Saturday, January 31, 2015

| that time we had a school fun day. |

Jump the Crick (n.) An outdoor game generally played by rambunctious, energetic, well-calloused children between the ages of six and twelve, the game object being which child can jump the farthest distance between two parallel ropes. Related: Hilarious(adj.) Athletisism(n.) Craziness (n.)By the way, if "crick" is an unfamiliar term to you, relocate to East Texas or some other hillbilly-saturated community. I promise that you shall be educated upon its meaning, and fairly swiftly.

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A brief peek into our world tucked on a farm road somewhere deep the heart of Texas. This past Wednesday was the much-anticipated school "fun day." The morning classes were... distracted. To say the least. Fortunately for both students and teachers, they came to a close at noon... and the "fun day" officially commenced.
I'll let the photos do the storytelling for me.

My second and third graders waiting in the lunch line.

Root beer floats!
Oh! Yeah!

Preparing for sack races, which could also be defined as clumsiness / general hilarity in action.

I think the general concession was that everyone present, kids, teachers, and parents included, had a blast.

       Smile today, you guys. Someone will be blessed.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

| of snowflakes; sunshine; southerners. |

  Or, the lack thereof... so far as the snowflakes are concerned.

To be honest, I was blessed to see a precious few fragments of ice flutter from the sky on a night in December, but in the morning the ground was still the colors of forty-degree weather and rain, generously painted with mud.
They say that one year just as the bluebonnets were blooming a ghost blizzard finally blessed Texas with a dusting of winter.

I won't ask my Southern friends if they considered aforementioned blizzard a blessing, however.

This Yankee-converted-Southern gal has found herself aghast more than once to observe barefoot young 'uns traipsing through the January puddles without so much as a shiver, their mamas wearing flip flops and tees, sweet tea and ice in the pitcher on the counter, be it raw fog or sixty-degree sunshine.


Any stray breeze sliding beneath forty degrees, in Southern minds, is "misery." Where I come from, those same forties are enough to cause any decent Yankee to shout a few hallelujahs, at least, if you happen to be slogging your way through January.

  In the South, a "winter storm" is defined by floods of rain wrapped in wind, though lacking the barred teeth of a nor'easter. A dusting of ice, if the "misery" happens to be at its most depressing. Behave like a self-respecting Confederate and recall sunnier January days, when the temperature poised between a kinder fifty and sixty. Allow yourself just a few complaints while you're at it; thirty degrees doesn't blow over just every morning.

In the North, a "winter storm" a.k.a  a nor'easter, is usually defined by any number of feet of snow. Said snow can vary between heavy and light, the precipitation varying between one and ten feet. Archetypical reaction of a good hardworking Yankee: Push your front door open, elbow your way to the woodshed, break your arms hauling a dozen chunks of hardwood inside, thaw out, and enjoy the pristine winter panorama from beside your woodstove. Oh, and don't forget to stoke her up, while you're at it.

In the South, "winter wear" might include your favorite hoodie, usually with some proud Texan expression scrawled across the front (Dallas Cowboys, y'all?) and boots (cowboy, duh) Flip flops in the back seat of your pickup in the event of a warm snap?
Oh, yeah.
Everyone does it.

In the North, one's "winter wear" collection may consist of anything ranging from parka that looks more like a sleeping bag than a coat, several pairs of boots, considering that a mere tramp to the barn fills your feet with snowballs, and about five hundred pairs of gloves, beanies, scarves, face masks, coveralls, socks, and more gloves and hats and socks. Because, of course, you're bound to lose a pair or five every season, and these are the items essential to existence.

And one final observation to mention.

In the South, we enjoy two seasons.
And slightly chillier than summer.

In the North, the number spikes to seven.

More winter.
and Autumn.

Therefore, not everything is bigger in Texas.

But, the stars at night are still big and bright.... albeit, I regretfully confess, not tonight. We're having a "winter storm"... just listen to that rain. :)
And I reckon the high's gonna hit the fifties tomorrow...

                                          Missing snowflakes, but addicted to sweet tea,

Friday, January 2, 2015

| of daddy's hands. |

  “It’s too far, Daddy.” And in her mind, no leap was more perilous. “I can’t do it.”
“You didn’t know that when you decided you could climb the tree, did you?” Tenderness flavors his question, but if she isn’t mistaken, those are hints of humor she sees in his eyes. “Now you know why I told you not to try it without me, don’t you?”
Pride crippled in the face of fear, she manages a meager nod. “You’re not going to go away, are you?”
“I’m going back inside in a minute.” In spite of his words, he takes a step closer to the trunk and leans his weight against the bark. “But I’m not going without you. You’ll have to jump.”
“Jump?” The word feels like a slap in her face—then like a chunk of ice settling deep in her stomach.  “I can’t. I told you it’s too far. Don’t make me.”
“I’m not gonna make you.” He stretches his arms. “You’ll have to do it on your own—and I’ll be here whenever you’re ready.”
The bark is cutting into her clenched fingers. His arms look a mile off—the ground ten times farther. Vague in the back of her brain, she tastes the blood and feels the bruises that the ground will give her—if his grasp doesn’t connect with her body in time.
“What if you don’t catch me?”
She doesn’t comprehend his chuckle. “What if I don’t catch you? You really think I’d even think of letting you fall?”
“But I was bad.” Tears tangle with her confession. “I did it—even when you told me to wait.”
“I know.” He lifts his arms higher. “But that doesn’t mean I’m not gonna catch you when you jump. Isn’t that what daddies are for?”
She swallows a bulge of phlegm somewhere in her throat and ponders for a second. “You really won’t let me fall?”
He smiles, and suddenly she craves the taste of his arms around her. “You’ll just have to trust that I don’t break my promises, darling. When you’re ready to jump, we’ll go inside and read a story together.”
Her breathing slows for a sliver of a second. “What story?”
He pauses, as if he’s thinking. “What about ‘Guess How Much I Love You?’ That’s one of your favorites, huh?”
She gulps and allows herself a ghost of a smile. “I guess.”
He grins. “Whenever you’re ready, I’ll be right here.”
For a sharp fragment of a moment, she studies the ground—then his arms. The seconds feel like hours. Raw, razor-edged shards of eternity.
As she slackens her grasp and feels the force of gravity jerk her body earthward, her breath snags on the rock of a lump in her throat. Free falling. Nothing between her and the ground—except for raw fear.
Fear that abruptly dissolves when she feels his arms grasp her. He holds her for a moment, then sets her on the ground, brushes the fragments of bark from her dress, and takes her hand.
And for the moment, the touch of his hand is her world. She’s standing on solid earth again, and her security is beside her, her battered fingers wrapped in his.
“Now, that wasn’t so bad, was it?”
It’s her turn to pause. “Not after you caught me, Daddy.” She leans into his lap, feeling the fear ebb away. “You’ll always catch me, won’t you?”
He hesitates. “Someday, you’ll be big enough to jump on your own. But til then—well, isn’t that what daddies are for?” He stoops and kisses her dusty forehead. “Are you ready for our story?”
Their story. She nods. “How’d you know that was my favorite story?”
He tips her chin with his fingers and grins into her face. “Because—it’s one of my favorites too.”
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So grateful I will always have my Heavenly Father who is waiting to catch me even when I'm afraid I'm falling             Blessings,