April 28, 2010

getting closer

I only need three fingers to count the months until we embark on our journey... although this process of preparations has been a journey all its own. First-time passports, browsing through brochures... and dreaming. This week we are sending for our visas. It is close. And all of a sudden I am ready for the details.
What will I need in my backpack?
How many pair of pants should I bring?
Can I blog from Africa?
Are you sure there are no hair dryers?
My Mom tells me it is time... to leave the suitcase out in plain sight and start tossing stuff in as we think of it. And the thoughts... just make me giddy...

April 27, 2010

windswept weekend

It was one of those weekends... wind-in-your-face-oh-I-feel-alive kind of weekends. One of those weekends when you wish Monday would hold off until... forever. But it never does... and so I tuck the windswept memories away for safe-keeping.

~the whisper of salt that the breeze has wrapped around my straw.

~how quickly those little sandpipers can move their legs, and the way it makes me laugh.

~watching her dig a hole down into the sand... and her making scientific references about groundwater, when all I could think of was that Robert Louis Stevenson poem... When I was down beside the sea, a wooden spade they gave to me...

~her silhouette in the setting sun... and the glittering of sunlight across the gulf.
~the wind rushing at my face... and the exhilaration that makes me wonder why I am not an adventure girl.

~seemingly endless blue skies that surround me from all sides.
~being with my Mom & Bob out on the open seas (or the little-bit-rough Gulf of Mexico.)
~squealing at the sight of dolphins... and realizing later that I did indeed catch them on film.

All little bits of perfect that make me want to turn back to clock... or rush ahead to the next bits of fun.

Celebrating the beautiful on a Tuesday... and the mess? It is simply not worth mentioning.
tuesdays unwrapped at cats

April 21, 2010

almost everyday

I thought the memories would fade away... not be ever-present in my heart. But here they sit... and I am so glad for them. Happy to recall her smile. Her joyful, beautiful eyes. And the laughter that kept on going. She showed me that you can live life being yourself, and laugh off the ones who are determined not to let you. I wish there had more time... more laughter and more living. But the life she lived dances before my heart... almost everyday. A gift.

April 20, 2010

there goes my heart

My travelers are home from Tennessee... and their excitement bubbled all over the living room, along with their luggage and bags of treats. It felt like Christmas, for the two of us who stayed home... and I felt a little bad that her spending money was spent on us. I was really only anticipating one gift... because the last stop of the trip was Cracker Barrel, and she knows that I will always choose clove. She handed me a bag, and I gave her a look... what about my clove stick? And that girl... she just smiled.

It was far more than I expected. Far more than I desired. Extravagant. And there goes my heart... for she has learned to give like her daddy. And like her Father.

Happy Tuesday... I hope that you have a beautiful gift to unwrap today...

April 18, 2010

when you seek...

We decided that we should picnic at the beach again... and on our no-schedule day, we planned it right after miniature golf. On our way, the rain came in. But in my glass-half-full type of mind, I never once doubted that our plans would be ruined. I was sure the rain would move on through... and sometimes those clouds make for a more beautiful sunset.

A different beach... a different landscape. As I sat in my chair and shared dinner with my son, we noticed that the shore was not lined with a row of shells... and I was sure that I would be writing although there were no angel wings, we were not short on sand or fun. Instead, I write... although we were short on company and color in the sky, there was hardly a shortage of angel wings... because once I looked down, I didn't even have to step forward to find plenty. But I suppose that is how it is on the beach where the coquinas play.

The sky never quite lightened... but even without pink and orange wash of spectacular, there was plenty of inspiration at the beach. Looking out into the surf, we saw the dolphins at play. Gliding fins and splashing tails... it was hard to move my eyes away, and I found myself torn between them and the bride making her way onto the beach...

It was a night of beauty. It may not have been blaring itself across the sky in brilliant colors, but if you stop and seek, open your eyes and your heart... you will find the beauty waiting just for you.


April 16, 2010

paradise and angel wings

He was just as happy as I was about an evening trip to the beach. He was looking forward to splashing and riding his boogie board and probably the fresh, unopened bag of Doritos. My own expectations were hardly more than the relaxation that comes from watching the waves roll in and keeping my eyes on the changing sky... hoping for a spectacular sunset. The sun was hiding behind many a cloud, and the sky was not promising anything. But I had my toes dug deep into the sand and just breathing in the sea air brings its own sort of peace. That, and watching the sea gently roll in and smooth the sand in a steady rhythm. I quickly came to the conclusion that spectacular sunset or not, this was right where I needed to be. Sister at my side, and Camden laughing with his cousins.
As we let the troubles of the day be cast out, the peace settled in.
And the real fun began...

Like little girls who don't realize that the 5 second rule does not apply at the beach. But she really loves her sweets and the sand didn't hinder her love of the frosting inside the oreo.

And boys sledding... Florida style.

As the sun was falling into the sea, we hunted shells on the shoreline... searching for angel wings...

As her Mama placed one in each hand, she declared One for me and one for you! Tina pressed her to find one for Auntie, but she assured her that it wasn't going to happen. Even when she was told that Auntie collects angels. And so it went... me, finding my own and giggling as I egged her on.
Who found this one?
Who's is it?
Who picked it up out of the sand?
All the while it was in my hand... and it had me laughing. Because she is not my daughter. I did let her talked me into putting our angel wings in her bucket...

That gray blue sky turned magnificent all at once... and again I am reminded of God's hand, and the beauty He gifts us. And how much more it means to me when I have stashed all expectations away. It was hard to pull myself from the sky last night... it beckoned me back time and again for one last picture. And As I drove into the darkness, His light stayed alive in my soul...


April 15, 2010

he's the one

When there is some kind of emergency-ish incident, Becky is the one I call to laugh with after the fact. Suzanne is the one I call, think of, and text everytime I am on MLK Blvd... or wish I had Onstar. Amy is my go-to girl for any dancing laughter. I could go on and on, but one fact remains...

He is the one I want to relay it all to, and thankfully, he will at least pretend to listen to it all. He is the one who makes my heart complete, and when he is away, I feel sorta empty. Right now, I am kinda missing him...

April 13, 2010

easy does it

Yesterday, I put the sick behind me and stepped on the treadmill. The first real exercise in months. The strides felt good as I walked... and my feet wanted to fly. Thankfully, I was determined to let my head be in control. Slow and steady. Slow feet and steady breathing. One day at a time, and hopefully I will be back to my three-mile mornings... wheeze free. For all my life, breathing has come naturally... but these past months have taught me that a deep breath is most certainly a gift. And a one I am thankful for on this Tuesday.

April 12, 2010

gifts on the doorstep of my heart

It has been just two years... since I dove, heart first, into blogging. I barely knew what a blog was... but I pushed the "create" button anyway. And I just kept on going. A leap of faith? Or perhaps just a blind leap into the unknown, since I really didn't know what I was getting myself into. What I did know, was that I had words and stories and thoughts and emotions all bottled up in my head, and the jumble of it was worthless. And so I began. Day after day... the words poured out and my fingers typed away, recording the past and the present, along with the everyday ordinary. Every so often I wonder of I am out of words... but so far, God keeps on providing. Just today... I had that what if I hadn't done this kind of thought. Because this little blog... has brought such gifts my way. Beautiful gifts. Gifts I might have missed out on.
  • I see the little bits of life that make up a day, instead of viewing it as one big blur. Better yet, I find myself seeking them. And I think... it makes a better life for me and for my family.

  • The girl I was, and have always been, kept her stuff inside... the good the bad and especially the ugly. By letting some of it out through my words, I have let others see the real me. My Mom says she knows me more than she ever has. And I think I know myself better than ever before...

  • Friendships have always been a priority for me... and I cherish them. I certainly never dreamed that I would make such wonderful friends through blogging... but I have. Each, a gift. Someday I hope to meet them face to face instead of just knowing them heart to heart.

  • My faith has grown. By sorting out my own thoughts, and reading the thoughts and prayers of others. It has added one more facet to learning about the wonderful God & Savior we share.

  • Two years... is quite a commitment. I don't like to be a quitter, but I certainly am not great at completing everything. But maybe... if I can do this... I can learn to finish what I start.

  • In writing, I have found a passion... that isn't messy. Unless you count emotions, of course. But there are no scraps of paper to clean up, no pins to pick up off the floor. Just me and my heart, and the keyboard.

I don't know if one day the words will be dried up and gone... or if the gifts that sit on the doorstep of my heart will last forever. But whatever will be, will be. And it will be alright. Because I know to cherish these things right now. And it has taken blogging to teach me that. Cherish... and savor. I'm not sure I fully knew how to do that until now. I do hope that the cherishing and savoring will go on forever... long after the words are gone.

April 11, 2010

look out world

It is rude to say I told you so... so I won't. But those judges were blown out of the water (or, rather, sea) by the girl's performance and props and scenery. And although I loved watching their skit, I loved watching them interact with the judges even more. The girls faces as they explained how they made such & such, and the judges obvious joy at not only the performance, but by the level of excitement the kids showed about how and what they did to get there. Char was explaining away something-or-other and her four extra shrimp arms were flapping right along with her two human arms. It made me giggle. And my daughter... who came out of the box shouting last time? She was even more confident this time. They didn't even bother trying to put her back in her box... she was as busy as a one-armed paper hanger behind the scenes creating sound effects, and then there she was, trying to scare the Wimpy Shrimpy, the GiantSquid/Pirate and the amazing tie-dyed Jelly.
In our hearts and mind, they should have won it all, but Silver will get you to the World Finals, too... and when you find out you are going to Worlds, the color of the medal barely matters. Truly.

It was getting late when we walked out of the arena... team, coaches and parents were all drained from the day, but on a high with that we're-finally-going-to-worlds kind of glow. Second place finish? Check. Silver Medal? Check. Trophy? Trophy?
Oh, Mr. Eric has it.
Just call him... my trophy husband.


April 10, 2010

going for gold 2

Today is the day. Seemingly endless hours of work and a few more bursts of energy than they thought they had in them have brought them to right now. On the edge of Worlds... with one more giant obstacle to conquer. Odyssey of the Mind States.
I have a feeling... these girls are going to ruin the judge's day. They perform second, which means twelve teams have to live up their performance afterwards. I know that people say it's best to go last... leave them with an impression so fantastic that they forget everyone else. But honestly? I think these girls are going to blow the judges out of the water this morning and leave the them waiting for a performance to top it... and they just might not find anyone better.
And that would make for a whole lotta joy.


April 08, 2010

family play day...

It was almost a warm-up for Africa. The animals at Busch Gardens were up and on the move... enjoying the spring air as much as we were. And I couldn't keep myself from snapping photos. Which probably means more memory cards and more batteries for my Africa bag.
The best part of the day was being together... just the four of us. Even though spring break was a week plus two days, there were only the two days that we were all off from all activities, and so we were determined to play.

And play, we did...
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