Thursday, December 31, 2009

Just a Thimbleful...

"Muscadine Vine Swing"

It's New Year's Eve.

I have a bottle of wine.

I have a thimble.

I'll have a thimbleful for medicinal purposes. My back hurts.
Thimble 1: Ate 10 Jeno's Pizza Rolls (they're SO small!)
Thimble 2: Made 4 of the cutest little chicken pot pies with some leftover chicken (put in freezer for later).
Thimble 3: Facebook friend's post asked "What to do on NYE that doesn't involve drinking?" and I'm thinking of answering - "What a silly question!"
Thimble 4: I saw Oprah on tv and thought - "Girl, you are looking HOMELY - you need some work done!"
Thimble 5: Seriously considering signing myself up on
Tjshnef 6: Now I know why those old broads on The Andy Griffith Show were always so flippin' happy with their thimbles!
NINE: Oh my goodness, it's 8:00pm! I need to get to bed!
Happy New Year!
P.S. Don't forget to find the "funny" in every day! Blessings for a wonderful year!


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

It's Raining...

It's raining. A slow sleepy dripping on the roof that makes me want to go back to bed - but it's 2:30pm and I feel obligated to be productive. My current goal is to paint the livingroom. I moved a bookcase out of the livingroom last night - into the back bedroom. Books are stacked on the floor. One picture is down. One chair askew. The livingroom begs me to paint it, yet I balk. I have been totally unproductive since Christmas. I want to blame it on the long road trip I took, but I know I can't. Something holds me back. I have always despised laziness but it has occurred to me that maybe I am just being lazy.
We'll see about that. I'll let you know how the paint job comes out...
Blessings for a happy day!

Friday, November 13, 2009

"My Little Cabin"h

"In my Father's House are many Mansions."
I hope yours is next to mine!

Monday, September 28, 2009

When Grief Comes to Call...


Grief doesn't come and go.
He mostly stays.
He is like a stranger who comes to call.
A big nasty stranger with mud on his shoes.
Someone frightening - someone you would not normally let into your house.
But he doesn't even ask - he opens the door and walks through you - like in a nightmare.
He picks your favorite chair and props his feet on the coffee table.
You don't like this uncomfortableness in your home
and hope this stranger will leave right away so you can get on with your chores.
But he moves in without even asking your permission,
claiming closets and bathrooms and dresser drawers and even your secrets.
Un-invited, he sits in the chair beside you
no matter which chair you choose.
He watches you undress.
He watches you eat.
He hears you laugh and rushes to make you bite your lip to stop.
He mocks you when you pray.
And he stays.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


A long-ago television commercial sticks in my mind. Some specifics I have forgotten - I think Florence Henderson was selling Jello - but I'm pretty sure of one of the lines:

"Treat Your Company like Family and Your Family like Company."
I had an aunt and uncle who always treated me like company. Aunt Agnes and Uncle Cecil treated me like I was a real person - not just some little girl who was in the way. Sometimes, on Friday night, I would get to spend the night at their house. Aunt Agnes liked to stay up real late and work on her "paint-by-number" pictures. It seemed like she was always working on one of these and it was always a painting of Jesus. She worked at the kitchen table. I would stand by her side and watch her carefully paint each tiny numbered section. A printed puzzle on a big board, tiny pots of paint, and Aunt Agnes' steady hand. She said many times, "I'll betcha this is harder and takes up more time than somebody just slinging paint on something without having a pattern to go by." She would paint and talk at the same time. Oh the detailed stories she could tell! I was fascinated and loved my visits there!
On Friday nights, Uncle Cecil liked to "take a drink". But he never bothered anyone like some people do when they get too much whiskey in them. Uncle Cecil had never learned to play a guitar, but on Friday nights, he would get his guitar out of the closet, put a Johnny Cash album on the record player, and sit on the couch, strumming the guitar and singing along with Johnny. I would stand by the doorway of the living room and peek inside, watching him enjoy Friday night.
I drove to Mississipi to see my aunt and uncle a few years ago. Uncle Cecil was in the last stages of cancer's ugly grip. The minute I got inside, Aunt Agnes started telling me a story, as though she had left off telling it yesterday. They had moved to Mississippi from Alabama many years ago, but I recognized so many things in this house. Whatnots, family pictures... Two things caught my attention at once. Two oil paintings hung on the wall. One was The Last Supper. The other was a portrait of Jesus. I said, "Oh my goodness - I remember when you were working on these!" And just as though she was still in that little kitchen with a paint brush in her hand, Aunt Agnes repeated what she always said over thirty years ago: "I'll betcha this was harder and took up more time than somebody just slinging paint on something without having a pattern to go by."
I cherish my memories of those who took an interest in me when I was young. I hope you have some good memories too!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Movie Reviews!

I haven’t been sleeping well, so I’ve decided to review some movies for you:

“Australia” – Good story, but why do they have to put Nicole Kidman in EVERYTHING? That close-up shot of her contact lenses in the party scene was just creepy.

“Valkyrie” – I used to like Tom’s movies. I stopped liking Tom. Now I like Tom again.

“Seven Pounds” – Will Smith, WHAT were you thinking to do this? You are on some kind of hero kick, for sure. Too many body parts to be believable.

“Taken” – Oh My Goodness, it’s good!

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” – Haven’t watched it. I may be the only woman on the planet who doesn’t think Brad Pitt is attractive. There – I said it. Plus, in every movie I’ve ever seen him in, he sounds like he is reading his lines. There – I said that too. Well, except for one: Burn after Reading. (I watched that one to see Clooney because he’s just too adorable.) That script was a perfect fit for Brad. Dorky, dumb guy. (He married that tattoo girl – need I say more? However, I do think she is a good actress.) Okay, I digress. You watch Benjamin Button and tell me what you think. The storyline is too creepy for me.

“Quantum of Solace 007” – More of the same, but would have been better with one of the other boys. Daniel is no Sean or Pierce.

“I’ve Loved You So Long” – Pretty Darn Good

“Last Chance Harvey” – Awww, I love Dustin Hoffman. It went on a little too long and Emma Thompson walks like she is nine months pregnant (what was up with that?), but what a sweet movie!

“Slumdog Millionaire”– Magnificent!

Okay - more later!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Try to Find the FUNNY

"The Bride Wore Tube Socks"
Do me a favor.

Do yourself a favor.

Try to find the “funny” in every single day.

Even Abraham Lincoln once said:

“Were it not for my little jokes, I could not bear the burdens of this office.”

Hope your day is filled with FUNNY!

Saturday, May 16, 2009


In the event that I am ever incorporated into the game of “Trivial Pursuit”, following is some information about me that is a “must have”.

I believe I am a complicated person.

In fact, a couple of people I worked with, on different occasions, told me I was complicated and went on to say that they were trying to “figure me out”, but had not yet done so. I took that as a compliment because I find it rare that anyone would care enough about someone to spend time trying to “figure them out”. I think this must be the reason my husband stayed with me for so long – he must have liked that about me. In fact, he said this to me many times, now that I think about it: “Jo, I CANNOT figure you out!” (Oh - I miss that so much!)

Although I have always felt there was something else I was meant to do, I was a manager at a large corporation for an entire career. That worked out quite nicely. For part of my life, however, I had a secret desire to be a cashier. As a child, I was fascinated by cash registers. Then, everybody got rid of the old cash registers with the delightful-sounding clackety keys and I lost that desire.

Sometimes now, I have a secret desire to be a waitress. I am a pleasant person and some people seem to enjoy my company, and my family has ALWAYS enjoyed having me do things for them, so I fantasize that I could rake in large tips. Then I remember that I have been known to trip over my own feet, so I probably need to stop thinking about this.

I think I have a very strange sense of humor. I try to “find the funny” in everything, and usually do. However, I have never learned to appreciate bathroom humor (and I hope I never will).

I have been known to cuss, but I have just about given that up altogether, as I realize that it never accomplished anything whatsoever.

I believe I would enjoy dancing – but have never had anyone to dance with. My husband didn’t care for such nonsense – so I really don’t know why I have this belief. (And then there’s the tripping-over-my-own-feet thing…)

Candy I like: Orange slices - any brand as long as it is fresh. Malted milk balls - Brach’s brand only.

Things I like: Clean Sheets

People fascinate me. As a child, I would rather have listened to an older person tell a story than to play outside. And I loved playing outside!

It is my goal to improve myself each day – even in the smallest way. I want to “let my little light shine” and be a blessing to everyone I meet. It is my wish to learn to love others completely and without judgment because, I think, after all is said and done, it is the only thing that matters.

Oh – and I love that little saying that I saw posted the other day:

“Jesus knows me – this I love.”

Note: If you ask me about myself tomorrow, I will probably write something completely different. But I suppose that is because I am really just like you – complicated.

Saturday, May 9, 2009 be Loved....

"My Quiet Place"

I’m sitting in my favorite spot – my swing on the back porch. Today isn’t exactly like the ‘good ole days’ because I’m not SWANGING and eating chocolate pie. Today, I have my laptop on my lap (instead of pie).

I have a vine that has wandered up the porch posts from several feet below. It’s called a Carolina Jasmine. If you GOOGLE this vine, you will find that its description says it will climb to heights of more than 20 feet in its quest for sunlight. It is true that it will climb, but I tend to think it is because the plant is also in search of a place to "belong". If you get close to one of the tendrils, it will reach out and gently nudge you - in a soft, loving kind of way.

Everyone…everything…just wants to be loved!

Hope you will get – and give – lots of hugs today!


Thursday, May 7, 2009


Of all the articles about grief that I have read this past year, the one that stuck with me was the one that told me I am miserable because I am no longer with the person who DEFINED me.

Okay – so maybe that is it - the answer to this sorrowful plight. So, if it is the answer, now what?

Could it really be true that I don’t know who I am anymore because I WAS who I was because we were together? Now, who am I? How do I feel? I don’t know how to say how I feel. What’s the right word? Today it struck me that maybe I feel like a homeless person. That would sound strange to someone who knows me because they can see I live in a comfortable little cottage. It is dry and safe. I can have anything I want to eat. I have more clothes than I need. Homeless? The word entered my mind because the feelings I have are those of a lost, helpless person, stumbling around, wondering things like how I ended up like this and what’s next for me and how the rest of my life is going to play out. Sure, I have gone back to work, and I have laughed – things I thought I would never do again. But something keeps nagging at me – wanting my life back the way it was. Nagging enough to keep me uneasy and uncertain and afraid. A bad dream isn’t just a bad dream anymore. I wake up to a second nightmare when I find myself awake and alone.

Why do I mentally insist that I want my life back when I know it is impossible? When I was not alone, there were days when it was so hard that I fantasized about being alone. (Yikes! Did I really say that?) And therein lies much of what makes my grief harder and more terrifying – those unresolved issues. The KNOWING that there were things both of us should have taken care of and didn’t – and now they are forever undone.

So I wander and wonder in this current “homeless” state, not comfortable in my own skin. I will wait for peace and acceptance of my "new normal".

Blessings to all!

Saturday, April 25, 2009


So, I just joined Facebook and I got to thinking about my “Glory Days”…

I was in Heflin way over a year ago (maybe 2?) and saw a sign that said POPS BAR-B-Q was for sale. I went in and got a shake and cheeseburger and thought about my school days and old friends even though the restaurant wasn’t at the same location as when I was a kid. The little red-haired lady who ran the original POPS in ’68 was still there, taking orders! I haven’t been back since I saw the FOR SALE sign and I wonder…do I dare go look to see if the building is still there? Oh, I don’t think I want to know!

When POPS was at its original location in Heflin, those were the Glory Days. To “circle POPS” was the ultimate Sunday afternoon experience. I tried to be good all week so Mama and Daddy would let me “go riding around” on Sunday. You could always find a girlfriend with a driver’s license who was going to POPS – it was a standard question at Sunday School: “Do you know anyone who is going to POPS today?”

Just a bunch of good old girls and boys, riding up and down the main street in Heflin and then whirling into the POPS parking lot to circle the building. Around and around we would go! We didn’t know what “loitering” meant and no one ever told us to stop circling! Waving at friends, and making new ones! You never even thought about ax murderers or kidnappings or any such nonsense in Cleburne County in those days.

If we had some change, we could stop and get something to eat. (Actually, it’s the only time we would get out of the car – we just rode and circled!) The milkshakes and the cheeseburgers were so good! Absolutely nothing tastes that way anymore.

I met the sweetest boy in the parking lot at POPS once. I was with a crowd of girls and we were circling POPs and he stuck his head out of the car window and said, in a voice I will never forget: “Hey Girl, what’s your name?” Yep, he was talking to ME! Let’s see, what did young girls do back then when a cute boy spoke to them….oh, I know - I just about had a COW! (What was that saying all about, I wonder?)

Okay, Boss Bruce, I’m gonna borrow your little ditty:

Glory days well they'll pass you by
Glory days in the wink of a young girl's eye
Glory days, glory days

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Mama's Zinnias

Spot of Gold...

I remember the year Mama planted Zinnias. I was ten.

I thought about it today when I “turned my garden over”. It’s a small plot, less than ten paces long. This year I decided to plant Zinnias in my little spot. Just Zinnias.

So today I dipped my shovel into the earth. I pushed on the end of it with my foot, lifting out as much dirt as I could hold on to. I raised each scoop high and then I let it go. The clod would fall from the shovel, crumbling as it hit the ground. Over and over I did this until all the dirt was overturned. I began raking, to smooth the little mounds. It seemed there was more earth within that little rectangle than when I started. Finally it was smoothed and then, with the hoe turned sideways, dragging it along, I made rows. On my knees, I carefully planted the seeds and smoothed the dirt over them by hand. I struggled to get up – my back was weary.

I remember Mama’s Zinnias. She raked the dirt a little bit and then scattered the seeds. They landed in just the right spot. The business of planting Zinnias seemed so effortless! I wish Mama had been on Earth with me today. Maybe she would have told me her secret as I pawed breathlessly at my little spot of dirt.

I remember Mama’s Zinnias. Oh the colors! Flower heads as big as our supper plates, it seemed. They danced in the wind but always stood still for butterflies. Oh the butterflies! They flew from no-telling-where to visit Mama’s flowers. Not since that summer have I witnessed such large and colorful insects. A stunning display of flowers and wings - for the inspection and delight of anyone who walked along our dirt driveway.

My job was to water Mama’s Zinnias - before they sprouted, after they sprouted and all the way through blooming. So that year, once a week, more when it was hot, I would drag the hose from behind the house and down the driveway, making a snake pattern in the dry silky dust. During watering, something magical happened to me. I was in charge! I could make it rain! With my thumb held just right on the end of the pipe, I could put on the most dazzling show. If the green wiggly hose was held just so in the sun and my thumb was in the perfect position, a rainbow would appear through the spray of water. Either a small shower or a mighty storm was at my command. And, oh, the rain-dancing I could do as I twirled the hose high above my head! After they bloomed, the flowers would seem to sway with me, bowing and begging for a drink.

Will my Zinnias be the same? Can I recapture that moment in time?

No. I cannot imagine that that joyful event - of running barefoot, back and forth on the dirt driveway when the Zinnias were in full bloom - could ever dare happen to me again on Earth. Moments like that must surely be part of the Glory of Heaven. A moment in time, forever gone, but lingering with me forever – a startling shock of color in my mind – an explosion of hues I had never seen before - a memory picture I will always carry with me. I don’t know why Mama chose to plant Zinnias only one year – maybe it was for me. Maybe, after all these years, as I struggle with sadness, suddenly alone and longing, on my knees in the dirt, she wants me to remember the gloriousness of that one summer and the things we take for granted that can never be duplicated or recaptured.

I hope my Zinnias make it. But I know that hoping they will be like Mama's is futile. It's the same as trying to recapture my very first taste of Coca Cola. Impossible, no matter how many swigs I take. I will not try to duplicate Mama's Zinnias or even hope for such a miracle. I will hope for butterflies to visit whatever pokes its head out of the ground and enjoy the memory of that Zinnia Summer.