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Jumpsuit Stylin

As I flipped through the rack of pants at my favorite clothing store the bright colors and patterns reminded me of days of yore. In my youth I modeled a one piece sleeveless jumpsuit for my dad. Aqua blue with a pink and green paisley pattern, front zipper and wide bell bottoms, zowee! I was hot stuff. Daddy quickly burst my bubble when he asked, “You’re not wearing your pajamas out in public are you?”

Sheesh.jumpsuit 3

He failed to appreciate how groovy I really was. It didn’t matter. I wore them anyway and relished the praise I received from the girls who asked where I had scored such a one piece wonder with zippered front. “My mom made it.” I replied nonchalantly. She and I had picked out the pattern and fabric together. Today these are called palazzo pants. But they’re not nearly as groovy as the ones I wore since they don’t have the top attached. Apparently some wise designer finally realized that it’s a big ol’ pain to come out of that one piece wonder when visiting a public restroom… or any restroom for that matter… especially if one happens to be in a hurry.

I tentatively picked out a few pair of palazzos in multiple sizes to try on. In my brain I am still groovy. However, in the dressing room… not so much. Holy cow.

Seriously. Holy cow!

Well, except for the holy part.

Maybe it’s the mirrors or the lighting or…

No matter how far I stepped back or turned or tilted my head sideways the view was not improving. But man! Are they comfortable!

Perhaps with a longer shirt, or taller shoes or different underwear or if I ate some celery for crying out loud…

To be fair, I do eat celery… every Thanksgiving. It just happens to be surrounded by dressing and gravy.

Reality sunk in that day in the dressing room of Cato’s. I still enter on the side where the young chicks shop because in my heart I am still groovy. However my rear end has graduated to the grander side of life. There should be no palazzo pants for me.

I guess you can’t go home again.

That’s okay. I will rest in the reality that I have wisdom, and maturity, and years of experience.

Years and years and years of experience…

Besides… who wants to go out in public in their pajamas anyway?

palazzo 2

palazojumpsuit

pantsuit 2 palazzo 3palazzo 4

Vintage patterns are complements of Pinterest. Palazzos are featured at Cato’s where they are advertised as “soft bottoms.” Does that strike anyone else as funny?

Also if you are my age and choose to wear palazzo pants may I just say, “More power to ya sistuh!” No judgment here! Bravery comes in all sizes.

Obviously.

I love my little town. Salisbury, NC has so much going for it. Sure, that includes some crazy but don’t you think every family has a touch of crazy? It keeps things interesting. Sometimes folks refer to us as “Smallsbury” in a derogatory fashion. That’s okay. I think small is a good thing. In fact, someday when I write my book I might just title it that. Smallsbury, USA.

Many neighborhoods still exist here where we look out for one another. The other day I was standing at the kitchen window when I noticed a cop car slowing down. It proceeded to pull into my mom-in-law’s driveway. My heart just stopped. I alerted David so we both moved to the front window and peered through the curtains like Gladys Kravitz on Bewitched. What is going on across the road?!!

We checked our cell phones to make sure we hadn’t missed a call. As we watched to see what was afoot, David grabbed his shoes so he could run interference between the police and his eighty-nine year old mother. Not that we needed to warn her in case she was smoking pot or something. We just wanted to be there if she was going to be arrested while “Bad Boys, Bad Boys” played in the background.

However, before David could get his shoes on all fear was gone. The policeman turned out to be our nephew. Since he was in town for court, he decided to stop by his grandmother’s house to check on her. Then every cop’s worst nightmare happened. His grandmother sent him across the street to our house with a box of doughnuts. Talk about stereotypes. Bless his heart. Jay w KK

This would not be Nina’s first brush with the law. She was driving home from serving Meals on Wheels one night years ago, when she made a right turn beside a vehicle which was stopped for a light. Since there was no turning lane, the police pulled her over. When asked for her license she realized her purse was locked in the trunk. Exiting the vehicle into a night filled with flashing blue lights, there she was, guilty before God and everybody. As she opened the trunk she was sure that all who passed thought she’d been busted for drugs. Nervously she retrieved her purse. Suddenly matters got even worse. Dropping her pocketbook, as we say in the South, she watched as the contents spilled across the pavement. No telling how many tubes of lipstick rolled into the gutter that night. As she stood there mortified, two nice policemen chased down the contents. Her lifetime motto has always been, “Lipstick makes everything better.” That night might have been the one exception.

As you know, things aren’t always as they seem. The policeman knocking on her door was not there to interrogate. The cop carrying doughnuts across the road was just doing his grandmother a favor. And the lady in the blue light was not being busted for drugs. In Salisbury though, we already knew that. Word travels fast here because we’re all standing at our windows, peering out checking on our neighbors. I especially love that small town living includes policemen who love their grandmothers, deliver doughnuts, and chase lipstick for nervous women.

God bless Smallsbury!

*Special thanks to my beloved nephew Jason who allowed me to take his picture while in uniform holding a box of Krispy Kreme. What a man!

My mouth has gotten me into trouble more than once… mostly because I’m trying to be funny and something goes amiss. Two of my biggest regrets happened on Mother’s Day. As a kid, I remember making a card for my mama and putting in big letters “HAPPY MOUTHER’S DAY!” Daddy would not let that die. It got us both into hot water, although I really don’t think I was at the age of spelling accountability yet. Mama was very less than amused.

The second mishap was all my fault. Mother’s Day used to be commemorated by wearing a rose to church. Red meant your mom was living and white that she had passed away. It was a pretty big deal to honor your mom with a bud. We’d ask a neighbor for permission to pick a blossom from her loaded bushes. One year I was especially cute… and unthinking. I came home with a pink rose and told my mom I’d wear that for her since she was always sick.

Not funny.

It makes me sad just remembering the look on her face. Funny is not fun if it is at someone’s expense.

Much later she overcame the sickness that had plagued her young adulthood. In those days asthma could not be taken lightly. Old Doc Shinn made emergency house calls to give her a shot of adrenalin straight in the heart. Times sure have changed.

Once her asthma subsided she was able to take up walking. She and daddy walked three miles each morning and repeated it some afternoons. They were very health conscious. So when a rare illness suddenly took her from us it was a terrible shock. Shortly after she passed away I went to look for flowers for her grave. She hated anything fake, so I was trying to find the most lifelike silk ones possible. Of course the prettiest happened to be pink roses. I stood there in the discount craft store sobbing like a baby.

Someday I will quit beating myself up for hurting her with my funny words. I’m sure if she could speak to me now she’d say, “Oh Lynna quitcha bawlin’! I’m fine! I feel better than ever!” … or something more heavenly.

Mother’s Day can be such a difficult time. A lady I know whose only son died, hurts terribly around this time of the year. Another friend in his sixties continues to grieve that his mother abandoned him and even though she lives near, still wants nothing to do with him. A young woman whose baby died before birth wonders if she counts as a real mother. Those of us with mothers who’ve passed on may find the sentimental songs at church unbearable. The pain for the childless woman, who must remain seated when the mothers in the congregation are asked to stand, is unspeakable. As she leaves and flowers are given to all the moms in attendance, she must shake her head, “Nope. Still not a mom.”

I don’t know the answer. Maybe there’s a way to do things differently. But how ever we celebrate Mother’s Day, let’s think a little. Maybe an extra prayer for the childless couple could be offered. Perhaps a card sent to someone the Lord brings to mind would be a good idea. Just be sure to check your spelling on those homemade cards. And stay away from pink roses.

PS-

I thought you’d like to know that the mother who lost her son battled through a very deep valley of depression. She got busy and sent out an armload of Mother’s Day cards.

The man in the story will no doubt spend the week-end enjoying his wife, grown children, and grandkids, knowing he has made a great difference in the lives of those who love him.

The young lady whose baby died will celebrate with her precious little miracle son Able, who is now a healthy three year old.

And the childless couple was blessed with two babies at once who keep them busier and happier than they ever dreamed possible.

As for me, I’m thankful to still enjoy my mom-in-law Nina who has been my “other mother” for as long as I’ve known her son. I pray that God will bless you too, in some unexpected way, especially if Mother’s Day tends to stink.

My beautiful mom on the right with Aunt Termey

My beautiful mom on the right with Aunt Termey

Not Done

Since you probably cannot think less of me, I must confess something.

I’m no good at woman stuff. I am so sorry you have to hear that. Let me clarify. I do not do well at women’s retreats. I do not enjoy traditional Mother’s Day church services. I do not care for sentimental poems about motherhood. I do not celebrate kinship like other females. I don’t know why. Please forgive me.

I don’t like to shop either. In fact I HATE shopping. If you would like to torture me, just send me to the mall. This trend against female festivities has been going on as long as I can remember. My friends come away from those things revived. I walk away feeling like I wish I had spent that time on a much needed nap.

Again, I am so sorry.

For those of you who relish sisterhood, I do not judge you. I feel many women are empowered by female festivities. I would never discourage girly get-togethers. In fact, of our three daughters, two have grown up to lead women’s Bible studies and retreats. Apparently they got their Bible teaching skills from their dad. But for me personally, I have never had girlfriend coffee dates, shopping buddies or the like.

I know… I’m weird.

So when my pastor’s wife [1984] asked if I and my three little girls would sing at the Ladies’ Banquet, I laughed harder than Sarah when she was told she would bear a child in her nineties.

Quite the chuckle.

First of all, I do not sing. Well… I do, but it’s less than pleasant. However, my girls ages three, five and seven at the time, wanted very much to do this. And I had the 45 at home of Bill and Gloria Gather singing, “He’s Still Working On Me.” We practiced and practiced and practiced. Hmmm…. not bad. Factor in the cuteness of the girls in frilly dresses bought by their Nanny Nina, and I think we can pull this off. OK Lord, this is for You.

“Don’t hold the microphone too closely,” He gently reminded.

Good gracious this place is packed! Dear Lord, what was I thinking? Calm down Lynna, you can do this. Start the record. Come on girls, sing. Please sing. Oh dear, look at their little cherub faces. They are as frightened as I am. What are the words again?

“There really ought to be, a sign upon my heart, don’t judge me yet, there’s an unfinished part.” Please girls, please sing. Three year old Hannah saw her big chance. All those people just confirmed what she already knew. SHE WAS BORN TO PERFORM! Pulling the microphone as close as she could she belted out:

HE’S STILL WORKIN ON MEEEE… TO MAKE ME WHAT I OUGHT TO BE! IT TOOK HIM JUST A WEEK TO MAKE THE MOON AND STARS, THE SUN AND THE EARTH AND JUPITER AND MARS. HOW LOVING AND PATIENT HE MUST BE! HE’S STILL WORKIN ON MEEEE!!!”

Oh thank You Lord! At least one person in this room was blessed. It’s me. Thank You Lord for reminding, especially during the sweaty times, that You are continually making me what I ought to be. Thank You for creating everyone different and for not expecting me to be like the beautiful polished women around me. You ARE very loving and patient and I owe You big time for getting me through this one!

“And I am certain that God, Who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” –Philippians 1:6

Clarkgirls

Clarkgirls

New Purpose

When David saw the sturdy old table, he knew it would be something I’d want. So he rescued it from the kitchen that was being demolished and I was thrilled. The former homemade “island” looked to me like the perfect place to pot plants. We moved it to the basement of our big old house and filled it with favorite flowerpots. But it was never really convenient to use. The basement opened to the backyard, while my window box and flowerbeds faced the front. Eventually my potting table became a catch-all for paint cans and other junk. When it came time to downsize to a tiny home, so many treasures had to be left behind. The potting table was not likely to make the cut.

Something in my soul told me to rescue it once again. We hauled that heavy thing to the shed at our current location. After another few years in storage, it occurred to me to move it to my little side porch and put it to use as originally intended.

Look at it now: nothing really special… but actually kind of perfect right where it is.potting table

Kinda like us… except for the perfect part.

We had such plans. We consulted experts, read books, budgeted wisely, took advice, and prayed hard.

Somehow it all came undone.

And I wonder…

How did we get here?

Hopefully things will work out like it did for the former kitchen island/current potting table.

Sometimes it just takes moving to a different circumstance to be of better use.

Okay Lord. Here I am, big as life… bigger! Put me to good use for Your glory. As I try to let go of the past, I trust You for my future…which to be honest, is a whole lot harder than I ever thought it would be. I sure could use a Word from You this morning.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.” Proverbs 3:5,6

Thank You Lord. I really needed that. Please strengthen us while we wait.

Deep and Wide

Remember when televisions were deeper than they were wide? We still use one of those. Even our spare smaller version in the library* is about the size of a VW bus. I realized our main TV is not as sharp as it used to be when I became prematurely joyful over the Braves’ big lead in early innings. But alas. They were not actually up by eight. Upon further review the eight was a zero.

Thankfully our television is not equipped with that pesky surround sound. For one of my favorite Sunday afternoon activities is a NASCAR nap. Surround sound could certainly hinder that pleasantry and seriously impede my mood for days. Nobody wants to caught up in that ten car pile-up.

My sweetheart is a multi-tasking television watcher. One of his best Spiritual gifts involves the skillful handling of the remote. Rarely do we see an entire commercial. He’s capable of keeping up with the Braves, finding a great little diner with Guy, and counseling a couple as they choose a home in Hawaii. What a man! This is him with Windex in hand as he makes our old T.V. high def.**hi def

He got ambitious and ordered a new study series for our Life Group. Then we realized our television is too ancient to play the accompanying DVD. It probably has something to do with the deep to wide ratio.

David is also very good at stopping to watch the commercials that make me laugh. Currently it’s the couple who have the dancing accident while Bill Medley sings “I had the time of my life…” Just as the husband turns his head, his wife gets brave and leaps into his unexpecting arms. After crashing to the floor, they consult their doctor online. The wife confesses, “I came in too hot.” It was apparently another example of misjudging the deep to wide ratio. That happens at our house all the time.

I remember being so happy when we purchased our television because it replaced the ginormous console. We stuck the new one on the top of the old set for about a year. It was a great design choice and I cherished it daily. Of course I covered the console with a lovely fabric.*** One day my sweet husband surprised me with an entertainment center. It fit perfectly in the corner and took up less space than the console totem pole theme we were developing. Plus it had room for the VCR and tons of tapes. Later we added a DVD player which stacked nicely on top of the VCR. Throw in a cable box or two and once again we achieved a great look. Even now David loves squeezing his giant man arms behind that hefty corner cabinet. Standing on his head trying to figure out the right wires in order to hook up the preferred system is always his favorite.

If perhaps one day a flat screen TV came to be a part of our family I don’t know what we’d do. I don’t think they make a corner model. There would be no place to put the hydrangeas which have found a home atop the TV cabinet for at least a decade.****Where would we stack our plethora of video equipment? What would we do with all those tapes? One should not toss out Bruce, Denzel, Sam or Larry Boy all willy-nilly.

So for now I’m perfectly content that our television is deeper than it is wide.

Oh to be so lucky!

 

Leading Men

Leading Men

*Full disclosure: Library is a term I used loosely in reference to the room in our house just large enough for one chair and a bookshelf. This term is not meant to imply sophistication on any level but was chosen simply because it sounded better than “study” which would be a complete misrepresentation.

** Actually that was a little stretch. We never buy real Windex.

*** In an effort to maintain complete honesty I must insert that the old sheet was not that lovely.

**** Science project anyone?

Angels Unaware

My mom-in-law Nina has a cement pineapple in her yard. Apparently this is the traditional symbol of Southern hospitality. It matches her personality perfectly. No matter the time day or night her heart is open to visitors. Scripture says to entertain strangers because sometimes angels pop in for a visit unannounced. If there are angels hanging out in Salisbury NC, she has most likely given them a hug and a piece of fried chicken.pineapple

Her home in days of yore was the gathering place for all her son’s friends. Even now when we run into one of those long lost pals they will consistently inquire, “How’s your mom? Tell her I said hello. She always made the best fried chicken!”

I on the other hand am not as hospitable. There should be a cement statue on my lawn signifying such. Perhaps a pineapple with a line crossed through it. Or maybe a frowning gnome with hands on her ample hips would be more accurate. She would hold a sign stating, “Just because I’m sitting on the porch does not mean I want to chat about gutters, cable or the end of the world.”

I did kick one guy off my porch. He was selling meat. I do not understand how this is an acceptable practice. He was rude and wouldn’t shut up and suddenly I heard myself say, “Get off my porch.” Insert image of chubby frowning gnome with hands on ample hips here. Add red hair for emphasis.

This action surprised even me. If you know me you’d be a little surprised too, unless you’ve ever tried to sell me a chuck roast from the back of your truck. When I explained to him that I was not in the habit of buying food from a meat wagon he had the nerve to say, “Lady, where do you think the grocery store gets theirs?” That’s when grumpy gnome expressed her hot displeasure.

If I finally get a day to work in the yard, that actually is NOT an invitation to anyone trolling the neighborhood. I would NOT love to discuss the condition of our driveway, dangerous trees nor my phone plan. Thank you for your concern over our lack of gravel, precarious limbs and wasted minutes. However I am in no mood to stand here in my nasty sweaty wore-out self and converse at your leisure. And if you’re campaigning for office PLEASE just send your views to the Salisbury Post where I can mull them over on my own time. I will be much more likely to vote for you if I do not retrieve your smiling faced flyer from the laundry. For eventually I shall shuck these sweat soaked jeans and likely leave your campaign promises in a pocket only to find their shredded contents in the washing machine.

Nope, I don’t have a pineapple in my yard.

In fact, I’ve often thought of inventing a line of anti-welcome door mats for people like me with “Beat It” emblazoned in place of the traditional sentiment.  “Scram” “Hit the Road Jack” or “Vamoose” would be other fine choices. Perhaps it would be wise to have “Welcome” on the other side in case an angel shows up so I could quickly flip it over.

Nah. Who am I kidding? Angels won’t stop here anyway. Nina lives across the street and she’s got fried chicken.

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