May 22

Doormats and Welcome Mats

The other day, I dropped off a six-pack of Matchbox cars for a young boy who, I could tell, didn’t particularly care for the coloring book and stickers I took him and his sister, the last time I popped over unannounced.

Natalie was home from college, just before finals week, we were driving back from dinner, and I asked her to place the package on the front mat, ring the door-bell and run quickly back to the car so we could escape before being spotted.

When I think of Matchbox cars, I often think of Matchbox 20 and the song 3 am. I especially like the lyric that says, “She thinks that happiness is the mat that sits on her doorway.”

And it’s true. I do.

I used to have a mat that sat at the back door in Mason that read, “We have a vacuum, we’ve found God and we gave at the office.” It brought me happiness in a snarky, sarcastic kind of way. Probably because I’m still a little bitter over the Rainbow vacuum I bought, but couldn’t afford, and then it caught my carpet on fire.

That’s another story.

It’s important for you to track with me here for a minute because when I hear the song 3 am, I think of the mat. And when I think of the mat, I think of the man that Jesus healed down by the water. The paralyzed one he told to get up.

“Get up!” he said. “Do you want to get well?” The guy had been an invalid for like 38 years and Jesus had the nerve to ask him what might have sounded like a very offensive question. I imagine there might have been a little bit of a tone.

“Do you even want to get well?”

Do we? I sometimes see myself sitting next to the man in the story from John 5:1.

When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

Talk about a doormat.

After that many years of affliction, you would think he might have been able to muster up enough courage and discipline to at least squiggle his way into the water. But, the man was just lying around, making excuses, and blaming everyone else around him.

We find what we look for.

If we really want to get something done, we will make a way. If not, we will make an excuse.

Stop surrounding yourself with the type of people who just want to keep stirring things up. Welcome the people into your life that are in your corner and willing to help. Jesus helped him and healed him, right there on the spot.

“Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.

I often find myself wondering where he went first.

I’ve been stuck in the same place for too long before, places where I knew I could not get out of on my own.  Those, pull me down places that needed the power of God, good friends and a good word to get me up and going again.

Now I track my walking steps with a plum colored Fit Bit. I have a vacuum I love and a home office to give from. I’m not exactly sure if I found God or he found me. I’m just glad he always seems to welcome me in when I show up, announced, after I’ve run out of places to go.

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May 19

Couch Coaching

The worst thing about sick days is being legitimately sick.

It sucks all the fun out of lying around, sleeping all day and binge watching movies that are too often interrupted by a ridiculous amount of commercials and painful deep chest coughing.

When I can open my mouth to speak, it’s only to ask my daughter to please bring me another popsicle.

“Another one? You just had two.”

“Yes. Please.” Sick people should always get as many popsicles as they want plus I’ve had plenty of extra ailments this week.

The day before Mother’s Day I woke up with a scorpion crawling on my arm. I suppose the sudden stinging is what woke me up in the middle of the night. I flicked it off like the brave Girl Scout Leader I once was, picked it up with a wad of toilet paper then flushed it down the toilet and went back to bed. Of course, I could not sleep because I could only keep wondering how many others were waiting in the air vent above my bed.

When I was out walking the dogs the next day, I somehow managed to get into poison ivy. That’s when the blisters and itching began.

And then the fever and chills came. When I could no longer stand it, I went to the clinic on Main Street to find out that on top of all that, I had a viral infection. My leg is barely healed from the Easter egg hunting debacle.

Less than lovingly, I was told karma is a %$#*$ and it looks like I’m getting what I deserve. Nice.

These comments are often hard to swallow whether your throat is swollen shut or not.

So instead of falling to pieces, I thought I better keep it healthy and read more chapters of Brant Hansen’s book, Unoffendable. It’s not that I’m offended at the snarky comments, it’s that it hurts my feelings and I’m not sure, maybe that’s the same thing.

God knows I’ve said things I wish I could take back also.

Four chapters in, the headache is back and I realize it’s too hard to read with a massive piercing behind my eyeballs. I downed all the medication I could and then began downloading movies off of Amazon Prime Video. I’m seriously considering cutting the cable because I only watch about 3 or 4 channels on a regular basis and the rest of the time I waste flipping through a gazillion things I don’t want to see.

Here are my sick day movie picks in case you find yourself on the couch too.

To Catch a Thief, one of many Cary Grant movies that I love. TCM is my latest addiction and I can’t get enough of these old movies that remind me of a sweeter, more charming and dignified way of life.

To Sir, With Love, one of my favorites of all time. I only have to hear Lulu sing those first four notes to become a weepy wreck. I have so much respect for teachers and the role they play in raising children to be their very best. I also always wanted Sydney Poitier to come to my house for dinner. He reminded me, that sometimes, I enter a room like a brat.

Mary and Martha with Hilary Swank. A moving story about malaria and the staggering numbers of children that die from it. I wanted to call everyone I know and start raising funds for mosquito nets. Who’s in?

Noble. Another true story about an Irish woman who lived through terrible things in her childhood, but stayed constantly connected to God in spite of the religious harshness around her. As an adult, she was led to go to Vietnam to help the street children. I can’t say enough good things about this movie.

Yes, Man. Because we all need a few laughs, Jim Carey, that adorable Zooey on a day we feel like crap.

A Knights’ Tale. I just love a good underdog story and am absolutely fascinated with jousting as a sport.

I began to notice with an interesting curiosity which movies I selected and the takeaway I got from each. What are the things we are saying Yes to? Are they things that will make a difference or impact other people in a positive way? Are they action choices that call us into areas of purpose, and places where we can learn to be more brave?

Over and over again I read about or see how one person is able to rise up from horrible events and become world changers.

I remember coming back from Mexico after seeing those beautiful brown-eyed children who live literally, at the dump. I got off the plane, drove home and walked back into my world, where my cabinets were stocked full and I lacked nothing.

It’s hard to get back to normal living, without the knowing. The conversations around me seemed petty, shallow and self-absorbed. Every day children here and abroad are starving, suffering, being sexually abused and dying. Oh my God, what can we do?

What can I do?

I pray I can be a better kind of yes man. Yes to serving others. Yes to becoming un-offendable. Yes to loving people the way Jesus did.

Just as soon as I can get off the couch.

 

 

  

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May 15

Guess Who’s Driving the Bus?

I have a client who often asks what I think when he has to make a decision.

“What do you think? I trust you. You’re driving this bus.”

Immediately, I think of Mo Willems and his classic children’s story, Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus.

Can I drive the bus? Please?

I never get to do anything! he writes.

Desperate to be the driver, he offers to be his best friend and give him $5.00.

Friday, I paid $35 to take the TREPAC New Home Tour with four buses full of realtors and industry leaders.

I got up super early, wrote a post, got dressed and raced all the way to Lowe’s at Callahan and I10 to make sure I was on time. I even brought my own portable Starbucks cup, with a lid, and felt very, very organized for a change.

Just as we were about to board the bus, I noticed the platinum blonde, with her blingy bag, trying to exit the vehicle that brought her. The driver, who was not a pigeon, got out and jog trotted over to her side of the car. His hair was disheveled. He was wearing wrinkly khaki shorts that matched his plaid, prepster button-down and a smile that seemed to say, “Thanks so much for the adult sleepover.”

It may have been her husband, but those are usually more of a stop, drop and roll kind of thing. There’s no awkward parking lot goodbyes.

“I’ll call you.”

“Promise?”

“Of course.”

“I had fun.”

“Me too.”

A longer, drawn out kiss followed and I’m not really sure what the exiting dialogue was, but when he pulled away, she walked over to where I was standing with a big smile from ear to ear.

That’s fun.

“Good morning,” she said.

“Looks like it is. Making out in the parking lot before the bus tour? Nice.” I said smiling back. She informed me that he was her wake up call today, but accidentally slept through the alarm.

Can I drive the bus? 

I never get to do anything!  

As everyone else was scrambling to find their seat partners, I sorted through the variety of taco delicious, breakfast tacos from Taco Cabana and poured a combination of the green and red sauce all over my bacon and egg, downing it in about three large, not-so-lady-like bites.

The tour began and we headed northbound on I-10. We saw the pretty new garden homes that Japhet is building in Napa Oaks and it was about then when I heard the schedule and realized I signed up for a bus tour of the town where I actually live.

And that’s when I became the annoying girl on the bus, who didn’t want to drive the bus as much I wanted to be the tour guide with the microphone.

Desperately I longed to say, “Now if you’ll just look out the window on your right, you will see the road that leads past the city park to the Cibolo Nature Center, a don’t miss destination for all things fabulously nature.

I wanted to tell about The Cave Without A Name and the amazing fried pecan pie at Brantley’s 259. I wanted to share about the growing population and the new elementary and middle schools and our off the charts educational system.

It’s not that I don’t ever get to do anything, but seriously, who pays and signs up for a 4 hour tour, drives 30 miles into the city, only to be driven right back out to where they live?

I think of the 1970’s Guess Who album, Share the Land that I played on repeat with my big bulky headphones. That’s the one that has the Bus Rider song on it. I thought about that when I won a pair of ATT headphones in the raffle.  Awesome! Thanks for that!

And I wondered if I’m paying close enough attention to all of the things I do and the way I make deciding choices. I wonder how many times we travel up and down the same roads, over and over again, before we realize how much it is costing us, in all of our exploring, and our dreams to find new roads.

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May 12

Mother’s Day – Out

Someone asked me the other day if we had special plans for Mother’s Day. I put my hands on her shoulders to pull her in closely, and whispered into one ear, “I’m hoping to spend it without my children.”

It’s my own kind of Mother’s Day Out plan.

I thought she would find it amusing because she has twins in elementary school plus a new baby that’s in the crawl around and get into everything stage, plus, she works full-time.

I expected her to laugh, except she must have misheard me and thought I said, “I was hoping to spend the day without chocolate,” because she responded to my television sitcom sense of humor with, “Not even just a little piece?”

Not even just a little piece.

When I was almost 16-years-old, my mother, who had me when she was barely 16-years-old, used to drive me to high school in a red Vega with a black pin stripe down the side. We drove past all of the beautiful homes that people owned and I sat in my seat and in judgement of her life and her choices and I thought she was weak.

I stared out the window thinking unspeakable things like, I hate you.

Things I would never say out loud, but only thought, as young girls who know everything tend to do.

We weren’t allowed to actually say those words in our home growing up. She preferred us to say, “strongly dislike,” because hate is such a nasty word.

I spoke the words, out loud once when we lived in Wahkonsa Village. I was vacuuming the stairs, the way the oldest and most Cinderella-like child often had to do. I was also supposed to be memorizing the Act of Contrition.

O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins, because of thy just punishment, but most of all because they offend Thee, my God , who art all good and deserving of all my love.

To this day, I detest both the words, thy and thee.

And not caring that I offended God or my mother, I stubbornly and boldly proclaimed out loud, “I hate you.”

It was the 1970’s and parenting rules were different then. I did not ever say it again, out loud anyway. Only thoughtfully, in my head, while I stared out the window on those long, silent, teenage rides to school.

I spent those years I think, strongly disliking my mother because she was so ridiculously beautiful and I could never, ever go to Kennedy Lake wearing a bright yellow, two-piece bikini. When we looked in the mirror together, the way mothers and daughters do, I didn’t see us as one or the same, I saw myself as inferior.

This summer I will turn 50 and there are a few things I’ve figured out that I really still hate.

I hate that I never knew how much my mother sacrificed to give me every thing she did and every opportunity to succeed and make my life matter. I hate that I never knew the weeks she only ate popcorn for dinner because we didn’t have enough money to get through the month.

I hate that I never knew how hard it was to juggle the house, the groceries, the yard, a full-time job, three kids, an abusive husband, home work and still make the most amazing meals and treats because she also always made time to be the homeroom mother and sew our costumes.

I hate that I didn’t listen when she tried to tell me sensible things like how important it was to save money, have good credit and earn a good name.

Mostly, I hate that I didn’t know how to honor a woman who brought me into this world as a teenager herself, during a tumultuous time, when other choices were available and she made the one to be brave.

I hate that I ever thought she was weak, when the truth is, she was always only strong. And I hate that I never knew that.

In my family, and with my own three daughters, for as far back as I can remember, we have always said two things, “I love you to the moon and back,” and, “I love you to pieces.”

Sometimes that is all we can do.

Until the pieces come together. And then, there’s chocolate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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May 8

Oooey-Gooey Goodness or just Ewww-Yuck?

In a last minute hurry, I threw together the makings of an awesome play date picnic.

I should have warned my daughter there might be messes.

The scent of linen dryer sheets filled the air as I spread the quilt across the concrete picnic table. Most grandmas carry practical things like tissues, baby wipes and bribing suckers, but not me.

I showed up at the Louise Hays park with the succulent centerpiece in a jar, because I am especially fond of picnics with fried chicken, watermelon, and portable nature.

We read through a few of Saydee’s favorite books, The Adventurers and I’m a Hungry Dinosaur. Together, we looked through High Five and found the baseball bat, moon and fish. Saydee found the fish all by herself. She’s getting really good at the hidden pictures, and has started to figure out there is almost always something hiding in the hair.

After a while, she decided to conquer the large playscape and climbed to the top via the route of the side stairs, the ones that move upwards in a steep, circular pattern. I noticed that she kept climbing that way, instead of taking the regular steps to get to the slide. Every kid knows that the regular steps are the most boring way to get to the top. They have already mastered climbing the stairs and new skills are necessary.

Even in adult world, it’s the stretching and pulling, the strategic climbing that keeps an extra spring in our steps.

“Hold on Grammy.”

“Nope. You can do it.”

“Hold on.”

“Nope!” I smiled.

And that’s when the giggling began. Quickly, she climbed to the next step and leaned way back, I panicked and lurched forward to catch her.

She laughed some more.

At the top, after she brought one foot after the other and landed safely on the platform, she yelled, “I did it!”

“Yes, you did!”

It was time for a treat.

In addition to the perfect plant in a jar, I brought our portable wooden s’more maker. Okay, seriously. Who knew that the jelly in a jar stuff could be caught on fire by the heat of the sun’s rays? I did not. And I burned my finger. I couldn’t see the flame, but I could feel the distinct singing of my skin. Duh. An open can of Sterno on a 90-degree day can be dangerous, or somewhat adventurous I suppose, depending on how you want to look at it.

We roasted our marshmallows and poured the sun melted Hershey’s bar over the top and squished them together between two graham crackers. I suggested Saydee ask the other children at the playground if they wanted some, and this began her early childhood sales skill of hawking on the sidewalk.

She cupped one hand around her mouth like a homemade megaphone and started shouting and waving her arms, “S’mores here! Come and get your s’mores! Hey kids! Come and get your s’mores!” I was so proud. One 4-year-old boy and his grandma from Arizona showed up for some ooey-gooey goodness and we got to talking.

Sometimes I carry a brown paper bag filled with colored pencils around. We stamped the words,  Make every day a story worth telling on the outside. The truth is, there are some parts of our days that are not worth telling, but we still find ourselves repeating them over and over. They are not stories that give life or bring joy, they are the kind that leaves us with a looming feeling of sadness or despair.

I’m trying harder to recognize this as I tell my own stories. Our lives are best lived when we are like children. I want s’more of that kind.

We are at our best when we live with childlike enthusiasm, ready to climb new paths, learn new skills and make every moment worth living, sharing and telling others about. We may end up with messy, sticky marshmallow hiding in our hair, but I still think it’s way better than a life of hiding out, void of adventure and excitement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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May 5

Potting a Place for Ourselves

It’s that time of the year when I can hardly go to the grocery store or Home Depot without wanting to buy a colorful pot of flowers, a few more herbs to grow, or another hanging basket.

I just listed a fixer-upper on James Street in downtown Boerne that I’m super excited about. At the open house, I made a joke that I’ve practically done all the work already. It’s amazing what hanging a few ferns on an old porch can do for curb appeal.

Plants liven things up.

Right now I’m driving around in my car, with a plump succulent stuck in a Mason jar.

I’ve sacrificed the use of a cup holder so I can have the pebble and soil filled pretty visible to me at all times. My new fourth-grade friend and I made a pair and it now serves as a daily visual reminder of caring for others and myself. When I’m stuck in traffic or on a long blue tooth call, I’m reminded to breathe and be simple. The earth and all that is in it belongs to the Lord.

The spongy plant keeps me from screaming Jesus Christ when all I really need to whisper is Jesus.

When the girls and I moved away from the city, out to the middle of nowhere, on sweet Miss Marjorie’s ranch, we didn’t have much money to buy pots of flowers, herbs or vegetables. I tried to save seeds from the food we ate and when those took too long to grow in the window sill, I got a shovel and headed out to the field.

And I started digging.

Cactus.

The prickly pear kind that most ranchers try so hard to get rid of.

The old red pick-up truck puttered down the red dirt road and then stopped outside the gate. In the slow but determined way he often spoke, Harvey, Miss Marjorie’s brother, scrunched up his nose and asked, “Why ya digging that up?”

“I hope it’s okay. I really just wanted to put some nice plants out on the porch.”

He gave me a strange look and said, “Huh. So you’re digging up the cactus?”

“Yes.”

“I’ve never seen anyone do that.”

I loved old Harvey, and Marjorie Hey was one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. The beautifully simple ranch house with the cedar posts and the tin roof that sat buried in a field of bluebonnets was one of the most peaceful and happiest places we ever lived.

We had never been both so poor and so rich.

It was an innocent time when we had nothing but love for each other and the blanket of stars the Dixie Chicks sang about. I can still hear the quiet of the crickets and the slamming of the screen door when the girls came back in from swinging in the front yard. We were brave then, pioneers practically.

And one day, after many failed attempts, we finally got up the guts to cross the river where the road ran out. We saw the zebras. And made it to the bat cave.

Before you know how prickly life is going to get, you dig cactus, and are happy about it.

The other day I was out walking and found a delicate leafy piece of green just coming up out of the ground. So while the dogs stood patiently by my side, I dug it up with a stick and brought it home to plant.

It’s the start of something.

And a new start always helps me to think and remember that even when we feel fragile or life is more than a little rocky, strong roots run deep.

You are stronger than you know.

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May 1

Clearing a Path for Progress

This is going to be a good day.

Today,  I will focus on all the things that are good, things that are noble and worthy of re-telling. 

This day I will be thankful for every simple, uncomplicated thing that brings me joy. 

Like the new hummingbird at my feeder.

The red cardinal that sings loudly from the top of a branch in the backyard.

The Grammy bird that calls out to me every morning, making me miss my grand-daughter even more than I ever thought possible.

“Grammy. Grammy. Grammy,” it tweets and repeats, never minding the 140 character limit.

My thoughts are all over the place today, the same way I tidied pockets of the house yesterday, sporadically and determined, like the Roomba.

She is my new BFF though I’ve yet to give her a name. Floor Savior seems too formal and Flo, too casual to compliment the affection I have for this robot that has brought me great joy and happiness.

And time.

Time that should be spent writing, but of course who can write with a cluttered desk and books to donate and drawers to go through and trees to trim and dogs to walk. Actually, I’m discovering that it is the walking of the dogs that pulls my thoughts together better than anything else right now.

When there is so much you want and need to do, it’s hard to stay focused. Especially with all of the distractions, like the stench that lingers every time I open the refrigerator door to snag a few more pieces of watermelon.

I used to be a focused person, singularly accomplishing tasks without any issues at all. But that was before I rediscovered all the unfinished creative ideas that were lying dormant inside me.

Now I simply wander around like my circular cleaning machine, this way, that way, around the edges, no, wait, moving quickly to under the table. I spin around and around a few times and then come right back to the spot where I was just at.

May day, May day.

Creation and science collide as I think about how God cleans up after me the same way my Roomba robot does. Just as soon as I think we are done with an area, I get a few more spins and a driving pass over humility, or choosing peace over pride. He backs me gently into a wall or gets me stuck in the corner until the mess is gone.

But I don’t want to keep circling around the same old issues, dust bunnies and dog fur.

In the past, I’ve been the kind of person who opens the box and throws the instructions away. I never wanted to bother with reading the detailed list of parts or maintenance details. But then, when my stuff broke, I wouldn’t know how to fix it.

Now I take the time to read the manual book of instructions. It seems like God is helping me be a better dirt detector.  Of course, there are still areas that can’t be reached quite yet, like beside the chair, where the antique lamp sits.

I also check the Troubleshooting section first. And I’ve learned that recharging the battery means resting on my home station, where there are two loving dogs, and plenty of birds to keep me company.

 

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April 28

Finding Peace in the Pain-ting

Practicing the art of tidying up led me to a crazy artist kind of moment.

I was working on the craft closet in my office. It’s a space designed to soothe and de-stress me the way a cigarette used to.

Lately, it’s become cluttered and frantic, the way I get if I’m living too fast and too hurried to stop and notice all that is beautiful around me.

Like my daughter Natalie’s painting she did back in elementary school.

I’ve been meaning to hang it for months, but just found it buried under sheets of paisley and floral printed craft paper, some in shades of green, some in pink. They are leftover from the birdhouses I made for Chelsea’s baby shower, though Saydee Grace is four now.

Four beautiful years old.

I locked myself out of a house this week in all of my scurrying and during that rescue from a real estate colleague, I found out she lost her four year-old son in a pool accident. The unimaginable grief this life can bring makes it essential that we focus on the beautiful parts as often as possible, every day.

And so I went searching in the garage for a frame I thought would fit.

On top of the box of un-hung picture frames, was the green plastic bag that was left behind. A yearbook that’s not mine was stuffed inside, half hanging out. The words, The Time Has Come, was printed on the cover, though the time was the 70’s and I knew opening it would only slow me down. But I did it anyway.

And found more words.

A joke, scribbled in black pen, by my ex-husband on a faded yellow folded Post-It note.

It read, I’ve experienced, “more traumatic events in the time I was married than all the previous years combined. And I’m including birth and circumcision.”

We creative types jot our flash of genius, very best work on things like receipts, envelopes, napkins and gum wrappers.

Hilarious.

I think we were only married three or four years so that’s a lot of trauma to pack into a short time period, but it’s true.

In that moment, I realized another truth and remembered something he asked the last time we spoke. “How come when I mention how horrible it was, you laugh?”

Because the time has come.

The time has come to laugh.

Which is exactly what I did when I woke up the next morning and sat down in my new thanking chair and said a quiet prayer of peace and forgiveness. Then I randomly opened my bible to Ephesians and read in chapter 2 about being saved by grace, through faith, not by works, so that no man can boast.

Trust me, he can.

But the time has still come, to laugh.

Because when I turned the page, under the heading, One in Christ, I read about birth and circumcision, and had a total bahahahaha, isn’t God hilarious, moment.

The most beautiful thing about art and life, tragedy and trauma is the way it always seems to come together on the other side, where the grace is.

And laughter.

 

 

 

 

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April 24

Raising the Roof & My Spirits, 90′ Underground

Before Saturday night, all I really knew about the violin was the story inside The Devil Went Down to Georgia. 

He was looking for a soul to steal.

Mark Landson’s music stole my heart, body and soul, 126 steps below the earth’s surface, as Neo Camerata performed to perfection.

I am not a classical music connoisseur and wouldn’t know the difference between Mozart or Beethoven’s 5th symphony. I recognize the deep beat of bum, bum, bum bum…..and that’s about it. I fancy myself more of a classic rock specialist.

But then I met the geologists at The Cave Without A Name and realized I don’t know much about rocks or fossils or caves that are tens of thousands of years old either.

I also cannot compose a four part classical piece of music like Mark Landson did and I can’t stop talking about what that experience felt like. I’ve always believed that music is a universal language. It’s a language of love and passion like no other. What words can’t say, a strong melody line can.

And it changed me.

Sitting several rows back, snuggled into the intimate throne room where temperatures are a constant 66 degrees, I had a total Pretty Woman at the opera, kind of moment.

Within hearing the first few soothing notes of his piece, Dream on a Cirrus sky, my eyes welled, a tear fell, and at the same time, I received a special cave kiss. A large drop of water landed right on top of my head. The combination of the peace, the sound and the spirit inside the cave, I felt like I’d been baptized all over again.

It was an undoing of every worldly thing that stresses me out.

Not more than 10 minutes into the entire show, I noticed something I haven’t for a really long time.

My hands were not swollen.

I have Reynauds and typically my hands are swollen and red and feel like giant sausages that hang off the ends of my hands, but I don’t really feel them. I promise I am not making this up. I noticed that I could feel my fingers and all of the inflammation in my hands was gone.

Gone.

On several occasions, the music struck a chord in my nerves that calmed me to such a degree that I physically noticed my neck and back stop hurting.

When the last note resonated from the roof top of the cave, I whispered to my sister-in-law, “I’m pretty sure no one describes music like this, but that just felt like a back rub.”

She agreed it was exactly what she needed after working long and tiring hours, fighting traffic and a husband who wanted to go downtown and do the same old, same old thing.

My nephew, a thoughtful, old-school music loving sax player brought his cellist girlfriend and the two teenagers thought the experience was very, very cool. Even after seeing many wonderful concerts at the elite Tobin Center, they agreed this was a memory of a lifetime and a moment not to be missed.

We are all looking forward to being back again on June 10th for their next performance.

I’m telling everyone I know that Mark Landson will be noted as the reason for my conversion…..

to classical music.

 

 

 

 

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April 21

The Rest of the Story…

How was your Easter? the text read.

The ham was good. My response.

What else can I say?

The day did not go as planned.

The beautiful prayer I imagined we’d have at dinner, did not happen.

There was no peace making or do-overs over deviled eggs.

No hallelujah chorus could be heard, only repeated howls of pain as I layed on the front lawn bleeding all over the Bermuda grass.

“What happened?” my mother asked.

“He pushed me!”

“I didn’t push her! She tripped and fell.”

“I tripped and fell because you pushed me!”

We both spotted the white egg with the pink polka dots at the same time. It was hiding just under the lantana, growing next to the Esperanza bush that had recently been cut back. The part of my leg the bush didn’t pummel, the green metal edging did.

Somewhere, buried in the dirt or mulch, was my turquoise toenail.

“It was already hanging half off anyway,” my mom said, not void of compassion.

She always takes his side.

“It wasn’t hanging half off, it was finally starting to get better.”

“What happened Grammy?” asked Saydee Grace.

That’s when I knew Peter Cotton Tail wasn’t coming and I had to hop up and stop the bleeding.

My aunt apologized repeatedly and got me a bottled water and some Aleve. I sat in the corner chair the rest of the afternoon with an ice pack on my leg, reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, while stuffing chocolate covered marshmallow eggs in my mouth, one after the other, and trying not to get blood on the quilted footrest or carpet.

I tried to share a children’s story I submitted to Highlights last week and couldn’t even get through 247 words without a barrage of insults and joke making.

Did I mention how good the ham was?

And the whole roasted carrots with their green tops snipped Martha Stewart style were eggcellent. 

See what I did there?

I’m working this week in opened toed shoes and learning to tell stories in the Spanish conversations class. “Mi hermano is el maton.”

My brother is a bully.

I try to act out the motions. “Donde es el huevo? Donde es el huevo?”

Where is the egg?

Where are the things we search for?

Always just out of our reach it seems, gone before we know it, like my aunt Maureen’s pickle dip.

Life is fickle like that.

We don’t always find what we hoped to.

The incident began because we were in a race to find the $50.00 egg, but that’s not what we found. My brother guilt-gave me the egg we fought over and I offered the $5.00 prize inside to whoever could find my toenail.

Five very mature adults ran out to the front lawn, and many minutes later a loud shout was heard by the newcomer, “I found it!”

“Are you serious?”

My daughter’s boyfriend John proudly held the evidence in the palm of his hand for all to see, a huge smile on his face.

“Ewwww! You couldn’t just point to it?” Natalie chastised.

We don’t always find the things we look for, but sometimes we do. Or it finds us.

I will give you rest.

My peace I give you. 

I will hold you in the palm of my hand. 

God always seems to have the life-changing magic, of tidying me up.

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