Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Snowy Day

On Sunday night, I read Butterbean the beloved book, The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. By the next morning the ground in East Atlanta was covered with four beautiful inches of snow.

We made snowy memories.
Drank hot chocolate. Snuggled on the couch. Played outside.
And marked every single thing off of Annika's Snowy Day agenda.
Played with neighbors.

Built a snow-woman.

Left funny footprints in the snow.

Sledded down a hill on a cookie sheet.

Drew snowy pictures with our new window crayons.

And mixed up some snow cream.

We just heard on the news that 49 out of the 50 states in America have snow on the ground
right now.

What are you waiting for?

Friday, December 31, 2010

Mary D(ee)

Mary and Hoyt-young and in love

I was Mary's favorite granddaughter. And before you go replacing "favorite" with "only", just know that it doesn't matter to me.
When you visualize the word grandmother, you more than likely picture an old woman with white hair, a low bun, reading glasses, sensible shoes, and matronly clothes.
That was not Mimi.
Mimi at our wedding

Now I'm sure that her siblings could tell you lots of stories about her antics as a child. My mom and her brother and sister could entertain you with stories of her parenting style.

I only knew her as Mimi.
Independent, witty, stylish, opinionated, graceful, loving, intelligent, and thoughtful.

Mary was only 43 years old when she rushed to the hospital to welcome her first grandchild. I will be that same age in just over five short years, and my only child will merely be eight years old, so I can hardly imagine grandmotherhood.

At that point in her life, she decided to be called Mimi by her future grandchildren. After all, it could easily be mistaken for a name when we were out together. I don't blame her, especially since we've already established that she didn't fit the "grandmother" type cast.
The title, Mimi, fit her perfectly.

Mimi was someone that I always relished spending time with.

As kids, we could play with objects that she had collected from all over the world. Explore her backyard and house. Swim in the hot tub and eat all of the hot dogs we wanted afterward.

She sent postcards from far-away places and brought back cool souvenirs.

She was the grandmother that didn't knit me socks or scarves when I was a teenager, but instead let me pick out my own gift while we were on our annual Black Friday shopping trip. She'd always wink and say, "Now, act surprised when you open this on Christmas, okay?"

She was the grandmother who attended recitals, graduations, parties, and special events.

And she always looked fabulous doing it.

I remember the year that I got my first teaching job, I invited her to Grandparents Day at the school. I thought my kids would get a kick out of my grandmother being there. She drove from Atlanta to Cartersville to be there. She was so proud of me. She mingled with the other grandparents, ate lunch with me, and then headed back home. Back in the classroom after the events, one of my students approached me. He quietly said, "My grandfather likes your grandmother. He thinks she's pretty."
I thought to myself, "Of course he does. Everyone loves Mimi."

Mimi holding Annika

I will miss her hugs, her witty remarks, her gold shoes, her green beans, her beauty mark, her rum cake, her cards, and her voice, among so many other things.

I am eternally grateful to God that she only had to experience being old for a very brief time.
I love you Mimi.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Solo is not a vocabulary word that I use a lot.
In fact, I've done very little on my own over the past 37 years.
I've lived in 13 different houses/apartments with a total of 22 people who were either roommates or family members.
I lived alone for a mere two years.
But it really didn't count because I was approximately three miles away from my parents' house.

You get the idea, right? Independence is not my thing. I'm a pack animal.
I approach my running the same way.
Until lately.
The Tortugas (pictured above) have kept me running the past three years.
Then one moved to Denver. Then there were two.
Lately, those two have had a tough time meshing their schedules. Bummer.

I panicked the first time I headed out for a long run ON MY OWN.
(Have I mentioned that one is a lonely number?)
But then, surprisingly enough, I did it.
Seven miles alone.
The next week, I ran eight.
This weekend, I will embark on my third consecutive solo long run.
If I survive the NC hills of this weekend's run without my faithful companions, I will consider myself independent.
(Girls, don't get the wrong idea. I miss you desperately. But what a good feeling to know that when push comes to shove, I can do it by myself.)

Butterbean is sowing her independent oats lately, as well. This past weekend Geoff went outside to water the flowers in the front yard. Who peeps around the corner of the house?
"The Curly Wonder"
Apparently, she discovered how to unlock the front doors. . . SOLO!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Patriarch

Tonight while running a three miler, I ran past two older gentlemen shooting the breeze in my neighborhood. As I approached them, I smiled at the easy way they talked and laughed while petting the adorable puppy that one of them was walking.
I bowed my head in greeting as I ran past them huffing and puffing. One of them must have been wearing cologne or vintage soap because the smell that overwhelmed me was the scent of my Great Grandaddy Sam.
I was immediately filled with the memories of the years with the wonderfully sweet soul that was my mother's paternal grandfather. . .

He constantly collected dimes, so that when each grandchild and great-grandchild was born, he could give them a five dollar roll.

He visited the "old folks" at the nursing home at the young age of ninety.

He would sit and talk for hours all while patting his hands softly on the arm of the leather chair in which he sat.

And he was the kindest man that I believe I have ever known.
One to truly be admired.

When I turned twenty-one, my mom asked me to come home and celebrate my birthday with him. Our birthdays were a mere three days and seventy years apart.
I remember pouting because I wanted to stay in Athens and "party" with all of my friends.
My mother said softly, "One day you'll be grateful that you came home for this."

She was right.

Based on my hair color, I am twenty-two and Grandaddy Sam is ninety-two in this photo.

Friday, July 16, 2010


Annika is currently in that infamous stage of asking "Why?" about a zillion times a day.
I keep reminding myself that this is an important phase in her cognitive development. It's going to improve her reasoning, vocabulary, and allover intelligence, right?
Most of the time. . . yes.
And, let's face it, sometimes she's just trying to annoy me.
It's human nature to ask, "Why?" We like resolution in our lives. Have you ever been watching a fabulous made-for-television movie and had the power go out? Or had a call drop just before a friend was about to tel you some interesting news?
Exasperating, huh?
As a believer, I've always grappled with the question "why?"
Why do small children get terminal cancer?
Why do some people who desperately want children never conceive?
Why do countless humans suffer from starvation, illness, poverty?
Why does a woman lose her husband on their honeymoon when he falls to his death in the Grand Canyon?
Yet, these kinds of things happen every moment of every day.
Yesterday our neighborhood was hit with tragedy, and we all found ourselves asking,
once again.
Why would a loving father/husband/friend/neighbor/church member choose to take his own life?
We'll never know any of the answers to the above questions. At least, not in this life.
But, rest assured, we are being Held.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Crash Course

In April 2006, I walked away from this.
It's a long story that involved hydroplaning across five lanes of traffic on an interstate and landing untouched in the emergency lane. Only to be hit moments later by a truck driving approximately 60 miles per hour while I was on the phone with my husband.
The major point, again, being I walked away.

Last Sunday, Pastor Heather, preached on how God recycles. Though he does not cause the trash in our lives, he re-purposes them into something useful.
The moment above is a great example of this.

After flying in an uncontrollable car across five lanes of traffic and landing safely, I had a few moments to revel in the miracle that had just occurred. I thanked God and then picked up the phone to call my husband because I was shaking uncontrollably.

While on the phone, a second accident happened to me-the truck mentioned above slammed into my car, which held me. Geoff's whole car, a Ford Focus, collapsed around me. The windshields both exploded upon impact, but the airbag didn't deploy.
Though I was transferred to the hospital on a backboard, I came home hours later with some small cuts on my face, some back and neck pain, and a large bruise where my leg was pinned between my seat and the door.


I am certain that this accident was NOT caused by God. But I know without a doubt, that he re-purposed this moment and used it in my life.
I knew (and know) that I had more to give, more to love, more to write, more to try,
more to share,
more to do.

I've tried to remind myself of that every day since.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Wedding photos

Well, it's official. Butterbean is obsessed with weddings. Brides, veils, flowers, The Wedding March, and the first dance.
Princess Ariel and Prince Eric are the key players in this drama.
Guess which one I have to play?