May 31, 2011

:: letters home - for memorial day ::

it's been ages since i've posted one of poppy's letters home from war. it was a year ago yesterday that i posted the first. with memorial day comes many reminders and memories of my favorite soldier.

[click to enlarge]

14 FEB 1945

Dear Mamma,
Well here comes a much delayed letter to you. We have been moving around quite a bit on maneuvers and I haven't been able to write as much as before due to lack of time. I have lost a little sleep but am doing O.K. now. My bed roll has really come in handy and so have my overshoes. I'm glad that I had Willie sew that blanket in my jacket for it is much warmer than it would be otherwise. I hope that we have no more cold weather here but I'm afraid that we will.

We had chicken to-night for supper and also last night for supper. One of the hens that they cleaned had fourteen eggs in her. One was a hard shell one and two soft shell. The rest were yellow ones that ranged in sizes from about half as large as an egg to about the size of a "BB". I had never seen that many in one chicken before.

The people here where we are staying usually ask us in every night to have some pie & coffee. I wish they had some good ole butter milk. I could use some cracklin corn bread. I haven't received any packages as yet, but expect to any day. Tell everyone I said "hello"

Lots of love

:: missed connection ::

i was in the east village last weekend.
and today he posted this.

i knew he was out of the country when i was there, yet i kept my eyes peeled for him, just in case. rats.

:: my weekend in photos ::

at the 30th annual freedom weekend aloft.
bottom row: the wailers, corey smith and thousands of our closest friends.

May 30, 2011

:: and then there's the music ::

throughout the day my soundtrack has been a mixture of van morrison, mac leaphart, paolo nutini, david mead, guster, needtobreathe, the once soundtrack, bebo norman, gram parsons, alexi murdoch (and more, i'm sure i'm forgetting).

every time a new song came on, it was perfect for the moment or the thought. texting with a particular friend and "the hammer holds" by bebo norman played. a song i "gave" to him when he made one of those get-away-to-see-where-you're-going moves to another town. writing this post and i hear guster singing, "i hope tomorrow is like today." but the best was on the way to the store when paolo nutini's "tricks of the trade" came on. meant for a couple, but fitting for me and all these dear friends.

was it love or recognition that has healed this man's condition
oh i'm hoping and i'm wishing that
this bird won't fly away
we can see life hand in hand
, the green, the blue, the rough, the sand
and in our time and in our land
we'll savor everyday

and oh, how our glory may fade,
well, at least we've learned
some things along the way

you took me from my bubble
knowing my defense was weak
and you sat there and you listened
any time I chose to speak
oh and you gathered from my pleas to
you that i am but a clown
and i fear only a hero can defeat
these demons now

and oh, how our glory may fade,
well, at least we've learned some
tricks of trade

and as time shall inevitably move on,

well, at least we'll have four strong
legs to stand on to keep us alive...

- "tricks of the trade" by paolo nutini

:: my dear friends ::

my heart has been very full today. to the point where it kind of a good way. i just made my second trip of the day to the grocery store and on the way the circumstances were just right for me to hear God speaking to me. this time, he wanted to talk about the friends in my life. and i listened (for a change). it was a little overwhelming and i had to take a few deep breaths before i could even walk into the store.

here's the thing. i realized that my absolute dearest friends are those who allow me the honor of serving them. God blessed me with a "servant's heart" as my sister and brother-in-law (two people i put in the "dearest friends" category) say. and some of my happiest and fullest moments in life are when i'm helping my friends in some way.

today i'm cooking for a friend whose father-in-law passed away last week and she & her husband just moved into a new house. a slightly overwhelming week, to say the least. she could have declined my offer for a (mostly) home cooked meal. but she didn't. and the gift of her acceptance put me in my kitchen on a beautiful Memorial Day, chopping (one of my favorite pastimes) anything that got in my way. most of what i've been making won't even make it to her house (per her request, not my refusal) but i've been working on fresh salsa, roasted red potatoes, broccoli salad, red cabbage slaw and who knows what else between now and dinner time.

in the middle of the joyous madness i got a message from another sweet friend. one who constantly tells me how special i am, despite how bad i am at reciprocating such kind affirmations. she came home early from the beach yesterday so she could relax at home and get ready for her work week. she spent this morning and part of the afternoon at the ER with her mom. my response was food first, then (closely followed, but followed, still) prayer. the order doesn't matter to her. and while she didn't accept my offer to come sit at the hospital with her or meet her at her mom's house to help get things in order, i know she will gladly accept (and even propose - an even better gift sometimes!) offers yet to come. including all this extra food i have sitting around now.

the situations aren't always so grim, yet they are often related to food. my best friends know that i want to feed them...and they let me.

thank you, my dear friends. i love you.

May 23, 2011

May 18, 2011

:: choose wisely ::

may 11, 2011

i went to my first jewish funeral today. the fact that the funeral was a jewish ceremony has little (if anything) to do with this post, but i felt that because it was a unique experience for me, it was worth noting.

i was moved beyond words at the touching things susie's family and friends had to say about her. her sister and best friend spoke about growing up with the joyful, kind, passionate and loving lady. i don't know for sure how either of them were able to muster the strength to stand in front of friends and strangers and share their memories and feelings during such a sad time, but i have a pretty strong idea that susie's own strength was a large part of that.

after her best friend of 35 years spoke, another one of susie's dear friends approached the pulpit (i'm not sure if it's called a pulpit in a temple). she said she was going to share susie's own words with us. susie had been ill for some time, so her death wasn't unexpected or sudden. she had prepared a speech (for which she was well known, i learned) for all of us. and it was amazing. in it, she shared memories of loved ones, stories about her childhood, her courtship and proposal, tales of parenthood and the love & pride for her sons. she mentioned her great fortune in being born to two wonderful, loving parents and how that shaped her entire life. she spoke of love, faith, hope, the past, the future. through it all, she spoke of happiness.

the friend said that susie believed happiness was a choice and she chose it every day, in every thing. i didn't know susie well. in fact, i only saw her a couple times a year in the few years i've known her. but my impression at each of those encounters was that she was sincere, humorous and full of life. there was never mundane small talk. when we spoke, she seemed to really be in the conversation, in the moment, caring about what was said. she always seemed happy. now i know that she was - because she chose to be.

the last time i saw susie was at our company Christmas part in December. i found out today that it was the last time she was well enough to go out in a social setting. i hope we made it a good one for her. i know for a fact she was happy to be there.

May 16, 2011

:: why aren't you married ::

when a 4 year old girl at church asked me "why aren't you married?" my response was, "i have a cat."

in related news, the age range for people asking me that question is now 4 to 91.
update: make that 6 to 91.

May 13, 2011

:: missings draft and other news ::

i wrote a post the other day. i saved it. i came back today to publish it (after blogger's scheduled and unscheduled down time this week) and it's gone.

it was a masterpiece. really. (okay, maybe not really, but i was very pleased with it.)

in other news, i got a really bad sunburn last weekend at the beach. my back is in full-on peeling mode. right out of my reach. i mentioned it to a friend who jokingly said i should get a hand-vac. it made me i added the (never-been-used) brush attachment to my vacuum and scratch-vacuumed my back. it felt great and there was no yucky skin to clean up. yay!

May 09, 2011

:: my weekend in photos ::

"i watched those waves roll like words off a tongue - living language, God's subtle speech."
- mac leaphart

May 04, 2011

:: tuscaloosa needs update ::

Word from UA Greek Relief is that they do not currently need more adult clothing.

However, baby food, formula and diapers are in high demand. Check out this great way to donate those things (and more).

two friends-of-a-friend have made donating baby needs super easy through just click here to choose what you'd like to donate. shipping is free and there is a 10% coupon code. (will be shipped to Catherine Larkin in Gadsen AL - Catherine will deliver to various drop-off sites.)

update [may 5]! just got word that Trinity Baptist on Hwy 20 in Piedmont is collecting supplies (toiletries, baby supplies, water, paper products, etc). their trailer will be on-site at the church, open this saturday from 9am-1pm. or you can drop off donations for Judy Root at the Better Business Bureau by monday, may 16 (408 north church street greenville, sc - by the bilo center).

i am still looking into a large-scale donation drop-off site, but if you have things to send, please let me know, and i will set you up with a friend who is delivering supplies to Toomers for Tuscaloosa next week.

Monetary donations can be made by sending checks made payable to "Tuscaloosa Disaster Relief Fund” to
West Alabama Chamber Foundation, Inc.
PO Box 020410
Tuscaloosa, AL 35402
(205) 758‐7588

or text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10 to the American Red Cross

baby supplies: food, formula, diapers, clothing
pop-top canned goods (shortage of can openers for the canned goods being donated)
children's shoes
extension ladders
aluminum pans for cooking (lots of bbq/open flame cooking being done)
grip-tight fastener nails
to-go boxes & utensils
feminine hygiene products
hand sanitizer/alcohol wipes

May 02, 2011

:: tuscaloosa relief efforts ::

Dear readers,

I am working to collect to-go boxes and pre-packaged utensil packs for relief efforts in Tuscaloosa. UA Greek Relief (website, Twitter) is distributing hot meals and while they definitely need water/food/etc donations, the to-go boxes are not something that people think to donate, so I am reaching out to all of my restaurant connections and asking for help.

In addition to reaching out to the restaurants directly, I am asking that all of my friends help collect these when you go out to eat in the coming days. If you can get just 5-10 (or 1-2, even!) containers or utensil packs from your server/the manager at the end of your meal, it'll all add up and be a big help.

I'm happy to pick up or I can let you know where to drop off.

Please forward this along.

I am in touch with a couple of upstate SC groups to discuss setting up larger scale donation drop-off point(s) for a donations drive. Hoping to get something together or (at the very least) gather information about local efforts. I will let you all know when I have more information!

Other needs include (but are not limited to):
pop-top canned goods (shortage of can openers for the canned goods being donated)
aluminum pans for cooking (lots of bbq/open flame cooking being done)
children's shoes
extension ladders
grip-tight fastener nails
feminine hygiene products
hand sanitizer/alcohol wipes

Monetary donations can be made by sending checks made payable to "Tuscaloosa Disaster Relief Fund” to
West Alabama Chamber Foundation, Inc.
PO Box 020410
Tuscaloosa, AL 35402
(205) 758‐7588

or text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10 to the American Red Cross