February 26, 2014

he loves me, he loves me...

He loves me, he loves me...
He loves me, he loves me...

I am counting my blessings... after too long of being sick and crabby and hard to live with... that I know he loves me.  He loves the woman I was when we began our life together, the beautiful mess of a woman I am today, and yes, the woman God is still creating me to be.  It is a promise I thank God for everyday.

February 25, 2014

a standing ovation...

He said yes to me Friday morning, but as the afternoon wore on, the sun slid behind the clouds.  Sometimes I am really good at denial and will push my case for a maybe-clear-sky right up to the end... but just looking at those clouds, I knew I had to admit defeat.  Instead of sunset at the beach, I decided we could just stay home, but he put his foot down and whisked me off for Mexican food and a margarita.  Before dinner even arrived, as if I still had any bargaining chips left, I put my own foot down... but Sunday, okay?

My soul craves the beach.  The air. The light.
The rolling waves that drown out the noise in my head, the chaos of my thoughts, the rambling, constant to-do list that I can't stop adding to.  It makes me free to wander, to take time to seek the small and humble gifts that are placed in my path. I feel small and unimportant in the best kind of way... for this hour, or two, I don't need to make a decision, or think about a single thing.  And if I look down, and find I am soaked to the knees in salty surf, I laugh into the breeze.

Eric is the best finder-of-heart-shaped-treasure... but as I stroll and seek, I find three.  Three.  Camden asks why you would need three hearts, and starts rambling on about science and the havoc it would create.  Again laughter tumbles from me... I don't need three hearts, but I love that God put three hearts in my path tonight. Yes, unimportant and loved beyond measure, all at once.

When the sun falls low, and I hear the park ranger interrupting the ocean's song with his atv, I know it is almost time to go, and I am pulled from my chair, almost impatient to watch the sun sink and kiss the beach goodnight.  I look down the shore and realize I am not the only one standing.  Not the only one who couldn't even bear to sit on the edge of her seat waiting for what was to come.  And when you know that Monday is the only thing beyond the horizon, it seems just right to give this last glimpse of the weekend a standing ovation.

February 23, 2014

sunday photos...

What a treat it was to finally put my feet in the sand last week!  The sea foamed up at the shore and we joked about it being Florida snow.  It was a beautiful night... golden sun beginning to set, a just-right breeze, and a soul satisfied with sea and sand.

When my chair is in within feet of the surf, and my toes are dug deep in the sand, I am a very happy girl!  Add in the sunset, and the guys I love, and it is the perfect ending to a beautiful day.

This photo didn't come out as great as I wanted it too... the reflection line creating the symmetry... but pretend you can see it, okay?

Blanket in progress...pink Shasta daisies.  As I stitch, I pray a hope-filled prayer.  I'm not quite sure how big the blanket will be... but I know that God knows, and that He will let me know.

I'm always posting pictures of alligators we see along the trails... so I thought this sand-alligator we came across at the beach might make you giggle.  It sure made me giggle, especially his sprite -cap eyes!!

Linking up to Ashley's Scavenger Hunt Sunday!
Next week's list: Unusual Crop, Details, On the Ground, Blooper (or a shot where things didn’t go as planned), Color.

February 17, 2014

thirty years ago...

Thirty years ago, before I knew I could spill my whole mess before God, He gave our family a miracle.  I did not know Him well enough, personally, to know that He can make all things beautiful for His good... that He loves us more than we can imagine.  Thirty years ago, He took two young girls and a very young Mom, broken from divorce, and restored their life in the gift of Bob.

We dressed our best.
Wool blazers. Plaid skirts. Bouquets of roses.  Smiles...wide.
And our broken family was healed before a Justice of the Peace... in the presence of God.
{And being included on a honeymoon to Disney World didn't hurt!}

I think we loved Bob from the first... maybe it was how he brought our Mom back to life, or maybe his silly stories, or the way he trudged uphill and down, pulling giggling girls in a garden cart... or that every Friday, there was a bouquet of fresh flowers in a vase.  But what I didn't know?  I didn't know he would spoil my Mom to the point of no return.  I laugh when she stops in front of a door, waiting for it to be opened for her, forgetting that Bob isn't with us to do the honors.  And I love that she might have forgotten how to pump gas, or that her idea of grocery shopping has become rattling off a few items as he heads out the door to Publix. I certainly didn't know, didn't dream, she would have the opportunity to see far more of the world than you can see walking around EPCOT.  Europe, Australia... Africa.

These last thirty years are something I am thankful for every day.
I love that my Mom is spoiled... and I love that Bob has given her the world, and so much more.  To be witness to the life they have created, to be a part of it, is such a privilege...and knowing there are a few more adventures right around the bend?  It brings me so much joy.

Happy Anniversary, Mom & Bob... I love you both so very much.

February 16, 2014

sunday photos...

The sun is shining and it is a beautiful Sunday! 
Time for some Sunday photos... this was not an easy list for me this week!

Okay... this one was easy.  Can you see him?  Camden and I loved watching him swim through the grass... he was probably only a foot long!

I'm not sure these are really nutty... but if you knew how many boxes I bought you would know that I am nutty!  I actually have a Girl Scout Cookie Rule.  I will buy one box from any girl who comes and ask me. {I bought more than one from my niece!} But for $4, if a girl has the courage and drive to sell the cookies herself, I simply cannot say no.   I'm thinking I better get some cash ready... I'm not even sure what I bought!

I couldn't believe it when we found this on our walk {and pink?!} I didn't know we had these in Florida, and I'm not sure my kids ever got to make "Pinocchio" noses when they were little.  But when I was little?   Oh we would peel them open and stick them to our noses, entertained all afternoon!  And sometimes we'd stick a few together to make it really look like we fibbed!

Once upon a time... my photos were organized and scrapbooked.  Now, the one I have printed, are in boxes waiting patiently to be spread out on pages and enjoyed.  I'm going to get back to it... eventually.

When I was decorating for Valentine's day I opened this tin heart and came across these paper cranes Laura folded years ago.  I hung clipped some on a garland of doilies, and the rest were strung from dark to light.  I loved watching them dance on the breeze... having their chance to fly!

Linking up with Ashley's Scavenger Hunt Sunday!
Next week's list: see...sea...or C, chair, symmetry, blanket, giggle.

February 14, 2014

friday letters...the valentine edition

Dear Friends,
Happy Valentine's Day!

I hope today finds you smiling, and not taking the day too seriously!  
Can I confess?  I love when the valentine decorations begin appearing... even in December!!! Something about the pink and red together just makes me a little giddy.  Today may be a silly holiday, but any day set aside to celebrate love is a good one... love for family, for friends, for a sweetheart.  

Dear Laura,
I sent you a card... and I bet you won't get it today.  Oh well.  It will stretch out the fun!  A whole week of Valentine fun!  My sweetest valentine so far is the little origami heart living in the car.  I see it and think of you, and our visit. I love you!

Dear Eric, my forever Valentine...
Thank you for relenting about Lozano's.  I am just imagining the crowd!!!  Maybe we can go tomorrow instead, or I'll take you up on the offer of a fabulous festive Mexican food fiesta for two!  I love you.  And I'm trying really hard not to peek at the give you have hidden out in the open on your dresser-  but now I am wondering about why you needed chalk, if not for an outline at a murder scene...

Dear Camden,
I know that you would rather skip an holiday that involves l-o-v-e and hearts and pretty pink and red... and that it almost disgusts you that Dunkin' Donuts makes the Boston Cream donuts heart shaped this time of year!  Someday maybe you'll change your mind, but for now, I did my best to make your sweet treat not look too lovey-dovey!

The best and most
beautiful things 
cannot be seen or even touched.  
They must be felt with the heart.

-Helen Keller


February 13, 2014

smiling over the weekend

Once in a while, it rains on our parade, or in this case, a horse show. A little rain is one thing, but days of damp and hours of downpour make for a whole lot of mud.  With Saturday's plans rained out, we headed the extra hour north to get ahead of Sunday's to-do list... shopping with our girl.  We let her know we were close and I could hear the excitement in her voice I can't wait to see you! And when you haven't seen each other in six weeks, any amount of rain falling from the sky won't stop you from leaping out of the car for a full oh-we-are-here-together-hug.

She piled her groceries in the cart while I pushed... amazed.  She has her cooking repertoire down, and this week she was adding a new recipe from the cookbook we sent as a birthday gift.  Rotisserie chicken?  She'll take all the meat off and use it for different meals.  Pork roast?  Only half fits in her tiny crockpot, so she's planning barbecue pork and then pork with sauerkraut, using the rest of the sauerkraut for the new Reuben recipe.  Me?  Amazed?  Yes. She's been living on her own for nine months, and she is good at it.

Groceries stowed, we headed south to Ocala, horse capital of the world!  {Did you know that?  I did not!}  We had plans for a visit, Mexican food, and a book signing.  It had been over a year since our blog-friendship turned real, but we fell right into step once again... with laughter and prayer and conversation that could have gone on for days.  Laura amazed with origami paper cranes and hearts, and we played Doodle Dice until our hunger for chips and salsa won out...

We woke to a blue skied Sunday.
Perfect for a horse show.  Perfect for just a little more visiting.  Perfect for the long ride home.


February 12, 2014

life lately...

It has been a great week!

February 11, 2014

the amazing years

We walk and we talk... and he asks for he camera.
I simply cannot stop myself from capturing the moment on the other one.  

This boy, and his sister, too... they amaze me.  It is not just in their growing, but in their becoming.  I wish I could take back every low groan of agreement when someone shared their grumble of oh just wait until they are teenagers!  Just now, when one has grown out of them and the other is five years in, I have stopped waiting for the other shoe to drop, ceased thinking that there might be a turn for the worse. Because the teen years are amazing.  I stand in awe, marveled by who they are, what they choose, where they wander.

I remember the day, the moment, when I felt free in motherhood, felt like this was how it was supposed to be. We had tagged along on Eric's reserve weekend, and somehow I had pulled off the impossible.   While he went off to work, I got two kids {three & six} up and dressed, packed and checked out of the hotel, and we were off to catch Beauty & the Beast in IMAX somewhere down the road.  I was standing there, buying the tickets... giddy. It was the feeling of accomplishment... that these littles were really small, capable people... and that we could really have fun together without a whole lot of stress.  We must have been quite a sight... laughing and rushing and loving it all.

These days I am just trying to keep up.  Somewhere along the way, I had to give up being the director of their paths, and am just along for the ride.  A wild, wonderful ride... filled with their ideas and their dreams that are beyond my imagination.  I am cherishing every turn, savoring the hours he is home, every note of his laughter.  When he disappoints me, my heart breaks, and I remind myself that he is human, and so am I.  We regroup, we forgive, and we snuggle in... because life is too short to hang on to what upsets us.

I catch myself staring... wondering where that little boy in the two-left-feet-too-big-red-cowboy-boots has gone off to. And when he leans in again, for just a moment, I wish I could hold his whole self in my arms again.  But then I remember... this? now?  Pretty darn amazing.

February 10, 2014

sunday photos {on a monday morning}

It is probably my favorite scenery... what I see when I look up.
The sky, the sunshine, a canopy of trees.  Robin's egg blue, golden clouds, sunshine sparkling through green. It can add a little magic to the day... even if we are just standing outside waiting for an oil change.

We came around the corner, and the golden light flooded us.  Turning, we could see the trees glowing, their leaves glittering in the sunshine.  That kind of light just seeps in, and you can't hep but feel joy!  Camden asked for the camera, and started snapping away... unable to resist capturing the light!

The window is my best friend while travelling... and I collect the sights in my mind.  Rolling green hills, miles of fence line, trees arching and dripping with moss.  The camera can hardly capture it as we speed on along the road, and if I were to ask him to stop every time I saw something beautiful, we'd surely never get anywhere...

We spent Sunday out in the sunshine.  The crisp air and the warmth of the sun was the perfect combination! It was also our first experience of going to a horse show, experiencing the culture of it all firsthand.  What a beautiful, beautiful day!

Saturday's rain changed our course, but a little rain can't ruin a visit with our girl!  We found a sweet little restaurant in a tiny little town... and while we listened to her talk and took in all that she had to share, the rain poured down beyond the flower painted window...

**Linking up with Ashley's Scavenger Hunt Sunday!
{and jotting down next week's list so maybe I can get my act together a little earlier: camouflage, nutty, old style, haphazard, monochromatic}


February 06, 2014

the hard work...

It was a quick question... just wanting to know how her first work day back in the zoo was.  Her speedy reply of Very good! made me grin.  She is glad to be back.  And then my girl-of-few-words went on... It rained. And we were setting posts in the ground, SO I went home covered in mud and dirt.  You know how sometimes you just know the tone of a text?  I knew.  I knew... that she had loved every muddy second of it.

This is her dream.  Her muddy, messy, lovely dream.  And I want it for her so badly that I can taste it.  I tell myself that if, perhaps, this is not the road God wants her on to get to it, that it will be okay.  And while I know it will be, it just might break my heart a little bit anyway.

Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that the messiest paths are the very best... laden with lesson, deep in perseverance.  Our hemlines may tear and stain as we trudge through, but looking back, I know that my life without my own messy missteps would be less.  Once upon a time, I wished for rainbows, fairy tales, and all things easy for my girl... but today I know, that as she soaks away the aches of hard work with tea and hot bubbles, she has a smile of satisfaction on her sleepy face, a smile that says I'm strong, I can do it.  

It does a mama-heart good... to know that she can assemble her own fairy tale.  And when that rainbow appears, she'll know it was not a silly wish, but a gift from above, the One who has planned and guided her way from the start.

February 05, 2014

when the yes fills you

Can we listen to this?
He asks as he is already slowly sliding the CD out from under a few stray papers that have been collecting under the car radio.  He knows what it is, and I can almost see the smirk on his face with my mother-trained eyes.  It is more fun, though, to watch the next expression come across his eyes when I say yes.  I can tell he is waffling between telling me what it is, and not.  But I already know.

Christmas music.  
And somehow, on the Sunday of the Super Bowl, when my Christmas tree has been uncharacteristically stowed for weeks, it fills the space in my soul.  Because maybe, in the long and short of February, a heart might just need to be reminded that the reason we celebrate Christmas is still nestled there.  That December joy can stretch and sway its way through the dull and dreary.  That the beautiful night in Bethlehem is meant to change my heart everyday...

I'm just a girl, Nothing more
But I am willing, I am Yours
Be born in me, be born in me
I'll hold You in the beginning, You will hold me in the end
Every moment in the middle, make my heart Your Bethlehem
- Born in Me, Francesca Battistelli

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