This is the first post of my bi-weekly videoblog. Enjoy!
It’s almost time for Thanksgiving and where will you be? Will you cook a 20-lbs turkey and a whole ham for your family and friends?
Though I hate to cook daily meals, I love cooking Thanksgiving dinner. I especially loved it when we had a bigger home and my boys were still close by. I still like to celebrate Thanksgiving at our condo, too.
It is a little smaller, but none the less, I look forward to inviting family and friends who don’t have a place to go to. This vision of mine has become a tug-of-war for many years between me and Ol’ Wise One.
He would just love to be on his couch with his remote control beside him. He is a content, easy to please man. His heart’s desire is to sit and watch hours of football with popcorn, chips, and salsa — all a finger tip away. Then around 2 pm, he turns his attention to gorging on the artery-clogging feast that is Thanksgiving: turkey breast, mashed potatoes with gravy, stuffing, and gas-producing Brussels sprouts with bacon.
We are so opposite in how we like to celebrate the holidays that it is a miracle we are still married. Through the years, I have learned to have a “whatever” attitude with a smile and move on.
“Baby, Thanksgiving will be at my mom’s apartment,” I announce. “I will cook turkey at her home. You don’t have to come. You can watch football until you slip into a coma.”
“My kind of Thanksgiving,” he murmurs while looking at the TV. “Don’t get me wrong. I love your family, but I have a difficult time with the cold season and getting exposed to viruses when lots of people are around.”
Had I known his only desire is to watch football and eat with his remote control by his side on Thanksgiving, I would have said, “Nooooo, I’m not marrying you. I don’t care if that is a big shiny diamond.”
“Like I said, you can stay here and watch football . . . and do your fantasy football in the privacy of your own home.”
“Just how I imagined it,” he says.
Thinking about cooking at my mom’s apartment weighs me down. I feel the heaviness of ham and turkey on each hand as I transport them from my car parked one block away from her apartment door. Then, I think about having to make more exhausting trips to get the other six bags of groceries.
I would have to start cooking at early morning to have Thanksgiving dinner by 2 pm. With all this I’ll need a glass of wine at 11 a.m. at the earliest to reduce my stress level that will rise and rise from all the cooking and cleaning I will need to do.
The more I think about this scenario, the more I ask myself, “Is this what I want? Will this get me in the zone to celebrate this holiday?”
“NO,” my inner voice flatly replies.
Like Ol’ Wise One having his fantasy football, I have a fantasy of my own. And it makes me tingle all over.
I imagine Thanksgiving at my condo. I invite family over and have my two-year-old grandson Napoleon running around doing silly toddler stuff and throwing temper tantrums. I wanted him to be here so we can have pumpkin pie and an Elmo-theme birthday cake for him. But he is not here.
Well, I have come so far. “It’s a fantasy, Lola,” I tell myself. “Move on.”
If I’m not looking forward to stress-inducing Plan A, then my vibe to the universe will be anxiety and dread. . . and I will contaminate everyone around me. Not cool.
I bagged Plan A.
Part 2 tomorrow.
I spent the evening with a Banana, Tina Turner, and Princess Web
and a few more characters at my normal family get together on Halloween.
The big holidays are drawing closer. I just found out my son Ralph will not
come home for Thanksgiving. My other son and his family will be
missing out on my turkey dinner, too. I’m screwed!
This is not the first time I will be without my boys on a holiday.
It’s just déjà vu. I have traveled this path before.
I have come to accept that this is what my life looks like.
At the Halloween party last night, I wanted my grandson Napoleon to be
there to join in on trick-or-treating with his cousins and friends as they were chaperoned
by our family Penquin. We all trust the Penquin to take our kids
out on a cold, dark night for one hour. Right?
Missing Napolean, I reviewed what I did get last night. The Banana had trouble keeping still as
we posed for a family picture.
Tina Turner wanted to get his groove on and demonstrated twerking to the family. The Clown had
‘for your eyes only’ for the pretty Princess Web. AWWW, I get the feeling Clown wanted a treat!
And I know by her looks that Princess Web wanted the Clown to ask her for her cell number.
I would have preferred Napoleon to all these strange characters, but I discovered that I needed them, too. My night was filled with giggles, so much so that a temporary cap on one of my teeth came off.
This is what I know, it is important to make peace with what you don’t have.
I really wanted other family members to be there with me, but their lives are traveling on other roads and highways.
So, I tell myself: Focus on what is in front of you.
Last night, for me that meant:
Be open to: a 7-foot Banana making a split, Tina Turner sending me into a giggle orbit as she twerked away,
and Princess Web wanting your help in her tangled web of desires.
A TRICK or TREAT with Princess Web, anyone?
Help our hearts stay open and keep us mindful to be present today, not tomorrow,
so we don’t miss out on your blessings.
“Life in the slow lane.
Perhaps I should change lanes . . . .
What do you think?”
I whisper to my Wall
as I iron my husband ‘s
robot attire for work.
Most mornings I help him get ready and
many mornings I can do it with my eyes closed.
Why am I still in life’s slow lane?
I feel like I’m not moving towards my
goals and dreams. How many more shirts will I iron
and how many more meals will I whip up?
My vision board is plastered on another Wall in my house–one in my office.
Definitely ironing and cooking are not on there.
And I have a Mandela hanging next to my vision board.
And for other parts of my house, I hired a feng shui expert to
come and guide me on colors and
where to position things like the mirrors
and how to place my bed in my room.
This is all to attract positive vibrations
into my life.
Later on during the day I have to
pick up my mom for her
My favorite Christian radio station
is on. The DJ says, “Do you feel like your life lacks purpose?”
I nod, “Yes.”
“Do you feel like
what you are doing is unseen, unheard, and
“Friends let me tell you–you are seen and heard.
Staying home to raise your children is the most
important job you will ever hold.
Helping at the food bank and caring for others
first above all else is paramount in God’s eyes.”
Oh, I feel better already. Think I will
stay in my slow lane a little longer.
I know you have awesome plans for my life.
Teach me to be patient and not get ahead of
myself as I know it will unfold at the perfect time.
Naysayers, you know who you are.
Last week Ol’ Wise One and I were talking in the kitchen.
“So, now you want to start a career at 63 . . . ,” he says dismissively.
( I had just mentioned to him that I wanted to work part time. )
Oohhh! Hold up now.
I can ‘t believe that came out of his mouth.
I want a part-time job . . . I didn’t say I wanted to become a doctor
or lawyer or join the Peace Corps and travel to Africa.
Someone else can do that.
And how dare he age me nine years!
I was ready to throw my favorite coffee cup at him, but I refrained
from doing so.
Instead, I took a breath. Then, these words flashed in my mind,
“You are not in control. God is. And I think God can still use me.
I’m not dead yet.”
After calming down, I decided to forgive him. It wasn’t easy.
For me forgiveness takes awhile, but eventually I get there.
Naysayers say the most ridiculous things, don’t they?
Here are some examples:
1. You can’t move to Manhattan, you’ll never make it as an artist.
Stay here with your mother and me. There’s nothing wrong living in
the town you grew up in.
2. You’re going to marry her? It will never last.
3. You applied to the Juilliard School? To do what, ACT?
But, you are not beautiful/ tall/thin/talented enough. You don’t have
the right look!
4. You want to be a artist? They make no money! How about welding?
Or the cement business? Now, that’s where the money is.
Since turning 50-something, I learned that naysayers are a group of
people who are in fear of what MIGHT happen. They are afraid.
If they felt secure enough to completely love and support us,
we could take them along for the joyride of a lifetime.
When you have a naysayer in your life, you can cope by putting their
comments to the side. Forgive them, but take heart in knowing that
they do not know YOU. For that reason, they do not know what the
heck they are talking about.
Do what you have to do to reach your heart’s desire. Wake up each day
and show up in life. Make the most of each day. Give it your best shot.
As long as you are still breathing, God can use you.
If joining the Peace Corps is in your heart, then plant your feet firmly
on the ground and start walking in that direction. Want to be a chef?
Go to culinary school. You want to write that book, then commit and
wake up two hours early
and turn your lap top on.
Why do we have naysayers in this life? Why?
I don’t get it.
I believe that when you put desires and goals in our hearts,
there is a reason. You want us to go out there in the world and use
what you gave us.
I know you are still in control of my life. I will continue
to seek your will until you say otherwise.
“I want tell yuuuu how proud I am with your blog.
Your brother James, man he is in bondage.
Give me his birthdates.
I’m into Numerology. Maybe I can help him.
And your sister Rita Mae is a hoot.
I can relate about her fuss about A/C. I told Sterling
when we moved into our condo, ‘Baby, you need to make
me happy! I had A/C in Dallas and I’m not about to start
fannin’ myself now.'”
Like Ruby I felt the same way about God growing up.
I had this vision he is gonna whip me into shape for sinning.
And that’s why I once walked away from church. But, then
I learned that his Son — he died
on the cross for my sins. He took my place to set me free.
It was life changing for me to know that if I do
something bad, he will not disown me.
I don’t know why my Ruby can’t conceive.
But I told her that maybe it is not in God’s plan
for her to give birth to a baby. I know Ruby desires
the experience of having a bump for 9 months
and swollen ankles. But, maybe his plan is for her to adopt a
child that needs two loving parents who can provide all her
or his needs. Perhaps there is a baby out there that is trying
to find Ruby and Sterling. I told Ruby to stay open.
Let’s pray . . .
Bless Ruby with the ability to have a child.
But if it is not in your plan, may her heart be open
to other ways of caring for one.
Many times we think our plans are so much
better than yours, in Isaiah 55v11 you say to us:
Your thoughts are not my thoughts,
my ways are not your ways . . . my ways go far
beyond what you can ever imagine.
She and her husband, Sterling, have been trying to have a baby. So far, every
month has been a disappointment.
What I love about her is our equal opportunity talks about our lives.
She always asks to see pictures and videos of Napoleon although I know she is
aching for a baby.
During lunch, as she digs into her chop salad I see the corner of her false lashes
peeling. At any moment now, I wonder if the lashes will become part of her lunch.
Should I say something?
Never mind, I think she feels that they are about to jump down on a crouton.
“Excuse me my falsies are comin’ off,” she says reaching for her compact.
“Lola, do think I’m being punished?” she asks me while fidgeting with her
lashes. I was always misbehavin’ in high school. The things I did! And
now we are trying’ to have a baby . . . I yelled at Sterling this last Sunday, ‘Baby, get in the love den NOW! I’m OVULATING. And guess what? Sex is now work.”
Love den? Who has a love den?
“Praise God someone is getting lucky,” I respond taking mini sips of my Syrah.
“I’m serious,” she says.
“You are not being punished,” I sigh. “To me God is not the God of punishment.”
“Well, I grew up Catholic in Dallas and when I was a lil’ girl in Sunday school they talked about if you don’t do this or that God will punish you.”
“I heard the same thing. I don’t believe God is up there with a whip ready to use it on his children if we do something wrong. Would you whip your child?
God does do ‘time out’ maybe but he does not whip his people.”
“You sure ’bout that? This not being able to have a baby is not a punishment?
I hate to think I blocked my own Karma.”
*****Part 2 tomorrow
Be Fearless in the Kitchen!
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Portraits of Architecture and Architects by Carol Aplogan
The Art and Craft of Blogging
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