April 26, 2011

{virtual coffee} 15

Still dark and quiet... and the coffee is hot, warming me from the inside out. 
If I were more motivated I'd be out walking... but I can't seem to find my get-up-and-go unless I know my walking buddy is waiting at the end of the street, and she is off to a job fair this morning (good luck, Jane!)  So I am enjoying this extra bit of time... and thinking about the weekend.  The one that passed, and the one that is to come.  I'm sure that if we were meeting for coffee in real life, the talk would be all about the one that passed... comparing Easter stories and traditions

It was a beautiful day. 
Up early and readying for church... new clothes for some, old stand-bys for others... and of course, the old-turned new with a couple of packets of lime green dye.  I was thankful for the extra time that the morning had somehow gathered up, and we took the time for pictures... some with baskets that had yet to be explored.

Easter service, the last one we will celebrate in the school cafeteria with a bull dog looking down at us {our building should be ready in one month!}, was glorious.  Songs sung loud and strong.. alleluias abounding.  Trumpet fanfare, lilies white... and as Communion was served, it felt like the first.

I leaned in to listen as Pastor put his hand on Camden's shoulder and blessed him... his bright smile filled with joy for this day, and for the one that comes next Sunday... when Cam will partake in Communion with body and blood for the very first time.  After two years of Confirmation classes, and a lifetime of knowing Jesus, Cam will make his Confirmation.  I'm already feeling the butterflies inside... the happy tears starting to form.  If we were really meeting for coffee today... I'm sure I would invite you to join us.  I keep doing that... as people come up to me and tell me how kind Cam is or how he jumped in and helped... again.  I think I have always known... that this boy of mine is someone special, and not just to me or our family.  There is just something about him that shines like the sun...

I hope that your Easter was beautiful,. full of Christ... and time with family and friends-who-have-become-family.  We sat around the table for hours and when someone glanced at their watch and reported the time, I was so sad to have the leaving begin.  But life happens on Monday.  I'm not sure what else is happening this week, and am starting to feel like I might be missing something!  Time to pull out the the calendar and check... but at least I did not miss you.  Happy Tuesday, happy coffee!
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April 25, 2011

recalling the beautiful

Slipping into my shoes, I feel the dusting of sand that remains... and I smile. 
It reminds me of where I've been, where he took me, where I worshipped...

: :

I all but rushed the walkway to lot 3.

As we drove across town my eyes were on the sky and the numbers on the clock.  Sun sinking, minutes passing.  Inside, I was second guessing the laid back attitude I had adopted for the afternoon, even knowing that this plan, this gift, loomed before me. On the outside I fought for calm... as the light flashed to red, again.  But after, with miles of green, I breathed easier.  We should get there and still have 35 minutes.    Up and over the hill, the very last stretch before the gate... almost there!  In front of us, the last car between us and our destination stopped... and let one group cross, and then another... and... one more. Typically-generous-of-soul me growled as moments (feeling like minutes) passed, and another car turned in front of us, arriving at the gate just before we did.  They chatted with the park ranger as my feet tapped up and down, up and down... and my breathe raced in and out, in and out.  Thirty minutes!  Finally, it was us passing through the gate, and as we did, I noticed that the time of sunset, scrawled in chalk, was five minutes later than we had anticipated.  Still, thirty-five!

I practically raced up and over the boardwalk, but catching sight of the crashing waves, I slowed and inhaled.  And inhaled again.  I let the crazy pass.  I stopped counting the minutes.  They no longer mattered.  And with my feet finally in the sand, waves swirling at my ankles and splashing my knees... I exhaled.  And I gave thanks. 

Some would rise early for the sunrise, welcoming the dawn and the risen Christ.  But I watched the molten sun melt into the sea, and felt the promise of the new day just the same, knowing that my sins were sunk deep on the ocean floor.  And I give thanks again... for knowing the glory that the morning holds, for knowing that that stone has been rolled away and He lives.

He chose to take the cross, shed tears for the lost,
The broken and the needy, forgiving those who were and will be,
The angel made it clear, he told them, "Have no fear!
He's not here, He's not here!"

There He goes, a hero, Savior to the world,
Here He stands with scars in His hands,
With love He gave his life so we could be free,
The Savior of the world.
-lyrics from Hero, Abandon

: :

And there must be more...
125. more time to rest
126. sore throat retreating
127. a little bit of energy to get a head start on cleaning
128. reigning myself in and getting down to the heart of Easter week
129. high school orientation, and his dreams
130. piano music, played with confidence, by Cam
131. her excitement over a dress dyed green
132. working hard to catch up on lost work time, and her insistance that I leave early
133. the weekend, the weekend, the weekend... for all of us.
134. fresh hair cuts
135. the phone call he made, for me, in secret... and the invitation that followed
136. african cats, the movie
137. time for us to shop and plan... and the discovery of the cadbury bunny that clucks
138. getting ready for Good Friday service, even though I'm never ready
139. hearing the good news of Good Friday, and finally understanding
140. the old rugged cross
141. the way we leave in silence, but reach out to hold hands and offer a smile, the knowing of what comes on Sunday.
142. fear of a situation, and it turning out better than alright
143. the flurry of working together and bringing the house to order
144. time decorating eggs with a little one... and the wonder of it
145. golden sun shining through blades of grass

146. five more minutes
147. the beach + me= beauty in the soul
148. taking in the sight of him, long legs, handsome face... catching my breath
149. the light bar on the squad car being the perfect height to use the self-timer
150. alleluias, once again. praise God!
151. singing the songs that celebrate His promise
152. her smile and the light in her eyes over a silly solar flower... and the fact that I remembered she wished for it
153. the most beautiful comment from someone whose friendship makes my own heart more beautiful
154. family and friends gathered... celebrating, chatting, living...
155. the ultimate compliment... your kids are really great.  really, they are awesome.

April 22, 2011

every year

Black cloth replaces royal purple, heavy and dark.  The simple sight of it causes my heart to quiver.
Those arms of the cross, stretched out east and west, have supported far more... thick nails, Jesus, the sins of the world.   

The tears comes as the story is told, again.  I see vivid scenes flash before my heart and it breaks me. 
Year after year, the story remains unchanged... like Him.

But in the course of a year, my story has changed.  Travelled uphill and down.  I have cried and laid my heart at the foot of the cross, and I have declared my life is only for Him.  But I have also taken up my own wants and cares and bundled them around my heart, so tightly that I am sure even Jesus cannot seep in. 

Of course, why would He want to?  
When I desire His words, see the Bible next to me within reach, and choose not to pick it up. 
When I forgo falling to my knees and instead rush a prayer as I am flying out the door to catch up with my own agenda. 
When I utter words that are the opposite of uplifting.

And yet... He never wavers from the path, He never leaves me behind.
Year after year, the story remains unchanged... like Him. 
But every year... it changes me.

: :

He walked the dirty streets famous for nothing.
He said “come follow me” and they came.
A face like all the rest, but something was different.
The Son of God would lead the way.


And soon they all would say.


There He goes - a hero, A savior to the world.
Here He stands with scars in His hands.
With love He gave His life so we could be free.
The Savior of the world.

HERO LYRICS - ABANDON

April 19, 2011

{virtual coffee} 14

Tuesday... virtual coffee with Amy & friends.
Yes, I'm trying to jump back into my routine, hoping to find the laughter in my voice.
After a couple of cups of tea to soothe my throat... I'm moving onto a gingerbread latte, made by me.  Sweet and spicy, and hitting the spot.  Also, I'm hoping the coffee might help me move past only 3 hours of sleep (thank you, prednizone.)


like my little coffee cozy? corinne is knitting up a storm!

If we were really meeting for coffee today, I might blurt out my my list of upcoming events. To share... but also saying them out loud helps to remember them, having not found the motivation to write that to-do list.  Tomorrow is Cam's high school orientation.  Yes, Cam.  My baby.  He's going to high school.  He is also being confirmed on May 1st.  We are very excited (about both, really!) and while I miss his little boy-ness, I sure love the young man he is becoming, growing every day.  Also on the unwritten list of events?  Easter.  I have a feeling I should probably begin to prepare for that.  My heart is getting there... but I having a hard time getting excited about baskets and eggs. 

I am hoping that I might get around to a little more cleaning and straightening today.  I keep looking at the pile of boxes in my entry way and wishing them away. I need to find a place for two of them... a box of bibles and a communion ware set  that was sent to us and our church from the youth gathering we attended last summer.  Hopefully I only need to find a place for them for two months- our beautiful church building should be open in June!!!  And the other boxes?  A Yankee Candle fundraiser... somehow we got the stuff but not the order form, and so I am just about clueless as far as who ordered what.  I finally figured out what I ordered... but ten boxes remain.

I hope your Tuesday is lovely and comes with a good bit of motivation... and quite possibly, a heap of laughter!

April 18, 2011

aimlessly

Marking time, moving forward. 
This week I feel there is no difference.  Days have passed without an ounce of inspiration... but I haven't sought it, either.  These are the first words I type, because I feel I must, and still I feel... nothing.  I blame it on April out of habit, and yet I'm not quite sure if April deserves the burden.  I've not dwelled in the losses of too many Aprils, but I almost think that not feeling much of anything is as bad, or worse, than the dwelling. Perhaps it is the tired that has been pulling at my heels, or maybe the blanket of sick that is working its way up and over my head.  It could also be the to-do list that begs to be written, and then carried out... and my hopeless attitude about both.  Easter is coming and I should be collecting treasure to nestle in pastel strands of grass, but I can't quite make myself feel the urgency.  And truly, I want to feel it all around me, the urgency and the excitement, the pain and the glorious joy... but I guess I'm not there quite yet.  With a sigh I realize that I have just heaped a bundle of pressure on the days between now and then.  But the days within this week, they were made to sustain far more that my aimless mood. 


I sit, empty... and listen to the silence. 
And just as I am about to push away, I hear the quiet whisperings of joy.   
And in those breaths, I am reminded of the beauty and the full of joy days that I have covered with layers of gray... and a sudden fit of laughter escapes my mouth and I feel the upturned corner of my smile.  Yes... there has been beauty and love and fun.  More than my share, more than I deserve.  Memories of recent yesterdays flash before me like photographs... and I know that the week has not been half of what I have made it out to be.  I was present.  I laughed.  I gave of myself... even if I thought there wasn't much to be given. 

And the items on this list grow, in spite of myself...

101. the joy in the anticipation of my family being all together
102. returning to Africa... even if only through 3D glasses and a movie screen
103. his uncanny knowledge of "that look" and fair warning before a little girl's dinner reappeared.
104. my daughter's patience... even if afterwards she said never again.
105. meeting Jenn.
106. the realization that there is no "imaginary" in our friendship
107. a luxurious place to play and rest... a gift from a generous giver.
108. the excitement in teenage eyes as they waited for entrance into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter- the Christmas gift they had been holding on to.
109. my own little bits of wonder that snuck in... and the things I do for love
110. buckled up, four across... waiting for a wild ride
111. a second "second wind" that brought us home safe & sound.
112. birds chirping as I wake.
113. the relief that Advil brings
114. good news from a hospital waiting room far away... having been there before, I know.
115. the way he loves me everyday... and another little text message that melted my heart
116. an invite for homemade pizza
117. friends around the table... with laughter and chatter
118. seven deer on the hill... two of them very little
119. follow up comments on DWTS, texted between lifelong friends
120.  the camaraderie of friends, walking together in pink shirts for something so much bigger than ourselves
121.  the "I miss you blog" email from my Mom 
122. a steroid shot... it is hard for me to consider this a gift, but I will since it will make me feel better and it didn't come with a week of follow-up pills.
123.  time to rest.
124. still being just a bit taller than my son

April 08, 2011

if you met me...

I hope you would see my smile first... and not the uncertainty behind it, the shyness, the I am not enough-ness.  And then, perhaps you would see my eyes.  There you would see my heart.  Open and friend-seeking... sparkling the smile of who I want to be.  There would be talking, and there would be laughter... and the laughter would tumble all that ugliness that catches in my breath and asks will she like me? into oblivion.  Sometimes I believe that laughter can cure all... add in a little (or a lot of) chocolate and we might just be able to save the world.

I am meeting an imaginary-but-very-real-friend this weekend... and we made a promise over the phone.  Not to be nervous.  I plan to keep my end of the bargain, because I know from her words and her heart that shines through them, that I already love her.  And I hope that she will do the same... because what is in my heart, and who I am... is all right there in the words.


April 07, 2011

5-10-15-20...

No. You don't have to do more math.  But you could sing a little. 
Do you remember learning to count by fives? 
And chanting them incessantly? 
I remember loving it... and to this day, I can't count nickels without singing that rhythm.

Fiiiive, tehhhh-en, fif-teen, tweeen-ty....

I wasn't counting nickels today, but it popped into my mind anyway, and I thought I'd share some bits about me... in groups of five.  Just for fun.

Five things in my purse...
5.  Burts Bees Clove chapstick.
5.  a very pretty crossword puzzle book... "easy."
5.  AA batteries... in case my camera runs out!
5.  my out-of-juice ipod.
5.  two chocolate & green starlight mints that I never ate after a beautiful breakfast out with a friend.

Five words that conjure beauty in my mind...
10.  love
10.  grace
10.  dessert
10.  shine
10.  friend

Five silly things that are so... me
15.  jumping in puddles.
15.  really loud laughter.
15.  ice cream earrings.
15.  uncontainable excitement that has my feet leaving the floor.
15.  dessert plates for every holiday & season.

Five lessons I have learned...
20.  be yourself, and let your children be themselves.
20.  when you finally gather the courage to stretch your box, you might find that it gives you the strength to stretch again.
20.  laugh, cry, love... one at a time, or all at once. 
20.  friendships are precious, and time spent sharing your heart is time very well spent.
20.  comfortable is good. necessary. a gift... and so very under-rated.

The picture doesn't have a thing to do with this post... but I thought it might ease the pain of the "counting-by-fives" song that will probably be stuck in your head all day!

April 05, 2011

{virtual coffee} 13

Hello, Tuesday!
Hello, long lost coffee friends!

Life has been busy.  Good busy, but busy. 
And now that April has arrived, it seems there will be no stopping until the heat of summer sets in!  But I made sure to make the most of my empty winter weekends knowing that this time would come... as it always does. 

If we were really meeting for coffee today, I would probably tell you all about the movie I am so excited to see on Friday!  Born to Be Wild.  (check it out here! )We are making it a big family event and I have had April 8th marked on my calendar for months!  Do you remember the elephants that my kids adopted?  They, and their friends, are the stars of the movie.  And the orangutans.  We will hope to catch a glimpse of Ishanga and Kibo, the parts of our family that still linger in Africa... with our hearts

(elephants on the serengeti! not from the movie... but from my very own camera!)


I might also tell you that on the 16th, I am walking for my little friend Kaci-with-the-beautiful-blue-eyes.  I have known her for all of her seven years.  Last year she was diagnosed with Type I diabetes... and this year, friends and family have joined to gether to create Team Kaci... doing what we can to fight for a cure.  If you feel moved to donate, thank you.  (Just click on the Team Kaci link and look for my name.  Or Laura's. Or Cam's.) I will write your name on my shirt and think of you as we march! And if you don't feel called to donate, would you say a little prayer for the event?  Thank you!

If we were really meeting for coffee, I would tell you that I am waiting for report cards to come home this afternoon... and I am excited.  Both of them will be fantastic, and it is a relief.  I always tell them that the letter grades don't matter if they are truly doing their very best work, and I do mean that... but the first letters of the alphabet make me smile the brightest.  And I think that doing well does things for their own hearts... knowing that the hard work does pay off.  For too many years, it didn't.  To me, that hurts the most... working and working and seeing that your best effort just isn't up to par.  But this time we'll head into the fourth quarter with confidence and try to finish strong.

I might ask... how are you decorating for Easter?  Even though I don't have a ton of Easter decorations, I have a hard time deciding what to do.  In the dark of Lent I don't want to throw  up the He is Alive banner... I don't feel quite ready for Easter joy, especially when Good Friday is looming.  But I decided that I couldn't leave up the leperchauns either!  This year I decided on spring... and with spring comes hope.  I feel like it is just-right for right now.  Thank you, Richella

I hope you are feeling the fresh breath of spring,
and that you are letting your heart feel the hope... of sunshine, of new life, of Jesus.
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April 04, 2011

waiting for the storm

Miles north, a storm raged, and the weathermen warned it was moving south.  The possibility of hail and tornadoes along with the driving rain and the thunder & lightning loomed over us.  I carried my umbrella and flip flops to and from work. After school programs were canceled.  Eyes on the horizon, we watched the sky... and waited for it to fall.  I was convinced the storm was coming... and clutching my little bits of protection from the rain, I wondered if after 15 years, the New England was working its way out of me.

It was such an unusual day.  The waiting and the wondering; feeling silly to even be preparing, but scared not to be prepared.  I certainly don't spend my life peeking out from the doorway, heart wrapped so tightly in fear that I don't quite live.  No... I live and I love and I splash through life knowing that a storm will come when  it comes,  and that holding onto fear certainly can't stop its coming.  Sickness, loss... anger and disappointment... each a fierce storm of its own.  And each leaves us standing in the path of our life, surrounded by the destruction of dreams, wondering what comes next?

We can fall apart and lay broken... or we can fall apart into the waiting arms of Jesus. 

Even from the rain, an umbrella can be dicey... so likely to be turned inside out or even whipped away in the wind.  But Jesus?  His arms are strong and sure.  He is the One who can calm the storm with His voice.  Whether sheets of rain fall and lightning tears through the sky, or someone dear comes to me with broken dreams or news to scary to comprehend, He covers me with His grace and His love... the way no umbrella can.  In the wind, I lean on Him, and know He will support me until I can stand again on my own.  Never will He leave me, or you,  to twist in the breeze without hope or salvation.  It was the promise He made to me when I cast my life into His arms forever.

And so when April comes... I know He carries me.   
He lifts me up, wipes away the tears, wraps me in His precious arms, and He carries me... until once again I can take hold of His strength and splash in the rain.

And there are more gifts to count... He shows me the beauty in the small and in the ordinary.
One tenth of the way there...


89.  Father, Son & Holy Spirit
90.  the dark, quiet morning moments... standing all alone in His great creation
91.  the way I can be so frustrated and so in love all at the same time.
92.  an i love you from a friend
93.  her sight.
94.  the little square patch that promotes concentration and focus, and gives me an extra 30 seconds with his arms around me
95.  crazy dreams and the laughter that comes in the sharing
96.  doing a favor for a friend
97.  the way he reaches for my hand in the silence
98.  anticipation of a weekend jaunt
99.  cooking inspiration
100.  the urgency to work on a gift for a friend... then finding out how much she needed me.  I love the way God works.

April 01, 2011

fair play

We could see it from the road even before we arrived. The ferris wheel stood taller than all, reigning over the rest. It is still, and probably will always be, what entices me... what calls me to the fair. That, and the most delicious aromas that cling to the breeze and swirl around your senses. French fries, popcorn, bbq, corndogs, super tacos, spun sugar, elephant ears & deep fried oreos... as if the tiny top of the food pyramid spilled over, no longer able to contain the decadence. Though the sun was still shining, the colorful lights were already spinning and flashing fun, the way only carnival lights can. Even still, the golden light cast by the sun, hanging low in the sky, competed for attention... and for a while won out, hands down.

I came, expecting to watch their faces full of glee as they flew 'round and 'round... but I ended up spinning and flying right along with them.   There isn't anything more fun than being in the laughter instead of watching it... feeling the rush of air in your face, or kicking your legs out into the air as you soar from the heights of the Skyflyer
And when, at last, we came 'round to the ferris wheel, Eric gave in and joined us for the ride.  Far below, lights were flashing... and they blurred as the rides were spinning with dizzying speed.  Distant laughter and an occasional giddy scream floated up as we gazed down at the midway... and taking in the view, we were mesmerized.  All too soon, the giant wheel started its descent, and we were delivered back to solid ground... but that beautiful, floating feeling stays with me as we wander, and the night still feels full of magic.

We played. We laughed. We had fun.  
And we had deep fried Oreos.  Delicious!  And only once a year...