Monday, April 30, 2012

"Three Best" and Finding Thanks in the Hard.

It's Monday- the day I link up to a holy experience and continue to count the things I will give thanks to God for.  Big things and little.  Ann calls it eucharisteo. Sometimes, hard eucharisteo.
It's the same for all of us.  The highs and lows of life.  The joy of a new babies born, promises to love forever, and birthday boys.  And, the lows that shouldn't take us by surprise-buckle our knees underneath us- but they do. 

She calls them her three best, Steve, Dale & Rex.  "The three best boys any mom could have."  She calls us her three best, the three best daughters-in-law a momma could have for her boys.  She tells any who will listen, and who can argue, she's momma after all.

We joined her list of the best years, even decades apart.

Ona came first. She got the oldest son. The determined one. He's the one who can take nails and boards and a plan and turn them into crafted walls many now call home. Last year they celebrated 50 years of marriage. 



Brenda was next. I'm told the first time she came to the house was Christmas Eve, proving she did in fact exist. She got the musician. The one who's smooth voice and guitar strummin brings smiles and peace and guaranteed requests for "Courting in the Rain." They're approaching 45 years of marriage.




Nearly 20 years later, I got the baby.  The one who's heart is big as ever and would do anything for anybody.  The one who treasures family and tradition and because of that will be the one to some day soon master making rolls, just like mommas.   We're getting ready to celebrate year 26.



I'm not sure I can remember the very first time the three of us met, but I dare never forget the shopping trip for my wedding flowers.  Ona in the driver's seat- we grabbed hold of each other for dear life and we've never let go.

We are bonded not just by the men we've loved for greater than 100 years combined but by their momma.  She 'cepted us all like we are and has loved us like her own.  She has become ours.

Tomorrow, her three best will sit 'round her kitchen table and tell her that life is changing.  It won't be easy, but together we will love her through the hard.  We will love our men through the hard.  And we'll do it, because she's our best.  And we love her. 

And even in this new hard that seems to have life hidden in a fog there is still much to be thankful for.

1000 Gifts#770-780

Friday night chat in her bed
sister-in-laws
family tight
Delaney Jean
hearing him snore
friends who've been down the road, to encourage us as we begin
radio songs that comfort
God is faithful still
having coffee with my 7 yr old
inflatable light sabers and the boys who swing them
birthday candles

What 'ya thankful for?



Saturday, April 28, 2012

Girls Night on Buena Vista

It was about 8:30 pm, bedtime.  But last night I wasn't tucking in my rowdy brown skinned boys, I'm tucking in my soon to be 90 yr old mom-in-law. 

May 6th, her birthday.  She don't like to talk about that, no matter how good a day she is having. 

She climbs into bed much like Isaiah.  It's a funny work out to get her comfortable and settled.  We giggle.

Tonight she knows it's her bed but she is convinced it is no longer in her own house.  She wants to go home, and asks me repeatedly- "when did they do this to me?"

This, in her mind is moving her and her furniture into a new house without telling her.  And she's impressed that "they" moved it in exactly like it was.  In a strange way, it is as if she is foretelling what is to come, living it in advance of reality.

The decisions are hard. painful. dreaded.  decisions no child ever wants to be faced with.

I kiss her and tell her goodnight.  She wants to make sure I have enough covers, again. She holds onto my hand and I hold hers; a little longer than usual. 




I go back into the den and settle into her chair.  I check Facebook, and surf the limited cable options.  I mostly just sit and think. 

It's now nearly 10pm and I still hear her and I know she hasn't been to sleep yet so I check on her. 
Having trouble sleeping? Yes, always do. 
Climb in?  she asks. 

I hesitate for only a second and realizing what a gift she offering, find a spot next to her.  We talk.  She asks how I feel about Shaynie Pain getting married.  I'm thrilled she remembers him telling her.  She reminisces about Hersey; my husband's Daddy, her husband.  I tell her about how he'd pick me up from work those many years ago and would intentionally scare me, and then snicker.  We both talk about his cowboy hat and his chewing tobacco.  We figured out that they would be married 75 years this year, if he had lived.  The conversation hops from from farming, and school, and Old Dogs, her kids, cooking, how she misses mowing the yard and how blessed she's been.  I confess I like her creamed Lima's and peas better than her rolls.  She chuckles.  Time seemed to slow almost to a stand still.  I wanted it to stop completely.  To hang out in these moments of memories and laughter.  But as quick as the chat began it ended with her reverting back to the question that seems to haunt her these days, "when did they do this to me? 

I tuck her in again. 
Does she know.  Will she remember tomorrow? 

We know.  We will remember.  I can't show sadness, not yet.  For now, we're just having Friday sleepovers.  Time I'll treasure. 

Will she remember?  Maybe not.  I plan to never forget.

She told me how God blessed her with 3 sons, who married the best.
I'm the one who feels blessed.  Blessed to be one of her 3 best daughters -in-laws, even if she does forget our names. 

She was busy during the night so we were up early this morning. 

Me and Iris- a couple of hot great-greats

We took a picture to celebrate new beginnings. 
Today was the first full day of us being Great-Greats. 
Delaney Jean, her first great-great grandchild and my first great-great niece was born yesterday.  

5 generations of blessed. 

Happy Saturday y'all.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

This boy.... he's 17 today!

This boy...


he's my miracle baby, my pride and joy

he came out on the move and hasn't slowed yet

he did everything early...
rolled over at 8 weeks, crawled at 5 months, walked at 9 1/2 months

he even had to deal with death early- burying his friend when he was just four


he started fixing stuff by the time he was five

and by 6 1/2 had a life plan which remains intact

when he needed tree bark for a science project, he just took the ax outside and skinned a tree (while I was at work, without permission)

he got an A on that project.











he drives me past my fears and just flat makes his Daddy smile!



Today I'm thankful that this boy is 17.




Happy 17th Birthday Shayne P. Allen!

We love you, support you and couldn't be prouder of you!






Tuesday, April 24, 2012

This boy....he's 6 today!

This boy....



he contemplates everything
likes his fro as tall as he can get it
and recently has begun to break into song without warning

has the cutest feet ever -
and has just learned to tie his shoes... but hates to wear them laced up



adores his "bubby" and is the only person alive that "bubby" (aka Shayne) allows to call him that

he's known for wearing his favorite shirt, pants and socks day after day and because he's so stinkin' cute, I wash them for him most every night. 

he's the baby and he knows it
he's soft hearted and big energy and
he's already bringing girls phone numbers home in his pocket.




he's the master of facial expressions
and keeps up laughing 'bout all the time.


I look at him and can hardly believe he's mine

and today- is his day.  



Happy 6th Birthday Zita(Isaiah) we love you, baby!






Friday, April 20, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Together

It's Together Friday. It's another five minutes with Gypsy Mama.

Sunday, we got home safely after driving 1817 miles in the car and enjoying 11 days of vacation in the Florida sunshine. 

....as a family



....with friends we adore 

.....in the car
.....in the ocean


.....in the air
....and in a lot of sand.
We covered a lot of territory and spent a lot of time and we were most happy to simply be... Together.   




Thursday, April 19, 2012

This boy....he's 7 today!

This boy ....



loves to be in front of the camera 
and snuggle with his mommy 
he's my little peacemaker 





this boy enjoys eating almost anything but doesn't want it to touch on his plate




this boy needs a nap most everyday, and can take one now since he goes to NetFlix home school  
he is loving and caring and concerned with how other people feel 



his smile draws you in like a magnet 
and his sweet engaging personality keeps you close.  



lots of people agree that this boy is pretty special.   

Happy 7th Birthday Elijah, we love you, baby! 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Green Bathtub.

When we first got married we lived with Rex's parents for a while.  A couple of times. 
We moved into their house, that they moved into when Rex was a baby.  There was one bathroom at the time.   There was a shower, but nobody was allowed to use it.  The word was- it leaked.

Getting ready for work in the mornings- a bath in the green tub was part of my routine.  Only a little bit of water- never did I fill it all the way up- that would be wasteful.  
I'd sit in the tub and listen to life happening on the other side of the door. 

Each morning they'd sit at the table and sip their coffee. I was jealous. 
I wanted to sit and sip with them.  I didn't want to go to work. 

It has been years since I took a bath in the green tub. 

Until Monday morning
when I got ready for work. 

I had spent the night with my sweet mom-in-law to help keep her safe.  Her Alzheimer's is progressing rapidly so we are going to have some "girl only" sleep overs. 

As I filled the tub with water I was filled with emotions. Memories flooded over me just as the water did. 

I was back in the place where my love for her began.  In her house where people gather and sit.  And eat.  She'd always say- "make out your supper best you can.  I don't have much to throw together" and she lay out a spread we'd ascend on like vultures.  

Her not much was usually a roast beef, mashed taters, cole slaw, cucumbers and onions soaked in vinegar, sliced bread with butter and that was just the basics. 

She is known for her homemade rolls and potato salad.  Don't tell her but they aren't my favorites.  My favorites are the creamed Lima beans- Ford hook small- and her creamed peas.  Neither of which I would have ever touched before they appeared time and time again on her table.  Call it curiousity, but one bite of that sweet sauce and I was hooked. She taught me how to get the cream sauce just right.

I thought about the time she washed our laundry for us while we were at work.  After I assured her I would do it myself.  I knew something was wrong when I got home.  The look in her eyes said it all.  And she finally confessed that she had accidentally bleached my unmentionables.  All my unmentionables.  All my newlywed unmentionables.  Not a single pair spared, because she never did anything half way. 
I wore tie-died undies before tie-die was cool.  We still laugh every time we think about it. 

I sat in that silly green tub and realized I'll never have her creamed Lima's again.  I'm certain my laundry is safe. 

I sat there and listened for life happening on the other side of the door. No longer two sipping coffee at the kitchen table.  Just one.

One, who a few times durng the night had told me with her eyes that something was wrong. 
I wondered if she'd be scared if she walked in and found me there, not remembering who I am or why I was in her house?

I thought about a lot of things- all at once.

Like the best advice she ever lived out before us

"just got to 'cept them the way they are"

her acceptance of people is most likely why her house has been the gathering place for more than half a century.
I thought about
silly things. 
happy things.
sad things.
scary new things.

We'd had a pretty busy night so I hurried to finish up before she got up, again.
And yes, I made sure to wipe the tub shiny clean just like I know she likes it.



Happy Wednesday y'all!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Counting Thanks on Vacation.



We've just got back from 11 days vacation.  I didn't realize I wouldn't have Internet (blog) access while we were gone or I would have warned you. 
While we were relaxing in the sand life was changing back home.  Our schedules are a bit off  since we are trying to adjust to our new normal which includes loving a parent with Alzheimer's.  I'll be back on track soon.



Until then, no matter where I am I can still find reasons to give thanks.  

1000 Gifts #751-769

him wanting what was once mine
Easter morning, oceanfront
little boys running in the surf
new friends, even if just for a day
waking up to the sunrise
no alarm clock for 11 mornings
lunches and dinners with our family in Florida 
night walks on the beach with lifelong friends
making memories- para sailing with my Shayne
chocolate covered strawberries in the sunshine
indescribable sunsets
Teri & Jay's 24 years- and loving them through them all
Leahanne's trek across town on a Tuesday
1817 safe miles driven
three to share the driving of the 1817 safe miles
neighbors trustworthy
she knew me, for a while
brother and sister (in-law) making the hard decisions
sleeping in my own bed

What 'ya thankful for?


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Monday, April 2, 2012

God is God, and I am Not.

It's been one of those weeks of emotional highs and lows. Not so much my own, but in the lives of people I love dearly.

My brother's best friends unexpectedly buried their 29 year old son this week.
The sister, of one of our pastor's wives was diagnosed with lung cancer- a mother of 4, just 34 years old.
My sweet Shanna- who was an instant friend- who moved away- who buried her husband 6 years ago- who exampled Godly married love-in-love till death do us part love- married her sweet Jim on Saturday.  What I would have given to have been there in body, as I was in heart.

It didn't make sense for Troy to die so young.  It doesn't make sense that Aaron died so young. It doesn't make sense for young momma's to get cancer.

It doesn't make sense that women I know are craving children in their womb, while others kill the unborn without thought.

It doesn't make sense that the age when life starts to get good, we forget all and who is in our life.

Sometimes, there is no sense to the madness.
Sometimes, you just pick up the phone and cry together.
Sometimes, you pray together.
Sometimes, you laugh together.
Sometimes, you do it all at the same time.

It doesn't make sense.

But I know- and I was reminded in Sunday School, as we study Randy Alcorn's If God is Good.

God is God, and I am not.  
He doesn't owe me an explanation.  
I don't need to know why, I just need to understand Who. 

I'm thankful, that I know Him, and in the midst of the madness, I can simply say,
Daddy- help, and He does.  

I pray that you know Him and the peace He gives that passes all understanding.

I'm still counting, 1000 Gifts #733-753




falls without broken bones
5 year old dancing with his own shadow in the sunshine
neighbors to dog-sit
the baby steps of progress - because she loves him
her encouragement, with new understanding of my life
mid-day visit with my husband
the excitement learning of termites brings to little boys
name your own Priceline  deals
Palm Sunday
taking communion with the man I love, remembering the Man who loved us
Redemption
the Cross, the Blood
God is God, and I am not
the joy of my friends wedding day
Daddy's who sing their son's home
God's provision and answered prayers in the midst of grief
spaghetti shared with friends
play dates- at their house

What y'all thankful for?

Happy Monday y'all.


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