If we were having coffee today, I’d invite you in out of the oppressive heat and humidity and ask you to have a seat in the cool air-conditioned house and probably explain (and even whine a little) about how we can’t EVEN sit outside on the porch to enjoy a cup of coffee because this time of year in the southeast, the temperature rarely leaves the nineties. We’d melt and/or smother.
In fact, since it’s August and being the good southern girl that I am, I’d probably ask if instead of coffee, you’d rather have a large cold glass of iced tea with lemon and maybe even a sprig of mint from the mint patch in the backyard beside the porch. 🙂 Because, like my husband asked the other day, “Who in God’s creation drinks coffee in 100 degree weather?” And I sheepishly raised my hand and told him lots of people do.
If we were having coffee (or iced tea) I’d ask you if you’d read any good books lately. I’d tell you I’m reading Timothy Keller’s book Walking With God Through Pain and Suffering and it’s really, really good as I’ve found all of Tim Keller’s books to be. I’m savoring it which probably means I’m not going to reach my reading goal again this month, but that’s okay. I’ve tried and tried for months now to read Marianne Williamson’s book: A Course in Weight Loss: 21 Spiritual Lessons for Surrendering Your Weight Forever. I’ve sat myself posed in front of that book with pen and notebook in hand, ready to answer the hard questions and do the work. I’ve read the introduction and the first chapter a half-dozen times and can’t seem to get any further than that and I don’t know why. Lord knows I need this book. I’ve failed at my weight loss attempts these last few months and given into temptations. I’m afraid Licorice is my downfall. Oh, how I love it and that blankety-blank Walgreens keeps putting it on sale so Walgreens, this is all your fault! 🙂
We have three family birthday celebrations in July and our wedding anniversary August 2nd, so July and early August is always about eating cake and ice cream. And WHY do I feel that I just can’t pass up that cake? I think it stems from a chiding I got many years ago from, of all people, an old and wise phlebotomist! It was my birthday and I had gone to the doctor and he had sent me to the lab for some blood work. I was disgusted with my weight and had decided there would be no birthday cake that year. The phlebotomist noticed on my lab form that it was my birthday, and as she tied the cream-colored stretchy latex tourniquet on my arm, she said, “WELL HAPPY BIRTHDAY GAIL!” I thanked her politely. She then asked what I was planning to do for my birthday. I told her nothing really and commented that it was just another day. She asked if I would be eating birthday cake. I replied, no, not this year, and then muttered something under my breath while patting my belly about not needing it. I’m sure she wanted to slap me because I kinda wanted to slap myself. She raised her eyebrows, pointed her finger at me, and very sternly said, ALWAYS, ALWAYS eat birthday cake on your birthday and ALWAYS have a celebratory birthday dinner!” Her words stuck with me. So ever since then, I eat birthday cake. As for the weight loss, I had a serious talk with myself last week (yeah, I do that sometimes) and told myself I can do better on both the eating and the exercising. So. much. better.
If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you I’ve been marathon reading Michelle DeRusha’s blog (she’s a Christian writer and published author). I think she’s my absolute favorite writer. I read her memoir Spiritual Misfit: A Memoir of Uneasy Faith in 2015. I just love her writing because she’s so honest and transparent and she lets me see into her soul. I love how she works out her faith in her writing. Sometimes when I blog about my faith, that’s actually what I’m doing…. trying to work it all out in my jumbled up mind because there’s so much I don’t understand. Michelle lives in Nebraska and has two bug-loving sons and her stories of them make me laugh because I raised two bug-loving sons myself. I started reading her blog from the very beginning which she began in 2009, and I’m just now starting 2014. Doing this has made me want to read her memoir again.
In fact, I decided that next year, God willing, I think I’m going to spend the entire year of 2018 rereading some of my favorite books. Do you ever reread favorite books? I love to hear about books that people think are worth rereading a second time, or even a third or fourth time. My sister and I both love A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and its a favorite reread for the both of us. I’ve read it three times and lately I’ve had a yearning to pick it up again.
Anyway, there’s just something about reading Michelle DeRusha that makes me want to pick up a fountain pen and paper or write in a journal. I’ve learned a lot from her.If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I can’t believe it’s already mid-August and I can’t believe Hobby Lobby has had their Halloween and Christmas “stuff” out since July. I’d probably tell you how I felt like vomiting when I ran in to Hobby Lobby at the first of July to buy Fourth of July napkins and was met by cascading leaves of orange and yellow garland, smiling Jack-o-lanterns, and festive red, green, silver and gold Christmas ornaments and twinkling Christmas trees! It just felt too early for all of that! I can’t believe Christmas will be upon us before we know it and I don’t EVEN want to think of all that right now (mainly meaning all the shopping and the commercialism). I feel like such a grouch saying that but it’s true.
I can’t adequately express to you how sad I am that we lost Glen Campbell last week and honestly, I’ve never wept over a celebrity/musician’s death until now. I told my sister I wanted to jump in my car the night he died and drive into downtown Nashville (my hometown) because a TV news reporter said every honky-tonk in Nashville was belting out Glen Campbell songs and you could hear the guitar music and the songs from the street. And while I’m certainly not a honky-tonk type of girl, I would have given my right arm to have been down on Nashville’s lower Broad that night just to hear Glen Campbell music and honor him in some way. We’ve lost such a great musical legend, who in my opinion, didn’t get near the credit he deserved for his musical genius. I read his autobiography many years ago and cried like a baby when I read about his hard childhood growing up in poverty with a very strict father. A father who once made him drown a litter of kittens by tying them up in a burlap sack and throwing them into the river and ordered him to stand there on the riverbank until they sank and drowned. And Glen, being only about seven years old really didn’t want to do that dastardly deed and he cried so hard that he could barely find the strength to do it. But he sobbed hard and talked to those kittens and told them that he wasn’t mad at them and that there would be plenty of food for them when they got to heaven and he did it. He said that was a hard thing for a little boy but that was his father’s answer to not being able to feed all those hungry kittens and so he made poor Glen hurl ’em right off that riverbank. When I saw Glen Campbell in concert at the Ryman auditorium on his farewell tour in 2012, I kept picturing him in my mind as a small boy standing on that riverbank with the burlap sack of kittens and let me tell you, the hot tears started streaming down my cheeks and I had a lump in my throat the size of Texas. I’ve heard people say that Glen Campbell was a good ole country boy at heart and that he never EVER forgot where he came from. I imagine him in heaven now and he’s strumming for the angels on his 12-string guitar and those angels? Well, they’re in awe.
If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that I turned into an emotional mess this past weekend. I found a suitcase full of old letters my parents sent me when I was in college and veterinary school. My youngest son was here for a visit and we were reading them aloud. My son was perplexed as to why all of my father’s letters were written on hotel stationery and then sealed in hotel envelopes. My youngest son never really knew my father (his grandfather) since he was only 16 months old when my father succumbed to colon cancer. There were letters written on Holiday Inn, Sheraton, Best Western, and other stationery. My father was a pilot (not commercial, but private) and so he stayed in hotels quite frequently and he’d drop a few lines at whatever hotel he was staying at. My son said, “So was PawPaw stealing the hotel stationery?!” I told him no, he wasn’t stealing it (!), that back in the day hotels used to put a few sheets of stationary and an envelope in the desk drawer (explaining this to him made me realize how long it’s been since I’ve seen hotel stationery– I guess because no one writes letters by hand anymore). Reading my parents’ letters brought back so many memories. I missed them terribly after reading them. But one thing was so clear to me by their words, and that was how much my parents loved me. And I felt saddened because my sons will probably never know what a joy it was to get all those handwritten letters and what a keepsake letters written on paper really are. Somewhere in my basement is a whole box of love letters my husband (boyfriend then) wrote to me during our dating days when I was away at college and then veterinary school. We dated eight years before marrying so there’s a lot of letters in my basement somewhere.
If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that I’ve been thinking a lot about my niece lately. She started veterinary school last week and I attended an orientation luncheon with her and her mother (my oldest sister) last Monday and we toured the veterinary college and got her settled in for her orientation. Her first day of classes was yesterday. She was scared and anxious and understandably so, and it brought back memories from exactly 35 years ago when I was starting veterinary school myself and was scared out of my wits. But she’s in a good place, and she’s one of the most conscientious girls that I know and she’s a genuinely sweet and truly kind person who I know will go far in life. I wish her the best and I’ll keep her in my prayers because I know these next four years are going to be hard and exhausting, frustrating and challenging, but also exhilarating, memorable, rewarding and fun. I’d probably ask if you’d say a prayer for her too.
If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you how much I enjoyed the visit with my youngest son this weekend and how he’s the son I don’t see very much or talk to near enough, and I’ve missed him. His dad walked him through making homemade ice cream because when he got the family recipe and tried making it twice this summer, it didn’t turn out. So he and his dad made homemade vanilla ice cream together on Saturday and my son learned a few tricks from his dad, the master ice cream maker, and my son said he realized he had not used near enough rock salt when he made his. We ate it the following night and it was thick and creamy and a delicious treat on that hot summer night.
I’d tell you we had a nice lunch out when my son was here, just the two of us, and for the first time ever, I saw the man in him and not the little boy.
Well, it’s looking like rain outside. It’s been a rainy few days here. I’d offer you an umbrella or hold one over you as you walk to your car and I’d thank you for having coffee with me today.