A MOTHERS REFLECTION

To her first born

Good mothers look in the mirror and their only regret is stretch marks. I see a mother who desperately wishes for a do over.

It has been over 18 years since I became a mother for the first time. The reflection looks less than stellar on me.

I never thought these were the questions to my first born that I would beg to ask. Did I enjoy you enough? Did I give you all you needed.

I gaze tirelessly wanting to know is your heart still whole? Is your spirit unbroken? Do you know how gorgeous you are? Do you truly know your worth?

Do you know, that you know, that you know, the day you claimed Jesus Christ as your Savior is the absolute, hands down most important day in life? Did I instill that desire in you, to teach your children the same? Am I the mother you never want to grow and be?

Oh Lord Jesus, please forgive me!

They say nobody ever gets it right on the first try. I would like to introduce “they” to you. Along with the studies show the oldest child is usually the smartest, most organized, and responsible. You have all these traits. I give the majority of that credit to your four wonderful grandparents. All I did was give you my presence. Which unfortunately looking in this mirror, I now see that was not good enough. In fact harmful at times.

For the most part I haven’t wanted to be around me! Oh but you have! Through the good, through the bad, and head first into the worst. You were right by my side, with a smile and what appeared a heart full of pride. Proud to be with me? Do you not see what I see?

I see a mother who has often been scared. I’ve been scared of big things and little things. Scared of things that were and things that were not there.

Fear often played captive to my heart and certainly my mind, to the point I couldn’t think of anything else. I forgot to relax and to enjoy you. I forgot to smile and to laugh. I regret the nights I forgot to smell your hair and watch you sleep.

This same mirror reflects a mother exhausted from staying lost. I’ve struggled a lot with my own demons. My heart aches to think how often you must have thought it was you.

Precious child please know it’s been my own anxiety and depression, but it was never, ever your fault. Not once, not ever were any of my weakness a result of you!

Often times the struggle of a mother is so much that she has no dreams or hopes. The real shame of that is we forget to encourage and instill in our children to have dreams and hopes.

The reflection that really gets to me. The one where I’m asleep and your standing at the foot of my bed. Those were the times you came to me and I was hiding from it all. A nap seemed to take my mind away from whatever pain I had. It was a diversion from reality that required absolutely no response or emotion from me. How selfish I was. Be still my heart, how patient were you.

I didn’t pick up on all your sad faces. The times I ignored you. Putting you off as a rambling preteen. I see now, often what you were saying was pouring out of your heart. Meanwhile my mind was on something insignificant a thousand miles away. I’m so ashamed.

No doubt the reason “I got it right the first time” was because God saw fit to create you and allow me to borrow you. You were the great and perfect gift from above! I was simply blessed but too selfish to stop and appreciate it.

The crazy thing is, that I remember so many happy times. I was there for all your first. The times were so few I left you to do my on thing, I could count on my hand. Oh my goodness the feeling that made me a different person, was the moment I held you for the first time. You walked before you crawled. Oh and you were always first alternate in the pageants. I thought you should have won them all.

Please don’t fill your life with so many regrets, that you cannot look back enjoy the good times.

These are a few of the things I’m working on with your little sis. I encourage you as a mom yourself now to place them on your mirror. Look long and hard everyday, because your beautiful.

-Do not let your happiness revolve around anyone else. You and Jesus are all you need.

-Put down your phone from 6-9 every night

-Take a break from all types of social media a few times a year

-Fear Not

-Be Anxious For Nothing

-Have No Idols Before Him

-Do Not Be Lazy

-Wake up every morning with

(1Cor 13:4-7)

on your tongue and in your heart.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1Cor 13:4-7)

Thank you darling for being so much more than I deserve! Remember it is never the mirror you should hate. If you see yourself not being the person you want to be. The change always starts in you, not with someone or something else.

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SANDWICH SQUEEZE

One might consider themselves to be in the sandwich generation if:

Your moms walker folds while getting the one year old out of the car seat. All while stopping to pick up Pampers and Depends.

Wouldn’t trade it for the world!

If You’re Not Too Busy

Believe it or not I have removed quite a few words, even a paragraph or two from this post.

It didn’t resonate with me, until sometime late in the day Tuesday, exactly what my mother was asking, when she asked:

“If you’re not too busy, or have other plans, it sure would be nice to have you go with me to the doctor tomorrow. ”

You see, I never missed a doctors appointment my Daddy had, and he always had Mother with him. He was different though. I needed to be there for him. Everyone understood that. If for no other reason than, he just wanted me there.

Mother on the other hand is nothing like Daddy was. She isn’t blind in one eye like Daddy was. She is fully capable of filling out her paperwork. In fact, she may or may not be known to show the cute little girl behind the desk, exactly how it is done.

Mother, unlike daddy, has two highly functionable lungs. As many know, I’ve given her quite a bit of pulmonary exercise over the passed 37 years, with just three little words, Amanda Isalee Hargrove!!

Mother certainly didn’t need me to drive her to the doctor in Tupelo. The rubber on her tires is generally hot before the average Joe’s coffee in the morning.

Long story short, she didn’t need me, by any stretch of the imagination, to go with her today. However, had I not, she would have had to face a potentially scary diagnosis, prognosis, and corrective measures, ALL ALONE.

She was simply asking for some company……. if I wasn’t too busy or if I didn’t have other plans.

Shame on me for not portraying to my mother, that I will be just as there for her, as I was for my daddy.

In fact I look forward to being there for my prayer warrior of a mother.

😂Example: Mother told that sweet little nurse today, when she asked, “are you having any trouble squatting or kneeling Mrs Hargrove?”

Mothers reply, “Oh No! I do neither of those things, ever! Well except, I pray! I mean I pray, I just don’t kneel to pray, but I pray”!! (Daddy’s Q&A’s always went so much smoother with the nurses. He simply didn’t talk, and if he did, everybody listened).

You see, I was thoroughly convinced walking in the doctors office with mother this morning, that we were certain to leave with orders for a knee replacement and possibly a hip replacement. Instead we were light heartedly, speeding out of the parking lot (Cracker Barrel reservations aren’t something you play around with) for a Mother Daughter brunch.

Over the holiday breakfast special, we discussed the orders she received from Dr Phillips, set for the 30th which will consist of a 10-15 minute knee scope, out patient, with no recovery time, and no physical therapy. PRAISE THE LORD!

I cherish my Mother’s independence, her knack for never complaining, but mostly I cherish her prayers. No matter how stiff legged they maybe, they can move mountains. I’ve seen them.

As usual Mary has a takeaway for every situation. After sound resignation, I now know that just because someone is independent, and never complains, certainly doesn’t mean they love the idea, of tackling all of life’s challenges, ALL ALONE!

 

The Power Of PERSUASIAN In A Smile and An Outstretched Arm

THE POWER OF PERSUASIAN IN A SMILE AND AN OUTSTRETCHED ARM
 Remi Beau has a special way of bringing coy to a whole new level.
 It starts with her right arm stretch out, a smile that will melt the hardest heart, then she tucks her little head into the outstretched shoulder, completing her persuasiveness with a three quarter turn. 
I was in the kitchen when I heard “MyMama!” 
Yes Remi Beau I responded. 
She instantly through that arm out, Melted my heart, then proceeded with her 3/4 turn. 
I noticed an empty box in her left hand has she toddled off. It was as big as she was doddling back and fourth down the hall. 
A few seconds later I heard MyMama again. Repeating the same steps, she proceeded back down the hall. This occurred three or four more times.

It was when I didn’t hear “MyMama”  that I became alarmed. 
So down the hall and into her room I went. There she was standing on a now dented empty box, working diligently to open the top dresser drawer. Knowing if she could just get a hand on it, she could pull her way to the top. 
Her best attempt at scaling the dresser drawers, had failed.  So instantly trying to escape reprimand! She stuck that hand out, melted my heart with that smile, tucked her head into her shoulder, and forgetting her foundation began her three quarter turn. 
I may have dishwater overflowing in the kitchen floor, a DirecTV box on one side of the room and a one year old whose feelings are hurt much worse than the brunt of the fall on the other, but I can promise you one thing, I have received more smiles today than any one of you!!

Touchdown Forgiveness

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Touchdown Forgiveness

While scrolling through social media over the passed 48 hours. I have found more forgiveness offered to Coach Hugh Freeze than revolutions of kilowatt hours on my electric meter.

Honestly the news made me sick to the core. I hated it for him, his family, and Ole Miss.

Oh and if allegations are true, I hate it for the woman or women. God knows they probably didn’t dream of growing up to be on some escort services payroll. I wonder what her story is and if he will apologize to her? Not saying he should or shouldn’t. Some things you just wonder.

I personally have less than a hand full of people I follow diligently on Twitter, and Hugh Freeze is one of them. I certainly don’t intend to stop following him because of his surfacing sin.

Do I think he was held to a higher standard. Well the answer is yes. The Bible speaks clearly about His teachers. I for one would consider his position a great teaching arena. Not to mention the mission field he himself claimed to be on. Matthew 18:6 is going to be a tough one for all of us! I can’t help but think as a Christian, Hugh Freeze too, has had this verse heavy on his heart.
“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones and cause another to stumble which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea”.

Hugh Freeze said it best in an interview a few years ago,
“Nothing reveals a man’s mettle more than adversity”. How he deals with this, as far as seeking forgiveness and using this in his testimony could very well make him the greatest or among the weakest coaches in the history of the SEC.

Could I have kept the level of his integrity while playing with all the bells and whistles the SEC offers…. Hammer No! However he himself made his own platform that of a Christian man. That is one tough place to stand and stand firm. Even for that of the great Christian man, I believe Coach Hugh Freeze still is.

So Coach Freeze if this has done nothing more than show the dedicated Ole Miss/SEC fans how easy it is to stand behind and forgive a fellow brother or sister in Christ. I would like to say thank you! For all of us who have sat on a church pew and faced endless judgemental gazes after allowing immortality in our lives……we appreciate you being an example of how good people can do bad things, without being a bad person.

I hope Coach Freeze does well in life. I feel he will if he practices what he has said behind the podium at many of our local churches. As for the program at Ole Miss, I feel as they too will be just fine! They are too big of a thorn in LSU’s side to take too much of a fall.

For those who have jumped to Twitter for the Hugh Freeze  hypocrite band wagon, in regard to his Bible quoting tweets. By all means elaborate on how exactly you consider it hypocrisy, that in which was the very word Mr Freeze claimed to be relying on then. He has documented via Twitter if need be, to make it through a time such as this! 

The Clarion-Ledger

Newspaper had the nerve to report these Freeze quotes as hypocrisy:

 

@CoachHughFreeze

“Love never gives up, never loses faith,is always hopeful, & endures through every circumstance.”1 Cor 13:7. Pick someone 2 Love well 2day

@CoachHughFreeze

Freeze

Dear God, I worship You today for the forgiveness of my sins, a love like no other, grace and acceptance, and the blessing of life!!

Tell me exactly how one might coin these tweets as hypocrisy? In one quote he thanked God for the forgiveness of sin. Freeze found himself in a sinful situation true or false? Freeze knew where to turn for the reassurance that love endures all circumstances. True or False?

In fact, these are the very words Freeze could reference at any time if he needed a reminder of what he stood for all along. True or false?  The same word that says “For all have sinned”.

To have Freeze unveiled as a hypocrite, I personally believe one would have to show a more sinfully savvy Freeze. As in the calculated foresight to use a track phone!

Take away:

#1 Treat the lady who sits  piano side, 4 rows from the back, that was just caught with her boss in a precarious situation. With the same zest and zeal to forgive, as the gentleman who finally took our team to the Sugar Bowl!

#2 Know what a hypocrite is before you write an article in the States largest circulating news paper!

In The South When Jonquils Grow, Motives Multiply!

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Title’s seem to carry a lot of weight “Down Here”. Almost as much as where and who you were born into. From the CEO to the janitor, there is a place for everyone. Some people excel at keeping others in their rightful place.

The first day of spring has been nothing short of pleasant in the hills of North Mississippi.

 

The smell of the dandelions takes me back to the spring of 1991. The air had comfortably settled between 70-75 degrees, by the time the reception was in full swing. The humidity never swam above 48%. Instantly calling for a hallelujah hair day. The sunshine was as big and as bright as Mary Gail Livingston’s engagement ring.

I had the honor of dawning a lavender junior bridesmaid dress. Thus, making Mary Gail’s 16th wedding attendant.

From what I gather, our mothers shared a dorm room at Ole Miss their freshman year. It was an incredibly distant relationship theme, but I balanced the platform I suppose.

Mary Gail and I actually met at one of her many wedding showers. The Methodist Church Ladies happened to be putting this one on. Her grandmother had always gone to that church, and she desperately needed a linen shower. That’s what Mary Gail’s mother kept repeating-I do remember that-with the most obnoxious voice that kept echoing through the fellowship hall.

Mary Gail’s mother insisted I attend at least one shower. With that, she agreed to take me home when it was over, due to my own mother’s obligations.

It was dark thirty. I remember watching the last car pull out of the church parking lot at least an hour prior to making the decision to start walking. However, I did not exactly feel stranded on our little Church Street. I was a hometown girl, and it was a quiet town. (Most quaint little southern towns are quiet until all the ladies get together.)

I spotted a few seventh grade boys playing basketball down the street. I joined right in. My dress and dress shoes were not afraid of a little asphalt. My hind end was only thing afraid. Daddy found out I played basketball in the dark with the group of boys in a dress! I blame Mary Gail’s mother to this day for that whippin’.
Back to that ring! Mary Gail Livingston new all along she would never let that massive thing slip off her hand. The size, the clarity, and the setting all remain etched in my ever so impressionable preteen mind.

As did Mr Livingston’s secretary!

“She’s an implant,” Momma said. Mother gathered as much due to her lack of etiquette.
Daddy said it was because it looked like the circus did her make up. He also said that her red lipstick never was able to hide those big boobs.

I personally think it was because if she didn’t like you, she didn’t try to act like she did. She always played with her face cards up. It would take an implant to pull that off in this town.

The flamboyant paralegal from Pennsylvania had no idea the initiation in etiquette she was about to receive-brought to her sincerely by a little ‘ol spring wedding, only the pride of Pearl Petal Mississippi could teach her.

You see, Mary Gail’s wedding was the day before Easter. (Every Southern reader knows the etiquette dress code sabotage that is bout to take place).

The wedding date was planned around the lavender bridesmaids dresses, the Spencers’ yellow antebellum home, and the full bloom of their jonquil garden. It made for an absolutely gorgeous setting, playing host to the reception of the year.

I may have been young, but I recognized the power of silence early in life. I will never forget the hush that fell across that First Baptist Church at 5:58PM on that Saturday, Easter Eve.

She might could click a mean typewriter, but she failed to get the memo about weddings being the bride’s special day. Not to mention the general rule of the bride being the only one to wear white.

It was a yellow brocade and extremely fitted. That is, if you got beyond the eye crossing, instantly inebriated by the checkered pattern across her chest. Well, somewhat across her chest.

Y’all, I could see them from the choir loft. (That was my 16th position on the platform.) One couldn’t help but see it. I mean, they walked in before she did. They must have been size 10s with a good 6″ stiletto heel on them! It was the most outrageous pair of solid white patent, leather shoes I had ever laid eyes on.

Half of the congregation was still seated as Mary Gail made her entrance. I guess they did not hear the bridal procession for being blinded by this mammoth of a jonquil!
No two colors could have made an ivory wedding dress look anymore like Grandmother’s dishwater.  Mary Gail’s mother, being the town’s most of obnoxious debutante, made an audible gasp. Bouncing off the hardwood floors and stained glass windows, it was so loud it made her husband blush-his hearing aides already at a high freaquency roar.

The bride’s humble mother felt it her duty to ever-so-indiscreetly ask the lady if she might feel more comfortable in a pair of her shoes. That is if the 5’10” woman wore a size 6. It was more like a Chihuahua convincing a Great Dane her collar would be a perfect fit. I’m certain the choking factor entered her mind.

On that particular day and to this day, Mary Gail has been the kindest person in town to BUTTERCUP. Encouraging her to get some southern roots and stick around. Praising her work and going on and on about how much Mr. Livingston adored her. She doted over what an asset BUTTERCUP was to their family. Reminding everyone they nick-named her after a perrineal for a reason.

Mary Gail grew up in the shadow of her mother’s social sorority sisterhood. She adopted the mindset-those ladies had the depth of a postage stamp at an early age.

Mary Gail rebelled! Refusing any form of civitan or social duties, despite her mother’s efforts.

Mary Gail once spent the weekend in Starkville with a friend and attended a Mississippi State football game while there. Her mother didn’t show up at her baptism the next Sunday. Exclaiming, “Lord knows it would take Holy Water to wash the smell of that
godforsaken place off of you, Mary Gail!”

To which Mary Gail, for the first time ever, rebottled! “Mama you were a Methodist that daddy (not JESUS) converted to a Baptist! What do you know about Holy Water?! Let me help you out, you’re going to need less rouge and more hemline before you set your pretty little sails off in waters you know nothing about. The only time I have known you to grit your teeth more than the thought of getting your hair wet after baptism and  before a Sunday social, was when daddy wrote the tithe check on Sunday Mornings. Had you truly cared about you family, particularly your marriage maybe you would have spent more times praying to be a good wife instead of chasing a husband who showed his love to everyone in town but you! You had me to keep face in this town, the same reason daddy had you!   ”

Out of respect for her late father, Mary Gail allowed the mother-daughter relationship to exist. Strictly for show, because Daddy didn’t believe in letting others see blemishes on the canvas of personal life.

Though decades have passed, the hurt of an absent mother is as raw as a white onion. To this day, it makes her not only cry but like a baby. Mary Gail reflects on the joy she has when she looks at her own children. The way her heart literally skips a beat when she watches her own children as they sleep. What was so wrong with her that her own mother looked at her in disgust.  Mary Gail vowed before puberty despite her future husbands actions. She would show him love by nurturing and delighting in what he loved most and couldn’t live  without, his children.

Feeble, frail and in and out of the hospital with pneumonia, Mary Gail’s Mother now spends her days. When she is not in the hospital, she goes to the nicest assisted living areas known to these hills. The decision to move her there came on the heels of the resignation of two home health aides and one nurse. Mary Gail didn’t feel obligated to visit with her still in the old home place.

It is a mystery to all, but the only thing she mentions looking forward to was Saturdays at two. Without fail, every Saturday at 2PM, Buttercup’s afternoon visit. Always on time, always the same time, and always with fresh flowers and a painted red smile.

Everyone in town thought Mary Gail was naive. Including myself, until recently I ran into Mary Gail at the bakery. With profoundness she said, “Amanda, whatever you do, remember this. The closest way to a man’s heart is through his right-hand woman.”
I guess that was Mary Gail’s way of keeping another womanizing Livingston boy from messing around. She kept him simply messing.

Mary Gail had the seven karat family heirloom. Meanwhile, her husband’s secretary did all the work. Thirty years and the lipstick on his collar never changed. Bright red, just like my daddy said.

Mary Gail revealed the mystery to a good friend, who in turn told me, because it was too good to keep. “The best medicine for a mother who once thought herself above rearing a child? The mother who did not darken my childhood bed room a hand full of times? Leaving my dear sweet Nanny Velma Kate to all the motherly duties……..Send In A Clown Every Saturday At Two!”

Never walked a mile, yet ran a thousand over my heart.

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Remi Beau Baker’s first day in shoes and oh at the places she tried to go. 

I took this picture laughing, with The Lord’s sense of humor in mind.

These brand new shoes were worn only a few hours by my little girl.  At barely 8 months, she can’t walk yet. I couldn’t help but look at them and think of the miles those little feet would have gone, how very busy she already was, and in turn how busy she kept me.

My intentions at 37 years old, were of graduation parties for my Maddie. Not of marking the milestones of a new baby. I took this pic with such light hearted intentions, all I can do now is cry over this amazing gift that God gave me!

#16yrsbetweenmytwo

Babies, motherhood, single parents, Christian, God

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