Raisin’ Lions


Today is one of those days that I know, like I know my name, that God is real and that the peace He gives is unexplainable! My son, Benji is in surgery right now, it’s been about an hour and they expect another. He has a rare disease that has allowed some pieces of benign tumor to be lodged in his right hip. The surgeon says it’s like having small rocks in there, which is not only incredible painful, but causes a tear that they’re repairing today as well as removing the “foreign pieces” in this hip.

For years, I’ve jokingly said that I was “raisin’ lions” because both of my boys have such strong personalities. Benji is #2 and isn’t a patient young man (Commander for any of you CORE personality folks). He was really frustrated because our call time at the hospital was 5:15am and he’d been without water and food since well before midnight expecting to go into surgery at the crack of dawn. They actually ended up starting around 10:10am, so he was acting goofy in the prep area while waiting for them to take him back to be “put under”. He told me if he didn’t act silly, he’d “try to jump up and leave“. Then they abruptly signaled me that I’d need to leave and Benji asked me to pray for him. In that quick minute, as I held his strong hand and prayed for him to feel God’s peace and presence, I kissed him and was reminded again that he is in God’s hands and that I can trust Him to take care of Benji. Not only today,but everyday.

I’ve truly felt “held” today by the prayers of friends and family as I’ve sat in a hospital room with my son’s dad since early this morning. His unexplainable peace has filled every inch of this room and my heart. Benji’s surgery is pushing 4 hours now, so we’re hoping he’s going to the recovery room soon.

Before I sign off, I wanted to share this with you. Maybe I’m loopy from 3 hours of sleep last night, but I love little surprise love notes from God like this. I went down to the cafe a few minutes ago and grabbed a snack…. some hummus with pretzels and randomly, some raisins that we sitting by the check out stand. I don’t believe I’ve EVER bought raisins for a snack, but it seemed like a good choice today for some reason. As I began to eat them, I had to laugh. They are LION brand raisins and they are made in California. For me, it was one of those little love notes from God that said, “I’ve got your LION who’s on the operating table today… I’ve even got the one in California!”

If you are “raisin’ a lion” or a pair like mine, hug them hard tonight and let them know that you see their strength as a young man as well as that little guy inside who still needs his mama’s kiss even when he may not act like he does. I’ll have to be gentle with mine for the next few days, but can’t wait to see his face again in a little while.

Posting this pic “pre-op”… had to crop off the “hair net” or Benji would never speak to me again.



I Am Enough

  I love the Fourth of July. I love fireworks, yummy food and anything with a flag on it…well, anything cute, that is! In spite of my love for the 4th that goes back to childhood, as an adult it became a mixed bag for me. I was married on the 4th back in 1992. A little ironic to get married on “Independence Day”, but we did. I’ve officially been a single mom since 2001, so every other July 4th, my boys were not with me for the ‘family holiday of the summer‘. For years, those “solo” days held a “little stinger” in them for me.  Regardless, I loved buying festive clothes for my boys and even when they went to camp over the 4th or were with their dad, I made sure they had fun t-shirts, flip flops, hats, sunglasses…. whatever trendy trinket I could find to send. When it was my year to be with them, we enjoyed some wonderful celebrations at the beach, in the mountains and in our fun Franklin neighborhood through the years.  I’m truly grateful for those precious memories. We always had cute pictures and fun food (even before facebook and Pinterest because I’m a photo freak), but most of the time, I was completely worn out after working so hard for all of it. On those hot July days when I was husbandless and childless, I felt really out of place.  My family in Memphis didn’t really understand why I didn’t want to be at their big annual 4th event alone.  I remember on several occasions being invited to attend cookouts and fireworks with friends, but instead I stayed home and did huge organizational projects at my house, or just snuck off to a movie with a friend. One 4th, my best friend tried to help me with a big job in my garage that ended up being a traumatic night for her as her little dog died and she fell from a tall ladder and was knocked unconscious. Neeedless to say, we didn’t make the big Belle Meade fireworks celebration that night. I was reminded yesterday as I woke up in a perfectly quiet house while my sons are in California and Haiti, that those years are far behind me now. I was home in Nashville on one of the most beautiful days I can ever remember having in July. No humidity and a balmy 84 degrees, perfect blue skies and a light breeze, something highly unusual here, for those of you who don’t live in the south. I had a peaceful, enjoyable day relaxing on the amazing deck of the house I’m leasing that is nestled in the woods on a small hill in the middle of Brentwood/Nashville. I didn’t play “beat the clock” or give in to any obligatory need to celebrate in the typical “American” way that I’ve done in years past.  I didn’t have a new festive t-shirt (I did buy the boys tshirts in case they wanted to have one to wear, but they probably didn’t even put them on). I ate out for the first time that I can remember on the 4th.  I didn’t even cook a thing, unless you consider making guacamole “cooking”. I putzed around all day and ended the night watching a movie outside on the deck with a happy drink and fireworks blasting in the background. (I tried getting a picture, but it didn’t really translate). As I scrolled through my facebook and Instagram during the day, seeing all of the family pics and posts, I was reminded of those years that I worked so hard to have a “perfect family day“.   I was also aware of the reality of how hard women, especially “Mamas”, work to pull of big festive events .  I can honestly say that for the first time in a long time, it didn’t make me sad to see the posts of “whole” families together celebrating.  I was truly happy to see the adorable pictures and big smiles along with fireworks from all over the world.  I was giddy to be home last night and grateful as I went to sleep for the “day off”. The simple joys of rest and peace that I’m experiencing at this time in my life are an unexpected gift that I’m learning to embrace at fifty. But I woke up thinking about those of you who were “working hard” yesterday for your family, friends or even for yourself (so you could post it for your friends to see), and I wanted to post this wonderful reminder I saw on twitter last year from one of my ‘favorite people I’ve never met’, Brene Brown.  Especially, if you went to bed last night with any regrets or reminders of what you didn’t get done for the day….. do this today. “Raise your fist + repeat: No matter what gets done + what’s left undone, I am enough. #LastWeekofSchoolCrazies #Motherhood Also, if you can, try to find some time to take a little break for yourself. I’m pretty sure you deserve it. Much love from here. PS. Benji returns today, so the atmosphere in my house will change dramatically in a few hours. He brings “the party!”  Also, we still have room at our BoyMama weekend coming up July 11-12 for those of you within driving distance of Nashville who want to connect with more mamas sharing honestly about their journeys with their sons. www.nashvilletreehouse.com/events