You’re never too old for goldfish.

I am grateful for:

  • goldfish with smiles. They are better than goldfish with no faces at all.
  • puddles.
  • marigolds.
  • my brother who spent part of his day with Dad and honored Mom by visiting the cemetery.
  • a happy cardinal.
  • Psalm 91.
  • sore muscles.
  • a Freddie’s original burger in the evening air after a very long day.
  • being alone in the house to play the piano all I want.
  • squeaky cheese.
  • a Royals lesson that it’s never too late. Don’t give up all hope.

Happiness is = fluffy cushions all ready for purpose.

 

 

I am grateful for cushions. They have a funny title, but really, they are just fluffy love. Cushions are wonderful when they are new, all pretty clean and fluffed up perfect. Their purpose is to comfort. They can comfort feet, comfort bottoms, comfort sore backs.

When a cushion is loved and used for its purpose, it develops a certain shape, and that shape signifies that this cushion is loved and has purpose. It is no longer new love, perfect love. It has its own issues –  maybe a little threadbare, maybe some stuffing missing, flat in spots. It just means it’s real. It’s mine. It has served a purpose for someone in pain.

A cushion can also be a shoulder or a lap, or even the voice of a trusted loved one.

 

Today, I am grateful for cushions all pretty and new, fluffed up and with no knowledge of their future lumps and impressions, ready to serve their purpose; and cushions that have been with me and are still with me when I’ve been in pain.

I am grateful for cushions that are no longer – those cushions that have been re-purposed to someone else who needs what they can give, and cushions that are just no longer, but still sweet memories of relief and comfort…

 

 

Good thoughts and sunbeams.

 

 

Linda, Karissa, Parker, Cheryl, Anissa, Kathy, Reilly, Joyce, Andrae, Nanette, Annistan, Bobbi Jo, Kaitlyn, Anjalie, Elizabeth, Dwight, Andersyn, Sam, Amanda, Dad, Lisa, Adam, Delores, John, Mom, Mandrae, Linn, Jonathan, Patsy, Lori, Horst, Shirley, Helen, Doris, Max, Jubilee, Ginny, Keith, Sara, Deb, Jeanine, Tatum, Steve, Ginger, Pam, Ron, Susan, LaDonna, Jayme, Geri, Mariah, Julie, Katrina, Bob, Michelle, Ken, Melissa, Angela, Estalene, Marlene, Avis, Drula, Cindy, Marcia, Karen, Charlie, Donna, Dennis, Chris, Zak, Connie, Lynn, Rachel, Jared, Erin, Roxanne, Jarod, Linda, Doug, Jeremiah, Richard, Joy, Ryann, Ashley, Ann, Lacey, and Natia.

There.

I should look lovely for awhile.

Confessions of a snark.

Snarky

 

It happened during a 9 am intake call for a new position we are working on here in the office. As part of the team, I “get” to listen in on the calls and take notes, but an added benefit is listening from my desk with the mute button pushed, so that I can continue to work at the computer until important details require me to pay closer attention.

What I heard on the other end of the phone this morning was alarming. That might be a little harsh? It was unnerving? It was almost in the category of “fingernails on a chalkboard?”

Uptalk, also known as HRT, “high-rising terminal,” or upspeak.

Uptalk

Oh. my. goodness.

Every sentence. Seriously every sentence. It took less than 30 seconds for me to begin googling the name of this disorder. I wanted to jump through the phone, physically get inside her throat and pull down the end of every one of her sentence questions.

Here is an example that I really hope will be stuck in your mind for a couple of hours after you read this, because if I had to suffer, everyone should suffer, don’t  you think?

I think we should get together next Monday to discuss the issue going forward? Because we all have plans over the weekend since it is Memorial Day and the weather is so beautiful? But if you’d like to spend your weekend doing something besides work, I certainly understand? By the way, I love your new picture of you and your kitty cat? 

 

Here is another example, and I apologize for the slight inappropriateness, but it NAILS what I listened to for an hour and a half:

http://viewpure.com/tqNhEzrWQpY?start=0&end=0

**********

After the call was over, I begged my boss to please please please TELL ME IF I EVER TALK THAT WAY and cause her to want to perform a tonsillectomy on me.

I am grateful that God loves people with HRT disease.

I am grateful that God loves a snarky person. I am confessing and repenting here and now. I will try much harder tomorrow to ignore the sentence questions even though that is like ignoring pieces of toilet paper on the bathroom floor.

I am grateful that God has blessed me with the opportunity to love and show kindness and grace to Ms. Uptalk.

And finally, I am grateful for the lesson I just can’t seem to learn, first taught by Thumper, and passed on to me by Mom:

If you cain’t say nothin’ nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.

 

Groovy.

Saturdays in the 70’s:

  1. Dust. And that meant every last figurine that sat in the front window and every speck of wood in the house.
  2. Sweep the front porch and the sidewalk all the way to the curb.
  3. Vacuum the gold shag, and then rake it for beauty.
  4. Strip the beds.
  5. Gather the laundry.
  6. Hang the wet wash on the clothesline overflowing from the flimsy laundry basket.
  7. Practice the piano and organ.
  8. Do the dishes.
  9. Wash the windows.
  10. Clean the bathrooms.
  11. Straighten up and clean our bedroom.
  12. Clean the aquarium and the rabbit hutches.
  13. Water the plants and flowers in the flower beds.
  14. Mow
  15. Fold the laundry and put it all away.
  16. Iron, and that means handkerchiefs and pillowcases, too.
  17. Take the weekly Saturday night bath for church the next morning.
  18. And after all that, it’s time for Lawrence Welk, Hee-Haw, and The Carol Burnett Show.

I am certain I am missing 15 other things on the list.

While all of my friends were riding bikes and exploring in the back alley and beyond, or going to the drug store for candy, or taking it easy and walking to Snack Haven for lunch, my sister and I were stuck at home with a cranky Mom who had rules. Nothing else happened on Saturdays until THE LIST was completed to her satisfaction.

I have vivid memories of the anticipation of Mom taking a basket of wet undergarments outside to the line – they took longer to hang since there were so many – and as soon as that back door banged shut, Angela and I would sneak a quick peek at the forbidden American Bandstand or Soul Train while Mom was out of earshot. It was an added bonus when she had to go downtown to the station for something, or to Bunny’s to get her hair fixed – we might be able to sneak in a whole show of prohibited music!

It was the best day ever when we were allowed to walk to the station on a Saturday afternoon to see Daddy. That meant a Coke from the machine, playing with the lift lever, jumping on the bell hose at the gas pumps, and not getting into trouble for making the cash register drawer open.

And a sigh of relief from housework.

It was a life of torture growing up, I tell ya.

Maybe that is why Saturdays have been sacred to me in this season of life. I find myself wanting to protect my Saturdays from lists, from busyness. I want Saturdays to be fun, to be days of exploring and riding bikes and taking it easy with a walk to a leisurely lunch.  I don’t want to be a “cranky Mom” with things that have to get done. I don’t want to dread Saturdays.

 

I am grateful that I grew up in the 70’s.

I am grateful that we had a TV to sneak peeks of the forbidden dancing but were also able to watch Wide World of Sports when Mom was in a good mood, and of course, Hee Haw.

I am grateful that Mom was a disciplinarian and didn’t let us run the streets all willy-nilly. We might not have become productive members of society…

I am grateful that Dad didn’t mind his children hanging out and messing things up.

I am grateful that Mom and Dad taught me the value of hard work and making lists.

But I am grateful that I appreciate a lazy Saturday to enjoy and explore and relax…feelin’ groovy.

 

Ironman does not like meh.

I am grateful for beautiful yards like Pete and Angela’s, as pretty as that one above.

I am grateful for good advice from Kathy – loosen the information boundary I had built and take a little bit of a risk.

I am grateful for the ability to re-group with Sam.

I am grateful for a good report from my friend, Linn.

I am grateful for time spent with my sister and her family.

I am grateful for John’s funnies and the sweetest card a brother could ever write to his sister on her high school graduation day.

I am grateful for memories of laser pointers and Topo, paper bags and Sneakers, and the fun pleasure of tickling a cat’s paws.

I am grateful for just enough money in my wallet for Chinese rice during the pouring rain today.

I am grateful for Ann Joyner and her kindness this morning.

I am grateful for the best message I think I have ever heard, and for learning something completely new that I do not recall ever learning in all my years of Bible classes, Sunday school, youth group, teaching in Christian schools, reading many books, and studying on my own.

www.cor.org

(Scroll down to “Worship With Us,” and then click on the play button. It’s 44 minutes, but 44 GREAT minutes.)

And with that, I am grateful for this song that has been on my internal jukebox for the past many days:

 

I am grateful that I have choices on the radio when I hear my newest pet peeve – singers who sing “meh” instead of “me.” That causes me to change stations faster than almost anything else, except for opera vibrato and Mark Levin-types.

I am grateful for a few pictures of Mom, taken in 2006, that my friend Shirley sent to me.

I am grateful for things to have in common with my Dad: the love of mac & cheese, being a Salvy fan, and iron deficiency.

 

I am grateful for cards written and mailed to our new summer pastors, this time in Pennsylvania.

I am grateful for clean gutters.

I am grateful for the faint sound of thunder and the mid-morning darkness of pouring rain while I work quietly inside.

I am grateful for the contented look on the face of a dog when ears are rubbed.

And I am grateful for Candace Payne’s laugh that makes me smile down deep. Just click below to hear her happiness:

It’s the simple things in life.

Create Happiness

Displaying Displaying Displaying

Mundane, humdrum, and dull = naming them one by one.

 

 

For me, there is something incredibly satisfying about folding socks. At 7:30 this morning, the room was dark with the exception of the morning light filtering through the window blinds. The TV was turned off, and the sound of silence filled the room instead of the usual noise of the morning news.

I had a pile of laundry on the bed, mostly socks. As I stood over the pile and matched partners, it dawned on me how good it feels to find the two that go together, creating a duet from two solos. It wasn’t a grand and glorious experience, but it was very pleasant. It was satisfying. It was completion.

Another blessing of the mundane: looking down at my hands as I type on the computer to notice that I have white tile mud stuck onto my fingernails. These specks of dried-on gook symbolize for me the journey I am on, learning new skills, being asked to help with projects, working side-by-side with my husband and my Dad to turn something old and dull into something new and pleasing to the eye.

There are things I wish were different in my life I now live. There are relationships that I miss, friends and family that were once such a part of my existence and are now relegated to memories or an occasional and sometimes superficial “hope you’re doing well.”

But for the most part, I love my life and the healing therapy of counting my blessings, naming them one by one. I love no longer being a solo but a duet with Sam.

I love recognizing the mundane joys that were once overlooked. Instead of filling my free time staring at a TV or Facebook, watching others’ lives pass by without myself experiencing new adventures and opportunities, I am loving the doing, the learning, the serving. Life is an adventure to participate in, to experience, to be grateful for, to love…

I even love the bittersweet – the missing of and longing fors. It means I recognize. I feel. I now appreciate what I have.

So with that, today I am grateful for the joy of folding socks and appreciating stubborn tile mud. Humdrum to some, blessings to me.

 

 

 

Remember good quotes that make you laugh inside.

I am grateful for wisdom worth writing down.

Use the soap first. Then ask questions. – Sam

I am grateful for a guy whose name is Brick. He knows tile. I think that is funny, and he is, too.

I don’t like exciting food. It’s not my thing. – Rhonda

I am grateful for a massager to take care of a knot in my shoulder.

If you’re on thin ice, you might as well dance. – Mary

I am grateful for toast for lunch.

We like fungus. – Cosmo, referring to mushrooms

I am grateful for dark grout that makes cleaning floors much easier.

If good news doesn’t come your way, you’ll have to make it yourself. – Sam

I am grateful for an end to the day when the day is just a day.

And I am grateful for this, from Jennifer Dukes Lee.  4 and 5 were the best, I think, at least for me today:

The Courage of No

1 – Know who you are. It’s tempting to tie our worth to our yeses, our hustle, and our ability to get ‘er done. But [people] who have a clear sense of purpose and identity in Christ are able to say no without letting it prescribe something about their worth. Take time every day to affirm your truest identity — the one you have in Jesus.

2 – Know your priorities. The clearer your priorities, the easier your decisions. Filter every request through the prism of your core values and calling. If it doesn’t pass the priorities test, it might be a sign that you should decline.

3 – Be resolute. Sure, it’s polite to offer some explanation for your “no,” but don’t feel like you have to give a drawn-out justification, even if you know that your “no” will disappoint the asker. As Jesus said, “All you need to say is simply ‘yes’ or ‘no’.”  Matthew 5:37

4 – Keep perspective. Remember that a “yes” to one thing means “no” to another.

5 – Remind yourself that your “no” is someone else’s “yes.” Your “no” may open the door for another soul to learn, lead, and serve.

 

 

 

 

 

 

If loving is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.

 

Prayer is taking a chance that against all odds and past history, we are loved and chosen, and do not have to get it together before we show up. – Anne Lamott

I am grateful that I can go to God in prayer even when I don’t have it all together.

I am grateful for good news from a school guidance counselor this morning.

I am grateful for the reminder today from Sara Hagerty that living a life for God in private is a goal for which I should strive – not living for the applause of the larger social media audience and Facebook stories.

I am grateful for leftover rice. Every time I eat rice, I think of my friend Ginny. So for that, I am especially grateful for leftover rice.

 

I am grateful today for this poem that LaDonna shared. It made me think of Mom, and of my cousin Eileen, and of Uncle Cecil, and of Katherine, my Bingo friend, and of Ashley, a former St. George student, and of Uncle Fred, and of Aunt Naomi and Uncle Lloyde.

When I die
Give what’s left of me away
To children
And old men that wait to die.
And if you need to cry,
Cry for your brother
Walking the street beside you.
And when you need me,
Put your arms
Around anyone
And give them
What you need to give to me.

I want to leave you something,
Something better
Than words
Or sounds.

Look for me
In the people I’ve known
Or loved,
And if you cannot give me away,
At least let me live on in your eyes
And not on your mind.

You can love me most
By letting
Hands touch hands,
By letting
Bodies touch bodies,
And by letting go
Of children
That need to be free.

Love doesn’t die,
People do.
So, when all that’s left of me
Is love,
Give me away. – Merrit Malloy

 

I am grateful for social workers who have chosen one of the toughest careers in this world.

I am grateful for the renewed desire to write our story.

 

I am grateful for online banking.

I am grateful that I am not in charge of this crazy messed up world, and I am grateful that God does not call me to judge and decide what is right or wrong, but to love.

Which makes me grateful for this, from a writer I admire:

Rachel Held Evans Quote

Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow…

 

I am grateful for leftover roast or barbecue or hot dog to hide Natia’s pills so that she will swallow them without me having to force them down her throat.

I am grateful for energy to do.

I am grateful for steady rain and daydreaming that I was home to sit on the couch and read during the rain.

I am grateful for remodeling progress.

I am grateful for my in-laws.

I am grateful for my brother and sister who take the time they do not have to spend with Dad.

I am grateful for an extra phone charger at work.

I am grateful for a concert last night and two girls who sang the song “You Belong to Me.” Such a sweet song…

 

I am grateful that my CASA girl has had so many concerts this year for me to attend. I am grateful that she is in choir and likes to sing. I am grateful that I was privileged to watch her perform once again last night.

I am grateful for clean floors and clean oven and clean counter tops, thanks to my Dad. It was a nice surprise last night after leaving the remodel on Sunday evening completely de-popcorn-ceilinged messy.

I am grateful for the opportunity to play for the service on Sunday. It felt good to be sitting at the piano bench again, playing the one song that has blessed me most this past month.

I am grateful for Sam and his dedication to his work. I am grateful that God is showering blessings, in His time.

I am grateful for new opportunities.  I could look at life right now and be fearful of change. I could look at life right now and worry about the future. But I am grateful that at this stage of my life, I am open and willing to set out on a new adventure. A lot of that willingness comes from the roller coaster five years ago – life is too short to hang on tightly to what is comfortable and easy. I learned that material things are not nearly as meaningful as experiences. Just when I thought all was lost and I could not continue, God scooped me up into His arms and carried me safely to a new place. As Mom always used to say:

This morning, I was on my way to work and a thought occurred to me. What would I do if I didn’t have Dad or Sam close by in case of a flat tire or a car that wouldn’t start? And before I got to work, God had reassured me that I would be just fine, that I’ve been learning in baby steps how to be independent, that He takes care of the sparrows, and He will take care of me, too.

So for His care and reassurance, I am very grateful.

For random thoughts today, I am grateful.

And for Bingo night, I am grateful.