Philosophy With A Texas Twang

It’s the only way I can tawk.


From my back porch, I spend a lot of time observing the plants and critters in my yard. As I sit pondering, I often find that I learn lessons from Mother Nature. The problem for me is that as the seasons change, I forget what I have learned. At the moment, I’m trying to indelibly record the lesson of my Rose of Sharon bush into my brain.

For several years, that bush has stood by my back porch. Actually, I had no idea it was supposed to be a bush. It looked to me like a scraggly, spindly little old tree. It reached for the heavens with its pitiful little limbs, but all it did was snag the gutters on the house and scrape against the shingles. It didn’t put forth many flowers each year, in fact didn’t have all that many leaves, and seemed like it was on its last legs. I was almost in favor of cutting it down.

Before I did, I decided to look up the Rose of Sharon on-line. I discovered that the doggone thing wasn’t supposed to be thirty foot tall … it’s a bush, for Heaven’s sake, and is supposed to be short. We decided to cut it back dramatically. If it lived, then fine. If not, it was no great loss.

I tell you what! That Rose of Sharon bush came back from the bottom this year and leafed out beautifully. Every day it graces us with lovely pink flowers like this one.

Rose of Sharon

As I sip my coffee and gaze on the magnificent show of flowers that my Rose of Sharon bush produces, I realized that I’m often a lot like that plant. “How?” you ask.

Well, I’ll tell you. Sometimes I spend all my energies trying to reach new heights. When I do that, I find that my energy sags, and I don’t “blossom.” However, if I cut back and focus my energy on where I need to be … I am a lot more productive.

Lately I have been scrutinizing my “List Of Things I Must Do,” to try to prune some activities. Anything that isn’t essential to me, I’m putting into my “Do This Someday — Maybe” pile. I’m trying to focus on projects that are special to me, that make a difference, or that just plain make me happy. It isn’t easy, because I have convinced myself over the years to reach for the stars. But, I’m finding that I’m doing fewer things … and doing them better. I think I like it that way.

Do you do too many things? Would you be able to pick things (aside from the household chores that you have to do … until you win the lottery) to put aside into a “Do This Someday — Maybe” file? What would you “prune?”

Fruitless: The Philosphy Of The Peach Tree


One peach, kissed by the sun. One measly peach is ALL I got from my fruit tree this year. I stood, hands on hips, in disbelief as I stared up at the single peach. Then I shook my fist at the heavens asking, “Who did this to me?”

A very suspicious looking squirrel sat in an oak tree nearby. He was trying to look innocent with that bushy tail curved into a question mark, as if asking, “Who … me?

“Yeah, you, Rodent!”

I jealously plucked that tiny peach and stormed inside. I slammed the door on the sound of the squirrel snickering. Tenderly cradling that one precious peach, the fruit of my labor … “Hey, wait a minute, Shelly,” said I to myself. “You didn’t labor at all to get this peach!”

I faced the ugly truth: That peach tree sits in my yard, and I never do a single thing to help it along. I don’t prune it, I don’t water it, I don’t fertilize it, and I never check it for insects. There is no squirrel guard on the tree to protect it. That I should get even one peach is nothing short of a miracle.

As I pondered that, I began to extrapolate. I hate when that happens, don’t you?

I realized that my peach tree is like a “good idea.” You can have the best idea in the whole world, but if you don’t tend it that idea will never bear fruit. A good idea is nothing if you don’t work on it. When you have a good idea you need to tend it and protect it.

Otherwise, not much will happen … and some squirrel might come along and steal it from you.

I’m just sayin’.

[This photograph is entered into Robin’s Summer Stock Sunday meme at Around The Island. Visit her to find other folks sharing their summer photos.]

Sometimes Life is Like a 404 Error Page

You know what a “404 error page” is don’t you? When you read those words on your computer screen, it means that the URL (link) that you just followed took you to nowhere. You didn’t get where you intended to go. You have to backtrack and head in a different direction, because you didn’t find what you were looking for. You reached a dead end.

Yeah. Life can be like that 404 error page. The error page of my life is not a poetic error page and it’s not a funny error page (well, it’s funny sometimes). I wish it was as easy to make an amusing error page for my life as it is to make a 404 error page for a WordPress website. I’d make one that would get me back on track!

Some days, I run around hollering “404!” at the top of my lungs, because every time I turn around there is an “error.”

Bleary eyed, I staggered into the kitchen and turned on the coffeepot while I got a spoon to feed the cats their morning chow. The coffee pot is always ready to go in the morning, because one of us usually prepares it the night before (OK, usually it is my beloved husband who prepares it, but I fill in on the task when necessary). Without our morning coffee, neither of us can get motivating in the morning. I’ve told you before that coffee keeps me perking.

In the “cat room,” I noticed a decidedly unpleasant aroma. We have a ratio of five cats to three litter boxes, and those boxes have to be scooped regularly. I pride myself on the fact that even though there are five fe-lions, this place doesn’t smell like a litter box. You know how you can walk in some houses and immediately know they have cats, because you are assaulted by the smell? My house is NOT like that.

I sighed and grabbed a plastic bag so I could scoop the poop. I had shoveled out two boxes before I glanced down at that plastic bag I was slinging around.


The bag had a split seam on the bottom! Danged Kroger won’t give me quality plastic bags. I had to scoop it all up from the floor and then mop the floor. Crap.

After that nasty experience, I decided to take a quick shower … but a glance in the mirror told me I needed to wash my hair. My hair flows down to the middle of my back and is as wild and unruly as the Red River after a rain. I don’t wash my hair every day, because it takes too long to dry and using a hair dryer makes it look like a Brillo pad.

In the course of that shower, I got shampoo in my eye. Dang, that stings! I reached for the towel I normally hang over the door.


I didn’t hang a towel over the door! Blinded by soap suds and streaming wet, I climbed out of the shower and fumbled to find a towel to dry my eyes. Oh, man that is painful,

When the ordeal of the shower was complete, I was finally able to return to the kitchen to get that cup of coffee. Sniffing the air, I smelled the distinct odor of burning coffee.


The night before, I had ground coffee and put it into the filter … but I had neglected to put water in the coffeepot. The carafe was extremely hot and dry as a bone. I couldn’t put water into the hot coffeemaker at that point because it would crack the carafe, and I have no desire to go buy a new coffeepot. Phooey.

I decided that this was an excellent excuse to drive down to my favorite coffee house and get a mocha. Don’t y’all think I deserved a mocha at this point? Maybe I didn’t “deserve” one, but I needed one.

Not willing to risk the embarrassment of that other visit to the coffee house I related to you awhile back [Wear Clean Underwear], I got all “gussied up.” I put on a halfway decent outfit, made a stab at applying makeup, grabbed my purse, and headed to Jupiter House.

When I got to the counter, the barristas started making my drink without even asking what I wanted. They know. I needed to add some money to my tab, so I reached into that lovely red purse I got from Handbag Heaven to get my wallet.


My wallet was not in my purse! I got all in a dither standing there, but the gal behind the counter said, “Don’t worry, Shelly, we’ll put it on your tab.”

“You don’t understand,” I cried. “I’m not having a good day. I’m driving without my license and insurance. If I’m driving without it, sure as shootin’ I’ll run into a policeman!”

I didn’t notice the snickers from people around me as I grabbed my cup of coffee and whirled around to leave. I bumped into the man behind me and almost spilled coffee all over him.

Say it with me now: “404!”

The man behind me was one of Denton’s finest. Yes, he was an officer of the law! He grinned at me and said, “If you won’t spill your coffee on me, I promise I will forget I ever heard this conversation.”

I’m losing my voice from shrieking, “404!” I’m home now, and trying to get back on track. I’m trying to get off of this 404 Error Page that my day has become. I’d better start with cleaning the coffee pot.

Y’all can tell me about your own “404 day” if you’d like. It would tickle me silly to know I’m not the only person who has days like this.