Monthly Archives: September 2013

When You Hit a Bump in the Road

Bump in the Road

 

Everything was going along according to plan. The summer was over. School had started. I had developed a schedule that would allow me to work on my various writing projects on the two days I worked from home still leaving time for domestic duties, Bible study and an occasional coffee date with a friend.

But then…the bump in the road.

It was the expected unexpected. The reminder that my plans are not always His plans.

Why am I always so surprised–mystified even–when something like this happens?

This time the bump in the road was my 77-year old mother’s broken wrist and impending surgery. She was suddenly completely dependent on others (i.e., me). You never realize how much you need two working hands until you only have one.

We had much to be thankful for however. She broke her wrist not her hip. She fell in a public place and many people came to help her. The ER doctor was able to get her wrist back in position relatively easily (though not without a great deal of pain). We were able to get to her very quickly. Although surgery was still needed, it was scheduled in only a few days and went very well. She started becoming stronger and more independent within a few days of the surgery.

My mother has lived with us for ten years so we were able to help her with very little change to our normal daily routine (one of the reasons we made this change all of those years ago). While I do work part-time outside of our home, my job is in my husband’s medical practice, so I was able to take off the time I needed easily. I have the flexibility to drive my mother to her many doctor’s appointments, run errands for her and help her with whatever physical difficulties she was experiencing.

The biggest challenge for me was putting aside my new carefully planned schedule at home. I would have to put off the writing goals I had set. Fortunately this affected no one but me. I have to admit that I was feeling a little grumpy about my sacrifice.

And then it hit me. This was a major bump in her road as well. And a very painful one.

Once again I was reminded that our relationships on this earth are meant to be ones of interdependence. At different times and in different ways, the balance changes. There is a continuum of dependence-independence in every relationship but perhaps particularly within families. It is humbling when I remind myself that this balance has been different and will shift again.

As the days of her healing progress, I am learning to be more flexible with my own schedule and goals. I am trying to be more patient with myself and with those around me. I am discovering yet again what is important to me.

And I am trying to remind my self that so many of the best parts of life are in the bumps and detours and delays.

Glimpsing God’s Glory in Grocery Stores and Garbage

I’m not even going to pretend that my life is glamorous. If you have read any of my previous posts or know me at all, you already know that. I’m not complaining about my “not glamorous life”, mind you. I suspect that glamour isn’t all that. I imagine it is more hype and spin than anything else. Hmmm, this sounds a bit more negative than I intended. Let me try this again.

My days are a series of seemingly simple, relatively normal moments punctuated periodically with the complexity and beauty of relationships, adventure, love, disappointment, joy, intention, confusion and enlightenment. Twisted together these multiple threads are transformed into a rich, colorful, strong strand that is my life that is then woven together with the unique yarn of others’ lives into God’s grand tapestry.

I suppose one can choose to see one’s life from either vantage point: a series of moments or part of a larger, more beautiful picture. I would love to say that I am the kind of person who always sees the big picture, but alas…sometimes I am slow to come to this perspective. Yesterday evening is a perfect example of this.

Sunday 7:30 pm. The evening before me held little hope of adventure–just a series of mundane duties I needed to complete so that the week would proceed more smoothly: laundry, garbage collected and put in can out front, quick run to the grocery store to get staples of cereal, milk and bread….

Driving down Mathis Ferry Road to the nearest grocery store, I looked around me and saw a hint of red in the sky between the low hanging branches that arched over the road. I realized that the sun was setting and, miraculously, my camera was in the seat behind me. I was actually going to be able to get a few shots before it was too dark. I continued past the turn to the grocery store and quickly headed toward the waterfront park along the Cooper River.

Putting off the mundane, I forged ahead into adventure!

Getting closer to the waterfront away from the alley of oaks, the vista opened up before me–all water and marsh grass and painted sky. The Ravenel Bridge arched across the Cooper River, its cables gleaming white against the red-orange sky. The lights on the bridge were just beginning to glow.

Sunday sunset bridge

Grabbing my camera I raced the sun as I headed toward the visitors’ center and the pier praying enough light would remain to capture the magic of this moment.

On the pier the wind picked up and cooled the air. Couples and families strolled along stopping to take photos or to look out into the harbor with its twinkling lights.

visitors center_small

 

bridge underside_small

The lights along the boardwalk were so bright that it seemed early but minute-by-minute, the sky beyond the pier turned purple then indigo then black.

harbor view_small

I sat for a moment in one of the swings to enjoy the coolness and the quiet.

swing_small

img_3248

Heading back the breeze stopped abruptly as I stepped off the boardwalk. I wandered through the war memorial and along the landscaped path beside the salt marsh to the parking lot transitioning myself slowly back into the world of Sunday evenings, grocery stores and garbage.

long walk back_small

war memorial_small

Sitting in the cool of my air-conditioned car, I flipped through the images I had just taken smiling at some and wishing I had been more patient (and still) with others. I was satisfied. I had captured in some of these photos that moment of beauty of which I was a part.

I laughed to myself when I realized that this amazing moment was, in reality, quite mundane. The sun sets every evening. Yet there is remarkable, astounding beauty in this ordinary, everyday event. God not only allows beauty in the mundane, I imagine He revels in it. He created it to be that way!

carolina moon_small

Driving back toward the grocery store I wondered, Will I remember this next Sunday evening when I am gathering garbage, folding laundry and running to the grocery store? Will I have the courage to see through the mundane to glimpse His glory?

Photos by Amy Watson Smith, September 2013

When Everything Has Gone to the Dogs

I know that summer break is a time to slow down, break routine, relax the rules a bit. I have to admit that I am very good at this. I really know how to take it easy. In fact I am practically a professional at relaxing the rules and breaking routine.

I guess I hadn’t realized just how good I was at this until the summer break ended and I realized that everything had gone to the dogs.

  twins

Literally.

Trio of dogs

Chester, Hattie and Charlotte

We have three dogs–two English springer spaniels (litter mates) and a chocolate lab mix–and as I’m sure you can imagine, things can get a bit wild around our house at times. It is particularly rough going letting them out into the backyard and at feeding time.

Let’s just say there is a reason they are called springer spaniels.

Hattie and Michael

Hattie–with her feline playmate, Curry–hoping that more food will magically appear on Michael’s plate.

The dynamics within this trio are quite interesting (actually it’s a quartet if you include the cat). The “twins” as we call them (Hattie and Chester) couldn’t be more different in temperament.

Chester and Charlotte

Chester and Charlotte hang out together

Chester is very cool. He clearly understands his place in the pack–“top dog” but is submissive to the human boss. He has great social skills, follows instructions, enjoys playing but also loves to chill out with a bone on the floor.

Chester

Chester

Chester and Cameron

Chester is the best snuggler

Hattie, on the other hand, is a very anxious dog. She is easily distracted, barks constantly, won’t follow commands unless food is involved and her only animal playmate is the cat.

Hattie

Hattie

stuck

Hattie. Enough said.

Charlotte, the chocolate lab mix, is a classic rescue dog–a little fearful at first but smart, protective, attentive and friendly.

Charlotte

Charlotte

We spent a good deal of time and money last year training them and they definitely became more manageable. But like any good habit, it is a slippery slope into bedlam.

At first it might just be a nudge of the hand with their nose. Come on. Pet me. You know I look cute. You give in without giving it a second thought.

twins again

Then they jump up “to greet you” at the front door. Oh look how excited they are to see me, you say to yourself.

The barking and circling as you put dog food in their bowls you simply chalk up to hunger. I shouldn’t have made them wait so long for dinner, the poor pups. They are starving!

The next thing you know you have three very large and smelly canines laying across you on the sofa. Isn’t this sweet. They just love me so much and they want to cuddle with their mama!

Dogs in control

Dogs in control

When left to their own devices, this pack is a mess.

Yep. This is where I was last week. I had hit bottom. I had ignored the warnings from my husband, the pleas from my daughter. I just couldn’t admit that I needed help.

Somehow I found the strength–no, the courage–to reach out for help.

I called the dog trainer. Help was on its way!

She paid us a visit yesterday and after a little more than an hour of time working with me, reminding me of the techniques and tools and encouraging me, I began to feel empowered again.

No more chaos around meal time. No more jumping six feet in the air to get outside. No more shoving me off of the sofa.

I am the top dog around here! Grrrrrr….

Top dog?

Top dog?

 

More than I bargained for…changing my domain name

research

Last week I made the (brilliant? deranged?) decision to change the domain name of my blog and all of my social media to Amy Watson Smith. The idea is that it is supposed to streamline everything and help people find me and follow me (on social media that is) thereby increasing my readership, traffic, etc.

My new domain name for my blog Making Lemonade is amywatsonsmith.com. Unfortunately I am trying to do this on my own and the learning curve is pretty steep. Currently I am having trouble setting it up properly to redirect from my old url to my new one. I am pretty sure at this point that I have slipped into obscurity and no one will ever be able to locate me or my blog. I am beginning to wonder if that might not be such a bad thing. If you are out there and can hear me, let me know….

WordPress for Dummies

Yes, it has come to this.

Anyway, please bear with me. Hopefully I will have all of the kinks worked out very soon.