The Back Door is Always Open

“The back door is always open, so just come on in…” Marge said.  And that’s what we did, and everyone else who knew her.  It was always a quick rap on the door, and a “Hellllooo!” or “Are you decent?” and in would come friends, neighbors, and even the mail man who was completely deaf.  He laid his hand on Marge’s shoulder and there was a bond one doesn’t always see, but I guess the “card lady” probably would be on good terms with her post man.  And that is essentially my friend, Marge.

You all read about Marge in Saving Marge and her valiant battle against leukemia.  Well, just this past Thursday, my friend went to her heavenly home.  I was blessed along with many others to have that back door always open and her daughter always welcoming us to stop in and see her all the way to the very last hours.

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Marge transcended generations, though she was a very active and personable and refreshing octogenarian.  She was relevant whether she was talking to a twenty year old, or a 40 something, or someone like me, in the midst of my 50s or a person well past her age.  She was the Matron of Honor at her daughter’s wedding, that’s pretty darn relevant.  Marge knew how to work a room, she could bring out the best in someone in a question or two or observation.  I remember her telling me early on that she loved to watch my husband and me in church together.  She said by seeing us she knew we were deeply in love, a love that would last a lifetime.  And, snap, just like that, I had a lifelong friend, because I believed her, and my hubby loved her for her insight, too. She got us.

In churches, well, things get messy, satan never works harder than he does in a church, but somehow, Marge was always in the midst of it all, without being in the conflict.  She rose above the differences in every occasion that I can recall and was completely neutral and I feel to this day that it was because she loved everyone and felt that conflict was not a bad thing, it was good, it answered hard questions, and required honesty and when it was said and done, it brought peace, even if the peace was a little ragged around the edges.

Marge sent cards, and post cards, that were quite frankly indecipherable.  Her handwriting stunk, but the thought behind each word you could read spoke volumes about her interest in each person.  Sometimes, she’d mention how cute my new haircut was, or how good it was to see Ricky and Bethani in church.  She’d mention things that just showed that she cared, and she did care, she cared very much for everyone.

And Marge loved to kiss on the mouth.  She’d lay one on you — none of these air kisses or even cheek kisses — she’d zero in on your lips and give you a good smackaroo, and you felt kissed and loved in a way that no other person could make you feel.  It transcended friendly kisses to a level of sheer love, it really did and I loved being kissed by Marge.  I know everyone did.

When I saw her the night before she passed away, we talked to her and rubbed her head, and she’d raise her eyebrows like she was listening, but could no longer summon the strength to speak, something I never thought would happen, because as the header shows, she loved to Sit Long and Talk Much (as a sign in her dining room declared.)  Even still, as my friend, Janet and I told her it was time to go, she puckered up and we gave her kisses, many kisses.  I long to give her more now, just lay one on her.

Losing Marge, well, it’s hard.  It hurts on a deep level of human-ness.  It hurts like a toe that’s been stubbed or a belly ache or a smashed finger.  It hurts like a toothache.  It’s painful losing someone who seemed in this past year to even transcend death. It’s like a crushing heart ache, that catches your breath in short, messy sobs.

This is what I am thinking when that ache comes, I’m saying to her in heaven, “Oh our sweet Margie, our dear mentor extraordinaire, our love buddy, our laugh buddy, our talk until we’re hoarse buddy.  I believe when you entered the Kingdom, the Lord said, ‘Look, Marge, look at what you leave behind. And you looked and you saw scores of joyful faces and hearts full of faith because of the seeds you planted.  And the Lord will say, ‘Well done my good and faithful servant, come rest with Me.'” And I see you full of life, glowing with joy and health, and the ache lessens just a bit, as it seeps from behind my eyes and slides down my cheeks.

I love you Marge, one day, I pray I will be like you.  Until then, I will use your example in my own life as always.  I promise to kiss everyone on the mouth in your honor and I even started today in church, I will continue because I will be thinking, “This is how Marge would kiss you, so now I must kiss you on the mouth, too.”

Marge, I will not let a moment pass or a kiss or hug pass or a reason to comment on something about someone right at the moment I think it, so that they will look at me and say, “That’s something Marge would have said.” And I will smile and say, “Yes, yes it is.”

Because you live here, in my heart, and in the hearts of a million others, and that’s a conservative estimate.  We will carry on because you want us to, and you want us to live by example that even satan could not trample, and we will.  We will.  I pinky swear promise, my dear friend, Margie.  I pinky promise that we will, because we love you, Marge, and always will till we meet again.

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Smile, you are on your smartphone, and on your Facebook page, and in a tweet, and an Instagram, and in a text, and…

I love selfies, and as I write that, I’m surprised that there is a squiggly red line under the word, selfie.  I mean, by now it should have been awarded space in the dictionary.  It’s everywhere and it’s annoying a lot of people.  And I guess if everyday you are flooding Facebook with multiple selfies, then, I can see the point, but on the other hand, how cool is it that there is this photo record of life going on with the people you love?

I like selfies because it proves I was there, one, and you can snap like 100 till you get one that everyone in the picture likes, two, and it shows life in photos instead of just words, three.  We’ve moved from “let’s find someone to take our photo” to, “come on everyone, gather around for a selfie!”  Easy peasy.  And if people don’t like your selfies, well, then they don’t like them.

And let me just say, getting 10 people into one selfie (which defies the name selfie) is a tribute to the talent of the selfie taker. Like this one for instance.  When my twin said, HEY LET’S GET A SELFIE at our monthly couples dinner, everyone comes.  Everyone wants to be part of the pictorial history.

And now it’s part of my blog history.

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I totally get the annoying factor for some people, they see it as self promotion, narcissism — others see it in a “glass half empty” mentality, “look at all those smiling selfies, their life is going so much better than mine.”  Sometimes, it’s just annoying to see another selfie of the same person for the 10th time in the feed, or on Instagram… I get it.

Which brings me to the truth.  The truth is everyone in this photo is carrying a burden, some heavier than others, and some that we are carrying together, but for this moment we are smiling because this time we set aside to be together has a brilliance of its own despite the burdens of our hearts. We are capturing the moment with a smile and a selfie.

And smiles, they can make the heaviest hearts feel lighter with each smile they receive back.  For one who has experienced debilitating depression, I can say that if I didn’t smile, I don’t think I’d have dug myself out.  Smiling might seem like a facade, but in truth, a smile when it comes from a place of sadness or pain, is one of the truest smiles of all.

So, go ahead and snap the selfies, gather the friends and family and see how many you can get into the frame (hint, use the person with the longest arm to hold the iPhone), then smile.

Saving lives

Today, my twin, a few friends and I saved some lives.  It’s incredible to get out of one’s schizzle in life, and go take a little snooze at the blood drive.  I envision the baby, the mom, the father, the son, the daughter, the accident victim, the cancer patient, the hemophiliac, the patient with sickle-cell anemia, or the solider in whom my big, fat, juicy blood cells and those of my twin and friends will become ALIVE coursing through their veins and arteries!

Only God knows who, we just donate.

But this I do know.  Blood saves lives, brings a glow to the cheeks of people like my friend Marge Saving Marge, and is the life source for many.

GIVING BLOOD SAVES LIVES!

Give it a try!

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A Dead Writer’s Heart

A few blogs ago, I think maybe it was 100 Pearls, another blogger commented that I had been prolific to write that often and to have that many hits on my blog in such a short time, and how she had started by writing everyday but was worried that she would lose readers (and her blog is crazy AH-MAZING).  Here’s the thing, I think writing a blog everyday means you will lose a few readers here or there, but at the same time, gain some.  And once a reader, always a reader typically, but not every blog.  And that’s OKAY, it really is.  Because someone else will take a seat at the table as readership grows.  We worry so much about the empty chair, and not the full ones.  Yet, an empty chair doesn’t mean gone forever, it means, for that post or a few.  Everyone is welcome to the table when they are able, you just gotta be there to feed them.

But the honest to God truth of what motivates me is I just don’t want to die with all this caught inside a dead writer’s heart. 

I believe in my view of the world.  I believe this is a gift to see it, to participate in it, to bring the stories of others’ lives and my own to the written word, and that it will be embraced and curative and identifiable.

If you follow my blog, and we have a healthy 3 digit number who do, you will know that I’m not writing as often.  The desire to write everyday stopped being a motivating factor.  In the beginning, so much had been left unsaid to that point, that I had no choice but to scratch that itch, you know?  Now, my thoughts are more complicated, less fervent, but still need to be shared, so they won’t be caught inside a dead writer’s heart someday.

To those who want to write but are afraid, don’t be.  I’ve found the bloggers’ world to be fair and just, even uplifting and supportive.  It’s been a gratifying and humbling experience to write a blog and have people actually read it, even “like” it, and comment on it, and the best gift of all, FOLLOW it.  I will from time to time give an update on stats because, I think readers like to know that on the very same day, perhaps, in another country across the world, they were reading the same humble little blog and it had become a part of their own world, too.

The process is interesting, moreover, if it brings more people to the table, effective, dare I say life changing, because when someone writing a blog “out there” gets you, it’s powerful.  And both reader and writer feels that power by some amazing force in our world, in my opinion, God, that connects emotions and feelings with others by the simple yet compelling act of “writing down the bones”.

Smile

I just read a post from Baby Bear’s momma.  Baby Bear passed away this past spring, and you can read her story here Beautiful Baby Bear Becomes an Angel. Momma Bear was writing about how throughout Baby Bear’s struggle and her eventual heartbreaking death, Momma Bear didn’t get down, because she said, “Someone has it worse.”  She mentioned how strong everyone thought she was, but her constant thoughts were, “someone has it worse.” And this got her through her child’s illness and death.

I am going on record that Momma Bear is a strong woman, she is filled with compassion and love for her children, and she has been given eyes to see the realities of this world.  Momma Bear is going to take some time now to think about herself, what she needs at this point, and she’s “excited” to do that.  What an incredibly brave thing to do and say.  And I am excited to hear what she decides.

The course of her life changed in one diagnosis, but the heart of her angel continues to encourage her, and that little one’s smiles?  They live on in everyone’s lives.

I think of this momma and her baby, and the countless people whose smiles overcome the sadness in their lives, the trouble they’ve seen, and the heartache they know.  Or in Baby Bear’s case, how sick they are.

Today is s tribute to smiles, and how smiling begets smiling, and when we are smiling, it brings joy to others and to ourselves.  What a simple thing.

Let’s try it today, shall we?  After all, someone truly does have it worse, and you might just be the smile that brightens his or her day.

 

To paint or not to paint is no longer the question. Your opinion wanted!

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Now and then, I’ll hoof the 2.58 miles to work and home again and lo and behold what do my wandering eyes see as I was trying to race a storm home last week? The companion mid-century piece to my credenza at the consignment shop now painted. Lots of discussion has been had since I posted the final result from my credenza and my complete inability to bring myself to paint it. And I soooo badly wanted to.

Here is the companion painted in a pleasing Tiffany Blue and white (which I was leaning toward originally with tangerine on the inside and leaving the doors and drawers in the natural wood). They changed the amazing original  knobs to something more contemporary, which I personally think is a CRIME. But, that’s me and my desire to reclaim the past for the future.

For my fellow lovers of painted furniture, I invite you to my esteemed blogger friend’s blog. You will be INSPIRED! See Found this, Painted That, she’s amazing, and is constantly encouraging me in my decorating endeavors. Hers is a blog you never want to miss.

So, what are your thoughts on painted vs unpainted? And feel free to note and comment on the amazing bright orange mid-century ashtray with cigarette holder, AND the old red radio and antique hand carved duck decoy twinsie and I found on our amazing trip together. ❤ Love! See Trippin’ with Twinsie

Comment below, on Facebook, or message. Inquiring minds want to know. 🙂 PS, no hurt feelings. I’m right with my world with this decision. I’m truly curious!!!

Or new for me in BLOGLAND!!! Take my poll! Seriously. This is cool.

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September’s Hope

September is such an enchanting month.  For some it’s the end of their beloved summer, to others, like me, it’s the birth of hope in our lives.  Kids go to school meet new people and work with new teachers, learn new schedules, experience new things.  Dorm rooms are set up just so, with the stern, “Now, try to keep it just like this…” and we shake our heads as we stifle our tears when we leave them behind, waving in the rearview mirror.

New crayons, backpacks, the smell of glue and blue lined paper on silver spirals.  And there’s the football schedule, teacher institute days.  Cute outfits from kindergarten and beyond, with sneakers that squeak on wooden gym floors. So much hope.

There are empty nests lined with years of feathers and fluffing, with our bare feet hanging over the side, and lazy weekend breakfasts, quiet suppers, long bike rides and open bedroom doors.

It’s meat roasting in a hot oven, and soups simmering on the stove filled with summer’s bounty.

September ushers in autumn where the light from the sun wanes but the leaves challenge it with bright yellows and oranges and reds and russets and offers a spectacular sunset of their own.  And then the leaves return to Earth in its upcycle of nature to become the rich soil of spring sometime, somewhere out there, but first it’s the crunch and fragrance of those leaves and the walks that are filled with the sounds of autumn — the rustling of nut gathering squirrels, and paws and sneakered feet making their way along confetti river paths.

And soon there are the pumpkin farms and hay-rides, witches, goblins, golden faced jack-o-lanterns and tiny 5th Avenue bars, and mums with golden heads bobbing in the early morning. There are cool nights under soft, cottony blankets on the deck with friends, candle light all around, sipping hot apple cider with a bit of a kick, and memories turned into stories as many as the stars.

It’s a new beginning with so much joy that awaits us, and memories to make, with the dream of turkey dinner and a big boisterous family that come from all over to gather and give thanks for God’s riches bestowed upon us, even the hard stuff, like missing those who are gone.

And there are the plans for the Reason for the Season, and the songs and the trees and the wreaths and the paper and tape and ribbon, and sitting across from one another wrapping and smiling and then grumbling, and finally saying, “Let’s use bags!” that we fill with gifts and tissue, and then we kiss — job well done. And the roast beast and the wrapping crackling and laughter ringing and Christmas Eve jammies.

There is the pine scented, candle lit sanctuary, with little ones dressed as Mary and Joseph, and a cradle with baby Jesus and the story of the Baby born in Bethlehem. For. Us.

You see, the promise is there, no need to rush September– just breathe in the scents of autumn, and dream of the days to come, and know, soon after Father Winter will lay His quiet hand upon our land, and we will rest.