Catching-Up is Hard to Do

Happy New Year!

It’s New Year’s Eve and our house is full of modest activity. Bossman is cleaning off his desk, The Queen of English is probably watching a Hallmark movie or is at her desk editing bird pictures from today’s sit-outside. The Man-Boy is in his bedroom meditating after trying to figure out all the problems with this blog over the last few days. I’m sitting here, drinking a Pumpkin Spice Latte with Wild Turkey. Don’t judge.

A lot has happened this past year. Good and Bad, of course. The Queen of English has been afflicted with Meniere’s Syndrome for almost a year. It’s horrid. Her POTS, postural orthostatic, tachycardia sydrome has been pretty steady at being just ‘bad’. The good news is that she’s finished her novel and has gone through three edits. I’ll keep you all posted when it goes off to agents. Her birding has also been pretty steady. 99% of her sightings are from the backyard and she’s ranked 6th in the county for species sightings for the year.

The Man-Boy, 43, has moved from Oregon to our spare bedroom. He’s job searching and ready to start over in the south where the weather is warmer and brighter. He’s a helper to all of us and has lifted his sister’s spirits quietly by just sitting and watching Hallmark movies with her during the holidays.

Bossman has played golf two to three times a week in good weather and enjoys poker night with the neighborhood guys once a month. He keeps busy with tons of bookkeeping and paperwork, shuttling The Queen to therapy and appointments, finishing handyman work around our house and anyone else’s who needs it.

Our ‘chosen’ grandkids are the lights of our lives. Kate is almost 17 and Cannon will be five on our birthday. Such fun with these two!

Last year started out with a bang for me. I had basal cell surgery on my nose in February which took six hours because the wonderful, amazing Doctor  William G. Stebbins rebuilt my nostril. I love showing it off. I stick my nose up in the air at a lot of people. In March I had two wisdom teeth removed. The only outcome of that was the tattoo I decided to get of Bernie Sanders. (get it?)

I’ve been active in my three writer’s groups, one which Bossman has now joined, and another with just chicks. I also am a leader in our church’s Poets and Writers group.

I attended two family weddings and four graduations in Mississippi, New York and Atlanta. I traveled to EUROPE!!! It was a dream-trip~ France, Switzerland and Italy. Words fail me. I went with 14 others from the Journey Church Arts Collective and we had an experience of a lifetime. The bonding was unexpected and is still so very strong months later.

Last February I was approached by my friend and Creative Pastor, Brett Mabury. He asked if I thought I could write lyrics. “Sure! I think I could do that.” Meanwhile a little voice was yapping at me, “What? What? You? Write lyrics??? hahahaha”.  Well, those lyrics were for a song that was hopefully going to be included in a movie; which opened this December, and had music from Journey Church people, including my song. I took all my friends and family to the red carpet premieres in Franklin and Nashville. I had to join a union. I met the actors in the movie, Believe, and we have three songs, including mine, that are three of 91 songs submitted for nomination for an Academy Award for best original song in a motion picture. We will find out January 24th if we’re nominated. One song, by Rachael Taylor is Number One on the Christian Music Charts right now. She sings my song, Mother’s Theme (I didn’t name it that), in the movie and on iTunes. The DVD should be coming out in January of 2017.

The trip to Europe and the song have been highlights of this past year. What a blessing to have these happen late in life. I’ll turn, cough-cough, the magic age of Social Security benefits in May. It’s never too late to have some exciting firsts. God has plans for us that we never see coming, sometimes.

Florence, Italy
Florence, Italy

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Hangin' in the Paris Metro.
Hangin’ in the Paris Metro.
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Sensing…

 

Last week our pastor challenged us to tap into our senses during Holy Week; the week before Easter.  I have listed the Senses and Suggestions he challenged us to achieve and also how Bossman and I did with that challenge.

 

the-five-senses-what-the-body-can-perceive

Monday – Burn a candle or make a certain food that reminds you of someone. Consider what kind of aroma your life is diffusing.

I’m pretty sure we forgot to do Monday. It wasn’t until after dinner that we remembered we had decided to try and do this week-long list of suggestions.

Monday was a fail, although in retrospect we did discuss what aroma our own bodies were diffusing. Bossman said mine was bad breath and his was b.o..  Still a fail.

 

Tuesday – Fast a form of media. Take the time to listen.

We remembered Tuesday! Bossman didn’t watch any television. He’s addicted to the news and DVR’s Lester Holt (sorry, Brian Williams) so he won’t miss a night of it. This was a huge challenge for him. Our second challenge that day was that we had a hockey game in the evening. When we get home from hockey we always relax with an adult beverage while catching up with our dvr’d TV shows. We did not do that Monday night. It was weird, but it was good.

 

Wednesday – Serve someone. Wash their car. Make them breakfast. Over-tip. Cover someone’s meal.

Wednesday! We remembered to do Wednesday! I made dinner for my Writer’s Group who was meeting at my house that evening. I made Shepard’s Pie prepared the healthy way. It’s wonderful to sit and share a meal with friends who have become family.  Bossman mowed our neighbors yard. It was a good day that made both of us feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

 

Thursday – Sight. Fast a form of technology (smart phone). Be present.

I was doing some deep cleaning in the house all day. In silence. I usually have the radio blaring as a distraction while I’m moving furniture, rearranging books and pictures, polishing all nooks and crannies on fancy frames with a toothbrush. It helps to make the chores go faster. I did it in silence and discovered I was actually more focused the longer I worked in silence. I got a lot done. No music was weird, but good.

 

Friday – Taste. Fast food for the day or limit to bread and water

Today is Friday. We wanted to fast completely but knew it would not be beneficial for us in the long run. We didn’t want our daughter, the Queen of English, to find us laying on the floor passed out, so we decided to eat only breakfast. I had two eggs with a small slice of banana bread and Bossman had the same. We knew the protein would keep us going the rest of the day.  I had water during the day and a few nuts to get me over some rough patches in the late afternoon. It’s been insightful for me to realize how much I eat during the day, and made me think about the people in our world who go hungry every single day. I’ve been humbled. I hope I remember this.

 

Jesus was on my mind all week, but especially today; Good Friday. I’m a very sensitive person when it comes to people being injured or ill. I can’t watch t.v. doctor shows or films with violence. Thinking of what Christ went through on the cross gives me chills and a sick feeling in my gut. The nightly news gives me a similar feeling.

 

Blessings to all during this Easter Season and prayers for peace in our world and to God be the Glory. He has His hands full with all the mess we have created.

 

 

 

Belated Mother’s Day 2014

Mom

Mom died in 2006. September 8th; or was it the 9th? She was either 76 or 78. I am number challenged–please don’t judge. She was great with numbers and dates. Every time a monumental event happened she’d focused in on that date and the exact time so each month that came and went was another weighted reminder of extreme sadness or a mini celebration of a great memory. Deaths and vacations come to mind.

Numbers slip quickly from my head,  tumble out my ears, bounce once off my shoulder where they are snatched up by the past and hidden in moss covered hollow  tree trunks. This is and was my number-driven life, always with a perplexed number-loving mother saying “I just don’t understand why you can’t do this multiplication.” I was a digit disappointment. My brother, five years younger than me, could do them even though I stayed after school every day of third grade trying to memorize the damn things.

Approval. I lived for approval from my beautiful mother. I married, had two great and sometimes challenging  children that mom totally adored. According to their grandparents, my kids took after them with their positive qualities. We as parents had nothing to do with that. The stubbornness and lackadaisical qualities were owned by us. Grandparent’s privilege.

Mom had been diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis around 2004 or 2005 and had been declining slowly. I visited her on Mother’s Day, 2006 and noticed a dramatic change. We were always “of good stock” which meant we were short and chunky with thick wrists and ankles. There’s nothing dainty about us. Me, mom and my aunt. Cookie cutter stock. But that Mother’s Day she was sitting in her chair, feet up on the seat with her arms wrapped around her knees, folded up like an accordion. I was stunned by what was missing of her. “I’ve always wanted to sit like this. Don’t you wish you could do this?” She smiled while her oxygen hissed into her perfect and favored nose. I held onto my stubborn stocky self. “No. Not really.”

I could have been nicer. I regret I wasn’t.

In August, three weeks before she died, we talked on the phone and she reminded me that she was going to die from this terrible disease. I tried to downplay that whole ugly and too real end. Then she said something to me which convicted her statement. My kids were now in their thirties and my mom said something I’d needed to hear for a long time. “You’ve been a good mother.”

Approval

Thanks, Mom.

So were you.

If You’re Happy and You Know it…

What makes you “happy”?

With all the “Happy New Year” wishes for a better 2014, peace and harmony, losing the holiday pounds, abundant blessings and health being presented to us, I’ve been thinking about what makes us tick in the happiness department.

For me, I felt extreme happiness last night when I took the dog out back for his last leg-lift around 11 o’clock. I was in my p.j.’s, bathrobe and slippers and when I walked out on the stoop, Billy hurried down the four steps to the patio to pee on the lattice work under the screened-in porch. He slipped around the corner and my eyes went right to the sky where the stars shone like the white Christmas lights on my tree. Elvis could have been painted on the black velvet sky that made those stars just pop. I’m pretty sure my jaw dropped as I tried to look at each glimmering star and planet.

Billy finished his business and pounced up the steps to go in and get his reward. We walked into the living room where Bossman was watching the news in his Archie Bunker chair.

“Hon! You’ve got to come out and see this amazing sky. The stars are the brightest I’ve ever seen them.”

“Naw, that’s okay. I’ll pass.”

“But, it’s so beautiful….”

“Toots, I’m watching the weather.”

I’m sure my mouth went into a slight pout and I returned to the sky alone. I wasn’t as happy as I’d been two minutes before, but the awe soon returned and joy filled my spirit again. Bossman was happy in his chair watching the weather. I was happy thinking of how this amazing universe had been created and wondered “Why?”

I did some research on what makes people happy the next morning.

Forgiveness makes us feel happy. Doing the forgiving as well as being forgiven. I didn’t need to forgive Bossman and I didn’t need to be forgiven when I disturbed his television watching, but I have forgiven others and a weight has been lifted from my soul.

Gratitude is also part of being a happy person. I was certainly grateful for the amazing sky and how it made me feel.

I’m sharing some of my thoughts with you by writing, which is a talent I’ve been given. I might not be the best writer, but I realize I’m happy when I’m writing and I hope that makes others happy, too.

I read that optimistic people who are satisfied with life and not self-absorbed are happiest. Put those rose-colored glasses on once in a while.

Short blog posts also make people happy, so I’m going to end here and extend wishes for everyone to see through the eyes of a child more often. Be in awe of nature and the amazing gifts we’ve been given in just the trees, sky, birds, sun, snowflakes and the air we breathe.

And wonder. Never stop wondering.  

Flash Mob Mac Attack

What do these two things have in common?

If you were in ‘the family’, meaning my cousins family, it would mean you’ve been eating a Big Mac at 7pm on every Friday the 13th in honor of – in honor of – hmmm… I’m not sure. I think it’s just in honor of Friday the 13th! I know my cousin told me once how it started but I can’t remember. I just know that the family will be joining in the Mac munching in Virginia, New York, Colorado, South Carolina, Tennessee and who knows where else?  I don’t eat beef, so I’m going to join in this year eating a Filet of Fish at 6pm CT.

This could be a fun way to celebrate with your family if eating Big Macs isn’t already a part of your regular diet. You’d get to splurge in April and July, too!

here’s a link to my niece’s blog post about the Mac Attack. Bon Apetit

http://studentdesignblog.wordpress.com/2012/01/13/the-big-mac-attack-a-holiday-for-the-usually-self-controlled/

We Wish You a Beery Christmas…

This is how we decorated my sister’s Christmas tree this year. I took the beer and soda cans off the kitchen sink and hung hooks through the tabs. There were about six cans on the tree when “the girls” came over to play cards. Well, the cards were flying and the beer was flowing and the tree was decorated in no time at all. A new Christmas tradition!

Holiday Mishap or Trippin’ Thanksgivin’

These are the bricks leading to my sister’s house and my Thanksgiving story.

I went home alone for the holiday this year. Flew from Nashville to Albany, New York the day before Turkey Day. No traffic, no waiting, no problem checking my suitcase.

I was carrying a small tote bag, my purse and an extra large Titan umbrella for my sister to give her friend for Christmas. Getting ready for the security, I had my driver’s license and boarding pass ready for the first highlighted “OK” from the first checkpoint. The second checkpoint was the conveyor belt where I laid the umbrella, the tote, my shoes, purse and sweater coat. I was sent into the beam-me-up-Scotty tube where I really wasn’t sure what was going to happen. I was instructed to “stand on the yellow foot prints and do this.” So I did. I held my hands up in surrender as if I was being arrested by Hop-Along Cassidy. The scanner whoosed in front of me. “That’s it?” I said to the not-so-happy security lady. “Yup, c’mon out.” That’s when I saw a guy come at me with a wand; I refused eye-contact and he walked right past me. I’m a pretty tough broad.

I walked over to the conveyor and started picking up my stuff when a guard came up to me with his arm extended. “Are these yours?” “Mine?” I asked demurely as I looked at my driver’s license and boarding pass. Shit! “Y-e-e-e-s-s. Where’d you find them?” He pointed to the beginning of the damn conveyor belt. “You want’m back?” Smart-ass. I grabbed them and asked if he’d like to follow me around the airport until I got on my plane. He didn’t think that was cute. So I thanked him and hightailed it to a bench where I could gather my wits and my ID. My shoes were on, my ID and boarding pass were in my purse, my sweater jacket was on, the tote was dangling from my hand – phew – I walked down the concourse, got a coffee, browsed the bookstore and had a couple of books I was interested in as I texted Ter to let him know I made it through security without a problem. “I even have the umb”  Shit! Where’s the umbrella!? I shut off the phone and hurried out of the bookstore into the concourse – with the two books I hadn’t paid for. After returning the books before security got me, I headed to where I thought the umbrella must be. On that damn bench; but nothing was on that damn bench. The main security pen was close-by. I rushed it, peeked over the top, spied my umbrella on a desk and said, “Hey! That’s my umbrella. Right there! Mine! It’s mine!” The guard, with a gun on his waist, turned and looked at me and then at the umbrella. “This? This umbrella?” Smart-ass! “Yes, that umbrella. It’s mine. I left it on the bench over there and my sister is giving it to her friend and if i don’t bring it to New York she’ll kill me and it cost $40.” Needless to say, they handed it over.

I did not let that umbrella out of my sight the rest of my trip – only when I had to put it up in the overhead storage on the plane. I was blessed to have sweet, young ladies as seat partners who reminded me to get the umbrella as requested when they sat next to me.  I was relieved to throw it in my sister’s car when she picked me up in Albany. Phew! “Wait until I tell you the umbrella story.” Oh, how she laughed on our way home.

We pulled up in front of her house (this is where the bricks enter the story), we get out the suitcase, which I insist on carrying myself, the umbrella, which I also insist on taking and Ally grabs my tote. The suitcase is in my left hand, the umbrella in my right. I have all new clothes on. I turn from the car, chatting with Sissy, stub my shoe on the highest brick and get propelled forward by my suitcase which is leading the way to doom, the umbrella is pointing at the house, I’m seeing a concrete landing or muddy landing in my future and I choose mud.

Sissy thought I was so excited to be home I was in a hurry to get into the house. She almost wet her pants from laughing when I took the dive into the mud. “I thought you were rushing on purpose. I would have helped you if I knew you were falling.” Of course, she was laughing so hard I had a hard time understanding her. (Every time she told the story at a gathering of family and friends during the week she had to run into the bathroom)

So, we decided to fix the bricks.

Cousin Bob came out and helped our dainty stone work by pounding and cussing them instead.

Then he made sure the scene of the crime was marked. Smart-ass!

The umbrella was not hurt.

Phew…