Christmas threads

SONY DSC“Ma’am, may I ask you a question?”  The persistent young lady clutching a tube of sea salt, something or other, actually matched my steps for a few seconds as I hurried past the mid-mall vendor.  After my “no thank you” didn’t faze her tenacity, I tried “No thank, you I’m not interested” in a more serious tone.  When that also failed to weaken her resolve, I decided to just pick up my pace and ignore her.  She was intent on making a sale but I was determined to escape.

Moments later, I settled into a seat with my lunch to take a break and re-group.  I found myself feeling angry.  Why should my leisurely trip to the mall be interrupted by an incident that left me feeling like I’d done something wrong?  I don’t like to use my firm tone of voice and I certainly don’t like to ignore people.  My day begins with a prayer to show love to others, not return rudeness.

Determined not to lose my joy, I let it go, adamant in my desire to shine a little brighter for the remainder of my day.

I begin to recall memories of Christmas shopping in this very mall with my mom, my husband, my mother in law, my girls and many friends.  Some of them are no longer here, but I can meander through the memories and find the moments and share them again.

The heart of Christmas for me lies in my Christian roots; the reality of the gift given to the entire world on that Christmas long ago.  When we celebrate Christmas, it’s based on that love and although December can be hurried and harried, that is where the focus must remain.

As I began to look around a few stops later, I noticed the exuberant face of a little boy as he carefully selected ornaments with his mother.  She spoke softly to him, love and tenderness in her voice.  They were both young and creating “moments” together to be cherished for years to come.

I rounded the aisle and saw what appeared to be a family, according to their similarities in look.  There was an elderly woman in a wheelchair, being pushed by a younger woman, who could have been her daughter.  I paused to let them pass and they smiled in thanks.  Directly in pursuit of them was a younger woman, who was very noticeably pregnant.  I wondered if I was perhaps looking at four generations (one still in the oven).  They made me smile as they laughed and joked about who was “bringing up the rear”, obviously enjoying each other immensely.

We have to remember during all the hustle and bustle of the season to cherish one another and to savor moments and make memories.  Every moment, every event, be it large or small is like a thread, which when woven together with love, create a beautiful garment of memories, that can be thrown around our shoulders to embrace and comfort us time and time again.

And that reminds me of the comforting love of the Father – Have a blessed day and cherish those moments!

Shuffling a little slower now

-Elderly couple comfort each other

-Elderly couple comfort each other (Photo credit: Gordon T Lawson)

They walked out of CVS together, cars impatiently waiting for them to make their way slowly through the crosswalk.  I watched the struggle with empathy, silently imagining what their long history together might have entailed.  They both approached the car and she slowly and carefully got in the passenger side.  He opened the driver’s side car door wincing, as if the mere action of pulling it open caused him pain.  Then, he took his time to gently fold himself down into the seat.  After several minutes, they were on their way.

My eyes see an elderly couple; the lady had white hair and a matching polyester outfit gracing her petite frame, full makeup and glasses and sensible shoes.  She had a plastic bag sporting the store logo in her hand and the contents, 2 boxes of frosted flakes,were visible.  I smiled.  The man was stooped over, bald and moved as though arthritis or some other painful disease was taking its toll on him.  I could see the vexation in his eyes as he struggled to do the small tasks that only a few years ago were likely very easy for him.

As they drove away, their mouths moving in conversation, I began to wonder if they felt as old as they looked.  I wondered if there are things they can no longer do, and if that frustrates them greatly.  I thought about children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and wondered if they had any of these and if so, did they visit?  Were the boxes of frosted flakes for them or their grandchildren?  Were their lives happy ones or did they face each day with increasing loneliness or fear at what the future holds?

I remember a time, not long ago in the grand scheme of things, when my first thought may have been that they probably shouldn’t even be driving and I may have been one of those impatient drivers in the crosswalk, rushing about.  As I grow older myself, my patience increases and my compassion grows.  I am reminded once again, that life is short.  We need to live out every moment and love the ones God has placed in our lives, to tell them and to show them each and every day.  Life can be stressful and we are all too busy with so many things that don’t really matter.  Can we show more respect, love and appreciation to the elderly in our community?

I know how it can feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day.  Sometimes you do make the time to reach out and love.  You may call or visit or write, yet, the person on the receiving end doesn’t seem to appreciate it or you feel like it’s never enough.

Whatever the case, do it anyway.  Make a day brighter, help quench the pangs of loneliness.  For you and I, my friends, will be there soon enough.

Memories left behind

Disney Princesses

Disney Princesses (Photo credit: brentdanley)

I found a tiny plastic Dora underneath my couch today

This conjured up a memory of our Ayda here at play

Snow White, Belle and Ariel conversing in the castle

Little green marines surround it, keeping enemies at bay

Lincoln logs and tinker toys, crayons and coloring books

Some of the toys they left here, some of them they took

A smile always lights up my face, when I find one of these reminders

While here, she found some hiding places where she forgot to look

A tiny sock without a match, a sticker fading on the wall

A little gingham too-big dress, left in the closet in the hall

Books to leave for next time, because she has one at home just like it

Memories galore, no matter where my glance may fall

By:  Lisa

Too much stuff

Cluttered Bust

Cluttered Bust (Photo credit: mikecogh)

When my mom was in her forties, although she only survived until 49, I remember her saying, “I’m sick of stuff!”  She said it was time to enjoy people and memories and not concentrate on accumulating more stuff; her nick-nacks started to decrease because she didn’t want to spend the time dusting.  Lately, I find myself sharing her sentiments.  We have so much stuff to take care of that our efforts to keep up with it all cut into the time that we actually spend with our loved ones.

With this in mind, I knew one of the junked up areas in my home/life was my closet.  When you go to get ready in the morning and you continually run into the problem where you cannot find that belt or tank or whatever the need of the day may be, you know it is time to get busy!  I realize I should have done this as part of my annual spring cleaning.  The problem with that is mine never got fully accomplished.

The closet attack started off with a bang and then as per usual, I get hung up in the details.  Which hangers should I keep?  Should I arrange by season or by color?  Will that EVER fit, or should I just give it away and be done with the disappointment?  Should I keep the few shoe boxes I have or get rid of them since I don’t have them all?  This is the type of minutia that impedes my progress no matter the task!

Finally, I got frustrated, headed for my laptop and read some blogs about closet organization.  You would think by 47, I would have figured all of this out long ago, but no, so thankfully I gleaned valuable  tips from some savvy women.

Three bulging garbage bags later, I finally saw the bottom of my closet and everything was on a hanger or in a box.  Oh, the feeling of finally allowing yourself to let go of “stuff”!  But, seriously, if you haven’t worn something in a year, you just aren’t going to.  You probably bought it on a whim, on sale or someone gave it to you .  Let it go and preferably to someone who can really benefit!

Not a moment too soon, my husband came in for the evening and rescued me from further detailing, so I still have the color coding to go, but this girl is feeling accomplished.  Yes, my first efforts in down-sizing to a more manageable collection of clothing was a success and I’m anxious to move on to something else.

When clothing makes the memory

I would be lying if I said I don’t love fashion and enjoy checking out the latest trends.  Thankfully, I do have the confidence to wear what I want and do not feel a slave to whatever the latest issue of Cosmo is sporting in its glossy pages.  Some styles are hideous and it pains me to see how many people will blindly follow for the sake of expected popularity or trendiness.

Clothing says a lot about who we are, about our personality, our favorite styles and colors.  It can express our desire to be comfortable at all costs, or our desire to look our best, be our tallest or for some, show the world more than what is considered decent.

For me, clothing is tied to memories.  Maybe that’s why in my sub-conscience, sometimes I want that perfect outfit for that special event; because I realize there will be memories tied to it.

Some of my earliest memories include black and white patent shoes and purses with delicate flowers and beading attached.  These accessories made me feel special and whimsical.  They were part of my “Sunday best”, so to speak.

I remember one particular outfit; it had been handed down to me by a cousin and I was overwhelmed with gratitude because it was the most wonderful two piece, matching, polyester pant set I had ever laid eyes on, much less worn.  The pants were red with bell bottoms and the top was red and covered with white hearts.  When I put this on, the world was mine and everyone noticed me.   I know, shocker, right?    The way people looked at me probably had as much to do with the confidence I exuded by twirling and prancing and flaunting myself around as it did the actual clothing.  I also remember a green dress with an apple on it, which made me feel especially smart at school.

Then there were the handmade, look alike dresses my mom would proudly adorn my sister and me in.  This bothered me because how in the world could I be the center of attention dressed in look-alike clothing?   (Note:  Prior blogs will reveal my failures in personality and character as a child)

Fondly, in some cases, I remember the clothing of others as well.  I say in some cases, because I remember cringing when we would be on vacation and my dad would don his swimming trunks and accompany us to the pool.  I know this was wrong, but I promised I would always be real and transparent here, so the truth wins!  My dad was and still is a very handsome man, but never ever wore shorts, so maybe it was just the oddness of it (although it could very well have had something to do with his pale little bird legs too).

I remember both of my grannies and even my great-grandmothers in their starched looking dresses, embroidered with small flowers and often with pleats.  My sis and I were both just remembering yesterday a yellow shift style dress my Granny Byrd wore often.  She looked pretty in it and when I think of her, I think of her in that dress.

Grandpa Byrd and Poppy Goff wore their work pants, either khaki or dark blue, both being fishing guides.  They both always sported a hat to keep the sun off.   Grandpa Byrd preferred a cap and Poppy always had a big straw hat, sometimes with the green sunshield across the top front.  I remember the smell of the straw and the salty sea water left on the green.

My mom had unruly hair, much like mine and I remember her scarves and kerchiefs she would wear, especially if we were on the boat, which was often.  In one of my favorite pictures of mother, she had on a floor length dress and her hair in the bouffant style, ready to go to a Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty concert in Miami.  I thought she far outshone any princess, movie star or fashion model I knew of.

I could go on and on about people and what they wear.  The things I remember about them somehow relates to the way they were attired.  So you see, clothes don’t make the person, but they do speak much about them presently as well as in our memories.

Shopping with royalty

TiaraToday was Prom dress shopping day for the last prom ever to be celebrated in this household, so my daughter, her friend and I set out around 10:30am.   We had about an hour’s drive to get to the closest David’s Bridal so by the time we arrived close to our destination, we stopped for lunch.

Next stop was the dress shop which proved to be low on stock, therefore, disappointing and fruitless, so we had to go elsewhere to continue the quest for the perfect dress.

By the time we reached the mall, I was feeling the effects of the heavy lunch and starting to feel like I could curl up on the dressing room floor and take a nap.  I shook it off like any self-respecting trooper would do as I had to be fully alert for the fittings and price tags.

My youngest is quite the princess and enjoys the fanfare of modeling the dresses over and over (and over) for me and whatever loyal friend comes along for the show.  The decision on which dress to choose is of vast importance and can’t be rivaled with our trivial banter.  It’s serious business.

Three stores and at least ten dresses later, we think we may have found the one.  Now mind you, the left-behind friends have been group-sent pictures of every one of the dresses and although they are not there to enjoy the drama, their opinions are discussed and are definitely a large part of the decision.  So, while the lady in waiting for the day takes pictures and then reports what each loyal subject has to say about each dress, I wait and watch asking the price every now and then.

We found THE dress so I paid and she thanked me.  I sighed a sigh of relief that the search was finally over and home was in my near future and then remembered the shoes. I mean, what’s the perfect dress, without perfect shoes to go with it?  Thankfully, the shoe search was an easy one.  She feel deeply and passionately in love with the second pair she tried on and at this point, I didn’t even look at the price, just bolted for the register where I got a little jolt when the very pleasant and understanding cashier gave me my total.

We were finished, at least for today.  Yes, I know there will be hair and makeup and accessorizing in my immediate future.

It was 4pm and I was exhausted.  It amazes me how just a few hours of shopping nowadays can turn me into a zombie.  Shopping used to be like a crazy, happy fuel.  Oh wait, that’s because back then MY mom was the money tree.

I am finally home and honestly, all kidding aside, I had a wonderful day with two great kids.  My daughter is blessed with faithful loyal friends, (several of them) and I’m thankful for that.

I will miss this. Every, single, moment of it.   I am grateful that I’ve been blessed with amazing girls and so happy that they share their lives with me and enjoy my company.

Black shiny shoes and a floppy purple hat



When my daughter posted this picture today of my granddaughter, my first reaction was this huge smile, followed by out-loud laughter, and then of course the missing her. I made some quip about someone having dressed herself again. I’ll be the first to admit that I feel somewhat obligated to match and dress seasonally appropriate and somewhat stylish (at least enough not to embarrass my children).

This precious image stayed in my head as I put away the left-overs and took a shower. She had obviously dressed herself and was sauntering along outside, looking very content with her choices. Oh, the innocence of children!

It made me wonder. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all be so nonchalant about how we look? What if we were confident to choose what we wear with reckless abandon, never a thought about what others opinions may be and no wondering if we are committing a major fashion fax pas?

My mom used to refer to the poem “Warning”, by Jenny Joseph, more widely known as, “When I Am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple”. She would say, “When I get old, I’m going to do, say, wear whatever I want”. My mom didn’t get the chance although she was never swayed by public opinion and said pretty much whatever she wanted to.

My mom went to heaven at a mere 49 years old. I think if she had something to say on the topic she would most definitely say that her great granddaughter, Ayda, has it all figured out.

It’s okay to wear black patent shiny shoes, sans socks and tights, with a Disney dress and a floppy purple Easter hat, and strut like you own the world while you’re doing it!

Weekly Photo Challenge: A Day in My Life

The challenge: What does your day look like? Here’s your chance to share with everyone a day in your life! Here are some suggestions to get started: snap a picture once an hour and share what your day was like, walk us through a typical day for you, or even just what happened today!

My Friday

My Friday

I work four tens and Friday is one of my days off.  My youngest daughter and I made plans to spend it together, since she didn’t have school today.

The first picture represents what I try to do first thing when I get up, my time of prayer and devotions; I don’t always succeed, but my day goes much better when I do.

Picture number two is of my daughter and I having a smoothie, called, “The Energizer”.  At the time, I had no idea how much I was going to need it!  The next picture is my daughter, Morgan as we entered the mall and began our quest for all things needed for Spring.

First on the second row, you can see the beautiful produce at one of the health food stores we visited; then the loot on her bedroom floor when we got home.

The last picture…..well, mama was tired, so I drove a couple of miles from home to a good spot to watch the sunset and contemplate this beautiful day and all that it represents and be refreshed.  The waves gently washing up on the shore, and the lovely sunset were just what I needed as a backdrop for a few moments of solitude.

Blessings on this Good Friday!

Just get me outta here

A changeroom in a department store

So, I finally got the okay from my hubby to cut my hair quite a bit shorter.  He has always loved it long but understood I just needed a change.  My appointment was relaxing and I’m very happy with the results (as is he)!

After the hair was done, I had about an hour to kill waiting for my daughter’s softball game to begin so what better to do than peruse the racks for the new spring dress contributions?  I picked up my normal size and headed to the dressing room to try on a couple.

I loved the first one I picked, it was red, white and black and displayed a very striking geometric pattern.  I had a little trouble pulling it over my head and down over my hips, but then it fit rather well; I was pleased and adored this little dress.  I probably would have purchased if the following hadn’t occurred.

I tried to pull it off over my head and I could NOT get it off.  Have you ever been in a dressing room, trying not to touch much of the floor with your bare feet, attempting to wriggle and wiggle out of a dress that is stuck somewhere in the middle as you attempt to remove it?  It’s like they make it really tight at the top and once you pull it down, it fits, but trying to take it off is a nightmare.  I don’t know about you, but on the few occasions this has happened to me, I feel like I am suffocating or claustrophobic or something.  For some reason, it felt like jumping up and down would help.  It didn’t.  I’m fortunate I didn’t break something or hurt myself.  And of course, in the middle of my panic, someone has to bang on the door and ask if anyone is in there.  Oh, for the nerve to open up and say “Help me, please!” I got to the point where I literally would have ripped it off and just paid for ruining it, if it would just go over my head.  It was about this time that I noticed the little hidden zipper on the side.  Well whaddya know, that sure made it simple after all.  I was so annoyed that I didn’t even hang it back on the hanger straight.  It didn’t deserve it!

The other dress won, of course.  It’s cute too, but not as trendy and whimsical.  It doesn’t have a hidden zipper or any other kind of zipper, button, belt or other hindrance.  It doesn’t make a bold statement and didn’t even yell for me to take it off the rack.  It’s a safe bet, will look nice whether up or down 5 lbs.  It’s pull on and pull off.  And the more I explain, the less enamored I am with it.

The red, white and black had lost all of my love and respect in just a few short moments but now that my anger is gone, I’d gladly take it back if I could.  Maybe I will return another day and try it on again after all 🙂

Frustrating Friday

Traffic lights

What a day!  It seemed like from the moment I left the comforting walls of my humble abode, nothing was going to be easy.

It started with the package my daughter asked me to mail; an odd shaped present for her boyfriend stationed in Texas.  With the proficient help of the postal service, that gift was on its way.

I headed towards town, knowing the traffic would be atrocious, but having no idea how much so.  It was the kind of traffic where you sit through a red light more than once.  My patience was already being tested.

First stop was the bank, where I tried unsuccessfully to get some copies of missing statements for an account that I am a signer on so I could get balanced.  They informed me that I’m not listed on the account, so therefore, they couldn’t help me.  It’s strange, because I’ve been the sole signer of the checks for several years now.  Things that make you go Hmmmm….  They said I could wait for a manager, and I did, but after 30 minutes, I gave that up for another day.

Second stop, auto parts store for my husband.   I hand them the note he thoughtfully penned for me, knowing my lack of knowledge in this particular area.  It wasn’t enough; they needed to know how many axels on the truck?  I said, “Do I look like I know anything about axels?” with a smile of course.  So, I sent a text to the hubby, who was out in the boat.  No answer, because he doesn’t have service….On to next stop.

Things were looking up at the car wash when they advised me I had met the requirement for my free wash.  A few minutes later, I had a shiny, freshly vacuumed ride, and oh, how I love my ride.

I figured I might as well stop at the department store and look around since I was still waiting on that return text.  I was almost tricked into thinking the day was getting a little brighter as I found a few things on sale, until I went to check-out.  The lines were 20 people deep and I am not exaggerating.  I sighed and settled in for the wait.  It’s funny watching people save their spot and get really close to the next person in front of them, like someone is going to take it away.  And some of this was over gaudy baubles and tacky looking (to me anyway) tops.

I finally decided to proceed to the grocery store and head home since it didn’t seem like my husband was going to get in an area where he could respond.  Fast forward thirty minutes and I had fought my way thru the aisles of Walmart like a trooper, weaving my basket in and out of others like a pro, waiting with a smile while people sauntered along in front of me like they didn’t have another thing to do in the world……ever!   I finally reached the register where the young man who took my money waited.  And trust me, other than slinging my stuff in the bags, all he did was take my money.   I got the feeling he was irritated with me for daring to enter his line, and taking up his precious time.  Goodbye, grumpy, young man.

As I was about to reach the car and head for home, for shelter and solace, my husband texted me and said to go back to the parts store.  Translate, fight the traffic again and postpone your much anticipated arrival home.  Of course, when I got there, they didn’t make it easy, but I finally left with the goods.

On the ride home, I managed to find myself behind a huge truck carrying concrete blocks and any time there was a dotted line for the pass, there was oncoming traffic, so I settled in behind him for the 45 mph haul.  At least I was only number 2 in a line of 20.

I finally drove into my little neck of the woods and was abruptly reminded that this is the weekend that we have over 40,000 visitors for the local seafood festival.  Yay, just what this introverted, quiet girl wants to deal with.  Oh well, at least its blog fodder J  Hope your day rocked!

Mitch Teemley

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