August 24, 2016

life lately {and then there was july}...

If June was healing, July was busy.
Busy with life, and fully enjoy the days again...

1. We had a small Third of July dinner at our house, and we grilled 
romaine lettuce for the first time. It won't be the last! I loved it!

2. Our traditional before they go to Africa dinner... I'm sorry, Tina & Oakley, 
that you didn't fit in the frame! It was a fun night and they had a great trip!

3. With the arrival of this shirt, I could finally bundle up our shirts for the NYG and pack! 

4. A quick trip to Disney Springs and finally getting to try this little cake 
I had been dreaming of. It was almost as good as I wanted it to be...

5. Our first Wine Club Dinner at Cooper's Hawk was beyond fantastic!

6. I loved this thank you I got in the mail... one I will keep.

7. At the NYG and finding our girl at her volunteer job! 
We loved that she had the opportunity to be a YAV!

8. The four of us, together again!

9. Our great friends hosted a little Christmas in July party, complete with 
a great dollar store gift exchange. I loved seeing these two picking up right 
where they left off last summer...


I am enjoying catching up....

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August 23, 2016

winding down {but trying not to think about it}...


Last year at this time we were making the long, beautiful drive to Iowa...
It was mostly just corn fields, and while they were beautiful, I think more of the beauty was found inside the car, along the way. Laughter, chatter, and time. Those long days of driving and exploring that we had together before leaving him at college were a gift... one I wouldn't trade for the world.

Camden is still home... for two more weeks. I am trying not to count the days. And this year, he'll fly back to Iowa, retrieve his stuff from storage, and move himself in. Yes, part of me wants to be there. The other part? The other part of me hates moving and knows that this is a life skill that will serve him well over the years. He has already proven he can manage it with the summer moving in & out of the dorms, so this time I am not even going to worry.

Pretty soon we'll have to start pulling together everything he has strewn about our daily life, and zip it into his suitcase, but for right now, there is still time to be carefree. Cam & Laura have enjoyed his time home probably more than any of us. Their friendship goes beyond brother & sister, and I am thankful for yet another gift. Last night they cooked dinner together, and I will never tire of hearing their voices, just within earshot, bantering back and forth, and just being silly.

I am so thankful that we have taught them to be silly, and hopeful that they will hold onto it for their whole life...
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August 19, 2016

healing june...

Dear June,
Thank you. Thank you for being the start of healing me. You were my fresh start, my second (fourth?) chance, the window that let peace find its way in again. 

Maybe I will never overcome the first day jitters, but it was all joy once I arrived at my new job and was welcomed with arms wide open. It has been a great change for me, and an easy adjustment. I miss my friends at the old place, but once I realized that just walking in the door there filled me with an anger, the choice to leave was made. I could compile a whole list of why I love my new job, but the most important reason is the peace that it has brought to my soul. 
Peace also comes to me here... the gentle sound of the gulf, the laughter that bubbles up from me when I watch the coquinas dig their way back into the sand, and the way a walk along the shore clears my mind to make way for new blessings.
I knew in May that I would have to repeat the surgery from last October. I had two procedures in between, we scheduled the big surgery for August, then moved it up to June. That October ordeal was lingering in my head, but I was hopeful that it would not be repeated, and I prayed for an easier time. My parents decided that they would come across to Miami this time, and I was thankful for a kiss and an I love you from my Mom before I was rolled away. As always, Eric was by my side until they sent him to the waiting room. When I woke up in recovery I felt good, and was so thankful for a successful surgery. We even went home that night. Eric is such a good caretaker... I am ever thankful that he puts up with me. Will the surgery be a forever fix this time around? I just don't know, but it was worth a(nother) shot. 
And, June, when the end of you rolled around, I felt like I was enjoying the new beginning of me. I still had a lot on my plate, and a little more time to devote to healing, but you surrounded me with the people who love me... and you reminded me that laughter, friends, cheesecake, wine, and even salad, can sometimes be some of the very best medicine. 

Oh June, thank you... from the bottom of my heart.
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August 18, 2016

look...



Even
After 
All this time 
The sun never says to the Earth...

"You Owe Me."

Look
What happens
With a love like that,
It lights the whole sky.

-anonymous

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August 17, 2016

twenty-four years...

We decided to celebrate a day early, because, why not? We started the day off at our favorite breakfast spot (we were in the area) then moved on to errands and groceries. It is the love wound through daily life that makes twenty-four years so beautiful.
After we whispered goodnight, I said I didn't get you a card, so don't get me one. He laughed back I didn't. So, is the romance gone after all these years? Not at all. It is found in the doors held open, taco Tuesdays, the key tumbling in the lock, the sharing I love yous in the mess of midweek... the being home to one another.

It was a beautiful anniversary celebrating this beautiful life.
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August 16, 2016

fitting it in...

It doesn't feel quite like summer without a little family vacation, but it has been almost impossible to schedule it with Cam spending most of this summer in Iowa. But... he's home now, and we decided to scoot away this past weekend, the four of us, and pick up where we left off at SeaWorld.

It doesn't really matter where we go as much the being together matters. I can definitely feel that the beginning of the end is in sight... that family trips will soon be the exception rather than the rule. Even more reason to cherish four.
The day was grand, and full of thrills. Seventeen roller coaster rides for them, about half of that for me, and a few less for Eric. For the most part, we trekked the park as a group, enjoying the shows and time together. We let them loose to ride the new roller coaster a few more times while we... rested.
There is nothing like walking ten miles under the Florida summer sun!  We did find a few places to cool off though... like the Arctic, and Antarctica! I think Camden would have also liked the front row at the Shamu show.... but the top row of the splash zone was as close as I was willing to get!

At the end of the day, we were still laughing, still enjoying just being together. There is no more success than that...
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August 11, 2016

life lately...the rest of may

I haven't quite decided if I want to look back, or move forward... but I had fun scrolling through the May memories...

1. Camden had to fly back to Iowa through Orlando, which was the perfect excuse to
spend the day at SeaWorld. The shark tunnel was empty, which never happens,
so I made them back up for a picture!

2. Instead of dinner at SeaWorld, we met up with Cam's friend Jason...
because what college kid couldn't benefit from a free meal?!

3. After the airport we zipped into Disney Springs! Aristocrepes was not open...

4. but the Sprinkles ATM was! Red Velvet.

5. Wine club night a Cooper's Hawk! Wine is good, but friends are even better.

6. This cat! This is her new favorite way to lounge...

7. Memorial Day service of American Friendship is one of my favorites...
maybe because of the flags!

8. And we topped it off with a beach sunset.

9. Planning, planning...for the NYG in July.
Once this chart is finalized I might be able to breathe!

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August 08, 2016

through the woods...

Yesterday had me content on the couch, in my pajamas, enjoying the Olympics. But I kept hearing a voice in my head saying win the weekend, it's not too late. With sleepy eyes, and not too much convincing in my voice, I suggested a walk to the swamp. I think it was met with the same unconvinced heart. But...
It was just what I needed, as it almost always is. The sky was overcast, holding off the heat, and as we made our way deeper into the swamp, we could feel the air cool just a little bit more. As we passed the trees with the red lichen, I took a few extra deep breaths, drinking that best air into my system.

It has been a tough weekend, with a traffic incident that has shaken me (everyone is okay) and wreaked havoc on my heart. Today it seemed just right to surround myself with God's beauty, a reminder that no matter what, He is everything... and has created everything I need.

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August 05, 2016

the last five steps...

It was the last five steps that were my undoing. 
I made it through the last week with only joy... no undercurrent of any emotion but joy.

When I spotted him coming around the corner, I waved, but Cam's head was down. When he looked up, he saw me instantly and returned the wave. His pace did not increase. He is the laid back one. I held the railing as an anchor, holding me back from rushing the security barrier, and he smiled. In his never ending quest to make me laugh, he began to walk in exaggerated slow motion... and the tears spilled down from out of nowhere. The next moment had his arms around me, muffling the sobs. And I whispered... everyday you come home to me is the best day ever.

**This was written at the beginning of May... he was home for ten days. Our boy is finally home again after this very short trip! He spent the summer back in Iowa researching Monarch butterflies. It was a great opportunity for him... but we are so glad to have him home for a month this time!**


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August 03, 2016

life lately...

When I'm feeling on top of my life, I snap away at the moments, soaking them in, each seeming too sacred to miss. In the midst of my mess, I find fewer and fewer memories recorded... just when I should be seeking His gifts relentlessly. 
1. Taking time out for a beach walk... heavenly. It was even better to catch up
with a friend for six miles, and then another hours rest. 

2. A little spring cleaning... making our doorstep say welcome! I loved that I found something in the house that would make a great shade for the outdoor light... just add zip ties.

3. When Cam & John went to college this fall, we decided we {with Jenn & John}
needed a hobby. Jenn suggested bowling... but wine won when Cooper's Hawk opened.
Monthly wine tastings are better than bowling. 

4. After months and months of our cordless phone dying on pick-up,
we broke down and bought a battery. It seemed like a huge milestone. 

5. Crème brûlée by Eric. Delicious

6. Spring walks at Bird Rookery Swamp are a sure way to my heart... and a clear mind.

7. I call it beach litter... and I adore all of the little bits that are tossed up, so artfully, by the sea. 


8. When it is just-about-time for your son to come home, there is shopping to do!


9. I laughed and laughed about how now that "I" am out of school, I still have
school projects... like these little thank yous to the teachers at Eric's schools. They have
made him feel so welcome during his first year as a Youth Relations Deputy.



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August 02, 2016

i realize the why...


I've been writing, off and on, for over eight years.
I have wondered if the words will cease, and joy blooms when I can hear them in my heart again. My words are for me, but I have enjoyed sharing along the way. Sometimes I go back and read... to see where I have been, to gauge where I am. To acknowledge my voice, to make sure I am still me. 

There are lessons, there are things that make me smile, and there are words that bring back the tears as if transported back to that moment in time. I write to remember, to celebrate, and... it occurs to me now, I write to worship.

When I go back and read, I see it.
I see the worshiping... the singing thanks for the gifts that He has lavished upon me. The sunsets, the sea, the love, and the mess of me.

I am nothing without God, the author of my life. He has me on a journey... one that will begin again in His arms. But in the now, He nudges me to notice, to give thanks, to revel in the beauty He has created.

The words are coming around again...

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August 01, 2016

the re-start of me...


Deep breath in...exhale.
It is hard to start, harder to keep going. And the re-start? It might be the hardest of all. But I must begin. For me.

I have been marking time for too many months, in too many, if not all, aspects of my life. Maybe I cannot change the way my body & soul react to an interrupt, but at forty-four, I know that I need not stay there. That I can't, because there is too much life and living to do.

In the interrupt, the limbo {which I am so not good at}, I have captured the daily gifts in small ways, let them bring me joy for the moment, and then... forgotten to celebrate them the way that makes me whole. Forgotten? Perhaps I've been incapable. Or maybe it is a mix of both, with some stress, fear, and sadness mixed in.

What I know is this... I am not fully me, not living my best life, without the celebrating. 

For someone who is not great at finishing things, it surprises me that I feel I need to finish one stage of my life to move on with the next. After the graduation party, after we get him settled at school, after the surgery, after the recovery, after... And life goes on, happening day by day, month by month, while I wait to get through the next big thing. Maybe I had to many big things happening all at once.

And then the unexpected... my job imploded. My boss resigned the week before Christmas, leaving us truly heartbroken. It was her only choice, the circumstances ugly, and as a team of three, we could hardly go on. It only got worse in the limbo... additional work, added stress, an uncomfortable replacement, and the hope for something better seemed unrealistic when we had already had the best. But hope, we did... until there wasn't any left.

I started a new job in June, and I am finally resurfacing from the dark. In the meantime, I repeated the October surgery (it went much easier this time) and am hopeful that this time will be the last. Two weeks ago we took our youth group back to New Orleans for the NYG, and finally, I feel like time might be on my side.

Time. We all have the same 24 hours in each day... but it is up to us to figure out how to dole out the hours, where to spend the energy, who we can please and who we can't. I am so thankful that all of this is covered in Grace... that God renews us each and every day.

Today I am choosing to accept that renewing... and return to the practice of beauty seeking, celebrating, and being me.

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