23 October 2011


Quiet as I have kept it, my Keurig has been on the blink for about a month.  (For those of you who don't know, Keurig is a coffee maker that brews single cups of coffee, tea and cocoas to perfection - one cup at a time).  As an avid Starbucks aficionado (and shareholder), the Keurig is a great "substitute" for going to my local Starbucks and ordering my "tall toffee nut latte in a grande cup with whipped cream to the top".  [I didn't have a picture of my machine, so this coffee cup picture will have to do]

When, all of a sudden the Keurig stopped brewing, I was traumatized...to the point of inertia.  I tried everything.  I emptied the reservoir and tried to restart the mechanism.  It would appear to go through the cycle, even say it was brewing and produce ... NOTHING.  I unplugged and replugged the machine endlessly. .  Finally, I emptied the water from the machine and just left it there.  Sitting on the counter.  Staring at me.  Mocking me with its inability to perform the function it was made to fulfill.  I probably let it sit for a week before I tried again...without success.  At no time during this process did I think , "get the manual, maybe there is an easy fix" or "Call Keurig, surely they can tell you what is wrong."  (Or if I thought it, I took no action in that direction)  I just stared at it as if the power of my desire for it to work would be enough.

Eventually, my mother (who didn't even initially LIKE the Keurig) said to me, "Uh, when are you going to get the Keurig fixed, I miss it."  (She uses it to make her evening cup of Sleepytime tea).  Even my brother, visiting my house, commented on my inaction regarding the repair of the machine that brought me such joy.  Finally, frustrated with my stymied response to the situation, HE looked up the number for Keurig and texted it to me with an implied message of "if you don't get off your duff and do something..."

I could not find the manual.  It has misappeared and is nowhere to be found, so I broke down and finally called Keurig's toll free customer service number.  I talked to a very nice customer service rep who made me go through a couple of troubleshooting maneuvers before she said the following magic words:  "Well, since none of that resolved your issue, let me get your mailing information so we can send you a FREE REPLACEMENT machine!"  WHAT?!  All this time I was in torment and I coulda had a FREE machine all along!!!  I coulda kicked myself in the butt.  My mom just shook her head at me when I told her and walked away.  My brother, yeah he just laughed.

Short digression, but I promise, I'm going to pull this all together.  I have a friend who bought a house that had the most beautiful, lovely, huge marble jacuzzi tub in the master bedroom.  When she was house hunting, and I accompanied her on one of her final walk-throughs, the tub was what sealed the deal for me.  In fact, after she bought the house. several times when she would travel, I would volunteer to housesit (she lived only 1.8 miles away) just so I could use her tub!  (Yeah, it was THAT nice!)  She lived in the house for over 5 years and recently confessed to me that, in all that time, she probably took a bath in it less than a dozen times.  She said it was too big, took too long to fill up and was difficult to keep clean.  I told her, incredulously, "Girl!  You wasted the blessing of that tub!"

Both of these situations make me wonder what God thinks about His children.  He has blessings untold in store for us and yet, whether through inertia or lack of appreciation, we block or fail to receive the blessings He willingly wants to give us.  And in further evidence of His goodness to us, He doesn't stop blessing us just because we are knuckleheads who are unappreciative.  He still sends the sunrises and sunsets that are beautiful to behold, even when we don't take the time to stop and look up and see them.  He still allows flowers, plants and trees to bloom and blossom even when we just walk on by as if they were not there.  He still wakes us up every morning, breathing, limbs in working order, minds functioning normally, even when we will not take two seconds to stop and say, "Thank you Lord for Your protective care during the night."  He is a good good God. We (starting with me) really need to serve Him better, don't you think?

Open your arms wide to receive the blessings God has for you.  Whether it's the free Keurig coffeemaker sitting in the warehouse ready to be shipped to you or the marble Jacuzzi tub. that may require a little bit of cleaning and patience as it fills  He has them for you because He loves you and there is nothing better than that.

Be blessed.

05 October 2011


I was blessed, beyond measure, to have two phenomenal women as my grandmothers.  On Friday, October 7, 2011, it will be 33 years since my maternal grandmother (pictured on the left) was laid to rest, and on the very next day, it will be one year since my paternal grandmother (on the right above) went to sleep in the Lord.  I was in 9th grade when my "Grandmommy" was taken from me, and at the ripe ole age of 45 when "Miss T" died. 

THELMA BEATRICE BROWN MOUZON.  My maternal grandmother was a powerhouse in a lot of ways and quite literally, was "larger than life".  The quintessential "preacher's wife", she was known throughout the South Atlantic Conference of Seventh-day Adventists as "Mom Mouzon".  Even three decades after her death, if someone finds out that I am a "Mouzon", I am regaled with stories of her warm smile, sunny disposition and wonderful cooking.  As a child born to military parents, I spent a lot of my childhood away from my grandparents, but every time we would head "home" to visit them, I knew my grandmother would wrap me in her loving arms and bury me in a monster hug, face planted smack in her very ample bosom.  My memories of my maternal grandmother are firmly entrenched in the sights, smells and sounds of her kitchen.  I remember going to visit her in Atlanta (on Wisteria Lane) or in Savannah in the big ole house with the wraparound porch that would become my home for a few months during 1978 and walking into the house and knowing that love would be shown through some sweet potato pie, a bowl of potato salad, a big pot of grits, or a mess of greens.  When my parents divorced, my maternal grandmother was the one who was instrumental in making sure that my brother and I remained in contact with my paternal grandparents.  I will forever to be grateful for the counsel she gave my hurting and grieving mother because it allowed me to have the rich and full experience of knowing my "other" grandparents for myself -and not through stories told by others.  When my mother remarried in 1978, my brother and I were displaced for six months as she moved to New York to prepare a place for us.  My maternal grandparents took us into their home in Savannah, GA.  I am sure my grandmother was not prepared for the rambunctious tomboy that I was at the time, but she took it all in stride - even when I came home from school with a black eye due to an accident with a steel pole on the school playground.  I think she thought I was going to be a demure "girly-girl" like my mom - boy, was she wrong!  Even though my grandparents were vegetarians, I remember her "allowing" Kevin and I to go to the KFC down the street for chicken when Rediburgers were no longer enough - and I remember her prayers for me as I struggled to adhere to the "rules" of being a young person growing up in the Adventist faith.  I graduated from 8th grade while in Savannah and I don't know who was prouder of my academic accomplishments - my mom or my grandmother.  I never saw my grandmother again after I left her house in Savannah.  Shortly after we moved to NYC, my grandmother succumbed to cancer.  My grandmother taught me love of family, compassion for others and an appreciation for Jesus Christ (although, I was too young at the time to know that is what she was teaching me.)  I have been alive twice as long without her physical presence than I was with her presence.  Recently, I was told, "you know, you look just like your grandmother."  At first, I was taken aback, but it makes sense.  My mom looks like her mom and we all know I look like mine, so I guess I do look like my grandmother.  That is not a bad thing - she was a beautiful woman, inside and out.  I look forward to meeting her again when Jesus returns.  I hope she will be proud of the woman I have become.

THOMASINA CYNTHIA PURCELL SMITH (aka "Miss T").  It is unbelievable to me (in some ways) that it has been a year since my paternal grandmother died.  And yet, in others, it is hard to believe that it has ONLY been a year.  Where my "Grandmommy" was sugar and sweetness, Miss T was definitely a "Hard Rock Charlie" who didn't suffer fools lightly - especially if the fool in question was her first born and only grand-daughter.  Anyone who knows me knows that from the time I left home at age 17 until just a few weeks before her death, every Sunday morning at 7:00 a.m., my grandmother and I had a weekly telephone call.  EVERY SUNDAY!  It didn't matter where I was in the world - even if I told her that I probably would not speak to her on Sunday - somehow, we always managed to connect on Sunday mornings.  From the outside, my grandmother seemed tough as nails, but I learned from all our conversations, that her standoffishness was really smoke and mirrors, and in a lot of ways, more about protecting herself than  about preventing others from getting too close.  When I was a little girl and getting on my mother's nerves with my precociousness and smart-alecky attitude, her "insult" to me was the admonishment that I was "just like [my] grandmother."  That would usually stop me dead in my tracks and I would straighten up and fly right - at least for an hour or so.  Miss T also was an amazing cook and probably more than anyone else, taught me how to cook and spawned my love for good food and the preparation thereof.  Many times, especially after my grandfather passed in 2001, I'd get a phone call on Thursday night with the question, "What are you cooking for Sabbath dinner?"  After I would tell her what I had in mind, she'd say, "That sounds good, I think I'm going to cook that too."  Another prayer warrior in my life, I grew up in the knowledge that my grandparents were praying for me, calling me by name, three times a day.  I miss having that in my life now, but the knowledge of all her prayers in the past will help sustain me in the years ahead.  I still wake up every Sunday morning at 7:00 a.m., and there have been a few occasions when I have reached for the phone before I remember that calling that old Florida number will not have the same result.  Every time I walk into the DeKalb Farmers Market, I remember the absolute joy she had in exploring the market during her visits to my home in Atlanta.  And I cannot eat SuperLinks (a vegetarian hot dog) without thinking of her. 

This weekend is going to be rough - remembering both of them.  So, I have packed it FULL of activities to keep my mind busy and occupied.  But even as I journey through the weekend ahead, I will remember and focus on the fact that I was blessed with two amazing Christian grandmothers who showed their love for me in vastly different ways - but each in the best (and only) way she knew how.  I am a better woman because of what they sowed into my life for 13 and 45 years respectively.  I trust that they are both asleep, awaiting the promised resurrection of the saints at the return of Jesus Christ.  I know that they would both be disappointed beyond measure if I was not "one of the number" that meets Jesus in the clouds at His return.  I, therefore, must strive (every day) to live my life in such a way that I don't disappoint them.
Be blessed.