September 30, 2011


I love handwriting.  I love finding a hand-addressed envelope in my mailox (rare!) and guessing who sent it.  I can pick out Amy's writing in a heartbeat.  My Mom's familiar loops are recognized instantly.  Oh, and my Gramma's beautiful script... I always wanted to write like her. 
This summer, I recall a hand addressed envelope that made me laugh... addressed to me!  I studied the print and made a guess that it might be Kim... but a glance at the postmark told me otherwise.  My second round of scrutiny brought no answer, and I slid my finger under the corner of the flap in defeat.  And then there was laughter.  The handwriter?  Me.  I had forgotten that I had packed the card and envelope in Cam's backpack for camp... making him promise to send me one letter! 
My scrapbooks are full of my handwritten stories and captions... because I know how much I treasure the swirls and loops and individulaity created by the ones I love.  And how much more will I treasure those handwritten treasures when my loved ones are gone?  My handwriting is a part of me... and though I can't seem to recognize it in the mail, I think that others just might.   And so... while a typed paragraph may be neat and tidy, I truly believe the one written by your own hand is more beautiful.  Even if you don't like your writing. 
It seems like it was forever ago that I began the dinging room table project... and perhaps it is not-quite completed- but it is the most complete it might ever get!  I do love it...

And I love it more that in a moment of brilliance I flipped up some of the postcards and preserved some of those treasured loops and swirls.

September 28, 2011

home-made safari

Eric spends his life in the car... patrolling up streets, and down. In his "travels" he discovered a really lovely spot. He introduced me to it a few months ago when he spotted some sand hill cranes out there... he knows they make me squeal with happy...

I might have had to climb out of the car and perch on the "window sill" for a picture or two... and as he drove down the dirt road, that safari feeling overcame me. The scenery in no way reflects Africa... but the wind on my face as we bumped down the road? Made me long for it...

Friday we returned... for a walk along the newly opened boardwalk. The air was alive with the buzzing of dragonflies, and in the distance we could hear the low croak of an alligator or two.  We walked, we talked, and we laughed as we admired what was just over the railing.

When the bugs and the heat dictated that it was time to head home, we drove slowly, still taking in the view.  The storm clouds were building behind the trees and the wide open vista spoke to my heart.  What did it say?  It was talking some kind of crazy... and practically begged me to bring Laura out for a visit...

So I did.  She was a great sport... and so was Eric. 
Especially Eric.  Even though we got back to the house before the time of the appointed pre-dance get-together, he had to entertain her dance date, along with his mother & sister, and three of Laura's friend... who all showed up ten minutes early! Oh well.. it was worth the ten minutes that Laura & I had together... just us.

September 27, 2011

{virtual coffee} 18

I'm sitting down to my first pumpkin spice coffee of the season. There's plenty more, and if you were really here, I'd be more than happy to share... unlike I might be in February when I've entered my holiday-flavor-hoarding-mode.   There is no hint of fall in the air, but after fifteen Florida Septembers, I know better than to be expecting the crisp, clean air days yet.  But October is coming, and in a few weeks Mother Nature might start teasing us with a few of those beautiful days. 

If we were really meeting for coffee today, I might sit and listen more than chat... but I'd be sure to share my excitement over last week's homecoming. In pictures.

I love when she gets all dressed up... and I love that she can get all dressed up and still look like who she really is.  I think it is such a gift to have no fancy illusions of who you want to be, and just be okay with who you are.   I try to take in the lessons she lives and breathes...

If we were really meeting for coffee, I'd definitely ask you Have you read Grace for the Good Girl?  I finished it and then started right back at the beginning.  Yes, I loved it that much.  Reading Emily's words are like reading into a mirror.  As I read, I shredded my Amazon packing slip so that I could mark the words that struck my heart. Words like "My idea of who I should be is at war with who I am. I want to be perfect in every situation.  I just do.  I want to know what to do.  I want to know how to do it right.  And I want to do it.All.By.My.Big.Self."  Uh... hello.  And how about this... "I stay strong when I feel weak, and I fake happy when I want to cry because my ideal image has everything to do with put together and nothing to do with falling apart."  And so you know that Emily shares the Grace?  "You are not responsible to have it all together.  You are free to respond to the One who holds all things in His hands.  You do not have to live up to impossible expectations. You are free to wait expectantly on Jesus, the One who is both author and perfecter of your faith."  As I got the the end, and as I am beginning again, I find myself tearing those slips of paper in half so I can mark one more passage.  I really need to get out a highlighter. 

If we were really meeting for coffee today, I'd thank you for the prayers.  Yes, it has been a tough couple of weeks, but I am doing okay.  Better.  I have given up a few volunteer commitments... because even though I enjoy volunteering, there comes a breaking point.  A time when you realize that your volunteer time is taking you away from the very people you are supporting.  And even if you still have the time to spend, the energy needed to participate in your family is long gone.  I've been right there and a little beyond.  But day by day I am finding myself again... making rest, and breathing, a priority. 

If we were really meeting for coffee today, I'd be thrilled...

September 26, 2011

shiny wrappers

I saw the gleam of green between his finger... and I whispered that it was okay to eat the candy in church.  He looked up and returned the whisper I already did.  We shared a smile and while he continued to toy with the empty wrapper, I took a little trip back in time...

Before Africa and summer road trips, there was Washington D.C. For two weeks during the summer we would visit Gran & Grandad and in between all of the other fun, we would squeeze in walks around the monuments and trips to the museums. And every year, we would find one new place to discover. The trip to the National Postal Museum was one of our last trips before Eric's parents moved to Florida...

I remember walking into the museum and admiring the grand details and the craftsmanship of the ceiling.  I remember looking down the long hall, and feeling like we had tumbled back in time, just a little.  I remember noticing there was a security check-point and preparing to get there... gathering up everyone's bags & backpacks.  I will never forget the look on Cam's face.  Eyes were wide and his chin quivered, just a little.  I could tell there was something wrong.  Kneeling down in front of him, looking into those red-rimmed eyes, I saw the beginnings of a tear.  Quietly he pulled his hand from his pocket and said I forgot to ask if I could have these.  Now the tears were no longer in hiding, and either were the three shiny, gold-wrapped candies.  My arms wrapped up his whole body and I hugged him to me.  I knew the candies had come from Gran's candy dish... and I knew that she never required them to ask.  That candy was free for the taking.  But this small soul, sobbing in my arms, had panicked at the thought of going through the security check point with contraband Werthers in his pocket. 

We took the tears in stride, and used it a a teacheable moment.  But we also laughed about it right there in the grand hallway lined with marble columns and antique mail boxes.  Seven years later and my heart still skips a beat over it.  But I smile, and giggle to myself, and continue to watch his hands fold, unfold, and re-fold that little bit of shiny paper.  There is a part of me that wishes I could still wrap up his whole self in my arms... but instead I thank God for the memory... a precious bit of His grace. 
Imparting Grace

September 21, 2011

saying yes... and no

It's homecoming week around here... lots of fun, lots of silly.  Though it's early in the school year, the timing seems just right.  I need some silly right now... and laughter that is good for the soul.   I will say yes to the laughter.  

This week life comes in two lists.  One yes, one no. 
Caffeine?  No.  Taking on more?  No.  Exercise?  Yes.  Relaxation?  Yes.  Breathe?  Yes, please.
That straw, the one responsible for breaking the camel's back, came calling last week.  It was scary and left me with a lot of empty space inside.  But somehow, just recognizing the anxiety for what it is, and accepting some help instead of trying to fix it myself (or pushing it aside for later, leaving it un-fixed) has me moving again.  Moving towards the sunshine, towards the laughter.  Towards... life.

September 14, 2011

the path to whole

The dappling of sunlight across the walls led me out into the air, and although fall is weeks and perhaps months away, that air was still and comfortable. The summer has been long... long enough for me to almost forget the bright turquoise chair he draped under a blanket for Mother's Day. But there she stood, waiting for me. Looking out across the freshly cut green (cut by the sweetest boy/man I know) I saw the swash of sunshine... and couldn't help but follow its path...
Saturday was glorious, but somehow Sunday crashed down upon it in ways I never expected... and left me scared and unsure of myself.  Unanswered questions and a jittering of fear that skittered under my skin... tears that hovered on the very edge of me.  With as much control as I could muster... which at times was not very much at all, I continued to breathe in and out.  He held me and listened, even when I didn't know what to say... and his quiet was a gift.  I could not reach prayer, but it reached me.  In hearts and words and steamy chicken noodles.  All reminders of grace... all reminders that it is not what I do, but what He does.

Turquoise relaxation.  Pink yarn and busy hands. 
Air that pulls the breath of me out and somehow exchanges it for Jesus. 
The path of sunlight... the path to whole.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.-Psalm 109:115

September 08, 2011

all around me

To think you can find God only in a church is as absurd as thinking you can find great works of art only in a gallery.  To suppose God is confined beneath a steeple is to suppose drama is confined to the stage, music to the concert hall, or animals to the zoo.    -S. Rickly Chritian, Alive

My mind is busy this week... too much, spinning too  quickly. 
I press upon my heart to slow... to lean on the Creator. 
With a word he stopped the seas from churning... and I know He can bring me rest.

September 02, 2011

out of africa

The memories come softly, but don't sit still.
They weave themselves throughout my soul again and again, and call out to my heart. 
There is no need to shout... even a whisper is enough to awake all of Africa that still lives in me. 

It has been a year since we've been and gone. 
A year that has been full and beautiful and saturated with who I am now
There is no doubt within me that I am changed because of where I've been.  I can't quite put my finger on it, or assign words to the differences between then and now, I just know that now I am... more.  My view of the world is changed for the better and brighter.  I have seen joy where I didn't expect it, and the images still dance through my soul. 

The rewards of the journey far outweigh the risk of leaving the harbor.

September 01, 2011

the simple of summer

I said it three times yesterday... I'm ready for summer. 
With less that two weeks of school under the belt of this new year, I am weary of finding a routine and figuring it out.  Reality tells me there is no hope to paddle my way back to lazy days and nights when bed time forgets that morning comes early... there is work to do. 

I seek the sun, and let it shine on my face... eyes closed, remembering the simple of summer. 

In summer, the song sings itself.
-William Carlos Williams

linking up to Dayle's Simple Pleasures...
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