Story time.

Linking up with my favorite Friday people today. The theme?

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I just got off the phone with my sister. We slipped into our easy conversations about food and planning for Thanksgiving and who will bring the potatoes. It’s what we do.

And my other sister, well I had to leave her a message. This did not deter me as I left a long, rambling message that involved me singing Stevie Wonder. Nothing too abnormal here.

My sisters and I don’t spend too much time with story-telling. We chatter on about what’s going on right now, bits and pieces of information. Mostly, we tell each other our to-do lists so the other one can commiserate and offer to bring the potatoes.

We don’t tell each other stories, because we know each other so well. Who wants to listen to a story when you can finish the other person’s sentence? Where’s the suspense in that? It’s like when I check out a book at the library, only to find I’ve read it once before. As I travel the pages I start to feel that weird deja vu, and then, it hits me: Scandalous Love is a page-turner, yes, but I already know the ending. He runs off with her and they are fabulous. And in love.tumblr_n2i1d5NmqY1r37w3co8_500.jpgOk. Granted, I didn’t really read Fabulous Love. Like, ever. Not really my genre.

ANYWAY.

Sometimes I wonder… don’t we need to ask, every once in a while…

“Hey. What’s your story?”

Even my sisters, who lived part of my story with me, don’t know it all. And I don’t know theirs.

A story can shift and change and it doesn’t end until we do. Do we really ever bother to ask? Is that just too hard or uncomfortable? Or weird, perhaps. Might be a bit weird. And I do love my chatter with my sisters. It’s comfortable, and we laugh a lot, and it’s easy. Story-telling isn’t so easy. It takes a comfy chair and a good sit down and time. It takes time.

But, I wonder. What if we asked for stories more?

What is your story? We all have one. And they’re all important.

 

 

 

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Throw Back Thursday – And Therapy

 

Here’s one from the archives. It’s a goodie. It also really let’s you know a thing or two about romance. So, educational.

Screenshot 2017-10-05 13.17.46.pngTHIS POST IS ABOUT SEX! AND FRIENDSHIP! WHICH SOUNDS REALLY WEIRD! STAY WITH ME!

 

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So recently my friend Rae had the audacity to move away.

Her hubs got a job in sunny California and she just LEFT me. LEFT, I tell you. I ask you, WHAT IS HAPPENING TO THIS WORLD WHEN FRIENDS MOVE AWAY BECAUSE  MARRIAGE?

I know. Marriage is a holy union and all that but now… WHO will I send snarky posts about husbands?

(Backstory: Rae also has a husband who is adorable and wonderful, like mine, but at times we like to laugh at them via text. Because we can. Also, because it’s a fallen world and oh don’t send me an email, I’m working on it. Admitting it is half the battle, y’all.)

Anyhow. The lawyer is sighing heavily and reminding me rather tersely: We can STILL text each other.  California does have texting, I’m pretty sure.

BUT STILL SHE LEFT ME. SHE JUST LEFT ME WHYYYYYY.

I had tried everything to get them to stay. Whining. Random sniveling. Prayer group sabotage. That one didn’t work at all, even thought I thought for sure it would. We were all gathered around Rae, praying over her trip and her move and all the stressers and other nonsense she was going through, and I entered in with this epic invocation:

“Dear Lord, I pray also that she just STAYS HERE THIS IS CRAZY. Could you, like, smite their U-Haul? Nicely?

But, okay, Thy will be done and all. I guess. Not really in this situation, but OK. Maybe.”

Strangely enough, the Lord didn’t follow through on this. I will talk more with Him about this later. The cute little hipsters, Rae and Sean, and their cute little kids, packed up and left me.

And so, I did the next best thing:

I decided to be selfless and wonderful and clean their house!

Actually, the lawyer is AGAIN asking me to clarify: I didn’t come up with the idea. My legitimately selfless and wonderful friend, Alissa, suggested we do it, and I just kinda horned on to it, and told everyone it was my idea.

I know. I have not, EVER, tried to establish that I am anywhere near perfect in this blog. But this post really accentuates all that, doesn’t it? Does this blog make me look fat, too?

Hope not.

So, I cleaned. Alissa watched our umpteen million small children. I think I got the better end of the deal.

And, while I was scrubbing away… I found… THIS (small flourish, and audible gasp!):

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* Yes, I know this picture kinda looks like I am cleaning without any clothes on. Or maybe, that’s just me thinking that, and you didn’t really go there at all. Shows you how my brain works, doesn’t it? It’s a bit wonky. I guess, the whole “My heavens! Is she topless?” question is kinda fitting because of the subject matter. But, you know, it’s not that kinda blog.

Actually, I think sweet Rae left them for me. It’s a deck of cards. About Sex. Aptly named: “Sex!” The marketing team really went all out on this one.

It is the kind of thing you get when you get married and your hokey friends like to give you wildly embarrassing gifts all har dee har har, nudge nudge, wink wink, etc. And then, you put them in a drawer and forget alllll about ’em.

Until you move to California and you decide, “Hmmm, maybe I’ll leave these here. I have two kids under the age of 5 and I think I’m good on the whole nookie thing. I know! I’ll leave ’em for my friend! She’ll LOVE them!”

So, now they are at my house, shoved waaaaaaaay in the back of MY drawer.

For my children to find.**

Thank you, sweet Rae. My impossibly wonderful, tiny, fit friend. I will miss you. So very, very much.

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** As every married couple seems to get at least one of these goofy types of presents, you can be sure that:

1. We did. It was something with feathers and edible glitter and my gosh that just seems like a lot of work.

2. I didn’t toss the gift. Even though the likelihood of me using a feather during nookie is very slim. Unless I wanted to dust something. I know.

3. Red found it. And wanted to talk about it. A lot.

4. I scheduled an appointment with my therapist that afternoon.

Depend on it.

Linking up with my favorite writing community – Five Minute Friday!

The theme?

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I have to admit. The first thing that came to my mind were undergarments. We’re going to skip that one, ok?

In fact, I would like to forego any attempt at something spiritually encouraging. Instead, I would like to talk to you about my cat, Steve.

Some of you know Steve. He has his following. Steve is a large white cat who came into our family a few years ago. He adopted both boys as his own, and his large girth has been a well loved pillow, blanket, toy, attraction, distraction, and mascot, ever since. And then, he became quite sick.

Very sick.

I know. He’s just a pet. Just a furry white behemoth that lounges about and kind of reminds me of a slow-moving, furry barge. But there was this moment, when I was carrying him across the room to the bath, he looked up at me with such patient love. The poor dear was in pain, and tired, and covered in filth, and I had bathed him, without incident, a few times already. He never complained. He never fought. He allowed me to lower him into the water and wash his soiled fur, and then gently wipe him dry. He allowed me to administer pills at numerous times during the day. He watched me through all of it with a sigh and shrug, like, “All right, get on with it then.”

So, as Steve and I were working on getting him well again, I was reminded how much this small(ish) creature depends on me, for his food, for a warm place to sleep, for water in which I put ice cubes every morning, because God forbid my sweet babies not have nice, chilled libations for them.

He depends on me, and I am so very grateful for that. We call him Biggie Meows. Or, Sir Meows A Lot. And he depends on us.

This is a good thing.

Steve is all well now, and seems to have gravitated to my side more so than normal. He comes to me whenever I am seated at my computer, and sits next to me, waiting for me to pat his wide head. I swear I see a smile on his face when I do so.

I just love that cat. And that’s all. I have no moral of the story, or bible verse to tie in, or a Jesus moment for you. I just have this:

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Poor dear. He’s tired. And too big for the couch.

And that’s more than enough.

 

 

Acceptance is Key.

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Linking up with my buddies over at Five Minute Friday today.

The theme?

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I know this post is really late. I like to get the words out to the masses by 1 ish. Or maybe, if I’m really frazzled, 2. But, you know.

Acceptance.

I accept that today has been like I released a bunch of monkeys into my house and into my brain and both places are now totally destroyed. I also accept that all the while I just sort of walk from room to room (literally and figuratively, mind you) picking up monkey garments and such and saying, “Now, whose is this? Monkey #45? Is this yours? Would you like me to wash it for you?”

Or something like that.

I would also like to add that no feces was flung in this analogy. Not that kinda blog.

On Fridays, I usually do well until around four pm. Then, I collapse into a nap that also morphs into a coma and I wake up wondering who I am and if Reagan is still president. It’s ok. The hubs brings home pizza and we all watch American Ninja Master Olympics or some such.

But today… TODAY I DIDN’T GET THE NAP. And you know, I accept that.

I accept also that my weekend looks like a sports calendar walked up to it and barfed every type of outdoor activity it could all over it. I would rather stay at home and read, but you know, my spawn like to play sports.

I accept it.

I also accept that said spawn are currently bickering over who has the most hair on his legs.

Y’all. Acceptance is key.

In fact, I have it on good authority that acceptance is the key to ALL things. It is magical.

No, no that’s not right. Acceptance isn’t some sort of sparkly fairy dust you sprinkle over the monkeys that are hell bent on messing with you. Acceptance takes some work and a little bit of grit and also, a whole lot of prayer. Monkeys could care less about fairy dust, but they do listen to prayer.

And, yes I totally accept that. Because the payoff is a miracle. That’s where the magic happens. That I am a walking, talking, monkeys-in-my-house but I’m gonna be ok, straight up, no chaser, MIRACLE.

IT’S A LOT TO ACCEPT, THIS DAILY, ONE DAY AT A TIME, MIRACLE THING.

And it’s awesome.

“And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation — some fact of my life — unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.

“Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God’s world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.”

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Done, Part One.

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Setting: A college classroom. Various students are slouched in chairs, tired, and they are all wearing weirdly tapered Nike pants, which were so in style when I was a kid, but I still cannot fathom that young men are wearing these things today.

They kind of look like M.C. Hammer. But, you know.

I teach this class. The tapered pants are a distraction, but for the most part, we get through.

Last class we were discussing what a writer does for a living. And I was all:

“Hey, looket! I wrote a book. Like, for real. Here, let me show you!” And I showed them. But not, for real, because I have NO COPIES OF MY OWN BOOK for some reason. This is a weird glitch – but then, I figured. If you were Mark Hamill, would you have a bunch of copies of Star Wars at your house? That would be odd, right?

Actually, I so would. I would have a ton of Star Wars movies at my house.

And, too, I am not comparing Bottled to Star Wars. That’s just crazy.

Maybe Battlestar Galactica, though.

But I digress.

Then the whole class shouted, “NO WAY. Like, for REAL? Will you sign my notebook? Oh, wait, I forgot to bring paper. Or a pencil. So, here, sign my pants!”

That’s not how they responded. No. There were crickets. Crickets were chirping. I think one cricket felt sorry and said, “Nice job, dude,” but I am not sure because I don’t speak cricket.

Such is the glamorous life of a writer. You work on something for nine months and then you find yourself hoping that weirdly panted college kids will think you’re cool.

Ok, now, truth be told, I don’t really need the approval of these wee lads. But, at times, the writing life can be like this. You find yourself with all these pages of your life and you kind of carry it around, toting it from one reading to the next, and saying, “Please. Read me,”  hoping for a signing that has more then three people at it, one of which showed up because he was looking for the bathroom.

We writers. We are ego, coated in insecurity, propped up by a thesaurus.

So, a few weeks ago, I left my husband and babies (see below):

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These are not my actual present-day babies. I mean, they ARE my babies, but this is a much older picture. It was on my desktop. How could it not be? I mean, look at them. The adorable is strong with these two. Blond is all… Blondo Suave. And Red? Full on nutball.

Nothing much has changed really.

But, anyhow, I left ’em. And I drove here:

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To work on this:

 

IMG_7005.jpgAnd I was greeted by this guy:

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Look deeply into my eyes. I am here for you, dude. Write. WRITE LIKE THE WIND.

Yes. It’s a church. As I am a deeply spiritual person, and am always kinda Floaty with Jesus, it only made sense that my writing retreat would be at a church.

Ok, but seriously, my friend Sonya loaned me her house while they traveled. She has the added benefit of being a pastor’s wife.

But, I am deeply spiritual. Just not Floaty. One cannot be floaty with two small children.  That’s just asking for trouble.

So, I was working on the second book. The publisher that worked with me on Bottled actually decided to let me stick around, and so, Perfect* was born.

Actually. Not yet. It’s done… but it’s not DONE done. Because there is editing and fixing and moving and cutting and OH GREAT FLOATY FATHER there is still so much more work to do.

And I love it all.

Oh, and also, at the writing retreat? There was this:

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Cat, accessorized by a clip.

And:

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I’m in charge.

And:

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And IIIIIIIIIIIII EEEIIIIIIIII WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOUUUUUUUUEEEOOOUUUU.

IT WAS ALL CATS, ALL THE TIME.

Cats + writing + fifty thousand Blow Pops + too much coffee = and almost done book. It’s possible I’m dedicating it to those cats.

 

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*This is a working title. Other possibilities:

The Perfect Book

Second Books Are Hard

This is a Book and I Wroted It

Prefection

 

 

 

 

And so on.

The sheets hit the fan.

 

This is not my laundry room. This is a stunt laundry room.

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So, the other day, I put in a load of laundry.

I know. This post is gonna rock your world.

 

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Anyhow, the sheets. My goodness. My mother bought me these sheets because she’s a mother and she still buys me stuff like that. It’s genetics. They buy sheets for you because you might sleep on a rock otherwise. She bought these sheets, I guess, at some really nice sheet store. They are super nice and all. And also? They weigh about four hundred pounds. I don’t know what these sheets are made out of y’all, but it seems to be some sort of bonded steel and fabric bricks, two-ply.

Also, when wet, they weigh about as much as four hundred pounds wrapped around an elephant who doesn’t want to get out of the washing machine.

The sheets, y’all. I struggle.

So, the other day, as I was pulling the elephant wrapped around an enigma known as the poundage of wet sheets, I happened to scrape my thumb. And this was the thumb that already had a blister on it because our backyard likes to go all jungle-themed every week or so.

THE PAIN. OH HOLY CAN OF HURT WORMS. IT WAS LIKE A THOUSAND ARROWS, ALL POINTY-POINTY AT MY THUMB AND THEN, ALSO AN ELEPHANT CAME AND SAT ON IT, AND…

Well. It just really stung, y’all. It hurt me. THE SHEETS WERE OUT TO GET ME.

And so of course also the laundry room was all “HA HAHA! I am gonna make this now into a totally horrible situation!” and all the hanging clothes managed to come crashing down (ok, one shirt) at my feet and when I bent over to pick it up, I POKED MY BUTT ON THE CUTE HANGING PEGS THAT I HAVE IN THE LAUNDRY ROOM BECAUSE PINTEREST TOLD ME HANGING PEGS IN THE LAUNDRY ROOM WERE A GOOD IDEA BUT NOTHING CUTE EVER HANGS ON THEM BECAUSE THERE’S NO ROOM BECAUSE OUR LAUNDRY ROOM IS LIKE THE MIND OF A TROUBLED PERSON IN THE ASYLUM.

Notice the creeping up of the all-caps, eh? Oh yea. Just wait.

So, I basically gave myself a proctology exam with the stupid Pinteresty pegs of death and then, when standing, I got a head rush and I felt old. Bending over, y’all. It’s not for old people. We might bend over and never get back up.

So, THEN I decided that I HATED everything, and my thumb HURT and I can’t even begin about my backside, and of course my dog was trying to into the laundry room because he’s like Lassie only stupid, and could hear me bellowing and was all, “Wait! Lemme in there! If I come in there I can pant on you and rub my nervous self all up and down your legs because that will HELP I KNOW IT, I CAN DO THIS THERAPY DOG THING, I PROMISE. JUST BELIEVE IN MEEEEEEEE.” And now the whole thing was all about HIM and he doesn’t even have a degree in therapy dog. We just watched a couple of youtube videos together and I nudged him a couple of times and pointed to the tv and said things like, “See? That’s what you could do if you really applied yourself,” and he would quiver and nod, and then go lick himself in inappropriate areas.

So, Mr. Lickie is all up in my business and my thumb is hurting and the sheets are all piled on the floor which is dirty so now I have wet and dirty just-washed really heavy sheets and then:

(deep breath) MY HAIR GETS SNAGGED ON ONE OF THE DANG HANGERS BECAUSE CLEARLY THIS LAUNDRY ROOM IS POSSESSED and once that gets all dealt with some of it (my hair) also sticks in my lip gloss which is SO ANNOYING. Just… SO annoying. It was like the pain of tens thousand arrows but not really painful. So, it was like the annoyance of ten thousand arrows, landing softly on my shiny lips and just sticking there.

Let me just state, if you don’t get the deal with hair getting stuck in lip gloss, you don’t know. YOU DON’T KNOW. IT’S UP THERE WITH PAPER CUTS AND THEN CUTTING A LIME LATER IN THE DAY AND FORGETTING YOU HAD A PAPER CUT WHICH IS, AS YOU KNOW, LIKE A THOUSAND ARROWS…

Well, you get the idea.

And THEN, as I smushed all the sheets, muttering and deciding this day was just so awful, like South Korea mixed with halitoses with a sprinkling of dentist’s office awful. Just the awfulest of awful, I figured this out, that maybe, it could ONLY be worse if, oh I don’t know, like…

MY WHOLE HOUSE WAS UNDER WATER.

SHEETS AND ALL.

And then, you know, I walked with the laundry basket into the kitchen, and lookie there. I HAD A KITCHEN. And also, there was clothes to put on a BED that I HAD UPSTAIRS.

ALSO, THERE WERE STAIRS THAT WEREN’T UNDER WATER.

And then, the cat came (one of the three billion we own) and pushed himself up by my legs like they do, a furry leg tripper warmer thingie, and I realized

THE CATS DID NOT NEED FLOTATION DEVICES. THEY WERE NOT FLOATING BY ME, YOWLING, IN SHRUNKEN WET-CAT DESPAIR. ALL CATS WERE DRY AND WALKING ON THE DRYNESS.

Also, you know what? I COULD TURN ON WATER FROM THIS THING CALLED A FAUCET AND THEN DRINK IT. RIGHT THERE. I could even use a glass.

And don’t even get me started on the toilet and it’s many convenience factors.

So, IN SUM:

No cats were floating by.

I have warm sheets.

My mom is still buying me stuff.

AND MY HOUSE IS NOT UNDER WATER.

 

THE END.

Revised title of this post:

The Sheets Hit the Fan. You know. THE ONE PLUGGED INTO THE WALL THAT STILL WORKS BECAUSE ELECTRICITY.

Please, pray for Houston. But don’t JUST pray. Also, DO something. Reach out. Donate. Give time. Give hope. Harvey is an a$$hole.

 

Don’t know where to start? Here is a good website that offers some ideas:

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/08/28/546745827/looking-to-help-those-affected-by-harvey-here-s-a-list

 

 

Learn Your Place.

 

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I don’t remember when I learned this phrase. “Learn your place.” It isn’t the most pleasant. It doesn’t sound all that kind. It smushes down, instead of raises up.

It says, “Figure out where you fit and then sit there. And don’t raise a fuss.”

My dad is a fuss-maker. He never learned his place. He is a farmer’s kid, raised in Missouri, worked hard his whole life. Attended night school. Ended up in a job that was way beyond what he ever expected simply because… well I think he was replacing a guy that left and he was the only one around and so, boom, he’s doing a job he doesn’t really know how to do.

And he never once blinked an eye. I think that’s because he never learned his place.

Also, now he makes more money than some small countries. And he lives in the same house and still wears clothes that were made in the 1970’s. I am not kidding. Look for him mowing the lawn and there’s some shorts there that might have celebrated the bicentennial.

He doesn’t like a fuss about him. But he is a fuss-maker.

I wish I could be more like him in this regard. If there is an injustice or a problem or someone who needs some truth directed his way? My dad is the man for the occasion.

Yet, also, he is so soft hearted. But you would never know it under all the John Wayne.

I have been thinking how Dad never really gives in. This world says so many different things – “Adjust. Do enough to get by. Just give in. Don’t shake it up. Don’t ripple those waters. Give up on your idealogy – it’s useless. While you’re at it, give up in general – all is lost.”

And so on.

I think Dad hears this a lot and each and every time he says, “No.” Sometimes that is paired with other specific and very zingy words, but we’ll spare those here.

You see, he never learned his place. God said instead, “You’re with me, son. That’s your place.”

My dad has courage.

And so does my mom, for being married to him all these years. But, don’t even get me started there.

Wow, this post was going to be about something else, but look where it ended?

With my dad. Whom I love. He is my hero.

Linking up with Five Minute Friday today. And yes, the theme?

 

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