July 07, 2017

from the drafts: balloons

from the drafts: april means hot air balloons... but the past two years, it has been cancelled.  it is a good thing my memories are fresh and i have photos galore. they bring me right back to the feelings of joy!

When my friend Christine knocked on my door at 5:30 am, I jumped up and down and clapped my hands, and she doubled over with laughter. It reminded her of our first trip out to see the balloons, when her daughter told me through her own laughter that I was acting like a five year old! 

I knew I was going out to the festival both Saturday and Sunday, so I kind of planned to just watch and enjoy the balloons... but it seems that I can't help myself, and I got us wrapped up in crewing a balloon.  Christine was such a good sport, as always, and let me have my way!  


We went back Sunday with Mom, Bob & Camden. And guess who got to go UP in a tethered balloon?! This was the experience I had dreamed of way back when...
: :

Christine sent me this poem just a few weeks ago!  Perfect.

A Great Day
I woke right up this morning.
I was up before the sun.
The adventure we were planning would be filled with lots of fun.
We left our house real early.
All of us were in the car.
Driving over to the fairgrounds, it was really not too far.
It was filled with great big baskets, each with ropes hung all around.
Big, huge sheets of many colors lay all over on the ground.
Then hot air balloons were floating.
They rose up into the sky.
Giant, yellow flames were shooting.
They were reaching way up high.
There were blue and green and brown ones.
There were some with big, red stars.
There were shapes like dogs and kittens, and some frogs and balls and cars.
As I watched them flying higher, they slipped silently away.
I hugged my MOM and told her, “Let’s see that again, OK?”


July 06, 2017

our girl...

Last summer, her world shifted. Home from a mountaintop experience of volunteering at the LCMS National Youth Gathering, she lost half her work hours at the zoo. As much as she loves {LOVES} that zoo, getting her full time hours was a struggle - she'd work them a few weeks, and then she wasn't scheduled for anything but her giraffe time. We could tell it was taking a toll on her confidence, her dreams, and on her soul itself.

After a(nother) month of struggling, she decided to look for a part time job to add to her giraffe days. The local Children's Museum interviewed her for less than ten minutes, and then she got a call offering the job. She's been there since September, and loving it.
halloween at the museum

Within weeks we noticed she was coming back around to herself... and we have just been thankful. Even though her work week was six days (3 days zoo, 3 days museum) she began to blossom once again. I have loved listening to her chatter on about her day, and once in a while she shares that she earned another "star"... a compliment from a co-worker or a guest.

At the end of April, Laura received news that she had been accepted to join the Lutheran Young Adult Corps... and it is her current dream come true. In just a month she will be headed off for urban ministry in Boston! It is a ten month position and she thrilled to have the chance to be a part of this first mission!

All along, through her Zoo School experience and her jobs, I have continued to recite the verse that helps me breathe when I start to worry about the future...

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD,
plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

He has hopes and dreams for us that we can hardly fathom... and He will lead us to them. When you look back along the journey, it is amazing to see the twists & turns in the road... and in place of those hairpin turns that broke our hearts, we now say ah-ha! I am ever thankful for this... as it gets me through the newest twist along our way, with a sense of comfort, even in the dark.

Time is flying, as summer does, and the time for her to head north is coming quickly. We can hardly wait to see what God has in store for her as he continues to work in her life.

July 05, 2017

life lately... independence day

We didn't have big plans for celebrating the holiday... we were just happy to both have Monday & Tuesday off together! Since I knew I wasn't going to talk Eric into the beach fireworks on Tuesday, I figured it would be worth a shot to try for the local baseball game on Monday, since they had fireworks afterwards...

1. On the way to the game, I spotted this atrocity. I don't know how they got it all
fastened up there, and I certainly didn't trust it to stay! We got out from behind them
as soon as we could... 

2. We arrived at the game, and even though it was under a lightning delay, I was excited!

3. I think what I liked best about the game was... watching them take the tarp off the field,
seeing the many moods of the sky beyond the stadium (from sunset to crazy lightning!)
and just having time out with Eric. Apparently, I don't care for baseball. Oops. 

4. Us, looking super cute in our Cornell College caps! We were prepared for the rain that delayed
the game after the third inning (raincoats, umbrella & hats)... but after an hour we decided we
were not prepared to hang around until after midnight for the fireworks. See #3. 

5. Eric got up at 2 am to start his beef brisket in the smoker... 12 hours!

6. Playing Game of Phones at our friend's house. Cam gave John this card game for his
birthday and it is SO. FUN. I did NOT accidentally buy a refrigerator this time around.
Our friends happened to have this cool charging station, which was a pretty great accessory!

7. Toasting the holiday with a little patriotic lemonade!

8. The beef brisket was worth his sleepless night... it was delicious!

9. And what is a holiday without dessert? Chocolate pavlova... but for the second year
in a row my meringue flattened in the oven. Anyone know why?

I hope your day was great!

July 02, 2017

from the drafts: that week in may...

from the drafts:
i found a few written-but-never-published posts... and to get my voice going, i'm finishing them up!
this one is from LAST may...

That week Camden was home in May {see also, this post} was the beginning of the settling of my soul. For too long, my heart had been in a mess over my job, and I finally let go, agreeing to interview for a job that had been {sort of} offered.  And, of course, any time I have the four of us under one roof, life feels good and right.

These two fall right back into their rhythm of banter, and oh how I love to hear the joy in each of their voices across the house. If I ever feel like my parenting has lacked (and so often, I do), I know that I have succeeded in teaching them that their family is their home.

And something almost as important, that I know they know, is that your friends can also be your family. We went out for a family dinner, with friends, to celebrate these two, and their successful first year of college. It was a joy and a relief to know that they overcame their personal challenges and made the most of their opportunities. They soared like the Eagles they are, and found that their scouting skills really are life skills.

We spent his last day at SeaWorld, since we could only get him back to Iowa from Orlando anyway. It was a relaxed kind of day, the only plan being to enjoy. The time together filled my soul, shored up my heart...

Looking forward to August when we are four once again...

July 01, 2017

who's fooling who?

He's half-way through college, and was been home for six weeks. That's all I get this summer, and I've been thankful for each day. Now I'm up against the longest stretch of ever being apart from him. Six months. Christmas. Suddenly, I wonder if I'm just fooling myself. Am I really doing as okay as I say I am? Or... in the in-betweens, am I just marking time, as if living for the weekend?

I count the hours until he arrives, and when my arms are finally around him, joy spills down my cheeks. And the last week he's home, my emotions catch me off guard and the tears spring at any given thought. He's sweet though, and the sight of those tears brings out the very best in him... and he promises to be better at calling me. We'll see.

Our empty nest is just another four weeks away... and we prepare for it with excitement. For us, and for them. The opportunities Laura & Camden have created for themselves are quite amazing, and we are so thankful and thrilled for them! And this is the way it should be... what we dreamed about, worked towards, planned for. So why the emotion? The coming and goings are hard... they just are. Especially knowing that this is the next step to from now on...

Maybe it's just fair to say that the joy I get from having our family of four under one roof is something so beautiful and, as time goes on, rare... so when I'm in the midst of it, there is hardly anything else...
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