Have a dressed up day!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

happy birthday, daddy, sleep well

I love my daddy.  

He would be eighty years old today.

Daddy had a favorite joke he told us when we were little about an Indian, a doctor, and a tepee.  This joke has one not so nice word in it and when I was in the third grade I told it to my teacher and class.

If I try hard I can still hear Daddy's laughter loud and strong when I did that.

Daddy had been sick a couple years before he died and didn't have the energy he did before illness attacked his body.  But his spirit was the same for a long time.  I remember a day on my front porch when he did that little wave of the hand and roll of the eye and sound from the throat he did when he spoke of someone and how they ain't got no sense.  

When I looked at my daddy I didn't always see age.  I saw the little boy who was scared of school and beat his mama back home every morning after she dropped him off  because he took the shortcut.

The man who could never bear to spank us, so he didn't.  Ever.  

I didn't see a man who walked barefoot in the snow to school everyday.  Really, Daddy?  Here.  In Mississippi?  

Or a man who lived in a house so bad you could see the chickens pecking underneath through the cracks in the floor  Maybe?  But.... I don't know, Daddy. 
Trust is a little shaky after the snow story.  

Who became caught in the middle of my teenage rebellion with my mama.

And who stayed up all night with me after a hard day of work because my eyes were as big as quarters.

I saw a man who allowed my mama to stay home and raise us.  I'm sure sometimes he thought she raised us alone, but the power to keep us in her loving presence came from him.  

His words were few.  Sentiment crept in as he grew older and he felt the need to love us more.  But that wasn't possible, we  never felt unloved. 

Happy Birthday.  Sleep well, Daddy, in the pure peace and presence of God.  I'll see you soon.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

letter to my pregnant daughter

Dear Delia,

I think, but I'm not certain, the last time he cupped his chubby hand all the way around my neck- all the way till his hand lay flat right at the center of my throat- was on a walk to the mailbox on a hot afternoon.  But I'm not certain.  Not certain that was the last time.

If I had known it was the last time she would place both hands on my cheeks to tell her story I would have looked closer.  I would have gazed into those great big beautiful eyes and memorized every detail.  I would have asked questions about that story till she grew weary if I had known it was the last time she'd place her hands on my cheeks to spill words.

I don't remember the last time Mamie or Mommy became Mama.  Just like that with no warning or foretelling it just became Mama.  I can't tell you the last time I cut up a plate of spaghetti or chicken breast when I'd never be asked again.  I didn't know the last time was the last time.

The last time I brushed your hair back into half ponytail and held round brush to your bangs was - I don't know.  One day in that eggplant colored bathroom before our world rocked hard.  

But I had no idea I'd never do it again.

How many nights did you crawl into bed with me?  How many nights did your daddy move to the sofa?  Probably way past when most would say it should have been, but not me.

But I didn't know the last time I felt the weight of your body wake me as it lay in the middle it was the last time you'd come.

When he'd never say po-wa-wa again and ask for popsicle next time.

When she'd never turn both feet in as she walked to just one day walk straight.

There's a last time for everything my darlin'.

And it rushes in like an unexpected wind and lifts away childhood one veined heart pounding moment at a time.

Carries it away into a swirling gathering of what Webster calls memories but what your mother calls a slow glorious death.

And only few times will you pause and wonder if it's happening.

Because car seats are heavy and bags are weighted and baths seem unending.  Meals come one after the other till you are weary and papers need checking and teeth need cleaning and you dig one after another after another of something from underneath the sofa and why did the dryer have to eat the very last matching sock when you didn't know someone was drinking the last drop of milk and payday is still two days away so there's too much to think about to think about last times?

You will see.  So listen closely now and take heed my love.

You didn't leave home the day you moved out.  You didn't leave home the day you married that red headed boy of yours.  You still came back.  You still lay with your head in my lap and cried over  problem and I knew you were still my little girl living in a woman's body trying really hard to be a woman. I'm sure you'll probably lie with your head in my lap again and cry - I hope so - but even if you do you'll be just visiting. 

Cause now, my darlin' baby girl,  you've left home.

And I know exactly when it happened.

Now she swells big tiny inside you and you look beautiful and you really do glow as you sit across the room and rest your hand on that spot that aches and now you've left home.

She's the one who has taken you away. 

And it is above all my moments of motherhood with you my love the most amazing glorious take my breath away moment of all.

And I know exactly when it happened.


Read the first letter here.  When I'm gonna be a grandma.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

what makes you a woman part 2

Hey, it's Shelby again.  If you didn’t read yesterday’s post, I would advise you to before starting today’s!

So…. Where were we? Oh yes, me becoming an AUNT!

Delia and I are extremely close, wouldn’t want to do life without her. I love her to death; her and my younger sister Isabela (can’t forget Maxter too). Delia was the first born; she always did things before me; she drove first, she got a car first, she bought a house before me, she got engaged before me, and she got married before me. This is normal life. She is older than me! It is expected. 

There is ONE THING I THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO DO FIRST THOUGH, and that was become a mama. See a pattern happening? I love living by my timeline, and if we learned anything from yesterday, it is that I should leave these things in God’s hands.

Now my wonderful Big Sister is becoming a mama and I couldn’t be happier for her! I went to bed on the night of January 16th thinking that we will be pregnant together. Our babies will grow up just as close as we are. Because clearly I was going to be pregnant soon and in a month I could take a test and run to her and tell her. Our littles just a couple months apart. Perfect timing.  

Do you see where this is going? You guessed it. I wasn’t pregnant a month later or the next month or the next. 6 months later, I’m still not pregnant. It was not supposed to happen this way, why is it taking six months? 

God, what’s going on?  My mama got pregnant with Delia just a few months after getting married; now Delia is pregnant just 2 months after stopping birth control. Both not trying as hard as I am. It’s in our genes, why am I not pregnant?

So, what makes me a woman?

Did you know you can’t adopt until you have been married for two years?  I am not pregnant, I can’t adopt yet, I am not a Mother.  That is what a woman is, right?  I was created to be a wife and mother. What happens if I can never be a mother, why do my thoughts always go to the negative and not to God?

Why can’t I just enjoy being young?

Why do I want to rush into the next step?

Why can’t I just TRUST in His perfect timing?

Why am I so impatient?

What if being a mother isn’t in God’s plan?

If you know me, you know I don’t have patience.  I want things to happen right away, when I want it to.
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

Proverbs 31:30

So, what makes us women?

GOD, God makes us women.  Just because I do not meet the standards I gave myself does not mean that I am less of a woman.

I do not get a “C” in this life. I get an “A+” because God is my FATHER, once we accept HIM we become so much more

His love and grace gives me the strength to stop my petty and untrue thoughts.  He tells me that I am cherished and loved, and He reassures me that I don’t know ALL and gently rocks me back to Him when I go down the road of thinking I am anything less than His.

I am a woman created by the ALMIGHTY and PERFECT God. He makes no mistakes.

We are not less of a woman if we never marry.

We are not less of a woman if we never have children.

We are not less of a woman if our house is not always clean.

We are not less of a women if ­­___________?

Come on, we are women; I know something popped in your head on that last one.

So, we all have a different idea of what makes us the perfect woman. But you know what? I want to be a woman who fears the Lord.

I want to be the woman God made me to be. I want to be remembered by being one of his.

If being one of His and following His perfect plan means it takes years to have a baby or never be able to and only adopt then He will carry me every step of the way. I will be honest, if I was never to become a mama it would be hard and I would be angry but that is where GRACE comes in.

Instead of being 6 months pregnant like I thought I would be by now, I am going down a different road. Well, a different road than I had in mind, this was always God’s plan though.

I am excited about this new journey. Tomorrow I quit the corporate world and dive into food full time. Excited to see where God is taking this little business of mine!

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
Psalm 37:23

Will we still be trying for a baby? Of course. Will I be pregnant next month? Well, I can’t answer that question, cause God has that in His hands.

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the
purpose of the Lord that will stand

Proverbs 19:21

Am I trying to live by what I thought a woman was? Not entirely, I am going to love and support my husband and do life side by side with him and when I have children I will try and be the best mama and love them unconditionally. But, I am also going to be a woman of God. Love and serve HIM and place my future in HIS hands. 

Everyone is different. You may not be struggling in the same way I am. There may be something else in your life that is causing you to go on your own road and not God’s. You may be angry with Him because He hasn’t given you something you wanted or dreamed of. You may be thinking?  God, what’s going on? Do you not hear my plea?

I will reassure that His plan is more perfect than you could ever dream. Just in case you don’t believe me, Here are some of HIS words.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; ... 
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-22

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Proverbs 3: 5-6

You know, it’s about time I took my own words to heart that I spoke to Delia when she came in shaking and I prayed with her. He does have this all under control and this is all a part of His plan.

Now little Meredith Jane is due in just a short 2 months. I get the pleasure of throwing Delia a shower and I get the glorious job of being Meredith's aunt BB! So excuse me if that’s all I talk about, I am just a tad bit excited for this little miracle to arrive. Now if I could only get Delia to let me touch her belly, everything would be perfect!

Don’t let you steal your own joy. This season of your life may not be happening how you expected it too. But you won’t enjoy it if you are so consumed with the “what if's” and “woe is me’” attitude.


Monday, July 13, 2015

What makes you a woman?

Hey, it's Shelby, Rie's daughter.

What makes you a woman?

This question has an obvious answer. What makes a woman’s body different from a man’s?  We all know the answer to that question.

But when I ask myself, “What makes you a woman, Shelby?” I am not expecting the obvious answer. All throughout my life, I only wanted two things: a husband and children. Simple as that. I thought that this was what I was created for. My job in life was simple, become a loving and supportive wife to my husband, birth as many children as I could, and be a loving and supportive mother.

I still believe this is what I am supposed to do with my life, but now I am learning that it’s not going to happen when, or maybe how, I expected it to (the child bearing part that is).  I'm accepting that I was created to accomplish other things in my journey as well. I am learning to go by God’s agenda and not my own - trying to at least. I am far from perfect, so I falter and fall into the “woe is me” attitude on occasion.

So, what makes me a woman?

First, I have to tell myself that I am not less of a woman for not having kids, biological or adoptive.  Adopting a child is a perfect picture of selfless and complete LOVE, and I pray one day I can do it. Isn’t that what Jesus does? He doesn’t have to love and cherish us, but He chooses too.   But that’s a whole different post. 

Back to this one. - If you would have asked me a few weeks ago if I am less of a woman because I'm not a mother yet, I would have said yes. Isn’t that a horrible attitude to have? I thought I was failing at 50% of what I was made to do. Guy’s, that’s an F. I have only gotten one part right, having a husband. And,  man oh man, did I do GREAT in that department. I need to give myself more credit, okay, I am at whatever gives me a C. So I am still passing and not failing at life. I can’t fail with God on my side though, and my husband does great at reminding me of that. 

Loving husband is truly too good to me, as my mama would say my daddy is for her! I don’t deserve the love my husband gives me, or the patience, he loves me so well. I am so thankful and I don’t tell him enough!

So many people tell me, you’re still young or it will happen when it happens, just have patience. Yes, I am young, and yes, it will happen on God’s time and not my own. But do I listen with an open heart to all the people who are just trying to make me feel better and are speaking the Truth? Nope! I am listening with the attitude  “you don’t know my life, stop making me try to feel better, it’s not working”. The loud voice in my head telling me that I am just a failure is too deafening to hear your kind words of encouragement, and also God’s. 

That’s dangerous people, drowning out God’s voice.

Is there something (or lack of) in your life that’s making you feel 
like a failure?

Let me back up a little bit. I married a wonderful man by the name of Joseph Hennessy on December 28, 2013, at the young age of 21. I would have started trying for babies as soon as possible if I had it my way. But I cherish the past 19 months I have had him all to myself. I don’t regret waiting.

I had been talking about starting for a family about 6 months into our marriage but we knew we weren’t ready. Joe had just graduated college, he was looking for a job, and we were not swimming in money!

On our one year anniversary Joe said he wanted to start trying. There are not even enough words to express my EXCITEMENT! In my head I had decided on a timeline. No birth control right that very moment, which the doctor said only takes about two weeks to get out of my system, and the first month I would be pregnant. That would put me popping out a baby in November (just in time for our 6 year dating anniversary). I just knew that since God put this overwhelming desire to be a mama in my heart that He would bless us with a child right away! Do you know what happens when you try to go by your timeline and not leave it up to God? 

Disappointment, that’s what? That was my first mistake.

It was January 16th when my sister texted me. “I’m late…” I texted back that she needed to take a test. She assured me she would wait another week and then take one. Low and behold, 45 minutes later around 10 pm I hear a knock on my door. My music is loud and I am working on a cake, loving husband isn’t home, and its pouring rain outside. I open my door and there is my sister, cold and wet, shaking with nerves, holding up a positive pregnancy test. You see, Delia and Ruben were kinda trying since October but very content and positive that it would take a while (we are the opposite of each other, can you tell?)

I pulled her inside and tried to calm her nerves. I prayed over her and asked God to bring her peace and assurance that everything was happening according to His mighty plan, to let Him lead her, and for her to cast her worries upon Him. 

She wouldn’t stop shaking. I couldn’t stop smiling. 

I just cried out to the Lord to guide her though this and prayed she would lean on HIM.
I had another test so she took it and there was no mistake that she was pregnant.
She stayed over past midnight and we just chatted about the baby and the future, my cake sitting unfinished. I didn’t go to bed till after 2am finishing that rotten thing. Can’t tell you what it even looked like now, all I remember about that night was that I was going to be an aunt!

Guys, this post is going to be really long so let’s wait till tomorrow for part two, okay? 
Maybe I will still have the nerve to pour out my heart!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

and how does a baby turn twenty-six when all you did was blink?

This was twenty years ago.  First tooth was missing and moments after this picture was taken you'd break your arm for the second time.

Five years ago when you turned twenty-one I wrote these words -

Words won't even come that seem powerful enough to express my thoughts at you turning twenty-one years old.

What makes this age so different?  You don't look different or act different.  The sun is still hot and the planets are still lined up.  Everything looks and feels the same.

Everything but me.

It's hard to describe.  It's almost a feeling of dread.  There is a heaviness in my heart that spreads into my arms when I think of today.  I physically feel it. 

Am I, for the very first time after twenty-one years of watching four children grow so rapidly before my eyes, just beginning to realize that I will never get any of that time back?  I know I've known this, I've even blogged about it - but I think it was only in my brain and tonight my heart is not taking the news so well.

Five years later and my heart's still not taking so well this growing up all of you are doing.  So.  Fast.

And today you turn twenty-six.  And you do look different.  You are carrying my first grandchild.  A baby girl and I know the moment I lay eyes on her I will be traveling in my mind back to a place and time that was the beginning of you.  You, my darlin'.  The beautiful baby girl born to your daddy and me.  

And these words I wrote are the same -

The first moment you were placed into my arms I felt a strange and powerful kind of love as I stared at you for the first time.  And I remember staring, for a long time - just staring.

You and I began to grow up together.  I seemed to know little more than you did.  And because of that you suffered many things.

And there's a heaviness in my arms - a longing to just hold you again. 

Just another chance to stare. 

Just another chance to say, Wow, I love you, baby girl.

Happy Birthday.


Friday, July 3, 2015

when the world hits hard

My friend writes beautiful truthful godly words here.

Highly recommended reading when the world hits hard.

Monday, June 29, 2015

when you are trying to raise a son into a man that sees

I want to raise a boy into a man that sees.

I send him over to ask if it's okay.  He runs back all smiles - yeah, Mommy, she says I can.

So he is changing clothes and bug spraying when my phone rings.

Marie, Max just knocked on my door and asked if he can cut my grass.

Yes ma'am, is it okay?

It would be wonderful.  Last night before I fell asleep I prayed to God to send someone to knock on my door today to cut my grass.

We both laugh amd chat a minute and then hang up.

His daddy gets him going and then he cuts.  He follows the pattern and cuts circle after circle after circle.

And I watch.

And then my phone rings.

Marie, my son says he wants to send Max $30 for cutting the yard.  

No, thank you, but please no ma'am.  That's not why he's cutting it.  I don't want him to think he has to get paid.  

And then she begins to cry.  

I prayed to God last night before I went to bed that someone would knock on my door today and ask to cut my grass.

Yes ma'am, I know.  

And she hangs up crying.

I go to the window and watch.  He's cut the same spot so many times there's bald patches appearing. I go outside and guide him to a few missed spots.

Repost from here - We were blessed beyond any form of our worth with three beautiful girls and my years were over forty and much time had passed since we made the unspoken bond of no more children by not speaking of it any longer.

There are some things that are very hard to explain.  And the fear is if you try you might sound somewhat extravagant.  Or like a dreamer.  Or just plain foolish.

But on a night earlier pressed against each other I laughed loud and told him we just made a baby.  I knew it.  I felt it.  I can't explain it.  I said it but how does a woman know such a thing at such a time?

But I did.

And I was right.

And weeks passed and he came home as I walked out of the laundry room and right into his arms and cried and there were only three words -

You're pregnant?


And I said words that were too honest when I wondered aloud why would God give us another child?  I didn't want another baby or need another baby and why would I be pregnant unless He was giving us a son?  Why would I be pregnant if it were a girl?

Some things will shame till the day we die.

And I didn't realize how badly I wanted a boy until the thought that I might not have one.

But I was afraid to say the words too loudly or too often.

And on a table too short in cold dark room I held the hand of the man I love and watched only him.  And there it was.  Wand moved and fingers touched keys and I saw it on his face before she spoke the words.

It's a boy.

But I already knew for his smile started slowly and he saw and looked at me in a way he had never looked at me before. 

And then my excitement turned to fear as I realized I had no idea how to take care of a boy.

But I could figure the taking care of part out.

But raising a son?.  How do you raise a man?

To be honest I had come to believe God didn't think I'd be any good at it.  I guess He believed I was the daughter raising type.

But here, now, he was granting us a son.  Blessing us with a son.

In this post I continue on to explain a promise I made to God when it appeared later on in the pregnancy that something was very wrong with Max.

I'm still not going to share that promise here in this white space.  It's personal.  Too personal.  And it was a hard promise.  One I want to keep but am not so sure I'll ever be able to.  I think of it often.

So here we are raising a son.

Girls are natural care givers, mostly kind-hearted and compassionate.  Instinct drives much of what they do.  A mother's instinct.

But boys like bad guys and heroes and dirt and mess and often get wrapped up in their own little gross worlds, too wrapped up to just notice things around them. They go too fast to just notice.   

And boys seem to not have chivalry in this modern age.  I don't want the age of harlots and brew and turkey legs devoured around an uncivilized table.

But there has to be an in-between, because boys growing up now are missing the mark.  Parents are missing the mark.

I want to raise a son into a man.

A real man.  A man like Christ the man.  A wise, kind, compassionate, loving man who has the hands of a hard worker.  A just man who angers with injustice and a zeal for God's house that will consume him. John 2:17 

A man who is not afraid of hard work and sweat.  One who is not afraid to be gentle. A man who never tires of loving one woman and telling her so.

And I want to raise a son who grows into a man who notices.  One who notices things going on around him.  A man with a keen sense of what needs to be done and then just does it.  One who notices a woman carrying a box while men stand all around her.  Notices an elderly neighbor's yard that needs attention.  A man who notices the child in the corner without a friend. And then becomes that friend.

I want to raise a boy into a man that sees.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

when you can't believe in statistics because how can you bear that?

It was 2001 and Judy walked up to me on the right hand side by the front doors and said, You should direct Vacation Bible School.  God told me so.

It was more of a command than a request.

Now, fourteen years later, I've been to Japan and the United Kingdom and the Amazon and . . .

I guess I've been all over the world.

So many years of prayers.  Over a thousand children.  Many now grown and gone and I wonder where and question.

And it's scary.  Every year I come close to quitting.  And if you really get to the heart of it I know I'm just scared.  

God will happen in spite of me.  Not because of me.

I remind myself.

This year I watched them as I always do from the back.  They raise their arms and stomp their feet and sing about taming their tongues and walking with the wise.

Where will they all go?  What will they do?  Who will they become? 

Will they say yes now or later -
or never?

They sing and dance and laugh and I begin to beg again, as every year.

I look at the back of their little heads and know all will one day die, some with eternity being separation and fire. 

Today I don't even make it through the doors at the beginning of the day before the tears fall and I wonder which ones?  Is it the little brown haired boy that sits on the third row?  The one with the glasses and cow-licked hair?  Or the little curly haired blond girl with blue eyes that light up when she sings?

There's the beautiful little girl who keeps walking right out of her flip flops and the quiet lovely child in the corner soaking in every word and motion.  Is it them?  The same little ones whose mothers held them close?

I stand in the prayer room before the morning begins and choke out my words so badly I have to ask someone to take over.  And they stay with me and cry with me and petition with me.  Not for one but for all. 

Statistics will tell you mathematically every child here will not accept Christ and spend an eternity in Heaven.  Statistics will tell you of one thousand children only one-hundred and seventy will even attend church.  And I can't bear that.  How do you bear that?

But I do not have to.  I can't believe in statistics.

I can only believe in faith.

I believe in my God, your God, the one and only God.  Lord, soften their hearts and prepare them and let them hear and see and know and say yes.

Because everyday, somewhere, some child is hearing the name Jesus.

Monday, May 25, 2015

when you turn sweet sixteen

It was the day before you were to be born.  She walked into the largest of the baby suites - the one they had set me up in because I was to be there so long, the one big enough for your sisters to bring sleeping bags and stay with me at night, the one you would be born in - and she looked at my iv.

It needs changing again.  There's no place left to put it but your neck or foot. 

I probably cried.  I was tired.  I could not wait for you to get here.  Could this pregnancy get much worse?  It all began the day I passed out in the dressing room of Limited Too and your Uncle Markie scooped me up and carried me to the waiting ambulance.

And now Bluebird can't go to the mall with Delia without anxiety that something will happen.  A little PTSD, Shelby?

When a tear was found in my gallbladder and there was nothing they could do but wait for you to come.  When every bite made me sick and I slept with a bowl by my bed just in case I couldn't make the bathroom.  When your big sister was so afraid she slept on a pallet right at my side of the bed.

The nurse held off on the iv change and less than 24 hours later they made me so comfortable I never felt a moment's pain and you brought more than just a new baby girl into our lives.

You brought joy and happiness matched only by the two before you and you were mothered by three and they were bigger mama lions than I was.

To know you is to love you.

You are still the silly little girl full of excitement that climbed the doors like coconut trees.   That feated up when you were hot and touched my cheek when you told stories.

It takes you forever to get ready and you've got me obsessed with Downton Abbey.  

They aren't really cancelling it, right?  Maybe it's just a guise to get you to watch the series finale and they are secretly bringing Matthew back.  A little like the Dallas/Pam/Bobby shower scene.  We can hope. 

And you love you some TV and movies.

And you cried buckets of tears over Pilgrim and then took the stage and blew me away.  

I am so very terribly not humble at all proud of you.     

I'd ask you to just slow down a little but that's one of the impossible mysteries of life - how swiftly time grows up your babies.  

Stay here in Merica, okay?  And you love you some Survivor. 

I love you my sweet sixteen sack of baby bones. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Max says . . .

And I find this photo on my phone.  A surprise gift from Maxster.

Which reminds me of when I found these on the camera, one day, out of the blue.  One of the best days.

And this morning, cuddled in bed exhausted from the week, we have this conversation.

Thank you for being so good this week.  You were patient and never complained about all the work for the play.  And you pitched in and worked hard.  You're a super son! 

laughter as he buries his head deep into my shoulder

I'm gonna buy you a shirt that says, 
Super Son.

Mommy, that'd be so cool!
I can wear one that says Super Son
and Daddy can wear one that says, Super Dad.
And you can wear one that says,

wait for it - - 

I have a Super Son!

What?  Maxster, wait!  There is something wrong with this picture.  
You get a Super Son shirt, 
Daddy gets a Super Dad shirt, 
and I get a I got a Super Son shirt?

huge laughter as I hug him close and marvel that he is here.  This gift.  This son of mine.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

her first mother's day

It was Saturday and Gregg was working when labor pains began.  And I didn't know what labor pains felt like.  So I called Mama.  And she said she couldn't remember and told me to call my cousin Teresa.  

But Lena wouldn't let me.  She just put me in the car as firmly as she made me buy that pregnancy test and Christmas onesie seven months earlier and drove me to the hospital.

And they put me on the monitor and keep me a few hours.  Then they sent me home with Braxton Hicks.  If google had been then I'd been all over that.  Cause y'all, that's what I do.

So Monday came and I worked all day.  Can't remember where.

But Tuesday came and I worked all day.  With the sun to Louisville and back late afternoon.  And I felt bad.  By the time Mama and I hit Carthage all I wanted to do was sleep through me some Braxton Hicks.

And I did.  I went straight to bed on the sofa.  Gregg comes home at eight or so and we call the doctor. We'd done the little minutes thing and pains were three or so minutes apart.  I was told to come on now.

But I didn't want to.  It was Braxton Hicks.  I had six weeks to go. 

So by ten the pains were ninety seconds apart.  And I was told to come NOW.  

But I needed a shower and my hair needed washing.  So Gregg and I fought and I took a shower.  

Then I needed make-up cause I was all cute and pregnant and I was gonna stay cute and I believed pregnant. 

So Gregg and I fought and I put make-up on.

And when they wheeled me into a room my pains were only a minute apart.  And nothing could be done.  It was not Braxton Hicks and when Mama and I were alone in the room I thought my water broke.  

But it was blood.  Lots of blood.  

And I was hemorrhaging and she was coming and I was in trouble.  And so was she.

Then they gave morphine.  And all I remember was burning and some cursing they heard in the waiting room and it was kinda like a TV show when I asked where I was and yelled at them to get her out. 

And that was it.  For over twenty-four hours I remember nothing.  

But when I woke I remember her.  She was tiny.  Preemie, but healthy.


And now it's Mother's Day twenty-six years later and my baby's having a baby.  

And the feeling is a little like amazing mixed with awe and much gratitude. 

My baby girl's first Mother's Day.

My baby's having a baby.  

Thursday, April 23, 2015

when you should have hid the cologne the first time

It's been a really long while since I told y'all some of the cute things Max says and does.  And, well, part of that is because as boys grow, which I'm still learning all about, they don't grow in cuteness as much as they grow in grossness.

Burps, armpit farts, the back of knee farts - does that area of the body have a name? kneepit farts?

And I don't wanta scar him for life or anything.

Maybe this will only scar him temporarily ...

Mama, I'm gonna write a diary.

Boys don't have diaries, baby.  Maybe you should make it a journal?

But I wanta write Dear Diary.

But I don't think boys have diaries.


A short time later.

Mama, do you want to know what I wrote?

I'd actually love to know what you wrote, but I don't think you are supposed to share your journal.

It's okay.

Okay, I'd love to hear.

Dear Diary (in which he just looks up and grins)
I have an awesome life (in which he just looks up and grins)
I wrote another one.
Dear Diary
I want to start wearing perfume.

Baby, boys don't wear perfume.  They wear cologne.

Oh, okay.  I want to start wearing cologne.

What kind of cologne do you want to wear?

The kind that attracts girls (in which he just looks up and grins)

Daddy's got some cologne.  See if you like it. (in which I made a mistake and had to sleep with my head under the covers that night)

And then today, weeks later -

Thursday, April 16, 2015

when you bash your husbands just a little

Jennifer:  Painting a small room...better to go lighter or darker?

me:  Lighter!!!!

her:  Can I put gray in a bathroom when my hall is brown?

me:  No u can't.  Period.  The end.
You can use a gray.  It's just gotta be more silver.  Not gray.  Or grey.  Or gris.  Or grau.  I'm sure there's more but I don't know them. 

her:  Why aren't you here helping me do this?

me:  You haven't asked I guess.

her:  I guess that makes it my fault.

me:  Isn't it always?
Oh wait.  That's Gregg.  Sorry!
We can go to Lowes.

her:  Yep... cause I don't listen to my elders! hahahaha

me:  Oh no you didn't...

her:  Sorry...I shouldn't have.

me:  Now you can go to Lowes alone.

her:  I already did...well, with Ronnie, but that's the same thing. He suggested we paint the room white - or beige.  Yuk!

Disclaimer - Even though a bathroom is small you can often paint it dark.
The tile and open tub area make it work.
It's not floor to ceiling dark in a small space.
It becomes cozy.
  And husbands spend so much time in there - it makes it nice for them.   

Monday, April 13, 2015

to all my young friends ...

To all my young friends I see every week and I really can see you.  And I really do remember exactly where you are. I haven't forgotten. All I have to do is close my eyes to be fifteen again.

You - you're doing better than you think you are -

and words spoken do hurt, don't they?  I don't understand or I don't remember or you think you are the only one.  But I do understand and remember and you are not the only one.

I'm not really sure why Mama let me go that day.  It was barely summer hot 1982, not too hot but hot enough I slipped on shorts early that morning before he drove up in that white beat-up Ford to get me.  He'd later trade it for an old beat up yellow Pinto.

I slid in.  All the way over I slid.  His knee touched mine and he drove the hour with one arm on the wheel and the other across the back of the seat. And I was crazy mad about him.

I was only fifteen.  Too young to be sliding over and way too young to be crazy mad for anyone.  But there ain't no denying it.

We drove to the lake for his family reunion.  And I remember being nervous.  He was tall and handsome.  A football player and none too shy with the girls.  I was skinny.  Maybe ninety pounds soaking wet?  I slept with a retainer every night not so patiently waiting for the gap in my two front teeth to close.  I had contacts now so the plastic frames were gone but the Mississippi humidity was still unforgiving to my hair.

And he was crazy mad about me.  I was fun and funny and flirty and all these things, to him, made up for me not having the look of a typical girlfriend to one of the hotshot football players.  But I was not an it girl. Never was never will be.  And even he couldn't fix that.

And Mama didn't like him.  And Mama always got her way.  And here we clashed and clashed hard. And so began the beginning of a high school stand-off.  I did everything right at first.  I waited.  He waited.  We waited the required time she had said before the answer was still no and we took matters into our own hands.  And we were caught, often.  Almost every time we were caught.

So I'm not really sure why Mama had agreed to let me go this day.

But here I was.  And there I stood with his family under wooden pavilion surrounded by chicken and potato salad and jello molds melting in the sun when she looked me up and down and said

Well, James honey, love really is blind, isn't it.  

With a period at the end.  Because the question had already been asked and answered.

And tears stung and I barely made it out of the crowd before I broke down.

And he took me to the fire tower that overlooked that national forest and told me it didn't matter. Told me she was the one who was blind.

And he loved me four years till I wrote Dear John. 

It was Shakespeare who wrote love is blind.  And he wrote it often but once for Jessica loving Lorenzo and it was romantic.

But it wasn't romantic that day and sticks and stones aren't all that hurt.

And I didn't get over it.  For years I didn't get over it.  I carried it around and often took it out.  Am I over it now?  I think so.

And that's okay.  To just think so.  Because it is a huge part of me - and maybe I don't want it completely gone.

And you are okay.  Because you are doing better than you think you are.

Because He who began a good work in you will be faithful to the end.

And the end is a really really long time away.  So relax.  Treat others well. 

Let every word spoken to you and every action done to you grow you into the person God created you to be.  Not the person hateful words and actions can make you be.  

You control you. 

As Cinderella's mama told her - Have courage and be kind. 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

when I don't know what I am doing

I do not like to consider myself a quitter. But right now I'm really considering quitting and that makes me think I'm just one wonky decision away from being on God's bad side.

Don't we just think crazy when we aren't really thinking?  We are just reacting.  

What's wrong with me?  And maybe you?

I'm sitting here wondering if maybe I should have tried harder? Maybe I should stay longer?

Aren't you loyal?  I ask myself.

People who draw lines in the sand are not liked.  People who say I'm done and walk away are looked at by the ones who say Should have put me in their shoes, I would have done that differently as quitters.

I'm feeling like everything gentle and Christ-like in me is being strangled as I struggle to know what to do.

I've poured an endless amount of energy into a bottomless pit and is the Spirit keeping me in place for reasons unclear to me or am I a coward?  Or would it truthfully be very brave?

And I want to walk away gracefully.  I don't want to answer questions or give reasons.  Or make excuses for my behavior because telling the truth would be like pulling out my bow and firing parting shots.

I told my girls in this post  that when you are hurt and look back on it one day in the future, the only thing that will matter is how you acted.  Did you keep your dignity and self-respect and walk away or did you stake your reputation on validation?  Are you proud of yourself or does your soul burn with shame at the memory?

I find myself praying often that God will remove a certain weakness from me.  Paul prayed three times for a thorn in his flesh to be removed before he wrote that this handicap was a gift. That a messenger of Satan was sent to harass him.  But just as Jesus has the keys to hell he overrules Satan's trickery and in God's master plan we are made perfect - in our weakness.   God grants me this gift to keep me in constant touch with my limitations.

For when we rely on our strength we always end up brought to our knees.  But aren't our knees a great place to be when we fail? Just another twist God gives us in all His goodness.

A friend told me yesterday that when it is very hard, when it seems like I'm jumping off a bridge, that it is probably God.   And this is very hard, and I really have nothing much to fall back on except sheer obedience to God.  But oh, praise God, that is all I need.

So right now I'm pausing and listening for an at-ease command or my marching orders.

And God has promised me in His word that His grace is sufficient for me.  That when I am weak He is strong.  And I am so weak.  I don't want a self-help book to find my strengths.  Just let me be weak.  Let God be magnified in the sheer fact that I don't know what I am doing. 

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