Middle Aged Nursery Rhymes For the Not Too Faint of Heart.

Jack Sprat could eat no fat, his wife could eat no lean….actually Mr. Sprat would eat no carbs, but seemingly all the fat he wanted and still lost over 10lbs. Mrs. Sprat, however, was told by her doctor to avoid bread, saturated fats and sugar. She lost only 2lbs-one of which she gained back. Mrs. Sprat is not a happy camper.

Where O where has my little mind gone, O where O where can it be…?

Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, If Jack jumps over anything, much less a candle stick, he will probably jump over to the chiropractor’s office tomorrow.

Wee Willie Winkie runs through the town-upstairs, downstairs in his nightgown; rapping at the window, crying at the lock, “why are my grandparents asleep in front of the TV? It’s only 8 o’clock?

Little Bo Peep has lost her glasses and can’t tell where to find them-leave her alone and she’ll eventually figure out that they’re on top of her head.

The north wind doth blow, And we shall have snow, And what will poor robin do then, Poor thing? she’ll sit in a barn, And keep herself warm with a nice toasty hot flash.

Hey-they don’t call her “Old Mother Goose” for nothing!

 

 

A New Year

The new year is always a time of hope for me-I’m always ready to start fresh and begin something new, even if the old year was a good one that ended well. Though there are always many wonderful things to celebrate and joys to anticipate in a new year, the years now seem hold more sorrows and un-looked for changes than has been their wont-the price of getting older I suspect.

2011 heralded the beginning of school for our oldest granddaughter-a proud moment, though it amazed me how quickly the first 5 years of her life flew by. It was the first year of my retirement, which was wonderful, but also a bigger adjustment than I had anticipated. Ups and downs with our family reminded us that no matter how old your kids are, you never really stop being a parent. We welcomed new loved ones into our family and lost others. We mourned a never-known grand-niece born into heaven at the beginning of the year and said goodbye to a beloved father and aunt at the end of it. But true to His promise, God is always with us and never gives more than we can bear, gently reminding us to look and see him at our side. The seemingly unbearable has been tempered with the unexpected promise of a new grandchild in the coming summer.

I look forward to 2012  with both excitement and trepidation, knowing that whatever comes we will weather it, because He loves us and  His grace covers all in Christ alone.

Patterns

After an unusually busy Thursday, I treated myself to another backyard break this morning.  Autumn has finally arrived in this drought stricken state and I am relishing the clouds and cooler temperatures.  There’s a brisk Southeastern wind blowing soft grey clouds across the sky at amazing speeds.  Tomorrow there’s a chance of rain and temperatures only in the seventies; sweet relief from the punishing heat of this summer.

As I sat outside looking and listening, I thought about the patterns in my life and in the world around me, patterns laid down at creation that will continue unaltered until the end of time.  We are in the midst of the fall migration of the monarch butterfly, so anytime I step outside there are a number of them flitting and darting in the breeze, but eventually heading on south to Mexico.  In the spring, they will head north again.  Soon, I’ll hear the sad, strange cries of the Canadian Geese as they too head south for the winter.  I can see a pattern in the tiniest snail shells-perfect circles spiraling toward the center,  the scalloped edge of a leaf on a lowly weed and the alternating blades of grass on the runners of our faded St. Augustine.

Now, in my mid-fifties, I’m also very aware of the patterns in my own life-and in the lives of those I love.  We are born, and progress through the same seasons and times of growth.  We may each do very different things with those times, but if we continue on this earth, we will all move through them just the same, and to the same conclusion.

I want to enjoy this personal autumn season that I’m entering  just as much as I enjoy the autumn of the world around me.  A quieter time of life, bittersweet in some ways, but made richer by the passing of the seasons that have gone before and sweeter by the love of the great Maker of those seasons.  I know I can face the autumn and winter to come with peace and reassurance that they are in His hands, not mine.  All is well.

Morning

This morning, I took my coffee and myself out into the backyard to enjoy the cool and the quiet.  I savored the simple pleasures that I often overlook-a flock of birds flying over the empty lot behind our house, a distant train whistle, a bird singing in a tree down the street.  I walked around the yard enjoying the feel of cool, damp grass under my bare feet, watched clouds on the horizon and drank coffee.  I need to treat myself to this more often.

(Unfortunately, while I was out there, I noticed the weeds trying to take over my little herb bed, so I’m headed back out to get rid of them before the temperature starts heading towards the triple digits predicted for today.  Reality strikes again.)

Recipe for Love

I’m so glad that God made us in such a way that certain sights, smells and tastes can trigger sweet memories.  When I walk into a kitchen that smells like coffee, bacon and eggs I’m immediately transported back to my Mamaw’s kitchen. She believed everyone should have a good breakfast, and no one got away in the morning without one at her house. Her homemade pear preserves and plum jelly were always on the table and I’ve never tasted any quite as good since those days.  When I cook a roast in the oven, I’m reminded of my Mom’s Sunday dinners. The roast cooked while we were at church and when we came home the wonderful aroma that met us at the door made our mouths water.

Even more precious to me, though are the recipes left by these two wonderful women.  I inherited both of their recipe boxes and I love to sit and look through those index cards. The ink is faded and the cards are yellowed with age, but the handwriting on them is still clear and brings them close once again. I can picture them sitting at the kitchen or dining room table copying recipes onto those cards. My mother loved to use colored ink and a fountain pen, so her cards are mostly written in purple, peacock-blue and red. My Mamaw preferred a blue ball point pen or a pencil.  Often, there are notes written after a new recipe was tried making changes and recommendations. Occasionally I find a recipe card written by one of my aunts, or a friend of my mom’s. There are even a few written by my dad!  He loved to cook and there are a number of cards with his speciality dishes written in his bold flamboyant script-always in black ink. Seeing the cards and their familiar writing makes me feel that a part of these loved ones is still with me, even though they have been gone for many years.

Things have changed since the days of handwritten index cards and recipe boxes; my daughter and I keep our recipes on our laptops and email them back and forth.  Still, I plan to hand down those precious recipe boxes to her. I know she will treasure them too.

Coffee Hot

Recently, I was inspired by both my caffiene addiction and my love of  The Lord of the Rings to pen an ode to the bean–with profuse apologies to J.R.R. Tolkien:

The Hot Coffee Song

Sing yay! For the cup at dawn of day

That washes the morning breath away.

A loon is he that will not sing-

O! Coffee hot is a noble thing!

 

O! Sweet is the thought of sleeping in,

And hitting the snooze alarm again,

But almost as sweet as sleep and dreams

Is coffee hot that smokes and steams.

 

O! water hot we may pour at need

O’er a soggy tea bag and be glad indeed

But better than tea at the crack of dawn

Is coffee hot poured while I yawn.

 

O! Coffee’s ok as cappucino

latte, espresso or frappacino,

but never will Starbucks treats be finer

than hot morning coffee and my recliner!

 Ok-I’m not a poet, and I am more than a little silly sometimes, but frankly we could use a little silly in this world-along with a big hot cup of joe.

Crowning Glory

My husband and I just spent a week taking care of our two granddaughters-Miss Priss and Little Bit.  Miss Priss is four and a half going on 18 and Little Bit just turned two-(which simply is not possible since I’m sure they just brought her home from the hospital last week.)  Their Mommy and Daddy ran away from home for a few well-deserved days on the gulf coast and we jumped at the chance to keep the girls. They are light of our lives and we keep the interstate hot between our house and theirs. It has been an exciting, exhausting and insightful week, and I thought I’d share a few observations that I made:

1. I have a new appreciation for my husband’s and my parents.  We left our kids with them many times and never thought twice about it.  They were always happy and excited to keep them, and it was so nice to get away alone for a few days knowing that our little ones were in their loving and capable hands. Now I know that as soon as we drove off with our little treasures, our parents collapsed in a heap.  A happy heap, but a heap nonetheless. 

2. In  thirty years, kids have not changed.  They still do the same things, say the same things, refuse to eat the same things and push the same limits.  I, on the other hand, have changed-a lot.  The last time I was chasing two and four year olds , I was in my twenties.  Now I’m 54 and I have found much to my chagrin, that I have a shorter fuse and a more irritable  last nerve, both of which were tried and tested to their limit this past week.  My knees don’t like going up and down stairs anymore.  My brain refuses to function in the morning if I’ve been up the night before with a sick two year old.  More than once this past week I wondered how on earth my daughter manages to be full time  mother, wife and student.  I wondered how on earth I did it 30 years ago-and I wasn’t even going to school; and I wondered if I was going to make it through the week. But I found that in spite of the frayed tempers, the aching joints and the lack of sleep, I loved every single minute of it.  I even discovered that I can still climb over a locked gate and not fall off.  (However, that’s another story for another time)

3. Remember the song “The Second Time Around”?   Well, it’s not just true for romantic love, it’s true for grandbaby love too. Maple syrup kisses are sweeter, little arms around my neck are more precious, and “knock-knock” jokes are funnier when told by a four year old granddaughter who then laughs hysterically.  Little tears are more heart-wrenching, bedtime prayers are more sacred, and the world is brighter and more miraculous when viewed through the eyes of a grandchild.

In Proverbs 17:6 a very wise man said that “Grandchildren are the crown of grandparents…” .   I couldn’t agree more.

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