New Orleans Facts and Monkey-business

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“Nana, she wants my grits!”

As I relax for a while this afternoon and relive events from the past 24 hours, I am reminded of how quickly time passes and how seasons change when we aren’t looking.  We are continually depositing memories into our life account.  When we are older and have more time to ourselves, may we all have a vast sum to draw from.

Last night this nana decided there would be a sleepover with both of my granddaughters.  My 7 yr old Ayda, who is on spring break from NC and my little local Cali, who celebrated her 1st last week.  Ayda was staying with Nana anyway and Cali’s mommy was at the point of sleep deprivation where I thought it best to intervene and give her a break.

As I knew it would be, the night was long, yet too short and both glorious and exhausting and that’s okay.  Such is life.

Our little one was nicknamed monkey-butt while still serving her time in the NICU.  This was due to her inclination towards wrapping her tiny little toes around the hospital bed bars and hanging on.  Last night, her antics were better described as monkey-business.  First she doggedly pursued her elder cousin determined to share her bowl of cheese grits.  Ayda was very patient and kind and actually enjoyed her “big cousin” role as Cali crawled after her like the energizer bunny and repeatedly stuck her fingers in the bowl.  Yes, I could have made Ayda go to the table, but what would be the fun in that?   It was an after dinner snack.

Next they played with a stiff, stuffed cat with a leash that meowed incessantly.  I honesty tried to let it go on, but the noise unfortunately wasn’t falling on deaf ears and I could only suffer for so long.  That kind of toy is supposed to be what I buy to send home with them, not the other way around.  Following my interruption of the cat game, they began to play with plastic eggs.  Ayda would roll one and Cali would chase after it only to have it slip from her slobbery little fingers so she could chase it again.  We got a few laughs out of that.

Later, Miss Cali persevered and achieved a record for her latest night ever.  She managed to keep Nana and Papa awake until after 10 pm, a first for her.  Her mommy usually has her in bed well before 7 so we aren’t sure what provoked the late night.  The way she kept eyeballing the front door, I suspect she was waiting for mommy and daddy.  Ayda snuggled up with a blanket on the couch and gave up around 9, probably tired of the tiny ones shenanigans.

Since Papa had to work bright and early, he headed off for the guest room as I had pulled the pack and play into ours.  We both knew the long night was likely just beginning and he needed to sleep.  Sure enough, she was up around midnight to polish off a bottle which Nana couldn’t heat fast enough and then up again from 4 to 5 just because.  Ayda came through right before five for a potty break and made frantic motions indicating that she needed the bathroom light on.  I did the only thing I could do.  Rocking back and forth (back aching) with a sleepy infant on my chest, I grabbed my kindle and turned it on and threw it to the end of the bed.  I whispered, “Use that for a light”.  She went in there, kindle in hand and did her business like a trooper.  I recall wondering if I would hear the kindle splash and realizing if it meant the baby stayed asleep, I didn’t care.  I would deal with that tomorrow.

When Cali sat up and made her “laughing with my binky in my mouth” sound around 6:15, I knew she was ready to roll and I was certainly ready for coffee and wondering again why I had offered to do this.

Ayda was up shortly thereafter and starving, so she needed breakfast.  Cali was hungry too so I attempted to please both of them, but not before pouring myself a nice, large, piping hot, cup of coffee.  Papa took Cali as he knew this wasn’t a job for the non-caffeinated nana.   Cali started making poop noises about this time, so I figured I better wait to feed her when she was finished making room.

As soon as Ayda was finished eating, she picked up her “new” notebook, which in reality had been MY new cute notebook, but not anymore.  She began to recite aloud all of the words she had written down to teach Cali.  I had to listen carefully to each one, or they would be repeated.  Clean diapered Cali was on my lap, trying to get to my phone and the remote controls, whichever one required more pain for Nana’s miscellaneous body parts.

About this time, Ayda decided she needed the laptop to look up facts about New Orleans and she was still hungry.  Cali was cranky due to lack of sleep and Nana was barely awake herself.  I put Cali down, which made her mad, ran to the other room and googled “facts about New Orleans”, hit submit and ran back to the living room to change Cali’s diaper again.  Ayda said, “Nana, its saying no internet found” so I picked up Cali like a football and ran the other direction to assist.

A few moments later, Ayda writing down “facts” and Cali slurping drowsily on a warm bottle, her little eyes rolling back in her head from exhaustion and Papa comes in, closing the front door A LITTLE TOO LOUDLY for Nana’s liking.  Cali bolted straight up and looked around smiling and Ayda came in and said, “Nana, did you know that New Orleans was F-O-U-N-D-E-D”, “I said, “founded, honey” and she said, “Yes, founded in 1718”.  I said in my most sincere Nana voice, “Wow, what a cool fact!  That was over 200 years ago”.  She replied, “Nana, you weren’t even born yet, huh?”

I looked down and noticed that monkey butt was fast asleep.  Ayda snuggled up to me on the other side and lovingly looked up at me and said, “Nana I am still hungry, but I’m not going to eat again until you can”, thereby melting my heart for about the hundredth time since she arrived.

About that time Cali’s mommy texted and was ready to see her baby.  Nana was ready for her to see her baby too.

Oddly enough, a couple of hours later when Ayda and her Mommy and Cali and her Mommy all left on the golf cart for a ride, Nana missed them and found herself looking forward to their return so the chaos could ensue once again.  I know Ayda will be gone on Thursday and it will be a while before I see her again and of course, we are still just so thankful that Cali is with us and healthy.  I cherish the moments, good and bad, fun and frenzied because I know from experience how quickly this life is passing us by and how we never know what will happen from one moment to the next.

We have to enjoy this crazy, wonderful life and enjoy those the good Lord has blessed us with.  I can promise you it’s not always sunshine and rainbows but when there is love and appreciation, you can find the joy in the midst of the mayhem and in the stinkiest of jobs.

Later

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LATER

I will tell him I love him later,
I will whisper it in his ear
Not now, but I’ll do it later
He knows, but he still likes to hear

I will call and apologize later
Right now I’ll just sit and stew
It’s not my fault that she took it that way
We just have different points of view

We will play catch outside a little later
After the dishes are done
When your bedroom is back in order
Then I promise we’ll go have some fun

The frustrating thing about later
Is that later sometimes doesn’t come
So let’s do it right now and not later
Please don’t wait til’ the sinking sun

Daily Prompt: Heard

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I heard the roar of the ocean’s waves as they chased me back towards the shore and the sounds of tiny hustling crab feet scurrying across the sand.

The gulls were flapping their wings, crying out to tell the others their fish stories and the palm trees were gently swaying in the breeze.

The crunch of the sand was a delight underneath my toes and the salty air tasted like summer on my tongue.

What perfect bliss, just this beautiful day and me now perched on a blanket with a book in my hand.  The only thing that could make this better, I thought to myself,  is a nice long nap in the sunshine.

As the balmy breeze coaxed me to sleep, I heard a noise; at first it seemed far away, but the noise grew louder and louder.  It was shrill and out of place and a feeling akin to panic came over me.

My eyes flew open to discover that it was my hateful alarm clock; it’s unwelcome explosion of noise heralding a new day and ruining my beautiful dream.

Daily Prompt:  Heard

Facing Fears

 

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I just wanted to have a little fun today so I tried a little different style than normal.

She began to shake from her insides out, or so it felt.  She clasped her now sweaty palms together under her desk and felt as if she could squeeze the very blood out of them if she tried.  Her feet seemed glued to the floor and her socks were damp with moisture.  It was difficult to get a deep breath so she began to feel lightheaded.

The moment had come, the day of reckoning.  Could she do this?  Would her trembling legs support her thin frame?  If she opened her mouth to speak, would words come?  As she stood on shaky limbs a sudden feeling of nausea overwhelmed her.  She picked up the lone piece of paper from the desk and gripped it a little too tightly, her damp hands smudging the print.

Eyes wide with fright and all of her senses on edge, she heard a voice that sounded like it was far, far away.  “Lilly, did you hear me?”  She managed a tremulous nod and began moving forward at a snail’s pace.  She felt the eyes upon her as she walked the short distance to the place to which she was being beckoned.  The walk seemed to take forever and that was okay with her.

Every part of her longed to run but she had to face this fear.  Lilly Underwood was no coward.

When she reached her destination, she stopped, turned and planted her sneaker clad feet, facing the class.  It was finally her turn.

She began.  My book report is on Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White…….

 

 

Daily Prompt:  Tremble

Daily Prompt: Scent

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Once again I find myself slacking in my quest to try to write daily.  When I saw the prompt today, I was inspired which is often the case, but busyness tends to win out.  Not today.

The prompt was Scent and when I read it I was immediately back in the 80’s standing before my mom’s neatly organized dresser spraying an indulgent mist of her Cinnabar on my wrists and neck.  That was her scent and although there were others before it, it is the one I will always associate with her memory. Scents have the power to evoke such feelings like the emotions that I still experience when I smell Cinnabar.

A beautiful creative God endowed us with the wonderful sense of smell!  When we begin to list things we are thankful for, it’s probably not at the top of the list, but can you imagine life without it?  Think of the smell of rain in the air, before the first drop makes its way to the thirsty earth, the perfume of the rose in your garden, the spicy aroma of a pumpkin pie cooking or the acrid smell of something burning and we all love the sweet smell of newborn babies (which is soon forgotten with the smell of diapers).

We all have so many memories tied to smells.  My grandfather, Poppy, had a distinct scent that I can only describe as smelling just like Poppy; no one else smelled the same and when I think of him and crawling up in his lap to get snuggled and possibly scratched by his whiskers, I can remember the wonderful “Poppy” smell.  I’m sure we all have our own personal scent; some probably more memorable than others.

Have you ever noticed that another person’s home has a distinct smell and they smell like it?  The thing I never could figure out was what my own smelled like and was it good?  I’ve had kids come to stay for sleepovers and they open their little suitcases or bags and boom, their house smell flows right out.

My sense of smell has always been very good, seemingly better than average.  I have read this could be due to my sinus/allergy issues.   This can be good and bad depending on the circumstances.  Due to my allergies, some smells have become headache inducing nuisances and unfortunately I can whiff out a mothball scent from a mile away.   My kids always knew about my heightened sense of smell and knew they needn’t try to hide certain things from Mama because in my case “the nose knows”.

So, maybe as we are complaining about some of those not so nice smells, we should remember all of the yummy, pleasant ones and be thankful.  I’ve heard it said that of the five senses, smell is the one with the best memory.  I know one whiff can send you back years in a second to a certain place and time where some memories are clear and vivid.

Dreading the end of the season?

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This morning before leaving for work, my husband kissed me and said, “Babe, try to just relax today”.  His recognition of my recent relentless efforts to ensure everything went smoothly for Christmas made them all the more worth it, but also reminded me that my favorite holiday was over.

I refilled the lovely coffee cup, covered in cardinals and pinecones, a cherished gift from my youngest and opened the festive Ziploc bag filled with mint chocolate chip cookies baked days ago.  Even as I took one out, I lamented the number I have eaten this season.

Sitting in my chair, coffee cup in hand, I looked at our Christmas tree, the floor beneath it now bare, except for one stray shiny ornament and a lone undelivered present.  Moments later, I saw a snapchat notification from my youngest and opened a picture of her Christmas tree with the caption, “I don’t want Christmas to be over”.

Since I was entering my time of devotion and prayer, this topic was something I reflected on during my quiet time.

Why do I dread the arrival of December 26th?  To answer that question, I must first ask myself why I love the days preceding it.  That’s easy, right?  The month of December is filled with hope, with expectations, the joy of giving, and the arrival of friends and family for long overdue visits.  People take days off and spend them at home, we search for that perfect gift for those we love and for the most part people seem more cheerful.  There are more commercials and movies crafted to observe the joy of the season and it truly does seem that more love abounds or at least a better sense of family and fellowship.

As we celebrate the Christmas season, we reflect more on that life changing gift of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  We honor the greatest love ever known and we are constantly reminded of it.   We are surrounded by Christmas carols, and many of them honor the Holy One and the virgin birth.  We see joy manifested in human form in the faces of our children and grandchildren.  We see that giving a gift means we sacrifice something to give to another.  Often, but sadly not often enough, we see forgiveness and healing in relationships.

So, if all of the above is what I love, why do I dread what I perceive in my mind to be the “end” of this glorious season?

It isn’t over.

Yes, the Christmas season is over; the last carol has been sung, the last sugar cookie decorated like a candy cane for a while, the gifts are all open, the decorations are already starting to sag and look out of place and some of our families are already homeward bound.

The seasons will change, as they should as new seasons bring new growth.    But, the reason for the season never changes and that reason always has been and always will be Jesus!  He truly is the Gift that keeps on giving!   We are abundantly blessed and we can continue to be a blessing all year long.  We can keep the spirit of Christmas strong and alive and well by loving hard all year long, by finding the perfect gifts to bless the poor, lonely and hurting.  We can freely and diligently give the gift of prayer.  We can decorate lives with compassion, empathy and laughter.  We can put God first, family second and everything else below that.  We can fellowship more often and be generous in gifting our time to those we love and we can certainly choose to allow a fresh wind of forgiveness to blow through our hearts when needed.

All of this should be obvious of course, but sometimes we need to take the time to allow God to remind of us of old truths and I for one, am glad I did that this morning.  Today is a brand new day, filled with life, breath and salvation and I intend to enjoy every minute of it!

Daily Post: Hyperbole

The Daily Prompt was Hyperbole.

Hyperbole (pronounced ‘high-purr-bo-lee’) is a figure of speech in which an author or speaker purposely and obviously exaggerates to an extreme.  I love language and I love this word, but I had never attempted to use it purposely.  So, I decided to try to use it in the short little story below and it was surprisingly fun!

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puffy clouds

As I sit outside in the sunshine on this beautiful albeit windy day, munching on my caramel apple and trying to keep my hair out of the stickiness, I see an alien.  Yes, an alien, then a pizza and finally a rooster all are blowing by in the puffy white clouds.

One minute, I’m thinking that I’ll be as big as a barn if I don’t stop eating all of these delightful candy coated, caramel concoctions and the next minute I’m thinking of my granny, skinny as a toothpick lying on a blanket finding pictures in the clouds.

Granny would have had a story for every picture; the alien would have been larger than life and travelled faster than the speed of light.  She would have said thinking about that pizza made her so hungry she could eat a horse and she probably would have had a story about how she tried to catch a rooster once and it ran like lightning.

After the stories were told and the clouds began to diminish and the skies became bluer than blue, we would pick up our blanket and shake the leaves off because after all, we had a million things to do.

Back then, I never would have considered Granny as old as the hills because she had as much spunk as most half her age.  Today, when I think about her and remember clasping her wrinkled little hand, I miss her.  She loved unconditionally and I’m beyond grateful for her prayers.  Knowing I will see her again someday allows me to smile at her memory.

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Hello October!

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My granddaughter last fall as we explored along Natchez Trace Parkway

Today is October 1, 2016 and I actually woke up a little excited about that.   Anyone who has read my past blogs or who knows me very well will recall that we have entered my favorite month.  The only thing casting a shadow on this otherwise lovely day is the horrible storm churning about in the Caribbean Sea, its sight seemingly set on Jamaica.  I pray earnestly for those in the path of this hurricane.

Somewhat selfishly, I am also vexed with the thought that the storm will interfere with my carefully laid plans to spend next weekend in North Carolina with my daughter and granddaughter.  I have been looking forward to spending a few days alone with them, taking in some Blue Ridge sights as we enjoy some of the changes of the season together.

I long to don a sweater, have my nose tickled by a blustery breeze and watch my granddaughter gracefully navigate a pumpkin patch somewhere along the way.  I am dreaming of slurping warm seasonal soups and sharing a slice of apple pie with my daughter as we catch up.  I envision us dancing along trails as we forage for adventure.

I know the trees will have already begun their dress in more vibrant hues of gold and scarlet.  They remind me of debutantes aspiring to be the belle of the ball as they slip into their fanciful attire.

The ground may not be carpeted with the crunchy relics of summer yet, but in a few short weeks, the riot of color will cover the mountains.   If I could stay for the entire month of October, I would.  Better yet, I would stay until the last leaf floated down from the place of its origin and the skeletal trees shivered in the bitter winter wind, heralding winter.

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My granddaughter last fall as we explored along Natchez Trace Parkway

Daily Post: Graceful

One of the best days

14333016_298730933833087_5619537209019762505_nThursday, September 22nd, 4:22am – The bright lights on my bedside clock confirm that I am up way too early for a day that I don’t have to work.  As I often do upon awakening, I let the fog dissipate for a moment and realize why I am off today.  Today is the big DAY, the day we have prayed and believed for, for over five months now.  Barring any complications, you are busting out of Nicklaus Children’s Hospital for your long anticipated homecoming!  Of course after I remember all of this, there is no way I will be going back to sleep, work or not.  I might as well enjoy my favorite time of the day.

Teeth brushed, I meander to the kitchen and get a cup brewing and moments later, warm cup in hand, I settle into my chair, careful to find glasses first and crank up heating pad.  My tummy is full of butterflies as I being to pray and thank God for this day and your continued progress.

Nervous energy continues as I text a few close friends and family members.  I am having trouble deciding what to do next.  Do I go to town and buy balloons and food first?  Do I go down to your house and do some cleaning and finish organizing your room and hang the “Welcome Home” banner?

Mommy spent the night with you last night and when she facetimes me, Nana realized you are not a morning person yet.  We will see what we can do about that.  I wonder how you felt last night with Mommy in the same room, right beside you all night for the first time since you were delivered on April 13th.  I know Mommy was thrilled and so excited it was hard to sleep.

Nana is so emotional today and I heard that your Grammy is too.  I think of your sweet face all situated in your car seat, or imagine the goodbyes of the doctors and nurses that have taken such good care of you, or what you will think of sunlight and grass and flowers and how mom and dad will feel driving away with you settled securely in the car with them, and I cry.

I remember the beginning of your journey and your tiny body being wheeled away and loaded into a helicopter and friends and family holding hands in a circle and praying and I cry again.

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I think about the surgeries and the complications and the good days and bad days and the crazy roller coaster ride of the past few months.  Emotional doesn’t even seem to describe it, I feel overwhelmed with joy and thanks.  I feel like dancing and singing and doing cartwheels, all while praising God.  So I do all of these things, except the cartwheels.  I do want to be here well and uninjured when you arrive.

Throughout the day, Mommy calls and Nana helps her call pediatricians; we have to find one that can get you in on Monday in order for you to be released.  What a feat, but it’s done.  We will do anything to get you home!

After going to town and getting a Welcome Home cake that you can’t even eat yet, Nana arrives at your house to finish what Mommy had started in your room.  Did you know that you have been so blessed by friends and family that you have too many clothes and shoes and bows?  Nana spends a lot of time just looking at all of your cute stuff.

Oh Cali, you are so loved!  People follow the reports on your progress and pray for you daily.  They have been more than generous with donations to help mom and dad spend more time with you and pay for gas and hotels and food.  They have offered words of hope and advice and encouragement to all of us who call you our own.  We have been abundantly blessed and we are all so overwhelmed and grateful.

As the last ray of the afternoon sun casts a warm glow through your bedroom window, I got the text I had been dying for all day long; you were on your way!  Mommy posted a picture on Facebook of you nestled in your car seat with a big smile so she could share the news with all of the people who love you.  You looked like you knew exactly what was going on.14370075_300102760362571_281185968660978266_n.jpg

After that, the hardest part of the day began; the waiting.  Nana paced and checked my phone over and over again for the latest report of where you were on your journey.  Mommy and Daddy hit the 5 o’clock Miami traffic and then had to stop and feed you along the way.  Oh, would you ever arrive?

When Papa and I got the message that you were close, we went outside to wait on the porch.  My stomach did flip flops when I saw the headlights come around the corner.  You were finally home!  Papa was concerned you might get a bug bite so he reminded your daddy to rush you up the stairs.    The time had finally arrived and not one moment too soon.

We were all exhausted at the end of the day, but it was a good kind of tired and our hearts were filled with joy.  We are anxious to watch you grow and learn and thrive.  Cali girl, you are our little miracle and such a strong little girl.  We love you ❤

Related stories:

Cali; the gift that keeps on giving

Just give me my binky

When life throws a curve ball

Come, Elegant Autumn

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I’ve said before that God created seasons because He knew we were fickle creatures who would get bored easily.  My favorite one is Autumn so when I saw that the Daily Prompt was Elegant, I thought about the distinct beauty and grace of the season and wrote down a few of my very passionate feelings about the coming of Fall.

Come, elegant autumn and show off your style.  I have been eager for your dignified arrival for months now.

Envelop me like a comfortable sweater and display for me the beautiful foggy nights by your harvest moon.

Tantalize me with the classic aroma of pumpkin and spice and not just on Thanksgiving Day.

Surprise me with briskly changing foliage before the colorful leaves are poised to plunge gracefully to the cool earthy ground at the first windy day.

Bring on your slight chill so we can forage in our closets for the stylish leggings, cozy boots and colorful scarves.

Let my eyes feast on the beautiful cornucopias, pine cones and amber colored candles smelling like apple cinnamon. 

And be content to stay for a good long visit, you wondrous golden visitor.

Related stories:  Come Autumn and especially October  and Goodbye July

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