October 08, 2021

friday virtual coffee...many months later

This October Friday finds me sitting in the same chair, with the same view (but perhaps a different mug.) I'm not complaining - I could sit here forever and be okay. In one more month we'll be back in the office, full time - take two. This work/life balance I have found over the last twenty months has been... glorious. It will be hard to go back. Just thinking about the commute makes me shudder. But it's Friday, and the weekend is almost here!

It took me six weeks to get that vaccine appointment for Bob {which seems unreal at this point, when no one seems to want it.} When the "book appointment" showed up on my computer screen, I didn't dare breathe, and typed in the information in a flurry of errors, barely holding myself together. And when it showed appointment confirmed, I lost it. On my knees, sobbing my thanks to God, all while trying to call my Mom and texting the six others we had trying to acquire this one appointment. I may have held my breath a little, waiting the week until the appointment... but now, all of us have been vaccinated, and I'm just thankful. 

In the many months since I've been here, I've been living, and it has felt good. Trips to the beach, walks in the woods. A glorious journey to the mountains. Bike rides, owl sightings, and more than a few family celebrations. And with our Covid Bubble friends, who already felt like family, we have found our way around some great fun. 

I hope to stay focused enough to tell the stories... because the words are here, but the follow through has been lacking. That makes me sad, but I think we may all be suffering from soul exhaustion. All of that energy I had for a thousand projects during the shut down is long gone... but that may just be the reality of living outside the bubble. I was hoping to hang on to some of that, and maybe now, saying it out loud, I can try to find a compromise within myself. 

I also hope to be back here, in this spot, long before so many months pass me by. 

January 29, 2021

friday virtual coffee...

You know when you have only a little to say about several things? A coffee chat is the way to go, and virtual? Well, what isn't virtual these days? Half of me longs for real-in-person-life, and the other half of me is pretty content with the isolation. On this Friday, which somehow feels like a Monday, I took out my Dolly mug and filled her up with some strong hot chocolate....because the coffee is already long gone {and now that I have said all of that, I hope I can recall what else is on my mind!}

My day started at the computer... trying to get a vaccine appointment for Bob. I do not know the trick to actually acquiring an appointment, and it's ticking me off {this has turned my rare cynical side on overdrive!} People get through, the appointments disappear. I feel like I am doing something wrong. But my Mom texts me that she loves me, and my heart softens enough to return to myself. I guess it's just not our turn. And... if all these people got appointments today, they shouldn't be on trying next time. I just want him safe. Even though I missed my walk in the chilly air this morning, I did get in over 5k steps at the computer. Check!

Yesterday I did get my walk in, although the chill had not quite arrived. The air seemed light and fluffy, wispy clouds blowing by, and catching sight of the beautiful lemon moon called me to walk a new way. I followed along beside, while she bobbed along the tree line. It's good to start the day with a smile!

And as today winds down to the weekend {thank you, God} I long to be in the sunshine and feel the breeze on my face. What does the weekend have in store? Maybe a morning of strawberries, definitely a little wine, a few rounds of the game with my parents, and rest... all enjoyed with the love of my life, who keeps me going. 

January 25, 2021

monday hope renewed...

Last week was tough...
Monday I felt like throwing in the towel. An afternoon visit to the doctor didn't help too much, but maybe the bronchitis was at least a reason for my mood. But I did what we all do, and pushed through, best I could. And this morning, on a new Monday, I laced up my shoes and started out the fresh new week with a renewed hope. The music propelled me along the sidewalk and into daybreak... and I caught a few glimpses of of radiant pink as I made the last few turns. I'm always thankful for the light.

I don't know much, except that hope is necessary for life, and it's value is under-rated. God keeps revealing that to me over and over again, so much so that I feel it is embroidered on my heart, and if ever I claimed a word for the year, this should be it. Maybe not for just the year, but for all time. 

He whispers the word in Swahili to my Africa-loving heart. Tumaini. He leads me to where it is etched in the sand beneath my feet. He directs my path... chasing the next beautiful sunrise, with hope that the next one will be THE most beautiful. {Who am I to limit the wonder He can paint in the sky?} He sings it to my soul...

You are the one thing that I need
This is my only hope
That you'll never let me go
I need an anchor
To hold me through the storm
-Anchor, Colton Dixon

January 20, 2021

life lately {scenes from a road trip part 2}...

Today is the day we arrive in Denver, and put our arms around our daughter. It's been almost a year. I'm so thankful we were able to visit last September, and I'm thankful now that we could take a {very careful} leap of faith and continue this road trip...

1. The plan? Head straight to CO. But once in a while...
you make room for something completely off the plan,
which is how we ended up in Wamego, KS, home of the Oz Museum. 

2. It made me grin to see this great green museum nestled into the very quaint Main Street.

3. While we waited for the museum to open, we wandered the town, found coffee
and Toto statues, and...

4. the Yellow Brick Road! Just a path from Main Street to the park, but if felt magical.
And...I made Eric walk much farther than he wanted to.

5. I expected the museum to be rinky-dink, but it was beautiful and so well done.
What a treasure we found off the beaten path!

6. You can even sit and watch the movie
{unless you have to finish your drive to CO!}

7. The Tin Man in the gift shop was just calling for a photo...

8. Just steps down the road, we visited the winery.
If you're on vacation, it is okay to do a wine tasting at 10:30am. 

9. And lunch! Toto's TacOZ. 

We had the full Wamego/Oz experience {or as much as we could in two hours} and we enjoyed the stop so much! Sometimes you have to make the quirky road stop... but the next stop? 

January 14, 2021

life lately {scenes from a road trip part 1}...

On the eve of July, we headed out on our long awaited road trip... armed with masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, Norwex cleaning cloths, and a cooler full of food. This was all just for travelling... never mind the rest of what was packed {Laura's too big to ship possessions} into the car. Our plan was to bee-line it to Denver, just to get to her, and the extra day off in the weekend. 
1. Ready to go... out of office email up and on my shirt! 

2. In all the cleaning out, I came across this state trivia learning
tool, and figured it was now or never! So with each state we passed
through, we learned a little something.

3. We ate lunch on the road, but we love this fancy Chik-fil-a,
and stopped for dinner {& gas next door.}  This year, it was just drive-thru.
We stopped for the night a little bit up the road, and learned...
 that hotel breakfasts are just grab & go now. 

4. Driving through Tennessee I tried to capture the COVID
messages on the electronic signs... just for the sake of posterity.

5. Picnic lunch and stretching our legs at the Kentucky rest stop.
Laura's Beanie Baby cat was along for the ride...

6. On into Illinois!

7. Driving through St. Louis.

8. Doesn't everyone carry their toll money in a taco?
Funny that I packed all of this change and most tolls were pay by plate...

9. We drove almost 15 hours the second day... the sun was shining and the roads were clear.
And, bonus that the day grew longer as we headed west. Double bonus for
Cooper's Hawk take-out in Kansas City!
{that makes this our 10th CH!}

Thank you, COVID, for not stealing this trip from us.
I needed it more than I knew...

January 08, 2021

hope motivated...

If you've been around me at all, you probably know how much I love the beauty of the sky. Vivid blue, rose gold, cotton candy streaked, fiery orange, liquid gold... I love it all. Sunrise? Sunset? Count me in. Always

The weather has been gorgeous for walking, but yesterday I was lazy. When I was talking to my work buddy on the phone, she mentioned how gorgeous the sky was, so I walked out to the driveway and WOW! It was truly a masterpiece of pale blue and brilliant pink, starting to streak with a little gold. I almost missed this... and I was not pleased with myself for skipping a walk. 

This morning, with hope in my heart, I headed out in the nearly-dark morning... for exercise, but also for the sunrise. It's probably my favorite time to walk, because I love to watch the world wake-up. I could tell that the cloud bank was pretty low, and that sunrise might not be all I hoped today... but still, I walked, with hope. When you've already tied on your sneakers, and walked out the door, you're pretty much in it for the long haul. 

The sky woke in wisps of gray, and the sky warmed to a light blue hue. While I still hoped for gold and pink, the music in my ears satisfied my heart {my walk is also my chapel}, and I trekked on. Turning at my favorite sunrise spot, I was greeted with misty gray. I smiled and headed home.

Hope. It keeps you going. Today may not be my day, but there is always tomorrow. And if not tomorrow... well, I'll just keep the faith, and hope in my heart. God gives us all we need, and so much of what we want, that I shouldn't let even a passing thought of disappointment cross my mind.

Almost home, and then I saw it. A swash of liquid gold peeking out from the clouds. I was planning on stopping at two miles, but that gold gave me a second wind. If I just walk up the street one more time... oh yes. There it is...

all grace.

January 07, 2021


Yesterday I was zoo-bound and listening to the radio on the way. I may have said it before but, my car is my chapel. Not my only chapel, but a good amount of worship happens in my car when I am driving alone. I mostly switch around between my three favorite stations, so I can stay in worship mode and not hear the ads and chatter, but once in a while, the conversation pulls me in. Yesterday... they were talking about giving the new year (and the old) some kind of perspective and offered this fill in the blank sentence: 2020 was _____ so in 2021 I'm ____. It made me think about how I would fill in those blanks.

2020 was productive, and in 2021 I want to keep up that momentum.

2020 was still, and in 2021 I want to be intentional of how I spend my time and not be in rush mode for no reason.

I'm looking forward, even though I'm documenting some of last year {for posterity}, but in reflection, I hope to bring along some of those lessons, some of those gifts. How would you fill in the blanks?

January 06, 2021

life lately {the june 2020 edition}...

June. Summer. 
Did it feel any different? Yes. And... no.

The world was starting to open back up, and with some trepidation we started making decisions about where we might go, should we actually go, and if we did, was it a good idea? And what about our planned vacation?

My boss announced that our office was going to reopen, and we would each go back two days a week. The thought felt insurmountable in my mind, but before I could think too much about it, my boss changed her mind. There is a reminder for you. Don't let worry steal your joy, because the thing you are most worried about may not even pan out, and you can never get that time back. 

1. We actually ate in a restaurant. Our favorite. 
And we were very impressed by their safety procedures.

2. The zoo opened back up with a one way path...

3. Morning walks, beautiful skies.

4. We explored a little coffee shop on one of our treks to Home Depot...
have you ever seen a more lovely cup of tea?!

5. Hearts on the boardwalk... we missed our walks while it was closed. 

6. The kids can't come to a Do the Right Thing award ceremony,
so my husband figured out a way to bring it to right to their driveway...

7. June means the Poincianas are in bloom...

8. Writing the Word... and loving the learning.

9. Thankful to be {still} working from home, but missing my office Roomie...

And maybe the best thing about June was... deciding that we would take our planned road trip to see Laura. And I think... had we not gone... I wouldn't have felt so okay with 2020.

January 05, 2021

pop-up ice cream...

Staying home isn't a hard task, but missing your people is a different story, and we knew that by May, some people were missing all people. And so... when Eric came to me with one of his What if we... ideas, we figured out a way to make it work. He is, forever, the idea man, and I suppose one secret to our marriage is that if he dreams it up, I try to figure out how to make it happen.  

We named our "shop" Wilbur's South, in honor of our family run Massachusetts ice cream shop Wilbur's North. I even made t-shirts, because I had plenty of time. We decided on a simple menu, with just a few flavors, added some balloons, just for fun, and mapped out our route. 
We were on a mission, to spread a little joy to some of our favorite people... and it was more than we could have imagined. Everyone was assigned a job, and as our family/friends came out to the driveway, Cam unfolded the table and menu board, I strung up and set out the decorations, and Eric organized his serving area in the trunk. There was wonder, laughter, and many, many smiling faces. 

Our first stop broke all the rules. Sweet MK was too excited, and there was no way she was keeping her distance! She want to help, and she wanted a hug. Her Mom said you are the first real people we've seen! Eric scooped while MK looked on, and then we chatted and laughed together before packing up and making our way to the next driveway. 

In two weekends, we brought our little ice cream shop to over a dozen driveways, and would have done more, but the timing just didn't always work out. We forgot to take pictures at every stop, but there were smiles everywhere {well, almost everywhere... there was one little that wasn't sure about it!}. It was exhausting, but we loved it! 

We have always known that ice cream=happiness, but these driveway visits were more than we even dreamed they could be. In the days after our adventures, we learned that the gift we had given, in doldrums of quarantine, was much more than a sweet treat... it was a connection, it was Light, it was love.

January 04, 2021

finishing up a few things...

On this last day of Christmas break {even though my kids are grown I think of these two weeks as a well earned break!}, with only a few hours of daylight left, I complete a few stray tasks.... clean the fridge, clear the dining room table, organize one drawer. There is plenty more to do, but it seems I have run out of motivation. After a bit I wandered back to my sewing room and sifted through a few things and tried to make a mess of sense out of the items hanging on the wall. I keep tucking photos and sweet cards here and there, and while they make me happy, they deserve a little more breathing room. Don't we all

When I head to my kitchen desk tomorrow for work, I'm going to wish there were a few less items on the to do list. But for right now... there are matters more pressing. Cooking dinner together without a rush, enjoy the twinkle of Christmas lights, watch the movie Camden bought, feel the sun shine on my face...

I long to accomplish a great and noble task 
but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks 
as if they were great and noble.
- Helen Keller

After dinner, and enjoying the movie, I found the energy to toss in the laundry, tidy my side of the room, and clear the bathroom counter. This is the kind of list that will never be complete, but having a few less things to think about will make it easier to start in on the first real-life week of the new year. 

January 03, 2021

moving forward...

As we step gingerly into the new year, with a fresh new hope and the reality that 2020 is actually in our hindsight, my heart feels heavy for the past year. It was the kickoff to a new decade, and in that alone, we seemed to hold it to a higher standard, doing things we never do... like actually going out to ring in the new year, roaring twenties style, and expecting our perfect vision. 
I know that for some, it was a year of utter despair... but for many others, I think it might be chalked up as a major inconvenience. There is no doubt it was hard, and so very strange, but for me? I know we had it pretty easy, and I counted every blessing. I continue to be incredibly thankful that we have all managed to stay healthy, and that other than a six week furlough for Laura, we all continued to work. I have also been truly thankful that my kids are grown and I didn't have to juggle their education along with my job. 

Early on, I realized we had been given the gift of time, and I started {and finished!} projects that I had been holding in reserve, both in the maybe someday category and the I really don't feel like spending that much time category.  I really focused on seeking the beauty, because I knew it was there. Some days it was easier than others, and a lot of days, I just missed my Mom. 
morning walks, spreading joy, constant companion, kitchen fun

Has a year ever been wished away as quickly, or by as many people, as this one? I do not know... but what I do know is that a turn of the calendar page, or the drop of a ball, doesn't actually change much. And I also know, every time I hear Unspoken's song, Reasons, I will be reminded of 2020.

This year's felt like four seasons of winter
And you’d give anything you think to feel the sun...
But God has a plan, a purpose in this...

Yes, I believe He had a purpose for 2020, and I cling to the promise of beauty from ashes. I don't think we can sit back and watch it unfold though... I think if we want this new year to be brighter than the last, we need to banish the hate, we need to show kindness, and we need to be love in the little corner of our own world... and let it spread like wildfire. 

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