looking towards the light – solc #31

I am thankful for the daffodils that have already come and gone to remind us that winter really has packed its bags to leave. As we get ready to begin the month of April and we prepare for the showers that this month is known for, we try to look past this gloomy time and look forward to the May flowers that this liquid nourishment brings. Yet as I look around today I can discover that many smaller flowers are also already declaring the wonderful change of seasons.

Some cold and cloudy days it doesn’t seem worth the trouble to stop and look for these small signs of spring. We focus on the lack of sun or the cool temperatures and often overlook the blooms that are already there. But I love this quote: “Flowers don’t worry about how they’re going to bloom. They just open up and turn toward the light and that makes them beautiful.”  (Jim Carrey) When it is time for them to unfurl, they just do it, without concern. And they are beautiful.

In my elementary music class in college long ago, I had to choose a poem and set it to music. I can’t remember the tune I floundered around with, or the poet’s name, but I still recall the words:

I was up so tiptoe early that the flowers were all pearly,

As they waited in their places for the sun to dry their faces.

Hearing those words and thinking about a garden of flowers lining up for their morning wake-up warmth still makes me smile.

There’s a lesson in this for all of us, I think. Shouldn’t we look towards the sun, and do our best to carry out our roles in life despite any circumstances that get in our way? Can’t we try to seek the best in life and dwell on that to get us through? By focusing on the good, the bad has less power to control our thinking. Walt Whitman said, “Keep your face always toward the sunshine and the shadow will fall behind you.”  Doesn’t it feel so invigorating to stand in the warmth of the sunshine? That is going to be my aim from now on.

Happy Easter to all! On this day we celebrate the centerpiece of our Christianity, the reason for our belief, the hope for our future – the resurrection of our Lord Jesus. May it be a beautiful day for you today, and may the Son encourage your soul and help you to bloom and grow.

wood fer sale- will delivery – solc #30

I live in a town south of Nashville that is busting at the seams. The growth in the last twenty years is hard to keep up with. Yet we have a historic downtown area that reminds us of our roots. And we are fortunate enough to have a local radio station, to connect us with our past and with each other.

The station is located in a small house on a busy street near the area’s largest mall. But it is separated from all that by the open fields that surround it. The WAKM red letters and the large antenna let passers-by note that there’s a radio station here.

What you can’t tell by looking at this scene is that in the early days of this station Elvis used to stop by here for coffee. And you won’t know by looking that Sissy Spacek sang Coal Miner’s Daughter songs over the airwaves in this very spot. And you can’t see that years ago a local nurse, in uniform, with her high school aged daughter, Wynonna, would come by on Friday mornings to play their guitars and sing together here.

These days there aren’t so many would-be stars stopping in (or maybe we just don’t know that yet). But the radio station continues to broadcast community events, interview coaches and players of high school teams, announce ball games play-by-play, feature local people and their stories, send out happy birthday wishes, and give details of upcoming funerals.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays at noon, the program called “Trade Time Live” provides both business and entertainment services. For sixty years this program has allowed callers to promote items they have to sell, trade, or barter. Featured selections include refrigerators, baby chicks, electric wheelchairs, and nanny goats. The callers interact with the deejays in unexpected and humorous ways.  Tom Lawrence, co-owner of WAKM, says, “It’s as much humor as a swap and shop. It provides a service to the community, but at the same time it’s just downright funny.”

I can remember on trips to Florida during my youth we would listen to local AM radio stations along the way until the signal became too fuzzy, and then we would turn the dial to find the next town’s offerings. Coming from the “big city” of Nashville, we would often laugh at the things we heard. I remember the monotone voice of this one woman caller distinctly: “Far wood fer sale – will delivery.”

But now I smile for a different reason. I am reminded of a simpler time, and I am happy to know that such transactions are still available in our otherwise online world. I am thankful that the owners of our local radio station continue to make our town stand out from the rest.

 

bird song in the air – solc #29

Just before daylight this morning I awoke, a little stiff from sleeping so hard, and congested as usual. I thought about what today held in store – nothing noteworthy, just another day. I ran through my mental list of to do’s and wondered what to begin with this morning. I thought about turning over and going back to sleep, and then…

I heard it…

The bird song, the “dawn chorus,” filling the air completely – just as the color began to lighten ever so slightly in the sky. But the birds knew what was coming, they knew the light was on its way for a brand new day… and they sang. And sang.

So I did get up and I came downstairs and I opened the door to hear it better. The surround sound engulfed me and lifted my spirits immediately.

What do they sing about, each day so early? The scientists will tell you they are establishing their territories, or looking for a mate. They’ll say they sing in the morning because there is less wind, and the sound travels better. And they’ll tell you it is still too dark for the birds to hunt for the food they need, so they sing before the break of dawn.

But I heard more than that. This morning, their song was a reminder to me of how important this day is going to be. They told me that it didn’t matter what I was to do, but more importantly, today was a day that I could be – be alive, be happy, be thankful. They reminded me of the coming of spring, and of the joy of being who I am, and the possibilities that this day would hold.

a donkey isn’t a mule – solc #28

Last week at church, the children’s sermon was about the original Palm Sunday. The Biblical story was told of how a donkey was taken into service for Jesus to use, and the woman leading the lesson described it as a sort of parade into Jerusalem with Jesus riding the donkey.  She compared it to a celebration in a neighboring town.  Mule Day is coming up next weekend. There, she said, people also ride their donkeys, although they call them mules.

I told my husband that the teacher in me wanted to tell her that donkeys and mules are not the same thing. She was going to tell the same story in the second church service and I wanted her to get it right. But then I couldn’t find her after the service so I guess she misled another group of people at the second hour.

We used to live in Columbia, the “Mule Capital of the World,” so I do know just a little about these animals.

A mule is the offspring of a male donkey and a mare, or female horse. And that’s the only way to get a mule, too, because most mules can’t reproduce. Something else you may not know (or ever need to know) is that a “hinny” comes from a stallion and a female donkey. And yes, they do look a lot like a mule.

Mule Day is a big celebration in Columbia. When we lived there, one of the community organizations I was involved with used to sell admission tickets to Maury County Park on Mule Day weekend. Most of the time this involved selling wristbands and making change for people who wanted to come into the park for the festivities:  the mule show, the mule pull, the craft show, or any other activity that weekend. (Everything associated with Mule Day, except for the parade through downtown Columbia, was held at the park.) So you could see friends and neighbors, welcome tourists, or watch people as you collected admissions.

Working at “the back gate” to the park was a different experience, however. No first time worker was allowed to man the back gate. The back gate was where vehicles entered the park, not just the walk-in traffic like at the other gates. I thought it sounded silly to be such a big deal – and really, how bad could it be – that is, until I worked the back gate.

The circumstance that seemed to cause the most concern at this gate was the fact that one person could get in free for every mule that was in their trailer behind them. So if you had a truck with three people and only two mules, one person had to pay.  And this was true only for mules – no other animals. If you had a horse, you had to pay.  This did not make horse owners happy. Or truck loads of people with just a few mules.

The animals, thankfully, got in free, no matter what species they were.

Another concern was that people would often bring campers and spend the night in the park. Then they would trailer their animals to the parade and bring them back. If they forgot to get a pass to show they had already paid admission the night before, then we were supposed to charge them (again). This did not make these people happy, either.

When you were standing at the truck driver’s door and couldn’t see into the enclosed trailer behind the truck, you had to ask, “Is that a horse or a mule you have back there?” This would always be met by loud guffaws and taunts such as “Why she don’t even know the differ’nce ‘tween a horse and a mule! Wonder who raised her like that?” But I would just smile and say, “Well, I just can’t see from this angle,” or some such kindly reply. After several instances of this same situation and response, though, my words were a lot nicer than my thoughts.

My most memorable experience at the back gate was when a truck driven by a man, with his wife, drove up pulling a trailer of six goats (which I could see and also hear). When I asked for their admission payment, they said, “But we have our goats back there.” To which I replied, “Only people with mules get in free.”

The woman launched into a tirade about how these goats were the most entertaining part of the parade and they smelled better than the mules and whose idea was this anyway and she wanted to see the Mule Day manager. I listened politely and said, “All I know is that you need to pay me your admission to get in the gate.” My friend working with me thought this woman might have had a gun in her car, and she could see that she was getting riled up enough to possibly pull it out if she had one, and she was alarmed by the turn the conversation was taking. So my friend said, “For goodness sake, just let them in.” And I did. And I never worked the back gate again.

But I have to give mules credit for being very smart animals, not nearly as stubborn as some of the people who you may find associated with them.

random happy thoughts – solc #27

1 – I awoke this morning before dawn and noticed, in the dark outside my bathroom window, a full moon beaming through the trees. It was not only beautiful in and of itself, but it told me that the skies were clear. We have had clouds for so long I had almost forgotten what nature’s lights in the sky looked like.

2 – Sure enough it is a beautiful sunny day – finally! Still cold, but warming. And the new buds and shoots are getting excited and growing – almost before my very eyes.

3 – I continue today to clean out places where I have squirreled away belongings. Seeing them in a new light, I am finding more treasures. I have never had a true linen closet, but I must find a place for one. So many hand decorated linens I have inherited!  I am not sure how best to use and/or display them, but for now I am just thrilled to be reminded of them. I think of the endless hours that went into their creation…

4 – I have been emailing information about various parties we are planning for upcoming weddings. I am so happy for these “children” starting new lives together, as well as thankful for the friends we have to celebrate with together.

5 –Attended by hundreds of people, the annual meeting of the company my husband works for is unlike that of many businesses in today’s world. Memories from last year’s meeting make me so thankful to be a part of a corporate family such as this one, and have me looking forward to this year’s meeting tomorrow.

6 – Because my husband is busy with “the day before the meeting” duties, I am having dinner with a dear friend. And I am thinking of treating myself to Krystal hamburgers for lunch!

7 – I am listening to an old CD, Blessid Union of Souls, and I am enjoying the memories this music evokes. Plus now, as then, I like the tunes! Whatever happened to them?

8– I went to the mailbox and found a box with the smile that makes me smile. Yes, even though I am reading my first book on my new Kindle, I am still ordering “paper” books from Amazon, and I get excited when they arrive.

9 – I have always loved the work of Brian Andreas (truthfully the words are what I like, more than the art – but that’s just me), and I found a couple of his works in my cleaning out. Here’s one that “speaks to me”:

My favorite time of day

is just at dark

when all thoughts of what must get done stop…

and small pools of light come alive

on tired faces everywhere.

And here’s another:

Someday, the light will shine like a sun through my skin & they will say, What have you done with your life? & though there are many moments I think I will remember, in the end, I will be proud to say, I was one of us.

10 –  I have seen my daughter a lot this week and our son is coming home from college tomorrow. We will get to celebrate Easter together this year, and I am so thankful.

11 – We finally got our first copy of Garden and Gun. I let it expire, and I had to renew and it seemed to take forever to come. I am a true southerner, and even though some other magazines seem to have lost their regional identity, this is a true southern magazine.

12 – and most of all:  This is Holy Week, and I rejoice in the resurrection of Jesus, my Lord, Savior, and Friend.

treasure hunt – solc #26

Today was another cold and snowy Spring Break day. I woke up to snow on the ground and on the rooftops – it melted as the morning wore on, but the snow kept falling. All. Day. Long.

And yet it was another fantastic day! Today I started the big clean up and clean out. I finished two closets and several pieces of furniture. There’s so much left to do, but getting started feels so empowering. And, as an added bonus, I found several things I had totally forgotten about – or lost, and thought I would never see again:

1 – the mother-of-pearl covered Bible from Jerusalem, given to me by a friend of my mother’s when I was six,

2 – the Bunnykins figurines we collected for our son when he was small,

3 – a brand new Brooks Brothers no-iron shirt for my husband,

4 – the guest book from our wedding almost thirty-five years ago,

5 – pictures of my cross-stitch designs and my husband’s woodworking projects that we gave as presents when we first married,

6 – my dad’s railroad pocket watches,

7 – our daughter’s pearl bracelet she had as a baby,

8 – the full plan (and other paperwork) from the diet we followed to lose weight several years ago,

9 – T-shirts saved to make into a quilt for our son,

10 – coins from Canada and Ireland,

11 – gloves for dressy occasions (that I looked for last month when we attended a “Princess Grace” fashion show), and

12 – the handmade bonnet for the china doll that my aunt made for our daughter when she was in the second grade (everything else was intact except for this missing bonnet).

The weather is supposed to be better tomorrow – but that isn’t as important to me now, because I am planning to stay home again and do more cleaning up and cleaning out.

Wonder what treasures tomorrow will bring?

 

a simple start – solc #25

Today is the first weekday of spring break. It was dreary, cold, and snowy.  Even so, today was a great day!

I got to spend the day with my wonderful daughter. Although we live close to each other, we don’t often spend time together on a weekday because we are both working. But today we were together, all day, and in our conversations we got caught up on lots of stories, ideas, plans, and dreams.

We drove to another town to visit with my aunt and uncle, and that was a joy as well. We had a good visit, a delicious lunch, and some fun laughs together.

What a fabulous way to start Spring Break – even in the cold and snow –  and to catch up on each others’ lives as well.