May 31, 2012

what sick steals (and what it doesn't)

I miss my laugh.
The tell-tale laugh that can be heard at the back of the room, or in Target, three aisles over.
The laugh that turns heads and causes friends to seek me out.
The laugh that tumbles a string of joy and sweet cackles from my soul.
The laughter is not gone, but sick has replaced it with an ugy wheeze.

I have been sick (bronchitis, etc) for over a month... and my heart aches (along with my chest) that my kids might remember this time larger than life. I do not want them to think of me as sick and fragile... I want to be the one running along side of their life. Laughing all the way.

I have rested until the imprint on the couch is deep. I have followed doctors orders. I have takes a boat load of medicine. And today I let the doctor look around in my lungs. (I am hoping there may be some answers soon!)  But through it all, I have not missed a night of celebrating their accomplishments... all reserved rest spent on these two pieces of my heart.  And I have clapped, cheered and wheezed my heart out.
Tonight I reminded Cam that I hadn't forgotten about our running... that we will get back to it (and he is not off the hook.) He spent an extra five minutes out of his room tonight and asked me about my day. And as we sat chatting... laughter came in a fit of wheeze.

Oh well... time will tell.
God's timing, not mine.


May 30, 2012

wordless wednesday: full happy

it is a gift to capture her like this!


May 25, 2012

the lasts...

It is not often she swings by to chat... untangling herself from reading and writing and whatever else she has piled in her room. But last night, she did. I was working at the table and she leaned in... sighing out breath and heart. It is not quite hitting me that I am graduating. Oh my darling girl, tell me about.

As each last passes on by I remind myself that there is another fantastic first, right around the bend. But that is because I know there is. I can see beyond this moment and the excitement of what is to come for her dazzles me. But to an eighteen year old young lady... tomorrow is new. And doesn't run like clockwork on the schedule of a bell. Tomorrow is not laced with familiar faces and regular routine and all things the same.

I seek a little balance of bittersweet with her, not wanting to rush her through the emotions, lest she miss the beauty and importance of this little bit of grief. I tell her that it is okay to be sad. It is okay to feel lost. But while those feelings are running on through, don't forget to enjoy the celebration. I want her to make the most of these moments... these moments that will become the memories of her heart.

Conversation turned to tissue paper and ribbons... and little bits of laughter punctuated our time. She is going to be just fine. This last last day of school will be short and {bitter}sweet... but I hope that she will see the dazzle on the horizon, just beginning to rise.

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."  Jer. 29:11


May 22, 2012

armchair traveler... or i'm still gushing about africa

I never dreamed of travelling... not even as I fell in love with the Amazing Race when it first began. I would watch and soak in far-off places, and be content. If the destination was one my parents had travelled to, I found myself leaning in just a little closer... my Mom's stories coming to life on the t.v. screen. This season, the Amazing Race went to Tanzania, country of my heart. I see those dark faces with white smiles and my heart simply melts. I watch as the racers see the animals for the first time and the emotions teeter on the rims of my eyes. And when the Maasai jump and dance, I hear the ting-a-ling of tin, and fall in love all over again. I saved the episodes on my Tivo for as long as the rest of the family would allow, along with several Big Cat Diary episodes. A daily does of Africa does this heart good, and even a peek can take my breath away.
: :
Seeing Africa on the Amazing Race, reminded me one of more story... our very own race. We had left the Serengeti, on our way back to the beautiful Tloma Lodge... and it was market day. The big market day. And we had a mission...

A shopping list in Swahili... and 2500 shilling. Each of our three vehicles was its own team, challenged with finding everything on the list, and spending the least amount of money.

Sooner than we could really enter the market, a young necklace-selling man took us under his wing and we promised to buy his necklaces in return for his help. And not five minutes after than and we had a following, some curious and some wanting us to buy their wares! But we were determined and focused on our mission. Two green peppers, two carrots, a mango and a packet of salt. It turned out mangoes were out of season...
A winner was declared (it wasn't us) but the true winner was Mama Ana and her family. We were her miracle, stopping by with bags of food when her family was down to their last bits. But truly, I am not sure who was more blessed by this moment in time...


May 21, 2012

all that glitters...

I had a moment while I was getting her ready.
That rush of love that opens the springs of your soul.
She caught glimpse of the tears before I breathed it away... but don't tears hold far more than words can? So honest and raw. True love for this girl who sparkles in her own right... who glitters in copper and in knows just who she is.

senior prom 2012

dress by me, design all her...
She had a wonderful time...


May 17, 2012

the memories are mine

My toes have been lilac for weeks.
I look down and smile... and recall a vist with a special friend who happened to be on vacation nearby! The polish is starting to chip, but I cannot quite bear to remove it. Afraid that to swipe it away will make the memories slip away with the soft purple.

But once memories are made, they are mine.
To tuck away and to celebrate when wiggle their way to the surface. And reliving a memory is almost sweeter in the remembering. Slipping it into my hand, peeling back the layers of time, and seeing the gift that make my eyes shine.

When we were sitting there in those big comfy chairs, Ruby Red asked say I haven't seen you since before you went to Africa, and I want to hear all about it! The remembering took my breath away. And tears slipped from where they had balanced. Africa will do that to you.

So lilac will go... but I won't forget. I won't forget how we laughed, how Happy Boy rode Bobo and how many times Ruby Red declared my Mom's home amazing (it is... it really is.)  And I won't forget that while there may be miles between me and my dearest memories, they truly live in my heart, oh-so-close at hand.


May 16, 2012

to honor

It is Police Week... the week set aside to honor... the ones who protect and serve. To especially honor the ones who have protected and served... and paid the ultimate price for a duty they love. 162 officers lost their life in the line of duty in 2011. Even one is too many.

I kiss him goodbye and he walks out the door. I refuse to live my life in fear... and so I almost don't think about it. His patrol area is our sleepy part of town... and there are weeks that go by where the most excitement he has is wrangling some lost goats or coaxing a horse back into his fencing with his empty black bucket. And then there are days that hold more sadness than anyone wants to know about. He shares some... when he is ready. And I listen, because he needs to take it out of his head.

He hopes that his job does not come 'round to us... but sometimes, it does. When the car chase ends in arrests of students, or when he is splashed on the front page of the paper, every action examined. His duty of protection suddenly turns from the public and focuses on home. I see the flicker of fear in his eyes, and the way he shoves it back down, coming up tools fastened to his belt.

All in all, I am amazed by him. That his care for what lies beyond our own four walls is so vast... and that he can truly make our little corner of the world a better place. And to quote a man he recently pulled over... You're the nicest cop I ever met.

It is not how these officers died that made them heroes, it is how they lived.


May 14, 2012

you know you are blessed

I was scrolling facebook last night when I saw that Suz had posted You know you are blessed when...
I clicked right on through to find out what was making her feel so blessed, and then realized she wanted me to fill in the blank.


I typed out a smart aleck comment and moved on. For a minute. And in that minute, God tugged on my heart. Hard. Why have I not been counting gifts? Or even seeking them. Why am I not celebrating the beauty I see all around me? Why am I just slogging though?

I could list fifteen excuses, but I don't really have an answer.
I have a journal tucked right in my purse to record gifts, lest the next moment be so stunning that I forget the last. I could jot it right now, but I haven't. Five scrawled pages and then... nothing. For months. And it seems that as I don't count, I don't remember. And as I don't count, I forget to seek. And once you forget... it isn't so easy to find your way back. Even when the blessings are bright and lovely and right in front of you.

So I scrolled back through to find Suz' post and seek the words of my heart. You know you are blessed when... your husband drives you to the beach for dinner...even if he says it is going to rain & i'm in denial.

and a few more?
- little birds swooping out from the hedge, and realizing we have created a home for them
- a new treatment for a friend, and hope.
- following the Compassion bloggers and feeling the heart of Africa all over again
- blue nail polish
- sixteen photos of beautiful necklaces... and her chance to choose one to borrow
- mother's day gifts that made me smile and feel loved
- eating walking tacos in May
- being on track (and ahead of the game) for graduation
- bittersweet celebrations
- stopping right in my tracks to thank God for the time we've had, and knowing He understands why I want more
- Suz... for guiding me back to to tallying.

May 07, 2012

derby day

For years Derby Day has been associated with sawdust, shiny paint, speedy looking stickers and just the right weight...
pinewood derby, 2006

but this year is for the girls. Fancy, and fun...and a beautiful celebration.   A dress and flowers and  just the right hat.
Laura has been volunteering with horses and kids for over five years. I think she may have fallen in love even before she worked her first day, but each Saturday morning, she fell deeper and deeper. Her smile outweighs a grumble over a stepped-on toe, and she kicks the dirt out of her boots before she heads for home. She laughs over a story from one small heart or another, and her eyes shine with love. She reports someone's accomplishment, mighty or small, and I can just see her own pre-motherly heart starting to bloom. It has been a wonder to watch her, so bravely and beautifully tending to these that need just a little more.

And while a Mama knows what she knows... she doesn't fully know until she hears the praises from the ones who work beside her. Who train her. Who need her. Who look into my eyes and tell me that she is wonderful and appreciated and sweet and kind.

So we celebrated her, along with Char... who introduced her to the program in the first place.
And if there is anything better than celebrating your girl, it is celebrating two girls.
The one who is my heart, and the one who might as well be.


May 04, 2012

five minute friday... real

I've been looking forward to this weekend... camping beachside. Relaxing, banishing the to-do list from my mind for two precious days and nights. But life happens and plans are cancelled. But my heart is just going with the flow... for once. Instead of cooking in a cast iron pot there will be tamales and salsa for an early Cinco de Mayo. Instead of lounging on the beach there will be boy scout badges earned and a Kentucky Derby celebration, complete with a scholarship award. Instead of coming home weary with sun and sand, refreshed by bright clean air... we'll make our way to celebrate nine years of red hair and a successful ear surgery.

The weekend won't happen as planned, but it will happen... full of fun, joy and real
And real is what it is all about, hands down.

                                                             writing for five minutes flat...

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