May 31, 2011

{virtual coffee} 16

Today it is vanilla with a splash of gingerbread. 
I'm down to the last bottle in my holiday hoarded stash, and I'm trying to use it sparingly... so just a splash is good.

Eyes are open and I'm searching... for the even keel.  May is hanging on by a thread, and yet the crazy has thrown its line over to June and seems content to just hang on.  But just eight days left of school... and maybe we'll cut that crazy and let it spin off into the wind.  It isn't like me... to wish the time away.  I'd rather savor the moments and stretch them out.  If only it weren't for the crazy...

If we were really meeting for coffee today, I hope it would be somewhere outside... where the sun is shining and the breeze is cool.  And if there was sand or surf involved, you wouldn't hear me complaining!  Mostly though, I'd just be happy to see your smiling face and catch up.  I've been out of the loop... both loops- writing and reading.  Slowly but surely, I am finding my way back. 

Was your weekend wonderful? 
Our was mostly uneventful, but still very nice.  Eric was working, picked up an extra shift... and I spent the time laying low and crafting away (graduation gifts, teacher gifts... just for fun stuff.)  My body has been telling me to slow down... on top of the crazy, I have had two allergic reactions to my allergy shots.  One episode of my throat closing up and one of burning skin.  Both have left me slightly shaken and certainly short of breath... but I am still going ahead, hoping that these shots really will be the end of my winter bronchitis bouts!  We did manage to make time to visit with friends over the weekend... burgers on the grill, corn on the cob and all the other delights that promise summer is coming!

OH!  and I almost forgot the band awards ceremony and dance on Friday night (that seems so long ago!) 

She had as much fun as she allowed herself... I believe she said she was "unsocially-social" which apparently means no dancing.  But she looked beautiful and her eyes sparkled when she showed me the 2012 pin she'll tack onto her band letter.  2012... oh that is but a breath away...

I hope your Tuesday doesn't feel too much like a Monday... and that the week bops along at just-the-right-speed. 
Thank you for the coffee visit... I think my heart truly needed it. 

May 26, 2011

be open

Our church building is becoming more magificent by the day... and as I watch it grow, my dreams grow alongside it.  And to walk through the Early Learning Center, that will be our mission, is to feel and know that God has so many more dreams to nourish.  Though the rooms are empty and the walls are blank, I can imagine the children who will laugh there... who will learn there... who will press their hands along the walls and mark it as Jesus has marked my own heart with His hands.  For a flash, I wish my kids were actually little again... but then the warm memories of their own preschool flood over me and I know that the Holy Spirit dwelled in that space, too.  And finding that space?  Oh... it was surely a gift straight from the Maker. 
Laura was signed up for a different pre-school.  All dressed up for the big first day, smile wide with nervous excitement and hands grasping a yellow beanie cat for courage, we arrived... and the doors were locked up, with no one in sight.  I never did find out what happened.  Home again, with plans dashed and one disappointed little girl, we started scouring the phone book... and of course, anywhere that we called was full with a waiting list.  There I sat, on the nubby green carpet with the yellow pages spread out before me... discouraged and as disappointed as she.  And then... this little memory of a little girl at a swim lesson snuck into my head.  She was signed up for preschool... and I seemed to recall her Mom saying there were only four kids in her class.  Four.  Certainly not full.  Fingers flew through the pages urging my brain to recall the name of that church... and finally, there it was.  I called... and was invited to head right over for a look.  I met Miss Sherry, and the rest was history.  Beautiful history, spanning two years each for my children and my nephew, one down and one to go for my niece... and all of the years in between.  A place to grow.And that little girl from swim class?  Charlotte.  Best friend of 14 years. 

I don't doubt it for a moment. 
It seems to be what he does best, if we let Him.
Beauty from ashes, success after many trials, trading joy for sorrow. 

Preschool learning is not just for the littles.  I am living proof.  From renewing my faith and beginning me on a true relationship with my Savior to simply being open to possibilities other than my own plans... the rewards and lessons are endless at an age, at every age

Be open
He has wonderful plans to carry out and dreams to nourish... some we haven't even thought to dream yet.

May 24, 2011

beauty seeker

Stand still and consider the wondrous works of God. Job 37:14

How often do you simply stop and breathe His wonder into your soul?
The answers in my house would certainly vary… from hardly ever to at least eight times a day. You probably know without me even saying... that I would the be the eight. I can’t help myself. It begins in the darkest hour, as I head out for my walk.  The stars are shining down, giving one last twinkle before the sun rises,  and I cannot help but stop at the end of the road and just look up and marvel at their light.  And if it is the right time of year, when I step out for that same walk, I am enveloped in Jesus air… the sweet heady scent of orange blossoms that I cannot describe as anything but His breath. My friend laughs as I drink it in and let it wrap around my senses.  She knows how much it moves me.  I couldn’t escape its fullness if I tried.

Not too many nights ago, I simply stood in trail of the setting sun.  The light skipped across the gentle waves and made a path across the sea.  The water swished around my ankles and there was nothing in my mind except awe and wonder.  I stood there... and worshipped the the One who painted the sky, the One who taught the birds to fly, the One who showers my life with beauty. 

But it is not just in nature that I find the wonder... it is in the long lashes that scoop out from his (no longer) little boy eyes.  I find it in the sound of her laughter.  I experience it when he leans down and kisses my lips.  And I stop... and quickly catalog the fleeting moment, filing it away with millions of other lovely breaths. 

I don't know why He fills the earth with such glory.  I can't imagine how much more heaven will be if this is what He lays before us now.  But I know to savor these brief treasures... to take the time to be still and thank Him for the beauty. 

The others around me... they may scoff at my delight and they might sigh and speak under their breath that she can't look at the sky once without exclaiming.  But I cannot stop my eyes from connecting with my heart.  I cannot let the lovely pass me by.  And so I add to the list of who I am... beauty seeker, one who sets her eyes on gifts from above.

...originally guest-posted  by me at Sharon's Hiking Toward Home.

May 23, 2011

it has all but begun...

Beautiful mail has been arriving in my mailbox. 
Beautiful mail, announcing a huge milestone.  And these lovely girls, celebrating the end of high school and their next steps out into the great wide world, are each just six months older than my girl, my Laura.  I stare in wonder, and I know that these cards means the end of the road for my denial.  Here we are, on the verge of Senior year, and I can no longer not think ab out it, no longer pretend it is not coming.  Especially when a senior photo was taken and chosen for the Class of 2012 yearbook this week.  Especially when she comes home chattering away that during the pep rally Friday the Seniors paraded out and the Juniors made their way over to the Senior seats in the gym.  Yes, this last year of high school is all but here.  Too few weeks of summer, and the end begins. 

I watch her and wonder if she is ready.  If I have done my job.  If I have provided her with the experiences and confidence and love that she will need to build her own life.  The neighbor raves on and on about how she has grown up... how speaking with her is like speaking to a grown up.  My eyes tell their own story, and yet she persists.  I don't quite see it for myself, but maybe I just won't allow it.  Her thin, blond, wispy hair floating around her wide-eyed little girl face is often all my heart can see.   She'll always be my little girl, won't she? 

If I'm honest, I know the answer is no.  And if I'm a little bit more honest, I know the answer is I don't want her to be.  I want her to be... herself.  I want her to grow beyond my dreams for her.  I want her to grasp the very part of this great wide world that God has chosen for her.  So when the worry inches in... I take that deep breath in ... and I remember these words and ask them to imprint themselves on my heart...

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."   -Jeremiah 29:11
She is already her own shade of beautiful.
She has been blessed with such a beautful heart.  
Jesus has woven Himself through that heart, and through her soul... and I can't really ask for more than that. And so I rest in his plans... the ones for her future.  The future he has designed for her. 
No... she won't always be my little girl... but she will always be my girl

May 22, 2011

moments on another mountain

It would come to me at different times during the week... the reminder that we were going to the concert Friday night.  Just remembering brought a smile to my face, and a dollop of hope to my heart.  I just knew there would be something just for me at that concert.  Something God knew I needed.  Something I was having trouble finding on my own.  On my own... looking back, perhaps there was the problem right there. 

I love a Christian rock concert.  I love the hand clapping, I love the singing and the shouting of Amens, I love the dancing-in-my-own-little-space, I love the freedom to throw up my hands and praise the King when the Spirit moves something in me to do it.  And I love that for one sliver of time, He brings me to the mountain-top to praise... with scripture flowing and lyrics reverberating through the arena.  All God-breathed.  All for me.  And when the disco ball dropped from the ceiling, a flash of too much? travels through... but just a flash, because before the thought is even complete, you are surrounded by stars.  A million points of light, moving in the darkness... and thousands of hands lifted in praise, singing... Holy, You are Holy...
I love a Christian rock concert.

So did I find what I was looking for?  On no. It was better than that.  He found me in that place, and released whatever it was that I had set in place to block His Light.  He reminded me that I need not wait until I get my junk together... or figure out whatever was the cause of my distance was.  Mike from Tenth Avenue North spoke such beautiful words to the crowd... the reminder that our Savior is so beautifully backward from the world.  Come thirsty. Come dirty. Come broken. Come as you are... just come

This is not about what you've done, but what's been done for you.
This is not about where you've been, but it where your brokenness leads you to.
This is not about what you feel, But what He felt to forgive you, And what He felt to make you loved.

-You Are More by Tenth Avenue North

And with heart and palms open, raised to the King... my voice sang and my heart felt free.  Free...

May 18, 2011

in the midst of may

Yes, it is a little blurry... but his fingers were flying throough Linus & Lucy.
Her concert, his recital, and now his concert.  All behind us.  Memories, instead of items on the to-do list.  They seem more beautiful that way.  May is quickly sliding away.  A breath of cool March air zips by, which is a complete and utter gift, and I feel a sense of accomplishment... even though I have done nothing but make it half-way through the frenzy that this month always delivers.  But making it half-way through without feeling trampled and weary is good, and to have something left to pull us through the rest is quite a bit better.  There is so much to squeeze into this last month of school... so much that it always seems to leave a winding-up feeling rather than a winding down...

I am looking forward to summer.  In my mind's eye I picture it bright and dappled in sunlight... full of chatter and laughter, all memories in the making.  Part of me wants to rush ahead to it... but the sense in me stands firm and offers encouragement to enjoy each day as it comes.  There is still much joy to be found in May.  So much.

May 16, 2011

gifts from the sea

I watched the sky as I made my way to her. Rain? Probably.
My mind reeled, considering the options, but knowing this walk was not to be cancelled or postponed- whether it happened along the shoreline, or through the mall.
As I pulled into the parking lot, I spotted her lime bug right away… and a smile rose up into my heart. I tumbled out of my own car and into her arms, and there we shared a good morning, a Happy Mother’s Day, and an I love you. Even with a dark cloud looming to the north, we decided it was worth the chance, and headed off to the boardwalk, towards the beach… already deep into conversation. Shoes were left in the sand and the cares of the world beside them. With the waves splashing around our feet, there was time… to talk, share, and laugh, with only the distractions of the shore birds and an occasional heart-shaped gift from the sea.

I need this.

I need this time… without the worries of fairness and balance and hurt feelings. Because while the mother and daughter of us will always be, there is something more than just that between us. We learn from each other. We share a friendship that collects tidbits of news to share, and moments of I-can’t-wait-to-tell-her. I have learned that I can spill my heart to her, and she will pool up the puddles of my tears and help me make sense of it. There is an excitement about being together that can overshadow a get-together that includes others. So this time… it teaches me something else: sometimes the opportunity to be selfish is actually a gift. Even if the rain pours down around you, soaking you to the skin.

176.  trees! on the church property
177.  deer on the hill. No matter how many times I see them, I can't help but count them again.
178.  soft powdery sand surrounding my feet
179.  the joy that fluffy tissue paper flowers bring to my eyes!
180.  fiesta salad
181.  the cool breeze that meets me for my morning walk... I'm amazed it lingers into May
182.  thinking, planning... ahead of the game.
183.  how God places me just where He needs me to be
184.  watching "my boys" play frisbee in the surf... no match for the wind!
185.  the crest of the wave
186.  the hug that came out of nowhere...
187.  laughter carrying over the crash of the sea
188.  time... to draw out my soul
189.  being amazed at they way my kids know me...
190.  pages flapping in the breeze... and having to catch them in order to write
191.  being a mom
192.  long term plans... just when my hope beings to wane she announces some crazy plan for a year down the road, and no matter what, it is beautiful in that she hopes.

193.  having a friend to decipher with
194.  the perfect birthday gift for him!

195.  Linus & Lucy... played loud & stong, and with confidence
196.  seeing money in his Dad's birthday card, he exclaimed- you're rich!
197.  and what happened next... with his arm around his son he replied... yes.  Yes, I am rich.
198.  and then... Dad. Tomorrow. Me. You. Game-Stop!
199.  making someone happy, just by taking a few pictures.
200.  writing it down... at last.

May 11, 2011

i might write

I set myself up for failure... again and again. 
I become satisfied... I think, this is it
And then I stop....

and I don't know why

Three years ago, on Aprill 11th, I started this blog. 
I never believed I was a writer. I never thought I would have this much to say.  I never imagined I'd keep something up for one year, let alone three.  I amazed myself... and maybe one or two others.  And now... I'm stuck.  But stuck with thoughts rambling around in my head, trying to make some sense of themselves.  Trying to be free...

I scribble down notes, so I won't forget...
visit with Jenn
spilled tears
prayer changes me
expert on motherhood?
gifts from the sea
islands of adventure

and... maybe, one day soon, I just might write.

May 05, 2011

happy cinco de mayo!

You didn't think I would forget, did you?!

May 04, 2011

on eagles wings

When he answered the question, with those two little words, my heart swelled, and then couldn't help but reel on into the future and think about the next time he might say them at the altar. I do.  But as quickly as I left, I returned to the moment at hand.  Yes, I believe in Jesus Christ...
After two years of Confirmation classes and a lifetime of Jesus in his heart, Camden is now officially confirmed. Confirmed in Christ.  Signed, sealed... with a promise to be delivered into heaven when Jesus comes back.  And again, my mind flutters off... this time, to the past, and the wide eyed little boy that spoke with such excitement Mom, Jesus is going to come back someday!
The service on Sunday was very personal, being that Camden was the only one being confirmed.  He sat front and center, and Pastor spoke to him and drew him into the sermon, reminding him of the things that have been promised to us, and the promises that we make to God as we take His body and blood.  From across the row, he looked so tall and so grown, and so independent.  Making his decision for his own life... embracing what the Holy Spirit set in his heart. 

And with his life safely in the palm of God's mighty hand, we sang Eagle's Wings.  The perfect hymn to go along with his life verse (Isaiah 40:31) and Cam's love for the majestic eagle.  Later,  my Mom asked me how I could possibly sing the words to the verses, because she herself could barely sing the chorus.  I smiled and admitted that I didn't get to many of them... tears catching in my throat as my eyes lay upon my son. 

You need not fear the terror of the night, Nor the arrow that flies by day;
Though thousands fall about you, Near you it shall not come.

Thank you, God for assuring him that You are ever present, keeping harm far from him... that as long as he remains in You, he need not be afraid.

For to his angels he's given a command To guard you in all of your ways;
Upon their hands they will bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.

Oh God, that You have commanded the angels to watch over my son, that you have directed them to lift him up and protect him... I thank you.

And he will lift you up on eagle's wings, Bear you on the breath of dawn,
Make you to shine like the sun, And hold you in the palm of his hand.

And as I sang, or tried to sing through overwhelming emotion and love... I felt the words in my heart, believed with my whole self that God commanded the angels to guard my son's beautiful heart and soul.  And I could just about see the light shining around him, and feel the breath of life... all from above.

May 03, 2011

what my heart needed to hear

"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that"
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

May 02, 2011

even if they fade...

I wondered if the first one was real... but looking to my friend, she said that she too saw it out of the corner of her eye.  The second one?  There was no doubt.  The bright light sailed through the darkness, and continued to glow soft yellow, for just a bit, while its path lay suspended across the sky.  My legs skipped in place, and my voice might have squealed.  Two shooting stars, on a morning when it was oh-so-hard to drag myself from sleep.  Our eyes sought the sky, wondering if there might be one more... and then decided that perhaps even the seeking might be far too greedy. But I add them to my list of gifts... each deserving its own spot.

156. spotting a shooting star on a dark morning walk
157. and then a second one... I love how it lingered.
158. a beautiful weekend... full of so much.
159. feeling confident about the decision to take him out of inclusion
160. having the opportunity to be at his last scholar bowl tournament of middle school.
161. a clean house... and having the time to do it.
162. and extra hour in my Wednesday night.
163. choir friendships that continue to grow
164. tissue paper flowers
165. filling picture frames with faces I love...
166. a lunch date with my husband
167. a friend who offers to stay and clean up
168. having time to really visit with my sister-in-law
169. little girl in a pink tutu
170. the joy filled face of a bride, her dreams coming true.
171. admiring angels and telling the story... again
172. dancing {working} in the kitchen with my mom
173. having enough food
174. my skirt re-do working out just the way I planned
175. savoring the day, just a little more, before I share...

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