#WeekendCoffeeShare: Contemplating the Power of Prayer, and a Road Trip

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Gratuitous sunflower because I love them.

 

If we were having coffee, we would be out on the patio enjoying the morning, as our temperatures in North Central Texas have dropped and the mornings have been spectacular.

Over the first cup, I might ask if you’ve spent any time in prayer this week, however you pray, given all the various storms of every kind rocking our poor, tired old world; I would tell you that I prayed a lot this week.

 

python whacking monksFunnily enough, just this morning our Vicar sent out a test of our Spiritual Gifts and one question asked how comfortable I’d be “in constant prayer”. In my head, I saw myself dressed in sackcloth and ashes a la Monty Python. Then I thought about how one really can be in constant prayer, in terms of noticing the need and the beauty in Life, both with thanks and supplications, as the need arises. In fact, it’s easier than saving them all up for one big, massive discourse at the end or beginning of the day, at least for this Christian. Eat the elephant one bite at a time…. and it helps shake me out of the doldrums, acknowledging the beauty and blessings liberally scattered throughout my life. I might wonder if you, also, got yourself so tangled in the hurts and annoyances of Life that you occasionally need reminding how fortunate you are? Because I surely do.

If we were having coffee, I’d confess that I actually admitted I needed some prayers this week, like, for me. I had myself worked into an obsessive mess about some Adulting I needed to do involving standing up for myself, something hard for me, which most people might find surprising. Anyway, I am luckier than most because I belong to a huge circle of ordained and praying women and so I finally surrendered, reached out and asked them for prayers. Prayers just for me and my (comparatively) insignificant problem. And you know what? All those RevGals got to praying, sending it flowing my way and immediately I could feel it, the weight on my heart lifted, and what once seemed unmanageable became, if not cured, at least tolerable. And that’s all I really needed at the moment, respite, so I could put it into perspective.

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But, on to the second cup and more cheerful topics: Paul and I are planning a road trip. Yes, yes, I know, neither Paul nor I really like road trips, we are airplane people really, but this trip is to Chicago to see my daughter and deliver my old wedding china.

Truth be told, we’ve moved four times in two years which has left zero time for fun trips, so driving the china to Chicago might be a wee bit of an excuse to have some fun. We’re breaking up the drive, allowing us stops in St. Louis on the way up and Memphis on the return. We’ll be sampling the barbecue of both places, even if we know they’ll never measure up to Texas barbecue. And I’ve already started organizing the camera gear, thinking of all the photographic opportunities awaiting me.

If we were having coffee, I’d be grateful for our safety. There is incongruity, or at least cognitive dissonance, in planning a trip of pleasure while knowing millions are in danger of losing all they have, so if we were having coffee, I’d ask you to say, in whatever way you pray, a little prayer me and Paul, for ease of mind and traveling mercies, and ask you to also offer up a big one for all those in harm’s way.

Weekend Coffee Share: It’s Time

If we were having coffee, I might ask if you follow any sort of Lenten practice? I do, and generally find it a helpful, healthy time of year to clean up, clean out, recenter.

In years past, I’ve given up chocolate, red meat, etc., or taken up some reading, some form of self-improvement. Last year, we chose Star Words on Epiphany and I worked on that, though I never really did understand what Authority was trying to tell me.

Never have I been foolish enough to give up coffee, and a grateful world rejoices. Settle in for another cup; I have a confession.

This year I’ve given up nothing. I’m trying to eat better, get more exercise. Tackle a couple things around the house I’ve been avoiding. But I couldn’t settle my mind on a serious Lenten discipline until a sermon on the first week of Lent on Sin. Fr. Greg did a great job of bringing the concept of Sin out of the Big Hairy Sin area, and down into the little, niggling, just-as-dangerous personal level. The kinds of sin that eats away, slowly but surely, at people. The kind of sin that destroys from inside, and it has me thinking about the things left undone in my life (in the Episcopal confessional, we atone for both the sins we commit in action, as well as our sins of omission). It’s just one thing, an ending, and it is fair to say I have allowed it a lot of space in my head to the detriment of better, nobler pursuits.

I neither desired nor initiated this ending, and it’s only me that hasn’t acknowledged it, but if there is a time for rigorous self-honesty, Lent is it.

There have been letters written and wisely left unsent; a good, long talk with Paul during which he let me ramble on until I finished with, I don’t really know what I expect to get out of it, or even what I want. Maybe that’s not it – maybe I just want to force the issue, hear the words ‘I’ve decided you are not necessary to my life anymore, please go away.’ And ultimately, what’s the point? When I find myself questioning if I care enough to want that, truth be told. 

For a smart person, I can be a bit slow on the uptake, particularly with regards to rejection, but I do eventually get there.

A good Lent provides clarity but also time, time to sit with the clarity, time to accept it. Acceptance: the final stage of grief. Admitting to myself that what I have been doing, not terribly well, is grieving, and that the grief is consuming energy better deployed elsewhere.

Earlier this week I saw a video clip of Prince Harry reading Ecclesiastes 3. What a beautiful timedeep voice he has, and as a two-tour veteran of Afghanistan, I imagine he understands the wisdom of this passage better than most of us. All that being said, I think there was something more kept it circling my head this week. There was a message in it for me: It is time. Time to stop looking for answers or reasons to this particularly unanswerable question. Time to consign it to the Mysteries of the Universe, and People. Time to Accept. Time to put away the grief, confusion, and sadness. Time to acknowledge the season that was, and passed time to let it go.

Time to face forward, walk through the hurt and heal. Time to evict this particular squatter from my head. Time to move on.

If we were having coffee, I would wonder aloud if you have ever clung stubbornly to people or situations beyond what was healthy? Do you struggle with accepting an ending because it hurts? Who or what helps you? How do you evict the squatters in your head?

 

 

Hallelujah! It’s a mirepoix! A (post) Weekend Coffee Share

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I was worried last night – I seriously thought I’d jinxed the Superbowl for my beloved by waiting to buy a lobster tail. Lesson learned: if you want lobstah rolls for dinner (to compliment a Patriots victory), you need to secure one prior to the day it’s wanted. Unless you want a whole lobster.

If you’re disappointed in the results I am sorry, but Paul is an unapologetic fan of his Patriots and I am an unapologetic fan of Paul’s, and since I understand next to nothing about football beyond the intent being for each team to run the ball to the opposite set of goalposts, my support comes in culinary form. Every year I devise a menu to support Paul and whatever he is supporting.

Paul is South Boston born and bred so his teams are naturally the Celtics, Bruins, Red Sox, Notre Dame for college football, and the New England Patriots for professional. Considering what we’d eaten in Boston and Rhode Island, mostly seafood, with me ordering clam chowder everywhere I went and only once in a restaurant since then which was every bit as disappointing as I suspected it would be. So I thought, how ’bout some lobstah rolls and clam chowdah to cheer our Patriots to victory?

We went with crab cakes for starters, since we couldn’t get a lobster tail. I made a spicy horseradish remoulade to top them and they were not at all a disappointing substitution but, after the abysmal first half of the game I worried I’d ventured too far south with my cooking, gotten too close to the culinary Georgia border.

We had our chowdah topped with some spicy Cajun oyster crackers I made, and watched Lady Gaga turn in a beautiful, high energy performance, her only politics being a gorgeous medley of American anthems before literally diving into Born This Way. We had a plump slice each of the Boston Cream Pie I had planned as a celebratory dessert, now used to stun our sorrow into submission with sugar and transfats.

We switched over to PBS’s Victoria and felt a bit sorry for the poor young queen as she learned most of the men she’s loved in her life were all too human, just like Tom Brady, apparently.

But then, a last switching over to see how bad it is and what is this miracle? A victory snatched from the jaws of defeat! Paul’s nephew in New England screaming at the haters in all caps on Facebook! An excuse to eat another slice of Boston Cream Pie! (Which we didn’t, because we are Adults, and therefore Sensible, most of the time.)

If we were having coffee I’d pour you another cup if you were feeling a bit poorly after your Superbowl Sunday, whether that was caused by over indulgence or disappointment, and send you on your way with a slice of Boston Cream Pie for later.

Weekend Coffee Share: Women’s March Edition, 2017

 

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Home of the University of North Texas, Denton has a lovely old square conveniently surrounded with good restaurants and quirky shops. There is a stately old courthouse around which protests and events happen all year round, and here is where an estimated 2,500 of us gathered in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington, and hundreds of thousands of others the whole world round.

There were signs from about every group the Trump campaign maligned, threatened, or insulted over the last year.

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Held by mother and daughter, this sign is a replica of the one the mother’s grandmother carried as a Suffragette. So here we are again.

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There was abundant patriotism on display.

There were priests, pastors, and holy people, including a small contingent of opposition which set up on the corner across the street. They prayed and sang and chanted, just like we did. I was sad that breakaway group from the Square surrounded them and it devolved into a cross-the-intersection chanting at each other. Still, it was peaceful. It’s important to remember that in America, all voices get heard. Even those with whom we disagree.

Beautiful, fierce Latinas leading us in both Spanish and English versions of chants, Yes We Can! ¡Si podemos!

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There were veterans, families with kids, straight couples and gay couples, men in support of their wives, daughters, sisters or just, you know, humankind.

I was impressed with the turnout by older people, and by that I mean people I assume are older than me, who clings tenaciously to an increasingly elusive “middle-age”.

Black Lives Matter joined us.

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Those for whom Black Lives Matter, and also donuts.

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This lady, with perhaps the best advice of all.

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Someone braver than I ever thought of being.

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The Fire Department cruised by and blew their horns hello; there were abundant police milling throughout the crowd, friendly, though they did tail a man with a long rifle closely for a while. This Sheriff in particular I think has a wonderful face, and he seemed happy to be there with us. Note the mourning strip across his badge; my town is grieving a fallen officer.

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It was very loosely structured and there didn’t seem to be a solid plan for moving forward. There was a great deal of “stronger together” overheard, and disparate folks engaged in conversation. All good. Great even. Anything that brings differing people together for good  common cause is awesome.

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But as wonderful a feeling as this gathering left with me, I worry that the momentum will lose steam as everyone gets back to their day-to-day lives. Now is when the work starts, and we can’t afford to become (again) complacent. We need to get out and vote. Know who our local, state, and federal representatives are, and their voting records. Get noisy and remain vigilant. Fact check everything we read and hear, especially anything we ourselves pass forward, lest we contribute to the confusion and division.

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Somehow, we need to keep this feeling of purpose and unity with us every day.

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It was a good day, ending in Chinese food with friends.

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Oh, Mr. Chopsticks how I adore you.

Now, the real work begins. Stay vigilant, my friends. For our daughters, our neighbors, our friends yet unmet, those who have no voice, the disenfranchised, those who turn to us – to U.S., for hope.

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Weekend Coffee Share: Rolling up the Sleeves edition

I’ve been in a funk since the election.

It didn’t go my way.

The Wednesday after, I allowed myself to wallow, neither listening to nor watching any news. It would all still be there when I was ready to hear it. Instead, I Netflixed the day away on the couch in my sweats, with my critters. There may not have been a shower taken that day. Paul called from his job site in England and talked me off the ledge.

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He talks me off the ledge

I texted with my daughter, who also was not doing well with the election result, and we commiserated. I gave thanks for the supportive work environment she’s now in, where apparently nothing got done that day, but they all took care of each other.

Thursday, I watched Samantha Bee’s post-election show and was comforted, first by her righteous anger, then the exhortation to roll up our sleeves and get to work. Work: this is something I understand, and we surely do have a lot of work to do in figuring out how the Democrats got it so very wrong. This election has resulted in an outcome requiring much soul-searching, most particularly in figuring out who we are as the American people, because that picture has clearly changed over the last several decades. Lots of work to do.

 

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This fabulous woman makes me laugh, hard.

While the bewilderment remains, the malaise lifts. My daughter came for Thanksgiving week and we did not much of anything but commiserate, watch movies (definitely go see The Arrival, wait until Nocturnal Animals shows up on cable), and laugh. Few people make me laugh as hard as Charlotte. We cooked a very successful Thanksgiving dinner and followed that with a mini-Sloth Day on Friday. Perfect.

 

Now we hurtle through the Holiday season towards a new year and a new President. I am lucky to belong to the RevGalBlogPals, and in this time when my faith in my fellow man is shaken to the core, I am inspired by their writings reminding me there is a power bigger and stronger than I can imagine in control and that eventually, everything will be alright. All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well. They also remind me that this is not an excuse to stay mired in the funk, trusting others to do the work but rather, now is a time for prayerful consideration on my role in making the world a better place. Because we all have a role.

I believe the next four years will be a time when thoughtful people, whatever their political affiliation, must be vigilant in fact-checking and holding to account our public officials and the media. We will need to be sharp and attentive to preserve our democracy, this great experiment of American Freedom.

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Ornery Cat
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Notorious Sock Thief

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jeff and I used to talk about the condition of our homes as metaphors for our emotional states and I do believe it is time to fill my home with light, color, and the aroma of baking goodies. It is Advent, the time of preparation and expectation and a spray-tanned president with a bad comb-over is no excuse to forget the coming of the One. For this weekend I am going to nestle in with my sock-stealing dog, ornery cat, wisely wonderful husband, and listen to the rain while bringing out Christmas.

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Come January, there is a lot of work to be done.

 

Weekend Coffee Share: Election Edition

If we were having coffee, I tell you that looking back over my many years and several election cycles, I cannot remember one where my heart has been so heavy, about which I felt such dread, quadrupled on Friday when FBI Director Comey injected himself, once more against all policy and procedure, into the mess.

On the one hand we see a capable woman with a ton of baggage, sadly a lot of that baggage is more her husband’s than her own. Unfortunately as full of hubris as her husband, she is not a particularly likable candidate. But she is smart and capable, measurably more honest than she is created for being, and I don’t think she will run the country off a cliff. I do believe she can continue the incremental changes we need to make our American society a fairer one, where folks of every color and creed have a shot at success.

On the other hand we have a spray-tanned narcissist who has campaigned as a friend of the common man, despite abundant evidence to his status as the ultimate insider (the privileged upbringing; “small” million dollar starter loan from his wealthy father; the unpaid contractors; the multiple adulteries; his continually availing himself of US bankruptcy law; the thinly-veiled racism;  misogyny; the gross advisers; the bromance with Vladimir Putin of all people, St. Ronnie preserve us). It is easy to poke fun at his supporters, casting them as fools in his likeness, but I think that is both unfair and largely incorrect. True, the guy shouting “JEW-S-A” while making KKK hand gestures is not his best representative; however, Trump has tapped into some very real unrest and anger among decent folks for whom the economic recovery has not worked. Their jobs went overseas and they’re not coming back, and the jobs they took to make ends meet don’t allow them to provide for their families in the manner they were accustomed, and to which we Americans feel entitled. So we cannot dismiss them.

But I really do fear what a Trump presidency would do to Women’s and Minority rights, not only from Trump himself but from the Alt-Right who surround him, notably Mike Pence. Pence’s record in his home state of Indiana and during his 12 years in Congress sought to turn back the clock on women’s rights 50 years at least.

What really drags at my heart is this: there is a surging undercurrent of anger in our country. Some is from women, and it’s about damn time that we collectively stood up and said we’re done, so very done taking 3/4 of our due. But the other portion of that anger lives among our minority brothers and sisters and it is absolutely equal in righteousness and long overdue. If we don’t do something to correct the areas that very much still exist, holding them back from equal citizenship, it is going to turn violent. It’s going to run up against that violent undercurrent at Trump rallies and bring out the worst in all involved. People will die and nothing will improve.

Through all of this ick I keep praying, knowing God hears me. I know I am not alone, I know so many people who are praying for Love to win the day, and I try to remain open to it being in some completely unexpected manner. Holy Spirit is nothing if not unpredictable, and so much wiser than I ken.

I feel helpless and I hate it. So I walk about the world trying to be loving to all those I encounter, making eye contact, being sincere rather than reflexive in the usual exchanges of “How are you?” “Fine, thanks.” I’m paying compliments, letting folks go ahead of me at the store, and tipping well. Does any of that make a whit of difference? I don’t know, but aside from supporting my candidate and voting in a thoughtful, prayerful manner, I just don’t know what to do.

This I can  do: I appeal to women, and all my brothers and sisters of color to be of good cheer and VOTE. Our system works when we work it, when we get off our butts and to the poling place certainly now during the election year but also and especially during the off-years, the congressional and senatorial elections where the real governance is done. Let us band together in vigilance, sending a clear and unmistakable message that representatives who do not represent us will be voted out. Every. Single. Time.

Together, we can make a difference. I will be praying for you, for us and please say a prayer for me, too, because I think without our votes there is a flood coming, or maybe it’s a fire, and I fear there are not enough of us acting out of love to weave a fabric stout enough to stop it.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I just can’t wait for it all to be over.

#weekendcoffeeshare

Weekend Coffee Share: Waffle House Edition

Last Saturday, Paul and I got our coffee and breakfast fix at that bastion of ‘Murican greatness, the Waffle House. I can’t help sharing it with you, and hope you might come to know and love it as we do.

It’s not fancy. It’s definitely not elegant, and you have to be in the American South but, while Waffle House might be a Southern thing, I believe it is the best of ‘Murica, writ large.

They all look the same: small rectangular buildings along or close to a major highway, black letters on yellow simply announcing itself to one and all: truckers and travelers, junkies and late-night revelers in need of a beer-sponge, businessmen, families, and parties of one. All are treated as equals, all are welcome to a quick, hot, good meal served cheerfully by the hardest working people you might ever meet.

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The menu is simple: eggs about any way one can cook an egg, pancakes and waffles of course, breakfast steaks and pork chops, and a variety of breakfast pig: bacon, sausage, and ham. Hash browns come any way you like: covered, smothered, diced or chunked, peppered, capped, topped, scattered, and country.

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Paul as Kilroy.

If you wander into one during lunch or dinner you can get a decent burger or sandwich, and I think there are other items too, but truthfully, I go for the breakfast, served 24/7. Cheesy eggs, hash browns covered and country (with onions and country gravy), toast and ham. My arteries begin clogging the instant I order, and I never finish the whole thing but I enjoy every last heart-stopping bite.

I watch the wait-and cook-staff clear tables, take orders, prepare food at the galley-style grill, and all pop up and call out, “Good morning!” each time the door opens to new customers. They are unfailingly pleasant and efficient, and I consider how much harder they probably work than I did when I waited tables, and how much less they probably make (based on the smaller bill totals of each check). They never stop. In the 15 minutes Paul and I waited for a table yesterday, the entire restaurant turned over.

It’s a good place for coffee and breakfast, and they keep your cup full. We could go through three or four cups while working our way through breakfast.

Paul always gets the All-Star Special, and I feel compelled to tell you that his waffle hadn’t yet arrived when I took the picture, lest you think I was a bigger glutton than he. While that may be true enough, were the waffle on the table it wouldn’t look like it, anyway.

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Mine looks huge because: perspective. Also, Paul’s waffle isn’t there yet.

As we pushed our plates away I might suggest you watch chef Sean Brock introduce fellow chef (and Yankee) Anthony Bourdain to Waffle House for the first time. A little professional testimony to bolster mine.

As we sat clutching our distended bellies, I’d tell you that we’ve found a place to rent for a while in Texas but the landlords didn’t make it easy and we wondered for a bit if we’d have to submit DNA analysis or witness statements about our characters in order to secure it. One year a home-owner and I’ve forgotten about the tribulations of renting, and maybe as we finished our coffee, you’d agree with me that this worry goes on my ever-increasing list of First World Problems I should give thanks for having.

And as we waddled out to our cars and said our goodbyes I’d wish you a happy week, and ask your prayers for my attempts at Organized Packing and the immediate future. Much to-doing to be done, and I’m gonna need all the help I can get.

Weekend Coffee Share: Mesquite and Salsa Edition

If we were having coffee, I’d probably be going back and forth between nervous chatter over my news, and wall-eyed, silent panic over everything it means for the immediate future.

Over our first cup, I would wonder if you’ve grown up hearing this expression, “Careful what you ask for, you just may get it,” the inference being what is received is never as awesome as one thinks it will be. Or the reality of “it” is not what one thought. I’ve generally been pretty darn careful over what I wish for, with one or two spectacularly bad wishes that once granted, could only be chalked up to Learning Experiences.

But what do you know? It turns out the “it” actually can be every bit as awesome as one believes, but still a little overwhelming when attained, most especially when it comes at one like a speeding train, maybe one of the super-high-speed trains they have in Germany or Japan. Part of me wants to say, every time I spontaneously give thanks to our kind and merciful God who surely heard the prayers in my heart, even when I didn’t speak them aloud, or even let them near my frontal lobe, must it be quite so quick, O Lord?

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A Texas Spring Tradition

We’re going home. In about the space of time between heartbeats Paul was told of a position, encouraged to apply for it, interviewed, was offered and accepted an excellent new job – with a full relocation package – back home to Texas. Texas, where four of our five children and all our grandchildren are, most especially the new baby boy we’ve yet to meet. Texas where the barbecue is redolent with mesquite and the sauces peppery; Texas where the Mexicans don’t dumb-down the salsa for the gringos because the gringos grew up on jalapenos and serranos, too; Texas where the freeway signs encourages one and all to “Drive Friendly”. Texas, where singing, the stars at night, are big and bright…. will always engender the enthusiastic response of, deep in the heart of Texas! from any and all passersby. Texas, where the highways turn purple and blue with bluebonnets, and everyone stops on the sides of even the busiest to plop their children into them and take their picture.

 

There have been changes in Texas we won’t like: open carry laws have passed, which I find frightening. I don’t want to get caught in a shoot-out among untrained civilians thinking they’re Wyatt Earp. But I wouldn’t like that if I’d been there when it happened. The Governor and Lt. Governor are both idiots, but that can be said for many states and I can hope my presence in the next election might turn the state at least purple, if not entirely blue.

We might have wished to be in South Carolina just a little longer; there is still so much to explore and see! The Rector of our church here sent us off last Sunday with a blessing that choked me up, I guess I hadn’t realized how attached I’d gotten to some of the people here, people who were kind and welcoming to us. I know I will sorely miss the Pumpkin Patch this Fall.

This weekend, I’d beg your indulgence as I babbled on and on about everything and nothing, and cut our coffee a bit short. Paul has a whole new challenge ahead of him and I am looking at a truly staggering amount of packing up to do, which right now seems like the metaphorical elephant sales trainers are always asking how one may eat. But I’ve been through enough of those trainings, and moves, to understand that for all my panic, the correct answer is always: with hot sauce (of course) and one bite at a time.

Here’s some of what I love about Texas, by Mr. George Strait.

Weekend Coffee Share: Cowpens Edition

If we were having coffee, it would be an afternoon coffee since Paul and I just got back from a trip out to the Cowpens Revolutionary battlefield. It is said the war was fought in the North but it was here, in the South, where it was won, specifically here in South Carolina at Cowpens, where an outnumbered conglomeration of Continental Army local Militia men turned the tide of the war.

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The Monument

As when we went to Stones River in Tennessee, I am always amazed by the beauty of the terrain and the peace. It was summer then, too, and like today the grasshoppers and random cicadas were singing away. Hard to image the bloodshed of the past. Yet it is hallowed ground, and I felt the reverence of Cowpens. Here, men fought for their sweethearts and wives, their land and homes, for noble ideals of self-governance, independence, and freedom. Here, Daniel Morgan had moved among his rough militiamen the night before battle, reassuring, bolstering, rallying them to fight, and after they did he chased their routed officers down the Green River Road the next day.

I couldn’t help offering the fallen an apology for how badly we’ve mucked it up since.

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Monument to William Washington’s Forces
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No idea what it is, but how pretty!

 

 

Family lore had it there was a Kelly ancestor who fought in the Revolution, and I know my branch of the Kellys came through the Virginia colonies. Was there a blonde, blue-eyed Kelly among the rough militiamen native to the Carolinas, or did any come South with William Washington? I’ll never know, but it’s nice to think maybe yes, one of my ancestors fought for this land.

 

 

 

We walked the well-marked loop and saw where the armies had faced each other, where the first line of sharpshooters fired off their shots then raced around behind the second line, who stood their ground and waited until the British were in “killin’ range,” approximately 40 – 50 yards away. My God, how brave were they?

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Wonder what the ghosts think of this?

We saw where the British Cavalry and the hated Banastre Tarleton had waited hoping to spring a trap on the Americans, in the trees, sure of victory. But after Tarleton’s brutality at Waxhaws, the Continentals and Militia, shouting, “Waxhaws Quarters!” were only stopped from butchery by the gallant Morgan, who ordered no retribution to prisoners.

Such fine and brave people formed this country. I wonder if we shall ever see their like again?

Towards the end of the loop is the Scruggs home, carefully restored to what it looked like in 1820. There were eleven children raised in this house. E l e v e n. When did Mom and Dad have enough privacy to make babies five through eleven? Oy vey!

I’m going to look at this picture every time I find myself thinking my 1,700 square foot home is small.

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There is a tiny gift shop and information building, with a short film on the battle and a fiber optic display showing the battles leading up to Cowpens and troop movements. With no entry fee, beautiful grounds, and a well-kept picnic area, the Cowpens National Battlefield park is a lovely and educational way to spend a day.

Then it was back in the car with only a quick trip through Abbott’s fruit market for fresh peaches, blackberries, and tomatoes, and finally home, where fresh coffee awaited and a full hour before the afternoon thunderstorm began.

Weekend Coffeeshare: Simplicity

IMG_8999 (2)If we were having coffee I would ask if you have found, as you mature, that it is the simplest things which make life most beautiful? Were you as foolish as I when very young, and dreamed of all manner of opulence and glory, and thought they made life worth living? No, I imagine you were probably much more sensible than I.

Because I can be willfully stubborn, sometimes God sends me cosmic two-by-fours when He thinks I need a lesson. However, the older I get, the less frequent they’ve been, and I think it is because I’m more willing to see the small, gentle hints and nudges He sends, and more willing to revel in the simple pleasures of life: sleeping in, the cat sitting on my lap, a walk through Farmer’s Market.

Because I’ve had a bit of a funk going this week, I might wonder if you agree with me that it might not be strictly coincidental today’s WordPress prompt is Simplicity, or that the first thing I read was this lovely, grateful, simple post by one of the RevGals. It may be called Lucky, but I think it speaks to the simple things in life, the everyday wonders that keep us going and, if we’re observant, in wonder at the beauty of Life.

Like, coffee. It is simple, warm, comforting and gives me a vital kick in the butt in the morning. Oh, I can get up without it (how about you? Can you?) but why would I want to?

Pizza. I make my own pizza dough, because it’s so simple to do and so worthwhile: flour, water, yeast, salt, and a bit of olive oil. Let rise. Roll out and top with anything you want. Last week it was pesto sauce, mozzarella, tomatoes, onions, and garlic. This week was a classic pepperoni. Almost every Friday night, Paul and I eat it sitting in front of the TV watching whatever series we’re currently involved with, right now, it’s Vikings.

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The Classic Pepperoni Pizza

Movies. It’s one of the things that bonded Paul and I, our mutual love of movies. Today we’ll go see Now You See Me 2, which we doubt will win any awards but will entertain us. Also, Previews. We are united in our love of movie previews, and always get to the theater in time to see them. Yes, we are nerds. Yes, we are unashamed.

Nature, as seen through a macro attachment to my camera. Simple it is not, at close range but I think it qualifies because it is all around us, and all around the grocery store at which I bought these flowers:

It reminds me a bit of looking through a microscope in college biology, which I passed by the skin of my teeth, and wondering at the beauty of cells. So complex and wonderful and only visible through a high-powered lens. Why would they be beautiful? Maybe the better question is, why not?

IMG_8931 (2)More nature, sitting on my back patio with my camera, and catching this guy on the branch sporting the Tenacious Pine Cone, as Paul and I call it. Through powerful winds and storms, this solitary pine cone hangs on. One day we’ll look up and it will be gone and we will mourn its passing, comforted in the knowledge that its fall will propagate more such stouthearted cones. I wonder if this mockingbird has the same flights of fancy as we about the Tenacious Pine Cone or, being a much more practical creature, was simply posing for me? He gave me quite a look, just before he struck this pose, as though to say, “Catch my good side, please”.

What are some of the simple things you appreciate in Life? I’d love to hear them over a good cup of coffee, maybe in the backyard where we can watch the mockingbirds, cardinals, and bluebirds.

#weekendcoffeeshare

Simplicity