Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cozy Writing Spot

I have a new favorite place to write. It is Congress Street Coffee at Eudora Welty's Birthplace right here in Jackson, Mississippi. The two-story coffee shop/used book store (called Tattered Pages--such a great name for a used book store, in my opinion) is pretty empty on the Tuesday or Thursday mornings when I come and perch. I get my coffee from Kristen and climb the stairs to find my little nook. I sit at a little table in the corner, surrounded by tall bookcases filled with stories to be shared a second or third time. The hardwood floors are all scratched and worn. And it just has that old house smell that makes me think of historic times. I am also sitting near the glass doors that open up onto the balcony, which accommodates several white rocking chairs and a few planters with hot pink flowers in them. Down below I can see the bronze statue of Eudora Welty, which honestly looks prettier than she really was. I'm not trying to be mean; the woman just had a very distinct look about her!

I feel inspired when I come here, and I hope to write many, many pages in this place.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

One Man's Trash . . .

Today I spent a couple of hours browsing through a large flea market on Highway 49. I don't know why this is enjoyable to me, but it is. Part of the fun is the anticipation of finding a treasure that (hopefully) doesn't cost much money. It's people's old stuff, so I'm also contributing to the big global push to "reuse," which is nice. However, sometimes the older the stuff is, the more it costs. Or the more it's worth, I guess I should say.

I think that even more fun to me than the idea of finding a treasure at these second-hand places is the idea that I am not just browsing through other people's stuff; I am browsing through other people's stories. I think it is so interesting to imagine which little girl first played with the antique doll, what family sat around the giant oak table and discussed their days, what woman donned the mustard-colored hat with the black netting, whose baby slept in the old wooden cradle, who might have sat in the tattered yet still regal-looking arm chair, who actually listened to all those records, who dined on the once-shiny but now tarnished fine china, or how many people have studied their reflections in these mirrors. Of course, there is also more than a fair share of items that make you ask, "Really? Someone thought it was a good idea to buy this even when it was new?!" But those items have lots of stories behind them, too. Maybe even more.

In my opinion, it's much more interesting to shop in second-hand stores than in stores with all new stuff, although there is most certainly a time and place (and reason!) for that, too. But I somehow feel inspired by all the things and their history as well as feel connected to the people who once owned it all. And I didn't even buy anything.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

New Phase

Today my youngest is on her very first field trip, which is kind-of a milestone. This is her first year to go to Mother's Day Out or anything like it, and she is loving the experience. Five-year-old Katie tends to be my clingy child--my baby--so I was a bit uncertain about her confidence in taking on this new experience. Boy, was I wrong! She is so disappointed that "school" is only two days a week, and she jumps right out of bed, in a hurry to get dressed and ready, on those two days of the week. And when we walk into the building, she practically leaves me behind as she makes her way to her classroom. At least she gives me a good-bye hug and kiss.

Today her class was going to the Natural Science Museum, and Katie was pumped. We have been to this museum before, and she remembered it. Actually, what she remembered most was that they sell lollipops in the gift shop. "They have lollipops there! Don't you remember the lollipops?," she said to her Daddy this morning when he inquired about her excitement about the day's outing. Nevermind that there had been dinosaurs and two-headed snakes; there were LOLLIPOPS!

It makes me really happy that Katie is excited about this next phase of life. Being the youngest, she has been stuck at home with Mommy while the other two have been in school for a few years. So she's glad to have friends her own age to play with and an activity to call her own. It is helping her to be more independent, which is good for both of us.

To be honest, I was a little uncertain about my own readiness for this new phase. But I've managed to adjust really well, too. :) I have been a stay-at-home mom for eight and a half years (and changed diapers every day for six and a half of those years!), and this is the first time that I have designated hours every week where my children have somewhere to be, and I don't have to be there with them.

Let that sink in for a minute. I still am.

Don't take this the wrong way. I absolutely love and adore my children, and I love being with them. But . . . I also really benefit from time alone. I enjoy getting to choose whether I want to be in a quiet or noisy environment. I enjoy having time to run errands by myself. I enjoy getting out of the house. I enjoy getting to work on my hobbies or to-do list. I enjoy a lot fewer interruptions. I enjoy being productive. I enjoy having time to pursue my writing. And I even enjoy missing my children . . . and their missing me. It's good to have some time apart.

Motherhood is full of phases. Some are good; some are hard; many are both. Some seem to last forever (like potty training or teaching a newborn to sleep through the night); others go by in a flash (like the last eight and a half years of my life). A friend of ours recently pointed out that we are most likely at the half-way point in the time that we will have our eldest child at home with us. Sheesh.

I know a lot of parents (myself included) can get caught up in wanting things to stay the same and mourning our children's growing up. Personally, I would love to have frozen my children at the ages of three, five, and seven. But I can't. And that's okay. As my mother once told me, there are joys in every stage of your children's lives. It is so much fun to watch them develop and learn and become their own persons. I am so proud of Callie, Caleb, and Katie. I love their spirit and their growing independence. I love to watch them learn about life. I love to hear them share with me about their experiences at school. There are many more stories to come!

While I do still have my "I can't believe how fast they're growing" moments, I am just as excited about this next phase as they are.

Monday, September 21, 2009

One Another

Last Sunday my pastor, Stacy Andrews, talked a little bit about living according to the "one another" verses in the Bible. This really stuck with me, and so I set out to find them. There are a lot! Here are just some of them.

It's a very humbling and challenging way to live this life, but it is also the most fulfilling. I think I need to post this list in every room of my house. And in the van. And in my purse. And . . . .

" . . . love one another, even as I have loved you . . . " (John 13:34)

"Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor." (Romans 12:10)

"Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation." (Romans 12:16)

" . . . let us not judge one another anymore . . . " (Romans 14:13)

" . . . accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God." (Romans 15:7)

" . . . through love serve one another." (Galatians 5:13)

". . . with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love . . . " (Ephesians 4:2)

"Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you." (Ephesians 4:32)

" . . . be subject to one another in the fear of Christ." (Ephesians 5:21)

"Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves . . . " (Philippians 2:3)

" . . . bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you." (Colossians 3:13)

" . . . comfort one another . . . " (I Thessalonians 4:18)

" . . . encourage one another and build up one another . . . " (I Thessalonians 5:11)

"Live in peace with one another." (I Thessalonians 5:13)

" . . . always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people." (I Thessalonians 5:15)

" . . . encourage one another day after day . . . " (Hebrews 3:13)

" . . . consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds . . . " (Hebrews 10:24)

"Do not speak against one another . . . " (James 4:11)

"Do not complain, brethren, against one another . . . " (James 5:9)

" . . . confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed . . . " (James 5:16)

"Be hospitable to one another without complaint . . . " (I Peter 4:9)

" . . . clothe yourselves with humility toward one another . . . " (I Peter 5:5)

Friday, September 4, 2009


I am excited to share with you the first article of my new column in Parents & Kids magazine! I am calling the column "Growth Spurts," because I will be sharing some of the lessons that I have learned . . . and am still learning . . . and the ways I am growing through the wild and wonderful world of motherhood.