Related Posts with Thumbnails

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas Birds

Every year during the Christmas season I often catch myself gazing with childlike awe and wonder at my fully donned Christmas tree. 

I have been collecting ornaments for years now and not a year goes by that I don't get at least 2 or 3 new ones to mark the passing years. 

Among them are are the "Baby's First Christmases" the memorial ones, the vacation ones, angels, elves, beloved pets, both living and passed on.  There are even a couple from my childhood I was able to talk my mother out of.

There are a lot of precious memories in my Christmas ornaments and the sheer joy I get as I take each one out of its box and hang it on the tree once again is one of my absolute all-time favorite simple pleasures.

I thought I would share a few of them here each week and I am beginning with the redbirds.  Redbirds have held a special place in my heart ever since I was blessed with an abundance of them in my front yard during my struggles with grief several years ago...

Birds sing after a storm; why shouldn't people feel as free to delight in whatever remains to them? ~Rose F. Kennedy

A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song. ~Chinese Proverb  
The very idea of a bird is a symbol and a suggestion to the poet ~John Burroughs

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. ~Norman Vincent Peale 

Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul, and sings the tune--without the words
and never stops at all...~Emily Dickinson
What is joy?It is a bird that we all want to catch .It is the same bird that we all love to see flying ~Sri Chinmoy 

Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come. ~Chinese Proverb

No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings ~William Blake 

When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things - not the great occasions - give off the greatest glow of happiness. ~Bob Hope

In the midst of my grief they came,
So many that I lost count
perched on the porch rail and in the trees
and flying all around 

I stared at them in awe
through the tears that freely flowed
Their vibrance captured my attention
it was almost as if they glowed

At first I thought I was dreaming
for now my life was surreal
but then one flew over to me
and I knew I could still feel...

Could feel another emotion
other than soul wrenching pain
Was this maybe a sign
that the waves were on the wane?

The waves of grief, I mean...
Still foreign to me then
that sweep you up and thrash you
again, and again, and again

So I stared at them in disbelief
and remembered how to smile
They fluttered their little wings and sang
and I watched them for awhile

They kept coming to me that year
whenever I needed a lift
Now every time I see one
I remember that special gift

I don't know how to explain it
or express it in beautiful words
All I can say is I'll never forget
the day God sent me... redbirds.

~Diane (2005)

You can see more Wordful/Wordless Wednesday posts at A Beautiful MessLive and Love Out Loud, and Parenting By Dummies.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Saved By the Elves

It's quiet.  There's no one around aside from me, the sleeping Darling wieners, the laptop, and the coffee.


I deemed Saturday tree gettin' up day and I know how much the Dracenator normally likes to help so I kinda counted on him being right there in the middle of it.  

Then he comes to me Saturday morning and wants to know if he and Devin can go to Popaw's in order to rake leaves. 


Popaw seems to have a way of motivating those two to actually get excited about doing things at his house that they view as unjust punishment at home. I think it has something to do with the fact that their older cousin is involved. Or it could have something everything to do with the fact that he rewards their efforts with cold hard cash.

So anyway, Dray runs to me and asks if he can go over there and rake leaves and I say to him, "Yes, but I'm going to put up the Christmas tree".  I am pretty certain that I did not stutter and that I spoke at a normal volume.  

He didn't seem to be bothered by this fact at all.  He was, come hell or high water, not gonna be missin' out on any leaf rakin' party at the popaw's. 

So off they went.  And we put up the tree, complete with all the trimmings.  I even felt a little weird and a teensy sad that the boys weren't there fighting over who was gonna hang what ornament where and even said once how surprised I was that Dray didn't care that we were putting up the tree without him.

Momaw Pat called at one point and asked if they could take them to the town Christmas parade so I felt better knowing they weren't missing out on that at least. I have a slight aversion to parades myself that I think has something to do with the fact that I marched in just about every one to ever come through the southeast back when I was a band geek and a flag girl. 

But that's another subject entirely.  Back to the moment when the demolition duo returned home Saturday evening. 

I had expected a little excitement from Dray when he saw the beautiful sparkly tree but instead I look over to see him standing against the wall with his lip stuck out, working on mustering up some crocodile tears while he bellows out,


Yeah. Let's just say this one won't go down as one of my most cherished parenting moments.  I felt like the heel on a piece of burnt toast. 

I kept saying, "I TOLD you!"  over and over.  And Charlie kept saying, "Dracen, she TOLD you!  I was standing right there and you said, Okay!"   It eventually got a little ugly because he was not letting this one go.  He even went so far as to demand that Charlie take that tree down so we could re-decorate it. 

Well, that didn't happen.  He finally snapped out of it and helped me put the skirt around the tree and hung his new sock monkey ornament I saved for him to hang.  Once he agreed to my bribe offer to rearrange the elves around the house, I knew we were all good again.

He came to me last night while I had my nose all up in this laptop surfing for Cyber Monday deals to kick off my Christmas shopping, flung a hunk of orange cheddar in a baggie in front of my screen and wanted to know what was up with THAT!  

Um, THAT needed to hit the trash can because it was covered in a big ol' moldy wig of fuzz.  He marched off to throw it away and then turned and wanted to know if I had any "clean" cheese. 


After he had his snack of clean cheese, brushed his teeth and climbed into bed, I went in to tuck him in.  He likes to draw out bedtime as long as humanly possible so he almost always conjures up a random question or two for me before I walk out of the room. 

Last night it went like this...


"What Dracen?"

Do you like Justin Bieber?

"Umm...can't really say that I'm a fan, no."

I HATE Justin Bieber!

"Okay, Dracen.  Good night". 

Sigh.  Poor Justin.  Not sure what he did to get on the bad side of the Dracenator.  Maybe he should do a Christmas special complete with elves.  

Because I now know that


Make everything better.  :)


Friday, November 26, 2010

Time marches on

Well, I'm back from shopping. I got up and hit the stores at 4:00 a.m. this morning.



Getting up in the dead of dark and hitting Target and the mall so that I can fight my way through a crowd of crazy-eyed, blood thirsty bargain shoppers all in the name of saving a buck is not my idea of a good time.

Instead I slept until nearly 11 o'clock! And I still feel sleepy. I think my turkey was spiked.

Or maybe it has something to do with the fact that I had a brand new wrinkle pop up just over my right eyebrow yesterday.

WTH? Just like that. There it was...Ta-Daa!

So I spent the rest of the day looking in various mirrors, including the side mirror in Charlie's truck as we hit the highway for his dad's house, and pulling the skin back tight on my forehead to see how I'd look with botox.

And I kept hearing Dolly Parton's voice as Truvy in Steel Magnolias, in my head all day saying,

"Honey, time marches on, and eventually you realize it's marchin' across your face!"

I was 18 when that movie first came out and I have seen it numerous times since but that was never one of the lines I related to much. 

Until yesterday.  There it was.  Dolly Parton's voice magically appearing in my head like some full of wisdom fairy godmother.  

I'll be 40 in less than 5 months now and I have spent the last few months since I turned 39 trying to wrap my mind around that.  Simply because I just do not feel it. 

I remember when I first noticed the signs of aging on my face.  I think I was approaching 30 when I realized that there was a little crease in each of my eyelids that was not there before. 

Then around 35, two little wrinkles between my eyebrows showed up magically overnight.

So I suppose it was time since they seem to be showing up in 5 year increments. 

Would I trade them back in, if it meant also trading back all the life experiences and wisdom I've gained in my (almost) 40 years?

Not a chance.  

Besides, there's always botox.  

Or maybe not.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Gobble! Gobble!

The prompts:
1) Interview your kids...what do they think Thanksgiving is for? What are they thankful for? etc. 
2.) Share a photo of what Thanksgiving looks like in your neck of the woods.
3.) Write a poem about the things you are thankful for.
4.) Describe a memorable Thanksgiving.
5.) Forget Thanksgiving, write about that time you fell down

Mama's Losin' It

Me: What is Thanksgiving about?

Dracen(age 7)Indians

MeIndians? Well, what else? 

Dracen: Worshipping God

MeWhat about the pilgrims?  What did they do?

DracenOh yeah. They worshipped God too.

MeSo what are you thankful for?

Dracen: (sigh)..Everybody has been asking me that.

Me: Oh really? Well, what did you tell them? What are you thankful for?

Dracen: as he dips his Oreo into his cup of milk and strains to see what's on Cartoon Network over my shoulder... I dunno.

And that's when I decided to try my hand at a poem.

I'm thankful for facebook
and blogging and tweets
I'm thankful for blackberry,
almost more than sweets!

I'm thankful for Google,
email and Yahoo
I'm thankful for IM
and wikipedia too!

I'm thankful for this laptop,
We've gotten pretty tight
I'm thankful for the convenience
it gives me to write!

I'm thankful for this workshop
that Mama Kat hosts
I'm thankful for the inspiration
it gives me to post!

I'm thankful for all of you
who read what I say
And I'm thankful even more
when you pause to say "Hey"!


A little Thanksgiving humor, Post-it note style

Now go show That One Mom over at Only Parent Chronicles some love and thanks for being our PINT host!  :) 

Only Parent Chronicles

Monday, November 22, 2010

It's in the little things

We are always asked that same old familiar question this time every year...

What are you thankful for?  

And I am always tempted to say that I'm thankful for all of my amazing family members and friends.  Because I am.  So much.  

Or that I'm thankful for the gift of my good health and that of the ones I love.  And I most definitely am.  Especially this year after the health scare with my mother.

I thank God every day for her continued improvement and for the doctors and medications that are making that possible. 

I could say that I'm thankful for this beautiful home we moved into this year and for the gift of being able to choose to be the stay home mom that I am. 

I am eternally grateful for all of those things, the Big Things, and I make it a point to tell God just how thankful I am on a regular basis. 

But I'd like to talk about the countless "little" things I am thankful for this year...the kinds of things that when added all up, make my life precious and real, and while they may seem like little things now,  they will most likely be the ones I will look back on one day and smile and long to have back. 

I am thankful for...

**the noise. As crazy as it sometimes drives me, especially the bickering, I know in my heart that when my boys are grown and out living lives of their own that I will miss hearing things like "Mommm! He's taking the last waffle!!! " or "Why do I have to go to my room when I didn't do ANYTHING?!"
**the messes.  I constantly complain about the messes I'm cleaning up daily and the mounds of laundry I'm doing because it is never ending and my house is rarely completely neat or clean but deep down I know that the lived in look is a blessing in disguise.

**the sound of little doggie nails on the hardwood floors simply because my dogs make me a happier person.

**spelling tests with a red "100" on top, field trip notices, ball schedules, and drawings of superheroes and stick men on my refrigerator.

**band-aids with Spongebob and Snoopy on them.

**Wednesday date days with Charlie.  We may do nothing more than have lunch at IHOP and go to Petco for dog food and Sam's Club for a 24 pack of paper towels but we set aside that day each week to spend time together, no matter what, when the boys are in school. 

**all the bicycles, baseball bags, soccer shin guards, cleats, footballs, shoes, helmets, book bags, and hoodies that are cluttering up the garage door entry. 

**the sound of the school bus coming up the road.

**waking up to the smell of coffee brewing on the mornings Charlie gets up before I do.

**quiet moments spent here with the laptop and a cup of coffee with Splenda and amaretto creamer, writing about all the everyday things that make me smile, laugh, cry and scream.

What "little" things are you thankful for this year? 
We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. ~Thornton Wilder

Friday, November 19, 2010


We were sitting around the table eating dinner last night when the Dracenator shamelessly lets out a great big burp.

WHAT do you SAY?  I barked.

"Excuu-Bbuurrpppp..(hiccup) me!  BWAHAHAHAAA  HA haaa!"

I shot him the evil eye, along with his brother who was cackling like a goose on a caffeine high at the other end of the table. 

I continued to give them both the evil stare down until I looked at Charlie and saw the smirk on his face.  I then had to fight back the urge to bust out in full blown laughter myself because both boys were laughing so hard by this point that they were on the verge of tears.

Somebody has to be responsible for teaching those two little savages how to behave at a dinner table though and I was able to play it off by stopping with a small chuckle and then quickly focusing in on the fact that neither of them were wearing shirts at the table and demanding to know why.  

They were hot, of course. Burning up hot.  Ugh.

They found this whole ordeal so funny that I overheard  them re-playing the scene while they were in the bathroom supposed to be brushing their teeth this morning. 

I said, BURP!  and she said, WHAT do you say?!  and I said, ExcuuBurrpppp!!!!   BWA HA HAAAA!!!!!" 

He's most likely not going to let this one go for awhile because making his big brother laugh is like the bestest thing imaginable in his 7 year old world. 

Laughter is one of life's greatest simple pleasures, isn't it?  At any age.  

I read somewhere recently that the average child laughs up to 300 times a day while the average adult only laughs 10-15. 

How sad is that?   

Laughter is, in my book, the absolute best cure-all medicine for all of life's little downers.

I've always thought that a big laugh is a really loud noise from the soul saying, "Ain't that the truth."  ~Quincy Jones

Through humor, you can soften some of the worst blows that life delivers. And once you find laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be, you can survive it. ~Bill Cosby

The most wasted of all days is one without laughter. ~e.e. cummings 

Laughter is an instant vacation.  ~Milton Berle

 Remember, men need laughter sometimes more than food. ~Anna Fellows Johnston

Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.  ~Victor Borge

Laughter on one's lips is a sign that the person down deep has a pretty good grasp of life. ~Hugh Sidey

At the height of laughter, the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities.  ~Jean Houston

Hope y'all have a wonderful laughter-filled weekend! :)


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

She knew what I knew

Mama Kat offered some great prompts for her writer's workshop this week but when I saw number 5, I knew without a doubt it was the one I had to write...

5.) That one time you met your online friend in real life (was it everything you thought it would be?)

For those of you who may just be stopping by my blog for the first time, I was a young widow.  At the end of 2003, my first husband was killed in an accident.  My boys were ages 4 and 5 months at the time.  My 4 year old witnessed the accident. 

I was devastated and often felt alienated because I felt that no one around me really understood what it was like, what I was going through. 

Although I knew it was wrong, I had a hard time being happy for other couples who were celebrating milestone anniversaries and well, just being happy. 

I couldn't participate in menial conversations, especially if someone was complaining about something her husband did or didn't do.  I was angry. A lot.  And I let God know it. 

Then I found, an online forum and support group, and I felt at home.  These women and some men too, knew what I knew.  It was like we all belonged to this secret club that none of us really wanted to join but there we were, all the same. 

The first one I met in person was Jenn.  She had lost her husband 6 months before I did when her son was 10 months old.  She lived about an hour away so we met for lunch one day. 

Just sitting across the table from her brought such a feeling of comfort to me.  I felt somehow at peace just to be in the presence of someone who really "got it". 

She knew what I knew and although we did talk about our grief, it didn't own us.  She didn't look at me with those sad eyes full of pity the way everyone else did.  It felt good to be me again. 

Then there was Kari.  She was a few states away, in Oklahoma, but when I first read her story I wanted to climb into the computer screen and hug her tight.  Her story was so close to mine, it gave me chills. 

She also had two boys.  Her oldest who was 2 at the time, also witnessed his dad's accident and she had an infant who was born after the accident. 

We spent hours typing to each other for weeks and months. Countless times I sat at my computer screen with tears streaming down my face as I read her words because I could have written them myself and sometimes did. We understood each other's pain so well because it was also our own. 

She knew what I knew. 

Michele came along almost one year after I was widowed.  She lived fairly close, about 35 minutes away, and I felt an immediate connection to her. 

She had just lost her husband in an accident a couple of weeks before Christmas and here I was coming up on the one year anniversary of losing mine. Her son was 2 at the time and her daughter, just a few weeks old.  I knew I had to reach out to her because I was learning to live with the same harsh reality she had just been dealt. 

I knew what she knew.

 I first met her in person, along with Jenn and 2 or 3 other young widows from the site when we all had lunch together in February of 2005. 

I continued to keep in touch with all three of them, mostly via email, and we all decided to plan a trip together where I would finally get to meet Kari face to face. 

So in June of 2005, Jenn, Michele and I hopped on a plane and headed south where we would meet up with Kari before boarding a cruise ship and setting sail for the Caribbean. 

I was so excited, yet a little nervous too, about finally meeting her face to face.  I had been pouring out my soul to her  for months, just as she had to me so how would it be when we finally met in person? 

Would the connection we had online be there in person or would it be awkward?  Would we feel like we had known each other forever or would we be like strangers? 

I felt silly for even having those thoughts once we met because of course we knew each other.  How could we not? 

We sat. We talked. We ate.  We laughed. We swam with dolphins. and stingrays. We cried.  We danced.  

We escaped the grief, the young widow title, the single parent title and the sheer exhaustion of it all. 

For five glorious days, the four of us escaped into a world where we were comforted by the knowing that the person to our right and the person to our left, knew what we knew. 

And sometimes that's the greatest gift God can give us. 

Kari, Me, Michele, Jenn

Tuesday, November 16, 2010