Wednesday, July 30, 2014

What I Learned in July

1. A giraffe's tongue is really long.
And while that may seem random, it really came from watching Caleb feed a giraffe at the Knoxville Zoo.  The giraffe would stick his (her?) tongue out and allow the kiddos to place things on the tongue. 
Note: I also learned that Caleb Bates is braver than I am, because I got squeamish just watching from a few feet away.

2. The Smoky Mountains are never more beautiful than when they are seen at sunset from a 200 ft ferris wheel.
I love ferris wheels.  This one at The Island (I know... how is it an island in the middle of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee? But it's a fabulous marketing spot.  Good restaurants.  A light show in the water fountain. Arcades. And the ferris wheel.  I'd highly recommend going.)
But back to my statement... the sun was just beginning to set.  You looked to your left, and there was the Smoky Mountains in all of their majesty.  To your right, Pigeon Forge and the twinkling lights of all the action.  Loved it.

3. If you've read my blogs this month, you know I'm re-reading my favorite... Gone with the Wind.  So many of the characters feel like old friends. 
Belle Watling is the girl they love to hate... the prostitute who Rhett Butler gives money to and supports.  Scarlett is fascinated by her.  I was fascinated when I was googling places to visit in KY, and saw that the character it is thought that Margaret Mitchell based Belle on was a real person residing in Lexington, Ky... and is buried there. Belle Brezling ran a brothel in Lexington in the early 1900s. While Mitchell never claimed that her character was based on Brezling, her husband was from Lexington and would have known the reputation of the madame.  Another cool discovery? The person Melanie is named after, Sister Melanie, was a cousin to Mitchell... but was also a cousin to Doc Holliday, of Tombstone fame.  (Which just happens to be Wallace's favorite movie... "I'm your huckleberry.")  More info about this can be found at the following website, which may or may not be legit... but I'm planning on buying the book for sure!
http://www.gwtwbook.com/research.aspx

4. God's handiwork is amazing... Arizona is so beautiful.  I mean, Kentucky is beautiful... but they are so very different.  How is it possible that He created all of this out of nothing? I am in amazement.  In a span of four or five hours, I saw desert, lush pines, cacti, the Red Rocks of Sedona, and The Grand Canyon.  Just awesome. 


5. Also, heat without humidity is not that bad.  When I visited, the temperatures were always over 100.  Y'all, that is hot.  And if it had been Kentucky hot... with humidity causing the sweat to run down your back... I don't know that I would have been able to stand it. But 105 without humidity felt like 85 at home.

6. And ice cream tastes the best when it is over 100 degrees outside.  Best ice cream I've had in a while... I know it's just hand scooped, but maybe it is mental.  The Sugar Bowl in Scottsdale, Arizona was great.  Featured in Bil Keane's Family Circus cartoons, it had a nice selection of ice creams, sundaes, and floats.  I stuck with my regular favorite, mint chocolate chip, and also tried a scoop of almond praline.  Both were excellent.  Family Circus was first published in 1960 and Bil Keane lived in Paradise Valley, Arizona (which apparently is a really upscale section of town... like you know you are well off when your lawn is Astroturf. Not that his lawn was Astroturf.  But while driving through the neighborhood on a tour bus, I noted that someone's yard was Astroturf.)

For more info on Family Circus (although I am sure you loved them, too!) http://familycircus.com/life-and-times-of-bil-whats-his-name/

And here's my ice cream:
 
Worth.  Every.  Calorie. 
Linking up with Emily Freeman at Chatting at the Sky.  I love seeing what everyone has learned over the month! 
 

 
 



Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Being a Mom is Tough

Being a Mama is tough.

Yesterday (Monday)  I took Caleb to the doctor for his 6th grade physical and shots.  He answered all of his medical questions himself.  He sat still while Evelyn took his blood pressure and while Dr. Plumb listened to his lungs. He laughed a little when she listened to his belly, because he's ticklish.

And he sat through two shots better than some adults I've seen.

As I sat there, I thought back over the last almost 12 years....

When babies are little it's tough because they cry and sometimes you don't know what they want.  There are late night feedings and little amounts of sleep and explosive diapers and explosive spit up and days when you are lucky to get to take a shower. We pray for them to talk and walk and then when they start we just wish they'd be quiet, sit still, and take a nap.

And for me, there were days when I went back to work and would come home from a 12 hour shift so tired, and he'd be ready to play peek-a-boo.

Or days when I would beg him at 18 months to take a nap, and he'd say, "Mine don't do naps."

Days when legos were strung through the living room floor to step on, inflicting pain and an occasional bad word.

Days when he'd line all the cars up in the living room floor, and get mad when I moved them. "Mom... I had them just.  that.  way."

Mamas, we thought we had it tough then.

Now, being a mom is tough on days when they hurt and you don't always see it.

When you worry about what they are going to do when they grow up... and what the world will be like then.

Oh, some days it seems easy... and then they backtalk and decide to tell you all about Season 3 of Once Upon a Time when you're not even finished with Season 2 on Netflix, or roll their eyes at something you say, or stomp off to their room and slam their door "accidentally".

And some days they do their own laundry, only to bust a Tidepod in the water and ruin their favorite shirt, or paint a masterpiece for you, only to leave the remnants on your kitchen table. Or not really care when you are leaving for a week, with their only concern being, "Mom can I have some money?"

To me, though, the hardest part about being a Mama is knowing I'm not in control.  Knowing that he has to make his own decisions, and that part of growing up is making mistakes...

Wanting him to make the right choice, but knowing that he won't always do so.

Being a Mama is hard.  Being a parent is hard.

But in our weakness, He is strong, and He knows all about being a parent...

Because He is our Abba Father.  And He loves me, even when I make a mess of being a Mom and yell and occasionally throw things and threaten and make my own poor decisions.

He loves Caleb more than I do....

And on nights like this, I'm so glad that He chose me, in all of my messes and mix-ups and temper tantrums to be Caleb's mama, and that He has promises to teach my children and to render His blessings to my children and my children's children.  (And I claim these for not just Caleb, but for all those kiddos I come into contact. May I always be a light for Jesus to them).

Blessed to be Caleb's Mama...and to know that I am loved by an awesome Father God.

Linking up on the P31 OBS blog, where we are discussing Lysa Terkeurst's Am I Messing Up My Kids?

P31 OBS Blog Hop

Sunday, July 13, 2014

#100HappyDays Join Me?

Are you happy?

Am I happy?

What does it even mean to be happy?

Some days, it's a good nap.  Some days, it's waking up.  Some days, it's a good book... a hug... a win...

Happiness is largely circumstantial.  True joy, though, is in Christ, and we can be joyful even when we aren't happy.

I long for true joy, the joy that Paul talks about when he says he has learned to be content in all things.

Joy is from the Holy Spirit, but it can be learned. 

A few years ago, I read 1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  I still relish the message of that book.  Joy in everyday.  Joy in troubles.  Joy because everything is a gift. 

I count those joys, write them down, though not as faithful as I should be. 

Today I ran across a hashtag on facebook. A couple of my friends had been posting using it, and it made me curious, so I looked it up. Basically, this guy was feeling depressed, and all of his friends and family couldn't understand it. 

Isn't that just like family and friends?

Or maybe they were just being brutally honest...

Because sometimes we can't see how good we have it.

Sometimes, counting our blessings is as easy as looking around...

But in today's world of facebook and pinterest and instagram where everyone lives in a white-washed world, it's also sometimes hard to count blessings when you look around.

If I'm not careful, I can camp out in the "have-not" or "if I" or "should be" campgrounds and completely miss out on life's journey.

So, back to the hashtag... his friends and family were all like, "Dude, what's up? You've got things so good" so he RESOLVED to look around and look within and focus on the good.

He resolved to have 100 happy days.

See, attitude is a habit and if we foster happiness it will eventually become our norm.  Eyeore's can turn into Tiggers. 

For the next 100 days, God willing, I'll be using the hashtag #100happydays. 

Maybe you might join me.  I'll be posting on facebook and instagram. 

Looking for the good and learning to be content, because there is always good. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Thoughts on Recruitment

I read with interest an article written by one of the local editorial authors in my small-town newspaper.  The issue discussed was recruiting in high school athletics with an emphasis on awareness of this in our local schools as we prepare for football and volleyball seasons.

Recruitment is most definitely an issue, not just here in the 14th region, where many of our schools have nothing to offer student athletes and their families, but also in areas of our state where a good job provided by a booster can be a very enticing offer.  While we all recognize that these violations are wrong, we are aware of them and sit back quietly.  A look at the rosters of several schools in the 14th Region read like the roster of a Jr. College; however, with the emphasis on winning in our society and the ease of access through social media and the internet I fear this problem will only continue to get worse.  I fear that recent injunctions against the KHSAA will only limit their jurisdiction in an area where they should be the authority, rather than a court of law. In light of several recent news articles about the plight of Eastern Kentucky and one journalist's suggestion that the only way to improve Eastern Kentucky is to leave,  it almost makes this influx humorous.

However, the local editorial/article focused primarily on our local schools, and to say that this is upsetting to me is an understatement, largely because the student athletes at our local schools are near and dear to my heart.  I love high school athletes; I've written a whole other blog post about how they make me smile to watch them because they leave their heart on the court and play not for incentives but for love of the game.   (http://blessedtobecalebsmama.blogspot.com/2013/12/for-love-of-game.html)

I think for the most part, for our local athletes, this still remains true.  Many of them may not be stellar athletes, but their heart and dedication to the sport makes up for this. In my tenure as a high school coach's wife, I have cheered on maroon and white, purple and gold, blue and white, and have also cheered on students from other schools who have no idea who I am, because ultimately the game is about the kids. (Even when you have loud, boisterous coaches who like to demonstrate their passion for the game by yelling on the sidelines... for many of them, and especially the one I love, it is still about the kids.) It is especially satisfying for me to get to sit across the gym from one of these young ladies, who nine or ten years ago rolled their eyes as Wallace quarreled at them, and see them pacing the sidelines themselves as coaches. And as I've mentioned before, I may or may not have yelled the wrong team mascot before...

There are various reasons for recruiting and also for players to get into discussions about being recruited, but since I am just an amateur writer I do not feel it is my responsibility to get into those in detail, but will offer my own humble opinion.  I believe that the majority of coaches, and schools, recruit to win, not to hurt other schools (unless by hurting other schools it means to cause them to lose).  I also may be na├»ve, but I think it has far less to do with enrollment numbers than it does in hanging banners in gymnasiums. As for players, most likely they decide to seek other playing opportunities  because it will give them a better chance for a viable future, increased playing time, or padded stats, and perhaps increased recognition and support. Let's face it, there is a lot of jealousy on every level in our world, and sometimes kids just want to know that you care about them and support them.  When they don't get that, they may be tempted to move to greener pastures.  (To quote something I read the other day, which really has nothing to do with this topic: "The greener pastures are the ones you water.")

In a community as small as ours, I think it is important to remember that these are our kids regardless of what uniform they are wearing.  Life in Eastern Kentucky can be hard enough without division. So, to piggyback off of what that local editorial writer submitted, as football, soccer, and volleyball season come into play, I'd like to be the first to encourage you to support our local student athletes.  Whether they be cheering on the sideline, kicking the ball toward the goal, defending a kick, making a tackle, throwing the football, running 65 yards for a touchdown, spiking the ball, serving underhand or overhand... I guarantee they have put in lots of time to perfect whatever it is they are doing.  And even though this article has been geared toward recruitment, might I also suggest that we all remember to be encouraging to each other?  No 50 yard line bleacher quarterbacks.  No coaches in the bleachers.  (Even I need to work on this one.. maybe I especially need to work on this one!)  While we may not always understand or even agree with decisions made, ultimately it is the individual who will have to pay the repercussions, and really, isn't it only a game anyway?  While I am all for the Vince Lombardi attitude about winning, I also believe that in high school athletics, it is about teaching maturity and reacting positively to obstacles thrown in our way. 

Now, is it Friday night yet?  Or at least August and volleyball season? 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Things that Made Me Smile


So today I just want to share some things that made me smile.  Life is hard and we don't stop enough to appreciate the little things. Big smiles on my face all day long, though, because:

1. My Mama's knee surgery went well.  She's been having some pain and a little limited mobility in her right knee for a while.  It's been catching and she'd finally had enough... but not enough to go through with a knee replacement. Today they did a scope and removed some cartilage.  I left her settled in on the couch using ice every hour for twenty minutes with plenty of pillows.  And Dad.

Which brings me to number 2.

2. My Daddy is awesome. That's all.  Today he set my Mama a tray up for supper in the living room, took meticulous notes from the surgeon, and then asked Mom if he should wake her up in the middle of the night to  make her move around and see if she was okay.  Apparently, he's responsible for my insomnia as well, because he was one of those Daddy's who wanted to wake me up to feed me.  Every girl needs a Daddy like mine.

3. Hearing that Caleb was waiting for Mom when she got home, and stayed with her this afternoon. He made her a ham sandwich, and informed her that he must really love her, because he touched mayonnaise. He also cleaned the kitchen, washed her windows, and dusted.

4. Hearing my Grandma Bert say "fiddle-dee-dee" when there were no paper towels in the bathroom at McDonalds.  Y'all know I'm reading Gone with the Wind, and it made me think, "Spoken like a true Southern woman."

5. A clear CT scan for my Grandma- three months post-op and cancer free!

6.  A kiss from Will through the gate as I walked. He's pretty stingy with sugar, so I was especially tickled with this one.

7. Watching a video of my cousin Brayton singing Tom Petty to his daughter Braylee.  She's laying in her rocking thing, looking up at him. It is precious.

8. Bedtime. Night, y'all!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Wednesday Wanderings

I'm about to take you on a long journey, with lots of twists and turns.

Tonight when I got home from church, the sun was still out and it was the perfect weather to walk... but my phone was dead.  I hate walking without music, but tonight it was so nice, plus I had to get my 10,000 steps since I didn't keep track of them two days this week (see my thoughts on the zoo post if you are dying to know about that.)

So I started out. For once, I could hear the frogs somewhere close to the creek and also in the vicinity of the pool, which I just won't think about. The birds were chirping and squawking and it made me think how all of nature praises God. Some of us just sound better than others doing so, and that is even true for birds, who have their own distinct sounds.

And then I realized how much more I was noticing the color of the green grass and thought how God decided to choose that color, and paints the sky a different color each night, which led me to think about how awesome God is... and He just spoke it into existence.  Creating something out of nothing... that's kind of His job.

As I walked, I thought of how flawed I am.  How much I mess up. Every. single. day.  And how good He is to forgive.

As I walked, I thought about friends who are sick, who are struggling with decisions, who are going through battles, and sent up prayers for them.

And I thought of how each day is a gift, and how sometimes I waste them. 

I mean, playing Candy Crush and watching Once Upon a Time and reading are all well and good... but there is a time and place for all of them.

And how it all revolves around love.

I thought of church tonight, when I was passing out the pop downstairs and some of the smiles that I got.

And how I tossed a salad today to help with a spaghetti dinner.  Some people may not be family, but they sure do feel like it.

I thought about laughter in the gym and kissing my Mama and walking her dog and texting Kami and snapping pictures of Caleb and chatting with Wallace.

And I started thinking about success, and what it really means.

Today, I was successful.  I loved well, I think. 

Tomorrow may not be the same, but I'm hoping I'll be intentional.

Success is love, laughter, compassion, and grace...

And forgiveness.

Thanking God that He is faithful, that He has a purpose and a plan, and that His love endures forever.

If I should boast, let it be in Christ.

Christ in me... the hope of glory.

Until the true success is in laying down my crown.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Send the Rain

All day long I waited for it to rain.

It sure felt like it was going to.

There were even some dark storm clouds...

But nothing.

I've got a headache and I'm pretty sure it is the weather front, and think a good rain is just what we need.

But nothing.

The grass is starting to get dry and it felt sticky and hot to me... of course, that may have just been in my head because the storm clouds looked so inviting.

We need rain.

I'm reminded tonight of Living Water, and how refreshing it is.  And I'm wondering if maybe, our souls don't get as dry and brown when we don't drink in that water.

I'm pretty sure they do.

His Word is life, just like water is life-sustaining, and He has promised blessings.  Blessings to rain down.

Acts 14:17, "Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.”

Satisfy my heart, Lord.  Send the rain.

Monday, July 7, 2014

My thoughts on the zoo

Ok, this is going to be a deep post, only not really, because it is July and summer break is winding down and it is hot outside and also because I trekked through a zoo in the heat, racking up plenty of miles and steps today. 

Which, I would like to point out, I will not get credit for on my Humana Vitality, because I forgot my fitbit at home.

(Thank you, Lauren. So now when you look back on your statistics, you'll see a number of 1,899 steps and think, "Geez, you were lazy that day.", when in reality it feels like you walked 18,999.)

(Although I'm pretty sure that is not really the number, because the most I've ever done is 16,000.)

(But I'd really like it to be that number.)

Ok... so now that we have clarified that I did in fact meet my 10,000 step goal for the day, I just want to leave you with one thought.


Have you ever thought about what it would be like to be in a zoo?

I mean, this guy does not look happy.

Although I'm pretty sure he looks like that in his natural habitat.

Now... don't get me wrong.  I have looked forward to the zoo every since we planned the trip. 

And I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Except for the occasional smell of animal dung...

But you have to take the bad with the good, right?

Caleb had never been to a zoo.  This, coupled with the fact that he informed me a couple of weeks ago that Friends was the worst television show ever, made me 99.99% positive that IF there was a worst mother ever award, I would bring home the trophy.

When we walked in, he actually said, "There are real bears here, Mom?" I think he was joking.  I'm claiming he was joking... but still.

I think he had a good time, and moments like these are priceless...



 
 I mean, the kid got to feed a live giraffe.  It was really kind of majestic.  If you squinted your eyes, you could imagine the giraffe loping across the African safari... to this huge platform, where kids were trying to be quiet and standing in line to feed the giraffe what looked like lettuce leaves.  Caleb started to pay his $5 and this little kid pretty much threw his money at the zookeeper, so Caleb let him go first.  Then, Caleb got his piece of whatever they were feeding the giraffe, and the giraffe stuck out his tongue. Caleb actually touched the thing's tongue . After much use of hand sanitizer, we went back on our way.
 
There's also the realization that you're missing SEC football when you look here and the first thought that goes through your head is (imagine the band playing...) Duh, duh, duh-du duh-du... gator bait!
 
 
And also, the joy of this..
 

Let loose from his stroller, Will gets to say "Hi" to the gorillas... and also to the little girl standing in the window with him.

Hello there, Mr. and Mrs. Gorilla... or whatever you are.

Caleb was not the only one fooled by the presence of live animals. I walked right by this baby, thinking it was a statue at first.

And lastly, this lovely animal, who is a relation to the Bengal Tiger, and according to Wallace is acting just like the Bengals do when they play football... flat on their back from the quarterback sack.

(It's in the very back of the picture, just next to the fence. Flat on its back.)

But what made me ask the question; as I was watching the animals, I just wonder what they think, with all these people looking at them all the time.  I mean, I like to people watch, and I'll admit that several times in my life I have felt like I was in a zoo, with everyone staring at me... but I wasn't really experiencing that.  I wasn't really the center of attention.

Maybe they enjoy it.  I'm pretty sure they get treated well and fed good.

And also they get to lie around and not have to worry about getting fed, which doesn't sound too bad to me.


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Summer Reading- July

I don't know how to explain my love of reading.  It is an inherent part of me.  I just may be addicted.

Last month, I read 19 books... I had hoped to read a book a day, but then life got hectic with Relay and family reunions.

This month I'm aspiring for about the same. I'll list them as I read them at the bottom.

I'm reading some great books this July!

My favorite book of all time is Gone with the Wind, and I had savored picking it up all summer long.  I wrote a whole post on that one, so I'll not say anything more.

I'm reading Team of Rivals, about Abraham Lincoln and his Cabinet. It's kind of neat, because in both books the bombing of Fort Sumter just took place... but I've got two different viewpoints.

I'm also reading The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks.  I LOVE Nicholas Sparks, even if I do need a counseling session after reading one of his books. I can remember reading Message in a Bottle, the first book I ever read by him.  I was laying in the bathtub doing the ugly cry... you know the one.  Yet I picked up another one of his books... very rarely do I close them without shedding a tear.  This one is about a professional bull-rider.  I couldn't help of Breathitt County's own John Keith Collins, who is preparing to go to Nationals.  (Let me put in a plug here... he's a great guy and if you'd like to support his cause, message me on Facebook. What an awesome opportunity it's going to be for him!)

I started A Framework for Poverty by Ruby Payne.  This is a book that has been discussed at work a lot, and with all of the negative attention Breathitt County has received lately about being a hard place to live, I thought it was fitting for me to read it.  Poverty is reality here, and as an educator, and as a parent, it's my job to do what I can to raise awareness. The causes are many and are highly debatable, but the fact of the matter remains... these are people, often kids. 

I just started Am I Messing Up My Kids by Lysa Terkeurst. This is our next OBS study to start July 13th, and let's just say that I really, really need this study.  It's a quick read so far.

I'm reading Chasing Amanda and The Center of Everything, two fictional books that I've just began. One is about a woman who looks for missing kids.  I'm not sure what the other one is about, because I'm just on page 10.

I'm participating in Beth Moore's Siesta Summer Bible study, working through her Children of the Day, studying 1& 2 Thessalonians, and I am LOVING it.

Plans for the future?

One of the Facebook groups I belong to is planning on working through Beth Moore's The Patriarchs series, probably beginning in a couple of weeks.

The Midwife of Hope River.  Bridge to Haven. Wedding Dress. Across the Creek. 11/22/63. Water for Elephants. I've Got Your Number. Sycamore Row. Uncle Tom's Cabin. Grace in Thine Eyes.  The Storyteller.

Shew... lots of reading.  May the world never stop writing!!!!







Saturday, July 5, 2014

Pursuing

I've just finished Jean Fleming's Pursue the Intentional Life, and it has me thinking.

Today is the first day of the rest of my life.

If I only had this one day, what would God want me to do?

If the average life span is 70, and I live to be average, how many days do I have left?  If you calculate the math, at the time that I read that portion of the book (about two weeks ago), I had 13,235 days... which seems like a lot, until you realize that I have lived around 13,000 days.  And also that I'm not promised tomorrow.

God knows... He has numbered my days.

Teach me, Lord, to number my days.

Teach me to be intentional...

As I enter into the 7th month of this year, over half of 2014 is gone. I'm reminded that time is fleeting. How true the words, "Life is but a vapor."

As I read Jean Fleming's Pursue the Intentional Life, these thoughts were heavy on my mind.

Quotes like: "It is never too soon to prepare for the rest of our lives."

The rest of my life will result in my next thing, and the thing after that.

The mundane coming together to become marvelous, because He does that.  Makes the marvelous out of the mundane.

So as I strive to carve out white space for Him in my everyday, focusing on what He is whispering to me (wishing at times that it was in big flashing neon lights), I'm resolving to focus on what I can do next.

What I should be doing today to pursue His will for my everyday. 

Living for the eternal, because that's what He wants.  Oh, yes, I long for Heaven, but I'm living today.  He wants my life to be abundant here... and then I will see true abundance in Heaven.

A life with no regrets, if that is possible.  And if I do regret something, no wallowing... moving on and moving forward, giving grace to myself.  Truly living- being in the moment, rather than thinking of what is next.  Sometimes, I waste my most precious memories because I'm thinking of what is coming next.

Loving others and loving myself and cultivating His Word, His Spirit, so that His fruit in me is obvious- so that others will know that I am His and He is mine without a shadow of a doubt.

Open my heart, Lord, to the story You have written for me before I was born. Open my eyes to see other people as you do, to view things from an eternal perspective, to view your gifts in their glorious splendor. Open my ears to hear Your Word.

Teach me, Lord, to number my days, and to live in each one fully, intentionally.

And keep doing Your good work.

You are faithful.

Amen.



Friday, July 4, 2014

Five Minute Fridays- Exhale

I hold my breath a lot, without even thinking about it.

It's in response to stress, I think.

Kind of like when you are watching a movie and the characters are running into the fire. You just know they are going to get burned. Or they come to the end of the roof, footsteps falling fast behind them, in pursuit, and they have no choice but to jump.

Edge of the seat suspense, and I'm sitting there holding my breath.

Or like just before you jump into the lake to go swimming.  You take a big deep breath, inhaling all the way into the deep recesses of your lungs, and jump.

As you plunge down, the water pushes you down deep. If you open your eyes, it's blurry and sometimes you don't know which way is up.  Your lungs feel like they are going to burst.

Or, with Caleb, jumping in the pool and swimming across.  "See how long I can hold my breath, Mama."

So I count, as the bubbles rise to the surface and he kicks across the pool.

And then he pops up, gasping for breath.

The lake water holds you down until you fight back up into the glorious sunshine, and your mouth opens.

The heroine lands on the ground on both feet, not even a scratch, and keeps running, victorious again. 

They make it through the fire and come through the smoke, mouth open.

And I exhale.

Breathe out.

Empty my lungs for new air to come in.

Free of the stress... free of the toxins.

Exhale, knowing that He holds my very next breath.

Linking up with five minute Fridays, where we are given a one word prompt and write for five minutes, unedited. This week, exhale.
Five Minute Friday

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Once Upon a Time

So, this summer I've discovered the genius that is Netflix.

During the school year, we use DVR a lot, but I've never really watched a lot of TV.

Let's admit, TV went downhill once Friends and ER stopped, and Thursday nights (and every other night) were never the same.

I may be just a little bitter.

However, I've seen my friends on FB rage about Once Upon a Time, and it intrigued me.

Today I'm finishing Season 1, and I must say I love it.

And because I'm using Kami's account, I was also informed that I have to watch Friday Night Lights, so I'm watching it, too, which is no surprise because let's face it, football is life, and Coach Taylor is a really likeable guy.

But back to Once Upon a Time.  If you're not familiar with the sitcom, (is it still called a sitcom?  The show? The fantasy?  Whatever term you use...), it's about fairy tales.

Now, if you are like me, you're thinking... fairy tales? Really? Yes. 

Snow White and Little Red Riding Hood and the Mad Hatter and Rumplestiltskin and magic and poisonous apples and fairies.

Basically, they've all been banished to our world, which is as far from a fairy tale as you can get.

A little boy has a storybook and all of the characters are trapped in a world without magic, but no one really knows who they are. It's really quite interesting. 

So, I'm finishing season one and will watch season two and season three, which I purchased on Amazon because it wasn't available on Netflix, and let's face it, magic has a price and I'm hooked.  (And Captain Hook hasn't even shown up, but Caleb tells me he will).

When season 4 starts back up, the characters from Frozen will enter and I will be enchanted, I'm sure.

So there's what I'm doing this summer.  I'd love to hear about any interesting shows you're watching.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

An Ode to the Walkman

So, nothing makes you feel as old as hearing that a product that defines your childhood is 35 years old, and basically obsolete. 

My hearing is damaged right now as I type because of Sony's invention of the Walkman. 

I don't remember when I got my first Walkman, but I'm pretty sure it was early on, because I can't remember not listening to music.  I'm going to guess it was in 4th grade or so.

So while I'm not sure what the first tape that I played in my Walkman was, I'm pretty sure it was probably Debbie Gibson's Out of the Blue, Tiffany, or Michael Jackson's Bad.  I do remember that my first purchase of a cassette tape was Lionel Ritchie's Dancing on the Ceiling. I also liked Phil Collins and Genesis, Journey, REO Speedwagon, and Air Supply.

I can remember taking it on a field trip to Richmond in 4th or 5th grade.

And also listening to lots of mix tapes. 

For those of you, who, like Caleb, do not remember a time when your IPhone didn't automatically connect to the radio in your car and started playing your playlist (because, there was not an IPhone.  Or a cell phone, for that matter.  I didn't even have a cordless phone at that time.  And I'm pretty sure that blue tooth was something that happened when you drank a blue Icee from the Dime Store... see what I did there? And don't get me started on Icees from the Dime store...)

So, a mix tape was when you listened to the actual radio (gasp!) and recorded whatever songs you liked.

I had quite a few of those.

I also had a pen pal from France who sent me some tapes of popular American music--- but it was recorded in French! That was probably around 7th grade, and by that time I'm pretty sure I had a discman, but I still relied on the Walkman.

About the same time that I most likely got my first Walkman, Billy came to live with us and introduced me to house music, so I also had several tapes that played techno music for 2 hours straight with no breaks and occasional rapping. I loved that stuff.

Then there were the big hair bands- Warrant, Poison,  Motley Crue, with a little Metallica and a lot of Bon Jovi thrown in.

I loved that Walkman.  It accompanied me on many bike rides down Highland Road.

Best of all, it made me appreciate all the more the ability to listen to music that only I wanted to listen to... except I had to sing out loud.  Loudly.  Obnoxiously, sometimes.

Somethings never change, because Caleb is doing the same thing with his IPhone and earbuds.

Thank you, Sony... Apple may have changed music for my son's generation, but you impacted mine greatly.

And because I want you, my audience, to completely appreciate the experience... a few videos for your listening pleasure. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IivGqwQvdCI (Debbie Gibson)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsUXAEzaC3Q (Michael Jackson- Bad)










Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Me? A Bandwagoner?

I just felt like I ran ten miles. 

I'm not really sure how that feels, because I'm pretty sure that the farthest I've ever ran is about 1.5 miles around the Breathitt High football stadium, and that was almost twenty years ago, but I'm pretty sure my heart is pounding more than it did back then.

And speaking of football, I really had a sacrilegious thought just now.

Why is American football called football?

Because, obviously, there are only a few times during the game that it is actually kicked... the rest of the time, it's flying through the air or being carried down the field.

I'm not yet ready to declare that American football is not the real football, but I'm thinking that soccer is pretty awesome, too.

I've never claimed not to be a bandwagon fan.  Oh, there are my teams that I am die-hard for. Pittsburgh.  UK basketball. 

But if they aren't playing, it's ok for me to cheer for another team.

and so today I jumped on the soccer bandwagon.

I've watched some soccer before; namely when Kami was four and played.  Our biggest concern then was that her yellow uniform looked nice with her dark brown hair and eyes.

I also watched Gentry and Landry play for Jackson, and hope to catch Landry play again this year, since he's a senior.

And I've always liked it...

It's exciting.  And really, shouldn't we all just stand up and clap for those guys and gals who hit the ball with their heads? Can you even imagine???

But today, watching the US almost come from behind in the World Cup, I discovered a new love for the sport.

You won't catch me following professional soccer teams, because I still don't understand what justifies a free kick or a penalty.  I'm pretty sure that they can kick it from the corner if it goes out of bounds, but don't quote me on that.

However, in that last minute of the game, I may or may not have been just as excited as I was a few years ago when Pittsburgh was in the Super Bowl.  Ok, maybe not that excited, but you get the picture. 

I'm pretty sure that Gentry, who apparently was watching the game in his cleats just in case he got the call to hop on the plane to go be the hero (just passing on info from Al's tweet.. I was not in attendance at the Hayes house to watch the game), would have been pretty proud that I was down on my one knee in the living room floor  the last minute of that game.

Maybe he can give me some tutoring once he calms down a little.

Now, can someone please give those guys some oxygen, an IV with potassium, and some Gatorade, since they probably sweated out their body weight?  And also, can someone give the goalie a special medal and declare him US Cup winner since he basically kept us in the game with innumerable saves?

I've got to go lay down.  That game made me tired.

USA.  USA.  USA.