Enjoying life's adventures in a secluded mountain cabin

Posts tagged ‘friends’

My Little Purple Book

I am a collector.  I don’t have shelves that hold my treasures and my walls aren’t covered with masterfully done works of art.  I don’t have rows of clothes hanging in my closet, nor do I have shelves of shoes.  I don’t have a variety of handbags and I always wear the same three earrings, never-changing them for any reason.  And yes, you read that right.  Three earrings.  Not two.  Not four.  Three.  I don’t have drawers or bags of make-up and I don’t have umpteen bottles of hair products.

But, as I said, I am a collector.

I’m a collector of words.  If I could afford it, I’d have a hard back copy of every one of my favorite novels ever published.  I’d have rows and rows of books on everything from cooking to painting to fixing anything.  I’d love to one day have my own little library in my home, complete with the little sliding ladder to reach whatever would be stored on the top shelves.  But, besides books, I collect words.  I collect other people’s words and I keep my collection in a little velvet covered purple book.

I’ve been jotting down quotes for about ten years now.  Anytime I see or hear something that pulls at my heart-strings, or appeals to my psychotic counterpart that dwells deep within, or beckons that little kid that I still am at heart, I write it down.  I have quotes on everything from love to bubble gum.  Quotes about death and being born again.  Famous words about living a humble life and being a strong woman.  Proverbs regarding raising children and song lyrics that can bring even the strongest of men to tears.

I seek these quotes out whenever I can and I always try to jot them down, even if I don’t have my purple velvet book with me.  I’ve been known to write them on gum wrappers, napkins, receipts, and pretty much anything else you can think of.  But they always find their way into my book.

Mountain Man still doesn’t understand my collection.  He’s inquired about it several times throughout our time together and I’ve tried to explain it to him as best as I could.  He still doesn’t get it, though.  And really, I understand why he doesn’t get it.  I cannot give any real reason for my obsession with words.  I can’t give a plausible explanation for wanting to write someone else’s words down and keep them.  It makes absolutely no sense in the grand scheme of things.

But, in my world, it makes perfect sense.  My collection of quotes, sayings, bible verses, proverbs, song lyrics, and thoughts from other people remind me that no matter what I’m going through, someone else has been there, too.  No matter how elated I’m feeling, or how unbelievably loved, or how God-awful rotten, or how absolutely pathetic and pitiful and sad, someone else out there has felt that way too.  Someone else out there has been in my shoes and knows my frustrations and pain and love and happiness and helplessness and grief.  Someone else out there gets it.  My collection reminds me that I’m not alone in this world, that it can always be worse than what it really is, and that perhaps I truly might be one of the luckiest women in the world.  For even though my life is far from perfect and things rarely ever go as planned, if I died tomorrow, I can honestly say that I’ve truly lived.

I’ve experienced so many things in this world.  I’ve felt the pain and sting of life’s hurts.  I’ve felt the horrible ache and emptiness from the death of the only man who was always there for me, no matter what.  I’ve also felt the butterflies and the highest of highs whenever my love’s lips touch mine.   I’ve felt the hurt that only a Mother can know when her children disappoint her.  I’ve felt the disappointment from not acting on a gut feeling and following my heart.  I’ve felt a love like no other and basked in the joy that only true love can bring.  I’ve felt the hurt of knowing my friend is making the wrong decision but supporting her anyway because she’s my friend.  I’ve felt the sick worry that comes when my children are ill or hurt and I can’t help them.  I’ve felt the love in a stranger’s heart when I’ve offered a helping hand.

I have lived and my collection of words in my little purple book are a reflection of a life well lived.  I’ll have to replace my book soon because the pages are nearly full.  I’m not sure I’ll be able to find another little velvet covered purple book, but like so many other things in life, it’s not the cover that counts.  It’s what’s on the inside.


Do You Have the Courage of Your Convictions?

I have been truly blessed in this life to have a handful of very different people that I am fortunate enough to call friend.  These people vary in age, sex, religion, race and level of closeness to me at different times in my life.   Some of them are very present in each and every day, while others have come and gone and resurfaced again throughout my life.  But, each of these people knows exactly who they are and each of them knows just how special they are to me.

One of these dear friends never ceases to amaze me.  She’s just as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside and she always has a kind word for any who cross her path.  Sadly, I don’t get to see her as often as I’d like to anymore, but thanks to Facebook, we manage to keep in touch.  I happened upon something that she had posted and I found the hair on the back of my neck standing up and full body chills overcoming me as I read.  It wasn’t something that a lot of people want to talk about.  It wasn’t something cute or funny.  It wasn’t something silly or stupid.  It was something very serious and very real, especially to her.  It was a very controversial topic and something that she stands firm about.  She doesn’t make any bones about how she feels about this particular subject and she doesn’t apologize for how she feels.

But, and this is what sets her apart from a lot of other people out there, including myself sometimes, she was classy in the way she handled the opinions of others who vehemently disagreed with her position on the subject.  She didn’t discount what others had to say about the topic and she countered each and every comment with what seemed to be well thought out responses.  But, she never lost her cool or her integrity in the way she handled what I’m sure was a very delicate subject for her.

I added my two cents into the conversation and threw my opinion into the mix, too.  But I didn’t think that was enough. After reading her responses reminding others that in our great country, we can all agree to disagree, and that’s ok, I was compelled to comment again.  I made sure to tell her just how classy I thought she is and that I am so impressed with the way she handled herself.  I also told her that I wanna be just like her when I grown up.

So, it got me thinking.  Do I have the courage of my convictions?  Do you?  Would we be willing to not only stand up for what we believe in, but also allow others to disagree with our point of view and still maintain our integrity?

I’m still working on it.  But, I’d like to think I’m getting there.

A Celebration of Life


I’ve been to more viewings and funerals in my life than I care to remember.  My grandparents were always going to the funeral home for a viewing and to pay their respects to someone in the distant family or a co-worker or a brother or sister from church.  I’m talking four or five times a year.  Sometimes more.  I never, ever liked the visitation or the receiving of friends or the funeral or the graveside service.  Never.

In my family, it didn’t matter if you liked going or not.  You went out of respect, both to the dead and the family left behind.  I attended these functions and I paid my respects as best as I could as a little girl and I’m not real sure I could’ve done it without the one man who was always a constant in my life.   My Paw.  I loved that man better than anybody.  I had my Paw and he always walked with me during funerals or viewings and he somehow always made it better for me.  He knew when I was getting overwhelmed with all the sadness and grief and shaking hands and hugging and crying.  As a young girl who’d never lost anyone I was close to, I simply didn’t understand the pain of loss.  I knew it was sad when people died, but at that young age, I had no idea just how awful that gut wrenching feeling actually was.

Outside our local funeral home there was a fountain.  A fountain that was lit up at night.  A fountain containing various amounts of coins each and every time we went.  A wishing fountain of sorts.  Looking back, I’m not real sure why there was a fountain just outside the front door where friends and family waited in line to pay their respects, but I like to think it was placed there for people like me and Paw.  People that needed to get outside and breathe in some fresh air.  Air that wasn’t thick with sadness and grief.  People that needed to gaze upon that sparkling blue water streaming out of the top of the fountain and trickling back down onto the coins waiting at the bottom.

I cannot remember a time that we went to that funeral home that Paw didn’t give me a few coins to toss into that fountain.  However, he never, ever told me to make a wish before I tossed in my coins.  It wasn’t like the fountain at the mall where he or Granny would always remind me to be sure to make a wish.  For whatever reason, I guess you aren’t supposed to make wishes at this particular fountain.  But, he always made sure he had some change for me to toss in.  Paw always made those trips to the funeral home bearable for me.

Twelve years ago, I finally understood that awful, gut wrenching sadness that envelopes every fiber of your being when someone close to you dies.  Twelve years ago, I had to go to that same funeral home for a viewing and receiving of friends.  I had to walk by that same fountain.  Alone.  Paw was there, but it wasn’t the same.  This was different.  This time, I was in the line of the grieving family.  I was one of the crying, mourning family members.  I was hugging people and shaking people’s hands, some I knew well, other’s I’d never seen before in my life.  This time, I couldn’t escape to the night air and gaze at the fountain and toss coins in to get away from all the sadness.  There was no escaping it.  And Paw was not beside me to make it all better.  This time, it was Paw’s visitation and receiving of friends and those days surrounding his death and his funeral were some of the worst days of my life.

My step Dad’s Mom recently died on the exact same day that my Paw did.  Twelve years apart.  I attended her funeral today.  The preacher kept calling it a Home Going Celebration.  A Celebration of Life.  As I previously stated, I’ve been to a whole lot of funerals, but I think today just mighta been my very first Celebration of Life.  I’ve heard people talk about them before, but I’d never experienced one.

This was exactly the way a funeral should be.  Sure, there were tears.  There was sadness.  There was grief.  There was all that awfulness that surrounds death.  But there was also laughter and rejoicing.  There were songs of praise being sung for having this woman here on earth.  There were many thanks to her family and to God for having the privilege of have known this woman.  It was truly a first for me and there were moments when I was deeply touched and moved by all of this Celebration of Life.

It made me miss Paw so terribly bad and it made me wish we’d have had a Celebration of Life for him when he died instead of all that crying and sadness and what seemed like never-ending grief and pain.  I know in my heart of hearts that he’s in Heaven and that he’s happier where he’s at, just like my step Dad’s Mom.

That doesn’t make me miss him any less.


Christmas Stuff vs Everyday Stuff

Every year, sometime during the weekend following Thanksgiving, all of our Christmas stuff comes out of hiding and we hang, drape, wrap, prop, stand, or place our decorations on anything and everything that will hold them.  And let me tell ya, we have a lot of Christmas stuff.  I’ve always had a great deal of holiday decorations, usually adding a little more to the collection every year.  Then, I met Mountain Man and his Christmas collection was quite impressive, too.  After about a year, we decided to move in together, or shack up, depending on which region of the country you’re in.  In fact, that first summer we were living together, Mountain Man had the brilliant idea of having a shacking up party.  Sadly, we never got around to throwing this little shin dig.  Anyway, back to the Christmas stuff.

When I moved up to his mountain cabin, it was already fully furnished and had everything anyone could ever possibly need, so most of my belongings went into storage.  I only brought my clothes and personal day-to-day items, and some others things that I just couldn’t live without.  You know, the little things that bring a smile to your face when you see them lying around your house.  One of mine is a small copy of my favorite painting, Starry Night, that my oldest son presented to me one Mother’s Day long ago.  Another is a glass turtle that I cannot recall where it came from, but it just makes me smile when I see it.

We didn’t bring any of the Christmas stuff with us up here because we really weren’t sure just how long we’d be staying up here on top of the mountain.  That first summer, I really thought we’d be gone by the time the first flakes began to fly.  So when the holiday season arrived and we were still here, it was kinda exciting to go dig all of my Christmas boxes out of storage and pull all of Mountain Man’s out that were stored around the cabin.  Exciting might be an understatement here.  I was as giddy as a school girl!

We had so much stuff!!!  Together we had three full size artificial trees and at least four small ones!  That’s not even counting the artificial pines that stand on either side of the fireplace year round that would be decorated, too!  And we were bound and determined that each and every one of our trees would be put up and decorated.  I’d finally found a man who loves Christmas as much as I do!!!

In the past, I had always had to put all of my everyday stuff up in order to make room for all of my Christmas stuff and now that there were two different collections of Santa’s and snowmen and Christmas moose and villages and snow globes, we were definitely gonna have to pack up all the cabin stuff, too.  By the time we finished placing all of our beloved holiday treasures around the cabin and decorating all nine of our trees, it was gorgeous!  An absolutely stunning Christmas display in a snowy cabin perched high upon a mountain top.  It was every Christmas lover’s dream come true!

I believe Mountain Man said it best, though.  He took one look at the living room alone and said that it looked like a Christmas store threw up in there!  And he was right.  I loved it!  And I think he loved it, too.  But, I don’t think either of us thought we’d have that much stuff when we first started converging our two collections.

That first Christmas together in the cabin was wonderful, just like every other Christmas we’ve shared.  My problem today lies in the fact that it’s now January 2nd and it’s time to take down all the pretty red and green decorations and pack them all away again until next year.  It’s time to get all of our everyday stuff back out.  Don’t get me wrong.  All the everyday stuff is nice and pretty, too.  But it’s not the Christmas stuff.  It’s just not as shiny and happy and whimsical as the holiday stuff.  Each year, I’m always kinda sad to see the Santa’s and snowmen and Christmas moose and villages and snow globes go back into their boxes and hide away for the next eleven months.

I’ve not really bought anything for the house since I moved into the cabin with Mountain Man.  I used to see things that caught my eye and if they weren’t too awfully extravagant, I’d buy them and bring them home with me and they’d find a new home alongside all my other little treasures that just make me happy.  I’m thinking it might be time to start adding to my whimsical, often kooky, sometimes off the wall collection of everyday stuff.  I’m thinking Mountain Man and I need to find some things that are ours.  Things to hang, drape, wrap, prop, stand, or place throughout the cabin that will bring back fond memories and smiles to our faces every time we see them.

Perhaps then, having to put all the Christmas stuff away and unwrapping all the everyday stuff won’t be such a dreaded chore anymore, but a more exciting, thrilling job.  One that can be just as happy as cracking open that first Christmas box right after Thanksgiving.

Home Sweet Home

This past weekend, Mountain Man and I took a little road trip out to the mid-West for a weddin’.  It was just us on this trip, no kids allowed!  As much as we love our kiddies, it was sooooooo wonderfully fantabulous to spend a few days alone together.  We enjoyed each other and the company of family and good friends and we’re already looking forward to the next time we get to be alone again.  If you know me personally, then you know that this doesn’t happen very often for us.

Nothing but the open road ahead of us.

One thing that always gets me when we head back to Mountain Man’s home state is just how flat everything is.  I’m talking flat!!!!!  This was my second trip to the mid-West, and it still just amazes me how far you can see.  It’s breathtaking.

Anybody that knows me knows that I love a good road trip and I love seeing different parts of this great nation of ours, but any of you that have ever been on a long road trip knows just how good it is to get back home, too.

Home Sweet Home

Now that’s more like it!  After living in our little slice of Heaven on earth, I’m not sure this Mountain Gal could ever live anywhere else in the world!  But I’ll be more than ready for the next road trip whenever the time comes!!!

The Battle

I have come to the point in my life that I have dreaded for so long.  I’ve reached the proverbial end of my rope.  And I knew it was coming.  I knew it was gonna happen.  I have no grand illusions of getting through these next few years unscathed.  But I really, really wasn’t expecting it to be this hard.

Teenagers.  More specifically, a teenage boy.  Two little, seemingly insignificant words, but for me, they inflict great stress, worry, fear, doubt, and at times, hatred.

Hatred might be too strong of a word.  I swear, I don’t really hate this once wonderful boy.  But, at times, I just want to run as far away from him as I possibly can and never look back!  Any parent of a teenager can relate.  I hope.  If not, then please have mercy on me and don’t judge me too harshly.

I know that teenagers are, at times, completely foreign to us parents who are just trying to help our children turn into productive members of society.  But, I swear, and I know each generation of parents says this about their kids, but I swear, these kids today are worse than I ever was growing up.  And Lord knows I was one mouthy teenager.  God bless my poor Mama for having to endure me.  But I truly believe, with all my heart and soul, that my Mama woulda killed me for sure if I’d have done some of the things my son is trying to get away with.  I say trying because I’ve not lost complete control… yet.

That being said, as previously stated, I do think I’m at the end of my rope with this kid.  I think my breaking point has been reached and it’s time for an overhaul before things get really outta hand.  Right now, it’s mostly just the normal teenage crap that I’m having to deal with; the mouthiness, the know it all syndrome, the I’ll be nice long enough to get my way syndrome, the I don’t know or I forgot syndrome, etc.  Any of y’all proud parents of older kids out there knows exactly what I’m talking about.  But I feel like I’ve gotta get this thing under control or it’s gonna morph into something far worse than just a know it all kid who’s sassy and lazy.

And my absolute favorite response from everyone I’ve talked to about this, “It’s gonna get worse before it gets better so prepare yourself.”  Uggghhh!

What the heck am I supposed to do with that kind of honesty?  Couldn’t they just lie to me?  Just a little?  Just enough to give me a little glimmer of hope for a brighter tomorrow?

The truth is, No, they couldn’t.  Because I’m not a woman who wants the truth sugar-coated.  I want the cold hard facts.  These same people keeping reassuring me that things will get better and that this is just a phase that all teenagers go through and that I just have to hold my ground and stay on him and it’ll all work itself out in the end.  I sure do hope they’re all right.

My biggest problem is that I’m sometimes a little too lenient and I have times when I’m not very consistent.  And I’m learning that this is probably the key to my whole problem here.  But in my defense, he didn’t come with an instruction manual and I vehemently loathe playing the bad guy all the time!  This past week I found myself wishing for just one day, one day, without any tension or conflict with this kid.  Just one day where I could sit back and enjoy being with this once wonderful boy that I know is still hiding somewhere deep within the recesses of all this ugliness that just seems to emanate from this kid.

Bam!  Reality set in real quick and he and I had a Come-to-Jesus meeting the other day and here I am, playing the bad guy, yet again.  I see all these other families where they appear to have good relationships with their kids and the mothers don’t look like they’re gonna climb a clock tower with an Uzi and the fathers are cool, calm and collected and their kids are always just so polite…  Wait a minute!

On the outside, we look like that, too!!!  Because for all his faults, that boy of mine is always well behaved and very polite when we’re out together with friends or at a family function.  He’s always on his best behavior at those times.  It’s only when we’re alone together that he shows his behind!  Maybe, just maybe, most, if not all, of these other families are having the same kinds of issues at their house.  Perhaps, all these other seemingly “perfect” families aren’t so perfect after all.  Maybe they’re all just trying to muddle through these teenage years just like we are!  And perhaps their kids, just like mine, are really good people inside and they’re just trying to find their way through all the hormonal changes and peer pressure and sexual changes and every other weird thing that happens when you’re a teenager.  Maybe…

But, that doesn’t stop me from wanting peace and harmony in my house again.  And it sure doesn’t mean that my rope just extended a few more feet.  There will still be order and civility in our house!  Teenagers or no teenagers!  I’m still working on cracking the code for turning this torturous monster/loving boy into a good man one day.  I’ll let y’all know if I figure it out.  If any of you out there have any suggestions, feel free to share.  I’m always open to learning new things.  And I promise not to climb any clock towers any time soon.

Thanks again for being patient with me.

A Busy Bee

I’ve been a very busy girl for the past few days and I’ve just not had the time to write like I really wanted to.  We’ve had company up here at the cabin and we were busy enjoying our time with them, so getting online to do anything, let alone write, was the absolute last thing on my mind.

I will do better.  I will do better.  I will do better.


Do you believe in the power of positive thinking?  I’m gonna try to.

I will do better.  I will do better.  I will do better.


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