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Pick and Choose

Mama loved Dogwood trees and the story behind their 4 leafed bloom. She would make a point of telling the story of how they would never be big enough again to make a cross from and how the edges of the leaves had a burned spot from the rusty nails left there.

That was the closest she ever came to telling and sharing any kind of religion with me.

I love Dogwood trees and blooms, too, and even snatched a few limbs from the courthouse lawn for my bridal bouquet on the way to the race track.

(Some sentences even surprise me when I write them, so reading them is probably equally surprising….)

Daddy loved the water, and growing up in Florida meant he was close enough to it (no matter where he lived) to put his feet in sand and his fishing rod in the ocean pretty often. He would always carry his trusty binoculars and whip them out if there was any chance of spotting movement in those choppy waters that might turn out to be the one that wouldn’t get away.

I didn’t share his love of fishing but there were many years we’d spend hours in the ocean, me in over my head while he showed me how to ride out the waves and mama fretted on the shore, his trusty binoculars in hand, making sure I didn’t get too far away.

For the past 8 months, I’ve spent so much time discovering pieces of their life intertwined with chunks of their past and my future. It’s a painfully slow process that overwhelms me with emotions I didn’t even know I had inside me. A photograph of mama and her brothers, all gone now, or daddy with his sister, also both gone, will send me down a path of ‘remember when’ that takes its time flowing though my brain, popping up memories of people I hadn’t thought of in years.

They were both collectors of stuff, children of the depression and little means who hung onto the material things that brought them joy. Always bargain hunters, these treasures might be yard sale finds or trinkets gifted to them, and over a life time of 88 years, the tiny spaces of many downsized homes filled up with much more than I could keep in my lifetime.

Pick and choose.

I must pick and choose the memories to hang on to and keep close to my heart as I decide what to gift and donate, what to sell, and what to do with all the stuff they left behind.

When I found this tiny vase tucked back in the corner of a dusty shelf, covered in cobwebs from a now empty home, I knew it was a keeper. And daddy’s binoculars had been at my house for many months, hidden in a spot until I was ready and able to see them every day.

There’s nothing really special about either of these things. They aren’t particularly valuable in a monetary sense, and no one would suddenly find an interest in either if they wandered through my home and tried to spot items that stood out.

But they carried memories of my parents that helped keep them close to my soul and remind me of a time less crowded, less busy, and less messy than today.

Pick and choose.

It seems daunting to pick and choose pieces of another life to carry forward, but we all pick and choose every moment of every day. Do we pick the lesser of two evils, or do we choose to take a leap of faith and learn how to fly on our way up.

Do we pick the easier battle and rest because our souls are tired, or do we choose to rise another day, and fight for what we want.

Pick and choose.

It shouldn’t be a tough choice, yet here we are at each dawn trying to decide which way to go, which hand to tap, and which way will bring us joy.

What treasure will you pick and choose today? What decision will make a difference in the person you are and the person you want to be? What dream can you dream that’s just on the horizon, and could be within reach….as soon as you pick and choose.

with Glitter & Grace,


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