Wednesday, April 30, 2014

April 30, 2014

“Not in entire forgetfulness, And not in utter nakedness, But trailing clouds of glory do we come

From God, who is our home.” 

                                                               - William Wordsworth

“I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o'er vales and hills 
When all at once I saw a crowd 
A host of golden daffodils 
Beside the lake beneath the trees 
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.” 

― William Wordsworth

In Memory Of - Quote Link

My grandfather died on April 30, 2013.           

Today is April 30, 2014.

In celebration of Papa's life, 
In Loving Memory of 

James H. Cox... 
Papa Jim...

my grandfather...
my Papa...

I took pictures today.

I put them here...

for those who hurt with me...

for anyone who is having trouble finding the good things about today...
the day that marks a year after loss...

go outside...
like Papa always did...
that's where the pretties are...

Add caption

“Because God is never cruel, there is a reason for all things. We must know the pain of loss; because if we never knew it, we would have no compassion for others, and we would become monsters of self-regard, creatures of unalloyed self-interest. The terrible pain of loss teaches humility to our prideful kind, has the power to soften uncaring hearts, to make a better person of a good one.” 


“You will lose someone you can’t live without,and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you 

learn to dance with the limp.” 
- Anne Lammot

I've seen a lot of quotes. 
I can relate to this one best...
for me, 
it's true...

You never 'get over the loss'...
Your heart stays broken...
Your wound will always be there. 
Your aching- 

It doesn't go away. 



The part about 
'making it'...

You will. 

It has been one year since I got the call- 
It's the call you hope you never get- 
You know...
Somehow, before you answer that call...
You just...

What you don't know - 
is how
that person

will change your life. 

What you don't know- 
is how 
you will hurt...

Time will not heal your pain. 
You will not heal. 



you WILL...

as the author above puts it...

learn to 'walk with the limp'.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Writer's Block & How To Beat It - Stop Thinking. Start Writing. Stop Worrying. Beat the Block to Find Your Creative Inspiration

That moment when you're stuck. Your fingers are poised and ready to strike the keys that will tell your story. You DO have a story. You know that. Nobody else does, though, because your paralyzed little digits are worthless right now. So, you just start typing something. Anything. Whatever you can make your mind tell your fingers that makes them mysteriously 'work' again...

It's writer's block.
It's common.
It sucks.
We all hate it.
Writers, especially.

You feel this...
to write...
to say

But, you sit there at your desk...
staring at a blank screen.
It's bright.
It's empty.
Your words need to fill up the pages in front of you.
your fingers...
they aren't moving.

you're thinking TOO MUCH.

You aren't typing.
Type anything.
It doesn't have to be good.
It doesn't have to be interesting...
It's there, in your mind- -
the story you want to share...
It can't ever come out unless your stupid fingers ...

You're still not typing anything worth reading, are you?
You're telling yourself that you can't do it.
Your fingers are stuck, after all...
you probably should just give up.

Try again another time.
The next time will be better.
You'll get it out, then...
for sure.
You have no doubt.
Now's not the time to write.

Maybe tomorrow would be better.
But- -

your fingers start flying across the keys that have been taunting you...,
daring you to hit them.
You don't care what you're writing about or whether or not you're rambling on and on about nothing that anybody would ever read or want to read or regrets reading right now.
You just need to write.
Get it out.
Doesn't matter what.
Put something

Move your hand.
Carry the pencil and stop thinking so much.
Watch ink flow across the page until you forget what your concerns were that had prevented you from telling those worries to anything that resembled blankness ...

You broke the spell.
Your fingers still work.
You didn't tell your story, though.
You've got to stop thinking like that, you know.
You didn't give yourself an easy way out.
You wrote.

You told Writer's Block to piss off.
Doesn't matter how you did it.
Doesn't matter if the crap you wrote means anything.
It just matters that the screen or paper in front of you isn't blank anymore.

your story will reveal itself


Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Jackpot Egg - A Cannon Family Tradition of Crazy Easter Egg Hunts on The Farm

Realizing that my last post probably didn't go over well with some readers, I have decided to write about happier things this Saturday morning. Tomorrow is Easter Sunday. I LOVE EASTER.

This year, we're estimating 50-75+ people are coming to our family's annual Easter egg hunt.
I'm related to 90% of those folks, although I haven't seen many of them in years.
Big family is an understatement.
I love it.

Yesterday, I went to my Aunt Renee's house to help set things up for the big egg hunt that's happening tomorrow.

She's put in a lot of work to make sure everything looks awesome. I LOVE, LOVE, LOOOOOVE my aunts' new house. It's PERFECT for having tons of people over!

Anyway, I get super excited about Easter.
It's my favorite holiday, second only to Christmas.

Our family does Easter like no other.
I don't mean to sound brag-gy, but -
our Easter egg hunts


We hide what we call the "Jackpot egg" every year.
Everybody donates a few bucks to put towards the Grand Prize pool.
Depending on how many guests show up,
the finder of that one little egg
walks away from the hunt
with a good wad of cash.

We are competitive.

It's all in good fun, though.
It's been a tradition for as long as I can remember.
The little kids pick up all the other eggs,
but everybody-
young and old...
all who attend...

join in the hunt for the Jackpot egg.

Seems easy, right?
we bury it.

Most years, someone's yard is torn to shreds by a mob of Egg-crazed Cannons and friends...
We dig.
There are giant holes left in the ground when we've been released into the field where Jackpot egg awaits our finding.

When time has passed and no egg has turned up,
the boundaries are narrowed to send us all into
an even crazier frenzy.

It's exciting when you think you're getting close to that egg.
It's also worth pushing your cousins when they encroach on your territory.
Sounds pretty redneck, huh?
Yeah, well...
We like it.
You'd do it, too...

Nobody ever gets hurt and we don't brawl or fight to get the egg...
just a push or two when needed.

I hope like I hope every year

I think I found it maybe one time...
years ago...
or maybe I just imagined that little victory...
not sure.

I'm ready for Easter.


Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday in Smyrna, Tennessee - Three Wooden Crosses & A Well-Meant Mockery of Christianity, Altogether. Welcome to The Show.

There are three people in Smyrna, Tennessee, who are standing comfortably on three crosses, which have been mounted atop a hill and faced towards oncoming traffic. You can't miss them.

I support the rights of all individuals. That said, I believe that the three guys on those cross-displays have every right to stand on their comfortably-crafted wooden cross. I support that they are permitted to make the statement they believe they are making.
I just don't think it's doing as much good as they probably do. That's all...

just because you believe in God, Jesus, Good Friday, The Holy Spirit, your God-given purpose, etc., ...
doesn't make you stand on a platform which has been safely fastened to a wooden cross that your church decided to display like a Christmas tree... only, it's not a Christmas tree..

You're not being crucified.
I find that insulting. - -
Not the part about you not dying, mind you. I'm not heartless...

I resent the audacity and ignorance you choose to manipulate your reasoning into "I'm witnessing"...
No you're not.

Knocking on doors is witnessing.
Standing on a cross...

I guess God should probably tell you.

Not me.

I'm not perfect.
(Insert spec in your eye-scripture here...)

But, I don't stand on crosses and trick myself into a brainwashed theory... I realize there are better things that can REALLY MATTER TO PEOPLE...
Me standing on a cross isn't going to change anyone's mind...

How do I know?

Well, ...
Chances are,
they are aware of whom you are imitating.... Jesus.
Those drivers who are staring at you like you're insane are doing that -
not because they are all "unsaved sinners"...
It's because they can't believe that YOU think you're going to help somebody more than Jesus did.
You look...
Jesus was nailed to a cross.
Lots of people didn't care about that when he sacrificed himself.
Why should we care about you standing on that make-shift borderline-blasphemy-looking-what-the-he.....-are-they-doing-... cross?

We think more?

We just wouldn't do it.
You enjoy it.
The attention you are receiving is well-earned...

You have the right to make the sad effort you're making that probably defeats any good you may have otherwise spread by...

-going to volunteer at a shelter,
-giving the guy holding that sign some of your Sunday money. (He's standing less than 1/2 mile from your cross, you know...)
- Using the wood you used to make your mockery-cross as housing materials for those in need.

don't think you're witnessing. 
They've likely heard of Jesus. 
You aren't likely to change their mind 

But, you probably shouldn't do any of the other things I mentioned
that might make a more positive..., you know...

Probably should stick with that safely built cross-thing you've got goin' on.

Also, keep racking your brain about why people get the impressions that most Christians are crazy or hypocritical. I'm sure it'll come to you if you stand there long enough.


Monday, April 14, 2014

Stop To Smell The Roses

As I rode with my mother to Mamaw Rose's this weekend, we recalled fond memories of my late-grandfather, Papa Jim.

This April reminds us all that one year has gone by without Papa. 

It's a difficult time of year for all who loved him. 

I've said it before and I'm sure to repeat myself often, stating that Papa was more than a grandfather to all of us.

He was Papa Jim. 

His laugh and his joy for the best things in life were contagious- 

My Mama recalled something that Papa had told her long ago, as I rode with her to Mamaw's this past weekend.

I share it now because it's important to me -
to those who have grieved with me...

                   It's important for all of us...
 to remember 
the milestone memories
we've made 
with our loved ones...

So, I now pass along a piece of advice that my mother gave me and her father gave her...

Picture this...

You're with your mom in a minivan....

She's driving. 
It's early in the morning and you're wishing you'd guzzled another cup or 10 of coffee before she picked you up.
Your mother, if she's at all like mine-
drives a bit
than you do.

You feel...
ever so slightly...
irritated, impatient,
... and a generalized
makes your non-coffee'd self
speak more frankly than usual...

"Mom..., you can go a little faster if you want, you know."

I had remarked about my mother's all-too-cautious driving speed, which hadn't exceeded the 70MPH speed limit since we'd hopped in for our trip to Mamaw Rose's home.

"Mom, we're never going to get there if you keep going like this."
"I don't want a speeding ticket, Regina."
"You won't get one, Mom. You can go 80 and still be okay."
"You shouldn't be going 80."
"It's fine, Mom. Cops are cool with 80. Just not over 80. Speed limit is 70. Add 10. That's the real speed limit."

"We're not in that big of a hurry and I'm not risking having to pay a speeding ticket to arrive maybe 10 minutes earlier than we would've..."

"Okay, I guess.
... Just sayin'..."

I don't know how the above conversation sparked a memory that Mom shared next, but I'm glad it did.

She smiled and I watched her expression of happiness as she stated,

"You've got to stop 
and smell the roses."

I really am not sure why I'd felt compelled to encourage a big rush and slight law-breaking advice to my responsible mother. There was no need to hurry. I listened to her explain the phrase we've all heard, for the story behind it made me think...

Mom said, "That's what Papa always said. I had been in a big hurry once..."

She hesitated before finishing her sentence. I saw the smile on her face fade for a moment, as though sharing her memory with me were as bittersweet to recall as it was important to pass onto her daughter. 

"I think I was a teenager when Daddy said that. I don't remember where I was in a hurry to get to, but just remember him saying, 

'Cindy, you've got to just stop and smell the roses.'"

She smiled again. 
I smiled, too. 

We both got quiet. 

I broke the silence with, "He was right."

Mama nodded, still smiling quietly to herself as she stared out at the open road that lay ahead of us. 

The speedometer had dropped to 65.
I didn't care about that anymore, though. 

Papa was right. 

He was right about a lot of things. 
He lived his life in a way that made such positive impact on the lives of others. 

Papa always stopped to smell the roses. 

He took walks often. 
He walked slowly, as though taking in every breath of air were sacred and special. 

He rarely got in a hurry. 

Mamaw Rose walks at a speed much quicker than other women in their seventies. 
I can't keep up with her. 
Papa could, but he often chose a slower pace. 

You had to keep an eye on Papa if you went anywhere with him. 

His wandering off nature was to be expected. 
It was and still is something that I think about fondly. 

It's the way we should all live our lives, really. 
Taking in all the pretty little things and tiny joys life has to offer...

Stopping to smell the roses. 
After all, 
why are we in such a big hurry, anyway? 

There's no rush. 

Mama and I took our time on the way to Mamaw Rose's home. We talked and laughed together about silly little things along the way. 

That's what life is all about. 
The little joys
The roses

May we all walk a little slower, 
May we bring joy to the attention of others who walk at a faster pace, 
May we truly appreciate the beauty life offers us every day, 

May we ALWAYS stop to smell the roses. 

Dedicated with love to my family, 
In Loving Memory of Papa Jim 
and the Lessons He Taught Us All


Stopping To Smell The Roses... 


The New Pharmacy Technician (In-Progress) & Best Ever Monday Phone Call...

I got an AWESOME PHONE CALL today.

Seems that I'm hired. 


Being a pharmacy technician is new to me.

VERRRY new. :)

(Actually, I've been one for about 2 minutes now...)

I have yet to step behind a pharmacy counter.

Now, it's time for the hiring process...
tests and trainings have to be conducted before I can actually begin working at MY NEW JOB!

Studying the TOP 200 Drugs has been a little nerdy hobby o' mine for about 2 weeks or so...
I know a guy.
He's about to be a Pharmacist, I hear.
I married him.

He's not the one who hired me, before anybody starts jumping the gun, all willy-nilly.

I am excited.
I am nervous.
I am...


Best thing to happen on a Monday in quite a while!

Let's see what happens next...

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

"I Am The Stone That The Builder Refused..." About 'Boondocks' Theme Song - and some other thoughts on hip-hop...

The theme song from Boondocks gets in your head. This morning, it was there as soon as I woke up. No idea why, but the lyrics are playing in my head. No choice but to write about them, I suppose. It'll either solve that song-stuck-in-my-head dilemma, or make it stay in there all day. Either way works for me, since it's an awesome song.

Boondocks is a show I hadn't watched until I got married. Not sure why, but before Joshy-Gina era, there was no Boondocks-show-watching going on in my life. Those were sad times, my friend...

When I watched the first few episodes, I was surprised that Josh knew all the words to the show's opening theme song. Then again, I wasn't all that taken aback since my husband knows more hip hop than most people. Before long, I learned the lyrics. How could you not?

The beat is catchy, but it's the writing that makes this song...


At least, that's what does it for me. Lyrics, rather than music style, are what I tend to admire about music. I gained an appreciation for (what Josh calls,) "good hip-hop", by setting aside my preferences of music style...

"Listen to what it's saying, Gina!"

My husband would say while he blared Immortal Technique, Jurassic 5, and all sorts of other"awesome rap"...

"Okay, I'm trying.
 It's just... so... LOUD, though."

"So you can hear this line he's about to drop, babe... It's genius."

Only by cringing through songs that I sometimes considered offensive or just unpleasant for my untrained ears, did I gain appreciation for "Good Music".

Moreover, I started to like rap. 
Not the mainstream pop-py rap that I'd always heard on the radio, though. The "talented, O-G-rap stuff". I was taught that OG means "Original Gangster", which is pronounced: "Original Gangsta", depending on an individuals's cultural background and familiarity with this little fact that everybody else was knew about, except for this little white country girl.

I found songs that I would've never given a chance to be some of the VERY BEST.
I watched shows I'd never given time to consider, once my small-town-world was opened up by a liberal city boy, to whom I'm still married.

Enough about me and my former state of closed-minded ignorance.
I have Josh to thank for broadening my appreciation for musical genres, as well as other critical turning points in my life...

About Boondocks Theme Song... (because that's why you're here, 

First, let's review the lyrics... 

I am
Annotate the stone that the builder refused
I am the visual, the inspiration
That made Lady sing the blues

I'm the spark that makes your idea bright
The same spark that lights the dark
So that you can know your left from your right

I am the ballot in your box, the bullet in the gun
The inner glow that lets you know to call your brother son
The story that just begun, the promise of what's to come
And I'mma remain a soldier till the war is won

[Judo flip...chop chop chop]

Click for the original link source of awesomeness.

If you don't hear the beat in your head when you read those lyrics above, 

you should listen...

Now, you have the same problem I woke up with today...
It's stuck in your head now. 

To get an idea about the show's central themes & characters-
Watch the show.
if you want a quick synopsis instead of adding a good show to your life, click here - - - > I like bad tv shows and don't want to watch good shows.


Good question. 
Answers vary, depending on who you ask...
See some interpretations of Boondocks Theme Song lyrics here... 
- - > About Boondocks Lyrics & Meaning

Biblical verse origin information about lyrics can be found here: 
- - - - - > The Stone Refused, The Capstone

If you ask me what the lyrics mean, (which won't happen in probably, ever...,)'s what I think...

Biblical and culturally-specific historical factors are central roots of Boondocks Theme Song's origin and meaning.

Whether you approach your interpretation of the lyrics from a biblical standpoint or not, numerous scriptures reference "the stone that was rejected/refused by builders". Repeated verses, throughout biblical passages, conclude that the stone rejected is the stone and/or becomes the stone that is central/essential to a strong foundation or building. Basically, the stone rejected is KEY to build upon and without the rejected stone, nothing can be established, build-up/founded, advanced, ..., etc.

one may next consider cultural aspects that apply to 'cornerstone' verses found in scripture. African-American history is a core theme of The Boondocks show. The contributions and advancements of African Americans are key to our establishing of modern civilization, to tie in cultural and biblical lyric root-references. This concept, though culturally specific, can be applied to the individual influences we all make to society as a whole. 

It's okay to be "the stone that the builder refused".
That stone is the special one, anyway. 
It's what holds everything else together, 
regardless of rejection, trial, and tribulation...
It is the stone that overcomes. 
The cornerstone.

"Ballot in Your Box, The Bullet in Your Gun "

Watch Boondocks. 
Learn the lyrics. Decide what they mean to you. 
I guarantee you'll have the theme stuck in your head for a while. 

:) Happy Wednesday. :)

Friday, April 4, 2014

Art vs. 'AWT' & Why Awwwt is Better to Create Than Art

I love art. 

I always have... (loved art)...
elliptical expressions that aren't parenthetically explained...


as any of you readers know-
I quit my job.

T'was a cold, bitter day in late November. Regina Hodge had stayed up too late on the night before the 'Twas-a'- day...

She had a meeting that day. She'd requested it. She dreaded it. She knew it must be done.


'tis April.

Regina has worked tirelessly to pursue her dreams since the 'Twas-the'...




I want more than I'll be able to accomplish in one day,
one life


I want it all.

I can't have it all.

I want-
to make the most of the talents I've been blessed with...

to put it

I get tired of people asking what it is that I WANT.

Do you wanna listen for about 2 hours?

Didn't think so.

Why is it that I have to have an answer?
Why am I expected-
to provide

You know what I like?

Making stuff.


totally love that.


to cheer myself up-

to accomplish some portions of my #100happydays project ...

I do it with, what my husband deems,


I make art.

It's "AWWWWT" when it's


Art vs. AWWWWT:

By Regina Hodge. Lifelooklens. Copyright. 2014.

Art & Photography by Regina Hodge, Lifelooklens. 

"If heaven and hell decide that they both are satisfied, Illuminate the 'No's' on their 'vacancy' signs- ...

If there's no one beside you
when your soul embarks, 


Yeah, so...
That's what this one's (below) is all about...
This Canvas Painting and Mixed Media collage that I made was
inspired by...
A song...

 Truth be told, art and 'Awwwt' are very similar. 
Josh started referring to my creations as 'my awwwts', one day, and the term kinda stuck. 
Awwwt must be inspired by something. 
Awwwt is rarely technical or orderly. 
It's what happens when you don't have a set plan to follow in your creating process. You just...
make it up as you go. 
Art is different, in that aspect. 
Art follows principles, though they are adapted by the artist. 
Art isn't as fun to make, as there are rules and orderly steps one must take to achieve a set pattern or specific goal. 
Awwwt is AWE-inspiring...
Art is too, sometimes. 
But, Awwwt? 
Is always different
It's unexpected
It's surprising...
To those who observe the final awwwt-work, but-
more importantly, 
... for the artist who creates it
They had no plan. 
They revealed themselves in their work, 
without intention. 
Awwwt exposes the individual's soul, 
is more...

Is any of this making any sense? 
Oh, well. 
I call my art, 'Awwwt'. 
That's the point of all this rambling, I guess. 

to show you in pictures...

Art vs. Awwwt

“The artist never entirely knows — We guess. 
We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark” 
~Agnes de Mille
More artsy quotes found here...

“Art doesn’t have to be pretty. It has to be meaningful.” 
~Duane Hanson

“I am interested in art as a means of living a life; not as a means of making a living.” ~Robert Henri

Copyright 2014. Regina Hodge Photography. 
"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep." - Scott Adams

Create Something Different.
Make Awwwt. :)