beautiful things

She Shouted Three Words

We took the elevator to our seats last night. They checked our tickets and stamped our wrists. Through the doors and to the left, plush purple carpet embraced my dirty sandals. “Welcome”, the door said, “to Club level.”

There was never carpet at the baseball games of my childhood.

We were granted this treat thanks to generous employers who shared their tickets with us!

A kind gentleman held the door for us as we juggled hot dogs and beer to our cushioned seats.

We settled in, three innings late, tending to the suds sloshing over our plastic cups onto cement. I was halfway through my meal when it started.

Two rows up a woman was chanting.

Loudly. Three words. Over and over again.

Let’s Go Mets. Let’s Go Mets.

It got louder.

Let’s Go Mets.  Let’s Go Mets. Let’s Go Mets.

Her beat relentless.

Let’s Go Mets. Let’s Go Mets.

Cheering at a stadium? No problem.

Except, we weren’t at the Met’s stadium. That was not our team.

At first some people laughed at how boisterous this woman was.

Rich people glared, turning their necks up to see who was causing such a disturbance.

She persisted.

Ushers were called over by folks who were annoyed by her enthusiasm. 

“I believe in YOUUU baby!” she screamed, her Jersey accent carrying the words down to home plate.

Inning after inning, this lady wouldn’t let up.

It pissed people off. Boy did it piss people off.

I was annoyed at first, and then my annoyance turned to something else. Respect maybe?

This lady was screaming her truth. Her passion for baseball, enthusiasm for being in a crowd, using her voice. I mean yes, it was annoying as hell, but also – Wow.

She was into this. She wasn’t hurting anyone. And she did not let the glares of privileged people stop her.

I don’t know how she ended up in our section, or why she traveled from New Jersey to cheer in the Mile High City, but she did.

Loudly.

We wanted to shush her. She refused. The ushers politely explained that unless she becomes belligerent, starts swearing, or threatening others, guests (yes guests) are allowed to cheer as loudly as they want.

“We’re in a stadium for God’s sakes,” she cackled ” If I wanted to be quiet I woulda stayed home.”

scream

What if we all refused to shush?

Some things are worth repeating loudly, over and over. You believe your message matters.

I’m more of a quiet gal myself – you know my tagline – hope on whispers. Quiet, gentle whispers. Eeesh please don’t look at me.

I could never stand there and scream, “But the World has SO MUCH TO OFFER! Why do we have to be so cruel? Why can’t we just look for God’s gifts? The beautiful things? The food in your belly. The slobbery kisses your children leave? The feeling of dirt on your toes from your own soil? A blessing of a pillow at night?

I could never stand and yell – YOU PEOPLE DON’T GET JUST HOW GOOD WE HAVE IT? HOW BEAUTIFUL THIS GORGEOUS, MAGICAL WORLD IS. YOU’RE LOOKING IN THE WRONG PLACES. MAYBE HURTING PEOPLE ALONG THE WAY!

No.

I’m more quiet.

So I write. In all capital letters.

After the 9th inning when our team won, she gathered her belongings and yelled, “Don’t worry, I’ll see you in Miami next week!” right at the field.

Devotion. Loyalty. Voice.

We drove home and bitched about her persistence but as I was laying in bed, ears ringing with her screams, I couldn’t help but think, what am I willing to shout?

She shouted.

In passionate cases, one carrying voice can be a beautiful thing.

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In These Ordinary Sparkles

Read a book. Hiked a mini mountain. Two over easy eggs oozed over shredded potatoes.

Beer courted lemonade.

Words worked this afternoon.

Sore legs pulsed.

Cold water cascaded, kissing scalps while mixing with shampoo bubbles.

Sleep tickled eyelids.

Weekend.

Sometimes the ordinary feels magical.

In the sparkles, I feel unbearably grateful for peace.

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Photo by Fred Heap on Unsplash

Sunday nights can be challenging for my grief. It’s as if the world pauses before launching in to another week and I miss him. Sunday night dinners forever changed. This week was National Doughnut Day and I ate my plain cake doughnut with chocolate sprinkles (Thanks Jana!) and with every swallow wished I could text Dad to say,  “Look what I’m eating.” Instead, I pinched the last morsel of my treat and licked my fingers, saying a silent hello to him at the counter in our workplace kitchen.

Yet, tonight, on this cloudy cool evening with my dog at my feet and my husband fixing our fence I am so grateful I could cry.

Happy tears. Peaceful tears. Nostalgic tears.

Deep breaths. Sigh. Whisper thank you. Repeat.

These ordinary sparkles. They glitter and dance shaping this new version of me. Different body, strengthened heart, gold filling the cracks.

We’re moving forward with strength into the second half of another year.

Time for sleep.

Listen to this before you go to bed.

She’s won my heart.

Beam of Light – Melody S.

True life confessions? Melody babysat me when I was little. She was my absolute favorite nanny and I remember when she took us to see Wizard of Oz in the movie theater. I cried the night she left us to go to Texas A & M. That was eighteen years ago.  I was thrilled to reconnect with her when she moved back to Northern Colorado with her own little family this year. Boom.
Melody S. 

IMG_20171211_130458.jpgThere is magic in the mundane, you just need the right lens to see it.  Most people, I’d hazard to guess, just see a pile of laundry that desperately needs to be folded in this photograph.  Today I see the magic.  I’ve been given the gifts of a husband and children: this laundry reveals I have been entrusted with the care of other’s hearts.  I’ve been given a home with electricity and running water, hot water even: this laundry reveals my basic needs are provided for.  I can physically perform all the tasks required to complete laundry: I’ve been given the gifts of health and strength.  The laundry is never done: I’ve been given a gift that keeps on giving, as long as I have the eyes to see it.

Melody Shaddix lives in Northern Colorado.  She loves Jesus, cold weather, family and friends, baking and perhaps not surprisingly, laundry.
She has also been featured on 52 Beautiful Things here.

If you are interested in giving your own light, click here to learn more about how you can enter the Give Light Giveaway. I’m accepting submissions until December 31st. 

December Favorite Things

I’m releasing a BIG exhale as we enter into December this year. We reached month twelve! We started the year with many unknowns and have had so many prayers answered. I’m sure I’ll reflect on year end as we keep moving through the month.

For now, though, I turn my attention to things that bring me comfort and JOY. 

I’m excited to decorate the tree, wrap packages, sip eggnog and feel festive. I didn’t last year – not really.

Here are my favorite things for this month!

  1. Calligraphy by Emily Howell

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This talented calligraphy artist created a beautiful banner for me with my new tagline. She also makes custom designs and would be happy to bring your favorite phrase to life. Beautiful artwork with vision and purpose. Emily also blessed my family with a beautiful book honoring my dad after he passed. She captures family treasures and transcribes celebrations. I could continue gushing her praises – check out her work for yourself.

2. Eggnog Lattes

No – you can’t buy them on Amazon. But you can buy eggnog on Amazon and make them yourself. Who knew! I’m obsessed with the creamy version – non-alcoholic please. You can read my poem about it here.

3. Star Garlands

I found this idea on Pinterest for gift wrap and I think it’s gonna look great. These little stars making all gifts feel festive. If you don’t feel like going home-made, just click the link.

4. Love Actually

My favorite Christmas movie. Because Love is all around. And I mean Bill Nighy…. his character is too funny. If you really love Christmas – the extra syllable. Gah! Get’s me every time.

5. Christmas Nativity Set

My mom has this beautiful nativity scene. When I was growing up, my brother and I would pick out one character each year to add to her collection. One year a wiseman, another year an angel. We may have even replaced the baby Jesus once. I didn’t understand the beauty of the set until I was older. Last year, I got the base set as a gift, and I’m touched to carry on the tradition of setting out the set among my Christmas decorations each year. Maybe my kids will play with the figurines and act out the Christmas story with each other – just like I did with Sam.

Cookies – did you say? I almost forgot.

I look forward to making gingerbread snowflakes using this Snowflake Cookie Cutter with my momma. I’ll probably stick a package of Walkers Shortbread and a bottle of scotch on the mantle in honor of Dad. He sees you when your sleeping you know.

How are you making your home sparkly, festive, and fun?

Happy December!

Ode to the Eggnog Latte

It’s pretty simple this week. I choose to share a poem.

Because I’ve never met an eggnog latte I didn’t like.

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Enter a caption

You come a teasin’ every November first

in pretty red cups, taste buds ready to burst

But you know my rule, hard deadlines a must

no holiday drinks til turkey bones turn dust.

With each pass by coffee shops, a favorite of places,

your scent escapes wafting right in our faces.

The vanilla beans mixing with nutmeg and spice

taunting, ‘You know just one sip might be nice’.

You beckon me bashfully right in the door

breaking rules, pushing boundaries just a little bit more.

“One eggnog latte” this woman requests

ignoring her scruples and feeling distressed.

The coffee comes quickly, in that beautiful cup.

One sip. Sigh. Two. Now drink it all up.

You may be bad for me, BUT you fill me with cheer.

How many magic concoctions will be consumed this year?

On Doubts

Oh yes, I have them too. Big, fat, ugly, warty doubts that sit on my heart and squash my finger’s desire to type. Little wispy doubts that wear tutus and dance among my strands of hair, swinging along and whispering as they pass by my ears. “You shouldn’t write” they say. “Your stories, your truths – they are going to keep you from getting a job, or make your friends run the other direction. Give it up, no one tends to give a damn.”

I wonder, almost daily, if it is worth being vulnerable on the internet. I doubt the sharing of my tears, my heart, my hopes and my grief on this space. I filter my failures and minimize my successes.

And then, beautiful people like Anne Lamott give a Ted Talk and post on Facebook and I remember, once again, that I’ve got to. I’ve got to write.

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So today, my beautiful thing is Anne Lamott’s reminder that she shared. Take that world, I’m going to continue telling my story.  I don’t want to feel like hell.

I personally like #6 on her list. Take heed world, take heed.