They Collided

A few weekends ago, I met my mom and dad out by the farm where my dad grew up.  The mission was to take pictures of the sunflowers as they go on for miles and miles this year.  It never gets old seeing my parents in their element.  Never.  

And my favorite pictures are always the ones when people have no clue you are taking them.  The ones where it's just someone doing what they do.

It's been raining pretty much since that weekend and rain during harvest is like a cat in my house, never a good idea and really not a good thing when it actually happens.  

Which makes me even more thankful that on a Saturday night in August, I met my parents and we spent a couple hours looking at the fields against the setting sun.

This morning, it's drizzling again after a steady rain all during the night.  This morning, the prognosis is a bit sad.  Yesterday was a day of finally looking like maybe it was turning to more normal - they combined barley, I mowed the farm yard, my sister and I smooshed in the grain cart tractor cab with Momma Debi, I ate part of my brother's lunch while we waited in a semi (it's amazing to me how we revert back to being ridiculous non-adult siblings in about two minutes), and sister-in-law late night visiting with texts coming in they finished the barley capped it off.  Normal.  It was a normal and full fall day.

Before they left for the field and before I spent the afternoon getting dirt in my eyes, Sister Pister and I packed Dad's lunchbox for the day.  I drizzled olive oil on baby tomatoes before sprinkling with pepper and salt and she made homemade bars and then we wrote a note.  Like the old days.  A have a great day Dad note.  Hopefully he still has that note today.  

Back on that mid-August Saturday evening, as the sun was just about to dip all the way, I heard from Dad, "Right here.  You need to stand right here."  And he was right.

The above picture was from that exact moment in that exact spot he was standing and it is now hanging on my wall as a reminder to me - to take the time when the time is there. 

This sounds corny but sometimes I am corny.  I believe we all have gifts.  It's not vain to notice your gifts or to use them, rather it's why you they were given to you.  My family has the gift of growing in fields and I have the gift of capturing with my camera.  It was more than special to me they collided together while Dad and I stood on the back of the pickup, him commenting on the crop itself and me commenting about the angle of the light shattering through.  


Might Truly be the Best Ever

Last night in my reading of the current book club selection, Cutting for Stone, I came across what truly might be the best ever weaving of words. 

Let me set it up a bit...

The words of the century came in the book after a well known African children's tale was referenced.  A tale about a miserable merchant who hated the fact he had no money and hated the fact he held a lowly job and hated his life so much so that he couldn't even stand the sight of his battered and beaten slippers anymore.  He kept trying to get rid of the ghastly in his eyes slippers but every time he did, more disaster struck.  Catastrophic disaster.  The reference to this made in Cutting for Stone comes when the character named Ghosh is in an Ethiopian prison (Kerchele).  The old jailbird man who tells stories every night while they all try to sleep ends up saying right before they all drifted off - that merchant "might as well build a special room for his slippers.  Why try to lose them?  He'll never escape."  The man then died in his sleep while imprisoned.

Flash forward to Ghosh talking to his son after he is out of prison.  He says while discussing life and its twists and turns, "The old man was right.  The slippers in the story mean that everything you see and do and touch, every seed you sow, or don't sow, becomes part of your destiny..."

And then they came.  What might truly be the best ever string of words.  

"Ghosh sighed, 'I hope one day you see this as clearly as I did in Kerchele.  The key to your happiness is to own your slippers, own who you are, own how you look, own your family, own the talents you have, and own the ones you don't.  If you keep saying your slippers aren't yours, then you'll die searching, you'll die bitter, always feeling you were promised more.  Not only our actions, but also our omissions become our destiny.' 

Owning the slippers.  Owning the slippers on our feet.  How beautiful.  How perfect.     

What follows now has entirely nothing to do with the aforementioned other than the to say one thing I own about myself is the poor planning of slamming in last minute projects.  Case in point this one, the painting of the two end tables I've had sitting in the garage since last winter when they were on the teacher classifieds as brown 1960 veneer numbers.

I decided they had to be finished before I started my new job.  Had to!  It started like any other painting project of mine.  With an oh I know!  I'll just paint these real quick like today.  Which turned quickly into a you've got to be kidding me?!  This is taking forever and now I have paint all over hell and can this just be done already?  I did push through and finish them - all two coats and a wax job later - and I do indeed rather enjoy how they turned out.  Even if my driveway still has blue speckles of paint all around. 

Back to the slippers and owning your own pair.  I do believe that sentiment and the way it was spoken is the best I've heard to describe successfully wrapping your head around life. 


Lunches Then to Now

There was this one time several years ago, back when I lived in a tiny house in the tiny town I graduated high school, when my little sister came over for lunch.  She would have probably been about a freshman in high school at the time.  In she popped with a, "Hello!  I'm here."  

And I fed her hamburger.

Not as in a cheeseburger or a hamburger on a bun with a nice side or two, but rather just chopped up and cooked hamburger.  That's it.  

That was before my cooker days and we still laugh about it now.  Who feeds someone that and tries to convince them it's a meal?  

This summer, as a soon to be junior in college, my little sister came to my house for lunches when she was working at the bank in the bigger town I now live.  In she popped with a, "Hello!  I'm here."  

And I would do two things.

Number one, comment on her outfit because love a duck, Sister Pister can put together some cuteness.  Number two, feed her a wholesome and homemade meal.  

Never just cooked up bits of hamburger.  

Things change.  I'm grateful I can now call myself a cooker and make a real something out of random ingredients which are mostly usually on hand.  I'm grateful I no longer live in that tiny house, the one I had basically fold myself in half to crawl backwards down the ladder chute to get to the laundry in the old as the hills basement.  

Things don't change.  I'm grateful my little sister still wants to come to my house and spend time with me when she can.


Five Minutes

I've been consciously working on the notion that just because work is busy doesn't mean life is over.  It doesn't mean all waking moments need to go into being always perfectly organized and ready for the next day or the next few days or the next week.  It doesn't mean all energy is put into calendars and to-do lists.  It doesn't mean that family, friends, the sunshine, and activities can not still be enjoyed.

It just means they get enjoyed in the brief moments of in between.  

The trick for me is to force my brain into a spot where it's not thinking about the next but rather is right in the now.  

Right in the putting old tennies on and going off roading in a coulee for a run.  Right in the reading of a deep and crafty book in the sunshine.  Right in the coffee while wrapped in a sweater on the patio.  

Whether the laundry is all done or the house is clean or the bags are packed or the driveway is swept and the patio table is washed.  

I'm consciously putting the wheels in motion to have a balance.  A balance that sometimes leans towards the fun stuff and one that other times tips toward work without ever swaying completely to drop like a dead weight into the land of life is now over.  

Brittany and I were visiting in the car the other day and this very idea came up.  Soon our arms were flying and heads were nodding and we were mmmmhhhmmm-ing right along with each other.  We can mmmmhhhmmm with the best of them.  It's funny how friends sometimes do that - are in the same spot without even knowing it.  

Life is short.  It's meant to be utterly enjoyed amidst all the responsibilities.  Even if it's five minutes.  Those five minutes will add years back on later.  


Never Happens That Way

I flutter at night.  Ping around doing this and finishing that and starting the other.  At eleven o'clock a night a couple of weeks in a hotel in some city in this state, I was trying to settle down.  It was hopeless really.  I had gone for a run at 5:00 and then made the errors of all errors - an iced coffee on the hour drive to the resting town for the night.  Wound up.  Eleven o'clock.  

This the conversation that occured between Karen and I via text.

Me in a string of four separate texts because when texting late at night it's important to make their phone ding four distinct times.  

Just had an idea!!
A fun ladder as a quilt rack.
Like a flat ladder that would lay against the wall.
Don't let me forget that!

She responded.  

Do you mean to be talking to your mama?
I don't quilt.  

I answered.

No you.

She came back.

Ohhhh, I get it!!  Yes!!
A quilt rack as a ladder.

Then I sent her a fist emoji.

That's a punch.  
As in, you fool.
Remember our quilt rack discussions?

I mean I don't why at eleven o'clock at night her brain wouldn't go straight to understanding my entirely out of context and random ladder quilt rack string of thought bubbles.  The conversation ended with me saying something about how now I just had to find one and her saying she wouldn't let me forget and then me saying I'm wound up and her saying I know how you ping at night!  

So there you have it.  An idea was born.  Then last Sunday, I looked in my brother's shop and there it was!  Exactly what I had in mind.  When does that happen?  Never.  Things never happen that way, but this time it did and how lucky.  I power washed the ladder at the farm and it dried in my garage all this week while I was out traveling and working.  

Now it's a quilt rack ladder.   

My grandpa's ladder and my mom's quilts.  It simply doesn't get better than that; I love when a late night idea actually comes to fruition.  Of course one of the first things I did after setting it up was to text Karen.  

That's totally what friends are for.


The Makeup Behind It

Sometimes I like an image because of...

who is in it

its colors

my admiration of the activity

what it represents, the feeling behind it

the unexpected element, a shiny earring

My love of the day and the exact moment it was taken...

And sometimes?  Sometimes it's all of the above and the makeup behind it.