Thursday, July 29, 2010

I Am Very Much Back in Scottsboro, AL

On to the next thing.

Tasks, tasks, tasks.


Daily living.

In order to have the thing we most want we have to "do".   - and for me, what I want on this day, it is.....

1.  My children with me.
2.  A well-groomed yard.
3.  Clean Sheets.
4.  Giving to Best Friends.
5.  Healthy Food in the Pantry.
6.  Less Clutter.
7.  Fig Preserves for today.

and other things....

but it means getting the thing done.


I have a very abundant Fig Tree.  This is its first year to have lots of fruit - enough that I need to do something with it so that it will not be thrown out.

I made fig preserves this morning.  YAY!!  Mother used to make the best Fig Preserves.  I didn't know they were so easy.  Mom, you're busted!  I thought it would be so hard.  

Laura Beth and John and Ada are travelling to Scottsboro tomorrow....just when we thought they weren't.  I can't wait to see them and get my hands on John.  They will be here so briefly but it's worth it to me and I plan to meet LB halfway to intercept Ada so that the trip won't be so harrowing for Laura Beth.  (This is my idea, not Laura Beth's - to meet her - I just want to encourage her travels here to S'boro - I remember those long trips home - with babies)

We have a very fun baby shower on Saturday for Esther's little girl Charlotte.  She writes about her at the place I just highlighted, and if you missed that you can go here to read her great posts regarding the upcoming arrival of precious Charlotte in late August.  I get so excited when I see she's put up a new post.

Sheets have been washed - just have to get them on the beds.

And.... I need to cut grass - I WANT to cut grass - so will have to go get gasoline and pick up 2 wrapped gifts at  Gina's and Grapevine in Scottsboro.  Oh - and my prescription at CVS.

TASKS, tasks, tasks.  Is that where we get tsk, tsk, tsk?  Here in the south we say that.  I guess we say tsk over tasks.  Silly.

I've already been to WalMart and needed available healthy and desirable food for the girls and myself....and the grandchildren.

So - very active day - but I want to get to my yard.

Let me close.  Things to do.  Sarah is on her way here.  Kate will be coming home tomorrow - and Laura Beth and the children - and Ann is probably as glad as I am to have her sisters here in town.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I Am Back....from South Alabama

I drove down on Monday to Evergreen.  I went back to this place......these ghosts......

Images - Roots - What shaped me - What I knew...Whom I knew and Who made for me my base.....

Sister, Mary Ann and Aunt, Mary, for starters and then follow,
cousin, Suzanne and then, Mother, with both of us. sisters, sisters, sisters, always the two of us.

I drove down on Monday. Mary Ann was to have a colon screening on Tuesday.  Mary Ann is my sister if you've never read this post.  Our first medical thing for me to "help her with".  She needed a driver.  Neither of us was looking forward to any of it.  It went great - good report - no weirdness - we were applauding ourselves for being "big girls" about the whole thing.  Mary Ann being the more mature since she was having the procedure.  

and I drove away from that world, Evergreen, my roots, 
around 9:00 and came back to my present - which is a gift and so blessed - and so in the present.
North Alabama.

But...while in E'green ....  had the best visit with my Aunt Mary.  I love her so - and my cousin, Melissa - but had already visited in B'ham, on the way down, with Cousin, Mary Claire and Couin-in-law and Friend, Martha.  Blessed, blessed treats.  Thank you, Lord.  Plus, very positive, "I love my life" cell phone talks with Kate and two youngest.  Thank you, Lord, again.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunday Evening

It's Sunday afternoon/evening and I "haven't got a thing".... to talk about.

Isn't that what friends do?  Get together because we want to - we have coffee or something to "sip" in our hands - or nothing at all - but we want conversation - community - pieces of our heart to be shared.

What do you want to talk about?

So we start with stuff, facts, questions about each other -

I'll tell you this.

It's been a good, a really nice Sunday.  I never nap and I did.  Naps have ALWAYS been hard for me.  I napped today.

That was one of the first clues toward knowing I was pregnant with Ann.  I had just told a friend, at work, "I never nap".  Went home, at about 3:00, prior to Charlie's getting home for work, and I conked out watching "M.A.S.H."    I was asleep when he got home from work.  I thought it was coincidence and laughed next day when I told Janice that I actually fell asleep in the afternoon following my nap comment.  I did the same thing next two days.  

In those days, my routine:  I went to work really early - really early - like at about 7:00.  It was optional then - flex hours - and only 30 min. for lunch - so I could get home around 3:00.  I've ALWAYS loved "being at home".  I'd get home - undo, unpack, unwind - and end up watching M.A.S.H. on afternoon T.V.  Charlie would come in when the show was getting over.  I never even thought about falling asleep.  That first afternoon I did.  Also, I carpooled with this friend, to work - we both went in at 7:00.

Charlie and I lived in English Village right in the cute part of the heart of Mtn. Brook in Birmingham.  So, this friend of mine, with whom I carpooled, I remember his picking me up - and I had already been feeling a bit queasy.  Okay - the obvious clue for me could have been the obvious know?  missing the "you-know-what".  That queasy feeling happened for a couple of days.  Still, I wasn't getting it.

Other obvious clue.  Charlie and I went over to Samford's track each afternoon to run.  All of a sudden I couldn't run my usual distance without getting incredibly winded/out of breath way too soon. Again - I wasn't getting it.

Other conversation with Janice at work - again - naps in the afternoon continue - not getting that clue - but as girls will talk either about their birthing experiences or their "cycles" - go figure why we do that - well, in the middle of "I still haven't st...........ed" - we both gasped.  We wondered.

Not a big deal, home preg tests in that day.  Went to Jancie's doctor with her because she happened to be going the next day and knew him and the office and wanted me to go ahead and find out.  I did, we did, and I was.


See?  We can think of stuff to talk about.  Just throw something out there and, well, most of us have a story.  This random story began with a nap comment.

That little baby?  Ann?  She's 29.  I was 29 when I had my first.  I had my fourth at age 36.  She's 29 and is pregnant with her fourth.  We just found out this week.  I have absolutely no idea how all those years and that moment went by so fast.  No idea.  We are all a breath.  A mist.  Life is a blink.

I am so very very very grateful that my heart and soul are planted in the creator of all things.  The one true God.  For me, it's all for His Glory and that is all the purpose - all the meaning.

He is the Redeemer.  The Saviour of our souls.  Thank you, Lord.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Kites, Tricycles, Firetrucks, Good Daddies and a Great God

Here's a story.

As a child I was frightened of loud noises.

And what I didn't understand.

Imagine an afternoon - possibly Sunday afternoon - we have a kite.  Or...Daddy has a kite and is preparing to fly it.  Mother's sister, Florence, and her family are at our house.  I think that's who I see in the memory.  I think I see my uncle Waynard.  I was begging Daddy not to fly the kite.  I knew it would make a loud noise.  He told me it would make no noise at all.  I didn't think Daddy was a liar - I just didn't believe him.  Maybe I thought his idea of noise and my idea of noise were two different perceptions.  I don't know.  I was absolutely panicked - and I do know that Daddy was beginning to lose patience with me and so was Mother.  They were actually ignoring me.  So the image I see in this memory now is the whole group out in the field behind our house and I am running to our screen porch on the front of our house to crouch in the corner with ears stopped up.  I knew the Kite was about to be launched.  I carefully waited - released my fingers a bit from my ears - no noise.  I slowly went out and peeked around the house.  They were actually flying the kite and there was no noise.  And I thought, "well, Daddy was right.  It makes no noise."

I can't take you into my brain to see my images - but again - this house and the screened porch where I hid in the corner.

and zoom in with this picture and behind 2 1/2 year old me, sitting in Baby Sister's lap, or is that Tommy, is the corner where I hid.
It's such a vivid imagine in my brain, me crouching there with ears stopped up.

I probably was about this age, 4, (shown in picture below) when I didn't believe Daddy and Mother, that kites made no noise.  
(With my friend down the street, Bobby Small.  I am sporting bandaids as bracelets. Weird. This was taken on the day Mary Ann and Bobby's sister, Sidney, started first grade.  Bobby and I were pals.)

And, have you read Laura Beth's recent post?

She showed the picture of Ada's tricycle which she is getting for her 3rd birthday.
I hope she enjoys hers as much as I enjoyed mine.  I loved my tricycle, which had actually been Mary Ann's first.  Mine was a life of hand-me-downs but I didn't mind. Looked forward to them. 
In this picture I was 5.
But had been riding the tricycle for several years....well, two years.  But when you're 5, two years seems like several years, doesn't it?

Ada's Tricyle

Now why did I write all of that?

Well, I know why I mentioned the tricycles - because I saw the picture of Ada's new tricycle and it stirred up old memories.  But the kite memory came to my mind today - when I was walking.  
I actually walked today by myself for one hour.  I never do that.  I don't even enjoy doing that by myself until today.  I wanted to do it.  I think God just did a thing in my head and heart and I walked and wanted to and want to again.  So I will, tomorrow.

Naturally while walking I was praying and thinking, with God, and my thoughts were on things I fear due to lack of trust in Him - so of course the kite story and how I needlessly doubted Daddy on that day regarding the kite.  It's a great object lesson for me, personally.  We fear things in life we don't understand.  Don't we?

Another thing I used to fear.  Fire Trucks.  I didn't know their purpose.  No adult in my life knew that I thought fire trucks were going to houses to set them on fire.  One evening, probably shortly after we moved into our house, because in this memory I am small enough for Daddy to carry me more like a toddler than an older little girl.  I was 2 1/2 when we moved into our house.  So - we heard the sirens - and in those days, windows opened, adults had a tendency to go outside and try to figure out where the fire was.  I must have leapt into Daddy's arms as he started out - probably because I was scared.  There I was, being held by him and the night sounds being disturbed by the siren in the distance.  I could see him trying to hear the direction and I broke the silence with this statement on what I hoped.  I said, "I hope it's not our house".  To which he answered, "Well, sweetie, it's not."  and I asked how he knew and of course the obvious answer was, "because our house isn't on fire".  And that's when I told him what I thought fire trucks did and of course he assured me they didn't - and explained that they were equipped with hoses and stuff to put out the fire.  I did believe him on this one and was greatly relieved.  Good to get that cleared up.  

We fear things we don't understand.  
Some things we can't understand this side of heaven, but still, there's the trusting the love and mercy of God.  Isn't there?

So - that's today's post.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Okay, Here Goes....

I have been thinking and "praying" about the blogs that women respond to....

Ladies!  Are there many man bloggers????  okay.  There are.  Lots.

but they are on the other side of the room.

Blogging is now the new community.  Isn't it?  Am I wrong?

I don't twitter.  I'm thinking I'm way behind on doing that.  But I get the impression that it's brief facts.  I want stories.  Lengths of time.  I want to know what's on your heart. Bottom line.

So - my favorite blogs are those that share their most vulnerable stories....and I'm blessed by their honesty.  I'm blessed by their failures.  I'm blessed by their weaknesses.

Please tell me that means I'm not a Pharisee.  I feel like a Pharisee.  I'm sorry.

Noone wants to be that person, the dreaded PHARISEE......

I think I'm a mixture.

But see?  The fact that I'm talking in "churchese" - well, it's a dead givaway - and if you understand my language - well - then you might be a mixture, too.  Probably if you're totally opposed to the world of blogging, well, you might be Pharisee-ish.  And you won't even be reading this.  So it doesn't matter.

Okay - I continue to see that few my age are blogging.  Only a few.  It's young moms, fresh out of failures and raising their children now, with husbands who have to deal with the aftermath of their wives' failures.  I'm good with that.  That's how I went into marriage.  Gargantuan failures, and God's grace reached down, scooped me up and there I was with a committed, loving, faithful husband and 4 unbelievably beautiful and healthy and smart  daughters to raise.  Go figure.  It's God's grace and compassion that we never can grasp.

So..... with that I continued to fail in different ways.  My on again, off again, depression showed up while I had Ann and Laura Beth, not Kate and Sarah, (but truly, Kate and Sarah experienced the brunt of my imbalances).  It showed up, the depression,  and hung around for such a long time that Charlie had me seeing a Psychiatrist.  Also, as a mom, I yelled a lot.  I had anger from who knows where.  I yelled loud when I felt "backed in a corner".

The most I ever wanted to be was a mom and an artist.  I thought about being a mom when I was a small child.  I remember where I was, thinking about my future children.  I was in my parents' car, in the backseat, short enough to stand up - because I was standing up - looking out the back window of the car while one of the parents ran into the post office.  I had the thought, "Someday I'll be a Mother."  I tried to imagine my children, but they were vague foggy images in my mind.  I couldn't imagine what they would be like.  I literally can still see those images I had in my mind.  I can see that moment, in my mind, I can see it........ and, I began my art identity in the first grade.  I don't remember it before that.  And I don't know of not having it after that.  (and here's the ultimate failure, I've done very little with the 'art thing' - but I blow my artist horn really loud)

So - what is this post about?  Well, any questions?  The shocking honesty some of you have, well, it's refreshing.  I'm all about transparency - but good grief!!  There was no blogging when I was raising my girls.  There was no community.... not really.  It was a new world of "have only 2 children" and get on with your life.  I wanted 6 and had to stop at 4 due to age and c-sections.  And my local church was no place to take my bouts with depression and anger.  Not in 1983/84.  but God was always there.  always faithful.  always the deliverer.

So - after this many years of "keep my mouth shut" but wanting to "be transparent"....well, it's tough.

I don't think I'm up to it on a blog.  Come to my house.  We'll have coffee or "whatever"  in the afternoon - and we'll talk.  I'll listen.  God is insanely faithful - to the max - to "infinity and beyond"(as Buzz Lightyear says).  He's carried me through so much and loves me, loves me, and blesses.  He's the deliverer.  He's the Hero.   The one who brings us out of darkness into light.  Yay!  I'm so glad and so grateful.

Here's the rub - we want heroes.  Those who've done it right always.  Don't we?  And we want failures. Non heroes with whom we can identify.  That's human nature.  Do  you agree?  God remains the true hero  -  and if any person wears that title - then it's God in him.  I think.  Or God ordained.

The Aging Process

At 59 this is how I feel on the inside..... Mother said she felt it in her 80's.

But then I pass a mirror or see a photo and I'm reminded..... time has gone by.......

And this look on a five year old, yet....... not the same, later.

My favorite verse - God's answer to aging....

2 Corinthians 4: 16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

I love it. 
The whole 4th chapter of 2 Corinthians is really good, if you want to read it.
Actually, the whole book.  But I do love that verse.  It's so true.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My Favorites

I've actually had people ask me which child do I connect to the most.  I connect to each daughter and would pray for a connect if there wasn't one.  We've had seasons of conflict and what carries me or has carried me is this knowledge, that no daughter can stop me from loving her.  My prayers will always cover her.

I don't think anyone has asked me if I had a favorite.

I have had that question asked regarding my grandchildren - at this point I have five.

I couldn't possibly have a favorite.  That's the absolute truth.  Do people name favorite children or favorite grandchildren?

When Laura Beth, my second was born, and we  brought her home to 18 month old Ann - my emotions were rather topsy turvy.  The newborn had arrived and was demanding.  The old way was behind us - the one child family - and we were now a two child family.  On that night, I, crying,  and Ann was asleep in her big girl bed - having been bumped by new baby Laura Beth - I crawled in bed next to sleeping Ann and whispered in her ear, "You're my favorite".  I've told Laura Beth that story.  That moment was indulgent of my fleeting emotions and wasn't at all true.  In that second with hormones out of spin, it felt true - but not for long.

Truthfully, and I've read this of other mothers, how they describe it - I don't love my girls equally - I do have favorites.  Each one is my favorite.  Each daughter generates that intensity of my magnetism toward them.  My being drawn to each one - Each is  unique and each is my favorite in her place - in her spot.  Each one is the only one I love.

I'm a hoarder of children and grandchildren.  I want them all.  Surely that is the natural connect, the way it's supposed to be.  At this point I reflect for a moment on those parents who've been allowed to endure that awful grief of losing a child to death - any age - beyond my scope of thinking and imagining - but God's grace is for those times and I can't dwell on the what ifs.  I trust His carrying me in that depth of grief should I have to endure.  Fear is NO place to dwell.

Now grandchildren.  Even this week, with Ellie, Luke and Andrew, I wanted Ada there.  I've only known her 3 years.  But now I want her all the time - but of course can live without her all the time.  Still - it wasn't natural to have her out of the mix.  While I didn't want 5 month John in the beach scene, still, I want easy access - not 3 1/2 hour access in my very old car.

I say all that to say all of this - I have a LOT of cute pictures of Andrew from the beach.  I am about to post  just a few of them.  He's so stinkin' cute!!!!  Again, in only a way that Andrew can be so cute.  It's just that he's 17 months and toddles and has fat feet and fat hands and a little button nose - Here we go.

(Don't think that I don't know that every grandparents' grandchildren are the cutest - I know that - our hearts are so wrapped around them we can't even see straight.)

Also - selfless(or is it selfish) disclaimer here:  I absolutely love my time alone.  Two conflicting possible, would be, potential "idols".
1.  Time alone
2. Multiple Offspring.
The two don't go together.  What to do, what to do.  Pull my hair out?  And have a Hissy Fit?

But really?  Can the reader forgive my obnoxious display of Andrew pictures?
I indulged myself.

Monday, July 19, 2010

We're Back

I turned 59 while I was away.

July 14, 1951 - I was born - so - here we are - 59 years later and Charlie and I took 3 of our 5 grandchildren to Orange Beach.  I only wish Ada could have been with us.  John, too, but when he's older.

We had a wonderful time.

Sarah and Kate were with us through Saturday and Mary Ann was with us the whole time.

They were too adorable, the children.

Take a look....

(Sarah took all of these pictures)

At the Gulf - or Perdido Pass

And behind our condominium - on the bay/canal 

The group - after a great seafood dinner - Charlie is the photographer

And for dessert - Daylight Donut Shop - So Good!

And of course, the Pool

The kids did amazingly well - away from their parents - real troopers.
The ride home became a test of endurance for all of us - around about, hmmmm, 2 hours from home.
We left Orange Beach at 9:30 - had to drop the key off in Gulf Shores - 
so officially were leaving the beach at 10:00.  Took Mary Ann home 2 hours later in Evergreen. Ate lunch. Visited Aunt Mary and Cousin Melissa for about one hour.  
Left Evergreen at 2:00.  Ate Dinner north of Birmingham at 5:00-6:00.
Arrived home at 7:45.  

They were so glad to see their Mom who was waiting at our house.  She was so glad to see them.
And she took them home to Steve who was, I think, doing a little "tidying up" around the house.
That's what I heard Ann say.  :-)