Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Granddaddy was a dancing man.

He was quick with a wink,

free with his hugs,
laughing and living and breathing
in love.

He was a railroad man,
traveled straight tracks,
umbrellaed himself for
wife and kids for
taking care of so many things.

He worked with his hands,
twisting and tweaking
when engines were squealing or
gas tanks were leaking.
He knew how to turn a bolt
of lightning with his smile.

He talked about Hank Senior, 
strummed fingers on a steel guitar,
watched my boys
with sparkling eyes.
Lady-killer, the man never lost
his charm, and I cannot blame
a woman who fell for him.

He was a beautiful soul,
a wonder-filled spirit,
a dancing man who drove
straight tracks,
took care of everything
with his two hands.

Listen close; I think I hear
the sound of an old guitar,
a deep-souled voice
calling him to turn
that Cadillac around
and drive home.


Charlie Calhoun lived a great life, 88 years of life bursting at the seams. I'm grateful my children knew him, and grateful he became a part of my life. May he run across the Jordan and live an eternity well-earned.

Charles Fitzhugh Calhoun Jr
1924 - 2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Owls, Bears, and Wolves, Oh My!

I want to introduce you to my newest totem animal. Over the last few years, I have felt more and more drawn to wild animals. Not in a daredevil way. I have no plans to live with gorillas or sneak into zoos and set the tigers free. It's a spiritual thing. I feel connected to something inside wild animals.

Most of you know I feel this way about owls. Meeting Homer the Barred Owl face to face a few summers ago literally changed me. Homer aimed me like a missile, sending me straight to a message God wanted me to receive. I read Wesley the Owl and saw myself in Wesley. I gained a more solid footing in who I am by studying what owls are, how they are, why they are that way. It's hard to put this into words without posting an entire essay on the subject (which I have actually written and hope to publish one day). Suffice it to say, I love owls deeply.

Next came the polar bear. On the same trip to Cincinnati, I stood beside the polar bear's enclosure and pressed my hand to the glass. As the beautiful animal swam past, only an inch separated my skin and her fur. It was surreal and stuck with me long after we left the zoo. Later that year, we took a family trip to the Memphis Zoo, and I was excited to see the polar bear. You see, as a kid, I often sat watching a polar bear swim at Riverbanks Zoo in SC, where I grew up. On my first return visit to that zoo, as an adult, I found the polar bear exhibit empty. No, it wasn't just empty; it didn't even exist. I circled and found no sign of my favorite childhood animal. I called my dad and had this conversation.

Me: Where is my polar bear?
Dad: Your what?
Me: My polar bear. I'm at the zoo, and there is no polar bear.
Dad: Oh, yeah, he died a while back.
Me: My polar bear DIED?!
Dad: Yup.
Me: But, why didn't they  get a new one?
Dad: Well, sweetie, you can't just run down the block to the polar bear store and pick up a new model.

So, I had a previous attachment to polar bears. I was excited to find one in Memphis, but then felt sad when I saw her. The Memphis polar bear was pregnant. They moved her to the black bear enclosure for the duration of her pregnancy. There were no icy pools to swim in, just rocks and grass. She looked out of place there, her coat yellowed and her head hanging low. I wanted to sit down and cry for her. I feel like that polar bear a lot, out of place, ripped from my own environment and shoved into some humid wasteland I don't understand. I don't think I'll ever feel otherwise; not this side of the Jordan.

Meet Chito (Chay-toe)

Chito and her sister ousted their mother from her position as Alpha Female in their pack. Then, because Chito is just awesome, she ousted the Alpha Male and took over as Alpha Wolf. This is my kind of woman, y'all. Actually, it's funny that she was my favorite wolf. I usually root for the underdog (no pun intended). My husband laughed at the idea of me overtaking anyone and becoming Alpha in a pack. That's just not my personality. But, something about Chito spoke to me. Maybe it is this: Her pack lives in an enclosure and under the ultimate authority of the amazing couple who own and care for her and her pack mates. Chito isn't trying to rule the world and she didn't take over because she is mean and didn't like the previous Alpha. No, Chito did what was best for her pack. She saw the age and weakness of their current leadership and said, "Heck no, they are in no shape to lead the hunt and protect our family." She saw a problem and, instead of whining about it or posting her political dissatisfaction on Facebook, Chito stepped up and fixed the problem.

She saw a need, and she met the need.

I brought home a photo magnet of Chito. She's on my fridge now (a joking reminder that I'm the Alpha in this kitchen, thankyouverymuch). When I look at her, I am reminded that I need to do my part, even if it is hard, even if it is unpleasant. I don't need my kids to like me, I need to protect them and feed them and teach them how to be responsible and self-disciplined. Ultimately, they are taken care of by God. Our whole family is his, and he has never let us down before. But that doesn't give me the right to sit on my tail and ignore what's going on around me.

Thanks, Chito. I owe you one.

(((((Go HERE to meet the wolves I met yesterday. Buy some goodies to help pay for their food and well-being. You can't save all the wolves, but you can help care for these seven)))))

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday Felicities: 10/19/12

Friday Felicities

Candy corn Oreos in the mail, from my daddy
Sparkly fingernail polish
New yellow notebook
Mapping a new world for a new book
Knowing CS Lewis was terrible at math
Looking up silly holidays for a project
Schoolhouse Rock videos with Haydn
Free shipping on a few orders this week
Salted caramel hot chocolate
Writers' group at B&N

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sunday Poem: Numinous

a word for filled
with light,
a word for brightness
all around,
a word for something
not like any earthly
lamp or flame,
but shining like something
that can only be echoed
in lightning
and dewdrops,
in starlight
and rainbows.
shining like
I Am.


{Photo by me, "blue moon," Aug 2012, Gulf Shores, AL}

Friday, October 12, 2012

Friday Felicities: October 12, 2012

Friday Felicities

Coupon codes
Dr. Who, Season 4 finale
Actually getting some sleep
Real conversation
Text conversations with my sister
C. S. Lewis
Sweet cream coffee creamer

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sunday Poem: Rise

I love the yeasty smell
of bread baking,
the way water and heat
and flour mix to fill
my kitchen with the smell of this 
body rising from the bowl like
His body rising
from the grave, 
I slide a loaf out of the oven
and inhale the joy
of Mary Magdalene clinging
to the Master's side.
I break as he was broken.
I eat as I believe
He wanted us to do,
to smell the yeast of magic,
the soul that bid He rise,
to welcome Him in
the pit of me, His body,
this bread, becoming
the core of who
I Am.


Friday, October 5, 2012

Friday Felicities: 10/5/12

Friday Felicities

Finding a Halloween happy for Eliza Jane
Owlish salt and pepper shakers from Mandy
CS Lewis class at church
Sweet Cream creamer in my coffee
New blue bag
Coffee in the UK mug Amanda gave me years ago
Pilot G2 pens
Book notes in the comp book Rachel gave me
Homeschool field trips

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Currently: Leaved with October Blood*

Current Books: I'm about halfway through The Windows of Heaven by Ron Rozelle. I've also been reading some Chesterton essays. Haydn and I are reading Game Changers by Mike Lupica and listening to the audio of Miracle on 49th Street, also by Mike Lupica, in the car.

Current Playlist: I've been random in my song selections recently. It's time to put together a playlist for the book I'm revising though. I'll pick some bluegrass, some southern gospel, and some country. It's set in Kentucky, up a holler in the hills.

Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: Contemplating a possible trip next month.

Current Colors: Jewel tones and black

Current Fetish: Not sure "fetish" in the right word, but Haydn and I are back to daily doses of Doctor Who.

Current Food: I've been better, lately, at freezing individual portions of leftover foods. Also, I've started keeping homemade burritos in the freezer for lunches. Haydn ran out of donuts, and he requested I make the next batch chocolate. So I made this recipe and they turned out absolutely delicious. We have 13 in the freezer for Sunday mornings.

Current Drink: Coffee with Truvia and Coldstone Creamery's sweet cream creamer. How many times can I say "cream" in one sentence?

Current Favorite Favorite: Pilot's G2 pens. I'm using them for book notes, and the ink flow is absolutely perfect.

Current Wishlist: I want a new pair of skinny jeans to wear with my boots and I'd like a new pair of black boots as well.

Current Needs: The downstairs bathroom needs to be gutted and redone. Mostly, what I need, or what I feel like I need, is retreat. I'd like to get away from the constant going/doing/wanting/talking...

Current Triumph: I finished revisions on Tornado. I'm sure there will be more editing and revising. That seems to be the norm in the publishing industry, but the big revision is complete, and I am happy with how it turned out.

Current Bane-of-my-Existence: Alarm clocks.

Current Indulgence: vanilla ice cream with cinnamon sprinkled all over it.

Current Mood: Amazingly good, all things considered.

Current #1 Blessing: Corey. He's pretty much always the answer to this question.

Current Outfit: jeans, pink UK shirt my sister bought for me at Rupp Arena, and cream-colored sneakers

Current Link: Crash Course is a youtube channel I like as a homeschool resource.

Current Quote:

“She thought, If I or my father or any Boughton has ever stirred the Lord's compassion, then Jack will be all right. Because perdition for him would be perdition for every one of us.”
― Marilynne Robinson, Home

Current Photo:

*It was my thirtieth

Year to heaven stood there then in the summer noon

Though the town below lay leaved with October blood.

O may my heart's truth

Still be sung
On this high hill in a year's turning.

by Dylan Thomas

Monday, October 1, 2012

Rose Tyler Means I Love You

Haydn doesn't say "I love you."

Most days, this is the least of my worries when it comes to raising a child with Autism and Tourette's Syndrome. Meltdowns, diet, sensory input, learning to breathe through soaring frustration levels... those are my big daily battles. But the "I love you" thing is definitely there, on the list of hard parts.

Haydn doesn't understand the need to tell people he loves them. He figures we already know that. I say, "I love you, Haydn," and he might say, "me too," or "okay," or nothing at all. He doesn't roll his eyes or act like I'm stupid for saying I love him, but he doesn't see the point in saying it back either. He doesn't understand why I keep telling him this thing that he already knows.

I was thinking, earlier this week, about my sons and their differences. Driving away from a parent-teacher conference at David's school, David said, "You know I love you right?" This is something I say to the kids, and here he was saying it back to me. It was really sweet. David has no issue with emotion-expressing or verbal communication. He tells me he loves me all the time.

I tried to remember the last time Haydn said he loved me. Verbally, I honestly can't remember. It was years ago, I think. I have a dim memory of telling Corey, "Haydn said he loved me." Then, it hit me... Haydn said he loved me just two weeks ago. He didn't use those words, but he told me just the same.

First, some background information: Haydn and I watch Doctor Who together. Rose is my favorite companion, and Haydn knows that. As a matter of fact, Martha bored me so badly, I couldn't pay attention, so Haydn watched those by himself and promised to let me know when Martha was finished and a new companion came onboard the TARDIS.  He was taking one for the team, so to speak.

I was upstairs folding laundry when I heard Haydn barreling up the stairs, shouting for me to "come quick." I thought something was wrong, but he was smiling, holding the remote in his hand, motioning for me to hurry up. As I followed him down the stairs, he said, "It's Rose!" And, sure enough, when we made it to the living room, there on the TV screen was Rose Tyler. He'd paused the show perfectly. She just did a walk-on role for that episode, but as soon as he saw her, he hit pause and ran to find me.

Most people would have looked at that screen and seen a young blonde girl, pretty in an unconventional way. I looked at Rose Tyler and very clearly heard my son saying, "I love you, Mom."

He saved Rose for me. Because he loves me.

I love you too, Haydn. I love you too.

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