About mozleymcgrady

I am a writer, teacher, dreamer -grounded by family; a Southerner...

Support those who protect and serve you and your children.

Every day, police officers put themselves in harm’s way to protect and serve US. Without them, the United States will become a country people abroad fear to visit “because it just isn’t safe”. We, as a country, are on the verge of becoming …
undesirable.

The negative rantings by law enforcement dissentients only serve to shackle our police officers. If we the people allow them to be effective WE lose all of the security and the freedoms that come with that security – those things that we are so accustomed to that we take them for granted.

Support YOUR Law Enforcement.
Anarchy-a state of disorder due to absence or nonrecognition of authority.

“There is no greater evil than anarchy.” Sophocles

#SupportLawEnforcement

My son, the wise one.

Lotus-FlowerYesterday while visiting with my son, Isaac, seemingly out of the blue he stated, “You’ve lost your center”.  It surprised me because I knew how I felt but didn’t realize it was so visible to others. He asked if I knew why.  And, in a way I do know why. But, I gave the standard answer “I’ve just got a lot going on”. Which is truthful but isn’t accurate.

Even as I responded he was smiling.  “It isn’t important what knocked you off your center; what’s important is getting back to it.”

Before going any further, let me clarify that when I write “my center” I’m referring to that happy, calm, content, amazing feeling you get when you are where you are supposed to be in your head, when your way of thinking is conducive to living a pleasing life.

Finding that calm isn’t always so easy.  Over the past handful of years I can remember only a few periods of time that I captured it and actually held onto it for a substantial period of time.  My son and I discussed this as well.  And he then asked me the guiding questions I’ve always directed at him and his sister, “What did you do to get there?”  The question was followed by a gentle nudge.  “Do those things again. You’ve stopped doing them; your head is in the wrong place,” he reminded me.

We all know this:  Unless you are a Buddhist monk living apart from the world, you’ve got to be able to accept that you’re going to lose focus in the day-to-day -especially if you are surrounded by others.  But what if it is also that you’re spending the majority of your time alone?  And I realized as we sat and talked that although I work hard at maintaining that sense of peace while I am working throughout my teaching year, I am not giving it the attention it needs when I am off.  I had mistakenly thought that it required no work, because after all, I am alone.  And shouldn’t it just come naturally then?

I’ve this thing I do called Day One. I use it any time I need to work on some personal goal. When I understand there is something within myself that I need to work on, I contemplate what changes need to be made. Then I make a list that includes what I’m doing wrong and what I can do to improve. Once I’ve identified my weaknesses and outlined my plan, I begin working toward it. That is Day One.  The first year I did this was when I learned to be kind to myself. I kept beating myself up every time I found myself sliding backward or just not making any gains at all. That’s when I created the “you can have as many Day Ones as you need without feeling guilty” rule.

So, I sit here making my list of the things I’m usually doing when I’ve captured my calm. They are so simple that one would think they are unimportant. Funny thing is that once I’ve gained that feeling of bliss, I start dropping these little things. We all do. We begin actively seeking out what we need to better our lives and then when life levels out, we feel better and jump back into the same hectic, full-speed-ahead lifestyle and Leave Those Things Behind.

Things I Will Do Today (or How I will Begin My Days)–based on the guiding question posed by my son, “What did you do to get there?”

  • Go for a long walk. And try not to daydream or make lists of what I will do when I am through walking. Being present and looking about; noticing nature.
  • Come home and be still for a little while before jumping into a home improvement project. Read a book for spiritual growth for thirty minutes and then something that is just for pleasure thirty minutes.
  • Eat a meal while doing nothing else.
  • Write something, anything. Just journal –but not notes on the phone it is cheating.
  • Give thanks for all I’ve been blessed with. You know –pray.
  • Eat a Snickers.

 

So…

Today

Is

Day

One

 

Wish me luck!

 

 

****

 

ELIZABETH MOZLEY

We Share the Same Sky, a memoir

https://www.amazon.com/author/elizabethmcgrady

Join me and other Birmingham Bloggers! http://www.bhambloggers.com/

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Author Expo ~Gadsden, Alabama

Put something on the calendar, and I’m sure not to do it. But, isn’t life about stepping out of your comfort zone? Being somewhat reclusive and shy (although those who know me well roll their eyes and mumble just beneath their breath “whatever”) it is often difficult for me to participate in an event where I am expected to be verbally outgoing and open.

Writing it is one thing, doing it another.
The quiet folks know what I mean. You are just so “exposed” when you are right there in front of others….talking.  What I didn’t anticipate from this social engagement was – well, any of what actually took place. Allow me to explain.

This year, Gadsden Public Library hosted the Alabama Library Association Annual Convention. Being a hometown girl, I was graciously extended an invitation. This in itself garnered a smile. But, the idea of an Author Expo which is hosting 32 Alabama authors, companies from across the country -who graciously sponsor the authors -and more than 500 librarians, was enough to make me hesitate and then take two steps back. That is a lot of people! And yet, I was pleasantly surprised to realize that deep down, I absolutely couldn’t wait to attend. After all, I would be surrounded by people like me –writers and readers who eat, breathe and live for a love of words!

 

Arriving early, I had to smirk and acknowledge a blonde moment; I eyed the jam packed parking lots and wondered how many blocks I’d be walking in heels, carrying a heavy box of books. So THAT is why it was so important for my assistant to meet me when I arrived! I noted the city’s kelly green trolley car shuttling folks to and from the event.

 

Gadsden was going all-out and it filled me with a deep sense of pride!

 

This year’s theme for the convention is “Libraries ImPOSSIBLE” and it is improbable that anyone will leave displeased. There are a list of events sure to draw a crowd and delight everyone who attends. For example, the Reception Block Party downtown on Broad Street with live jazz and a performance of Imperial Opa. Tuesday night, out-of-towners joined the regulars for our Literary Pub Crawl where those who gather get to sample the amazing beer at Back 40 Beer Company and discuss a particular literary great before strolling over to Blackstone Pub & Eatery to continue the fun.

 

Then today, Wednesday, filled with bestseller speakers and the Books-A-Million Author Expo at 210 at the Tracks.  I arrive and find the place packed. The vibe is amazing –beautiful bare bulbs sneak down from the blacked-out high ceiling. Music of the Etowah Youth Orchestra fills the air and already I can smell something spicy and….could it be chocolate wafting from the back reception area? Harp & Clover, Gadsden’s newest, trendiest –swankiest even – Irish Pub, located within walking distance over on Court Street, has catered the event. I also notice that folks are meandering about with food in hand; several sipping wine and a few others cold beer. My assistant, Megan, and I introduce ourselves to our sponsor, set up books, arrange seating and head to the reception area to fill a plate and find a table.

 

Neither of us it seems knew exactly what to expect. I’d wondered at the necessity of an assistant but after we sat and caught up on senior life at SHS (my old alma mater as well) a swarm of readers buzzed about, and time began to fly. We would pause, talk, laugh and share stories with these women –some from Alabama, others from across the country -before they moved on to another author; then another swarm would alight. And so flowed the events of the night.

 

I found in collecting my things afterward that, while I was light on books to carry back to the car, I was filled with stories, their stories. I couldn’t help but smile. It was a wonderful thing to have a woman point out something in particular that spoke to her from the memoir and then share with me a story of her own. Other than the Russian from NY and our friendly Spaniard, Tito, who would wander over between signings to discuss culture, tradition, family –most of my readers were women and I was delighted because the book was written for US, after all.

 

Just two cobblestone blocks away, I wrap up my evening with a Guinness at Harp & Clover and chat up my dear friend Dee as he moves back and forth through the establishment, deftly working the crowd. Such an exquisite end to a most enjoyable evening. From now on, all of my pub crawls in Gadsden, Alabama will end right here! I recommend the Dubliner, a burger topped with “house-made bacon jam & Cahill’s whiskey infused cheese” and of course the Bread Pudding.

 

*And, I do believe I’ve just claimed a new place to hide away and write…the little niche in the back corner should do nicely.

Thank you –Amanda Jackson and Carol Roark Wright with Gadsden Public Library, and also Megan Potts, my assistant, for a wonderful evening!
Already I’m looking forward to the next Writer’s Expo in Huntsville and Chattanooga. And, Megan, I’m going to hold you to the agreement to go sight-seeing, history hunting and helping with book sales.

The only way to find –is to seek.
Nothing worth having just happens; you have to go looking for it!

image

 

*****

 

ELIZABETH MOZLEY

We Share the Same Sky, a memoir

https://www.amazon.com/author/elizabethmcgrady

Join me and other Birmingham Bloggers! http://www.bhambloggers.com/

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Christmas Anytime

 

imageI once put the Christmas tree up during July because I wanted to celebrate Christmas again with my children. The year before had been a rough one and I felt we had been cheated.

We dropped the air conditioner down so low the windows fogged over, then closed the blinds, and baked cookies while listening to our favorite carols. That evening we curled up on the couch and watched The Bishop’s Wife, The Bells of St Mary’s and of course It’s a Wonderful Life, classics the children had never seen.

Although I’ve not put the tree up at odd times of the year again, I have begun stretching out my enjoyment of the holiday. Our Christmas this year in Alabama was unseasonably hot. Now that the temps have dropped, I’ve begun taking long drives early in the morning and late at night, listening to my favorite CDs.

Susan Boyle’s rendition of Perfect Day has become worn. As I missed this production of it in 2011, I was shocked to find it filmed in the place it most reminds me of. Always, from the first moment I heard it, the lyrics have made me long for Central Park, a day there, roaming alone.

 

…And, so, I find myself standing under the eaves of some back street, wet, caught between the easy banter of old men.

GreenwichVillageStreet

Some Things Are Just Different Up Here

One addiction leads to another~ Antiques & BBQ

There are chaotic days. There are boring days.

And then, there are road trip days! So, when the promise of hours spent riffling through antiques in Atlanta, Georgia was waved beneath my nose like a tasty morsel, I took the bait, completely!

At forty-eight I still don’t know my way around the city.  It is one thing to set out on foot around town with a general idea of where you’re heading; it is entirely another to navigate around Georgia’s capital city, dodging idiots and taking back-roads to avoid road construction.  Needless to say, I laud the finesse of my driver.  Not only was it hot as hell in Atlanta this fine July day, the traffic was unbelievable.

I think for me the love of rummaging through old things began as a child.  Clearly I remember slinking away to my GrandMosie’s back bedroom to pull out her collection of Sarah Coventry jewelry.  It was the same in her closets –and thus began my love of vintage clothing.  She didn’t do away with anything.  My cousins and I tried on her dresses from the 30’s and 40’s and fought over her pointy crocodile pumps.  Another layer was added to my obsession when I began attending antique auctions with my parents.  Here, I fell hard for furniture.  A summer or so later, my sister, Suzanne introduced me to a salvage store in Cullman, AlabamaSouthern Accents Architectural Antiques.  Forever since, I’ve been owned by this infatuation with all things rusted, antiquated, collected! Today’s destination promised to feed these passions, well.

FullSizeRender (4)

Without scratch dent or even a bump, we arrived intact at Scott Antique Markets.  Mind the (s) in markets, as there are two!  The antique show is held the second weekend of each month.  Admission is $5 and tickets are good for the entire weekend.  I admit I cheated and checked out the website prior to our trip.  It boasts that it is the “World’s Largest Monthly Indoor Antique Show”, with over 3,500 booths filled with antiques and collectibles.  I couldn’t wait to wander around and get thoroughly lost!

1

The North Building is located at 3650 Jonesboro Rd; 3850 Jonesboro Rd, Atlanta, Georgia is the address of the South Building.

*****

*A few things that caught my eye~

german spoonsand forks

more silver

Silver spoons, German.  My mother would have a fit for these…

******

French posters and other poster art are a strange love.  I just can’t get enough of them!

french poster art

music box

A gorgeous disc music box marked, The Detmer Music House.  The sound was incredibly clear.

windows

An entire section of nothing but stained-glass windows that made me want to purchase an old home to renovate.

WWII memorabilia –

Buy War Bonds, plant a Victory Garden, A Gallant Leader.  So many posters, pins, photos…

wwII memWWIImem1

More of the same in Civil War memorabilia.  I would never get my Papa out of this booth.

CW memcw and other mem

*****

And…flags galore!

13 stars, 13 barsflags 1

A rare 13 Star Centennial Era Flag, Circa 1875-1890 “Symbolic of the star arrangement used on our 1st flag with 13 stars and 13 stripes.  Ordered by George Washington; made and designed by Francis Hopkinson a signer of The Declaration of Independence.”

bunting1bunting“Bunting used in decorations during the last Confederate Reunion in

Birmingham, Alabama. – Mary J. Lanier”

fishing lures and flags

And antique fishing lures! Literally there is something for everyone.  You could come with twenty people, head in different directions upon entering and never cross paths.

lamp fullThese gorgeous demijohns made into lamps were incredible, so large and rich in color. Italians know it is a sin to store wine in anything other than glass.  In Italy, demijohns are passed down from family to family; and they still fill them annually with their favorite local wines.

Traditionbordeau tag

lamp and paintingI can’t believe I didn’t get a  photo of the chandelier I fell hard for.The only negative thing about being a window shopper is not purchasing.  I always recognize what I should’ve bought by the time I return home.

painting

The etched water glasses and a seascape painting with a rough, hewn wooden frame were sure purchases.

Could’a, Should’a, Didn’t…

…Until we arrived at 1811 Piedmont Ave!

And then, one addiction was followed by yet another!  I’d known in advance that we were going rummaging through piles of antiques in conditioned air.  A late lunch at Fat Matt’s Rib Shack, however, was a sweet surprise!

photo (4)

fat matts ext

We arrived to find the line had not yet snaked its way around the building -or if it had, we’d luckily missed it!

Opening the door, we were immediately met by cold air and the lingering, seductive smells of Southern food; above the hum and drone of those feasting, Sam Cooke crooned.

“I was born by the river in a little tent/ Oh just like the river I’ve been running ev’r since/ It’s been a long time, long time coming…”       

I felt I had truly died and gone to heaven.  fat matt's blues

The ribs were indescribably good.  We ordered ½ a slab –it and the sides combined were more than I could handle.  The meat fell from the bone and I don’t even think I touched the extra sauce they sent out!

And, the potato salad…I’d drive the two hours from Oxford, Alabama for it alone. We also ordered the Rum Baked Beans –they were divine as well.

...take a little of the potato salad on your fork, a little of the beans as well…

Talk about being bewitched~

ribs1
ps

I looked long and hard at the mac n cheese -the South’s favorite vegetable.  I also cast a wanting eye toward the collard greens; Lord knows I longed for them both.

But does this not make a second visit in the very near future necessary?!

Perhaps next time I’ll brave an evening visit for the live Blues!

*Due to severe cravings and BBQ withdrawals, this is a very delayed post. Please forgive! All I know is that I craved those ribs for two days after the fact and found it impossible to write about them; every time I made the attempt, I had to stop and find something lackluster to eat from the kitchen.

********

photo of me for blog

ELIZABETH MOZLEY MCGRADY

We Share the Same Sky, a memoir

https://www.amazon.com/author/elizabethmcgrady

Join me and other Birmingham Bloggers! http://www.bhambloggers.com/

b hap bloggers pic

–wherever I go

It occurred to me this morning while I was out dusting my roses, that I have never stayed in a house long enough to reap the rewards of all my plantings.

In my late twenties, I began to take on the habits of my GrandMosie and Grandmother Libby, taking clippings from roses whenever the children and I came upon them.  They too began to pick out favorites, casting furtive glances as I carefully cut.  We wrapped the stems in a moistened napkin and stashed them away in my backpack just as I had seen my grandmothers do time and time again.  Once home the trimmings were dipped in Root Tone and the children would take them and plant them gingerly in the nursing pot with the others.  The following spring, we would transplant all those that had survived and taken root.  Amazingly, they almost always did.  Our backyard on Magnolia Street filled and then overflowed, roses waving like a rumpled tapestry.

Then the children and I moved back home to Rainbow City and I –now in my thirties – discovered a love of azaleas wild and hybrid, magnolias, evergreens and pear trees.  And so I planted, watered, nurtured.  Eventually … I moved again.

Several summers ago -almost twelve years later -I took a late evening drive back to Rainbow City.  When I neared the homeplace I slowed, astounded by the growth, the sheer beauty of all I had planted so many years before.  It was just as I had thought it would be, what I had imagined when I chose the plants and placed them.  A sudden wistfulness quickly consumed me; then just as quickly was squelched when I noticed a woman out back, watering and smiling.  And, did I see her talking gently to my plants?  I wanted to stop and tell her their history, which ones were planted on birthdays, and other special occasions.

Perhaps someday I will put down permanent roots as well.  Until then, I will continue my love of planting –wherever I go.