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Friday, October 14, 2011

For Chrisie

I need to interrupt my regularly scheduled blog to make a statement. A statement NOT about the beauty of Fall or my love of pumpkins. I want to make a statement about the fragility of life.

I know....what a cliche, Jeanne.

Sometimes, only a cliche will do. Sometimes, hurtful, scary things are best swallowed when overly simplified.

I like jigsaw puzzles.

I am currently working on a particularly difficult one. It seems to be all the same color. It is much bigger than I thought when I bought it. The light is not good in the room where I am working. There is a glare by day and a dimness by night. But I will keep at it. Probably will be "at it" for months.


Instead of getting discouraged and putting it back in the box, I am having fun with it. It is a challenge.

Instead of worrying about the fact that the ugly card table may still be in my den for Thanksgiving....I am going to stay with it.


Forrest Gump was wrong. Life isn't a box of chocolates!

It is a jigsaw puzzle.

Difficult to understand. A challenge to finish. Sometimes entertaining. Sometimes rewarding. Messy. Tedious. Imperfect until completion.

I don't know any person that is "whole". I think wholeness should be our goal and each and every one of us is searching for it. But some of us are being persecuted, some of us are being abused, some of us are scared, some are lost, some are sick, some are fragile, some are insecure, some are too poor, some too rich, too selfish, too tired, too angry, too addicted, too weak, too strong. We all have pieces missing. Me and you.

It is part of the condition of being human.

Some things about us are great....

And some things aren't!

Even the weakest - even the sickest - all of us - has hope for healing. The chance to overcome. Because the quest for wholeness IS, in fact, the journey of life. The puzzle is always being worked on.

Only God is perfect. Only God has it all figured out. Only God can fix it, judge it, forgive it, and reconcile it. This is good news, friends. It frees up a lot of time on your daily schedule when you quit trying to be God.

All we need is a willing attitude, a large dose of patience, TRUST, and a heart open to receive it.

This is the one thing I believe in. Without doubt.

Everything else is like quicksand. My marriage, my children, my perceived successes, friendships, goods, services, pumpkins....

Of course, we have responsibilities. We have to take the first step. And then another. And so on. One piece at a time. But life is fragile. And short - in the great "cosmic scheme" of things. Keep working the puzzle. Don't be discouraged. Don't expect it to be perfect all at once.

THE END IS NEAR.

HAHA!! That last part was kind of a joke. I can't be too serious for too long. I get uncomfortable.

I just needed to preach this today because I needed to hear it from myself. Weird psychology? Probably.

I started this blog with the proclamation that it was for the purpose of  "putting me in touch with myself" (or some jargon like that). This was an attempt at that goal.

Tomorrow, I am back to shallow things like pasta.

~J

Thursday, October 13, 2011

My Kind of Place

If I was a place....

I would be this place...

 Please tell me you understand. Corn stalks? Gourds? Heirloom Pumpkins? Hay bales????

 Fall flowers....more cool, funky pumpkins...


 So far, in the last couple of weeks, I have spent a small fortune on pumpkins.

On my last visit to the place that is me personified, I took some pictures (obviously... sometimes I say the dumbest things). But there was another dude there with a camera, too. He had a fancy camera. I had my iPhone. We snapped away in silence. Then, I gave out an audible sigh. In response, he said "Gorgeous, huh?" and I said, "If I could actually BE a place, I would be THIS place".

He looked at me kind of funny and backed away.

Garden stores are simply cool. Any way you look at it.

Inlet Culinary Garden in Murrells Inlet is a great place any time of the year. Go by and see for yourself. But go now. While the ghost of me is floating among the hay bales....

This is not a paid advertisement. But I did ask permission to use the photos!

Enjoy the day and the good things that God has given us. Especially, well, you  know...pumpkins!!!

Be still my heart.

~J








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Monday, October 10, 2011

Falling for Fall!

Just this evening...

Martha: "Our house looks like Fall just 'threw up' everywhere"....

Martha (my ex-daughter) doesn't seem to understand that I LOVE Fall. It is "my" season. I prefer to decorate with autumn leaves and acorns rather than balsam and tinsel. Twigs! Pinecones! Scarecrows! Oh, my!

I don't know if it is because I was born in Fall, or because I have raised 4 children and Fall is the season when they all go back to school...but it is perfection.

Maybe it is because Fall means pumpkins, pot roast, wood smoke, decaying leaves, pansies, pasta and homecoming parades.





 Oh, and candy. Halloween candy. And for me - birthday cake!

I don't want to forget to mention that Fall is also the season of COMPETITION CHEERLEADING.

I will be getting my "Cheer Mom" on for the next 6 weeks. Every weekend. For the next 6 weeks. Did I mention it will be every weekend? For 6 weeks? I thought so.

I am dedicating the next few blogs to my season. I don't know if I can properly photograph an October sky - but there is nothing more beautiful.

For much of the last decade, I thought I had lost the love of Fall forever. After Jim died, I became incredibly melancholy every year when the air turned cooler and the leaves changed color. A sense of loss permeated my thoughts and jiggled my memories. But more recently, the melancholy shifted to profound acceptance and a deeper appreciation for the gift of life, the changing of seasons and the pleasures of deeply inhaling cooler, crisper air!

Plus, the special foods we eat and pumpkins. Football. Turkey. Dressing. Gun fire in my back yard. Mums. Thankfulness. Orange (no not Clemson orange - just orange). Fire pits. No gnats. Red wine. Fall Break. Cardigans. Cowboy boots.

Add some of your own to the list....I am just getting started!

~J

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Ode to My 40's

 Credit to Gavin DeGraw:

I don't need to be anything other
Than a (Salesman's daughter) 


I don't need to be anything other
Than a (Administrative Assistant's daughter) 



I don't have to be anyone other
Than the birth of two souls in one
Part of where I'm going, is knowing where I'm coming from


[Chorus:]
I don't want to be
Anything other than what I've been trying to be lately
All I have to do
Is think of me and I have peace of mind
I'm tired of looking 'round rooms
Wondering what I've got to do
Or who I'm supposed to be
I don't want to be anything other than me


The point being.... that yesterday was my birthday and I am not one bit sorry to be OLDER. I am blessed to have the opportunity to celebrate another birthday. And the greatest part about the last decade has been the realization that I don't want to be anything other than me. That is true freedom.


Being born, means growing older by the minute. It means coming into an earthly family - the good, the bad and the other stuff, too. I am a daughter, sister, mother, wife....

Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to be a little wistful and serious on this momentous occasion of the day of my birth.

~J

Thursday, September 29, 2011

My Brain at 3:00 AM

Why is it that when the phone rings in the middle of the night, your heart starts pounding and you can't stop thinking horrible thoughts and then you never go back to sleep...and then you do fall back asleep and you dream about something disturbing and you wake back up and then you fall back asleep and then the alarm clock starts ringing and you hate life???

Why?

Bad days follow bad nights. Because you are sleepy. Over nothing horrible.

Would this happen if I had not become a mother? Because I always think, at 3:00 AM, when the phone rings and scares me out of a deep sleep, that it is bad news about my children - or a family member. But mostly my children.

And why is it that everything seems like a big deal at 3:00 AM? Do you ever toss and turn all night, obsessing over some matter that popped into your sleep deprived brain, only to laugh at it in the light of day?

What if Michael chokes on a hard taco shell? What if he drops out of school, grows facial hair and joins the circus?

 What if Carol Anne is attacked by a chicken? And contracts bird flu?

What if Rob has a sun stroke, while tossing a mullet and continues to dress like this, ON PURPOSE, for the rest of his life? What if he actually likes tossing mullet???

What if, on a beautiful sunny day, we are on the beach, and decide to bury Martha, up to her head, in the sand? And, what if, to be funny, we put a bucket on her head?

What if we forgot her? What if we left her there...

Martha?

Martha, where are you??

I hate when the phone rings in the middle of the night.

Don't you?

~J

PS Tomorrow is both my favorite day and my least favorite day of the year...stay tuned!














Saturday, September 24, 2011

Road Trip

We had to make an unscheduled, last minute trip to the HOMETOWN this weekend. It was a 400 mile, drive in, drive out, whirlwind visit, for the sad occasion of a funeral for a dear friend. There is no excuse for the whining that will follow in this blog. We are honored to have known our friend, happy to have been there to support his family and grateful to have the opportunity to celebrate his life. It was a  "no-brainer". But, in an effort to find humor in the every day grind, I made a few observations and collected this muse for my friends...

Before we left and short on time, I grabbed my "marrying and burying" dress and my "car clothes" (aka stretchy pants, t-shirt, flip-flops). Michael had his movies. Mike had stuff, too. But none of it is interesting. Well, he had sunflower seeds. And skittles - we all have our priorities.

Before I go any further, I have a short story to tell.

Once upon a time, Rob (AKA one of the "big kids") is 10 years old. The two of us (as in, me and him) are driving from Charlotte to Gastonia in the early evening. We are taking the back roads - a short cut along the periphery of the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport. When I say "periphery", I mean that we are so close to the runways, that the only thing that separates this back road from the tarmac is a high chain link fence. Suddenly, I look up because there are headlights, in the sky, coming directly at us.

Me (frantic, panicked voice): "Oh, my gosh! What the heck! Is that a plane?"

I was putting on the breaks at this point....preparing for impact.

Rob (dead pan): "No, Mom, it's a flying car." (Geez. Seriously?)

Hysterical laughter.

More laughter.

 I smell a whiff of disbelief coming from my 10 year old son because his mother actually thought it could be something else and NOT a plane? It was in the sky!

We recall this story occasionally. It is hard to forget the day your mother thought cars could fly.

Back to the road trip. This weekend, 2011.

Mike is driving. I am delirious (slightly nauseous) from listening to the satellite radio E Street station for 3 hours straight. Michael is eating another bag of Skittles. We are on the home stretch. Literally. I look up AND...



I see a flying car!!!

OK. So maybe this isn't funny to you. But it was a memory moment for me. And quite honestly, I don't live near an international airport any more and there were probably 4 more of these things clustered together above my head with their headlights blazing and I was "country come to city" amazed!
 
Anyway, I got to see my mama. This matters to me.

Before I leave for the funeral, I am thinking about how much I love her. She is 80 years old. 

Me (sly as a fox): Lets take a picture. You know...for the fun of it?

Mama (innocent as a lamb): OK

Me (knowing I will blog this): Say cheese!

Mama (in her usual photo-phobic manner): CHEESE.



 She wanted to take another picture without her glasses. And she promised she wouldn't actually say the word CHEESE. But she did. So, I am using this one. I like it best. With her glasses.

And right after the picture, she went and got a Boost dietary supplement and drank it right before my eyes. To prove to me that she eats and takes care of herself. She better....

As the time line progresses, we attend funeral. My eyes hurt from crying. We come back to the house of my mama. We collect Michael. We change into car clothes. We procure caffeine. We dial into XM radio. We begin the journey home.


I am forever grateful, that while raising a child at age 49, there exists a car DVD player with headset.