Thursday, July 14, 2016

Time for Everything : Time for Nothing


We all need time. 

Time to think. 

Time to process feelings. 

Time to weigh the pros and cons. 

We need time to set a goal, to meet a deadline, to make a to-do list. I recall the busy years when I wished for just one more hour in the day. Oh, if only I had more time!

I used to tell my writing students—those who complained about not having enough time to write—that we all have 24 hours in a day. No more than that will ever be ours. People make time for what’s important to them, even if it’s just a few minutes a day.

But we also need time for doing nothing.


recall peaceful days by the seashore, inhaling the salty air ...


and time spent listening to the melody of a little river, as it made its way around the bend ...


I remember catching golden highlights on a summer afternoon ...


and savoring the day while sitting on a grand front porch.


“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time.”

These are the words of John Lubbock. Hats off to him, and a resounding, “Amen.”

Until next time, sweet friends, I hope that your summer dreams are all coming true, that your time is being spent in the ways that make you happy.



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Part of the series, Share Your Cup



Friday, July 8, 2016

All Things Considered

Sometimes, the best meal is a simple one.



Sometimes, the best story is an old one. 

Sometimes, the best holidays are celebrated in familiar places, with little fanfare.


And sometimes, the best music is spontaneous and unrehearsed.



I used to host a blog party called, "Simple Pleasures," a series created to remind me to stop, to look, to listen, to slow down and pay closer attention to the simple things in life. Whenever I do, I'm never disappointed.

So how's your summer shaping up?


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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

On Being Genuine ~ Monday Musings on Tuesday


Dear friends, as I write it is early Monday morning, much earlier than I am normally up and about on a Monday. I am sitting at the kitchen table drinking a cup of coffee, watching the sun make its way into the living room. I have just put a roast and all the trimmings in the oven, simmering low and slow. In about three hours, The Man and I will pack it up and carry it, along with twin sister and her potato salad, to my mom and dad’s place, two hours away, where we will gather and celebrate Independence Day with those we love and hold dear. By the time you read this, it will all be over and I hope your holiday was as pleasant as I expect ours to be.

In the last few weeks, my thoughts have been about the importance of being genuine in relationships. Take my mom and dad, for example. Whenever we drive up in the driveway in a few hours, whenever I see Daddy open the front door, his face one big smile, I won’t have to pretend to love him when I rush to embrace him. In the kitchen, Mother will be there, scurrying around, stopping only long enough to kiss my cheek and hug me hard, and I won’t have to pretend to love her whenever I hug her back.

Oh, I could tell you tales of how our relationship hasn’t always been smooth, when certain events crushed my young heart and set me on a path of rebellion and confusion, a path that ended with enough heartbreak to go around. But I can’t tell you a single time—in all of my disillusionment and running—that I didn’t love my parents. And as I aged and matured, that tender love deepened and strengthened, for I realized that we are all imperfect human beings, all in need of acceptance and forgiveness, all in need of genuine love, and none more than I. At my worst, they’ve loved me, and I them. I never have to wonder; they never have to wonder. My love for them has been tested and it’s genuine. That doesn’t mean they live by my rules, or I live by theirs; it only means that we love each other, without conditions, no matter what.

And so it is in this manner that I wish to live among friends and family, a life without riddles or ambiguity, where those who love me accept me, and I them, in both best and worst forms, where we don't hesitate to speak of it, or show it, where we don't have to wonder.

If you have to ask someone to love you, to accept you, to please let you in, then your relationship will always feel less than authentic. As for me, I see no value in such relationships, no depth, no strength; there are only cautious hugs, and words that ring hollow. There is only emptiness.

To exist with each other in a genuineness of spirit and soul, that is how I wish to live.



***


Thursday, June 30, 2016

Happy 240th Birthday, America!



"You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4th, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism."  

~ Erma Bombeck










Here's wishing you all a blessed and safe weekend. 

May God bless America on her 240th birthday!

***

Linking with Mrs. Olson

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Gifts and Griefs of June, and Birthdays Galore

Dear friends, I have been about to bust in the last few weeks, or "burst" as the more cultured folks might say. I cannot tell you more than that, but I can say that life can be oh, so hard, but it can also be oh, so sweet whenever there's a change in the air, the dawning of a new day, the taste of unexpected joy. Sometimes, it’s that lonely walk through the deep woods, when we have no idea what’s around the bend, that turns out to be an amazing journey. We become a better, stronger version of our former selves.

I know these words well, for I have lived them. Things I thought I could not face, or even scratch my way through, revealed more beauty at the end, and produced more strength, than I could have ever imagined. It is in the difficult journey that unlikely dreams come true. Lord willing, I will tell you more one day. In the meantime, how has June been treating you? Summer has certainly arrived in these parts. We are doing what we can to keep cool and carry on. 

June is always a busy month for us, as there are special days and special people to celebrate. Tomorrow, my beautiful daughter will celebrate her 30th birthday.


Earlier in the month, those who could gathered for a time of celebrating the birthday girl. There's something about food that tastes better when shared with family.


It's like I blinked and my baby was grown, and now .... she's 30. I've told her often that once you hit 30, your life goes by in a snap, and I do mean a snap. Here's wishing her a birthday as special and sweet as she is.


***


Another June birthday belongs to one of my grandnieces—the one I call pie. She turned three a few days ago and I can hardly believe it! I have written often of pie since her birth in 2013, but I'm sad to say that our family has not been permitted to see pie or her family since April of last year, for reasons unknown. This is the last picture I captured of her and her Nonnimy twin sisterreading together on April 25th of 2015.

My love for both my niece and my grandniece has always been and remains unconditional and forever. I will never forget the time I spent taking care of pie in the comforts of her home, while her mommy worked. What precious days they were. For now, I hold my memories close, and carry sweet images of them both in my heart.




***

As long as my dear old daddy is alive, he will be celebrated on the third Sunday of June. I don't always get to be with him on Father's Day, but I try to see him during that weekend whenever possible. This year, The Man and I, along with twin sister, drove over on Saturday and enjoyed his company. At the age of 89, each visit is cherished, for we never know what another year will bring, for any of us.


Can you believe our precious Julian turned 11 last week? Eleven!


He is the kindest, sweetest, smartest, coolest, most mannerly young man I know, and we couldn't be more proud to call him ours.


***


In other news, cue the violins: The girl has a new accessory. For months now, I've been having big issues with my right foot, even resorting to a wheelchair for awhile, so hard it was to walk. After three medical opinions, this attractive boot is part of my latest treatment plan, along with steroids, cortisone injections and anti-inflammatory meds. The good news is, the boot really helps, and I don't have to wear it every waking moment. The Man also says I look "cute" in it. Mmmm hmmmm. He's a keeper.


One day last week, Papaw and I took our precious Arabella down to Hermann Park for a ride on the little train, the same train her mother rode many moons ago. 

The weather was perfect, overcast, with a slight breeze, not hot at all. She was entranced.


Just as we completed our trip and stepped off the train, it came a downpour, as you can see from the picture. Thankfully, the gift shop was right there, so we didn't melt.


Here's Arabella's mother, on the same train, a lifetime ago.


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Yesterday was a sweet Sunday morning at church with Arabella. She wore a little dress my mother made her and how adorable she looked in it. My mother is in her 80's and still sewing like a pro. I will treasure the little dresses she is making Arabella for as long as I live.

Well, dear friends, I think that about wraps it up for now. Thanks for stopping by for a visit. Until next time, spend time with those you love, whether near or far. Life is fragile and uncertain.

***



Saturday, June 25, 2016

Revisiting the Past

My dear friends, occasionally I feel a need to reconnect with the past, so Friday morning, under a magnificent June sky, The Man and I drove up to the little lake house where my in-laws used to live, a house my father-in-law helped build, a house that holds a lot of memories, both before and after Ernest passed away much too early, in 1985. 




In the beginning, the house was olive green, and it remained the same color for as long as we knew it. 

Through the years, family members gathered at the lake house to get away from the hustle and bustle of the big city, to spend a few days sharing food and fun, enjoying a little fishing, throwing a football around, or shooting the breeze in the shade of the trees.


Ernest and Mildred were crazy about their grandchildren, seen here at the lake house in December, 1982.


The Man and our precious little daughter and nephew fishing off the pier, in the summer of 1987.



Our daughter turned four the weekend these pictures were taken, in 1990.


We were all sad when the lake house was sold a couple of years later, but things change and life moves on.


It had been awhile since we’d driven by, but it’s one of those places where not much changes, except maybe the color of the houses that line the unmarked streets of this secluded neighborhood. The little green house is now a pleasant shade of blue, looking as sturdy as ever, and I hope it remains so for many years to come.

As we made our way down the old road that leads into town, I was captivated by the beauty of a summer day, perfectly framed by blue skies and green earth, just as it should be. I noticed everything we passed—the cows sitting in the shade, a wide field dotted with hay bales, a patch of Texas wildflowers. 

I knew I would carry this sunny afternoon with me, to remind me of all that was and is right in the world.


***



Tuesday, June 21, 2016

From Morning to Night, my Heart is Full


Yesterday morning, on the day of the summer solstice, I found her in the sun's path, exploring her favorite drawer. 



Later, there were things to study, books to read, and ottomans to climb.




***


In the evening, after her bath, I found her again at her favorite drawer.




Later, there were bottles to find and babies to feed.





From morning to night, in ordinary moments, on ordinary days, my heart can barely hold all of the love that belongs to her, my darling cupcake.


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