Wednesday, January 22, 2014

This week I've barely thought in words at all .  It's been in shapes, colors, patterns and textures. Analyzation does that for me.  Is it like that for everyone? If I analyze throughout the day, I feel exhausted and it's hard to make thoughts fit into words…Words seem confining and claustrophobic at the end of a day of analyzation.  I think it's because our minds actually do wander more when thinking in shapes and lines and colors and uses a part of the brain that doesn't get to go roaming when thinking in words.
Well, anyhow, one of my goals is to blog more, simply because it exercises the will and thought of writing. Mama also sat me down and told me I should. So here's to two days of organization and cleaning.  Now I am at peace with my room and my drawers. Now I feel like I can actually work.

Daddy has been talking about living an Abundant life in Christ.  He says one way to do it is to be thankful…Thankfulness opens our eyes to the many blessings God gives us every day. I want to be more thankful…I've found that the prayers I pray consisting only of thanking God leave me refreshed and thinking about God's goodness. Need to do that more.

Here's what I started and didn't finish because that day was full of family and fast walking and food and celebrating and poetry as we celebrated Milly's birthday party…

From Saturday::
On this morning's walk I met Jeb and Wilma. {Jeb, being a very small dog with an intensely squished face and Wilma being a very large cat with a white bib and crimped tail. } I don't know why, but something about those names being said together has made me smile all day.  There was a human too, that I met, whose name I do not know. He was such a memorable human, however, that he joined the vast cast of Dicken's Characters in my mind and served in this morning's role as the keeper of a trinket shop who yelled at his pets in the most endearing way.
I say endearing, for it was the kind of yell that insures the human that the other human is completely on your side and completely put out with his pets.  On the other hand, it equally insures the pets that the familiar yell is one their master uses to display how adorably mischievous and rebellious they are, and that they're not expected to heed the commands at all.
Hence, it is a happy situation for both humans and pets: the human feels protected and acknowledged, while the pets feel doted on and proud of their success in misbehaving again.

Happy Wednesday!

{and writing "Wednesday" makes me smile because it reminds me of last wednesday night when we were at church.  Bro Petroff, with his huge shoulders and grizzly beard came over to me. Quiet Bro Petroff with huge arms and hands of iron an expression to match it, walked over to me and said,
"Yo! G!  You know what day it is?!"
"uh, the 15th?"
Bro Petroff used one of his iron hands to swat my shoulder as he said emphatically,
"It's HUMPDAAAAY!!!!"  And he walked off laughing the Bro Petroff Laugh that a person would know any day, any time if a person's ever heard it before.

Friday, January 17, 2014

happy birthday to a heroine

"Oh honey, there's not a day goes by but that I miss him," she said in answer to my question.
Grandmama has a comforting way of turning from one thing to another in her kitchen.  Every drawer and shelf and pan knows the long felt touch of her strong, small hands. I stood leaning on the doorway as she moved about the little space. She was making pie crusts and roasts and would turn from counter to stove poking and checking the meat, then she'd turn again to stir and roll the dough.
"We were best buddies.  We did everything together.  Sometimes it's funny to me because we were so different, but I knew God had his hand in that match.  You know, when you think about him coming all the way from Spain at only 8 years old, and how we even met - why - it's a miracle we even DID meet!  He was a night owl, you know, so we'd be in bed and it'd be late late at night and he'd have the lamp on reading. He slept on that side near the window because it had a lamp.  Usually he'd want to talk and talk before I ever went to sleep. That was our time, you know, because the kids would be in bed and that's really the only quiet time we had!" She chuckled.  Grandmama has the merriest chuckle and she does it so often that she seems to sprinkle her own life and others with that merry-ness.
"He loved to read the Bible and he'd read it into the night - sometimes until three o'clock in the morning!  And he got excited - you know - so he'd wake me up and say 'Patty, you have got to hear this!'
Sometimes it feels like years ago when he died, but most of the time it feels like yesterday.  But I don't let myself dwell on it except for one day in the year and that day I'll let myself think about it and look at photos and read our letters. I like watching the video of his funeral.  He always said "I don't want there to be moping around and crying at my funeral. I want it to be a celebration.  Feed everybody barbecue and sing songs and have some fellowship. That's what I want."

Grandmama is eighty-four today.  She's lived seventeen years without Granddaddy, and from the moment she lost him, she continued to spend her time loving God and serving others. So much of Grandmama was Granddaddy, but she's been a wonderful example of joy through sorrow and beauty through pain.

We were lying on her bed one night not too long ago. {Granddaddy eventually converted her to a night owl and now she sleeps on his side by the lamp.} She was reading - she is always reading something - and said,
"I never thought I'd live to be seventy! So I kinda just laugh every birthday when I get a year older. 'Ah, well!' I say, 'If I'm still breathin' there must be a reason!'.  I'm happy to be living. I just pray that as long as I am alive God will grant me a zest for life.  Some people lose that, you know, as they get older.
He's still blessing me. I have everything I need."

That's what I want to be like... She's the happiest, contended-est person I know, and if you know her, you know that.

~~~ Happy Birthday, Grandmama ~~~

"You know, I remember seeing old people when I was young and thinking, 'My, that person must feel very old. But you never do! You just keep seeing the reflection in the mirror growing more wrinkled and white haired and you think 'Well, my body isn't wanting to do such and such anymore', but you never feel old. I almost gasped one day when I looked in the mirror. I thought 'Who's that old person?' And then of course I saw it was me!"  She laughed that funny, happy laugh and it made me think what a funny Bender of Things Time is.  Grandmama feels 17, and still could be, 
that Bright Soul, not in maturity, but in spirit. 
She's really, quite delightfully,

Thursday, January 16, 2014

a very tall mama

The freezer seemed very tall, and so did Mama, which is how I know I must have been quite young.  She was rummaging through the icy insides of that freezer, trying to find cool whip for a special treat she was making. I consider my childhood, for the most part, to be a sunny one. It was adventurous and bright and full of freedom - until school, that is, and even that was something Mama tried to make enjoyable.  Learning to read under her was an experience she guided so that words came alive and wriggly under my fingers. When spring came we got itchy and excited and Mama knew we had cabin fever, so she'd let us out of school for a few minutes to clear our minds in the air and sunshine.  But May First was the day we waited for with bouncing excitement, for on May First and not a day sooner, we could go barefoot at last. This we'd do as soon as we woke up, running outside in dewy grass and poking our toes in moss that grew under the Maple tree.

That is what most readily comes to mind when thinking of my childhood. Sunshine and adventure.
But this day, as I stood looking up at my very tall Mama and the even taller freezer she was rearranging in her search, there was a little cloud that hovered over my bright sky and quaked and threatened with a feeling I'd seldom known before. There were three teenage boys and lots of little mouths to feed and clothe and pay life's way for. Believe it or not, there were some days of concern with nine kids to raise. Perhaps I sensed this, or heard something, but whatever the case, I'd gotten the idea into my head that there would not be enough money or food for all of us. And this was terrible. { I'd learned not too much earlier that money was some strange thing that everyone who wanted to live must have.  Therefore It was the most terrible thing I could imagine, for if there were no money, there must be no food and I was sure we'd all die.}  This was the only rational reasoning I could put to my dark little cloud, at least. What filled my cloud most with fear, however, was the sense that Mama herself was worried about it and that she might not be able to fix it.  What a foreign idea, "…..Mama, not fix it?"  She'd fixed everything in life, from scraped knees, to belly aches, to fevers and colds to nightmares and bad attitudes - I was absolutely confident that there was't a thing she couldn't fix.  You could bruise up life any which way you pleased and I'd be fine with that, because I'd be sitting right in her lap as I watched her patch it up again.  But I wondered, with a slow dread, "…Could it be that Mama is worried?…." And that is when I felt the pit in my stomach - a tight little knot, right in the middle somewhere - because I knew at that moment, she was worried and she couldn't fix it. To this day, when I recall that image to my mind and the moment it dawned on me that all might not be well - that Mama herself might be upset and worried with life, and that she could not help or fix it, or make it better - I can still feel that knot in my stomach.

She must have heard the groans coming from the thumb-sucking figure lying on my bed, for she came in and sat beside me.  She said I was having growing pains in my leg, so she held my hand and sang me the songs she'd sung to me for years: "Angels Watching Over Me", "God's Gift To Us", and "He's Got the Whole World In His Hands".  I guess I'd thought growing pains were just that: things you grow out of once you get old. But I'm realizing more and more, they're pains you grow into. They do help you grow. That day, standing there watching Mama by the freezer, a growing pain took hold and stretched me a little bit. And while it was stretching my childish mind, Mama gave me some advice I guess I'll never forget. I stood there and spilled the beans,
"Mama, I'm afraid…is there enough food?  What if we run out of food?  What if we don't have enough money?" She looked down at me for a moment then said,
"Darlin' don't worry about that. We don't always know how God will provide, but He's promised He will take care of all His children. That means, even if things look bad, you still trust in your Heavenly Father and ask Him to give you what you need.  But while you're waiting on Him to answer, you remember to have a calm and quiet spirit because He says that is of highest price to Him."

That day I saw a ripple in what has long been a Calm and Quiet Spirit.  Mama doesn't lead by word. She leads by example and reinforces that example with her words. Since that time I've seen her deal with circumstances she could have easily yelled at or said cutting, biting words in response to.  But she follows examples of Great Women like Mary who "pondered all these things in her heart".  Whether dealing with circumstances inside or outside of the home, she has strived to have that calm and quiet spirit.  She does this by directly handing over her concerns, hurts, fears, dreams and heart to God, instead of reacting to those words or threats, people or situations of life.  "Anything that is enough to take up your time worrying or hoping, dreading or desiring it, is enough of a reason to pray about it," she's told me.  "Don't react to people; give it over to God and He'll handle it for you."

Though we're about the same height, Mama is taller now than she ever was that day by the freezer.  Taller in wisdom and kindness and maturity and in knowing how to love people and in understanding life itself.  I can't be thankful enough to my Very Tall Mama…

p.s. she's 5'3"

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

view from the bottom of the hill

I remember standing at the base of our driveway, looking up at our house, and thinking how ugly it was.  It lay flat and broad, like a large nose that had been smashed against one's face. One of its many faults was that it had no stairs and that day I was especially bruised in my heart, that all the times of playing house I had to pretend there was an upstairs instead of having real ones. Later, I told my brother, Chris, how sad it was that we had to live in that house.  What a mean thing it was that we didn't live in some nice old mansion.

It must be one of Satan's more disgustingly pleasant jobs to watch the simplicity of childhood fall away. As He pulls back the curtain of Oblivion before the eyes of that child, I imagine he receives a warped glee from it.  Before that time life was beautiful in a way that was sweetest…We loved our things, not because they were nice or pretty, but rather because they were ours. A toy need not be shiny, nor clothes be new, nor a house be pretty,  to be loved deeply and best. Sure, we'd see lovely things - a friend's house or family or horse or toys or yard, and could admire it. We might even fight over it for the time, but it was not ours and therefore it would never hold the same beauty as the old things at home that we'd known and loved so well.  At the end of the day, it's the comfort of the ragged old blanket or teddy bear we reach for, not our friend's foreign niceties.

Oh how greedily Satan must anticipate that moment of unveiling. You may not remember the moment exactly, but you can remember the after effects of it, I am sure. As he he pulls the cord, opening the curtains to a so - called Reality, he watches our face the whole time - that wretched Beast. He absorbs the horror in our eyes of seeing our sweet and beautiful World of Oblivion, crumble…Oh the smile - the twisted, evil smile that comes over his face. It is done.  He has implanted a concept - a feeling - a doubt that we are all too familiar with and for the rest of our lives there will be a struggle between This Bad Seed, and what we knew before. Do you remember it?  Do you remember the first time you felt the effects of what he'd done?  I speak of Embarrassment.

Oh what a plague it was, constantly challenging my happiness…ever haunting my sense of contentment. It was especially bad up to and through my teenage years. But don't we see it everywhere? People are embarrassed. Embarrassed of things we have no business being ashamed of - family, home, standards, morals, convictions…We're embarrassed.  It drives people to try and set up a standard of life that is ridiculous.  Instead of doing what is sensible and honest and what we like, we'll often do whatever it is we think will be "Accepted by Friends"…{ I believe it's often an attempt to appease our  so-called friends so that they won't talk badly of us…we fear that stab in the back and go to great lengths of worry and stress to please them.}  It's ultimately not a true reflection of what we can afford, or what our lifestyle is like. {And may I say that if you're so concerned with the gossip and backstabbing of your friends, perhaps you should consider deepening your friendships beyond material things, or letting go of such friends altogether? It's not worth such non-essential stress in life.}

 I remember going out to eat with my family. That number of people doesn't escape notice, especially looking as much alike as we do. My face was red because I blush at the times I wish I wouldn't. There was so much to be embarrassed about. We were behind the times - who wears jean jumpers anymore? Who still has a beeper? We were so loud and everyone was looking at us. The girls didn't have their hair fixed and buffets are humiliating establishments of society.  I was embarrassed, and with doggone good grounds. There was so much to be embarrassed about.
Or was there? What would happen if we were to stop being embarrassed? Most often, when we are brave enough to look that embarrassment in the face, we'll see it's no more than a bully's attempt at making us ashamed of the best things in life.  Giving into that Bully is willingly robbing ourselves of a rich contentment and happiness. I've been on a quest for over a year now, not to give into the lie of Embarrassment. Oh, I find myself wondering in fear many times, "What if they think - " and then I stop. When I've gotten that far, I realize I'm not living an honest life; I'm playing to the crowd if I let "What if they think", sway my decisions. So what if they do think? Go ahead!  Face the worst. What if they think I'm fat or tacky or my teeth are crooked or my arms are hairy or my ears are too big or my shoes are clunky? What if they think my family is weird and rowdy and don't use good manners? Well? What if it's True? A lot of the times it is. And that's when I've got to face the truth myself. I'm not perfect. Neither is my family. Neither is my home. Neither are Any Of Us Humans.  There is a freedom in looking your fears square in the eye, then moving past them. Let them think it. Let me accept the imperfections of my own life.  We all have them.

But stop beating yourself up. Quit letting Embarrassment beat up your life and the things you value.  Love the people and places and things in your life because they are yours. Be thankful for what you've got and you'll find embarrassment slinking away in a shadow of its own shame for ever having tried to make you regret the Honest and Best Things in life.

The other day I was standing at the base of our driveway, looking up at our house.  That old house is beat up, worn out and lived in. It's seen more life in these 30 years than some houses see in a lifetime. I love this old house. This long, grey Submarine of a house. This place full of memories and love and protection and freedom; this haven away from the storms of life. I love this house. And as I stood at the end of our driveway looking up at it sitting on its little hill, with shrubs and bushes nestled before it; with its tall pines on the side and with the elm and maple standing behind it - those solid old watchtowers  - I saw the prettiest place in the whole wide world.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

home fires

One of the things that has made me smile today was waking up to the clatter of dishes, the shuffle of feet and daddy singing "Count Your Blessings" in a bearish growl, all by himself in the kitchen. Daddy cooks breakfast during the week, most times, and he and I are breakfast buddies. He does a bang up job of doing it all just so.  He fries bacon first, in the large skillet and turns them only once.  Then, when the bacon is perfectly brown and crispy, but not too crispy, he forks it onto a plate lined with a paper towel so that it soaks up the extra grease. When the skillet has cooled a little, Daddy cracks an egg on the counter with one hand and eases it into the pan with the remaining bacon grease.  The edges of the egg crackle a little and bubble, and when daddy flips them, he does so gently.
"A leedle crahhcks tooo de ehgg ahhnd theen intoo deh pahn, mahn, ahnd eez' een' thehhre' mahn," he says and hums and sings to the stove.
 We sit at his end of the table to the predictable goodness and, depending on who's up, there will sometimes be a third or fifth to join, but however many are present, we join hands and daddy prays over the food and the day.

This week I've been thinking about the blessing of having parents who love God and me. They love all their children, but I have personally tested their love - sometimes sorely - and have found it true and enduring.  I was not a nice child. I was temperamental and moody and pitched fits about anything I didn't like.  There seemed to be an anger that had a grip on me and as I became a teenager, this only grew worse.  Though I didn't pitch tantrums in the same fashion I had, that rebellion knew how to manifest itself in hurtful ways. Mama would put an arm around me, or ask how I was, or do any number of things she could to show that she was interested in my life and that she cared about me. I'd say terrible, mean things to her and as soon as I said it I could see in her eyes that my arrows had struck their target.  It's a horrible and wretched thing to see your mother's eyes full of pain that you've just inflicted. And yet, she has always reacted in a calm, quiet way, still reassuring me that she loves me more than I could ever know.  I can still be moody.  Can still pitch fits inside and deal with that dreaded Old Man.  But by God's grace I've seen love in action in a consistent way and it has done much to shape the person I've grown into. Thank goodness, I am still learning from the example of parents God has given me.

I think perhaps one of the saddest losses of character we have experienced society at large, over the past several years, is that of Shame. Shame is an agent of that Noble and Blessed thing we call Conscience, I think. It is a tool of sorts that picks at the Dam of Pride and helps us realize we're wrong. It is the thing that gnaws at my thoughts as I lie in bed, knowing I've not acted right or kind to someone and it prods me to get up and set things right, not letting the sun go down on my wrath.  I've done that before, by the way - gone to bed having said words in anger to someone I love and while lying there, I've known that if I didn't get up and apologize and ask forgiveness, that it would trouble me all night. But being stubborn, I'd not get up. I'd lie back down and go to sleep.  Not only have I been troubled by dreams, but by the way I felt on waking.  It's a sense of tension, embarrassment, then pride - not wanting any of that to show.  Often, the fact that I hadn't made things right the night before would carry over into the whole of the day and I'd go about sulking and moody, smoldering like coals doused with water. How silly! Pride hurts to step on, but it's always on the other side of pride that we'll find a sense of peace and resolve, even if we have to make a fool out of ourselves to do it.

Mama says "Family is worth 'It.' .  Whatever that 'It' is in your life, it's worth it. It's worth the hurt you feel when raising your kids. It's worth the nights of caring for sick children and exhaustion and homesickness you will feel; it's worth the work it takes to feed and love and make a home for your family. You'll never regret the love you put into your them. But Satan hates the family, so of course it won't be easy to have one, or to be consistent or to be loving all the time. But the thing that counts is that you keep trying, and you keep doing and you get back up again when you feel like a failure. There will be days that you know all of your time and work, blood, sweat and tears have been Worth It."

Monday, January 13, 2014

A Book We Should All Have On Our Shelves

Perils of the World: Survey of World History And The Classic Struggles of Mankind Hardcover

Author: A. Brum Fulmer

    About the Author

Brum Fulmer was born in Lawsonville, Georgia, in 1982. He entered Dekalb Technical College at age 13 and graduated with a B.A. at age 15. He received his master's at 18 From Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, and was appointed proctor of the college. He Continued his education at the University of Georgia earning a degree in soil sciences.  He continued there, finishing with a PhD in Agricultural Taxonomy.  He became Professor of Taxonomy at age 36. An expert in Audio Book Production, Reading And Technique, he was appointed to's Board of Directors in 2042. He wrote much literature, of which his Perils remains the most famous. When he died in 2083, Prof. Gaute Brown Jr. held a magnificent state funeral for him and had him buried on North Campus. Brown took great pains to make sure the writings and library of Brum Fulmer were preserved.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 960 pages
  • Publisher: Master Books; imprint (March 1, 2097)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780890515105
  • ISBN-13: 978-0890515105
  • ASIN: 0890515107
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 8.3 x 10.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review:
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #157,215 in Books
    • #97 in Books > History > Ancient 

Editorial Reviews


A most remarkable and outstanding piece of literature. A must-have for any lover of knowledge and history, which would include the perils that have challenged man down through the ages. -- Roger Howerton, Acquisitions Editor, New Leaf Press and Master Books, October 21, 2003 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Reporter and Acclaimed Reviewer Of Books, Ole' Mr. Fulmer.  In a private interview with Mr. Fulmer yesterday, we learned that he has traveled the world, observing the lives and lifestyles of many cultures. He has served in undercover missions across the globe to study mankind and analyze the workings of the human mind. Though it is only one of the many hats he wears, Mr. Fulmer continues to give insight, not only on Books but on his own observations of Life In General at A Closer Look.
Please schedule A Conversation of Thought with Mr. C.E. Fulmer for a richer outlook on life and books.
to schedule, please call 770.787.4039

 ~ //\\//\\//\\//\\ ~
The e-mail above is one I received a few days ago, with the note:
…."Here's a book we should all have on our shelves…"

The boys are always floating down The Amazon on their raft in search of some sort of treasures or other. Chris, especially goes frequently to the Amazon and receives all manner of mysterious looking brown packages that he says he picked up along his adventures.
He must have been rafting a few days ago, for I was part of a group who received this e-mail concerning a book he'd found on The Amazon.

   Mama had to stay home from church yesterday,  because she was sick.  She was lying on the couch as all of us came in from from Sunday morning service. A round of "Hey Mama, feeling better? Get some sleep? Do you have the fevers? " was said several times as various kids walked in the door.
"Yes, some better. Thanks, darlin.  No, no fever right now, just tired. Yes, I've slept lots, thank goodness."
"Hey Hun, you feelin' better?" Daddy asked as he came in the door.
"Yes, dear, some.  How was church?"
"Well, they didn't stone me so it must have been fair." said Daddy as he put down his books.
"What'd'ya preach on?"
"Bible and the pulpit," he said, pulling loose the fashionable noose around his neck and unbuttoning the top of his collar.  He said that in his silly voice and his eyes flashed a sparkle as we fired back in smiling groans, "Oh daaaddddyy…."
The general distress of the kitchen was what to make and someone hollered from that direction, "What are we supposed to be fixin' for lunch??"
 Mama's Sunday dinners are like none other, complete with every good thing; but since she was not well, it fell to the hands of the kids and Daddy to scare up a meal. Anne suggested cabbage heads for all of us to share. Daddy was more in mind of wings, or soup and sandwiches.
In the end it was a hodge podge of grilled cheese, mine and Dawn's first batch of caramel popcorn, soup, raw cabbage, nachos, cereal and collard leaves from the garden.  As we set about constructing this  meal some how the matter of Abe and books came into the general ruckus of mismatched conversation.
One snippet that rose above the rest of the clatter began the following exchange:
"Didn't you know there was a man named A. Brum Fulmer who wrote a book called " Perils of the World?" said Chris, peering over the shoulders of girls who were fixing lunch and reaching between them to the platters of food to take some.  A general exclamation of "WHAT?" followed, but especially by Mama, who said,
 "I think that's just crazy that someone with that same name would write a book called 'Perils of The World'. "
{As a helpful side note, Abrum is responsible for much of our stranger vocabulary, and over the past year, the word "Perilous" has come to play a considerable part in our speech.}

"Mama, you read that e-mail about the book I recommended?" asked Chris.
"Ah, no, hun. Well, I skimmed over it."
"You should read it again, carefully," said Chris, taking a chip.  Daddy took four slices of bread and cut  two slabs of cheese to put between each pair for his grilled cheese sandwich and mine and said,
"Well, you know, there was a Chris Fullmer in Swan Valley, Idaho, but he spelled his name with two L's. "
Mama had pulled her computer to the arm of the couch and was absorbed in the e-mail. Soon she was smiling and then she was laughing and after a fair amount of laughing with no explanation, several pairs of curious feet pattered over to the couch and hovered around the screen. We were laughing too after reading it. I especially like that A. Brum lived until he was One hundred and One. I thought that was very fitting and generous of the author to include.
"Chris, did you make this up?" asked Mama, smiling.
"Me, make it up?" Chris was tilting his head back and grinning mischievously as he popped an olive in his mouth.
"Oh, Christopher, you sly thing. You DID make it up! It looks just like an amazon article though!"
The boys should know, if anyone does, what a book description and review on Amazon looks like; they've ordered enough of them to be experts on the matter.

The idea of some mysterious A.Brum Fulmer and the Reporter who supplied the information on him, was enough to set my imagination spinning, so I drug the boys outside with the sweetest of requests to humor me.  They did - those excellent chums. Champs of a sport they are. It was a lovely Sunday afternoon to be outside and I will say that it was a rather fun project. All the photos were taken outside with no flash - all natural light. Dawn was my undercover reporter/assistant who helped me with the reflector.
I was pleased with the results.  Not only was it enjoyable to experiment with channeling the natural light and testing its powers with the aid of the reflector, but also getting to spend time with two fellows that I think are pretty down-right good-looking.
Wish Jeremy hadn't had to go back.  He would have made the perfect addition to our party.
Also, Milly's birthday is coming up in just a few days, and as there was no reason not to, I included a couple of the upcoming birthday girl.

^Dawn and Brum and  the Trusty reflector.  Oh what a difference in the world they make! 
^  gotta love a man with a pair of boots  ^
^it was much too soft in the garden to take photos with shoes on^
^we've made good use of daddy's old hat. it's seen many years of wear.^
 ^this is what I see and hear coming into a room. don't ask me. I have no idea, it's just milly and dawn being milly and dawnish.
i tried not to cry and so did she. but when i wrapped her up in a hug neither of us could help the tears that came down our cheeks.  it takes a lot of strength to leave the safest place a girl knows and the people that you love to walk back into the world. here we have a quiet place away from the current that constantly pulls downward and the wind that beats without relenting against heart and spirit and mind.
yesterday was especially sad because A.G was sick and tired already and seeing her have to leave and go back to books and late nights and early mornings without sleep and stress and being alone was a hard thing to take. 
"man, change and separation stinks, a.g." i'd told her. 
"i know, ray. but it helps us grow and we become better people by it. it hurts and is sad, but why have people done it throughout all history?…because even though we love our lives we can't stay stagnant. change brings growth and we need that."

Jay's left. Anne's left. I guess they've both taken a little of our hearts with them too.  Still, I remember what Mama says.
"Every day is an adventure, and little moments are worth celebrating. Take time to stop and smell the roses and when you feel sad, think and plan and pray and do for someone else besides yourself.  It's the best aid for the blues, and you'll find yourself happier and more cheery in no time."

Sunday, January 12, 2014

home is a good place to be

"D'you get a hair cut, Brille?"
"Oh Abrum, you noticed!!!"
Chris looked up from his seat at the table as I flourished over to where Abe was sitting on the couch.  In typical fashion he was absorbed in reading an article.  I did a jig, partly in celebration of his keen observation and partly to see if I could  amuse him enough to get a smile out of him. I did get the smile and he said,
"Go on, kid, you're a nut."
"Tell me, Brumly, how could you tell?"  I sat on the cushion and looked inquiringly at him.
 "Well, they generally iron out your hair real good at those places once they've lopped off the hair."
"Dried it. Blow dried it," I told him. "It always makes my hair straight."

This morning Mama made breakfast. Her buttermilk biscuits and thick slices of bacon and daddy's fried eggs, gravy, homemade jellies and jams and - oh lands. It's good. The best part though was having ten people sitting around our table. Ten people that were very glad to be home and together. Daddy says we don't value peace like we ought to until we don't have it, or we see people who don't have it. Then we tend to be thankful again.  I want to be thankful for that peace all the time. Peace between God and me and between the people I love.  Daddy says it can't be taken for granted. We strive for it every day and hold it Precious and Valuable in our lives; we pray for it and live it, even when it's not easy to retain.
 I hope I can do that more.
That old septic tank, poor thing. It's been its lot in life to deal with the hard blows we give it. Well, it decided it'd had enough this weekend. So it stopped. Just plumb quit working, at least for a while. Thus, we washed dishes outside tonight. Anne handed me the water hose while she toted dishes in and out of the house. Jay came too with pots, whistling "Got A Whale of a Tale to Tell Ya Lads" and opening the door for Chris who toted more dishes in and more dishes out.

{Legend = Melody}
"I don't know why I've always liked putting things up my nose," Dawn said as we cleaned up the table tonight. "I just always have. Even when I was really little."
"Would you like having a nose ring, do you think, Dawn?" Chris asked.
"No.  There's a thought that Legend  put into my head not too long ago, that if you took the ring out and needed to blow your nose then the hole where the ring is would be like a whale when it blows water. That decided the issues of nose rings for me."
Chris' dark beard was spread all across his face in a large grin and his eyes weren't showing very much because they squint almost to closing when he laughs.

          ~ ^^ poor ole' Maple. may very well be the last spring she's with us, good ole' tree.^^~
        ^^ A.G and I are going to recreate Senior Photos with these new and improved poses. ^^
 ^the girls put a diaper on Jean Val Jean on account of the rain and him having been dropped into a puddle. by the way, these puddles have been around as long as our house and all of us have been alive. every rain they appear in our yard, and every rain we appear in them.

                             ^^ Jay's last night to be home…Gonna miss that boy.^^

"Loud sounds pups make," was 1. Across, Chris said. Merry and Jay huddled on the floor beside him as he read off clues for the crossword puzzle.
"Yips," I say from the couch between writing in the journal. Someone else offers "Yaps".
"Yep, Chris says. I think it's yaps. "Much trouble or confusion," he says.
From her room where Mama is in bed she says "Ado".
"Ah good one, Mama. That works.  I tell you what, ain't nothin' like a crossword puzzle to make you feel dumb."
"Man, I tell you what! I can't stand those things," said Daddy. "Make me see how daft I am right quick."
Something light rubbed my face as I was writing and something sounding like a cat was right at my ear. I turned and saw Jeremy in a white wig looking very much like a colonial redneck in a full cammo suit and that wig.  He spoke chinese about Oolong tea and sipped a little from his clay mug.
"Reads fast," Chris said.
"Pigs," Daddy rumbled from his chair.  Merry looked up at him like he was teasing and laughed.
"Oh Daddy, you're funny."
" Not enough space for rabbits, so it'd have to be pigs."
Merry looked very confused. "What daddy? Neither of those can read."
Now Daddy was the one who looked confused and said
"Well…he did say Breeds Fast, right?"
Merry's "Reads Fast" back to daddy was nearly swallowed in the burst of laughing that followed.  Daddy's face was his deep, hard laughing color again and, well, very few eyes of us were showing at all.

Friday, January 10, 2014

excerpt of an evening

"Five degrees outside this morning," Daddy had said. So he built a giant roaring fire that smoked grey puffs out the chimney and over the house.  

The boys have been home.  You can tell it by the extra coats lying on rockers or the couch.  Walking through the house in the evening you can see the eyes of Abrum peering just above the lines of an article he's reading.  Sometimes you'll find his eyes - not on the article - but staring at you, just to see how long it takes you to notice. Then you'll see the edges of his eyes crinkle as he grins and looks back to his reading. He always crosses his legs when he reads, but it never looks so fitting as it does on a winter evening by the fire. Chris says it takes him ages to write just one letter and that it's hard for him to transfer thoughts to words to paper.  He does it though, regardless, like he does now, head bent over his papers at the end of the table where daddy sits.  I've always imagined Chris to be a younger variation of my Granddaddy.  Especially now when he has his beard.  It's dark and thick and makes him look like a spanish pirate.  Anne brews tea and brings him a pot of it and a mug to pour it in.  Anne's tea is for the adventurous.  It's hot and good, mostly, but there are times she'll put strange unnamable things in it that one dasn't question if he dares to drink. 
 I was sitting on the arm of Daddy's chair slumped up against him when I realized how funny Jeremy was.  He was standing by the fire with a mug of Anne's Brew and hodge podge of clothes on, all mixed up and very eclectic of him. On his head was a toboggan, then a classy sweater over long sleeves and over that he wore a leather jacket. As for the bottom layers, there were red gym shorts, under which he wore long, loose fitting black and white checked pants, thick socks and flip flops. I laughed, but appreciated it whole heartedly.  I have a skirt that's tattered to pieces and a shirt that's full of holes and clorox stains, but it was one of my favorite outfits to wear. Much to Mama's perplexity and on occasion chagrin, I'd wear that outfit with blue leggings and flip flops on Lady Day. All the ladies would be there, and, as the kitchen adjoins the living room where they wait, I'd be seen of The Ladies and their children as I went in for vittles or drink.  Mama asked me a few times why I must wear that tattered skirt - it really did float tatters of material as I walked - but I just said it was a comforting outfit.  So she'd grin at me and say "suit yourself, darlin' but I think it's nearing the end of its rope". 

You know, we're all such funny creatures.  It'd be good for us, I suppose, to 

"To see oursels as ithers see us! " I suppose I'd laugh a great deal more that way.