Monday, January 30, 2012

I'm the Worst Homebody Ever

"On the road again . . ."
--Willie Nelson

I am a total homebody. I always have been. I really like the idea of traveling, but the lure of my own stuff in my own house is just too great. Plus, when you travel, you get behind on all your work, and I'm a little too obsessive-compulsive to deal with all of that.

I did fly to Washington, DC all by myself like a big girl once for work. Of course, I was married at the time.

And there are lots of places I want to see (reference the bucket list). I just wish there was a way to take my house and bed and everything with me when I go.

To be such a homebody, though, I sure do have a lot of travel on the schedule. Nowhere particularly fun. Just an hour or so away. But still, I'll be racking up the miles on the old Honda this month. 

I went with Jack to a swim meet this past weekend, I'm going with Mo to an audition this weekend, and then I'm heading to another swim meet with Jack the next weekend. If it weren't for these kids, I may never leave the house. (And I might be okay with that.)

Approaching the 200,000-mile mark.
The thought of work piling up while I'm away is already stressing me out, but I'll deal with it. I'm looking forward to some fun times with the kiddos in the coming weeks.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Gifts From Heaven

"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."
--Revelation 21:4-5 

Based on my studies, I don't believe that our loved ones in Heaven can see us here on earth. If there is no worry in heaven, then surely Grandmama cannot see some of the fool things I do down here. If she could, she would sit in her heavenly rocking chair and rock holes in the heavenly carpet. 

But I'm starting to think they can at least send messages here to us, because I have gotten several in the days since we buried Grandmama. Whether it was a particularly pink sunrise (pink was her FAVORITE) or the scent of her Caress soap in the aisle at the grocery store, I have experienced moments that I truly believe were meant just for me from Grandmama.

The most heart-stopping arrived via a fellow blogger. Kelsey at Tattered and Inked has offered some precious printables this week for Valentine's Day. The one for Monday took my breath away. It is an excerpt from a little song Grandmama used to sing to me all the time.

She would bounce me on her knees and sing:

I love you,
A bushel and a peck.
A bushel and a peck
And a hug around the neck.

Whew! I needed that!! So thank you, Kelsey. And thank you, Grandmama. You always gave the best gifts when I needed them most.

Monday, January 23, 2012

I've Gone Bananas

"Never interrupt me when I'm eating a banana."
--Ryan Stiles


It's not so easy getting back into the swing of things after a huge loss. Blogging hasn't made the list of priorities for a few days now. I decided that maybe I was trying too hard to be uplifting and spiritual. I decided I needed to start small.

So today we discuss bananas. (Small enough for ya?)

Someone from Florida gave my parents some oranges, grapefruits and bananas . . . also from Florida. As in, from their backyard in Florida. So, of course, Mama shared. (God love her.)


I find the bananas shocking. They're so small and green. I can't wait until they're ripe and I can see the difference between a Florida banana and a Publix banana.

One of my Florida bananas looks like it has been stitched up on one side.


Jack said, "Wouldn't it be funny if we peeled that banana and there was a pickle inside?"

Yes, Jack, that would be funny.

So I will wait for these little gems to turn yellow (they do turn yellow, right?) and see what's inside. I hope it's not a pickle.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Memories


"A life-long blessing for children is to fill them with warm memories of times together. Happy memories become treasures in the heart to pull out on the tough days of adulthood."
--Charlotte Davis Kasl

In the days since Grandmama died, I've felt like I was under water; things were dark and blurry, I was disoriented and felt as if I couldn't breathe.

I think my head is breaking the surface now. At least, I feel like there is light somewhere, even if not shining directly on me.

The emptiness I have in my heart is giant. I think of her constantly. But it's hard to be too sad when I know she is ecstatic. She has come face to face with her Lord, and she was welcomed by her husband, her parents and six brothers and sisters. Oh, what a celebration that must have been!

I am just so grateful for the many years I had with Grandmama, for the relationship we had and for the memories she gave me.

Below are my comments from her funeral yesterday. If you were there, you were probably wondering what I said, since I'm sure I was unintelligible though the tears. Sorry about that. Turns out, speaking at a funeral for the most awesome person in the world is difficult. Who knew?!

***

All of you know Grace Simpson for her gentleness and quiet grace. But not all of you had the benefit of knowing the Grace Simpson who is our Grandma. And that is a person that everyone should have the pleasure of knowing.

So I’d like to share a few things on behalf of her 4 grandchildren about our grandmother.

·         Grandma made the best biscuits, boiled custard, butter mints, fried pies, jim cakes, fruitcakes, teacakes . . . she clearly had a thing for cakes.

·         In her younger days, she could wrap us tight in a thick towel and lift us out of the bathtub with no effort at all.

·         She would sit under the big tree in the backyard for hours and make shucking corn or shelling peas look fun . . . and I assure you, it’s not.

·         She let all of us grandkids do or eat whatever we wanted. We could run through the clean sheets hanging on the clothesline, dig up her yard, climb her trees and eat a gallon of ice cream . . . as long as we were careful and didn’t make ourselves sick.

·         She never, ever said an unkind word about anyone. And I don’t remember her ever raising her voice . . . not even once . . . not even when we totally deserved it.

·         She loved to watch the Gamecocks and the Atlanta Braves on television.

·         She was not opposed to hearing the occasional joke of questionable taste . . . but she’d never dream of telling one.

·         She tirelessly cared for Granddaddy when he was sick, and through her actions, she taught us to love fiercely. We learned the meaning of unconditional love through Grandma and Granddaddy. Wedding vows today say that couples will love each other until they “are separated by death.” But Grandma didn’t do that. She loved Granddaddy until they were reunited by death. What I wouldn’t give to have seen that reunion Monday.

·         Grandma cherished her great-grandchildren. I am so thankful that my children didn’t get to just meet her. They had an opportunity to make biscuits beside her, play pat-a-cake with her and climb up in her lap for a cuddle.

·         She was kind of magical. Grandma could turn batter into cake, yarn into hand towels, tears into smiles . . . and somewhere in the midst of it all, she turned cousins into siblings. We grew up knowing that we were the center of her world. What we didn’t realize is that over time, she became the center of ours. We all kind of rotate around her. The loss now that she is gone is huge, but the legacy she leaves behind and the lessons she taught will bind us together forever.


·         She had an unmatched ability to make each of us . . . and probably each of you . . . feel like we  were her favorite. And we all were.


I’ll never be just like Grandmama. But if I can be to others a fraction of the blessing she has been to me, I will consider my life well lived.


On behalf of her family, I thank you for being part of her life.


We’re all better people for knowing her.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Her Children Arise . . .

"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened."
--Dr. Seuss


Grandmama passed away this morning. 

Give me a few days. 

I'll be back when it doesn't hurt so much to breathe.

Grandmama and the cousins, circa 1991
Dawn, KB, Grandmama, Jason, Ashley




Friday, January 13, 2012

You Can't Please Everybody

"Anger is one letter short of danger."  
--Author Unknown


Today I took the kids to get a flu shot.



At least the cat still loves me.




Oh, never mind.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Guest Post: Blogging to Beat Cancer


"I sincerely believe blogging can save America."

--John Jay Hooker



Today's drop in the KB bucket comes from Melanie Bowen of Milady.


As I search for ways to deal with the pain and other symptoms of fibromyalgia other than prescription drugs, and as I have several friends and loved ones battling one type of cancer or another with mixed results from modern medicine, Melanie shares the idea that what you contribute to your treatment is just as effective as what your doctors prescribe.


If you know someone who is dealing with one of these health issues, please pass this article along. And thank you, Melanie, for working so hard to bring awareness.

* * *
Guest Post: Blogging to Beat Cancer

Blogging can be a great outlet for people going through a rough patch in their lives and looking for an outlet for their emotions. When one is are diagnosed with an illness like cancer, mesothelioma, or a chronic autoimmune disorder, many don’t consider blogging about it.


When you are diagnosed you will experience any number of emotions and you will become obsessed with learning as much about the disease as possible. Something you will learn when you research this cancer is that there are a lot of survivors and many of them have blogs. Some of these survivors have blogged about their experience and their prognosis from the day they were diagnosed and you may find that reading these blogs inspires you to create one of your own.


Cataloging your emotions through blogging is beneficial to your quality of life and the outcome of your treatment. Your emotions are there to help you fight; to get you through your rough days. Blogging about your feelings allows you to see what you are feeling in words and allows you to better process your emotions. On a bad day of treatment, you may find going back over your blog and re-reading past posts helps your mood improve as you realize that you have overcome worse days, survived through worse feelings and had good days after the bad.


In addition, keeping a blog is a good way to list your goals. Your short term goal is to overcome your cancer but your long term goals are the ones you should blog about. The things you want to do, the places you want to go and the memories you want to make after you overcome your cancer are the goals you should talk about when you blog. These will serve as a daily reminder that you have a life to live and to live that life requires that you fight your hardest today so that you can enjoy many tomorrows.


Being diagnosed with terminal or chronic illness is a way to touch a life; your blog could help someone else going through the same problem find a way to break through the inevitable depression and make an effort to fight. Your words, even those you deem the simplest, could help save a life.


Finally, the benefits of blogging will significantly improve your health because it will improve your mood and alleviate your stress. Stress is known to hamper your immune system, and alleviating those feelings will help your immune system to improve so that you can better fight this disease; and fight for health. Make your thoughts tangible--be proactive about your well-being.

* * *
Melanie Bowen is an advocate for natural health and cancer patients. She highlights the great benefits of different nutritional, emotional, and physical treatments that can significantly help those going through a time of illness.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Not as Easy as It Sounds

"A sense of blessedness comes from a change of heart, not from more blessings."
--Mason Cooley

Now that my keyboard malfunction is over, can I just tell you how much I'm struggling with this 1,000 blessings project


It seems that every time I devote my brain to thanking God for something, I'm jerked back to the real world by some inconvenience. That's the challenge here: to be so immersed in thanksgiving that I don't notice the problems. Or to take that thought one step further: to have such faith in God's plan for me that I see even the "problems" as blessings. Gulp!! 


But right now, the line between problem and blessing is just so blurry. 


I went back to the doctor last week to get the results from all of my blood work and  X-rays. (The rheumatologist wasn't quite ready to confirm the fibromyalgia diagnosis, so he did eleventy million tests to see if anything else showed up.) Apparently, I'm super-duper healthy, which is great. But then why do I feel so crappy? The doctor said everything looked good . . . so, of course, I cried. Haha. Poor doctor. He didn't quite know what to do with that turn of events. 


I was really hoping something little would show up, I could take a pill for a week or two and be done. Instead, we're sticking with the fibromyalgia diagnosis and upping my vitamin D in addition to the other meds I'm taking. 


It's not terrible. But with no real end in sight, it's just a bit disheartening. Of course, the blessing is that isn't not cancer or lupus or something terminal. And I'm sure God is using the pain and fatigue to teach me something. It's just hard for me to be thankful for it right now. 


I'm hoping it will become clearer as I keep focusing on ways to work around (or even with) these obstacles and as I continue counting life's blessings. Some items from my eventual list of 1,000 include:
  • Thank you's
  • Empty laundry basket
  • Cards in the mail
  • Brother-sister 'night-'nights

Are you dealing with a blessing cleverly disguised as a problem?
What are some of your little blessings from the last week?

Friday, January 6, 2012

HHmmmmmmmm

II  ssaatt  ddoowwnn  ttoo  wwrriittee  aa  nneeww  ppoosstt  aanndd  tthhiiss  iiss  wwhhaatt  II  ffoouunndd!! HHmmmmmm..  

EEiitthheerr  II  aamm  mmoorree  ttiirreedd  tthhaann  II  tthhoouugghhtt  oorr  ssoommeetthhiinngg  iiss  wwrroonngg  wwiitthh  mmyy  ccoommppuutteerr..

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

I Need a Bigger Bucket


"A man without ambition is dead. A man with ambition but no love is dead. A man with ambition and love for his blessings here on earth is ever so alive."

--Pearl Bailey


With the new year comes new items to the bucket list. I don't consider them "resolutions" because that seems like I'm just begging for failure and because these aren't things that I plan to accomplish in the next year (although I'm hoping I can manage to check at least a couple of them off the list).
  • Have someone draw a likeness of me in cartoon form. Not a caricature, but a cartoon likeness of me like Wonder Woman. (That'd be awesome!!)

  • Publish a book. It could even be self-published. I just want something tangible that I've written that future generations can read and realize what a cool chick I was. Maybe I could write a children's book. That couldn't be too hard, right? Five words per page? Yep, I could do that.

  • Bring awareness to the importance of organ donation.

  • Visit all 50 states. So far, I can scratch South Carolina, Florida, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Alabama, and Ohio off the list, plus Washington, DC, which I realize isn't a state, but it has representation in the Miss America pageant, which is good enough for me.

  • Learn to fly a plane. And, maybe even more importantly, land a plane.

  • Have lunch (or dinner. I'm not picky.) with Morgan Freeman, Sandra Bullock, Betty White and Reese Witherspoon. Not necessarily at the same time (although that would be kinda phenomenal).

  • Manage my fibromyalgia through diet and exercise. No prescription meds!!

  • Provide the voice for a cartoon character (movie, TV show or video game).
Here's where you, my loyal and well-connected readers, come in. Help a sister out. Surely, one of you has a connection somewhere that can help me mark some of these items (or the earlier ones in the sidebar to the left) off my ever-growing bucket list. Even if it's just to offer me encouragement or advice.


The plan is to mark some off before I add more.