Have a dressed up day!

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

My girls-

So there's a virus. A quarantine and shelter in place.

Things feel weird.  Off.  I've been weird.

I am missing my daddy terribly lately.  I think of him so often.  If he were here I'd confide all my hidden thoughts and secrets because he'd know what to say.  Or maybe not.  But he'd hug me close, even though he wasn't a huger.  I can literally feel his hands.

Ask Daddy, he'll know what to do.

Funny, y'all say the same thing about your daddy.  

I had a dream last night, which is pretty much what prompted this post, along with a FB post from Tracey yesterday- which could be what prompted the dream.

In my dream I was a teenager, maybe 16, and I was lost.  You know how nightmares are- they circle and are dark and usually make little sense.  This was like that.  There were winding long stairs and my mama was climbing them, she was big like a giant- tall and large.  She was coming to my room and I was circling everywhere looking and calling for Daddy. My hair was long, down to my feet. I was really small.  It was my room but I was lost in a forest.

Then I was instantly on a ferris wheel ride, filled with people from my past.  I got off and turned back to see big steel bars clamping on another me till it enclosed me completely with only my large frightened eyes showing as the seat swung away.

That's it.  That's all I remember.  Enough, huh?  I could easily interpret this dream, but I won’t get into that. Y’all know.

On FB yesterday a friend posted about our senior year in high school and the paint/float parties.  I was never allowed to go to any of those, except one.  I went to one in September of my senior year.  I remember being miserable and leaving early and crying myself to sleep that night- which wasn't new.  I probably cried myself to sleep nine nights out of every ten that entire year.  I felt very much like an old person.  Don't get that confused with an old soul.  When someone is referred to as an old soul it usually means they are wise beyond their years.  That was not me.  I felt tired, sad, longing for something out of reach. Hopeless, helpless, and lost.

When I was in high school there were things I needed from my daddy that I didn't get.  Oh, he was a good man- the best.  But I think he was as lost as I was about how to help me.  I waited everyday thinking he'd scoop me up and fix all my problems but he never did.

So, my senior year I left high school after the first semester and started college in January.  I had big dreams and such high hopes.  I remember thinking all my problems would soon be fixed.  But, of course, they weren't.  They were actually just getting started.

So, my girls.  Y'all know I lived a very different life than you three have lived.

Reckless, desperate, searching. Many, many wrong decisions. So much y'all don't know.

I did, and still do, bombard you with so-called 'help'.  I've tried to be honest with you and protect you while still letting you sink in the deep-end if that is what you've needed- pulling you up at what feels like your last breath. So very grateful your deep ends were not like mine.

I drowned more than a time or two.

I've tried to shield you from nightmares.

2020 has brought great joy and great sadness so far.  Much laughter and many tears.  Just like every year.  But it feels different.  I feel different.  Is the air charged with this virus?  Am I experiencing a mid-life crisis?  Do I still grieve?  Will I ever be able to put a haunting past behind me?  What would my daddy say?

Bear with me right now, ok?  Overlook my moods.  Ignore my snapping.  Disregard my tears- they aren't you.  May is coming- sunny days are hopefully here and maybe I'll snap out of it.

That's what Daddy would probably say.  He'd probably tell me to just snap out of it- and follow it with tall tales of long snowy winters, cracks in the floor of the house, and eating shoe leather.


Monday, January 27, 2020

Christmas 2019

Friday, October 18, 2019

A Max or a Lily

                                  "The risk of love is loss and the price of loss is grief.  But the
                                   pain of grief is only a shadow when compared with the pain of 
                                   never risking love." - Hilary Stanton Zunin

I sat on the sofa this morning and watched our dog, Jack.  He's twelve years old.  Some of you may remember when we rescued him at the age of four.

He's a good dog- an excellent dog.  But, I'm not sure how much longer we will have him.  He's in pain and his back legs don't really work any longer.

It'll be a sad day.

This weekend, someone, somewhere, will be saying goodbye to their dog.  It may be a boy dog, with the name Max.  Long ago I learned my son Max has the number one dog name. Still makes me smile.                   

It may be a magnificent girl dog with the name Lily.  She may have brought years of happiness to her children and her adults.  She's wonderfully sweet and brave and doing the best she can to be the dog the family needs. But she's just tired.

If I could whisper in her ear I'd tell her, "You are so very loved, Lily.  Go now and rest easy.  You've been a grand lady, Lily."

So, as I watch my dog Jack and ponder the day I'll have to say goodbye, I'm so sorry for and thinking of the family saying goodbye to a Max or a Lily.

I'm thinking of you.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

happy national peanut butter day


Sunday, January 17, 2016

on this, your 24th birthday, forgive me, bluebird; it wasn't you, it was me, all me

I've always been quick to remind my sweet Shelby that her birth was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life.  Long and painful and just plain hard.

True, she was round as a watermelon, so the old saying...

And she was late.

And I was tired before I even got started...

But I think, after all these years, I've finally figured out the real reason it was such an excruciating time for me.  I've lingered long and hard over the agony of it all.  

It wasn't you, Shelby.  

It was Roman.  And John.  And Marlana.  

And oh, Bo.  Wild gorgeous Bo.

Let me try to explain.

Around my fifth month of pregnancy in 1991 I discovered Roman was not really dead but had been held captive on Stephano's island since the tragic day in 1984 that Stephano shot Roman and he fell off the cliff-  only to die in his brother Bo's arms, with the ever beautiful Hope weeping in the sand. 

And it was in a fit of rage and revenge that Bo ran to kill Stephano, leaving Roman's body to be swept away by the tide. Oh, Bo's guilt over the cruel twist of fate that was the tide! 

And the pure devastation of it all as Marlana received the phone call of Roman's death.  Life faded to black as she sat on her sofa curled into a ball grieving, phone still in her hand.

It was too much.  

It was just too much my dear Bluebird.

And then, seven years later and me five months pregnant to discover all this time Roman was alive! Held captive by the diabolical ;) Stephano as the "pawn" John was living Roman's life.  John loving Marlana back in Salem while Roman suffered in a cold cell.

I think the shock of it all just wouldn't let up.  I couldn't move past it.  I was so tired and post traumatic stress had set in and by January I was mentally and physically wiped out.

I was just a walking shell of a person when I delivered you.  

And now, 24 years later, Bo's untimely death of a brain tumor brought on by years of his own torture in Stephano's prison forcing him to be apart from his Fancy Face has been an awakening for me.  The blinders have fallen off my eyes and I can see clearly!   

I apologize, my sweet Bluebird, for all these years believing it was YOU.  I shall never tell the horror harrowing experience of your birth and what it did to me ever again to a single soul!

It was ME.  It was my inability to cope with the sheer sadness of it all.

Forgive me, bluebird.


And now my girls, you understand my generations obsession with soaps. You're welcome.

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.


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