Tuesday, May 22, 2018

…the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

My new closet looked so good, I posted a photo of it on Facebook. Proud of my hard work at our recently purchased home…I thought myself to be in pretty good shape to tackle the next project.

That was the Master Bathroom. Check that off the list. Looks good, even though the curtains aren’t on the window yet because they’re in some box I packed that’s stacked in the house.

Today, I’d planned to work on lining the kitchen drawers and getting that most-important room ready before the weekend when Joe will be driving home for an overnight visit. You see…he is still in Kingsport finishing his work at First Broad Street UMC through the end of June while I am here getting settled into our retirement home in time to welcome a new granddaughter in a few weeks.

The title of this blog, borrowed from the book/movie “Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” is more true than I’d like. It started this morning at 2:55 a.m. and went downhill from there.

Here I was all snug and enjoying sleeping on my new pillow (yes, it’s a My Pillow and it’s too wonderful for words) when I heard a loud noise coming from my perfect closet. My husband had told me it wasn’t a good idea to load so many clothes on that rack. I retorted that the builders put in this closet system, so it MUST be able to handle the weight.

My first thought when I heard the noise was, ‘Joe was right. I hate it when he’s right.’ I got out of bed, opened the door to the perfect closet and found all my clothes and shoes on the floor. I closed the door. What could I do about it at 3 a.m. anyhow?!? After about 30 minutes of stewing, I finally fell asleep. I’m sure if it weren’t for the new My Pillow, I’d have been stewing for MUCH longer…

This morning, after taking measurements and photos of the wall to see what I needed, I headed for my favorite store to pick up new brackets and all I needed to bolster the support for what should again become the perfect closet. The wall wasn’t damaged in the catastrophe, so I didn’t have to get anything else. After showing her the not-so-perfect closet photo on my phone, I paid the cashier for my purchase, and headed to the restaurant where I’d grab a bite before going home to be “Mrs. Fixit!”

Wait! Where’s my phone?!? The waitress brought my order and I was in a panic. I ran to the checkout and borrowed a phone to call the store I just left. No, they hadn’t had a phone turned in at Customer Service. I scarfed down my soup and egg roll, then quickly drove back to the store. I searched the parking lot. I searched the shopping carts (buggies, if you’re from the south) and the phone was nowhere to be found. The cashier who’d checked me out earlier got the head of security to check video footage. He saw when I’d shown her my photo, then closed the flap on my phone and laid it in the baby seat part of my cart, covering it with my purse. He even saw where I’d walked in the parking lot. But the phone was not seen after I covered it with my purse. We walked out there and he kept dialing my number so we could hear it ring. Over and over, he dialed it. Nothing. Nada. Zip.

I left there and drove back to the restaurant. No, they hadn’t seen it! I drove back to the store. No, it hasn’t been turned in. I drove to my Verizon dealer to see if they could help me. They ‘pinged’ my phone and said it was at the front of the store where I’d shopped. I drove back to the store. No. It still hadn’t been turned in! Then I saw the security footage guy.

“Glad you found your phone!”

“I didn’t find my phone.”

“You texted me that you did…said it was in your car.”

“I didn’t text you. Whoever has my phone texted you.”

Then the security footage guy texted a message to my phone that the owner was standing right there with him and wanted it returned – no questions asked. He even added the little white lie that the police department was ‘pinging’ the phone and knew where it was.

Within 10 minutes, my phone magically appeared at the desk in the ceiling fan section of the store. He raced to get it and handed it to me! He didn’t see who left it, but he will - because he’s going to check the video footage. I was so happy to have the phone back that I hugged the guy!!!

After checking my phone, I saw that all the ‘notes’ on my phone had been deleted. Quotes, scriptures, funny stuff and…yes, passwords. No one would know which passwords were for which thing except for me. But they were gone. Boy, is that little stinker that stole my phone gonna be surprised when none of those passwords work because I hurried home, got on my computer and changed all of them. Even called LifeLock to let them know what had happened so they could be alerted.

The clothes are still on the floor in my closet. As Scarlett O’Hara said, “…tomorrow IS another day!”

But for today, the title of this blog posting is accurate.
I’ve been quite emotional since this move to Maryville. Happy to be here. Sad to leave my friends and church in Kingsport. Happy that Joe is retiring. Sad that he has to stay up there and finish while I’m down here missing him (except for Sundays that I drive up to hear him preach). Happy that I’m only 25 minutes from my beautiful/wonderful/amazing daughter and her growing family. And aggravated that someone would steal my iPhone!

And I’m feeling a little cautious…
That meltdown I had today wasn’t worth risking another ‘tiny stroke’ – which is what I had a month ago. Yep. I did that. But I’m fine now. I have a doctor who has taken the very best care of me and is doing everything he can to help me prevent another one.

So…it’s only a cell phone. I lived without one for years. Why did I get so upset about it?!? Because I don’t know people’s phone numbers by heart……..and it’s full of pictures of my granddaughter! Duh!!!

Remember. If you have a pulse, you have a purpose. Make your life count!

Friday, January 26, 2018

Bed, Bath & Beyond

My husband had never stepped foot in one of my favorite stores. Until tonight. And he may never be the same!

I enjoyed myself way more than I ever have before while shopping the aisles of my beloved Bed, Bath & Beyond! Watching my hubby discover all the wonderful items offered in the store was better than any shopping spree I’ve ever had! He was fascinated – like a kid in a toy store – at all the offerings!

Every time I wandered away from him into another aisle, I’d hear, “Hey, Beth! Look at this!” I’d dutifully go to his side and see what fascinated him: a lighted, mounted shaving mirror…or a massaging chair…or a $399 Dyson Hair Dryer. (Frankly, the expensive hair dryer fascinated me, too – not because of the way it worked, but how much it cost!)

He was amazed at how perfectly stacked the bath towels were displayed above the shelves. I kinda hated to mess up his fascination at the uniformity of the stacks by telling him they weren’t really stacked, but that the towels were tucked into forms to make them look stacked even though they weren’t.

I shop in BB&B all the time and up till now have never found so much wonder among the merchandise as he did! Shopping with my hubby is almost always fun, but tonight was exceptionally fun!

Did we buy anything?
Is the Pope Catholic?!?!???!?

I came home with a “Better Brella” – the kind that reverses when you close it so the rainwater doesn’t soak you when you pull it into the car on a wet day. When I saw it I was fascinated!!! (insert wink here)

Always remember: If you have a pulse, you have a purpose. Make your life count!

Monday, November 13, 2017

First Kiss

When her mother was pregnant I didn’t even know she was a she!

I couldn’t wait to hold her. But before that, I had to kiss her mother and make sure she was okay after giving birth to her first child.

When I held her, I’d only known her name for an afternoon. Ophelia! What a wonderful name!

Time passed. She grew.

I told her granddaddy that I couldn’t wait for her first smile. When I got it, I can’t describe to you how happy my heart felt!

The next milestone I couldn’t wait for was when she would finally recognize me. The day after she was born I’d made up a little song just for her. And one day, as I sang it to her for the umpteenth time, her eyes lit up when she looked at me…kind of like ‘hey, I know you!’ My heart melted!

So, the natural next goal was the first kiss she’d give to me. She’d thrown a kiss to me a couple of times and that was too adorable for words! But I was waiting for a kiss on the cheek.

Last night, I babysat for Ophelia while her mother and daddy went downtown to a play. Little One and I played on the floor till she was exhausted. I got her ready for bed and we cuddled, read a book, then headed to her room. The lamp gave off just enough light for me to see her cry and reach up her arms for me to pick her up and not leave her in that crib. It worked. I picked her up, sang to her as I swayed back and forth till she was asleep in my arms. After gently laying her down in her crib for the second time, she awakened and reached those sweet little arms for me to pick her up again. But I was strong. I left her there, rubbed her back for a moment till she took the cry down to a soft whimper. Within two minutes she was quietly sleeping. I left the room with a little sadness because our fun night was over.

Next thing I knew it was Sunday and time to drive back home to Grandaddy. As I said goodbye to her at the front door, she was in her mother’s arms. I always kiss Ophelia’s mother first…when I see her and when I say goodbye. So, after that I asked Ophelia if she’d give me a kiss. I leaned forward. She leaned forward. And then she planted an open mouth kiss (which is the only thing a 14-month old knows how to give) on my right cheek!

On this day, November 12, 2017, I got my first kiss from my first grandchild…exactly fourteen months, two weeks and four days after I kissed her for the first time!!!

My heart is happy all over again.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

First Day of Kindergarten

I just read the post of a friend whose daughter started Kindergarten today. Here’s James’ post on Facebook:
"Ok this dad has been emotional all morning. Took our baby girl to her first day of kindergarten. So proud of this young lady. This last month some of the decisions she has made shows us we're doing something right. 1 down 1 more to grow."
And this is what his wife, Karen, responded in the comments:
"I know the time has just flown by, I just feel like crying. I am happy and proud of her, I am just so not ready for this."

This little girl, Gracie, was a long-awaited child. Her name is Miracle Grace because she truly is a miracle! I’m proud to be one of the Grannies in her life. We don’t live near each other, so I have to keep up with her in pictures on Facebook and she is a dear! She’s also a big sister, so her mother and daddy have one more to send to Kindergarten. I’d venture to say that day with J.D. could be equally emotional!

When I read James’ post, memories came flooding back to me!

It was 1989 and Hannah was starting what they called ‘Four-Year Kindergarten’ at Ringgold First Baptist Church. We went to the open house and saw her classroom, met her teacher, and learned about drop-off and pick-up. Joe and I heard the director, Mrs. Waters, explain that she understood the emotions parents had and even prayed for all of us at the end of the assembly. I was mopping my eyes most of the evening.

I knew this was a good move for Hannah, considering there were no children in our neighborhood that she could play with. Her interaction with children came on Wednesdays and Sundays at church. The rest of the time she was with Momma and Daddy, which she still calls us to this day and I love it!!!

We’d waited eleven years for this little girl and I would soon be going back to work in radio, so she needed daycare. Her daddy would drive her to school each morning and I would pick her up at noon.

My heart was breaking that night.
After Hannah said her prayers and then I prayed with her, I kissed her and turned off the lights. Stopping at the door to blow one more kiss, this four-year old girl said something like, "Momma, you will be okay. We get to play together all day when I come home!"

Oh my word! Just scrape me off the floor after that! I was proud and sad at the same time! My little girl comforted me before her first day of school!

Hannah’s always been wise beyond her years…even at the age of four!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Driving Miss Ophelia

It’s been almost 30 years since there’s been a child strapped into the backseat of my car. This morning, as I began my weekend of babysitting our nearly 11-month old granddaughter, I buckled her into her car seat then drove her to daycare. As I pulled out onto the main highway, I told her she was Precious Cargo, and I was being extra-careful as I drove. Then I started singing to her and heard a little chatterbox responding from behind me. I couldn’t help but smile.

I’ve been anticipating this weekend for a month or more!!! When my daughter called to ask if I would be free at this time to babysit, I jumped at the chance! I’m turning 64 this weekend and I can’t imagine a better way to spend my birthday than with little Miss Ophelia!

This is Ophelia’s first time to be away from Momma and Pops over an extended time…ever…so routine is important and she went to her little school for the day. I have to keep in mind that this is her momma’s first time away from the little one for a weekend, too, so have been saying some extra prayers for both my girls!

This morning, I drove into the school parking lot, walked into this special place and delivered Miss Ophelia to her teacher. I wish everyone could’ve seen the look on her face when she saw Miss Lacey!!! She lit up and went straight to her! That gave me a good feeling!

Tomorrow, we’ll be going to her weekly swim lesson. I’m really choosey about who sees me in a bathing suit, so I’m glad my granddaughter won’t remember what I look like in one!!! If she were older, she’d probably ask me if we were taking a long trip since I have what looks like roadmaps all over my legs!

The more I think about it, the more I realize, though, that I need to exude a confidence in this body of mine when I’m around Ophelia. I’ve spent too many years hating the way I look and making snide remarks about my size. I’m extremely thankful that my daughter has a healthy self-image despite the fact that her mother has felt so inadequate for far too long. I am what I am. Weight is something I’ve struggled with so long now, that it’s like this weird friend who never goes home. You don’t really enjoy hanging around with her all that much but at least she’s quiet and doesn’t need much attention (except for the occasional Peanut Butter Milkshake from Dairy Queen).

Once, when I was joking about my big-sized body to my mom, Hannah spoke up and said, “Mother…self-deprecating humor is unbecoming to you.” (Keep in mind that my daughter was 16 at the time and knew absolutely everything there is to know about anything.)
To that, my mom said, “self-defecating humor? What kind of humor is that?!?”

Point taken.

So tomorrow morning, this grandma will don her bathing suit, proudly carry her granddaughter into the pool area at the gym, and not think a thing about how fat I am! I’m in shape! Round is a shape! (Okay. I couldn’t resist that one!) I need to love all of myself. If I don’t, then what message am I sending to my precious Ophelia?

Besides, nobody will be looking at me in a bathing suit…because that little girl I’ll be carrying is so doggone cute that all eyes will be on her!

Always remember this…
If you have a pulse, you have a purpose. Make your life count!

Monday, May 8, 2017

A letter to my daughter...

My dear, dear Hannah,

Your first Mother's Day is coming soon. I remember how I felt when I experienced my first Mother's Day. I felt "official!" I was so excited to finally be a momma...after eleven years of miscarriages and cringing when that date rolled around every May. Did you know I actually skipped Mother's Day services at our church one year because I couldn't bear to be there?

Something you said to me the other day has stuck in my mind, and caused me to make it the subject of this blog posting. We were in the car, talking about what we'd be doing this Mother's Day and how we'd celebrate it. You mentioned that you wished it didn't have that title, because it eliminated the women who weren't mothers. You were sensitive that there are women who need to be celebrated - not because they are mothers - but that each woman's life is worth celebrating! I like that! I'm glad you have the kind of heart that causes you to think that way.

I remember the Mother's Day afternoon that your Aunt Vangie called me in tears because of something someone thoughtlessly said to her at church that morning. She'd held in her tears when it happened, but the flood came later when I answered her call. It seems that there were long-stemmed roses being handed to all the mothers as they walked into the service that morning. Women whose mothers were deceased received white roses, and the others who still had their moms on this earth were handed red roses. Your grandma and Aunt Van walked into the sanctuary together and Grandma Miller was handed a white rose. Aunt Vangie received a red one. Suddenly the woman took the red rose away from her, and laughingly said, "You're not a mother, you shouldn't get a rose!"

Aunt Vangie's voice kept breaking as she cried, telling me what happened. I'm sure that woman had no idea the impact her words had on my sister that morning. She probably didn't know that Vangie wanted to be a mother more than anything...that she had two babies in Heaven...and that she had the heart of a mother, loving every kid she knew!

From that day on, I asked your daddy that on Mothers' Day mornings at church, we would celebrate the moms as well as all the women in the church. After sharing what happened to Vangie, he has always been keenly aware of that on those Sunday mornings in May.

Maybe she is part of the reason you have that kind of heart I mentioned earlier. For whatever reason you feel this way, I'm thankful. You make me proud in so many ways, and this is just another reason!

But I still want you to enjoy your first Mother's Day for yourself! You easily delivered a most wonderful little girl last August! When I walked into the room after her birth, I went straight to you to make sure you were okay. And you were. You were tired and radiant that afternoon. You were a mother! My baby had a baby!!! Looking at Ophelia gave me new feelings I never knew I could have! And now, I've become the grandmother I used to joke about - being so crazy over a grandchild!

This is something I read on my radio shows around Mother's Day each year after I had you. After what happened to Aunt Vangie, I wrote these words:
"If a woman gave birth to you and was able to raise you, be thankful. If a woman gave you life but knew it’d better for you to be raised by another, be thankful for both of them. Maybe you carried a child but weren’t able to give birth, be assured your baby is in Heaven waiting for you…and if you chose not to be a mom, be blessed that you can love others’ children."

Your aunt had hundreds of kids and you were one of them. She wasn't able to carry but two babies under her heart...but she had hundreds that she carried in it!

So, since this blog is written to you, please allow me to say "Happy Mother's Day, Hannah!" I marvel at the grace you have as you care for your little girl. You're not nervous like I was - you do things with such ease. You definitely wear motherhood well. You're an awesome mom!

I love you a billion-trillion-up-to-the-sky!

And to all the women reading this posting, Happy Mother's Day to you, too...because you have the blessing to love all of God's children!

Remember this...if you have a pulse, you have a purpose. Make your life count.

Sunday, March 26, 2017


My husband and I are trying to watch our weight. Actually, I shouldn’t say “trying” because we are actually watching it! It’s right there in front of us, making it hard to see our toes and our laps! Joe said he’s looking forward to the day when his tie will “hang again and not just lay there!"

I’ve said many times that my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, but I've added on a Fellowship Hall. When I was pregnant, it was a Family Life Center. Now that I'm 63 and I seem to have much more 'space' I've become a Multi-Purpose Room! My husband and I are in the ministry, so we're all about church growth! Right?

But we ARE doing better than we were. I’ve lost 11 pounds in a little over three months. At the last check my A1c was 6. My sugar is staying around 97 to 107 because I’m behaving much better with my sugar intake. I sure do miss Coca-Cola though! Both my mother and sister were diabetic, and I guess it was in my genes to have problems with sugar.

I remember when my mother called me to tell me she’d been diagnosed with diabetes. She reminded me of when we were little girls and how she used to sit with Vangie and me at night, just before bedtime, so we could pray together. After all the ‘God blesses’ that my sister and I would pray, Mother would pray over the two of us. At the end, she would always ask for one particular thing about herself…

At age 58, she called to tell me her news. “Do you remember how I used to ask the Lord to help me be sweet with you girls?”

“Yes, I do!” It was one of my favorite parts of the prayer when I’d had an especially mischievous day.

“Well,” Mother said, “God went and overdid it! I have diabetes!”

Bless her little heart, the doctor said she very likely had gestational diabetes while carrying me because I was her largest baby at 9 pounds, 6 ounces. Evidently, when a woman has that during pregnancy, very likely she’ll become diabetic in her fifties.

With my sugar problems and both of us weighing way more than we should, Joe and I are changing our eating habits! This is hard, y’all!!! I'm trying to look for healthy recipes to prepare.

No matter what I prepare for us to eat, Joe thanks me…even if it’s just a peanut butter sandwich. He’s always done that. His momma raised him right!

So, when I made a healthy chicken dish for our dinner recently, it didn’t come out quite like I’d hoped. In fact, it wasn’t good. At all. But I didn’t know that until we sat down to eat. We both ate quietly, and I think we ate quickly to get it over with.

As he got up from the table, always the gentleman, he thanked me for the meal. I told him I was sorry that it wasn’t very good…

He said, “It wasn’t very tasty, but it was healthy!”

I married a diplomatic sweetheart!!!

If you’re a new reader of ‘Life In The Greenhouse’ you’ll find out that I sign off every post with this phrase…one I used to sign off my morning radio show in Knoxville: “If you have a pulse, you have a purpose. Make your life count!”