Thursday, July 29, 2010

August Break, too...

Lately, I feel tired. Tired of laundry, half-eaten sandwiches, lousy stains, sweeping, answering the phone, toilet brushes, answering questions, asking questions, my job, looking at the calendar, watching the clock, weighing in, running around, and brushing my hair.

I'm craving silence. Maybe because I so rarely get to experience it. So, I'm following Mark's example and taking a break for the entire month of August from posting wordy blogs. I'm all dried up. I'll just be posting a picture a day, hopefully. Take the badge from the sidebar if you want to play along. I think it's a perfect idea, set in the perfect month. And tomorrow starts my blissful, long awaited vacation.

Talk to you in September!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Time to Get out of Dodge

The seeking is going well. I'm really being encouraged by the new book I'm reading, Eat Pray Love, and it arrived in my life just in time. I LOVE this book. It makes me happy. It feels like me. It's just like God to send me such inspiration when all my worlds are colliding. It feels like he's speaking just to me. Like this woman's amazing success and lovely, life-changing experiences, and best-selling novel, were just for me. Imagine that. Thank you.

Here's some pieces of my worlds colliding:

My baby girl. She has her license. Gulp. That's the last of them. And to top it all off, she's the one who's most like me. Which means, she's the one who's pulling away from me with everything she's got. And then some. Just like I did.

My other sweet, Grandson. He just had surgery. Well, actually, this is a post-surgery picture with my Mom. He's such a trooper. And SHE has amazing humming skills...just ask Diahn and Lisa. They've seen, and heard, first-hand demonstrations of the amazing, hypnotic, somewhat shrill, humming skills of my mother. Anyway, the surgery has been looming over our heads for weeks now but it's over, with a good report.

Whew. He's fine. Another gigantic, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Really, thank you.

BUT, by the end of the week, after a very long year, my family will be piled high in two vehicles, headed out of town. And I do mean ALL of us, including my son, his wife and both grandchildren. On the way, we're stopping to pick up our stepdaughter. She lives in north Alabama so, in spite of my post a while back about heading to the coast to support the limping tourist industry in the wake of the spill, we decided to head to the Smoky Mountains. It didn't make sense to drive practically all the way to Tennessee to pick her up, and then head all the way down to the coast, with three small children, and then drive her all the way back home at the end. As much as I want to go there, logistically and financially, we couldn't make it happen. Next year though. Oh, how I miss the Gulf.

But she'll be there waiting when I'm able to return.

In the meantime, I get to spend an entire week, uninterrupted, with my family in a riverside cabin. Sweet. And included in that sweet family, is Diahn and her crew. We're stopping to spend the night with her and her family in Knoxville, and then she'll head up to the mountains during the week to hang out and, BONUS, tube down the Little River. For whatever reason, she and I are SO excited about this particular adventure. Everyone else, not so much.

The girls and I are going to Nashville one day so if anyone knows of some cool places to check out, let me know.

It's been five years since I've taken a vacation so maybe I'm a little too excited, but what the hell! Bring it on! Bring on the long drive and the cramped living quarters! Bring on the hot tub and the sounds of the river, right outside my window. Bring on the long, lazy evenings of Monopoly and sitting outside on the deck, telling stories. Bring on the bickering little ones, and the complaining teenagers and planning meals for 9 people, three times a day. Bring on coming home to a depleted bank account, but a heart full of memories and cherished days.

I've had a couple of friends (you know who you are) who have pointed out that I'm bearing a slight resemblance to Chevy Chase in Vacation. I concur. Guess we won't be going to Wally World. And so much for teaching my girls how to whittle. And the giant ball of twine. And the world's largest frying pan.

Kids these days. They just don't know a good time when it slaps them in the face.

Maybe some crocheting classes while we're there...hmmm.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


I heard a story once about a woman who was seeking guidance from a wise, spiritual guru. She traveled many miles to find this man sitting on a hillside. Exhausted, she flopped down beside him and begin to gush about her frustrations and how she couldn't seem to find any balance or peace in her life. After a few moments, a fly landed on her nose and she started flailing around, hands swatting her face, spewing expletives, but the fly never budged. She finally gave up and wailed, "What can you teach me? Please tell me something, anything, that will help me make sense of my screwed up life!" The wise, old man looked at her calmly and answered, "Be the fly."

I want to be the fly. I want to find that calm, peaceful center in the midst of this chaotic world. I'm not complaining about my life because life is what it is. I have two beautiful, chaotic, angst-ridden teenager daughters, an older son who's coming into his own, finally, a sweet three-year-old grandson who's learning quickly how to master the art of temper-tantrum throwing, a boss who can be somewhat intense and an old house that we're working on, little by little. I also have a kind, warm husband who works hard to provide for us and a supportive, loving family and amazing friends. So what's the big deal? The big deal is that I don't want to be swayed anymore by the chaos of life. I don't want my mood or self-worth to revolve around whether or not my daughters are happy. That in itself is exhausting, for crying out loud, they're teenagers! Their moods, desires and needs are all over the chart. I can't keep up, as well I shouldn't. They're just being who they are supposed to be. So is my temper-tantrum throwing grandson and my intense boss and my old, somewhat charming house.

The problem is simple. It's one I face from time to time as I'm sure everyone else does, and it lies in my stale spiritual life. I'm a Christian, have been for a very long time. My father has been a pastor since I was 6 years old. And sometimes, the Christian world tends to look at God, in my humble opinion, through very narrow eyes. They often tend to box God in to what they're comfortable with, a God who is like them. And while I do believe we are created in his image, the image that we conjure up is often very limited, very tame, very pragmatic. I believe God is beyond our comprehension, magnificent, untamable and beautiful beyond anything that we've ever imagined. I lose sight of that. I falter. I grow bored with the image of him that I've been taught and always struggle to see more of him. That takes discipline, something that I lack. Ask my parents.

So I have to seek Him. And seeking him for me starts with broadneing my vision of him. And the only way that I know how to do that is to read. But not the Bible, anything but the Bible. Blasphemous, I know, but true. I have read the Bible through a few times in my life, and while it is a source of inspiration, it is also the place that all of my childhood fears and questions and strange teachings reside. When I feel like this, they are all I see and I can't penetrate through that veil. So I decided to rattle the cage, to plunge the depths, to use the inquiring mind that God gave me and challenge my vision of who He is. And I'm pretty sure he's okay with that, even encourages that.

I'm starting with Eat Pray Love. So far, it's wonderful. It's stirring things inside of me that need to be stirred. It's challenging the way that I see Him and reminding me of his beauty. And of the beauty that he created, here in this world, for us to enjoy. And it's reminding me that spiritual growth has a structured, methodical, consistent path and not a chaotic, free-for-all, lackadaisical, circle. And it's reminding me of His love.

So, for the umpteenth time in my life, I'm seeking.

I really want to learn how to be that fly.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Magpie 22: Irony for a Tomato Hater

If you were a fruit, you'd be a tomato. Not a store bought tomato, the ones that come from sterile greenhouses and facilities. No, not those impostors. They reek of florescent lighting
and chemicals. They have the consistency of Styrofoam and they taste like a lie. You are not a lie. You are fresh from the garden, your skin taut and split, unable to contain your sweet core. You smell of black dirt and sun. You are summer, all long days and evening symphonies of cicadas and crickets. And I can never get my fill of you, can never find enough ways to devour you.