Memorial Day Monday sounds the siren of summertime and from that moment activities like barbeques, boat rides, and beach days ensue. Sunny days and hot temperatures demand recreation outside the four walls of our homes that have offered warmth and comfort during the cold winter and spring seasons. Tropical vacations, road trips, camping, sightseeing, Disney Land, and weekend getaways are all the rage during June, July and August. Those three months provide permission to play in ways that the other nine months of the year prevent.
It is Labor Day that signals the end of the season and tends to incite either one last summer time hurrah, or in my case, an opportunity to prepare for the long fall, winter and spring seasons that lie ahead. While my husband contests every year, I look forward to spending our final three-day weekend wrapping up all the loose ends that were unraveled by months of haphazard schedules, spontaneous adventures and lazy days resting and relaxing around the house. Each year I demand that we use this final holiday to cover up the evidence of our summer love affair with sloth and gluttony. So, organizational blueprints are drawn and strategic cleaning commences, and like a stalwart soldier, I head out to attack Ikea, Target and Bed, Bath & Beyond to wrangle the weapons of order necessary to fortify my home for the school year. When I arrive at my first stop, I…am…immediately…distracted…
I go into Bed, Bath & Beyond to buy newly minted mattress pad covers only to discover so…much…more! I think they stopped at “Bed” and “Bath” and just tucked on the “Beyond” because it would be far too long of a store name to include things like “Bed, Bath & As Seen on TV” or “Bed, Bath & Everything You Need for a Spa Day” or “Bed, Bath & Gadgets and Gizmos-A-Plenty, We’ve Got Whose-Its and Whats-Its Galore, You Want Thing-A-Ma-Bobs? We’ve Got Twenty, but Who Cares? No Big Deal! I Want More!”
I digress…just like I did after I found the mattress pad covers that I went in for and proceeded to wander the aisles in sheer amazement (or was it amusement?) at all that the store had to offer as both contribution and distraction to my original task of organization and order.
Did you know that at Bed, Bath & Beyond, you can buy Hot Buns? A simple styling solution that allows you to just roll, snap and wrap! Who knew? That won’t make my house more organized, but might do wonders for my bird’s nest hair! And at the end of the day, when I take out my Hot Buns, they sell a customized Head Massager that applies just the right kind of tingle to loosen a tight scalp. But if “The Head and the Hair” are not your problem, try the Sole Scrubber. Just soap it up for a sudsy foot massage! However, my favorite random product that must fall into the “Way Beyond” category is Wacky-tivities Kinetic Sand – One Touch Will Blow Your Mind. And it did. This product has zero order and organizing value, however for pure curiosity, you can run your fingers through the sample display and experience a sand that never dries, isn’t sticky or messy and stays perfectly coiffed in sand castle construction until you, not the elements, choose to destroy it.
As I wandered through the store looking suspicious while taking these snapshots, inciting others to wonder why I would need to photograph Denim Stretch Leggings with Back Pockets, I realized that everything in that store is meant to make life easier, better, cleaner, prettier, or neater. In fact, there seems to be something for anything and everything that ails, bothers or frustrates. Yet, however intrigued I was by the cleverly marketed packages and creatively designed products, something in me knew that I didn’t need any of it. My inner compass told me that I could fill my cart with things that might make life clean and neat but that perhaps there is more beauty in messiness than in the order that a Studio 3B Bedside Caddy might provide.
I like to laugh. In fact, it’s probably one of my favorite things to do. A few weeks ago, I was walking down the street talking on my cell phone to a friend using the mic from my white headphones. When she said something funny, I stopped right in the middle of the sidewalk, threw my head back and then doubled over laughing hysterically. People on the other side of the street must have wondered what was so funny about my music, because clearly they didn’t see me talking to anyone in person. I looked like a lunatic. And yet, I would do that again and again and again, if I could. Because what was being said was funny, but my imagination of the people of the other side of the street watching someone apparently laugh to themselves by themselves makes that scenario all the more amusing. Truth always be told, my closest friends are those with whom I have shared the belly-aching-fall-on-the-floor-cry-until-your-head-hurts kind of laughing moments. Indeed, the highlight of most of my days are the ridiculously witty texts my best friend, my husband, sends me that literally make me LOL.
So, if a picture is worth a thousand words, than a .gif (pronounced with a soft “g” like “gin”) is worth at least a million laughs. While not a new phenomenon, the .gif seems to be gaining popularity because it’s bite-size animation is easy to download and watch without sacrificing visual quality. Videos are often too large to share easily and sometimes too long to invest watching. But the .gif offers the simplicity of an image with the animation of a video.
Recently I was populating our “Laughter” Pinterest board, (and admittedly, it was at least a couple of hours well spent) when I came across a plethora of hilarious .gifs. I know Pinterest gets a bad rap for being a waste of time luring us to longing for goals we will never achieve, crafts we will never make, or parties we will never throw. I too have had my husband wonder when I was going to stop pinning and start getting ready for bed when it was past midnight. I have also pinned many images that are more covetous than creative. But for someone who has ripped out images and liberally dog-eared pages of magazines since adolescence, I find Pinterest to be a more efficient, inspiring, and environmentally friendly alternative to collecting a library of magazines I keep but never look at twice.
But this post is really about peanut butter, not Pinterest.
Just kidding. This post is simply a tribute to the funniest of all pins – the .gif. I have been in class before and showed a mate something funny from my Laughter board and not been able to contain my giggles. And if there is something glorious and wonderfully pleasurable about seeing something funny – that gets funnier each time one looks at it – then sharing that same funny something with another person must be next to the experience of holiness. I’ve always thought inside jokes were the best – and Pinterest is like inviting the world to share in a secret joke. Today, join me in this particular inside joke. Quite possibly the best peanut butter, er, I mean, pin ever. Or at least the best. gif.
*Sunday Specials are a weekly round-up of happenings on the web-o-sphere. So enjoy your coffee while checking out what’s caught our attention.
For mamas who need permission to live into who they truly are…
I believe that too many women give themselves away bits and pieces indiscriminately for years and years. And then they never have the time or the energy to discern their unique calling from God. They never have the time or the energy to play the redemptive role that they are gifted and impassioned to play. The result then is a lot of good hearted Christian women who are exhausted and simultaneously depressed. ~Shauna Niequist
Watch as Shauna Niequist reflects on how she watched her mother blossom into the woman she was created to be.
For women who want to mother the world in ways that don’t involve having her own children…
It can be a tragic situation (personally, for a family, and for the community at large) when a woman ends up in the wrong category, based on her true nature. Women who long for children but cannot have babies suffer enormously, as we well know, and my heart aches for their loss. But children who are born to inadequate or unprepared mothers also suffer enormously (and their mothers suffer, too—trapped in a responsibility that they can neither meet or enjoy.)
Those of us who are natural-born aunties are luckier. We love children, we enjoy children, but we know in our deepest heart that we are not supposed to have children of our own. And that is absolutely fine, as not every woman in history needs to be a mother, or would be good at it. Now, listen—if you put a baby in front of me, rest assured: that baby is going to get cuddled, spoiled and adored. But even as I’m loving on that beautiful infant, I know in my heart: This is not my destiny. It never was. And there is a curious rush of joy that I feel, knowing this to be true—for it is every bit as important in life to understand who you are NOT, as to understand who you ARE.
Me, I’m just not a mom. I bow before all good and loving mothers, but I think it’s better for everyone if I create and nurture in other ways — in ways that are more suited to my talents and my heart. Having reached a contented and productive middle age, I can say without a blink of hesitation that wouldn’t trade my choices for anything.
Lucky is the woman who can say that, and lucky is anyone who can choose her own path, in line with her own nature.
Blessings to everyone, and thanks for asking!
(AND DON’T FORGET TO CALL YOUR MOM!)
For mamas hurting on this day…
I don’t know how long I’ll sleep with the blankets she was wrapped in, her scent now long gone. I don’t know how many times I’ll hold the nightie she wore, touching the spot of her blood, knowing it’s the last trace of her life on this earth. I don’t know how many days I’ll Google adoption agencies, searching for baby girls who need a mommy who is ready to love, or spontaneously erupt into sobs at the grocery store checkout line without any warning at all. And I definitely don’t know how long my soul will scream for every old, numbing trick I’ve ever tried over the course of my life.~Christa Black