nightgown so lovingly made for me when Mess Cat and I were painting together on Saturday. Happy memories…..

As I recall it was peach in color which could have been my favorite color at the time.  I’m not sure.  I loved it in the eighth grade when she made my graduation dress from the Oscar DeLaRenta pattern in a peach colored fabric with white ruffle trim.  It was my favorite again in college, when she made us curtains in a yellow gingham complete with tiebacks. I loved yellow too and somehow it coordinated with the yellow bedspreads and peach sheets…..my roommate and I were going for a pastel theme, okay?

The color and style of the sleeveless gown were not what made it so special.  What made it special was what Mama embroidered by hand on it.

A smiley face.

Mama was not only a problem solver, but she was a creative, outside of the box kind of thinker.  She was likely very frustrated with me for not cooperating and getting up.  At the time she had two little ones behind me to care for as well.  The last thing she needed was me, dragging and whining every morning.

So she gave me this gown.  I remember her pointing to the smiley face and saying, “I want you to look down and remember to be happy every morning.”  Later that would be her thing to say, “Happy Everyday!”

She was such a good Mama.

I’m so not her.

I wish I could remember to be a creative thinker and do things like this instead of losing my mind and my temper.

Her creativity came to the rescue more times than a few.  I remember when I broke my ankle and she came up with a great way for me to shower without getting my “boot” wet.  She covered it with a garbage bag and put me in the shower on her vinyl covered kitchen stool.  After each shower she would dry the stool off and put it away until the next day.

She could organize like nobody’s business and said that loading the dishwasher was like a different but fun version of the game Tetris.  Family lore has it that she fit a five foot swimming pool in a little bitty Falcon.  (She’d always say that when we said there wasn’t room for anything else in the dishwasher, “Sure there is.  I once fit a five foot swimming pool….” Or we’d say, “Ask Mama how to get all this organized, she once fit a…..”)

But most of all, loved ruled with her.

That’s why, instead of punishing me for not getting up like I should or chewing me up one side and down the other, she sat down and lovingly and cleverly made me a peach nightgown with a smiley face on it.

I have no idea what happened to the gown.  Maybe it made its way down through my two sisters–most likely, but it doesn’t matter.  I can still see it the way it looked in the light from the kitchen in our little five-room house on Boy Scout Road.  The silky thread of the smiley face shimmering in the light.  With color.  With happiness.  With love.

I was so lucky to have her.  And to be loved by her.