April 15, 2015

my choice...

It was a juggling of the car and an unexpected turn of scheduling that brought me the choice of how to spend an hour or so alone, while Eric went to his appointment. Hobby Lobby?  Or...
 
As I walked along the shoreline, the waves laughed at my state of over-dress, but what is a little salt-water between friends?  Soaked to the knees, I spent the hour thinking, breathing, walking... and enjoyed every minute. My mind worked overtime thinking that summer is coming, and I should do this more often after work.  Then I remembered, I live in summer all-year-round and there is no excuse for missing this beauty that is not all that far west of me...
Some days I collect treasures, but instead I just admired the heart-shaped stones and shells, and let the coquinas dig in peace. My pockets were full enough with my thoughts. There are life changes coming our way, and I want decisions decided, but he still has time. And a little bit of hope was whispered on another front, and my mind is reeling and planning, even though the time for that is probably too far off.

God's timing is perfect... and I need to remember that.  He will bring the answers and the plans in His time, and all I can do is wait. Be still and know. Easier said than done.

At the beach, time you enjoyed wasting, is not time wasted.
-t.s. eliot
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April 10, 2015

friday letters...

Dear Friends,
Here we go... another week gone by. How does this keep happening?! I can't bear to look at the calendar and count, but I know that there aren't too many Friday's between now and Camden's graduation. Now that I've said that, I want to look... but I don't. This is it. Less than two months left of high school. I am excited and ready to be done... but what it really means is that the next countdown will the weeks of summer... until he leaves for college {where ever that may be!}
Dear Weekend Weather,
I don't mean to be bossy, but you need to shape up!
There are hot balloons to be seen and I have a feeling they don't care for rain. Or thunderstorms. Here I go, into weather-denial {it is one of my gifts}... I am confident they will still be inflated, even if they don't fly.
Dear Eric,
You are such a good Dad. Thank you for offering to drive our girl to this concert tonight... I know how much she wants to go. She is sweet enough to feel bad that you are going to drive all that way just to drop her off and then turn around and come home. I love how we can balance each other out in this life of parenting... when I am grumbling, you are the nice one. And when you are fed up, somehow I can move in and smooth things over. And yet we are still {almost always} on the same page. I am so thankful that God matched us up for this journey.

Friends, I hope you have a wonderful {non-stormy} weekend!

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April 07, 2015

taking time...

Even if something is left undone,
everyone must take time to sit still, and watch the leaves turn.
~ Elizabeth Bury Lawrence
This seems to be my theme, even though it is hardly ever leaves. 
I just know that sometimes you have to walk away from even the must-do list to refresh your soul. It is one of the reasons I love to camp... I can just sit and enjoy the beautiful earth, and leave the rest of the world and my worries at home. 

Last night, as I was pushing my shopping cart over towards the cucumbers, I was almost cut off by a maybe-4th-grade-boy pushing his mom's cart. I stopped short and smiled, not the least bit upset. That mom looked at me apologetically, and then counted on her hand and said how many more years? in a way that made me want to cry. I wasn't brave enough to tell her that each moment is precious...

It has been so difficult watching my son as he agonizes over this college decision. Last night he spoke to Karl, an admission counselor for a school he had knocked off his list. Camden hung up the phone, dragged himself to the couch, and buried his head.  And?  He is back to a big three. I don't think this is bad... and I am even kind of over Iowa. He suggested that we play a video game, and while I have no idea how to play {or even the desire!} I knew he needed me to say YES! And so, I did. 

I may not be watching the leaves turn, but I am sitting still in the midst of this beautiful mess. Close enough in case he needs me, but wanting him to stretch those wings he has made strong, and make his right choice, wherever that may be. 

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April 06, 2015

happy easter...

He is risen, He is risen indeed!
I was busy in the kitchen when Eric and Laura got home from singing at the second church service.  It didn't take long for Camden to come in and nudge me.  What? He didn't answer with words, but nudged again, adding a head bob towards the living room. Oh… Yes. He had been waiting patiently to dig in to his Easter basket, and now that Dad and Laura were home, he was ready. I love how the promise of a few silly treats can make an eighteen year old act like he is six.
i love the excitement of that blurry-no-good-photo...
We had a full house for dinner… fifteen. I love to dress the table just-so, and this year I went for green and pink, which made me think preppy every time I turned around. Just after the prayer, I remembered to take a picture… and Bob yelled out no phones at the table! I laughed, snapped a few pictures, and set it aside. I count it as a blessing that it was the only phone by the table, even with the crew of kids.


The day cooled, the sun dipped down, and I didn't want the beautiful day to ever end. I love to have my family together... and I love to see my kids enjoy it just as much. Laura chatted away between the groups of kids and adults, and Camden was himself... more carefree than I have seen him in a handful of weeks. 

I hope your Easter was beautiful... filled with love and hope. 
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April 02, 2015

what i learned in march...

I'm not sure how it is possibly April... the weeks and months keep slipping away.  But here we are, and March is a memory. Here is what I learned in March...

1. they do change the bulbs!
Cam always laughs about big stores whose light-up signs are displaying a different message just because a few bulbs have burned out. We had been watching the grocery store for over a month, and then one day, we happened to be there when they were fixing it! I was fascinated by what it looked like under those covers!

2. camping without electricity is possible
For years our camping requirement has always been that the campsite must have power and water. This month, we went out on a limb and  made a reservation for a campsite without both. Guess what? We loved it. Truly. In fact, we made a declaration that we might only ever camp there again. Before we got in the car to head home, we took a moment for a high-five!  We did it! It felt like an accomplishment, but you will not find me camping at a campground without decent bathrooms.


3. my camera has voice control
One morning my office mate came out to my desk with her phone and a lot of excitement. She then proceeded to show me that all she has to do was say cheese! and her camera would take a picture! I was fascinated and it didn't take me long to figure out how to make mine do it too.  I was so excited to show off my phone's new skill to my daughter... but it wouldn't cooperate!  We did, however, have a great time laughing and trying!

4. i can be brave. or brazen. 
I am a rule follower... especially when it comes to marching band. I don't want to overstep, or get my kid in trouble. But it is senior year, and I am all out of kids! As the band played at the opening of the county fair, I decided to step right up and take a few pictures of Cam playing. It was practically my last chance!
5. you can bring florida to chicago, but it will still snow
I seem to forget that it would be nice to bring a hostess gift when you are going to visit for a few days, and then, at the last minute I remember. As we wandered around in the airport on the way to our gate, I picked up a mini palm tree, some gummy gators and... a key lime pie all packed for travel! It was fun to carry Florida to Chicago! But you can't fool a winter city...

6. there are things i will do once, enjoy, and probably not do again.
On the airplane we splurged and watched a movie {The Good Lie.} It was... fantastic, but maybe not the right movie to watch on an airplane. If I had been in the dark theater, or at home in my living room, I would have sobbed.  On the plane I just had to cover my face and hold the tears back, try not to make a scene.  While we were away I went crazy and ordered  marscapone/pine nut pancakes. They were rich and delicious and sprinkled with lavender.  I did like them, but next time I'll probably order plain Jane.
7. iowa is all fields and farms and silos and trains
If you are playing travel bingo and you need a silo to win, take a drive through Iowa. Our college trip from Chicago to Iowa was chock full of fields and silos!  I really had no idea. Years ago my dear friend Erin said that if I ever came to Iowa, we'd go on a farm safari... and now I know why. I hated not to see her on this trip, but it would have been another five hours. Maybe we'll go back sooner than later? {I really have NO idea} But if we do?  I am bringing ear-plugs because about 85 trains woke me up in the night...

I've been wanting to take part in Emily's "what I learned series" for a while... but I feel like sometimes we are half-way through the new month before I remember! I'm hoping to learn a little in April, too!
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April 01, 2015

there is a lot going on...

I should have written some Friday letters last week, but Friday flew by and then the weekend with no plans was... full. It seems to be the general theme these days. But the other night we escaped to the beach for sunset... because sometimes Monday needs a dose of salty sea air and a sprinkling of sand across its toes.
Last week's college visit was really great. Really great.  And now I am in love and what if he doesn't choose Iowa?  Somehow he has narrowed his picks from seven to two, and Iowa is still in the running. He doesn't know how to choose, and as much as I want to shout pick mine! I won't... because it is not my choice. I have tried so hard not to influence this choice, and it is not even a little bit easy... but it is not my life to live. So we focus on scholarships and let the decision hang in the balance.

Even if he doesn't choose the Iowa school, the trip was not for naught. Since we flew in and out of Chicago, I had the chance to actually be with Amy on her birthday and celebrate with her! We retraced October steps to the pizza place where we had the rehearsal dinner was held... and it was just as good as I remember. We had so much fun visiting Amy, William & Drew in Chicago and even learned a little bit about wine tasting...
 Laura's job at the zoo has been busy! 'Tis the season for school trips, and kids have been showing up by the bus load! Add those happy faces to the crowds that have escaped to Florida from their snowy homes and the zoo has reported their best year yet. My girl keeps selling those lettuce leaves and the giraffes keep enjoying them. Since she is not allowed to take pictures while she is on duty, we strolled there last Saturday and I love this picture I caught of her happy face...
Sometimes when life is racing around and my mind is just too full, the best thing I can do is get outside. The fresh air always does good for my heart and soul.

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