Sunday, September 16, 2012

Little Messages

My beliefs about what we are promised in terms of a life after death are complicated, but, I believe, soundly based in scripture. I won't go into the fine points in this forum. Suffice it to say that I don't believe my Mama, or any of the other people I love who have died are sitting around in some unseen dimension right this minute.

The common language of grief we mostly use, though, gives me comfort despite its beautifully fanciful ideas. I like to imagine Mama "up there" somewhere, looking over us, sending us messages, watching out for us. I don't deny there are days when I wish I believed that's how this works.

What I do believe is that the promise of a life eternal and triumphant is true. I just don't believe it happens the way we talk about it.

That said, in many ways I have felt Mama's presence more acutely on a near day-to-day basis since she died. I believe that the tremendous love she had for us so infused our hearts and minds that it is the truest truth that she will never be gone from us, except in body. Maybe it's God's grace that opens our ears and eyes to that love so completely that it feels palpable. Tangible. Real.

What I believe or don't, what I wish were true but doubt, those things don't keep me from having wonderful Mama moments. One happened today on my long walk in the park.

I need to backtrack for a minute so that little preface will actually have a point and let you know that I am fairly well obsessed with Spotify. It has replaced every online game I ever played when I have nothing else to do or so much else to do that I don't want to get started. I cough up the premium fee every month so I can save playlists to my iPhone to take with me on my walks. ($10 a month to invest in my mental health is peanuts. I even gave up manicures to make room in my budget for this.)

Yesterday I was playing with the playlists again. I do random searches, listen to about 10 seconds of a piece of music and plop it over to a list. Mostly this is music from musicians or groups I've never heard of. I've found some rotten stuff this way, but I've found some real treasure, too. The point of it for me is in the discovery.  Not listening to something all the way through makes it fresh to my ears while I'm walking -- when I can give it my nearly undivided listening attention.

While I was doing my search I was looking at the calendar next to my computer. We are fixing to hit a rough patch for our hearts, as we can't help but be reminded of all the steps that brought us to Mama's passing, and I'm trying to find ways to let that find expression in ways that honor who she was, and who she wanted us to be.

My Mama was my biggest cheerleader. No matter what silly thing I accomplished, or tried to accomplish, she was my encourager. She made everything better when everything was going to hell in a handbasket. She cajoled. She raised an eyebrow. She yanked me up. She noticed me.

I had begun to worry that I was going to slip into a real fine funk in the coming days, and so I was deliberately trying to find upbeat things to listen to. I listened to no more than about 15 seconds of all the new stuff I found yesterday that felt right, plunked them onto my Sunday Morning list, and didn't give them a second thought.

And then I went to the park, turned it on, and started walking.

At about mile 5.5, when I had gotten to the top of the hill that overlooks the bridge area for the second time, this song I downloaded yesterday cued up.

Nothing about that made me change my mind about what I believe

But it reminded me, and it enfolded me, and encouraged me, and made me remember the best things. 

And I praise God, from whom all these blessings flow.


P.S. - I  just noticed the "love you J" signature on that graphic. 

P.SS. -- I am happy to live in the mysteries. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

No peeking?

Spotted this subtle but unusual cloud formation Tuesday afternoon. Made me think somebody up there had been told peeking wasn't allowed.

As if she'd have paid attention to THAT.

Monday, September 3, 2012

How We Did the Big Birthday

Yesterday the handsomest man I know had a big birthday, one of those with a 6 at the front and a 0 at the back. I had made mention of his request for a chocolate cake on Facebook and the problem that caused me because I'm not really a cake baker person. I have a mixer. Somewhere. I think. That's as close as I could get.

Well, the offers for chocolate cake came pouring in, one privately from a friend who said she'd be honored to make a cake for him, seeing as how he had been Scoutmaster for her son years ago. She told me how important he had been in her son's life, how when others thought he was too big a handful Henry became -- and remained -- his biggest cheerleader.  It was a lovely, lovely thing to hear. I don't think anybody will ever fully appreciate how deeply Henry cared about every single young man who was ever a Scout in Troop 1, or know how hard it was for him to step away from that post a couple weeks ago, and so abruptly because of his new job.

But I digress. I know you are surprised.

I passed on the cakes because I had decided to go to GiGi's cupcakes instead. Neither of us needed the remnants of a whole cake around the house. I had brought some of these wonderful treats from Atlanta last year, not realizing we had a place here. Thank goodness they are out in East Bacooder, which to those of us in Midtown Montgomery, means making a trip that might as well be to Atlanta.

Top row, L to R:  Scarlett's Red Velvet and Pistachio
Bottom row, L to R: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Midnight Magic, Lemon Poppyseed

Because I am not given to wretched excess, I only ordered 5 cupcakes. The blank spot you see up there meant I could average the total caloric intake and make the damage to our waistlines a little less. Don't you just love averaging?

Henry, given his specific request for chocolate cake, had that Midnight Magic one all to himself, and the rest of us passed the others around. My favorite was the Lemon Poppyseed, in case anyone is interested. 

There are a couple locally owned cupcake bakeries about which I was made aware, and I promise to dedicate myself fully to checking them out soon and reporting back on those.  I assume this task seriously. 


Earlier in the day we traveled to the zoo with Rosemary and The Entourage (her parents and her uncle). It was quite hot out there, and while we did not attempt the skylift (next time, though!) she got a big kick out of watching her G'mama get black-tongue licked by the giraffe, and from feeding the very active otters. Although she had her sunscreen on, a little extra protection from the sun never hurts. 


We were exhausted from the zoo trip, so her Mama and Daddy dropped us off at the house, thinking she might take a nap. She did. It lasted 8 minutes. She had more important things to do than sleep!

Like sing and dance. (Screenshot implies break-dancing. Didn't happen, I promise.)

And a little show of support to the Oregon Ducks. This is our neutral team, which takes the sting out of my promise to her Daddy that I would not make an issue out of the fact that she is being raised in a home that has not a single crimson and white thing in it, even though we have taught her that elephants say Roll Tide, but really, we can agree that's just cute, right?

I wish so much I had caught the look on her face the first time she actually made noise come out of these. I have never heard her laugh so hard or get so excited!


It was a good day with a good man and a family I am lucky enough to have been part of creating!


(P.S. -- Our supper was this delicious spaghetti casserole. I made it the day before, so I wouldn't have to fool with it yesterday. This is so good, and so easy!)