The Happiest Days

The happiest days are the days when babies come!   
~Melanie from Gone With the Wind

Today is a happy day...well it really started yesterday.  Yesterday my parent's 7th grandchild was born.  My younger brother, Cotton, had his third child.  He's now in the big time.  It's interesting when you go from man on man to zone coverage.  You parents of 3+ kids know.  If there is silence, something bad is going down.  But I know that the happiest of days are the ones when babies are born.
I was scrolling through my sister-in-laws pictures and loved seeing all of the ones of their older two with the new baby.  It made me think back to when all of my chicks were little.  I was fine until I saw one picture.  It is a picture that broke my heart.  I'm going to admit my selfishness upfront, right now.  It was a pic of her mom with the new baby.  I realized that it is a picture my mom and dad will never have.  And for some reason today, the grief from that blindsided me out of nowhere.…

Throw Kindness

I recently had to talk to a child at school about her safety.  She was afraid that something bad would happen to her if someone dangerous broke into the school.  As we talked, I started really stewing about what she was telling me.  Here are my thoughts about stopping school violence.  I don't have the answer, but I know what my responsibility is as a parent.

1.  I have to teach my children to, first and foremost, be kind.  Especially to those who need it most.  People say they value kindness, but when I look at the state of our country and communities I wonder how committed we are to it.  I walk the halls and am in class with students all day.  I have seen the looks and the mean giggles towards some students that a few have thought it was funny to give.  How it breaks my heart.  The ones they are laughing at need acceptance, but may not know how to ask for it.

2.  Teach your child to stand up for those weaker than themselves.  We all must stand for those who are weak; those who …

Never Stop Learning

And Loving... I recently started a new job.  Yes, at my age it can be a little scary, but it's been great.  Before I go forward, a little back story first...

...For the last 4 1/2 years I have been a sub in my children's school system.  (if you are a mom, love kids, and need a great way to make a little spending money, I highly recommend it.)  I loved being a sub!  I was able to be like everyone's favorite aunt.  You know the one I'm talking about.  She the one who comes in and loves you for you.  She helps you get through the have to's so you can have a little fun while your mom's not around.

The way a sub enters a classroom is SO important.  You have to be confident, because it's true the children can smell fear, but you also have to be available to the kids:  available to offer an ear, extra help, smiles, a few hugs, and maybe even a little discipline in a life-giving way.

We would play 4 corners if everyone finished with their work.  We would listen to…

Another Trip Around the Sun

Today is a happy day  It's Hopson's birthday.  He's 29...again.  He's off with Harry & Henry hunting in Clarksdale.  It's his birthday & I want him to do what he loves.  I think he would really love it if it were warm outside so he could sit on the porch at the lake during the gloaming .  It's his favorite time of day.  He would be drinking a beer & playing Rummikub with the fam.  There would be love, lots of laughter & me getting eaten by mosquitoes.  For his birthday I didn't spend any money.  It's one of the things he always wants.  Hopson works hard for our fam & he is the best builder, fixer, ski instructor (water & snow) & manliness passer oner around. 

I did get a chuckle at his expense the other night.  He loves to brag about how he still gets carded.  We had a Costco date, and as we were checking out, the wine he was purchasing was scanned right over the bar-code reader & no one was asked to provide ID.  He of c…

It's Called Soul Food for a Reason

It is called soul food for a reason & I have my own definition too.  To me, soul food is feel good food.  It reminds me of my grandmother's & mother's kitchens.   Old school southern cooks are some of the best around.  Do you think they worry about fat, sodium, or calories?  Um, no.  No they don't.  They want you to leave full and happy.  The biggest insult to a soul food cook is for you to leave hungry.  If you want bland, soul food is not for you.  Anyway, who wants bland?  Not I, said the pig. 

In case some of you are not from the deep south & wonder what in the world is soul food, I found a great website that describes what it is.  I love the line that says:  "...all soul food is southern food, but not all southern food is soul food".  Amen to that.  If you've never eaten soul food, I'm so sorry.  It's homemade with heaps of love, so you an have happiness on your plate. 

I love collard greens, but they have to be cooked right.  (as all…

New Recipe!!! It's Thai...

Ok, I have a new recipe for y'all & I'm so EXCITED.  I know that I should post it on a Measure of Joy, but I haven't posted anything on there since 2013.  Wait, what?  That's 4 years.  Yikes!  I'll post it there too.  OMG.

It has finally cooled down from the raging summer we had this year.  We had a few weeks of cooler weather in, I think, early September, but that was a joke.  It happens to us every year.  We have a cooler spell for about 2 weeks & we think fall is here!  Then we act shocked when it shoots back into the 90's or high 80's until November.  (there's usually humidity that goes with it and makes it feel like you're walking around with a wet towel on your head.)

With the cooler weather brings, for me, soup season.  My people are sick of the same old soups though.  Chili, a southern staple.  We also have wonderful variations of white chicken chili and taco soup.  I make beer cheese soup, vegetable soup, vegetable soup with beef, a…

The House that Love Built

A friend from grade school was going through old pictures and found a picture of the house I grew up in.  I have wonderful memories from that home.  We played football in the front yard, swam in the pool, built homecoming signs, and watched movies and the 1984 Olympics.  My parents let me invite the entire 8th grade over to swim the day we officially became 9th graders.  That house is filled with laughter.   

My parents didn't care about your background.  They didn't care what kind of home you came from.  They wanted you to feel loved and accepted when you came over to our house.  It was a house that love built. 

It's funny looking back.  You think that some kids have it all together just to find out they saw themselves as misfits.  I was always the one who felt like I was on the fringe.  Not cool, not as smart as I wanted to be, not a lot of things.  I wonder how many other kids felt & feel like that today?  Social media allows kids to only show the best of themselve…