April 28, 2014

april skies...

When I woke up this morning at 4:40 am I was a little disappointed.  Not in the hour {actually that is a great night of sleep!} but in the fact that over the weekend, 4:40 am meant this...

The past two years, the Balloons Over Paradise event has drenched me in emotion.  Dreams coming true. Sharing it with my Mom.  Learning things about myself.  But this year... the only emotion that played over my heart was joy!  I knew what to expect and I knew where I was headed... and we enjoyed every minute!

Saturday I did help out here and there, but mostly, I enjoyed the view.  {We missed some of the taking off last year because we were so busy helping Miss Daisy!}  The weather was perfect and as soon as one balloon inflated, it was off!  For a girl who loves looking up, the sky was especially beautiful... filled with color sailing away on the breeze.   One day I am going to do that...

We made a new friend this year... Doug with When Pigs Fly.  We helped him take down Ham-Let, then on Sunday, Camden & I helped him again.  It is not a small task to get a balloon back in the bag!  When we were done, we were huffing and puffing, and smiling.

We also got to help put up a balloon...
And Camden got to sit in the basket all morning to keep it weighted down.
{Most of my pictures from Sunday are from under the Purple People Eater balloon!}

Just before heading home, Cam decided he definitely needed a treat, which I will categorize as "worth the calories!"  A hot, soft, salty pretzel with warm donut glaze.  He said he wasn't going to let me even have a bite, but that sweet son of mine can't resist his mother!  Or... he didn't want to walk home!

I am already looking ahead to next April.  Not wishing the time away, just knowing that when it arrives, we will add to our traditions and our list of joy.

April 24, 2014

meeting macie kate...

I had a surprise visitor at work the other day...

She is seven months old, happy, beautiful, and she has been officially theirs since just before Valentine's Day. And to hold her in my arms, bounce her on my lap and watch her legs wiggle and hear her sweet giggle is pure joy.  It makes me remember the days when my kiddos were that small, and the way you cannot suppress a smile or an out-and-out gale of laughter at their reactions to the world.

But this was not our first meeting... last fall, when I was {thankfully} on an upswing of health, and she was just six weeks old, I got to see this tiny miracle face to face, heart to heart.  Her Mama placed her in my arms and quietly said You prayed her here... and as I was humbly brushing off the statement, I fell more in love holding sweet Macie Kate in my arms.  Who could not?

I was certainly one of many who prayed this little miracle into our lives, into her full-of-faith family.  Together our prayers roared through the heavens, heard.  And I can only imagine that the YES! God had planned was given with a smile and a chorus of angels singing all around Him.  This story, Macie Kate's story, authored by the One who made heaven and earth, is one of the most beautiful love stories I have even been witness to... and it goes on.  It goes on as she grows, as her family grows, as her brave Mommy & Daddy navigate the newness of each and every day.  I am truly amazed by these two... their faith, and their willingness to step out and bare their hearts to this tough world.  But most of all, I am thankful... for the blessing this sweet bundle of joy is to her Mommy & Daddy, her family, and the rest of us who have fallen in love along the way...

i love you, macie kate!!!

April 22, 2014

love and gifts and blessed beyond measure...

It was just a little bit of radio on the way home... Joy sharing how she was in the water with dolphins over the weekend, and her co-host saying that if she considers that swimming with dolphins,  then he had been on safari with lions... because he had been to the zoo.  But that little bit of silly conversation caused my eyes to fill with tears, thankful tears... because I have done both. For real. 

Discovery Cove 2011
Tanzania 2010

In the moment, the experience is wild and wonderful, and you recognize that just to be able to do this is an incredibly special thing.  And then later, when you look back at the pictures that documented your adventure, the tears come fully... knowing that the experience was a blessing through and through.  And the joy of sharing those beautiful, extravagant moments with the people I love? Just one more beautiful gift.

Love comes in many packages...
The snuggle of your child, big or small. Someone getting out of bed to turn off the light so you don't have to, or the tumbling of the lock when hands are full.  In the giving of a gift... extravagant or small. Or... receiving one with a joyful heart.

I am so thankful for every smidgen of love that comes my way...

April 21, 2014

lovely easter...

I may call this the Easter of awful & missing pictures... but I won't let the quality of the photography blur the beauty of the day.  No evidence of the baskets I put together, or even beautiful smiling faces in their Easter finery... but I am thankful for the photos of the churches we worshiped in yesterday.  Our service was full of celebration music and trumpets sounding... and she said her service was just as beautiful.   And after church? We caught up and gave advice on how to cook a ham...

It was our first big holiday away from our girl... but just like every bit of her everyday, she handled it with a sense of adventure.  Decorating eggs with friends, and sharing in the meal preparation with another friend, to serve a few more.  As much as I missed her, I was excited for her...

And at home, we served up our own meal.  With family, and friends... and dessert on the table before the ham.  There was laughter around and love all around, and it was just right.   Even if the pavlova cracked and it wasn't until after we finished it that I realized I forgot to make the whipped cream to go between the layers...

A few more gifts from the day...
-happy easter greetings
-white cloth adorning the cross
-picking out my husband's voice in the choir
-Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!
-sitting with friends
-hearing that your kids are the example {and thanking God for the guidance)
-her voice on the other end of the line
-their joy over easter baskets
-not running crazy
-chatting with the kids
-being in the kitchen with eric
-setting a pretty table
-being surrounded by love and laughter
-laughing over ham on a platter...
-and watching my mom laugh so hard she cried
-good tired, followed by a good night of sleep
-two cam hugs this morning
-letting a few tears roll as i watch runners cross the finish line in boston...
-and a few more during the national anthem.

April 17, 2014

more lego love...

The other night he dragged a bin of LEGOs into the living room, and together, he & his dad laid out a map of the USA.  If you have to do homework, it might as well be fun. He added a mini-figure or two, some LEGO gold... and it was good to go.  He is 17, and he still can't get enough of those colorful bricks.  The architecture series makes the Christmas & birthday lists, and he loves the mystery of the mini-figure pouches... and I love that he still loves them.  

Over Spring Break, we visited the botanical garden. I had been saving a couple of free passes for just this purpose... the LEGO exhibit.  

Cam and I walked around this labyrinth laughing.  He was ahead of me and I was trying to catch up without skipping a turn, but he was full speed ahead and I was in sandals.  I was convinced there was fire in the center {wrong}, which made us laugh even more.  I suppose we were just too silly for this meditation garden, but I would never pass up a chance to laugh with this boy!  

I'm not sure when we would have made it back to the garden, if not for the LEGOs.  It was probably our biggest-spring-break-fun-day, the three of us wandering the gardens, exploring nature and finding LEGOs in unexpected places, laughing and playing the day away...

It is a happy talent to know how to play.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

April 16, 2014

just you & me

It doesn’t require a special day to express how much I love you… 
every ordinary day is more than special when I am with you.

April 15, 2014

i have to trust her...

I wrote this last week... and I never hit publish because... because it was too close to my heart.  I wondered if I wrote it only for me.  But days have passed, and in the meantime, I've held her close to my heart, had her face in my hands, kissed her and reassured her...

The sun is working to push the clouds away, but for now, the gray heavy air is pressing on my heart. Twenty might as well be thirteen, or six... or two.  Except that there is no way to hold all of her in my arms... especially when she is hours away. She has been studying non-stop, feeling the weight of her world on her shoulders.  I'm not sure she has ever cared about something this much.  It is good... and it is hard.  I am thankful that it matters so much, it is the stress I am not so fond of.  Sunday she texted me that she had a fainting spell... yes, texted.  I would have preferred a phone call... but her texting tells me that she can take it in stride and brush it off.  I have to trust her.  She said she was hydrated, had eaten breakfast, but was under a whole lot of stress.  So I chalk it up to that, and pray for some relief.

But this is when it hits me... the truth that my own Mom shared years ago.  The mothering never stops. Ever. There is no magic age, no crossing over into adulthood, no place in life they can rise to, that will stop the ache in a mama's heart when a daughter doubts, or a son takes a misstep... when their stress is eating them from the inside out.  And maybe the hardest part?  Sitting back and letting it all unfold.  But this, I know... I cannot outlove God.  He loved her first, He loves her best.  For every ounce of love I send her way, He sends a gallon. I pray the prayers, and He is the One who answers.


April 02, 2014

{almost} wordless wednesday

Most of my pictures from spring break are filled with green.
And this?  One of my favorites...

Advice from a tree...

Stand tall and proud... Sink your roots deep into the earth
Be content with your natural beauty... Go out on a limb
Drink plenty of water... Remember your roots
Enjoy the view!


April 01, 2014

when stillness calls...again

I pray the day away... whispering up thanks, asking for healing, covering someone in prayer.  A friend thanks me for being a prayer warrior, but sometimes, lately, I feel more like a prayer-slinger. Life is moving fast, and I can't seem to grab hold, slow it down.  There are days I don't even try. There is no question, it is easier to bob along with the tide than to step out of the current and really live.

But what I lose while I'm bobbing along, desperately praying desperate prayers?  I lose what I need most.  His voice.  Slinging up prayers, one after the other, doesn't leave much time for listening for His voice.

This past week, the list grew long.  Longer than it has in a while.  SO long, that I had to step out, take time, to gather my thoughts and prayers.  Take time, to breathe each and every prayer, and give it, and Him, its due. And I felt His calling... to be still. While you wait in My Presence, I do My best work within you: transforming you by the renewing of your mind. {Jesus Calling, Sarah Young}

I could use some transforming.  I could use some refreshing.  I could use some rest, of body and soul.  Who couldn't?  

So I watch the birds fly in to the feeder, and out again.  They flutter through the trees, and I breathe in His glorious creation, His marvelous colors.  I stretch my legs out across Eric's lap, and laugh when he gives me the look. And when Cam & I cheer over a double hole-in-one, the celebration sends joy through my heart... joy for life, for living... for breathing room.  And I begin... to list my prayers, one by one.  Taking time... to speak love and let Love come back to me.
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