Thursday, November 30, 2017

Who's Watching You?

So, I ran in a bookstore, today, to look for a devotional book for one of our friends for Christmas. I'd been helping a customer with Christmas decorations and had some time to kill before my next appointment. I'm not sure if it was fatigue, the dreary, unChristmas-y weather, or just preoccupation with other stuff going on, but I was feeling kind of blah. You ever have those days? You ever just feel flat? Not really sad or mad, but just blah.

Anyway, I took my book to the checkout, where a very kind and cheerful lady met me at the register.  I spoke but, let's just say, I wasn't running at the peak of my cheerfulness potential. She asked my for my phone number and I gave it to her in a less than enthusiastic manner.   

Well, after she asked for my phone number and found my name in the system, she asked, "Aren't you the muffin top lady?"  Eeeeeek.  There I was feeling like I had on my grumpy pants and the sweet lady had recognized me as the writer of a "lighthearted and uplifting Christian blog". Dang it.    

Well, the moral of the story is that your Mama was right. You never know who's watching you. Of course, my Mama said that after someone informed her that they'd spotted me smoking a cigarette when I was 17. I've smoked one cigarette in my entire life....ONE.....and in the 1 minute and 20 second time span in which I held it between my two fingers and pretended to know what I was doing with the billowing carcinogen, someone spotted me in the passenger seat of my friend's car and called my mother. But, I digress. 

To the sweet lady at the bookstore, please, accept my apology for being less than engaging.  I looked for your name on my receipt but didn't see it. You inspired me. Thank you for your kind words. Sometimes, I feel like it doesn't matter if I post or not but you stirred up my waning desire to write in the midst of this frazzled and frenzied yet most holy time of year.  Quite possibly the most exhausting year of the 49 which I've spent to date.    

Now, let's talk about Thanksgiving.  If you were like me, you ate entirely too much. Like enough for 3 pilgrims and a couple of Indians. I'm trying to pace myself, though. I mean, I ran all those mailboxes for the wedding and, well, I don't want to undo it all it once. I'd prefer to spread the undoing over the course of the whole holiday season which has only just begun. So, easy now, Joni.

We had the usual house full of people with the usual spread. The dressing, the mashed potatoes, the caramel cake, and the coconut cake were some of the showstoppers. We invited our friend, Jim, who's from China, as he'd never indulged in the traditional American Thanksgiving dishes. He'd never even eaten turkey, which we explained was just an overgrown, dry chicken which somehow has become the obligatory mascot meat of the season.  He also told us that no one in China knows about baking and that cakes and such are always store bought. Well, I believe the women in Mississippi introduced him to a whole new level of cake.  He seemed pleased with his take home plate of this newfound thing called homemade desserts. 
Along with John Samuel's parents, we got the newlyweds moved, last weekend, too. If this keeps up, we may need to look into the rent to own program down at the U-Haul place. But, that's done and my list of work is getting whittled down, so now I've got to get our house decorated for Christmas. I counted and I've decorated about 14 trees so far, none of which are at our house. Last night, I did get so far as to launch the pumpkins off the front porch and into the woods next to us.  So, this weekend, I will decorate the house for the season.....or die trying.

Well, I just wanted to say hello.  Like me, I know you're busy with your shopping and cooking and planning and your celebrations of merriment.  Let's just meet up when we can and know that I'm praying that you won't lose your spirit of joy in all the holiday I did today.  It's so easy to get exhausted wanting to make everything perfect for our families.  We need to try and keep the Pinterest expectations in check and just bask in the light and hope that the Baby brought to us. The world tells us that other stuff is so much more pressing and so necessary. But, really, it's all just a distraction from that one holy night that changed our eternity.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend with your family and friends!

Thank you for stopping by.



Monday, November 13, 2017

Where's the Beef?

Well, open houses are behind me.  They were a success and I've now cleared the Christmas retail transformation hurdle.....but not without working many 11 and 12 hour days, which is way more than I prefer. Carson's basketball season has started. Concession stand duty, tomorrow night.  I can't go to bed until the uniform is finished washing and I can throw it in the dryer. I've missed a thousand Christmas choir practices, which will certainly doom me to chime in during a rest, at some point during the program, if I even attempt to participate. It's Carson's senior year and I'm helping with a lot of the senior class activities. Missed the last one. I've started helping Blair and John Samuel pack for another move on the day after Thanksgiving. I know what you're thinking....yes, we just moved her three months ago, but a new job means a relocation to another state. I've not visited my mother-in-law at her personal care home or helped my father-in-law out with meals in a while. I haven't talked much to my own Mama lately. She'd call but I didn't have a long time to talk or to get together with her. I need to check in with several of my friends. I've also got a growing list of sick and bereaved sitting next to my chair.....people who I need to reach out to since I've been chained to work for the last little while. I've missed some funerals that I really should have attended. I'm ashamed to say I've had to slip out of church after Sunday school for the last two weeks....not staying for the church service. I'll start helping a few customers with their Christmas decorations, this week. Because of Davis' mom's health, I've got a Thanksgiving dinner to get together for the weekend. I can't remember the last meal I cooked at home for my little family. We've been eating out of Styrofoam and paper wrappers for about three weeks now. And, everyday, Facebook reminds me of how my Muffin Top followers haven't heard from me in a while.     

I'm not trying to feed you a sob story because I'm sure your list looks something like mine, too. Maybe it has different names or different activities but the same amount of graffiti probably marks up your calendars. We always hear how we need to learn to say no but, that's just not an option with 90% of what we do as women.    

This time of year, especially, I start feeling like a piece of cheap sandwich meat. You know the kind that comes in the package with the red price sticker in the corner.....usually going for under a dollar a pack. Sure, the meat covers all corners of the bread, barely, but it's so thin that it really doesn't get the job done in making the sandwich.  Everybody gets a little bit but it's not enough for anybody. 

That's how I feel right now. I'm pressed out so thin that I'm feeling pretty skimpy and ineffective like a piece of transparent, processed turkey.    

I wish I had some deep and meaningful words to help us all feel more substantial and meatier to face our long lists of obligations and responsibilities. I wish I could come up with a solution for meeting these busy times of life with more effective coverage, but I'm honestly too tired to think of anything too profound right now. I just thought it might help you to know that, if you're feeling like you're barely covering all of your bread, you're not alone. I'm right there with you. We're just all trying to reach end to end and make it work for everybody because that's what mamas, daughters, wives, and girlfriends try to do.

Maybe if we allow God to fill us first, then we'll be better able to serve those around us and everyone will be more satisfied. 

Chew on that sandwich as you get back at it tomorrow!

Have a happy Tuesday! 



Monday, November 6, 2017

Where is Joni?

So, just checking in and letting you know that I'm still among the living.  It's Christmas open house season and, well, that should explain that. I've been working late into the night trying to get ready for those. One down and one to go, so next week should find me with much more time on my hands. 

Christmas open houses at florists/gift shops/boutiques are usually held the first couple of weekends in November and, in the South, it can be difficult trying to put people in the Christmas spirit as it's usually still pretty humid and warm.  Yesterday was no exception.....but, nothing that bumping the air way down and turning on some Bing Crosby can't fix.

So, my head is completely empty and my body is exhausted and therefore, unfortunately, I have no words to pen, but we did get wedding pictures back, last week, and so I'll sign off with some of those. If you're not interested, then you can go ahead and slip out now and I won't blame you the least little bit.  I'm like that grandmother coming at you with a wallet full of school pictures.....but I guess when you invest so much time and loving effort into something, well, you just want to share it. 

I look forward to having more time to hang out here soon.

Talk to you later!