Saturday, November 2, 2013

gather ye tastebuds...

Within the next few months the communities around me will celebrate mules(mule days), pigs(swine time), and snakes (rattlesnake roundup). This seems to be the way we usher in the holidays.
And by celebrate I mean sell crafts, guns and funnel cakes. Ever the sportsmen, we in the deep south, honor and celebrate in ways I'm still discovering.
I write about this as if it is foreign to me, though I grew up in this nature -based region, but frankly it is a re-introduction to me. My family only attended a few of these festivals as I grew up, I suppose on most Saturdays we were at swim meets or reading, an introverted family's weekend.
I caught a glimpse of this type of gathering at our county fair this past week. Again something I never attended before. It was purely southern; from the nods, the denim, the ball caps and the ever present T-shirts. If I didn't know someone they wanted to know my family, to place me within reach. People strolled around together; family clans, neighborhood circles, church groups.
Lots of God Bless' and see y'all soon. Hard-earned dollars buying cotton candy and ring of fire rides.
Sometimes I forget what a grounding a small town is; yes, its an inability to see beyond but its also a solid sense of connection, a genuine community.
I can appreciate the oddities, see the charm a bit more now. I think in areas like this, where poverty covers half the population, celebrations have to be created, to be beacons of joy, guideposts through the year. I assume most families here have never taken their kids to Disneyworld, or even Six Flags, but I bet they go to the fair ever year. I bet they first got cane syrup and fried Twinkies at Swine Time. I bet they pass those memories down through the generations. They value animals, feel comfortable with anything wild.
While we will always have our rednecks and racists, we will also have our friendliness and our need to gather. We will celebrate random days because our grandparents did. We will get through the year, with cakes along the way.
And yes, I started out with I and grew into we.
I'm still discovering.

Sunday, October 6, 2013


A note neatly folded on the edge of my bed.
Instinctively, I know its not good news.

The boy that taught me to read, writes me. He writes of pain, of fear and then of his lack of need. His handwriting not able to hide the lie. It juts and leans heavier on 'by myself.'  I can hear him reading this, feeling this.
Heat starts in my chest, up my throat, burns the back of my head.
Outside I find him, there is a slight breeze, the tinted sun is setting behind the pines and he stares at the ground, watching something navigate its way home. I stare at him, willing the same.

Just as plants and insects have different abilities to survive I believe there are certain souls that are more sensitive to seasons, winds and storms. They bruise easily, saturate quickly and get bogged down when caught in difficult weather. They are no less strong than others, they are simply made from a different fiber; lighter, less repellant.

I want to guard him, cover him and dare I say save him but he doesn't need any of those things. He needs a different kind of weather.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

another emotion

  • Calories are winning. I am considering botox, not for calories but for the angry brow.
  • Fall is just a rainy summer here so far.
  • Of my 5 ideas, 1 is sticking. Have a facility to house the social enterprise I am starting!
  • I have gone through at least 50 names for said enterprise and none work.
  • My hair is rebellious; fighting consistency everyday. (There should be a hair care line called discipline.)
  • A dear friend is getting married and asked me to be a part of the celebration. I won't say what number this is for me to walk down the aisle before the bride, but I am possibly more excited than any one before. (Calories and botox relevant here)
  • I am semi-employed again. I work with women who challenge me. They are hopeless, fearful and broken. Everyday I am taught grace and mercy.
  • My dreams are changing, moving towards landmarks I did not imagine.
  • Sometimes, a lot of the time, I think this city is one that has taken a collective sigh and just given up.  It is strange to feel that of a city, but it hangs in the air like humidity. It needs a marketing plan.
  • I found my shop space; the place I have always wanted to have, upstairs apartment shop downstairs. Brick, cute, charming and ready. My account is not however. I have no reason to believe it will be successful or even break even but I want it still.
  • My legs are itchy and marked by the ants, mosquitos and other hungry southern species.
  • I have realized I am here to support my family through some things. I was not prepared, then again would I have come if I knew?
  • Certain memories still prick me. I am growing bothered pissed with the "why are you still single" talk. I have yet to run into the ex it will matter most to see.
  • My throat is sore from swallowing my pride.
  • BUT there are some great ice cream locations for that.:)....and calories win again!

Friday, September 6, 2013

ode to O

My feet tighten as I walk barefoot down the porch steps. These old, cracked bricks hold heat like asphalt; surprises me every time. As I carry her, steady and close, I try not to walk too quickly. I set her down in the grass, watch as her senses adjust. Scents first then she turns with a breeze; birds sing, nearby a truck rumbles.
Another surprise, I love these times.

I grew up in a home with a pet, usually a dog...we had so many that I can't always remember their names. I cared for my pets, loved the companionship but never was too sentimental. I played with them on occasion, rubbed them but did not get attached.  I realized early on they did not last forever. My family, in particular my father, considered them blood. He would grow so attached, be with them all the time, even when it came time to bury them.
Oreo, a loyal mix of chow and border collie, was 6 months old when my father found her at the local pound. She was sitting in her pen watching the other dogs yip for attention. She kept eye contact with him the whole time." A wise dog." He knew within minutes she had chosen him. Since my parents were empty nesters she became incredibly important. Their fridge full of pictures of the new, energetic, loveable pup.

6 months later, suddenly, my father passed away while in the yard with Oreo. His last witness.
I believe she kept eye contact with him the whole time.

In the 13 years since Oreo has been a vital family member. A witness to our lives.  I can't always say its been healthy but its been a necessary relationship for my family to grieve, get up and continue. She has given my mother a sense of safety and security. She snores in her sleep, an ironic memory of my father. She rubs beside us if we yell or cry. She paces at night until we are all asleep. She stares at us sometimes and I think she is saying why she chose us.
Now, she is so ill and has been for quite some time. She can't walk, nor see well and doesn't eat much unless hand fed. She wrestles with tremendous pain per the vet. She has wounds and scars but she will not give up.
We can't seem to let her either.

So now I am a girl that loves to carry my 50 pound dog wherever she needs to go. I lay on the floor with her so she won't feel lonely. I feed her and roll her over when she doesn't have the strength to.  I am sentimental about almost everything.
Yes, life doesn't last forever and in the meantime I try not to walk too quickly.

Friday, August 30, 2013

(wo)men at work

For someone without a regular 9-5 job, the Friday before a holiday weekend looses a bit of its luster. That extra day off used to be something I eagerly anticipated and celebrated.
"Well-earned" we would say together as we met for a drink on a patio.

I think that may be what I miss the most about 9-5, the feeling of earning my keep.
Research says, intrinsically, we want to earn rewards. Even those people who disagree with reinforcement techniques, will often say they deserve the same perks as their peers simply because they haven't done anything wrong. Which itself is indicative of good behavior(hard work) = perks.

Its rather interesting the change in what earn means through the years. My grandpa was of the generation of WORK. Didn't matter if you liked it, were good at it or felt fulfilled- you did what needed to be done and were thankful to "earn your spot". He was strong and very aware of his strengths and weaknesses. He said there was never a thing that couldn't be healed/fixed/answered after a hard days work.  I never once saw him wonder his place in the world.

Now many of us are pursuing our own passions and dreams and we don't stay at jobs that we loose interest in. We seek more...of everything.  I don't believe that's wrong at all, I'm example number one.  I do think that perhaps the internal value of earning, that knowing that you are contributing in a valuable way seemed stronger in he and his peers. I could list a chapter of people I've met that wonder daily what they are contributing in life. People that perhaps feel they haven't earned a spot.

I will never think life is about work, the job. I know that there are endless opportunities to grow, learn and contribute outside of the job. But perhaps work, the action, is what many of us are missing in life. The act of giving it all you have is very different from being at work 12 hours a day.
I honestly can't say the last day I gave it all.

This weekend I hope we celebrate all our options, encourage ourselves to get through hard jobs and are generous in our moments of freedom and days off with those we love.
(And be thankful we aren't working with my grandpa because he would have worn us out!)

*Labor Day is more than the end of Summer, most importantly its a celebration of the achievements of American workers.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

something small

I said yes.
It was a simple choice really. I decided anytime someone asked me to do something and my gut reaction was no- I would say yes. (This excludes any illegal/inappropriate behavior, naturally)
Since I hadn't be able to find my own open doors perhaps all the avoided opportunities were the right ones?

A lady that is close to me suggested I do this favor; a road trip to Virginia to deposit a visiting missionary's car and then meeting with the organizations staff. My gut said no because I am not the missionary type and driving is my third least favorite thing(1.sweating 2.using public restrooms).
But I readily said yes, and even got myself a little excited; should be a beautiful drive, never been to Virginia. As I was making preparation something seemed off, can't pinpoint it but this lady seemed guarded, indecisive and (gulp) long-winded.
But still I was committed, I thought God will use this opportunity in unknown ways, I will trust that. And I had plenty of  time, what could it hurt.

5 days, 1 meeting, 6 phone calls and 3 texts later and I'm not going.
But it wasn't me-it was her that backed out!
I kept saying yes every time I wanted to say no, gracefully and respectfully. She was kind to me and began being more transparent. Hesitancy is often insecurity. Ultimately it had to do with finances as my flight was quite expensive but I do wonder....
if He is just tenderly watching something small grow.

Saturday, August 17, 2013


I need to follow the recipe.
This is what I think to myself as I make our family dinner. But I add more paprika, garlic, coriander and a little honey. I squeeze lime juice all over the steak. I am using taste I like, assuming they will work. I cook it longer that it says, it doesn't look right yet.

Logically you would think I would learn that recipes work for a reason. But something in me- when faced with seemingly endless options(spices, herbs, marinades/ grill, bake, fry)-wants to try them all.
How can I decide that is indeed the best combination?

Its the narrowing down that overwhelms me. As soon as I really allow myself to dream big an avalanche of possible pursuits roll into every thought. I keep a notebook of possible business ideas. I currently have 3 pages, endless options(blog+online business, overseas work, retail store, nonprofit management, event planning) When I list fears I can't seem to get past the biggest- which way, which one?
My mind sees opportunities in low income neighborhoods, in retail developments, in overseas ministries....and I don't have the means (or skills frankly) to just #start on my own.
I pray God will open a door or put an arrow in my focus but I have been praying that for some time - perhaps there is a recipe already written that I'm just not following?