Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Happens Every Day

This book caught my eye in the grocery store. It was $11 and it just looked good. It kinda beckoned me. I usually don't even go down the book or magazine aisle. But for some reason I did. I saw it was a true story and I am all for a true story. There was a blurb on the front stating that readers who liked Eat. Pray. Love. would like this book and because I want to write a New York Times Bestseller and this one was one, I bought it. For research purposes. I love paperbacks. I also love books that are mine and not from the library. I find I read library ones gingerly. My own books I caress, devour, fold, eat with, bathe with, take to bed with me and put them underneath the pillow next to mine. Library books have to remain on the nightstand and aren't allowed to rest on my belly in the bathtub like books of my own. So maybe you might not want to borrow my copy of this book, but it was a decent read. And I can say I recommend it. She is a good writer, but not great. It is far from literary genius, but she is well educated and well in touch with her feelings and emotions. I liked it because it is like reality television without commercials. You get a front row seat inside this woman's monologue as she pours her heart out to you. 

The story itself was good, not great. I mostly liked her talking about various parts of her life, growing up wealthy, her family, their vacations, life in New York, and the home she remodeled with her husband. And all the emotion and joy and pain of life and marriage and children and being a wife and mother. 

By the end of the book I thought the woman may have gone a little crazy. I don't want to give away the story, although you can find the plot on the back cover, but it is about D-I-V-O-R-C-E. Raw, and real, but entertaining as you get to lean on their new kitchen counter tops in their 100 year old brick house and watch them fight. I read it one Saturday, opening it with my morning coffee and didn't put it down until I went into the kitchen to make a tomato sandwich and finished it by 5:00 and even put it down to mow the lawn. This means it was good. I couldn't put it down, I liked it.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


My life of working all the time has greatly impacted my wardrobe. So has my lack of running. So clothes don't fit or are far from the latest fashion or were purchased at the Anderson Mall circa 1999, and must go. I cleaned the closet a little and made some room and hit up the mall tonight with the intent to at least buy one new thing that was modern, current, and fit. And of course, was on sale.

I am so over Macy's. I don't like that place. I am a huge fan of Nordstrom's, but I JUST paid off my credit card. However, Nordstom Rack is a beautiful place and I like it. But I needed an outfit. Some new pieces to work with what I have. I didn't have much time. Or much money. So I set out for my old standby, JCrew.

Here's what I found:
I needed this cashmere sweater like a hole in the head. I got it in light grey. It WAS $158 and I got it for $28! So I had to get it. I will live in this thing in October. It didn't fit any of the descriptions of what I needed. Not for now, not very flattering, but oh so cashmere.

I saw these shoes on their site a few weeks ago and wanted them. I bought a pleather type version of this sandal at Target not long ago and love the look. These are much nicer and were mine for the low, low price of $28. Only $14 more than my Target ones. Retail: $88. Suckers.

So THIS is how these are supposed to look? They look nothing like this on me. At all. Oh well. But I own a pair now. Gonna pair with tunics and sandals and jewelry. Seriously? This girl has got to be like 6 feet tall. And very hungry. Retail $98. I paid $16!Lastly, I got this lovely linen jacket. It is fully lined. Sophisticated, yet natural. I can pair it with a skirt and pumps for work or jeans a t-shirt for the one day this summer it is not 100 degrees and I can get jeans on without breaking a sweat. So, maybe white linen pants and bare feet. Retail $158. Clean Living Price $35.

This entry is solely for Laura Chambers Steen. I wish you had been with me. This way we can pretend. And not have to email photos back and forth via iPhones and Blackberry's and keep hanging up and calling each other back and forth with comments and praise. Happy Birthday. I wish I was there. :(

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Granny Davis

My grandmother is dying. My first thoughts are, "you were not a very good granddaughter", "you could have been closer", "you should have done more". I was what I knew to be, so was she. We didn't talk a lot or share our hearts or dreams or emotions,but she fed me the greasiest, best mac and cheese ever. She pulled me on her lap, blanketed by an A-line polyester dress, knee-highs rolled down like Thelma Harper. She gave me the greatest gift any human being has ever given me. She gave me her heritage. She showed me Jesus in every day of her life.

Madge Lee McDowell was born 90-something years ago, June 11th to Susan Madge Parkman McDowell, who had been recently widowed. Her husband arose one morning, left his wife, sons, James, Herbert, and John Henry and daughters Carrie Mae, Marie, and Grace to help a friend who was away, with his cotton field in the adjacent property. John Wilson McDowell lost his arm and hours later, his life, to Eli Whitney's cotton gin. He was brought to the porch of their newly built farmhouse in a wheel barrow. I think he knew at the time that his wife was a few months pregnant with a child, but he never knew Madge Lee McDowell Davis, or me.

I could write a novella about her life in rural South Carolina, how she used to take off her stockings at the end of the road before going to school, fell and broke her arm riding side saddle on a horse while holding Easter eggs and got to go to college. One chapter would be about how she met my grandfather and their time in South America.

But what I see now at this moment was a child with no father, who knew the Father like no one else I know. Granny Davis lived a life of ministry and a life of knowing that her Father was Christ Jesus and they had relationship. She went once a week to the Nursing Home to love on those who no one else loved on. I went with her one time. I still remember. There was a young girl there, who was paralyzed. In a wheel chair. Lying down. She smelled like saliva and urine. Granny Davis loved her. She spent her whole day there. And she loved on them. She doted on them. She thought those people hung the moon.

James 1:27
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

That is precisely what she did. And I honor her for that.

We joked about how we always knew on Friday night's that Granny and Papa Davis would be at the Funeral Home, but that was simply her... loving widows.

She became a school teacher after her children were grown and she loved those school children as her own. She taught them scriptures for every letter of the alphabet. In public school. In the 70's. One student became severely burned as a teenager, his entire body, in a car accident I think. His face scarred beyond recognition. It freaked me out as a child. His picture was up in the room in the hall and I would never go in there. She would go and visit him and he, her and she loved him. So much.

Where do you get this love for the unlovely? From the Father. The Father she knew so well. The Father who never turned His gaze from her. Who knew everything about her. Her favorite flower, games to play, her deepest desires.

She talked to Him all the time. She would pace the floor at night and talk to Him as she waited on her son, Henry to come home, praying for his safety. She talked to Him as she washed dishes and asked Him to hold, watch over and protect her children and grandchildren.

And I know that I am here because of her Father. She introduced Him to me through a life that said, "I am not an orphan. I am not alone". And then, she interceded to Him, on my behalf. And He knows me, like He knows her and He is filling my cold, cold heart, with love. Her prayers at the kitchen sink, stored up for me, will cover me for a lifetime. I get to walk in a heritage that is rich, knowing Him.

This moment hurts. Knowing she is uncomfortable. It is my prayer in this very moment and in the days to come that she won't be in pain and will be able to rest and simply step into Heaven. And meet face to face with both father's for the first time, Father God, father John. The jewels in her crown are huge. Good and faithful servant. Religion pure and faultless. Honored am I to walk in the lineage of a woman as kind, loving and compassionate as Madge Davis. Forever grateful am I for those kitchen sink prayers. He heard her cry. He came to me. I have a life of knowing Him, because of her. Plain and simple. Every life I ever touch out of compassion and love, is because of her.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Despite working lots and hitting the jackpot at "da Club" last night (Thanks, party of 6, for individually ordering glasses of the same wine at $11 a glass when you totally could have just bought a bottle for way cheaper), I got to go to Carla's on Saturday. We had Mexican Siesta. Yes, I know it is "Fiesta", but Emma Grace got them mixed up when she was 2 and it is now stuck in my head that way. Carla made Mexican Bean Casserole, Spring Mix Salad with Cucumber and Tomato and Cream Cheese Black Bean Apricot Chutney Something or Other Dip. I brought Roasted Red Pepper Greek Yogurt Dip.

Courtesy of the Kroger Clearance Aisle. Yes, I am that girl. I buy discounted grocery items. It's an obsession. I pay no attention to expiration dates. Especially on yogurt items. It is already cultured milk anyway, so how can it be spoiled-spoiled milk? What's another day? or two? or seven? But that just pertains to my own consumption. And family Mexican Siesta's. If you have me over, I will make it fresh. From scratch. No where near the expiration date. I promise. In a fancy dish and everything.
The girls had a Lemonade Stand. They were raising money for childhood cancer. They raised $70! In their little neighborhood. Evidently there is this organization, "Alex's Lemonade Stand".

They send you all you could ever need to host your own stand, a banner, lemonade, bracelets, even temporary tattoos. I am still sporting mine. I got a Mason jar from the kitchen cabinet, poured it half full with tea and then went outside to the Stand and topped it off with lemonade and sat with Catherine, under the umbrella, sipping my Arnold Palmer, and applied my Tat with a wet paper towel. It was hot. Catherine read her library book and I smiled big at passers by, trying to lure them in for a refreshing beverage. We had one taker. The man from across the street. I spent the rest of the time trying to think of a really good excuse to go inside. Mom and Dad arrived and I seized the opportunity and went inside to "visit" with them.

Having just gotten back from Bolivia, they brought presents. I got a necklace. It is gorgeous. I will show you. Carla and crew had just been to the beach. They gave me a neclace too. It is pretty. It is beaded. I love it. I am wearing it now. With my pink jcrew beaded t-shirt. Black skirt. Target open toe heels, which I hate. They make loud noise when you walk. Hair in same half-pony tail thing it was in all day yesterday at work. I slept with it up. Got up. Smoothed it with my hands. Voila'. I hate combing my hair. This is a joy of being an adult. I don't have to. So I don't. But if you have me over, I will comb it and wash it and everything.
After present opening, I lured the boys out on the back porch for decent sunlight with the point and shoot and took these:

Poor Carson. He got glasses. We all had glasses. Dad, Carla, me. It kinda makes me sad, because they are no fun. I had Lasik. But how cute is this face? And so cute with his little specs. And silly bands. And pursed lips. And ear lobes. And my sister's face.
He makes this face all day long. It is his, "I am about to tell a joke but would not dare actually laugh" Face. He is the straight man for sure.
And then there's this guy. Nathaniel. Or as he calls himself, "Natty the Two Year Old".
He went down for a nap while we were there, but when he woke up we had left. Carla said he was upset and kept saying, "But I NEED them". I need you too, Natty. In my arms, your cheek on my lips. Forever and a day.