Tuesday, January 26, 2016

"Oh, Shit!' Repost From August 13th, 2012

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, rather by the number of hilarious and "make you feel good" visits you take to the nursing home" ~Sara Littlejohn

I am a firm believer in the power of a well placed expletive.

Pretty sure that trickled down from my Mama.

Growing up I could count on ONE hand the number of times my mom used an expletive. It was never out of anger, frustration, or directed at another human being. It was ALWAYS very well placed and very purposeful.

We talked about one such incident in this post.

My mom never tried being anyone except herself, which in her line of business (pastor's wife) can be extremely challenging. She was not concerned with who the congregation, elders, presbytery, WIC committee, or other first wives from first family churches,  thought she should be. She was just her bold, straightforward, "don't beat around the bush", truth teller, self. I have met very few pastor's wives that embody the rich security my mom found in simply being a child of God. I think this allowed her to minister in a real, deep, authentic place.

I'll never forget the first time mom cursed in front of a small portion of my friends. I asked her what we were having for dinner and she replied, "shit on a shingle!" My friends about fell out of their chairs, and they never again looked at my mother the same (in a good way).

All of this to say, first thing this morning I loaded the kids up to go visit Mama-Mama. I just woke up and HAD to see her. Mainly, because I wanted to touch her, kiss her, and hold her hand for a bit. This was the second time I had taken the kids, and they were just thrilled to be with her after spending three long weeks of being forced NOT to see her.

Almost every resident lit up when we walked down the hallway to mom's room. Sweet faces, wearing blessings of a life time in their wrinkles, waved and smiled at my little clan. When we first approached mom's room her door was closed, after a little *knock, knock* the CNA opened the door and out wheeled mama ready for the day. As the "hi grammy, hi mama, hi grammy, hi grammy, hi grammy" were being said, mom hollered out in a very loud voice, "OH SHIT!" Not the "I am so mad you are here," or the "get out of my face" or the " I forgot something", but rather the "OH SHIT! I am so, so, so glad to see you!" Katie and I giggled out loud, the other three went about their business offering hugs and kisses having no reason to know that word is "negative".

On the heels of her exclamation she shouted in a broken way, "aren't...these... the most b-b-b-beau-TI-FUL grand....grand....grand cats you've ever seen?"

And there in that moment, we soaked up the small, but rather large pronouncement, that Grammy knew (if even for a split second) that her grand-cats had arrived, and it caused her to feel something real, deep, and authentic. So real in fact that Valerie Sue Fry Hall spoke up from the depths of her very familiar being and shouted, "OH SHIT!"

If that is not a moment to measure your life by, I might as well throw in the towel and head for glory.

I don't tell you this story to defame my mother or dishonor the amazing, spiritual legacy she leaves behind. I tell you this because these past few weeks have been far from easy and normal. We will probably measure the rest of our days around these events. More than anything I am so glad that even the "shitty" moments are bringing us unexplainable joy!


Thursday, January 14, 2016

A Giant Secret Revealed

*deep breath*

I feel like I'm on an awkward first date, and it is hard to find comfortable words to express myself.

The printer told me he was tired this morning. I patted his plastic, exterior belly and nodded, "me too!"

Nearly 5 1/2 years ago, I started this blog with the intention of keeping everyone updated regarding our family's journey with Alzheimer's. 

Three years ago this month, 6 weeks after Mama died, I determined in my heart, someday, I was going to take all of my writings about her and publish a book. And then....LIFE!  

Thankfully, I did the only thing I knew to do at the time; I kept writing. I am so glad I did, because let's all be honest here, my writing didn't peak (shall we say) until after Mama died. I giggled as I reviewed the beginning entries from 2010. God love you guys for reading. Just bless it.

In past 5 1/2 years, I've written over 70 posts regarding my sweet Mama and our dance Alzheimer's and its after-math.

41,726 words to be exact. 

41,726 words that built me. 
41,726 words that healed me. 
41,726 words that broke me. 
41,726 words that owned me. 
41,726 words that kept me from sleep. 
41,726 words that gave me peace. 
41,726 words that gave me life. 
41,726 words that offer me the ability to cross a bridge of time and memories back to her.
41,726 words that taught me how to write, REALLY write.
41,726 words that refused to let me hide, mask or pretend.
41,726 words that were so bossy and relentlessly plagued my soul to pen day and night.
41,726 words that wrote a story. My story. Our story. Mama's story.

It is with sweaty palms, a sick pit in my stomach, and a flicker of hope in my eyes, I introduce you to my very first manuscript, "Living In The Storm".... Mama's Story.

5 1/2 years in the making, a life time of memories.

I wanted you to be the first to know because you've been so kind, faithful, encouraging, and supportive since the birth of this blog... and now this book. You, yes YOU, helped me write this book because you kept coming back for more. You kept sending me kind messages, quiet squeezes in passing, and gentle prodding with your words, "keep writing!" 

And so I did. I kept writing when it was painful, scandalous, edgy, and flat out fun and joyous.

You helped me write this book. THANK YOU!

"Now what?" you ask.

Well, we have determined to self-publish this first manuscript with CreateSpace via Amazon. The time frame we are working towards is a book release the first of April, 2016! 
11 weeks. I just threw up in my mouth.

Because of this deadline, the blog will be sorely neglected. But that's ok, I know yall will be gracious, because BIG changes are coming to the blog too! She's getting a FULL make-over. WOOT! WOOT!

"What can you do? Righ now? This second?" you ask. Aw, I'm twitter-pated you asked. 

1. Keep a close eye on my facebook page, Sara Littlejohn for all the up-to-date breaking news. Like the page if you haven't. Share the page. Invite everyone you know to join and like. 

Follow me on twitter @saraslittlejohn. 
Follow me on instagram @saralj4

2. Share this blog post EVERYWHERE! We are trying to create an environment of anticipation and excitement, we want EVERYONE to join.

3. Last and for real, (no christian mac-n-cheesy meant), PRAY. 
Pray for future readers. People walking through the journey of Alzheimer's, and all their broken places. Pray the book would give them hope and healing.
Pray for my sweet family as they walk me through this very, "new to us all" experience.
Pray my heart would be protected from the lies regarding my art; my soul. Lies of inadequacy, unworthiness and insecurity. "No one cares about your words, Sara," plagues me in the dark of night. 
This week, I read on the very wise twitter, a quote I love,
"We write to taste life twice!"

 I wrote this book so I could talk to Mama again. So I could see her face flash though my brain as my fingers sped across the key-board. I wrote this book so I could hear laugh again. I wrote this book so I could be close to her again. I wrote this book so I could taste the sweet, sweet, fragrance of Mama once again. I wrote this so I could hold tightly to memories and write them all over my heart one.more.time. I wrote this for her, because she would have wanted me to! 

I miss her.


Living In The Storm, Alzheimer's