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Starbucks, London, and the Morrises

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Have you ever had so much in your head that you want to get out and then you just don’t know how? That’s where I am right now. I have a lot I think I want to say, and I sat down to start saying some if it. Then I looked at my coffee cup.

Happy accident: my London minion in the background.

And now, that’s all I can think about.

I bought this cup at my first Starbucks behind St. Paul’s Cathedral in 2005 on my first trip to London (or Europe for that matter) with my friends Jack and Lina Morris.

I was a sixth year teacher helping lead a group of students on a trip to London and Paris, appropriately titled “Tale of Two Cities.” It was one of the years when our school year ended in May so we were able to get an outstanding price. We did Paris first, then traveled the Chunnel over to London. The day I went into my first Starbucks we had toured St. Paul’s Cathedral. It was an inspiring and thoughtful time. The church is still used as a house of worship (as are most churches in Europe that tourists wish to see) so at one point during the tour we were asked to stop for a moment and recite the Lord’s Prayer or honor the worshipers with a moment of silence. I was walking through the church with Jack and Lina. We all stopped and recited the prayer and, honestly, I got chills. I felt God move during that time of recitation; strangers pausing together for this sacred breath.

At any rate, we finished our tour before it was time to meet our tour manager, and it was cold. So, we found the Starbucks. I didn’t even get coffee because I didn’t think I liked coffee then. I got a hot chocolate and bought the mug as a memento of not only my first trip over the big pond but also my first Starbucks.

Jack delights Peter.
Lina holds her answered prayer.

Lina was my mentor when I began teaching. Not only for my profession but just for the kind of person I want to grow up and become. She has been an unwavering example of Romans 12:12–joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. You see, in 2017 she circled me in prayer and asked God to bless us with a child in our arms by the end of 2020. And, you see, Jack–sweet, sweet Jack–has Alzheimer’s.

Taking Peter to meet them in January was one of the greatest blessings of my life. And my child, my sweet and precious Peter, was delighted by them. He smiled so big at them both with no hesitation.

He knows good people.

The Price of Love

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Margaret Lucille Hatcher Coleman. These pictures were taken at one of her favorite places, doing one of her favorite things, surrounded by her favorite people about two weeks before she died in 2016.

I said in my last post I had really sat down to write about my grandma. And then I didn’t.

I want to now, but I’m not even sure how. All I know is that in the last month I’ve missed her horribly.  Like physical pain miss.  It seems that so many things are reminding me of her. Strawberries. Church. Music. Just looking in the mirror. Banana pudding.

We used to eat at her house on Sundays.  It was a day she made a dessert.  Sometimes she made coconut cake, but she knew I didn’t care for coconut cake.  So, she would get a pack of strawberries from the freezer to thaw so I would have something sweet.  I would smother one of her biscuits in the fruit and be perfectly happy.  I can’t eat strawberries now without that memory.

I’m supposed to sing a special in about a month at church. I thought I was going to sing a praise/worship song.  I’ve been working on it for over a month now.  It’s almost ready.  But during that whole month, one of her favorite hymns keeps going through my head. In the Garden. We sang it at her funeral. So, I’ve changed my mind. I think that’s what I’m supposed to sing. It brings tears to my eyes to even think about it. I hope she hears me.

My husband loves banana pudding.  It was another one of the things she would make for dessert sometimes.  It was so good.  My sister had the recipe. . .it was what she called her handy dandy easy peasy recipe.  When I contacted my sister for it, she told me about the day Grandma shared it with her. I could hear her voice in my head telling Jerri about it. The way she said Jerri’s name wasn’t like any other person. Makes me smile.

Since all these memories have arrived, I’ve had a hankering for fried shrimp and cocktail sauce.  I can remember sitting in the trailer at the Outer Banks, peeling shrimp she had cooked to dip in the cocktail sauce she’d whip up for us–ketchup and horseradish. I prefer fried shrimp, but it doesn’t dampen the memory of her boiled shrimp on those trips.

Her forgiving me for being a brat, even in my adulthood.

Grief is love. It’s what we have left when we have loved someone fiercely and known her fierce love in return. There are so many things I wish I could tell her about the last three and a half years. So many things I want to sit at her table or at the kitchen counter and share and have her soft hands reach out and pat mine.

I have a bottle of lotion my aunt gave me the day Grandma died. It was her favorite scent. I can’t wear it; it makes me sneeze. But I get it out sometimes to smell it and to remember.

I can’t say anymore, except I don’t mind this price.