Sometimes Darren & I get to sneak away for a lunch date. Most of the time we grab a pop and peanut (aka cowboys’ lunch) and just drive around town. We love driving down main and all around our sweet community, pointing out new construction, new builds, dreamin’ and schemin’, laughing and talking about the day, commenting about the weather, taking note of the changing season...Darren might throw in a “Laffy Taffy” joke...nothing really but just taking a break. Almost always, we will somehow wind up at the football field, parked under the grand old walnut tree which always takes us on the fast track to memory lane where we will spend a little time reminiscing.
Sweet Memories, Sweet Reward
Isn’t it funny how we all have that one thing we are known for...the gift that you’ve been given or the attribute or even physical appearance that becomes your pet name? When in a conversation, sharing a memory about someone, how common is it to say, “you know, the one who always wore the red hat. Or, the one who always brought the amazing lemon bars. Remember, he always had a walking stick. In a small town, these descriptions can become pet names used when speaking of someone and can eventually become their name everyone uses to call them by.
“I just love southern women!”
As I shared before, I had the sweet privilege to help host a little wedding shower for a precious young couple. I heard later that the bride to be exclaimed to her future momma-by-love (I hate the term mother-in-law) “I just love southern women!” Sweet girl, you just made my day! I am a die hard southern girl, born and raised.
I had a dream...
I had the sweet privilege to help host a shower for some precious kiddos. I feel, as I know his momma feels about our youngest son, that I helped raise this young man. As I looked around the room, I couldn’t help but see the love everyone has for this beautiful couple...new acquaintances and dear old friends...I felt so blessed to get to be a part of this sweet celebration! Toward the end, after the gifts had been opened, he stood to give a thank you speech - this is his hometown after all. But he moved us all to tears when he said, “my mom has always taught me and my sisters that it’s not things that are the most important, although we greatly appreciate all of your gifts. It’s people and the memories that you make with them that are the most important things in life. We will never forget this day and all of you being here with us...” Right? This young man has not only been taught well, but he has also learned well...and I am so proud of him!
The moment is etched into my memory in such vivid detail that all I have to do is close my eyes and I’m there. I feel the box on my lap, I smell the chocolate, I hear a gasp turn to a sob. I simultaneously turn and open my eyes, see her drape over her beautiful, heart shaped box of valentine chocolates and lock a questioning gaze with my brother. This is when I knew. I knew that Stella would forever be engraved in the heart and life of our family...Stella would stay...
Weeks before, in the middle of January, I was sticking around town because the basketball girls had to watch film. Yep, I played basketball...lol, not very well, but I was on the team. I walked into the room knowing I was way too early, would probably have the room to myself, and have a few moments to chill-long before smartphones. As soon as I rounded the door facing, I saw the back of her head. I didn’t really know her. She was new to our school, new to our community, new to me...and I’m still pretty shy and quiet at this point. She was a Senior and I was a Junior. She was a wranglers and ropers style girl, and I was a penny loafer without socks kinda girl. But I had heard a little of her story, my heart was compelling me to make a little small talk...we had time. Somehow I got the nerve to ask her if she wanted to go get a shake or something. She gave me, “no money,” in a short and bitter tone. Amazingly I didn’t shrink back, but said in my cheeriest voice, “my treat.”
We drove around, dragging Main with our shakes in hand, making small talk, getting to know one another. Then I asked if it was true...was she living out of her car... she answered yes and told me a little of her story. She told it in such a light hearted way, that it almost made me believe that she was perfectly fine and capable with this new condition she found herself in. I remember laughing, I remember driving and listening, I remember getting out of the car and her thanking me for the shake.
I went home and told my parents Stella’s story. Without hesitation, they both said she could and should stay with us for as long as she needed. I knew they would open our home...it wasn’t the first time they had done this...I wasn’t surprised. For some reason, I can’t recall how we told her that our home was open to her, but I remember being on the basketball court, dribbling a ball, saddling up next to her, asking what she had decided. Surely there was more to the conversation that this, “I cuss.” I remember looking into her eyes for a long moment with confused compassion. Was she turning down a roof over her head because??? I then laughed and said, “we’ve heard cussing in our home before.” What in the world was going through that red head of hers? “I just thought you should know...before...” Was this her yes? It was!
She moved in just days before Valentines Day. Mom and Daddy always tried to make a big deal for us on special occasions. This was no different. Mom says that she scrambled to find a matching heart shaped box of chocolates...that’s just how she rolls🥰 They sat us down in the living room - Stella later shared that she thought we were in trouble...lol. Bless her heart...”close your eyes...” Jerry and I knew we were getting something for Valentines Day. We closed our eyes with a smile, but she thought my parents had changed their mind. Her heart was serious and poised for the ball to drop on her stay, when the only thing dropped onto her lap was a box of chocolates. “Open your eyes,” my parents said with excitement. Jerry and I knew long before we even sat down what was about to commence, but Stella didn’t know. Stella was so surprised...surprised to the point of tears and inaudible expressions of joy. We were all moved to tears that day, hugging and reassuring. This is when I knew...we all knew. God had given us the sweet gift of Stella...Stella would stay...in our hearts and lives forever...sealed with a box of chocolates...
Y’all have a beautiful Valentines Day
Do you remember sitting around the table when you were a kid, listening to the adults telling and retelling old family stories, laughing and reminiscing? Maybe you weren’t that kid...I was. I always loved hearing the stories...I still do... What is it about family reunions, Christmas gatherings, birthday celebrations that make us want to crack open the photo books, reminisce and share old stories? Memories of days gone by...I love listening to people’s stories. I think...no, I know I get this from my mom. It’s my sweet Momma’s birthday and as always, I have to share a story or two...It’s this thing I do...you too?
I know you’ve heard me say this before, but goodness time slips by so quickly! How can it be December already? How can it be Christmas time...the end of 2018...Eden’s second birthday?!?!😯 What?!?! How can our sweet little Eden be turning two? She states it so sweet and clearly. There’s no mistaking what she’s saying when she replies to her daddy’s question, “Eden, how old will you be on your birthday?” With clear confidence, in case we are unsure, she proclaims, “two.” Oh my...it’s going so fast! I knew it would. I have experience in this area, so I preach to myself and anyone who will listen...enjoy this stage, this season...before you know it, it will be over...life is such a precious gift full of twist and turns, highs and lows...you know😉...you’re doing it too...😉
Happy Birthday sweet Kass! You are our sunshine & roses daughter...there’s always a sweet smile on your face😊💗 Kassity means happy and clever...& this you are. You walk into the room & brighten everyone’s day😃 We got to watch Kass grow up. Her sweet family is from Blanchard as well. She is our youngest daughter in law/love, married to our youngest son Tucker. As I’ve said before, God has truly blessed us with the most precious daughters, added by marriage to our sons! She & Tucker have been friends since they were in elementary school...
I read an article in a magazine not long ago where the author shared a family tradition that was so sweet. In her family, instead of giving cards filled with loving thoughts, each person stands and shares a few of their favorite things about the Birthday boy/girl. There’s something so powerful about this...don’t you think? There’s something powerful about putting it out there for all to hear and see how much someone means to you. I love this idea! After reading it I thought goodness...we need to do this...then I realized that I’ve kinda been doing this with my birthday blogs. I love sharing stories about my family and sharing stories about those I love most on their birthday seems like a natural fit. I love letting people know how much they mean to me...
I will never for get that day. I was all of seven or eight, up in a mimosa tree in the back yard with my friend Ginger. We were living in a small community in western Oklahoma. We had not lived in this house very long - I would say less than a year. My mind is fuzzy with the time line, but there are a few things that are etched in my mind and this is one of them.
I am a simple and ordinary girl who loves to share meaningful stories about the extraordinary people and blessings, the sweet everyday happenings that make me smile. I hope you all have a beautiful day!