No Rest

I woke up this morning

In a mess of confusion

No rest for the wicked

The righteous can wait.

Dreams I’ve been dreaming

Don’t stop when I’m waking,

I only know sweetness

When I’m not feeling pain.

And I swear

There is hope

Sweet, sweet love

All around me.

The evidence abounds

In the kindness we do.

So why the confusion?

Why all the great worry?

Sweet salvation awaits

Just step out in the rain.

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High Horse

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Are you only passing through
Or will you stay for awhile?
Either way get off your
High horse and come
Dance with my friends and me
Drink some good wine
Tell us a story and
Sing us a song.

I can’t tell you how much
We enjoy new folks like you
And your horse, Stanley, is
Pretty cool, too.
Tell me, does he dance?
Neigh, neigh, but he
Reigns supreme in
Hay rides and parlor games.

If you decide to move on,
Could I maybe go, too?
My travels have been
Brief and far too few.
That depends, ma’am,
He grinned as he said,
On Stanley, you see he’d
Have to carry both me and you.

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McKayla In the Middle

Happy tenth birthday to beautiful McKayla, our mercurial middle grandchild. She is a dark eyed, dark haired mixture of sweetness and spunk, quick of temper, but equally quick to hug. She was born the very day of the devastating tsunami that struck Thailand on December 26, 2004, and there’s a bit of the tsunami in her. McKayla is a force of nature.image

Smart, funny, and imaginative, she can and does play pretend for hours. I’m always amazed at how quickly her mind works. No matter what scenario is tossed her way she has a comeback. It doesn’t matter if we are pretending that she is the owner of a pet shop and I only want a pet hippopotamus, or if we are pretending she is a waitress and the only thing I can eat is stuffed asparagus, McKayla has a solution. She doesn’t blink twice before saying, “We don’t carry hippos in this store, but I can find you one at another of our locations,” or “Our asparagus is rather soggy today, could I recommend the stuffed broccoli instead?”

She’s become a really good reader, loves her American Girl dolls, and is a cheerleader in her spare time. Oh, she loves animals and hopes to be a veterinarian or to own a farm with her cousin, Dominique, some day.

Here’s my story for McKayla. Happy birthday sweetheart!

McKayla’s Amazing Pet Shop

On the corner of First Avenue and Main Street sits a cozy little shop. In front of the shop is a sign that says,

McKayla’s Amazing Pet Shop

If you go into the shop today this is what you will find:

Five dogs
Four cats
Twelve turtles
Two snakes
A toad
Three guinea pigs
Two hamsters
A canary
A parrot
Twenty-five goldfish in a large aquarium
And a
Horse.

If you go into the shop you will never find:
Cages

The animals are all best friends. The dogs play with the cats, and the turtles like the snakes. The horse is best friends with the canary, and the toad is the most popular animal of all. It sounds crazy, but it is simply amazing.

The secret? The owner of the shop, McKayla, has trained each of the animals to be kind to one another. Every morning the animals gather in a circle with McKayla to discuss their feelings.

One day Slither Snake said, “I don’t think anyone will ever adopt me.”

One of the turtles patted Slither on the head and said, “Just you wait. The right person will be along any day now.”

McKayla said, “It must be the right person. I would never send any of you home with someone who would treat you badly.”

“How do you pick the right person?” asked Toad.

“Yes, tell us about the right person,” meowed the smallest cat.

McKayla said, “Well, the right person will have kind eyes and a big smile,
a comfortable lap and loving arms. The right person will have a soft voice and a lot of patience. The right person will love you very much.”

“That sounds like you, McKayla,” said the horse.

“Yes! Yes, it does!” agreed all the animals.

“Thank you,” said McKayla. “Before we open the shop today let’s tell each other one positive thing about ourselves. Slither, you go first.”

Slither said, “I am a good listener.”

All the other animals nodded in agreement.

Toad went next, then each of the cats and the dogs took a turn. The horse said, “I am helpful.” And the parrot said, “I am helpful.”

All of the animals had something positive to say about themselves except for the goldfish who never learned to talk, so all the animals agreed that the goldfish were the best swimmers in the shop.

McKayla said, “I am very proud of you all. Now it’s time to open the shop. Places everyone!”

As soon as McKayla unlocked the door a customer walked in. “I need a pet,” the woman announced. “Something cute and cuddly that my grandson can play with.”

McKayla smiled at the woman, but the woman didn’t smile back. The woman walked over to the corner where the dogs were tumbling about.

She pointed at Curly Pup and said,
“That one will do. Wrap him up.”

“I’m sorry,” said McKayla. “All of the puppies are spoken for.”

The woman sniffed. “Then a cat. I don’t care which one.”

McKayla shook her head and said, “None of the kittens are for sale at this time.”

“Well!” huffed the woman. “I do not like this shop!” And she left.

“That was not the right person,” said Gary Guinea Pig.

“She was scary,” squeaked Curly Pup.

The door opened again and a young man entered. He was smiling.

McKayla asked, “How may I help you?”

“I am new in this neighborhood, and I’m kind of lonely,” he replied.

“Feel free to visit with the animals,” said McKayla. “Let me know if you have any questions.”

The young man sat on the floor to play with Toad. He tossed a ball to the dogs and dangled a string for the cats. He groomed the horse and cuddled with the guinea pigs. He exchanged pleasantries with the parrot and whistled with the canary.

“My goodness!” he exclaimed. “You have so many different kinds of animals in your shop.”

“Yes,” said McKayla. “They are all just waiting for the right person.”

“Well, I want a friend who will be a good listener,” said the man. “Which of the animals here is the best at listening?”

Toad hopped over to Slither. Parrot squawked, “Snake! Snake!”

McKayla laughed. “Our very best listener is Slither Snake,” she said.

“Slither,” said the man. “Would you like to be my new friend?”

And everyone knew he was the right person.<br />

Merry Christmas

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With all of my
Heart
From my
Head to my
Toes
I wish you a
Christmas
Filled with
Joy,
Peace, and
Love.

Joy in the
Moment,
Peace in our
Time,
Love for all
Beings,
These wishes are
Mine.

May God bless you
And keep you
And yours
Safe and warm
All through this
Day and the
Year yet to
Come.

Merry Christmas
With love,
From Nana (Leslie) and Studly (David)

A Stocking for Mom

My beautiful daughter and I were visiting on the phone earlier this week about our impending family Christmas rendezvous in Nashville🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄.

My level of excitement is over the moon!!! In less than a week Studly and I will have our two kids, our in-loves, and our five grand babies all in one house to celebrate the holidays.

Because we are all traveling by car from our respective homes, luggage space is at a premium, so we’ve all agreed to buy gifts only for the kids. Of course I have bought stocking stuffers for the grown ups–and have told everyone to BYOS (bring your own stocking).

No one demands that stocking stuffers be bought, but you see, my Mom was the Queen of Stockings. Anyone who spent the night under her roof on Christmas Eve awoke to find a beautiful stocking filled to overflowing with carefully shopped for goodies–things that one would never think to buy for oneself, but that immediately became something one had always wanted.

My grandmother (Nannie Grace) was so enamored of the whole stocking thing that she engineered being at Mom and Dad’s house for Christmas Eve many Christmases in a row.

I’ve tried to continue Mom’s tradition; although, she left some awfully big stockings to fill. My son-in-love thinks I do a pretty good job of it, though, since he’s pretty sure whatever I buy for my daughter’s stocking will trump anything he buys for her. Hey, it’s not a competition….

What I really wish is that I could give a stocking to my Mom. I’m not certain that anyone ever created one for her. And that makes me incredibly sad. So, I’m going to get a little sentimental and “fill” a stocking for my Mom:

Pictures of her grandchildren
She’d be so very proud of the
Amazing people they’ve become
And the lives they’ve made.

Photos and audio of her great grands
She never had the chance to know
These precious reminders that
Life and love carry on.

Love letters from her children
We’d each have much to say
Things we left unspoken;
We always thought we had more time.

Other things I’d place inside:
Licorice jelly beans
Crossword puzzles
A cellphone (she’d be amazed!)

My never ending gratitude,
For teaching me and mine
The importance of filling
Stockings for those we love.

Miss you and love you Mom.

Below is my very first stocking along with the Santa Claus Mom bought when I was five.

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And if a stocking-less traveler spends the night in our home on Christmas Eve, we’ve got him/her covered:

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Drive Time

Studly and I are en route from Tallahassee to Nashville to meet up with our kids and their families for Christmas. For grins we decided to rent a car for the trip. It’s a GMC Terrain with all the bells and whistles including a nice feature called “lane assist.”

At first, Studly found lane assist mildly amusing. When one drifts from one’s lane, lane assist sounds an alarm urging the driver to pay attention to his location between the dotted lines.

After the “Beep! Beep! Beep!” sounded for the fifth time within our first 10 miles, Studly was giving it a piece of his mind. “Stupid car! I’m in the lane! What’s wrong with this stupid thing?”

By the time we made our first pit stop, Studly was poring over the owner’s manual to see if he could disable lane assist. I told him not to worry–at the rate he was going the damned beeper would wear out in no time at all.

Side note–we are enjoying the Terrain. It has a nice solid ride, comfy seats and a snazzy interior. And, Studly is staying in his lane.

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Sam’s Secret Quips on Giving

I’m reblogging this! I want to hear my friends’ responses. Great post.

Another Voice

Daily prompt: Secret Santa
You get to choose one gift — no price restrictions — for any person you want. The caveat? You have to give it anonymously. What gift would you give, and to whom?

I wish I could present my loved ones with things that are not things.

Stuff begets stuff.

You generally don’t need money for happiness that is happiness.

A commercialised sentiment is no longer a sentiment.

Choose: more or less choices.

Gifts given anonymously don’t stay anonymous for long.

The act of giving is fulfilled only upon acknowledgement.

Is there anything more guilt inducing than a thoughtful gift?

Is there anything more persistent than a thoughtless gift?

The only gift worth giving is the gift of time and I seem to have squandered mine thinking of what gift to give.


You don’t need to give, just lend an ear.

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Not a Creature Was Purring

Except for the cats! My two won’t pose for photos, so I went to Pinterest and searched for cute cats.

Mr. Cuddlesworth:

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I think you’ll agree that Mr. Cuddlesworth is extraordinarily cute in his sweater.

A couple more Christmas cuties:

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We didn’t put up a tree this year since we’ll be away for Christmas. Just don’t tell my cats. Surely they won’t miss having a tree to attack!

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Grief during the holidays: remember them next year

This is borrowed from a blogger I follow: ftedailygreen.wordpress.com. Wise words for this time of year.

ftedailygreen

For many people, this is not the “hap hap happiest time of the year.”  They may hang a decoration or two, maybe even wish you holiday cheer; but underneath it all is lingering grief.  2014 was a difficult year.  We said goodbye to grandma, my friend’s sons lost their father, and my childhood friend lost her child to cancer.

stephI think as outsiders we feel helpless to easing their pain because really, we can’t.  So maybe this year we try to do a little more: dropping off holiday cookies, running errands, offering a shoulder to lean on.  We know that this first holiday without them- quite frankly- sucks.

What we often forget, though, is that second year.

I was a kid when my dad died.  I remember that first Christmas felt like everything was just going through the motions.  No amount of gifts, eggnog, or caroling was going to bring back…

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