February 17, 2020

a little nostalgia...

live in the sunshine.

swim in the sea.

drink in the wild air. 

-emerson

February 10, 2020

my cathedral...

Perhaps most moms-to-be hope for one of each... a girl and a boy. But, I had such vivid memories of my childhood best friend and her brother fighting, fists and teeth and loud words, that I was scared of that dream. I thought that was the way it was, would be. And then... here I was, with a baby brother for my little girl. I knew that I didn't want what I already knew of brother/sister relationships, and somehow in that, God helped me create something beyond my wildest dreams.

A couple of weeks ago my sister re-posted a monologue by Nicole Johnson, The Invisible Woman. I have seen her perform it a few times, and I believe she has written a book about it. Re-reading the words brings me right back... to the days when so much was asked of me, and I felt overwhelmed and under-qualified. The days I felt I wasn't included because I was a Mom... with kids who would need to tag along. All the times when I just couldn't answer one more question, or feel one more touch. Motherhood can be wonderful and terrible all at once.

But these two have brought me more joy that I could have known. God showed grace upon grace through the seasons of bickering, and now, as I have said time and time again, their chatter is my favorite thing. When they would be getting ready for school, in the backseat, on the phone... I am so thankful that they will always have the other - to talk with, to be championed by, to laugh with, to hold each other up. They are silly, and quirky, and two halves of my heart. If I have done nothing else right, there is this...

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we’re
doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel,
not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the
world by the sacrifices of invisible mothers.” -Nicole Johnson

February 07, 2020

being light...

Never would I have thought how much I would enjoy sharing an office with someone... but I do love it. I'm sure it has all to do with who she is. We chat and we laugh, we get our work done, and then we might laugh a little more... and sometimes we share hearts. The other day she told me that she was telling her husband how nice I was, genuinely nice, and how she has always wanted to be that. Humbled by her statement, I let her know that she is, because she has a really kind, beautiful heart! But then she went on to relate it to being a Christian. Now that has made me think...

While I certainly don't believe that Christians have a monopoly on kindness or being nice, I do think, for me, my faith is who I am and it directs my heart towards kindness, and making someone's day a little bit brighter if I can. People pleaser? Yes. Once it was out of fear of not being liked, but now? I take these statements to heart...
You may be the only Jesus someone sees today.
and
Spread love wherever you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier. - Mother Teresa 

Later, the topic came up in conversation with someone else. Though I know that the words and joy that flow from me are genuine, I wondered... do people feel the truth in me? My breath caught as I waited on her reply, but there wasn't a need. She spoke what I hoped to hear, and went on to qualify it and reinforce it. Exhale.

Live your truth, let your joy shine in the skip of your step, the smile on your face {or in your eyes}, and your actions. Live out loud... because you really might be the only glimpse of Jesus in someone's day, and I think it is the easiest, most beautiful way, to share the Good News.

February 05, 2020

the playlist...

We sit, and I wait for him to choose a show. Oh look what's on again?! I just laugh... because he has faithfully chosen this pilot episode of Zoe's Extraordinary Playlist every time he scrolls through. There is something about it that connected with his heart... so much so that it has played five or six times on our t.v., as he impatiently waits for the series to begin {Feb. 16th} Maybe it's the flash mob dancing, or perhaps just the music...
: :
Bumping along the winding, dusty roads of Africa, songs popped into my head and became a part of my day, and a lasting addition to my memories. My African playlist. I have carried it home, in my heart...

Sun's coming up... 
This bird squwaked his good morning song while we admired our first sunrise of the safari. Good morning Amboseli National Park.

I wonder where the lions are...
With rumor of lions, we circled 'round and back... stared, and tried to make clumps of golden grass into the sight we sought. We never did see any that first morning, but later in the trip we were reward plenty!
 There are places I remember...
Eight years and a world apart, and the memories of my heart didn't betray me. On that first trip, I made a desperate effort to imprint this place in my mind. I could feel the familiarity of a road, a river, a tree... it was a feeling of relief, that my memories were not just a dream.
I saw the sign...
I probably did not capture all the signs I wanted to, traveling quickly over bumpy roads. But these...they made me smile.
 

Walkin' along singin' a song...
The wildlife meanders through the trees, along the plains. Coming up towards the start of the migration, zebra & wildebeest were headed to the rivers. In Tarangire, the elephants headed to the water...

Gary Gnu coming right at you...
Did you ever watch the New Zoo Revue? It was one of my favorites... Henrietta Hippo, Freddie the Frog... and Gary Gnu {who, of course, did the news...} I could watch the wildebeest all day. While we didn't witness THE migration, we saw the early stages, which was so special to me!

Here comes the sun...
Sunrise in Africa? As beautiful as any sunrise or sunset over the ocean. The colors of the earth come alive right before your eyes.

Just around the riverbend...

Same river, different bend. When we returned to camp in the evening, we chased the sunset, and the baboons played in the shallows.

Hills and vallies...
Up and down, over head and along the rim. This part of the world is so magnificent... and God is Lord of all. 
 

February 04, 2020

this season...

Perhaps more than ever before, I feel myself beginning to bloom. I feel good in my skin, and am proud of the accomplishments I am making. Am I where I want to be? I'm getting there. It may not be as quickly as I want it to be, but I remind myself that the lessons don't come easy, and the longer I press the habits into my mind, the better chance I have at sticking by them. I have miles to go, but feel confident in my ability to continue the journey and make it my own.
And so the blooming? It is a joy that exudes and convinces me to start a conversation without fear, or dance in a crowd without caring if someone is watching. It is loud laughter and a funny comment, or sharing a bit of life-lived advice, offering my heart. It is stepping out of my shadow, and feeling like I belong.

This is the season she will make beautiful things.
Not perfect things,but honest things
that speak to who she is and who she is called to be.

-Morgan Harper Nichols

February 03, 2020

up close...

I swoop my hair to the left as I lean in to the mirror, assessing the smudged liner at the corners of my eyes. Up this close, I see the light catch the silver strands that hide among the chestnut, and I wonder for the umpteenth time if I should do something about them. There aren't too many, but just a few months ago someone gave me a genuine compliment on my highlights. No, that's just my 48 years making their presence known. Once again, I decide to let it go and steer the concentration back to the ever-smudge of dark liner framing my eyes.

Once upon a time, a friend began to refer to me as the girl with the smiling eyes. How I love that! and wonder, do they still smile? Staring into the depths of flecked green, I crinkle up my eyes, and the reflection does, indeed, smile back. I believe it is the result of select wisdom, shared during my youth, by people I have admired...words that stuck in my soul and wrapped around my heart.

You shouldn't need a smile on your face for people to know you are happy... this is from my Mom, spoken as we trudged our way through knee deep snow, homeward bound from our walk to North Scituate on a snow day. I remember the fun of the walk, the chill, and visiting the yarn store {was it the only thing open?} and her voice sharing this bit of wisdom.

Your eyes are the windows to your soul, my dear...spoken in US History class by a favorite teacher. I had not done my reading, and he knew it. Though he said it with a smile, and a twinkle in his eye, he know that I understood, and I certainly realized that these eyes of mine are a dead give away.

And so my eyes tell the tale of today...
I am content.
I am joyful and joy-filled.
I am ready for adventure... even if it just a walk around the block.
I am here for you.
I am...