I’ve Been Set Down

bham2

Birmingham, Alabama

This post is coming up from a deep well of I don’t know what. Ruminating on friendships past and future. Looking for words of wisdom from scripture and finding nuggets in unexpected places. Surfing the net sometimes provides providential words of encouragement and exhortation.

There is no ideal place for us to serve God except the place He sets us down. We are not to run from it on a whim or sudden notion, but we should serve the Lord in it by being a blessing to those among whom we live.  -Alistair Begg

I have been set down in Alabama; deposited in this south deeper than Florida. Here the grass is softer and the roads hillier; the accent thicker and the seasons more varied. Tornadoes have replaced hurricanes and I have discovered white BBQ sauce. But, God is the same. No matter how much I vacillate, He is the same.

And to quote a fictional character:

 God will put you in the right place. Even if you don’t know it at the time. –  Alec Hardy (quoting his mother)  in Broadchurch

So, I believe I’m in the right place, no matter how I “feel” about it. Maybe I have not yet seen why. But, in our pursuit of becoming foster parents, I think perhaps this is our right place. In taking the steps to follow our desire to foster, it’s been like “going down the chute”.

You can’t be that kid standing at the top of the waterslide, overthinking it. You have to go down the chute. – Tina Fey

Pieces of My Culture

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1961

christmas 1965

1965

 

A culture is a way of life of a group of people–the behaviors, beliefs, values, and symbols that they accept, generally without thinking about them, and that are passed along by communication and imitation from one generation to the next.

“I get so frustrated when I talk to people and they say, I don’t have a culture. And it’s mostly white people who say it. And I say, that’s bull, of course you have a culture, where did you grow up? Who’d you talk to? What’d you do? What was your thing? What was your family’s thing? Where’d your family come from?” – – Rhiannon Giddens

I was born in Athens, Georgia, and thus by natural inheritance will always be a Bulldog. Not that I’m an over-the-top fan of any football, but it’s part of my culture. I grew up knowing what red and black were for. My parents met in Athens, where they were both living in the first government housing built in the town. My Dad lost his father when he was four, and Mom’s dad abandoned the family when she was a baby, so they were both raised by mothers who had to work hard all their lives. I never knew my dad’s mom, who died before I was born. But, my Mamaw Bryan was always a sweet, white-haired, lilac dressed Grandma who treated us to Coca-Cola in jeweled colored metal cups and cooked up wonderful fried chicken in her little apartment.

I’m sure being raised without fathers played a part in my mom always being home with us while Dad worked hard to provide. We never lacked for anything, but I have no doubt my parents were on a tight budget. Mom made some of my clothes and we ate a lot of beans, but I never worried about where my next meal was coming from. I learned to save what money I had to purchase what I wanted, like a ten-speed bike and my first stereo.

We moved to Jacksonville, Florida, via Montgomery and Ft. Lauderdale, when I was six. I grew up there in the same house until I married. The Georgia Bulldog devotion stayed with our family, especially due to the Georgia-Florida game played each year in Jacksonville. My life revolved around school, church, and neighborhood. We saw Mamaw and our Georgia cousins once or twice a year. The extended family loved to visit us, partly because of our proximity to the ocean. We were less than 30 minutes from the beach and that was a huge part of my childhood and teen years. Flip-flops, body surfing, driving on the beach and listening to WAPE radio are all cherished memories that fashioned a part of me.

This was all background, though. It helped shape me, but there is much more to culture. There are also beliefs. When I was ten years old I came face to face with my sinful state and knew I needed a Savior. I went to my mom, who sat me down in the kitchen and gently answered my questions. I was soon after baptized and spent the next seven years or so with a group of friends, many of whom I’m still in touch. Our world was one of church picnics, choir trips, “rolling” each other’s homes with toilet paper and “dinner on the grounds”. I am forever grateful for those gentle times of growing up feeling safe and secure.

Jacksonville was a last-holdout to racial integration. This affected me in numerous ways. My parents would always claim not to be prejudiced, but they yanked me out of public school the year that desegregation was finally enforced. Yes, it was a tumultuous time and I would not have wanted to be bussed across town, but I actually was anyway, for a year, to a private school. By 10th grade I was back in my local high school, and had my first real encounter with a different race. I never told my parents that I actually made friends with some black students. In my house the “N” word was common; even my brothers and I called each other that when we were mad.

Music is a big part of every culture. In elementary school we sang “Found a Peanut” and “Billy Boy” along with learning all the military branch songs; I still remember ““Over hill, over dale, we have hit the dusty trail, and the Caissons go rolling along.” I grew up on the Beatles, KC and the Sunshine Band, and “The Church in the Wildwood”.

I imagine it might take a whole book, and perhaps a quilt maker, to piece together all that is my culture. It’s southern, middle class, and pretty white. It’s sprinkled with ya’ll and yes ma’am and grits. Funerals are prefaced with lots of food; July 4th and New Year’s Eve bring reason to shoot off tons of fireworks; “Merry Christmas” still abounds as the go-to December greeting. I hope that I have passed down all the good parts of my culture, and let go of the parts that needed to be left behind.

I Am Printing a Retraction

Morgan or Larry? You be the judge

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photo-IMBD

I learned a lesson – don’t assume. You know what they say…

Last year I wrote a short blog post on the voice that comfortingly comes over the speaker at the Birmingham/Shuttlesworth Airport. The voice that tells you not to leave your bags unattended.

Here is the original post: https://angie5804b.wordpress.com/2015/04/23/bham-shuttlesworth-airport/

Turns out, according to a source from my stint @BeingBham on Twitter, that voice isn’t actually Morgan’s. It’s a guy named Larry Davis. Wow, was I fooled. So, I checked out Larry. You need to, also. On this page you can hear samples, including his impression of Morgan Freeman. I bet you would have been fooled, too!

I Hear the Train A Comin’

November Train - B'ham

November Train – B’ham

I hear the train a comin’
It’s rollin’ ’round the bend,
And I ain’t seen the sunshine,
Since, I don’t know when,

from Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash

In early 2014, after we decided on a house and our offer was accepted, my husband looked on Google Maps and saw that the train runs very near our house. He was worried this was going to be a problem. But, I LOVE it! I don’t know what it is, but I enjoy hearing the whistle blow, which it does 4-5 times a day. I think if I could get through the brush and woods on the other side of our back fence I would be right at the tracks.

When I sit out on our back porch I can also hear the traffic. It’s not the horn-honking kind, just cars going up and down the road. I like that, too.

Down With “Mother Nature”

 “We all know the church is not the building, it’s the people.” – James Spann, weatherman in Alabama, April, 2014

It was our first week in Alabama and we were under a tornado warning. Our new house does not have a basement, but my plan was to hunker down in the hall bathroom if needed. Which I did for a little while with my dog, Loretta, while my husband slept.

As usual with these kinds of weather conditions, the local channel gave weather updates all day. On the second day, it was announced that a church had been demolished. When the weather man said what he did about the church, I was pleasantly surprised. Because it is so true, yet many people don’t have this view.

Now, I always liked the weathermen in Jacksonville. In fact, one longstanding weatherman, now retired, was the father of one of my high school classmates. And a church going guy. Yet, all I ever heard from all those guys was “Mother Nature” this and “Mother Nature” that. It was refreshing to not  hear it mentioned during the two day vigil last April. I’m sure it could have been, but I never heard it. Thanks, James Spann.

So, tornado or sunshine, God is the creator of all nature.

Rainbow above my house

Rainbow above my house

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1

A Transition from Squirrels to Chipmunks

When I first saw Pearl, I thought she was a baby squirrel. So did Loretta. But, one day I got a glimpse of a little stripe and realized this may be a different critter. So, I googled chipmunks and learned a little about them.

Back in Jacksonville, Loretta would try hard to catch Earl, our backyard squirrel, to no avail. Now she has the same record with Pearl; though Loretta is fast, she is just not fast enough.

I am working this post into a challenge – The Six Word Saturday Challenge

“This is Pearl – Lorreta’s new nemesis”

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You can read about the Six Word Saturday challenge HERE