Have a dressed up day!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Daddy's Patient Love Language

Pause it.


Why in the world would he do that, Daddy?


Why -

Just watch.  That's not him.

That's gonna be -


I knew one of them was gonna come up.


Why does he have blue eyes?  He should have green.  He'd be more creepier.

(Insert heavy sigh from mama/teacher here.)


Why'd he just kill himself, Daddy?

Too long to post.



What, Daddy?

Just watch.

She's not really gonna die, is she, Daddy?


This goes on for nearly two hours.

Their movie language. 

It's one of the ways he speaks love to her -


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Family, We Have a Problem

This is sewius.

We have a problem.

Mingling with the mixed up feelings of my two older girls moving out weeks ago was a tinge of decorating excitement.  Three new rooms to fix up.  A remix, make old stuff new again. 

 It's in my blood, y'all.  This decorating desire. 

I talked about it here.

Now I can't do it.  I can't muster any muster.

The room which will become the guest room has gotten this far.

That's not far, y'all.

Yellow's not my color, but my Delia loves it and this was her room.  I think about paint and my mind drifts to bows and ribbons and dancing to Barney songs.  Spirals and sharing the kitchen.

I stand at the door and can't even hang a picture.  The other two rooms are the same.

This is sewius.

I wouldn't call it sadness, it's more like my mind being bogged down with memories that won't let me concentrate.  Won't let me see color and pattern and shape because they won't leave me alone.  They haunt.

Craziness like - If I paint, will they not come? (name that movie - sorta.)

It might not rank up there with the world's political or health issues, but it's clouding my brain with madness.  I try to shut the doors, but I hate shut doors - only slightly less than I hate unfinished rooms.

I shut them, I open them.  I shut them, I open them.  I shut . . . Somebody stop me.

These strings are tied seven minutes down the road and they are slowly tightening and cutting off my circulation.  I must cut them.  I must cut them.  I must.

Okay, maybe unraveling them a bit will do.  I should take it slow.   Just enough to pick out paint.  That's all I ask.

Just a pail of paint - or a pail of prozac.  I guess either will do.

Monday, September 27, 2010

One Thousand Gifts . . .

And He gives me this.  This beauty on a day of rest.  A day of family.

A day of worship.  To lift eyes to heaven and give thanks, to sing and to listen, to gather His teachings and words and hide them in my heart.  Hide and share.

This day of worship I'm learning to stretch into all my days.  I try harder, knowing more as each day passes of time and presence.

My gratitude list continues . . .

the smell of marinade in the fridge at 2:00 in the morning

Sunday morning cinnamon rolls

bringing chairs in for a full SS class

him holding my hand in prayer

steaks on the grill

cool salad

the young men our girls love

smell of charcoal

helping hands in the kitchen

Sunday lunch

God is great, God is good . . .

lawn chairs

box fans

iced tea

fresh tomatoes

real butter

Jessie begging

My list, #'s 362-378.

holy experience

Thursday, September 23, 2010

You Must Read This

I absolutely love this post from Lisa Notes.

I gave up my obsession of worrying several years ago.  And - believe me - it was an obession.  An addiction.  And Jesus kicked it.  Really, He did.

Yes, my part was hard.  Extremely hard.  But He helped me do it.
It no longer controls me - only by His grace freely given.

Lisa is giving it back and kicking Satan's butt with this one.

You go, Lisa.  And anyone else ready to trade in ugly for beautiful. 

Jesus and all His fringe benefits -  free for the taking.  Don't just take some y'all, take them all.

"Every day, all days." You said it, Lisa.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Red Boots

The magic of Christmas was everywhere. 

She had asked for one thing.  Red cowboy boots.

Shelby was sitting on the banks of four, poised and ready to jump in.  She just needed red boots for the leap.

And sometimes dreams do come true . . .

Now, fifteen years later, he sits on the banks of four, ready to leap.

He'll do it in hand-me-down red boots. 

Love's worth holding onto - and passing down.

Monday, September 20, 2010

One Thousand Gifts . . .

Decade ago and Sunday School was studying how to love your mate from the inside out.

Teacher asks, What is your favorite physical feature of your spouse?

She says,

Another says,

My turn as I smile and say,
Legs. Trust me, his legs.

Begs and pleads and he slowly gives and lifts cuffed pants to reveal to hollers and whistles; someone even passes him a dollar.  Laughs and legs.

Robin laughs loudly, whistles. Her feet marching in place at her chair as she doubles over -same as she always laughed.  How she laughs beautifully.  How I remember.  She's gone now.  Too soon, too young. 

How long does death hurt?

As long as memory.

Saturday I lean against rough wood and watch glass burn and expert hands turn and mold and beauty form.  Looking away I see him walking to me.  Legs.  I begin to feel . . .

Then I see his face.  Grinning and swollen vein.  He's done it.


Two maybes.  He's done it or I will soon hear some knowledge great to him about this piece of glass beauty he is gently cradling.

No, he's done it.

Happy Birthday, he says.

I look at the colors, the transparancy of glass and love. 

I gently argue about the money as I touch it and I'm thinking once again - How far can a woman fall?

Trust me Rie, it's okay.  I'm going to get it wrapped up.

He walks away and I lean and watch him transparent.  Pursing my lips and blinking my eyes to stop what is threatening to fall.  I blink harder.

He walks back, sees me trying hard and takes my lean.  Taking my place he slips his arms around my waist and whispers, Trust me.  I lean.

He kisses my neck and my gratitude list continues . . .

hair in a ponytail

feel of lips on skin


glass vases

watching them watch knowledge

chips of broken color

rented strollers

frozen lemonade

rest stops


blueberry muffins

rock walls

hot tubs


rope courses

blankets on grass

birthday calls

birthday texts


traffic jams


lights of home

never traveling alone

My list, #'s 337-361.

holy experience

Friday, September 17, 2010

Me? Superstitious?

 This post comes from the archives.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

While getting Max an apple yesterday I caught myself twisting the stem and muttering my ABC's. This got me to thinking, which, as I have said before, is not always a good thing. Sometimes it is better for all involved if my mind stays blank, or at the very least, on track.

But here it was, off track and racing through my memories as I began to recall superstitions of my childhood.

Welcome, one and all, to what my mama taught me.

I am:

a) proud b) embarrassed c)ashamed

to say that I have never, knowingly, stepped on a crack. Shoot fire, y'all - it would break my mama's back.

Walk under a ladder? Well no, thank you very much, I'd rather walk around the world.

Once, because I rocked a rocking chair with no one in it, my mama made me knock on the next closest piece of wood - and that doesn't even make sense.

My sisters and I were never allowed to give a boyfriend a shirt. My mama saved many a young man's life that way. Every Christmas we heard the sad tale of the girl she once knew who gave all of her boyfriends shirts as gifts. All of those young men died - I kid you not - every one of them. Shame, isn't it?

We were never allowed to turn around and go back if we left something at home. That's bad luck. Whatever it was we did without it - and whatever you do don't look back or you will never see home again.

It was a real shame if a black cat crossed our path because, well, we couldn't go back.

Logic would tell one not to put ones shoes on the table. Logic, no. Bad luck, yes.

Please do not open that umbrella in the house and don't you even think about passing that baby through that window.

Be careful with that mirror, you know what will happen if you break it.

Don't bother lifting your feet, I won't sweep under them anyway. You want to marry one day, don't you?

I assure you that I am not pulling your leg or yanking your chain when I tell you my mama would send my sister, who suffered from styes, to the end of the drive with these little words:

Stye, stye, leave my eye
take the next one coming by.

Always say, "God bless you," when you sneeze. It keeps the devil away.

Never pull out a gray hair. I'm warning you, ten more will grow in its place.

Don't fret y'all, all of this can be reversed if you blow out all of your birthday candles at once or wish upon a falling star. And the best thing of all to turn your luck - the big end of the wishbone.

Don't misunderstand me, my mama is a bright, intelligent woman. What does she have to say about the number 13? Nothing. Don't you know that's just "silly superstition".

My daddy had a few of his own - the dreaded snapping turtle who would not let go till it thundered and the 'ole watermelon growing in your belly if you swallowed a seed. And everyone, don't be afraid, but he has snakes that live in his belly button. Because my daddy has never believed in shirts I always had to keep an ever watchful eye out. Just in case.

I am proud to say I have risen above all of this nonsense. Come see me sometimes, but don't come in the month of August, it's - never mind.

I'll see you when I see you. Until then, "Bless 'yo pea-pickin' heart."

"Keep on keeping on," and remember, "Country cookin' makes you good-lookin'."

P.S. I'll try not to dream about you, cause if I do three times in a row you're a goner. It's your own fault though, should've held your breath when you walked past that cemetery.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What the Word? Wednesday

What the Word? Wednesday is back and begs this question-

Are you better at this than Maxster's daddy is?

It's been a while, so in case you've forgotten or are new to Wednesday's -

I'll hold all guesses until tomorrow.  Check back then for the answer.

Daddy, what's a - - -

Jennifer got it first.  Congrats!  What's a video camera?

Thanks for playing, Maxster will be back in a couple of weeks with something harder for y'all.

Monday, September 13, 2010

For With the Measure You Use . . .

When we hear and see these things we must not feel guilty for not living poor, but we must change how we live rich.

I read Ann again today and weep. More than yesterday.

I think of Cristian, and Virginia and Nancy Elizabeth, and remind myself that they tilter on the edge of a doomed world.

We all tilter.

I pray for Ann and the others on life-changing trips. I pray for lives changing at computer screens everywhere today.

Why, God? Why?

I can scream at Him, I can get angry. Why not?

He knows every corner of my being and what good is hiding from the Father?

Our troubles sometimes cause us to question the character of God.  Yes, sometimes He leads us into the barren wilderness and leaves us hungry and scared.  Hard faith lies in our circumstances. Remembering His goodness in our past. The promise of His goodness in our future. And this - believing in His goodness in our present.

He tells me to pray.  There is no better way to help than prayer.

I look at Ann's picture of a father with his arm around his son, praying to his Father.

He still prays to his Father. In this despair is a man with hope. A man who believes in the Jesus who has rescued him and his family.

Rescued. Not from hurricane destruction or hunger or poverty that aches at his heart. But rescued his soul from a death and eternal life of breathing through death over and over. Of seperation. Of a despair that words and pictures can't speak of.

That is it. The answer.  As Compassion - in the name of Jesus - seeks to cast so the Mighty One, the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and End, can wrap and rescue and save.

I must not pity. What I must do is work. Reap for the harvest. And pray.

And ask myself this question -
This question Ann says I must look in the mirror and really ask -

Maybe we don't need to know the names of the men, women, children, fastened to the edge of the world. Maybe we only have to look in our own mirrors and ask of the faces there, ask of the way we invest our money, ask of how we live and spend and steer our lives:

"Is this about Jesus' name?"

Or the comfort and ease and furtherance of mine?

Now comes my pity. Pity for the reflection in the mirror. Pity for that person who only sees herself too often. Is His face there? Now, at this moment of once again understanding.  Stay here.

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Luke 6:38

For with the measure you use . . .

Sunday, September 12, 2010

One Thousand Gifts . . .

He's sleeping now. 

His feverish brow has cooled and the cough has quietened. 

My gratitude list continues . . .

sharing a blanket with hot baby legs wrapped around mine

giggles through the fever

waking to baby footsteps at two a.m.

baby footseps again at four a.m.

Sunday morning cinnamon rolls

cold water drinks after medicine

watery eyes

runny nose

favorite Buzz jammies

growing legs hanging as we rock

legos on the bed with Daddy

curled up to Bob the Builder

"God is helpin' me feel bet'r Mommy"

imagining his dreams

bedtime for Mommy


My list, #'s 321-336.

Goodnite y'all.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Do We Have To Remember?

This post is from the archives.

In 2001 He's Too Good To Me and I were going through some financial difficulities. Once you manage to drag yourself through the trials that are life you draw closer to one another. It passes down from generation to generation. Back to the beginning. Wonder who was angrier? Adam? Because Eve had succumed to temptation and eaten the fruit? Or Eve? Because Adam was not strong enough to stop her? Can't you just hear the conversation, "You should not have done it!" "Why didn't you stop me?"

Once they got over blame and anger and adjusted to their new life, I know they drew into each other.

On this day in September of 2001 I had left the house early to go pay a bill, scheduled turn off day. As I parked my car the news was reporting a plane crashing into the World Trade Center. No one was speaking of it in the store; it was, at that moment, just another sad tragedy that was happening far away.

While I was driving home the second plane hit. All at once my problems were small and I would now witness a nation drawing into each other.

I had left the girls at the house; Delia was 12 and I would be less than 2 miles away. No one had spoken of an attack on America in the minutes it took me to get home. There was confusion and rambling on the news and my heart was in a state of panic. I needed to get to my babies.

I remember watching all day, crying as I tried to explain to their young hearts and minds what I could not understand myself. I wanted my husband, Gregg; only he can wrap his arms around me and make me feel safe, no matter what. I wanted my mama and daddy, I wanted my sisters.
When the sounds began of bodies hitting ground as desperate people chose another way out of that horror I no longer had the strength to stand. I remember sitting on the bathroom floor with a towel held to my mouth to stifle the sounds I could not contain, but I don't remember what I was thinking. Fear was mixed with a desperate need to stay calm. A sadness overwhelmed my heart that was so shattered for the pain of others and it was more powerful than anything I had ever felt. So I just sat there, cried, and prayed.

Adam and Eve, the first of us, God's creation to bring Himself joy. Their fear must have been the same, the unknown was before them. Life changed forever for them, as it did for us in 2001. It had already begun to change for me, on Oct. 1, 1997, the saddest day in the history of my hometown, Pearl. I had babies at that school, I had a sister there, friends and their children were there.

Generation after generation from the beginning - trials of life - anger, sadness. We were created to bring Him joy and look what we did to ourselves. Look at what He gave us and look at what we did with it.

Look at what God did then. Jesus.

In time we have gotten over blame and anger, we have adjusted to a new life after September 11. That ability is another gift from above.

So, do we really have to remember?

I move through my days loving my husband, caring for my children, and treasuring my life. I pray to God when times are good for Him to prepare my heart for the bad times that are coming. Days like today, when my Daddy's doctor gives us news that's not so good, and surrounding all that - it's September 11.
So, for me, I have to remember.

My friend S. has to remember. Today I sit and watch her cry for those families and we remember together.

I remember with the help of words from a song I love, "In your eyes I see the pain, come soak this dry heart in healing rain ... Lift your hands, they can be held by someone greater - the great I Am."

That's Healing Rain by Michael W. Smith. Listen to it and close your eyes and don't remember the horror. Remember the families, lift your hands for them. Remember your families. And, with joy, thank God.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Welcome to the Family, Cristian

I read Ann and weep. 

Max slips in beside me and sees this photo . . .

Oh, Momme, tey have a leak.  Sobode need to fix it.

Yes son, somebody does.

He slips away.

I keep reading, sometimes laughing, sometimes crying. 

Sometimes judging.  And I hate myself for that.  I touch my brain with my heart and remind that despair sets in.  People lose hope.

Compassion says these words,

Children in poverty are susceptible to believing poverty's darkest message: "You don't matter."

Adults believe that, too.


My Shelby has had a sponsor child for years now.  But Shelby's gone, and so is the photo on the fridge and the letters in the mail.

There are these. 

Photos that came months back.  Photos of children needing sponsors.  Photos I placed on the side of our fridge so I could touch their faces and pray.

At the end of Ann's words is the link to sponsor a child.

I stare at it.  Can we do it?  Can we afford it?  How much help will the girls need in their new place?  What if work slows down - or stops completely? 

I click.

Flooding my eyes and heart is a page of three year old boys.  Why would it go straight here?  I think.  But I know the answer.

They all have hearts by their faces.  All waiting for longer than six months for someone, anyone, to want to sponsor them.  Love them.  Become their family close from far.

Adopt their hearts.

Oh, Momme, tey have a leak.  Sobode need to fix it.

Yes, son, somebody does.

Jesus speaks to me.  Let Max.  Let Me use Max.  Teach him now.

And I remember my promise.  I call my son.  A son we waited eighteen years for.  A son we didn't plan.  We were a finished family, we thought.

But we are not a finished family.  How can one ever be finished with Jesus?  Max is a blessing and he will now bless.  It starts now.  Right now our family grows.

He climbs into my lap and I try to explain how these little boys need someone to help them.  How they don't have their own bed or much food. 

How Jesus loves them.

I tell him we will pick one to help.  He points.  To the very first one.  I think, Oh, it's just because he's first.  I point to Juan, Luis, then Kilder.  What about this one?  I say.

No, Momme, go back up, says this little disciple sitting in my lap.

I scroll up and he points to the first one again.

I stare.  His name is Cristian.

I click. 

He likes to play with cars, baby. 

I ike cars, too.

Tell his momme to buy him a bed wi me mone.

Maybe he needs food more, honey.

No, a bed.


If he here, he could share mine.

I click - Select this child.

Welcome to the family, Cristian.  We love you already.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Says Who?

She leaves and says . . . 

Mama, I love you.

I love you too, baby.

And I do, both with all and more of my heart.

The other one leaves later and says . . .

Mama, I probably won't see you tomorrow.

And I say . . .

Why not?

She hugs me, inches taller, and strokes my hair.  She laughs at me and says . . .

Mama, you have to get used to not seeing me every day.

To which I say - and mean  . . .

Says who?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Write them on the doorframes of your houses . . .

I raised them to be independent.  First jobs and buying their own shampoo and deodorant.  They pay their own insurance and cell phone bills and car notes.

They have never once broken curfew and they act responsibly - most of the time - and that has been my goal.

There's just one problem with such independent children.

You go from this right around the corner from your bed . . .

To their sights and smells away from here.

Delia called home before they signed the papers and said she felt sick.  Hot and sweating and Mama, I may cry.

I replied,

Nerves, it's just nerves, baby.  It's normal.

Then I said this,

You can always just stay home.

Oh, Mama.

Ok, so I said the wrong thing.  Nobody's perfect.

Then there was this . . .

Just look at those smiles.

I think I'll sign off now, go have a good cry, and pray I've done my job well.

 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.  Deuteronomy 11:18-20

Monday, September 6, 2010

One Thousand Gifts . . .

"Glad!  Why?"

"Why, I like bread and milk, and I'd like to eat with you.  I don't see any trouble about being glad about that."

"You don't seem ter see any trouble bein' glad about everythin'," retorted Nancy . . .

Pollyanna laughed softly.

"Well, that's the game, you know, anyway."

"The - game?"

"Yes; the 'just being glad' game."

"Yes.  You see I'd wanted a doll, and father had written them so; but when the barrel came the lady wrote that there hadn't any dolls come in, but the little crutches had.

And that's when we began it."

" . . . the game was to just find something about everything to be glad about - no matter what 'twas," rejoined Pollyanna.  "And we began right then - on the crutches."

"Goosey!  Why, just be glad because you don't - need - 'em!"

Pollyanna  by Eleanor H. Porter; 1912

My gratitude list continues . . .

reading aloud to Isabela

hearing Isabela read to me

not needing crutches

laughing hard


cupping face in hands

drawstring garbage bags


bug spray

discussing vacation plans


75% off sheet sale

new sheets

a box of gourds

fried green tomatoes


My list, #304-320.

holy experience

Thursday, September 2, 2010


I know I brag too much about Shelby's cakes.  I'm not even gonna try to excuse it.  Just chalk it up to my mama bones.

I can't resist showing y'all this one . . .

and this one . . .

'cause it's really cool - and so is Darby.

And this one . . .

Mississippi State Hospital has a patient art show and sale each year entitled Serendipity.  Shelby made the cake for the human resource meeting on planning the event this year.

Even the fondant crayons used for the border are edible - minus the wrapper.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

We Have Been Careless

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.  Ecclesiastes 3:1

I hold her tonight as she cries. 

She's almost as tall as I am, but her thin frame allows my arms to reach around and hold her as tight as when she was much younger.

Her head is buried deep within my heart and I stoke her back as she shakes sadness.

I cup her face and tell her it will be alright.

Maybe it will even be better.

Maybe there will be even more time.

They will try to make more time now, I assure her.  For they will miss you, too.

Her pain wets my hands as I kiss her and promise again that it will be alright.

 All this joy and anticipation around us has made us careless, forgetful of feelings of one so young.

I tell her love does not end. 

And remember, I say with a smile -  it's just seven minutes.

She doesn't smile, she doesn't laugh.   

How do I promise and explain something I can't understand myself?   How the sands of time pass when we are not looking.

Oh, the comfort - the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person - having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.
 ~Dinah Craik, A Life for a Life, 1859
Drawing of me losing my cool courtesy of budding artist, Izzy.

Have a dressed up day!

. . . put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Colossians 3:12