Home > FTIAT, Guest blogger > FTIAT: Take A Sip

FTIAT: Take A Sip

Tori (The Ramblings) snared me immediately with her simultaneously exuberant and deeply considered posts. This combination of traits, only seldom seen traveling as such constant companions in the wilds of blogland, is enthralling enough, but do you suppose the magic stops there?

Not a chance! The fact she’s having her blog readers help plan her wedding is sure to have you wanting to know more, and be a part of that joy.

Recommended post: R & R (And R)

Take a Sip

“For myself I am an optimist – it does not seem to be much use being anything else.” – Sir Winston Churchill

I stood at the mouth of the ocean. The salt brushed loose from the breeze. Sand wrapped my toes. A baby babbled in the background. Just hushing wave, a child’s laughter, hushing wave, whirling winds, a child’s brilliant happiness. This is the best kind of  lullaby, I thought. I love everything here.

I eyed a man to my left. I decided to call him Burt as it sounded sufficiently grumpy, and Grumpy, you will learn, was the pouty sir’s middle name. He was one man, a fuming island one slip of a tight jaw away from spewing hatefulness into pristine waters. His flimsy, red knickers suggested a playful side. His furious brow did not. Some minutes passed- him shooting angst from his eyeballs, me holding a head cocked like a concerned poodle. I waited for Playful Burt to invite us all for a leisurely game of volleyball. This never happened.  I wondered if a hug would fix him right. Maybe a note tucked into his fanny pack could lighten his load? It would read: Perk up, Buttercup. Your glass ain’t half empty at the edge of this here ocean. Take a sip, fool. Take it all in. Your cup done runneth over. He threatened to rip paper from the seam with each flip of his book’s pages. He scoffed a bit, bothered by the natural beauty of it all, I suppose. I knew in that moment that for Burt the sun was too sunny, the sand too sandy, the saltwater too damned salty, and the child’s giggles so infuriating and giggly he could spit. I was sad to watch this stranger take his glass-so blatantly ready to spill over lip- and toss it aside, most certain that it held nothing for him.  I peeled my feet from their borough on the beach and vacationed on to celebrate this good life elsewhere.

A week later, I am stuck in the mouth of a yellow slide. My son, the ever-adventurous toddler, has stopped for a rest mid-swirl. A line of antsy children fuss to at the top. A crowd of peeved parents fuss at the bottom. And I laugh. Oh, I laugh! My son giggles in time to my guffaws. The yellow slide vibrates with hilarity, and for a moment it is just me and my boy, tinted in the slide’s sunny shades and laughing at the echos of our laughter. Once regurgitated from the plaything, he runs past the pissy crowds towards the next best thrill the playground has to offer. States away from that awe of ocean, we find enough good in a muddy puddle. The dirt brushes loose from the breeze. Sweet smells of grass wrap my nose. A baby splashes in the background. Whoosh goes the swing, a child’s laughter, whoosh goes the swing, sun filters through every bone, a child’s brilliant happiness. I love everything here.

I look back to spot one mama still scrutinizing from a distance. Our pleasure, it seems, brings her greatest displeasure. For whole minutes she scornfully glances at us. It seems our lack of proper slide etiquette is close to unforgivable. Her children, gloriously golden-haired and delighted to play in the dirt are told to hush, to move, to cut it out. She is a gorgeous thing, slim and tan and lovely save for that soured purse of her lips. As one child ventures too deep in the dirt, she swipes them up, yanking and pulling the surprised tots towards the parking lot.  Her one woman Circus of Fluster flies homeward in a luxury SUV. Maybe a note tucked into her diaper bag could lighten her load? It would read: Perk up, Buttercup. Your glass ain’t half empty when you’re double-fisting those there sippy cups. Take a sip of the good juice, fool. Take it all in. Your sippy cup done runneth over. 

I check my e-mail as The Slide Scaler sleeps. A message from a fellow blogger asks for what I am grateful. Naturally, I make a list of people, places, things and more things. Health, Motherhood, Sunshine, Diet Coke. I love everything.

Then my hand detaches from my brain and scribbles Burt and Angry Lexus onto the page. How can I be grateful to perfectly volatile strangers? Before I know it I have added Cysts, Scars, Abortion, and Poor to the list. Awful, awful things for which I am filled with thanks? I promptly ask myself to shut up, but then I look closer.

It took those angry faces to teach me how not to live.

It took meals of crackers and Coke to appreciate a meal cooked, a bill paid, a bank account cushioned.

It took years of health scares to cling so fiercely to the fortune of good health.

It took one miserable abortion, scars on skin and so deep down to bone to wipe me clean, to finally greet my son and tell him immediately and forever that this life, this life is so heartbreaking and good.

It took an e-mail from a blogger to make me realize that above all else I am grateful for my glass.

Some mysterious thing, some place or time, some experience or person thought  in the darkest and lightest times to hand me a glass so dry and convince me that it would never, ever be empty. When, where and how this discovery smacked me I will never know, but I seem built to believe that it will never be empty.  At the mouth of the ocean, in the throat of a snaking slide, I am simply thankful to be thankful.

last : Seven Days | Life is Like an Empty Box of Chocolates (Because I Ate Them All) : next

  1. November 18, 2011 at 5:38 am

    Wonderful writing, wonderful way to live life, wonderful to read.

    Thank you.


  2. November 18, 2011 at 5:57 am

    Oh, Deb, thanks for asking Tori to do a post. And, Tori, this is lovely– for this post I am thankful–oh so thankful! And my cup–my sippy cup, it too is full. It runneth over–is called abundance——–

    • November 18, 2011 at 7:16 am

      Kathy, the baby cringed when I mentioned an over-flowing sippy cup. He’s still a little traumatized 🙂

  3. November 18, 2011 at 6:00 am

    Your writing is so powerful and it struck a chord deep inside me. I shall now think of my life as notes to be written and how full my cup may be. Thanks Tori. You made me grateful too.

    • November 18, 2011 at 7:21 am

      I went to a really cheesy summer camp when I was 15. I rolled my eyes nonstop for a week convinced that this place was dumb, I would learn nothing, and my hair hated humidity and nature. A camp counselor finally pulled me aside, fed up with my sour attitude, and yelled “CHOOSE JOY, DAMN IT!”. It was humiliating… and totally eye-opening!

  4. November 18, 2011 at 6:06 am

    Beautiful piece of writing. No better way to bring these thoughts on paper.

  5. November 18, 2011 at 6:06 am

    What wisdom you have gathered. Lovely writing. Your glass is crystal clear.

    • November 18, 2011 at 7:18 am

      Thanks so much, Georgette. I loved your FTIAT post, so your compliment means a lot!

  6. November 18, 2011 at 6:24 am

    Thankful to be thankful… Be thankful for the good and the bad…

    Now I feel like my cup (heart) is also running over. Thank you for writing this and sharing it with us!

    • November 18, 2011 at 7:17 am

      Thanks, Crystal. I’m still a little shocked Deb let me post on her blog!

  7. November 18, 2011 at 6:40 am

    This writing is a joy to read, an even great joy to take to heart.

    • November 18, 2011 at 7:17 am

      Renee, {in my most eloquent tone of voice}, you is sweetness.

  8. November 18, 2011 at 7:27 am

    Some mysterious thing, some place or time, some experience or person thought in the darkest and lightest times to hand me a glass so dry and convince me that it would never, ever be empty.

    This love this statement!

    I love how wonderfully you write, and how you’ve expressed that everyday moments are breathtakingly beautiful things to be thankful for!! Thank you so much for a great start to my day!

    • November 18, 2011 at 11:50 am

      Thank YOU for reading, Christine. This guest posting thing is pretty fun!

  9. November 18, 2011 at 8:24 am

    Just beautiful, Tori! Thanks for the reminder to be thankful. You are one wise crazy gal and I love it!

    • November 18, 2011 at 11:51 am

      I still need to ask Jimmy is I’m wise. He’s pretty much the authority on these things 😉

  10. November 18, 2011 at 8:26 am

    I loved this, and I love FTIAT…always gives me the kick in the pants I need, right when I need it. I shouldn’t have to be reminded to practice gratitude – shame on me – but I’m grateful for the reminders! Thanks to Deborah and Tori for sharing your stories and your feelings so selflessly.

    • November 18, 2011 at 11:51 am

      Ouch! I hope it was at least an enjoyable kick in the pants! Thanks for reading 🙂

  11. November 18, 2011 at 8:52 am

    “for a moment it is just me and my boy, tinted in the slide’s sunny shades and laughing at the echos of our laughter”

    Your entire post resonated with me, but this line went straight to my heart. I remember moments like that with my own son, where the world seemed to stand still and it was just filled with pure, wordless joy. I hope for nothing more for you than more moments like that–pure gratitute and bliss. Thank you, Tori for sharing your beautiful words with us.

    • November 18, 2011 at 11:53 am

      Ahh, Darla. You totally get it. Too much happy all at once and it feels like a bizarrely enjoyable heart attack. Thanks for reading and sharing your FTIAT post. It had me hugging my boy and crying like a baby 🙂

  12. November 18, 2011 at 9:12 am

    Your descriptions are so vivid, I felt warmed by the summer sun even on this cold fall day. Beautiful.

    • November 18, 2011 at 11:54 am

      Thanks, Jess! I actually wrote this during the summer. I re-read it the other day, on my cold porch in my giant, sweater, and missed that beach big time!

  13. Mom
    November 18, 2011 at 9:54 am

    I love this, Victoria. I am proud to me your mama.

    • November 18, 2011 at 11:54 am

      Ew girl, calling me Victoria and I’m not even in trouble? This is a big deal 🙂

  14. November 18, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Aw, Tori. So, so very lovely and uplifting. Thank you for sharing.

    • November 18, 2011 at 11:55 am

      Thanks, lady. You’re post about the real 99% got me all revved up and ready to volunteer this morning!

  15. November 18, 2011 at 10:51 am

    A quiet paragraph, a scrolling mouse, another quiet paragraph, laughter in the other room, clouds floating by my window, another quiet paragraph…
    I love the lullabies. Burt and Angry Lexus don’t hear them. Life is just full of so many things to experience, but we have to choose to hear the lullabies. Beautiful!

    • November 18, 2011 at 11:57 am

      Anne, you’ve got the soothing tempo down pat! I’m relaxed just reading your comment 🙂 I think you are absolutely right. So many people assume the happiest person in the room is the luckiest, the wealthiest, the most blessed and highly favored. In reality, the happiest person in the room might be having a rough patch, experiencing poverty or hardship, but he/she CHOOSES to be positive, to love life for all the good and bad of it.

  16. jacquelincangro
    November 18, 2011 at 11:30 am

    This is a beautiful and gentle reminder to appreciate all of life – the ups and the downs. If we choose, we can learn something from every situation. Thanks for this uplifting post, Tori!

    • November 18, 2011 at 11:58 am

      Thanks for reading 🙂 It is easy to be grumpy and put upon, but it’s not nearly as rewarding as putting the hard work into being happy.

  17. November 18, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    Oh my gosh… this post choked me up. Amazing writing and articulation. “…this life is so heartbreaking and good.” That is exactly how I feel. Wonderful, wonderful! I can relate in many ways. I look forward to stopping by your blog much more often. Hugs, dara

    • November 20, 2011 at 11:40 am

      Dara ( I read your name as Daria, and the 90’s MTV geek inside of me got really excited), I’m glad you can relate. I think many people overlook the power of perspective. No one can help the obstacles that come up in life, but we can most definitely look at life with a kinder eye. There is always, always, always some good hidden in the bad.

  18. November 18, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    What a wonderful, beautiful, heartwarming post. It’s truly incredible how going through certain things puts things in proportion and makes us grateful, isn’t it? It’s strange to be grateful for our hardships, but sometimes we are because they make us realize that there’s so much good in our lives as well… Thank you for sharing this, Tori!

    • November 20, 2011 at 11:37 am

      Exactly! Bad days are, well, bad, but they make the good ones just that much better 🙂

  19. November 18, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    I love this. Simply love it. Heartbreaking and good – all around.

  20. November 18, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    Tori, this is so lovely. I know those deep dark scars you speak of and once they seem to close others who wear their scars in their attitude and judgement of others become something, in some way, to be grateful for. As you point out, they highlight your own gratitude for the most significant and seemingly insignificant things and experiences. All of these things are precious if you can stop to appreciate them.

    Deb, so happy you asked Tori to do this post, it was just perfect. While our circumstances are different our emotions are the same. Thanks for sharing Tori with us and thank you Tori for sharing yourself.

    • November 20, 2011 at 11:36 am

      Shannon, thanks so much for reading! I can tell you get my philosophy as scars being less a form of punishment and more a reminder of how strong we are and what we can handle with grace 🙂

  21. November 19, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    I loved this, Tori! So beautifully written and I feel exactly the same way. I was especially touched by, “It took meals of crackers and Coke to appreciate a meal cooked, a bill paid, a bank account cushioned.”

    • November 20, 2011 at 11:34 am

      My Coke&Crackers days (ie college) was such a struggle for me. As kid who’d been cared for, clothed and fed and sheltered, that first dose of reality took some getting used to. It’s only later that I smile when I think about that time. It’s a comfort knowing now that I don’t need much to get by 🙂 Thanks for reading, Jules!

  22. November 19, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    All comments above I resonate with, and this post, simply spectacular. The imagery, and feelings, the emotions, and contrast between grumpy and grateful are perfect in every way. There isn’t one day that goes by for me now that I do not count my blessings, which includes hardship, for without hardship we wouldn’t experience the depth of gratitude from the soul. I’m soooo happy I read this today, being sick with darned ol’ cold, unable to enjoy the warmth of the sunshine outside with best laid plans, and for this? I am grateful! 🙂 Marvelous post!

    • November 20, 2011 at 11:32 am

      Thank you for your sweet words! I’ll admit, I wrote this post on a gorgeous summer day. I had a tan, a cold drink, and a few sweet hours of silence and writing while my son napped. Today it is rainy and cold and our house is like one communal menstrual cycle. I had to stop and reread my own post and remember that grump won’t get me anywhere!

  23. John Erickson
    November 19, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    Great stuff as usual, Tori. And remember – your glass is ALWAYS full. If not with liquid, then with air. 😉

    • November 20, 2011 at 11:30 am

      Hahaha! I’ve always loved me some air 🙂

  24. November 21, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Beautiful… May our cups always be full with joy, love and wonder. 🙂

  25. November 29, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    “…thankful to be thankful” says it all. I think being grateful is one of the gifts life holds out for us. It can be difficult to access sometimes, but when we can, what a gift it is. Thanks for this one, Tori.

  1. November 18, 2011 at 5:46 am
  2. December 2, 2011 at 5:57 am
  3. January 3, 2013 at 11:03 pm
  4. January 4, 2013 at 5:05 am
  5. September 15, 2014 at 9:03 pm

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