Friday, July 23, 2010

In The Mood

My husband loves to play the saxophone. He loves it just about as much as he loves me - or I think it's in that order. Either way, it's OK. It's not like it's another woman.

A few weeks ago, his swing band played at one of the fairly new retirement centers in town. I had to work the next day, so almost didn't go. Boy, would I have missed a wonderful night.

I had a ball! The place was beautiful, the food delicious, and the music, simply marvelous! To make it even more special, an old friend was there with his lovely wife, and they did a mean jitterbug to one of the tunes (In The Mood). I didn't get it recorded from the beginning, but I think I got enough that you can still appreciate the talent of both, the dancers and the musicians.

Friday, July 16, 2010

A Spiritual Fast to Lose Weight?

I am currently fasting. I’ve got a cruise coming up next month and since my grandson Nick will be coming along, it’s inevitable that I’ll have to get into a bathing suit at some point during the cruise.

Trust me - this ol’ grandma in a bathing suit is not going to be a pretty sight, and about the only thing I can do that might help even a little is to purchase a couple of pretty cover-ups (which I’ve already done). It would probably help, as well, if I lost a few pounds – 10 at the very least. So, I am currently abstaining from wine, desserts, meat (except fish), soft drinks, and bread.

You might say I’m dieting – but I’m not. I can’t diet. But I can fast. The Bible encourages us to fast.

Oh, I know. The purpose of a spiritual fast probably shouldn't be about losing weight. It's even probably a good chance I'm committing some sort of sacrilege. But I can’t do it any other way. For some reason, the commitments I make to myself don’t carry the same weight as those I make to God.

I’m not Catholic, but I always give up something for Lent. I’ve even gotten where I actually look forward to it, especially now that I know that Lent doesn’t include Sundays. Nice – a reprieve every seventh day. But I didn’t learn that until this year, and so for the past several years, I’ve been giving up something for the full forty days. Most usually, it’s two or three somethings.

One Lent season, I gave up M&M peanuts and diet coke – a workday treat I had been allowing myself everyday at around 3 pm for months. I missed it too, but when you abstain from something for God, it should be something you’ll really miss – a sacrifice. Otherwise, it wouldn't mean squat.

Tuesday night, my monthly dinner group met at Nancy’s. My fast allowed that I could have everything but the wine and dessert. Well, the wine was not a problem, but Nancy is a great cook, and I knew the dessert would be to die for. And it was – an absolutely beautiful, mouth-watering ice cream cake!

Trust me when I say, just looking at it was a treat. It was absolutely breathtaking! The crust was graham cracker; the middle, layers of coffee ice cream and chocolate; and the topping, toasted marshmallows! Oh! My! Gosh! What a test of will power!

Well, that’s just it. I don’t have any will power - AND that’s the reason I fast, rather than diet. Had I simply been dieting, I would never have been able to say no. Besides, who in their right mind would even want to? Short of a health reason (and a very significant one, at that), I know of no good reason to pass up such an amazing dessert. To be quite honest, I was actually embarrassed! Everybody thought I was crazy – and rightly so.

But to break a fast? Not so easy. That feels too much like breaking a promise to God - and thank goodness, that’s never come easy to me. So, if ever I really need to reach a personal goal, break a habit, improve a relationship, be penitent, lose weight, then I fast. Because then, it becomes a promise between me and God, and I’m more committed.

God knows me pretty well, and He knows I can’t diet. So surely, even though a spiritual fast probably shouldn’t be about losing weight, it must make Him smile at least little to know that I can’t even lose a few pounds without His help; but with it, I can say no to a fantastic dessert that’s right up there with ‘s’mores and mud pie!

Nancy… next month maybe?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Happy Birthday Mom!

Today is my mom's birthday. She would have been 91. She was one fantastic lady - a true Southern belle. Oh, the things she would say and do. I find myself telling the same stories about her over and over and over - and no matter how many times I tell them, no one enjoys them more than I. In this way, she is still making me smile.

I'd like to share just a few...

To say Mom was a little old-fashioned would be an understatement. Tammy Wynette didn't have anything on her. Mom believed God put woman on this earth to take care of her man - and she loved my husband Bob, and he loved her. She lived with us the last several years of her life in a downstairs apartment. Of course I saw her every day, but on this particular day I was finally off work after working several days of overtime in addition to my regular shift (I'm a nurse.) On this particular morning I went downstairs to tell her I finally had a day off. I could tell she was thrilled for me, but probably more thrilled for Bob. In her sweet soft voice, she said, "Oh honey, that's so nice. You should bake Bob a cake." Can you imagine? Here I've been working all this overtime, and she thinks I should bake Bob a cake? Heck, Bob should be baking me a cake! Mom didn't agree.

Bob really loved this about her.

Mom never sat idle. She was constantly cleaning and straightening things. While she loved living with us, she feared being a bother. So to pay her way, so-to-speak, she became the ultimate housekeeper. Because of her, we never had a dirty dish in the sink or a dirty piece of clothing in the laundry hamper. It was a joke in our house that we only needed two pair of underwear - the pair we took off and the pair we put on. Bob always bragged that the same pair of underwear he took off would be back in his underwear drawer by morning. (You can smile if you want, but it's true! )

Mom could clean off a table too, faster than anybody I ever knew. While she loved for all the family to linger around the dinner table after a meal laughing and sharing stories, she herself, did not linger. She was up immediately clearing the table - and if you spent too much time talking and not eating, your plate or glass would disappear right out from under your nose. We laughed many a time at the shocked expression on the face of the person who turned back and went to jab a fork into a plate no longer there - sort of a "gotcha" moment! While most of us did finally learn to always keep one hand on our plate and the other around our glass, thankfully, there was still an occasional slip up! We watched for it, too! It became a highlight of our holiday dinners.

Bob says I did take after Mom somewhat in this respect. He tells friends that sometimes he gets up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, only to find the bed made when he gets back. It's not true, of course, but I like the comparison.

Mom's health declined and after one short hospital stay she was sent home with a two-week prognosis. Hospice was called in and she was taken off all medications except those to keep her comfortable. Seven months later, Hospice informed us they had to release her. Now in seven months, mom had become quite fond of the young Hospice caregivers, so she immediately wanted to know why "those nice little girls" had stopped coming to see her. "Because you didn't die!" I told her teasingly. She looked shocked for only a moment before putting her little hands on her hips and exclaiming, "Well, if that's what they expected, I don't want to see them either!"

Age and illness made Mom very feeble and unsteady on her feet. In spite of us moving her bed as close to her bathroom as we could get it, she would still occasionally not quite make it back to bed. Instead, she would slide to the floor where she would have to remain until someone could help her back to bed. It was my fear that this might happen in the night and she would have to spend the night in floor. So I placed a baby monitor under her bed. Mom was very modest and very private, so I did it without her knowledge. I felt guilty about this, but needed a way to keep her safe. It worked too. I was awakened on several occasions and went downstairs to help her back into bed. On one such occasion, as I gently lifted her back to bed, she hugged me and said, "Oh honey, you always seem to know when I need you."

I never felt guilty about the monitor again.

And probably my most favorite...

It was near the end and Mom was in the hospital. She had been unresponsive for several hours. Staff was just trying to keep her comfortable. Around 2 am I decided to run home for a few hours. Not wanting to leave without saying goodbye, I leaned over her, kissed her on the cheek and whispered in her ear, "Mom, I could kiss you a thousand times." Much to my surprise, and delight, this little voice whispered back, "Well, you'd better get started then."

I would have loved to have been given the time.

Happy Birthday Mom!

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
Digital slideshow customized with Smilebox

Moments in a Day

Well, I guess it's now obvious how difficult it is for me to "blog". My last post was 6/23. The ideas just don't come easily. Today, though, being a special day, I did have something to blog about and so I signed on. What do you think I found? Followers! I had followers! Not just one follower, but three! And three comments too! Do you hear what I'm saying! Three! And not a one of them my husband!!

Wow! Thank you to my new followers for all the kind words and encouragement! You inspire and energize me! I was going outside later to put a couple perennials in the ground, but now think I'll just stay in and write!! Ha! You don't know what you've done. Sometimes, a little encouragement...

Anyway, you got me excited. Maybe I can do this! After all, blogging is journaling, right? And my life is fairly interesting, at least to me. There are certainly moments throughout a day, every day, that touch me in one way or another. Why not blog about them? Even if they don't seem that big a deal to anyone else, if it's important to me...right?

Like last week when I drove over to Winston to shop. I turned into Lowes, my favorite store, and almost ran into a flock of geese! Yes, they were on the ground - walking straight toward me like they were on a mission. And they were in some sort of organized formation! One in the front, followed by two, then three or four, then probably a dozen! I had to stop! I couldn't do anything but stare! What a picture! Then I remembered my camera. It was still in my purse from an outing the day before! Yeah! It even crossed my mind, as I frantically searched through my purse, that this might be a blog story in the making! Quick thinking, right?

Well, by the time I found my camera, got it turned it on and focused, the Kodak moment had passed. The geese had dispersed and looked as if they were actually walking off in total disgust at my inability to capture the moment in pictures. I had blown my chance! I did, however, manage to get a picture of their retreat - nothing impressive, but at least a reminder of the moment.

...A thought occurred to me as I wrote this story. Had I not thought it to be a possible blog story when I first saw the geese, I probably wouldn't have given them a second look. I probably would've waited for them to pass and then pulled into a parking space and gotten on with my shopping. But instead, I spent some time in the moment and found it to be quite special.

There must be many moments throughout my day that come and go without so much as a thought. What special moments am I missing? Perhaps if I start looking for those special moments, if only to blog about them, I'll eventually become so adept at recognizing them, that fewer will pass without my noticing.

Could it be that blogging might just enrich my life?