September 30, 2014

before {and after} the rain...

Friday dawned lovely... which was just my hope.
A beautiful day to kayak and laugh... play in the sunshine.

me & my green homecoming toes

mom & suz
The sunshine, however, was short-lived, and when the rain came down, it could only be described as monsoon-ish. The roads filled up, and as we trekked our way home we commented that there shouldn't be a wake over the pavement.  My girl was soaked through from her shift at the zoo, and though the air was still hot and steamy, it looked like dreary fall afternoon.  

I hoped it the sky would rain itself out before the football game.  Sixth game of the season and they hadn't yet cadenced into our stadium or performed the pre-game show and National Anthem on the field {due to rain & lightning delays.} We left for the game with umbrellas raincoats, hoping we might not need them.

I could hear the drums beating long before I saw them, and as soon as I did, we raced into the stadium, not wanting to miss what I had been waiting for all season.  They seemed to be gaining on us, but we made it up into the stands before they passed by.  We clapped and cheered, trying to make up for the empty stands...

It was a wet, soggy homecoming game but the band played, and just before the final buzzer declared the other team victorious, the rain stopped.  I'm glad there was still fun to come for these students who worked so hard to make homecoming week a success!


September 29, 2014

the traveler {part 2}

Technology let me follow them there... and, though it was more glitchy, back. When I saw that they had finally landed back in Miami, I could half-way breathe. {The news and happenings in the air while they were away did not make for calm.}  But I knew, in order to fully breathe, I needed to see his face.  I count myself thankful for a husband who loves me through my crazy... my eyes could not be distracted from the road beyond the living room window.  Though he convinced me to play a round of rummy, I only concentrated enough to trounce he & Laura so I could go back to watching for the car.  Three plus hours later, excitement took over all anxiety when I saw their car cross the bridge, headed home.  I danced {and jumped and waved} on the sidewalk as they made their way down the street and into the drive.

They were weary, but smiling. And before we headed to our own home, we heard a collection of stories, and how amazing our son was. Yes, we know... but isn't it nice to hear from someone else? And home again, willing his eyes awake, he un-buried the treasures he had carefully packed away. A hat and a carved rhino for dad, a cheetah for his sister, and for me... the bumper sticker I had asked him to look for, along with beads from Shanga. He is a good boy.  The best.

Several people have asked him for the best part of this trip, and he simply cannot answer.  There was no best part, it was all amazing. His face lights up when he talks about bartering with locals for necklaces.  These salesmen are relentless, and they are serious about their necklaces.  The price starts at $10, but if you are really persistent like Grampa, you might be able to get 10 for $10.

note who is in control of the money...

and he said his favorite meal was the bush breakfast, eaten out on safari.  I don't know if it was the best food, but he loved the experience.

There was grand excitement over seeing three rhinos quite close to their vehicle, and also... for the opportunity to go back to Shanga. He assured me that it was just as beautiful, and shared all the new things they are doing there.

Africa through his eyes?
at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

feeding the giraffes

the plane that took them to the maasai mara

on safari

He uploaded the photos to his computer, and I can tell, he is proud of them.  I was delighted to sit and have him share the stories with the photos... see the light in his eyes, hear the wonder and joy in his words.  Four years in a teenage life is almost endless... in that time he, and his view of the world, has grown.  I am so thankful that his journeys to Africa have helped to shape that view.

September 25, 2014

homecoming week... the last

Lately, the lasts have been piling up.
I have cheered over some {last curriculum night!!!}, but reality is really sinking in.  In the meantime, I have been loving this homecoming week. Cam seems to be embracing his senior year, and it brings me joy {especially since last year.} He is even going to the dance this year.... and he shocked me by saying I asked someone to go.
themed days: cartoon, pirate, revenge of the nerds & zombie apocalypse
I look at his face, and see how he has grown.
In all I imagined motherhood to be, I never considered the way my heart would ache over their growing and their becoming. That I could feel amazingly proud and just a little sad, all at once. The lasts have always been hard for me... starting way back in preschool when he waved me off without a second glance.  But beyond every last is a promise of a new first... a bright adventure.

September 11, 2014


We often play the what was your favorite part? game after a movie or a vacation, but if you asked Cam to pick a favorite part of his Africa trip, he couldn't.  He stumbles over his words and finally just says It was all the best. But this photo documents one of his many favorites.  I am a rule follower, through and through, and I didn't raise a rule breaker but... he does have a really quirky sense of humor.  When I saw this photo, I just nodded and laughed.  It is just like him to push the envelope just a little and get a kick out it.

This sign makes me think, though.  How many times have I drawn my own line in the sand, or decided how far I can really go before I even tried?  My comfort zone is small, and I tell myself that I don't want to grow, I am done learning. I could be happy here forever, this place is good. But this spring, something in me {maybe the Holy Spirit} grabbed me by the heart and pulled me out into the unknown.  Past the I can't and the I don't want to to the maybe you can.  Sometimes it just takes a little courage to tip toe over the line... and where you go from there?  The possibilities are endless. {But if you are in Africa, please make sure there are no hungry lions beyond this point before you make your move!}

P.S. His two weeks on the other side of the world were amazing.
More photos and stories coming soon.

September 10, 2014

changing sky...

 We set out to walk the track last night... it may not have the allure of nature, but the breeze was blowing and the band was practicing on the football field.  As we walked, the sky came alive, and with every quarter mile, the view changed. New colors, different wisps of clouds, shimmering shades of light. I could hardly wait to make the next turn, and I picked up my pace to match the metronome ticking away on the field.

Change is not usually a welcome companion... staying right where I am often feels so right. But tonight, as I watch the sky, change seems like a gift.

The only thing that ever remains the same is God. He is forever unchanging.  I know better, but I sometimes fight to take that title for myself. And when I am along the path of change, I long to leave the limbo behind and just have the journey done. I want the lessons learned, the growing over, the uncertainty banished. I'd rather know than not know.

But He is teaching me, and I am learning. We are never not changing, we are not done growing. This life is journey, and I can count the laps as blessing, or I can curse them. But really, I couldn't. They are so beautiful. And what they are doing to me is even more so.  I can feel myself growing stronger and I can see the changes in me. My eyes are brighter, my heart is lighter, I am happier.

If God let me skip this path, just be changed without the work and the pain, I know I would miss the middle. Just as if the day went from light to night, without the glory of a sunset.

September 09, 2014

letting the to-do list be a blessing...

Life is a great bundle of little things.
-Oliver Wendell Holmes

We are four weeks into the school year, and the little things of each and every day are adding up. The here and there, the whens and the wheres and the how much?  I can feel it really settling in this week, and I try to keep breathing, I try to keep track... and I am thankful, once again, for teens who drive. I'm not sure I could keep up with Camden and the rest of this hectic life. Today, as he headed off into the dark morning, I asked Nothing tonight?  His Right! made me smile, and though I couldn't see his face, I'm betting it wore a smile of relief. Yes, tonight he only has homework.

The days are long... starting before dawn and ending in exhaustion, with a million little daily tasks sandwiched in between. Making lunch, heading out to work, dropping a girl at the zoo and returning to get her, thinking about dinner and then making it appear, keeping track of the calendar, laundry, shopping... the list is endless.  But that list?  It makes me thankful, too. I had no grand dream for my life besides it, wanting always to be a wife and mother. Some days it feels too much, and others, not enough. But every day, there is so much to give thanks for. Being able to accomplish any of it, having the ability to move and stretch, the kisses goodbye and hello again.  And all of these little things add up to make this one lovely, hectic life.
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