Tuesday, September 30, 2014

My Day Off

I got a haircut today and I feel like a new woman.   

You know how you feel after a haircut.....especially if it's long overdue.  I'm notorious for waiting until I'm desperate for one before I call and see about an appointment, so by the time I get there, I'm ready to see some hair hitting the floor.  I've got this thick, heavy hair....like a cocker spaniel.  The longer it gets, the bigger I get. 

I'd already hit rock bottom last week when I just couldn't take it anymore and got the scissors out on my bangs.  You know how you have to do sometimes.  I mean....they shouldn't make it look so easy.....the way they hold the hair between their fingers and just cut along the line.  How hard could it be? 

So, a few days ago, while I was in hair removal mode, (which, by the way, seems to be taking up more and more of my time) I got in front of my mirror and did some work.  I'm not sure I have an aptitude for hair dressing.  I think I cut them too straight across and felt like one of the Beatles. 

So.....I went in the salon today feeling a little frumpy....my hair all heavy and blah.  You know when you leave, though, you're feeling like an Herbal Essence commercial.  I put my shades on, threw my head back, and strutted through the parking lot.....in slow motion, of course.....with a gentle breeze blowing my voluptuous hair back.  I was fierce. 

Now if only there were a pill you could take to freeze your hair's growth about a week after your haircut when it's just perfect.  Somebody should work on that. 

I went to buy some groceries on the way home and there was a little boy in there with his mother and he was screaming bloody murder.  I'm not talking about a short lived tantrum.  I'm talking....he was sustaining a one note shriek not unlike a test of the emergency broadcast system....and it was with such bravado that it would have been quite impressive had he been on an opera stage.  Since he was at Wal-Mart, though, it wasn't really impressing anyone. 

He looked to be about three or four years old and he was putting off screams that could be heard all over the store.....no matter where you were.  It was everywhere.  You know how annoying this is when you're not a blood relative of the child.  Everyone was turning to see what kind of rabid creature was making the horrific noise.  I heard a few mumblings about him needing a spanking.  Some had their fingers in their ears.  Yeah, it was that loud.

Somehow when we hear a kid pitching a fit in a store, we kind of subconsciously shake our heads in disapproval.....forgetting the time that our kid stretched out in front of the candy counter, blocking shopping cart traffic flow, while turning red as a beet and screaming "I don't like you anymore" at the top of her lungs at the denial of her confectionary wishes......or, oh, that time when your son dropped the largest container of BBs sold in North America in the sporting goods section and they went rolling for miles in every direction creating a virtual nightmare for the legal department of Wal-Mart....the stuff that worst case scenario training videos are made of. 

Yeah, we forget about all that.  Time is a great healer.          

Anyway, I crossed paths with the mother and son over in dairy.  You could tell the mother was trying to implement the ignore tactic as she pushed the cart like she didn't even hear the primal screams.  I couldn't help but watch her struggling to get him in the shopping cart as he kicked and screamed all the louder.   I debated whether to give her a compassionate smile or just look at the yogurt intently as if he wasn't bothering me and all this was not a big deal.  I decided to go the yogurt route.    

Finally, they headed toward the front of the store.....the screaming got farther and farther away.  I thought....."poor lady....she has to take that car alarm home with her".  Couldn't help but have pity on her. 

And our dishwasher problem turned out to be more than a gasket problem.  Davis pulled it out of the cabinets and into the garage, where he has been tinkering with it.   Since returning from our walk, he's been busy putting it back in the hole and then we'll conduct a test run.  After two days, there are plenty of dishes with which to experiment. 

I can tell you that I am not, at all, fond of the old way of doing dishes.....the whole deal about filling up the sink with soapy water and rinsing and drying.  This crisis has multiplied my respect for women who have gone on before us and endured life in the pre-Maytag age.  My hat's off to you, ladies.

Happy Hump Day! 



Sunday, September 28, 2014

A Rambling Recap

Without a pressing topic to write about tonight, you'll be forced to hear about the things that stand out in my mind from this past week.  I apologize ahead of time if, at any point, you yawn or lose interest.  It's just one of those days when my mind is as blank as a...........well, I can't even think of what it's as blank as.  Just trust me.....it's pretty darn blank.              

As the season started to change, I was needing to go visit my Daddy's grave and change out his summery flowers to a fall bouquet.  He's buried a couple of hours from where I live, so I set out to do that Thursday.  It was gorgeous weather that day, so I really enjoyed the drive.  I have to admit that, at one point in my traveling, a black Lincoln SUV passed me and my first instinct was to speed up to see if the bull had rerouted Matthew McConaughey through Mississippi.  Alas, I was sorely disappointed.
Anyway, they'd just finished mowing when I got to the cemetery, so I brushed the grass off of his headstone, scooped a frog out of the vase, and changed out the flowers.  When I was done there, I walked over to where my maternal grandparents are buried just yards away.  Not far from that, one of my uncles is buried and then on the other side of the cemetery is my cousin's headstone.  It's a beautiful place and holds a lot of my love. 
There's something about standing at the foot of the grave of someone you love, looking at their name etched into marble.  There you are.....on this side of life, living with the empty place that they once filled.  You remember the day that you brought them there to that spot.....you remember the rawness of that day.....the freshness of your wound.  Now you stand there.....on grass where nature and time have filled in the bare ground.  Like your heart....the earth has also covered its wound with a layer or two of healing. 

After I visited the cemetery, I was able to have lunch with my dear, oldest friend who lives close by.  We've been friends since we were six and we realized at lunch that it's been 40 years!  I guess you could say this year is our 40th friendship anniversary.  It's a blessing to be able to look across the table at someone who's loved you for that long.  She texted me when I got home that we needed to make more time for each other because life goes by so fast.  She's so right about that.  It wasn't very long ago, we were making mud pies and bathing together and now.....well.....let's just say......we don't do either of those things.  One thing that hasn't changed.....I count her among my most treasured gifts from God.                       

Come to think of it, I had the opportunity to eat with different friends on three more occasions last week, which is more than usual considering how busy we all are!  We're just at that time in life when our work and kid schedules are hard to coordinate, but when we do get together.... it's always so worth the wait!  We usually end the time by saying something like, We can't wait this long to get together again".  There's just nothing quite as therapeutic as being with girlfriends who are traveling down similar roads as you are...........and mostly, laughing about it to the point of incontinence.         
Saturday was one of those rare but glorious days when we didn't have anywhere to go.  Earlier in the week, I had grand plans of all of the magnificent things that I would get accomplished.  They included all manner of cooking, cleaning, decorating, and organizing.....possibly even feats worthy of an HGTV series. 

I got nothing accomplished. 

I did shower and put on a bra out of consideration for the others who live here....that was probably the height of my achievement for the day.  I'd decided to throw caution to the wind and not put on makeup or get out of my pajama pants though.  Thankfully, Publisher's Clearing House didn't show up with tv cameras....but I probably could've gotten over it pretty fast had they come with roses and one of those six foot checks.  Besides driving Carson to a friend's house about 2 miles away, I never left home.  All day.  Everybody needs that kind of day from time to time.

Davis did go to work for a good while.  Bless his heart....he was the only one worth his salt around here.  Carson and I watched three ballgames and laid around like a couple of speed bumps.....taking turns napping on various couches and other pieces of furniture....anything that would hold us up, really......and then we had Davis bring home dinner.  Worthless. 
Today, the dishwasher took a turn for the worse.  And by worse, I mean all the water from the rinse cycle ended up in the kitchen floor.  Davis says it's a gasket problem and he will order one tomorrow.  Oh, ok.  There will be no eating or drinking in this house until the gasket comes in.

That's about it for today.  You can scoot back from the edge of your seat now.   

Hope everybody has a good Monday!




Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Turn, Turn, Turn

Oh, it's glorious!  The first nip of fall is in the air.  Now when I say nip, I mean a Mississippi nip.  Our nip requirements aren't nearly as stringent down here as in other parts of the country.  If the highs are only in the 80's and the lows are in the 50's and 60's, then you have yourself a nip as far as we're concerned.

I just love fall.  The air is crisp.  The sky is a ridiculous shade of blue.  The stars shine bright.  I can't say that our leaves are turning colors yet but that will come.  Fall days just have a different look about them. 

It's the time of year when I feel my very best and the most alive.  I feel energetic and rejuvenated.  Everybody has their favorite season and, for me, I wait the whole, entire year for this time right here. 

I was getting really deep with my thoughts yesterday as I walked around the lake with the cooler air blowing on me.  I'm just such a deep, deep person, you understand.  Anyway, I thought about how if life had seasons, then I'm in about early fall.  Let's just say that life is divided into four seasons.....they would be about 20 years each.....if we're that blessed.  So, yeah....I'm in the fall of my life, God willing.

My skies are blue.  My air is crisp and clear.  Everything is feeling so right until.....oh, wait......the leaves start falling off my tree.  Whoa....hold on a minute!

I can relate to that.  I've been feeling a few of my leaves hit the ground lately and a couple more flapping in the wind and hanging on for dear life.  I recently started Lipitor for high cholesterol and triglycerides, which runs in my family.  I think your triglycerides are ideally supposed to be under 150 and one reading I had was more like a credit score....not a great credit score...but still...one that could get you a house or a car. 

Then I've got this new prescription to help with the most horrible acid reflux which has sent me to my wit's end in search of relief.  I remember my Daddy eating Tums like they were candy back when I was a teenager.  Now I know why.

Mix my new medicines in with what I was already taking and I'm starting to feel like the little, older people you see in the waiting room with their big bag of medicine in their lap. 

I've also been reading about what else I can do to control all of these "fall" ailments and it should be really simple to do with some simple dietary changes.  For the reflux.....it's easy.....I just can't have any tea, carbonated drinks, dishes with tomatoes, caffeine, chocolate, fried foods, spicy food, citrus, beef, cheese, garlic, salt and pepper, butter, or candy.  And for high triglycerides, I only have to avoid starchy vegetables, large amounts of fruit, coconut, pasta, potatoes, bread, sugary drinks, syrup, baked goods, fatty meats, crackers, cookies, pizza, cereals, doughnuts, and pie crusts.  Excuse me, Web MD.....you must have gotten your lists confused with my list of favorite things.     

So y'all don't mind me......I'll just be over here trying to get creative with the cream of tartar, pickle relish, wheat germ, and mustard because I think that's about all that wasn't listed. 
I am proud that I haven't had a Coke in a couple of weeks.  I was a one Coke a day kind of girl, but I've tried to cut those out and most desserts.  This is not easy though.  I've had this strange desire to take Alka-Seltzer just because of it effervescence.....my kingdom for a foamy head on a fountain Coke with pellet ice.  And if you sit next to me and eat a donut, I may want to lick your fingers.....or if you've been frying chicken, I may want to smell your hair, so don't be alarmed.  There have been a couple of days when I was feeling so hungry and unsatisfied that the children started to look juicy and delicious.

So, I guess it's come to that.  That season when you can't eat like a kid anymore.....the season of lab work.....that time when the genetic wheel slaps you in the face and says, "I'm running the show now".  Menus and phone book print start to shrink.  Ankles pop and creak when you get out of bed.  Moods swing like a Newton's cradle.  And the ol' estrogen factory has announced some layoffs and a reduction its operations.   


So it's fall around here.....in more ways than one.  I don't mind being past the tender, green shoots of spring or the hectic, sweltering schedule of summer but I'm not quite ready to curl up for the winter just yet.  I'm just here enjoying the nip.

I'm embracing my fall.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Drive-By Sympathy?

Ok.....so let me start by saying that Mississippi State beat LSU.......in Baton Rouge.....at Death Valley...... in front of a night time crowd.......of just under 103,000 people......and in the statistical world that is equivalent to your being struck by lightening....twice......while on your way to redeem your winning Mega Millions lottery ticket.  It's been 23 years since we won there, so to say that we are excited would be like saying that Miley Cyrus is confused.......it's an understatement.  We couldn't be more proud of our Bulldogs!   

And so besides my team's impressive win, it's been a slow news weekend, so I've decided that we should take this opportunity to discuss something that has been curled up in the back of my mind for about a week now.  A topic that has surfaced in the news and could have major social implications for all of us.  I don't normally address sensitive topics like this here but I felt it was not something that we could just gloss over or ignore.  I want to talk to you today about drive-thru funeral homes.

I know you've seen this.  Reportedly, there is a funeral home in Michigan which is offering a new service........a drive-thru window for viewing the deceased.  Citing today's hectic lifestyle, the funeral home owner implemented this new service as a way to accommodate the busy schedules of the grieving.  As I understand it, when you pull up to the window, music begins playing over the speaker and the curtain opens for three minutes, so that the passengers can view the body of the dearly departed.  At the end of the viewing, a register book drawer slides out on which you can document your sympathies and be on your way.
So just think of it like this......you're sitting at home in your sweat pants with your wet hair in a towel and a Biore' strip on your nose when you suddenly remember....."Oh, my!  We forgot about Mrs. Peabody's visitation tonight!"......Well, this feature would allow you to just slip into some flip flops, grab a Diet Coke out of the frig, throw the kiddos in the car, pop in the Frozen DVD, and head out to take care of that obligation with little to no problem.  On the way, you could think of something cleverly touching to write when the register book slides out like the bank drawer.   

It's mourning made easy...all from the comfort of your own car.  I suppose the three minute time limit is to prevent the hanging out of windows and honking of impatient mourners behind you....sympathy rage, if you will.  In the dignity department, the whole grieving process could become just a step or two above ordering the 12 piece mixed bucket....extra crispy with mashed potatoes and extra napkins. 

I have some questions about this.....I mean, you know......being a southern girl and all...we kind of hold on tight to our social traditions......Wouldn't you have a lot of "crank" visitors?  Like bored teenagers out looking for a good laugh or just gawkers....all armed with camera phones.  Isn't the purpose of a visitation to visit with the grieving family?  Is the family also in there and, if so, would you just give them a friendly wave, a thumbs up, or a tap on the window?  How do you know you're at the right window?  Will there by a flashing marquis out by the road announcing who's "now showing"?  Do the kids get a sucker?  Is there a drawer for casseroles or do I have to park and go in for that?  I mean....you know.....because that would be a pain.        

I'm just trying to make sense of it all.  Maybe they didn't think this thing thru.....pardon the pun.

I know we're busy people but perhaps we've got too much going on if it's come to this.  I mean if we can't get some pants on and park the car....maybe we're just too busy.  Hmmm.   




Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Picture Day

Well, yesterday was school picture day for Carson.

Oh, I remember picture day.  You woke up that morning with so much hope for the day....your outfit all laid out, the perfect hairstyle in your mind, and visions of your school picture being so incredibly perfect that the company would ask for permission to use it in their advertisements.  It was going to be a great day!     

After all, school pictures were, oh, so important.  I mean, for the next year, it would be the image that everyone would see when they looked you up in the yearbook.  It was the picture that would sit on your parents' desks at work....the one that their clients would pick up and look at while they waited.  It's the picture that would stay in your Grandma's purse in that plastic picture sleeve that came with her wallet.  She'd be pulling that thing out at bridge, Sunday school, and potluck dinners......any time she'd get the chance.  For the next year, it would be held up on your Nana's Frigidaire by her Smoky Mountains bear magnet.  They'd be cut apart and passed out to your best buds with "Friends 4-Ever" and maybe a heart written on the back.  Clearly, school pictures were not something you entered into lightly.  You had one chance to do this thing right. 

I, myself, made some tragic school pictures, especially in the jr high years.  Despite all of your visions of splendor, picture day would invariably go something like this…..It would be a stormy day...the kind that would bring Jim Cantore to town or either the most hot and humid day ever recorded since the late 1800's....both of which made for hair problems.  As you stood in front of the bathroom mirror that morning, you became frantic, watching the minutes tick away as your hair was looking nothing like you'd imagined it the night before.  You were convinced that the portrait company must somehow be privy to your cycle calendar because they always seemed to come to your school during your "sensitive" week and that makeup just wasn't covering the hormonally based golf ball zit on your chin.  You'd get to school and wait and wait and wait for the pictures to start.  Without fail, the office would finally call your class over the loud speaker after lunch.....spaghetti day, of course....which was just after trampoline fundamentals in PE and the hands on study of static electricity in science.....and then when you finally took your seat in front of that blue marbled screen, the photographer would tilt your head so that his ginormous lights would reflect off of your oily chin and then snap the picture right when your lips were curled from being forced to say “I love boys”.
Heaven forbid your mom didn't send the envelope back with a check in it, because the photographer sure wouldn't be taking up any time with you then.  He was done before you even sat down on that stool good.  And if she did go out on a limb and prepay for Package C and they turned out to be hideous, you were doomed for the whole next calendar year....looking like an utter fool on refrigerators, bridge tables, and bulletin boards all over town. 

Hopefully, Carson's first high school picture will be somewhat flattering.  No matter what it looks like, it will be a noticeable improvement over his mother's.  That is all we can hope for as parents, isn't it?  That our children’s school pictures will be better than ours were. 


Monday, September 15, 2014

Things That Make You Go....Hmmm

1) I always read the literature that comes with my prescription.....yeah, I'm that person.  Last week, I started a new medicine that I'd never been on and before taking it, I was educating myself about it.  At the end of all the numerous side effects, were listed the symptoms of an overdose.  "Go to the emergency room immediately if you suspect an overdose.  Symptoms may include coma, fainting, slow heartbeat, hallucinations, seizures, vomiting, and (the real clincher) decreased sexual desire".  Hmmmm.   

So consider this a public service announcement.......just so you know.....if you ever find yourself vomiting, having seizures, and drifting in and out of consciousness with a slow pulse.....stop and ask yourself....."Am I in the mood for sex?"  If the answer is no.....by all means, get yourself to the hospital immediately!  You have probably taken too much of your medicine! 

Why is that so funny to me?  Surely, that last one is only a symptom of a male overdose as they are the only ones who could possibly still be thinking of sex while vomiting and fainting.

2) Carson had some friends over Saturday to watch some football and grill burgers.  Football watching turned into football playing which turned into eating which turned into air soft wars which turned into Xbox-ing.  You all know my deep affinity for the ease of a boy party.  Once you take the cookies out of the oven, there is literally nothing else that has to be done except remain on the premises in the event of a gash to the head or compound fracture. 

Anyway, I spent the better part of the morning cleaning the house in anticipation of their arrival as if there has ever been a 14 year old boy in the history of the world that has ever noticed dust on anything.  I contemplated this oxymoron as I sprayed the Pledge into my dust cloth and also the fact that it would have made much more sense to do this cleaning after the boys left.  Hmmmm.   But......it just goes against my mother's teaching to have even adolescent boys over without a squirt of Clorox under the toilet rims and a hint of Pine-Sol in the air.  It's just not done. 

One of the dads came to pick up his son at the end of the night and as Davis opened the door to greet him, the front porch lights behind him illuminated what was quite possibly the largest spider web ever built by an arachnid.....since the beginning of time.  There it hung outside my front door dangling just a couple of inches over his head.  I had obviously paid so much attention to my inside cleaning that I'd neglected our exterior haunted house fa├žade and it was still early yet to pull it off as an intentional holiday touch.  If I maintained eye contact, maybe he wouldn't notice but......its draw was too great.  My eyes kept drifting up to the illuminated magnificent display of nature tempting to entangle itself in his hair and eventually my stare gave my dirty secret away.

3) Ok, I watched some of the Miss America pageant last night.  So disappointed that Miss Mississippi didn't win!  She got in the top 10 though and we, Mississippians, were all very proud of her.  We take our contestant very seriously around here.  Miss Mississippi is a communications major at Mississippi State and so when a contestant is from your hometown or, as the case may be, from your alma mater, you feel as if you are pulling for a friend of the family.  We start referring to our contestant by her first name as if we've known her all her life and have personally been working with her since she was a child to prepare her for this day.  Facebook was flooded with, "Way to go, Jasmine"....you know.....like we go way back.  That's just the way it is down here.
You really have to admire those girls.  I can't imagine the confindence one must have to be able to walk out there in one of those bikinis with the cameras zooming in on them.  There's not enough bikini wax on this side of the Mississippi to get me out there....as a collective sigh of relief falls across the nation.  You know though, win or lose, every single one of those girls went through the McDonald's drive through and got themselves a double quarter pounder with cheese, large fry, a vanilla shake, and an apple pie on their way back to the hotel.  You know they did!  It's all they could think about after their name wasn't called. 

And while I know that there have been a lot of sneers and controversy swirling around the newly crowned Miss America's red cup performance, you do have to give the girl some credit.  She really went out on a limb there.  As all the finalists sat there with their violins, toe shoes, and grand pianos, waiting to see if they'd be called to perform, she sat confidently clutching her instrument.....the red, plastic cup.  Hmmmmm. 

Sometimes, you have to dare to be different and this time it really paid off as the judges said, "You know what?....We're going to have to go with the plastic cup girl to represent our country for the next year."  So, congratulations, New York!!  We like to think we grow Miss Americas down here as plentiful as our kudzu but, apparently, after three years, we see they're indigenous to New York as well. 

As you can tell, it was really a weekend of non-stop thrills around here.....the stuff that hit television is made of.    

Happy Tuesday, y'all! 





Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Day Like No Other

I suppose 9/11 is one of those dates that we'll all remember where we were and what we were doing.  It joins Pearl Harbor, Kennedy's assassination, the Challenger disaster, and other infamous events in the list of days that will stand out in our minds forever.

I was 33 years old at the time.....a stay at home mom with a minivan, who'd dropped off my second grade daughter at school and had the news turned on in the background as I did housework, while my one year old son took a nap.  Everything was right in my little world. 

I was in the kitchen when I could tell that some kind of major story was developing on the news channel, so I stopped what I was doing and sat down in the den to watch.  It was a plane that had crashed into one of the twin towers......and the talking heads speculated that it looked to be some kind of bizarre accident.  I watched the building as smoke and flames poured out of the gaping holes left by the jet and you couldn't help but think about the people....the moms and dads and sisters and brothers...... who, on that typical Tuesday, were sitting at their desks on those floors where this plane had accidentally flown into this building. 

As the cameras rolled through the dark clouds of jet fuel smoke, another plane came on the screen and flew into the south tower......and things changed.  We changed.  There I sat in that burgundy, wingback recliner with a damp kitchen towel still in my hand......with one sleeping child in his room and the other at her school.....and as their mother, I changed.

That morning, the cable news frantically jumped from one breaking story to the next.....bouncing all over the country covering the seemingly never ending trail of tragedies that knocked us all off of our feet and took our breath away.  I sat in that chair stunned.....wondering when it would stop.  Would it ever stop?  How many planes could there be?  Where would the next one crash?  I'd never felt that unsettled in my lifetime and haven't since then.

It was a chilling day.  Almost too much to bear as you watched people forced to choose their means of death as they hung out of  the smoking windows.  I will never forget the ties and skirts that flew up in the air as, one by one, people made their decisions to jump.  I remember thinking...that's someone's mother, friend....favorite uncle.  This can't be happening in America.
From that day on, mothers couldn't think about their children's futures without a shadow of uncertainty in the back of their minds.  There I sat with dreams of my little girl's proms, graduations, and being mother of the bride one day.  I couldn't wait until I could watch my son's little league games, see him grow taller than me, and take him for his driving test.  That second plane took away our innocent belief that nothing could happen to us here.....our unblemished look towards our children's futures and the world that we had brought them into. And for just a moment, on that day thirteen years ago, we began to question all of that.  Mothers, aunts, godmothers, grandmothers......we thought of those young faces that we love, feel responsible for, and who were coming along behind us and, on the 11th, we cried for them most of all.       

But we caught our breath and then came the twelfth.  The twelfth brought resolve, determination, unity, and story after story of heroism.  The twelfth brought out what makes us America.  We raised our flags.  We searched and rescued and dug with our hands.  We stood with the grieving and gave respect to our dead.  We reached into our pockets for the fatherless.  We cleaned up....piece by piece by piece.  We started to rebuild.  We felt renewed patriotism.  We filled church pews.  We sent up prayers.  And on the twelfth, we got up and sent our children to school and we went to work.  We refused to give into the fear.  We refused to let evil win. 

Today, on the thirteenth anniversary, we can still hear the faint hum of terrorism way off in the distance.  Even as people of faith, it's difficult to not become afraid sometimes. 

We know, though, that Americans refuse to be boxed in by fear...that is not who we are, where we came from, or how we got here.  We will always carry the same spirit of courage that our ancestors brought with them from across the oceans when they traveled toward the sound of freedom.
"For I am the Lord your God who
 takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you."  Isaiah 41:13 

And most of all, we know that God is ALWAYS firmly on the side of those who love Him. Evil may have its temporary victories, but God will have the last word.
 "though the wicked spring up like grass
    and all evildoers flourish,
    they will be destroyed forever."
  Psalm 92:7 

So we can look bravely to the future with our children because our hope comes from Him alone.
 "Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,
neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—
not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 
 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—
indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us
 from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord."  Romans 8:38-39

Let's pray for the families that were forever altered on that fateful day.......and for the mothers in those places around the world where terror is a daily occurrence.  They want good things for their children just like we do.    

God bless America! 



Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Camera Cards, Cosmo, and Cupcakes

I uploaded our spring and summer pictures for a Shutterfly order this week.  Call me old fashioned but I still like having my pictures developed.  I like something that I can hold and touch and file away in a box.  Yeah, for some reason, I don’t think an event is officially documented until it's in the appropriately marked box.......under my bed.......in chronological order.

Like many times before, I found myself deleting several of the pictures that I was in, for one reason or another.....not the least of which being the fear that, if left on the camera card, the unflattering portrayals could find themselves on a funeral slide show one day and there I’d be……..lying there, unable to do one thing about it and y’all would be thinking……”well, bless her heart”.

I was thinking about how I don’t cut myself very much slack in a lot of areas.  I know I’m not alone in this.  We, women, are usually our own worst critic when it comes to our looks, our work, our parenting, and just about anything else we do.  We’re just hard on ourselves.

You know......like when you’re in the grocery store after a long, hard day and you catch a glimpse of your haggard reflection in the drink cooler door at the checkout…..which is located right next to the latest issue of Cosmopolitan with Meghan Fox on the cover, staring right at you with her porcelain skin, three inch eyelashes, voluminous hair being blown by large fans, and perky bosoms standing at attention.....all while your own bosoms are resting comfortably on the handle of your shopping cart.
The only thing that Cosmo could use of mine without a touch up would be my right nostril.  It doesn't match the left one so there would need to be some work done there, but the right one.....I think it's sheer perfection.  I feel it's one of my best features.  I think they'd have to agree.
Or maybe like when you and another mother are assigned cupcakes for the class party and, invariably, the other mom you're paired with has been on Pinterest twenty-three hours a day as she places her confectionary assorted farm animal creations fashioned from marshmallows, fruit rollups, mini M&Ms, pretzel sticks, and dyed coconut….right next to your Funfetti cupcakes that you were feeling pretty good about just 5 minutes earlier.
Thank goodness Pinterest came along after my children had gotten older because I usually felt pretty accomplished if I could just get the price sticker off of the plastic cupcake container without it leaving a sticky, ugly mess.  Nobody would've wanted to pin that.
Why can’t I get myself together and make nutritious, homemade breakfasts, lunches, and dinners for my family every day of the week?  Pioneer Woman never uses Hamburger Helper.
Somehow, I’ve not yet figured out how to work and cook on the same day.  It’s an either/or thing for me, so Rea's cowboys would likely starve slam to death right out there in the field if they were waiting for me to drive some snacks out to them.
Why can’t we emerge from the maternity ward looking magazine worthy like Kate Middleton....all bright eyed and clearly without visible edema?
After I had my children, I had no discernible neck and my nose was the size of a Russet potato, so I'm pretty sure that, had I been mother to any heir to the throne, the royals would've slipped me out the back door of the hospital and into a limo with heavily tinted windows just before a press conference explaining a bogus security concern.
Why can’t we get our three kids off  to school every morning and be on TV by 9:00, all gorgeous and witty like Kelly Ripa and her 95 pound self….who, by the way, blows the whole "your body is never the same after kids” cover for the rest of us.
Every single morning of my life, I look and sound like Herman Munster until around 11 and can't form a sentence until I've had my lunch, so the only possible morning television role for me would be.....maybe a Teletubby.
In these days of social media facades, photoshopped magazines, 24 hour celebrity news, the raised bar of Pinterest, plastic surgery, and the ever mounting list of what’s expected from a good mother, it’s no wonder that we’re never really content with ourselves.
I suppose the old saying is true… “The world is much kinder to us than we are”.
I’ve been thinking about those deleted pictures and how I will never get those moments back again. They were snapshots of a place in time that is over and gone….and I deleted it.  I will never be in that exact spot with my children at the age they are now, having the same experiences and laughing about the same things.

I’m not perfect inside or out, but I want to be more concerned with the things that last and matter and give myself some slack in the things that really don't.  We're surrounded by false, unrealistic, worldly definitions of what makes us beautiful women, good mothers, and successful human beings.  They are everywhere we turn!
But we are God's "workmanship"......."fearfully and wonderfully made"......"in His image" and that's all we need to know!  What's not beautiful about that?  Your personality, your strengths, your body, your talents, your gifts......all designed by God with a purpose in mind.  A beautiful and perfect purpose.       
Have a beautiful Wednesday!!   

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Redneck Overload

A couple of nights ago, I was up late, flipping through the channels when I came across this show called "Mud Lovin' Rednecks".  I had to watch it because curiosity got the best of me when I saw that it was filmed in my neighboring state, Alabama.  Oh, I know the good and decent people of Alabama must be so very proud.....bless their hearts. 

As I sat there on the couch, I was having the same kind of inner conflict that you have when you don't want to see the wreck ahead, but find yourself looking anyway.  You know you'll be sorry.  I knew with that title, it couldn't be a portrayal that we'd be proud of down here and I was correct.  It joins the ranks of "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" and "My Big, Fat, Redneck Wedding" in painting southerners as lazy, backwards, ignorant, unsophisticated, crass, uneducated, crude slobs. 

Just in case any of you get your ideas about what the South is like from these shows....or the news (we can't forget our flattering news coverage) let me set the record straight...
We don't make wine for our weddings by stomping on grapes from Kroger in the kids' wading pool out in the front yard.     

We don't all pick our noses while on television....most of us can wait, at least, until the cameras aren't rolling no matter how difficult.

Bodily noises lose their humor for over 95% of Southerners after adolescence and their intentional use in public is frowned upon in almost all circles..... and if our children replicate those noises using their armpits at the table, we'll snatch them up so fast, it will make their heads spin.    

Despite the fact that national news reporters go out of their way to find southerners who have trouble with subject verb agreement, most of us can communicate effectively without subtitles.  We are known to drop our "g" when talkin' to each other, but try to tack them back on when communicating with those outside our geographical area.    

Most of us would never dream of our wedding being held in a mud bog or in a tree stand and I personally don't know anyone who would consider camo to be a wedding color.  No, our weddings are quite elegant affairs.     

I'd dare say that well over 90% of us, southern ladies, get up and put a bra on every single morning along with pants that don't start with the word, sweat, and yes, we do wear shoes to the grocery store. 

I like to think that if real life had beeps to drown out curse words that, unlike the "Mud Lovin' Rednecks", which was a thirty minute long beep, the more average southern woman would just need a beep every now and then in the event of a little toe hitting a door frame and other rarities that occur in hormonal time periods. 

If our children ever acted like Honey Boo Boo, we'd slap them into the middle of next week as our grandmas used to say and then rinse their mouths out with soap.  

When stirring up a pitcher of lemonade, we always try to use a spoon even though we know we could use our hands.  We're fancy like that, I guess.   

Most of us don't answer to nicknames such as "Knot Head", "Sugar Bear", or "Fat Legs", but instead simply answer to the names which our mothers gave us. 

Not one man in my life drives a truck that requires a ladder for entry.  Not one. 

I've never heard lyrics that included the words, "pick up truck" or "beer", at any of the southern weddings that I've attended in all  my 46 years.

I would venture to say that very few of us have ever yelled, "work it, baby" to our daughter while she was on a stage for any reason.....maybe when she's starting the dishwasher without being told, but never, ever while on a stage.

While we're not perfect and we certainly have our exceptions, let me tell you about the South that you won't see on "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo"........                         

We're just good, hard working people who know how to garden, hunt, and live off the land if we ever had to.  Dads teach their boys to fix cars, till a garden, hunt, and clean a mess of fish, because those are good things to know.  Our great grandmother's cornbread dressing recipe finds its way to our table each Thanksgiving, because she taught our grandmother how to make it, who taught our mother, who taught us, and we'll teach our daughters.  Summers are busy with canning and freezing vegetables.  Yeah, they sell all of that in the stores, but it's just not the same.  We teach our girls to set a table and make a roux.  Church on Sunday is the norm not the exception.  Our children will yes ma'am and no ma'am you to death and if we ever catch them getting up from your table without telling you how much they enjoyed it, there will be a talk when we get them home.  We speak to strangers when we pass them in the street.  If you come to our house, you will eat or drink something because we'll insist on it.  We teach our children to look you in the eyes and our sons to have a firm handshake.  We like for our visitors to feel at ease in our homes and stay and visit for a while.  We know all the etiquette rules.....our mothers and grandmothers saw to that.  Silver and china are passed down through the generations and are used on special occasions.  No kind deed ever goes without a thank you note.  We've got our "funeral recipes" in the front of our books and can have those piping hot and to the church before you can turn around good.  Tailgating tents are adorned with chandeliers and silver trays.  And a southern man hurries to open the door for a woman and she is never offended.....it means his parents taught him to respect women and we enjoy being treated like ladies.

There's a big difference between being southern or living in the country.....and being just plain crude.  The south stands for gentility, hospitality, resourcefulness, and warmth.  Slapping the word, redneck, in front of anything these days seems to give a license to lose all sense of decorum, respect, dignity, and pride. 

That's not who we are.....no matter what you see on television.

Have a good weekend.....and come back now....you hear?    




Tuesday, September 2, 2014

On and On and On It Goes

Well, it's September.  At least, that sounds cooler than August. 

Yeah, the stores are putting out their pumpkins, cornucopias, and candy corn and we're still sweating like pigs down here.  It does give a boost to our morale to see that, at least, fall is somewhere in our future but we know, no matter how many Halloween candy displays they pile up in the aisles, we have a long way to go with this heat.  It will be a while before we need the help of a fire to make our autumn S'mores.  We can just sit them out on the porch and enjoy the same gooey result for, at least, six more weeks. 

Yeah, when you turn your calendar over to September, the accompanying, thematic picture usually shifts from August's beach balls to baskets of apples and blankets of bright, orange leaves.  A southern calendar should pair September with a photo depicting a irritated, red-faced woman with sweat stains, standing out on her front lawn of crunchy, burned up grass which is crawling with ornery rattlesnakes, who are looking for a place to bed down for the winter and mosquitos, the size of blackbirds, trying to make the most of their last days.  That would seem to be a more appropriate depiction for around these parts.  Here are a couple of calendar contenders that I would like to submit from around my house for the month of September.  At some point around the second week of August, you just say......"You know what....you're on your own, outdoor plants."    
I don't know about where you live, but down here in the deep south, we've been just about to bake.  I'm pretty sure our juices are running clear at this point.  We've been slow roasting for 3 months in this crock pot called Mississippi and I feel like we surely must be fork tender by now.  Just a few days ago, our heat index was 108 and I'd challenge you to find a more ridiculous humidity level than ours anywhere outside a sauna.  This is my 46th Mississippi summer, so you'd think I'd be accustomed to this by now but I think my hormonal situation has inflamed my loathing. 

It's how our colder climate friends must feel about snow come February......that's where we are now with our heat down here.  We see them up there being interviewed by the Weather Channel about the woes of winter weather and we're down here like..."how could they not like the snow?....we love when it snows here....BOTH times!"  I imagine it's kind of like that.  Wondering how we couldn't love summer while sitting in 80 degrees with no humidity?  That's not summer...... we call that Thanksgiving Day in the South.  Glorious!           

Oh, and the advertisements for boots and sweaters for football games won't become a reality for us until maybe the next to the last one of the season.....unless you want to be carried out on a stretcher with oxygen.  And a scarf....well, that would mean certain death.  Oh, the stores are full of cool weather clothing and our mouths are watering for a wardrobe change but we know we're a long way from that.  Oh, we like to think that back to school and the launch of football season signals the triumphal entry of fall, but we, southerners,  know it only serves to encourage us to persevere through our trial.

We enjoyed the day at our alma mater's season opener Saturday night.  It was POURING rain right up until game time, but, at least, it kept the heat at bay.  Only people who need to be examined psychologically drive through rain that requires the hazards to be engaged for the entire trip to watch a ballgame that is going to be televised.  We've suspected for a while though that we should be psychologically examined.  There were almost 62,000 people in attendance at the game and 61,000 of them were in the bookstore beforehand looking for a poncho.  Oh, mercy.....my kingdom for a poncho!  
Thankfully, the deluge was reduced to a fine mist by game time and the temps were quite pleasant.  Couple that with our awesome new stadium addition/renovation and it was the perfect setting for our 49-0 win. 
Rain or shine, I had fun with my boys.  I'll take rain over heat any day! 
Tomorrow's already hump day!  Enjoy this short week, y'all!
And hang on......fall is coming!!