Friday, April 24, 2015

I JUST cannot do it!!

I tried really hard this morning.  I really did!!  I even pulled them out and told myself it was ok.  No one would really notice.  I even looked down and in the mirror and thought they are really cute and go perfectly with what I am wearing. But I just couldn’t do it.  Couldn’t even walk out of the bedroom.  I knew.   What you say?  Why these:
White shoes
Yes, it is still a month until Memorial Day and I just can’t wear white shoes!  I had to pull out my cream ones and I felt soooo much better!

I am sure you are probably rolling your eyes or wondering what I am talking about.  Yes, it is one of those archaic etiquette rules that is pretty much a thing of the past.  You don’t wear white before Memorial Day or after Labor Day.  You could wear white tennis shoes or cream, ivory, winter white clothing or shoes.  Maybe even get away with a white blouse under something else. But that was it.

No one is even sure exactly where this rule came from.  Some say from snobbiness.
  The wives of the super-rich ruled high society with an iron fist after the Civil War. As more and more people became millionaires, though, it was difficult to tell the difference between old money, respectable families, and those who only had “vulgar” new money. By the 1880s, in order to tell who was acceptable and who wasn’t, the women who were already “in” felt it necessary to create dozens of fashion rules that everyone in the know had to follow. That way, if a woman showed up at the opera in a dress that cost more than most Americans made in a year, but it had the wrong sleeve length, other women would know not to give her the time of day.  Have you read The Help!?  It is totally all in that book.
Not wearing white outside the summer months was another one of these rules. Wearing white in the summer makes sense. Desert peoples have known for thousands of years that white clothing seems to keep you a little bit cooler than other colors. White was for weddings and resort wear, not dinner parties in the fall. Of course it could get extremely hot in September, and wearing white might make the most sense, but if you wanted to be appropriately attired you just did not do it. Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894, and society eventually adopted it as the natural endpoint for summer fashion.

Whatever the origins of the idea, restrictions on people who wear white after Labor Day appear to be outmoded except in very traditional society such as the deep south
In warmer areas of the United States, such as Hawaii and Florida, white is also a more acceptable color to wear year round, since unfavorable winter weather is not as much of an issue.
.  The rule has been greatly relaxed since the 1950s and 1960s, when it was more heavily enforced
People who choose to wear white into the fall are no longer criticized for the choice.  In fact, only a few of us die hards even notice it and we don’t care what others do anyway.

But here is the thing.  To me this represents elegance and refinement. You could just see the classiness and graciousness exuding from people.  You just look at some of those people who so embodied this feel.  Jackie Kennedy, Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Princess Di.

Got to love the gloves!!

                             Even Paul and Joann looked classy when they were being goofy!
I mean, even today wouldn’t you rather sit down with Kate Middleton than sprawl out with Miley!?

I guess I am just bemoaning the fact that more and more, good manners and etiquette are going out the window. The foundation of etiquette is basically behavior that is accepted as gracious and polite in social situations. Good manners can mean the difference between success and failure in many aspects of life.  Remember when we use to be appalled by Honey Boo Boo? 

And now Swamp People are just what we want to be!
 Now don't get me wrong!  Those who know me know I spend most of my time in jeans, sweatshirts, fuzzy socks and farm shoes.  But I like to think I remember a little about refinement as I am shoveling the stalls. Oh well, think I will sit down , put my feet up, read Manner for the Modern Southern Belle  and just wear my go to white shoes!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

My mother, myself

My mother passed away 12 years ago this week.  Sometimes this seems SOOooo long ago. So much has happened in that time. All my kids are now married, grandkids surround me, life still goes on.  But then at other times it seems like no time at all.  I still find times when something happens and I think, "I need to call and tell mom about that"  because I forget for a moment she is not here.  And to be honest there are times when something happens and I think "wow, good thing Bubbi's not here, she would be ticked I was doing this!"  (Bubbi is what she chose to be called instead of grandma. She thought it was much more sophisticated just so you know).  Which then makes me sad that we didn't have that kind of relationship where she could appreciate me for me.

Anyway you look at it, your relationship with your mother is complex,  At any given moment, it can be as joyful as it can be difficult.
Wasn't she gorgeous?
  my mom was absolutely one in a million. one in a trillion, really. She was incredibly unique, and if you ever met her you would never have forgotten her. She was far and away the most self-assured outspoken person I’ve ever met. She was an  eccentric individual, and that increased every year it seemed.  At the center of all her quirks, she did have the most golden heart and wanted (her idea) of the best for you even if it wasn't what you wanted.  For example,  at one time she got it in her mind that Lena should go to boarding school in England, Doyle to a military school, Scott to a sheep ranch in New Zealand and me?  Well, I would just stay in ATL with her.  She even went so far as to look into specific places.  Didn't happen!  My friends all thought she was the coolest and I spent most of my teen years being mortified by her antics.  It took me years to look back and laugh at many of those things. Over the years we had so many people in and out of our home who just needed a place to stay, a shoulder, and hand up, and a place to heal.  Some would stay a day some for months.  I remember once while my mom was gone at a conference her calling and telling my dad that she was sending her friend and 2 children to stay and to go pick them up at the airport.  As she was getting ready to hang up she said "Oh, and she is suicidal so keep an eye on her".  But she taught me compassion and the need to reach out and pull in those hurting souls. And it seems we have also made room in our home for those in need of a place to land.
My mom, gread-grandma Kelly, me, grandma Lena

My mom grew up in the small town of Norfolk Nebraska.  She told me her goal was to always get out of there and live more of life.  I get the impression she was usually the center of attention (or trouble). Looking through her yearbooks she was usually on every page doing something crazy! She was even on the basketball team.  Of course that says something about that since she was only 5 foot! One thing I totally admired about my mom is that she was a fierce and loyal friend.
Jean and my mom

Mom and Jean acting up in Israel

 She had 2 friends from before kindergarten: Jean and Jean who were lifelong buddies.  They talked almost weekly and went on yearly adventures together until the very end.  Just a few years before her death I was allowed to go with them on their journey to Germany and the Holy Land It was a magical, spiritual adventure for me although I found myself having to hush them to keep us from getting thrown out of some of the holy sites!  Her high school class had reunions every 5 years and she went to every one of them!  Isn't that incredible!?

My mom also had amazing resilience.  The early 1960's were a time of change but for most women, they were still homemakers and didn't pursue much schooling.  Divorce was still pretty rare and divorcees were not looked on favorably. Yet she pulled herself up went to school and got a doctorate so she could support us. During that time I went to live with my grandparents so she could finish as quickly as possible.  I didn't realize until decades later how hard that was for her.  I always viewed her as the bra burning Gloria Steinem kind of woman but later in life she told me she would have preferred to stay home and be a mom but she didn't have that option so it was full steam ahead which created wonderful adventures for us. Because of women like her, today we have options she never would have imagined growing up.

My mom remarried when I was 12 (on St Patrick's Day) to Lewis Allen Bayles.  It was really a wonderful love story and they were perfect for each other.  She helped pull him out of his hermit reading tendencies and he helped keep her reined in a little.  He was a wonderful father figure for me and was always gentle and supportive--often behind my mom's back!!
My favorite picture of them

My mom was my biggest fan and my biggest critic.  I rarely heard her say she loved me or was proud of me but her friends always told me how she raved about me and my family.  While she carried on like the world was ending every time I told her I was going to have a baby, she loved, loved loved, my 3 kids!!!
Me, Doyle, mom, Daily, Lena
 Almost to suffocation. Yet, she was extremely hard on them-do more, swing higher, play better.  That said,  she was always supportive of what they did.  Every gymnastic completion, school band concert, swim meet, piano concert she was there with big hugs and kisses. Her last concert was a band concert for Daily.  She insisted on going and was in a wheelchair with a full length mink coat, an oxygen tank and a black eye patch.  I think most of the kids were terrified and scarred for their life by the scary old lady in the front row.  There was 1 thing she not only was not supportive of but tried actively to interfere with. She hated the fact that I had joined the LDS church.  She saw herself as a borderline atheist/agnostic  and was horrified that her child had joined any church!  Something that is so incredibly important in my life and is really the center of our family was something she just couldn't understand, appreciate, see the good in or be at all supportive of.  I have tried to learn from this and be more expressive with my kids in how much I love them and keep many opinions to myself.  I'm not perfect and I often hear my mom come out of my mouth (don't we all?) but I have given my kids permission to let me know when I am becoming too Bubbi!

The last few years of my mom's life she was incredibly sick which was hard for all of us.  While there are many positives about being an only child (like you get ALL the presents), when illnesses and the end of life comes an only child is alone in handling everything. Yes, Scott was there and did so much but I mean emotionally it was just me. No one to share that with.  No other sibling to share the load of caring for a critically ill parent.  So many nights in a  hospital, so many days changing dressings, making her get up and walk, changing beds, going to doctor's appointments.  So many times just holding her and crying. Trying to be immune to the insults and personal attacks, the anger and resentment.  It's really not personal but her fears talking. Wanting to relieve her fears because she had no belief.  Life was just--ending.  No idea of a Plan of Salvation where we would be together again with those we love. But not being able to do that. Here is a little more about the Plan of Salvation from the LDS perspective .

Even with my mom gone for so many years that lifelong connection is still there.  It is a connection that will go on through eternity and will continue to change and evolve.  Mothers and daughters have a relationship and opportunity most others don't have.  We start out being nurtured at our mother's feet and seeing her as the role model for our lives. Eventually that changes and we need to become an ex-child-an adult child.  Sometimes I felt like that never happened totally but maybe it is happening now.  She is seeing me from a different perspective.  And I her.  Parents never stop being parents and children never end being children.  But time changes that to a reunion and we become much more than the parent/child-it becomes an enduring love.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Spring has sprung!

One day it was kinda warm but still-well you know still brown.  The next day?  You can smell it in the air.  That smell of loamy earth and things starting to burst.  Hints of new grass, tree frogs croaking and suddenly  IT'S SPRING!!  You just want to shout it as you go out the door.

We step outside and rediscover our yard and trees. Pull out the chair cushions.  Test our pale skin against the bright yellow sun.  Inside things change too. Salad bowls get brought out and blankets get put away. The cute snowmen are put away and replaced by beautiful flower centerpieces.  Parks become populated by moms and families again and balls and mitts are uncovered.

And here in the south-flowers!!  On tree after tree, in gardens and yards. Greens, whites, yellows, pinks, purples and all shades in between.  One right after another after another!!  It is glorious and beautiful and just perfect.

And the babies are coming. Chicks, lambs, kids, and bunnies.  Little bluebirds appear and the robins return.  Beautiful manifestations of the renewal of life.


I love this from another friend's blog Perhaps more than anything, spring is a physical manifestation of the generosity of God. No matter how dark things may seem, light is within reach. Winter and hardship and sorrow are necessary aspects of mortality, rolling over through the years, but with each death there is renewal. With each spring comes life.
Spring is a reminder that all hope is not lost. Each new bud, every green shoot that emerges from the ground becomes a symbol of that great resurrection of our Savior."

Isn't if wonderful that  Easter, when we celebrate the resurrection of our Savior, comes during the new life of spring?  Right outside my window is a reminder of Christ's mission and purpose and as I contemplate the beauty around me I can discover my role in that plan.
Anne Shirley of Green Gables expresses it wonderfully, "There is one good thing about this world-there are always sure to be more springs."

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Temple is a special place...

Saturday Scott and I had the opportunity to attend the wedding ceremony of a uniquely wonderful young couple we know.
 I always feel closest to heaven when I attend a wedding sealing in an LDS temple.  It is seriously one of the most beautiful experiences you can have in mortality-to witness two people devote and covenant with each other and Heavenly Father in total faith.  It is just well-- celestial!!  And to be surrounded by all the people they love most in the world is indescribable.

We believe that when a couple is married in God's temple they are sealed together not just until death do they part but for all eternity.  This is done by the power of the priesthood given by God to an authorized sealer.  The couple makes real promises to God and to each other and amazing blessings are pronounced upon them which are  beautiful and tender. You can learn more about temple marriage here.

This particular sealing was achingly bittersweet because of the experiences both had been through.  Both of them had lost their moms in very tragic and heartbreaking circumstances in the last year. While this could have really dampened the ceremony there was actually such a spirit of love and presence encompassing the room.  Usually the chairs on each side of the couple are reserved for the moms so they can have the best view of the ceremony.  If moms are not there then an aunt, friend or other escort.  But this in-tuned couple chose to keep those chairs open because they knew their moms were there and aware of the sacred ceremony taking place.  The sealer explained this and then admonished those present to not ever refer to them in the past tense because  they are still alive and with us just not physically at the moment.  That the most beautiful image and a moving tribute to the love of families.

Before we left the temple that day, Scott and I took some time to go and do some sealings for family members of mine who are no longer with us.  I love doing family history.  It gives me such a feeling of love to get to know a little more about those people and the lives they led.  It is so exciting for me to experience the opportunity to participate in the sealing of children to their parents and couples to each other and to give them the opportunity to choose for themselves.  Wonder about why I love family history?  Go here to read why.

Just more chances to see the strands of the family web come together!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

I'm officially a cat person!

Yes, it is official-I am a cat person.  Of course anyone that really knows me will be thinking duh! But I have tried to be something other than what I really am.  Let's try chickens. 

 Chicks are cute and chickens can be really entertaining to watch.  But really, they aren't very cuddly, don't pay attention when you talk to them, and sometimes are downright scary. Although they do give you food.  I also had dogs who have been wonderful.  
Toby       Honey                                      
 Toby   tolerated others but knew I was the Queen.  He really was just a cat with dog breath.  And right now we have Honey our cocker spaniel who is wonderful. A pretty girl who thinks she's a farm dog.  And she is a hoarder.  We have to clean out her "den" under our bed every week!  We won't talk about Snoopy or Andie-they are Doyle's and Daily's to blog about.

But having a cat around just soothes my soul.  I can just feel myself relax when a kitty jumps up and starts purring in my lap.  Since I was 2 or 3 I have always had a cat in my life.  Fluffy was with me through my parents divorce and went with me while I lived with my grandparents.  Then came Sua who accompanied me as we moved a number of times and was a perfect companion for a lonely little girl.  Felicity got me through the craziness of high school, romantic heartbreaks, college and until I met Scott.  She left me in the capable paws of Kitten who kept me company while on bed rest of 2 pregnancies and the fun of raising my little ones .  At the same time we had Oscar   

    Felicity     Kitten   manx cat black and whiteOscar

the manx.  Who I will admit was fairly grumpy. But please!  Aren't most cats?
Then quickly came Abby who was Lena's cat and then Puddin who was Daily's.  Of course they lived at our house so they were really mine.
Abby  Puddin

Honestly, both these cats were a little quirky.  Abby was actually called Scabby Abby because she had a strange skin condition where she always had scabs-gross!  She also did this strange thing when you scratched her bum where she did these jerky head movements and yowled-creepy but highly entertaining.  Puddin was cool most of the time except he had this strange relationship with a black and white stuffed puppy that he nursed on for years and years.  As they got older they were not so patient with the new grandkids pulling at tails and ears.  Each of these cats lived until at least 18 yrs old and most until 20 +.  Puddin finally passed on about 8 months ago and for the first time I was cat less.  Scott was estatic (obviously, not a cat person).  I thought, this is ok right?  I don't need a cat. No more yucky cat box or worrying if I left something on the kitchen counter.

But then we had this little stray show up.  We put her in the barn and I convinced Scott she would just be a barn cat.  I would go up every day in the cold and just sit and cuddle her.  It was heaven. I felt complete and peaceful.  Yes a cat is definitely my touch stone, or muse or something like that.  After just a week that little cutey took off and hasn't been seen since.  But I knew it was time for a cat.  I watched websites, visited the cats at Pets Plus, and animal control.  One day I went to see this one cat and a few minutes later my daughter showed up and saw my name in the sign in log.  "Did you see Stella?"  She asked.  No.  "You need to go back and see her"  I did and I thought, wow, she is big but so great!  Took Scott back and the next day she came home.
She was wonderful.  Loving, polite, cuddly.  Even pretty good with the grandkids.  The next week we took her to the vet for a minor thing.  Later that day I got a call that she had passed away while they were checking her out.  Yes, I was heartbroken.  Maybe a cat was not for me.  A couple weeks later my daughter and I had some time on our hands and decided to go in to the BIG Gwinett Animal control to show the grandsons kitties and puppies. No intention of actually getting anything-just having fun.  And there he was.  A huge bundle of yellow, purring love.  A little while later after some consulting with hubbies  we both left with cats!!!

Fred just wants to lay around on you all day and purr and knead-perfect!!

And Lena's  Bravo plus the 2 cutest and happiest little boys in the world.

It has even been researched how cat's purring lowers heart rates and blood pressure and other wonderful health benefits   See link here  <>

So, I am a cat person-I love it, I embrace it!  Catch you later while snuggled up on the couch with my new buddy!