Saturday, July 30, 2011


Evidently I mentioned that my son got himself some tattoos but failed to let you all know what they were.

Did I perhaps say something like "a gold star to anyone who can guess what he got?"

See? I don't even pay attention to myself....

Anyway LESA asked in the previous comment section about the tattoos. And yes there are two of them. Probably when I wrote that post, there was one, but now there are two. he did not get an Eagle Globe and Anchor. He did not get a big bold USMC. He didn't even get "MOM" or "I HAVE THE BEST MOM EV. VER." Which totally surprised me; I thought that would have been his first choice. *sigh*

He got the American Flag - all wavy and red white and blue right over his heart.

And then. He went back and got another one on the other side of his chest.

A Republican Elephant.


He did. One of those that looks like a stencil; again, red white and blue.

So there you have it, my ones of readers.

If becoming a United States Marine wasn't enough to prove my son's patriotism, well now we just have to follow him to the beach and take a look at his chest.

Ooh rah indeed.

Friday, July 29, 2011


In the late summer, when it was hot and muggy; when rain was a distant memory and did not appear to be in our future; when the top of my head barely reached my grandpa's belt; I'd walk along his garden with him.

I'd kick up dirt clods and not be bothered by the dust and grime that coated me.

We'd stop at the tomato plants and he'd pick two off the vines.

Plump and red. Small in his hand; big in mine.

He'd wipe them on his pant leg and hand me one. And we'd stand there in his garden, his pride and joy each year, and eat those juicy tomatoes, the juice dripping down my chin and mixing with the sweat and dirt that already covered my face.

I'd eat every bit of that tomato, wipe my hands on my shorts and walk on, stopping to "help" him examine his other plants.

I love fresh tomatoes.

I love that memory.

I don't know which is more delicious.

It is a memory matched only by the one where I am standing beneath our apple tree in the fall. We had three. Apple trees that is. And I'd stand there with my brothers and sister like four hungry birds as we watched Gradnpa reach up and pick an apple off a low limb.

Red. Green. Ripe or not. It didn't matter.

He'd wipe it on his pants, just like he did the tomatoes, and then he'd pull out his pocket knife and slice that apple for us, handing us the slices right off the blade.

One for you.
One for you.
One for you.
One for you.

Around he went until the apple was gone. Then he'd pick another one and start the circle again until his four little birds had their fill of apple slices straight off the blade of a pocket knife.

Organic eating at its finest.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
Another digital slideshow by Smilebox

Monday, July 18, 2011


As I remember "The Goodbye" one year ago today, and as I sort my thoughts for another post, I will repost this one from about a year ago.

Three days ago I said goodbye to my son - AGAIN - as he took his first step toward fulfilling his dream.

It is amazing how, during that final hug, that final hug in which I wished desperately that I did not have to let go, how many thoughts went through my mind in such a short amount of time,
First I thought of how different it is to hug my son the man, than it was to hug my son the child. Whereas years ago - although it seems like moments - I embraced a chubby, round, soft -cheeked little boy who smelled like bubble bath, sweat and dirt, this time I was hugging a tall lean young adult who smelled like deodorant and cologne. Where my hand used to touch a soft fleshy baby face, it was now touching a lean, chiseled cheek-boned face just like his dad's - a face rough with whiskers that had yet to be shaved that morning. Where I used to bend over or sit on my knees to hold my boy, this day I was stretching upward to reach him and he was bending down to reach me.
Sweet Mercy, how DOES the time pass so quickly?
The thing that remained the same, though, was that, just as my sweet little boy used to pull out of my embraces, impatiently moving on to play in the dirt or the lego bucket, my tall lean adult boy pulled away first - eager to move on. Eager to fly away and start this new chapter.
And as painful as it was to feel him leave my embrace, it is a beautiful feeling to know that your child is eager to begin a new chapter - to set out on the path set before him.
It is beautiful to see your child show courage.
For the past several months something just felt wrong about Blake's decision to join the Marines - something that I have chalked up to the fears of a mother's heart. And then it hit me.
We have, in a sense, reversed roles.
From the moment I knew I was pregnant with Blake it has been my duty, my privilege, my instinct, to protect him - to place myself between him and danger.
And now, he has chosen a life path that, in essence, will call him to place himself between me and danger.
He will become my protector - along with all of his brothers and sisters in uniform.
That just feels wrong to me. And yet it feels so right, because it IS right. I know it is right because I've seen his diligence as he prepared for this time. I've seen his excitement as he talked about it. I've seen the contentment that entered his heart when he signed those papers.
And so he has gone. And the many many emotions that swirl in my heart right now are surely going to collide and form a perfect storm where this lonely, frightened, proud, uncertain, relieved mother can do nothing but plant my feet and hold steady until I get used to this new phase. And that's okay.
I can do that.
I can do that because I recently sat through a memorial service for a 16-year-old boy whose mother cannot look at a calendar and count the days until she will see her precious son again. She does not get another goodbye. She does not get to watch him leave for the next phase of life - whatever that phase would have been.
And I am ashamed of myself becasue I have spent the last year - the last fourteen months actually - living in fear and dread of the day my son will leave home. I have lived in dread of the day I had to tell him goodbye. And then that day came and he was sent home and I had to do it all over again. And I spent a lot of time feeling sorry for myself.
But here's the thing. I GOT TO SAY GOODBYE. And for now I know my son is safe and, although he is doing something extremely difficult, he is happy because he is finally living his dream. I get to see him in thirteen weeks.
Oh how Nic's mother would love to know she would see her boy in thirteen weeks.
I miss my boy desperately. I cannot stand to think of what he is enduring right now. But I am thankful for the perspective that God has allowed to seep into my heart.
I have a sweet daughter at home and oh how I love watching her enjoy life. I so enjoy her. I have a loving devoted husband. I have a son who is healthy and strong enough to be at Marine Corps Boot Camp.
And I got to tell him goodbye - strong in my faith that I will see him in less than three months.
Forgive me, Father, for my selfishness during this time of change in my life. Forgive me for forgetting to look beyond my own self pitying heart.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


So I bought this dress a couple months ago.

It's a little different than what I'd usually choose but something about it just caught my eye. It has a scoop neck - not too low - short sleeves but not so short that they show my upper arms (of which I am NOT fond) - and a hem length that hits right above the knee. And it's polyester which means I won't have to iron it.

I hate wrinkles.

I think it's a sheath dress. Or is a shift?

I don't know. But it might, kind of, perhaps, just maybe look like something Carol Brady would wear in the later episodes.


When I tried it on at the outlet mall (I confess; it is from Dress Barn) the sales lady that had been "helping" me adopted a sneer that made her look as though she'd swallowed a worm. Up until then she'd been very complimentary of everything I'd modeled.

"Oh, that's just darling. Great color."
"Now that is just right for you. You can wear that any where."

But this one?

Well this one did not please her. It did not please her at all.

After making her "oh dear I've swallowed a worm" face she said "I just don't see that on you."

Which was a total lie.

I mean, OF COURSE she saw it on me. She was standing there grimacing, making it very clear that she saw it on me. (I guess she was speaking FIGURATIVELY....)

And she did not like what she saw.

But I wasn't to be swayed. Not only did it have all the qualities I mentioned above but it was marked down to about $13. It did not occur to me that it was so cheap because it had the potential to make people gag.

I wanted this dress. This would be my "WOW!" piece for summer. My one piece that was just a little bit "out there."

Plus I totally wanted to spite that very disapproving salesclerk.

So I bought the dress.

Yesterday I wore the dress to run errands. I love to wear dresses and skirts in the summer. Love love love them. But I was a little unsure about putting this one on to go out in public. I mean, when a salesperson, whose job it is to SELL you things, tries to convince you a dress just isn't for just isn't for you AT ALL....well, it kind of erodes your confidence a little.

But I settled on wearing it anyway.

With a paper bag on my head.

Which was very uncomfortable because: 1)it was REALLY hot outside and 2) it was really sunny and I couldn't decide if my sunglasses should go on the outside of the bag or the inside.

So I got through my day of errands to the bank, a friend's house to pick up a catalog, and....the gathering spots of ALL gathering spots....WALMART. I told myself if I saw anybody I knew at Walmart I was just going to act very confident in my outfit and nobody would think I looked anything but FAN. TASTIC.

I didn't see anybody I knew which means I didn't have to feel uncomfortable but I also didn't get any compliments on my new edgy dress.


At the end of the day, after putting groceries away and doing whatever else it is I do around here, I greeted my husband at the door when he walked in from work.

He did a quick scan of me in my dress and said with true enthusiasm:

" look pretty. I really like that dress."

BAM! Take that Dress Barn Lady!