"I felt a nice, fresh breeze a moment ago. Where has it gone to?"
- Tennessee Williams, in 'The Glass Menagerie'

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Clean up, clean up, everybody, everywhere...

I feel like I should be on a constant binge...
...a cleaning binge, that is...
I spent my entire day today, just about, cleaning.

Washing clothes,
picking things up and getting them into place,
folding clothes,
getting rid of things.

Kind of reminds me of life...
we're constantly cleaning up after ourselves, whether it's because of literally dirtying up our homes or because we've made a mess out of our lives.  The thing that gets me thinking is this:

If we're so aware that we're going to have to clean up afterward, why do we continue to make the mess(es) in the first place??

...and my answer?

Because we can't help it.
Life gets in the way.  Life happens.
Things get messy sometimes, whether we intend for them to or not, and we just have to take a step back, breathe deep, and pick up the pieces.

Sometimes picking up the pieces simply means you fold the clothes and put them up, or wash the dishes, or throw away the trash that we've accumulated... and sometimes it means figuring out ways to make your life feel normal again because something hasn't gone quite the way you've planned it.

Either way, we're all on a constant cleaning binge... because no one is perfect, nor were we intended to be.

...and boy, do I hate cleaning!
...but if it means a better life (even by simply making my surroundings cleaner), then I'll do it again whenever I get the chance in this busy, busy thing we call life.  :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Like a grain of mustard seed.

Matthew 17:20  He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”

I can't even say much after that.
Faith like a grain of mustard seed.
Do you know how tiny that is?
How very little faith that would be?

That's all He expects of us, all He asks for.
Faith like a grain of mustard seed.
Just a tiny bit, and He will give us strength to move mountains.

Times like these make it hard.
When your self-proclaimed "adoptive baby sister"s mother is battling cancer.
When you watch someone you love in pain.
But at the end of the day, I know that my faith is at least like a grain of mustard seed.
Even on my weakest days, it's greater than that.

Right now, all I can do is pray.
For her.
For her mom.
For her family.
God brings miracles - every day - into this world.
His miracle here might not be to heal her mom completely from this cancer, but maybe his miracle here is to take away her pain...

I'm not sure, and I'm not going to try to guess.
His answers will unfold as surely as his strength and mercy.

Until then?
I'll just pray.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Like the love of a small child.

I've been contemplating this blog for the past week, and I haven't been able to get more than a sentence or two in before finally succumbing to my procrastination and removing all trace of any blogging...

...but now?

The time is on me, and I can't avoid it any longer.
It's now or never.
(or cry rivers as grand as the Nile after tomorrow)
...so here goes...

I'll love you forever.
My baby sister is getting married in two days.  For twenty-two years (give or take, what with the college thing and all), she has lived literally one room away.  We have one wall between our rooms... one of those "if these walls could talk" moments.  Ironically enough, we've actually wound up switching rooms throughout the years, and she has wound up with the slightly larger room.  I've loved her from the day she was born - although, I don't really remember that day because I was only two - but I can imagine.  The love of a small child is so elaborate.  Love comes naturally for a child.  So if I love her so much now, I can only imagine what my love for her when we were children was like... and loving someone for a lifetime is what forever is all about.

I'll love you for always.
Lord knows we've had our ups and downs.  At times, I would say that I haven't been the best big sister in the world, but I have loved her.  No matter what.  Oddly, at times, I have been the one looking up to a sibling.  I've looked up to my baby sister, perhaps more than she's looked up to me.  I'm not sure... I can't speak for her, but I do know that I am beyond proud of the young woman that she has turned out to be.  It took nearly seventeen years before we were able to become more than just sisters but also friends, but now?  Now we're both... and we always will be.

As long as I'm living,
As long as I'm living, my hope for her will be happiness.  I believe that she has found that in her fiance`.  They compliment each other, and he is able to somehow handle our crazy-wonderful-dramatic family... anyone who can do that (and fit right into it all) can handle anything thrown at them 'cause we are beyond a handful, that's for sure.  The two of them have purchased a beautiful house in a wonderful neighborhood and have high hopes for their future... I pray that their hopes and their love for each other will turn that house into a home and provide them with an adventure called life that includes each other and their love until the day that they go home to God.

my baby sister you'll be.
I suddenly realized upon typing that last bit that I used this same childhood story when I wrote about my Peppy.  I suppose it's one childhood bedtime story that will forever stick with me... and my sister is one giant childhood memory that I'll never forget either.  Her room will always be the one next to mine, and her heart will always be a part of mine.  We're sisters.  Nothing can take that away.  I will be forever thankful for the wonderful person that God put in my life as my sister, my confidant... my friend. 

I cannot imagine having spent my life growing up with a different little sister, and I would never want to try to do so... she's perfect just the way she is (even if we do drive each other crazy from time to time).  ;)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Bless your heart.

Tonight, I was having a phone date with my lovely.
He had dinner with his Gramma tonight, and I had told him to tell her I said hello...

He told me that he told her and when he did, she smiled and said,
"Well, bless her heart."

I then proceeded to tell him that sometimes here in the South saying 'Bless your heart' isn't the best of things to say...

When did something so sweet turn into such a negative connotation??

There's even a flippin' country song about it by Miranda Lambert called "Only Prettier":

"Well I've been saved by the grace of southern charm
I got a mouth like a sailor and yours is more like a hallmark card
If you wanna pick a fight well I'm gonna have to say good night
I don't have to be hateful, I can just say bless your heart"

(see??  derogatory!)

He says that up in Colorado saying that it... is what it is - a blessing.

So... since when did saying it in the South not mean that you were being given a blessing??

I think we need to re-examine things.
God is the one that gives us blessings,
so when blessings come out of our mouths toward others, they too should be out of love and kindness.

We sneeze, and we say "Bless you!"
                                  "God bless you!"
We don't say that to be mean or negative.
We don't say that to poke fun at people.
We say that because when you sneeze, your heart skips a beat, and it's an old wives' tale that you say "God bless you!" to ensure that the person's heart continues on working just as properly as it was before the sneeze.

I do believe that that is more of what the phrase is for:
giving blessings of goodness to others.

Today, I received a good ol' Yankee blessing from my lovely's grandmother...
...and today, you're all receiving a good ol' Southern blessing from me:

Bless your heart.

No matter who you are.
You deserve a good life, some good blessings,
and I want to send the same blessing that I got out to you, too.

It put a smile on my face hearing it from sweet Gramma,
and I hope I just put a smile on your face, too.  :)

If not...
bless your heart.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Bait the hook.
Click back the catch on the reel.
Cast out your line.
Flip the catch down.
Slowly reel it in...


I, my friends, have been fishing.

I caught a couple of brim the first time down at the river.

He was a monster, I know.
Try not to be too jealous.  ;)

Then, we went trout fishing at Sipsey.
Not even a bite.

...and then I got to thinking:

We talk about all the "fish in the sea" and how there's always more of 'em out there if we lose one that we thought we'd caught...

...so, that means that I have been fishing for 24 a whole bunch of years now??
Are you kidding me??
I should be an expert by now...

...but wait just a cotton pickin' second...

I happen to have found a little fishie.
He goes by the name of Josh,
and in the words of my late, great Peppy:

He's a keeper.  :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Step 3: The Final Chapter

One of the toughest things, I've found, is finding out how to be happy... with yourself.
Without the help of anyone else.

Through everything that I've been through, that has been (hands down) the toughest thing for me,
and when I really got to thinking about this, only one quote came to mind:

"...the most exciting, challenging, & significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you find someone to love the you that you love, well, that's just fabulous."

It's from an episode of 'Sex & the City,' one of my all-time-favorite shows, and to me?
That right there is what it's all about.

But the trick is... truly finding the you that you love first.
No one else can love you if you don't know how to love yourself.

I told someone very dear to me the other night this:
"I have something I want you to do for me... Whenever you get down on yourself or sad or anything other than feeling happy, I want you to stop and try thinking about yourself through MY eyes...


  I think you're wonderful and perfect just the way you are, so if you can allow yourself to view YOU the way that I view you... well... maybe then you'll be able to assimilate situations  where you will feel happy and good about yourself all the time."

This was one of the hardest things for me... it was probably my hardest step.  I couldn't be happy with myself.  How could I love myself when I'd screwed up so much?

...but then I thought about it...

...everyone deserves another chance, right?
My mistakes were my own, so if I just owned up to them, I could start moving past them.
And if I could move past those mistakes... 
and become the person I'm supposed to become...
...why couldn't I be happy then?  huh?

...I had no reason why I couldn't be.
So, I shoved and I shoved... and those mistakes?  To me, they're a part of this huge long novel that I read forever ago, and like when reading a book, I have left those characters in that book.  I finished those bad chapters and started a new novel.

A happy novel.

(yes, I'm a huge book nerd and am now using book analogies to get my point across... get over it!  ha)  :)

I, my friends, am happy with myself.  I love who I am more than I ever thought I would be able to, and you know what?  Now, the people that should mean the most to me, do.  The people that should love me, do.

and as far as finding someone to love the me that I love?

God's got that one in check for me right now, too.  ;)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Step 2: Do something drastic (but do it wisely).

You know how they say that things will always gets worse before they get better?

Well, that seems to be the story of my life sometimes.
(kind of like Murphy's Law:  "Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.")

I had found my means of motivation to change, and I was willing to do whatever I could to change...
...but somehow it always seemed that no matter how hard I tried, trouble always followed.

Not bad trouble - don't get me wrong.
It just felt like no matter what I tried, I would find myself in a similar boat that I had previously been in.

I didn't like it.
Not even a little bit.
Not even at all.

It became hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

How could I expect to change if it felt like the universe was out to get me?  like the universe didn't want me to change?

Then one Sunday I was sitting in church, and it hit me... camp.
I needed to go to Camp Sumatanga.
So, I leaned over and told my little cousin that it was time for her to go to camp and that I was going with her as a counselor, as I had with her oldest brother.

A few months later, off we went...
and that was drastic for me.
I was going to camp to spend a week with a bunch of people that I didn't even know.
Not even one of 'em.

It scared the day lights out of me, and then?
About two days in...
I felt like I had known them my entire life...
and then came this picture:

It was upon viewing this picture back on the screen of my pink Polaroid digital camera that I knew without a shadow of a doubt that my life was changing for the better.  God was doing something wonderful with my life, and I was headed down a new and happy road.

It might not make much sense to anyone else, but it sure did to me.

Camp Sumatanga and the wonderful, wonderful people that I met there (and still remain close with) was my first drastic move in my life.  None of them realize how much of an impact they've made on my life, but it has been quite significant, and I will love them forever for it.  :)
Looking back, it wasn't drastic at all, but at the time?  At the time, it was majorly drastic for me.

Then came drastic move number 2:
After going through a tough break up (emotionally) because of betrayal of both me and my family on his part, I decided to start over fresh.  That's when I moved to Gulf Breeze, Florida.

for 5 months
I lived with my aunt and uncle and their kids,
and I worked with infants at a daycare down the road.
It was so hard... but it was the best thing I've ever done.
for myself.
for my life.
for my future...

then I moved BACK home to Alabama for school...
or I thought it was just for school...
God had some wonderful plans for me once I got back here,
and they're unfolding very surely.
and wonderfully.

Just don't take your drastic steps too quickly.
Take those steps like baby steps, too.
The slower you take them, the easier it will be to catch yourself if you even start to slip.

And do more than one drastic thing, more than one big game changer...
that way you really get to see what God has laid out for you.

You'll never fully know what the future fully holds, but if you take those baby steps, if you venture out little by little...

finally finding your way into that end zone will be so much more victorious.
(...who knows, maybe you'll even do a little celebratory victory dance)