Sunday, January 30, 2011

Why Life Really is Grand



I love my Papa Smurf in a Toy Train life.

He turns up in my kitchen and I didn't even hear him clacking down the rails. I didn't even know there were rails.

I just never know what might happen around here, but a solid seven times out of ten, the surprise is one that makes me smile.

I wouldn't have scripted this life of mine. This heart could not possibly have been inventive enough and I would have grossly underestimated my bravery.

But thanks be to the High Heavens, it wasn't up to me to decide.

I come in from a whirl-wind trip and stay the next entire day in my jammies. I tote Silas around like a happy monkey boy and bake peach cobbler at 10 p.m.

One day later, I invite Ruby's birth family into my kitchen and there's no tip-toeing around, no awkward silences. We have cut our groove. We are family, and our heart-beats sound awfully alike.

What a surprise.

This is proof that you might think you know the span of your own bravery, but as surely as we huddled together around paper plates of cheese and pear cake, in our stocking feet, you do not.

We wrapped our too-short time up in a loose bow and the sun hunkered down around us, en route to a different surprise: Dinner at Texas Roadhouse.

Well, that's no big surprise.

But our dinner date was brand new. He was 17 and dressed up in a shirt emblazoned with pistols and a skull, his jeans down around his hips, his phone a compact security blanket.

He had never eaten in a restaurant where they bring the food to you.

He had steak at our urging, and then dessert, because shouldn't everyone have cheesecake to celebrate their 17th year? We thought so.

He was infinitely more out of place than I have probably ever been.

But he answered our questions and before long, he asked a few of his own. His shy eyes kept careful watch on all of us, on everything. He took it in and I swear I saw a real smile once or twice - a real one.

You think you know how brave you are, but you are wrong, because there are families stitched together across this world by ribbons of trust, and there are teenaged boys walking through life with an absence of tangible love, celebrated by almost no one.

All of them choose to see beyond what closes in around them. They go places they never thought they'd go. They trust in a way they never thought they'd trust. Love is made real to them in ways they would have never dreamed, all because they were braver than they knew.

And so are you.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Making Sense of Bliss(dom)

I'm home.

It took 9 hours, a bag of chocolate and a visit from a locksmith, but we made it.

I'm still processing the last few days and I find myself at a rare loss for words.

What I know for sure is this: I met some fantastic women. These are women with hearts as big as the open road. They are quiet and loud and every increment in between, and if they're anything like me, that volume dial has a mind of its own.

I was a shell-seeker this week. A soul-seeker. I walked the gaudy, carpet shoreline, sometimes alone, and I found treasure. I plucked up seaglass eyes of calm, tender hearts the perfect pale-pink shade of a conch. It's a gift to place brand new treasure into my pocket. It's a gift unfit for my humble words when someone grabs hold of me and slips me into theirs.

I felt lost sometimes, and very unknown.

I felt the scratch of comparison that would lead me to believe, at this moment or that, that what I do here just really isn't enough, in the grand scheme of things. I'm too scattered here. I need a "neesh".

That nasty fella, Insecurity, nagged at the edges of my mind. I'm not what they expected. I'm too much, not enough.

Then I would reach into my pocket, sifting my treasures through sands of truth. The smooth and jagged edges all fit nicely in my palm and I would remember - I do what I do, I am what I am. I don't try to do, I don't try to be, and I've always preferred the hokey pronunciation, "nich", anyway.

So this is my take-away.

And this.

And this.

There are more, and you know who you are, and I'll not forget. I hope my gratitude for you shined so brightly that you had no choice but to see your own reflection - every beautiful thing that you are - when you looked me in the eye.

Thank you, Treasure Girls. Thank you for listening to my heart and making me believe that everything inside is just right.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Are Re-vwarr



So, it appears that I'm headed to Blissdom tomorrow.

It seems so.

It was a very last minute decision and it's a good thing, because I've been a little jittery ever since deciding.

I was on the fence for 2.7 days, but one of my Soul Sisters up and decided to hitch a ride and go visit her sister. A fun traveling companion sealed the deal. I like to call her J Flo. You should try it, too.



It became obvious to me that I should go buy a new wardrobe, new boots, new luggage, get a make-over, get a cackle transplant and find a way to reduce the clawishness of my hands.

I settled for:
* A clearance rack sweater ($15 at Loft!)
* A pair of borrowed boots. (Thanks, Heather!)

That is all.

Take me or leave me.

But please, take me.

You shalt know me by mine cackle.

And the talons.

I have not packed yet. I've been busy casting a city park out of clay, making rootbeer floats, and biting my nails. (Theoretically speaking.)

If you don't hear from me by Sunday, send help.

I know not a single soul in attendance. At least not that I know of. Wouldn't it be a hoot if my High School English teacher turned up at Blissdom? Or better yet, Mr. Davis?

I wouldn't put it past Blissdom. No, I would not.

Thank you for your Massage Therapy suggestions. I've passed them along to Keisha. We loved Urban Knead, but cracked up at its placement in our little ol' podunk hometown. Knead and Mend are top contenders at this point, although I realize only now that I have not consulted Calvin on this critical matter.

By the way, does it annoy you when I post photos which are entirely unrelated to the topic at hand?

Does it annoy you when I take my pre-travel jitters out on you?

On that note, the State of the Union address is queued up and I shall bid you a day.

True Love Always,
Shannanigan

Monday, January 24, 2011

Garage Sale III - More for Home

First - I have a question for you.
It may well be the most important question I've ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever asked you.

If your sister was a Licensed Massage Therapist and she was about to open up her own office, what would be a great, catchy name for her business?

Please advise.

***********************************

And now, Round Three!!

Item 1) Aqua "Fresh Linens" sign.

Sold to Jean!

Measures 5.5" X 20"

I bought this on Ebay years ago, thus proving that I was ahead of the aqua wave that seems to have swept over the nation. (Can you blame us?)

Price: $15 (free shipping)

Local Pick-Up: $10


Item 2) The clock is back!

Retail: $100

Price: $40 (free shipping)

Local Pick-Up: $25


(Here she is in her early years, in our old home. Sniff!)


Item 3) Vintage salt jar
Sold to Sarah!

Well, I don't think that is its technical title, but I have an identical jar by my stove and it's full of salt and it has changed my life.

It's almost 3" tall, 3.25" across.

Price: $10 (free shipping)

Local Pick-Up: $6


Items 4-10) Vintage galvanized sign letters

Each measures roughly 2.75" by 6"

Sold individually!

Letter "E" - Sold to Jamie!

Letter "E" - Sold to Laura!

Letter "S" - Sold to Sarah!

Letter "S" - Sold to Sarah S!

Letter "O" - Sold to Courtney!

Letter "T" - Sold to Sarah S!

Letter "R" - Sold to Sarah!
Price for each letter: $10 (free shipping)

Local Pick-Up: $6


Item 11) Vintage, hand-painted Light Thingy
Sold to Janie!
Honest to goodness, I only considered right now that this is an actual light fixture. Up until now, I always saw it as a re-purposed light fixture. You know, funky junk-style.

Alas, it is a fixture.

But! I used it as a vase and sometimes I would put forks in it when I had company.

The sky is the limit!

Price: $15 (free shipping)

Local Pick-Up: $10

Item 12) Nubby, grain-sackish table runner

Sold to Valerie!


I bought this on Sadie Olive a year or so ago. It looked beautiful on the dining table. But then I just stopped using it, so now it's your turn. It is machine washable.

18.5" X 96"

Price: $35 (free shipping)

Local Pick-Up: $25

Email me at shannandmartin@yahoo.com if you are interested!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Counting Snows



So, it seems January is already dashing down the palace stairs.

That sure didn't take long now, did it? Wasn't it just two days ago that we were talking about cleaning out our closets, painting something cheery yellow and finding our word for the year?

It's been a bit of a blur, and I'm still caught up mid-spin between yearning for change and embracing the good ol', good ol'.

"I need a phone call... I need a raincoat... I need a big love...I need a sunburn...I need a plane ride..."

I have decided - resolutely - that Adam and Friends wrote this song in January. Any other option just isn't a possibility, in my mind.

"I get no answers.
And I don't get no change.
It's snowing in Indiana, baby.
And everything else is the same."

You got that right.

So yes, I'm ready for color. I'm ready to throw caution to the wind and eat steel cut oats. I'm ready to settle in to a cute little bungalow and decide for sure that we will be the pink flower poking out from the gray.

For now, I'm switching gears with some big deals, and I'm doing a few things Scared.

I'm sipping tea, clanking the spoon against the side, and it sounds to me like a bell.
It sounds like gratitude stirring.

I am thankful for root beer floats and extended bedtime talks with my boy.
"OK, here's the most important question I've ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever asked you. When you were a little girl, did you ever ride in a row boat?"
I'm thankful for a warm bed.

I'm thankful for Charlie, who doesn't have one, but should.

I'm thankful for my beat up saute pan, the non-stick coating long-forgotten, that continues to faithfully serve our dinner five nights a week.

I'm thankful for Ruby's impression of a flamingo and Silas's impression of a walking tornado.

I'm thankful for Cory's love for me that has never faded, not even a fraction of a degree. Not even when it probably should have.

I'm thankful for the Holy Spirit, who wants more for me. (I'm learning that the path to more involves a whole lot of "less".)

I'm thankful for you.

And you.

And you.

So tell me, what's one thing you're thankful for today?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Saturday Freeze


We woke up in the wee hours of morning to no heat.

It is 5 degrees outside. 50 degrees warmer inside.

I use the word "warmer" loosely.


We ate chocolate waffles by the glow of the space heater.

A man with a very Amish-sounding name is on his way to save us.



It's all good.

And it's even better, because I'm going on a date today with a certain CMB.

I have Colin Firth and carbs in my immediate future.

This just in: Mr. Amish is on the phone.

Cory said to him, "It blows..."

("...it just doesn't heat")

There was a very exaggerated pause between those two statements.

It cracked me up.

Perhaps because my good sense is frozen.

And I’m in need of more carbs.

With a side of Colin Firth