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Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Perfect Pout

The Kardashian’s may think they have this nailed, but nobody…. I mean NOBODY has a better pout than my grandbaby.  I was looking through recently posted pics on Instagram and found a picture of  precious Lil Levi Atlas Patterson’s perfect pout. I was snuggled tightly in my bed when I scrolled across his heartbreakingly adorable pic. If you look closely you can see just a smidgen of a tear forming in his eyes.  It was all I could do to keep from jumping out of bed, throwing on some clothes and driving the hour and a half drive to his house to get him whatever he needed to turn his sad little face into a happy face. I  finally decided that they had caught him at a venerable moment when he needed his Lolli.  Since he  can’t talk (almost 3 mo old), it’s clear that he was using body language to convey this need.  Apparently  his humans didn’t recognize the obvious signs of a baby in bad need of some Lolli Lovin. Rest assured I  will be holding body language lessons for them very soon.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Berries in the Briars

The spring like weather drew me back to the woods. The holidays and changing jobs threw me off my game. Too many treats have began complicating getting dressed in the morning. I hate it when my clothes shrink. With winter in full bloom, the woods have taken on that dormant state, but is no less refreshing. This summer as I walked I picked blackberries that grew along the path. My Aunt Doris used to make the best blackberry cobbler. it brought back sweet childhood memories. During my walks, I have to pay close attention to the path. Moles and critters have made tunnels under and along the path. If I don't pay attention, the path will give out beneath me which is a good way to sprain an
ankle. Last night I was dodging holes when the thornes of a blackberry bush snagged me. I pulled the thorns from my arm and kept on trucking. Tonight you would have thought I would have been more careful, but I was deep in thought about a problem I've been mulling over and the exact same bush jumped out and grabbed me again. This time there were more thorns embedded in my arm. On the way home I was thinking of the sweet blackberries and the treacherous thorns. It's hard to imagine a bush bearing such sweet fruit, yet able to rip your arm to shreds with prickly thorns. It reminded of the thing that I've been mulling over and can't figure out. It has brought such sweet fruit over the years, but boy the thornes have a ferocious bite that leave a little trickle of blood that doesn't want to stop.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

No, I Don't know How She Feels

It was deja vu. I walked into the living room crowded with family and friends. People talked in hushed reverent whispers anticipating the worst, yet praying for a miracle. My friend fell into my arms in silent sobs. All I could do was hold her. Just one short year ago, I found myself in similar circumstances with my Mother. I understand the feeling of your body going through the motions and functioning on auto pilot. I understand the feeling of thinking... "I can't do this... I'm not strong enough to do this." That being said, I was painfully aware that I did not "know" what she was going through. How could I possibly know the devastation of watching my husband fade away before my eyes? How could I possibly know the pain and the heartbreak that lay ahead?  I didn't know and I can't possibly imagine. The next few months will be difficult beyond imagination for her and the family and regardless of how I desperately want to fix what is broken, all I can do is hold her up in prayer, stand beside her and be a shoulder she can lean on. My experience with losing loved one is apples to oranges to her experience. What she doesn't need is me comparing the two as if they are the same, her experience is unique to her as mine is to me. Comparing the two as if they are the same would only be minamilizing her pain and her experience. I can't do that. We share an experience that has common characteristics, yet are vastly different on most levels. What she needs from me isn't the common phrase "I know how you feel." What she needs is for me to simply listen when she needs to talk, encourage her when she feels she can't go on and allow her feelings to be her own, because quite simply, I don't know how she feels and not pretending to know everything can be one of the things that comforts her the most. Instead, I will simply be there, not knowing it all but willing to share her pain. Because that's what friends do.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Bigger Than the Question

There are times when nothing I do or say, can wipe away the pain and suffering others are going through. There are times when as much as I'd like to, I can't "fix" things. For a "fixer" those are the most humbling times of all.  It's times like these that I feel so insignificant in light of life's blessings and God's mercy and grace. Some say we shouldn't ask God why... But I believe when he knitted us together in the womb, he wove in an innate desire for things to make sense, knowing eventually we would turn to him for the answer. So this is me, kneeling before the weaver, asking "Why?" This is me feeling insignificant in knowing I may never know the answer until I step across the threshold of heaven's door. Not only is He the answer, He is bigger than the question.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Seemingly Insignificant Vessels

It's funny how sight, sound, smell and taste can trigger a memory long forgotten. Several months ago, I helped move my aunt into a different assisted living apartment. The day was spent toting everything from one room to a room down the hall. As we were packing things up, occasionally I would run across something that would unearth a memory not just forgotten, but buried deep inside. My cousin and I were packing up her kitchen when I came across a pan that stopped me in my tracks. I looked over at my cousin who glanced at the pan and instantly exclaimed.... "Oh! It's the chocolate gravy pan." Awe, the many memories I have of waking up to my auntie making chocolate gravy and biscuits for breakfast. Sweet, sweet memory.... literally and figuratively. My cousin reached over and grabbed a well worn pie plate.... "The chocolate pie pan!" Not surprising, many of the memories had to do with food. We were a food eating clan if ever there was one. All day long, I stumbled across item after item that didn't necessarily trigger a memory, but triggered the place I remembered it belonging too. I was so young when my grandma passed, but I would run across things I knew belonged to her. I stop by my dad's house on my way to work every morning to have a cup of coffee with him. He has been going through closets in an effort to organize his life and get rid of stuff long forgotten. This morning I walked into the dining room and saw a crock sitting out for me on the table. Instantly I recognized it as having belonged to my grandma. Dad had set it out for me because he knows I have a sentimental streak for all things old and nostalgic. I brought it home and placed it on my antique wash stand feeling like it connected me to the past in a indescribable way. It's not the costly and the treasured that uncover memories of my childhood, it's the seemingly insignificant vessels or tools that bring a flood of belonging and a sharp pain of things I miss. The thought brought me to wonder how God feels about "seemingly insignificant vessels". You know the ones you run across in church and  day to day life. They boast of no great talent, no special anointing and often feel they hold no worth. Maybe the spiritually profound see them as insignificant, as they hold no title, make no claim... But God doesn't look at us as those claiming to be spiritually profound.  He looks at us with tenderness and the knowledge that no one in His kingdom, is ever "seemingly insignificant" and each and every one of us unearths the memory of the very reason Christ died on the cross.... He died so the "seemingly insignificant" could be assured they were profoundly loved in a significant way. Those seemingly insignificant earthen vessels hold limitless potential we should never take for granted.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

the Logistics of Rocco and Luigi

We just finished burying "Big Girl". I buried her with her Christmas Stocking. It was a sad goodbye made more difficult by her size. I will never have another dog that is bigger than me. She was a gentle giant, but giants aren't easy to bury. The tears haven't dried on my cheeks. I'm bundled up in bed trying to thaw out. It took a few hours to dig a grave big enough for a man. Our grief and tears were dried for a spell just from doing such a physical task after a night of no sleep (3 nights for me) and because of the freezing drizzle. When we both collapsed on the couch afterwards, I told him... "I feel so Tony Soprano"  He didn't know who Tony Soprano was so I told him. Grief often takes me to unexpected places.... Or maybe it is just sleep deprivation, but the logistics of those mafia guys burying all those bodies is pretty incredible. Rocco and Luigi must have had some impressive upper body strength. I had "getting back in the groove on my workouts" at the top of my New Year's To Do List, but I really had no intentions of starting it bright and early January 1st.  I'm a procrastinator so I guess God just figured he'd nudge me along. Goodbye Sailor Girl, you are were a wonderful friend and you will be greatly missed.