When Convenience is inconvenient

As part of five-minute Friday, this post is dedicated to the word, convenient.

I am from a line of creative people, woodworkers, gardeners, photographers, musicians, guitar builders, chefs, seamstresses, and artists. We make the efforts to take our God-given talents to heart and soul and use them as they were intended to be used.

Mass marketing has taken the pleasure of using our talents and our skills from us by providing our every need to everything without having to lift a finger, except for the purchase. Today I sit with my thread and needle, making a skirt for myself, an inconvenient yet satisfying process.  One stitch at a time, I can finish a skirt in less time than I could sew it on the machine, which I don’t even own, but I know I would be tearing out stitches if I did own one.  It is patience of watching the project unfold and wearing my skirt that I envision.  The dressing room drama at a store is completely eliminated. I will have the fabric I want, even if I have to design it myself because my other talent is art.

Art, in one form or another, is part of my life, just as praying is vital to my soul. Art nourishes my life and keeps me sane. I pray while I sew, I pray while I paint, not constantly mind you, but as a form of worship, God has given me this ability to use parts of myself in order to create. The satisfaction of using a paintbrush or a slim needle to create one paint stroke or stitch at a time, cannot be replaced by the convenience of the purchase. The holiness of time spent with calming music and my own thoughts, prayers, and gratitude only emphasize how inconvenient it is to take the easy more convenient path.

As a child, I practiced the piano, slowly, one note at a time until finally, my fingers knew where to go at the right time, but the process was slow and methodical until magically, it all came together, right and left hands and a song arose. Now I must go back to my stitching, to hold my needle, love my thread and thank God for the convenience of fabric, thread, and needles.

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Soul Searching

Soul searching is not for the weak of heart.  I am beginning to believe I am coming into my age of wisdom and that means there has been a lot of soul searching in order to get here. I have become an overly sensitive cry-baby at times, with an over abundance of empathy for just about everything my eyes see.  I go around thanking everything quietly so no one will hear me and believe I am crazy. The touch of a flower petal brought me tears for its being as I felt its existence , the same existence we both share or feel as living things. I could not pass it by without thanking it for blooming.

I have not always been as aware of my surroundings as I am now and in the small southern town in which we live, my surroundings are not always so beautiful. This is winter is the season of death.  Recently, I was driving back into Yazoo  and it felt as if I was going into a stark scene of a gothic novel. The outskirts of town were bleak and colorless, except for the gold and green grasses grown for wintering cows.  I had to pause all radio and play solemn music, that better suited  my feelings. Leafless trees and stripped vines that were kudzu green in summer are ghostly images of looming shapes.  I stopped to stare once and pulled off the highway, as if it was the first time I had noted the colors in these leafless trees in the distance. Gray, just shades of gray.

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Coming into the city proper, I saw first the trash in and around everything – all white against the dead leaves, left there, waiting for weeds to cover it up again in springtime.  Desperate to finish the drive, and winding up the last turn in the road home, I saw a doe about to cross the road. Caught off guard, she stopped and I did too.  We sat together for what seemed a long time just staring at each other, not moving. I suppose it was the headlights even at 4:00pm that made her stand so still, but she did, like a pose, a noise must have alarmed her, but instead of dashing across the road in front of me, she walked slowly, while looking my way until across the road she leapt out of sight.  I began to breathe again.  My eyes flooded with tears and all I could do was thank her.

 

Back on the Blog again

I am back on my Blog.  It has been a while since I’ve written here, but I continued to write.  There is an internet site called Storybook, that for a year subscription will send questions for you to answer about yourself and your life from childhood to adult or wherever you may fall in-between.  It has taken up a lot of my time and word energy to complete my stories, which will soon be sent to me as a finished and bound book.  There are stories from this book that I will post here on this site, for better or for worse.  I am literally an open book by nature, just ask.

When I do not write it feels like something is missing, as if I walked out the door without my pants on.   I enjoy it. Not that anything I have to say will make a damn or a difference in life, and I am certainly aware of this. My crystal ball crashed years ago and was defective when it did work.  Hang with me and these conversations if you feel compelled to read the 66 year old Southern by birth but free of the constraints, woman’s ramblings.  How did you escape the constraints of the average Southern woman?  Read on and find out.

 

 

Politics and Football

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Both subjects make me want to scream.  Politics and Football – It’s making me crazy!  My most sensible sweet friends become different people during football season, and downright mean during elections, especially during this Presidential election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. 

Social Media makes everything worse.  People will say things on social media that they would never say  to someone in person.  People on social media believe that everyone believes the same thing that they do – so no one should be offended by anything that they say.  Rudeness, crudeness and being downright ugly will be the new norm.  All of the above apply to Political  and Football fanatics.   Racist and prejudiced statements  will fly like bullets meant to hit and harm each other if you aren’t on the right team.

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The Elections will be won and the Football Seasons will end, players in both arenas will try to win.   We will cheer and shout, curse and make jack-asses of ourselves season after season after season

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sneetches and the Delta Flyer Club

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Who would have thought it, in the age of equality, the practice of “Sneetching”, as I’ll refer to it, still exists! What’s Sneetching?  Its coined from my favorite Dr. Seuss book, The Sneetches on the Beaches.  There were two groups of Sneetches, one group with stars on their bellies and one group without stars.  The group with the stars labeled themselves as the best Sneetches on the Beaches and left out the poor Sneetches that had “no stars on thars”.  It was a true act of segregation if there ever was one, and intolerance to diversity.

I just returned home from Montreal, Canada and spent a lot of that week in the Airport, along with many other travelers.  Once in my boarding gate, I found a nice comfortable seat close to the gate and waited for our departure.  Announcements soon began about boarding procedures to our assigned seats.  The first class travelers who pay a gazillion $$$$$ to sit in the front of the plane went first.  Handicapped people and those traveling with children (bless their hearts) went next.  Our Skycap agent then came on the microphone to tell us that boarding would soon begin for Priority Customers – it went something like this:  “Ladies and Gentlemen, we are about to begin our boarding for the fraternal order of the elite Gold Medallion Club, we are so proud to ask you to enter on the Right side of the red divider ribbon where you’ll see the blue priority carpet is placed  in your honor”.  The line formed as the rest of us looked on at these privileged few.

The next announcement was for the “Ladies and Gentlemen of the elite Silver Medallion Club, who were to form a line to the Right of the red divider ribbon and proceed down the blue priority carpet into the gate. Thanks very much to these dedicated Delta Flyers!”  The rest of us sat and gazed on as this group proceeded into the gate.

“NOW, we will begin our final boarding for the remainder of our passengers, please try not to trample over each other as you board and if you can’t find a spot in the overhead bin for your carry on luggage, you are just out of luck, and don’t complain about it either.  NOW, if you will please form a line to the LEFT of the red ribbon with no carpet on the floor, and no you cannot pass on the right side of the ribbon, that’s reserved for our elite club members, then you can proceed through the gate.”  Like cattle we are prodded into and through the gate and onto the plane where the priority passengers are sitting and waiting on us to hurry up.

It is someone’s job to dream up ways to make people want to feel special or that they are viewed as special when in a group. To frequent flyers, God bless you, that is a hard life to live and for a few dollars extra I would pay more for upgrades to seats in economy close to the front, but that’s it.  Personally I do not use overhead bins and I like to wait and be the last person to board the aircraft, there is a chance I might find a better seat on my way to mine and there is no standing and waiting.

So are you a star belly sneetch or a plain belly sneetch? I know, who cares!

Are you real?

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Mia is only 5 but already she has learned how to be grown, even though she is obviously a little girl.  It may be pretend for her for is it? Is she beginning to find comfort outside of her real self and embrace her “pretend” self? As a grandmother I find the younger generation fixated by media and how it tells them they should model their lives to be.  They are learning from internet and from television ~ attitudes, dress codes, language, moral ethics and more.  A child cannot have a childhood anymore.  I apologize.  I should have found something easier to write about, but when I read Kate’s prompt word, it became necessary to scream out “Who and what is REAL anymore?”  It worries me even more when I see the parents pushing their children into competitions at early ages.

I just spent 4 nights with 4 youngsters, ages 12 – 14.  I learned that they know the words to all the pop songs, but can’t remember what they are studying in their classroom; they can tell you any insignificant fact about a pop star but can’t name all of their cousins; they have the gift of manipulation and are very impatient; The meaning of life for them begins with the capital letter  I . Are these really children? If they are, then where is the joy and the innocence? What will happen when they become adults? How will they cope with a REAL world in their fictional minds?  I want to go on and on, but my time is past.  I will post this and spend the rest of this night still wondering…

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Eric is dying, after a long battle with cancer he is waiting, we are waiting with him as he struggles with each breath to reach his last. That is what we do, isn’t it?  We are all just waiting.  In the room next to his we gather and share stories, knowing that he can probably hear as he slips in and out of consciousness, hear us whisper, laugh, say his name and then the obvious silence.

He is a simple and good man, my husband’s brother, two years older than me and my favorite brother-in-law. He is kind and unselfish. He is not a shooting star, or even a star, but he is steady, like a small airplane light that throbs across the sky in the night now soon to be out of sight.

~adore~

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There is one Advent Candle to be lit before Christmas day. Already Mary and Joseph are on their way to Bethlehem and I can only imagine her agony of traveling on a donkey across miles of road with no comfort, in open air, hot or cold at night, trudging onward and 9 months pregnant. Can you feel it? They will come to find when they arrive in their destination there is no room, no warm bed, no hot bath, no fine meal, awaiting. Jesus, the Christ child will be delivered by Mary and Joseph in a stable filled with straw and dirt, by firelight and starlight. It will be her first child and it will be pain she has never experienced before, she is frightened and tired from travel but she is about to give birth to the greatest man ever born of a woman, our Savior, our light, and our hope.

Mary will deliver this baby boy and name him Jesus. She and Joseph will be like all new parents, they will behold him and count his fingers and toes, smile and cry, sit and stare at him and adore him. Across the span of time, in a  completely different world, I will come to my Church and see the manger,and in my imagination I will be there with them, I will feel the night and and hear the sounds, and fall on my knees to praise and adore him alongside of them.

This 5 minute Friday, I ask us all to stop at some point wherever we are and go to Bethlehem to adore our baby Jesus on Christmas Day. May you all be blessed with His Love and His Grace.

Christmas Trees of Christmas Past


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This year my husband and I selected our 42nd Christmas Tree. When the children were young we packed them all into the old truck and went tree hunting. In Mississippi, we have beautiful hardwoods and loads of pine trees but our evergreens for Christmas trees are usually a Cedar Tree, and they grow wild.  My husband grew up on a farm and his family property is filled with these trees and so we always drove out to the farm in his old pickup truck to cut our tree. We knew where the droves of trees would be, but it was a walk to get there  Once we all managed in and around cow patties, mud holes and sticky bushes we were there.  Cedar trees have needle like leaves that are very soft that fan out to make the limb appear to be somewhat flat. They smell divine!

As a small child we had nothing but cedar trees for our Christmas Tree, my mother was known to leave the tree up so long that we decorated it in January for New Years, in February with hearts, and March with shamrocks, really.  Our first house was a small house with 8 foot ceilings and even small trees would look huge in the room, but when we built our home where we still live, we did not consider how large a tree it would take to fill the front cathedral window.  There was not a tree big enough to fill the space but we still tried.

Each year seemed to have its own tree story from decorating nightmares to early dead tree syndrome and here are a few stories to make your own catastrophes not so bad. The year of the fall – Our first (and last) really large Christmas tree was over 12 feet tall and it did fill the window.  The tree stand, however was not quite up to standard, during the night after laboring over the correct way to string lights inside and out and hanging all the precious ornaments from Christmas’ past, the tree crashed to the floor waking everyone in the house, it looked like a beached whale lying on its side all across the floor.  We waited until the next day to survey the damage, put it back up again and as we turned around it came crashing down again.  Finally my husband tied the tree to the wall and it stayed put.      

The year of the cat.  My daughter had a need to help needy cats and always had a few hanging around her apartment.  She brought  one such needy cat home with her one Christmas.  Explaining to us that Chloe’ was a “special” cat with “special” needs was an understatement, Chloe” was nuts and wild.  Chloe decided one night as we sat by the fire to run up to the top of the Christmas tree and once there had a case of diarrhea.  Chloe hung onto the top of the tree for dear life and the more we tried to get her out, the more diarrhea she had.  Needless to say we threw that whole tree away, lights and all.

The year of the electrical fire,  do I need to say more?  We used old fashioned big color bulb lights – yes, the tacky kind, the larger the glow the better, along with reflectors that are used to create even more glow, but the two together get hot, real hot, and are not intended to be left on all day and night.  Luckily I was home when I began to smell something burning, the electrical cord was smoking and the branches it covered were starting to sparkle in a most unfamiliar way.  FIRE!  I forgot to unplug the tree before I threw a bucket of water all over it.  Just a little charred tree.

The year of the infestation/ or the year of the bugs.  I’m still not sure what kind of buggies they were, but they were everywhere, as if they came pouring out of the tree, but not until it was lighted and decorated, warmed up by the heat of the bulbs or just ready to do some investigating, these little buggers were crawling the floors, the walls the carpet, the furniture, us…

The year I fell off the top of the 8 foot ladder. It was not a graceful fall either. 

The year of the dying tree.  We cut down a different kind of tree that year, first thing after Thanksgiving, which is early for us, brought it home let it sit in the bucket and soak for a week, brought it in, decorated it and one day the needles were everywhere except on the tree. Dead as a doornail. We shook it good let the rest of the needles fall, vacuumed it up and left the tree standing, our own version of the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree.

MERRY CHRISTMAS YA’LL!! from our Tree to Yours.

 

Prepare

Once again, I am here to join the Five Minute Friday friends in a five minute post and today’s prompt word is Prepare, which just happens to be what I’m up to today…

 

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The problem with being an artist is that if I am not painting I am always creating ways to be creative and that usually leads me into areas of the unknown art mania, such as Gingerbread House making.  Did I say I have 9 grandchildren, 5 of which are under the age of 6 and we are having a Gingerbread House decorating party.  Any sensible person would think that having 5 children under the age of 6 over to decorate Gingerbread Houses (yes plural, as in more than one house) would be a stretch. No, not me, the more the merrier, as a matter of fact, there will be 10 children under the age of 6 over , with a parent of course, to decorate houses, which I will have assembled and ready to decorate.  I have been up all night in my mind preparing for the day and the mess to come with excited anticipation because, its what I love, and because I’m such a bossy cow, I get to be the Indian Chief in charge.

First things first, I make my Gingerbread House as an example of what a real, glorious gingerbread house is supposed to look like and every one can oooh and ahhh and I can say, “oh it was nothing, thankyouverymuch”  when it will probably take me most of a whole day to create, which is why I’m all over the internet looking at all the possibilities for the most awesome gingerbread house ideas.  What I find is that the candy part is really important.  Its got to be flashy candy, the kind with pazazzzz! I will go to the local candy bins and sift through some soulful sweets today.  I just happened to pack up my old fashioned cooker cutters for some sugar cookies to decorate the grounds for the House, and every house must have critters.

Did I mention that I will be putting together 6 houses? Makiing 3 containers of Royal Icing, setting up for 5 families to work and being the Indian( bossy cow )Chief? All of this because I am not painting …  photos of said project to follow. Wish me luck!

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