November 30, 2015

not just standing still...

On our way to work I spotted two otters alongside the canal, one sunning, and the other diving in for a swim. I shouted out, and was happy that my girl actually saw them before we sped on. It made us both smile.
Laura loves her job at the zoo. Better than that? The zoo loves her right back.

Last month, while the zoo was going through their accreditation process, Laura had the opportunity to be interviewed on procedures and talk with some of the AZA people. She even shared her zoo school experience, and I admire her for it. For taking that weakness, and turning it around the best she can.

When she couldn't go back to the zoo program, I think we were all more than a little broken. But she continued to talk about it in a positive context, and I finally asked her why? She told me because I learned so much, and even though I didn't pass, being there was such a great experience.  Me? I would have taken that failure and buried it so deep I might not have thought about it again. Ever.

This girl of mine is so brave.

She has been working her heart out at the zoo for over a year... and maybe it seems like she is just standing still. But she isn't. She is learning all she can in her environment, making contacts, doing anything they ask her to, with a smile. She continues to dream, and hope that she will get her big chance. I admire her so much.

November 25, 2015

life lately...

It was a good week.
Many blessings... and tasks completed. 
And there was snow...
1. Laura is part of the AAZK organization at the zoo. Each year they host an art auction
with art done by their favorite animal friends. It was a fun night under the stars, celebrating.

2. I can hardly believe I got my act together and packaged up 18 days of Cam's Advent
calendar. He is going to come home for the rest of the days!

3. And while I was mailing it... I remembered to buy Christmas card stamps!

4. It took me a full hour, but I did it. I cleaned off my dining room table.
It hasn't seen the light of day since... June?

5. We had our Friday night pizza on Saturday... complete with a poinsetta!

6. It snowed. In Iowa. And Cam got to build his first snowman!

7. We trekked over to the other coast on Sunday... and drove through the worst rain ever.
See that orange strip? Yes, that is where we were... the whole way. 

8. But it was worth it! It was an early Christmas gift and it was fabulous!

9. This picture made my Monday morning...


November 24, 2015

the state of this heart...

I have spent some time reflecting on my writing... or the absence of it. The words dance through my heart, ready to speak, and when I sit down, they seem to evaporate. Or I simply procrastinate them away. I feel busy, but I'm not. All of the words you have praised over the years have come easily... flowed right out of my heart in a rush of love. My heart isn't lacking love these days, but perhaps just the flow-y.  Maybe the opposite of flow-y is limbo, and limbo is one of those phases of life I am not-so-good at.

When I think about this year, there has been a lot of limbo... and not too much ordinary. The year has been wonderful, full of celebrations and joy... but the transitions from one event to another have felt pretty limbo-y... waiting with too much time, or not quite enough. We threw two Eagle Scout parties, all the while pressing Cam to work on scholarship applications. And then, of course, there was the college decision hanging over all our heads... talking it out when he wanted to, holding my own hopes back while he figured it out, all the while wondering how we would actually pay for it. The decision was ultimately his, but oh what a toll it took on our day to day lives while we waited. The graduation festivities carried on through the whole of May, all the while I was making trips to the doctor getting antibiotic & steroid shots to hold off the pneumonia.

Summer was too short, and too long... we all struggled with the balance of getting ready for Iowa, and fitting in all the fun and making all the memories of these last couple of months before life changed. I miscalculated and lost a week in August, and then was thrilled to find it again... although even that "extra" week moved too quickly. I was so thankful when we pulled out of the driveway... we had everything, or we didn't, and there was only time to enjoy and let the plan fall into place.

Leaving Iowa wasn't as tough as I thought it would be, and I felt like the end of our to-do list was in sight. Two more items... Disney's Night of Joy, and then my October 1st surgery. I never expected that I would fall apart over a plate of Mickey waffles, but there we were, at the Animal Kingdom Lodge... and I missed Camden so much I could barely breathe. As for my surgery... well, that was more than I had bargained for. Three days more, with a recovery that had me on the verge of tears more than once.

These months have been a checklist of wonderful milestones... and once we shouted off "check!" the next item on the list was always looming before us, pressing my heart to prepare, with little time for rest.

So here I am, with Thanksgiving only two days away. Thankfully, it will be a quiet one, and after a beautiful weekend of celebrations, I am ready for the quiet, and the rest that a few days off will bring. I am aching for the ordinary. We dream of wild and wonderful... but what our hearts truly need is a good dose of ordinary. It is where we gain strength for the unexpected and the celebrating. Our day to day ordinary life is a beautiful gift to be embraced... so that when the exotic and the exciting knocks at our door, we will be well rested and ready to dance.
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November 18, 2015

life lately...

I can't seem to find the time, make the time, to sit and write... even though I have been wanting to. Maybe the wanting hasn't totally reached my heart yet. Maybe soon... I hope. Until then, here are some glimpses of my life lately...
1. i have had this basket of wooden thread spool in my garage for... ages. a few saturdays
ago i took the afternoon to unroll most of the thread and dream about a use for these pretty
spools. they are now in bag waiting to be beautiful.

2. turtles. this has been a huge undertaking at my office and they are finally out and about
around town! there is a satisfaction in seeing them, even though i also have some
personal disappointments about them. this one is at the zoo!

3. cranberries simmering on the stove-top with anise and cinnamon. 

4. i stopped for a visit with my mom and she was going through pictures. it was fun to see little me!

5. taking time for tea. and a successful chocolate chip baking adventure: gluten & sugar-free!

6. more work. we had our annual gala last week, which was gorgeous and exhausting.
but there were extra centerpieces left and i got to bring one home. a box of succulents
and tropical flowers... perfect for dreams come true in blue hawaii!

7. just a little walk on the boardwalk... to the gift shop... where i found...

8. these alligator treasures. camden is not coming home for thanksgiving, but he has been invited to dinner at a friend's house. i am so very thankful; he has received this invite! it does a mama's heart good. when i told him i wanted to send a thank you for him to bring, he requested... alligators!

9. this week i went to my very first (and second) basketball game.