Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him, bless his name! Psalm 100:4 (RSV)
I thank the Lord for my many blessings and you are chief among them.
This morning, Tania-the-Mad called and the conversation turned to my great-grandparent’s house. They lived in an old farm house where the only heat came from a coal-burning fireplace.
I’d forgotten, until she reminded me, about how cold their house used to be in winter. If you stood with your back to the fire, your face froze, and if you turned around, the other side got cold. And you better not even think about going into the kitchen. They kept that door closed and it was like an ice-box. The bathroom was even worse because it was OUTSIDE, as in “outhouse”.
After we hung up, I was filled with such longing for those days that it was all I could do not to cry. We spent so many Sunday’s there. Daddy Bob used to sit in an old chair with a table in front of him and people would come and go all day, playing cards and just visiting. Occasionally, one of the adults would get up and ask you to play a hand for them while they went outside or warmed themselves by the fire, but mainly the kids just ran around and played. We didn’t watch TV, or play video games, or text other people. We played hide and seek, and tag, and Simon Says. We explored the barn and walked down the dusty road, and caught minnows in the creek. It was GLORIOUS.
Daddy Bob and Cuma (pronounced Cumie) weren’t rich. Their house wasn’t fancy and their lawn wasn’t manicured and I am positive that there wasn’t a pine island in sight. Daddy Bob’s chair had a rip in it and the table was old and beat up and the chimney had black streaks on the front of it due to the coal, and I would give you EVERY material possession I own to go back there and visit with them again.
I remember a house down the road from theirs. It was sort of a log cabin, and full of antiques. I was a kid when I saw it, but I remember thinking it was really cool. The couple that lived there were friends of my grandparents and would stop in every now and then to visit. Do you think they rolled their eyes when they left at how sparse Cuma’s house was? Do you think Cuma fretted about what everyone was going to say because her window treatments were inexpensive? I’m doubtful. But if either of those things happened, I’m glad that Cuma didn’t let it stop her from having all of us over.
I’m turning over a new leaf. Today I told JD that I want to start inviting people over for Sunday dinners and card playing. He said it sounded like a hot mess. Yes, that is EXACTLY what it will be – a driveway full of pine cones, and a house with laundry baskets sitting around, and food that might or not be edible depending on who’s cooking.
Does it really matter?
Maybe, years from now, Moon will be sitting around with her friends and they’ll talk about the fun they had playing in our yard while the adults sat in front of the fireplace, and they’ll remember us kindly.
I’m not even waiting for the new year to start my resolution, I’m starting on December 15th. Come on over! I can’t cook like Cuma, and our bathrooms are inside, but there will be plenty of cards and not a pine island in sight.
Hello, Kittens. First of all, let me reassure you that I am fine. Thanks for all of the cards, notes, phone calls, flowers, prayers and presents. I woke up this morning and felt a lot better. Not better enough to get out of bed right away, but okay enough to bring the laptop into bed with me and do some work. It occurred to me that the verse in Esther that says “You were born for such a time as this” REALLY applies to me. Yes, she was queen and able to save the Jews, while I just lay in bed and create ads using only my fingers and a trackpad, but similar. We all have our grand purpose.
I did eventually get out of bed because I needed to weigh. Three days ago I was talking to a group of women about holy things like my weight, and one of them gave me a sample pack of some weight-loss voodoo drug. I was supposed to weigh, then take the pill/powder for 3 days, and then weigh again. The good news is that I did it and when I weighed this morning I had lost over 3 pounds! The bad news is that JD came in and told me that weighing on carpet would give me incorrect information, and when I weighed again, I’d gained SIX. Could someone remind me why I got married?
Anyway, it made me so mad I decided I’d pay the $89.00 dollars for a month supply of the voodoo drug and keep trying, but then I remembered all of the other times I’d spent $89.00 on weight loss products and decided to pull those out of the closet to try again instead. It’s amazing how much product I have left. I feel pretty safe taking them. Most of the warnings say Long Term Use May Result In blah, blah, blah. Whatever. I’ve never had a diet that lasted more than 8 days so I think I’m safe.
Of course there was a moment when I thought maybe I should consider exercise, but in my life it’s all about choices. Do I go to the gym, or write? Gym or work? Gym or clean my house? Why do I have to CHOOSE? Why can’t I have a job that just naturally causes me to be fit, like being a professional tennis player, or one of those Dancing with the Stars people?
Since I am pretty sure there are no openings in either area, maybe there’s a way to bring the gym to my workplace:
This would be great! As soon as I can figure a way to get it onto the bed, I’m buying one!
I would love to give you a recap of all the fun things I did this weekend, but I’m lying in bed at 6:30 p.m. with a bottle of throat spray and a headache, so it will have to wait. On the one hand I think I’ll live, but on the other, I feel so bad that a moment ago I thought to myself, “I wish my mom was here.” If you know anything about my mom and her bedside manner, you’d know I’m delirious. Still, I’m pretty sure she’d clean up the house if I actually DID die so that no visitors would have to step over the 28 pairs of shoes on the floor.
Oh well, here are the highlights:
Took the dog to the vet
Went to dinner with POMS (parents of middle schoolers)
Lay in bed all day Saturday, watched Pride and Prejudice with Moon
Went to Kit and Bratt’s for campfire fun.
Went to bed, watched French comedy – Romantics Anonymous
Went to church
Went to bed, watched a French comedy – I Do
Except for the parts where I felt like I’d swallowed a puffer fish, it was tres bien!
Bonus, for those of you planning on seeing Hunger Games: Catching Fire
À la prochaine!
This is going to be a busy week. Moon had tutoring tonight, bridge is Wednesday night, Thursday I have a board meeting, Friday there’s a dinner, and Saturday there’s fun around the fire pit. Evidently I am very popular. Needless to say, I’m not going to have time to put my usual deep thought into the blog posts.
So, here’s my new, favorite tv shows:
Hostages. I missed the first couple of episodes and it looked like the kind of thing you’d want to watch from the beginning, so I got involved with other shows. But then I found the first 3 on Itunes and decided to give it a chance. It’s great! Dylan McDermott, Toni Collette and Tate Donovan are excellent. But in case anyone is wondering – if I ever operate on the President and someone breaks into my house and says I have to kill him or they’ll kill my family, consider him GONE.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Andy Samberg makes me laugh. It is funny and trust me, I KNOW funny.
On Netflix – The English Teacher – An English teacher’s life is disrupted when a former student returns to her small town after failing as a playwright in New York. I watched this Sunday night and thought it was fun. I have been known to watch 4 minutes of a Netflix movie, then move on if it doesn’t hold my interest, but this one worked for me.
Watch them and let me know what you think. Or let me know of shows that you’re watching that you think I’d like. Obviously I won’t have time to turn on the tv this week, much less watch it, but it’s good to know.
There have been signs lately that I’m growing older. Such as my clothes. I was walking through a parking lot on Saturday, when I looked down and took stock of my fashion choices for the day. I was wearing a pair of black flats, and because it was chilly, had decided to wear black, silky socks with them. To make it worse – they were JD’s! I had on a pair of faux jeans, you know the kind that you find at TJ Maxx for $9.99 that are called jeans, but really are more like stretchy blue slacks. Because they’ve been washed about a thousand times, they are just a bit too short, and there was a faint white smudge on the knee from my painting adventures last week. I’d paired them with a blouse I’d purchased at a yard sale which was a bit clingy, despite my Spanx, and to finish off the look I was wearing a thin sweater in my signature gray. Not my best effort.
The only thing that stopped me from turning around and going home was that the parking lot was in front of the Roswell Senior Center, and I was on my way in to play bridge. I was pretty sure my peeps would accept me as I was.
You know another sign of aging? Fear. Old people get freaked out by the darnedest things. When I was leaving bridge on Saturday, I got in the car, (along with Moon and her bff, Jemi) pulled out of my space, and started to try and navigate my way out of the parking lot. The problem was that it was PACKED. There had been so many people trying to park when I first got to the game, that police had been directing people to an overflow lot. The parking lot was a figure eight, and as I got to the middle loop, I saw mass chaos as people waited for spots to open up. I looked behind me, and since there was only one car between me and the entrance, I decided to just put it in reverse and back out.
Here’s a handy schematic I made for you:
As soon as I started backing up, the one car behind me moved over to the right so that I would have plenty of room to get by. JUST KIDDING! No, she tapped her horn to let me know she was behind me. I ignored her and kept backing up. So she decided to LAY ON THE HORN. Kittens, I’ve learned a lot about old people from playing bridge. Like that they may be mean, but they have fairly poor balance. I’m pretty sure if grandma wanted to fight, I could take her. So I kept backing up. It wasn’t like there was any danger of me hitting her. Even though she refused to move over, I still had PLENTY of room to get by her car. When I got even with her, she gave me the classic, both hands in the air, WTH look, but I ignored her. I am sorry that I didn’t have the presence of mind to take a picture, or at least stop while her window was even with Moon’s and roll down the window just to freak the girls out, but as it was I just smiled and continued on my merry way backwards.
I talked it over with the girls on the way home. We couldn’t figure out what she was so AFRAID of. I was nowhere near her, and if she was really worried, she could have moved her car in the other direction!
But hey, I get it. As I get older, I get more afraid. Even though I rarely leave my house, I’ve been thinking that maybe I should get a weapon of some kind for taking to the grocery store, or walking down the street. I don’t want to carry a gun, for crying out loud, but I did find something that could work.
It’s a STUN CANE that delivers 1.000.000 volts! How perfect is that? JD thought it was a good idea, but after some soul searching, I decided I’d better not get one. It doesn’t seem like something I’d want to introduce to the bridge community.
I was at church on Sunday, and during the praise and worship portion, was so overcome with joy that I held up both arms in that classic pose of YES! As soon as I did it, I flashed back to the previous night.
See, there was this football game involving Georgia and Auburn where things got a little crazy. Now I’m a VOLS fan, through and through, and normally I wouldn’t even turn on the Georgia game, much less cheer for them. Since my husband is a UGA grad, and my daughter was born on Georgia soil, I decided to let the game run, on mute, in the background. It wasn’t that exciting of a game anyway – when the 3rd quarter ended, Georgia trailed 17 to 34. But then came the 4th quarter and Georgia scored a massive 21 points. With only a little over a minute left to play, they led by 5 points! Even I got excited and joined my family in cheering.
Auburn got the ball and went nowhere, fast. Now with only 30 seconds left, they were 4th and 18 and the goal line was a mile away. The game was over, Georgia was about to pull off one of the greatest comebacks in history.
Then this happened:
Anyway, back to church. As I was sitting there listening, I started thinking about God, and the SEC, and Georgia and basically how there are a lot of biblical lessons in that game. For Auburn fans:
Yeah, that’s great for AUBURN, but what about Georgia fans? What’s the big biblical lesson in crushing defeat? I mean, besides that God loves everyone apparently, even people from Alabama? For Georgia fans:
The good news is that while your enemy rejoices, the game is not over! Your God is the quarterback, the wide receiver, the corner back – the Holy Trinity and one day EVERYONE, including the refs with their stupid, yellow flags, will bow down! The play clock has no end and He had as many downs as He NEEDS. If that’s not worthy of face-paint, I don’t know what is!
When it comes to SEC football, I’m not stranger to heartbreak. Who can forget Tennessee’s almost touchdown in overtime which would have meant a win over *Georgia? But as it says in Job 13:15 – Though He slay me, still I will hope in Him.
Christians, like SEC fans, know that while life with GOD is not always easy, the alternative is unthinkable. No way we’re going to hell. Or the Big 10, as the case may be.
Moon waited until 9:30 pm to drop a little homework horror on me. If you’re wondering why I have homework, you obviously don’t have an 11 year old drama queen. Anyway, she had to write two poems, news report poems whatever those are, about Australia’s beginnings as a penal colony. To make matters worse, she had to use the who, what, when, where, why format.
I used all of my literary skills, which let’s face it, are CONSIDERABLE, to help her pen the award-winning poem below:
They sent John David to Syndey
For kicking a man in the kidney
It was 18 68
and the need for labor was great
So he spent three years building a chimney
Now you know why I don’t write picture books.
I was MUCH too busy today to show anyone love by eating a runny casserole. Besides, the only thing running was ME.
I got up and ran Moon to school, then ran back home to finish dressing, then to a meeting, which is where I realized my car was acting odd, so I ran back home, got the spare keys, ran over to where JD had left his truck, switched vehicles, ran to CPS to pick up some lights from Freebie Fran, then back home to do an ad, then back to pick up Moon, then home to feed the dogs, then to grab a bite before bridge, then bridge, then home.
My nephew was at my house for about 34 seconds and I was going to take him to his job, but then I got busy and we all decided it was best if he just walked. He was meeting someone at Walmart which is right across the street, so what could go wrong? It’s not like I didn’t check on him. I called my brother a few hours later to make sure he made it and that’s when I learned that AmmoGuy is like the poor man’s version of the NSA. He’s put some tracking app cleverly disguised as a “Find-Your-Phone” thing on everyone’s phone – his wife’s, my nephew’s, our DAD’s. It’s a little weird to call and say something about the family and have him tell me that dad is driving up the mountain and that if I wait 5 minutes I can call him at home!
Luckily, I don’t have an I-phone or I’m pretty sure he’d convince JD to track all of my travels. Which, despite what you’ve read above, is still probably way more exciting that my dad’s.
Speaking of my father, he and my mother are coming to town tomorrow for a few hours. If you want to keep up with my him, call AmmoGuy. You don’t need a special app to know where my mom and I will be, just a special website.
www.estatesales.net ought to give you a fairly accurate idea.
Today I was thinking about Veteran’s Day, and all of the veterans that I know, and I was reminded of someone I knew briefly, almost 30 years ago. His name was Larry and he was married to the sister of a boy I dated for a short time in college. On Sundays, the whole family would get together for lunch – it was a large family with lots of in-laws and children running around, and the food was amazing. One day, I decided that I’d cook something to take – green bean casserole. As you can imagine, it was a disaster. I can still remember how humiliated I felt, and the argument I’d had with my boyfriend, how I didn’t want to go, and the red, swollen eyes from crying. I might have been a tad dramatic in my youth.
Anyway, we all sat down around the big table, and began to eat. I’ll never forget hearing Larry ask someone to please hand him seconds of my gross, runny, undercooked green bean casserole. He never looked at me, or made a big deal out of it, just continued to eat and socialize. I don’t know what enemy he’d faced, or how many battlefields he’d been on, but I doubt there had been much in his life scarier than eating my cooking.
I totally get the grand gesture, the BIG idea, the diving in with both feet. Big is moving the family to India to care for the motherless. Big is creating a program that feeds hundreds of families at Thanksgiving. Big is buying a house deliberately in the worst section of town so you can bring the Good News to the poor.
I totally GET big, I just don’t DO big. I mean I want to, but as we’ve established, my life verse seems to be Matthew 26:41 and I’m lazy as an old dog by the fire. Big is really overwhelming, and not doing BIG is a little depressing, and OMG it’s all about me.
So for the rest of the year, I’m going to do SMALL. No big gestures, just small ones, because when done at the right time, they can make a BIG impact.
Yeah, basically I’m going to eat a lot of casseroles over Thanksgiving and Christmas and call it an act of kindness. I said it would be small.