Free crab tomorrow

 While we wait for the grad festivities to start, we are sitting in the parking lot of Joe's Crab Shack. Lamenting the concept that we were 24 hours too early to the free crab party. Then it hits me, this would be the same wall that would tease me the next day. And the next. And the next. We are chasing a ghost. The ghost of free. The ghost of something for nothing. The ghost of a truly empty shell. Pretty smart guys. Hard to believe they are going out of business. Certainly not for a lack of creativity, this is brilliant. We might always be tempted to come back tomorrow for the free crab but will do so with a smile and and bit more of smarts.

For the love of June

 There is little doubt on what will be the highlight for our family this month. We did all the pomp and circumstance last night, nothing left to do but party. In four years, we will do it again. Another 2 years and the Smith High School grad commencement tour will be over. Started gathering photos for both future honorees today. So many memories packed into a very short time. While looking for baby photos today, I found the grad announcement of my friend's grandson who now plays in the NFL. Gage reminded me I have four more years to take photos of him, sounded a bit like a better pace yourself nudge. We all remember our high school graduation. So many hopes and dreams, filled with worry and doubt. My advice to my Class of 2017 grown up love has been to find his pace and place. It will take a while to find his place, where he belongs and believes in himself but he also has only his own timetable. There is much evidence that most of us are rushed into paces that are not ours, in places we have no business being in. My encouragement to him will always follow his lead not the other way around. He truly is the captain now. I am the passenger with pom poms, cheering the Captain on. I could not be more proud, nor could I love him more. Keaton, go find your way, your pace with all the knowledge and experiences to guide you. I will be within reach if you need anything. In the words of your fabulous father, make good choices. Congratulations Love.

Welcome

 
It was a great wedding. Really great. Not just because the bride and groom are so right for each other. The bridal party doing the Cupid shuffle was a major highlight but there was more. The bringing together of two culture was a glory to behold. The merging of expectations of the marriage were honored in such a profound way. By the end of the rehearsal and then wedding day, I wanted to be related to each and everyone in these families. There was a true welcoming on both sides and you could feel a new love starting for the couple and the extended families. These two were the sweetest and best dancers.  It was a stunning sight to see the love and realize we are all looking for the same things. The love of a family and the feeling that we belong.

Forsake


 Forsake is defined as the promise not to desert or abandon. Not to leave, nor to turn your back on. That doesn't mean to take away all the things that hurt. We all know Stories of pain that we could not imagine living through. Grief that is unimaginable. There is no beauty in pain, there is all kinds of crazy beauty in knowing you are not in a state of being forsaken.
Hubby and I just had the which is greater talk, love or hope. I still can't believe that he chose Love and of course, I chose hope. I still stand by hope. I think the forsake and hope duo is a one/two punch in the process of healing but I understand the hope of forsake/love aspect. 
I will not leave you or forsake you. Those are powerful promises. Most of us in sane moments,  would not utter those words out loud. Why? Because we know we can't promise that. It is not in our power to provide that service. There are days when are superpowers seem to make us think anything is possible but when we are our right minds, we understand. We are promised to not be abandoned. We are promised not to be alone. We are promised the kind of love that can not be taken away. That is his promise to us. To be with us. When it comes down to it, that is what we want. To be loved, to be known, to not be forsaken. 

Hope

  Had a church Moment wth several ladies this week. I will never cease to be amazed at the power of women in conversation. There is love and power and hope. As I reflect back on our time together, the hope stands loud and clear. There were conversations within conversation. There were heartfelt things of life shared. You could not walk away without realizing you are not alone. In experiences, thoughts or circumstances. Everyone is dealing with Something and if you start applying a scale, you are missing the point. I walked back to my car wondering if in any situation, does love trump hope? Whether illness, grief, hurting family, job loss, is hope the greater?Can hope be taught? Do we offer  up hope as the first step rather than the last. Can you survive with love with our hope?  With hope, without love. I think back to my teen years when good thoughts were few and far between and what saved me, eludes me. Older, more life experiences now convince me that hope is what the human experience craves to know. I can only share my Story, it is all I have and it tells to keep on going. One day at a time. Just breathe and try to enjoy those moments that feed the soul. They are not few and far between.

The culture of April.

  Moving forward, Easter, Miss M's 12 th Birthday, the first anniversary of my sister's passing and immersion in S Town. My April so far, has been chocked full. STown. Last month when Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance was announced as April's book club selection, S Town was not even on my radar. I am now on my third time through the 7 chapter podcast. Completely submerged in a culture I know nothing about yet there are similarities that have brought me to tears. I heard something today that I had not noticed the first 2 times. It's is on the back mental burner, waiting to be processed. Maybe May.
Would I recommend it to you? There is language. A lot of it. STown stands for Shit town and is referred to often. If you could put aside being offended by a culture that is matter of fact about cursing, absolutely. Finding the same language in the book club selection, another of the things I have in common with these people is growing up with language that many would bristle at. What you would get in return might possibly be worth it, your call. The third time through We are listening to it in the car, back and forth when we go to the kids. By now I know the story so I am listening for different things than my first time driver. Adding the book in is almost a letdown because STown is so brilliant and overwhelmingly, real. I am learning to merge the two and the experience is one I don't want to leave. Not because I want to be one of them but because in their humanness, I see my own. I will end this month with the people of STown and the family of JD Vance, close. Family has many edges, and lest we forget, so have each one of us.

EMT

 
I can be a hero in my own storm, which is where I found a sense of value as a child, as the tense little EMT in a damaged family. Anne Lamott.

Weird s**t

 That was some weird s**t. Overheard at 2017 inauguration, via George W Bush. Wow. And here some 70 some days later, I feel exactly the same way. No matter what side of the political fence you attach yourself to, you could admit we have seen some of what President Bush is referring too. For some of us, it is painful. I am at the point where the people of the boy who called wolf, found themselves. We all have relatives that we dismiss because they have proven more than once, that they can not be trusted either by word or deed. I hope I fact check more than not before opening my big mouth. Like it or not, I have a desire to let the facts fall where they may. Let's face it, for many reasons we can not be totally truthful. The truthfulness of hairdos could bring down an entire country. So we continue to knit our days and say our prayers, all the while knowing President Bush was right about at least one thing. 

Kindness

 Do you dish out kindness on a scale? More for some, less for others? Should kindness just be, with no thought to degree?
Those of us who use humor to get by, find kindness a bit more elusive. Comedy by its nature, is taking a truth and finding its most unflattering side and coming back at you with more truth. I know souls who are so kind to everybody and everything. While I don't envy or want to be like them, they do make me question my method of doling out kindness. My instinct is to help. Open a door, help someone pick up something they have dropped. Maybe it is my thought process that is less kind. Driving down the road or watching a parent hit a child at the grocery store. There was no kindness given. My instinct has a short attention span.
I remind myself that a work in progress will have setbacks. The best I can hope for is keeping moving forward, living and learning. Abraham Lincoln had it right, Whatever you are, be a good one. May we all, do our best. That really is all that is ever asked of each of us.

Childhood

 Adolfo Hitler was the adult conversations of my childhood. My maternal grandmother who lived through his reign would defend him aggressively to my father who came to Germany toward the end of WW2. Her husband had trained boxers for the SS, my father stayed in German for an extra four year duty to marry my mother, bring her to the States and leave her in Michigan with his parents. It was a long, long four years. She didn't speak English and everyone including my grandparents, hated Germans.
I heard the Hitler arguments way before I learned about them in school. I listened to each side, looking for things my little mind agreed with. I do not remember the specific issue of the Holocaust being brought up. I do remember my Oma passionately trying to stand her ground with tears in her eyes. Hitler gave them food when the had none. He gave them the Volkswagen, the everymans car. There was so much gratitude in her words. My father had seen awe and its effects. If he had a billion years to do so, he still would never change her mind.
If I could I might ask God what he was feeling during the murders of 6 million Jews. What I have come to understand is for whatever reason, the Holocaust, 911, Sandy Hook and millions more have been a part of our history that we as humans, have had to physically and mentally, go through. 
What I do understand is that bad, bad things that we can't explain or change, will happen in each of our lifetimes.if we are going to believe in the God of the Bible, we are going to have to accept the unknowable. Not defend, it is not ours justify. Ours is to love and care as we can. It is a tough road but just do the best you can. Don't worry about what everyone else is and can do. God made you. Give him your best and forget the rest. Start today, right now. The simple act of being, don't overthink it. Blessings, my friend.

Definition.

 We all have defining Moments. Some are personal to each of us and become markers in our lives. We choose them by emotion and they will last a lifetime. Others are assigned to us by behavior and also last a lifetime. And longer. Presidents have legacies that follow them to the grave. Good and bad. We are witnessing our newest president firmly establish his first defining act. Russia will forever be associated with this president. It is his Benghazi, his Watergate, his Marilyn Monroe. No matter how this all plays out, his history has been cemented in his first 6 weeks of service. 
To a large extent, we have control over how our Moments will be remembered by our actions. In my Lent quest to move toward, I am aware that it is about quality over quantity. It is about doing the best I can, with all the experience I have, to not only do no harm but to help to thrive. It may require being brutally honest but if you have made the investment in a relationship, it is more readily, heard. Be the person you would like to spend time with. Say you are sorry. Say I love you.

Feeling the Love

Heard a Story yesterday where a couple drive 70 miles on Sunday morning to go to church. Why? Because they feel loved. The church does not own a building or even have any kind of outreach program and yet, there is obviously a Love connection being made and felt. There was also the tale of a North Carolina principal who has made it a practice since her teaching days, to visit every student's home, in her school. 900 students. 900 visits. Her junior high is thriving. Could it be the Love connection, you bet your bottom dollar! We all want to be cared for and about. We gravitate toward it. It is also the reason things can go terribly wrong when someone uses that Love to another's deterement. We all are looking for love and will do whatever is necessary to get it. We will go out of our way, we will dig deep, maybe even, be able to share it with others. Remember that the next time you feel the love, and if you can share, teach others how to fan the flames of love. Win win for us all 

Student aid

 One is doing homework, the other one is taking a drama Master Class with Kevin Spacey. One thing that should be a part of our everyday lives is the idea that we are always a student. Whether actually taking a class or having coffee with a friend, we need to be open to learning. Doesn't have to be fancy, pen and paper or the Notes app on your phone. My class of choice right now, is my file of social media screenshots. Quotes from Twitter, talks from Ted, and ideas new to my little brain, all get a place at my mindful table. They define the way I learn, which defines the way I act and think. I always imagine myself walking around with an imaginary backpack, ready to learn. Ready to sit at someone's feet, ready to put aside what I know to inherit more. There is a mindset to one who is teachable. May it always be this way for them, I pray. 

Questions

Today is turning into an exercise I call, 5 Questions for Jesus. Before I gave Jesus much though, the only question I ever asked concerning him, was more of a statement. I used it as a flag in the my atheist club, flying it freely and often.

If you are God, why do little kids die?

Later, as a young believer, that question changed to, If you are the son of God, why do bus loads of Christian get in car wrecks and die?

I am now in my 38 year of being a believer and am able to ask much better questions. Understanding that we change more often that we think, so do our questions. I got more time behind me than in front of my, got to get questions answered in a timely manner. Some serious, some not. Like a conversation at Flying M. Here we go.

1. Why did Charley Manson live to be an old man?
2. Was Eve on the dim witted side?
3. Hitler killed over 6 million people, how were those days for you?
4. Why does mankind think that prostitution can ever be cured or peace among all men, are possible?
5. What one thing do you think that we are capable of that we don't see?

There were different ones yesterday and the questions will change again tomorrow. What doesn't change is I do not need answers to go on. You are who you say you are. I hang my heart there. Running the race, best I can.
 

Say what you mean, mean what you say

 Vicente Fox who served as President of Mexico from 2000 to 2006, is becoming my muse. Even though no longer in office, his threats appear, to carry some serious weight. This one made me giggle. Whether because he used the f word in such an accurate way or because the pressure is getting to me, #...ingWall is where I stand right now. I have always said that the use of a naughty word is only bad if it is not used properly. These days tha f word is flown like a flag, it is all over the place without form or function. Mr Fox gives a voice to what I am feeling with an intensity reserved for very few issues. Lots of promises were made but our new president is discovering that running a business is very different from running a country. There are checks and balances, and there are consequences. Whatever the days to come bring, we are finding there are new ways of protesting, voices that talk back and everyone is watching. And talking. And completely ready, to go.

Believe

 There are certain beliefs that start when you are young, that slowly mature or fade away. These are the Big Ones, the beliefs that shape who you become because your actions are based on them. There is also a Plan B category that backs up, accessorizes and ultimately, influences those choices. 
They can be beliefs about culture. I believe prostitution, racism and peace, can not be dramatically changed in a lifetime. We talk about peace on earth and goodwill toward man but collectively, we are not able to pull it off. There are things happening now with social media that I never could have imagined as as young person but am smart enough to know the internet is not going away and is bringing life long issues of its own. Are we more savvy than those born 100 years ago? Are we better equipped to handle the Big Questions of life? Will 50 more years bring us to a better understanding of why. My beliefs have changed dramatically over the years, both what is possible and what is not. For those things not possible, I am at complete peace. Someday is good enough for me. May I always be aware of the possible. Aware and open. My biggest prayer is that I don't get the two mixed up.

Focus

 Focus. Do not worry about what the other guy is doing. It is not yours to know or expect or do. You are number three. That is all you have to have to ponder. Number 3 stuff. Your journey, your words, your life. You are the sum of your experiences and you will act on how you perceive those experiences. 
I was raised by men. A few minutes tea around me and you would get that. There was a mother in my life but her part was to bring constant fear to the family. The results are I interact better with men, probably think more like a man. Hate chit chat, let's us get to nitty griddy of it. I can only be me. This is who I am. Focus, be the best me I can be. Be the best you, you can be. We ask so much more of ourselves than God ever does. We are our worse enemy. Time to make nice and be your own best friend. You will never please everyone, stop trying and beating yourself up but do it with kindness. You don't have to put others down to make yourself feel good. It just doesn't work. Doesn't feel so good. My favorite prayer is not in the Bible. It is in the AA manual. Serenity, change, accept. Do the best you can. Every day.

Crazy

 No matter your political slant, the last 7 days have introduced some new crazy chaos in each of our lives. The White House web page was redesigned with some significant exclusions and a new tone was set. In less than 6 hours, our government changed and I felt, we were just along for the ride. Regardless of which team you bat for, you were about to witness and experience a whole new set of feels. If we had gone from Trump to Obama, there would have been the same reactionary feels. The addition of social media is making this time even more subject to the revolutionary pull. My husband gets breaking news alerts on his phone and it goes off constantly. I realized last night that this new normal is just that. I will have to change my perception to survive it. I am choosing to leave doom and gloom behind. Do what I know to do is right. When it comes right down to it, that is all I can do. Be the best me I can be. Stand up for what is good, regardless of who is in the White House. Like the AA creed. Serenity to accept, courage to change and most importantly, wisdom to know the difference. My hope is to start a new period of serenity, courage and wisdom, and going where it leads me. That is where I want to put my heart. My Hope. My Life.

The art of hygge


 Hygge. It is a Danish term that translate to our English, cozy. A state of being where all psychological needs are met. Like a big hug. A roaring fire with a good book and a warm cup of cocoa. For women, sounds like the nesting thing we all like to do. It must be hygge that makes me want to buy every cable-knit blanket that crosses my path. I have had so many snow days that I am preferring them to Real Life. As long as the Diet Coke and almond milk are flowing, staying in is fine with me. We have all had too much hygge this winter, time to mix it up. Won't be easy, will be like pulling teeth. The snow has taken its toll. I have cried uncle enough for several winters. I have other fish to fry. Must gear up for this one.
Tomorrow starts his last semester of high school. We are looking at graduation announcements, party details, a school trip overseas and college all in the next 7 months. I know how fast it will go. I find myself trying to take it all in and start learning to let go. There is no letting go in hygge. There is no cozy in letting go and there is most certainly, no happy in pulling up your big girl panties and doing the hard thing. Pops and I talked about it all the way home from basketball and broke of our voices broke with tears. No hygge to be found anywhere. Will try again tomorrow's to look for our brave and make an effort to engage. If not, will turn to my cozy, familiar state of being this winter and burrow in for a little bit longer.

What do we believe

 An interview with a group of women who voted for Donald Trump almost 3 months ago, the conversation focused on how they see their candidate now. They had all voted for President Obama before. Twice. I wanted to know how these  seemingly smart, thinking women could vote for a candidate for the highest position in the land with the outward appearance of being, and I will roll all his  perceived characteristics in one, a doofus. I wanted to ask them how do see what he is showing you and expect him to morph into a game changer? How does one go from Obama to Trump? What does that path look like? We are now coming to understand that the Hillary affect did not resemble the model put forth. She had more problems than she could shake a stick at and being a woman was the least of them. Yet what these ladies said, made perfect sense. They did not like the way Trump presented himself. They did not like his rants and raves, tweets and obnoxious actions but they put ALL of that aside, for the perceived change that he promised to bring. They did not blindly disbelieve Trump poor and bullying ways, they just decided that the promise of change trumped his character. This is a real game changer. It speaks to our overall feeling of frustration. That we will forsake proven character for disproven change. Bravo to these ladies for explaining the why to where we find ourselves today. It has also made me check my belief system and with respect to these women, no change is worth letting the bully be in charge. The changes a bully, brings are no greater than himself. I need to remember this in every area of my life. Don't give in, do not roll over. Do not let the bully act out what he has already revealed about himself in your life. You have come too far. Be proud and never give up on what you know to be true, let the promises of man parade by. Bullies gonna bully, we can choose to search for higher ground.

Book club

 Book club. We had to reschedule to next week because of inclement weather. Worse snow fall in over 30 odd years. It has been tough enough trying to get out of our subdivisions, no less meeting early evening at our local coffee shop. We have much history with each other. There are many 20 year friendships and even some 30 year. And yet, each book club doesn't get its real time personality until the evening of book club. Each time there is a different group, someone is always missing because book club is no respecter of persons. The book club takes on persona of those who attend, those who share. Even having one person gone, changes the dynamics of the evening's discussion. Because we know each other so well, there is always much catching up time. If a book was the only thing we had in common, it would be a  completely different fit. Have had conversations about whether which camp is better. I have wondered myself how the conversation would change, how my takeaway would change. Would I appreciate the book experience more if it was the sole focus? This month I discovered the silent book club. Yes, if is a real thing. It is a type of book club for introverts. The premise is you just enjoy the experience of reading with others, no conversation. You all sit at your table with your coffee or wine and collectively read whatever you want. Never having any kind of conversation. It is a growing like crazy trend. Taking great pride in my introverness, when I read I do it alone. By myself, in my sweats. Reading is a one person team activity, imagine that I would be very uncomfortable reading to myself in a group. Conversation is why I am in a book club. I already have my idea of whether the book chosen was a good fit for me when I get there on the those Monday nights but I am interested in seeing it in a different light. I want to be challenged to see the other opinion .More often than not, the interaction becomes personal and we have leave the book behind and head into Real Lfe. I think that is my favorite. What we read affects our lives and we use those life lessons to incorporate or understand why we think the way we do. Everyone woman should consider a book club, even the strong, silent woman.    

1969

Peace. The ideology is part of every culture. Something to achieve. Something to negotiate, somewhere to compromise. It is not Something that is achievable in the human realm. There will not be true peace this side of heaven. Just look to Genesis. It did not take long for peace to end and murder to begin

Peace. The ideology is part of every culture. Something to achieve. Something to negotiate, somewhere to compromise. It is not Something that is achievable in the human realm. There will be no true peace this side of heaven. Just look to Genesis. It did not take long for peace of the Garden that had been to end and murder to begin.
1969
4 locations
5 weeks
9 murders
Charles Manson is be a name that would stay with me for 46 years and counting. To start 2017 with the news that he was seriously ill, put a smile on my face, although not one I am proud of. Finally, death using its powers for good. Two months before, I graduated from high school. Two months later, my mother would commit suicide. A few hours later after I heard the news, I would be praying for his soul. Not for a complete recovery of his body but his soul. Sometimes we do not get to understand. If you have to know, if you have to have all the I's dotted and t's crossed, faith is not for you. Faith says you are willing to delay the all knowing and accept what is given. We each get to choose. Every day. Faith or no faith. You choose.