Friday, November 15, 2013

Between Two Bridges

Any of you who know me well, know that I am my own worst enemy; despite the blazing, powerful self-confidence I exude, I am incredibly critical of myself. Those who don't know me well are probably thinking, "Yeah, right. Hmph." Whatevs. Anyway....on my mind lately is how much we compare ourselves to others, and how desperately we "think" we long to be like others, or if we are really honest, covet the role we perceive that others have in church, work, and life in general.

I'm a stinkin' 47-year old professional woman, for cryin' out loud, and I still struggle with this all-too-human issue of viewing what I think is the greener grass on the other side of the fence (without remembering that grass also has to be cut).

I see others around me, at work, at church, and in my day-to-day dealings, who are extremely competent and talented people. I observe their successes and become a tad envious (failing to remember I've had success), or when I'm really down on myself, I secretly delight in what I see as a slight trip-up in their efforts, while quietly covering up my own mistakes. Sorry, just being brutally honest.

I know what the problem is. It is Satan. It is his job, dirty dog that he is, to creep into my life through my mind, an avenue that will control my heart if I neglect my relationship with the Lord. You see, it is Satan's job to use any avenue he can to distract us away from our Maker, our Creator, the One True God, who made each of us with His holy purpose in mind.

I hesitate to tell this story, not knowing who will read it, almost fearing those whom it is about might read it. But, it is a part of my testimony. Years ago, as a young professional whose dream was to climb the corporate ladder, I struggled if I perceived that others advanced without paying dues like I did. Shoot, how was I to know whether or not anyone else paid their dues? Anyway, I remember one day whining to God, like a little kid whose mama just told her no, "God, why is that fair? Why does so and so get to do that, and I don't?"

As audibly as my mama talking back to me God said, "I have blessed you, have I not? Can I not bless "so and so" too?" Holy cow. That slapped me in the face, affectionately I might add, just like my mama did when I lipped off to her as a teenager. :)

I can tell you where I was, physically when that conversation between me and God occurred. Not that the location matters, but just to illustrate to you how profound that moment was and forever burned into my memory. I was on Highway 65, headed north, right between two bridges that crossed over that road, only a half-mile apart.

Between those two bridges, in that short span of space and time. God literally changed my life forever with a message that still resonates and revisits me to this very day.

I'm human, and I have an ego. My personality is out-front, and attention-seeking. So, when others are in that role, whether it is at work, church, or wherever, over the course of my life, it has stung me a little--like I think I should be the only one who ever should get attention. Good grief!

Even if you're a person who is not out-front with an ego like me, I know struggles with comparing ourselves to others still exist. All of us, no matter our personality makeup, from time to time wrestle with our minds as it criticizes ourselves because we aren't as good as the person in the cubicle next to us; not as talented as the guy down the road; not as popular as the girl next door; not as trusted as the worker down the hall.

I write and share this because I know others struggle with this crazy issue as well. Many of you have told me directly that you do. I guess I just want you to know, you're not alone; not just because a lot of us are in this boat, but because God is with us, if we'll just remember that.

While we are busy coveting, being jealous and envious, or being critical, we are failing to strive to be like the One who truly is our example: Christ. And, here is right where Satan wants us. And the irony is, that where we are physically in that moment, is where Christ wants us, too. If we follow the fork in the road where Satan is trying to lead us, the fork that leads to self-pity, self-doubt, anger, strife, or jealousy, we will consequently lose sight of Christ. If we follow the road where Jesus is leading, then in our walk with Him, and our time spent in relationship with Him, we hopefully will model our lives after Him.

God has a purpose for all of us where we are in every moment. That purpose could be as simple as keeping our mouth shut, or as bold as honestly speaking truth to a friend.  Either way, our role in whichever moment or span in time we find ourselves is valuable. Your role is valuable to my life, and my role is valuable to yours. Because, in the body of Christ, we are all necessary, interworking, and moving parts that bring God glory.

Go read I Corinthians 12, especially beginning in verse twelve. "Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ." Read it all!

Be encouraged today in that God made you who you are, and has you where you are, for a reason. Trust God, not man. May we strive to be Christlike, and not peer-like. Whether God speaks to you between two bridges, or in your quiet time, just be sure to listen.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

One Day, When I Was a Feelin' Crafty....

Well, today I was fer sure feelin' crafty. A few weeks ago I discovered Pinterest, and my crafty gear kicked in and hasn't down-shifted yet.

Another trait I inherited from Kathern (Neno) is the pack-rat syndrome. I save stuff, much to the chagrin of my husband who says, "You're never gonna use that junk." I always reply, "Oh, I will someday." Well, today was someday.

When we cleaned out Kathern's storehouse after she left this world, we found stacks and stacks of plastic cottage cheese containers, egg cartons, coffee cans, and Mrs. Butterworth's bottles (among a stash of other goodies). She lived through the Great Depression, when Americans didn't have a disposable-take-every-thing-for-granted lifestyle. They used it. They cleaned it. They kept it. And, they used it again. This thrifty lifestyle followed Kathern up to the ripe old age of 91.

Today, it caught up with me. Neno would have been 109 years old now, and would have been proud of me for holdin' on to stuff. For today, I unleashed my inner pack-rat and began unpacking, organizing, and making. And, what I hadn't packed, I picked, at yard sales and thrift stores.

So...Here's what I did today.

I organized my supplies. They were getting out of control, stacked all over kitchen counters and the dining room table. I hauled up an old cabinet I'd been keeping, and filled it with baskets and other containers I've accumulated over the years. I drug in the old Coke crate out of the garage, thinking, "what a good way to store pencils, markers, glue, scissors, and other necessities." Then I added an old magazine rack I bought at a flea market a year or so ago, (not having a clue then what I would use it for; I just knew I would need it). It holds all the cards I've received, that I recycle, reuse, then re-card. I also added a Velveeta box to one section of it where I collect odd little things that I'll use, I just don't know what for yet (i.e., half of a small bouncy ball; it will surely make a good nose for something). I kept the drawers from Kathern's cabinets, and that is what you see above the Coke crate. The slots that used to hold silverware, now hold stickers, Modge-Podge, a Mason jar full of buttons, and an old milk bottle with rose petals...the first flowers my husband sent me (before he was my husband; about 22 years ago). I have an enamel pot hanging to the left; I plan to put magnets there as needed.

Then, I moved to the opposite wall. I had to come up with something to hold the stuff I am working on. You know...those ideas you get when you're at a garage sale, you buy something, bring it home, and in a year, maybe more-maybe less, you'll do something with it? I don't have a saw, so building a shelf today (and it had to be done today!) was out of the question. So what was the next best thing that didn't require construction, particularly sawing? A PEACH CRATE! Yes, I hung a peach crate on the wall.
And on this peach crate is a lamp base I got at a thrift store. I'm not quite finished with it. It also holds some other "ideas" that I'm a workin' on (spoken in true-Kathern-Ozarks hill talk).

Well, this is it for now. I've got lotsa "thangs I'm a workin' on." More later!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Ol' Dan Tucker...A True Treasure

Ol’ Dan Tucker was a fine ol’ man, warshed his face in a fryin’ pan
Combed his hair with a wagon wheel
Died with toothache in his heel.

Git ou’ the way, Ol’ Dan Tucker, he’s too late ta git his supper
Supper’s over, dinner’s a cookin’, Ol’ Dan Tucker just stand there a lookin’.

If I had a nickel for every time I heard Neno sing Ol’ Dan Tucker, I’d be a wealthy woman. Then, I’d give all that wealth to go back in time and record her singing it at least once. And while I was at it, I’d record her low-toned, gruff voice singing Honky Tonk Angels. That was one of her favorites too.

Since I don't have a recording of her, the next best think is Andy and Opie Taylor:

And here is Kitty Wells, and Honky Tonk Angels.

There was something about music that Kathern loved; something that made certain songs dear to her heart. And, certain instruments seemed to pique her interest as well, the guitar (git-tar, emphasis on the "git") and the fiddle. Not violin---fiddle.

More than once I packed her, in that old brown Impala of hers, to Green Forest to a "music party" as she liked to call them. In a little building on the square, about twenty or thirty old-timers gathered and drank coffee and listened to music, played by silver-haired men, and occasionally, a stocking-wearing granny woman.

I can’t count the times I sat in her living room as a little girl and watched the Porter Wagoner show. I was mesmerized by his brightly-colored, jewel-bedazzled jackets, and Neno was proud as punch to claim that Porter was from Missouri. "Forty miles back in Missouri there’s a different way of life....."

And, Hee Haw was a weekly ritual for Kathern as well. I am convinced that Grandpa Jones was her favorite, especially when he’d talk about what was for supper. Surely she liked him best because he was always having something for supper that she’d had as a child...and as a grown woman! Hill people were resourceful.

As much as she loved the sound of music, she loved the sounds of the hills and taught me to love and appreciate them too. "Listen to that ol’ hoot owl Marci," she’d say. Or, "Hear that ol’ whippoorwill? He’s a hollerin’ for his mate."

I believe that growing up with her is the reason why I love the sound of a ticking clock, and the sound of an eight-day clock striking its bell every hour, once for every hour it was counting. The sound of that clock was a welcome breaking of the silence, usually followed by a sigh from Neno at another hour gone by. I now wonder if the elderly see the passing of time as one hour closer to the end of life.

I also inherited a random sense of rhythm, and long fingernails from Neno. She had long nails, and so do I, despite the fact I don’t drink a drop of milk. She would tap them on the wooden section of the arm of her green chair. Tap, tap. Tap, tap, tap. But it was a rolling tap. She’d start with her pinky nail, then ring finger, then middle, then index, to create one tap. Then, she’d switch and tap from the other direction. I find myself mindlessly doing the same thing on the door handle, while I am riding the in car.

Ol’ Dan Tucker, Honky Tonk Angels, fiddle music, Porter Wagoner, Hee Haw and rhythm, and Neno. I am a wealthy woman.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Old Soul Poem

Written in memory of Neno, Great-Grandma Groves, Nanny, Grandma Smith, and in honor of my mom, Patrica Kay Groves Smith.
The Old Soul Poem

Somewhere inside me is an elderly soul,
And many are the women who have helped me feel old.
I mean this in love not in anguish or jest
For grandmothers and greats who are now at their rest.

Their wisdom and peace-did they know they’d impart?
Some I never met, but they are dear in my heart.
My great-grandmother, the minister’s wife;
Had she any idea how she’d impact me for life?

Though I never knew her on this earthly soil
I am told on her knees at the altar she toiled
For loved ones and friends to know her dear Lord,
And to meet later on in Heaven’s reward.

She sang praises aloud as she strummed her guitar;
A gift that bequeathed to generations afar,
Down the line three or four; it’s really not odd.
The Word tells us that children are the heritage of God.

Then another great woman whom I knew very well
Taught me many fun sayings that I still like to tell:
Ducks on June bugs, Cox’s army, and old Carter’s pills
Live on in my mind and escape my lips still.

A fondness for old things, saving pennies and dimes;
Being with her was the very best of times.
Hair sets on the weekend,  going to the store;
I pray her into my dreams so I can see her once more.

She wouldn’t miss church if it was in her power
And many a Sunday, I’d drive her the half hour
To hear hellfire and brimstone, and pay her meager tithes
Oh how I’m thankful she was ever so wise.

Then there was Nannie, I guess I’m honored a bit
To have acquired from her some of my smart-alec wit.
From her I learned embroidery and crochet,
And never to smoke, because it takes breath away.

Sucking on cigarettes made breathing a chore
And we couldn’t do the things we’d done together before
Like walking the tracks and going to town
Had it not been for tobacco, she might still be around.

Then there was Grandma, the onliest one
Who lived in the city, which seemed kind of fun.
A single mom way before it was common
Taking care of her son, to that she did cotton.

A pride in her heart comparable to none
Was the gift she was given in my father, her son.
Working hard for your money, helping those in need
Were gifts that she gave me, priceless indeed.

Of course there’s my mother who has the patience of Job
The perpetual caretaker of all in her globe.
To pray without ceasing in Jesus good name
Is the jewel she gave me in the prize of life’s game.

To this day these women live on in my days,
And in the lives of my daughters, and their unique ways.
I’m nostalgic for all things from those days gone by
And I remember and recall with a smile and a sigh

These women who touched me and molded my heart
And showed me my Lord who set me apart
For His service and praise, though I’m really quite flawed
Thanks be to my maker, my redeemer, my God.

Somewhere inside me is an elderly soul
And many are the women who have helped me feel old.

©Marci Linson 2010

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Junk Stops Here!

I have decided that if I can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. My daughters are totally NOT neat freaks, so I’m not gonna be one either.

Sorry. I can’t quite wear the uniform for the "pig" team. I love my daughters, but we lovingly refer to them as pigs around here, due to their hog-pen way of life in their bedrooms. If clothes on the floor were mud, they’d be wollerin’ around in it all the time. Minus the smell, of course.

While I’m not an over-the-top, wig-out-if-there’s-a-hair-out-of-place neat freak, I do like for things to be at least nice, somewhat neat, and orderly.

My youngest daughter believes the utility room hall alcove area is her personal space for her shoes, backpack, basketballs, and duffel bag. Well, this ol’ sow got sick and tired of seeing my little piggy’s junk all over the place first-thing when I walk in the door. Despite my attempts at getting her to organize herself, it didn’t work. And before you judge me and say "My kid wouldn’t do that or I’d take this or that away, etc., " let me just say "Bull." We all live cluttered lives, if we’d be honest about it.

So, I decided to help her out just a bit by decorating her drop-off point just inside the door.

In the last couple of years I discovered vinyl sentiments, like those available from Uppercase Living, and retailers like Kohl’s and Michael’s. My favorite feature about Uppercase Living is, in addition to the thousands of designs and sentiments available, you can custom create your own removable expression. And that’s what I did for my daughter’s junk space.

The junk stops here!

I don’t have a before picture, but prior to my creative spell, the wall was painted a simple off-white, and I had a little wire shoe rack placed in the center.

I painted the wall a green color, called Crocodile Tears, available at Lowe’s. After it dried, I applied my new sentiment, The junk stops here! The sentiment was created in an off-white color.

Then, I took a sofa-type table I had that I wasn’t using, and painted its legs a creamy, off-white (they were forest green). The off-white really popped against the table's pine-colored top!

Then, I added a couple of baskets (from Target) that had been given to me as a housewarming gift a few years ago.

So, while it is still fairly cluttered, at least it’s a somewhat cute clutter. The only money I had in this project was the cost of the sentiment from Uppercase Living, which was probably around $15.00, and a quart of paint.

Other decorating projects I’ve done in the utility room (we might as well make work fun, right?) include hanging this cute "antiques" sign. My sister picked it up for me at a thrift store, as is! It is an old window, and had a lace template background painted on it, topped with a stencil of the word antiques.

Then, on the opposite wall, I hung a quilt rack (which was also a gift). On it, I fashioned a close line out of jute, then hung my mom’s doll quilt and dress on it. Also shown are vintage granny bonnets, two of which actually belonged to Kathern! I knew I could fit her into this posting somewhere! She actually wore that polka-dotted one when she’d go get clothes in off the line. On the top, I placed a few knick-knacks I had laying around the house.

Then, on my door, you can see I affixed a laundry sign, again, an Uppercase Living design. If you’re interested in Uppercase Living products, I have two friend who are consultants. Check them out! Dee Dolloff,, or Kelly Silvy, (hot links below). Both of these gals are great, I have bought from each of them!

Have fun making your dreary work areas and clutter spots fun places that really aren’t so bad after all!

Love, and happy junking and decorating!


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Kathern’s Candor and Quirkiness

I thought so much of my great-grandmother, and miss her so much, that I sometimes pray and ask God to please let me dream about her just so I can see her.

In my first post, I explained a little about Kathern, and some of her quirks that endeared her to me so much.

Well, I’m about to unload a few more tidbits about my take-no-prisoners, good-as-gold, you-ain’t-a-tellin’-me-nothin’, great-grandmother.

Oh lordy, she was a hoot! I have always loved the way that the elder set says it just like they see it. You see, she was always elder to me. When I was born, she was 64, and I spent a TON of time with her from then until she died, when she was 91. With Kathern, it was what it was, and that was all there was to it. The truth wasn’t bad, it was simply the truth.

Truth, combined with being hard of hearing can be a bad thing though. Of course, Kathern in her older years, became unable to hear as well as she once could. And, typically, when she would whisper she would do so in a "whisper-ey" tone of voice, but in a hush so loud that it would wake the dead. Case in point.

We were sitting in Sunday service one morning at Bowman Pentecostal Church. Of course, if Kathern didn’t recognize someone, she would move heaven and earth asking questions until she found out the identity.

Well, this large--really large--overweight woman was sitting in the pew right in front of us. And, as fate, miserable fate, would have it, Kathern had "ta know who it was, and needed to know rat now!" Keep in mind, that about two feet separated our pew from the pew of the "unknown woman." In her low, hushed, raspy whisper, in the middle of the church service, at a moment when it was so quiet you could hear a pin drop, Kathern leaned over to me (not that she needed to) and said, "Who is that great ol’ big fat woman up there?"

At the time, I was probably about 19 or 20 years old. I was mortified. I wanted to crawl under the pew, and go apologize profusely the to the great ol’ big fat woman, but all I could manage to do was to mouth the words to my great-grandmother, "Sshhhh, I’ll tell you later," to which she replied, in the same loud whisper, "Whaddya say sister?" Oh my word.

Then there was the time I brought a college friend over to her house for a visit. She’d already met Luann once, but of course, I reminded Kathern who Luann was when we got to the door. Kathern, aka Neno, greeted Luann with a, "Well honey, you’re a little bit bigger than the last time I saw you." Thank heavens Luann was a good sport and fond of the elderly like I was.

Of course that reminds of the time I was expecting my first child. Neno’s first cousin, Earnestine Riley, attended church with us. Neno had been gone for about six months by the time I started to show. I was at the piano at church, back facing the congregation, my usual spot on Sunday mornings. Earnestine hugged me after church and exclaimed in a sincere voice as sweet at honey, "Oh Marci, your bottom-end is just blossoming all over that piano bench." She was about eighty-five years old at that time. She could totally say that and get away with it. :)

What was it with these sweet old women and their all-too-keen observance of other women's weight?

And if things weren’t just the brutal truth, they were extremely urgent and dramatic at times. Once, as I was taking Neno grocery shopping, a group of about twenty motorcyclists passed us on Highway 76 by the Hillbilly Inn. Neno exclaimed, right hand gripping the door handle, and left hand pressed firmly into the console as if she were about to be pinned to the wall, "Oh my God it’s the Hell’s Angels!"

She was truly alarmed. About twenty years earlier, it was told that several from the Hell’s Angels motorcycle gang came to nearby Rockaway Beach and wreaked havoc on the little lake town. Neno was certain this covey of cycles, which were probably Honda Goldwings, was in town to do the same.

I drove her many times, to get groceries, in her brown Chevrolet Impala. We didn’t just go to one grocery store. No; we had to go to the Piggly Wiggly, Hart’s Supermarket, then Consumers. If she could get a can of pork and beans at Hart’s for a penny less than at Piggly Wiggly, you can bet your bottom dollar we were there! Never mind we’d suck forty times the savings in gas, but looking back, I wouldn’t trade that running around for anything.

Yes, she was a hoot. I think it’s time to say goodnight now; maybe I’ll have sweet dreams of my great-grandmother, if the Lord allows. Nighty night all. :)

Fun Use for an Old Kitchen Drawer

I salvaged this drawer from Kathern's house before it was torn down. Still makes me nauseous, weepy, and sentimental to know that old house is part of landfill now. But nothing in this life is permanent on this earth.

Anyway, I hung this drawer on a wall in my utility room as a primitive, fun, decorative piece.

Neno's old silverware and utility drawer.

It hasn't been the easiest "trinket" shelf to fill, as you can see it's spaces are long and narrow. I usually don't get in big hurry to fill spaces like this, because you never know when, and what, you will find that will be just the perfect thing.

For starters, I just looked around my house, acting like it was a store I'd never been in before. I call that, "making the familiar unfamiliar." So, I added a little milk bottle full of the petals of the first roses my husband gave me (before we were married). Then, on the bottom, I affixed the label off of an old apple crate, and added an old Springfield Grocer's notebook. Later, I added the vase of dried roses on top (quite honesty because I didn't know what else to do with them and didn't want to trash them yet).

Now, I have three spaces left to fill, so I eagerly look for just the right thing on my flea market and junkin' trips.

Don't have an old house from which you can scavenge a drawer? Never fear, look at flea markets, thrift stores, and yard sales. And my tip for flea marketing? Never pass one up, no matter how dirty or junky it looks. My favorites are the ones which have lots of junk and clutter on the outside; you never know what you will find, and usually at a pretty good price. And, don't be afraid to make an offer. What's the worst thing that will happen? They'll say no, shoot you another price, and more often than not, it will be a price you can live with.

Neno's Order notebook-Springfield Grocers,
Springfield, Missouri.
 Another thing I saved from Neno's kitchen cabinets was the hardware (drawer pulls). If you look at the picture of me doing dishes (on the sidebar of the blog page), you'll see round knobs about an inch and 3/4 round. Today, these knobs are the hardware on my daughters' cabinets in their bathroom. I'd post a picture of that, but, most of the time, their bathroom is uninhabitable, so I'm just gonna pass on that one.

Happy creating today; never dismiss something, like an old drawer, as useless. Have fun making the familiar unfamiliar!