July 30, 2013

savoring summer... at last

We raced into summer full force with celebrations and camp and long awaited journeys... and while all of it was worth the anticipation, the after has left us exhausted.  The calendar tells me our time is almost up.  Soon there will be band practice and school and.... homework. I am not ready to even think about it, but already I can feel the weigh of it in my chest. We pin lists to the wall, knowing we must look ahead, but mostly, we just savor. We hold tight to these last, rushing days of summer in hopes that they will sustain us all fall. 


I long to soak in the rest more than the sun rays, but both satisfy.  And when my son's laughter rings out along side me, I laugh along, knowing that these days are far too short, and the sun may disappear as quickly as the ocean erases the shore...




But even when the rain comes crashing through the sky, we sit and enjoy the storm... God's way of holding us still, reminding that the very best thing is just being together...

Photobucket

July 24, 2013

a {mc}miracle on the way...

I have this sweet couple,
their story & their journey wrapped up in my heart and prayers... 


Over the last months I have been amazed by how they are fully relying on God to be the author of their life, and just how God is writing the story of their family.  When each bit of news comes my way, it stops me in my tracks.  God is so big... so BIG!


John and Kristen have known from the beginning that they would grow their family through adoption. They have been open to many adoption paths, checked every box their hearts led them to, and have prayed like crazy, knowing that God would bring them their child, in His time.  And now... a baby girl is on the way.  He is piecing together the most beautiful story, one that leaves me breathless and filled with joy.  


It is no secret that adoption is expensive.  New jobs, extra jobs, thirty-one totes and their savings have brought them far.  But not quite far enough.  I know that God has even this in His control, so I share their story, and wonder if He has planned that you might be a part of it, too.

If you click through this link{ http://mcmiracleadoption.blogspot.com/p/family-profile.html }you will pour through the pages and photos that matched John & Kristen to their birth-mother.  It is a peek into their life, souls and prayers... and the future they are planning. You can follow their journey on facebook, or on their McMiracle Adoption Journey blog.  I promise you that this story is one worth being a part of.  Even if God has another plan.  Would you join with us in praying for this new little life?  for John & Kristen as they wait?  for their entire family and circle of friends as we wait with them? 

And if you feel moved to do more... there is a $5,000 matching challenge going on through the end of July.  Little by little they are about half-way there!  Click here to find out more!  **update: The $5,000 match has been met!!!!  But they are still about $6,000 away from their total goal!**
Photobucket

July 23, 2013

and then it shines...

The water is rising.
As we drive, we see the canals and how they have filled, within inches of high water marks.  We have needed the rain.  Desperately.  But now, after what seems like weeks of rain on end, our souls needed the sunshine almost more so.  Saturday found us celebrating the sunshine...


We dug our toes deep into the sand and enjoyed the jazz as it danced on the breeze.  The kids flung the Frisbee back and forth until the almost-still gulf beckoned to them.  As they played on the sandbar, laughter and squeals carried across the surface, and a dolphin glided softly close to the shore, between us and them. 




And when it was time, God painted the sky...
Photobucket

July 18, 2013

a room with a view

We almost went last year for our anniversary, and then changed our minds and stayed home.  But since then {and for quite a while before!} I've been dreaming of the Animal Kingdom Lodge at Disney World.  The idea was pushed around when plans for my in-law's anniversary trip were being made, but we all happily settled for something a little less when the room rate quote came in.  It was really okay... but I planned to at least make it to the lodge and wander the lobby. 

Have I mentioned, though, that Disney is full of magic? 

Just three weeks before our trip, Mickey Mouse called and upgraded our entire party to the stunning and amazing Animal Kingdom Lodge.  I danced around the living room at the news, and a joyful tear or two slid down my face.  And I probably screamed... just like I did when I was counting giraffe's from our balcony!  Two...thr--e--e..FOUR!!! FOUR!!!  FOUR!!!!  {and then I remembered that animal don't like screaming}

I cried when I first caught sight of the lodge.  Emotions just squeezed my soul and I could not keep the tears in, nor my breath easy.  And walking in? 




It was more than the beauty of what I saw... it was the rumbling roll of the music and the smoky scent in the air and the ceilings high above us covered in thatch.  It was... Africa.  It was beautiful.  And I wanted to sit in every chair, breathe in the scent at every fireplace, and let it all soak into my soul. 




Being in the real Africa taught me to make the most of, and truly savor, every moment... and so I lay down on the floor of the lobby with the little kids and made crayon rubbings of the bronze medallions in the floor, I played tic-tac-toe with Cam in the gift shop, I sat with Laura to watch giraffe and zebra, we walked the fifth floor bridge, and even made a friend. 


His name is pronounced Tu-eh-phani... which means let's be happy
He is a long way from home, a small village in Namibia, but his university urged him to take this wonderful opportunity.  He had just finished his first month with Disney, and told me everything seems so big here!  The tears threatened to choke me again, but I held them back to explain that it was the vastness of Africa that was so amazing to me...

It was not easy to leave my African Oasis... but as I did, I stopped and whispered kwaheri...
Photobucket

July 17, 2013

the day we stopped to smell the roses...

When we left Disney World, we had a plan. And more reservations.  With  four in the car, we headed north to Zoo School to drop Laura, and then headed more north to deliver Cam to Boy Scout Camp {he missed the caravan to camp because we were celebrating!}  We drove for hours in the dark, thankful for the roadside fireworks show in Perry, GA, but weary with the fun and miles behind us.  After tucking into a motel for a night's rest, we drove the last few miles to camp.  Cam let me kiss him goodbye in the car, and half-hugged me before we drove away. 


the camp chapel...from the road

And then it was just us... two.  Nine hours from home. 
The plan was to stop back in and have lunch with Laura, with the next stop home... but a roadside sign advertising peaches talked us into a u-turn.  The little farm store was almost open, and the row of rockers, and free samples, invited us to wait. 




We were treated to juicy slices of fresh peach, and creamy sweet ice cream (peach & pecan!)... and a little bit of time to just sit and enjoy the morning.  It was lovely, really... to have an open agenda after the rush of Disney and getting everyone where they needed to be.  And I think, maybe, we were just where we needed to be...for just a moment.
: :
Thinking of this beautiful morning, and the man I shared it with.  My hero, my love, the birthday boy.  Happy Birthday, Eric!
Photobucket

July 16, 2013

time not wasted

This has been sitting in my drafts for quite a while... and after spending most of the weekend in our pajamas (so thankful for time to rest!), I thought to scroll through and find it.  We are sorta no longer four, at least not within four walls... but maybe, just maybe, our girl was sitting her pajamas on a lazy Saturday morning, too...


The clock ticked past one... in the afternoon. Only one of us had made it from pajamas to actual clothes. The sun was shining for the first time in days, and there we were, stretched out in front of the TV.
But we were... together.
The four of us, within four walls.
And there was nothing else that seemed remotely important.
All we needed.
Right here, where we were.
And it was a good feeling.
A right feeling.
So, hello sunshine... keep on shining.

July 09, 2013

my characters...

Favorites change...
Sometimes it takes a year, or maybe only a week.  Once in a while though, a favorite stays a favorite... forever.  At sixteen and nineteen, with at least a decade of love behind them, I don't see these two swaying their favor to another...
camden at disney...2004
laura at 3 years old...halloween

We were in line to meet Chip and Dale... and then his attention, and his feet, split as he spotted Stitch just coming across the street.  With his Stitch "hands" clipped on his belt, he waited his turn.  I handed him my Sharpie, and suggested he get his palm signed...


By the end of our trip he had both palms signed... and while we stood at the parade, Stitch spotted those hands from the top of the double decker bus and pointed right at Cam.  Those two... they may be brothers.
: :
Camden & I spotted Marie at the Magic Kingdom the morning of Laura's arrival... I had never seen her before!  On our last morning, racing through the Magic Kingdom so Laura could ride Space Mountain, there she was again.  The line was long, but not even the look on Eric's face could rush us along.  I took out my Sharpie once again, and dug for something she could have signed.  I had paper, but came across something a little more lasting.  A gift to me from a special friend... but I knew she wouldn't mind. 

It was a dream come true... seeing my grown daughter meet her favorite, after years and years of loving her, singing along with her, pretending to be her.  Her favorite color may no longer be pink, but Marie will always, always be her favorite.  And I think, perhaps, it meant more to me now than it could have possibly meant when she was just three...

There is no age limit on magic or dreams come true.  No expiration date for a mother's tears as they watch a dream play out.   I catch myself dreaming these dreams, these oh-so-small dreams that fill a heart... and know that here, in the land of magic and Never-neverland, a dream is a wish your heart makes. 
Photobucket