Monday, September 26, 2011

A Tribute of Sorts

"Her children arise and call her blessed." --Proverbs 31:28

After an even-crazier-than-usual week, it's nice to be back to the blogging world.

In my last installment of A Drop in the Bucket, I promised to delve into what my grandmother means to our family. I reflect on her even more than usual after her fall Thursday that left her with a broken hip. Jack told his friend that she "took a dive in a waterless pool." She had surgery on Friday and is doing amazingly well.

Grandmama with my two, Jack and Margaret

At age 103, she is clearly something special. But we knew she was special long before she reached a milestone age. No one can make biscuits like Grandmama or hug like Grandmama  or smell as yummy as Grandmama. Her name, Grace, suits her perfectly, because it is with grace that she handles everyone and everything that comes her way, including my grandfather's longtime battle with Parkinson's Disease. I will never forget the strength she showed during those difficult years. (He died in 1990.)

She has four grandchildren, and while we have always felt we were the center of her world (if we wanted it, Grandmama stopped at nothing to give it to us), as the years have gone by, she has become the center of ours. She is the sun that we orbit around. 

Four generations -- Kind of our version of a Where's Waldo picture.
Where's Grandmama? (Hint: She's the short one.)

The cousins are more like siblings, three girls and one boy (I am the youngest). While our relationship is closer at some times that others, as life stages and circumstances draw our attention in all directions, Grandmama is the glue that keeps us all close. It's as if she is our gravity.

Inevitably, we will one day face a time without her. I think we're all trying to prepare for that. We know she won't live forever, although at times like this, we're fairly certain she'll outlive all of us! When that day comes, I will be so happy for the victory that is finally Grandmama's to claim. But selfishly, I worry about what that means for those she leaves behind.

What happens to people when gravity's gone?

I pray a lot, cry a little and trust that the example she has set is enough of an anchor to hold us all together.

Thanks for indulging me the opportunity to publicly love on Grandmama. Next time, it's back to regularly scheduled programming. I'm tackling another item on the bucket list.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Item #28 . . . Laminate Myself

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds." --James 1:2

Nope, I've looked all over my bucket list, and I don't see a #28 anywhere. That's because, I learned today, laminating oneself is not a pleasant thing. I didn't do it on purpose, of course. I went to Mo's school to help the teacher out with copying, cutting, laminating, etc. It was all going swimmingly until the laminating machine ran out of film. Instead of finding one of the handy maintenance men, I decided not to bother them and tried to replace the film on my own. (Is anyone else seeing the red flags?)

I got the old roll off with no problem. So I picked up the new roll, placed it in between the notchy-thingies, got out the instruction manual to learn how to feed the film through the rollers, started feeding it through, and then realized all of a sudden that laminators get hot. Really freaking hot! I learned that they can reach around 300 degrees or so. I also learned that the smell of plastic cooking onto my skin does not complement the scent of my Sand and Sable Eau de Cologne.

Oh, and my precious grandmother, age 103, fell today and broke her hip. She is facing surgery tomorrow. One day soon I'll get into telling you about the role my grandmother plays in my family, but not today. Today, I'm praying over James 1:2:

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

An Introduction

"We know what we are, but know not what we may be." --William Shakespeare

Before we get too far into this blog, I should probably tell you about myself so the items on my bucket list make a little more sense.

I've been married to my husband, Stephen, for 13 years. He is a wonderful, funny man ... and he's hot. I mean, super hot. But don't tell him; I don't think he knows.

We have two spectacular children: Jack, almost 10, and Margaret (Mo), 6. They are both really funny kids, so they should give me lots to write about. Jack is a swimmer. Mo is into dancing and singing ... and just being Mo. Jack is fairly shy and introspective. Mo is not. They are complete opposites in every way. Jack likes his cereal with very little milk so the cereal stays crunchy; Mo likes her cereal mushy. I struggle to remember who likes what, and they get mad.

I am an Associate Reformed Presbyterian (ARP), which despite the way it sounds, is not some crazy cult that will have me chanting things in a meadow. The people at my church are an extension of my family. I've been a member since birth, I met Stephen there, was married there and baptized both kids there. (For what it's worth, my parents were married there too.) We are a conservative lot. We like our worship service traditional. You won't hear much contemporary music there. My car, however, is another matter. I can belt out some Mandisa or Sidewalk Prophets with the best of 'em. And yes, ARPs believe in predestination. If you have a question about that, just ask me. It's probably not what you're thinking.

I was diagnosed in the past year with fibromyalgia. That means I have chronic full-body pain and fatigue. My doc and I have been trying new combinations of medicines during this time, and my ability to sleep soundly all night has evaporated. Now I take a pill at night to help me sleep ... which I hate.

I have super friends. Not a lot of them. I choose carefully. The ones I have are hysterical and will call me out in love if I do something stupid. I cherish them more than they probably know.

I'm very close to my parents and sister. I can't go long at all without talking to them, and they live within 15 minutes of my house. I have a 103-year-old grandmother who is an inspiration and true joy, and we're all hurting as we watch her mental health decline.

If I've angered someone, I have to address it immediately. I hate when someone is mad at me or dislikes me. I care what people think of me. That's why this blog is kind of a big deal. It's opening me up to judgment, and I pray I can handle that with grace.

Oh, and I'm southern. How could I forget that?! I am sweet tea and magnolias, flip-flops and boiled peanuts, slow-talkin' and heart-blessin'.

That should be enough to get us started. I'm so excited to be doing this!

Help me keep it interesting by adding your thoughts. Let's get a dialog going.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Item #1 ... Check!

"Seek not for fresher founts afar, just drop your bucket where you are." --Sam Walter Foss

As a 35-year-old wife of an economic developer, mother of two public school children and a freelance proofreader/editor/writer, I often feel I spend my time doing all the things I need to do and not enough of the things I want to do. I spend most days taking kids places, straightening the house, cooking dinner (at least, I *mean* to cook dinner) and proofreading/editing/writing. I spend a few hours sleeping, then rinse and repeat. It's my challenge to look at all of my experiences as opportunities to fill the bucket of my life (cheesy enough for ya?)

What am I really accomplishing?

I've had a lingering notion of a bucket list for years -- all the crazy and not-so-crazy things I want to do before I die. (It's posted to the left.) It used to be longer, but I've actually accomplished some of the things: I got a degree in journalism, I worked professionally as a news reporter, I got married to a wonderful man, I started a business, I gave birth to arguably the coolest kids on the planet, I started an adult drama ministry at my church, and I got a tattoo. I'm sure there are more, but those are the ones that first come to mind.

I hope you'll join me as I tackle the remaining items, add more and handle my special little distractions (see below) along the way, realizing all the while that each and every one is a drop in the bucket.

This just in: As I was about to press the Publish button on my very first blog post, I heard the refrigerator open in the kitchen and then a sorrowful cry. My youngest, age 6, dropped an entire gallon of sweet tea on the floor. And when I say "sweet," I'm not kidding. We're talking Kool-Aid for grown-ups. Yep, I'm justa fillin' up that bucket. Now where's that mop? :)

On this and all future posts, I'd love to hear your questions, opinions and arguments. Do we have bucket list items in common? What's the worst thing *your* 6-year-old ever spilled on the floor?