May 27, 2010

my mind is moving in a million directions




This has been an amazing experience... already. A day and a half into this Michigan trip and I can barely think straight... my mind is so full of wonderful things. Like meeting my Mom's friend (from Africa!) at the Detroit Zoo. And meeting a bloggy friend & going to Hobby Lobby for the first time ever. Oh... and watching my daughter continue to blossom and let her heart shine though at the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals. Soon... I will make sense of these wonderful pieces... but for now my mind is all a-jumble with so much joy!
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May 25, 2010

lego love


The other day I walked in and saw... the biggest Lego mess I had seen in quite a while. My eyes widened and I might have made a comment... but I looked up and saw him at work. Building. And it was... homework. The History of Legos research paper needed a visual...

Sunday I peeked around a door way and saw... a Lego masterpiece in progress. Two of my most favorite boys were up to their eyeballs assembling the Lego City Police Station. Steven's birthday gift. The teamwork between them made me smile... especially when they leaned their head together and Steven shouted Teamwork! Oh those smiles... they melt my heart everytime.

Legos make a mess... and it hurts like heck to find one with your bare foot. But this Mama will never complain. Nope. The light in his eyes when he is stretching his imagination beyond what is is just another gift I count myself lucky enough to receive.
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Linking up to Tuesdays Unwrapped at Chatting at the Sky...

May 24, 2010

today, yesterday and tomorrow


It was Confirmation Sunday yesterday. I love the celebration of it... and enjoyed being witness to the three young people making their commitment to their faith. Each of them took part in the service in their own way, which seemed to make their commitment a bit more.
As the confirmands received Communion for the first time, the choir sang... Every Day is a Gift from the Lord. The same song Laura had sung as her part of her Confirmation service three years ago. Nearing the end of the song, my daughter stepped out from her row and sang her solo. Through tears in my eyes, I thanked God again for the gift of her song, and for the courage He places in her heart. It was a very sweet reminder of yesterday.
When it was time for me to receive Communion, Camden was by my side, and Pastor placed his hand on Cam's head, looked into his eyes, and told him Next year this will be you being confirmed. Jesus loves you now and always. And there was my peek at tomorrow... and the promise it holds.
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May 21, 2010

inspire me


Wondering about the music blaring in my ears while my feet are flying? These are my right-now favorites...

Walk on the Water... Britt Nicole
It's Your Life... Francesca Batistelli
The Lost Get Found... Britt Nicole
More Beautiful You... Jonny Diaz
You're Beautiful... James Blunt
Unwritten... Natasha Bedingfield
Hold Up My Heart... Brooke White
Beauty in the World... Macy Gray
Better than a Halleluia... Amy Grant
Something Beautiful... Need to Breathe
Crazy Beautiful... Chasen
Let the Waters Rise... Mikes Chair

Maybe the more I hear it, the more I believe in the possibility...
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Linking up to Hillary's friday favorites!

May 20, 2010

seeking beauty


Beauty.
I seek it at every turn.
I surround myself with it when I find it.
Most of all, I long to feel it... inside and out.
Sometimes... the weight I carry blots out every bit of beauty I know... it tempts me to hide.
To hide my heart, and my smiling eyes.
Believing I'm beautiful?
When my Mom would tell me, I would dismiss her words.
When my best friend said it, I dared to hope.
And when my husband whispers it... I truly want to believe it.
He makes all things glorious, and I am Yours... what does that make me?*
I've been digging... to find that beauty in me.
Beyond my heart, and beyond those eyes.
Beyond what others see.
Sometimes the only opinion I hear is my own.
Lately, I feel most beautiful when I am in motion...
on the treadmill, with the music playing way too loud.
The beat of the music and the declarations of the lyrics propel my feet forward... towards beauty.
Towards life.
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* lyrics, Everything Glorious, David Crowder Band

May 19, 2010

if wishes were horses...


There are some days I wish I had made different choices...
There are some days I wish I worked closer to home...
But I'm here now... and she is okay... so I'm okay.
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May 18, 2010

hand print on my heart


It has been there for a few weeks... even through the rain. I think I am the only one who has noticed it. Eric would have tried to scrub it off... my kids surely would have pointed it out, and probably would have laughed about it.
I love it... this hand print on my walkway. Because the hand that was so stained by red mulch that it would leave a mark on concrete, is the same hand that has held tightly onto mine for almost nineteen years. It is the hand that held onto mine when we promised each other forever and when our babies came into the world. It is the hand that rests in mine when we are driving in the car or just watching TV. His hands... are gentle and strong all at once... and seeing the mark when I walk up to our home is like a warm embrace, his hand on my heart.

Celebrating the mess that life is... and the beauty... on Tuesday with Emily.
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May 17, 2010

May 16, 2010

lessons in beauty

Last night, there were awards and a dance...


... and it hit me all over again how grown up she is becoming.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

It was just a month or so before seventh grade began... when I asked my daughter if she wanted to wear make-up. That's how old I was... when my Mom offered make-up to me. I was thrilled... and have been in love ever since. Laura? She half-heartedly said okay. We bought some and tried it... but you know, it just wasn't her thing. And eventually, I was okay with that. It wasn't that I thought she needed to wear it, I just expected that she'd want to.

But last night... she let me. For this dress-up night.
Her face is petite... her eyes are tiny... and her lashes are long. The kind that boys are usually blessed with. I would swipe on a generous swish of color... and immediately wipe it off. I gently lined her eye lids... then smudged the heck out of that careful line to fade it into oblivion. And what I finally learned was... I could make her no more beautiful that she already was. God fashioned those pretty eyes just so... and so I left them with barely a whisper of shadow and a brief flicker of mascara. When our make-up session was done... and her skin was just evened out with a few brushes of mineral powder... we decided that she still looked like Laura.
Definitely pretty... a beauty inside and out.
Laura... only dressier.

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May 14, 2010

tradition... and my hero

As my kids are winding up their school year (not quite quick enough for me!) and bringing home interim reports that have my eyes seeing ABBABABABABBA... I think back to when they were so small... and all that mattered was how they behaved, what they shared, and how well they played. I often refer to "the preschool years"... in kind of a negative way. It was just hard... learning to balance my life with two little sweeties, who depended on my every scrap of attention. The truth is, even through the mess I was, I knew is was a magical time. And I was so thankful for the opportunity each of them had at pre-school. I'm not sure they would be the people they are today without it. I don't think I would be the person I am without it. It was there... that we opened our hearts fully to Jesus. You never graduate from Jesus... but they did graduate from pre-school... with flying colors tucked into their pockets and Jesus tucked into their hearts.


And this school... has always been a place to grow.... and it has become a family tradition. When Tina called and told me that Oakley was going to Grace... I cried. And soon... I hope that Chelsea(that sandy-oreo-eating-sweetie)will have her turn.

And then there is this man... my hero. While I was struggling my way through the pre-school years... he juggled being a daddy & husband along with his full-time job, the USCG reserves and school. I am so humbled by the way he shows his love for us... the way he provides for us. But perhaps, never so proud as when he came home from his many deployments and set to work on one more goal... graduating from the police academy. He is... and always will be... my hero.


Flashing back on a Friday... with a few tears in my eyes.

May 13, 2010

splash & a pan


The bottom line was that we had promised. And not only that... we had skipped other events and justified it by saying we were going. And so... even though Eric & I were wiped out from a busy week, we adjusted our attitudes and followed through.
Guess what? It was a great day... one we were glad not to miss.

Forgoing everything this theme-park-loving-girl knows, we left our house at 8:20... usually the time I am standing at the gate waiting to get in for a 10am opening. With my newly adjusted attitude, I decided that we should be in the park by noon (eek!) and it would be okay... the world would not end. I was energized by my goal, the miles whizzed on by... and we arrived inside the park by 11:30. We came prepared for water-riding fun (Cam's passion!) but the line for Sheikra was short, and I could not resist. Oh, to dive face first down a death-defying hill! (As long as all of the safety features are in working order, of course!)

He had been dying to stand on this bridge... it seems there is nothing he enjoys more than being soaked to the skin. On past visits it has been chilly... but with the sun blaring 90 degrees and a set of dry clothes stashed in a locker... there was no reason not to...


Looking back, I kind of wished I had joined him. Because the Congo River Rapids soaked me at every turn, and there was not an inch of me that was not dripping. But I loved it... I laughed and screamed and laughed just a little bit more. Oh... to play like a kid.

And then... what we had come for.
Glory in the Gardens.
Building 429 & Skillet... and in those moments, there was nothing that could make me feel younger or more alive than rocking to great music with awesome lyrics... screaming, clapping, jumping, cheering.... and praising God.

There's never a question in your message, never a moment without your presence
There's never a doubt in my mind that I'll wake up to find
Your glory defined
and I will finally bow at your feet, I will lift up your name in honor and praise
when I cross over Jordan I know that I'll be running home to you.
-Glory Defined, Building 429

In the dark, I can feel you in my sleep
In your arms I feel you breathe into me
Forever hold this heart that I will give to you, Forever I will live for you
I’m awake I’m alive
Now I know what I believe inside, Now it’s my time
I’ll do what I want ’cause this is my life
Here, right now, I’ll stand my ground and never back down
I know what I believe inside, I’m awake and I’m alive
-Awake & Alive, Skillet

It was a day worth living in the moment for...
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May 12, 2010

in real life


We write and we read... and our outer selves become transparent... so that all there is left to see is our hearts. Really, the best of us. And so... the anticipation of a first meeting with a new friend, in real life, was a little less stressful that it might have been. I knew that she would like me... and I knew that I already liked her. I wondered what we would talk about... wondered about what was really left to say... since we kind of say it all here. But I let nothing (not even knowing I would be meeting her in my swimsuit!) dampen my excitement over finally meeting Corinne... in real life.

When I got her email a few weeks ago, I was filled with delight and almost disbelief... Corinne was coming to Florida, and she said was just imagining us and our kids playing at the beach. Well, we are both beach loving girls. I was really amazed that she was willing to pack two little ones into her parents car and drive across the state for a few-hour visit... after she'd already travelled miles and miles by airplane. Amazed... and truly excited.

And so... I made my kids play hookie on Friday. It didn't take too much to convince Laura... but Camden, the boy who has been counting down the days of school since January, was, unbelievably, a harder sell. It took some doing but at long last, he caved... and we headed off to the beach. Kids and my chaperone (Eric) in tow, we headed off to meet Corinne... who is definitely not an axe murderer. I have to say... I was right. I recognized her heart instantly, even if I couldn't quite distinguish the color of her car. There in the parking lot, it was like two long-lost friends meeting up for the day... nothing imaginary about it. Once we hit the beach, and had warm sand between our toes, the chatting came easily, and there was plenty to say. And we had fun! She is a good Mama. She took her son's mood in stride and never pushed him. She shared her lunch with her daughter and barely minded the sand running through the lettuce and around the bread.

And all at once, her kiddos warmed up and were having as grand a time as we were. Laura & Paige playing in the sand... and Fynn finally gave in and was laughing away with Cam & Eric as they rode the waves with the boogie board. We laughed about having babysitters, and it gave two real-life friends a few minutes to chat on a little longer. I think we both would have liked to have another hour or three... but for this trip... it was enough to meet and splash and dig in the sand.

Today, Corinne is saying goodbye to her parents and heading back home. Will you say a bit of prayer for her? Flying with two little ones is never easy, and her two sweeties didn't exactly love the plane. So while I'm praying for a safe trip back for her, I am also adding in a prayer for an easy flight...
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May 11, 2010

eavesdropping on love

The weekend was full... of wonderful, fun-packed hours. Saturday kind of turned into our Mother's Day celebration... a day that we had planned, and exhaustion made us wish we hadn't, ended up to be a day that none of us would have missed (more on that later this week, okay?) The long drive home ended with a quick trip to CVS, with me joking that just because we woke you up had better not hinder your card shopping!

Sunday was a quiet day... church and napping and catching up on TV, because we were too tired for much else. But after church, my three loves huddled in the other room, behind a closed door. I could hear the tearing and crinkling of wrapping paper... and giggling. Loud giggling. The three of them... together. The sound of love... overflowing. And it filled up my heart in a way that no store-bought gift ever could.

Of course, I did love my gift... shoes for Africa! And they fit perfectly.
Wonder how they managed that!

A gift of love unwrapped again... on a Tuesday.
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May 09, 2010

mother's day 2010



Children are the anchors that hold a mother to life. -Sophocles

The other day Elizabeth asked:
What do you wish someone had told you about being a mother?
I answered...
i wish i had known... that no one expects me to be super-mom, except for me. and i wish i had listened and heard that lady in the supermarket... it goes by too fast, cherish it right now. i wish... someone had prepared me for how much i would hurt when my kids hurt. and that it is a wonderful journey if you relax and are not afraid to laugh, most times at yourself.

I wasn't practically prepared for being a mother. In fact, I never even packed that suitcase for the hospital. Both times it was a frenzy of shoving some stuff into a bag moments after my water broke. I had never changed a diaper... and I couldn't really remember holding many babies. Maybe just my sister. All I had was love and wonder in my heart... and it turns out, that was enough. Yes. There were things I wish I had known... but learning in the moment- out of necessity- has been quite a journey. Sometimes pretty... and sometimes not. I have yelled and wished I hadn't. I have cried for good reason, and for no reason at all. I have messed up... and apologized. And apologized some more. But in the mix of everyday life, between the downs, there have been so many moments of joy and beauty and down-right silliness. My own Mom scoffs at my memories of a beautiful childhood and doesn't feel like she deserves the pedestal I have placed her on... but in my heart, there she sits... and will always sit. Because there was never a shortage of love. I think she is the best Mom a girl could have... and I feel confident that my own kids will look back and feel the same way. Because like childbirth... the pain eventually fades. The memory of it lingers in a hazy fog, but what shines through is the beauty of holding that sweet tiny life in your arms for the very first time.

I have made mistakes... and I'm certain that there are more to come. But I will continue to stir in love and adventure and laughter, with a good measure of hope and faith. Not to cover up my errors... but because it is the only recipe I know. And it works for us. I look at these two kids and I see God's grace. Blending the parts of me with the beauty of Him. And they fill my heart in a way I never could imagine. They are... my something beautiful.

Wishing you a Happy Mother's Day... with lots of love,
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May 07, 2010

home


I remember visiting someone I thought I really knew... and being surprised that her dining room had such brightly colored chairs... and that she had an alpaca throw rug in the sitting room. It wasn't that I didn't think she was fun (oh, she is so much fun...) it just wasn't what I had imagined. Since then... I have thought that you don't fully know someone until you visit their home. When you see what someone surrounds themselves with, it adds a whole extra layer of goodness. I love to have people over (when my house is clean)... and I suppose I like them to see the bits and pieces of my heart that are strewn around our home... to learn what makes me really smile.

Ice cream... always ice cream. Even when I am serving dinner, dessert is on my mind. Ice cream cookie jars, salt shakers & more... tucked into the nooks & crannies of the dining room.

Tucked into the hallway, this old print tray is full of tiny treasures. Well, not full. There's always room for more.

Photos remind me of the yesterdays... and the stone lighthouse lamps, too.

And this... is where it all began.

We cram a lot of life in this home of ours...
It is not the home I love, but the life that is lived here. -Elsie de Wolfe
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Richella is hosting a house party... or rather, a what makes your home special party. And if Richella is throwing a party... I sure don't want to miss it!
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