Duck Dynasty and crock pot chicken.

I originally entitled this post Duck Dynasty, crock pot chicken and death.

It thought using the D word might be a bit of turn-off, however.

Tonight is the season premiere of Duck Dynasty. We have spent the last couple of weeks catching up on every single episode. Twice. The first time I ever watched this incredibly magnificent, hilarious, makes-me-want-to-buy-camo-everything show, I wasn’t really that impressed. It seemed staged; predictable. I couldn’t have been more wrong. It’s my new favorite show (alas, poor NCIS) and really, Uncle Si is a red necked version of Gibbs. Let’s compare:

Gibbs: always has a cup of coffee in his hand.
Uncle Si: always has a cup of tea in his hand.

Gibbs: carries a gun.
Uncle Si: carries several guns.

Gibbs: drives a truck.
Uncle Si: drives a truck.

Gibbs: runs the show.
Uncle Si: steals the show.

Gibbs: nothing happens without Gibbs getting the ball rolling.
Uncle Si: the duck calls can’t be made until he makes the reed.

Gibbs: has Tony, Ziva and McGee to do his footwork.
Uncle Si: has Jase, Godwin and Willie to do all the work.

Gibbs: Gray and gorgeous.
Uncle Si: Gray and hairy.

See…pretty much the same guy.

My house smells wonderful right now. The Team I cook on for Wednesday Night dinners is up and we are making this wonderfully delicious chicken. It is always a huge hit. Tonight we are serving it over egg noodles, with peas and honey carrots as sides. I’m also taking a batch of this scrumptious chicken to a sweet church member who just lost her husband, also a church member. We are having too many funerals lately. Sigh. Please say a prayer for Shirley and family if you think of it.

Love you guys.

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It’s been awhile…

…since I posted a list. So, here we go.

1. I am brilliant. Can I hear an AtotheMen? I have given my oldest child, aka The Big (Graduate) Boy a mission: come up with a doable remodel plan for the dungeon, which includes his “room” *no windows so technically can’t be called a “bedroom”* and the basement.

2. Having said I am brilliant…I just heard him say to his bff, E, “I think this is a load-bearing wall…we will have to get someone in to verify that before we remove it.” Ummm…his father is going to kill me.

3. Just heard him pull out the tape measure. He is exactly like the man who is going to kill me (My Man) in that they are logisticians…aka OCD on steroids. Now there is some wall tapping…

4. Save. Me.

5. The Wild Boy went back to school today. Five days after his shoulder surgery. He woke up yesterday morning having definitely turned the corner in all areas…shoulder, gut, headache, etc. He is not allowed to drive his vehicle (6-speed Manual Transmission Jeep Wrangler) for awhile, but apparently, there is a line forming to drive him to and from school which is totally cool by me. And by the Big Boy who is planning the demolition of our house, as we speak.

6. Worked out for the first time in 6 days this morning. Ouch. It was a short workout which is good and bad…good in that Mrs. Hagy, my workout budette, and I pretty much just grunted at each other when I picked her up a little after 6…that’s a.m., by the way… It had been awhile since she worked out also. She thinks, and is probably correct, that our workout just wasn’t long enough this morning and we never go to that runner’s high place. Tomorrow will be another shorter workout day due to morning appointments unless…unless…we head out a bit earlier. I’ll run it by her.

7. The discussion in the basement has now turned to removing this wall and putting in a big door. Help. Me.

8. I miss my Monday Morning Bible Study group. I stepped back this session because I was like a crazed woman trying to get everything done. Confession: I’m still not getting anything done and now have the extra added detriment of not being with/praying with/studying with my Bible Study Girlz. Next Monday morning I think I am just going to crash the study group to get some girl time.

9. Pipe placement and replacement is the topic in the basement now. All I hear is Cha-Ching.

10. Mercy. Now there is a bunch of banging going on in the basement. I’m scared.

11. I just heard “I’m just going to knock through this wall and see what’s in between the two walls…”

I gotta go…

Love you guys!

P.S. Forget that I ever said anything about being brilliant.

The Aftermath.

Sympathy post-surgical gut issues. I’m pretty sure that is what has happened to me the last two days. My Wild Boy, who apparently is wise beyond his years, pointed this out to me. He was very kind and gentle about it. “Mom, you know you haven’t been sleeping since my surgery [or before, but he doesn’t know that, since he doesn’t read NTGTG that I am aware of] so that probably has your system all messed up.” Translation: you aren’t as young as you used to be.

I think he is correct. Maybe not the way he saw it, but certainly it is the my-baby-is-having-surgery stress let down. I won’t go into all the technical mumbo-jumbo, although I could because I’ve really researched it, but after a period of stress and anxiety and lack of sleep, the human body needs to rest and recoup and for me, at least, that usually means a period of migraine and gut discomfort. And mentally, I just kind of shut down. Also, I am not as young as I used to be even though 17 years ago at the age of 35 when I had my Wild Boy, I felt positively ancient.

The difference between now and 17 years ago, or even 5 years ago, is that I recognize what is happening. I’m not losing it; I’m not psycho; I’m not dying. Seriously, all of those things would run through my head, which just sort of adds to the overall shutdown.

Yesterday my body crashed and burned and I went with it. Fighting it can be ugly for all those involved. My gut and head hurt, my body was just plain done. Thankfully, this happened just as the Wild Boy was on the major upswing and had announced, “I think I’m pretty good now, Mom.” Coincidence? Doubtful. Permission to stand down? Absolutely.

Speaking of the Wild Boy. Thank you so very much for your prayers and calls and text messages and love. He, according to the surgical RN when I spoke to her the other day, came through the surgery part wonderfully. He was off all pain meds by the end of the second day and has only taken some Tylenol and Motrin for his back and neck pain due to the funky way he had to sleep for the first couple days. He did not handle the anesthesia well, but now we know and, if he has to go under again, that will be taken into account.

It’s also helpful that everywhere I have looked on social media today, there has been something that I would read and say, “mmmhmmmm…that’s exactly what I needed.”

These days, I’ve been trying to cut myself some slack. Not an excuse to give up or even give in, but to recognize I have, as we all do, a lot of stress in my life and some days, I just need to stand down and reset. I just had to do that with our church security system this morning. Randomly, the front doors relocked. Everything was in order. The system just randomly shut down. I disconnected the door software and reset it and everything was back to working order. Which I expect to happen to me by morning.

One last thing. If you have a moment, please toss up a prayer for the Bryan/Hetley family. Today is Beth’s 52nd birthday and while I know, without a doubt, that she is partying it up big time in Heaven, her family and friends miss her desperately.

Miss you Beth!

Right Now.

It’s funny; I’ve savored the last few days, since Brett’s surgery. It’s not that he has totally depended upon me. He hasn’t. We are still in that I’m not a momma’s boy anymore and you can’t make me be one and I’ll prove it by being a snarly and grumpy 17 year old boy to you only stage. Shawn’s brush with that stage lasted exactly 2 weeks. During that time he chest-butted me and also put his fist through a wall. But I’ll save those stories for another time.

The Wild Boy has been snarly and grumpy these last few days, with an edge of needy. And I smile as I type this: I have loved the needy. Honestly…how many more opportunities will I have to wait on him hand-and-foot; to anticipate his every need; to sit and watch him sleep in the living room? I would imagine, not very many. And, knowing that life is short and, for us humans, unpredictable, I’m living in the moment and enjoying this time with a smile and a nod and a soft reply. I sneak in smooches planted on top of his head or upon his forehead “checking for fever.” I irritate him with constant, “what do you need? do you feel okay?” questions and I laugh at his deep-voiced grunt in reply. He’s not being disrespectful; he’s just flexing his muscles. Because, you see, he really still is a momma’s boy; my boy. He just doesn’t like that he is right now. But he will again, one day. In his grown-up, big boy way. I am anticipating that time, when he will talk more and grunt less; when I will speak less and listen more. But for right now, this is the way it is and it’s okay.

Besides, we will have our “get even.” The Big Boy and My Girl have already told their younger brother that he, as the baby in the family, will be stuck taking care of us old folks. I know the tables will be turned with us being the grumpy and snarly ones who are needy.

Love you guys.

The Fine Line.

It’s early morning. I’m watching my baby, now a seventeen year old young man, sleep. He is in the recliner in our living room. His Lion King covered pillow on his chest. His Spongebob pillow on the floor. Comforter wrapped all around him. Similar to how he sleeps in his bed. I know because, like most moms I know, I watch him sleep at night now and then. Still. I do the same with My Girl. The Big Boy sleeps in the dark dungeon. Without a flash light, I wouldn’t be able to see him in his room. Which would defeat the purpose. I watch them sleep and I pray over them. I give thanks for them. I dream big, grown-up dreams for them. I pray for their future spouses. I pray for the children that they, one day, will stand over and watch sleep.

My baby had shoulder surgery yesterday morning. I haven’t slept for days in worry anticipation. His surgeon was uber pleased. “Couldn’t be a better case scenario for the tear,” he said. Bone actually tore away with the labrum and was still firmly attached to the ligament. The anchors would be knitting bone to bone which will regrow together. “We can rebuild him. We have the technology. Better. Stronger. Faster.” *name that tv show from the 70’s*

Yesterday, his father and I spent the day sitting in the living room with him. I caught My Man staring at our youngest child. Watching him. As he slept. Who knew that dads did this also? I didn’t. But I wasn’t surprised. My Man was anxious this week also. We haven’t talked about it. Maybe we should have. We will today, I have decided. The worry. The anxiety. The fear. There. I put it in a word. Fear.

When My Girl had her knee surgery several years ago, we were anxious. But not fearful. I worried. But I worried about her recovery. Not her dying during the surgery. When a family loses a child, no matter the cause of death, a new word is introduced into uncertain situations. Fear. I have countered that word with increased prayer and praise. I have been successful, keeping the fear at bay. Until this week. It possessed me. Smothered me. Held onto me like stink on a skunk. Nothing I did would make it release its grip.

Until we watched as they wheeled him through the double doors. Our last glimpse of him, the blue surgical cap covered head. The doors swung shut and I felt complete peace. I stepped back over the line to my side. Where I belonged. The side that prays instead of worries. The side that praises and extols the joy of the Lord instead of paces with anxiety. The side where the only real control I have is in my response to God’s true and complete control.

You see, I had stepped over that fine line. I had stepped from my side, trust to the other side, worry; from my side, faith, to the other side, fear. I couldn’t control anything on the other side; God’s side. Was He disappointed in me? Did He shake His mighty head slightly and exclaim, “there she goes again. Has she not learned anything?” As Brett disappeared behind the gaping stainless steel doors, I imagine Him saying, “watch this…I’m going to build her trust and her faith even higher,” as He filled my very soul with the peace that only comes from Him. There’s no other explanation for it. One moment I was shaking with fear; the next moment I was a drift on an ocean of calm and peace that flooded my very being.

As we sat in the waiting room, the employees only door would swing open and a nurse or surgeon would peer out looking for a family member. Each time that door swung open my heart jumped with anticipation to see my baby; not fear of bad news.

I like to think I am firmly planted on my side of the line now. Certain in knowing my God is in control, just as He was the night He brought our Andy B’s home. I love the HCSB version of Isaiah 41:10:

Do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be afraid, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you; I will help you;
I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand.

The last line…I will hold on to you…He held on to Andy that night. He holds on to us today.

Love you guys.

Perspective.

I am a huge Downton Abbey fan. I have watched each season, including Season 3, which just ended last night, multiple times. And yes, Lori, it was legal for me to do so.

Let’s face it, we like to be entertained; we like to escape into another life, another time. Turn off the real-life/our-life switch for a time. I do this daily regularly with my Leroy Jethro Gibbs addiction.

But I was saddened to see my Twitter and Facebook pages blown up with Downton Abbey Tweets and Posts and not a single comment regarding the apparent suicide of 37 year old country singer, Mindy McCready. Granted, everyone I know and follow was completely absorbed with the Downton finale, but so was I and I took a moment to read all of the breaking news Tweets and emails about her death. I’m not judging for a nano-second. Just saddened that the death of fictional Matthew Crawley (whom I also adored) is bigger news than the suicide of a 37 year old young women with two small children.

Okay, maybe I am judging for longer than a nano-second. But, I’m judging myself. The contrast of it all made me realize that my perspective needed to be adjusted. What do I count as important? What do I need to let go of? In this season of Lent, especially, I am trying to be more aware of the idols and addictions in my life that take my focus and heart away from the things and people that really matter to me.

So this morning, while the rest of the house is sleeping, I’m taking some time to inventory my heart. I think that Gibbs is going to have to be put aside and saved for first-run only. I’m pretty sure I’m not going to be able to do that with Downton, but it’s all about the baby steps. Right?

Love you guys.

Choices.

I sit on the Blue Beauty. Far end, closest to the sliding glass doors and the sun. Always drawn to the sun…the warmth; the light. The house is quiet. Except for the critters I love and without whom, our home would be too quiet; and clean. Evidence of golden retriever hair and dirt-outline paw prints on blue confirm Jack’s favorite nighttime sleeping spot. I gave up weeks ago trying to keep him off.
Morning; time to contemplate; write; pray; sulk; repent; listen. Forgive. The daily struggle of fighting the it’s all about me is tiring. Out of sheer exhaustion, I surrender me and healing begins; the flog clears a bit. Like the dust and fur dancing in the sunbeam laid out across the wood floor, names, faces, hurts, glide across my thoughts. Clarity. Alongside the detail of the fireplace guard I see the need for compassion and forgiveness. The need to just let it go. Not to be stepped on and muddied again, but to show grace. As I have been shown.
On the treadmill this morning, ear buds hanging down around our necks, music forgotten and sharing embraced, the need…the longing, to hear and to speak. Of course...not being able to see it until now…not wanting to; needing to hear and see we are not alone; not the only one.
Reminded that we all have a story…pain…need. We are shaped by it. Held back by it. Consumed by it. Suffocated by it. Freed by it.
Grace. Giving and receiving. My choice.

A Valentine’s Day List.

1. Growing up, I hated the colors red and pink. While not a huge fan of pink, I have fallen head over heels in love with red the last few years. Especially in the form of garnets and rubies…

2. Had Valentine’s Day breakfast with The Girlz. We do see each other during the week in addition to our Thursday morning bible study time. *please insert air quotes when reading bible study in the previous sentence* I am positive we had every intention of at least doing a devotional during our Thursday morning time together but so far…not so much. We do, however, laugh, eat, cry, share, bond, solve world problems, etc. Just like women are supposed to do when they get together.

3. My Man and I don’t do much on Valentine’s Day. I gripe about how it is a made up Hallmark thing. But, of course, I do expect some token (aka gift) to mark the occasion. My birthday is two weeks before Valentine’s Day and I almost always have flowers left from my birthday on Valentine’s Day. As I do this year. But in case anyone is looking for VD gift ideas for me…see #1 above.

4. February 14 was actually The Wild Boy’s due date. Like my other two, he couldn’t wait til his due date and arrived early. Which I’ve always been thankful for. I am, and this will shock you, a very impatient person. No. Really. It’s true. I am. So if I had had to actually wait on my children to be born…well, it would have been a rocky start to our relationship. Thankfully, God knew this about me and they all were born before due dates.

5. This morning I whipped up a lovely vanilla pudding…from scratch. It will soon be layered into a banana pudding cream pie. The Big (Graduate) Boy has homemade sauce going on the stove; focaccia rising and cooked up sweet Italian sausage. The sauce and sausage will be going into the lasagna I’m putting together for dinner. Food: it’s my husband’s love language. Our entire family’s love language, actually. My Girl has to work tonight, but we will save her a plate and a slice.

6.  I can’t not talk about the gym today. Today was a break through day. For the first time since I’ve started working out again, I could tell a difference. I cranked up the treadmill and the elevation and the distance. And it felt good. I added an extra set to my upper body workout. And it felt good. Not as good now…as the soreness is setting in a bit, but even that…good. I think today was a gym break through day for my gym rat budette, Mrs. Hagy, also.

7. Today my mom met with her oncologist for her three month check up and, according to my sister’s text message, everything looks perfect. It’s always there, in the back of my brain, the worry; the what next. Thankful for good news again today.

8. Thank you for the input to my requesta-post-idea blog post. Here is what y’all gave me: 

the challenge of Philippians 4:6 in light of Feb 20 (The Wild Boy’s surgery date)  
what verses would I pick and what music for my memorial service 
my favorite scripture verse(s) and why/what they say to me 
gossip. making assumptions. pride vs humility. letting go of controlling behaviors. humor. (these were all from the same person…diane doesn’t ask for the easy stuff, does she?)

Love you guys.

There’s a bunch of stuff to blog about.

But I’ll keep it brief today.

I’m getting back into the regular groove of hitting the gym. I wouldn’t exactly call myself a gym rat *A person who spends an unusually large amount of time at a gym* (Wiktionary…http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/gym_rat), but I think I could get pretty hooked on working out. Again. In fact, I’m finally beginning to feel that exhilaration…that runner’s high…that one hears about. *Disclaimer: I do NOT run. Except to the fridge.*

But, I was getting a tad tired of my workout play list. So today, I updated it; changed it. These days, I’m looking for change. I know, I know. I, too, remember my recent string of change-related-posts. Lately, though, I’ve gone searching for change. I got my hair chopped, lightened up a little and had skunk stripes added. Not intentionally on the skunk stripes, but that is what I think when I look in the mirror.

With new hair, I am embracing some change right now. Let’s flirt with all of the cliches, shall we? Stuck in a rut; same old, same old; same thing, different day…all how I’ve been feeling these days. So, I set some stuff aside, rebooted my brain, aka snapped out of it, and switched gears today. Deciding in my head to make some changes is the first step in making those changes happen. Got a lot done at home and at the church office.

Speaking of church! This weekend we will meet and greet our Senior Pastor Candidate. Can’t wait! Sunday he will preach during our Worship service, we will vote (yes!) and a new era will begin at SRBC. See? Change. It’s good. Embrace it.

My new play list, in case you are interested. Pretty eclectic, wouldn’t you say?

Love you guys.

A List…

…that my peeps write.

That’s right…you write the list.

Comment on this blog post…if you don’t know how by now, I’ll send you directions or HECK, I’ll even comment FOR YOU if you email me your list…but tell me what YOU would like me to write/blog about over the next few weeks.

(this may or may not be a brilliant idea I came up with because I am too lazy to come up with my own blogging ideas)

I will take only the ideas I like ALL of your suggestions and put them in list format (you’re welcome!) and said list will be my next blog post.

By the way, I’ve been doing some reading on blogging and the first DO NOT DO is do not use a lot of ALL CAPS cuz people take it as you are yelling not that you are emphasizing stuff. The second no-no is to use crap words and phrases like, well, like, crap, no-no, cuz and stuff. For the record, I’m not looking to win any literary awards and crap like that stuff.

So, back to YOUR assignment…(do you over-emphasize in your brain the words I put in ALL CAPS like your to-your-self-voice is shouting? Oh, you don’t? Well, ME NEITHER.)

Comment me (or send me, if you don’t know how to comment here) your lists. Read. Set.

GO.

Love you guys.