January 21, 2015

when there are hardly words...

We have made mention of meeting up over the years (yes, years!)... How we hoped that there would be a time. How we would sit and sip chai lattes, and laugh and cry and how it was certainly only a when, not an if.  There really is only one state separating us - unless you count half of hers and practically ALL of Florida (which may as well be three states, because it is so long!)

When Camden got his letter to interview for a scholarship in South Carolina, I was excited... for more than one reason.  Yes, we would visit the school and attend the luncheon and interview... and we would carve out a time to meet Southern Gal and her Ethan. I knew I wouldn't be nervous... I truly believe we know each other by heart!  

I got a little teary eye-d thinking about meeting her. And when Cam & I were on our way to meet them at the zoo, those tears slipped back into my eyes.  This was really happening!  And then...
thank you, camden for being the photographer!
I could only laugh and smile... and we talked so fast I think we talked right over each other.

The day was beautiful, and I hardly have words to say how happy my heart was.  It was two friends picking right up from our endless emails with easy conversation... and although we should have held hands and skipped though the zoo, we resisted.  The boys were really great sports about this whole day, and skipping surely would have pushed them over the edge!
thanks, southern gal for letting me steal this collage!
We never did sit and sip chai lattes... but we walked and talked and laughed and talked some more.  It was such a fun day- and so hard to say goodbye!  But there will be a next time... I just know it.
and thank you, ethan, for this great shot!

January 14, 2015

wordless wednesday {ice}

When it rains, look for rainbows.  When it's dark, look for stars...

top right? flamingo feet!
fountain at Erskine College

cam pulled this stick out of the water and it was encased in ice...

Since it was so cold on our trip, we looked for ice!


January 13, 2015


Just last week I was wondering why my fitness gadget had different settings for walking and hiking- I figured they were kind of the same. But as Camden & I started an uphill trek through the woods, it became pretty clear that they are different…

He led, while I trailed just a little behind.  Our sneakers tumbled the leaves that covered the path, and we could hear the crunch of frost beneath them.  The sound made me grin.  Cold may not be everyone’s favorite, but coming from Florida, we appreciated the climate change.

We strayed from the path when we spotted a pool full of trees that had frozen over.  Camden was fascinated by the ice, and I, in turn, was fascinated by him enjoying it.  He prodded the edge with a stick, he put his foot out past the edge and gently shifted his weight until the ice began to give way.  I was enjoying capturing his antics, when I heard him say it sounds awesome! I didn't hear the sound, but I stopped taking pictures and focused on him. He was tossing chunks of ice out over the frozen pool, watching and listening to them skid, echo and smash. It did sound awesome, and I thanked God for the stillness of the forest and that He stilled me, so that I could take it in.   

Back on the path, we encountered trees that were twisted and gnarled.  We followed the trunks from the ground, around and over and eventually up towards the light. Each had its own kind of beautiful... just like people. 

I was out of breath when we spotted the parking lot... but I felt so alive.  Nature has a lovely tale to tell, and if you surround yourself with it and listen, you can hear the story and become a part of it.


January 12, 2015

after the weekend...

It was so strange to see him dressed in a t-shirt and shorts this morning as he headed off to school. After a weekend of being bundled up, my brain is still cold, even though we arrived home last night and dove right back in to warm  and muggy.   Our trip to South Carolina was a beautiful escape, and we acted like tourists every time we spotted ice.

More on the weekend later... and for now?
My list of gifts:

-early RSVPs
-watching the moon rise
-sending Eric off to school and joking about a first day of school picture (he did not let me!)
-cooking a delicious dinner for the 2nd night in a row
-a shrimp story
-It is a really good class
-a frustration turning out a-ok
-back on track with boot camp and feeling energized
-working next to my Mom
-making zoo plans
-pulling out of the driveway, just him and me
-a peppermint shake, when i thought i had missed out
-the view: an ocean of clouds
-remembering the first time i saw this side of a cloud
-still being amazed

-sunset through the window and the silhouette of mountains
-laughing over new-fangled "keys"
-finding our way
-a burrito-calzone
-texting a friend at just the right time, and knowing it was so, because she replied PRAY
-a goodnight call from eric
-plenty of chances to wear my ann-gloves
-reviving our preschool game of "rainbow cars"
-meeting southern gal & ethan
-feeding the giraffes

-choosing the perfect carousel ride, and having the attendant pass along a thank you from the anteater, who never gets ridden
-a group photo
-boys who want icees in the cold
-country roads
-red & gold balloons
-an opportunity...and being dressed for success
-a text from laura to her brother

-a frozen fountain
-his maybe
-home sweet home.

January 09, 2015


It was fun...pulling out of the driveway, just the two of us.  He is always up for adventure, and maybe, so am I. The reason for the adventure of the weekend is a college visit and interview, but today we will play!

Last night, after navigating the airport, rental car and finding the hotel, we headed back out for dinner. Finding our way back for the night I told Cam that I felt accomplished.  I confessed that I mostly rely on his dad for all of this stuff. Thinking about it more, I realized that when my Mom & I travel, I am mostly in charge. So then I let Cam know a truth that I hope shows love. I told him I rely on Dad for so much not because I have to, but because I want to. 

Eric is my safe place...and that is just the way I want it. 


January 07, 2015

memories & reflections {2014}

I typed 2013, and then realized that if we are in 2015, I have missed a year {but here is the actual recap for 2013!}.  There is no doubt about it... 2014 flew by.  It was a year of growing and hard lessons, and lessons we are still learning. And... it was beautiful.  Every gift from above is...

We finally camped at Ft Wilderness!  We had a blast... even though it didn't go exactly as we planned.  For the first time ever, I was not with one of my kiddos on their birthday, but she really enjoyed the birthday themed care package.  And... of course, there were bowls in Cambier Park.  Just a couple more weeks until it is time to go again!

We made our first of two trips to Ocala to watch some very special young ladies ride in a horse show- and a bonus was picking up Laura at school and enjoying the shows with her! On Valentine's Day, I surprised Eric with a special dinner & movie night- even perfecting the rose napkin from Be Our Guest! I also managed to talk my guys into more than their fair share of beach walks...

It was hard to escape rooting on our FGCU Eagle basketball team- even Cam got in on "Dunk City!" Let the kayaking adventures begin! And Pi Day {although THIS pi day will be (apparently) epic.}

My sister, niece & I made a girls trip to visit Laura and we enjoyed the butterfly garden- and Laura!!! I hosted Easter dinner, and enjoyed making it beautiful!  It is no secret how much i LOVE hot air balloons!  Only a few more months!

These two kids made my Mother's Day beautiful... and these smiles may have been a highlight!  We also tried to stay up all night at Disney World... it was so much fun, but 24 hours?  We just couldn't make it!

His Eagle Scout Project...completed!  We also made a first round of college visits with him and enjoyed the weekend away at the beach.  {We prefer the beach, but he is now thinking COLD!}  And while the boys were away at Boy Scout Camp, Laura & I had some time to regroup. 

Cam went to Africa, and we didn't... but we were so excited for the family and loved hearing about their adventures when they returned!  Laura started work at our local zoo and loves it!  For Eric's birthday, we made an Italian feast {complete with two delicious gluten-free cakes} and celebrated with friends. 

The start of the last year of marching band, the last band camp!  Eric & I shared a rootbeer float for our 22nd anniversary. Camden had his last first day of high school... senior year is here!

Eric and I spent the weekend away celebrating a friend's retirement from the USCG... the sunset at their cottage was spectaular. While we were in St. Pete we had a chance to admire the Chihuly Collection!  Eric is a pro at finding heart shaped rocks, and I learned from the best. 

This season of marching band has been terrific, and we just keep celebrating our bass drummer!  We might still be basking in the glow from this beautiful October wedding of Amy & William.  It was such an amazing celebration!  On our last day in Chicago we took a segway tour- it was so much fun!

Senior Night.  I got a little emotional thinking about it, but in the moment there was only JOY! I caught Laura working at the giraffes!  And Camden sat for his Eagle board of review, passes, and achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. It has been a big year!

My husband decided HE needed an Elf on a Shelf. For Real. His name is Corporal Tinsel and he rode along with Eric on patrols for all of December. I kind of fell in love with him. My Mom & I went to Disney to watch Camden march down Main Street USA! I was such fun to spend the time with her, and a parade at Disney World is emotional enough without your son marching by!  But I loved it through the tears. 

2015, here we come!

January 06, 2015

eighteen, take two...

A week ago we hit a major milestone...

In what seems like the blink of an eye {or two}, our children are now grown.

It has been such a crazy-busy fall that he may have wondered if he would make it to eighteen, but here he is... with a little time on his hands to spare. He celebrated with friends, and then again with us.  Enchiladas, Red velvet cake. And a couple of ways to hear his favorite tunes: a new ipod {to replace the one he washed & dried} and a new radio for his truck. He is so thankful for both.

I am thankful... that he is such an amazing young man. Truly. I count my blessings and my lucky stars, and I cannot keep the tears from my eyes.  He earned his Eagle Scout at the end of November {we'll celebrate next month}, he has been accepted to numerous colleges, and he is one of the kindest people I know.  He has it all together... and I am excited to watch where he takes it.


January 05, 2015

riding into the new year... on a bicycle built for two

All it took was a batting of my lashes {along with a shopping list and the promise of a shared trip to the grocery store} to convince him of a bike ride.  We hit the open rode, in tandem... past the orange groves, over the bridge, and then back again. Six and a half miles of chatting, pedaling hard, and celebrating the most important number. Two. I am ever thankful for this partnership we share, and I don't want to pass up the chance to say I love you.

: :

I tucked a little red notebook into my purse... for the sole purpose of jotting down gifts. I need to be more intentional in naming them, one by one.

-mimosas to celebrate the new year
-a lazy morning, watching the Rose Bowl parade in two sections
-hanging with my guys
-Annie! So much more than i thought to hope
-a lazy paddle
-blue sky, pink bird
-sonic vanilla diet coke
-my 18 year old chauffeur
-chinese food and a fortune cookie message
-finally finishing up a movie we've been watching for a week
-a bicycle built for two
-an unexpected weekend off for eric!
-beautiful weather
-a great ride
-a puddle of lilies

-watching a woodstork come in for a landing and shake the whole tree
-packing up the Christmas tree early
-the Eagle Scout invites perfect, at last
-the idea of her singing his song at his court of honor
-date night laughter
-sitting and chatting and sipping at Dagny's
-the arrival of the last two Christmas gifts
-their reaction
-wine delivered with beautiful memories
-wine sipped in new glasses
-his death scene with big blankie
-perfecting the red velvet cupcakes so he can et them
-shining so that others might see Him through me
-great is they faithfulness
-trip planning...


January 03, 2015

a good day...

The sun whispered its goodnight hours ago, but I can feel the warm pink remnants of it on my skin. It reminds me that today was a good day. A good day for a lazy paddle under a blue, blue sky, with some of the very best people.

Out and back, and it is always good, even if the wind laughs at our effort and makes us work for the fun. Gators laze in the sun, mullet jump in front of us. One, two, three...and four! Better than skipping rocks. A glimpse of pink up ahead changes our right-then-left course. It is a rare and special treat to see a roseate spoonbill and no one wanted to miss the chance.

Cam drags his kayak over the weir, and explores the mangrove stream while we wait for his report. Plenty of head room, no spiders. Maybe next time we'll join him. I capture him in a state of pure relaxation and count my blessings that he has this time to rest. College applications finished, two and a half weeks of Christmas break, and a day without a list of must-dos. He needs this, probably more than I know.

A green heron flies silent up ahead, lights in the grass, takes off again once we near.  A mullet splashes again off to our right, and with a few more strokes of the paddle, we make our way to the dock. Happy. Filled. Content. And unbeknownst to us, just a little bit sunburnt.

January 02, 2015

when it is time to begin again...

I don't take much stock in fortune cookies.

But I believe in a God who can do the impossible... and I believe the message matches up with what God has been pressing on my heart.
It is time to begin again...
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