Follow by Email

Monday, August 24, 2009

UNSPOKEN

As a 50 something woman with a "baby" who is a senior in high school and clearly ready to spread his wings, I found myself wandering around some yesterday...what to do next...

This is a very odd feeling for someone who has been "on the go" and raising babies for the last 21 years. And to think, in approximately one hundred and eighty days, our last one will graduate high school. Graduate...now that is a funny word in and of itself. Earlier today, I was at the grocery store and the bottled water had been moved to the baby aisle, which explains why I found myself on this aisle full of diapers, pull-ups, jar baby food and an item called "graduates for preschoolers". This caught my interest because when I hear the word graduate, all I allow myself to envision is our son in a blue cap and gown. Now the baby industry is trying to make us Moms think about this even sooner, with a snack for two year olds!
Just after I discovered this new product for preschool-aged children, I nearly ran into another mom that lives a few streets over from me. "How are you doing?", I exclaimed, "I mean, how are you really doing?". For as I looked into her face, I easily recalled that this friend had a daughter our daughter's age and a son, one year older than ours, which meant that, just three months ago, she had witnessed her last child's graduation. She was precious to take a few minutes out to share details about her son's move to a local college and all the changes that she had experienced in this short window of time. She encouraged me as my eyes tried to well up with tears, sharing my concerns, sharing my thoughts. After speaking with this friend for a few short minutes, my steps were lighter.
On the way home from the grocery store, I heard a Jaci Valesquez song on the radio and one of the lines keeps coming back to my mind: "Don't leave your heart unspoken." To me, this means that when our hearts are heavy, we should share with God and other trustworthy friends all that is going on there in our hearts.

Let's not leave our hearts unspoken.

Monday, August 17, 2009

STEEL MAGNOLIAS

The play, Steel Magnolias is based on a true story and is one that all women should see! The movie is wonderful, too, starring some memorable actresses such as, Dolly Parton, Sally Fields, Julia Roberts and other favorites.

My sisters, nieces, and some friends, including two ladies from our nearby recovery center, all joined me last Sunday for the 3:00 p.m. matinee showing at our local Strand Theatre.

Revolving around Truvy's Beauty Parlor in a small parish in modern-day (1987) Louisiana, this is the story of a close-knit circle of friends whose lives come together there. Through the views of these different women we see love, apathy, pain, and loss. Dreams built and burnt, the power of hope, the love between a mother and her child and the bond that can be so unbreakable between true friends.

Shelby, the young lady in the story had a line that I want to remember forever:

"I would rather have thirty minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special."

The play was only one part of this very special day. All proceeds from each ticket went directly to our local homeless shelter MUST Ministries, which means these six local actresses gave 100% of their time and talents for this cause. What a remarkable example of service for all of us!

In addition to the MUST donation, as I stated above, I was accompanied by my three sisters, three nieces, a nephew's mother-in-law, and two of my lady friends who are in the process of healing and on a good path right now...Among the ten of us, there was much laughter, many tears. Just being together, in this group of strong women, watching this story unfold, we experienced way more than thirty minutes of wonderful and for that I am so grateful!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

LIFE IS SHORT: GET RID OF THE MASK

"WE are always getting ready to live but never living." Ralph Waldo Emerson

My last post triggered a phone call from one of my buddies checking in on me to see how I was doing.
That was a great comfort to just let it all spill out and squarely tell her know how I really felt!

As a 50 something woman, I am realizing more than ever how imperative it is to unmistakably be my true self, disposing of the mask at every turn. Transparency is something that is common with me in my interactions with others, and I like it that way!
The only warning I would share that was given to me by a close friend years ago is to be cautious and prayerful about WHOM you decide to disclose WHAT to. Other than that, just be! It is a very freeing concept to take each day as it comes and take in the moments, relishing the positive, and allowing the negative to roll off my shoulders.

Another very cool thing about living a life that is real and transparent is that it gives those in your sphere of influence "permission" to do the same thing.
My husband's response to my most recent post was very simply:
"I have days that I feel that exact same way...blase!"

And so it goes...
...another favorite quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson states the truth of this much better than I ever could!

"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense."
(R.W.E. May 25, 1803~April 27, 1882)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

ALONE?

Have you ever woken up and found yourself feeling a bit discouraged and not quite sure why? That is how I felt yesterday and even after a good fitness workout, the blase feeling continued...What was it? I could not quite put my finger on it...
I casually mentioned it to my husband and that helped ease it a little.

Still, I awakened this morning with a similar weightyness on my shoulders...What was it?

Was it that our last-born was starting his senior year of high school, the truth that another summer (the season of fun and flexibility) had come and gone, the thought that so many of my close friends are busy with their full or part-time jobs, missing my Mama and others that have gone on ahead of me, or could it even be that the personal stories of the ladies I have been ministering to at a nearby Recovery Center were bringing me down??? Or perhaps it was a combination of all of the above.

Regardless of the reason, this blog is a reminder to myself and to all who will read it that we do not have to walk this road alone, nor were we meant to!

To move forward, out of my dismal view of things, I did three things and together, they helped me so much...

(1) I journaled, read and meditated on the Bible, specifically, Proverbs 11 for today, August 11th. V. 25, 30 were particularly meaningful to me. I also read devotions from Oswald Chamber's MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST and THE SEEKING HEART By, Fenelon (p. 124-125 REST IN GOD and p. 177 ONE THING NEEDED)

(2) I prayed and sought God, the Most High.
and last, but certainly, not least,

(3) I called a precious friend that I have known for 33 years since my freshman year in college. Susan and I are like-minded in that we both want to follow after God, and we both cherish our family, friends and FAITH! Talking to Susan who lives four hours away made all the difference in my day, in my attitude and in my future viewpoint. That is what close girlfriends do...they change our approach to life.
Thanks, Susan, for being there for me today!

We are not meant to walk this road alone...and when we try to walk alone, it can be very disheartening!

Friday, August 7, 2009

LET IT GO!

For fitness today, I walked five miles in the woods with two of our four legged friend, Gracie and Mocah. As I walked, I listened to Simon and Garfunkel, a classical selection including some songs you will find very familiar: Bridge over Troubled Water, Sounds of Silence, and Scarborough Fair. As I walked, I thought and prayed, prayed and thought about life as we know it. There is so much out there that we can get "hung up" on if we allow ourselves to.
This blog is about LETTING IT GO!
"Letting what go?" you might ask. Letting go of bitterness, resentment, assumptions (many which may very well be false).
As a 50 something woman, I have many relationships that are important to me. However, I have learned, as perhaps you have, too, that with wonderful, loving relationships, often can come pain and misunderstandings. Let's just let it go and get on with our day...with our life, living well, laughing often and loving much!
WE only get one chance at this, one time around!
"Yet the timeless in you is aware of life's timelessness, and knows that yesterday is but today's memory and tomorrow is today's dream." ~Kahil Gibran, THE PROPHET

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

CARAMELIZED VIDALIA ONIONS

As I was caramelizing onions for dinner tonight, I caught myself gazing at the framed photo adjacent to my stovetop. The onion recipe was scratched out onto some note paper at my father's medical check-up yesterday:

2 Tbs butter melted in a pan, adding 2 thinly sliced onions, 1/2 tsp light brown sugar and 1/ tsp salt
Cook covered 20 minutes 'til tender-stir occasionally. Uncover, cook and stir over medium heat for 3-5 minutes or until onions are golden.

The picture was taken on my daughter's twelfth birthday in October 2000. In this photo, she is backed up to my Mom, Polly, and they both have the biggest smiles on their faces. Whenever we attended family reunions on my mother's side, our daughter would be called "Little Polly", because everyone thought she favored my mother so much. This special photo was taken long before my mother was diagnosed with cancer in 2006 and way before our little girl even thought seriously about attending college two hours from our home.
Now, Mama is in heaven and our daughter is an upperclassman at Auburn.

I love that this framed photograph is right on the counter where I cook our meals. It gives me strength, brings a smile to my face and inspires me to live and love while on this earth.

What special photos or momentos do you see in your home on a regular basis? Do they bring you warmth and strength as you recall sweet memories? If not, why not frame up something inspiring today and place it in a spot you pass by daily.
And while the vidalia onions are in season, try out this yummy recipe that will complement any meat as a side dish . You will be glad you did!

Monday, August 3, 2009

THIS CAN BE TRICKY

When we visited Kiawah Island, South Carolina recently, we had a lovely villa a few blocks away from the coast. On a bike, we could reach the surf in less than ten minutes.

After our workouts in the nearby gym, we would hop on our rental bikes, with a back pack and a beach chair balanced on the handlebar as we rode. As we ventured closer to the beach, we would encounter several narrow boardwalks, most more suitable for one-way traffic, not two.

One morning, as I made my way, steadily to the sand, I was having a little trouble guiding my bike across a limited way. A woman, who looked to be a 50 something woman like me was walking towards me on the boardwalk. She observed my difficulty and smiled, stating three simple words: "This can be tricky."

Before I met this "friend" along the way, I was struggling, believing that surely others did not have this much difficulty and why was I not strong enough to make this journey happen more smoothly? Everything changed in my approach, my attitude, after hearing her brief, but encouraging message to me.

As we journey through our days, let's be on the lookout for women like ourselves who might be having a little trouble, who might need a helping word or deed. Let us travel this journey together, not alone.

Like this nameless woman on a boardwalk in South Carolina, you, too, could make a change in someone's day.