August 18

Remarkable

Boxes of plates, cups, and kitchenware were scattered all over the living room. The new 43″ flat screen was carefully placed in her bedroom where no televisions have been allowed for nearly 20 years.

It’s a rule that has been argued, discussed and challenged on more than one occasion.

26 pairs of shoes have been carried to the car. I’m almost certain three of them look exactly the same. I questioned the purchases as much as a parent can question the way an adult child spends their own hard earned money.

She has bussed tables, served food, dealt with unruly, non-tipping customers, dog sat and baby sat to earn her way to pay for college. I’m very proud of this girl and thankful for people like Dora and Ms. Klaener and Mrs. Smith and Shelby Watson and the entire town of Mason and her loyal Dennys customers in Boerne for helping me raise a girl we could all be so stinkin’ proud of.

Except…

She’s taking the white lacey shirt that hangs on the pink plastic hanger where it doesn’t bother me half as much as it does on her body.
Because I don’t believe in bellies showing unless you’re going to the beach or trespassing in a neighborhood pool.

Her sister, who is the queen of generosity, purchased every Pioneer Woman product on the shelf. I tried to steal the towels and the other spatula I have a desperate need for as we were sorting through everything, ooohing and aaaghing with every bit of envy I could not quite contain.

Natalie made Dean’s list both semesters last year at Texas State and is now completely freaking out over her major and the indecisiveness she has been battling since May. She is highly opposed to wasting money and needs to plan her entire life now.

Right now.

She doesn’t listen when I tell her I’m 50 and still don’t have a life plan.

I found a picture of her the other day and can’t believe the time suck. She was in sixth grade and just finished her Christmas program because we lived in a small town that still knew how to rock a Christmas program. Before you blink, it’s another year, Easter and then the fourth of July. I spent a lot of parenting years trying to put out fires.

Except…

This girl has always lived like a handful of sparklers. Her very presence lights up every occasion.

Right now, she is carrying the last of the stuff out to her car while I’m writing this blog. We were Girl Scouts. We believe that if a girl can do it, she should do it. So she is.

Which is probably why we are all so giddy over the Pioneer Woman products. We’re adventurous like that. But still, at that age, we do not want to be anything like our mothers. We don’t want to stand in their shadow but make our own light.

John is her boyfriend and muscle back-up to haul the tv, because, well, we are southern now and chivalry is not dead. I can tell by the look on her face that he is taking way too long. We are also bossy. She is in the early stages of the relationship, so she tries her best to contain that characteristic.

The other day I caught the awkward exchange between two sisters as they were showcasing the shower curtain, towels and all the new stuff. “I’ve had my towels for about 20 years,” I mention. “They now double as both a towel and a loofah.” They don’t fit around my body anymore either.

“Oh, mom, you should have seen her while we were shopping. She wanted everything to be like yours.”

An evil glare silently shouted, “How dare you!” from Natalie’s face to Chelsea’s.

“I’m sorry, sister.” We laughed.

There was a little bit on the inside of me, that felt like I did something right. It’s not what I carry around on a lot of days when I’m weighted by the worry and the screw-ups.

Except…

This girl is something I got right. She is remarkable, worth remarking about. She was hired on the spot at Red Lobster in her new college town when they heard she has had the same waitressing job since she was a freshman in high school. She is every wonderful thing I would want her to be. Blessed from the beginning and shockingly capable of a cuss word on a Twitter feed.

She has been the Moon over my Hammy since the day she was born.

I love you Goosie.

 

 

 

 

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August 14

Fairy Tales and Mermaid Tails

“I want to read a fairy tale,” Saydee said last week.

Secretly, every girl wants to be a mermaid.

So Saturday, at the safari party, while her mother was busy with a yellow ball and a game of monkey in the middle, I helped my granddaughter with her deep sea swimming skills.

Four adults splashed and shouted and looked the other way, while I took note of the inner bravery of a little girl who really, really wanted to touch the bottom of the pool.

She just learned to hold her breath under water this summer, but I had already been informed she didn’t like the deep end. Getting her tiny body to the bottom the pool was impossible without a little help and a head shove from Grammie.

When no one was looking, that’s exactly what I did.

Saydee held onto the side of the pool, taking in every breath of life she could contain. I placed my whole hand on top of her head and pushed her with enough force that she could deep sea dive her way to the bottom.

You would think the girl found a sunken ship and lost treasure booty as excited as she was to have felt the deep end with her tiny feet. “Do it again, Grammie!”

And for the next few hours that’s exactly what we did. She tried it on her own, in more shallow waters, springing up and out like a power boosted space rocket. She cannon-balled and belly-flopped and swam all the way to the other side.

I thought about that ecstatic inner feeling we get when we do something we didn’t think we could do or were too scared to try. I remember the total terror of standing on the edge of the high dive like it was yesterday and the exhilaration of finally conquering that fear with a giant splash.

Surfacing.

Doing one brave thing, helps you do the next brave thing.

And I thought about fairy tales, bedtime stories and the courage it took for the first little billy goat to cross the bridge, knowing there was a hungry troll hiding out just below.

Trip. Trap. Trip. Trap.

Who’s that tromping over my bridge?

He outsmarted the troll the way we outsmart our scared, with wisdom and recall, remembering exactly what it felt like the last time we did something we thought we couldn’t do.

Sitting in the sports bar with my friends Jeff and Judy, in between delicious bites of steak nachos at The Brass Tap, I thought about how great it felt after I worked so hard to get my broker’s license while I was a single mom and the girls were still at home, in school, demanding snacks and rides and help with homework.

Who is tromping over your bridge? Where is it you want to go? What is it you want to do?

I think sometimes we are our own trolls.

Find your own shoe. Walk through those woods. Swim the deep waters. Don the red cape. Deliver those muffins.

Why read the fairy tales when we can make our own?

 

 

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August 11

Peeling Back the Layers

Everyone told me it was a pain to make.

Tedious and time consuming.

I pulled the delicate phyllo sheets apart one by one, so elated to be learning how to make a dish that I have always loved but never attempted.

My cooking instructor was orginally from Turkey, feisty in the way I admire strong women to be and sweet like the baklava her husband raved about last week. They introduced me to new food at the Turkish Mediterranean Grill behind North Star Mall.

Lucy stands about two feet shorter than me, or that might be an exageration. Her personality is three feet larger than life. We are as mismatched as two women can be, but somehow we are exactly the same.

I brought all of the ingredients over to her beautiful home where she had the necessary cooking supplies laid out neatly on the granite counter top, including an old fashioned nut grinder I’d never seen before and a plastic mopping utensil I decided I must have.

Sometimes I’m forgetful and had forgotten she told me the dough was frozen and to be sure and get it the day before. It’s delicate. My backup plan, once I remembered, was to drive around showing property for three hours with two packages of phyllo dough and a box of butter thawing on the dashboard because I am more determined than delicate.

Forget texting at stop lights.

That is the perfect time to gently turn the dough that is cooking just under the windshield. Carefully grabbing each end of the tube, I rolled it to the colder side as I caught a little side-eye from the driver in the lane next to me.

Cautiously lifting and placing each sheet into the 9 x 13 pan, pretending to be in Martha’s kitchen, I began to spread the melted butter, making sure to get it all over.

“Don’t skimp on butter.” she instructed with her accented voice. “Some people skimp, don’t skimp.”

I tried again, adding more butter like it might have been a work of culinary art. “Oh, no! We’re going to be here all day. You are trying too hard. It’s not perfect. You slap the butter on like this,” grabbing the baster from my hands.

“Okay,” I said, letting my sloppy shine.

“Very good. That’s right. That’s the way. Just like that.”

I buttered layer after layer, after layer.

“Don’t skimp on the walnuts either. I do two layers. You can do three if you like.”

More layers. It seemed like a 100. And then it was finished. When the color was just right, we removed it from the oven and added the syrup mixture to the top.

Gene was right. It was the best baklava I’ve had in my life. It was also one of the most fun days I’ve ever had in someone’s kitchen. I can’t get enough of this woman.

Standing over a stove and stirring, you learn more than how to make simple syrup. You learn about falling in love with an Air Force captain, coming to the United States, shopping sprees and mother-in-laws.

“She taught me so many things. She was a good woman. An angel.”

It takes spending time with someone to see the depths of who they are, all those layers that make a person. They come together  to make them sweet and solid, so delectable to be around. The color of friendship with people who are not the same as us is the same as knowing when the baklava is ready to come out of the oven.

It’s golden. Never skimp on it.

 

 

 

 

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August 7

Life’s Little Surprises

They told me at the drive-thru pharmacy I could save money if I came in and signed up for some kind of customer card.

So I pulled around and parked in the empty space next to the Porsche in the Walgreen’s parking lot. “I hope he doesn’t scratch my car,” I said to no one in particular.

A hip man in a teal shirt and khaki shorts had just come out of the front doors and right about the spot where the red kettle people stand at Christmas time, he and I crossed paths.

“Hi!” I said cheerfully because I’m mostly cheery these days and he said, “Hi!” back.

I knew immediately that he was the owner of the super sporty luxury car parked next to mine, the 2003 blue Lincoln Aviator, with a giant piece of an oak tree in the back. I had to move it to the hatch back part of the car to show property the day before.

“Can we just ride with you?” my spunky Turkish friend asked.

“Umm..” I said stalling.

“Yes. You can. But I’ve got to get the log out of the back seat.”

“You have a log in the back seat?”

“Yes.”

And 7 overdue children’s books…in Spanish, three large pieces of trash I’ve retrieved from some random parking lot because I despise littering and the book Bill W: A Different Kind of Hero – The Story about Alcoholics Anonymous. I devoured the short read in just a few sittings and was saving it to pass on to a friend who’s name I will not mention.

There are also four auto bingo cards because when I have kids in the car, I insist they put away electronics and look for railroad crossings and No U-Turn signs. On the floor board was a scattered mess of trail mix leftovers from the land tour last week and one of the Ziploc snack packs came open, throwing peanuts and raisins about the car. I retrieved the M & M’s, because, well, it’s chocolate. No one wants a melty mess in their car.

Saturday, at the last minute my plans changed and I reached back out to a prospective customer to show the land I love at Settler’s Ridge in Mason. We made plans to meet up in a few hours and after a beautifully peaceful drive, I pulled off RR 1723 and onto the crushed granite country road at Settler’s Ridge.

Sitting in front of the new home being built, was the Porsche. Standing in front of the Porsche, was the same man I met the day before. I recognized his white beard from a 1/8th of a mile away. Whaaat? How weird is that?

“Hey! I saw you at Walgreens yesterday!”

Later that afternoon, I was driving back, wondering what to do next.

Go see Chelsea.

So I took the back roads to Kerrville and semi-surprised my daughter and grand daughter where I spent the next 27 hours in family bliss reading stories, playing pool, eating good food and making homemade cotton candy.

I also previewed the new home at the top of Sumac. Someone who wants a new home and loves gorgeous vista views should call me about that. My real estate assistant is four and an expert light turner-on-er and off-er.

She does not come with the house.

“I’m so glad you’re here, Grammie,” Saydee said out of nowhere.

We need to make plans, but we need to be flexible. We need to create more space and margin in our lives, allowing time to embrace amazing moments we don’t expect.

The WOW factor is crucial to our contentment. What sweet surprises await us when we take the time to allow for last minute change of plans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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August 4

The Green House

On this day 2 years ago, Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog announced their break-up on Twitter.

I can’t believe I missed that.

Just a few days ago I learned how to write and text on my Iphone’s blackboard screen and sent my daughter the text, “It ain’t easy being green.” It was funny because we just played Cranium that night and the other team beat us by knowing who said it. Because of that, and, well, she didn’t know what a blimp was.

If you’ve ever been called one, you know.

It’s been a good week. I finally finished a story I’d been working on for way too long, intimidated by scientific words like stalactites and stalagmites. I can only remember which is which by using elementary clues like “g” is for ground and “c” is for ceiling formations. My science experience includes making rock crystals on a string with my girls and blowing up Mentos in a soda bottle.

I’ve been scrambling for something super interesting to write about today, but other than the jaw dropping gorgeous views through Wimberley and my cursing outburst at a Dooley driver who nearly ran me over on Highway 16 out of Fredericksburg, it’s been mostly calm.

So I went to the internet looking for other interesting news and found out that on August 4th, 1944, Anne Frank was arrested. It did not escape me that she was a child in hiding who feared for her life and still managed to write every day.

I have no excuses.

Prince’s Purple Rain took the #1 spot on the charts in 1984 and stayed there for about 6 months according to the On This Day website that tells you what interesting things happened in history.

That was the year I wrote a review of his concert in Dallas for my high school paper. It was, to this day, one of the most awesome concerts I have ever seen. It was also the review Mrs. Rodewald, my newspaper advisor and journalism teacher, submitted for consideration to the Quill and Scroll Honor Society.

I lived and breathed that album for two straight years.

On days when I feel like I’m losing my mind, I hear Let’s Go Crazy in my head. It was the first thing I thought of when I was previewing a home a few weeks ago that had an elevator shaft, but no elevator.

And if the elevator tries to break ya down, go crazy. Punch a higher floor.

We need higher, greener ground to stand on. Kermit was supposed to be the Frog

Kermit was supposed to be the Frog prince of Miss Piggy. What kind of world are we living in when stringed puppets can’t even get it right?

This week, I’ve been out previewing land, walking the Guadalupe River, taking photos and texting videos of scampering baby armadillos. It’s in this green space that I realize how good life is. Really, really good.

Then I come home and find Natalie and her boyfriend, John, in the kitchen…again, laughing and preparing a delicious meal to enjoy together.

It ain’t easy being green.

“Do what you love,” I tell the girls all the time.

Tonight I’m having a friend who needs a friend over for dinner. No strings attached.

 

 

 

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July 31

App-solutely! Get this one.

Somebody told me turning 50 was like getting to the middle of the roll of toilet paper.

“It just goes faster.”

Right when I finally figured out the joy of slow going, everything else seems to go faster. Get-togethers with family often include the phrase, “Remember when…”

Sometimes I do. Other times I don’t. I could kick myself for not keeping a daily journal. What I do have are bins full of random writings and started songs. An idea here and an inspirational moment there. Prayers to God and letters I will never send.

It’s an unorganized record of where we were, how we felt and how much we have changed. A written reminder of the ways we haven’t, the prayers that were answered and the ones that weren’t.

At least not how we had hoped.

But on this side of the roll, we are stronger and more steadfast. A lot of crap is behind us now and we don’t want to take the days that remain for granted. I’d rather give thanks, learn my lessons and move on with love.

In my recent craving for organization, I downloaded an app to help me download my days.

I fancy myself the kind of writer who has the discipline and artsy-ness to sit down with a feathered pen, a bottle of ink and beautiful handwriting. I imagine the words would float effortlessly across the page as I document my new days and old dreams in pages my 3 daughters will glean wisdom from. I am a huge fan of pen and paper and organic writing.

But that’s not happening.

So I decided to try the Five Minute Journal app and have successfully tracked the highlights and hopes of every day last week. You have to get this app! With so much screen-staring we do, this one is well worth it. A simple way to help us more easily reflect on the things in our day we are most grateful for. It changes our energy and our outlook.

All in five minutes.

If you’ve been struggling with God-time in the morning, this will help. It quiets our mind and helps get the day started right, by giving thanks. When you get up, you add the morning entry. Instead of a list of things you must accomplish, it asks you to reflect on three things you’re grateful for and then three things you will do to make the day great.

Maybe that’s writing three notes to people who have helped you. Those are letters that should be sent.

Maybe it’s stopping and picking up a bouquet of flowers for your dining room table.

Or take a short walk.

My grateful list one day last week included eating the juiciest, most tasty watermelon, seeing a baby armadillo….actually alive, and a night sky lit up with tons of twinkling stars. When I go back and read the entries, it’s like I’m living it again.

You can even add a daily picture to remind you of something special.

The week I started my digital journal, I had a table full of six over to share a meal. It was a mixed group and everyone didn’t already know each other so we were using the Table Topics I won during last year’s Christmas party. After squirming in our responses to “What was the biggest lie you ever told as a child?”‘ the next question we had to answer, “What was your grandmother’s signature dish?”

Around the table, we heard things like pot roast and potatoes and carrots, 7 layer salad, enchiladas, and ribs. When we got to Saydee, she didn’t understand what a signature dish was and Chelsea asked her the question in the language a four-year-old could understand.

“Saydee, what does Grammie make you?”

She was sitting on a bar stool on my left and leaned down close to press her head against mine and in the sweetest, tiniest, most sincere voice ever, said, “Ummm. Happy.”

That response has been the most cherished moment of my entire birthday month. It’s life like that, that must be written down and remembered. Forever.

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July 28

V-I-C-T-O-R-Y

“Is this your dream house?” my daughter asked as we floated around in the pool.

“It’s pretty awesome. There’s a lot of houses I could happily live in, so dream house is hard to say. I love this yard and pool, and the porch. Oh my gosh, did you see the porch?”

Just a few days before, I found myself looking at new homes and developing a serious case of water closet envy. That’s a fancy name for toilet room with a door that shuts. It may or may not have enough space for a magazine rack on the wall or a small reading library like I would want.

Recently, I started a subscription to Reader’s Digest and often find myself so caught up in the stories that I forget I’m not on a comfy couch in the living room, but on a porcelain seat in the middle of the bathroom. That was probably too much over-sharing.

The Home of the Brave section in the July/August, Your America, edition had me glued to my seat with stories about family, survival and a captivating picture of a girl in a poncho with a Partridge Family suitcase.

Life is better when you’re running away and wearing a poncho.

I read about the woman and her husband who got lost during an adventure in Big Bend and a suicide hotline misdial.

The story of fate and the Victory Girl airplane was my favorite. It had a serendipitous ending that made me smile at the awesomeness of how sometimes, all things come together for good.

They included a picture and a caption that cracked me up because the description of the girl on the side of the B-29 bomber plane was said to be, “a tastefully dressed beautiful young lady.”

When I think of tastefully dressed, I think of women like Jacki Onassis or Audrey Hepburn. This plane was prettied up with an image of a voluptuous Victoria Secret type model with a 1940’s flair. It was WW II and people needed pretty things to look at.

It’s a style that came before my mom’s yellow string bikini. The one I give her a hard time for wearing because I thought it revealed too much. I plead for the return of the classy, vintage swimsuit with the high waisted skirt.

But then yesterday, I found myself in the most revealing swim suit ever. I snapped a selfie for silly’s sake and the four weiner dogs I’m sitting ran for cover. There was nothing tasteful about it. I borrowed a swim suit top from one of my daughters in hopes of getting a great tan while I had the benefits of a friend’s private pool paradise.

Like my toilet, some things should just not be left out in the open.

But then there are stories like the life-filled pages in Reader’s Digest that remind me often times, our over-exposure is good. It helps us connect with others when we share the human side of our less than perfect stories, our battle cries.

I put the -I-C

in V-I-C-T-O-R-Y yesterday and then texted it to all my girls so they could see too. You could hear the laughter from all three counties.

That is an essential design element of my dream house.

 

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July 24

Becoming a Change Agent

Every day I hope to hear from God.

Sometimes I do. Other times I think I do, but maybe not so much.

Sometimes I try to sit in still, quiet places, hoping to receive even a faint transmission that might be coming through, just for me. Too often, I stay busy, desperately trying to drown out things I’ve heard and seen, thoughts I’m sure don’t come from heaven.

There’s so much noise.

In contrast, I hear the sound of my granddaughter’s tiny voice with her little lisp, and the world becomes almost perfect. The band plays outside of Soda Pops to the street audience sitting in retro-cool, metal chairs. There are vendors selling their wares and a Tom and Jerry child’s motorcycle ride that Saydee can’t enjoy because I don’t have a couple of quarters.

We ended up at the Sugar Shack after a long ride and discussion about why our plans to go to the yogurt store didn’t work out.

“It’s closed, Saydee Grace.”

“My mom told me to go to the yogurt store.”

“I’m sorry. We took too long at the river, and now it’s closed. We can go to the Sugar Shack. You like the Sugar Shack. We haven’t been there since you were much smaller. They have games. It will be fun.”

“I want vanilla ice cream, Grammie.”

“Okay.”

Now we are standing in line. It’s past dark and past bedtime. The tired is kicking in, but she will not give in because even a pre-schooler can sense when it’s Saturday night and fun must be had.

“Do you want it on a cone or in a cup?” Please say cup. Please say cup. It’s a 100 degrees outside I always let her get stained up and dirty. There will be dripage.

“Cone, please.”

“Great! Are you buying?” I only asked because securely under her armpit, wherever she goes, she has this hot pink owl purse attached. Her mom told me she likes to buy stuff.

Shocking.

But Saydee looked at me with this over-tired, suddenly sad face and then down at her bag as she shook her head in shame. I didn’t understand it. “Do you have your coins?” I asked to a bowed head and more floor facing, “It’s okay. Grammie can buy. You can get it next time.”

We sat up high on the bar stools and tried to draw with the broken Etch-a-Sketch. We enjoyed a game of table bowling and connected the barrel of monkeys. The vanilla cone dripped, but only on my hand. Saydee ate the last of my Bomb Pop without my permission and found that hilarious.

Then she wanted a gumball. There were so many machines to choose from, who wouldn’t? But we couldn’t.

“I’m sorry. I don’t have any change.” She took it like a trooper. We walked next door to Soda Pops, got a Sprite and a Coke and listened to the band who always seems to take a break when I sit down to listen. So we left. And Saydee started to make the climb up to her car seat when her moody mystery was suddenly solved.

“Here they are Grammie!” She squealed with delight while holding up another billfold I’d never seen before. “Here they are! I found my coins! See!”

“Oh my gosh! I do see! Do you want to go back and get a gumball?”

“Of course!” she said, so, so happy.

Then she rode the Tom and Jerry ride, got a red gumball and we left for home to lay on the couch and watch Disney’s Moana. Her eyes unblinking, she was hooked,”What happened to her Grammie?”

“I don’t know. Let’s watch and see.”

Watch and wait. Wait and see.

The next morning, I got up, left my sleeping family, and went to church. I’m past the nagging and dragging. I’ve traded forced obedience for Sunday morning peace.

Right now, I’m reading Robert Morris’s Frequency and went to worship with high hopes of hearing from God. Prayers work better from the altar, so I went down to the front and semi-knelt by the stairs because that’s all the farther my knees would bend. I was also in front of a large crowd wearing Apple Bottom jeans that don’t cover the entire bottom.

C’mon Lord.  

A gentle hand touched my right shoulder. I couldn’t hear what they were saying. I need to hear from you, God. Another person moved behind me and touched both shoulders which are frequently halfway up my neck. A little to the left, please.

Focus. Jesus. 

I am not up for it Lord. I do not have it in me to change myself, my circumstances or the people I love. I don’t know how or what to do next. Help. Please.

Suddenly, I saw this scene behind my closed eyes.

A beautiful, sparkly, trickle of gold coins falling from the sky. They were raining down all around me and falling into a huge pile. It looked like the heavenly version of where Moana found the missing hook, on the back of that sea turtle thing or whatever it was. I have yet to see the movie 19 times which I’m sure I’ll do.

That’s when I heard a still small, un-lispy, whisper. I went back to my seat and dug through my purse to write down what I didn’t want to forget. On the back of a wrinkled up Las Palapas receipt from July 13, I wrote, “You are are trying so hard to be the change.”

I am the change.”

“I am the change you need.”

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July 21

What’s Got you Spinning?

When we are forced to grow up and get up, we hit the snooze alarm a time or two. Or three on the days we think we can get away with it.

I wonder if there is a support group for moms who have to rise and shine when there are no longer children who depend on you to rise and shine, make breakfast, sign school papers and referee early morning fights over the bathroom.

This morning I hit the snooze a solid four times. In the middle of a wonderful dream, I kept wanting to get back to, I laid there, Sleeping Beauty-like if only she had drool running out the side of her mouth and a tank top with straps that sometimes strangled her in the middle of the night.

I love to read Sleeping Beauty. I am always awed by her father’s determination to keep her safe and protected. But having all the spinning wheels burned meant she would never get to do it and I thought it looked super fun.

That was before I knew how exhausting spinning can be.

We found ourselves walking in circles in the neighborhood on 29th Street, searching for a few of the most random things I’ve ever had to look for. A thimble and spool of thread.

When I was in high school and even later, for my own girls, we would have parties and play games. I love the team building kind and especially liked separating into competing teams for a scavenger hunt.

My mom or I would make a list of several items that each team would have to find by knocking on doors, talking to neighbors and being resourceful. When the girls got older, they thought it was stupid and just wanted to stay in the pool.

I don’t think I ever wrote thimble on their list because it was the one item that kept our team from winning in 1983 as I recall. Not many households had extra thimbles laying around and no one wants to part with a Monopoly piece.

“We’re on a scavenger hunt for my birthday. Do you have a thimble?”

“Let me see…” the old lady replied as she took a hundred story book years to check her sewing box, while we all stood on the porch, impatiently tapping our feet and shifting from side to side.

“I’m sorry. I thought I had one, but I guess not. Would you like to come…”

“Nope. It’s a race. Gotta run! Thank you!”

Door after door we knocked and knocked hoping to find the things on our list.

Rubber band

Paper Clip

Can of corn

Door after door, no one had a thimble.

I’m not sure why I remembered our scavenger hunts the other day. It popped into my head as random as the list my mom handed us at my birthday party 35 years ago.

Maybe it’s because of my anxiety and my own spinning. Maybe God wanted to remind me that I don’t have to go door knocking or searching for the things I need. When I used to run hard and fast after the things I thought I needed, it usually led to disappointment and danger.

At times, I’ve found myself spinning out of control with the forgotten wheel at the top of the castle.

God waits for me by the calming waters of the moat below now. The one I probably dredged on my own, determined to keep going around and around in circles for far too long. It’s what we do. We pick up the phone, we get in our car and drive to a friend’s house, we ask everyone we know how, or where we can find that thing we need.

Love, acceptance, strength, peace, honesty.

That thing that covers and protects the most sensitive parts of us.

Where ever you are, that’s right where it is.

 

 

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July 17

Christmas in July – The stockings were hung by the chimney with care?

Snow Globes

Ice Skating

Hot Chocolate

Snow Angels

Pine Scented Trees

Twinkling Lights

If this were the pyramid game show, the answer would be Things to Do with Christmas.

Christmas in July must be happening on the Hallmark channel. I needed a night on the couch and a sappy love story, so I sat there last night, immovable, prepping and peeling, slicing 18 of the juiciest fruits I could find for my favorite peach rosemary jam recipe.

I can’t get enough of it right now.

You know what goes great with jam?

Bread.

You know what goes great with Christmas?

Miracles.

I laid on a pool floatie yesterday afternoon and thought of all the things God has brought me through. In the middle of my mid-life crisis, where there is really no crisis, other than my spontaneous crying and sudden hot flashes where I want to peel all my clothes off in public and well, no. Because of bread.

And sugar.

I need sweet in my life right now and began recalling all of the sweet things that have happened in the last few weeks. Gratefulness always keeps me from drowning when I feel like sinking to the bottom of the deep end.

Heart rocks. 2

Shooting stars. 2

Uplifting comments from a 7-year-old boy. 2.

New friends. 2. Victoria and Kate

4 new charms.

I’d been trying to focus on all of the awesome but my head wanted to argue. Counting my many blessings one minute and cursing the very next. It happened Saturday night too after I left the lake. It began as a nice relaxing evening under the stars with my two dogs, a camp chair, and a quilted blanket. I had iced tea in my blue Backyard Bible Club cup and a pack of cherry Twizzlers and Charlie.

It had all the trimmings of a great night. But when you are not the fisher of men Jesus called you to be and feeling lost in the middle of a mid-life crisis, it’s probably not the best-laid plan to go see a movie about a memory challenged fish that can’t find her way home. There are just too, too many emotions attached to shells and finding home.

So I left and drove to my house and for the first time ever, I pulled into a garage. This sounds ridiculous, but I was so stinking excited. I know millions of women pull into their garages and get out with their groceries and carry them in, but I’ve never done it.

I love old houses that ooze with character and charm and the faint smell of mold. I’ve never had a garage to park my car in.

There I was, grateful for this life-first and proud of myself for finally getting the Christmas and craft clutter put away so I could actually park in the garage. Blessings abounding.

Until my next thought.

How long do you have to sit in here for the fumes to kill you anyway? I thought of all the crime stories I used to watch on t.v.

4 hours? 8? A whole weekend? I thought of the Audible book I listened to recently and wondered what Ove would have done.

Later, I shared this somewhat disturbing, humorous story and opposing thought patterns with my mother on the phone the next day. She was on a romantic trip to Boston and had been texting pictures of the boats in the harbor.

“You need a hose,” she said organizationally.

“I don’t think you have to have a hose.”

“You need a hose. It’s more complicated than that. You can’t just pull in and park.”

“I think you can.”

I’m sure she was recalling all of the years she read, The Little Engine That Could and never related my determination to a mid-life crisis and carbon monoxide mix-up. Yes, mother, I’ll call the doctor. I’m fine. 

It was just a joke. And an illustration about the verse that talks about blessing and curses coming out of the same mouth. Like an unexpected Christmas gift, and the watermelon I got at church on Sunday, a few other verses have been at the forefront of my mind when I get bummed.

Those who refresh others will be refreshed.

Your boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places. I will delight in the things that I receive.

Christmas in July.

 

 

 

 

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Category: Uncategorized | Comments Off on Christmas in July – The stockings were hung by the chimney with care?