April 25, 2013

stepping over the line {part one}

Five of us headed out into the dark morning... off for an adventure.  Marked on my calendar nearly a year, I was so excited to share it with my Mom & Bob, and so happy that Eric & Camden agreed to rise long before the sun. {poor Laura had a math final...ouch}

We were giddy at first sight, and I tried not to run ahead, but I wanted to be there on that field, camera poised, capturing everything.  As we navigated the grounds, sun still yet to rise, I did notice yellow caution tape stretched out... and with only a split second of hesitation, I stepped right over it, making like I knew just where I was going.  And that landed us in just the right place to make the day fly beyond our imagination.  Crew for the Miss Daisy?  Yes. Yes... definitely yes.

While the world was still dark and most everyone we knew was fast asleep, any expectations we had slipped into our pockets had fallen by the wayside.  We unravelled and stretched silk, closed petal vents; we worked up a sweat; we smiled, took pictures and laughed.  When the fans started whirring, Miss Daisy came to life... and Camden slipped off his size huge blue sneakers, walked inside with Dan (Mr. Miss Daisy) and helped close the top vents, while Eric & Susan (Mrs. Miss Daisy) worked from the outside.  

Before too long,  cold air turned hot, and Miss Daisy was standing tall.   Dan called to Eric for ballast, and into the basket he went, listening to every story Dan had tell... for a couple of hours.  I ran out across the field, trying to photograph our work of art, pausing to hold up the lens, and then backing up a little more, and a little more... until finally I could see the whole of her...

My mom joined me out there, and as we noticed Cam & Grampa wander off, Eric still in the basket, we found ourselves another job.  We pleated a silo, and closed up the roof of the barn... and already, the day was far more than we bargained for, far greater than we hoped.   The sun was on the rise, and although there was fog lying low,  I dared to hope about the weather and finally asked the question will the balloons fly today?  

to be continued... 
{oh yes, there is more... because what goes up must come down!}

April 24, 2013

{almost} wordless wednesday

Check back tomorrow for the story behind the JOY on these faces!

April 22, 2013

a simple list of thankful...

-a sunset on an evening that needed a bit of grace
-a city that cooperated, and got the job done
-family... safe
-thinking about a few smiles that i sent in the mail
-a very unlikely surprise in our mail… that offered a bit of breathing room
-one beautiful day, in every way
-holding my dear friend in prayer all weekend as she navigated the emotions of loss and love
-and that she felt the Lord’s presence through it
-April, almost over
-three weeks until zoo school
-stirring up a big bowl of snicker dip… and having it for dinner


April 17, 2013

you've got a friend...

Friendship isn’t about being inseparable...
it’s about being separated, and knowing nothing will change.

-the inbox brings a smile... and notes screech back and forth filled with life and laughter and love.
-she says that texting is the next best thing to passing notes in the hall...
-i type a silly "HI!!!" and i know that it has created at least two smiles.
-ice cream smiles across the screen and i can imagine sitting there in the sunshine
-her call "just to chat" was such a welcome interruption in my evening
-and sometimes a spur of the moment idea works out just right. 

today i'm feeling full... and so thankful for the friends in my life.


April 11, 2013

yay five!

We celebrate life in fives... five-ten-fifteen-twenty...
If  you count by fives long enough, you fall into that sing-song elementary rhythm that is inescapable.  But when I think five, Rudy Huxtable's voice slips into my head shouting Yay five!  There is just something about that number.  And when my kiddos hit that magic milestone, you can be sure that I was shouting Yay five! as we high five-d and celebated. 

And today, I shout it again, amazed that I have written five posts, let alone five years worth of posts.  I clicked that "create blog" button without a clue that I would have anything to say, that I would enjoy writing again, and especially that I was entering into a community where friends on the other side of this screen are real and true.  My mother was horrified and my husband was suspicious... but God brought the words to my heart, and Beyond Grace won them over in a beautiful way.

Five years ago, I was right where I wanted to be.  Life was grand.  And then things started changing, causing me to stretch and grow beyond that grand little place.  It was hard and sometimes it hurt more than I thought I could bear... and other times, it was more beautiful than I could have possibly dreamed!  I am so thankful that God had more in mind for me!   He has shown me the messy and the beautiful... and that the messy can be beautiful if you change the eyes of your heart.  He has taught me to dance and to dream... that no matter where I am, He'll meet me right there.  And when I wonder if the words will keep coming, I will just remember, with a smile on my face, that God's not done with me yet...

Thank you...
for reading my heart and finding something beautiful here. 

April 10, 2013

one summer plan

In my Friday letters last week I let San Antonio I was getting excited... and Suz accused me of secret keeping!  Well, I would never keep a secret from her, I just hadn't gotten around to the telling!  And so, yes, we are going to San Antonio for six days this summer... and bringing four teens along for the ride. 

Camden was just four when we took our first youth group to a National Youth Gathering... and as we stood and worshipped in the SuperDome, I hoped and prayed that I would have the opportunity to stand beside my own children when it was their turn to come.  Three years ago we were honored and blessed to bring our Laura back to the same city for her NYG.  It felt very full-circle-ish... and yet I knew that there was one more life-changing gathering that my heart was desperate to attend...the next one, Camden's turn.  When the destination for the 2013 NYG was revealed, this fiesta-loving girl was beyond thrilled to hear San Antonio, TX!  

The details are just about set... plane tickets purchased and hotel reservations made.  On July 1st six of us will head west... to Texas, and towards Jesus.  I am already thanking God for the wonderful time we are going to have... there is just nothing like being in the midst of 30,000 worshipping teens.  And this fiesta-loving-Jesus-praising girl is going to be standing right along side them... guiding and teaching and soaking it all in.  And the very best part... will be watching my son fall in love with his Savior all over again.

April 09, 2013

for life...

Nine and a half years ago my sweet little boy began the journey of scouting.   All he knew was that he loved his orange Tiger Scout tee, and it was really fun to go and hang out with his friends and the Daddies.  Five years ago, my much taller, but still sweet, son embarked on adventure in our backyard... way back when  Boy Scouts began.  And last night... he received his Life Scout rank.  This taller-than-me young man is still super sweet {sorry, Camden, but it is truth!} and now he has a backpack full of lessons that will carry his through his whole life.

A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly,
courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty,
brave, clean, and reverent.
I am so thankful that he values scouting as such an important part of his life... and the fun that comes along with it is only a bonus.  And while he walks this path, his Dad is walking right along side him... close enough to cheer him on, and with just enough distance between them to watch Camden stand on his own.  Stay tuned... the next stop? Eagle Scout.  With a lot of hard work and perseverance, I believe he will make it.

April 08, 2013

a monday morning list of grace...

Stepping into the cool morning air, I catch the scent that fills me. Orange blossoms. No longer out in the early morning to  make the drive to school, I thought I had missed them this year.  But an early Saturday morning brought me the gift that envelops my soul.   As I walk, the morning plays out before me, showering me with gifts.  The sliver of the moon that rises up in the darkness.  The black sky giving way to the soft pastels that will welcome to sun.  And the symphony of birds that echo from all directions.  I spot the one who is surely the conductor... in the spotlight of a street light.  It makes me smile... and it is a lovely way to begin the day.

It seems to have been too long since I jotted a list of gifts...
-laughter over cheesecake... and no tears
-celebrating a seventieth birthday {two, actually!}
-hosanna! and a palm for camden!
-cutting a week off of my healing time... and being healed!
-suz, who always wants to help {and even better if it includes chipotle!}
-shopping for zoo school
-Christmas money still tucked away
-lively parties at our bird feeder
-the orange moon hanging low on our morning ride
-chimichangas. and saying "chimichanga"
-spray painting with my girl
-excitement overcoming nerves {for now}
-all of us in a row
-laughter shared by four
-knowing just where you can get a lovely hug on a sunday morning
-carefully re-printing recipes by hand
-celebrating five years of blogging...and the gifts it has brought my way
          -friendships, true blue
          -freedom in myself
          -allowing myself to be known in a new way
          -words... and that they somehow keep coming {thank you, God}
          -the words of others
          -the chance to explore my faith a little more
          -learning things i never knew i never knew... about myself, others + the world
          -and that knowing someone by heart is truly beautiful


April 05, 2013

friday letters...8

Dear Friday,
It's raining, it's pouring... so you think it is going to get worse? Or stop?  We have errands to do.  Things like... drive an hour + 1/2 to pick up the most fabulous chicken... and swing into the Boy Scout shop for a badge sash + a new shirt {because someone should be looking his best when he is presented with his Life Scout rank.}  We'll trek out anyway... and ask God to ride along on the slick roads.  And don't be too surprised if I jump in a puddle! 

Dear Blog,
Are you getting excited?!?!  Someone has a birthday coming up next week!!!  YOU!  Five. A big one.  Especially for the girl who can't ever keep up with anything... Let's make some plans to celebrate, okay? 

Dear General Hospital {yes, the soap!}
Fifty?! I think I've been watching for almost thirty years.  That doesn't include watching it while my Mom watched before I was old enough to see it, but it does include the years that she told me I wasn't old enough enough to watch it, but did anyway {sorry, Mom!} What a fun week this has been!  Faces that I haven't thought of for years appear on my screen and my mouth makes an "O" and tears sting my eyes.  And the best is yet to come... the next three shows are going to be amazing, and I can hardly wait.  Although... I might.

Dear TiVo,
Without you, I would have never been able to keep up with GH! Never, ever.  You know just when to record and watching with you makes an hour fly right by... in about 35 minutes!  Thank you!

Dear Easter Candy,
Well, almost all of my favorites are gone... anything that is worth eating anyway.  I know, I know... that is because I already ate it.  Now I'm done.

Dear San Antonio,
I'm getting excited!!!

Happy Friday to you...I hope it is a happy one!

April 03, 2013

when the breathing is hard...

Off they went... father and daughter... off to see the future.
I really didn't mind not going along... I knew they could handle it without me. 
And if one of us was going to pick the apartment without the other, better him than me. 

Yes, I said apartment

The time has come... for the future to begin.  I have been holding on for this very moment... anticipating it with great joy and relief.  But tonight... after a couple quick messages, fewer pictures, and a signed lease, I can barely breathe.

My heart aches.  Tears are stinging and I refuse to let them fall. 
How can I feel so sure she needs to be away and so unsure about sending her off at the same time? 
I wonder how much knowledge I can fit into one month. One

In a fit of swallowing hard and holding back tears I type out a desperate note to my forever friend... i am freeeeaaaaa-king out.  And she replies with the words I need most: just breathe. and trust. you've raised her well.  she will be okay.  you can do this and you will be in awe of her. i promise.

She would know.
With daughters only six months apart, she has been my go-to girl... for sixteen years.

When they arrived home from making their way up the state and back, I was glad for safe and sound.  But more glad for the look in her eye.  You are excited?  She might have said yes, but I was so enthralled with the glow of her face that I only read her answer.  And so in one short month, we will stack boxes and memories and love into the back of the car, and head off for her next adventure.  And though it is only a month, and communication between there and here can be instant, the last two sentences in this post remind me that I've been preparing for this moment forever...

It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.

April 01, 2013

early or late... and always

I've never been to an Easter sunrise service...
That seems strange, coming from the girl who longs to rush to the shore for every sunrise and sunset... but I suppose the timing has never been quite right.  Maybe someday...
: :
I woke this Easter Sunday knowing that it would be different. 
Eric working... yuck
Late service... double yuck.  The only saving grace for that would be Camden being the crucifer...
But somewhere in my heart I felt a breath of grace, and it allowed me to set aside me and open my heart to the possibility that God might just have something in store for me... at the late service.

After my Cadbury egg breakfast, I still had a hour or so to pass... and maybe it was the sugar talking, but it sent me right to the treadmill. And right there, at the edge of the garage, I celebrated my very own sunrise Easter worship.  Big Daddy Weave sang all of the right words and for 30 minutes my feet kept pace with my tears, and my arms flew high in praise and wide to receive Him.  Mad lip-syncing worship... oh how my heart felt every word, with sun on my face and a full, full heart.

Yours is the name, the name that has saved me
 mercy and grace the power that forgave me
and Your Love is all I never needed
Jesus... just that name 

When it was finally time to head for the late service, Camden & I set out on our own.  The radio was proclaiming a Palm Sunday sermon from the week before... and as the Pastor spoke, my stomach grew sick.  I felt His pain... there on the cross.   Right then and there, without trumpet fanfare or an alleluia for miles, I knew I needed Easter... early and late.  And I needed it now... 
: :
Easter Sunday turned out beautiful and better than I could have planned.
Full of laughter and love and fun and family... Jesus. Always.
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