Why I long to be Jane Goodall

I love you, Jane Goodall.  I really do.

I am filled with envy every time I think about you going off to Africa in the 60’s to watch baboons and chimpanzees and eat from the forest.  More than once I have said, “Why did God not choose me? I could have taken the silence, the nothingness, the moments of wondering what day it was.  Can you imagine?

Growing up, I would see pictures of Jane in National Geographic and actually dream about myself in khaki shorts, a faded button-up shirt, my hair pulled back in a ponytail and a journal. As a mom, I actually long to be her some days. 
Jane and Chimp.jpg

No Spanx, no need to wear wedges or shave my legs, no annoying vuvuzela blowing during the World Cup, no weeds to pull, no dentist appointments to make…just me and the silence and the chimps.

Sometimes I go for months without thinking about you, sweet Jane Goodall and your Chimps.  But about this time every year, I decide you took the easy way out.  You aren’t having to keep children entertained when it is 103 degrees outside or wondering how you will stretch a pound of hamburger meat into a meal for 6 or why you are the only one that knows how to replace empty toilet paper rolls.

But, let’s face it, I have a job.  A job that leaves me unsure of myself, frustrated and sometimes second-guessing God.  I question myself every day and think about what I should have done differently.  Being a mother is hard.  Should I have had the girls earlier?  Maybe we should have had two more? Have I loved them enough? Maybe we should have saved more, given more or asked more questions.

The best advice I got when the girls were younger was from an elderly man at the mall.  It was Christmas time.  The mall was packed and I needed that one item only the mall held.  The oldest was 4 and the youngest was 8 months old and both were hungry, tired and just over it.   I had already bribed, threatened and put myself in time out.  Having had enough, I went against my better judgment and bought a bag of processed, sugar covered,  gluten.  We were sitting in the middle aisle on a bench outside of Restoration Hardware.  As I was longing for the days when I would have nice things again, a man in his 80’s came and sat down next to us.  He smiled and I’m sure he could see the worn look on my face.   He asked what their ages were.  With a sigh, I told him 4 years and 8 months.  He then said something I have never forgotten.  He smiled, shook his head and said, “Oh that’s my favorite age.”  I looked at him like he had three eyes and honestly couldn’t even speak.  Then he said, “Always let the age your kids are at be your favorite.  Then you will never need to look back or ahead but can live in the moment.”

About this time, my oldest wiped her hands on the side of his pants and asked if he was as old as Moses.

Jane and the chimps flashed in my head again.

I have tried to live by his advice ever since.

 

Yes, I long to be Jane some days…but today, I’ll enjoy my favorite 19 and 16-year-olds.   I’m off to enjoy handing out money for gas, lunch and a cute new skirt at The Gap.

Allyson

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College New Student Conference 1988 vs. 2018

Thirty years ago, my parents took me to college orientation. They dropped me off at the University of North Texas gym, handed me a $20 bill for lunch and dinner and told me they would be back to pick me up at 9:00 pm when it was over.  My eyes were the size of saucers. I was scared to death.

It was a one-day affair that resembled a day at Six Flags without the Pink Things.   pink thing
It was full of roller coaster emotions, sweating like a pig and standing in lines, lots and lots of lines.  We took a picture for our college ID, learned the school song, and were hurried into the dressing room to hear from our degree choice. Then we walked in a slow line over to the Union for lunch, hand-wrote my schedule on a piece of colored paper, and handed it to a lady that had worked at the college for 102 years.   They divided us up to play in a co-ed kickball game and ended the day with a cold hot dog for dinner. Momma arrived back at the gym at 8:58 pm, high fived me and we returned home.

This is NOT, let me repeat, NOT how they do New Student Orientation now. college parents

Wow, my man and I took our oldest down to Texas A&M this week.  It was a three-day affair. Traditions, ways to send money, calendars, ways to put money on an account, academic support, staying safe, sports passes, yell practice, maroon shirts to buy, and registration for classes.  

I started realizing as we sat and listened for three days that my children have lead very sheltered lives.  

They have never seen a whole chicken, created a casserole from scratch, or watched bread rise.  

I haven’t shared the ecstasy of pulling towels out of the drier and burying your face into them, the satisfaction of cleaning the lint filter or how to vacuum to get perfect lines in the carpet.  

But here are a few insights we have given her:

  1. Underwear should be kept private, changed and not shared.
  2. Students that talk to their parents weekly, get remembered in their will.
  3. Deposits should always, at all times, exceed the withdrawals.
  4. Pursue every roach as if it was female, pregnant and ready to make its permanent home in your pantry.
  5. You will not always get what you want and sometimes your basic needs can be met on $2.38.
  6. Maroon shirts need to be kept away from your whites.
  7. Introduce yourself to teachers and professors.  It goes a long way.
  8. Faith, love, and family are really all you need.
  9. Don’t be scared to ask for help.
  10. And if your bed is uncomfortable, you can always sleep between me and your daddy!still sleeping with your parents

As we were walking away, I could hear the Sound of Music playing in my head,   “Climb every mountain, ford every stream, follow every rainbow till you find your dream.”  

Julie Andrews should have also sung about loans, financial aid, and scholarships. Mikayla New Student Conference

Tired but amazed!

Allyson

The Favorite Child

A mom was sitting with her grown children one night after a birthday party.  They were all sharing stories from childhood.  The youngest shared about a time they had taken a road trip and she was left at the gas station and no one noticed for 15 minutes.  The oldest made sure everyone knew he had it the hardest and all of the other siblings should be thankful that he paved the way for them.  There were stories of missed curfews, car accidents, and fishing trips with words that have yet to ever be spoken again.

Then the question was asked, same time, every time they all were together.

“Mom, which one of us was your favorite growing up?” Everyone laughed and knew exactly what their mom would say.  She had answered the same way all of their lives.  “I don’t have a favorite.  I love all of you equally.”  favorite child.jpg

But tonight she paused a little longer and looked at each of her children as they continued to laugh and argue that they were her favorite.

She cleared her throat and the whole room became silent.  And then she looked at each of her children and said, “Yes, you’re right.  One of you was my favorite.

My favorite was the one that was too sick to celebrate his 12th birthday, had chicken pox at Christmas and wore cast on his arm every year in April.

My favorite had a fever in the middle of the night, a nightmare every night straight for 6 weeks and she was the one in my arms in the emergency room.  My favorite child was the one I punished for lying, took the phone away because he was insensitivity to other people’s feelings and informed was a royal pain during Thanksgiving dinner.

My favorite child said dumb things for which there are no excuses.  He was selfish, immature, bad-tempered and self-centered.  She was lonely, unsure of what she wanted to do with the rest of her life, and needed to have “the talk” more than once.

The one I loved the most was the one that I watched struggle to read, struggle to find his way, and struggle to find the hangers in her closet.

So, yes, I did have a favorite and all of you were that child at one time or another. My favorite needed my love the most but deserved it the least.”

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Everyone sat silent.

And then their mom told everyone to stop looking around, grab their kids and go home so she could go to bed.

Go be amazing favorite children everywhere!  AND…call your mom and tell her you love her!

Allyson

Happy Father’s day, Daddy

I would say my family growing up was somewhere between Leave it to Beaver and The Griswold’s.  Honestly, we were more like the Griswold’s but my daddy, my daddy was Clark Kent.  (Seriously, he looked just like Christopher Reeves!)

 

He would go to this mysterious place every morning in a suit, tie, wing-tipped shoes and these awesome black-rimmed glasses.  He would climb in his Ford Granada, wave to us as we waited for the bus and off he would go to make us proud.

I pictured my daddy in meetings all day or sitting at a computer programming or just doing other important stuff like saving the day.  I knew he worked in the tall blue building in Dallas and drove that 3-hour commute every day.  He would come in from work, kiss my momma who was cooking dinner and then head back to his room to change out of his work clothes.  In a few minutes, in would walk “night-time-daddy.  We would sit at the table and talk and laugh and watch Wheel of Fortune. The Gilliam Family 1972

But, every summer, my daddy’s Super Bowl would happen, a trip to my grandparent’s in Oklahoma.  I think he actually lived for this trip each year. He would load up the station wagon, make sure all of us were sitting within an arm’s length of him, just in case, and plunk in a homemade cassette of his favorite songs. And then off we would go…5 hours in the car with four children, a wife and a stereo with tunes.

5 hours of tunes people…

We started our trip with Kenny Rogers.  (The Gambler and Lucille)  Then we would move to Elvis Presley and Marty Robbins (Love me, Blue Moon Turns to Gold, Paralyzed, How’s the World Treating You?, El Paso, Strawberry Roam)

And then, about an hour in,  the fun would begin. Everyone knew it was coming.  We would all sit up and get ready.  Daddy would reach for the volume control, turn it up a bit and the conversation with Momma would end.  Everyone cleared their throats, emptied our hands, just in case clapping need to happen, and knew exactly which part we each would sing.

Then…

 

 

“In 1814 we took a little trip
Along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississippi
We took a little bacon and we took a little beans
And we caught the bloody British in the town of New Orleans

We fired our guns and the British kept a-comin’
There wasn’t nigh as many as there was a while ago
We fired once more and they began to runnin’
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico”

Good ole Johnny Horton would boom through the factory speakers. No one talked, messed with the sibling sitting next to them or asked to stop so we could go to the bathroom.

Nope…we sang

and clapped

and sang

and laughed.

He made sure of it.

My daddy,

Along with Kenny, Elvis, Johnny, Waylon, and The Statler Brothers.

Happy Father’s Day to the man that taught us about God, the importance of working hard, how to love BIG and a Good Hearted Woman, Randolph Scott, and how to Sink the Bismarck.

I love you Daddy!!

 

Love in this Crazy Mess We Call Life

I’m worried about what a marriage means to the younger generation.

Facebook and Instagram and the Bachelorette have lied to them.

They’ve made our lives seem less than perfect.  They’ve made us see our imperfections and taught us how to add a filter to cover them up.  They’ve also made us think that falling in love is quick, easy and filled with fancy trips.

What I know after 27 years of marriage, is that every night is not a romantic party. We aren’t having candlelit dinners, buying each other expensive gifts, and talking about endless dreams at night.  Nope…we are eating Spaghetti, going to Home Depot and are praying that our hot water tank holds up for another year.

My Current Marriage Reality:

My sink is full of dishes, my floors need to be mopped and the only vacation we are going on this year is a trip to the lake with my parents…in their travel trailer… all 6 of us…with one bathroom.

My Current Marriage Reality:

I know how to use the slimming feature on pic monkey because I’ve gained 10 pounds in the past year. I know how to use the Sierra filter because I have sun damage from too much sun.  And our fancy, fun, family time means eating free popsicles on Friday nights.

My Current Marriage Reality:

My goodness girls, don’t get too jealous, but tonight we are both laying on the couch in our pajama pants with computers in our laps.  In the last hour, we have only said two words to each other and that was  “excuse me” for the bodily function that escaped without warning.

Glamorous life and marriage?

So if you need to know about how to keep love and a marriage together, you should ask people with a lifetime of experience.  So here is some advice from some experienced 63-103-year-olds.

They agree we all need these 5 things in the crazy mess we call life:

  1. Confidence. No not “everything in my life is great”confidence but, that we both bring worth to our marriage.  We also agree that we have an attractive quality that has nothing to do with our outward appearance.  (Dodged a bullet here, I was so worried my man wouldn’t be able to tell me what my attractive quality was but he finally came up with humor. That I find the light side of every situation.) short-quotes-personal2.jpg
  2. Happiness. Y’all, honestly, sometimes we fake it until we make it.   Everyone wants to be around happy people and wants to love happy people. Heck, it’s why we love dogs.  They are happy to see us, forgive easily and a small rub between the ears goes a long way. So focus your energy on thinking about and doing the things that make your marriage happy.Be-Happy-And-Smile.-Happiness-Quote.jpg
  3. Share experiences. We actually enjoy doing things together. (or see above, fake it until we make it)  We go to ballgames.  We shop garage sales.  We paint, go to church, and sit quietly on our couch together.  2984149-Eike-Batista-Quote-Nobody-is-happy-alone-To-share-experiences-is.jpg
  4. Depend on each other. He’s mine and I’m his.  We just depend on each other.  If he is happy, I’m happy.  If he is sad, I am sad.  We both know that we could survive without each other…but…we.DON’T.want.to…ever.husband-quote-deep-love.jpg
  5. Luck.  Even with all these characteristics, couples were aware that holding their marriage together has to do with a little luck and a whole lot of Jesus. The Price’s know that we have been lucky and that God has protected our marriage.  Luck brought us together and I remind my man every day how lucky he is to have me. 🙂  TRUTH:  We pray A LOT for each other, our family, and our marriage.Sam_Keen_Quote.png

Got to go because I’m headed out for a crazy adventure with my man.  We are headed to McDonald’s for breakfast, going garage sale-ing, and then hopeful taking a nap this afternoon.  Lucky, lucky him and me.

Have an amazing Saturday Friends!!

Allyson

 

Bringing Flowers Inside

I like to buy myself flowers every once in awhile.  I also love having flowers in my yard. But in our Texas heat, I get to enjoy my flowers in my yard for about 3.5 hours every year.

flowerarrangement7So I like to cut a few and bring them inside to brighten up my space for at least four days.  But when I put them in a vase, they often look like this.  bad flowerarrangement.jpg

While still any flowers in a vase are better than no flowers in a vase, I learned a cool trick last week.

I can’t wait to show you.

First, find your favorite vase and some scotch tape.  I love this one with a rectangular opening.flowerarrangement2

Then take the tape and make strips across that are about an inch apart.flowerarrangement3

Then do the same thing going to opposite direction. (It’s June.  Why in the world would I start taking pictures out in the HEAT?!?!)flowerarrangement5

Now add water to your vase.  I always put enough water to fill about 2/3 of the vase.flowerarrangement8

Then start with flowers with the biggest blooms.  flowerarrangement6So my beautiful hydrangeas will go first. Start by pulling the bottom leaves from the stems.flowerarrangement9

I try to keep whatever is in the water, leaf-free.  Leaves seem to muck up your water faster.flowerarrangement14

Add the biggest blooms to the little squares on the outer edge. I added two hydrangeas, one on each side.flowerarrangement13

Then I  start adding the other flowers into the middle squares.  The remaining outside squares are filled with greenery.  (I just cut some of my dusty miller, asparagus fern and an unknown little white flower I have growing in my yard.)

flowerarrangement10

And there you have it.  All of your little sweeties will be standing tall and will stay in their spot.  flowerarrangement11

Okay, you can do this.  I know you can!!

Flowers do make me happy!!

Go be amazing!

Allyson

Ten Southern Phrases I Couldn’t Live Without

Conversation while cooking dinner:

My man:  “What do we have to put on this squash?”

Youngest:  “Put a little seasoning salt and…”

My man:  “and O-r-l?”

Youngest:  “oi-l?”

My man:  “Yes, O-r-l.”

Me:  “Yes, oil.  Go.out.and.put.my.squash.on.the.grill. Please”

This before dinner conversation got me thinking about Southern pronunciations and praises.  Sometimes in the South,  you need a translator. We do have a mouthful of sayings that only Southerners understand. But, Southerners also know that sometimes it is the only way to get your point across.   If you hear, “bless your heart”, it’s probably delivered with a little edge and followed by a shake of a head and a smile. If someone is completely lost and things don’t look good, for him to understand, we say “He’s lost as a goose in a hailstorm.”  If you just heard your momma come home and you haven’t finished cleaning your room, she will definitely be “madder than a wet hen.”

So here are Ten Southern Phrases I couldn’t live without:home & living

Fixin’ To:  This one is as Southern as it gets.  We use this when we are going to do something.  I’m fixin’ to go to the store. She’s fixin’ to make sweet tea.

 

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Over Yonder:  When Darby was little, she asked my momma “where is yonder?”.  We use this as a distance marker. She is over yonder.  It’s over yonder by the wheat field.  If we want to emphasize the length, we add a word, “way over yonder.”  And don’t worry, when the Roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.

 

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I reckon:  Let’s see.  This one can mean a lot of different things:  I guess, I suppose, I might, I think.  I reckon’ we’ll be going to the lake this Saturday.

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She’s as pretty as a Peach:  Peaches are a southern thing.  We like them juicy and sweet.  This phrase is one of our highest compliments.  Now in our family, this phrase means a little something different because of the movie Lonesome Dove. My daddy begged each of us to name our daughters Peach.  We all knew we could find a better role model for our girls, really any name would be better.  ;0)

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Full as a Tick:  If you’ve ever been sitting on a porch in July petting a dog, you have a visual to go with this one.  Southerners know what full ticks look like.  This phrase means you have enjoyed a dinner at Granny’s house; grilled steaks, black-eyed peas, fresh corn, and angel food cake.  I’m full as a tick just dreaming about it.

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If the Creek don’t rise:  Let me translate.  Unless something out of our control happens, we will be there.  Y’all, my brother’s family really can’t get to places if the creek rises.  So we will see you at the wedding if the creek don’t rise.

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Hold your horses:  Wait. Stop. Don’t say another word. If you hear this, slow down.

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He’s as funny as all get out:  Not sure why we add “all get out” to words but we do, so don’t judge.  I was scared as all get out.  The weather was as bad as all get out.  “All get out” is a big deal y’all.

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Heavens to Betsy:  Who’s Betsy? Why is she in heaven? We use this is any situation that we don’t have an explanation for.  Heavens to Betsy, I can’t believe you came to visit.

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Goodness Gravy: We hold gravy up there with Jesus and our Mommas. When we use goodness gravy, we just can’t believe we did that or even worse, you did something.  Well, goodness gravy, I can’t believe you ran out of gas.

Dinner was wonderful by the way.  The fresh squash was great with seasoning salt and a little o-r-l, or oi-l or oil.  However, you pronounce it.

Go make Thursday amazing y’all!

Allyson