Thursday, March 16, 2023

New Dog, Old Dog, New Tricks

Well, I’ve had a lot of you ask about Otis and, since I’ve had a busy week and put off writing to the last minute, we’ll just make small talk. Otis is doing so good, but I’m not gonna lie- fostering a dog who’s had no rules, structure, or love is not for the fainthearted. He’s been a labor of love, for sure. Finding our groove with trust, routine, bonding, boundaries- it’s been like having a four-legged toddler on Red Bull. My weight loss is now up to five pounds and I’ve exceeded my step goal daily since he got here, so I choose to think of this as a step toward better health for Otis and me. If I didn’t have Otis here, I can assure you I’d be spending a lot more time in a chair somewhere. 

As you’d expect with any new dog, there are kinks to work out and, if the dog is from the streets, as is our specialty here, those kinks can be especially kinked. We’ve successfully worked through the incessant hound dog barking/howling that had started to give me flashbacks from Carson’s colic days. And we’re still working on walking on a leash properly. If Otis sees a squirrel, he’s very considerate to give you two options. You can let go of the leash or you, too, can chase the squirrel. I only wish there had been a camera rolling for proof when I did that impressive gymnastics sequence- front half twist with a flash kick and straddle roll in my front yard. If nothing else, I entertained the electricians, who were wiring the new house across the street at the time. And, lastly, we’ve had a good couple of days training on the wireless fence. With Otis’s roaming history, we had to find a balance between reasonable freedom and safety. Knock on wood- the fence concept seemed to completely click with him today. He’s a a quick learner. I mean, Otis didn’t escape capture for over four months by being a dummy. Here are a few new pictures from his gushing foster mom.
Love riding in the truck. Would love it more in the front seat. 

Happy boy. 

Wireless fence practice session #3. 

A deer dog’s favorite chew toy

We decided, while we’re working with Otis on the wireless fence, we’d teach Ruby, too, because she’s started getting a little careless about the road. Most people have their dogs highly trained to behave, perform on command, and be self-controlled, but that’s not the way things work here. We’ve never trained any of our dogs to do anything. They train us. So, when we put the collar on Ruby and led her around the flags marking the boundaries, she looked up at us like, “Are you being for real, right now? Because this is stupid.” She’s still not put the beeping and the flags together -much less what it all means. It’s true what they say- it really is hard to teach an old-ish dogs new tricks. 
“The only reason I’m even playing along with this nonsense is those treats in your pocket.”

It’s spring break around here which means absolutely nothing to us now that our kids are grown. I’ve been able to spend some time with my teacher friends which is always fun. Davis and I have taken on a couple of spring projects. We’re digging up our old landscaping and, by we, I mean Davis is digging and I’m sitting on the porch being supportive. We’re going to start with a clean slate and get a fresh start in the plant department. Tomorrow is supposed to be a nasty weather day, so we’ve decided to tackle the attic. I don’t know about y’all, but our attic is the catch-all. If we want it out of the way- put it in the attic. If it’s an item that’s out of season -put it in the attic. If we haven’t decided what we’re going to do with it- put it in the attic. If we don’t need it but don’t want to throw it away - put it in the attic. If it’s broken, but we plan to fix it- put it in the attic. If the kids left it here- put it in the attic. Well, the attic has become impassable and a hazard to all who enter. Tomorrow, we conquer it. 

I’m glad to feel coolness in the air again. The arrogant hot weather barged up in here in February like it owned the place with a new high of 86 set here. With all the time I’d been spending outdoors with Otis, I had a sunburn and mosquito bites on my ankles before March even got here and, I might add, the first local poisonous snake picture of the season was posted to Facebook before President’s Day. Too soon, my heat-loving friends. Y’all just need to back it up for a bit longer. 

Hope y’all have a great weekend! 

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Immeasurably More

When I was a little girl, my mother would get me involved in some of her holiday and special occasion preparations- especially in the kitchen. As you know, I grew up between two boys in a neighborhood full of boys and I’m certain she wanted to make sure I was adequately trained in more than just the rules of whiffle ball, the fine art of fishing with night crawlers, and the delicate skill of releasing a firecracker before explosion. All very important in their own right, though. 

When she was getting ready for a special day, she’d call me inside and find some job that would fit my skill level for my age at the time. If it was the Christmas season, she’d get me to roll her warm cocoon cookies in powdered sugar. If it was someone’s birthday, she might ask me to put the candles on the cake and maybe curl the ribbon on the gift. At Easter, she’d send me to find the placemats and napkins that looked the most like springtime and set the table with the knife blades facing the plate, of course. It was always my job to press the criss-cross into the top of the peanut butter cookies with a fork. I buttered many a brown and serve roll in my childhood, which usually cut into my comic paper reading after church. It fell to me to drop the dollop of mayo on top of many pear salads- a mind boggling concoction I still don’t get to this day. And when my skills were well developed, she’d let me crack the eggs for a cake and, later, I advanced to expert level- separating the egg whites.

At the time, I thought I was really helping her. When we sat down to Easter lunch with the spring placemats and neatly folded napkins or someone bit into a cookie coated with powdered sugar, I felt like I was part of my mother’s big plan for the celebration. I was amazed at what we’d done together- even though she’d done the real work. Of course, as I grew up, I realized my Mama didn’t need my help at all. As most would think of their mother, she’s the best cook I know. She was a home economics major and can cook circles around anybody with her high meringue peaks, rich gravies, and perfect consistency icings. She certainly didn’t need a little girl’s clumsy and unskilled efforts to help her achieve her holiday plan. With a little more maturity, I realized she was really just spending time with me and teaching me things that I couldn’t learn unless she brought me into the process. There are some things you just can’t learn without getting your hands down in it. When the work was done and we’d finally sit down to enjoy the end result, I saw the wonderful things that were possible from following her instructions and learning from her. She’d taken my tiny contribution and made it immeasurably more.

I feel like that’s a good analogy for how God involves us in His work. In a countless number of ways, we’ve likely all felt God tap us for an assignment. There are certain things we feel drawn to do and we’re just sure God is the one pulling us to act. A nudge to befriend a certain person. A gnawing feeling that we should intervene in a situation. An inner push to make a sacrificial gift of time or resources. A calling to serve in a specific capacity. A new idea to use a special skill in a different way. There are a million unique ways God calls us to take part in His plans. In the process of obeying, we spend time with Him and learn so much. While we work, we’ll also likely be reminded of some truths about Him that we’ve always known but have let the noise of everyday living dull our senses to them. 

I’ve not shared this on the blog, but, for the last 10 months, I’ve been serving on the Pastor Search Committee at my church. Last week was the busy culmination of all those months and I didn’t make it by here. On Sunday, our church voted to call the pastor we recommended and the confidential process of searching has come to a wonderful and God-glorifying end. Big exhale. In this process, I’ve had a front row seat to some of the amazing ways God can work to accomplish His will. It’s not always a direct path or a smooth one, but it always ends where He sees fit. He used seven imperfect people of different ages and threaded our varying perspectives, gifts, and personalities together to play a small part in bringing the man He’d already chosen to our church. God definitely didn’t need our help to accomplish His plan, but He certainly taught us a lot by involving us in the process. It will always be an experience I remember humbly as one of the most meaningful of my life. 

No matter how many times I’ve seen God weave circumstances together to achieve His purposes, it never fails to amaze me. There’s no greater sense of awe than in the moments when I can trace the obvious movement of His hand throughout a situation. But, when He chooses to invite me to clumsily and awkwardly work under His guidance and play a little part in His plan, it’s never anything short of mind-blowing and humbling. When I respond to those nudges and pulls and ideas and act on them, I’m like that little girl whose fumbling fingers are being used by the One who doesn’t need her help at all, but He’s teaching her and growing her while she’s getting her hands down in it. 

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” Ephesians 3:20 

Thanks be to God. 

Night, friends.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

The Dog Named Otis

In January, I wrote about a stray dog affectionately called Otis. If you missed the backstory of Otis, you can go back and read about him. Well, last week, a woman posted on a lost pet page that a dog had shown up at her friend’s house and she was trying to help her find its owner. Pam, one of the rescue group on Otis’s trail, saw the post and that’s where the rest of the story begins. 

The first sighting of Otis was about 4 months ago- at least, for us. It was assumed that he was a hunting dog and was abandoned in a parking lot near the place he was usually spotted. He’d been seen running toward random white trucks on a couple of occasions, so we wondered if his human may have driven a white truck. No one knew how he ended up there, really. It was all speculation. Whatever his story, Otis was out of place and had become a rambling man. A man on the run. In survival mode. On high alert. He let no one touch him or get anywhere close. He was always on the move. Solitaire was his game. 

But, he drew a lot of attention because of the paths he traveled. He liked a retail/restaurant section of town where he captured the eye of many-a-sympathetic woman who would stop and try to help. An accumulation of dog food bowls left for him grew quickly. Besides enjoying the food they left, Otis would accept none of their help. He was a proud man. He made regular appearances on the local lost pet pages like the sampling below. He was becoming a real local celebrity and was often referred to as “baby” in the posted pleas for help. Otis never appreciated being called baby online. It was bad for his image. He’s a man’s man, after all. 

My newfound rescue friend, Amber, contacted the homeowner where the latest post indicated Otis had recently started visiting and the lady gave her the address, the layout of her yard, and where we might be able to corner him. If you don’t remember, Amber was the one who reached out to me when I asked for help with this poor dog back in December. Anyway, each day, Otis was crossing a four lane highway and coming to this woman’s home because he’d taken a liking to her dog, Cornbread. Cornbread, pictured below, had been hanging out with Otis for about a week. While Otis wouldn’t come near the homeowner, he and Cornbread had formed their own little gang of sorts out in the yard. Their camaraderie would eventually be the key to capturing the elusive, wanted man, Otis. 
Cornbread, charged with harboring a fugitive.

So, last Friday, Amber asked me to bring some hot dogs and meet her in the Sam’s parking lot. Ok, so don’t breeze by this next part because I don’t want you to miss my contribution in all of this. I will even put it in bold print, so you don’t overlook it. I stopped at Dollar General on my way to meet Amber and I purchased a pack of chicken hot dogs. Amber had gotten some sleepy time pills from an animal medical person and our first goal was to get them into Otis to slow down those lightning reflexes of his. So, we pulled up at the lady’s house and he was there in the front yard looking at our car suspiciously. Amber stuffed the appropriate number of pills into a hot dog and threw it out the window. Otis ate it right up and we drove off to wait 30 minutes for the pills to start working their magic. 

Otis getting suspicious.

Consuming the laced hot dog. Too good to resist

We went back to the nearby Sam’s parking lot and Amber texted and asked the homeowner to bring Cornbread outside to help draw Otis into the fenced area. Cornbread was unaware that he was part of the setup or he would’ve never complied. After the 30 minutes were up, we headed that way. We quietly got a barrier out of the truck to cover a broken gate and crept quietly around the house. Otis spotted us and got nervous. He knew he’d seen us before. You could almost read his mind,“How did those meddling women find me all the way over here?” He ran behind their shed but, little did he know, the way he went in was now blocked and there was nowhere for him to go. He was cornered. 
Otis, confused as to why he was feeling so drowsy and exhausted from his months on the run, realized he was caught and sat down and surrendered without incident. The gig was over. And for the first time in, at least, four months, Otis felt the warmth of a loving touch. 

A drowsy Otis is taken into custody by Amber.

The homeowners, who reported the wanted man hiding out on their property, after the capture. 

We loaded Otis in the back seat of the truck and Amber sat next to him. The first stop for Otis would be to the vet. We’d noticed, weeks earlier, that he had a bad injury to his tail and there was really no telling what else. He stayed overnight after having a good work up, being neutered, and having his tail removed. The vet suspected he chewed it off after it became caught in something. What was left was so infected, she decided it was best to bob it. He’ll also have to be treated for heartworms in the coming months. Other than that and being underweight, Otis was pretty healthy and estimated to be 1-2 years old. 

Bloodshot-eyed Otis arriving at the animal hospital and wondering where it all went wrong.

Otis left the vet on Saturday and and checked into our inpatient Off the Streets program here. If anyone has experience in taking vagrant hounds and turning them into a semi-civilized canines, it would be Ruby’s adoptive parents. Here at the Happy Hound Halfway House, we specialize in hounds who have lost their way and need a fresh start. Davis and I plan to foster and love Otis for a few months until he’s done with his heart worm treatment. 
Otis sporting his new tail. It will be more attractive to the ladies when the fur grows back. Is there anything more southern than a couple of hounds lazing around on the front porch? 

Otis has really taken to Ruby. Although freshly neutered, he still tries to flirt with the ladies around the neighborhood. They say it takes a few weeks for the hormones to work their way out of the system which I’m sure is not surprising to any of us. None of the neighborhood girls have met his advances with kindness. Otis will soon learn that subdivision women are not like those women he met on the streets. They are looking for long term commitment. He has a lot to learn about becoming a proper southern gentleman in the coming weeks. 
Otis meets some of the more refined ladies

We’re currently working on being happy in our kennel at night and making progress. Night one and two involved howling for two hours before falling asleep. Last night- only 15 minutes of howling so we’re making progress. He’s sleeping 12 hours each night. I think it’s the first time he’s slept on anything soft in a while and he’s finally able to let his guard down enough to sleep soundly. We’d see him sleeping in the grass on the side of the road when he was homeless. After five months of solitude, it only took one day here before he was crying at night because he was separated from us. Dogs really do crave human companionship. 

We’re learning about the leash and we’re taking a lot of walks. A. Lot. Of. Walks. Otis is accustomed to walking all day, every day. I want him to be tired when he’s tucked in each night, so we’re keeping the road hot. I’m currently on the rescue hound weight loss program. Down two pounds since Saturday. This will certainly help Ruby to lose a few, too, which is needed. If anyone is interested in this program, contact me and I will loan Otis out and retrieve him when you’ve reached your desired weight. 
Otis and Ruby mole hunting

Goose hunting
and napping in the sun. 

Some may think it’s just a dog, but no one wants to see a living thing scared and suffering. Otis eats like he’ll never see food again and still startles easily but is learning to trust us more each day. The noises Otis had been used to- big trucks, car horns, and loud sirens have been replaced with kinder sounds here outside the city- birds singing, roosters crowing, geese honking. The once untouchable boy has taken a liking to affection and nuzzles us for pets. He’s reminded several times a day in a gentle voice that he’s a good, good boy. In time, large doses of love and tenderness will heal his little spirit. 

And now you know the rest of the story of the dog named Otis.

Otis would like to thank a few people who helped him along the way. He sees now that he only delayed good things for himself during those months of resistance. First of all, my animal loving friend, Betty, was the one who named him Otis long before his capture. She fed him when he was a stray and started referring to him as Otis. It stuck. He looks like an Otis. James and Pam made many trips from another town to set up their traps on several occasions. They tried so hard to catch him before the really cold weather arrived, but it didn’t happen. They’re professionals and help so many people trap their lost animals who are scared and run away from help. Tracie is another dog rescuer. She helped with feeding Otis and whatever else was needed from her. Teresa loaned her insulated dog house to the effort, so he’d have somewhere to escape the cold wind. My dog loving friend, Shelley, made a generous donation to Otis’s care. All the people who cared enough to post about him or pulled over and tried to help him to no avail. And last but not least, Amber, the rescuer. What a great gal! She took the ball and ran with it. She stuck with it and finally got that boy. Amber has done everything in her power to help make fostering Otis as easy as possible for Davis and me. I’m so glad Otis introduced us. 

Well, I have to get to bed, so I’ll be well-rested to walk, walk, walk tomorrow. 

Night, y’all. 


Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Expert Level Love

Well, I got over my bout with Covid and served out my sentence in solitary confinement. It was really like a bad head cold with fever, but I’m feeling back to normal now and have had a busy couple of weeks since then. Davis and I had a quiet Valentine’s Day celebration. Probably not our best Valentine effort in our 33 year history, but it was a hectic day. We picked up takeout and ate it right out of the plastic containers it came in while Ruby begged under the table. We chased it with some of the chocolate we’d exchanged earlier in the day. It was really all I wanted to do. Our anniversary is next week, so we’re going to step it up a notch (or 3) for that. 

I hope you all celebrated love yesterday. Whether it was romantic, friendship, family- there are a lot of places we can celebrate the existence of amore. Valentine’s Day has a lot of naysayers, but I’ll support any day that puts us in a spirit of expressing our love for each other. Valentine’s Day is kind of like Christmas- the two days of the year when the world seems a bit kinder and a little more outwardly focused. Goodness knows we could use more days like that. 

It’s easy to love the people in our circle. It’s easy for me to love Davis. He’s a gentle soul and loves me with everything he has. It’s no problem to love my kids. They love their Mama and have grown up to be such loving and thoughtful adults. I don’t have any trouble loving my mother and brothers. Nobody goes back as far in my life as they do and I know they love me with all their hearts. My friends are all easy to love. Friends are ours to choose and I have some really good picks. No doubt that I could call them in need and they’d come running. My church family. My extended family. Loving them is never a problem, because they’re wonderful and caring people. When I love all those people, it’s a natural response because of the love I’ve received from them. That’s the easy kind of love Jesus says even the worst people have no problem showing. 

There are things the Bible tells us that love is not. It’s not envious. Not proud. It is not arrogant or rude. Doesn’t insist on its own way. Not easily angered. Doesn’t keep a record of wrongdoing. It doesn’t delight in evil. It does no harm to a neighbor. Wow. Is there a more accurate description of the time we’re living in than the Bible’s list of what love isn’t? Arrogant, rude, proud, angry, insisting on it own way, keeping track of wrongs, celebrating evil, harming others. That’s our world in a nutshell and that’s where showing love can get tricky. 

The world has always been dark with hate, love’s antithesis. That’s nothing new. It’s just manifested itself in different ways in different times in history. One of the trademarks of this time we’re living in may be the way social media and technology have emphasized our differences, separated us, and emboldened our hostilities toward each other. As Christians, we’re called to be a stark and welcomed contrast to the darkness of hate. To be kind in the attack of rudeness. Patient in the swirl of anger. A voice of truth in the chaos of evil. To build up when others are tearing down. Those are the times when it’s hardest to love. When it’s not our first reaction. When it goes against our natural feelings. But, when it’s hardest is when love is most beautiful. Most like Jesus. Turning the other cheek. Going the second mile. Doing good to those who hurt us. Praying for enemies. That’s not usually my gut reaction. No, that’s not ever my gut reaction. But, it’s some of the hard stuff we’re expected to do that makes us different from the rest. If we can show that kind of love, we are loving like He loves all of us and I’ve got some work to do on that. 

Last week was the 9th birthday of Motherhood and Muffin Tops. At the beginning of this, I had two kids living at home- a middle schooler and a freshman in college. I was still cooking big suppers every night and filling out permission slips for school. I was 45 and had a lot more estrogen. We have a different dog than we did then. I was working and Davis hadn’t retired yet. Both of my in-laws were still living. A lot of changes can happen during a relatively short time. I just have to look back at pictures and posts from the early years to see what a little time can do. Not just to our appearances but to our situations in life. The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve grasped just how fast this life thing goes. We’re always waiting for this or that to happen before we start (fill in the blank.) Well, I say we all best get on with our living and our loving. I hope you’ll hobble along with me and my menopausal brain into year 10. Who knows where it might take us, but we’ll certainly try to have fun along the way. 

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for 9 wonderful years. You have blessed my life. 

Much love, 

One more thing- for some reason, I’m having trouble replying to comments left on the blog. Just know that I read them all and hope to get that issue fixed soon! 

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Mostly Cloudy With a 100% Chance of Afrin

Well, I’ve been home sick this week. I was supposed to go on a little day trip with a friend on Monday but woke up feeling bad. Later, I found out it was Covid, so I’m so glad I didn’t pop some Advil and power through like I was tempted to do. Anyway, who knows where I got it, but my bet is Buc-ee’s. We stopped on the way home from the mountains and I ran inside while Davis pumped gas. The people were shoulder to shoulder in there and, after a few minutes, I realized most of them were coughing. It was a little bizarre. You could almost see the germs buzzing in the air like houseflies. I could have put my drink back and left, but I was really in there to get one of those brisket sandwiches and I wasn’t leaving without it. There are some things worth a roll of the dice and, well, here we are, one incubation period later. Who knows. I could’ve picked it up anywhere but- yeah, I’m going to leave my money on Buc-ee’s. 

All things considered, I don’t have a lot to talk about this week. Unless you want to hear about the tribulations of breathing out of one nostril or my flirtations with Afrin addiction. Yes, they’re doing some fine work down there at the Afrin nose spray factory and I don’t think we recognize that enough. I could offer my reasons for recommending Puffs Plus Lotion over Kleenex Soothing Lotion. Ruby and I have taken a lot of naps. Then, we’d get up and look out the window across the foggy, dreary landscape and sigh. I did finish watching The Crown and just loved it. I may have to start it again. 

I don’t feel like I’m really missing anything by being on house arrest. I don’t know about where you live, but it’s been so overcast here. Wet, cloudy, cold. I can’t remember the last time I saw the sun. Now don’t get me wrong- I’m all about some cold, overcast days, but even I’ve reached my fill of the damp darkness. I’ll look back in mid-July when the sun has scorched the earth’s surface and think what a fool I was. Most of my friends have been longing for the warmth of the sun and longer stretches of daylight since October. This January did seem particularly gloomy and dark. I’ll give them that. The weatherman has used the sunshine graphic for tomorrow’s forecast. I’m surprised he even remembered where he kept it, but we’ll look forward to it becoming a reality. Take heart, warmth lovers, soon enough we’ll be sweating through our clothes, slapping mosquitos, and our legs sticking to the car seats. Won’t that be great fun? 

Just wanted to check in with you even though I didn’t have much to say. One of my resolutions for the new year was to post once a week. Such as it is, I hated to drop the ball this early. I hope y’all see some sunshine this weekend. Be careful out there. It’s an awfully germy time of year! 

Until next week-


Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Somewhere Between Dorothy and Aunt Bea

For the last five years, I’ve compiled all the pictures taken on my phone during each year and I’ve made one of those photo books from Snapfish. That can add up to a lot of pictures in a year’s time. Trips, birthdays, family gatherings, Ruby being adorable, or just someone who fell asleep on the couch with their mouth open wide. In this age when our cellphones are basically our only cameras, I’d gotten lax about having our pictures printed or even saved in some cases. I decided the photo book would be the easiest solution and then I’d print only the most special ones and file them away in our photo boxes for the children to deal with after I’m gone. You know, along with those plastic tubs filled with their childhood construction paper masterpieces. 

I was looking through our 2022 book that just came in and it got me thumbing through the other four books from the previous years. I’d been noticing it but there it was in print. The natural progression of my aging. Most noticeably, the way my eyelids have started to lose hope and give up in their fight against gravity. It seems like for some, especially those who are genetically inclined like myself, the eyelids just start lying down on the job at a certain age. Like drapes that puddle on the floor. As a result, I’ve started looking less alert and less chipper. Combine that with my naturally unwelcoming resting face and we have problem. To combat this lid thing, I’ve found myself trying to open my eyes wider in pictures so to not appear strung out on drugs. Sometimes, I overcompensate and end up looking like one of those wide-eyed killers on the news, so I’ve got to find a middle ground somewhere between drugs and murder. 

Another area of skin that seems to have a notable lack of determination to stay in the game is on the neck. It starts to become billowy as it pulls away from the chin and, in a few years, I can see how it could even flap in the wind given the right conditions. If you ever struggle with vanity, consider sitting down and placing your cell phone in your lap with the camera on and turned to selfie mode. Now, lean over and look down into the screen. Yeah. I know. Whoah! I’ll give you a minute. I discovered this antidote for pride, one day, when I accidentally took a picture of myself while trying to turn off my phone’s camera. Much like the rings of a tree trunk, you can count neck rings to see how old you are. Each ring represents 7 years. PSA- For this reason, when someone asks you to take a picture of their family on vacation or at church on Easter morning, you should always hold the camera up high- at least at head level- to allow their neck skin to stretch and smooth out as they look at the camera. Everyone looks much younger from up high. You’ll thank me. 

I came home from the mountains feeling sore all over. It doesn’t take much anymore. A misstep. A new activity. Sleeping in an awkward position. Yard work. A new pillow. An unfamiliar bed. A more strenuous walk than usual. Pretty much anything can lead to soreness nowadays. A couple of weeks ago, I suffered for days with a pulled abdominal muscle from a big sneeze. My feet creak and I have a knee that pops with almost every step. Put them both together and it sounds like a crackling fire only much less calming. My ankles are sore and stiff when I wake up in the morning and I walk like King Kong to the bathroom. I can’t get too far from my tweezers. I can’t read a thing without my glasses. I make grunting noises when I’m getting up off the floor. My brain is functioning at around 70% and I can never think of the word I’m trying to say. I’m 54 years old, rounding the corner to 55, and the signs of normal aging are everywhere. 

If you’re seeing evidence of getting older, take heart. At least, aging isn’t what it used to be. Y’all know I’m a classic TV fan and I recently saw an episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show that referenced Lou Grant’s age as being 50. Fifty? That got me curious, so I googled the ages of popular classic tv characters when their shows started and I think these will help us all feel better. The character of Aunt Bea was 58 years old in the first season. Edith Bunker was 47. Jed Clampett was 54. Grandpa Walton was 67. The Skipper was 43. Mr. Roper was 53. Columbo was 40. George Constanza was 31. Boss Hogg was 53. George Jefferson was 50. Howard Cunningham was 45. Ward Cleaver was 47. Miss Ellie Ewing was 63. Rose, Blanche, and Dorothy were early-50’s. Now, don’t we all feel better about ourselves? We needed that after counting our neck rings. I fall somewhere between Dorothy Zbornak and Aunt Bea, so I’m feeling pretty good about things now. 

I’ve never really minded birthdays or getting older. I’ve always been kind of proud of my collection of years. My collection may seem like child’s play to some and a massive, unattainable accumulation to others. There are a lot of good things I’ve noticed about aging. Years may take away the elasticity of skin, but it doesn’t leave us empty-handed. I’m more relaxed and much less stressed than in my younger days. Even though I’m not eager to try it, death isn’t as scary as it once seemed. Things I once thought were a really big deal, I realize are mostly foolishness. Now, when something happens in my physical life, I look for its spiritual significance. The qualities that impress me in people have really changed. I’m more content in that I can’t think of many material things I really want. I’m more deliberate about how I spend my time and want it to be used on something worthwhile. I’m more aware that everyone is grappling with something and deserves grace. I get Eleanor Roosevelt’s words now- “You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.” And I’ve experienced enough life to finally recognize a pattern that God’s got me and He’s got a plan.

So, yes, as the eyelids go, so the neck goes and we won’t mention what else goes, but I like to think we’re all blossoming inside. Getting more beautiful each day. Kinder eyes. Softer hearts. Calmer minds. Gentler tongues. More committed spirits. 

True beauty always starts on the inside. 

Have a great weekend, my friends! 


Thursday, January 19, 2023

Greetings From a Possible Crime Scene

Well, just a quick hello. We’re enjoying a relaxing week in the mountains with Blair and John Samuel. On our way, we picked up Blair at the end of her long week at market and met John Samuel up here in Blue Ridge, GA. Carson couldn’t make it due to the fact that he’s now a participant in the real world and hasn’t accumulated much vacation yet. We’re just enjoying each other’s company- eating, shopping, napping, hiking, and celebrating Davis’s birthday. 

As is the case with all of our mountain trips, I continue to bring up the rear in hiking. Davis and John Samuel lead the way with our hounds. Blair hangs back with me because that’s what daughters do, but I clearly remain the weak link. If there is one of us to be sacrificed for the greater good in a pursuit by a wild animal, I’m certain I’d be the obvious choice, so I’m trying to stay vigilant. I also used my first composting toilet along a trail today but vow to never repeat the experience as long as I live.

I enjoyed my short stint as line leader in the parking lot

How quickly the order changes when there are inclines involved. 

This afternoon, Ruby came to the door of our cabin with a bone that once belonged to a very large something. Not really paying attention, we thought it was the big bone we’d bought at the pet store and let her inside. Soon after, the room started to fill up with a smell. A terrible, awful smell. That’s when we realized it wasn’t the bone we’d bought at the store, but a large bone of unknown origin…that still reeked….from the backwoods of Georgia. We promptly got it back outside, sprayed the surfaces with disinfectant, and opened the doors for fresh air. Due to the sheer size of it, we’re unsure if Ruby has unearthed a crime scene or what, but we threw it back into the woods and will pretend we didn’t see a thing. Whatever it was, I continue to be intrigued (and horrified) by Ruby’s ability to find remnants of death wherever she goes. 

It’s always nice to get away and hang out with our adult children. We consider John Samuel ours, too. These two are so much fun and Carson has added his hilarious banter through calls and texts all week. This is the part they don’t tell you about in the books about raising kids. One day, when they’re all grown and moved away, they’ll start to seem less like children and more like friends. This is the crowning glory of parenthood. 

See y’all next week! 

Follow by Email!
Powered by Blogger.

Popular Posts

Blog Archive

Browse through all the blog posts over the years

view all