A New Adventure

A New Adventure.

Last night my face began dating Rodan and Fields.

“What?” you may ask, “are you DOING? I thought you were now a massage therapist and into essential oils. and homeschooling your grand daughters.

Yes, all of that by day and a new Rodan and Fields consultant by night.

“Why? Why add one more new thing to all the other new things? (Perhaps vanity has finally triumphed over good judgement!) ”

Why? There is more.  There is more than growing old and watching my skin fall off my face. There is more than just getting by. I want my face back and I feel uniquely positioned to create wealth.

“What for? ” you may ask. “You cannot serve God and money. You will either love the one and hate the other or hate the one and love the other.”

Because the LOVE of money is the root of evil. I have begun dreaming with God about what I could DO with it to make a difference. I can lend to the nations! I can dig wells in Africa!  I can help families adopt orphans! I can buy up old victorian homes in Palestine,TX and turn them into foster homes and half way  houses for those coming out of prison. Perhaps I can fund my own travel to lost and forgotten people and when I am too old for it, I can send those who are not.

“Why not help your daughter in law with her Younique business then?”

I would LOVE to be on her team.  She is amazingly capable, authentic and fun. but sadly, though I’ve tried, I really just don’t LIKE make up. I don’t mind WEARING it and I NEED it but I dread APPLYING it everyday. It’s like trying to paint a canvas that’s no longer stretched on the frame. Great paint, faulty canvas.

“So why Rodan and Fields, then? What about Young Living Oils? Aren’t you into that?”

Yes. Essential oils are AMAZING! And I especially love Young Living for their quality and training. I got into oils more to help people than to create wealth. I believe I can generate some income with them but not like I can with Rodan and Fields. “Everybody has skin.”

Rodan and Fields are two female dermatologists-Stanford grads-with a product-Proactive that has led the way in acne care. Now they are targeting the anti-aging market. Do you know what I think? I think that their products are going to be to skin care what the cell phone is to communications.

So with a 60 day money back guarantee, I am going for it. Let the Journey begin.

The Stay -At-Home Bear

Yesterday I read this story that I wrote a number of years ago to my grand daughters Maddie (7) and Molly (6). They loved it.

I don’t WANT to go out and play with Jimmy. I don’t WANT to leave Mommy alone so that she can pack our suitcases to go back home. I like it HERE on Grandma’s farm and I want to play inside with Pink Bear Friend.

Grandma has this bed that folds in half and looks like a giant old-fashioned toaster with a cover on it. Pink Bear Friend and I have been riding it like an elephant all over Africa and now I have to go out and play with Jimmy.  I’m supposed to GET ALONG, but he teases me about Pink Bear Friend and about being like a girl.

“Jese-e-e-e, NOW,” Mom yells to me.  I don’t think she knows how hard it is to get back from Africa.

“Come on up,” Jimmy calls from the tree fort.  I shimmy up the rope with knots in it.  Dad can shimmy without knots, and Jimmy can, too.  He’s eleven.  “I Tarzan, you Jane!” yells Jimmy, beating his chest.

“I can’t be Jane.  I’m a boy,” I say.

“I Tarzan, you boy,” says Jimmy, in his biggest, loudest voice.

“Okay,” I say.  I really want to be Tarzan.  Maybe next year when I have my superman muscles I’ll MAKE him let me be Tarzan.  Right now I’ll be plain old boy.

We play with monkeys, fight off big poisonous snakes and ferocious tiger and paddle in a boat along the Amazon.  “Lunch!” Mom calls from the porch.

We get back from South America and race to the picnic table where Mom has set out peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and cold glasses of milk.  Mom loads the car while we eat.  Grandma sits on the porch swing peeling apples and cutting them up.  She drops each apple in a baggie and hands them to me and Jimmy for the ride home.  I hug her good-by.  She smells like lavender and fresh apples.  She promises to come home for Christmas and I try not to think how long away Christmas is.

Dad’s waiting for us when we get home.  He makes special pancakes with cinnamon.  Mom mostly does the cooking, but sometimes, when she can’t or doesn’t feel like it, Dad makes pancakes.  Dad wears this blue apron that goes around his neck and around his waist.  He whistles and flips pancakes on the grtiddle and flops them on our plates.

“Okay, you monkeys, time for bath and bed,” Mom says.

Dad comes in with a book.  Jmmy says he’s too old for bedtime stories.  He has his own book opened in front of him, but I know he’s really listening to Daddy ’cause sometimes he asks a question about the story.

I snuggle under the covers and reach for Piank Ber Friend.  No Pink Bear Friend.  Mom must have packed him.  “I need to get Pink Bear Friend,” I tell Dad in the middle of a sentence.

I slip out of bed before Dad can say, “Stay in Bed.”  I meet Mom in her bedroom where she’s unpacking.  “I’ve come to get Pink Bear Friend,” I announce.

“Jesse, I haven’t seen him.  Didn’t you bring him in the car?”  she asks.

“No, I thought you were packing him while I was out playing with Jimmy.”  My stomach feels funny.

“Jesse, I’m sorry.  I haven’t seen him,” she says an my stomach squeezes more and I think I might cry and I don’t want to cry ’cause of Jimmy.

Moms voice is soft.  “Where was the last place you saw him?”

“We were playing on Grandma’s roll-away bed and then you made me go out and play with Jimmy,” I answer, hoping he’s there and safe and at the same time wishing he were here with me.

Mom says she’ll call Grandma and Grandma can mail Pink Bear Friend back to me.  “It will take a few days,” she says.  She comes with me to my room to tell Daddy about it.  They tuck me in and say prayers.

I want to say, “I can’t sleep without Pink Bear Friend.”  I want to say, “Let’s go back to Grandma’s right now.”  I want to say, “Don’t turn out the lights because I don’t like being awake in the dark.”  Instead I say,  “Good-night Mom.  Good -night Dad.  I love you, too.”

They turn out the light and shut the door.  I think, “How many is a few?”  I think, “The last time a few seemed like  way long.  I think, “What happens to kids that don’t sleep for a few whole nights?”  I think, “What will I do all night long, awake in the dark?”

Jimmy says,”So what are you going to do all night awake in the dark?”  I tell him to shut up.  I’m not s’pose to say “shut up” but I don’t care.  He’s not s’pose to hear me think.

Pretty soon I hear Jimmy breathe noisy.  I listen to Mrs.Babcock practicing her voice lessons from the house behind ours.  Her voice goes up and down and sounds wavy.  When she finishes, I can hear the crickets and I try to guess how many are out there.  I can see a place on the wall next to me where the blue paint is chipped off and it’s white underneath.  The moonlight is shining on it and it looks like a mailman carrying his bag.  I think about Grandma’s farm and the tree fort and getting big enough to shimmy like Daddy.

I see the sun coming in my bedroom window and watch the dust dancing in the sunbeam.  “Hey, wait a minute,” I think, “It’s morning and I fell asleep without Pink Bear Friend!”

I jump out of bed to find Mom and Dad and Jimmy.  They are already dressed and finishing their cereal.  I climb into my chair and fill my bowl with Rice Crispies.  I look right at Jimmy and say, “I told you I could sleep without Pink Bear Friend and I’m going to shimmy like Daddy, too.”

A few days later a package wrapped in brown paper comes in the mail.  It has my name in the middle and Grandma’s name in the corner. It comes while I am playing outside with my friends.

“Aren’t you going to open it?” they ask.

“Nah,  I’ll open it later.”  I take it in and put it under my pillow.

We climb trees and take turns climbing up a rope without knots.  If I put the rope on top of one foot and step on it with the other foot, then p-u-l-l with my arms, I can make it HALF WAY UP.

Mom calls, “Supper!”  I race Jimmy to the back door.  He wins but I don’t even care. Supper is meat loaf, smashed potatoes and carrots.

“Jesse climbed HALFWAY, Dad,” announces Jimmy to Dad before I get a chance.  He sounds proud of me.  Jimmy’s not so bad.

Dad smiles and pats me on the back.  “You’ll have to show me after supper,” he says with a twinkle in his eye.

After Dad tucks me into bed, I reach under my pillow and pull out the brown paper package.  I’m glad Jimmy got to stay up late to watch a show.  I peel off the tape and paper and there is Pink Bear Friend.  He’s the same old bear I left on Grandma’s roll-away.  The pink is mostly rubbed off, his  legs are stiff and his body is floppy.  I’m glad to see him but I don;t want to HAVE TO sleep with him again.

I put him against the wall out of my reach.  I think about how much I like having him back.  I think,  “If I am gald to see him, if I let him sleep with me again, will I go bckwards?”

Finally I say,  “PInk Bear Friend,  I AM glad to see you.  You can sleep with me tonight, but I want you to know I don’t HAVE TO.  I can go camping without you.  I can stay all night at a friend’s without you.  I can go to Grandma’s farm without you.  From now on you are a Stay- At-Home Bear.

A New Beginning

A Few months ago I jumped into Blog world with a couple of posts consisting of some children’s stories and poems I had written years ago when I was in the midst of motherhood. A fellow writer and friend recommended me to write for a series on raising daughters. Out of that came this. The Mom’s Mom.

Before I could find my voice, I needed to hear yours. I hear the voice of motherless moms. Moms whose mothers are unavailable-physically, emotionally, tempermentally.

I make no claims to being the “answer.” But the One who IS the answer delights to deliver His care packages through ordinary people like me. I have walked with HIm, this One named Jesus for 52 of my 62 years. He has never let me go “Splat!”

Stay tuned.

It’s been a few days….

When my first child Ben was still learning to walk, he loved watching our cat, Bing, move about the house with longing.

Here is a little poen I wrote about it.

Domesticated Fluff

It must be nice to come and go

With only a door between,

To roll in the leaves

Scramble up trees

Stretch against the beam

To have all you wish in a Morris Cat dish

It must be nice

Day 4- Keeping the flow going…..

So far I have been sharing pieces I’ve written in the past for The Institute of Children’s Literature.  Here again is another:

THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING BLIND

The steamy aroma of hot dinner rolls escapes tin foil tents as folks arrange themselves around the long, white papered tables that stretch across the capacity of the church’s back room.  Through the maze of chair legs and children, Gus’s guide dog, Arnie, does his best to lead him to a seat.

I slide into the chair beside him.  “Hi gus, this is Nanette,” I greet him.  “HI Nanette, ” he replies with characteristic enthusiasm.  “How ARE you?” “Well, I could sure use some encouragement,” I answer honestly.  “So could I,” he interjects.  I give him a condensed version of my horrible week and then ask, How do YOU need encouragement?”  He remembers that I’m referring to his earlier remark and replies, “Oh, just getting IN here.  Arnie isn’t used to the room set up this way.  Because we’re still a new team, it’s hard yet to know when we can function independently and when I need to ask for help.

I saw tonight as only a beginning of a life time of situations just like this one.  It had only been a year since the last of several unsuccessful operations to reattach his retina.  Shortly after he knew he would live the second half of his life blind, he had said he was determined to continue doing things he had always done.  That’s why he was pushing through this awkward evening.

“What’s the difference between second cousins and cousins once removed?  Do you know Nanette?”  He and Joyce, who sat across the table, had been trying to decide.  My thoughts came back to the covered dish supper and several of us seasoned our meal with cousinly discussion.  I scrape the last bit of baked beans unto my fork with my dinner roll as Joyce stands up and says, “Gus, what do you want for dessert?  There’s Shirley Smith’s chocolate cake, pumkin pie, custard pie…”

“Pumpkin pie sounds GREAT,” he decides before she can rattle off any more choices.  The volley of conversation is now between me and Gus.  I hardly notice Joyce’s return.  Pretty soon Gus slides his pie in front of me and says, “Do you want this?  I can’t eat it.” As I lift a bite to my mouth, I realize how easily it slides off the fork.

He settles on the chocolate cake, turns to me and says,  “It would be great coming to these dinners except that you have to EAT.”  I laugh but realize what an ordeal a simple church supper can be for him.  I admire his determination to come  It would have been easier to stay home.

I come away with a desire to know more about the needs of the blind.  I decide to ask Gus for an interview.  He was more than agreeable.

Two days later, Gus sat in my overstuffed chair.  The afternoon sun sent shafts of light on the patch of rug where Arnie lay at Gus’s feet.

I begin.

Me. What’s the most helpful thing a sighted person can do for a blind person?

Gus. Don’t be too helpful.  Some people want to do everything for you.  When you’re blind, you need to do as much as you can for yourself.

Me. How much is “too much” help?  How would a sighted friend know?

Gus. The blind person needs to be responsible to communicate his needs.

Me. Are there any specific do’s and don’t’s?

Gus. Well, for one thing, don’t pat the guide dog.  When he is in harness he’s working.  When he’s off harness he can be treated like any other dog.

Another would be how to offer a seat.  Put his hand on the back of the chair, then he can usually determine the position of the seat.

Me. Gus, what’s the most difficult aspect of your day?

Gus. Oddly enough, it’s something that used to be the most enjoyable part of the day; getting the mail.  I tried feeling the envelopes at first -to see if there were windows so that I could sort business and peronal, but now I just wait for my reader to come.

Me. Do you feel differently about yourself without your sight?

Gus. I think I’ve grown a lot as a person.  I still have my friends. I still have my occupation.  I suppose that it is an advantage that I am a writer so that I can continue my life’s work.  Sometimes it’s lonely.  Once my braille teacher took me to the library.  People would pass by as if I wasn’t there.  Sometimes it’s embarrassing to talk into the air at someone you thought was still there.  But then you have to laugh because it IS funny.  And it’s GOOD to laugh and have others honest enough to laugh, too.  Really though, the hardest thing about being blind is…not being able to see.

Ocean Grove

The wind tugged at my faded blanket as I tried to spread it under the spot of shade created by the beach umbrella.  As we arranged our swim-suited bodies on blankets and beach chairs, we made one more patch on a sand-sashed quilt.

Heat came up through the blanket as I wriggled my belly to make the sand accomodate me.  A crescendo of children’s laughter or a few notes from the pop music station punctuated the constant passing of the wind.  Farther off I could hear the rythm of water gathering, crashing, spilling.

For a moment the smell of briny air was replace by coppertone as Mom spread its coolness across my hot back.  As she eased it under my straps, I felt the lotion mix with the grit of sand that had sprayed on me from a passerby.

I rolled over and my eyes were forced shut by the glare of sun on sand.  And even then, the bright redness behind my lids made me squint.

I raised myself onto my elbows and was handed a Dixie cup of ice-cold lemonade.  It went down fast and made me want more.  I tipped it up to gather the last drops on my tongue and headed for the water.  The almost-to-hot, sugary sand turned cool and hard.  My feet slapped against it as I raced to the water’s edge.  The foam kissed my feet as if to ask, “May I have this dance?”  I curtsied and the contra dance began.  An endless row of gallant gentlemen clapped their hands and rushed toward me.  We touched and turned, then back again we raced to one another.  Touch, turn apart, then back again together.

At last I fell into their embrace and laughed and licked my salty lips.

Feeling Affirmed

So great to have feedback already from some of you.  Thanks.

Here is another sketch of Carrie- age 7.

A Go Somewhere Girl

Mommy said we’re going to Bryon’s.  That makes me happy ’cause I’m a go-somewhere girl.  Sometimes I don’t like to go to Bryon’s  ’cause he like to watch T.V.  I like to watch T.V. too, but not ALL THE TIME and with my friends.  I like to play dolls ‘n stuff with my friends.

We had a big snow and Mommy said we could bring my new skis.  They’re not REAL skis-they’re just plastic with straps but they’re Good For a First Pair.  I forgot my mittens so we had to go all the way upstairs to Bryon’s room to get some.  We looked in the drawer but that was Bryon’s UNDERWEAR.  Then Bryon’s mother yelled, “Look in the sleeves of your red jacket on the hook!”  He reached way down in the sleeves and when he pulled them out they were all smushed  but- when I put them on, they spread out.

Then when I was coming down around the corner of the stairs, you know the skinny part when sometimes stairs go like that?  Have you ever seen stairs like that with the skinny part?  And I couldn’t hang on because of my mittens and I tripped Three Steps From the Bottom and BROKE my leg.

Bryon’s Mom took me and my Mother to the doctor’s and he put a plastic tube that you blow up on it.  Then Daddy came and brought me to the HOSPITAL and I had X-RAYS.  The doctor had to s-q-u-e-e-z-e my leg to get the cast on.  I cried.  I couldn’t help it but-the nurses said I was a good girl and gave me some stickers anyway.

I got to sleep on our fold-out couch but I still couldn’t get very comfortable ’cause it ACHED and the cast pinched right here and I couldn’t even roll over.  I couldn’t even go to the BATHROOM.  Daddy had to carry me.  I heard Mommy and Daddy Talking that maybe we couldn’t go to Florida now, to see Nina and Pop-Pop.  But the doctor put a short cast on and said I could go.  I went to the beach and fed the sea gulls.  (Mommy put a plastic bag over my leg so the sand wouldn’t get in and make me itch.)  I got to lay on a raft in Pop-Pop’s pool.  My brother kept trying to hang on and I kept saying, “Ben! LET GO!”  But then I got a tube and I could get away from Ben.

I saw the pelicans and Aunt Flora and played with Lexie.  And you know what?  I went to Disney World and went on Space Mountain!  I wasn’t even SCARED.

Everyone kept asking,  “what happened to your leg?”  I told ’em I fell Three Steps From the Bottom and BROKE it.  They said I get around well and I told ’em it was because I’m a go-somewhere girl.