Monday, July 28, 2014
Friday, July 25, 2014
I enjoyed my own company today.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
2. Replace garbage disposal.
3. Repaint walls.
Thank God for summer and sundresses.
We are proud.
We are happy.
Maybe it never was.
And still ...
Sunday, May 18, 2014
Fortunately the architect was also showing the staff the pictures and they were as confused as I was. They questioned him.
Monday, May 5, 2014
He is snuggled on my right. He puts his head in my lap and runs his fingernail along the golden cross embossed on the hymnal in the rack in front of us. He rolls his head back and mouths "I'm bored" to me.
I smile and nod, as mothers have done throughout the ages. Somewhere out there in the universe is a giant cosmic crucifix, carved by the heads of billions and billions of nodding mothers, as we quietly admonished our children in church.
"Yes, I know you're bored."
"No, you cannot play with my cell phone."
It is our own silent sign of the cross.
She leans her head against my shoulder, subconsciously asserting her equal right to my affection. She too is bored and in her sleepy trance she traces her favorite scar, the 3-inch gash that traverses my forearm, where I had a mole biopsied when she was 18 months old. The diagnosis was "atypical mole", which is your body's foreshadowy way of saying "not cancer yet."
Atypical mole... Third grade vocabulary. Somehow I at least expected a diagnosis in Latin.
Memento mori. Memento vivere.
That is the call from this ravine that runs across my arm. Remember that you will die. Remember to live.
Baby Henry is two rows in front of us and is playing with his father's face as we begin to pray.
"Our Father, who is in Heaven, hallowed be Your name."
Henry pats his father's cheeks and then giggles as his dad playfully retaliates by biting his fingers and the two of them laugh softly, a happy undercurrent carrying our prayers. And it occurs to me how it's all the same thing, what we're doing and what Henry is doing. We are all wanting our father's attention. I wonder if what Henry is experiencing with his father right now is priming the pathways in his soul to one day understand how much his Creator loves him. Or perhaps it's the other way around.
And I guess it doesn't really matter.
It's over and as I'm caught in the undertow of worshipers flowing out of the sanctuary I'm not sure what I got out of the service really, other than maybe something about river beds and currents.
I walk out into the parking lot and this is what I see, painted in clouds.
What I see is a question mark. But I wonder - is that what you saw?
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
It was a perfectly ordinary Monday night. The air was just cool enough to be invigorating. The spring breeze brushed my hair against my ear, and I heard whispers of pastels and peace. Cooper and I were out for an evening stroll and all was well with us and with the world.
It was a wild coyote.
"Is this mayonnaise expired?" Grant asked.
When I recovered my breath I sent a similar text message to a few friends and neighbors.
Their responses were very different, which is what I love about all the people in my life.
My neighbor responded:
"Apparently they are all over...they can be sneaky...pretty cool, though, right?" (It's nice to have people in your life who remind you that "scary" and "pretty cool" are just twins separated at birth.)
My BFF said:
"Oh jeez! We have no coyotes in Califorina. Just sayin" (She knows that I'm too lazy to do a google search and find out that there are actually MORE coyotes in California than in Tennessee.)
My man said:
"Wha??? Are you okay???" (So sweet! Clearly I was fine because I was texting but still his first reaction was to make sure I was okay. Love that guy.)
Another friend said:
"You turned yourself into prey when you started running." (Good point. But I don't think I could have stopped myself. I mean, who could? Well, except for maybe Grant, who ran towards the danger.)
I think I'll always remember that night. Partly because it's the night Cooper and I didn't get killed by a coyote.
But more than that ...
It was the night when the wild and the domesticated co-existed, sort of. The night when the lines between scary and "pretty cool" blurred. The night when the the winds blew pastels and peace one minute, and the next they carried the scent of prey to the hunter.
It was the night when the ordinary and the extraordinary were both perfect in their own sacred way.
Thursday, March 6, 2014
And I worked my way out of myself and out of the room by writing.
That's another thing I do in my moments of greatest stress.
By writing about what was happening, I was able to see that event for what it really was. I was able to see my role in things. I was able to see my way out.
The result was a post that some of you might have seen. It was on my blog for a few hours. I had a conclusion in the blog and I thought it was a positive one, but I went through some prickly places on the way to the conclusion.
The trouble is, someone in my life who is important to me saw only the prickly places and not the positive conclusion. And it hurt him. And he let me know.
It gave me pause. The Downtown Diner is my restaurant. I get to cook whatever I want here. If someone doesn't like the food they don't have to eat here.
And yet, I had posted something that hurt someone. And I wasn't sure how I felt about that. I wasn't sure if it's more important to me to express myself freely on my blog, or if I have an obligation to be respectful of people here.
Am I free to write whatever I want as long as it is healing to me, even if it in turn hurts someone else?
Again, the Downtown Diner is my restaurant, so I have to make this decision.
So, I took the post down. Because I want the Diner to be a place where people feel safe and treasured and respected. I want my heart to be all of that too.
Therapy. It was therapeutic for me to write it, but posting it to my blog is less important. That piece of prose can always live as an entry in my journal, or perhaps as a chapter in the book I publish one day. Under a pseudonym, naturally.
On a side note, I believe that as we communicate in the digital world we are leaving traces of ourselves that one day our great great great grandchildren will sift through to figure out who we were. Even the communication that we believe is private today, like our emails and texts and messages on online dating websites - I'm pretty sure our progeny is going to have access to all of that.
Perhaps we're no different than our ancestors who threw a whiskey bottle down the hole in the outhouse thinking it was gone forever, their little secret. But now decades later we do archaeological digs on that spot and we unearth the secrets of the past.
I predict our great grands will do the same thing.
To assume my descendants will do research about me seems presumptuous, but if they do, I hope they will look at the world I held private and the aspects of it that I put out in public, and see that I was consistently authentic and also that I used good judgment.
I doubt they will say that I never hurt anyone. But I hope they will see that any pain I inflicted was unintentional, or that the hurt served a higher purpose and was not just a selfish catharsis.
I would be honored if they decided to create a space like The Downtown Diner in their lives. A place where people are honest and real with each other, and yet balance that against being fair and caring and kind with one another.
That's a legacy I'd be proud of.
Thursday, February 27, 2014
It felt like forever.
That's when Audrey pushed me gently from the side so she could get access to the microwave to heat up a breakfast sandwich.
And that was the moment when I realized that although we have 960 square feet in this house, my whole entire family was standing on 4 square feet of it.
All of us.
And then, the dog walked over just to see what was going on.
For almost three years we've been living in a 2BR/1BA house. You might think it's not such a big deal for three people to share one bathroom. But there was this one Saturday evening when Grant flushed my hot rollers down our one single toilet. Late on a Saturday night. It's hard to get a plumber to come out on a Sunday.
It's also hard to do without your one single toilet until you can get a plumber to come out on a Sunday.
Sometimes when I tell this story people ask me how Grant managed to flush my hot rollers down the toilet. These people know my son, so I assume the question is a rhetorical one.
A few times every day I think to myself that I need to get a bigger place when our lease runs out in July.
And yet every year in May I look around at the real estate market to see what's available.
And then I look around our cozy little house.
And then I sign that lease again, one more time. Swearing to myself that it's only for one more year.
There's a song by Garth Brooks called "Love Grows Best in Small Houses". And thanks to this house, I know he's right.
With fewer walls to separate,
Where you eat and sleep so close together.
You can't help but communicate,
Oh, and if we had more room between us, think of all we'd miss.
Love grows best, in houses just like this.
“When you get divorced you become a spokesperson for the club none of us wanted to join.”
Can I tell you something? And let's pretend it's relevant, but really I just want to tell you. My sister? She goes straight to the source. No spokesperson required.
This is another story about my obsession with the song Everlong by Foo Fighters. I listen to it almost every morning as part of my morning quiet time and as a result, it's become the theme song for my life.
I've waited here for you
I throw myself into
And out of the red
Out of her head she sang
I looked at Grant and he said, “Oxygen is everywhere, they probably don’t need to add it.” I nodded.
And I pointed out that the bottle was a nice blue glass bottle and Grant noted that the needle dropper was also made out of glass and we concluded that that was a hallmark of quality pharmaceuticals.
And we dropped 10 drops each into our water bottles.
So I can breathe you in
Hold you in
And he lives far away so we have to make great efforts to see each other in person and recently he re-routed some of his business travel so he could be in Nashville when the kids and I returned - fully oxygenated, mind you - from China so that he could give us a hug and a tray full of Starbucks before he made his way east and home.
But we got way-laid on the way from China and I will spare you my sob story of why but the net effect was that we were not in Nashville to receive the coffee or the hugs and my guy (we’ll settle for that for now) made his way east before we got to see him. And I was terribly disappointed and so was he but as we texted later that night we came to an important realization together, which is that we are not in control of how things work out and God always has plans that are bigger and better than the ones we make and if we keep filling our lives with our own plans we don’t leave any space for God to do his work.
And so we prayed together over FaceTime and thanked God for the space he had just created in our lives, and we asked him to do His work there.
When I sing along with you
If everything could ever feel this real forever
If anything could ever be this good again
You gotta promise not to stop when I say when I say when