September 24, 2015


I am pushing myself through the days, sometimes speaking out loud to accomplish this or make progress on that. This morning I hit a wall... wondering if I was coming or going, and only wanting to hide under the covers for a few more hours, or maybe the rest of the day. I wonder if I am starting to get sick, but I don't even what to think about it, since I must be well for my surgery next week. {surgery?! yes... hoping for a final fix to this.}

I headed out the door anyway... and in my blah mood, my eyes were glued to the road, my heart heavy with doubt. Half-way to work, three of my favorite songs played on the radio in a row, starting with Mandisa's Good Morning... how can you not feel just-a-little-better when you hear that? Though I felt encouraged, I could still feel a tear or two hovering in the wings.  I dropped Laura at the zoo, thanked her for her help in getting me out the door this morning, and then headed off to work, wondering, how? And just before I came to the zoo entrance, I spotted a little blue zippy car. I stopped and in a flurry of arms flying and buttons being pushed, I finally got my window rolled down. She did the same, and we shouted I love yous across the road.

Thank you, God... for lining up your love for me... even putting my Mom in just the right place at just the right time. You always know just what I need, and I am so thankful for your provision, the way you make me feel loved.

September 23, 2015

coming home...

All I really wanted to do was see the mountains... I talked about it for months. On our way north, we planned to stop and admire them, but a storm swept through and as we drove uphill and down, all we could see was sheets of rain and faint tail lights ahead of us. Maybe on the way home

We left Chicago with our weather apps open, watching Hurricane Erika... hoping we could make it back ahead of her. Before the end of the day though, she had broken up and drifted far into the Gulf. We were happy to slow our pace just a bit and Eric decided it would be okay to detour down into Gatlinburg.

We arrived in time for a little fun at OberGatlinburg...
the last time i went down an alpine slide was three days before i started 7th grade!

And in the morning, the shortest path home was up and over the mountain. As we drove up, the beauty took my breathe away. And when he said Let me know if you want to stop at an overlook, my eyes must have danced. Six overlooks later he was probably sorry he had offered, but that is one of the things you do for love. {Or maybe mostly so I would stop complaining about not having time to stop when we drove through in 2005.}

I think he thought I might have been kidding when I said I never thought I would see this beauty, but I wasn't. Every view was postcard perfect and I was in awe of how God made the peaks and folds of our beautiful earth. That He would do this just so our eyes could take in such an amazing sight... it made me giddy. 

The dramamine I took for the curves of the mountain roads kicked in and I slept on and off most of the day... Eric was wide awake though, and I was thankful he could put the miles behind us.  When we finally made it into Florida, with many hours still ahead of us, and the promise of heavy rain bands headed our way, we stopped for one last night. For a moment, I wondered if I was afraid to go home. But after a good night's rest, a few more hours of driving, and a stop at the grocery store, there we were. Home. And it was a-okay. 

Home is where love resides, memories are created, 
friends are always welcome, and family is forever.

{even if one of them has run off to Iowa}

September 16, 2015


This is one of my most favorite pictures. Ever.

You are precious in every way, the sunshine in my day,
the joy in my soul, and the love of my life.


September 14, 2015

after the goodbye...

He came up with the perfect idea before it ever crossed my mind. I'm not sure when, or if, it ever would have. I'm sure he was thinking survival when he said What if we drive to Chicago to see Amy after we drop Cam off?  Usually I plan these kinds of things in the secret of my mind, and drop almost invisible hints until he comes around to thinking it was his idea, but this time?  All him. There is more than one reason he is my hero.

It took us exactly 4 hours and 10 minutes to arrive at their door... dinner was ready, and they had already poured the champagne. What a way to celebrate friendship, Camden's adventure, and us being able to drive away with a smile! We spent two days in Chicago, enjoying our friends and the city, complete with lovely fall weather.

I think it was the anticipation of this trip that got me through the goodbye. Otherwise, I'm not sure I could have handled driving off in the empty car, headed to our almost empty home. Thank you, my dear, for knowing me so well...


September 10, 2015

journey to a smile...

The pains started about two weeks ago. The clutch in my chest. The sting of tears behind my eyes. He is really leaving...

We were in the kitchen starting dinner and I told Eric I'm starting to get sad. With love and knowing in his eyes, he replied I was wondering when, and he kissed the top of my head. We both know life will be different with our easy-going, adventurous son half-way across the country.

Breathe in. Breathe out.
In. Out. Just keep breathing.

The breathing is working, the sadness has been shoved back behind the to-do list. Even his almost empty room seems okay. But today, the pains return stronger and closer together. Familiar... and I realize the laboring wasn't really over eighteen Decembers ago.  That finally now, almost nineteen years later, I must be prepared for that final push.

He leans his head onto my shoulder and it has a sweetness that seems to move me more than all the times I could hold all of him in my arms.

Breathe in. Breathe out.
In. Out. Just keep breathing.

Three farewell dinners, and between grandparents, we celebrated Friday pizza on a Wednesday. An ordinary evening in the mist of an extraordinary week. It is just what we needed. And those two... they sat and visited and played video games between slices, just as they have for twelve years. Boys to men. They wished each other well and sealed their friendship with a firm handshake.

Breathe in. Breathe out.
In. Out. Just keep breathing.

The list still lingers and Eric is out mowing the lawn. Cam and I find jobs we can do while we watch the last episode of Food Network Star. He looks at me sitting on the floor folding laundry and pats the seat beside him. For a moment I am torn, because the list, but I come to my senses and join him on the couch. It is only seconds before he leans fully into me, his head fitting just right into the crook of my neck. My chest is crushed with love and I try to hide my gasp for breath... and one lone tear escapes, leaving the others to burn. The mower continues to make loops around the yard and I feel almost guilty for sitting, but oh I cannot give up these minutes. Surely I am the luckiest mom in the world.

Breathe in. Breathe out.
In. Out. Just keep breathing.

Cam, are you ready for this adventure? he asks as we pull out of the driveway and begin the drive north. Of course he answers the only way he knows how Yes! It makes me smile knowing this is the honest truth. But when the next question comes from Eric, I pinch back tears. Is mom ready? I say Yes, because I want nothing to come between my son and his dreams.

The Iowa sunshine welcomed us to the land of corn, and we laughed as we put miles behind us. There is always fun to be had on a road trip. And then I saw the sign, Mount Vernon 8 miles, and all of the tears I had been holding back for weeks could not be held a moment longer.


He was good to me. He smiled for every picture; he let me take as many as I wanted. And then it was time... to say goodbye. I took his face in my two hands and repeated the goodbye I've uttered a million times before Make good choices, be YOU, I love you...

As he walked off into the sunshine, I saw him as the man he has become... and it made me smile.

September 02, 2015

life lately...

Two of us are home from our road trip... and Cam is all settled in at school. The trip was filled with fun and sights and a whole lot of love and courage. I have stories to share, but for now, here is a little glimpse...
1. all packed up for another day on the road... thankful to have finished
before the rain came down in buckets.

2. is it really a road trip without a stop at cracker barrel? and you know me... if you bring this girl to cracker barrel, she'll need to have some candy sticks {at least a couple of clove!}

3. we finally crossed the mississippi river into iowa in le claire... the home of antique archaeology! being big fans of american pickers, we had to stop and roam through the store! 

4. corn, sunshine and blue skies for days...

5. ice cream can fix just about anything... even a disappointing detour 

6. we moved in him in, explored campus, and somehow said goodbye...

7. next stop? chicago! we loved our few days with friends, and had time to do some city exploring.

8. we drove through the great smoky mountains on the way home and
OH MY GOODNESS it was a gorgeous drive!

9. he texted this picture to us, his handprint on the the campus rock, 
along with the words i knew you'd want to see this. yes, cam... you were right. 
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