Heaven…and the Litterbug

I was running errands one afternoon last week and it was absolutely gorgeous outside! I had the windows down and was cruising along one of my favorite roads in the area. It has these mature trees that arc gracefully over the hilly stretches. Some of them were bare; some had yellow-green buds that flirted with the light breeze. The sun filtered through the branches, creating a dappled play of light and shadow over the road. The flowering trees were even better, though. In full bloom now, some of the more delicate branches bowed gently beneath the weight of the thick, creamy blossoms that clustered there.

The sapphire sky was the perfect backdrop for the white clouds that drifted languidly overhead, and I didn't mind a bit when I had to stop behind a line of cars to wait for a passing train. I took a deep breath, inhaling the delicious, heady fragrance of springtime while the sun warmed me through the windshield. As I sat there admiring all this beauty, my thoughts turned philosophical, and I considered how amazing our earth really is—what an awesome creation God made.

I mean seriously, He didn't have to make rainbows, or fragrant flowers or the incredible colors of fall. He didn't have to make places like sparkling Lake Michigan with its white sand beaches, or sunsets. He didn't have to make chocolate. (Oops! I digress, I was talking about nature.) He didn't have to create any of it. But He did. He created it for our enjoyment. Then my thoughts drifted along the lines of, "Wow, as cool as all this is, Heaven's going to be even more amazing."

That's when I smelled it.

The dude in the white sports car in front of me had taken a big ol' drag from his cigarette, blowing the smelly smoke right out his open window where it drifted back into mine. Ugh! No longer was I breathing in the heady scent of flowering trees, I was breathing in yucky second-hand smoke. I frowned. We were still stopped for the train and I was trapped. As I contemplated whether to roll up my window, I saw him take another long drag then flick the cigarette butt out onto the road.

Are you kidding me?! We're surrounded by all this incredible beauty and he just trashes it? Almost instantly this public service announcement from the 70s popped into my head.

1974 Keep America Beautiful

A struggle took place within me. I came within seconds of getting out of my car, marching up to the dude's window, tapping politely and asking if his ash tray was broken. But I'd hesitated too long, the train had past and we'd begun moving forward again. However, I couldn't get the flashback of that commercial out of my head.

When I shared this story with my daughter, she gave me a comforting hug. "Mom, I think you're just upset because that guy put cigarette smoke and litter in your Heaven. But you really shouldn't get out of your car and approach a stranger."

Um, I guess I vaguely recall teaching that concept to her when she was younger. And I suppose she's right. Maybe. But then again, I'm not a little kid. I'm a perimenopausal 47-year-old now. I don't know, I think next time I might just do it.

At least there's one good thing, I'm fairly certain there won't really be any cigarette smoke or litter in Heaven.

Quote of the Week

Sunset on Lake Huron © Holly Bowne

"Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it."

~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe ~

Racial Profiling

I trust everyone has completed and mailed their census forms by now so nobody gets into big trouble. I rarely delve into political-type topics with my writing, but I must say, I got a bit caught up in the census drama this year. Between the controversy over the Hispanic community's boycott of it, to the hullabaloo over the added and outdated "Negro" reference, it apparently caused quite the flurry of emotion.
And as usual, the whole "race" portion of the form gave me pause as well. It was nice in the 2000 census when "they" finally figured out many Americans didn't fit into just one box. However, I (and thus our children as well) have never even fit into two boxes and once again I had no way to fill the form out with complete accuracy.

People have guessed my racial background to include everything from Mexican to Egyptian, but in fact I'm a conglomeration, a potpourri, I'm MULTIracial. Just between my two parents my racial background includes White: English, Irish, Scottish, Dutch; Native American: Cherokee, Ojibwe, Seneca, Potawatomi; and Black.

According to the current census form, while I was finally able to check multiple boxes, I was only allowed to claim ONE of my Native American groups. I know it may seem petty, but this stuff drives me nuts!

You know what I think? Either give everyone all the boxes they need, or better yet, just forget it! A part of me wonders why all this race information is necessary anyway. I mean we live in America, the great melting pot, right? So, I ended up pulling one Native American group out of my mental hat and wrote that one on the form. Maybe for the next census, I'll pick a new one and really mess stuff up. Heh, heh.

In honor of all our completed censuses I thought I'd share this humorous video regarding "race" which my mom sent to me. Enjoy!

Quote of the Week

"I always try to write on the principle of the iceberg. There is seven-eighths of it underwater
for every part that shows."
~ Ernest Hemingway ~

Image by: Steven Smith


I've started going through pictures of my daughter from infancy up till now. Eighteen years worth. I’m doing this in preparation for the graduation party video I was going to create (now she is), and for the surprise scrapbook I'm making for her to take to college with her. (No longer a surprise because I accidentally mentioned it and now she keeps removing any pictures where she thinks she looks the least bit funny. Like this one:

Bah, ha, ha, ha! I love having my own blog where I still have the freedom to embarrass her when I can.

Anyway, going through all these pictures unavoidably conjures up a lot of bittersweet memories. Then I start thinking about this fall when she'll head off to college and, well, I'm trying not to feel sad, but…unavoidable. It's also unavoidable that I flash back to my own college days.

To the memory of my parents driving me up to campus the week before school started. Helping me cram my stuff into the tiny dorm room I would share with four complete strangers. I was so nervous I was sick. My parents took me out for ice cream before they left and I couldn't even eat it. Couldn't eat ICE CREAM! You know it was bad.

Ironically, I'd been the initiator. I'd begged and pleaded with my parents to allow me to go away to school instead of commuting. But when the very thing I'd hoped for actually happened--I was terrified! My parents claimed at the time they were sad, too. But as I stood sobbing, watching them peel out of the dormitory parking lot, tires squealing as they zoomed back home to their remaining kids, I was certain they were really thinking, "Woo hoo! One down, three more to go!"

Of course now, as I'm facing my own turn in this role, I know they were more likely thinking, "My baby is going to college! I can't believe it. I've had so much fun with her, and now it's time for me to let her go, even while a part of me inside is crying and whining, 'I don't wanna, I don't wanna!'"

But it's inexorable. My baby girl is about to embark on a new adventure! And it will be exciting and wonderful and she'll remember this time for the rest of her life. I just wish I didn't feel like I was going to be stuck back in the old adventure. Without her.

We'll no longer enjoy breezy conversations when she walks in the door from school. We'll no longer have our bedtime chats, where under the cover of darkness she's shared everything from the trivial to her most secret thoughts and dreams. No longer will I be able to kiss her soft cheek good night, every night. And instead of my home filled with the chattering, laughing voices of her friends playing goofy games and watching movies, there will be…an empty space.

The comfortable, normal world of our relationship will have to change. (Change is a skill I'm not particularly good at.) I'll now have to make a point to call her on the phone (and get better at texting!). And hopefully our relationship will simply morph into a new kind of comfortable and normal.

Then maybe I'll realize I'm not really stuck in the old adventure without her, but instead I'm embarking on a new adventure myself: as the mom of a college student. (And a high school student—don't think I've forgotten you, sweet Joshua. We're going to have so much fun shopping together and sharing our feelings with each other. Bah, ha, ha!)

I will miss her something fierce.

But my precious baby girl has grown into this amazing, confident, faith-filled, beautiful young woman. And really, that's been the whole point all along, hasn't it?

Easter Fun

Hi there!  I'm on Spring Break this week, so no new posts. But in honor of Easter goodies, I'm sharing this picture with you. Every time I look at it, it makes me laugh! Have a great weekend everyone!

Quote of the Week

"Choose a job you love, and you
will never have to work a day in your life."
~ Confucius ~

Image by Noel Zia Lee

Woman of a Certain Age

One morning in January, I was looking in the mirror and noticed something strange. There was this definite bag underneath my left eye. That's weird, I thought. However, I'd gone to bed late the night before so I dismissed it as a lack of sleep thing. Several days went by, then a month, and I realized the bag was still there. I finally figured I'd better get it checked by an ophthalmologist. Of course, by this time my imagination had gone wild. What if I had some rare form of eye cancer? What if there was a tumor growing under there?!

My hubby attempted to comfort me the day of the appointment, telling me they'd probably just prescribe some eye drops and I'd be good as new. I nodded glumly, not believing him for a second as he hugged me and sent me off to the appointment. I was dreading the diagnosis. I had just secured an awesome new writing gig and I envisioned being forced to turn the project down now since I wouldn't be able to see as I underwent eye cancer treatment.

I dragged myself into the office, feeling incredibly depressed while they did all that torturous eye drop stuff they always do. The yellow numbing drops, eye pressure check, then the dreaded pupil dilation. (I hate that! Not only did I maybe have eye cancer, but I wouldn't be able to read for the rest of the day!)

Finally the doc came in. He asked me a bunch of questions, thoroughly examined each eye, then pulled up a stool and sat beside me. He looked as if he'd known me better he may have taken my hand to give it a comforting pat. I waited with trepidation, already thinking the worst. But nothing, nothing could have prepared me for what he was about to say.

"Well, Holly," he began, looking me directly in the eyes. "There are, er…certain things that happen to the human body over time. Now, it's not uncommon for men and women of a certain age to develop things like, well, like bags under their---"

"Whoa, whoa, whoa!" I held up my hand and stared at him, mouth gaping. "Are you telling me that this…this bag that just suddenly appeared under my eye is an 'old person' thing?

He looked uncomfortable. "You're not old," he clarified. "It's just that as people age, it's not uncommon for them to develop bags like this under their eyes. Now, I definitely don't think you're at the point where you'd want to consider Botox or plastic surgery of any kind…"

Oh. My. Gosh!

He kept talking, but I'd stopped listening. Here I was thinking I might have some rare disease and it turns out my stupid bag is because I'm a "woman of a certain age" and these things just happen?! I couldn't believe I'd made a doctor appointment for a normal sign of aging. Ugh!

At dinner that evening, my family politely asked about the results of my appointment. I cleared my throat, raised my chin and shared the diagnosis. I have to give my husband some credit; he at least had the grace to suppress his smile, but not my kids. They laughed uproariously. And kept laughing. (All right, enough already.)

Periodically throughout the meal, while I was talking or sharing a funny story, my son would surreptitiously place his index finger beneath his left eye and look at me with a smirk, the new universal sign for "No more goofy stuff now, mom. Remember, you're old." I finally dove across the table at him but he just darted away, laughing. Little brat!

Well, I don't care. I've always said I refuse to call myself old until I hit 90. Maybe not even then. I'll just continue on my merry way, acting like a kid if I feel like it, under-eye baggage and all.

Image by Orangeacid