January 31, 2009

empty bowls

It was a spectacular day...
clear, bright, blue sky...
a brisk breeze...
a beautiful day to enjoy...
and a great day for hot soup to warm your hands...
and the chance to lend a hand to someone in need.

Bountiful choices...
colors and shapes.
Bowls and soup.
Chatting and giggling under a tree...

our plan is to come again...
next year...
and look for the bowls...
we painted.

What do we live for, if not to make life less difficult for each other?
-George Eliot

...after looking back on this post, and a comment from Jen, I realized I didn't say much about what was going on! This was a fundraiser event in the park... these beautiful bowls are all donated from various artists and schools... and 27 restaurants provided soup. And after you purchase a bowl (it was so hard to choose!)you fill it up with soup, soup, soup! And the proceeds all went to Harry Chapin Food Bank. There was music, pottery demonstrations, and a station to paint bowls for next year's event!

my favorite wall

I have a place... when angels gather. I have been collecting angels for over seventeen years... and they all gather here...

This little collection started because of a kitty... named Angel... and while Angel is no longer with us, her little legacy remains. I suppose that it is not really the angel part that matters most in my heart... I think it is more the people who find the angels for me... that they think of me while they are out and about in the world. I have angels from Sweden, from Belgium... from Africa...

I have angels from Target, and from many, many craft fairs, and I have angels from friends...
On vacation is the only time I really search them out... I have this pretty conch angel from the Bahamas & our Disney Cruise...

...and this one from Petosky Michigan.

Walking by this wall gives me joy... and reminds me, daily, to be thankful for the very precious people in my life.

Updated 6/29/09
This wall makes me smile. I cannot walk by it without noticing one of my winged treasures and not think of the person who gave it to me. This wall is covered in friendship and love... and certainly makes me smile!

Thanks Heathahlee for hosting this party today!

January 30, 2009

why did the turtle cross the road?

To get away from the cops, of course!

Just another reason I love this man of mine... this is the second turtle he has rescued! Both of them have been so far away from the water... and stuck! I'm sure that little guy didn't mind riding in the back of the squad car... in a pretzel box. I bet freedom never felt sweeter though... Splash!

January 28, 2009

time for us

Watching my daughter grow by leaps and bounds before my very eyes, I am happy and sad... all at once. There are moments when I know I have not given her the time she needed with me... and daily, time is slipping away. Gone are the days when we would lay in bed and read together... play Barbies and dress-up. No more pretend tea served with plastic cake, on pink plastic china. We have moved on to bigger and better things... but there is no substitute for the time lost. I know that there were long stretches of time, mostly during Eric's deployments, when there just wasn't enough of me to go around... and I was thankful for children who amused themselves... but those are also my regrets. That I didn't plop myself down in the midst of them and just be close to them... listen to them giggle... and play. Lately, these regrets have risen to the surface... time moves too quickly. A couple of afternoons a week Cam has after school programs... and so when I get home from work, it is just us girls. Completely by accident, or perhaps by God's hand, we have started a ritual, these past two days... my daughter and me. We have carved out time, just for us... a steaming cup of tea, and a sliver of something sweet... and something more precious than anything else... conversation.

January 27, 2009

a new purpose

Once upon a time, this pretty little tin held macaroon cookies. My Gramma shared with me, and then, once the tasty cookies were gone, she gave me the tin... and I have held onto it for all of these years. This little girl, whose shy expression reminds me of... me, has travelled with me from home to home... three homes in Scituate, two in Marshfield, one in New York City, and now her second home here in Florida. Along the way she has stored many treasures for me... stickers... hair ties... playing cards... and the list goes on. I have never been able to part with her... although, there have been times I have considered it. I came across this special little tin in my sewing closet over the weekend, and once again thought... maybe it is her time. And then I wondered... is that little kitty sticker still in there?

Ahhh... yes... the squishy-oily kind of sticker that when touched created a kaleidoscope of color, and was once so special to me. And a unicorn, too. Remember when we used to collect stickers? I never could understand why people stuck them on paper in books... so they couldn't be used... so I usually kept mine with the backing on... in my tin... but never used them anyway. So here we were... this little girl and I. At a cross road, yet again. I am really trying... to keep only the things that I need... and that I love. And so I thought.... and thought some more. And then it came to me... I remembered the hours of enjoyment... spent milling through my mother's button box. Running my fingers through the buttons... and letting them spill through. Admiring the colorful buttons... and loving their shapes. Spotting a button that was perhaps an extra... from a dress made just for me by my Mom. Dreaming of new clothes that a favorite button might adorn. Yes... my little shy friend has a new purpose... and my buttons have a new home... a new home complete with a squishy kitty to snuggle with... and a unicorn to foster their dreams.

January 26, 2009

c is for...

Yes... Coca-Cola. The summer we vacationed in Georgia, my husband indulged me. It was not on our list of things to see... we had already decided to forgo it in favor of Stone Mountain and the Georgia Aquarium... but while we were at the aquarium, there is was... across the grassy common area... and I really wanted to go... to the Coca-Cola museum. I didn't say a word... until the night before we were leaving. And, because he loves me, he said we could go on the way out of town. I was really stunned... and so very happy. Crazy... I know. But I love Coca-Cola. Yes, the beverage (although I am a Diet coke fan now!) but so much more than that... the commercials... the way they are a part of Christmas (Santa Coke!)... the shape of those glass bottles... their participation in the Olympics... the way they make me have a Coke and a smile! And so... we went. It was amazing to see all of the memorabilia. And before you really enter the museum part, they make you watch a movie... and okay, I'll admit it. I cried. It was those little construction workers working inside the Coke machine... and it made me cry. Eric just rolled his eyes, and shook his head. But I think he knew... how much it meant to me that we were there. There wasn't any part of the place that I did not enjoy (I did not taste the Beverly flavor of Coke like Eric did!) We sat and watched old commercials... and we laughed, and I cried... and we sang along... I'd like to teach the world to sing... It was a great day... it is a great place. So, yes, my "C" is for Coke. What other company loves their consumers so much that they would admit their mistake, and give them back their Coca-Cola Classic in just 79 days?

Happy A to Z Monday!

January 25, 2009

i almost didn't go

This morning... all snug in my jammies, I could have just stayed home. I felt the urge to write... to relax... to do nothing at all. But when Cam came in, bundled in his blanket and wearing his Santa Stitch hat and asked Are we going to church today? I said Yes.
Thank you, God... for the whisper. As usual, You were right, and I am so glad I went.

I was inspired from the moment I turned on the radio in the car and heard a pastor speaking. He asked How much of the Holy Spirit has God poured out on you? And then he provided the answer. All of it. As parents, we dole out a little responsibility at a time... but not God. He gives all... lavishly.
Thank you, God. I needed that reminder.

And then there were the songs in church...
Come, now is the time to worship.
Come, now is the time to give your heart.
Come, just as you are to worship.
Come, just as you are before your God.

Thank you, God... thank you for not expecting me to be perfect... or even close. This heart of mine is messy... and I am so thankful that you find me right where I am, and allow me to worship You, just as I am.

There is none like you,
No one else can touch my heart like You do;
I could search for all eternity long and find
There is none like You.

Thank you, God... for touching this heart of mine... for loving me like only You can.

Here I am, Lord. Is it I Lord?
I have heard You calling in the night.
I will go Lord, if You lead me.
I will hold Your people in my heart.

Thank you, God... for giving me a heart that loves... and for giving me words to express my love.

He sighs, He dies,
He takes my sin and wretchedness.
He lives, forgives,
He gives me His own righteousness.
Worthy is the Lamb
Whose death makes me His own!
The Lamb is reigning on His throne!

Thank you, God... for Jesus. For knowing that I can never be enough without Him... and for having a plan.

Someone Special, God and man, You were there when I began,
You'll be there when I depart, For You live within my heart.
Someone special now I see, that someone is really me.

Thank you, God... for thinking I am special... even when, or especially when, I don't feel particularly special.

You are my strength when I am weak,
You are the treasure that I seek.
You are my All in All.
Seeking You as a precious jewel,
Lord to give up I'd be a fool.
You are my All in All.
When I fall down You pick me up,
When I am dry You fill my cup.
You are my All in All.

Thank you, God... for whispering in my ear this morning. Thank you... thank you.

January 23, 2009

as close as we will get

Living in the southern part of Florida certainly has it's perks... warm weather being at the top of the list at this time of year when we see all of the below zero temperatures on the weather maps! It does get cold here though... sometimes. Yesterday morning, walking out into the world, there was a layer of shimmering frost... adorning the tops of the cars... clinging to the fresh green blades of grass. It was beautiful... and as close as we will get to the snow that my kids are always hoping for. The first year we lived in here, Laura waited at the window on her birthday. Just leaned on the window sill and waited... for snow. It was all she wanted... and of course, it was something that we could just not make happen for her. She has seen snow... played in it and loved it. Camden, too... When we have travelled to Virginia for Christmases past, they occasionally got their snow wishes granted. The last Christmas there was the opportunity for snow was the year Eric was stationed in Charleston. Though it was very cold... and snow was predicted, it never came. And so it has been a long time... since we have had the chance to play in the snow. But... we have our memories...

Gosh... it really has been a long, long time...

January 19, 2009

can you ever go home again?

Last night, gathered around a blue denim ottoman, I shared a lively conversation with two wonderfully funny women about home. You know... the home you start from. That place where you began life, and no matter how far you wander, will always hold that place in your heart as home. I laughed with them about how things are still the same... and the funny things that make your hometown home. And it jogged my memory... I didn't share too much about my trek back to Scituate... some of it was just needing a little more time in my heart. But after chatting and laughing last night... my heart is ready to release a little more...

I was expecting big changes... in my hometown. People had told me of things that were different... places no longer there... changes. So I was expecting the change... and while there were some, what struck me more was the things that were the same. When we drove into the harbor, it felt... the same. Walking down Front Street felt... familiar. And gazing out at the lighthouse and the Coast Guard boat house felt... as close to my heart that day as the the last time I had seen it. It was a comfort to know that the homes we passed still had many of the same last names on the wood carved signs. My heart felt full and happy when we climbed on the rocks where I had once fed ducks with my Grandpa. Yes... home is where my family is... but once, my home was there... and part of my heart still lives for that salty new England air. There was only one part of my weekend that brought me to tears... a change that I knew about... but refused to believe the truth about. Our little ice cream shop... the place our family put our heart, soul and sweat into. The awning still bears our name... but it is torn and weathered. Inside my Mom's artwork remains... but it has grown dingy and the love that was there cannot outshine the negligence. It was... heartbreaking. I wish I had not returned, but had instead, just kept our dream living on in my heart. So going home? Yes... you can visit... and enjoy... but go back? I don't know. As hard as it was to leave there, it was just as nice, perhaps even nicer, to come home to my family... the ones who make my home... home.

b is for...

beach in winter...
my favorite time to enjoy...
the breeze that stings your cheeks...
the sand that you can dig your toes down into...
and the rolling surf that reminds me that every day is washed clean and new.

Our memories of the ocean will linger on, long after our footprints in the sand are gone. -Anonymous

(it wasn't too late for me to join a to z mondays! just late enough to miss "a")

January 17, 2009

she's growing up

Today is the 15th anniversary of me becoming a Mommy... yes... my baby girl is fifteen today. Where, oh where, has the time gone...
Never having been around babies, I certainly did not know what to expect... and when that little pink bundle was placed in my arms I was overwhelmed with love and wonder. She was perfectly precious... heaven sent... ours.
Her first year actually comes back quite vividly... but what I most remember about our first few months of parenthood was the day we sat in the doctor's office and were told that our little baby would not go to regular school... not be able to drive a car... she would be blind. I remember sitting in the waiting room afterwards...just sitting. And again in the car... just sitting... and imagining all of the things she would never see... oh this precious, sweet, baby girl of mine. There are many times over the years that we have thought Where is that doctor now? I'd like her to know that Laura is... and this year is no different. I wish I could tell that doctor that my daughter is getting ready to get her learner's permit and will soon be out there driving. I don't want to be mean to that doctor, I just want her to know that she was wrong (I'm thankful every day for that!)... and that maybe, next time, she could be a little more hopeful and try to put a better spin on such news for people who have only been parents for six weeks. And so today, we feel like we have hit one of those milestones... Laura is officially old enough to learn to drive (that part is slightly scary!) and her eye doctor is confident that she will pass the eye test!
I am excited for what this fifteenth year might hold for Laura. It has certainly been a year of growing pains, and while many more are probably right around the corner, there have been a lot of lessons learned... and a lot of joy shared. This girl of mine... she is beautiful. Inside and out. She gives so much joy to so many people... through her volunteering at the Equestrian Challenge... in the church choir where those ladies just love her to pieces... and to our family, every day. Yes, there are days when I want to scream... I am sure it is part of the Mommy job description... but the other moments- the ones that melt your heart? Those are the ones I am choosing to think about today... on this birthday of hers.

January 16, 2009

a game for today

So... Suz has me playing a game today. She is continuing a Letter Meme... and she promised it would be easy!
Here's the deal:
Leave a comment on this post and I will assign you a letter.
Write about ten things you love that begin with said letter.
Post the list on your blog.
When people comment on your list, you assign a letter, and the game continues.
If you want to comment, but don't want a letter, that is okay, let me know. I'm not pushy!
So... what letter did I get from Suz/Vanna? "S" And she said I don't even have to write about her, but...

1. Suz.
What a friend... if you need to laugh, she is the one you need. Here is a little more about this gal who keeps me giggling, not to mention wondering about her sanity!

2. Sharpies. Anybody who knows me knows how much I love these great pens! I don't really know what it is about them, but I love them. Seriously.

3. Sister. We are not the kind of sisters that talk every day and share every detail... but we are the kind of sisters that are there for one another in an instant. She is why I wanted a second daughter... so my daughter would have a sister. When her heart breaks, mine does, too... and I want to be that great big sister that can fix it all. Until I can find that magic wand, she'll have to make do with my prayers and a few blog entries.

4. Spouse. Oh yes... I love him. And I love that he loves me so completely- through all of my craziness. I love that he will just shake his head and smile... because he knows me. I am not wishing time away, but I love that I will grow old with him.

5. Savoring dessert. I love dessert. I suppose that anyone who knows me already knows this! But did you know that I like to make the dessert last and last and last? It is why I typically eat it with a little kid spoon... and when I can't seem to scrape that last little bit from the bowl? I know my Momma taught me not to lick the plate, but I do... when no one is looking.

6. Savior.
I can't do this on my own... not one little bit. I am so grateful that Jesus has done it all for me, and will continue to hold me up with strength and grace.

7. Sand between my toes.
I do love the beach... and the rolling waves. I could simply stay there forever. Sitting in a chair reading... walking the shore line... enjoying a sunset. All of it. I love it.

8. Splashing in puddles.
My kids know that I do this... and I wouldn't stop them from participating- as long as we are on the way home. Because I have learned my lesson. On the day that Eric & I made arrangements for our first date, I had been splashing in puddles... and was soaked clear up past my knees. He should have run right then and there... but he didn't.

9. Stones. Heart shaped. I don't know how he does it, but Eric is really good at finding them. I suppose he has an eye for spotting treasure amongst the rubble.

10. Silliness.
I could not live without it. Seriously. Little jokes, sarcasm, and laughter. There is not a day that passes when we don't laugh at something utterly silly. It is part of what makes me who I am.

And so there you have it... things I love that begin with S. There is so much more I love... but it will have to wait for another day.

January 14, 2009

one at a time

Each morning I work, I climb these stairs... all the way to the top of the building. Five flights. It's not the hardest climb... but every day I wish our office was on the fourth floor. Why do I climb? The elevator is really slow... and honestly, I need the exercise. So up I go... at least twice a day, sometimes more. I actually enjoy the up part more than I do the down. It gets my heart racing and makes me feel like I've accomplished something, even though it often leaves me breathless. But really, I wish our office was on the fourth floor. Sometimes I count the steps... not the actual steps, but the steps I take, including the landings. And sometimes I just run. But today... someone else put an idea in my head... so thanks to Amy, the Rocky theme will running through my brain... every time I climb. I seriously doubt I'll be raising my arms up above my head in victory, what with my purse, lunch box & coffee cup, but in my mind, I'll be celebrating. Celebrating making it to the top? No... celebrating the perseverance. Because there are so many days when it would just be easier to push that elevator button... or hide under the covers. But we keep going. Even through the tough times- or maybe, especially through the tough times. This new year has started off slow for me... fogged under a sinus infection and the prescriptions that followed... and I have not been me at my best, or honestly, even close. But I keep going... knowing that I will be back up on top soon enough. And you know, the view from the top is always spectacular. That moment when you can see how it all fits together... when nothing is hidden from your line of sight. Almost monumental. Fitting, today, that I have come to this conclusion... as I am about to hit that little publish post button for the 200th time. That in itself is nothing I ever dreamed of... nothing I ever hoped for. But, there is someone who knows me far better than I know myself... and He continues on this journey with me... one step at a time... all the way to the top.

January 13, 2009

gray day

The day has presented itself in shades of gray... a wintery-warlocky kind of day... and my mood is trudging along with it. A Tuesday... but I can feel Monday in the air... heavy... and gray. But the soft warm foam of a chai tea latte slips down my throat, warming my insides... and coats my heart... softly... like the grace I need, and am not deserving of. It coats my heart... like a mother's love... and I spot a glimpse of the sun.

January 12, 2009

a moment

I was just stopping by the information counter to pick up a map, and my new necklace, the one with the little door, caught the volunteer's eye. She admired it from the distance across the counter, but I could tell she was intrigued... and so I removed it from around my neck, so she could really see it. I could tell the instance it hit her heart... the connection... the almost tears that welled in her eyes. She did not share her story, but it was there... oh, I could feel it. She asked me how she could find one, and after our chatting, I headed off to find my son, wandering the visitor's center. In gift shop, there she was again... she walked by me and kind of squeezed my arm a little. This woman has been on my mind... I hope that what is behind her next open door brings her joy...

January 10, 2009

following the moon

An ordinary Saturday morning...
waking up in the dark...
getting ready to head out with Laura for volunteering...
waking a sleeping boy, who wanted to join us.

We spotted the moon...
hovering low behind the treeline...
full and bright...
and beautiful.

Around the bend...
there it was again...

Parked in the chilly car...
windows open, chatting quietly...
sipping warm chocolate, and nibbling muffins...
a momma and her kids... following the moon.

January 09, 2009

precious moment

The purpose of life is life.
Karl Langerfeld

Last night I stepped out my little comfort zone... and was so pleased with the outcome. A new young couple in our church just added to their family, and I actually called the hospital (yes, really) and was able to stop by and hold their precious baby. Precious. New. Beautiful... the privilege of holding a miracle in my very own hands. Oh, the way he stretched and snuggled... how he fit just right so close to my heart, and stole it away when his tiny hand curled around my finger. Laura admired from a distance, but Camden put his hand out and let the little one grab hold... and then his heart was stolen away, as quickly as mine had been. I could tell, the way he would continue to lean in, and occasionally touch the baby's little face with one outstretched index finger. Life... a beautiful gift. A mystery worth solving... a risk worth taking. I am learning, still... everyday... that when I stretch out the borders of my own life, the blessings are abundant.

January 08, 2009

still celebrating

Here is is, January eighth... and yes, my Christmas tree is still up... along with all of my other decorations. We even turned the lights on the other night, which was probably a big mistake- it looked so beautiful, and this tree which I have not loved as I have so many others, stole my heart. Colorful twinkling lights... throwing sparkling reflections on our precious ornaments... maybe I needed these quiet moments more than I knew. A few more days until I can even think about getting it all put away, so I may as well enjoy. And, sometimes when you still have your tree up, there are great perks... like this little treasure I found on the kitchen counter after work yesterday...

Crazy, I know, but this little gift sent me screaming with joy into the other room where my husband was just quietly reading. I really wanted these measuring cups... I had seen them at the store, and thought that they were beautiful, and fun! But I was not going to spend that much for silly measuring cups, even at 30% off... even though they would look pretty in the drawer... and collapse and leave the drawer maybe a little more tidy. And then, there they were, on my kitchen counter... expertly wrapped by the man who shares his life with me... and who sometimes knows me better than I know myself. How I love these after Christmas finds... tucked away in the closet behind the shoes... or on top of a cabinet, just out of sight... like the Easter eggs you come across in July. Little celebrations that brighten an ordinary day... and bring laughter and joy to my heart.
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