Seasons are funny.

Some seasons come in gently.  Easing their way in.  Changing things gradually. 

Other seasons waltz in and slap you square in the jaw.  Leaving no mercy in their wake.

I prefer gradual.  Because I'm not a big change kinda gal.  I prefer to look around one day and say, "Whoa...something's different here, but I have no earthly idea what it is." That's much better than the alternative of waking up one day and your entire world has flipped itself.  Yes...Gradual is much better.  And easier on the nerves.

Fall has finally shown its face here in South Arkansas, and I'm loving the open-window, fleecy pajama kinda weather.  I even slept with 3 quilts on my bed last night and didn't sweat one time....it was magical.

But this post isn't really about the newfound crispness in the air.

A new season has sneaked in and rearranged all the furniture in my mind.  Facets of my life have been uprooted and tossed around like nothing I've ever seen before, and other pieces have remained untouched in this bizarre twist of seasonal irony.  Some parts are better.  Some are devastated.  Some are still whirling around.  And I'm stuck somewhere in the middle trying to make sense of it all.

Priorities are shifting.  Conversations are being had that I never thought would have to be.  Time spent on things that used to be so important are now fleeting thoughts.  Interests have moved.  Definitions of words like "quality" and "contentment" are rewriting themselves. 

And I'm still reeling with the shift in equilibrium.

But I suppose that's what seasons are all about.  Some seasons are for deadening, so that new growth can spring forth.  Some seasons are for blooming and flowering and conquering the bleakness.  Some seasons are for transition.  And others are for preparation.

But whatever the season......

"We take the good days from God—why not also the bad days?"  -- Job 2:10 (the Message)

I just prefer more good days than bad....



This has been a doozey of a week on my brain and even more so...my heart....

The entrance of fall usually holds such hope for me.  It's a time that smiles can hardly be wiped from my face.  It means football has started, my closet is transitioning, and the air is a little easier to breathe. 

But this entrance of fall hasn't been so pleasant.  And this week in particular is doing a number on my soul.

For starters, the husband has been gone all week.  My only communication with him has been by email, one failed Skype attempt, and a briefer than brief phone call yesterday.  And I'm growing weary.  The boys and I have just about reached our limit of restraint with eachother, and we are about 5 minutes past time for a referee to run interference.  Without the other member of our family that is old enough to command a vehicle, it has left me doing all ball-related duties myself.  And I'm tired.  Since Sunday, we've had 2 ball games and 6 practices.  And all on different fields.  At different times.  And my baseball/football mom cute is wearing off fast.

I don't sleep well when the husband isn't home.  I hear every creak and moan that the house gives off, and I sleep with one eye open and sitting halfway up in bed.  Last night I swore I smelled smoke, which led me on a sniff parade for 45 minutes.  The bags and circles under my eyes are causing people to spread rumors...

I'm feeling some unsettling in my spirit that I can't quite put my finger on.  I've spent time in prayer and study this week, and still haven't received a clear answer.  I have no idea what the Lord is trying to tell me, and, frankly, it's frustrating.  But I'm trying to remember that His timing is not my timing.  I just wish He'd throw me a bone this week.

My heart is aching for a precious friend.  Her world was just turned upside-down this week, and there isn't anything under the sun that I can do to make it better.  I'm a fixer.  And I can't fix this.  And it sucks. 

On top of all of those big things....

I've fed my kids nothing but frozen pizza, Hot Pockets, and fish sticks for this entire week.  And I haven't felt bad about it...not even once....until now.  And now I'm crying about it....

I ruined an entire load of clothes by accidentally forgetting that I had added bleach to the water.  And last I checked, my men aren't keen on pink splotchy pieces of apparel.

The raccoons have sneaked their way into my trash bins....again.  And they never clean up after themselves.

I'm harboring bitter feelings about not getting to stay cozied up in my mama's house this week while the husband is off perusing the German countrysides.  But because of our hefty sports schedule, it just wasn't possible.  But I sure do wish I was there right now....

My favorite pair of flip flops broke.

And I could go on and on....

But really, I just am ready for my heart to settle.  And I'm sad because I don't really remember what that feels like....so I wonder if I would even recognize it if and when it happens....


Family Matters

I spent the better part of the day at a family reunion.

I understand that I'm supposed to be focusing on the wonderfulness of multi-layered generations intertwining into a mangled mush of togetherness, but, really, these kinds of events leave me a little perplexed.

This particular reunion was for the "Edwards" clan.  Or "Edderds" as we've strangely enough nick-named ourselves.  (I haven't quite figured out why we feel the need to scrawl the word "Hillbilly" in bright black sharpie on our foreheads with such a naming, but, for reasons far beyond my realm of understanding, it's just the way things are.)  The Edwards family branches me from Jim-Dad's mom's side of the family.  My Nanny.  Sweet adorable cute-as-pie Nola Mae Edderds

My Nanny adored family reunions.  She was one of 5 brothers and sisters that were a closer set of siblings than I have ever witnessed in my life.  Each of the 5 had a smattering of kids and so on....so the Edderdses have grown to a somewhat scary multiplication of numbers.  (I'm just glad I'm in the family...because I'm pretty sure that they will take over the world one day...and all you non-Edwards will be out.of.luck.)

Because Nanny loved family reunions so much is why I think that I'm left with mixed feelings about such an event.  As the designated mother-figure of the entire clan, my Nanny loved nothing more than gathering her huge nest of chicks together.  She knew every.single.detail. about every.single.member. of our extended family....I know...because she told me every.single.detail. about every.single.member. of our extended family.  She just loved the fellowship and the togetherness of it all. 

And I haven't been to a family reunion since she went home to dance with Jesus.

And it makes me kind of sad.

Because, honestly, I don't really want to be at one without her.

Oh...I understand the importance of continuing on our legacy and that our generation has a great responsibility to handle such amazing tradition of a family that truly exemplified the meaning of the word. 

But it just stinks.

Because Nanny is not there for me to sidle up to and ask who someone is.  She's not there to fill me in on the latest gossip information regarding my 3rd cousin twice-removed's second wife's brother.  I don't get to hear her call all 5,398 Edwardses by name...first, middle, and last.  And I don't get to see the sheer joy that would envelope her face just at the mention of getting to see her family.

So....was the family reunion fun?  No.  Not really.  But not because the people aren't fun.  And not because the food wasn't amazing.  And not because the weather wasn't absolutely perfect for the day. 

No...it wasn't really fun today because Nanny wasn't there.

Here's my Nanny and I in 2004.  That's a 2 year old carrot-topped Sawyer holding her hand.  We were at a funeral when this picture was taken.  It didn't matter to Nanny though.  Funeral or not...it still meant her family was together.

Here's two of my most favorite ladies.  My mama and my Nanny.  Aren't they gorgeous?

Seriously...my new favorite picture of my Nanny.  That's her on the left in the blue shirt.  She's with her brother, Herb, and her sister, Ethel.  Gosh, how she loved them.  What they have on their heads, I have no idea...but I think they are cute as can be.

Sure wish they all could have been there today.......


Whirly Wednesday

I'm feeling rather whirly birdish today....

  • I walked into Sawyer and Tate's bedroom 14 times today in a span of 6 minutes.  And each time I had no idea what I was doing in there.  And I make it a point to go in there as little as possible.  It stinks like boy and smells even worse.  Whirly Birdish.
  • I brushed my teeth twice this morning.  I'm sure that my dentist is thrilled with my display of extraordinary dental hygiene, but it was really because I forgot that I had already done it.  Just 5 minutes earlier.  Whirly Birdish.
  • I had the boys copy their spelling lists this morning.  From last week.  The fact that they didn't notice either worries me just a bit.  Everyone is Whirly Birdish.
  • I announced at 8:15 this morning that we were out of milk and asked someone to remind me to get some at the store.  At 8:16, I poured everyone a bowl of cereal and then was dumbfounded when I couldn't find any milk in the fridge.  Whirly Birdish.
  • I made coffee this morning.  Without adding the coffee.  Whirly Birdish(And in need of an intervention.)
  • I made an eye appointment for Keaton today, but as soon as I got off the phone, I realized that I hadn't written the date down nor did I have the foggiest idea of when I set the appointment for.  I then had to call the lady back and ask her to remind me.  She asked me that time if I had written it down.  Yes, Ma'am, but no promises that I got it right.  Whirly Birdish.
  • While washing clothes, I chunked a cap of liquid detergent in the dryer and a dryer sheet in the washer.  I'm sure the load needed to be rewashed.  Because it probably was a bit soured anyway.  Whirly Birdish.
  • I watched an entire episode of iCarly today.  By myself.  And I found myself giggling at the jokes.  Whirly Birdish. (And a possible intervention necessity.)
I make a motion that we adjourn this Wednesday.

Can I get a second?  Perhaps an Amen?

So moved.
This Wednesday is adjourned.


Betcha Didn't Know: The OBU Edition

My college alma mater turns 124 years young today.  And in its honor, my fellow blogging Ouachitonians and I are dedicating our posts to its birthday celebration.  Like the icing on a collegiate cake. 

I think everyone wants to say that their college home was/is like family.  That their college experience was something spectacular.  That it was the birthplace of lifelong relationships and friendships.  And I'm sure that that is true to some degree.  But I'm pretty sure that nothing compares to the Ouachita experience.  And I'm pretty sure all my fellow Tigers would agree with me.  Because we know that we have something that the rest of you don't.  And for today....and maybe a little longer!...we're going to allow all of you to be envious of our story. 


*  That Ouachita is not pronounced Ouch-uh-taw.  Nor is it pronounced Oooo-uh-chee-tuh.  Nor Watch-i-taw.  Nor O-aw-chi-taw.  It's Wash-i-taw.  Say it with me....WASH.I.TAW.  And we Wash-i-ton-ians take it very seriously.  And have been known to hold linguistics lessons wherever we deem appropriate or necessary.

*  That I can still remember the smell of 3rd Floor McClellan.  The education floor was my home for 3 years, and I would be able to recognize that distinct mix of floor cleaner, hot laminator, and crayons anywhere.anytime.anyhow. 

*  That I studied for many a test on a "bridge." 

*  That after pulling an all-nighter on the bridge before a final one December, I went back to my room to quickly change clothes before my 8:00 test.  That I must have laid down for just a second to "gather my thoughts."  That the next thing I know, my phone was ringing, and it was my professor calling to wake me up and tell me that I was 45 minutes late for his final and that I needed to get across campus pronto.  That only at Ouachita would a professor care enough to do that.

*  That my hallmates and I "borrowed" a neighborhood dog from its front yard just to see if we could sneak it past Mom Taylor in Flippen Perrin.  We succeeded.  And I don't think that dog will ever be the same.

*  That I never pledged a Social Club, but felt as though I was honorary member of every club on campus.  I definitely did enough pledge duties for my friends to have deserved a spot.

*  That I've never written so many Top Ten Lists in my life....thanks to aforementioned pledge duties.

*  That my favorite professor of all time was Dr. Lavell Cole.  That man could make American History come alive by just letting his voice meet its pages.  I still remember the way he would walk into the room, prop himself on the edge of his desk, and just start talking.  Never a note, book, or visual aide in tow.  He is definitely missed.

*  That I took Art in Humanities in May Term.  And that that was the stupidest decision of my college career.  Because it is near impossible to memorize 67 million artists and paintings in two weeks.  *shudder*

*  That I changed my major at least a dozen times.  But still managed to graduate in 4 years.  Don't ask me how I swung that small feat of That.Never.Happens.

*  That I ate waffles for almost every meal.  Because no matter how legendary, Walt's was gross.

*  That I can still hear Minnie saying, "Hey, honey!" to every student that walked through the lines of the cafeteria.

*  That I still have a problem walking on the grass on OBU's campus, because Dr. Ben Elrod's "Save-the-Grass" speeches are forever ingrained in my brain.

*  That it stunk the year that my Chapel seat was on the very.front.row. of Jones.  Because it is hard to skip Chapel when you are on the very.front.row.

*  That is was awesome when my Chapel seat was on the very.last.row. of Jones.  Because it is easy to skip Chapel when you are on the very.last.row.

*  That those last two statements make it sound like I liked to skip Chapel.  It wasn't that....it was just that I liked to sleep.  A lot.

*  That I almost failed Racquetball.  Because I liked to sleep.  A lot.  And it was a VERY long way to walk to the gym.

*  That I left my mark on OBU's campus courtesy of the Gum Tree.  Nasty or not...it was necessary.

*  That I know all the words to "O-U-A-C-H-I-T-A," and sing it to myself everytime I drive past the campus.  (Which is a lot...since I...uh...live here.)

*  That I will never forget the preciousness of my time at OBU.  Like most events in life, it was definitely taken for granted at the time.  But, as I reflect back, I certainly know that I was part of something special.  Something huge.  A piece of community and fellowship that stretches far beyond the borders of a ravine and a river.  I'm part of a family that gets to call itself OBU Alumni...a brotherhood of sorts.  Like we need our own secret handshake or something.  Because when you find another OBU-er, it's like you just...know.

So, Happy Birthday, Ouachita!
You are loved.
And remembered well.

Go Tigers.

If you are interested in reading the other OBU stories go here.  And if have your own OBU story, join us and link up!


In Which I Call You "Abby".....

Dear Abby,

I write today to implore you for help.  Maybe not so much help, but some possible creative solutions.  I'm reaching my wits' end, and, frankly, the ingenious corners of my mind are closed for business. 

You see, I am struggling.

Because I've just come to the determination that parenting is hard, and I really don't like it much right now.  It's all unicorns and rainbows when the precious sounds of my offspring giggling resonate through the house, but it pretty much just plain sucks when it comes time to deal with all this complicated mess.

Here's a little background:  I'm the mom of 3 fine and delightful male specimens.  All precious in their own right, but so incredibly different.  My oldest is creative and uberly-smart and sensitive and is drawn to all things nerdy and geek-related.  My youngest has the face of a Gerber baby and could melt Mt. Everest with one bat of his eye and one spoken word.  And my middlest is our athlete and holds semi-rockstar status for reasons that I still haven't quite grasped. 

Sounds like a fantastic melting pot of personality and talents, no? 

Oh, for sure.  It has been.

Until now.

Because now we're entering the phases of childhood where the blinders come off, and jealousy and sensitivity rear their nasty heads.  And to be honest with you, I have no earthly idea what I'm doing trying to manage it.

The oldest of our male species is especially having a hard time right now.  He's 10 and super-intuitive, and it isn't rocket science for him to figure out that his little brothers are rockin' the casbah right now.  Sports are a big deal in our home, and all the boys are actively involved in several organized teams, but the oldest one just can't seem to find his own way away from his rockstar brother and his way-too-cute-for-his-own-good brother.  People can be so cruel without meaning to be, by continuously doting on one brother all while hanging the other brother out to dry.  And it's hard as a parent to not be able to assure one of your children that is being hurt by it that it will get better.

Here's the deal, Abby.  I know what the right thing to do is.  It's to let him find his own way.  Find his own niche.  Eliminate as much competition as possible between the brothers, even though we're not purposefully breeding it at home.  I know that the right thing to do is to dote on his accomplishments and achievements and to treat each of our children as individuals, never comparing them or asking them to compete against eachother for any reason.

But, realistically, we live in a small town.  The opportunities aren't endless.  We live in a town where everyone knows eachother, and reputations are what seem to carry a person, however wrong that might seem to be.  Finding one's way is hard to do anyway here, let alone trying to claw one's way out of another's shadow.

So, my question is this:  Any advice or creative ideas in helping a youngster find his own way away, but respectfully so, from his little brother? 

I'm not looking for a sermon, because I preach to myself enough daily, but something tangible that really could help jumpstart some self-esteem in an already hormonal prepubescent.

Much thanks.

About To Flush My Parenting Card Down the Toilet