Thursday, April 30, 2015

And We're Headed South. Again.

This morning at my favorite hour of crack-o-dawn thirty, Steve and I headed to the airport. Yup, we're headed south again, to that place in Orlando that we tend to visit. This trip's reason? Twofold - one, it's time for the Expedition Everest 5K, and the other is that it's KB's birthday. She and Molly will be flying down later this afternoon after work.

It's been a few months since I last flew, but absence has not made the heart grow fonder of flying. Nevertheless, I boarded the plane and around 90 minutes later we were pulling into the Orlando Airport.

We arrived early enough to have breakfast at KeKe's, one of Steve's new breakfast spots. He was planning to play golf with some friends after dropping me off at the resort. I figured I could go to a park and use some time to wait until our room was ready, but guess what - before we finished breakfast I got a text message that our room was ready!! This was at 10am in the morning!! So we stopped by Publix for some supplies and headed for the resort.

For the rest of the day, I unpacked our stuff, headed to the MK and Downtown Disney, and managed to get in a short nap (last night's sleep was practically nonexistent). Steve came home from golf and we decided to go eat dinner before picking up Molly and KB at the airport.

And then Molly texted and said they would be taking the next flight, because Southwest was looking for volunteers to give up their seats. And their reward for giving up their seats?  $462 in a Southwest voucher!  Yay!! Except for the fact that now they get in at 12:30am.

Oh well, I guess it's good training for the 5K. Which begins (yes I said BEGINS) at 10pm on Saturday night. Sleep is pretty overrated anyhow ...

Today is a gift because: safe, smoothish flight; room ready early; breakfast with Steve at KeKe's and sweet server; chatting with lady at MK Starbucks; getting tasks complete; dinner with Steve at the Lobster and another nice server; Molly and KB's SW luck

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Big Picture

Today I made the flip comment to someone about "seeing the big picture." As if that were really the goal in life. As if that would make a difference if we could really see "the big picture." Because if at any point in my life I could have seen "the big picture," I would probably go to bed and never get out.

Want to know the real BIG PICTURE? It's simply this - one day we're going to die and we'll be done with life on this Earth. Everything up to that point are the little pictures, the little episodes, the little vignettes that keep propelling us toward the big picture. For some reason, we think if we could see the big picture, then we would understand what we need to be and to do in order to get there. But that's not what the big picture is all about.

The big picture is the total of all that we've done, we presently do, and we will do until our end. There will be good things and bad things and happy times and sad times and things to regret and things to relish. But through it all, if we've done our best in the little pictures, in the little things that happen from day to day, then we can look forward to the big picture.

Because then, when we look back, we'll see all the blessings that we had. We'll see that we tried our best, we treated others fairly, we used our talents, and we shared the love of God.  In the end, there's really only One who can see the big picture. And if we listen closely to what He says to us, all our little pictures will make sense. And we can be assured that the big picture will be a beautiful one to view.

"In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."   Proverbs 3:6

Today is a gift because: helping Everley get ready for school; getting stuff ready to go out of town

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Anne Lamott

Several weeks back, I read this post by Anne Lamott. I printed it out so I could go back and reread as often as I wanted to. I decided to post it here, just in case you hadn't had the chance to read it. And just in case you were a little weary of my recent ranting and raving ...

Thanks Anne - your words are golden.

I am going to be 61 years old in 48 hours. Wow. I thought i was only forty-seven, but looking over the paperwork, I see that I was born in 1954. My inside self does not have an age, although can't help mentioning as an aside that it might have been useful had I not followed the Skin Care rules of the sixties, ie to get as much sun as possible, while slathered in baby oil. (My sober friend Paul O said, at eighty, that he felt like a young man who had something wrong with him.). Anyway, I thought I might take the opportunity to write down every single thing I know, as of today.

1. All truth is a paradox. Life is a precious unfathomably beautiful gift; and it is impossible here, on the incarnational side of things. It has been a very bad match for those of us who were born extremely sensitive. It is so hard and weird that we wonder if we are being punked. And it filled with heartbreaking sweetness and beauty, floods and babies and acne and Mozart, all swirled together.

2. Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.

3. There is almost nothing outside of you that will help in any kind of last way, unless you are waiting for an organ. You can't buy, achieve, or date it. This is the most horrible truth.

4. Everyone is screwed up, broken, clingy, and scared, even the people who seem to have it more or less together. They are much more like you than you would believe. So try not to compare your insides to their outsides. Also, you can't save, fix or rescue any of them, or get any of them sober. But radical self-care is quantum, and radiates out into the atmosphere, like a little fresh air. It is a huge gift to the world. When people respond by saying, "Well, isn't she full of herself," smile obliquely, like Mona Lisa, and make both of you a nice cup of tea.

5. Chocolate with 70% cacao is not actually a food. It's best use is as bait in snake traps.

6. Writing: shitty first drafts. Butt in chair. Just do it. You own everything that happened to you. You are going to feel like hell if you never write the stuff that is tugging on the sleeves in your heart--your stories, visions, memories, songs: your truth, your version of things, in your voice. That is really all you have to offer us, and it's why you were born

7. Publication and temporary creative successes are something you have to recover from. They kill as many people as not. They will hurt, damage and change you in ways you cannot imagine. The most degraded and sometimes nearly-evil men I have known were all writers who'd had bestsellers. Yet, it is also a miracle to get your work published (see #1.). Just try to bust yourself gently of the fantasy that publication will heal you, will fill the Swiss cheesey holes. It won't, it can't. But writing can. So can singing.

8. Families; hard, hard, hard, no matter how cherished and astonishing they may also be. (See #1 again.) At family gatherings where you suddenly feel homicidal or suicidal, remember that in half of all cases, it's a miracle that this annoying person even lived. Earth is Forgiveness School. You might as well start at the dinner table. That way, you can do this work in comfortable pants. When Blake said that we are here to learn to endure the beams of love, he knew that your family would be an intimate part of this, even as you want to run screaming for your cute little life. But that you are up to it. You can do it, Cinderellie. You will be amazed.

9. Food; try to do a little better.

10. Grace: Spiritual WD-40. Water wings. The mystery of grace is that God loves Dick Cheney and me exactly as much as He or She loves your grandchild. Go figure. The movement of grace is what changes us, heals us and our world. To summon grace, say, "Help!" And then buckle up. Grace won't look like Casper the Friendly Ghost; but the phone will ring, or the mail will come, and then against all odds, you will get your sense of humor about yourself back. Laughter really is carbonated holiness, even if you are sick of me saying it.

11. God; Goodnesss, Love energy, the Divine, a loving animating intelligence, the Cosmic Muffin. You will worship and serve something, so like St. Bob said, you gotta choose. You can play on our side, or Bill Maher's and Franklin Graham's. Emerson said that the happiest person on earth is the one who learns from nature the lessons of worship. So go outside a lot, and look up. My pastor says you can trap bees on the floor of a Mason jar without a lid, because they don't look up. If they did, they could fly to freedom.

11. Faith: Paul Tillich said the opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty. If I could say one thing to our little Tea Party friends, it would be this. Fundamentalism, in all its forms, is 90% of the reason the world is so terrifying. 3% is the existence of snakes. The love of our incredible dogs and cats is the closest most of us will come, on this side of eternity, to knowing the direct love of God; although cats can be so bitter, which is not the god part: the crazy Love is. Also, "Figure it out" is not a good slogan.

12. Jesus; Jesus would have even loved horrible, mealy-mouth self-obsessed you, as if you were the only person on earth. But He would hope that you would perhaps pull yourself together just the tiniest, tiniest bit--maybe have a little something to eat, and a nap.

13. Exercise: If you want to have a good life after you have grown a little less young, you must walk almost every day. There is no way around this. If you are in a wheelchair, you must do chair exercises. Every single doctor on earth will tell you this, so don't go by what I say.

14. Death; wow. So f-ing hard to bear, when the few people you cannot live without die. You will never get over these losses, and are not supposed to. We Christians like to think death is a major change of address, but in any case, the person will live fully again in your heart, at some point, and make you smile at the MOST inappropriate times. But their absence will also be a lifelong nightmare of homesickness for you. All truth is a paradox. Grief, friends, time and tears will heal you. Tears will bathe and baptize and hydrate you and the ground on which you walk. The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know.

I think that's it, everything I know. I wish I had shoe-horned in what E.L. Doctorow said about writing: "It's like driving at night with the headlights on. You can only see a little aways ahead of you, but you can make the whole journey that way." I love that, because it's true about everything we try. I wish I had slipped in what Ram Das said, that when all is said and done, we're just all walking each other home. Oh, well, another time. God bless you all good.

Today is a gift because: Everley time; getting caught up here and there

Monday, April 27, 2015

Losing the Fuzz

I know - another eaglet photo. It's almost as bad as the adorable kitten videos I used to post. But watching these guys has been addicting. I don't know what I'll do when they fly the nest!!

Anyhow, today I've really noticed how much they're growing. Their baby fuzz is growing out and their feathers are growing in. Every now and then one of them will extend their wings, getting ready for that day when they will extend them to fly. They still have a ways to go, but soon their wings will take on different colors and they will start to look like their parents. The babies are growing up. I know, another soliloquy about children growing up. You better believe it, because the older I get, it seems the quicker children are growing up. For instance ...

Lindley has several teeth loose.  She hasn't lost any yet, but she's getting there. When she loses them, she's going to look completely different. Not just because she's lost teeth, but because all of a sudden she's going to look older. Like she's growing up. Too fast, at least for me. It's hard to believe she's starting kindergarten, especially since it seems like yesterday she was just a little bald-headed baby with no teeth.

When we're little, it's easy to see the milestones that mark we're getting older. We get taller, we get smarter, we lose teeth, we get bigger clothes, and so on. When we become adults, the milestones aren't quite as apparent - at least until we really start to get older. We might lose our hair, or our teeth, or our ability to do certain things. But I have to wonder - what else are we (or should we) also be losing?

Shouldn't we lose some of our ideas that we formed earlier? If we had kids, we certainly had ideas about how to raise them - do we need to stick with them now that they're decades old? We certainly had our share of opinions about everything - do they still apply now that the world is changing, whether we want it to or not? Maybe we used to hide behind a cloak of privacy, afraid to say anything in fear of losing family or friends - as our time here gets shorter, is it time to shed that cloak and say what we think and feel?

I wish I knew the answer. All I can really say is that we're all growing. And maybe we all need to show growth. Maybe we all need to be shedding something, because we really just don't need it anymore. And maybe something better will come in its place.
Today is a gift because: providing Everley's school taxi service; Everley and Steve playing outside; a two-mile slow amble in the 'hood

Sunday, April 26, 2015

What Do You Believe?

It seems everyone has an opinion these days. And that's fine - as long as that opinion can be kept in perspective. On my current facebook feed, the current opinion has to do with religious beliefs. Again, that's fine - as long as people look at what they're believing.  Here's my issue ...

It seems that some people are perfectly confident about espousing their beliefs as to what should and shouldn't be regulated. Some people seem to think that others should be able not to serve some people, that some people shouldn't be able to marry other people, and that some people shouldn't be consuming what they want to consume - simply based on what the person opines.  And while I can respect your right (we do live in America) to believe what you want, I just have to wonder what you really believe.

Let's talk gay marriage. People say that it's against God's plan. It's a sin. It's this and that but mostly it should be illegal. My question is - why? I'm sure you can find in the Bible that man should not lie down with man (or something along those lines). And I've studied the background of that passage.  Frankly, there's a lot of sexual misconduct in the Bible. But if two consenting adults genuinely love each other, and want to be legally joined, where is the sin in that? If they want to have the same legal rights that Steve and I do, who is anybody to deny that to them? And frankly, there's a lot of different kinds of sex going on in the world - is there a list somewhere of what's okay and what's not? Are you trying to regulate sex or love, because that's a much broader topic to discuss.

Let's chat about sexual sin. In the Ten Commandments, I could not find one commandment about same-sex anything. But I do see one about adultery. Is it okay for an adulterer to get married? Why is it okay for a heterosexual couple to get married and have sex with anybody but not a same-sex couple who will remain faithful to each other forever?

Let's talk about sin. I personally live by something I was taught when I was a teenager. What is sin? It is anything that separates me from the fellowship of God. In other words, it's the first commandment - "You shall have no other gods before me." I believe this because anything can put me out of fellowship with God - if I allow it. And on another note, if I adhere to this theory of sin, then I don't have to find a list of sins. Sin can be anything from "don't murder" to "don't think such mean thoughts about that person."

The most recent "opinion" was something I read about Christians drinking alcohol. Basically the writer surmised that Christians should never drink - at all. Because it would demean their Christian influence. Just for the record, I do consume alcohol. I didn't growing up, and we didn't have it in our home. I didn't have my first drink until I was probably in my 40s. Now I rarely drink, and when I do, it's usually a fruity drink that's more fruity than alky. And sometimes when I have my fruity drink, I do pause and wonder if someone thinks less of me because I drink. And then I drink it all up.

I understand that a drunk is possibly not the best Christian witness. And I understand the havoc and destruction that alcohol can cause. As can cigarettes. As can hate. As can meanness. But I have to wonder if it's the sin that we're condemning or our own egos that we're building up. Are we trying to judge others or make ourselves better than others?

In the end, I'm left with the old WWJD (What Would Jesus Do for those of you not in the loop). What would Jesus do? We know he turned water into wine. We know he said, "Those of you without sin, throw the first stone."  We know he said, "Why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye but ignore the log that it in yours?" For me, the best I can do is to try to live by these word of Jesus, when someone came up and asked him about the greatest commandment.
Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” Mark 12:29-31.
I know, this whole post will probably make some people angry, and that's okay. In the end, we have to believe what our hearts tell us to believe. And in the end, I know I will still love you. I just hope in your heart you can love me, too.
Today is a gift because: Lindley time; Mathieu's safe flight back to school; Sam's safe travel back home

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Who Cares? You Do.

Because Mathieu is in school in Mississippi, he doesn't get home every weekend. But this weekend he snagged a flight and flew home this morning. Everley went with me to pick him up, and insisted that he sit in the back with her. To say she was thrilled to see him is an understatement, to say the least.

I guess that's the thing about dads - most of the time they are the best thing in the world to a child. Sure, if dad's in charge of packing for the kids for a trip, he'll probably send them to their room with a suitcase. And be nonplussed when, upon arriving at the vacation, the child opens the suitcase and finds three stuffed animals, 6948 legos, a swimsuit that was too small last year, a princess dress, a pair of pants that has never matched anything, and three dirty socks.

It's not that dads don't care - they just care differently. When a mom packs for a vacation, she packs enough clothes for each day, plus two spare sets of clothes, plus checks the forecast to see if raingear is needed, plus packs any and all medications that might be needed, plus packs a first aid kit to handle any medical emergency, and then wonders the night before leaving if she's left out anything. Moms care, too - they just care differently.

And therein lies the important lesson - children can never have enough people who care about them. In fact, they should never know a moment when they feel nobody cares about them (and they will - just ask a teenager). There should be people who care what they pack, who care if they're sick, who care if they're sad - who care, period. It doesn't matter if it's mom or dad - as long as somebody's on care patrol every moment of the day (for nightmares).

Because in the end, that's the most important lesson we can teach our children - to care about somebody else. And the best way we can teach them is by example - to care as much as we can every moment that we can. It's a lesson that can be taught, but is best learned as it goes from our hearts to theirs.
Today is a gift because: Everley's joy when picking up Mathieu at the airport; brunch with Lynnette, Lindley, and Molly at Puffy Muffin; Steve's "closest to the pin" prize at his golf outing; Steve's burgers on the grill for dinner

Friday, April 24, 2015

Play Ball!!

Nashville's minor league baseball team, the Nashville Sounds, have a new ballpark this year. After years of playing in their rundown stadium, they opened the season last week in their nice new home. Steve and I bought four season tickets. Although the old stadium was closer to our house, we are looking forward to watching games at the new place which is close to downtown and Sam and Lynnette's house.

Steve was out of town for opening day, so we gave our tickets away. But tonight we would get to see the new digs. Everley and Lindley were spending the night, so we decided to take them with us. And so we did ...

Step 1 - Cookies and Cream Dippin Dots

Step 2 - Rainbow Dippin Dots

Step 3 - Potty - for the one in diapers.
Who went in by herself
because she needed privacy.
Success ensued.

Step 4 - photo op with Rocket the Rooster.
Who I had misnamed Hot Chicken.

Step 5 - running in the grass for 30 minutes after two innings.
Which was more fun than watching the game.
Maribeth came to get the girls after Step 5 to take them home so they would be happier and Steve and I could watch a few more innings. The best part of the night? Once Maribeth had pulled up on the street in front of the ticket gate, I went with Lindley and Everley to her van. Lindley jumped in the van first, which was NOT okay with Everley, who decided to start screaming her objections and lie down in the floor of the van. Which did not thrill the van who was patiently (at first) waiting behind Maribeth. So I picked up Everley, walked to the other side of the van, and put Everley in her car seat, still screaming. So, some lady it putting a screaming child into a van at night? Sketchy??

And no, I was not arrested. And the Sounds won 8-1. And Everley and Lindley eventually made it home. A great night for all!!
Today is a gift because: Lindley and Everley time; Sounds stadium and ballgame with Steve, Lindley, and Everley; seeing the Simmons family at the game

Thursday, April 23, 2015

TBT - Thank Goodness!!

For today's creative activity, you may imagine what each of my adorable children is thinking in this adorable photo:

Sort of mind-boggling, isn't it?
Today is a gift because: Taking Everley to school; Lindley and Everley sleepover

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Sssh! What's That I Hear?

That would be nothing. In other words, the coughing plague of March 2015 is over!!

It's amazing how happy not hacking every 5 seconds makes me. It's amazing not having to live off Halls and Mucinex and whatever else is available in my meds arsenal. It's amazing not to have sore ribs from the atomic coughing fits of which I am capable. It's amazing not to have to sleep sitting up so that cough-making mucus will keep going down my throat and not activate my cough maker. Did I mention it's amazing?  Anyhow, the point is to enjoy this time of health. The foliage is blooming and my car is covered in pollen, so who knows when my respiratory system will revolt again.

Nevertheless, I have learned a few things during Coughpalooza 2015:

1. Honey as a remedy was not a good idea. After sharing my experience, I did field queries as to what honey I used, how much, when I tried it, and how I used it. I answered none of these questions because I couldn't remember any answers. But the thought of eating honey still makes me retch.

2. Finding the correct OTC meds are crucial, even if it involves going to an actual medical place. Just pay attention to the computer ipad thingy when you sign in.

3. Cough farting is common. I googled it. Dr. Google is my physician of choice, anyway.

4. It's true, that you don't realize what you had until you no longer have it. Or maybe it's you don't realize what you didn't have until you no longer have what you had. Anyhoo, I was thinking along the lines of an uninterrupted night of sleep, a non-scratchy throat, cough drop wrappings scattered all over the place, pseudo-coughing where you think you have to cough but don't really have cough volume so you sort of do a weak cough that irritating because it accomplished absolutely nothing, and trying to find a clean medicine measurer to measure meds because they're all used and in the sink.

Anyhow, the cough is over and I think I'll go to bed. And sleep the sleep of non-coughers!!
Today is a gift because:  Taking Everley to school; getting one thing accomplished

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


Yup, I quit Weight Watchers. Again. Even though I had high hopes this time, it just didn't work out. Again.  So, in recognition of my being a quitter (again), I will now field questions from the audience:

1. Why did you quit?   Because I was not a good point person. The theory behind WW is that every piece of food has a point value. A person has a certain number of points per day. Once you are out of points, no more food for you! Sure, I could keep up with the points, but it's hard to get through the day when all your points are gone by 10am. Because (a) you can't add and subtract, or (b) you live in the world of point denial

2. But haven't you had success with WW?   Yup I did. So?  I also once weighed 120 pounds. What was ain't is no more.  Yeah, chew on that (or at least try to figure it out).

3. So now what's your plan?   To lose weight. By being smart. We'll see how that works out for me.

4. Any last remarks?   Nope. Just stay tuned. One day I'll announce my weight and we'll all rejoice. Because while I'm not so good counting points, I'm great at rejoicing!!!
Today is a gift because:  couple of slow miles in the 'hood

Monday, April 20, 2015

Watching Not Running But Caring

Today I watched two hours of the Boston Marathon, thanks to Lynnette reminding me it was on. I had forgotten and didn't see the start, but tuned in after the men had started (which is around 30 minutes after the women started). Of course I was pulling for the American entrants - Meb (who won the race last year) and Ritzenheimer, and the women Shalane and Desi.

It was quite an exciting race. For the women, Desi and Shalane stayed with the lead pack for awhile. Shalane fell back but Desi continued in the lead. Finally, Desi fell back and it was down to the top three women.  Then it was down to two women. The woman who had held the lead stayed there until the last turn, when the other woman surged ahead and won. Technically Caroline Rotich won by .04 of a second, but that's all that counts. 

Meb and Ritzenheimer stayed with the lead group until the last mile or so, when Lelisa Desisa surged ahead and won. By .3 of a second. He was also the winner two years ago when the bombing occurred and he gave his medal back to the city, where it is displayed. 

I doubt I will ever run the Boston Marathon. Based on the qualifying times, I'm pretty sure I will never run it. Or wog it. Or crawl it. I'm guessing that the closest I'll ever get to it will be to watch it on the computer. But even though I'll probably never compete, it doesn't make it any less memorable for me.

This year I watched as Tatyana McFadden won the women's wheelchair division, She raced in honor of Martin Richard, an eight-year-old who was killed in the bombings. Martin's dad presented her with her winner's gold wreath, which she gave back to the family.

I watched as the runners ran past the "Scream Tunnel," a section of the course where students and faculty at Wellesley College are out in force to cheer the runners on. 

And I read the news report about the last runner who took 20 hours to finish the course. Mackiel Melamed from Venezuela has a muscular condition that makes walking difficult. But he finished all 26.2 miles.

Maybe all this is part of what makes me do these races. I get it - the starting, the cheering, the continuing, and the finishing. It's not always pretty (nor fast), but with each runner, there's a story. A story worth telling and hearing. There were a lot of winners today. Some got trophies and accolades and some finished and received their medals quietly. But because I know a little of what they went through, I am in awe of them all.

Nope, I will probably never complete (or probably ever enter) the Boston Marathon. But I'll always watch and care about everyone who does.
Today is a gift because: taking Everley to school; watching the Boston Marathon on the computer; 

Sunday, April 19, 2015


Awhile back, I was in charge of getting the drinks for Lindley's "Frozen" birthday party. The Pinterest page that we were (sorta) following listed various drink mixes. I promptly went to the store and grabbed this container of Kool-Aid mix.  It was the exact color of blue to match Elsa's (and Lindley's) dress. Perfect, right?

Whoa Nellie - or Anna and Elsa. When I began to squirt the liquid into the pitcher of water, guess what color came out? Red!  I probably should have read that this container was full of Fruit Punch, which of course would be red. And I probably should have noticed the cherry on the front, which was again, red. But no, I saw blue and grabbed it. The first impression of the packaging had nothing to do with what was inside.

And so it is with people. I regularly read a few blogs written by women and their weight-loss journeys. All are experiencing varying degrees of success. But lately they have been exploring the idea of first finding satisfaction with who they really are inside before tackling the weight issues. Because they know they have to have a contentment within before all else.

I've been skinny and fat and everything in between. And I've noticed and experienced how people meet and treat people of varying sizes. People who are fit and pretty have more people initiate conversation than those who are not. People are preliminarily judged by what's on the outside without delving a little deeper to see what's on the inside. And most of the time, the inside is the best part.

We didn't use the Tropical Punch mix at the party. But since then, I've used it quite often. And I've enjoyed it and its red color. And maybe I'll remember this the next time I encounter someone who's out of shape or skinny or dirty or talking to himself or asking for a handout. Because there's always more than what I'm seeing on the outside. I just need to stop and take the time to find it out.
Today is a gift because: Steve's safe travel home from GDizzle's; Marilyn and friends' safe travels back to their respective homes; lovely afternoon nap

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Shopping Tips

When going shopping, it's important to remember the essentials:

1. Always carry a fashionable purse (pocketbook for you Southerners). It's handy for money, chapstick, and crayons.

2. Don't forget colored paper. And scissors. Because you never know when you might have to practice your cutting skills.

3. Wear your princess shirt. And boots. Because being cute automatically negates any potential "no's" you might encounter.

4. And finally, ALWAYS, ALWAYS take along a LaLa and Aunt Moo. Their resistance goes quickly and pretty soon you can fill the cart full of good stuff!!
Today is a gift because: Everley and Molly Target time

Friday, April 17, 2015

Get Away From The Edge!!

So maybe I've been spending a little too much time lately watching the eaglets in their nest.  But they amaze me and keep me entertained. They're growing and it's fascinating - to me, anyway.

As they are growing and getting bigger, they are also getting more active and mobile. And sometimes they are getting awfully close to the edge of their nest.

It seems that Mama Eagle and Daddy Eagle have built a pretty good barrier on the edges of the nest. And I guess they've had the talk with the eaglets about not getting too close to the edge. But whenever I tune in, I always fight the urge to yell, "GET AWAY FROM THE EDGE!!" whenever I think they're too close. And I wonder if Mama Eagle gives them a stern talking to if she comes back and sees them right at the edge.

One day it will be time for them to get to the edge and fly away. Mama and Daddy Eagle will be sure that they are ready. The eaglets will be grown and healthy and ready to make their own way in the world. And however it happens, the eaglets will walk to the edge, take one more step, and take flight, ready to make their own lives.

As I watch the eagles and anticipate their futures, I can't help but think of my own kids. How, as they were little, I was always watching for them to insure they didn't get too close to the edge. And how I kept trying to prepare them as they grew. And how each, in his and her own time, eventually grew up, walked to the edge, and flew away. I was happy and sad and relieved and scared, all at the same time.

And yet, even though my children are grown and making their own nests in this world, I wonder if Mama Eagle and I share the same thoughts. Will Mama Eagle be like me, still watching those eaglets long after their gone, still watching as they make their own way? Will she still be watching as they encounter new challenges and risks? Will she still be close by, ready to swoop in should danger present itself?  Will she still be watching to make sure they don't get close to any edge that would mean harm?

Baby eaglets, like our children, will grow up. They will learn to use their wings and fly. But we'll always be close, watching for those edges, just in case we're needed.
Today is a gift because:  I had a quiet day doing a lot of nothing!!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Aren't You Proud?

Throughout my children's lives, people have sometimes asked me, "Aren't you proud of him/her?" And I always struggle with an answer. It's not because I'm not proud of my super-talented, brilliant, wonderful, awesome children. It's because I don't understand the question.

First of all, if there was an accomplishment, it was theirs. And the pride belongs to them, for accomplishing a goal. I'm happy and in awe and thrilled and impressed, but is proud a word I wish to add?

Maybe I don't want to add the word proud because I also don't want to add the word "disappoint." If my child failed in some way, would someone ask me if I were disappointed? Again, it's not my attempt at something and maybe not succeeding. I would be sad with them and comforting and empathetic, but not disappointed. Because if I were, then for me, it would mean I expected something that I didn't receive. And the bottom line is that it's not my expectations that are important - it's my child's.

Maybe it's because of all that baggage from yesteryear. You know, the "pride goeth before a fall" and pride being one of the seven deadly sins. Maybe that's what gets into my head whenever someone asks me if I'm proud.

And maybe I didn't let my children know enough how happy I was with them - that I was blessed because of who they were. Maybe I didn't praise them enough for their accomplishments. Maybe I should have said it loud, that I was indeed proud. Or maybe I was afraid that earning my pride would become their goal instead of achieving their own personal dreams.

But I think I know what I wish I would have said then, and will say from now on. When asked if I'm proud of my children, I will simply say, "I think they're awesome." Because they are, no matter what.
Today is a gift because: Everley time; Ogles safe arrival in town; Marilyn and buds safe arrival in town; Molly's veggie lasagna for lunch

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


Recently I've had another one of those experiences where I think to myself, "Wait - I've already done this/been through this/seen this already." It's sort of that deja vu experience but not. And technically the details about the experience were basically the same - the only change was me.

I was different because in this same situation, I was playing a different role. Instead of the victim I was the protagonist. Or instead of the protagonist I was the innocent bystander. Or instead of the innocent bystander, I was an accomplice. I was there in the same experience, but it was different because I was not in the same position.

And so I learned a lesson about perspective. I learned that circumstances may be the same, but how I view the circumstances are different. And that makes the whole picture different.

Now I can empathize with those other roles. I can understand where they're coming from because I was in that role once. Maybe it's different because I'm watching the whole thing happen to someone I care about. Maybe I'm the protagonist who is causing causing the issue and now I understand the impact on the victim. Maybe I was the one mouthing off about something I never really understood - until now.

Maybe that's why perspective could be a synonym for empathy. Maybe by stopping to look at things from the perspective of someone else, can we really understand that person's actions. And maybe we can learn how to handle the same circumstance when it happens again - as it invariably will.

Perspective - it doesn't mean that everyone's right in any situation. It just means that maybe you weren't as right as you thought you were.

Today is a gift because: Everley time; Lindley time; cleaner dude but not ...

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Pondering And Treasuring

"But Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often." Luke 2:19 NLT

Of course the Mary to which I am referring is Mary, the mother of Jesus. She knew what was going on and what people were probably saying about her. She knew that her husband was not the father of the child she was carrying. She listened to Elizabeth and the shepherds and the angels and the wise men. She heard it all and kept it all in her heart, thinking about it often. Because that's what moms do.

Over the years, my kids have told me a lot of stuff. I'm sure there's a lot of stuff they haven't told me, and that I really don't want to know. Some stuff they've told me has received an immediate response and some stuff I've taken under advisement. Sometimes my responses were well received and some weren't. Some stuff just needed to be voiced and the only response that was needed was a indication that I was listening.

But no matter what was told to me, I've always kept it close inside. Even after the conversation was closed and the speaker moved on to other things, I thought about what was said. I thought about how it affected my child and what I could say or do to make it better or work out, or even to just help my child through it. Quite often my child was completely over it and had forgotten it. But I hadn't, because I used that bit of information to make me a better mom for that child.

I think Mary spent the next 33 years listening to what Jesus said and what people said about Jesus. When he was a boy and she thought he was lost, she found him in the temple. She asked him why he was there, and did he know they had been looking for him. He replied, "Didn't you know that I had to be in my Father's house?" Mary didn't really "get it," but she still "treasured all these things in her heart." (Luke 2:41-52)

I think that's what moms do. We try to listen and hear as much as we can, because all this information is vital to the well-being of our children. If they are hurting, we hurt with them. If they are happy, we can breathe a little easier. And no matter what we're privy to hear, it all stays within us. It stays for us to think about and treasure. It stays because there's a special place where all that information is stored - in that piece of our heart that was created the moment we were blessed with that child.
Today is a gift because: Everley time; Goodwill drop off; getting the house picked up

Monday, April 13, 2015


And here we are once again. You know, that place where I ramble on about what I've done and/or haven't done and how I'm behind, blah, blah, blah. And once again I am going to get on the blog time machine and make time fly by.

It's not that I haven't had things on my mind. In fact, I have a lot of things on my mind. And that's why I'm telling you - I predict that the next few days are going to be rambles about one thing or another. It may be your thing, and it may not be. It may offend you, or you may "get it." But I'm just putting my rambling out there - for better or for worse or for both - and you can take it as it is.

If I offend you, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to. But we live in a country where we have the freedom to say what we want and believe as we choose. If we don't believe the same and you feel you need to stay away from my evil influence, I get it. Best wishes to you.

Meanwhile, I'll still be ramblin' about this and that. Because I think that's what old folks do ...
Today is a gift because:  Everley time; finishing up future travel plans

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sometimes I Get The Correct Toy - Correct For Everyone (Including Me)!

Yes, those are full-size regulation dust busters. And yes, these two like them. In fact, this all started because one of them was using the red one and the other was going to spontaneously combust if she was not able to use play with one that instant. Luckily LaLa had another one in another room, so the white one was brought out. Which is even better, because since they are different colors, each girl know which one is hers - which comes in very handy when one is out of juice and needs to be recharged.

Anyhow, now I have two live roombas. Wonder if they will find the same delight in a can of Pledge and a dust rag ...
Today is a gift because: Lindley and Everley time; Sam and Lynnette safely home from their trips; Steve's burgers on the grill for lunch: pedis with Molly; Maribeth's race finish

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Just Another 5K

Several months ago, Molly, KB, and I signed up for the Purity 10K. We signed up because we were going to train really hard and get a really good 10K time. Best laid plans ...

A week ago, I realized that (a) I had trained exactly 0 minutes (as had Molly and KB), and (b) I was going to have both girls this weekend (their parents out of town and/or working and Steve was out of town). Also, the fact that my lungs had been working really hard for the past week to hack up the respiratory crud did not promise a lot of lung exertion for 6 miles. So, an alternative plan was going to have to be made.

Luckily this race also included a 5K, and strollers were permitted on the course. So, I changed us all to the 5K, and we decided to put the girls in strollers and all do the race together. And with all that explanation, here is our photo diary of the event.

KB and Molly were the designated "pushers." Of course, Lindley and Everley wanted to go "fast." Or as Molly called it, being "speed shamed" by a 5-year-old.

Meanwhile, Everley decided she could run faster than she could be pushed, so Nanny K became her handler for that. Which also included supervision of sitting on the curb to rest and stopping to get her own cup of water at the water stop and stopping to pick flowers. Eventually Everley was coaxed back into the stroller so we could meet up with Molly and Lindley at the finish. I guess speed shaming worked on Molly.

Of course there was the obligatory "cow hug" at the end of the race. The donkey and the monkey did not get as lucky ...

The entire team after the race (including LaLa Lamb and Baby, who also rode in the stroller), enjoying Purity lemonade, chocolate milk, and jungle juice. This was after the Purity ice cream sandwiches and popsicle and mac-and-cheese and sausage balls. Yup, Purity puts on a good race!

And of course we had to finish the morning with some carbo-loading at Krispey Kreme to replenish all those calories we burned!!  All in all, a great morning!!

Today is a gift because: doing the Purity 5K with Molly, KB, Lindley, and Everley; Purity products after the race; playing in the park; Steve's safe trip back from Augusta

Friday, April 10, 2015

Peer Pressure - Or Not ...

We all want approval from others. Or maybe not so much from cousins ...

Since they both spent the night last night, I took both Lindley and Everley to school today. I requested a photo once we got there and out of the car, so I could send proof to their parents that I had (a) gotten them to school, and (b) gotten them there with decent clothing on and hair brushed.

The plan was stellar until Lindley decided to demonstrate her balancing skills. Which didn't go over so well with the rest of the group ...

Oh well, at least they were dressed and at school ...
Today is a gift because: Lindley and Everley time and another sleepover

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Hi Ho Silver - TBT

Once upon a time my kids rode a horse. With no saddle. That's my dad holding them all on. And the current farm dog in the background. Sam looks happy, Maribeth is probably eyeing a tree to climb, and Molly is obviously wondering what the heck is going on.  I also believe this is the last time they were on a horse ...
Today is a gift because: Lindley and Everley sleepover

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

I'm Getting Better?

After yesterday's exciting visit to the Care Spot, I went to Walgreens and loaded up on the meds that I was prescribed, which were basically an antihistamine and a decongestant, apparently in super therapeutic doses. I also picked up the nasal spray and then headed home. Since then I have dutifully taken the meds as prescribed, along with the Vitamin C and some Advil (for my sore ribs from coughing). Anyhow, I can say that after 24 hours, I am getting better. Although I don't look like it or feel like it.

So how would one know that I am getting better? Certainly not by the sneezing, coughing, hacking, watery eyes, and general yucky vibe that I emitting (and exhibiting). However, let me tell you that I am indeed getting better. Because stuff is draining and drying up. My father used to say, "It's going to get worse before it gets better," so I'm hoping that today is as bad as it's going to get.

Of course, since I obviously come from a long line of optimists, I'm not sure that's the way it's going to be ...
Today is a gift because: Everley time and coming over later to spend the night; believing that I might be getting better; chatting with David about his new job; getting a few tasks complete

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Natural, Schmateral ...

After recovering (finally) from my last episode of respiratory crap (thanks to sickly people on my girls cruise - no names mentioned), I seem to have caught another episode (thanks to the lovely Nashville blooming and budding spring weather). So for the past few days, I've been attempting to hack up a lung, or at least the slow drainage that seemed to be dripping down the back of my throat. And as much fun as that is to experience, I am getting rather sick of it.

So, I decided to consult Dr. Google and check out the various claims that eating honey, or drinking a mixture of honey and lemon and warm water would miraculously cure my hacking. I read a bit of this and that, and last night decided to go the honey/lemon/warm water route. While it was not that tasty, I drank it, expecting a restful (meaning non-hacking) night.

To some extent, I was okay, although I'm not sure if that was due to the honey-lemon water or the Mucinex I downed. However this morning, as I was back to my usual coughing, I decided to take the next step - ingesting straight honey. Dr. Google said that kids should take two teaspoons of honey, so I decided that for a woman my size, I should take a great big ole' tablespoon (or whatever the actual size is of the spoon in my utensils drawer).

Pretty much as soon as the honey went down my throat, I knew it was a bad idea. Let's not even discuss having that much sugar in my system or the gooey-ness of it going down my throat. Let's just say it was yucky. And my cough, along with the rest of my body, rejected the entire thing - forcefully, pretty much the same way it went in. And have I ever mentioned that when I toss cookies (or in this case, toss honey), that it is basically the velocity and force of a very angry volcano? Anyhow, today as I was ridding myself of the medicinal honey, I also wrenched my back (which should give you some idea of my force).

Once the honey incident was history and I had dropped Everley off at school, I decided to seek the advice of a professional, so I headed for the Care Spot (thank goodness for walk-in clinics). I walked in the door, told Rachel Receptionist why I was there, and handed her my necessary documentation. She told me to sit down and she would bring me my cards in just a minute.

Sure enough, in a minute she brought me an iPad-ish tablet. This was for me to check in (I have done this before, which makes the next part even more pathetic). Anyhow, the first screen is for you to verify your personal information. The next screen was taking its time showing up, so I just checked "yes" and waited for the next screen to pop up. Which it did, and told me to go to the reception desk because I had checked that I was experience Ebola-like symptoms (note to self - practice patience!). I did, and she reset the thingy. I took it and sat back down. And promptly hit another wrong button and the whole thing went blank. So I went back to the receptionist and she reset it again, and probably made a note in my personal information that I was a dumbo.  Anyhow, this time I managed to wait and hit all the right buttons. I is a gene-yus.

Eventually I made it back to the exam room, where I learned that all my vitals are fine and I had no infections and that Mucinex is useless. I did mention my honey incident, but nobody seemed to care (although that's probably been entered into my permanent record, too). I did get out with a antihistamine and decongestant and nose spray and Vitamin C and creme for my dermatology-compromised ears (they be dry and scaly). So I guess I will be okay.

But I will never eat honey again!!
Today is a gift because: Everley time; Ms. Shirley hugging E so I could leave; fun at the Care Spot Clinic

Monday, April 6, 2015


I love bald eagles. I think they're beautiful and I'm always thrilled when I see one in person, out doing its thing, just flying around. But lately I've been obsessed with the live feed from Pennsylvania, showing a eagle and her two eggs, which have hatched. I have to tune in every day (okay, so several times a day) to see what they're up to. Sometimes the dad and mom are both there, sometimes only one is there (not sure which one), and lately sometimes the kids are left alone (I'm sure not for too long).

It's always interesting (to me, anyway) to see the dead fish (and other formerly living things) that are strewn around the nest. Sometimes the mom will eat some, and sometimes she yanks and pulls it (I know, it's sorta gross) and feeds it to her babies. I'm never watching when one of the parent eagles brings new food to the nest (even I have to stop watching and go attempt to do other stuff). Anyhow, if you haven't watched it live, do so here. And just to give you a little taste, here's a little snapshot (hopefully it will load correctly).

Today is a gift because: taking Everley to school; taking care of future travel plans

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter!!

From the Olden Days, when we not only had a new Easter dress, but a petticoat, a sweater, new shoes cleaned up with vaseline so they shone, new socks, and of course a purse. And little brothers had a dapper little suit to wear. And because we were visiting our cousins, our mother had to pack all of this, then probably get it out and iron it all. And of course she had to pack the pink sponge curlers!

After all that, I would be surprised if she even thought about packing Easter baskets!!
Today is a gift because: Jesus rose from the grave and gave us all hope for the future!!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

And Then This Happened ...

After a couple of junky weeks (you know, when you just can't seem to get stuff movin' and shakin'), these came in the mail. Although the note was anonymous, I'm pretty sure I know who sent them, because I'm curious and I tore apart the box looking for clues. It's somebody who is obviously a baker and takes the time to do things up nice. And can you believe that there are TWO cookies in each package (we won't discuss how many I ate and how many I shared).

Anyhow, the important thing for me is to remember that yes, sometimes weeks are junky. But they only get junkier if I focus on the junkiness. Instead I should focus on the good stuff around me. Like knowing a girl who does stuff like this and then shares it.

Yes, it made all the junky go away. But mostly it reminded me that life is indeed junky - but it's mostly very sweet - in every way!!
Today is a gift because: Lindley and Everley time; Everley sleepover; family pizza and chips/dip at the Doik

Friday, April 3, 2015

Good Friday

I wasn't there when they nailed Jesus to the cross. I wasn't there when all hope seemed lost. I wasn't there to experience the despair and fear and uncertainty. I wasn't there at the foot of the cross to watch Jesus suffer and die.

But because all of that did happen, and because I believe it all happened and believe that Jesus did rise from the grave, I will have eternal life after this one ends. I believe in a living Savior and a God who loves me enough for all this to unfold. I am indeed blessed!
Today is a gift because: Lindley and Everley time; Everley's family birthday party; Steve and GDiz's safe travel back to Columbus

Thursday, April 2, 2015

And Then She Turned 3

Somewhere along the way, this little munchkin turned 3. It's amazing how quickly time passes, especially when you have a little one around. Things like learning to walk and talk, developing a personality, giving up pacis and diapers, all of which are very important, tend to be forgotten as new things happen every day. So maybe that's how we all should be - making strides and moving forward, and learning and growing every day. We shouldn't rest on what we've done, but find new things to experience and accomplish every day. Because after all, whether we're three or 103, if God has given us a new day on this Earth, there's always something new to learn and do every day. Happy Birthday Everley!
Today is a gift because: Everley's birthday; taking Everley and Lindley to school; Mathieu's safe ride home on the tiny plane

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

I Hate Today

April Fool's Day is one of my least favorite days of the year. Mainly because I hate tricks. And people lying. And those two things are what today is all about. And since I basically trust no one, and believe nothing that is on the internet, today just reinforces my belief that people be crazy and/or mean.

So Merry April Fool's Day. Have a lovely foolish day!
Today is a gift because: Everley and Lindley sleepover!!