Many Titles….Horse Cookies

Each week I think about writing here many titles go through my mind.  I have lots of stories that also go through my mind that I would like to share, and these stories prompt titles. If only there was more time, of course.

I thought that I would write about my experience in church this past Sunday.  I was going to call the post “When in Church, I Cry”.  It doesn’t seem to matter how long I’ve been a Christian (and compared to many-not long at all), but when I enter a church-any church-I get emotional.  I can be in a good place, a bad place, or an indifferent place, but when I enter the sanctuary it happens.  The preacher may stink, but I still hear a message.  The music may not be “my style” but I still sing a song.  I may feel an outcast, but I know deep down I’m not.  My daughter has taken to watching me to see how long it takes before the tears start flowing…

I also thought I might write about the rain.  It’s falling now, right now, pouring in gushes and cleansing the earth.  We’ve needed it so badly, and I love listening to it.  Last night we had a huge wind storm as the rain came, and it was scary.  I envisioned the trees behind our house crashing down on the little Yellow Submarine, or the water lifting us up off the jacks and carrying us away down a newly formed river to another town.  Once Maycee was asleep I turned off the TV and just listened.  Snuggled up in a Christmas blanket on my tiny couch with the tree lit, I listened. The wind settled down, and the rain fell quietly as the night tick-tocked minute by minute. The title might have been….”Listen to the Rain”.

I enjoy my time to write as if I were a thief stealing a precious jewel and hoping no one notices.

Today I went to run an errand on my lunch break and found the grocery store to be closed due to a downed power line from the storm.  This changed my plan, so I ended up buying grain for the horses instead of Christmas cards for the family. In the store my favorite clerk, Liz,  was working.  Liz has known me since we rescued our horse Fancy.

She asked me how I was doing and if was surviving the holidays so far. I looked at her with a cringed face and muttered, “Kind of…”  I told her how when the holidays come my shoulders raise and I get so worried about how I’m going to keep up financially and still provide something nice for my kiddo under the tree.  I put on a happy face and hum along with the Christmas Carols, but inside my tummy churns until December 26th.  She said, “I know, I know.  My husband and I keep things real simple since it’s just the two of us.  We see what all of this (referring to the sale racks) does to people.”

I said that I try to do the same since it’s just me and Maycee, but it’s hard when I enter a store and find my eyes wandering, my hands touching, and my mind thinking “She’d like this” or “She’d like that” or “I wish I could just buy it!”  I have to stay focused and shop like a speed demon-in and out-to avoid collapsing under pressure.

I reminisced about how when I was married to her dad, and we had two incomes, buying gifts was never an issue.  Liz asked me, “And, how long ago was that?”  I answered, “Almost seven years ago, and it’s never been easy since.”

Liz looked at me, smiling.  She always has a twinkle about her.  Then she said, “You hold on here a minute.”  She walked away and grabbed a bag of horse cookies, my favorite brand, and said, “Here….give these to your daughter for her horse from me.  You’re such a nice person; you deserve it.”

And, here goes the title for this write.

I may not have time to blog about every thought that crosses my mind, but whenever I can share the kindness of another, human nature so rarely experienced amidst a world of chaos and commerce, I must.  It may be small to some, but it’s huge to me.

Horse Cookies.

Readers, I hope you enjoy the weekend ahead, and remember: life is short, so be happy, and give a chuckle.  Ho, ho, hooooooooo!




Keeping Up with Mama Jones-Classic SWM

Putting it into perspective after a fairly restful weekend, I can now see that last week I took on a bit too much all in the name of “perfect parenting” or trying to “keep up with the Jones’s”.  I rest assured knowing that I am not alone in this feat, as perhaps some of you can relate to the feeling of pressure mounting as the Halloween decor went up on other houses lining your streets.  Maybe sales on Halloween candy were calling your name, even though you knew not when you’d have the time to purchase one bag, and of course, there are the numerous Halloween carnivals in various localities shouting, “Bring me your child or else they will never forgive you for not allowing them to play games for prizes worth pennies and hard, expired delicious candy!”  Many of these situations were looming over me as days passed on, which turned into weeks, up until the weekend before the spooky holiday arrived.

Happy, the Pumpkin
Happy, the Pumpkin

However, I managed to fit it all in, and make homemade pumpkin soup and oatmeal cookies to boot.  Really?  Are you SERIOUS?  Of course I am. By the hairs on my chinny-chin-chin and the skin of my teeth, darnit, I did it!  Here’s how, just in case you were wonderin’:

  • Thank you, Internet! I bought Maycee’s Spanish Dancer costume online from Wholesalers for only $25 including shipping, and it was delivered in plenty of time, leaving me a full ten days to spare before Fright Night.
  • Last Saturday after baking cookies and a full day at the ranch I managed to get us home and fed in time for Maycee to put on her costume for the October Family Fun Fest in town, and we also took her little neighbor-buddy.  It was worth it because she won First Place for “prettiest costume” in her age group and got a purple snake with a witch hat.  What deserving little treater doesn’t want one of those?!?
  • Sunday I attempted to work hard in the yard, only to receive a phone call that our horse had collapsed.  The power trimmer unplugged and went in the patio room as I ran inside and told Maycee to put on her boots ASAP.  She whimpered, “But, what about going to the pumpkin patch and decorating for Halloween?”
  • Never fear, once at the ranch we found our horse standing, and she seemed okay. We turned her out to pasture for an hour, while yes, folks, we went to the pumpkin patch and loaded up!  It was the last day of the sale (we go to the same patch every year farmed by a local school), and they were practically giving away the carveable squashes.
  • Back to the ranch we went to check on Fancy, call the vet to set up an appointment for Monday morning, put on her horsey jammies, and feed grain.
  • Finally home at the Yellow Submarine around 7:00PM Maycee took care of the pets while I put on dinner and proceeded to run outside just before total darkness and pull out the Halloween decorations from the spider-infested shed.  Decorating began! Then, the heater went out.  Blasted and Burrrrrrrrrr!
  • We met the vet early Monday morning (Fancy was diagnosed with severe spinal arthritis and edema, boo and double boo).  During my lunch hours on Monday and Tuesday I hit the grocery store to purchase candy, cider, and Halloween goodie bags for her classmates and scheduled the heater repair guy.  Tuesday night I wrapped 30 goodie bags filled with Blow Pops, Candy Sticks, Spooky toys, and Halloween pencils.
  • Wednesday I brought home-made pumpkin soup for me and the other office girls to have for lunch.  YUM!  Oh, and I met the heater repair guy and got the heater fixed (thank the Heater Gods). Wednesday night, at 9:15PM, the pumpkin got carved.  Only Maycee’s and not mine, but I had to draw the line somewhere, har-d-har-har. And, Mama Jones, I’m sorry to say I did NOT roast pumpkin seeds. Well, shoot! I did, however, finish decorating the house in the wee hours of the night.
  • TRICK-OR-TREAT!  By Thursday, I was exausted but completely prepared for All Hallow’s Eve.  I made bean ‘n’ cheese burritos for dinner, Maycee’s favorite and super quick, had the candy ready to be passed out by 6:30, and Maycee dressed and ready to go with her friends-this included red nail polish to match her dress.  I neven somehow managed to find my black kitty ears and tail and painted whiskers on my face.  Of course, we only had 6 trick-or-treaters for me to “Meow” at, which was strange.
  • The kids made bank on the candy…neighbors literally gave them handfuls because of the low turnout of people. I joined up with Maycee and the others about 45 minutes after realizing no more “trickers” were going to show up and had a nice nighttime walk as we completed the rounds.
  • By 8:30 the kids were ready for cider and cookies, which I proudly had warmed up in advance, and our house was cozy thanks to the fine heater repair accomplished.

Mama Jones-eat your heart out.

Maycee in the Middle
Maycee in the Middle

After it was all over, and over at lightening speed it was….I got to pondering why we, as good little mommies and daddies, feel the need to kill ourselves to make “all the right things” happen?  Is it not wanting to hear the complaints or the sadness coming from our kids’ mouths?  Is it the fear of not being as “cool” as the other families or wanting to be the coolest?  Is it to retain some sort of tradition, which is important and seems to be lacking in our part of the world a lot of the time? For me, is it because I don’t want to fall short as a single mom when compared to families where both parents participate?  Is it simply because we are crazy?  I don’t know….some of all of it is my guess.  And, I could’ve bought the pumpkins at the store and skipped the cookie and soup making along with the 30 goodie bags for school. I could’ve told Maycee to wear one of her old costumes, or heaven forbid, put one together from scratch considering all of the surrounding turmoil of the week.  I could’ve given up and cried “UNCLE!” and surrendered to my aching limbs and overloaded brain full of batwings and witch’s brew.  I could’ve boycotted decorating and cider purchasing and dressing up as a black cat for JUST ONE YEAR.   I could have…but you know what I know for sure?

That wouldn’t have been me, and I would’ve been disappointed.

No disappointment here!  $5 worth of harvest fun!
No disappointment here! $5 worth of harvest fun!

Life is short, Readers.  We need to put down the tailgate, kick up our feet, spill the beans, and chuckle our sugar-high heads off.  What tell-tales of “Keeping Up with Mama Jones” do you have to share?