I Declare…

A new church holiday…the annual pictorial!

Yes, today I GOT to get my picture taken for the church directory! Definitely, not a pleasant experience for me. I love to take pictures of other people, but… my picture? Absolutely not!

So, why is it when you have your picture taken:

  • It Rains and then turns sunny and humid?
  • My hair wants to go flat no matter how much hair spray I put on it. So much for the O-zone?
  • The new eye cream a friend had given to me doesn’t seem to remove those tiny lines even though I was very faithful this past week in carefully putting it on morning and night. And the scrub and Alpha-Hydroxy cream only make my skin appear red instead of youthful and taut?
  • The wonder filler that acts as a “primer on canvas” seems to have found another picture?
  • My freshly laundered french blue top still had grease spots on it?
  • And I forgot to use the whitening strips long enough?

The good news I had gotten a new shade of lipstick from my friend. More pale with a hint of rose like they wear on TV. But I needed to wear my lip liner and kept digging for it in the car before I got to church.. And when I found it… well, it had melted! So,being resourceful, I decided I would do like my nieces and god-daughter. Layer! First, goes the lipstick and then another color of lip gloss and then a clear gloss. Ok. I could do that minus the clear gloss!

The other bit of good news was that the photographer was pleasant and fun! Even though he wanted me to do that hokey thing with my hands up at my face!  See, I had worked in the yard this afternoon and had our famous Southern red clay stain on my hands! Couldn’t get the dang stuff off and I was running out of time to get to my appointment.  So, I just did a “lick and a promise” and made sure my fingernails were clean!

So I get to the sitting and try to relax. Up straight. Tilt your head this way. Move your knees slightly to the right. All the while, I’m thinking, I hope my hairspray has held up for the moment and that this last year of crows feet and smile lines are miraculously removed!

The photo session is over and I go to wait. Waiting for them to up charge me on the photo shop trick they do.  I sit down and begin to look at the pictures. First, the one with me sticking my tongue out! And then more of me tilting and turning and folding my hands.

And then…the PICTORIAL DIRECTORY selection!

I looked at this picture of this woman who I thought was me complete with the smile lines, crow’s-feet and coffee-stained teeth and thought…

God, You played a trick on me today! I’m just the way I’m suppose to be right now… even if I have red clay stain hands!

Grace and love to you!

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Short on Words…Big on Love!

My Uncle Bill with his Harem!

I just got off the phone with my Uncle Bill.   Calling to wish him a Happy Father’s Day! Forgot to get him a card. But then, I usually don’t get him one.   Really, I just like to call him. So…it goes something like this.

“Hey! Uncle Bill. Happy Father’s Day!”

We talk about a lot of stuff- who came up , what’s going on and how he is feeling. We talk about the weather, his flowers, what Jeanie is doing.

Then, I can feel it.  It is right there in my throat. That lump!

I blurt it out.

“Uncle Bill, I just want you to know how much I love you and how much I appreciate everything you have done for me!” Tears are now in my eyes and I can feel my voice beginning to crack.

You see, My Uncle Bill has been my surrogate Father for close to 39 years!  He help us through those tough times.

…when dad died- (they were best of friends)

…when my brother wanted to go to Med School

…when I had lost my way

…when I wanted to hear stories about my dad

…when I needed to know that everything would be okay. And that I was Loved!

Uncle Bill has been there.

Even though he is a man of few words, there is so much strength, wisdom, wit and understanding in his words. Those eyes, that laugh and his wonderful smile.

“I love you too”.

Short words making all the difference.

Grace and love to you!

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>Shining Light

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2 brothers that Shined their Light on me!

Monday mornings for me are spent welcoming guests to our Hospitality Food Pantry! I love it because…well, how can you resist faces as bright as these?
Two brothers that have come with a relative to see what we had gotten on the truck today.
For me, an opportunity to connect with… innocence.
I squatted down on the sidewalk and we began getting to know each other.

What are you doing this summer?
Are you having fun?

Well, big brother loves the pool, but little brother is afraid to jump in. We talk about how big and strong he is and… I bet his big brother would look out for him if he jumps in!
Little one smiles! Big brother glows!
In those bright smiles and faces, for a moment, I saw… another face!

And…my heart melted!

Grace and love to you!

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>Flyin’ the Koop!

>Have you ever felt like flyin’ the koop?! I’m not sure if it is koop or coop, but it doesn’t really matter…because I feel like flyin’ from that…friggin’ hen house! Feathers and all!

What is this chicken thing?

OK, they(magazine therapists and Oprah) say it comes from your childhood!

Well…let’s see.   Growing up, we use to go to the local Food-Coop, Bradley’s, and get stuff! Dog food, chicken (!) wire, straw, tomato plants, marigolds, tools, rope, light bulbs, measuring cups, toys, fertilizer and…more stuff! I loved the smell- a combination of mold, dirt and animals!

Like…those little baby pastel chicks!  Those captured innocent chickies- in pink, blue, yellow and green!

Aha! There’s the chicken connection!

Mother never wanted to take me at Easter…so…my Dad did!  Never underestimate a little blonde hair girl with blue eyes who knew that Daddy would give in when she said…”Oh, Daddy, can we pleeeese take one home?! You know, I’m from the South and… we are born with this instinct!!!

Anywho, of course, we took it home and fed it with the chicken feed from Bradley’s! And when the chick got big…well, it went to Farmer Smith so that he could take care of it!  Enough said!

Well, years later, I’m still trying to figure our this chicken thing except…I think it has to do with capture and freedom.  Those baby chicks got to roam the farm and eat better than Bradley’s feed.
And I knew that being free was better than being in some kind of chicken wire cage.

So…ever once in a while…I see a roaming chicken and I think…Farmer Smith wasn’t looking!

Grace and love to you!

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>Learning A New Polka Dance

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My Bear Dog!
Resilient. Courageous. Persistent.
We met 17 years ago while I was wearing beautiful black suede Calvin Klein pumps with 3 inch heels! I loved those shoes! Made my calves look like I really worked out!
But…here was a little, scared 6 month old honey bear puppy with a choke chain around his neck!  A fast car accident! And he was lying in a muddy ravine… waiting for me! Or maybe…I was waiting for him…

Whatever- I walked into the ravine, picked him up and brought him in the place I was working.  So much for those CK pumps!

My Boss looked at me like I had 2 heads and questioned what I was doing. But I quickly promised him that- This Dog- would make no disturbance and continued to walk to my office! All the while, I was hoping that Bear dog had understood.

Of course, he did! From the get-go, we understood each other! No sound from him as he lay in my office. No peep- even with a crushed hip!

Moving forward 17 years, my Bear Dog and myself have had to learn… a new Polka Dance! He did after a cancerous tumor left him 3 legged.  For me,  jumping out of the boat!

I remember when my vet, Dr. Bea brought Bear Dog home after his surgery. Oh my golly! I was so excited to see him after 2 weeks away at Bea’s farm. And so was Bear Dog!
In fact, she opened the door and out FELL Bear!! Right on the sidewalk!

Well… that didn’t stop him! No! He just got right up and headed over to me all excited!  He nuzzled me and I bear-hugged him! We both knew all would be well! We were together again and that’s what counted!

So in learning how to dance again or dancing a new dance, sometimes you just have to fall out of the safe place and pick yourself back up and… get a good bear-hug.  And know that, together, we can always learn a new dance!  Even… a fast Polka Dance!

Grace and love to you!

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>Is it HOT Enough?

>It has been so dang HOT today!

So hot, that I feel, well…not myself. In fact, a little cranky!
So hot, that everyone talks about the weather-how boring- it just reminds me how hot it is!
So hot, that my cats lay lethargically outside looking somewhat …well… dead!
So hot, that my tomatoes plants begin to wilt at 10 am!
So hot, that my black- eyed susans and daisies are shriveled.
So hot that…

I SWEATED!

At church!
At confirmation with our retiring Bishop and the new Bishop!
At the outside reception and then later at a brunch!
So hot, that I drank lots SWEET tea at the reception!
So hot, that my bangs flatten and my hair flipped in places it was not suppose too!
So hot, that I had those sweat beads on my upper lip!
Not a pretty sight!

The only comforting thing was…we were all sweating, including the Bishops, in a southern Espiscopal church having a good time being together and sharing our love for each other.
Now…that was… a pretty sight!

I came home and went outside.
I began to notice…

The sky had darkened. 
The birds were chirpping.
My animals were panting like something was about to happen.

And then it did!

A cool, gentle breeze.
A light sprinkling of rain
The air was refreshed!

As well as myself!

Grace and love to you!

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>The Dishwasher is no friend of mine!

>This past weekend I was visiting my family for the long Memorial Day weekend. All my nieces had come in to enjoy a time at the lake. Fabulous weather, delicious food and lots of jokes, teasing and laughter! I absolutely love being with my 3 nieces and my brother and sister-in -law!

It was a little different this time, however, in that my oldest niece brought her English boyfriend to be with us! Patty, as I call him, got to experience how our southern family, with all it’s quirks, managed to get along. It wasn’t long before he felt a little intimidated by the closeness that we all share. I had bought him some very appropriate regional food- white lightnin’ bread & butter pickles– and told him that when he had finished the pickles, well, he could just pour the remainder of the white lightnin’ into a good bloody mary and settle back for a relaxing weekend! Thought that was a good ice-breaker!!

But as all good weekends go, the time must end and get back home to reality. My oldest niece and Patty would be driving to Memphis that night and then on to Austin, TX the next day(Monday)! My 2 younger nieces had plans back at their Nashville home- 2 more parties to go! And my brother and sister-in-law- were faced with walking into a quiet home again after a week of laughter, cooking favorite meals, having cocktails with cheese and crackers, cranking up the rock & roll classics, and listening to who was coming in at night and what time it was! I decided I would go with them and spend the night to help ease them back into the quietness.  I knew, Peggy, my sister-in-law,would have a little bit of trouble. What Mother doesn’t like having all their girls under one roof?! My brother would be okay- he had Scout- the “horse” yellow Lab- to get his attention. Not that he wouldn’t miss “the girls”, but…what can I say?!

Anywho, the next morning, I was loading the dishwasher when the reality struck me! It’s EMPTY! I only had a few dishes to put in! I am not even an empty-nester and I felt the reality! I missed the laughter, the teasing, the closeness! I missed the hugging, the “good morning, sweetheart”, and the talks at night! I missed all those dirty dishes, but most of all…I missed my sweet, beautiful and loving nieces!  Until the next time…

Grace and peace to you!

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