Archive for February, 2014

My Winter Ennui

You know that whole S.A.D. thing, that Seasonal Affect Disorder where you get all listless and depressed in the winter and you need one of those light box thingys to reset your body clock, or something?

Yeah, I think I have that.

Except for the depressed part. I don’t really feel depressed. And I don’t really want to climb back into bed and sleep all day, and I’m not grouchy or catatonic or weepy. Basically, I’m just PROFOUNDLY READY FOR SPRINGTIME TO GET HERE; but that doesn’t get its own acronym or the cool light box thingy, so I’m sticking with the S.A.D. self-diagnosis. That definitely has more gravitas than saying I’m just longing to see bright yellow sunshine streaming through my windows and to sit out on the porch swing swigging watermelon lemonade and waving at cars again…  But dang, I really am.

1light box

Part of my lethargy might be because I just don’t really do as much when the weather is crummy. Russ and I are rarely venturing out on our evening constitutional walk around the neighborhood these days, which I miss. Yes, we realize we are weenies but we have an aversion to freezing our faces off. We did take advantage of a brief 50-something-degree day recently and ‘put our feet on our town’ as we like to say. It helped, but frankly it’s just not as much fun when it’s more of a brisk walk than a leisurely stroll. We definitely don’t run into as many of our friends around here as we do the rest of the year, because I guess everybody else is sort of hibernating, too. Honestly, I am just plain OVER the cold, monochromatic days of February… Color me poised and ready for spring.

So. What’s life like where you guys are? Let’s consider this blog post a conversation, rather than an essay– I’m not being polite, I’m actually interested in how you are doing and what’s going on, so talk to me, people!

OK, I’ll start.

Besides my Seasonal Affect Disorder– please feel free to add me to your church’s prayer chain– life is rocking along here in the Buckle. I definitely miss my new-best-friend Kimi-from-up-the-street, who now stays over in Nashville during the school week and only comes home on the weekends. (Message to Kimi: Ok, this isn’t cute any more, forget all that “understanding friend” crap I fed you when you first started commuting– you need to BE HERE RIGHT NOW! *stamps foot*) Let’s see, what else… Oh, I finally hung Mama’s bird feeder from a branch on the magnolia tree in the front yard, and it’s doing a booming business. I’ll never get as many cardinals as she did, but we sure have our share, which makes me smile every time I see those flashes of red among the waxy green magnolia leaves. Mom used to call me and give me the daily report– “I won’t keep you, I just had to tell you I counted 13 cardinals at the feeder this morning!”

Remember this picture from her back yard?


We only have the starter-kit version going on so far…


In other critter-related news, due to the ridiculously low temperatures lately, the two porch cats we inherited with the house have now intermittently (and TEMPORARILY) become parlor cats–


That’s Porch Cat, aka Porchy. She’s too cool for everything.


And that’s Bitch Cat, aka Bitchy. Look deep into her eyes and you’ll start to see how she got her name.

The dogs, as you can imagine, are THRILLED with this new development.


As is Russ.

How I EVER ended up with man who tolerates but is most definitely not completely enamored with all things furry and feathered, I’ll never know– but, not unlike what I did with mushrooms when we first got married, I still hold out hope that repeated exposure will someday result in Russ waking up one morning, sitting bolt upright in bed and announcing, “You know what we need around here? A PUPPY!” It hasn’t happened yet with mushrooms, but he eats them in my spaghetti sauce, etc. all the time and hasn’t vomited or run screaming from the table so, yeah, I think it’s working.

Speaking of God’s creatures, Madi Rose recently got a fish. Ok, she got two fishes, the first one croaked. They’re betta (beta?) fish, you know those surly ones that are in those way-too-little containers at PetSmart and you can only get one because if you get two they’ll kill each other? Yeah, never appealed to me, but that child has yet to meet an animal she doesn’t immediately start talking baby-talk to and wants to cuddle, so it kind of stands to reason that she’d find them adorable. It took her two days to settle on The Perfect Name for the first one, and she made it a veritable Betta Fish Palace in a tricked out jumbo-sized former pickle jar in her apartment bedroom. (Don’t worry, she totally cleaned it out and soaked it, blah blah blah, that’s not what killed the fish. She Googled it, so she knows.) However she found out the hard way that they are apparently ULTRA sensitive to temperature changes in their water… Oops. She was horrified of course, and in her typical low-key way she posted a flurry of tweets expressing her feelings:

1MADItheTAFFThen after a proper grieving period of 24 hours or so, she got back on the horse and got another fish (to mix metaphors.) I tried to get her to name this one Sid Fishus, but she passed– so far it just has a nickname:



Hmm, what else…

Oh yeah, I took Charlotte up to Indiana to ski with some of her school friends last week. She has never had a pair of skis on in her life, but in classic Charlo fashion, she had a ball– fell a lot, but with the attentive administrations of her friend Eric and his sweet dad, she managed to stay out there and have fun for HOURS. She also perfected the art of butt-skiing, and I have the photos to prove it. When they finally took a break to eat something, Charlotte came bouncing in all red-cheeked and smiling, so I asked her if she was getting the hang of it and she cheerily said, “No, I totally suck, AND I am terrified out of my mind every single minute!” Then she happily headed out again and I didn’t see her again for a few hours.




(I’m so glad we had kids. I just love those girls.)

Well, that about covers it around here, so now it’s your turn–  what’s up?

When The Unthinkable Happens

1angel1 It’s quiet here in the parlor.

The dogs are happily snoozing on top of the couch cushions, Russ and Charlotte are sleeping in upstairs, I’ve had one cup of coffee and I’m getting ready to go fix another one. I can hear the occasional car go by. I can see the red berries of my holly tree right outside of the window. I’m grateful for those thick velvet curtains that frame my wavy-glass, not-very-well-insulated old windows, but I’m still going to tuck this fuzzy throw around my legs– it’s a gray, cold day here in the Buckle.

I’m feeling kind of cold and gray inside, too. Today Russ and I will drive in to Franklin and attend the funeral of a friend’s 24 year old daughter who was killed in a car accident during the recent ice storm in Alabama. I never met the young woman who is being buried today, but I know her father, and so many of their friends and church family. I cannot begin to imagine the kind of pain they are experiencing right now. What is your morning like on the day you are going to put your child in the ground? My prayer is that they still are in the lingering shock stage of this shattering experience, at least enough to get them through today.

I have several friends who have buried children. The circumstances were all different, but all equally senseless and tragic and forever life-altering. It is the number one fear of every person who has ever loved another person, that they will be irrevocably taken from you– but in the case of your own child, it just seems so WRONG on some global, universal scale. Even though I absolutely believe in life after death, and that our souls are immortal, somehow that seems like cold comfort when you are saying goodbye to the precious, mortal body that housed the spirit of your child. And for some reason– probably because my own Madi Rose is close to the same age– it feels even more bizarre that the young woman that lost her life was in her early 20’s. She had survived the vulnerable toddler/small child years, when there are SO many different ways they can be hurt or worse. She made it through the tempestuous teen years, when some people I know have lost children to drugs or suicide. She had graduated from college, moved a couple of states away from her family and was starting her life and career. As a parent I would kind of had a tendency to think, “OK, we’ve successfully raised and ‘launched’ her,  she’s on her way– whew, I can relax a little now!” But you never really can, can you?

One of the things that struck me when my Mom died last year was that I had just lost the one person on this earth that I KNEW prayed for me every single day. A selfish thought, maybe, but it was kind of sobering. I knew that as long as Mama was alive and in her right mind, she was ‘lifting up ‘ her children and grandchilden to God daily. She was saying our names out loud, asking for protection and blessing and for God to be real to us and work in our lives. And part of the enormous loss of that amazingly feisty little spirit was the loss of that certainty, of that covering of prayer, straight from a mother’s heart to her/our Father’s heart. I don’t really feel less protected or blessed since she’s not here on earth to pray for me any more. But I do feel a little less, well, loved.

The Yake family needs your prayers today, and for lots of days to come. The only way through this is to just go through this, I guess. But knowing that there are people all over the world who are asking God for grace, peace and mercy on your behalf in your time of grief might help a little. I hope so, because for the life of me I can’t think of anything else that might. I have to keep reminding myself that God knows what it feels like to lose a child, too.

And maybe you can say their beloved child’s name out loud– it’s Emily. 





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