Stumped

Sunset, Big Cypress NP

Sunset, Big Cypress NP

As bedtime draws near and I finish my glass of 2% milk with Ovaltine, I am still stumped about my submission for today.   When I agreed to participate in November’s challenge to post every day, I fully intended to post every day of November and I still plan to do just that.   However, I have returned to the keyboard over and over today and tapped on it, started over, changed my mind, read through about 30 prompts and I still find myself with absolutely nothing interesting to say.

It has been a rainy, lazy day.  I only ventured out for church and lunch and although both church services were great and lunch out was enjoyable, I didn’t have an aha moment about something I could write.  I think my brain is tired.

My bed is calling but at least I have the satisfaction that I didn’t “cheat” and skip a day.

Until tomorrow…..

Wish I may, wish I might

Does anyone remember the Sears Christmas Wish Book?  It hadn’t crossed my mind in years until last night.  As I was watching a Christmas movie, I saw an advertisement for Toys R Us and as grandmothers do at this time of year, I paid attention.  I spent some time with my granddaughter recently and she was showing me her collection of Shopkins and telling me that I could get them at Toys R Us.  They are miniature versions of items you would buy in a grocery store and they come in little shopping baskets.  She likes to collect them and believe you me, she knows if “cupcake queen” or “toof the toothbrush” is missing.

So, the commercial caught my attention because I wondered if Shopkins might be on sale.  I didn’t see anything about the little grocery toys, but I did notice a nice big, shiny toy catalog in the ad.

This took me back in time to the late 60s and early 70s when the arrival of the Wish Book was a big deal in our house.  We picked it up at the post office and tore the brown paper off with excitement.  By the time Christmas rolled around, it had given us hours of perusing and wishing and hoping, and it was missing pages, and tattered and torn.  We would lie on the floor on our tummies, on the rusty orange shag carpet and hover around it circling things.  We would put big bold stars on the really important stuff so that Mom would get the hint.  Our cousins would visit and we would drag it out and explore once again with them.

My brother and sister were huge fans of the Johnny West action figures so those got circled, I’m sure.  They amassed quite the collection; there was Johnny West and his trusty horse, Thunderbolt, Jane West and Flame, Josie West, General Custer, and Geronimo.  The horses came with saddles, canteens and blankets and the action figures came with camping equipment and vests, kerchiefs, hats and all sorts of changeable western gear.  They would play with them for hours and I am sure Mom thought she got her money’s worth.

Photo found on pinterest

Photo found on pinterest

The three of us circled and starred baby dolls, Barbie’s Dream House, Snow cone Maker, Walkie talkies, Spirograph, lite-brite, hot wheels, View Master, Easy Bake Oven, Holly Hobbie, books, games, Love’s Baby Soft perfume, Evil Knievel, Stretch Armstrong, and Tonka Trucks.

I don’t quite remember when I lost interest in the catalog, but I suspect it’s when we started going to the mall more often.  Instead of wishing and dreaming, everything was right before my eyes, and I could touch it and test it.

When I reminisce though, I am thankful for those times snuggled close to my sister and brother, even if we did argue about who saw it first and who was really old enough to have it.  I am thankful our wish list came from a book with real pages that we could turn together.  The Amazon Wish List is great and I used it last year for one of my daughters gifts, but I would have much rather snuggled up with her on the couch and looked through the Wish Book together, circling and making big bold stars.

Check my what?

SONY DSC

We have all heard the phrase, “check your motives” but how often do we really check them?  I am finding personally as I try to make a habit of it, that they aren’t always as pure as I had once imagined.  This motive checking has been on my radar for quite some time now as I knew it was something God was dealing with me personally about.  Not surprisingly, it is way easier to judge someone else’s motives than your own and your family members are easy prey.

My husband and my youngest daughter have always had this thing that they do when I am fussing at them about something.  While I am in mid-sentence, they say, “I love you”.  There were times when this was infuriating, but a large percentage of the time, it garnered a smile from me and the change of subject that had been their intent all along.  Their motive behind saying it was to change the topic and my train of thought, or to derail my indictment.   Thankfully, I know they both adore me and that although their motive wasn’t entirely pure, they still meant what they said.

If we pay close attention to our conversations, our emails, and our Facebook posts, they can speak volumes regarding motive.  Has anyone ever posted something seemingly innocuous on Facebook, but the reason you did it was to get back at or prove a point to someone?  What about the argumentative email that you go back and forth with someone at work?  Is it perhaps because you are determined to be right or prove them wrong?  Are all of your questions about others out of genuine concern or do you ever have an ulterior motive?  Think about times when you are discussing something and you say something that you later regret.  Why did you say it?  What was your motive behind it?  Were you being kind, compassionate, loving and merciful?

Now, for the difficult part of this post, the part where I am completely transparent.  Often when I speak, my motive is to prove that I am right, to make myself look good (attain praise), to get attention, or sometimes even to call attention to a fault in someone else.  Ouch!  The truth hurts, doesn’t it?

Silly selfie shared with girls

Now, you can see why God is dealing with me personally.  Thankfully, this journey has opened my eyes to some of the little hidden things of the heart and I have learned about myself and others.  I have asked for forgiveness and for God’s help that that my motives will always be pure; that the words I speak are from a heart filled with love.

I want to challenge you to pay attention to your own motives in conversations, as you go about your day and see if you have any “wow” moments in this area.  Then, be brave and come back and post something you learned.

I dare ya!

An empty suitcase

Empty Suitcase (I) (Lomo)

Empty Suitcase (I) (Lomo) (Photo credit: roeyahram)

As I try to think of anything I can possibly do to avoid packing, I find myself here; sitting cross-legged in my comfortable chair with my notebook and pen poised and ready.  I might as well jot down my thoughts.

I get loopy in the 24 hours before I travel.  Call it travel anxiety I guess, although I’m not afraid to fly.  My mind just will not focus and I flit around from task to task getting very little accomplished.  I know that I will go to bed tonight with nothing done except perhaps some jeans thrown in the suitcase, or that book I must have on the plane stuffed into my purse.

In the morning, I will calculate and re-calculate how many more hours until I have to leave for the airport and when the count is down to around two, I will go into beast mode and get everything done with time to spare.  I have always done this.  The length of the trip, where I am going or who I am going with doesn’t seem to matter.

Since I am not a procrastinator normally, this odd behavior on my part puzzles me.   The only explanation I can come up with is that somewhere deep down inside, maybe I wonder if I will really end up going so I wait until the last minute.  That doesn’t feel like the answer, but what else could it be?

My family doesn’t understand me and I have one aunt in particular who starts preparing for a trip sometimes weeks in advance.

If you have any ideas, please feel free to share.  Why would a normally focused, planner-type individual put themselves through this?

Excuse me, while I go do anything but prepare for my journey.

Storms never last

Storms never last

The old green couch

Princess Ayda on the old green couch

Princess Ayda on the old green couch

My couch is old and showing wear

The foot rest even sports a tear

There are obvious stains from years of kids

Babies spilling cups sans lids

It’s not so comfy nowadays

The stuffing has seen better days

Still there’s something about this old green seat

Where family gathered and friends would meet

The memories flood my mind today

Naps, talks, games and kids at play

Volleyball players out like a light

Giggling girls who were spending the night

Granny in her moo moo sipping some tea

Quiet nights with just the hubby and me

We’ve lived and loved and ate here

We’ve had cause to celebrate here

We cried and hugged and laughed

I’ve cuddled with my better half.

So, yes it’s old and worn

And admittedly even torn

But it’s hard to let it go

After all the stuff it knows

butterfly garden

butterfly garden

Work instead of whine

puffy clouds

puffy clouds

 

The wind is strong and fierce today, whipping noisily through the trees

It blows through my open window; sends papers sailing on a breeze

Birds are singing heartily as they hunt and perch and play

And I’m stuck at my computer as I work the day away

What is it about this windy day that beckons me, “Come Out!”

Autumn always grips me; I want to frolic all about

Soon enough, my workday will end and my time will be all mine

But for now, I must be content to work instead of whine

A somewhat silly poem by me (and I waited until after work to write it)

Hydrangeas

Peeling trees

Bananas on a banana tree. Personnal photo, fre...

Bananas on a banana tree. Personnal photo, free licence (see below). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My younger brother and sister bounded into the yellow house, excitement on their faces, along with dirt from their long day at play.   My sister, with the bulk of her auburn curls trapped in pigtails fastened with yarn and sporting a splash of cinnamon freckles across her nose, was the first to speak.  “Oh, Granny, guess what we did for Poppy?  He is going to be so happy!”  My brother was standing right beside my sister, which is where you often found him.  He was smiling too, a smile full of a sense of pride and accomplishment for his part in this good deed.  They both had some kind of juice and goo that smelled like banana all over them, enough where if we had been at home, mom would have escorted them quickly to the bathtub.  Not Granny though; that kind of thing didn’t faze her.

Granny smiled that kind of smile that grandmothers smile and animatedly asked, “Well sugar, what did you do?”  She had that way of speaking to you that always made you feel good; never a glimmer of frustration or impatience to be heard.  Her voice and tone felt like a warm hug.

“We peeled Poppy’s banana trees!  Granny we stripped every piece of the brown off and made them all nice and pretty!”

Now, before I go any farther, let me say that Poppy loved to garden and he loved his banana trees.  Looking back, I think working in the soil was relaxing for him after his long day as a fishing guide.  He liked to see the fruits of his labor and share them and he was very particular in the way the way he attended his plants.

The look on Granny’s face after their announcement went from perfectly peaceful to a bit concerned. I, being a little older and wiser knew the look and the once uneventful day looked suddenly as if it promised some excitement. She took their dirty little, banana gooey hands as they led her outside to survey the beauty of the project. I trailed along behind them anxious to inspect the ruins, and sadly, but honestly probably enjoying the possibility of the impending drama a little too much.

The trees were peeled alright, there was barely anything left.  Now, granted you are supposed to peel off the dead yellow leaves, which in their defense, they had probably watched Poppy do.

Granny elected not to share with them at that time, the trouble they were in.  Knowing her, I bet she wanted them to enjoy their excitement for as long as possible, while she prayed and figured out how to calm the storm she knew to be looming on the horizon.

I knew two things; one being that Pop was not going to be happy and two being that granny didn’t let anyone and I mean anyone mess with her grandbabies.  So, now to sit back and watch and wait for the Dixie to dock, and Pop to head home, all of which we could see from Granny’s front yard.

Pop got home and I waited.  They hurried up to him excitedly begging him to “Come look what we did for you!”  Poppy would make this snorting sound when he didn’t really want to participate in something, but when it came to his grandkids, he would usually relent anyway and this time wasn’t any different.

But when he saw his precious trees, he quickly lost his temper.  This was before Poppy had a sanctified vocabulary, so we heard some choice words.  He then described what was going to happen to their little derrieres.  Their joyful little faces quickly turned into blubbering, dirty little, banana goo messes and we all ran as fast as our little feet would carry us into the house and they jumped straight into Granny’s lap.  By this time, I was no longer looking forward to any action; I had softened and started to feel sorry for them, as I watched tears dampen their dirty little cheeks.

As Poppy angrily lamented what he thought would be the end of his poor trees and advised Granny as to whose hides were getting tanned, Granny got that wet mother hen look in her eye.  She made it a point to call them “the babies” and reminded him they were only trying to help.   She said very matter-of-factly that no one would be getting spankings on her watch.  Poppy snorted and shuffled back outside and that was the end of that.  I could have sworn I heard Granny giggle.

Before the end of the night, Granny had calmed Poppy and they were both chuckling about the peeled trees.  To this day, we still mention it with a smile; one of those things that for a few moments completely stole our peace and filled us with fear turned into one of those funny moments our family has laughed about for years.

Thankfulness in forward motion

cookies

cookies

On this third day of November, I have already noticed all of the “what I’m thankful for” posts on Facebook.  I surmise that because November is the month of Thanksgiving, we are reminded of all the things that we sometimes take for granted.  It’s encouraging and uplifting to see so many people thoughtfully posting their thanks throughout the month of November.

We are a blessed nation, even in the midst of some of our circumstances.  However, I want to encourage all of you, my friends, that as we are thankful, as we express our gratefulness we would be mindful that this is a difficult month for many.  As the holidays approach, there are those without family, those who are estranged from their families and those who aren’t feeling too particularly thankful at this time in their life.

I pray that we make it our business to search out, to find out who these people are in our neighborhoods. My hope is that as part of the demonstration of our thankfulness, we would reach out and somehow provide that feeling of home and comfort to the aged, the lonely and the downcast.

Many of us will bake and decorate, and our homes will smell of cinnamon and spices; we will surround ourselves with family and friends and feel that “thankful” spirit for our fellowship.  Let’s spread it around; let’s be mindful of those less fortunate.

We can do this by our prayers and by giving, but it’s also in the simple knock on the door of a shut-in or a hot apple pie delivered to someone who might not be able to see well enough to do all the baking they once enjoyed.

Please feel free to share what your plans are to give back or things that you and your family have done in years past to share the love.

If we all just reach one, there would be hundreds of smiles that might not be possible otherwise.

Love, Prayers and Happy November!

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