Texas Summer

We had Texas Spring for about an hour the other day.  The morning was fresh and clean feeling.  The birds were singing, the scent of flowers wafted, the breeze was light, the sun gentle.  Yes, about an hour the other day, it was spring.

Texas Summer, with its heat, has arrived.  It actually was late coming this year. The calendar still says April, but the weather says early summer. Damp, stifling, thick hot air.  The world is a steam bath.  Suffocating, deadly. 

I love it!  Really.  Not joking at all.  I love my Southeast Texas summers. 

Sunshine, thunderstorms, trips to the river to laze on the banks and cool off in the deep, clear waters. 

Fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, melons grown just out the back door.  Banana trees reaching up to provide shade on the porch just in time for the hottest days. 

Making pickles.  Watching fireflies.  Firing up the pit for barbecue.  Fish fries, fireworks, flags waving. 

When I was a kid, living in this same house, we did not turn on the air conditioner.  We used an attic fan to draw air in from outside.  Mother would cover the arch from the living room to the rest of the house with a king size sheet and run a window unit in the evenings while we watched one of the two television stations we received.  Musical/comedy variety shows, family dramas, detective shows. 

At 6:15 p.m., the house was quiet to see the local weather forecast.  Ssshhhhh……the weather is on…….. In summer, so near the Gulf, plus a sailor father, the hurricane season was as critical as the football season.  No longer any sailors with us, but the habit lingers.  And the hurricanes still come. 

The roads were white sand.  With the baking of the sun and the grinding of car tires, the sand would become like the finest talc and coat my bare feet and legs by the end of a day of bike riding.  There were ever flowing artesian fed pipes of cold water scattered at the park on the lake.  Refreshment.  No need to go home for a drink.  The white sand and the artesian wells have fallen prey to “progress”.

Summers.  Memories.  Already we are planning our summer adventures.  The river beckons.  The heat reminds us of rope swings and muddy banks.  Sand bars and blow up floats.  Wade fishing before the other boats arrive to crowd the shore. 

I love my Southeast Texas Summers……………

 

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Raining Orchids

What does “Raining Orchids” mean?

I love orchids.  I haven’t been successful growing orchids, yet.  But, I love them none the less. 

In my mind, the orchid is the true queen of flowers.  Delicate, long lasting, fragrant, exotic.  Less common than roses.  Very desirable and lovely. 

The idea of orchids relating to life was inspired by Marjorie Hillis’ 1937 book:  Orchids On Your Budget.  She explains the balance of budgeting for the happier things in life such as hosting parties and enjoying entertainments among other things.  She also touches on the idea of making do and being truly happy about it. 

If you are familiar with the phrase “raining cats and dogs”, translate that image to “raining orchids”.  Orchids rain onto my life.  Not in the sense of endless loveliness and happiness, but of blessings sometimes outright and sometimes disguised by difficulty. 

This past weekend, I got to visit with my loved ones.  I was able to cook copious amounts of food to serve them.  I had some time with friends.  We remembered the Easter promises.  Yet, I thought about my mother, gone 16 years, yesterday.  How much I miss her in so many ways. My heart aches for her and so many others gone. 

But, my heart rejoices in the company of my great nieces!  Age three and age 2 months, they bring a kind of joy only little ones can.  And yes, I still get a thrill to see my adult children.  Three of the most wonderful people on the planet.  Period.  And then there is him.  He guards me, supports me, brings orchids into my life every day.

So many orchids in my life!  People and circumstances that create endless love, happiness, and blessings, both outright and disguised. 

Despite the books on growing them, I have lost the live orchids I had.  These silk orchids on one of my treasure tables will have to do until I figure out how to grow the real things.  Meanwhile, I will revel in the symbolic orchids raining throughout my life.  Him, family, friends, a table of plenty, a Risen Savior. 

 

 

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P.S.  65 is the year I was born.  I am too glad to be alive to worry about anyone knowing my true age!

 

Getting It Done

I have continued to write about having time with family and friends.
I am getting it done this month!
Last weekend, I spent time snuggling a newborn and hanging out with a three year old. I was privileged to be allowed to keep my great nieces for their parents to go to an event.
I also had his birthday dinner combined with our daughter’s at her house.
Our children and some of our dearest friends in the world were with us for supper. Homemade lasagna and home baked cupcakes were the menu features.
The upcoming weekend will be spent cooking shrimp gumbo, ham, green beans, cheese “taters”, yeast bread and some pies. I have told all the children to come whenever they could and stay as long as they want.
The next weekend will be more birthday time with my daughter on her actual birthday. She has requested a special menu.
It is what I want to have happening. Making and taking time to gather and laugh and talk. We will play some, too. I am not sure what all we will get into, but fun will be the prerequisite.

Doing, not just wishing and hoping. Acting, not just planning and scheming. Savoring, not just rushing and pushing. Loving, not just surviving and struggling.

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Things to Do

What really important thing am I forgetting to do?

I have that question written on the icebox. There are so many levels to the answers for it. From simple chores to life purpose fulfilling goals.

The forgetting part is the tough one.  I feel I can’t quite remember what I am supposed to do or I haven’t quite found the answer. It seems like I am looking through a veil. That if I could ever get the veil open or if the fog would lift I could see clearly.

If I could ever get to the top of that magnolia tree, I could see the answer:  What really important thing am I supposed to be doing? When I was a kid, there was a huge magnolia in the edge of the woods near the top of the hill overlooking the river valley. I never was big enough, strong enough, or brave enough to climb further than the lowest limb. I always believed that if I could get to the top and look out, I would have the answer. I am not even sure of the question. It may not be what am I supposed to be doing. Maybe it is something completely different. Maybe there isn’t really a question, just a clear vision.

I am not talking about finding a cure for cancer or making a major discovery of some sort. I am talking about my life here in my world of Town Bluff. Right here at this place I call home. Maybe I’m not really forgetting. Maybe I am doing most of it. Maybe there is no clear vision to be had, but rather a learning to seek without fear and without reservation.

Gardening, canning, cooking, reading, writing, growing houseplants, painting, coloring, cleaning, mowing, raking, tending flower beds, making a pretty garden, raising cows, tending to dogs, cats, fish. Spending time with my family and friends. Entertaining. Movies, games, fishing, hunting, swimming. These things are my life, now.

The magnolia tree is gone. There is no longer a place to climb to see the answer. I will have to keep seeking the answer from right here on the ground. What am I supposed to be doing? Am I doing today what will grow me rather than crush me? Am I creating today the life I want to lead? And then tomorrow, I will have to create it again, building on today. One beautiful present time. One beautiful moment connected to the next. Living is what I am supposed to be doing.

Living, loving, giving.