Wednesday, December 30, 2009

10 Things That Happened This Decade

1. I was one of the first crime victims of 2000. Somebody broke into my car and stole my CD player and my copy of Jagged Little Pill. It didn't do them any good since they didn't take the adapter.

2. In 2001, I gave birth to Thing Two. This is the best thing to happen during the past 10 years. He is a crackerjack who loves music and being in the limelight, and everyday with him is a blessing.

3. My grandmother died in 2002.

4. The day after her the funeral my ex-husband and I broke up, over the phone. A house came for the rent on the same day in my mother's neighborhood, and I moved back to my small town. I had previously vowed never to come back. Be careful of famous last words.

5. I suddenly became a single mom with two young children and self-esteem at zero. I was dealing with infidelity and the lack of a job. I swallowed my pride and became a checkout girl at a local grocery store. I had to deal with some negative comments from customers and one person who I was once close, but I took care of the family on that salary. I also had the time of my life. They worked my hours around my children, and the people were great. It may have been one of the best jobs I have ever had.

6. I fine tuned my degree in 2004, and I began to work on my Master's. I began to teach that same year, and I completed grad school in 2006. I thank God for this every day. I am still drowning on some days, but #6 keeps throwing me a lifeline.

7. In 2003, I met a dark eye boy. In 2005, I feel head over heels. Women, who came of age during the Duran Duran era, can still find great love. It isn't the stuff found in vampire novels, but it is still just as great as it was all those years ago. Yeah me!

8. I have moved three times and bought two cars. I have been to five ballet recitals and countless soccer games.

9. I have made some horrible mistakes. No need to throw out everything, but yes, terrible mistakes have been made. Every stupid one them was a learning experiences, but I have a feeling more mistakes will be made during the next 10 years or so.

10. I have realized my own mortality. I have realized even though I speak about independence, I secretly want to find the "one". I have realized I am no longer a sweet, young thing. I have realized I will never have all the answers.

I hope tomorrow you find happiness in the old and anticipation in the new. This has been one rough year, and hopefully 2010 will give us more laughter and more love.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Future

The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come leads Scrooge to his own demise so he sees that if he doesn't change his ways he will die alone without anybody to grieve for him. It climaxes into his redemption. His future then is a blank slate and filled with hope and joy.

What if you feel like the other shoe is going to drop? What if you see so much pain around you cannot help but wonder if and when it may happen to you? Okay, I am usually a Pollyanna. I am optimistic. I may grumble and panic and think the worse for a moment, but I shake it off and as Dory from Finding Nemo says, "keep on swimming". However even in my optimism, I recognize my grandmother is in her 80's, and my daddy is in his 70's. People don't live forever. One day I will be grieving for somebody I love. I know how lucky I am to have my family, but the thoughts of losing them takes my breath.

I lost a student this week to a horrible accident. In fact, he died on Christmas Day. I am still reeling from the shock, and I cannot imagine what he family is facing. My heart is breaking for them. Bad things happen to good people.

I had a panic attack in thinking of this. I broke down and had to catch my breath and hug my children closer. I am not saying bad things are going to happen to us, and I am not looking for it, but the idea of it slammed into me like a ton of bricks.

The life we have is a gift, and sometimes we take that gift for granted. The ones we love are also gifts, and today, don't waste a moment. Tell the people you love how much you care for them. Don't wait for them to tell you. They may never do it. Don't wait for the perfect moment. It may never come. Don't wait for a mean spirit to show up and point the direction out for you. Find your own path to redemption and grace.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Right in the Middle of a Winter Wonderland

Well, right at this moment, I should have been getting ready to see The Nutcracker, but it is not happening. We had between 8-10 inches of snow last night, and I don't see myself getting off my hillside before Monday. I guess the cost of tickets will now be considered a charitable donation. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't really matter. I am safe, warm, and my electricity is still on. Most people in our small town cannot say that. Not only is there power out, but the power company is now saying it may be a week before it working again. My prayers are with them, and I truly hope and pray that the estimation is being exaggerated.

Here are some of highlights:
You never know the danger that lurks under the snow.

Rudy the Reindeer is keeping watch over our hill.

Just a little bit of damage, but it could have been much worse.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ghosts of Christmas Past

Some of things I miss from my Christmas past:

1. Thriving downtown communities. As a kid, several stores would be open late in the night, and it seems some of my best Christmas memories involve walking between my parents, snow falling, bells ringing, and Santa. There was magic on every corner. Those stores are now closed. We rush to the malls, and even though I am never one to complain about going to the mall, it just isn't the same. Too sterile.

2. Not being able to sleep on Christmas morning just from anticipation.

3. All my grandparents being here.

4. Believing in something larger than myself

5. Christmas caroling with my church choir. We rode on the back of an old truck and sang through the neighborhoods. Yeah, that was fun, but the hot chocolate and popcorn that followed were incredible.

6. Hobo Stew. I really miss this tradition, and I wonder how I can bring it back for my kids. My church family met the Saturday before Advent, and each household would bring a can of something that was soup worthy. As we decorated the tree and the windows, my grandfather, the minister, would make his famous soup or what we called hobo stew. The older ladies would be baking cornbread muffins. The scent in the church was amazing, and the feeling of fellowship still lingers in my heart.

7. Being in plays. Oh, I hated it when it was happening, but I would love to be an angel again or maybe a shepherd. I remember coming out of the back room and yelling at my grandmother, "Look, Mamaw, I am angel. I am flying!!!!"

8. Getting that one perfect gift: Cabbage Patch Dolls, Garfield toys, my first Walkman. Okay, maybe it isn't about the gifts, but come on, we all have different gifts that just made the world seem wonderful. I understand Ralphie's need for that gun, and I understand why he was sleeping with it on Christmas night.

9. Santa calling me. We have lost touch and I miss him. Santa Baby, if you are reading me.

10. And the unifying theme: magic, magic, magic. I remember being on my back looking up at the Christmas tree and it was the most amazing thing I have ever seen. I had to be about three. When I was four, Christmas fell on a Saturday. After all the gifts were opened, my dad turned on the television, and there was Scooby-Doo. Christmas and Scooby-Doo!!!!! All in the same day!!!! It doesn't get any better than that.

May you embrace all the wonder of your Christmas past, and may hope, belief, and magic dwell in your heart forever.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


I haven't been myself for the past week. I was even out on Monday for what I thought was a routine U.T.I. I was in pain, and I had no energy, and today we found out why: I am the proud parent of a kidney stone. I am looking forward to meeting it so I can get some relief. It has truly been a horrible, no good day with a four hour trip to the ER. I am not a wuss, but I felt like I was in labor, and no bouncing baby to show for it. I have always heard the pain was severe, but I was not prepared for this at all.
I was to go Christmas shopping today with my parents, but I never got out of the driveway. I sent them, and I went home, but within minutes it was apparent I needed help. I drove myself and then proceeded to cry like a baby once I got there. My mother had her mother's intuition on full blast, and they turned around and met me at the hospital. I am truly thankful for her, even if I was cranky. The two hours I was there alone was frightening. Being single today wasn't fun at all. I really just wanted somebody to hold my hand and tell me it was going to be okay.
My parents had my children with them, and the ER staff allowed my daughter to come back to me, and I am amazed by how grown up she is. At one point, she took it upon herself to ask the doctor what was taking so long, especially with me in that much pain. She didn't have to do that and wasn't asked, but she is a very shy child, and it took guts and love to ask that question. My boy child was in the waiting room, and my dad caught him at the window telling the admissions clerk he wanted his mommy. He wasn't allowed to come to me, but I was able to stand outside the window and wave at him. Broke my heart, and I almost walked out right then, but my daddy saved the day with a trip to Subway.
Well, this is not how I wanted to spend my night, and I hope this is over soon. I hate not having control of my own body. This is minor though, and it will pass, literally and figuratively. Even though I am in this much pain, I still remember I am the fortunate one.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

Yep, we have our first snow of the season, and the valley is fluffy and soft. I always prefer this to the bare, brown hills. My stress level has gone down 110% with the scent of orange candles. The tree is lit, and I feel safe and secure. It is a good morning after a restless night.

I spent the entire night with the ghosts of "what-ifs" moaning and groaning around the rafters of my brain. I went back to 1993 and wondered if I should have zigged instead of zagged. I was filled with envy and disgust as I thought about what I wanted and didn't have. I wondered about relationships and if I will ever fully trust again. I wondered what it would be like to be cherished. I didn't have that in my marriage, and sometimes the wounds open and bleed. Mistrust coated with fear is sometimes a bitter pill to swallow. Several years ago, I became somebody I didn't want to be. I became the woman He saw me as. I became the person he wanted me to be so he could excuse his behavior with one bland, cardboard cutout after another. I became resentful and angry, and that caused even more problems in the relationship. It is sometimes easy to go back and want to dwell in the mistakes of the past because it takes courage to face the future. I have to admit, there are some days when I am not so courageous.

This morning I awoke to snow and remembered the promise of grace and hope. I have the hope that the future is mine to have. Life is going to happen, and there is still much pain, grief, and heartbreak to come. One step, one breath, and self-knowledge will hopefully push me through those times, and I won't dwell in the illusions of what I thought I was. Even in my imperfections, I find grace.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Wise Words from Barney Fife

This is a conversation I had today with a student concerning The Tragedy of Julius Caesar:

"Okay, so what is Brutus's motivation? Why does he want Caesar dead? "What does the metaphor of the serpent in the egg tell us?"

"Well, Ms. _________, I think Brutus is like Barney Fife. Sometimes you have to nip it, nip it in the bud."

It is days like this where I love my job. He got it. He really got it.

Perfect Crockpot Chicken Noodle Soup

Today was a very busy but lovely beginning to our Halloween Festivities.  My husband and I went to a Farmers' Market that was featuring ...