Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Hello, My Name is Joni

In case you were afraid I'd disappeared into the world of competitive running.....well, don't.  Oh, don't get me wrong......I'm up to 5 mailboxes now but, until they replace the 5K with the 5Mailbox, I don't think I'll be signing up for anything like that. 

No, my life has just been crazy hectic since Easter.  Crazy.  Hectic. One obligation has given way to another and another but I can officially announce that I have now checked all of my current boxes and the summer promises to bring a little less adrenaline and a little more melatonin. 
In the spirit of summer vacation, I'm currently sitting here sit relaxing in my fancy, new pajamas which my family gave me for Mother's Day.  I don't know if you've ever heard of PJ Harlow loungewear but you need to get yourself some!  The satin lounge pants are so comfy and so very fancy! I feel like I should reserve these as my good traveling with friends/hospital pajamas because they're so nice.  I mean, I'm just not used to that. On any given night, if you were to ring my doorbell, you'd likely find me in a sleepshirt looking a notch or two above a dust rag because, well, they're so hard to let go of when you've got them good and broken in and comfort is king when it comes to sleep.  So, if you need some comfy PJs that don't look like dust rags, I highly recommend.  
Last week was busy with all things graduation. My nephew, Casey, graduated from high school on Monday night and the weekend before that was spent in New Orleans for John Samuel's graduation.  I know your social media feeds have been stuffed with caps and gowns and proud parents asking where the time has gone.  It's the time of year to wonder about things like that. I couldn't help but think about how my Daddy would've loved to have been standing on the other side of Casey with my Mama.  Special milestones seem to emphasize who's missing from all the pictures. It's the kind of absence that everyone quietly feels inside in the middle of all the happiness. And it's all fun and games until you realize your baby boy, the only one standing between you and an empty nest, will be in the next graduating class.  But, I can't deal with that just yet.  I prefer to live in denial for now.  The wedding is all I can digest emotionally at this time.          

While we were in New Orleans, we met with the wedding venue's event planner and nailed down some more details.  One of the considerations we went over was the backup plan in the event of rain.  Instead of being under the oak trees, the wedding would take place on the balcony overlooking the trees.  We're praying for drought conditions during the month of October but the view would still be beautiful.  I'm just obsessed with all the beauty everywhere you turn.    

My mother of the bride dress came in and Blair picked it up while she was out traveling today.  I'm very pleased with the color especially considering I had to choose it from a two inch fabric sample.  The one I tried on in the store was black and, while I LOVE to wear black, I didn't feel the implications of the bride's mother wearing it to the wedding would be all that I chose blush.  Not pink.  I don't do pink.  It's blush.  Maybe you saw Steel Magnolias?  Just so you don't get blush confused with bashful, this is blush.....
Tonight, the annual burning of the school notebooks was held in a somber ceremony on the back porch.  Carson and his sidekick, Cade, destroyed all of the paperwork from their junior year with the use of fire.  It was a moving service and hopefully marks the beginning of a few weeks of walking at a slower pace.  

Bring it. 
Let's see if we can't get back to a more regular blogging schedule while we're at it.    

I hope y'all have a little rest headed your way, too.

We'll talk soon!   

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Yeah, I'm a Runner

So, I don't think we've talked about the fact that I've started a wedding shape up program.  I mean, there was the twist board thing and then the twist board with weights but I needed to take it up a notch.  Not so much that I want to lose a lot of weight but I would like to shift some of it around and tone it up a bit since formal wedding attire offers a woman about as much muffin top concealment as, say, a piece of Glad Wrap.   

I've not really made any changes to my diet because I'm just not willing to go there yet.  That will be a last resort.  People talk of low carb and, I don't know why, but images of Hell come flooding into my mind.  I have made some small changes like I only eat dessert on Fridays and, more notably, I've cut out my tea.  My dear, precious tea.  I've given it up for its more tasteless counterpart, water.  Oh, water, you'd be so good if I were stranded out in the middle of the desert but that's about all I can say nice about you.....oh, and the fact that I use you to make tea.  My last self-imposed restriction is that I only eat at meal time.  Nothing in between.  Consequently, I go to bed hungry every night.  Every.  Night.   

Perhaps most noteworthy, since I'm not willing to give up any of the beloved food groups, I've started running with Blair.  Ok.  Well, running is a strong word.  A slow jogging.  Or an awkward trotting.  Whatever you want to call it, we walk/run/walk/run.  The only rule I've demanded is that we must run under the cover of darkness and, if a car passes by, running must cease until it is out of sight.  I'm not ready to run for the public just yet.

I bought these fancy running shoes and some of those tight workout pants that resemble a wet suit.    And after hearing me complain, Blair bought me a sports bra which is pretty easy to put on but if anybody has a good tip for getting out of one of those without becoming overwrought with rage, please let me know. To say that I'm well equipped for my new fitness endeavor would be an understatement.  I really look the part of someone who knows what she's doing.  You know, like one of those women you see in the grocery store straight from her kickboxing/spin/yoga classes, who's shopping for beets and kale for her juicer......only minus the beets and the kale.     

When we first started, I could only run/gallop/flounder from one mailbox to the next before I started to feel like I was experiencing some sort of fatal cardiac event but, now, I can go about 4 mailboxes before I feel death is near.  That's progress, I'd say.  I think I'll get a "4" sticker for my car.  Forget those 26.2 and 13.1 decals.  Pshhh.  I do experience some aches and pains in my knee, hip, and some of my other joints when I "run" but I suppose that's to be expected in an almost 50 year old woman.  I turn 49 this week and so I'm starting to get a little rickety when I do certain things that were once done with ease.  Don't worry.  This is all just a temporary effort.  After October 6, I don't plan to ever run again.........unless it's free tea day at McAlister's or something really pressing like that.        

To date, I've lost 6 lbs. but it's a very fluid situation.  A couple of weeks ago, I looked at a peach cobbler from across a crowded room and gained one back.  You know how metabolism stops being a team player when it gets to a certain age.         

Yep, I turn 49 on Wednesday.  Hanging onto the 40's by my fingernails.  I'm not old enough to remember a Victrola, kerosene lamps, or outhouses but old enough to know about Friday Night Videos, penny candy, tube socks, nurses in white hats, and Gee,Your Hair Smells Terrific.  So, I'm old enough, ok? 

I find myself at a place where it's difficult to know things like who I should "yes, ma'am", if my eyebrows need a pencil yet and whether that's a shirt or a dress.  I'm somewhere between ovulation kits and hormone patches.  I'm way past nesting and getting closer to empty nesting.  In most ways, I love it here where I am.  Other ways are a little sad.

But, I'm thankful for another birthday and everything God has given me in my 49 years.  It's been a good ride so far.

Y'all have a great Monday! 



Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Just Checking In

So, I've been a little busy.  It's spring, y'all.  There's a lot of new merchandise coming in and I've been transitioning the stores to Mother's Day/graduation season- our last busy spurt before the long summer lull.  I can't lie.......I'm ready for a little lull in my life.   

On Saturday, we hosted a small gathering of close relatives so we could get to know John Samuel's family and they could get to know us before the wedding festivities commence.  Of course, we'd met his parents and siblings but, you know, when your family expands, it's imperative that everyone gets acquainted with the Mimi, Papa, Nana, Pops, Granny, Grandma, Gramps and other important people such as that.  It was a wonderful day spent with delightful people and, as an added bonus, neither side called off the wedding due to gene pool concerns.       

Perhaps the only concern Davis and I had with genetics at the gathering was learning that twins run on both sides of John Samuel's family.....I mean, we being the potential babysitters and all.

As both of their dads (aka their matchmakers) prayed for the excited couple, there was a circle of love surrounding them.  Everyone who'd loved them from the very start.  Those who'd taught them, disciplined them, and nurtured them through the years.  And, yes, prayed for them to find just the right person to walk beside them in life's joys and sorrows.  With confidence, I'm certain that those prayers were heard and answered and this mama's heart is so grateful.  

So, now, I'm moving on to a couple of other pressing projects and also continue working my way down the wedding checklist but I promise to check in as much as I can. 

Y'all know I dread the summer's heat but, please, bring on its sweet lull. 

Y'all have a great day! 

I miss you.        


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Thankfulness in the Busyness

Carson had an appointment with a specialist, a couple of weeks ago.  Nothing major.  The doctor's office was out of town and so we made a day of it.  We sat in the waiting room for a while with a lot of other kids and teenagers and, finally, they called his name and we saw the doctor and then we were sent to the lab. 

We sat in the chairs lined up outside the lab.  There were other kids already waiting so we knew it would be a while.  There was a young couple waiting with their baby girl.  She looked to be around 7 or 8 months old.  Such a doll and so happy.  She looked over at me and smiled and spouted out some gibber gabber.  I'm sure in baby language she was saying something like, "hey, lady, you want a couple of swigs from my bottle?"  You could tell her parents were so in love with her.  The daddy was lifting her up over his head and making her giggle.  Her mama was talking baby talk and feeding her Cheerios.  They had all the markings of first time parents.

We all sat together for several minutes and, from overhearing their conversation, it was apparent that their baby was no stranger to this office or this lab.  The lab work they were about to have done seemed to be something that was a regular thing for them.  They commented that she was so happy and oblivious to what was about to happen.  That's definitely something that babies have going for them.  Ignorance can be so blissful.  

Anyway, the baby's name was called and the little couple quickly stuffed her bottle and snacks in their bag and they all went into the lab.  Carson and I continued to sit in the hall with a couple of other patients and we couldn't help but hear all the commotion in there.  I'm not sure what the sweet baby had or what all they were doing to her but it seemed to have a lot of steps and just about the time they'd have her calmed down from all of her heart wrenching screams, well, they'd have to do something else that would make it start again.  This went on about 10 minutes and I was having a hard time listening to it and I didn't even know them.  I couldn't imagine how the parents felt.   

Finally, overcome by all her agony, the young father walked out of the lab....his eyes were red and swollen.  With a tear rolling down his cheek, he came out in the hall to walk off some pent up emotional energy.  With his daughter's pink diaper bag slung over his shoulder, he was taking some deep breaths and pacing to try and comfort himself.  He kind of made a fist and punched the palm of his other hand, seeming to express his frustration that he couldn't take the pain away from his innocent child.  His eyes met mine and I just said, "bless her little heart" with a sympathetic facial expression.  He said, "this is always rough" and then composed himself enough to go back in to be with his little family.

About the time that Carson's name was called, the little family finally came out looking like they'd all been put through the wringer.  The sweet baby was sucking her pacifier and doing that shuttering that babies do after they've been so upset.  It had been a stressful experience for them......and all of the rest of us who had to listen.

There's nothing that affects the heart of a parent like the pain experienced by their children.  Like most parents, I'd rather experience anything painful myself than to watch my children endure it and, this week, I can't help but think about Mary.  As Jesus' earthly mother, how did her heart survive seeing what she had to see......I just don't know.  How did it not just quit beating under the weight of her grief?  My mind can't even go there.  As His Heavenly Father, how did God sacrifice His only Son for a bunch of indifferent and seemingly ungrateful people.  I certainly don't know.  This selfish, old world would just have to keep waiting if it thought I'd give up my son to save it.            

I'm not sure about yours but my life has been so busy over the last two weeks.  I don't know if I'm coming or going.  I've got a to-do list that's a mile long but I've been too busy to make much progress on it because of other things that keep popping up.  It seems like spring gets like that.  It's all good stuff but between wedding details, prom duties, Easter related activities, work demands, and a sick friend who's needed me, I've been running.  And I know my life is not that different from yours. 

Today, I was waiting in a restaurant to talk to the owner about catering a family party we have on the horizon.  The restaurant was so busy and loud.  There were people everywhere.  As I waited, a young man, who was seated by himself, caught my eye.  He was in work clothes and from the looks of them, he'd been working really hard all morning.  Suffice it to say that he didn't have a desk job.  He got his food and there, in all the noise and commotion, he folded his hands and bowed his head and he gave thanks.  That's not an unusual sight here in the South.  I'd even go so far to say it's commonplace here but, for some reason, it stood out to me today. 

I think because it was a real life illustration that I needed of how when life is loud and busy and when there's a swirl of commotion all around us, we have to be deliberate in our efforts to make room for worship.  And even when life has us worn down and scuffed up from all its labors, we need to stay faithful....bowing our heads in thankfulness.  Thankfulness for the sacrifice that was made for us.  Thankfulness for the punishment Jesus took in our place.  Something that profound and gracious should never be allowed to drown in the chaos or become lost our busyness or blend in with the routine. 

Even in all that I have to do, I need to quiet myself and live in gratitude that God sent me a Savior. 

What a sacrifice that was that He would give His son, His child.....for us. 

Hope you have a beautiful holy weekend with your family.     



Tuesday, April 4, 2017

A Sweet Season

It's prom season again.  Just about every weekend in April, you can count on social media being packed with prom pictures.  Such a sweet, sweet time.  I don't know what it is about it but I'm just a sucker for seeing the kids all dressed up with ties that match dresses and looking all nervous as they try to maneuver the corsage and boutonnière application.  Maybe I love it because it brings back the more traditional style of dating for a night.  Picking a girl up at her house and meeting her parents.  Assuring the dad that they'll be home by a certain time.  Being all dressed up, opening doors, and using the manners your mama taught you.  I just love all that.       

April and I drove to Brookhaven on Saturday to shop for our dresses and it was, apparently, prom day there.  (I finally said "yes" to a dress at a shop there but we'll talk about that later.)  Anyway, everywhere we turned, there were color coordinated couples all dressed up and getting their pictures made at different scenic spots around the charming, southern town.  The boys looked so handsome in their rented clothes and the girls, well, there's no telling how long it took them to get ready.....that whole day and weeks before that.  I'm sure their mothers were at home having collapsed from the exhaustion.   

We were stopped at a red light and I looked over at the car next to us.  There was a young man in his tuxedo and his date was all dolled up in the passenger seat.  It appeared they were in his parents' newly washed car.  His hands gripped the steering wheel tightly in the 10 and 2 position almost like his life had just been threatened by her father if he wasn't cautious with his daughter in tow.  I could see the rose on his lapel and his eyes were wide like he'd just seen a ghost and she appeared to be just as tense.  They both looked straight ahead and, from what I could tell without staring too much, there weren't many words being exchanged.  Both were probably new at this date thing and were just in awe of each other.....likely trying desperately to think of something to say.  Anything!  So, so sweet.

Carson's prom is this coming weekend and we, mothers, will be busy with the all the preparation going into the pre-prom party given by the parents.  This will be my first prom as the mother of a boy.  Oh, I served my time as a girl mother.  As a teenager, Blair went to three proms and a couple of lead outs.  We'd search and search and search for the perfect dress but, oh, that was only the beginning.  Your work was just getting started when you found the dress.  There were the shoes, the jewelry, the hair appointment, the nail appointment, the makeup.  It was no small undertaking.  Well, with Carson, he went right by himself to the tux rental place and, after a brief encounter with a tape measurer, they asked him what color he wanted and, on Friday, he'll pick up a bag containing everything he needs......down to the shoes. 

I must admit that I'm liking that.  I am really, really liking that.  You, boy mothers, have been keeping this effort inequality from us, girl mothers.  After having a girl, being a boy mom is kind of like being on vacation.    

Sons and daughters.  They both have their own worries.  Their own joys.  Their own challenges.  Their own blessings.   

I'm glad I've been able to experience both. 

And I can't wait to see my boy all dressed up this weekend!  

Y'all have a good Wednesday!             

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Search is On

Well, I'm just signing in to stamp out any suspicions that I have fled the blogosphere.  I should probably just go ahead and establish that if, at any point from now until fall, I take missing from here for any unusual length of time, it is probably due to some pressing wedding detail that needs my immediate attention.  Currently, we are busying ourselves with the guest list and mother of the bride dress shopping.  I've always heard the guest list is the absolute worst part of planning a wedding and I can now testify to that truth.  I also believe that mother of the bride dress shopping would have to rank as a close second.

So, apparently, it can take anywhere from 2-5 months to receive a dress after you've ordered it and then there are the alterations after that which, according to my calculations, puts me somewhere between having plenty of time and having my dressed hemmed as I walk down the aisle.  In other words, I've got to get serious about this. 

I took a couple of short road trips to look, last week.  On Monday, Michelle and Valerie went with me to Jackson.  Valerie and I were looking for something to wear for our children's weddings and Michelle was there for moral support.  I mean, it's been decades since I've needed a long dress.  I learned something on my first trip back out into formal land.  Formal gowns are not sized like, say, an Easter dress you'd buy at Dillard's.  No, whatever number you would get in a church dress, well, you should multiply that by two.  And if you go shopping the day before your "visitor" comes as I did, well, then you should multiply by 2 and add 3 or 4.  The whole sizing system is designed to keep the mother's cockiness in check and it's quite effective, I might add.   

Well, I'd thrown my Spanx in my purse before I left home but there wasn't enough spandex and nylon in there to hold back the water which I was retaining at that point.  It was like trying to get your sleeping bag back in the little bag it came in.  Sometimes, there's just gonna be some left hanging out the top.  Know what I mean?  So, I came home with something that I liked but I wasn't ready to say "yes" to the dress just yet.

John Samuel's mom, April, and I set out, yesterday, for another attempt.  Smartly, this particular dress shop had strategically placed the Spanx display near the entrance so, while you waited for your name to be called, you had some time for self-reflection to imagine how much more pleasant the whole dress trying on process would be if you just had yourself a pair of those muffin top cinchers.  I decided the fibers in my old pair had been taxed through the years and probably had suffered some deterioration and loss of effectiveness during their time of loyal service so I grabbed a pair of the Spanx Higher Power Short while we waited our turn.  Those, combined with the fact that my "visitor" had left, well, I was feeling like this day in the dressing room would go much better.

Well, it was Saturday and the shop was quite busy.  They only had one dressing room available so April and I took turns.  I went first.  The associate had my dresses hanging in there and I opened my new Spanx box.  I was like a kid on Christmas morning.  A new set of supportive undergarments.  I got the first dress on and opened the door wide enough to stick my head out and motion for April.  I needed her to zip me.  Imagine the awkwardness of not knowing how to tell your son's soon-to-be mother-in-law that a team of wild horses couldn't pull her zipper up.  No, not even with the higher power there with me.  Well, we both found some contenders to keep in the back of our minds but didn't leave with anything but some brand spanking new Spanx and a resolve to back off the carbohydrates. 

We're headed out again next weekend to see what else is out there.  There is a dress somewhere in this world for me.

I just know it. 

Y'all have a good Monday!                   




Tuesday, March 14, 2017


I've added weights to my twist board exercise routine and so I'm going to try to post without using any numbers, symbols or sentences that require exclamatory punctuation found on the top row of the keyboard as that would require me to straighten out my arms and, well, I'd rather not.  In this particular post, I'll also try to avoid using percentages, dollar amounts, or equations so that should completely eliminate any arm strain.

So, something happened, Sunday morning, that is probably pretty relatable for most of us, ladies.  We got to church a little late as "spring forward" Sunday is always a bit more challenging than all of the other Sundays of the year.  Half of our clocks were right and half weren't and we were just off our game.  We got there and were making our way across the parking lot when I spotted my friend, Susan, in the distance.  Susan is always a ray of sunshine....just one of my favorite people.  I hadn't seen her in a while so we exchanged waves and shouted a few greetings back and forth over the parked cars.  It was SO cold and my bare legs hanging out of the bottom of my dress simply wouldn't allow me to stop and visit.    

I continued on toward the church doors with my family when Carson pipes up, "Mom, you sounded like Grandma just then."  I knew it.  The thought had already crossed my mind right after I spoke and Carson had just verified my suspicions.  I don't know.  It was something about my wording and the fact that my mother's voice is kind of shaky and cracks when she tries to talk loudly like, say, across a parking lot and, well, mine does that, too.  Anyway, it was almost enough for me to want to look between all the cars calling, "Mama?" 
Most of you, ladies, can relate to the fact that your mother's voice can come out of your mouth at any given time and without one minute of advance notice.  You don't know how she got in there but you knew, when the words left your tongue, it was her.  You could hear it clear as a bell.  Your mother's voice projecting from your she was the ventriloquist and you were her little puppet. 

I'm not sure how old I was when I first heard her voice replace mine but it's happened on countless occasions.  More and more as I get older.  Sometimes, it's the choice of words that does it.  Other times, it's the whole package....the tone, expression, and delivery and, the first time it happens, well, it can be frightening for a daughter.  Not because it's such a bad thing but because you always knew you'd never become your mother.

I suppose it's bound to happen to all of us sooner or later.  I mean, is there any other voice you heard more than your mother's during the first 20 years of your life?  That kind of repetition has got to have some programming capabilities.  You start to sound like her and use her phrases. I thought of some of the things that my Mama told me and some she still tells me.  A few of them, I find myself repeating to my children with little evidence to back them up besides, "Your Grandma said".

- You need to eat something with that pill or you'll get ulcers.

- Go dry your hair or you'll get sick.....and put some socks on those cold feet. 

- Don't use sponges in your kitchen. They're full of bacteria. 

- At least once a week, you need to raise the windows and let fresh air in your house.
- You have to watch them at the grocery store.  They have one price on the shelf and charge you another one at the checkout. 
- You can pick up all sorts of germs in a filthy public restroom. 

- Always take a can of Lysol with you to a hotel.

- One day, I'll be gone and you're going to wish you'd paid attention when I was trying to teach you this.
- If you're bored, I have plenty you can help me do.
- As soon as you get out of a bed, make it up.  Do the hospital corners like I taught you.

- Always check the expiration dates at the grocery store.  And never get the one in the front.  Everyone's touched that one and that's where they put the old stuff. 

- Don't drink milk if you have fever. 
- Reading in low light will damage your eyes as will sitting too close to the TV. 

- You don't want your meringue to look like dog slobber.  Beat it until it has firm peaks. 

- The dryer is so hard on your stuff- it will just ruin your clothes.

- If you'll just iron a few things a day, it won't pile up like this.

- Always look in your backseat before you get in your car. 

- I'm going to close this door so your brothers don't catch what you have. 

- Don't forget to tell them you enjoyed it when you get up from the table and that you had a good time when you leave. 
- Quit turning that light on and off -you'll start a fire.

-  Don't rub your eyes, you'll get wrinkles.
- Turn off that television.  I can't hear myself think. 
- I don't care what Melissa's mother lets her do.  

-  One day, you'll have a family of your own and you'll need to know how to do this.        
- Never leave your house in a mess when you go somewhere. ( I always felt this was kind of ominous.  I suppose it was in case you never returned.  Bereaving guests finding out you're not only dead but also a slob would only serve to compound the tragedy)

I'm sure you have a list of your own.  Things you've heard your mama say a thousand times and when she starts the sentence, you can finish it for her like a pro and maybe even in her voice and tone, too.  Mothers are very influential.  They get in our heads and eventually start oozing out of our mouths. 

I'm beyond blessed in that department.  I could stand to emulate mine more.....not just in the way I sound or the way my voice projects or the sayings I use but in all aspects of my life.  My Mama's a beautiful soul.  I don't think I've ever met anyone as kind and pure in heart as her.  She loves with all of her being......with everything she has to give.  And quietly.  She wants nothing for herself.....just making someone else's life better is what makes her happy.  She's a whole lot like Jesus. 

So, I guess if my cracking voice and litany of expressions had to come from someone, I'd definitely want it to be from someone like her.  If I ever open my mouth and my mother comes out, I know I'm doing something right.

Happy Wednesday!