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Showing posts from 2015

In Search of Christmas

Many a message has been spread about seeking the true meaning of Christmas which most know has nothing to do with Black Friday, piles of packages under a tree, or the overeating that comes with holiday gatherings.  Each year, I come up with a plan to finish my shopping early so I can lead my family towards the real reason for the season.  As the days pass and Christmas quickly approaches, my shopping is still not complete and the many Christmas events I’ve attended still leave me searching for that one clear moment where I can look my children in their eyes and say, "Yes!  This is Christmas." But, it doesn’t come.  It’s never that clear to me.  And sometimes, it comes with a heaviness of failing to make things perfect.  Perhaps I’m waiting for a bright star overhead to lead me to a place that I can’t find on Google maps.  Christmas day will soon pass and as I collapse on my couch in a living room full of torn wrapping paper and empty boxes, I’ll fault myself

Oh Paleo

Oh Paleo, You have robbed me of my good friends sugar, wheat and dairy.   They’ve been with me since my first birthday cake and traveled with me through college, late night pregnancy binges and those times when my very best friend was a piece of chocolate pie.   You pushed them away and they fought to stay, calling to me with their sprinkle toppings, chocolate kisses and double, stuffed pizza.  When my bones began to ache and I woke each morning from a slumber that was similar to being run over by a truck, I suspected that I might be running with the wrong crowd.   Sugar offered me comfort and told me everything would be okay.  I believed her and never saw her for the evil temptress that she is.  Wheat whispered to me with flaky, golden crispness and always brought along her friend margarine who blinded me with buttery goodness. Dairy was my favorite and the midnight hour was our meeting time when a cold glass of milk was often followed up with two or three Oreos th

As Simple As Peaches

My 51st birthday was upon us and all I really wanted was to travel north to see my son.  I needed a day with both children.  Unable to find a hotel room anywhere in Nashville, I thought I might try airbnb, a service that allows you to rent a room in a stranger's house.  My daughter cringed at the thought, but the reservation was made. We arrived at my son's doorstep late Friday afternoon.  It seemed he and his sister had developed a birthday itinerary that was full of food, fun and laughter.  I eyed the stops we would make and the one that stood out above the rest was 9:30 a.m. - The Peach Truck. (Okay... and the nap)  As a former resident of Georgia, the sweet taste of Georgia peaches still calls to me. My mouth watered as I thought of the stand of peaches waiting for me on my birthday.  The itinerary included gourmet snow cones, shopping, too much food and a midnight movie.  There was a long day ahead of us and we would need sleep before we began.   Afraid that

Three Spoon Balloon

    I spent the entire weekend packing up old toys, video games, board games and trading cards that my children haven't touched in years. As I sorted and sifted through hundreds of these items, I realized that we have spent a lot of money entertaining our children.  However, of all the games and toys in the house, the most memorable one, which was the greatest fun, was a game we invented, called Three Spoon Balloon.  It came with no cost, no rules and no shortage of laughter.     My children and I armed ourselves with long handled, wooden spoons and batted a simple balloon around the living room.  Everyone was well aware that the balloon could never hit the floor.  We have jumped across chairs and tables with arms outstretched in order to catch a slowly falling balloon before it hit the ground.  We have each taken an elbow to the face and skinned our knees on the carpet as we crashed into one another in a group effort to keep the balloon "alive" and in flight.    P

Start What You Finish

  It goes without saying that good parents teach their children to finish what they start.  My own children have discovered how difficult this can be, just days after receiving their soccer jerseys and realizing that soccer wasn't what they wanted to do.  They have completed a season on a team, giving their all, even when they did not enjoy that which they had signed up for.  It's a life lesson that will carry them far.   My son was only six years old when he landed a solo in the school play.  He had practiced and practiced and had his three minute song memorized and perfected.  As luck would have it, a seasonal cold left him hoarse the day before the play. He reserved his voice, communicating only with finger points and head nods, in an attempt to heal his vocal chords in time for the big event.  There was a morning practice and an afternoon performance.  He made it through the morning with only a few crackles in his voice.  When afternoon came, and the auditorium was fil

Frog Giggling

    Warm spring nights in the South wake us from our winter slumber and give us back our desire to be outside with Mother Nature.  My husband is much more of an outdoorsman than I, as my adventures are fairly limited to camping, boating and fishing.  That was not always the case, however.  I was invited, once, to participate in a frog gigging trip.  The thought of spearing a frog did not appeal to me, but, I was young and imagined that the outing might be fun.  I must remind you that I was only invited once, for very good reasons.     My future husband, his nephew and I headed off into the flooded fields and ponds that teemed with spring frogs, snakes and alligators, none of which I actually wanted to be near. When we had motored out to the middle of a large body of water, the two men stepped outside of the boat and began walking around the dark, shallow lake with gigs in hand.  This was most unexpected and I was left in the boat with only a lantern and a prayer.  Uncertain what

One Too Many Cats

      While driving to work the other day, a black cat ran out of the woods and darted across the road in front of my car.  They say that it is bad luck to have a black cat cross your path and this thought played in the back of my mind as I tried to figure out what this cat was carrying in its mouth as it ran, in a fevered pace, away from my car, into the woods, leaving its trail of bad luck for me to cross. And then it hit me.... it was carrying another black cat!   This was certainly the height of bad luck to have two black cats cross one's path, one in the mouth of another and I immediately spilled my coffee all over the passenger seat. The running cat did have a white spot on his back, so I convinced myself that this had to counter the double bad luck of this feline duo in the middle of the road.  In fact, I decided that this must be a sign of good things to come because what are the odds of having two cats run in front of a speeding car and nobody leaving the scene with
Top Water Swimming     From the time my children were only a few months old, they were taken to the pool where they were gently placed under the water and somehow, with some miraculous protection from above, they opened their eyes wide and began to naturally move through the water.   Perhaps it was genetic memory.   Perhaps it was dumb luck, but those babies could swim and had no fear of going under the water.   As I stood at the edge of the pool, nervously praying for their safety, my husband would cradle these tiny swimmers in his palms and gently blow a puff of air into their face.   Instinctively, they would inhale and that is when their underwater adventure began. I had seen it before and I knew exactly how it would occur, but the thought of placing a baby under water is more than a young mom can bear.   Those underwater babies became powerful swimmers and our hearts swelled with pride as we had taught our children well.        As toddlers, they could jump in and swi

Fall For You Riptide Mashup - Joey Brodnax, Mitchell Schleper, Kellen ...

Max The Devil Dog

    My daughter has an animal magnet that wounded and stray animals can sense from miles away.  On her way home from school, she happened upon an injured dog that walked on three legs.  Before I could clearly say, "No!" she arrived home with a small beagle wrapped in a blanket, in the back seat of her car. The two bonded immediately and plans were made for pink collars and lazy days of summer with Max, the newly named pet riding around town in the passenger seat of my child’s car.       Reluctantly, I agreed to foster the dog until a home could be found.  I listened in wonder as my daughter explained to her father what a grand hunting dog Max was.  We had owned him for less than 20 minutes and suddenly his entire life history was being fabricated to give birth to the idea that we actually needed a hunting dog.  My husband smiled at the thought.  My daughter smiled.   The dog  marked his territory with dreams of fun to be had.      It was about the

Hope In The Woods

      My daughter, Allison Hope, is now driving on her own and has a limited range that she may travel.   Looking much like a tiny soccer mom in my white SUV, she drives to school, church, the gym and occasionally to local restaurants to dine with friends.  She does an excellent job keeping me posted on her exact location at all times.  She is keenly aware that modern technology permits me to see the location of her phone as she travels down the road, but  I try not to be that insane of a mom and allow her the chance to keep me informed without big brother watching.  I think that teaches a much more important lesson on responsibility.  If she fails to call, I can always zoom in and find her munching on nachos at the third booth in Taco Bell.     Recently, she had gone out to eat with friends at a local eatery.  They finished early and she called to ask if she could drive to her friend's home that was about a mile away.  I agreed and off she went.   The problem with this decisi

Stirring About

        In 1899, one hundred years before my daughter was born, another turn of the century child came to be.  Florence Joyce, a daughter of the 19th century, entered this world with an independent spirit that would serve her well in a life that would span almost an entire century.     I came to know "Aunt Florence" when she was an old woman and I was just a child.  The road to her home was dirt and gravel and wound through the woods of Vicksburg under a canopy of trees that seemed like tunnels.  In a child's eyes, it was a great adventure to travel to the great white plantation that was Aunt Florence's home.  In the heat of the summer, we would all sleep on the giant sleigh bed in the downstairs bedroom for it was the coolest place in the house.  We kept the windows open, hoping for a breeze to come our way and break the still of the night.  The heat was sweltering and there was no such thing as air conditioning unless you stood in front of the freezer door.  

Rocky Raccoon

  You know you have too many cats when you fail to realize that the large, furry creature at your back door isn’t actually one of your cats.  Stepping into the darkness on a cold, winter night, my daughter was dressed in a robe and boots as she planned to retrieve her backpack from her car.  Her hopes were to dart quickly through the cold and be back inside within seconds.  When she opened the door and stepped outside, you can imagine her surprise when she realized she was standing next to a full grown raccoon who did not answer to “Here, kitty, kitty.” She jumped back inside the house as we both stared through the glass door, eye to eye with a wild thing who simply didn’t seem that wild.  As it has always been, all things injured find their way to our doorstep and at nine o’clock at night, I was not ready to play doctor in the cold to an injured raccoon, patiently waiting on the door mat that clearly said “Welcome.“   A quick assessment from the safe side of the door