June 30, 2010

cooking up a storm... or lo mein

She is a macaroni & cheese expert... but we don't always take the time to let her cook. Sometimes I wish I didn't have that it'll be quicker if I do it myself gene. But this week, when it is just us girls... we have all the time in the world.
We planned.
We shopped.
And then... we cooked.
Truthfully? I loved every second of working beside her in the kitchen. Teaching her to chop the onions just so. Laughing about loving the carrot shredding tool. Scooping up stray mushrooms from the tile floor. It might be quicker to just do it myself... but maybe less joy is not worth the minutes I save.

The recipe? Lazy Lo Mein from Desperation Dinners. I love that cookbook.

June 29, 2010

two turtledoves

I can hear the whisper of pages unfolding a story, the last bits of rain dripping from the roof. The hum of the computer competes with Scout's purr, and the little bit of music escaping her room. But right here, in the midst of me, all is still and quiet... except for the words spinning in my heart. The house is certainly only half full without them. And quiet. But the quiet refreshes and sustains... and gives a bit of breath to my soul. In. Out.

Four days of just us has been... sweet and fun and joy filled. A reminder of how close our hearts are, even when our minds are miles apart. We paint. We cook. We share stories of horses and kids and games. And we play rousing hands of James Bond that ultimately end with us collapsing in giggles, that are anything but quiet. Perhaps time with just the girls is not so overrated...

These days are... a gift.  Not twelve days, like Christmas... but eight.  And we've only spent half of them.

June 28, 2010

with a month to go...

Though my eyes were weary this morning and still heavy with sleep, I still knew. It was almost as if I could feel the time ticking with my own beating heart. One month until Africa. I can barely think it without my eyes beginning the blur of tears, without opening my mouth to drink in a deeper breath. I thought it would be forever away, and I hoped it would be sooner than later. All of these months have slipped on by and here I am, afraid I am not quite ready for the journey this heart is about to embark on. And I know it will be... as much a journey of footsteps as it will be a journey of the heart.  But perhaps all of the preparation in this whole wide world cannot prepare me... so I will just continue to handle the things on my list, and leave the things of the heart to God.

June 26, 2010

it's that time...

Piles of t-shirts and shorts, underwear and socks.
A list that we carefully check over and over. And over.
I don't want him to be without something he'll need. The first year he went, I gave myself the entire week to gather, stack and pack. But now? We are old pros. This is his fifth and last year. His last year... unless they choose him to be a CIT next year. That is his dream. And if his dream comes true? We might be back to giving ourselves that week to pack... seven weeks is so much longer than one.

Camden is actually going to two camps... back to back weeks. The first year for Boy Scout camp... and he'll be enjoying it with his Dad. I can't wait to hear all the details next weekend... while we transport him from one camp to the other.
In the morning sunlight, I wave goodbye... to my ever-growing son.
I know he is ready for big adventure... and I'll be waiting with open arms on the other side.

I did wave goodbye to Eric, too. And I am so excited that he can share this adventure with Cam!

June 24, 2010

a mystery

We've been doing a fair bit of bowling since school has been out... being that its free and all. I roll that ball down the lane and sometimes I knock down a few pins... sometimes, not a one. But no matter... when I turn around to head back to my crew, there are a flurry of high fives. In the moment just before my hand meets my daughter's, there is a brief flutter of wonder. When did that happen... when did her hands become a mirror of my own younger hands? After my next unfortunate attempt at knocking down more than three pins, my son greets me with Good try... and raises up his hand for a gentle high five. I purposefully fix my eyes on his hand, rather than his eyes, because I wonder...
Seems that while I have admired his fingers flying across the ivories, it has been too long since I really saw his hands. No long the chubby hands of my stocky, sweet son... they have thinned out and stretched, just as his whole self has. My heart is unsettled and in awe, but so filled with love.
Every December, when we place the tiny, felt hand ornaments made for their first Christmas into their growing palms, I am caught up in the emotion of all the Christmases past... but today, I focus on those hands, long and slender and... grown, and I wonder what wonderful things God has in store for them...

June 23, 2010

to you...

I went back and re-read my own words, and then read yours... the words from your heart to mine... and I felt the need to say thank you. This place of mine, it is honest and true... bits and pieces of me. And if I am honest, how can I share the good without the ugly? And sometimes this heart of mine feels downright ugly. Especially when I know I am saying or doing something, all the while wanting to freeze time and give myself a harsh talking to.  The words came to me, and flowed from my hand... but I did not hit publish without some trepidation and fear... that you would think less of me. And you... you focus on the good in me when I can hardly see it though the darkness. So I will say it again... thank you.


June 21, 2010

in the dark

So often, I speak the words aloud, all the while, wishing them back...
Make sure you...
Did you...
Can't you...
Are you really going to...
Out they come and though I hear them clearly, and they are mine, I cannot stop them... and then there they are.  Again.  But she is she, and I am me.  Over the years she has learned to deal with my incessant words... directing her to finish this and make sure that, and please... brush your hair.  If it were me on the other end of the words... they would not have to be spoken over and over and over again.  No, because I am a people pleaser.  I don't want anyone to be upset with me and I would never purposefully upset the balance.  Of anything.  But she... she is all her own.  Not out to please only herself selfishly, but to be her own unique person and listen to what her heart tells her is important.  My mother & I joked that God most certainly stepped in to break the chain, since we were incapable of breaking it ourselves.  And perhaps... hair is not so important as I make it out to be.  Sometimes I wonder if my words, attacking consistently yet gently, will keep her heart from mine.  I wonder if I am breaking my own chain... between mother and daughter. 

We sat in the dark, between our other two... with a story playing out before us.  She leaned in and rested her head on my shoulder... and before I knew it, her hand was in mine and our fingers were entwined, inseparable.  We giggled over a part or two... made quiet comments... but mostly, I sat.  With my heart full... of her.  She loves me.  And oh, I love her.  The story progressed and still, we sat together- very uncharacteristic for she who was never the cuddler.
These moments that turn into hours... they are light to my dark heart.  When the love her heart holds spills all over and covers the words I wished back... I learn His Grace all over again.
She is she... and I am me.  And who am I to question His plan?
linking up to Emily's Chatting at the Sky on this beautiful Tuesday...

June 20, 2010

daddies teach love

There are lots of things that daddies teach. How to run and jump. How to build and race. They teach their daughters and sons to ride a two-wheeler, how to skip stones across the water, mow the grass... the list goes on and on. A daddy's job is important... but of all the oddities and practicalities a daddy can pass on, the most important gift they share is how to live and love.
The Daddy that lives under this roof... has shown our children, in a million ways, that his love is for them forever. It is in the little things... like taking time to show them how to fry an egg, teaching them how to paddle a kayak, fostering their love of books, and just spending time with them... even if it simply watching their favorite show.
It is also in the big things... giving time to band and scouts- the things they love, serving his country and community with pride and courage, and loving Jesus. But most of all, it is in the way he loves me. He has given our daughter a picture of what a husband should be... and he has given our son the tools he needs, the footsteps to follow. He has shown them an incredible lesson in love... one that seems rare, yet more and more important in this great wide world. They might not realize it today or tomorrow... perhaps not for years. But this gift... it is stored in their hearts and I hope it leads them to accept nothing less than forever love.

When this man found me, and made me his wife... I knew. I knew that he had this gift to give, but I sure didn't know how much joy it would bring to my heart as I watch it all unfold.

June 18, 2010


I have had this book for... nineteen years? It is still a favorite, and one of the two books that I actually write in (the other being my bible.) All through the margins, page after page, there are smiley faces, exclamation points, hearts and J's. The J's are some of my cousin's picks. Back in the old days of letter writing we would send each other codes... like 162,24. Page 162, line 24... doing things together.
On a gray day, or a dark quiet night when I couldn't quite find a smile, I would hold this book in my hands and open it at random to find tidbits like...
meeting eyes
the cat acting foolish
the overwhelming desire to pop someone's bubble-gum bubble
dishes of beach glass.
Lovely, silly and sweet. A flicker of a memory. A sigh and a giggle. These pages have brought me the smile I was seeking so many times.
Today... when I leaf through the pages, I find myself still loving the book, but realizing that where I seek happiness is in the life that is happening all around me...
the softness of his new haircut
sunlight dancing in through the window
her chattiness as she hops in the car after working at camp
being called the the lady with the smiling eyes
an I love you text
the way he rolls his eyes when I am silly
the cat acting foolish.
I could fill days worth of post with the little bits of life that bring a smile to my face and to my heart.
14,000 things?
Just the tip of the iceberg...

June 15, 2010

right now

Sometimes... last minute plans are the best plans. Spur of the moment... when you have an hour to kill, and she can carve just about that much from her crazy-going-out-of-town errands. Sometimes it just takes one phone call, at just the right time, to finally meet up with a friend you've been trying to catch for months. And I was thrilled to be able to say yes when she asked Can you meet me for lunch right now?
So there we sat... picking right up where we left off... over breakfast for lunch. And I am reminded how much I love her... how important her friendship is to me. Sometimes friendships are for a season... and sometimes they are forever. The bridges we build over the gaps between seasons... they are sturdy and strong. Forever Friend... you are a most beautiful gift.

I love how friendships can be messy and beautiful all at once... and certainly worthy of unwrapping on a Tuesday.

June 14, 2010

and summer begins...

If only every weekend was four days…
I crafted, I played with my kids, I finished two books, I stretched out on the couch and relaxed. I ran errands, caught up on my laundry and cleaned my room. Sunday afternoon began to fade, and I was feeling refreshed… even ready to tackle the work week.

Sweeping the sleep away from my eyes this morning… I readied myself for the new summer routine… three day work weeks, no homework, carefree afternoons and perhaps a few more four day weekends. And heading off for work today seems... just a bit sweeter with my heart full of warm memories and summer dreams.

June 12, 2010


Looking for my running shoes this morning, the anger started to boil within. How could I allow myself to lose track of them... or more to the point, how could I allow the days between now and the last time they were laced, ready to move? Uncovering them from where they had been tossed... I vowed anew. To keep them in sight. Ready to roll.

Three weeks ago, I allowed a glimpse of fear to seep into my workout. Week three was tough. Not so tough that I couldn't endure it, but hard enough to make me doubt. Running three minutes took so much breath... how would I ever be able to run a 5K? And through the doubt, above the music raging in my ears, there was a voice.
You are on week three?
Yes. As if You don't know...
How many weeks between now and a 5K?
Ummm... six.
Yes, six.
And He makes me realize this is a process, a journey. No, I wasn't ready for that 5K on week three... but I needed to trust that He would carry me through the journey. And knowing that, keeping it close to my heart, I began to love week three.

A week or so ago... I began Week Four. It took all I had to complete the first day. All I had. But finish, I did. And now...it has taken me a full week, maybe more, to dig out those shoes again. Fear. Not only did I allow it to show its face again, I allowed it to cover my heart. Even knowing that God would meet me on the journey, was waiting for me... I allowed the excuses and the busyness. I allowed the hiding. And in the allowance, I deprived myself of any feeling of success and goodness. I deprived myself of His voice. His goodness.

Motivated by deprivation... I stepped back into the journey. Today.  It was hard. And I didn't quite have the finish I desired. I pushed and pushed and called for His breath... and still, I allowed the slowing of flying feet. I know it was not Him that let me down... not Him... but me. But in the face of giving in, there were promises made. New goals set. Goodness... right around the bend.   And allowance... to seek success.

June 11, 2010

breakfast treat

She called them doughboys... my sister & I knew they were a treat. A treat that only our Gramma made for us... on Sunday mornings before church. We would sit in little chairs, watch Inspector Gadget... and munch on delicious balls of fried dough, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. I seem to recall that one of us liked to dip them in maple syrup... but I cannot remember which one of us needed that extra shot of sweet. Probably me.

This morning, the first morning of summer... I find myself with one more loaf of bread dough and a fryer still full of oil (from Sunday's beignets). What to do? I prepare this same sweet treat for my kids. And I share the story once again... with them... passing it on. And when we ran out of cinnamon?  We made them New Orleans style.

Did I tell you we were going to New Orleans this summer?

June 10, 2010


At long last... it has arrived. The last day of school!

And we celebrate... the end of a great year, moving upwards and onwards to 11th & 8th grades... and summer. 
Oh, sweet, beautiful summer.  Welcome!

June 08, 2010

my (not-so) average kids

The best of the best deserve to be celebrated. And the kids who started at the bottom and work so hard to excel... they deserve to be celebrated, too. But where does that leave the average student? Uncelebrated. And sometimes... it hurts.
So many years ago, I realized that my kids were not the straight A kids... and it was hard, but I had to lower my expectations... just a bit. And as long as they tried as hard as they could and gave the most effort they were capable of, then I celebrated the B's. I didn't love the C's, but I recognize that C is average... and if average is all you got, well then, what can I say?  I'm not saying that I didn't press upon them to give a little more... but sometimes I had to realize that you can earn a C, even if you gave it an A effort.  And always... when the grades were not those fancy A and B letters that I dreamed of, I would glance over to the side of the report card and see that they have earned the highest marks possible for things like respect, effort, and character. 
The school system may deem my kids average, but in this great big world we live in, they are anything but.  Her heart... is not average.  It is big and compassionate and more beautiful than I ever dreamed a heart could be.  She gives of herself and serves our very big God.  The courage she possesses is certainly above average to me.    And his personality... is not average.  It is bright, infectious, humble and kind... and just when you think he's given all he can, he pushes himself just a little bit more, because he loves to learn.   He is the kid... who started out average and worked so hard... to be average.   
I was surprised when we got a letter from the school, inviting us to the awards ceremony.  We figured that he had pushed himself so far that he had earned whatever magic-number-of-a-grade-point-average you needed to get an award.  But we were wrong (I'm sure it is really close though!)  Camden received... the 5 Star Science award for 7th grade.  I don't know what it all means... I wasn't totally listening, it caught me by surprise, but it had to do with his science grades and his character (I think) and four were awarded at his grade level.  Yay for my (not-so) average kid! 

These two... they inspire me.  They encourage me to find out stuff I never cared to know about.  They show me that the nice guy can prevail, and they remind me that success is not about being above average... it is about being happy right where you are. 


realizing a gift

My toes are itching to be covered in sand... my feet are longing be lapped with waves... and the shoreline won't be in sight for at least three days. I had intended to carve out a bit of time to play at the beach this weekend but it just never happened. It wasn't even one of those weekends... when every hour has its own agenda. No... it was a weekend with very little planned, very little running. But packing up the sunscreen and a few towels never seemed pressing enough.
Sunday, after cooking and serving up beignets at church (for a fundraiser), the four of us settled in and took some time to... rest. Knowing that there was no place we needed to run off to and that the house was clean (enough), I allowed myself to just be. Mindless TV, cool air, my legs resting over top his, and the sunshine glinting in through the window... brought contentment. It wasn't where I thought I would be... wasting away a beautiful Sunday afternoon... but perhaps, it was where I needed to be. And, time with them... is never wasted.

Celebrating the gift of contentment on a Tuesday... and the hope of a beach day in the near future.

June 07, 2010

another highlight from michigan

As soon as I found out we were going to Michigan for the Odyssey World Finals, I emailed my bloggy friend, Ruby Red Slippers... to find out how close she was to anywhere we were going. I was thrilled that she wrote back with big exclamation points! On our first free morning, my Mom & I headed to the home of Ruby Red Slippers. We pulled into the driveway and before I knew it, we were all hugging on the doorstep... and when I walked into her beautiful home...

I recognized this room instantly. Oh, I know it only felt familiar because of this photo (that I borrowed from her blog... without asking) but it filled me up with the feeling of friendship. Everywhere I turned there was a piece of her heart... and words, words, words! Ruby Red Slippers loves words on the walls... and because I frequently admire them, she keeps encouraging me to try it! Our visit was two hours of fun... and it flew by with creamer & coffee and as much conversation as we could fit in! I'm sure we could have filled several more hours... and I am hoping we get them the next time Ruby Red & her family come to Florida. It is a very small world, you know... turns out that when my new real-life friend visits Florida, they often stay in same town where my Mom lives!

Thank you, Ruby Red... for a lovely morning. So lovely! And... for telling us how to find Hobby Lobby! Yes. It was our first time. With mixed emotions, I realized that it was certainly worth the hype... and when my Mom grabbed a cart, I had to remind her that she only had a carry on suitcase!

Now that I'm home... the creative thoughts are buzzing. And... I just may have added a second set of words to my wall!


June 04, 2010


Today I celebrate the beauty in the world.
Why not?!
This is the day the Lord has made... rejoice and be glad in it!
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