Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thanksgiving Snippet

Thanksgiving was just wonderful!

Except......that whole thing I've been doing lately about not eating much sugar......well, that flew straight out the window, took a nose dive, and crashed to the ground in a fiery explosion.  My mother made her scrumptious caramel cakes and let me just tell you something........when those are in my field of vision, I lose all sense of control.  All. Sense. Of. Control.  If you put a slab of that in the microwave for 5-6 seconds and pour yourself a glass of ice cold milk........Merciful heavens!!  You will hear angels sing.

My mother and Aunt Gloria do 99.5% of the cooking and they use all of my Grandmother's old recipes.  Grandmother would be so proud of them!  Every year, we," next in line" generation, are given very minute food assignments.  They must think our cooking stinks.....or that we won't do something just right.  Whatever their reasoning, you will not hear us complaining and we all enjoy and appreciate the planning and work that they put into making our Thanksgiving perfect every year.  For all 40 of us! 
The cookers of all good Thanksgiving things

                18 of our 40 are children! 
With just a little plotting, they could gain control......

With Thanksgiving over, our neighborhood is now all aglow with the sparkle and twinkle of Christmas.  Wreaths, garlands, and trees with ribbons and lights adorn each house, heralding the beginning of the long awaited season!  Yeah....tomorrow night, two houses on our street will be part of the Christmas tour of homes, which will benefit our school's baseball team, so all of the neighbors got busy with their decorations in anticipation of the traffic that will come through for the event.  Except for us. 

If it's true what they say.....the landscaper's yard always needs mowing and the doctor's children always have a runny nose, then I guess it stands to reason that the floral designer's front porch would be the only one still dark and unadorned and her tables......still strewn with gourds, branches, leaves, and pilgrims.  I hate to see the pilgrims go.  I like the pilgrims, so I'm going to let them linger here a couple of more days before they are banished to the attic for another year.  Today, I did take the pumpkins off the front porch and chunked them into the woods, but that's as far as I've come with my Christmas decorating.

Carson got to go paintballing this weekend with his uncle and cousins.  They shot each other with air propelled, paint filled bullets for 7 hours.  Needless to say, fun was had.  There's no greater way to celebrate the season of thanks than by pelting your loved ones with non-lethal bullets, which leave bruises that can be compared later. 
We got Blair feeling all better and back to school today.  By Wednesday afternoon, she put on a little mascara and I knew that was a sign of improvement.  She lost five pounds from not being able to eat a normal diet, so I made it my mission to put some weight back on her over the weekend.  I have pumped her full of all sorts of carbs and sugars and fats and calories.  To show my support, I may have eaten with her and put on a little, too.  It's what mothers do for their children.     

Tomorrow starts the busiest week of the whole, entire year for me!  My posts may be spotty, at best, but I'll swing by when I can!  By the end of next weekend, my schedule should thin out some and I'll be back to regular programming. 
(Oh, and please pray for a speedy recovery of our cousin, Jacob.  He's been really sick all week and is in the hospital now.  He missed Thanksgiving and paintball......and we missed him!)
I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving with you and yours!  Thank you, God, for family!    
Here's to Monday.......and moderation.



Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Random, Rapid Fire Thankfulness

I'm sitting here on the eve of Thanksgiving, thinking about all the blessings in this life.  Sometimes, blessings are big and obvious and hard to overlook and, other times, they're so quiet and subtle that we may glance right over them if we're not careful.  God's gifts can come in the form of people, places, or things.  They can be spiritual or physical or emotional.  Tangible or unseen.  Eternal or temporarily loaned to us.  Some may happen just once in a lifetime and some are so commonplace that we hardly give them much thought.  Some come as they are and some are dressed in disguises.  Some aren't appreciated until they're gone.  Some aren't given much consideration until we see someone who's struggling without it.         

This Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for second chances, porch swings, broken in blue jeans, and hot donuts with milk.  I'm thankful for nights when I can stay up late, Chacos, Peanuts holiday specials, and the way you feel on your birthday.  I'm thankful for potatoes, caramel cake, making up after an argument, and photographs of people who are gone now.  I'm thankful for beautiful sunsets....the ones where God uses a whole bunch of His colors to paint the sky.  I'm thankful for bonfires, dinner with friends, family gatherings, and nights when we have nowhere to go.  I'm thankful for hymns with outdated words like thee and thou, because you can't really improve on those.  I'm thankful for jacket weather and cruise control and children's choirs.  Football games.  Sunday afternoon naps.  Hot chocolate.  I'm thankful for mountains and oceans and waterfalls and wildflowers and the other millions of things that God made beautiful just for us.  I'm thankful for the feeling you get from looking at your work at the end of the day.  I'm thankful for rainy days, flannel sheets, men who offer their seats, and a God who is slow to anger and full of mercy.  I need that.      

I'm thankful for family vacations, barbeque chicken, tulips, and Christmas lights.  I'm thankful when my children are happy, for my church and the sweet faces there, a hardworking husband, and chips and dips.  I'm thankful that my son still kisses me goodnight and for the bond that mothers and sons share.  I'm thankful for the cold winds of winter, pipe organs, puppies, and sweet notes that someone took the time to write.  I'm thankful for being an aunt, thin crust pizza, and the Bible.  I'm thankful for knowing that my children are saved.  I'm thankful that my daughter still wants to share news with me and that we enjoy each other's company.  I'm thankful that God doesn't give up on us.  I'm thankful that I have people in my life who love to laugh with me and for the times I have a thought or idea that I know God put in my head.  I'm thankful that our kitchen is full of food.  For doctors and medicine. My sweet in-laws.  I'm thankful for the first night sleeping in fresh sheets.  Cousins. Stories from history.  A faithful, furry companion who meets me at the door with uncontrollable love every day.  I'm thankful for my brothers and the things I learned from growing up between two sweaty, perpetual eaters.  I'm thankful for the men they grew up to be and their families.        
I’m thankful for the first sign of fall, fresh cut grass, the sound of bobwhites, salsa, the smell of charcoal, and golden leaves against azure skies.  I'm thankful for rolling over and going back to sleep on Saturday mornings.  I’m thankful when I dream about my Daddy and can see him for just a minute.  Even if it's just inside my head, I’ll take that, any day, until I can see him again.  I’m thankful for home movies that I can watch and still hear him laugh and see my children they will never be again.  I’m thankful for boiled peanuts, weeping willow trees, and a Savior, who can sympathize with our infirmities and has not left us comfortless.  I'm thankful for all the teachers, who've loved on me through the never, ever forget that.  I'm thankful for the teachers, who've loved on my kids over the years......Mamas never, ever forget that.  I'm thankful that my weaknesses are my husband's strengths and for rocking chairs, the sound of tree frogs, and for friends who would come, right away, if I needed them.  I'm thankful that, even though He didn't have to, Jesus died for me and for the hope that gives when days are dark.  I’m thankful for the neighborhood I grew up in with kids in every house, Old Maid cards flapping in spokes, Kool-Aid frozen into Tupperware popsicles, and a ballgame always going on in someone's yard.  I’m thankful for church bells, the feeling of giving, and old music that takes me back in time.  I'm thankful for my grandparents and the memories of holidays I spent with them.  I'm thankful for smells that bring back memories.             

I’m thankful for the sound of sibling squabbles and dirty socks on the floor because I know, one day soon, their rooms will become guest quarters…all too quiet with everything permanently in place.  I’m thankful for the dark clouds and winds just before a storm, day trips with girlfriends, grilled hamburgers, and sweet, little, old people.  I’m thankful for that euphoric 2 minutes when all the laundry is clean, acts of kindness done by strangers, and friends who choose to see the best in us.  I'm thankful for people who are willing to risk their lives for our country and those who stand up and fight for what's right.  I’m thankful for sharp cheeses, chocolate almond ice cream on a sugar cone, and ice cold milk to chase down anything sweet.  I’m thankful for tweezers, water heaters, air conditioning, and the fact that God, in all His wisdom, held off my birth until the emergence of modern conveniences.  I’m thankful that my mother modeled that if you‘re going to do something, you should do it right.…and that my daddy taught me to laugh and love all kinds of music.  I'm thankful that they worked so hard to educate and provide for us and teach us about Jesus.  I’m thankful when I run into old high school friends and can still see a 17 year old in their face.  I’m thankful when I can’t stop laughing with a friend at a time when we’re not supposed to be laughing.   I’m thankful when our beach vacations fall during a full moon, because there aren’t many things prettier than that.   

And I'm thankful for you.....the people who take time to read my blog.  I know how precious time is.  It seems like no one has enough of it to do all the things that are screaming at us.  I don't take it lightly that you would use a piece of your day to drop by here.  I appreciate that more than you know.  I want to be uplifting and encouraging and, most of all, glorifying to the One who gave me everything I have.         
 No matter how big or small…“Every good and perfect gift comes from above…”

“Think of the great things He has done for you.”

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Monday, November 24, 2014

I Don't Like Days that Start at 4:30 A.M.

Well, we've had a long day. 

Blair had a little surgery this morning.  We were supposed to be at the hospital around 7:00-ish and the hospital is 90 minutes away, so, if you do the math.......well, let me just answer that for you and save you the trouble.....we had to leave way, way, way too early.  It's a good thing we got there when we did though, because they took her back immediately.......4 1/2 hours later.  Everything went well and now she's all doped up, sleeping soundly, and sentenced to a liquid Thanksgiving diet and limited talking for a few days.  Bless her.

Since that's all I've done today, I'll have to write about observations made at the hospital....a riveting subject for all of us, I'm sure, but it's all I've got today.   

1)  Hospitals run on their own time.  When you're there, you go by their watch.......and it runs slow.  Very, very slow.  Don't ever bother asking about how much longer it will be.  They don't know.   You're there until they say you can go, so you should just settle in.  I tried to help Blair pass the time and dispel any anxiety, so I appointed myself as her mood lightener, while we waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and
           waited.................................................and waited.....................................and waited........ 

and waited. 

(Totally off subject, but I never noticed how my nostrils
are two different sizes until I saw this.  That's disturbing.)     

2)  People lose all awareness of their surroundings when they're on their cell phones in a crowded room.  We heard all sorts of information being relayed in some seemingly oblivious, loud voices.  "Well, the doctor said the gallstones were huge, so she should feel a lot better.  She'll be sore for a few days, but he said she can do whatever she feels like doing", which really translates into "Tell everybody that Thanksgiving is back on now and to come on over Thursday, because she'll be up and cooking dinner for all 40 of us by then".  Then there was......."Aunt Betty, the doctor just came in and said that Bill's hernia was pretty bad, but they think they've got it patched up and he'll need to take it easy for a week or two", which translates into....Bill will be in the recliner until Valentine's Day, moaning every time he has to get up to get the remote.  I was praying there were no cases of a private nature in the room.  If there had been, we would've gotten all the details we wanted and so much more.       

3)  People have different ways of coping with stressful situations.....e.g. waiting for a loved one in a surgical waiting room.  Some laugh and joke.  Some talk loudly about their truck's suspension system.  Some play Sudoku.  Some pace while rattling their pocket change.  Some eat Cheez-Its and a large Coke.  And Davis.....he's a talker when he's nervous.  Talk. Talk. Talk. Talk. Talk.   I don't think he's talked that much since we got married....except when he had his nose surgery last spring and he talked like a parrot on speed.  Well, I get quiet when I'm stressed.  I just wanted there to be silence and so I was just about ready to either put him through the receptionist's plate glass window or ask the nurse if she had a pill cup full of "quiet medicine" that she could spare.    

4)  There, we all sat in a big room....each with our white bag titled "Patient's Belongings" stuffed with the shoes and clothes of those we love.  You know the ones with the "Name" and "Room No." blanks on the side.  Hospitals don't like clothing  They snatch them from you just as soon as you enter the doors.  "I'll take that and that.....oh, and that and don't think you're gonna get to keep that either."  I saw a couple of people, who could have really benefited from a little tighter pull on those shoestring bows on the backs of their gowns today.  The hospital is a miserable place for the modest.       

5)  It takes very special people to work in a hospital.  Having to maintain a comforting smile and a certain level of sympathy....all while dishing out a healthy dose of "there, there"......and not vomiting when other people vomit.....oh, and the relentless inclination to ask people if they're allergic to anything. all. day. long.  They're very admirable people, who can do that each and every day.  And those early morning hours they have to work!  It's just not for me on so many levels.......and all of you, my would-be patients, should be so grateful that I realized my shortcomings and chose a different path. 

6)  Then, they had this screen in this hospital's waiting area, where you found your loved one's case number and it gave constant updates on where they were in the whole process......holding area, surgery in progress, recovery, etc.  Everyone sat there, holding their little, green slips with their numbers on them......looking at the screen and charting the location and progression of their "number".  While it was a very efficient and informative system, it was a little too similar to tracking my Christmas packages from Amazon and  I could check where my riding boots and my daughter were from right there in my chair.

7)  Doctors talk fast.  And they use big words that they didn't teach over in your buildings at college.  Mix fast talking and words that are zooming over your head faster than the Blue Angels and you're forced to stop them and ask questions.  I find it's best to repeat back to them what you thought you heard them say and let them correct you if your interpretation is off.  Sometimes, I just want to say, "Look, that all sounds legit, but I need you to talk to me like I'm 4."                  

I'll cut this off here to 1) not bore you to death and 2) get myself on into bed, because waking up at 4:30 a.m. Central Time translates to half past the edge of doom in the Night Owl Time Zone.  I've literally been a zombie, who's been staring straight ahead all day. 

For the next week, I'll be making a lot of milkshakes and iced coffees and smoothies for the patient......and watching a nauseating number of those Hallmark Christmas movies that she loves.......and dispensing drugs and kisses and..........spending time with my girl.   

Thankful for good results today.

Happy Tuesday!!   


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Family Picture

I got to look at our Christmas card proofs yesterday. 

We had our family Christmas picture made last Sunday after church.  We have an awesome photographer, who is also a kind, kind friend, and he does a great job of making some of us look way better than we actually do in real life.  We usually just have the kids on our cards, so that our out of town friends can see how they've grown and changed.  Davis and I have grown and changed over the years, too, but in ways that aren't quite as picturesque and shouldn't be held onto anyone's refrigerator with a magnet.  Every ten years or so, we do break down and throw ourselves in the card to assure everyone that we're not dead.  This was that year.   

Oh, the family picture.  What a wonderful experience they always are.  For the mother, this can be a stressful event.  It's her responsibility to see to it that the picture is a success.  This clearly falls in the mother's column in that big lopsided chart of family responsibilities.  Haircuts, dry cleaning pickup, secure appointment time.  She must oversee and verify that everyone is groomed,wrinkle free, on time, and somewhat coordinated. 

Let me stop here and discuss the aforementioned lopsided family responsibilities list.  I'd like to talk to whoever decided.....Ok, here's how we're going to divide things up.....the mothers will bear the children, potty train them, document their lives with pictures, take them to the doctor, attend school meetings, wash the clothes, wipe the behinds, iron, remember birthdays, grocery shop, pack lunches, schedule appointments, clean up the vomit, buy the gifts, clean out the closets, fill out the baby books, cook, clean the toilets, run the carpool, maintain the master family calendar, plan the parties, decorate for holidays, address the Christmas cards, take the cupcakes to school, vacuum, organize the family gatherings, and oversee the Christmas picture.....if the fathers will just plunge the toilets, operate the jumper cables, bury the pets, shoot the intruders, and get the Christmas decorations down from the attic?  But I digress.  

Anyway, sons and daughters.....well, they're on both ends of the spectrum when it comes to pictures.  Girls usually love the idea of having their picture made and are meticulous about every preparatory detail.....especially the hair and makeup.  Just before our appointment time, it started raining.  Not just rain, but rain of Biblical the kind that causes animals to start pairing off and looking for a man with a long, white beard and a staff.  Anyway, sure enough, the humidity was being accused for Blair's hair "not doing right" as she grunted from in front of the bathroom mirror and, if you have girls, you know that nothing will cause a family to run late like a daughter's hair that isn't doing right.   

Meanwhile, sons aren't nearly as excited about picture day and have to be reminded to do the most basic hygienic tasks like bathing, tucking in their shirt, and wet combing that hair that's sticking up in the back.  As I recall, Carson let out a big, "Uuuuuuuuuugghh", while slowly walking to the car as if he'd prefer to go have several molars pulled if given the choice.  I mean, after all, he didn't want to hear about Blair's hair problems.....he had to brush his teeth.

Despite the setbacks, we made it to our appointment and everything went well.....with a couple of brief exceptions when one of the kids was asked to touch the other one on the shoulder or back.  You know how you have to do when you're having portraits done....touch each other in order to look connected and a family.  Yeah, I know they're 14 and 20, but touching your sister is still not something you want to do if it can be helped.  Ever.   

Here are some of the ones that we didn't choose as the card picture......well, for obvious reasons.  Carson's feelings about Blair's impromptu stunt to portray us as her lowly subjects are plainly spelled out across his face.
 We do look a little like Gladys and her Pips, I suppose.....or maybe like Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn orbiting the Sun.   
If you'd like to order our culled Christmas pictures in wallet sizes, a commemorative mug, or a 2015 wall calendar, just call and one of our representatives will be happy to assist you. Please be patient and stay on the line and the first available salesperson will be with you shortly.  And if you call in the next 15 minutes, we'll double your order and you just pay the shipping and handling.  All orders will be delivered in time for Christmas, so call now. 
At least, Davis and I are off the hook for a few years.  This ought to be enough to keep any speculations of our disappearance or passing at bay for a while. 
Happy Thursday to everybody!  We're sliding into the weekend!              



Sunday, November 16, 2014

You Lose Some

Well, my Mississippi State Bulldogs lost to Alabama this weekend and fell from their #1 throne.  They'd been sitting there for 4 weeks, so they'd gotten the seat all nice and warm for Florida State.  It was good to be there as long as we were.  It's kind of like back in high school......when the same people would win everything......year after year.  You always knew whose name they'd call before they even said it.   And then, one day, a fresh, new face finally won something......and, well, it was like a breath of fresh air.  That's how I felt about us when we were #1.  We're that average girl, who's not very well known and who's never really run with the big crowd or won any big titles, but, for 4 weeks, we were elected homecoming queen.  (Analogies have never been one of my strong points, but you get what I'm saying.)          

I've decided I'm going to have to stay off of social media on game days.  Fans of all teams temporarily lose their sanity on game day.  The rants and excuses and smack talk and hating on the referees and criticizing the players and unfriending rival fans and expressions of all manner of hatred for the other team.   As soon as a game is over, the funny pictures with clever, sparring captions start to roll down the feed.  You know the ones.  Then you have the "in your face" comments and the downright obnoxiousness.           

I'm always in awe of fans who are bold enough to be so openly haughty.  If there's one thing I've learned in my many years as a State fan, it's that you should just keep your mouth all times.  Win or lose......just hush.   You're not going to make any friends by flapping your lips and you'll make it a whole lot easier on yourself when your team loses.....because they all will. 

We don't play about football down here in the South.  We're dead serious about it.  We'll sit in the cold, rain, snow, heat, wind, and the direct sunlight.  We'll suffer sunburns, windburn, laryngitis, sleep deprivation, blisters, and temporary hearing loss.  We'll pay $4 for bottle water, $20 for a plastic poncho that's the thickness of a Wal-Mart bag, an arm and a leg for tickets, and $25 to park 15 miles from the stadium.  We'll wait in line just a couple of minutes shy of eternity, get our blood pressure clearly out of the healthy range, and get home way past our bedtimes.

Last night, I got to thinking about the pressure that we put on these kids to perform for us.  We rely on them to save face for us at the water cooler on Monday morning, win our bets, prove us right, exact our revenge, back up our claims, fulfill our football dreams, and maintain our bragging rights.  That's not too much to ask, is it?.  There's not much room for error or a bad day or much of anything less than perfection.  A kid can be the hero one week and carry the weight of blame for a loss the next.....and the disappointment of hundreds of thousands of fans....and the critical comments of commentators.....and the "experts" and the has beens who pick them apart in the post game show.....and the articles that spell out their weaknesses and mistakes....and the online chats full of second guessing. 

They're praised publicly.  They're criticized publicly.  That's a lot for a young person to handle.  That's a lot for anyone to handle.   
I don't think it would do for me to be a mother of one of those boys.  I'd hate to have to kill people around me at the game, who were talking about Carson.  That would be unfortunate on so many levels.

Yeah, I know we love our teams.  For most of us, we cheer for the team who represents the school where we received our degree.....where we learned to do whatever it is that we do.  Maybe it's the team that your daddy always liked or where your husband played ball or where your mother graduated.  Maybe you've just always liked them and have no real connections.  That's ok, too.  As long as you're not a bandwagon fan, it's all good.   

Whatever the reason and whoever you cheer for, I think we represent our schools best when we keep things in perspective and are respectful, reasonable, and cool headed.  I've been so proud of my team's fan base.  I think they've shown a whole lot of class in our wins and in our loss.  Maybe it's because we're first time visitors in this foreign land.....this place called the top 5.  We're just as pleased as punch to be here.......and maybe a wee bit dumbfounded.......and sort of blushing in the spotlight.    

State fans are just so proud of their boys.  Like on most teams, a lot of them have overcome tremendous obstacles in their personal lives to get where they are today.  There are stories that will make you cry your eyes out.  No matter the team, they put in an unbelievable amount of work and their fans' support should be a matter what.   

After all, they're just kids.  Someone's boy. 

And in light of cancer, hunger, grief, evil, abuse, poverty, unemployment, disease, people without Jesus and 1,000 other more important's just a game, people.

Hail State!  Win or Lose. 





Thursday, November 13, 2014

Underestimating Myself

Yesterday, I went shopping in search of a couple of new cold weather things because, all of a sudden, it's gone from a Mississippi fall to a New York winter down here.  You just never know in the South.  Next week, we'll have the air conditioners cranked back up- I bet you anything.   

There's nothing I hate more than trying on clothes.  Nothing.  Except maybe mayonnaise.......and Pap smears.......oh, and the hiccups.  I forgot about those.  But still.  I hate trying on clothes....especially in cold weather when you have on so many layers that have to be unpeeled.  I would just take them home to try on, but returning things is also on my hate list.

I made my rounds through the ladies' department as best I could.  Three acres of women's finery....all appearing to have no rhyme or reason to their placement.  Have you ever noticed how these department stores are always changing things around?  And they have these code names for their different sections?  It's kind of hard to figure out which section you need to be shopping in when they all have these vague names?  Today's Woman, New Direction, Woman's World, Young Dimensions.  What does all that mean? 

Sometimes, I just want to ask a saleslady...."Excuse me, but could you point me in the direction of the clothing that wouldn't be worn by a prostitute or a nursing home resident?"  Somewhere in between those is what I'm aiming for....

I think they just need to shoot straight with us.  They should just say, "Look....if you're over 40, had a couple of 8 lb. babies pass through your hips, who are now teenagers and get all the new clothes and all you're left with is a roll that hangs over the top of your jeans to represent each one, then you need to visit our Muffin Top Value section, where the clothes last for 12+ years until the little roll causers become gainfully employed and you can finally get yourself some more.  If you're over 75 and choose comfort above all else then you should shop in our I'm Over 75 and I'm Past Really Caring What You Think of My Elastic department.  If you're under 20, bosoms are perky, you eat whatever you want, and your stomach still sinks in when you lie on your back, then you need to visit our Everyone Hates You section.  Look....I know that's a lot to fit on a sign, but, at least, we'd know exactly where to go and bypass all those clothes that don't apply to us. 

Once you locate your area and find something you're interested in, then it's time to go see if they fit.  I've found that it's best to go ahead and take a couple of sizes with you because.....well, you just never know.  I saw a dress that I just loved and I grabbed a couple of them.  Since my triglyceride conscious weight loss has reached 7 lbs. now, I was all too confident that I could wear the smaller size, but you'd hate to finally get out of all those winter clothes and have to put them back on again to go back out and get the bigger size.  

So, there I go into the dressing room.  Since I was trying on a dress, I decided I could just leave the jeans and boots on and slip the dress over my head.  I was feeling optimistic, so I tried on the smaller size first.  But pride goeth before the fall.  You know there's that crucial moment in trying on clothes.......that moment when you have to get the article past your shoulders.  You can tell, in that moment, if it will fit or not, based on the ease with which it clears the shoulder area.  And that's when I heard it.  The sound of fabric and thread popping and textiles being stretched beyond their capabilities....almost a ripping sound.  You know the sound.  It's not a good sound.  I wrestled the dress on and pulled it down over my jeans, but it was clear that it wasn't going to work if I enjoy the respiration process. 

Is it just me or are the sizes getting smaller?  At the grocery store, the cereal boxes are slimmer and the cracker boxes are shorter.  I think the clothes people saw the food people were getting away with it, so they're trying their hand at it.  Yeah.  Surely, that's why it didn't fit.  Has to be.     

Anyway, I was so glad I'd brought the two sizes with me.  They look so much bigger on the hanger, you know?   Getting it on is only half the battle.  Getting it off can be the most unnerving part, especially when it's too snug.  There's that split second when you're trying to pull it off over your head and it gets hung up on your shoulders and I don't know what happens in that moment......maybe it's a little claustrophobia meets anger meets panic.  I don't know but, at that point, I gotta get out of it....and fast.  I started to feel hot and mad and trapped.  More thread snapping noises ensued until I was finally free.  Like a butterfly emerging from its cocoon.....only not near as pretty. 

I don't know about you, but I always feel a little resentment toward the tight fitting dress because of its audacity to be too small for me.  I know it's silly, but I sling it down on the little dressing room bench and then snatch it up and put the hanger back into it in a forceful, unloving way and then slam the hanger down onto the hook on the back of the door as hard as I can as if I'll teach it a lesson about being insufficient for my girth.  Stupid dress.

So, I left with my larger sized dress after finally locating "my section".....only after walking around half a day trying to decipher the hidden meaning departments and peeling off my winter layers and messing up what was a pretty good hair day with the static in my sweater.

I can't wait to go back. 

Happy Weekend, y'all! 





Tuesday, November 11, 2014

First Things First

I apologize for my absence for the last couple of days.  I'm sure I'm not much different from you......always having to make decisions about the use of my time.  Frankly, there's just not near enough of it to cover everything we, women, have to do.  I sat down today and made a list of all of the things that need to get done over the next few days but, as soon as I cross a couple of those time suckers off my list, there will be another dozen or two to take their place.  I feel like I'm playing a perpetual game of Whack-A-Mole.  Such is life, I suppose. 

We've all got those things that we have to do.  No matter how little time you have, you just can't skip over some things.  Like....we have to do laundry.  I mean......eventually, you come to that place where everything is dirty except your tacky Christmas party sweaters, some swim trunks, and maybe a couple of old prom dresses in the back of your daughter's closet....oh, and your wedding dress in that acid free box under the bed.....for whatever that's worth.  So, yeah......I'd have to put laundry on this list.  Then, you've got the kids' school work.  If they've got a project or test and they need supplies or help studying.....well, that's pretty matter what.  I mean....since one of the main goals that parents work towards is the day when the offspring will be financially independent and buy their own $30 lip liner and shirts with little horses on them, then you pretty much have to see that they finish the 7th grade.  Another fine example is dishwashing.  I just now started the dishwasher because, until it's finished running, we have only measuring cups and ladles from which to drink.  Yeah, it's come to that.  Other things that we can't fail to do would include, but are not limited to, grocery shopping, putting gas in the car, feeding the dog, paying bills, going to work, and buying toilet paper.  If you didn't do these things, calamity would ensue.  Dogs would die.  Mortgages would become delinquent.  Children would be taken into protective custody.  People would become stranded in the bathroom.             

Then, we have those gray areas.  These are things that we should do, but if we don't do them right this second.......well, they're not going to cause immediate, negative consequences.  There's calling your parents, cooking, reading your Bible, vacuuming, spending time with friends, blogging, picking up the dry cleaning, and unloading the dishwasher....just to name a few.  Unfortunately, we put some really important things into this category right alongside those that aren't.  Sometimes, those big things get shoved in there by, let's say, the absence of clean underwear anywhere in the house, working late, the onset of familial vomiting, and a two week deadline to prove or disprove a hypothesis using homemade compost, bean seeds, and large incandescent bulbs.      

Then, we have those things that you think about doing a lot, far as actually doing them.......well, they don't have a snowball's chance.  These usually surface when the junk drawer in the kitchen is so full that it won't close or when you open the pantry door and cans fall and roll everywhere.  You think, "I have GOT to get around to addressing this"....but you know you probably never will.  You just move the junk around until you can get that drawer to close and kick those cans right back into the pantry.  Uploading the Christmas pictures from two years ago to Snapfish, cleaning under the refrigerator, updating your address book, and organizing your Tupperware drawer also fall into this group of hopelessness.  Let's get real, people.  Things in this category won't ever get done unless you're put under a mandatory 30 day home quarantine or you're prescribed strict bed rest....and, unfortunately for me, you don't hear of many perimenopausal women being put on bed rest.  I hate that.  Anyway, it would take extreme circumstances to keep you home long enough to reach this far down on your "to do" list.

With the holidays coming, I'm going to be all sorts of busy.  Just like you.  The store will be busy.  Christmas decorating on the side to do.  Presents to buy.  Blogs to write.  People to visit.  Cards to address.  Food to cook.  Blair will be home.  Carson's basketball games.  Church programs.  Family gatherings.  Christmas pictures.  Gift wrapping.  Meals to plan.  Parties to attend.  Shopping to do.   

In all the noise and hustle, I want to keep things in their proper place this holiday season.  Somethings are so pressing and threatening that they practically get in our face and yell for our attention.  Other things are quiet and never make a fuss over being pushed aside.

It's in the quiet where we find what's really important.  Those things that don't demand to be heard.  They're our family and friends and strangers and children and the sick and lost and lonely and poor and unloved.....and the Baby in the manger.  And He sits quietly, in all the noise and busyness and need, hoping that we'll recognize what deserves our time......and what doesn't.

Happy Hump Day, my friends! 




Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Least of These

Carson and I had a date tonight.  We went out to eat Italian and almost killed a large cheese pizza and a pepperoni calzone between the two of us.  Don't judge.  I got him a hand dipped malt, but I refrained.  After we'd had our fill, we went to the store to get our boxes done for Operation Christmas Child.  It's one of our favorite things to do together.  This post isn't about us though. 
We look forward to getting the Samaritan's Purse catalog with the pictures of all the little kids with their Christmas boxes.  Most of them are dressed in old, stained clothes....sometimes, barefoot with primitive homes in the background.  Some of these kids live in perpetual war zones.  Where disease is spreading and killing their parents. Where terrorism flourishes.  Where food is scarce.  Where clean water is hard to come by.  But these little boxes put the biggest smiles on their faces.....maybe for a moment, helping them forget the poverty and challenges they face.           
I try to wrap my head around that kind of want.  I've been picking up things here and there for my own kids' Christmas for a month or two now.  The UPS man leaves a couple of packages at my door every week and I have them hidden all over the house.  I admit that they will get more than they should like most kids in America.  It's hard for us to comprehend that there are places in the world that aren't like here......where we, for the most part, have everything we need and a good portion of the things we want.
If you've never done one, you'd be amazed at how much you can fit in a shoe box!  Hot Wheel cars, markers, candy, bouncy balls, toothbrushes, stickers, stuffed toys, Play-Doh, socks, t-shirts, marbles.  We just can't imagine how a box full of dollar store items could make someone so happy.   
It's had me thinking how need seems to make us much more grateful.  Little things bring more joy when you don't have much.  You appreciate the significance of small things when you have little else to overshadow them.   
Maybe we've passed that point in this country.  There have been times in our nation's history when we were maybe more grateful for the things we had.  Times when things weren't handed out to us and didn't come as easily as they do now.  Times when we appreciated and held onto every little thing and recognized the value in them because there was no surplus.         

Now, we're so bloated with all of our stuff.  We throw away more than a lot of the world ever owns.   If we need it, we usually just go get it.  We swap presents at Christmas and have a hard time thinking of a gift that the other person doesn't already have.  We end up buying gifts just to buy a gift.  We're wallowing in all sorts of excess.  Our closets are full.  We have clothes with tags still hanging on them.  Our attics and basements and storage units are bulging at the seams.  Our garages hardly have room for our cars.

We've got our electronic devices that we can't live without.  We've got houses, big screen TVs, boats, industrial appliances, jewelry, granite countertops, 40 pairs of shoes, RVs, and way too much food to eat.  That kind of excess can't help but make us a little indifferent.  Do we really stop and appreciate all that we have?  Do we lose the eagerness to regularly thank God for it or has that gratitude been suffocated underneath our big piles of stuff?   Have we become like that kid whose stack of birthday gifts is so high that he doesn't really stop and appreciate any of it?      
The most important thing that Samaritan's Purse does is to place a book about Jesus in each box, which is written in that country's particular language.  The box may be just a temporary bright spot in these little lives that probably endure more than we can imagine, but what's in the book......well, that's something that's eternal.  Something that can give them lasting hope in the situations where they find themselves.  They may never have riches here in this life, but they can have the promised riches of knowing Him, which is way more valuable and longer lasting. 
Can you imagine how the parents' hearts would be open to the good news when their children have received joy from something that they could never provide for them?  The quickest way to a parent's heart is by loving their children.  I imagine that's no matter where you live or what language you speak.  Entire families are becoming Christians because of this ministry.       
Samaritan's Purse does so much more than the Christmas boxes.  Visit their website to see how you can use some of your excess to improve the lives of others and spread the love of God around the world.
         "......whatever you did for one of the least of these, my brethren, you did for me." 
Matthew 25:40
Happy Weekend, y'all!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Smelling Dead Goats and Holding the Purse

I've been reminded about all the transitions we have to make in parenting.  How our kids subtly move from one phase to another.  They're always eager to advance, but we, mothers, tend to drag our feet in moving along with the natural progression of things.  We like to get all comfy in one phase, prop our feet up on the ottoman and sit back and think, "I like it here" know, like that's where we'll always be.    

Well, Carson's basketball season is about to start, so he's been having long practices after school.  My neighbor and I have been taking turns picking the boys up and bringing them home.  Let me just say that when 9th grade boys have practiced basketball in an "un-air-conditioned" gym for over 3 hours, they do not make the most ideal car passengers. 

I remember back when Carson was small, he had that little kid smell when he'd get hot.  You know the smell.  It's the smell that fills a classroom full of little kids when they've just come back in from the playground on a warm April day.  The smell is so overpowering that it's almost a cloud of funk hanging in the air.  That smell of wet hair and young, sweaty skin.  That's a bad smell. 

This was different though.  This was a man smell.  The boys got in the car and the stench filled the air in every crevice of that Toyota.....all the way back to the optional 3rd row seating.  My eyes started to burn.  They smelled like two dead, bloated goats........that had been sitting out in the sun for a few days.  I had to crack the window to welcome in just a little bit of nontoxic least enough to dilute the funk.  "Hmmmm", I thought......"this is a new smell".   

Little kids smells and 9th grade smells.  Neither are a fragrance in which you'd want to purchase a candle or room spray, but it's a shock to a mother's system when the smell moves from one level to the next.  My baby boy should not be smelling like his Daddy yet.  To a mother, a boy should always smell like powder and Baby Magic lotion when she kisses him on the top of his head.          

Yesterday, Blair came home for a doctor's appointment.  Nothing serious.  She just had to see an ENT about a problem with one of her salivary glands.  Anyway, there she was in the chair with the doctor's hands all up in her mouth.  His big headlight was shining in there.  The nurse was filling a syringe with lidocaine and Blair's eyes grew wide as I saw them peeking at me from over the top of the doctor's head.  I smiled at her and cracked a joke or two to lighten the mood.     

I remember when she got her first shots at 6 weeks old.  I brought my mother along because the whole thing about inflicting pain on my new baby was just too horrible to face alone.  She held Blair, while I sat in the chair and wiped the tears as they welled up at the sound of her screams.  You're like that with the first one, you know.  The second one..... well, you just plop them up there on the table and say "there, there.....shake it off".   

Anyway.....Blair is never sick, so it's been a long time since we've been to a doctor's appointment together.  So yesterday, the doctor would ask Blair questions and I would start to know, like I did when she was 4.....and she kept trying to she knew more about her own mouth problem than me......her mother......who lives 90 miles away from her mouth now.  After a couple of  more questions that Blair seemed to know the answer to, I assumed my rightful place as a quiet bystander in the chair, who was needed for nothing more than to hold her purse and pay the receptionist. 

Somewhere along the way, it slowly happens.  Your little angels start to speak for themselves and smell like dead goats.  As much as I'd love for Carson to still carry the scent of Johnson's Baby Shampoo, it's just not going to happen.  And as much as I'd love to go back to the days when I could quiet Blair with Goldfish so I could talk to the doctor.......well, those days are gone, too. 

Life rocks on. 

Mama's just gotta rock on with it.           


Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Weekend Won

This weekend wore me out!

Halloween was fun.  We had LOTS of trick or treaters......some Duck Dynasty dudes, Mickey and Minnie, dinosaurs, Woody, those Frozen girls (I don't know their names), and several farm animals....pigs, cows, and whatnot.  Carson was going to pass out the candy, but that lasted about 3 doorbell rings and then he was over that. 

Our dog takes her job of alerting us that clowns and skeletons are at the door quite seriously, so Halloween is a stressful time for her.  All 190 times that the doorbell rang, she barked and growled and all the usual things that you'd expect from a dog, who sees a 4 ft. kitty cat and a grim reaper with a bloody scythe raised above his head, standing in the doorway.  You can only imagine how frightening it all must be for family guard dogs everywhere.    

At one point, I looked outside and saw all the cars lined up and down the street and I started to worry if our candy supply was going to hold out, so I texted Davis to pick up some more on his way home......... bringing our total candy bill to, I think, somewhere just under $4,000.

My cool neighbor must have also been worried about her stash too, as she jokingly texted and asked if candy quality supersedes quantity when passing out Halloween treats.  While I don't consider myself an expert on Halloween etiquette, I am of the opinion that you do consider the quality when determining the quantity.  I mean, if you're passing out that no name stuff that tastes like cough syrup, then you definitely have to beef up your allotments to make up for your cheapness. But if you're doling out the Fun Size Snickers and Kit Kats or Pop Rocks, I say you have license to drop just a piece or two in their matter how long they stand there and stare at you, hoping for more.
With Halloween over, I've been at the store ALL weekend putting up Christmas trees and bringing out the Christmas merchandise.  I know.  I know.  "It's too early!"  Not to worry......our center stage table is completely Thanksgiving themed.  We don't want it to be lost in the shuffle as is the tendency. 

Transitioning a store into the holiday mode has to be done when you're closed, because it makes such a mess......not unlike a complete ransacking.  By the time you get it all done though, you have such a sense of accomplishment.........and achiness......oh, and generalized throbbing.  Did I mention the throbbing?

Oh, and then there was that Mississippi State football game Saturday night!  We won, but it was too close for healthy blood pressure readings.  This being ranked #1 is so stressful.  Who knew?  We're usually far enough removed from #1 that there's not this much discomfort when watching a game.  We're just all so excited and proud and stressed out of our minds, all at once........oh, and short of breath.  Did I mention the shortness of breath?          

I haven't gotten used to this time change either.  As I write this, it's now 7:30 pm and it feels like it's a quarter 'til midnight.  It'll take me a couple of weeks to adjust to this.  The dog has already gone to bed and Davis has been yawning since 5:00.  You'd think we'd set our clocks back 4 hours by the way we're acting.      

Anyway,between the fall back thing and my hard labor, I'm exhausted.

I hope y'all have a great start to your week!

See you soon!