Apr 142010

Bathroom Break

Willie Mack is my maternal grandfather, more well-known as Ozella’s husband. He’s been dead for many years, but the general consensus is that he was a real character. So can you just imagine what kind of person old Mack told stories about back in his day? Just like I have a nutty, deceased grandfather I enjoy writing about, Mack had a nutty aunt about whom his family liked to tell stories. Knowing what you know about Mack (who used to have fisticuffs with his wife that ended with him being shot and stabbed by his beloved), just imagine how crazy someone would have to be for HIM to consider that person worthy of a fireside story. Well, he had one such relative. Her name was Eualer.

First, I have to explain the name. I just LOVE unusual names. Your comments that included all of your unusual family names cracked me up.

Aunt Eualer’s name was a mistake. Her parents wanted to give her a name that was considered old fashioned even for those days, Eulalie (YEW-lah-lee). But my ancestors weren’t good at spelling or sounding-it-out, because they ended up naming her Eualer, pronouncing it yew-ALE-er, and sticking with the unfortunate pronunciation all her life. Poor Eualer.

I should also mention that in my family, the title “Aunt” is not pronounced “Ah-nt,” the way some fancy people do. It’s also not pronounced “Ant” the way many southerners and mid-westerners do. We pronounce it “Ain’t,” like the grammatically incorrect contraction that makes schoolteachers cringe. For example, I have an Ain’t Sue who lives in Ft. Worth, Texas.

I only know one family story about Eualer, but from that one story, I’m able to deduce that she and I have at least one very important thing in common. She and I both cannot STAND having to stop during road trips to pee. For me, it’s due to an aversion to the smells and germs associated with public restrooms. For her, I’m almost certain convenience was the main factor. I’m not sure how many public restrooms could be found along the road in the middle-of-nowhere east Texas in those days, but I think it’s fair to assume there weren’t many. But she went to greater lengths than I ever have to avoid making pit stops.

Legend has it, Eualer was gearing up for a long road trip with her family, and she knew she would never make it to her destination without stopping for a restroom break. So before she departed, she went to the kitchen, grabbed the biggest butcher knife she could find, and plunged it into the floorboard of the family car’s back seat. She cut a jagged-edged circle about the size of a coffee can lid into the floorboard.

Can you see where this story is going?
While she and her family were on the road and nature called, Eualer crawled into the back seat, pulled down her drawers, hiked up her dress, hovered over the hole, and relieved herself. Her husband never even had to slow down. I bet they made really good time.

So the next time you are driving down the road and see one of those lines of mystery fluid leaking from a random car, keep in mind that it might not be antifreeze or transmission fluid. It just might be one of my family members avoiding a bathroom break.


And if this is you’re first visit to Momastery today, well, Urine for a treat. Don’t forget to read the poem below about Ed, and trusting yourself.

Apr 152010

I know. I was there. I felt it.

Ten years ago I lost my mother to colon cancer. She fought a courageous battle for eleven and a half months until her body just couldn’t go on. I remember the day she called to tell me. I was sitting on my couch, the phone rang and my step father said “they found something.” I repeated what and all he could say was the same thing over and over. I finally said put mom on the phone and she told me. “They found a tumor.” I became very matter of fact. It’s ok, I said. We will beat this, I said. Not to worry, I said. And then we hung up and I flung the phone across the room and began to shake. I sat there for what seemed like hours before I could pull my cried out self together. That day I began to pray. I began to pray for what I wanted. My prayers were more of a begging, a pleading of sorts rather than a prayer. I didn’t pray for what would bring God glory. I didn’t care what would bring Him glory. I prayed for Him to spare my mother’s life.

Those eleven months were the fastest of my life. She called me June 2000 and told me to come home. I immediately understood why. I arrived home just a few short hours before she slipped into a coma. Our preacher was there and as I sat by her bedside and he on the other side, I asked my mother if she had any questions. She shook her head no. The preacher took her hands and prayed with her. I sat there in awe. Really??? No questions, at all???? None. Nada. All I could think is if all that “stuff” in the bible is real and you are about to die and go to heaven, how could you NOT have questions???? She didn’t have a single one.

That night dragged on and on. My mother’s body continued to give way. Her breathing was incredibly labored. If you have never been with someone passing from this life to the next, it is every bit as painful, heartbreaking, and down-right amazing as you’d imagine it to be. Throughout the night I had gone from lying in a twin bed beside her to sitting by her side caressing her hand.

You might feel a little skeptical about the next part, but I tell you without hesitation, it is the truth. Nothing less. As I lay there watching my mother in the dimly lit room, I felt a warmth pass over my body as if someone had just momentarily placed an electric blanket on me. And just as quickly as it was laid on me, it passed over me. I looked up at my step father and said “she’s gone, isn’t she?” My mother had passed away at three am. And without any doubt in my mind, her spirit passed right through me as it left her body.

I tell you these things because this morning at church our preacher spoke about the Resurrection. He told of all the theories. The “swoon” theory; that maybe Jesus just fainted on the cross but wasn’t really dead. The “theft” theory; that the disciples wanted so badly to keep this good thing going so they stole his body during the night. The “hallucination” theory; that each person that saw Jesus that day had only hallucinated. Each of these theories have been dispelled. Today when I was sitting in church listening to the preacher talk about all this, the Holy Spirit reminded me of my mother and her passing. The Holy Spirit reminded me that I have had a first hand account of what it is like when the spirit doesn’t need the body anymore. When my mother’s scarred, cancer ridden, broken down, tattered, worn out body was left here on earth and her spirit ascended to heaven. I know. I was there. I felt it.

My spirituality, as I used to call it, has taken the long way to get to where I am today. But for me, that’s what it took. There are so many other stories that I could tell that helped me get to where I am today, and maybe Glennon will be so kind as to let me tell them in time. But the short of it is, I needed to know it was real. I needed to know what I was believing was solid. Today my faith, which is what I call my sprirituality now, is unshakable. I know if I were to be on death’s bed tonight, I wouldn’t have any questions either. Not one. None. Nada.

Each of us have our own beliefs and I respect that about each and every Monkee. I hope you will also respect mine; for this is the only belief I have got.

Love, Tricia


Monkees, I moved Tricia’s guest post up in the queue immediately when I discovered that this week she found a lump in her breast. Her doctors will give her more information on Monday. She’s full of hope but also afraid. Just like the rest of us.

This is what we’re here for, Monkees, Tricia and her faithful, fearful heart are what Momastery is all about.

Apr 162010

Our family lives in a small town on the bay now. So far, it feels exactly liked I dreamed it would.

We go on picnics, swing on the front porch, drive around town in Bubba and Tisha’s golf cart, play with the neighbor’s elderly lab, wave to passers by, and sit on the dock dangling our toes in the bay. It took me two weeks, but I think I have stopped rushing. Why rush when there’s nothing next?

We get dressed up and walk to church on Sunday mornings. Amma pushes her baby stroller and leaves it on the front lawn of the church during service. Tish carries her hot pink purse and trips over her silver glittery slippers the whole way there. Fancy purses and shoes are Tish’s favorite part of God.

On Easter Sunday we sat beside a teeny old lady who looked like she’d been getting ready for service since Good Friday. I admired her sculpted white curls, her tailored suit, her pale pink fingernails and her delicate hands, which were wrapped around a snazzy pink plaid clutch. She wore a pearl necklace with matching earrings and perfectly applied cotton candy lipstick. During the service I looked down at her teeny little ankles and noticed a tattoo of a blue crab peeking through her nude hose. She saw me looking down at her ankle and she winked at me. I was thrilled. Monkees can recognize their own. I’ve decided that dainty tattooed elderly ladies in church pews are my favorite kind of people ever. I can’t wait to be one.

My favorite thing about our new town is the church bells. The first bells chime at nine, and then every three hours for the rest of the day. We can hear them from the front yard, from the dock, from the living room. From anywhere we are. I love them because they’re beautiful, and because they remind me all day to wake up and say thank you. Hearing the church bells makes me feel like God’s got His eye on our little town. Or at the very least, our town’s got its little eye on Him. It feels cozy, like we’re all in this together.

There is a glass door at the back of our house that frames the bay inside of it, and during the past two weeks, I’ve watched each person in my family stop at that door, look out at the water and sigh. Even Tish sighs a bit at that door. It’s like our bodies are designed to stop, relax and appreciate the water. At least my family’s bodies are. So there’s a lot of sighing going on here lately. Tish lays on the dock and when she feels the breeze on her face she says “Ahhh…This is my YIFE.” We think she means “This is the life.” But of course, we don’t correct her.

Sometimes, after I finish writing in the early morning, if the kids haven’t woken yet, I sneak out to the back porch with my coffee and C.S. Lewis and listen to the bay wake up. I never get much reading done, because I find myself silently repeating “thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.” I have no idea what it is about the water that helps me be grateful. It helps me whether it’s in a glass with ice, a tub, or the bay. And today, I’m just grateful to have found a place where I can breathe easy for now. That’s all we can do, right? Try to find that place, and those people. For now.

Speaking of those people…this guy:

He’s loving it here. His wife is less agitated. His Corona matches his afternoon. He gets scruffier and saltier and in my opinion, more gorgeous with each passing day in this fishing town. I love him a little more, somehow, than I did before we left. One night several months ago, Craig and I were standing in the kitchen, listening to this song and dreaming about moving to the water. And now we’re here. We did it. That’s the best part. That he and I wanted something a little different and we did it. I am starting to wonder dangerous things, like Maybe There’s Nothing He And I Can’t Do Together.

Truly, the only lesson I’ve really learned during these past three weeks, and God willing, plan to keep learning for the rest of my life. . . is that it doesn’t matter a lick where this family lives. Where he is, where they are, is Home.

You have a beautiful weekend, Monkees. Thanks for helping a Sister breathe easy.

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