Monday, May 25, 2015

The Force is Strong with This One

Do you remember the first time you saw "Star Wars"?  I mean the original--or what children of the 21st century now call, Episode 4, "A New Hope".  To be embarrassingly honest, I don't recall the first time I saw SW in a traditional movie theater.  I do remember seeing it at an outdoor showing at Mullins Park.  And, then there was the Marathon, Spring Break 1991, when one of my friends learned that I hadn't viewed the "Holy Trinity"--and guess what we did for the next 6 hours, 52 minutes, and 36 seconds--give or take?  Which inspired a campus-wide Marathon at our Alma Mater. 

But, my very favorite, hands-down showing of "Star Wars" came when we shared it with our boys--for the first time.  He Who Is Now Taller Than I and Ninja were hooked.  From the get go.  Lego Star Wars sets were purchased.  Character encyclopedias were pored over--and random but fascinating facts memorized.  The $5 bin at Wally World scavenged for bargain flicks. Yard sales were haunted for collector mini-figure sets.  And, of course, I, the Queen of Themes, was inspired to have a party.  Mais oui, mes amis!

May the Fourth was far too bandwagon to schedule such festivities; so, we decided upon May 25.  The actual, real-deal day that Star Wars premiered--most likely at a theater near you.  We invited some pals who had never seen the original--gasp, I know.  Good thing you were sitting down to read this, right?  There are those folks that exist.  But, we righted that wrong. To see the delight and the "wow" factor on the novice's face is so much fun.  To quote many, "it's just good parenting."

As you might expect, the celebrations have expanded over the past few years.  The menu has included Boba Feta Salad, Death Star Meatballs, and Wookie Cookies.  We have added Clone Trooper Trail Mix, Skywalker's Subs (thank you, Jimmy John's), and Cantina Cheese Straws (Southern yumminess meets intergalactic goodies).  With a little help from our friends, we get by.  And, we have an old-school showing of the original, on VHS, of course--on our cozy little 2008 television with the DVD/VCR combo.  

This year was the first time that all in attendance had actually seen the flick that changed the way we look at danish.  Yes, danish.  Have you taken a good, hard look at Leia's hair-do? They look like danish on the side of her royal head.  Of course, in all seriousness, it was quite the motion picture experience.  And, there's Chewie.  He's a personal favorite.  And, everybody's favorite scoundrel--Han Solo.  Rhett Butler in a coal black vest, toting a laser blaster.   My in-house experts inform me that R2D2 and C3PO are the only characters to appear in all six Star Wars films.  You can argue that Obi-Wan has achieved a similar feat; however, he shows up as a spirit, not in solid physical form.  I'll leave that debate for another day--and for my Favorite Philosopher.

This is the blog you were looking for.  And, you will honor the legacy of Star Wars with annual viewings of said flick.  You may go about your business.

Aerial view.

Coffee table decor.

Yummy, they are.
LEGOs.  Yup.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Listen to Him

"...He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him..."
~Matthew 17:5

This is not the first time the God of all creation commends His one and only Son to those whom He made in His image.  Then, He gives a simple command.  Listen to him.  If only it were so simple.  We want to do more, like Peter, in his desire to build the tents for the biblical hall-0f-famers ensconcing the Son of God.  I want a formula, a to-do list, whereby once everything is checked off, I'm good. 

Listen to Him.

"Listen to him.  Let us see, in these words, a striking lesson to the whole Church of Christ.  There is a constant tendency in human nature to 'listen to man.'  Bishops, priests, popes, cardinals, councils, preachers, ministers, are continually exalted to a place which God never intended them to fill, and made practically to usurp the honor of Christ.  Against this tendency let us all watch, and be on our guard.  Let those solemn words ring in our ears: 'Listen to Christ.'

The best of men are only men at their very best.  Patriarchs, prophets, and apostles, martyrs, fathers, reformers, puritans--all, all are sinners, who need a Savior: holy, useful, honorable in their place, but sinners after all.  They must never be allowed to stand between us and Christ.  Let us take heed that we hear his voice, and follow him; let us value all religious teaching just in proportion as it leads us to Jesus.  The sum and substance of saving religion is 'listen to Christ.'"

~J.C. Ryle (italics mine)

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Belle--That's What Made Her Beautiful

May 23.  Belle's birthday.  She celebrated.  With the best of them.  She laughed.  A lot.  She made us grin.  Like the make-your-face-hurt kind of grins.  She was a joy-bringer.  Susanna Belle Mitchell.  That's what made her beautiful.

Celebrate Life - Belle Mitchell from Team Belle on Vimeo.

May 23, 2007--January 17, 2015

Celebrate Belle--Support St. Jude
Running For A Cure

Friday, May 15, 2015

Thoughts from the Extravagant Journey (or the 2015 Reading Challenge)

“I was born in south Georgia, grew up in Alabama, moved to Mississippi, worked years for a Tennessee newspaper, then, moved to Atlanta, which I disliked.  I sometimes felt as if I had no real home.  Mississippi had come closest to being that anchor most of us seem to need.  I love my farm in north Mississippi, but even there I have no roots.  Hill people are a bit suspicious of outsiders, which you will remain no matter how long you live there even if you were not born there.  I’ve been spending time--at times, all my times--in the Iuka, Mississippi, area for more than two decades.  And I still wouldn’t be invited to join the Newcomer’s Club if they had one.  I think the distrust of outsiders in the hills harkens to a day when the best way to make a living was moonshine.  Anyone who moves to town without a really good excuse is a potential revenuer, or the twenty-first century equivalent.

My own parents often sit around and rhapsodize about their hometown of Colquitt, Georgia, reminiscing about childhood and weaving genealogical tapestries that make my head spin.  She was so-and-so before she married so-and-so’s youngest son and became so-and-so.  My friends in Iuka who are natives feel the same way about north Mississippi. Listening to them talk is like reading the biblical begats aloud.

I, on the other hand, had no place on my private map that felt like the county seat of my heart.  That can be a good thing.  It can prevent you from boring others with non-ending stories about the Good Old Days in Pleasantville.  It can give you perspective and help you keep an open mind about different cultures and mores.

But one Christmas day on a houseboat in the swamp, I identified with the floating water hyacinths.  They blow with the wind and visit one shore one day and another the next.  The locals cuss them.”

~Poor Man’s Provence

Rheta Grimsley Johnson
pp. 68-69

Hyacinths.  Floating.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Just A Thought...

Photo Credit:  He-Who-Is-Now-Taller-Than-I
"To the world,
 you are a Mother, 
but to your family, 
you are the World."

"Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come...
Her children rise up and call her blessed...
Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain; 
but, a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."
~Proverbs 31:25, 28a, and 30

 "You don’t have to be awesome and do everything. You simply have to believe that the One who is Awesome loves you through everything."
~Ann Voskamp

Friday, May 8, 2015

April Showers Bring May Flowers...

Come and take a walk in my little garden...

Iris and Rose.

"Beauty surrounds us, but usually we need to be walking in a garden to know it."

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Lightning Rod

Thanks to a local radio station that proudly plays the music of "the 80s, 90s, and today", I was recently reminded of Hot Rod. Yes, I liked his music. And, at one point in my teenage years, thought his hair was way cool. And, then, there's that red plaid jacket.

You were expecting to see Rod.  So, was I.  While I might just swoon to Rod's original version of "My Heart Can't Tell You No" and break out my oft-played "cassingle" of said ballad , Sara Evans does a nice cover of it.  And, there's no pole dancing in her video.  Always a plus.

And, finally, to complete the trilogy, the theme song of many a graduating class--here's to the class of 1989. Oops, did I just give away my actual age?

I spoke in past tense.  But, I was wrong.  I like his music.  "Infatuation" and "Rhythm of My Heart" still make my toes tap.  And may or may not cause me to sing at the top of my lungs, while driving down the 45 ByPass.  Yeah, that was me.  

Friday, May 1, 2015


We are so psyched.  We have watched the teaser-trailer at least thirty-six times.  The eerie music that accompanies the twins gives me goose-pimples.   And, frankly, I can't get enough of Cap.  When I do those silly Buzzfeed quizzes (yes, I admit it), Cap is usually my "soulmate".  That's about right.  Of course, if I had the Black Widow physique to go with it, life would be complete.  The only thing that stands between me and Natasha Romanoff is that batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies for which my boys begged.  Yup.


Avengers fever has hit this house hard.  However, there is another group of heroes, generally unsung, for which May 1 is a date of significance.  Today is the opening day of registration for the Heroes of  St. Jude.  Be it the 5K, Marathon Relay, Half, or the Full, these folks (and yes, I count it a privilege to have been in this company) will fund-raise with their feet, sweat, lose toenails, and consume more bottles of Gatorade than a sweaty linebacker in mid-July drills.  It's what you do.  Why?  Because there are those who are running a race that makes those miles seem like nothing.  

And, there are those who have finished that part of the course--having traveled the path that leaves a child-size hole in your heart.  And at the dinner table.  Then, an entirely new challenge of strength and endurance begins.  "Be strong and take heart..." (Psalm 31:24)

Belle went home to be with Jesus almost four months ago now.  The outpouring of love, grace, and compassion continues to overwhelm even those of us who are on the outside looking in.  Belle's irresistible charisma and zest for life, whether she was singing Alicia Keys into her corndog microphone or making crazy faces with her Daddy, reminds us that while "weeping may tarry in the night, joy comes in the morning" (Psalm 30:5).  Hers is a story, a life, that will continue to touch those she knew--and those she never met--for a long time to come.  

Someone in my house will tackle the Marathon this year.  Not because this person ever had a desire to do a marathon--let's be honest, that's just nuts.  Running 26.2 miles, without stopping, that's not rational.  But, because he wants to honor Belle's memory and the marathon that the Mitchell family has endured.  Lord willing, the creek don't rise, and the Asics continue to meet the road, of course.  I will embrace my true gifts--that of chief encourager, endearingly persistent fundraiser, and transporter of rehydration liquids! My in-house hero.  My Cap.

But, for all of us connected-by-heart to St. Jude, the true heroes are the ones for whom we have run--and will continue to do so.  They are the rock stars.  The ultimate Avengers.