In my mind’s eye…

Y’all, I get grief from all sorts of people about having my phone with me almost everywhere I go. (Let’s be honest, I do have my limits so not EVERYWHERE, but we will leave it at that!) I love my iPhone. I’ll admit it. I have a sacred attachment to it. And it’s not for the reasons that you may think.  Yes, I like a regular social media fix and it is both a blessing and a curse to be able to check my email any time from anywhere, but that’s not why my iPhone is my trusted companion. I love my iPhone because it has the ability to be my mind’s eye.

Notice something online that I want to remember? Grab a screen shot. See something in a magazine I want to make note of? Snap a photo. That delicious meal that was plated so perfectly? Capture it before I devour it. I’ve read somewhere that iPhones are ruining our ability to remember on our own. That makes me giggle. I don’t need to blame a phone for that, I can take care of that just fine on my own thank you very much.

img_1946It’s more than all of that – and more than the 12,000 pictures I currently have on my phone (yep, you read that right) – though it has everything to do with memories.

Last summer while working to plant trees on a mountainside in Guatemala with AIR Guatemala, the wind began to blow and I was overwhelmed by the sound.  It was as if the trees erupted in magnificent applause. At the last second, I pulled out my phone and immediately hit “video record” without even knowing or caring what video was being captured – I simply yearned to remember the sound.

A child blowing out the candles on her birthday cake just yesterday has become a moment none of us will forget and, not only will we not forget, we can share that moment with others.img_0984

Or when I was out for a run and passed a honeysuckle bush and immediately thought of sitting on the back porch of my grandma’s house.  I knew that I needed to take a picture to keep that treasured memory alive.  I could go on, but I think you get the idea.

img_3954I know, I know. Feel free to roll your eyes. Feel free to remind me that sometimes the memory of something is enough. And I know all too well that a photo or video can’t truly capture the beauty of every moment. But there are times, times when my mind’s eye draws a blank and I remember that I have a back up.

So, if you see me pulling out my phone at times that seem odd or if you wonder what I’m attempting to photograph, just know that there is a moment that I desire to remember and that you just might be a part of it.




I’ll have cows with lunch.

I'll have cows with my wine.

I’ll have cows with my wine.

Have you had one of those moments, I don’t know what they call it, but I know it must have a technical name. That moment when something or someone reminds you so distinctly of something or someone else that you can almost feel it – like deep inside your bones, straight to your core, mind-blowing FEEL IT?

It is more than this “gift” that my youngest born and I share. I think that thing is called “olfactory memory.” When you smell something and it reminds you of something else. My daughter smells a certain smell and immediately thinks of specific places in Walt Disney World. I smell bacon and I’m a 3 year-old transported to my grandmothers black and white kitchen, standing behind my mom, hugging her legs and tracing the yellow patterns in the red carpet with my eyes. Yes, my grandmother was an avant-garde decorator in her day.

But this feeling is more than that. And it happened to me one day in the middle of buying a lunch of cheap sushi in The Fresh Market store.  It was a pretty tumultuous time at work – which also means in my life, because the two are inextricably bound together in this crazy, by the grace of God kind of way.  I was feeling overwhelmed at that moment, angry, hurt – and maybe add a little disappointment in there for good measure.

And somewhere between the deli cheese and the gourmet chocolates it happened. I wheeled my mini-shopping cart (you know the kind, that is designed to pick up a couple of items, but usually gets so overcome by all the pretty items that are just clamoring to go home with you that things start spilling over the sides and into someone else’s space?) so, yes, that kind of shopping cart. I wheeled it straight into the shins of an elderly woman who was minding her own business nonchalantly passing through the wine section. Of course this led to the explosion of my cart and my overpriced box of crackers ($6.99 for crackers??) flew onto the floor.  I thought I was going to lose my cool right there next to the gruyere.  Just as my eyes went from the floor to this woman’s face I did, in fact, lose my cool. Something about her was my grandmother. Something about her. Something about her made my eyes immediately fill with tears. She smiled at me and then she moved on. Something about her.

Don't hate me because I had a pony.

Don’t hate me because I had a pony.

Trying to collect myself, I jerked my cart to the right and then ran straight into them. The cows. The most beautiful cows on the label of a wine bottle. Would you believe me if I told you that something about them, those cows on a wine bottle, reminded me of my grandfather. You see, he was a cattle rancher. So many of my days growing up were spent at the feet of my grandfather, rustling through fields feeding cows, delivering calves, counting them over and over to make sure not one was lost. Loving these big bovines like they were puppy dogs – calling them by name, rubbing their ears, feeling their lick on my face (that part is a little different than the feeling of a puppy tongue, I’ll admit). And  when I see cows like the ones on that bottle, I’m pretty sure that my grandfather isn’t far away.

It was at that point, that more than loosing my cool, I was overwhelmed by this strange sense – this incredible feeling of embrace. That kind of feeling you have when you are a small child and you’ve been riding for hours trapped in a car with your older brothers poking and prodding and wrestling for the valuable backseat real estate until you consider the merits of opening the window and hurling yourself out, but just in the nick of time you pull up into the driveway of the place that is, without a doubt – even though you don’t live there – the place that is home. And you jump out of the car, your box of Lemon Heads spilling out on the concrete, and you run to the front door but before you get there it is already flung wide open and waiting there are the four most best, biggest, fabulousest arms reaching to scoop you up before you can even leap off your feet to get into them and those arms embrace you.

That kind of feeling.  Just from an old woman who sacrificed her shins and some cows on a wine bottle at The Fresh Market. And let me tell you. That is exactly what I needed to feel.