Thursday, July 31, 2014

Treasures

Every time I open my closet, I see them there on the shelf......my collection of old Bibles.  Oh, they don't look like much, but they're not just any old Bibles.  They belonged to my Daddy and two of my grandparents who I've lost over the years.

I love to look through them.  I like to see which verses are highlighted and underlined.  I love to read the notes written in the margins and the papers that are pressed between their worn pages.  Grandmother's Bible has the plan of salvation paper clipped in the front and holds the church bulletin from Memorial Day weekend 2002, the last Sunday she ever attended church.  Granddaddy's Bible has a newspaper clipping of his 1932 high school football team that someone must have slipped him and a copy of the church covenant.  My Daddy's Bible has a list of qualities of a church leader tucked in the pages and some verses in the back written in his architectural lettering. 

Those people feel close to me when I hold their Bibles in my hands....maybe because these books were so dear to them.....maybe because the books spent so much time with people I loved.  You can see all the time in the cracked bindings and the faded gold lettering.   

In my mind, I go back and think about each of their lives.  I think about what those Bibles brought them through.  I can see each of those people in my mind with these books in their hands.

Granddaddy always read the Bible out loud to Grandmother every night in their bedroom.  Whenever we were there visiting, we'd be privileged to sit in and listen.  There's something quite sacred about hearing the Bible read in your aging grandparent's voice.  When he got Alzheimer's disease, Grandmother started reading to him.  I can still see them scooping up those Bibles on Sunday morning as they headed out to church with their offering envelopes peeking over the top of the pages.  When Grandmother died, Granddaddy went to live with my parents and each night, my Mama would take this very Bible off of his dresser and read it to him just like he'd read it to her when she was a little girl as their roles had reversed.  He had trouble remembering our names and what day of the week it was, but he still had God's word in his heart.  No disease could take that.

I can see my Daddy sitting on his bed every Saturday night with his Bible and commentaries spread out all over the place.  He was preparing his lesson for the men that he taught.  I have a picture of him one Easter morning with my baby boy in one arm and this Bible in the other.  When he became so sick with cancer, my mother would read that Bible to him every day and his faith in the words sustained him..... and her through his painful, terminal illness.  He knew the time he had left here was short and that his pain would be great until the end, but he also knew it was all temporary and there was something better beyond that.....something so wonderful.....something promised to him......something waiting for him. 
   

For the most part, these books are cracked, bent, and torn and the pages are dog-eared and puckered....nothing that would appeal to anyone really, but I wouldn't take a million dollars for them.  They are part of my spiritual heritage.  They represent the lives that invested themselves in my soul.  They represent an inheritance that was left to me that is worth far more than gold, houses, or land.  They represent the hope that I have that my loved ones are all right and that I'll see them again.  

These Bibles contain words that have comforted my family through grief, loss, sickness, separation, and sadness and I'm certain that there are pages that have absorbed some tears over the years.  These were the books that were used to teach the next generation what the one before had taught them and as time goes on, I'm sure I'll have more Bibles in my stack.  Each crack and bend represents the life, faith, and struggles of the one who held it.  These books are the anchors that held them steady when the winds and waves of life got rough.

What treasures they are! 

"We who have turned to Him can have great comfort knowing that He will do what He has promised.  This hope is a safe anchor for our souls.  It will never move." Hebrews 6:18-19

 


























 
  

 
 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

What's for Dinner?

I was just pondering the other day.....I don't think I tell y'all near enough about my prowess in the kitchen.  I mean I don't like to brag, but I turn out some pretty average dinners on a regular basis around here.  My repertoire is fairly predictable.  I'm a meat, potatoes, vegetables, and casserole kind of cook.  I don't cook things that I can't pronounce, foods that require any sort of French accent marks in their spelling, or dishes that call for ingredients that can't be found in your typical Mississippi grocery store......and there's probably nothing in my lineup that would be appropriate if, say, the Queen came home with us after church for Sunday lunch.  I'm just your basic kind of southern cook.

I'm sure you can all relate to the unending pressure of being the only thing standing between your family and starvation.  Every. Single. Day. They. Want. To. Eat. They get up in the morning wanting to know what we're having for supper.  They go to bed wanting to know what we're having the next night for supper.  And I think they've grown far too dependent on me for their next meal.  I mean if I am out of town or out for the evening and not around to cook, Davis will call or text me, "What are we supposed to eat?"   What does that mean......what are we supposed to eat?  I suppose it's like feeding the bears.....they just start coming around expecting it from you when they get hungry and eventually lose their ability to fend for themselves.      

Planning weekly menus and doing all the grocery shopping, well, that's hard work.  I was doing so good before school let out for summer break.  Before I would leave for the grocery store, I'd scour my recipe box, my cookbooks, and my Pinterest boards and decide which recipes I was going to prepare that week and I'd make out my list accordingly.  I'd head to the store with my list in hand and found that I spent less money that way and we ate out less because I'd planned ahead.  I was so together. 

But....then summer came around and the wheels fell right off of that bus.  Lately, I've been running in the store and grabbing a few packs of chicken and beef and then your basic cheeses, sour cream, pasta, cream of something soups, Ro-Tel tomatoes, rice, some frozen veggies, and a pack or two of onion soup mix for good measure.  No clue what I was going to do with all of that, but I figured any good southern cook could make something out of those staples and I'd just figure it out on a night to night basis.  That never works out well.  I'd come home from work and stare at the frozen chicken breasts that were as hard as the driveway, some pork chops that may or may not be defrosted by next Thursday if I had laid them out right then, and a couple of frozen roasts that could've served as bookends for a set of World Book Encyclopedias.  So......we'd end up taking the logical next step, "Ok, everybody in the car.....there's nothing to eat here."          
           
One night recently, I ran in the grocery store after work to grab something that I could make quickly for supper because we had to be somewhere in an hour.  I was tired of take out, so I was determined to find something that I could cook in a hurry.  Hmmm.  I had one hour to drive home, cook, eat, and get to where we were going.  I scanned the aisles and there it was.....something I never, ever stop to consider......the Hamburger Helper section.  Mind you, I have not cooked Hamburger Helper since I was a novice newlywed, but, on this particular day, it spoke to me, you know, like the stuff at Pier One does.  Maybe it was time to revisit this convenience food.    

It was almost like the Hamburger Helper was catching the light shining through the front windows of the small grocery store and that smiley faced white glove glistened and took on an almost angelic glow about it.  "Oh", I thought....."look at all of these flavors to choose from....4 shelves crammed full of mouth watering varieties".   I knew time was limited, so I couldn't go with any of the flavors that called for mixing the luscious cheese powder with milk and then pouring it over the finished product......too many steps.  No, I needed one that just required you to pour it all in the skillet and simmer, so I went with the Cheesy Italian Shells. Mmmmm.  The picture on the box did look scrumptious and I was feeling pretty cocky about my dinner idea all the way home as I'd also grabbed some garlic bread and salad.       

I browned my pound of ground beef and added the water, pasta, and all of the powdery goodness and waited.  Just like the box said, it was ready after simmering for just 20 minutes and I called everyone to the table.  We blessed the food and with our hour ticking down, we dug in.  I looked at my plate and that beautiful, rich, red, thick, tomato-ey sauce pictured on the glowing box in the store had taken on more the color and consistency of a Yoo-Hoo.  Mine didn't look near as tomato-ey as the box ......I mean, you know, being brown and all.  Definitely not a contender if the Queen scenario ever comes up.         
Soon after the Hamburger Helper incident and apparently in God's effort to keep my pride in check, we had taco night.  Taco night is always quick, easy, and doesn't require any defrosting.  It's a good "go to" meal.  Good, that is, unless the stock boy at your local grocery store is apparently the high school kickboxing champion.  I think nacho night may have been a more appropriate name for it, but they were still good.  I can almost see your mouths watering with all of these photos from my kitchen.   
If you started reading my blog in hopes of finding inspiring photos and ingenious recipes, you've probably come to the wrong place.  I do apologize for that.  I've resolved that with school starting back next week.......I'm going to get back into the swing with my menus and my shopping lists. 
 
If you have any tips or family favorites, do share! 
 
In the meantime, let me go feed the bears.  They're looking at me.         

 
   

Friday, July 25, 2014

My Favorite Five Friday

I've been so busy this week that I haven't really had a chance to sit down and write much, so I'm piecing together five of my favorite moments from this week.  I'm stopping at five strictly so that I can use an alliteration with "F"riday and if I don't hurry and post, I'll need to do six for "S"aturday, so here goes.  In no particular order, here are my favorite moments of the week......     

1)  Carson (bless his heart) has a lot of problems with allergies, eczema, and asthma and, a couple of days ago, he came home from basketball practice having some difficulties along those lines.  I told him to hop in the shower while I got his medicine and made his lunch and he looked up at me from where he was sitting and said with the most touching sincerity, "Mom, I'm lucky to have you, because you take such good care of me with all of my problems......I don't know what I'd do without you."  Coming from a 14 year old boy, I thought it was the sweetest thing ever uttered.  Mothering is not always a thankless job.  Be still, my heart. 
2)  We had my cousin Nancy's daughter, Jordan, come stay with us for a couple of days.  Jordan is close to Blair's age and they are really close.  A healthy amount of makeup and hair sessions, movies, time with all the cousins, eating, and shopping is always involved when she comes to visit.  Here they are striking a pose.....Blair in her new cat eye glasses and Jordan in the Betsy Johnsons that she found for herself.  Few of us will ever achieve this level of fashiondom.
Let me tell you about Jordan.  She was born with some physical limitations which require her to have some assistance with her daily tasks.  Jordan may not have all the independence that many girls her age have, but God never put a more joyful soul into anyone.  She is a bright spot wherever she goes!  It's impossible to be in her presence and not find yourself smiling and happy. 

Underneath the limits of her little body, she has done what many of us haven't......she has found her calling.....that big thing that God has gifted Jordan specifically to do for Him.  Jordan is an encourager......and she does it like nobody's business!  She tells us about kids at her school, who are lonely or have physical difficulties like her, and she tries to be an encouragement to them.  She always encourages Blair in whatever is going on her in life, too. 

Every time we're around her, I think about how God has a job for each and every one of us and He knows exactly who is best suited for each position.  There is no doubt that He allows people who need a lift to cross paths with Jordan, because He trusts that she will do something!  I want to be more like Jordan......to be aware of my calling and to be faithful to it.  No excuses. 
3)  Blair finished her online Chemistry II class this week and we were able to dispose of all of the remnants of our chemical stockpile, so never again will my dining table be used as the platform on which chemical experimentations are performed.  No more explanation is needed as to why this made my list. 

4)  Every evening, we go to the lake around the same time to do our walking.  We time it so that, by our last round, we are enjoying the sunset.  Every single night, God closes out the day with one last love note to us and He paints the sky with His fingers.   Some nights, He uses yellows, oranges, and blues and, sometimes, He paints with pinks and purples.  It's never the same....never......but always a gift.....and enough to make even me want to exercise.
5)  My mother took Carson and my nephew, Casey, to Buffalo Wild Wings for lunch one day this week.  It is a good grandmother, who voluntarily eats wings for lunch and has chicken meat between her teeth for the rest of the afternoon.  She has always taken her grandchildren out to do special things....either one on one or in pairs.  Concerts, pageants, lunch dates, movies......whatever she thinks they will enjoy.  It's just her way of making memories with them that they will have for the rest of their lives.  I'm so thankful for her.  She gives the gift of time more lavishly than anybody I know! 
Wow!  It's been a great week around here!  Hope yours was too! 

Let's get some rest this weekend, y'all! 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Take Your Daughters to Dinner Day

I went to dinner with a couple of old friends this past weekend.  And by old, I mean that I've known Debbie since high school and Julie since elementary school.  I won't do the math, but it's safe to say that we've been friends for a long, long time.  We brought our sweet daughters along with us except for one who had to work.  We all go to church together, but the time that we actually get to sit down and visit, without the organ playing in the background, is much less frequent than we'd like.  Seems like there's always dinner to cook, papers to grade, ballgames to go to, meetings to attend, and all of the other nine thousand roadblocks that keep friends from each other.   
It was a good night with our girls.  Don't tell them I said this, but I think they actually like hanging out with us.  We, moms, sat on one side of the table and our daughters on the other side.....each sitting directly across from their own mother.  I made the comment, as we gazed over at our young daughters, that it was just like we were looking in the mirror......to which I'm sure the girls were quietly gagging and thinking that from where they were sitting, "yeah, a funhouse mirror maybe". 
We remember what it was like to be their age..... having our whole lives ahead of us.  We remember the excitement of having decisions to make about our future. We remember those slender frames and gung ho metabolisms.........and having very few responsibilities with only ourselves to consider.  I know it's hard for them to believe, but we were there not very long ago. 
           
I thought about how quickly we let the years get by us.  We get married, get jobs, have bills and kids and responsibilities and before you know it.....you're on the other side of the table looking across at your nearly grown daughter whose face holds a resemblance to your former self......and you wonder how it happened so fast.

Before they turn around, they'll be on our side of the table with a caesarean scar, a mortgage, and a muffin top hanging over their stretchy pants, looking everywhere for the glasses that are on top of their heads, so they can read the menu........and their daughters will be asking for $30 and giggling at them because they don't know how to work the new iPhone 189S. 

And us?  Well, we'll be at home resting, watching the Wheel of Fortune, taking our Osteo Bi-flex, and wondering why they won't answer their phones.

Life happens fast, girls!  Seize the day! 












        







 




         

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Back to School Back Then

Well, I had to register Carson for school this past week.  I don't know about y'all, but we only have 17 more days until our school bell rings again.  I sat there in the cafeteria and filled out all of the paperwork involved with starting another school year.  You know the paperwork I'm talking about.  You fill out the blue sheet with the name, address, the infinite list of phone numbers, the social security number, the emergency contact information, the work addresses, and the list of every paternal and maternal relative, both living and deceased, and their Zodiac signs....blah, blah, blah....then you put all of that same information over on the orange sheet too, just in a different order, and again over on the three white sheets and the one green sheet.....and that's before you even get started with the medical information like....put a check by each of these 19,000 medical conditions that apply and the date on which they occurred.        

Anyway....all that to say.....as much as I hate it, it's time to start gathering things up for the big day.  The sale papers are full of specials on supplies and the stores are stocked with everything for back to school.  This time of year always makes me a little nostalgic for my elementary school days, so I decided to dedicate this "Sentimental Sunday" post to back to school supplies-70's style.

1)  The first essential selection you had to make was.....the lunchbox.

Oh, it was so exciting to shop for that perfect vessel in which you'd carry your food to school.  Your lunch box kind of defined who you were and set the tone or theme for all of your other school supplies.  It was the building block on which all other supply decisions were made.  You know, you had the racier kids pushing the envelope with the KISS or Bee Gees lunchboxes plastered with their long tongues, tight pants, and exposed chest hair....and then you had your middle of the road, Hardy Boys, Emergency, and Charley's Angels group.......and lastly, the more sheltered Holly Hobbie, Peanuts, Flintstones, and Kermit the Frog sector.  With my Muppet Show lunchbox being just like the one pictured above, I was a member of the last group casting a disparaging eye towards the Gene Simmons toting boys.

A few things I remember about those metal boxes....first of all, they sure did hurt when your friend hit you with theirs.  And no matter how much your mama washed them, they always smelled like what you'd brought in it two or three days before.  They started off so shiny and white on the inside, but by April, they were showing some rust.  And those Thermoses.....well, they held about three ounces and would leave you dry as a bone after your peanut butter sandwich and Doritos.  That little metal piece that held it into place never survived very long and you were left with a Thermos that was free to roll around in there as it wished.  Oh, the memories.
 
2)  Working off of your lunchbox selection, you'd need to find a complimenting book bag or book satchel as they were called back then.  It was always good for the two of these to work well with each other in regards to either color or theme.  These two basic pieces were the foundation for the look you were going for that whole year, so these choices were, oh, so important and not to be taken lightly.  My Minnie Mouse satchel was a beautiful piece and just like the one pictured except it had a yellow background, which really played well with the yellow handle and font of my Muppets lunchbox. 

3)  Was there ever any greater joy than selecting your notebooks and folders?  There were so many different directions you could go.  Pop culture, nature friends, cartoons.  Notebook selection was never a speedy process.  Each one had to be considered carefully and their merits weighed.  And how I always wanted a Trapper Keeper!  I was enamored with how it kept all of your vital documents so organized in such a concise and easy to manage compartment.  I never had one.  I suppose my mother felt they weren't worth the money or maybe that they'd likely tear up before the Christmas break.  Whatever the reason, I was left to covet my classmates' Trapper Keepers and somehow try and manage to keep my papers together without the help of the organizational wonder with its Velcro closure. 
4)  Pencil Cases and School Boxes - Pencil cases were optional and a bit redundant with the school boxes already in play, but some of my friends had them...some even with the magnetic closure.  I especially envied those who had the one that served the dual role of also housing your milk money.  Brilliant advancement in the world of pencil encasement.  

5)  Of course, you couldn't start to school without a fresh jar of paste and a new pair of scissors....unless your mom deemed last year's pair still in working order.  We didn't have those brightly colored handles with the cushioned finger holes that these kids have now.  No, we had the metal torture contraptions that left angry, red, inflamed rings around your thumb and finger until well after recess was over.  At least the lefties enjoyed somewhat of a cushioning layer.  As far as the paste was concerned, I was fond of its minty smell.  It was all fun and games until around February when you had to dig way down to the bottom of the jar to get a decent amount of paste for your Mom's doily valentine and, in the process, the white plastic applicator stick would get all bent over to one side.  From that day until school let out, pasting was a struggle.         
 

 

6) Everyone needed a calculator and if you were lucky enough, you had the Little Professor.  Calculators offered a lot of academic assistance, but a lot of questionable entertainment as well.  Invariably, the kid with the KISS lunchbox would show everyone how if you punched in the number 7734 and then turned the calculator upside down, it would spell out a bad word......hell....which is where I was convinced you were headed if you took part in such shenanigans.  Third grade troublemakers.
7)  School clothes.  You always had to go get a few new things to wear.  Over the summer, your pants had gotten too short and last year's shirt sleeves hit you above the wrist, so you'd head off to Sears and JC Penney for a long day of trying on new Toughskins and maybe some corduroy pieces with your mom tugging and pulling on everything to make sure you had enough growing room.  Mix in the paper grocery bag of clothes that your cousin just outgrew and maybe a couple of Simplicity patterns and you were set for the year. 
8) With our toes crammed down to the very end of our Keds and the rubber toe all scuffed up, we'd go to Mel-Mac Shoes where we had to be fitted for new tennis shoes and new loafers, so that all of our grade school clothing needs would be covered.  I never minded going to Mel-Macs though as we could always ride the horses while our mom browsed and the man checked for our size in the back.  I'm pretty sure I had the Buster Brown's in the middle and I definitely had these Nikes.....I was beyond cool. 
9) Before you could call yourself finished with your shopping, you needed to grab a few finishing touches......the icing on the cake, if you will.  No one could return to school with unraveling yarn hair ties or footies with missing pom poms. Those little details were what really made the difference and set you apart from the rest.
10)  Last but not least, a couple of days before school started, we'd go to the local IGA or Food Center and get a few lunchbox fillers.  Lunchbox food was strictly that......for lunchboxes only.  Snacking on it at home was strictly prohibited....."No, that's for your lunchboxes!"  It was a given that there would be a Little Debbie Oatmeal Crème Pie in our lunch almost everyday and here are a few other things I remember my mother sending in those fold over sandwich bags. 

  

Somehow, I don't think the school list that I'll be hauling into Office Depot over the next couple of weeks will give me the same warm fuzzies as this list, but it must be done and I will forge ahead bravely to tackle the task at hand.     

What do you remember about back to school shopping? 




Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggetty-Jig

Well, we got home late last night from Atlanta market and after a 10 1/2 hour good night's sleep, I feel like a new woman today.  Market is one of those things you just have to experience for yourself in order to fully grasp the weariness that it inflicts.  You walk and walk and walk and walk until you start to contemplate if gnawing off your feet would be the less painful alternative.

Blair and I charged in to tackle the monumental task of deciding what the trends were and which ones would be good sellers for the upcoming fall and Christmas seasons at the gift shop.  I won't use any names, but one of us wore basic, black sandals with a low Vibram wedge that cushioned her feet with each step.  The other one wore a high heel sandal encrusted with rhinestones as they looked so cute with her outfit.  The shoes were very sparkly and attention grabbing.  One of us received lots of compliments on her sparkly shoes, colorful dresses, and matching hats, but at the end of the day, one of us wished we were dead and the "oohs" and "aahhs" offered little, if any, comfort to her throbbing toes.  On the other hand, not one, single person noticed the other one's basic, black wedges with the Vibram sole or complimented her loose linen pants, for that matter, but her feet experienced only slight discomfort.  I suppose you just have to go with what's important to you and live with the consequences of your choices. 

We were leaving a showroom one morning and while I was looking down and busy stuffing an invoice into my bag, I ran slam into the glass storefront thinking it was the open door.  There's nothing like carrying children in your womb, irreversibly stretching your abdomen out three times its normal size, and then painfully expelling their large head ever so slowly through your narrow hips, only so that 19 years later, they can laugh at you and loudly announce, "Oh my word, Mom, that was so embarrassing!"  Thank you, Blair....I was unaware that it was embarrassing, so I appreciate you keeping me and those who might have missed it, abreast of the situation.

And again, not to name names here, but every night, one of us would crash onto the bed to rest up an aging back, arthritic neck, and throbbing calves for the next day's shopping, while one of us changed into exercise clothes and running shoes for her daily workout even though we'd already walked enough to have one of those 26.2 stickers on the back of our car.  Here again, we must live with the consequences of our choices....by buying elastic whenever we can. 

We shopped hard and we crashed hard, too.  Some of us sparkle even in our sleep. 
The boys went along on our little trip, too.  They usually watch some Braves baseball while we shop, but they were playing in Chicago while we were there.  They did watch the World Cup final in Centennial Olympic Park just outside our hotel, went to Six Flags, enjoyed the rooftop hotel pool, and the made to order omelets and pancakes each morning...."Just like at home", I'm sure they thought.
My dear, sweet mother was our house/dog sitter for us while we were gone.  There are a couple of things you need to know about her, not the least of which is the fact that she doesn't like dogs....or cats......or anything else covered with fur....or scales....or feathers.  Let's just suffice it to say that she is not an animal person.  She doesn't wish them harm....she just doesn't connect with them......or want to touch them.  Well, she was, of course, the obvious choice when it came time to choose a sitter for our Sugar, the grumpy dog who only likes the four people who live in her house and even shows her teeth to them when they walk too close to her food bowl.  It would be a match made in heaven.  "How could this not work?", I thought.

Well, Sugar is terribly afraid of thunderstorms and lo and behold, a thunderstorm blew up in the middle of the night while we were gone.  Sugar's options were bleak as she sought comfort.  My sweet mother got up and sat up with her, turning the tv on to help distract her from the storm noises.  Throwing a blanket on top of her from above was all of the comfort she could offer the creature whom she was attempting to comfort without actually touching it......but, at least, she tried.  I'm sure Sugar took note of her effort.

Another couple of things you need to know about my mother is her devotion to cleanliness (which is most likely the root of her animal detachment) and also her love of helping others.  Combine the two and you have yourself a humdinger of a house sitter.  When we got home and flung the door open last night, the house was spotless and everything was in place....like the Southern Living crew had just pulled their van out of our driveway from doing a shoot here. 

The rugs bore lines from the vacuum.  The throw pillows were perfectly arranged as if with a measuring tape and level.  The furniture was shiny and freshly polished.  The glass tabletop was glistening.  The clothes were washed and put away.  The refrigerator was organized and the clear shelving was clear again.....just like the week we moved in 9 years ago.  Oh, and even my drawers were organized......like my plastic wrap, aluminum foil, wax paper drawer.....all lined up like soldiers.  The toilets sparkled.  Fresh towels hung on the towel bars.  The smell of Pine-Sol hung in the air.  Even the food we'd left for her to eat was frozen into individual servings in the freezer.

The family stood behind me waiting to get in with their bags of dirty clothes and blankets and pillows and shoes and all manner of trash from the car.  I wanted to run them all out!  Go sleep in the car, you filthy people!  I wanted to enjoy the moment.....the splendor....the beauty.....the sterile, operating room environment.  "Hurry, Mom....move!" they whined as they pushed their way in behind me, dropping their bags onto my beautiful vacuum cleaner lines.

It was nice while it lasted.

My mother is a saint.  A saint, I tell you.  Not Saint Francis, but a saint, nonetheless.   

That was our trip in an ever so scant nutshell. 

It's nice to go and do, but there's nothing like laying your head on your own freshly changed pillowcase at the end of the day. 

Good to be back with y'all!                  


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Milestones

As of today, Motherhood and Muffin Tops is five months old and, coincidentally, just reached 100,000 pageviews a couple of days ago!  Even though I'm new to this blogging world, I'm having the best time here.  I'm so humbled that you would take a minute or two out of your busy day to come by and see what I have to say.  I hope that, every now and then, it's worth your time and effort.  Above all else, I want the things that I post to be uplifting and honor the One who gave me the love of writing.  Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your encouragement.  It has meant the world to me.     

I'm going to be busy for the next week and won't be posting.  Of much more eternal value than the pageviews, my church is having its 175th anniversary this weekend and I'm involved with the committee responsible for the floral arrangements for the weekend's festivities.  We are Baptists, after all, who firmly believe in the formation of committees.  To think that our church predates Lincoln's presidency by 20 years is just mind boggling to me.  May God be glorified there for another 175 years! 
  Photo by my choir friend, Debra Porter
 
As soon as I fulfill that floral duty on Saturday, I'm leaving for market to buy for the gift shop's fall/Christmas seasons.  Mix in Davis being out of town this week and my sweet in-laws being under the weather and needing a little extra help and you have yourself a busy week!   

I can't wait to get back to you though.  I'm sure I'll have a lot of topics to cover!       

And really........thank you again for reading.

See you soon!



Sunday, July 6, 2014

Rambling On

Well, I got Carson all packed and off to camp today.  I need to make a confession right here before we go any further.......I'm "that mother" who carefully irons all of their kid's clothes, rolls them into appropriate and matching combinations and then packs them in a neatly organized manner.  I know it's a control thing.  I admit that, but you know when your child or husband is away, you want them to look nice.......and match.  After all, contrary to Davis' belief, you cannot wear olive green shorts with a turquoise green shirt citing, "well, they're both green" as your reasoning. 
  
On Carson's recent trip to San Antonio, the chaperones were posting pictures of the kids on social media, so that we, parents, could see what they were doing each day and I was sitting here at home on my laptop like......"Oh my word.....what does he have on??.....I know that was NOT rolled up together!"

My mother was the queen of meticulous packing when we, kids, went on trips and I credit her for my inheritance of this disorder, OCP.  When my brothers and I would go to church camp or wherever, all the other kids would have their clothes folded and packed straight from the dryer's fluff setting....perfectly nice, but not us.  No, our mother had to take it to the next level with starch so heavy that our shorts crunched when we sat down.  Oh, and everything had creases......pants legs, shirt sleeves, pajamas.....everything.  I'm talking creases so sharp our pants legs were like ax blades.  We looked like the dry cleaner's children. 

The night before my trip, she would call me into my room, where she'd been working on my suitcase, for the briefing.  "Now your underwear is in this pocket and I put your toothpaste and toothbrush over here in this zipper."  And there was always the obligatory trash bag folded in there somewhere for our dirty clothes, into which we were always warned about putting anything wet or damp.  I confess I had a similar briefing with Carson last night on where everything was in his bag and emphasized how "we" should only wear clothes that are rolled up together, so I've done all I can do.  If he chooses to wear red and orange together this week, it is out of my hands now.  

We had a great 4th weekend, by the way.  Lots of food, family, water balloons, snowballs, watermelon, homemade ice cream, and explosives.  Here are most of the young'uns....who started out so festive in red, white, and blue, but by this time of night, there seemed to be a lot of green in the haggard crowd as if we were celebrating the birth of Saudi Arabia or Libya. Still.....they were patriotic at heart and having fun. 
And this is too cute not to share.  We also celebrated my sweet niece's birthday this weekend and since she got a princess dress and tea set as a gift, Blair officiated a tea party in her prom dress from the 11th grade.  Blair relishes any opportunity to dress up and be fancy.  It was a precious moment with the little princesses. 
   
Now, I sit here feeling full and guilty.  We went walking after supper tonight and then ran by the grocery store for a few items.  I've decided that grocery shopping after walking is not a good idea.  I feel hungry.....and entitled.  In addition to the items I went for, I also picked up the odd combination of Golden Grahams, fresh salsa, and Reduced Fat Oreos on a whim. They spoke to me.  I got home and had a bowl of Golden Grahams.....haven't had those in years and decided it was time to change that.  After that taste of sweetness, I decided I needed a little salty, so I broke out the Scoops and fresh salsa and chased that with a little orange juice.  I was still feeling a little twinge of hunger, so I topped it all off with a couple of Oreos and a glass of milk.  I hope that my tubes haven't come untied and Abraham and I aren't expecting.  No, I think I'm just a glutton.  Basically, I cancelled out all of my walking, but it was an enjoyable little bedtime snack indeed. 
 
That's all I've got tonight......as riveting and rambling as it was. 
 
Have a good Monday, y'all! 
 
 

  

Friday, July 4, 2014

I'm So Proud of Her

I'll admit it.....I'm pretty much a news junkie.  I think it's so important to stay informed but being apprised of all of the goings on can also have its downside, too.  Sometimes, it feels like I'm always hearing about the bad side of America and her people.  Story after story, I hear of hate, deceit, greed, violence, and every form of disregard for human life imaginable.  Child neglect.  Election irregularities.  Illicit affairs.  Fraudulent lawsuits.  Murder.  Molestation.  Drugs.  Corrupt politicians.  Discrimination.  Theft.  Cruelty.  Mass shootings.           

I know all of that exists, but I want to tell you about the America that I see every day. That America has been filling up sandbags and boarding up windows in North Carolina.  She's the family fostering a child who was abandoned and needed a home.  She's the large group of volunteers who gather to find a missing child.  She's the man who pays the bill for the car behind him in the drive through. She's the van, full of willing hands, that pulls into storm ravaged towns.  She's the prayer service that meets to lift up the name of a sick friend to the Great Physician.  She's the stranger who chases the purse snatcher.  She's the neighbor quietly mowing the widow's grass when she's not home.  She's the jar full of dollar bills on the counter at the gas station.  She's the car that stops to help change the old man's tire.  She's the little, white girl and the little, black girl who don't see color when they look into each other's face.

She's the one who turned in the money that she found. She's driving an elderly friend to the doctor.  She's the group of guys who volunteer to take the disabled hunting.  She's the doctor, nurse, and dentist spending their vacation in a hot, primitive tent helping patients halfway around the world.  She's the plane load of food and medical supplies flying over the oceans to desperate situations.  She's the group of children caroling outside the elderly couple's door.  She's the missionary, who left the comforts of home, burdened for people she's never met and who don't even speak her language.  She's the man who offers his seat on the subway. She's the fund set up at the bank for the family of the fallen police officer.  She's the one who pulls over for the hungry dog by the railroad tracks.  She's the guy who takes up time with the boy without a father.  She's the lady who gives one of her kidneys for the child of a friend.

She's the firefighter who ran up the same World Trade Center stairs that everyone was clamoring to come down.  She's a gym full of cots and warm food when the storm blows.  She can be found scooping green beans onto a lunch tray at the soup kitchen.  She's the disabled soldier who left his cover to save a comrade.  She's the volunteer who spends his Saturday working to build a home for a needy family.  She plays the piano for the patients at the nursing home.  She's the man who holds the door open a few extra seconds for the lady coming in behind him.  She's the one cooking a meal for her neighbor with cancer.  She can be found digging through bricks and twisted lumber, with his bare hands, hoping to find survivors.  She's the truck loaded with Christmas shoeboxes traveling dusty, remote trails lined with poor children.  Her name is on the bone marrow donor registry.  She's the stranger who stays with the wreck victim until help arrives.  She's the soldier who stoically guards the body of the Unknown Soldier no matter the conditions. 

She's the mother who takes out the trash and throws the baseball while her husband is deployed.  She's the table full of casseroles and pies delivered to the family in grief.  She's the man who dies trying to save a little girl from drowning.  She's the boy who stands up to the bully for his friend.  She's the scout leader who spends a lot of his weekends on a cot instead of a golf course.  She's the fish fry that benefits the sick, little boy.  She's the box full of canned goods at the school's food drive.  She's the man who builds a ramp for his disabled neighbor.  She's the present under the tree of a child who wouldn't have gotten one otherwise.  She's the underpaid teacher who stays late to help a student.  She's the rescuer who won't give up the search for a teenager missing in a flood.  She's the five dollars handed out the car window to a homeless man.  She is the soldier who bravely stepped onto the sands of Normandy with death all around him.  She's the childcare worker who died shielding a baby in her care. 

She's the PTA.  The petition.  The red kettle full of quarters and nickels.  The church with open doors on a cold night.  The blood donor.  The check written to Make a Wish.  The volunteer fireman.  The anonymous donation. The mentor.  The Eagle Scout.  The quilts made for patients on the cancer floor. The bake sale. The driver for Meals on Wheels.  The Sunday School teacher.  The family who takes a card from the Angel Tree.  The volunteer at the Fisher House.  The poll worker.  The care package sent to a soldier.                                      

That is the America I know.  That is who she is to me.

I'm so very proud to call her home.

God certainly shed His grace on her.

Happy Independence Day to you and yours!