May 30, 2008

plan b

My original idea for tonight was to get a group of friends together and drive a bit north to see Anita Renfroe, who is, the funniest woman...EVER! But many are busy on a Friday night, and my "group" dwindled to just two... and then the tickets were sold out. Not funny. Oh well... disappointing, but not tragic! And so, we had to make "plan b." After much discussion, we decided on pedicures and food- Cheesecake Factory. That's enough to almost wipe "plan a" from my mind! The pedicure was not quite relaxing, as I felt awful that the woman had to work so hard... she probably has to take tomorrow off... but I sure love the end result and my pretty toes! And dinner was delicious... with leftovers in the fridge. But so much more important than anything on the "plan b" list, or even the "plan a" list, was time with a friend... It's more than just the chit chat and the laughter. It's the connection with someone who wants your world to be perfect and will help you accomplish it if she can... someone who sees beyond what's in front of her and sees the possibilities... someone who sees a need and lends a helping hand... someone who you can relate to and reminisce with... someone who can laugh about the styles of our past. Sometimes "plan b" turns out better than "plan a." I'll have to remember that.

to be appreciated

We do our best... we do what is right... we go along everyday, just doing what needs to be done. Sometimes, all we need is a simple "thank you." I am not big on praise...I think because I am somewhat uncomfortable with compliments, myself. But a thank you? It means the world to me. To feel that what I do makes a difference to someone? It makes all the difference, to me. Sometimes, though, a thank you is shown instead of spoken... an iced coffee and a sunshiny card waiting to greet me on a tough day... a whispered phrase of affirmation... a starbuck's gift card, but more importantly, the thoughtful words in the card... a hug, hiding teary eyes... lunch with a sweet girl whose hands are the softest and the sweetest... prayers for what I hope for... a friend, ever so gently, checking on me to make sure I'm okay- for my husband. All of these, beyond words... beyond grace. Thank you for making my world sweeter.

May 29, 2008

bittersweet celebrations

I have been looking forward to summer... since March, I think. I've just been ready... and now it's here. In one breath, I am shouting, Hooray! and in the next, I am quietly wiping away a tear. Laura is officially a high schooler- hooray! She is no longer my quiet, shy, little girl... sigh. Camden "graduated" from 5th grade last night- hooray! He is done with elementary school... sigh. I am off for the summer- hooray! My job in the Media Center is no longer mine... sigh. My insides are all mixed up. This "glass half-full" girl is struggling... just a little... to find the small celebrations...
...marching band music for next year already in hand
...jeans day at middle school more homework, for now
...anticipating a summer trip to dallas
...endless days to play with scout

...most improved student award, and outstanding in science
...stack of ces uniforms, no longer needed more homework, for now
...summer elk's camp is right around the corner
...time to just do "nothing."

...stack of 4 novels for summer reading, handpicked by my hubby more "do you have a uniform ready for tomorrow?" more, "did you do your homework?," for now
...not losing sleep over waking at 3am, and not being able to sleep
...time... with my children

There. I think I am ready for summer now. My glass is half-full again and I am ready to enjoy and put all of the bittersweet thoughts behind me. I am ready to remember that God's plan for my life is perfect... I am back on the smile side of life.

May 27, 2008

it's hard to say goodbye

I had the nicest surprise this evening... a phone call from a friend! Although I do not particularly care for talking on the phone, there are exceptions to every rule!! And I love to chat away the time with Carie! Our phone calls go back quite a ways... not as far back as the timer in the drawer, but certainly before call waiting! We would just chat and clean... and help each other survive the days filled with toddlers and preschoolers. Hours and hours... I think Eric actually had the operator break through a conversation (or two) to get through to me. And we could have just met out in the street and had the same conversations... however, our homes would not have been as clean! Now we both have much busier lives... and a phone call is almost a luxury! Tonight we laughed, we commiserated, we talked over each other in a rush to get it all out, and then backtracked. We reminisced and we planned... and we must have almost said goodbye six times! But then, we'd have just one more thing... which turned into another.. and another! It's one of those things that drive my husband crazy... Just another minute, honey! And he knows he might as well just sit down and wait... or find something to keep him busy... another twenty minutes. Tonight, though, he must have known I'd be a while... he never even gave me "the look." I am so thankful for that uninterrupted time with my forever friend... picking up right where we left off, without missing a beat!

not all that great

I know that I practically raved about Walgreens the other day... but I will agree with Suz and say that the pharmacy is maddening. I have been so mad so many times that I now only use Publix... I forget that they even have a pharmacy at Walgreens! But, yesterday... it was the only one open. My dear husband hurt his back moving chairs at church on Saturday (I think he still thinks he is 25 and can easily lift 5 chairs at once!) So, he finally decided to go to see a doctor... yesterday... a national holiday. (I may not have mentioned this before, but he has a thing about the ER and holidays... I think it is on his "must-do" list... since he was little) Anyway, I got an irate phone call from him while I was on my home from a very relaxing afternoon at the waterpark. He needed his scripts filled, Publix was closed, and Walgreens no longer had his insurance info (go figure, it's been 10 years!) He was mad... angry... and in need of his meds!! I tried to talk him down, told him to go back in (if he hadn't made that big of a scene) and leave the script... I would go home, get the insurance card, and go back for him. I hung up, hoping he would follow my advice. As I passed Walgreens on my way home, I half expected to see the SWAT team surrounding the store... but thankfully, they were no where in sight. After printing out the new insurance card, I returned to the pharmacy via the drive thru. Although he assured me that he didn't make that big of a scene, I wasn't taking any chances. I was waited on by Adonis (no, that was his name) and then I was made to wait... forever... while he disappeared beyond the window. I started to wonder if he was ever coming back! We did finally get the medicine, but if I can help it, we will not go back to the pharmacy there. I'll just go back to Publix... where they know my name... and I guess, every detail of our medical history.

May 25, 2008

gotta love it

I have been asked, a few times in my life, "If you were trapped on a deserted island, what is the one thing you would want with you?" What a question! I never have an answer... how could I choose? My husband? My scrapbooks? Chocolate? Sunscreen? But today, as I was wandering and waiting, I figured it out. I'd want Walgreens. They have everything... really, I think they do. Around each corner and down each aisle there is something new and amazing... things you never knew existed, but now, suddenly think you might need!
Do you need socks? They have them!
How about an Ant Farm? They have that, too!
Lip gloss? Many, many, many flavors...
You can even get "Fat Hair!"
In a pinch, you could even plan a wedding... complete with dress
...and shoes
Need your life to be a little sweeter? Purse sized honey!
And of course... if you want to save on shipping and handling, stop by and personally choose any item you've seen on TV.
Yes... if I was stranded on a deserted island, I'd take Walgreens...
Today, though, it would've been nice, if I'd actually remembered to buy the things I really went there for...

May 24, 2008

my beautiful girl

Yesterday was a day of eighth grade celebrations... fun at the water park, pizza party, and a dance. This is it... two and half more days of school, and my beautiful girl will be a high schooler. She is ready. I know she is... she is confident and brave... and happy to be herself.
Eric & I went along to the water park as chaperones... and it was good to see Laura with her friends- happy and having fun... not having a care in the world. Not feeling the pressure of fitting in- almost every other girl there was wearing a tiny bikini... while she had her suit covered by a swim shirt. While she is comfortable in her own two piece suit, she is also comfortable in her modesty. I enjoyed just catching a glimpse of her now and then, as she wandered by... I love that she wasn't embarrassed that we were there. And later, going to the dance. She went on her own, planning on meeting her friends there... and never voiced any concern about maybe arriving there first... and having to wait for them to come to have fun. I would've been sick at the thought... in fact, I was almost sick for her. But not my girl... she didn't blink an eye at the thought. It was no big deal for her, but I was silently thankful when we pulled up and two of her friends were already waiting. I am thankful that she is not as shy as I was... and sometimes still am. I am thankful that that part of me has somehow passed her by. I am thankful that she is her own beautiful self... ready to shine in her very own way.

the adventure begins

Last night, in our backyard, my son and his best friend, and my husband and his, along with three other boys, set out on a new adventure...Boy Scouts. The ink is barely dry, but they are officially a brand new Boy Scout Troop... 214. I'm thrilled that my son will be take this journey with his Dad.

The stage was set... a beautiful makeshift bridge... a roaring campfire... and seven torches representing seven virtues of life. I was proud of my boys... and all of the others, that worked so hard to get to this place. They are growing into young men... they stood still and listen as the virtues were read.

Wisdom doesn't mean that you are smarter than others. It means that you use what you know to lead a better life.
Courage doesn't mean you have no fear of danger. It means that you can face danger despite your fear.
Self-control means being able to stop when you have had enough of something, such as eating, playing or even working too much.
Justice means being fair with others as you play and work with them.
Faith is belief in God and things you cannot see, but feel are true.
Hope means to look forward to good things you believe will happen and work hard today to make them happen.
Many kinds of love are important; love of family, fellow humans, God and our country.

And then it was time for each to cross over the bridge, from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts. Scoutmaster John & Assistant Scoutmaster Eric met them on the far side... to present them with their red epaulets and welcome them with a firm handshake. This is a big adventure, but one worth embarking upon... for all of them. There is so much to learn, and so much fun to be had! These boys are so fortunate to have these two men to guide them... men who have so much integrity, so much life in them, and men who really care about what happens to each of them.

May 20, 2008

morning chatter

I can hear them across the house, as I am getting ready for my work day. They should be getting ready, too. I can tell they are not. I'm probably going to have to yell in a minute... but for right now, I think I'll just listen. I hear giggling... I hear friendly teasing... I hear them playing with the new kitty... I hear happiness. I wish I could listen all day... Laura & Cam get along so well... and really, always have. We are very fortunate. Not that they never push each other too far... or let their anger get the better of them... they do. But for the most part, they are kind to each other, and ready to lend a helping hand. I am always impressed when Laura willingly offers to make Cam's lunch in the morning- and even asks him how he likes the tuna made. Sweet. I guess I could let them have their chatter a few minutes longer...

May 19, 2008

everyday heroes

Last week was National Law Enforcement Week... I really wanted to take the time to write about it, but it slipped on by...

We visited the NLEM two summers ago... it moved my heart... it moved my family. In the walls surrounding the reflection pool, are carved many names... names of men and women who have died in an effort to protect us, in our own beautiful country. This year, 358 names were added. There are four lions that stand guard... regal giants that honor and protect memories. Beneath one lion is carved "The wicked man run when no one pursueth, but the righteous are bold as a lion. from Proverbs." And another is protector of these words,"In valor, there is hope." We wandered the walls... read some names... took time to reflect and pray. There are many families that have faced loss. We are blessed.

I have often been asked, "How do you do it?" Some have admired me that I do not worry when my husband heads out the door, ready to protect and serve. I have had my moments... but most of my thoughts focus on the job he does... the people he helps... the world he makes a difference in. My husband was created to serve... and he does his job with compassion and heart. Someday, we might face a loss like these other families... but I have always known that to ask him to make a different choice of career, would, at the same time, be asking him to change who he is...

So we honor, we serve and we pray. We put our faith in the God who loves us. We kiss him goodbye at the door, with faith and hope in our hearts... and love for our everyday hero.

May 18, 2008

macaroni & cheese

When I'm feeling down, and in need of comfort food, I reach into my recipe book and start grating the extra-sharp cheddar for macaroni & cheese. I don't really remember having the "blue box" macaroni & cheese when I was growing up. Maybe we did, on occasion, but what I remember best is my Mom's real macaroni & cheese. My Mom's macaroni and cheese, is and always has been my favorite... and typically my birthday dinner. Just the thought of it brings me back to that old kitchen of my childhood- red brick carpet, orange counter tops, huge butcher block island and wallpaper covered in red geraniums. It brings me back to the first meal I ever learned to cook... It brings me comfort...

I think it was my first kitchen job, grating the cheese... I used the tall, semi-dangerous stainless steel grater placed over wax paper- and before I was done with half the block of cheese, my arm was exhausted... so a little rest, and then on to finish the job. I tried to get the most out of the cheese without grating my fingers, too, and was very proud when there was just a small sliver of cheese left.

I had to make on meal all on my own to earn one of my girl scout badges, so we chose the macaroni & cheese recipe I loved so much. I tirelessly whisked the white sauce until it was thick and bubbly, and then poured it over the steaming elbow noodles. When it was in the oven, baking, I sat on the floor in front of the oven window with the light on to watch the pale yellow bubbles turn golden brown...the sign that it was finally finished.

We served this favorite dish for simple suppers, and for birthday dinners... we shared it with out of town guests and new friends. Mom & I always worked it out so that it was our turn to be served when it was time to dish out the crunchy corners(we share the fondness of burnt food!) and the first bite always tastes heavenly. My own friends agree that this macaroni & cheese is the best... I have even earned the seal of approval from Charlotte, Laura's best friend, and have shared this recipe with Becky. I love to hear when they are having "Ms. Dawn's Mac & Cheese" for dinner!

I have prepared this dish so many times now, that I don't need to pull out the recipe... it is written in my heart. And, so, tonight, as I sit down with my children, and thank God for our food (and the dolphins), I will be comforted with memories, family, love, and macaroni & cheese.

May 17, 2008


Do you ever feel like Cinderella? Not the beautiful Cinderella who shows up at the ball in regal horse and carriage, decked out, from head to glass ensconced toe, by her very own fairy Godmother, but the Cinderella who is standing in torn rags and tears, after getting every other member of her household ready? I know that appearance isn't everything, but when you are headed out with your whole family for a lunch date, it does matter a little- but maybe not to anyone but me? I am not the best wife... I do not slave over laundry and spend hours ironing. I shop and choose items specifically for their "fashionably wrinkled" look. So when my family appears, ready to go out, I typically have to beg them to strip down so I can iron whatever they have chosen...because it looks like they just picked it up off the floor. Maybe I put too much pressure on myself... I just admitted that I am not that good wife who lives to iron, so why do I feel like the world needs to think I am? Why do I feel like our image as a family is a direct reflection on my homemaking abilities? I think I want to be Super Dawn... the best wife ever, the best mom ever, the best me ever... at least just for my family. I pray that God will make me the woman He wants me to be... to show me the way I can be all that He desires me to be. And here I with my family (almost) picture perfect ready...and I have forgotten to put my make-up on.

just right

My son has the coolest collection of stuffed animals...all over his bed. How he sleeps is beyond me, but he does... with his friends all around him. There is Blazer the giraffe, Oton the okapi, Cam-O-Gator the alligator, Gentle Giant the whale shark, Buffalo Bill, a buffalo, of course... and penguins- Mumble, 'Guin & Sleddy... turtles- Stone & Rock... Quite a unique collection. At eleven, I don't see any signs of them being packed up or even set aside on a shelf. I love that. He is comfortable in who he is. Eleven is one of those weird ages- barely still little boy, and just starting to race off to be a teen. I want to hold on to that little boy part... the part with the stuffed menagerie... the snuggling on the couch... the sweet kisses goodnight... and our laughter in the morning. I want it to last forever. Cam's steps have been the ones that make my heart move. I think I was always so excited for Laura's firsts... pre-school, putting her on the bus for kindergarten, whatever came up next. I have just enjoyed it to the fullest, being so excited for the next big step... but with Cam? It's my last "first." The last time I'd send a little one off to preschool for the first time... the last time I'd bring a little one to kindergarten- to big school for the first time. Those times are when my eyes would start to fill up, where as with Laura there was just joy. And so this little boy, who is not so little, will be headed off to middle school in August. How can the time go so quickly? I realize I must relish these quiet, special times with Cam... snuggling up on the couch, waking him up and making him laugh with a silly penguin voice... because soon, sooner than I probably know, it won't be so cool for him to show so much love so openly. So while he is figuring it all out- who he is going to be, and what he's going to do, I will cherish every little boy moment, and I will know that at age eleven, he is just right.

May 16, 2008

it'll be okay

When all around me starts to fall,
and when my faith it seems so small
Even in my darkest hour, I will believe
Even if the sun begins to fall,
even when I feel nothing at all
Even if I'm all alone, I will believe

So it seems that I must take this high school job. It's very sad that I have to, when don't want it... and the girl who really did want it, can't have it. I know... it's not fair. But as my friend Susan used to say... Life's not fair... a Fair is where they have that big ferris wheel. I'm going to hang on and hope that the summer will bring change. We never know what is around the corner. It's part of life's mystery. Maybe things will shift and there will all of a sudden be a spot at my school. Maybe I just need to get away from a school job and head out into the real world. It's going to be okay. It has to be. I have spoken those words plenty of times... but what pops into my head instantly is speaking those words to my Mom... Eric & I had just packed all of our possessions into the moving van. Laura was prepared for the long trip... we were Florida bound! And I had just found out I was pregnant. No jobs... no health insurance. Just a place to live, and family. Not the best situation... and when I told my Mom she was excited... and then scared for us. And I told her it's going to be okay. It has to be. She asked how? and I reiterated my statement. Guess what? It worked out just fine. Maybe not smoothly, but just fine. Cam was simply the sweetest baby ever.. and we just worked out the rest. So this job thing? It'll be okay. Whatever happens, I'll be okay.

lyrics from Believe...Mainstay

every day

My forever friend reminded me yesterday that "you learn something new every day!" She is so very smart... So what did I learn yesterday? I learned that Monster Cookies and a hug from the friend who made them can cheer you up... especially when you consume large quantities of Monster Cookies. I learned that it feels really nice when people are rooting for you... especially when you can see the sincerity in their eyes. I learned that simply having a "date" with a friend after school can get you through the day... but that actually being treated to tea & a shortbread cookie is even nicer... especially paired with much laughter and sharing. I learned that you can cut through the access road at SuperTarget to get to Oakes Blvd... not that I ever go that way, but I did wonder. I learned that sometimes it's nice to mix up your routine and have pizza with friends on Thursday, instead of Friday... and that three extra large pizzas is more than enough for eight people. I learned that my Mom loves Italy... the beauty of the landscape and the wine... and it just makes me feel happy inside. That is six things... wow. This morning I am feeling quite smart... especially because I have already learned something this morning... Monster Cookies are really good for breakfast!

May 15, 2008

better hands

It's hard to stand on shifting sand
It's hard to shine in the shadows of the night
There is hope when my faith runs out
Cause I'm in better hands now

It's been quite a tough few days for me...yesterday I had to interview for a job I didn't want...don't want. I made sure they knew, too, in the nicest way possible. The job is a good opportunity... for someone else. Not me. It's not the right fit... I have been very upbeat about the prospect of losing my job at my elementary school. I have put it in God's hand, for that is what I do. I am not a worrier. Why waste time worrying about something that it out of my control? I was so thrilled when someone volunteered to go to this high school job. It saved my spot. And then I had to interview anyway. Why, oh why? Even as I was on my way, I saw a bumper sticker that reminded me "God is in charge." I reminded Him that I did not want to go to high school, in case He forgot. Then I let it go. Maybe I should've worried a little more. They want me to come and work there... at the high school. I don't think so. It's not the right fit. God, did I mention that I do not want to work with those big, scary kids? I am trying to find out if I am allowed to refuse this job... and still have a job... my job. Is that having your cake and eating it, too? I don't know. I am trying to leave it there, in God's hands where it belongs... but it's hard. It's really hard. I want to cry and kick and scream and whine... okay, I've actually done a lot of those things... and guess what? Nothing has changed. But I'm still waiting. I know that He can do great things... and I know He can choose to leave things as they are. So, I'm waiting...

It's like the sun is shining when the rain is pouring down
It's like my soul is flying though my feet are on the ground
So take this heart of mine there's no doubt
I'm in better hands now

lyrics from In Better Hands...Natalie Grant

May 13, 2008

lost and found

Today while I was straightening up, I decided to flip the cushions on the couch. I really have been wanting to wash the covers, but procrastination has gotten the better of me(what's new?) and I decided a "flip" was all that I had the energy for. Amidst the grains of playground sand, mangled paperclips and rubber bands, I found a treasure or two...
an orange matchbox car...
and a yellow one.
forty-five cents...I thought that there would've been more!
a lego airplane wing,
a sharpened pencil... probably the reason for unfinished homework,
a yellow pencil grip,
a tarnished decoder wheel,
my tivo controller
and the big red flashlight.
Okay... maybe forty-five cents doesn't constitute treasure...but I have really missed the tivo controller! And how we never felt the big red four D-cell batteries flashlight is beyond me. Princess and the Pea have no competition here!

off they go

Today my parents are heading out on another adventure... Italy. It makes me so happy when they travel...when they have the chance to see the world... together. They have explored glaciers in Alaska, climbed Ayer's Rock in Australia, seen what remains of the Berlin wall. They have milked goats, built a mud hut in Africa, snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef. I am not envious... just filled with joy. This time they have together is a gift... a gift not everyone receives. My Grandpa had Alsheimers... he & my Gramma did not have the chance to play and enjoy their retirement... My Uncle Tommy lost his life... and he and my Aunt Kathy lost that chance of joy, too. I think of them often and I think about the sadness and the unfairness of it all. And then I see how my parents have been able to embrace their retirement and live every moment of it... and it renews my hope. Every new adventure they embark upon is a gift. My prayer for them is that their travel will be safe and that, again, they will find God's beauty all around them.

May 12, 2008

it drives him crazy

I am a picky eater. I really am...but I come by it rightly. My Mom is picky, too. I remember picking the tiniest little bits of red and green out my Gramma D's American Chop Suey and repeatedly asking my Mom...what's this? It wasn't one of my favorites. I guess I was actually pickier than I remember, because at one time, I had a list of three things I didn't have to eat. Just three. I didn't even have to taste them. But I had to eat everything else. It was a tough pick for me...I could've filled that list up! But with only three choices, I had to pick #1 meatloaf, #2 peas, and #3 baked beans (although, I probably shouldn't have wasted this list Mom probably wouldn't have served them to me again after I once told her that if you make me eat them, I'll throw up...and then she did...and I did.) Things I would've loved to add to that list? Hot dogs, pork chops...and American Chop Suey. Anyway, to this day I will not eat meatloaf...and it's one of Eric's favorites. I won't even cook it for him. I don't know how. I don't want to know how. The thing is, he doesn't understand my dislike if it. He tries to convince me it's just a big meatball (not!) and it's like a hamburger (I don't think so!) We go back and forth about it, and it drives him crazy that I won't even consider his opinion. But here's the thing...who really wants a loaf of meat anyway? Loaf of bread? Yum! But that is where is should stop. A few years ago, on April Fool's Day, I made a pretend meatloaf...out of chocolate Rice Crispy cereal. The kids didn't even want to eat that! Not even with a side of ice cream mashed potatoes & Starburst peas & carrots. Today, however, is a red-letter day. I am cooking real meatloaf...kind of. I bought individual slices of meatloaf for him, and am warming them up, just for him...because I love him. The rest of us are having chicken.

May 11, 2008

a beautiful heart

Years ago, I read a little tidbit of wisdom that I have tucked away, and strive to live by. It was a little proverb written on a Hallmark card...the most important thing you can teach a child is to have a beautiful heart. It was one of those sentiments that felt so full of truth and life... and it became my mission- for what could be more important than a beautiful heart? The question was though, can you teach that? Or does it just have to be? I don't really know the answer to that... Every day, we must make a live each day with a smile, or not... with graciousness, or with craving... with joy or with complacency. It is our choice, no matter what we are taught. But these children of mine... they amaze me. They choose to live with beauty. A young lady who would love to take horseback riding lessons is content with volunteering her Saturdays with a horse therapy program... helping children who really need that connection with the horses. A sweet boy who at eleven, is not embarrassed to be hugged by Ms Illa at church every Sunday, and will make sure she is hugged twice if we happen to miss a Sunday. A teenage girl who sings in the choir... raises up her voice for worship. And young man taking the oath of a scout, promising to live with truth, honesty, loyalty, helpfulness, courtesy, kindness, obedience, thriftiness, courage, cleanliness and reverence. Their hearts are beautiful... their lives important... and I am so thankful.

more than words

Today at church, the sermon was about the Holy Spirit...and about being a witness- seeing and sharing what we see. My husband leaned over and whispered in my ear... I think your blog is a witness. I didn't think I heard him correctly, and he repeated... your blog does that... it is a witness. It actually brought tears to my eyes. He was the skeptic...I dove into blogging without much thought or care...the words were tumbling around in my mind looking for a way out, and I dove in. He was not happy. He was not upset... but not happy. I think he was afraid of what might become of me in front of the keyboard... that he might never see me again! When I was finally ready to share with him, after post #3, he was proud of what I wrote... but I could still feel his wariness. And now he thinks my blog is a witness? He made me cry...tears of thanksgiving.

My Mom, I could tell, was also a skeptic. She didn't come right out and say it... but I could feel her questions... is it safe? is it safe? is it safe? And now... she has shared it with more people than I know. A year ago, my Mom painted her conversation with God... it is beautiful... it is breathtaking... it is His inspiration painted by her paintbrush... by her faith. And she believes this blog is my conversation with God.

I thank you for reading these posts...these moments in time, that come rushing into my mind and my heart... I thank you for the kind words...the honest emotion that you have shared with me in response. That my words have worth is a unique and wonderful feeling... especially for someone who has been content just having these conversations in her mind.

May 10, 2008

her hands

My Mother’s hands are beautiful... and they are strong. Her hands are calloused... and still soft and gentle. My Mother's hands are loving. Her hands have picked me up...and held me close. Her hands have gently whisked away my tears... my very first tears, and many tears since... and occasionally my children’s tears. Her hands have patiently taught me to sew... showed me how to live and play...and they have inspired me with her art. Her hands aren’t afraid of hard work. They have made a home and a living for her family...her hands have piped delicate sugar roses...and have been scratched harshly by sandpaper...they have made thousands of Wilbur Wheels...scooped countless flavors of ice cream...and placed so many m&m’s just so...and still, so beautiful. Her hands have hammered nails... built shelves... and built dreams. Her fingers hold promises... promises to her husband... promises that have taught me to share and love freely and forever. Her hands have held mine so tightly... and her hands have me let go... so that I could fly. Her hands are my comfort... my link to her heart...

May 08, 2008

thank you

This note was waiting in my "mailbox" this afternoon...from my daughter's teacher.
I have to tell you...
She is in a small literature group and talking away with the boys in her group. It is so nice to see her opening up and sharing with people. She has really grown up since 6th grade. I can't believe that she's going to the high school next year. Please keep in touch and let me know how she is doing next year. It has been a pleasure having her again.

This is why I appreciate my children's teachers so very much. That she would stop and have this thought about my shy daughter...and then take the time to send this to me. It touches my heart.

riding high

Today is the best day ever! Well, okay...maybe not as great as when my kids were born or anything...but definitely the best day this week! I picked out my Mother's Day gift this morning...a kitten for my family. It's name is Scout and it's pretty cute...all morning at work I just had to keep peeking at him...until Eric came and brought him home for me. And then I went home at lunch to visit. A kitten. It's been almost a year since we lost Emma...and although it has been good to be "pet-free," we still half-expect her to be waiting at the door when we arrive home in the dark. And what a great feeling to surprise the kids...Laura especially. If there was ever a girl who loved a cat, it is my girl, who still, at almost 14, will occasionally "meow" with joy.
And just when I thought all hope was gone for my job at school, just when I had accepted it, I found out I was wrong. It's been confirmed, but not "official" that I'll still have my job next year. I almost cried. It is where my heart is...I love the kids...I love the books...I love the kids.
And I sit, exhausted and overcome with emotion. All is right with my world.

May 07, 2008

who's there?

Somebody's knocking at your door...
Oh, children, why don't you answer,
Somebody's knocking at your door.
Knocks like Jesus...
Somebody's knocking at your door...
You can trust Him...
Somebody's knocking at your door...
Open up your heart and let Him in...

It's one of my favorite songs from our old church pre-school...the kids always loved it, too. It was a fun little song, but more than that because the lesson is so big. He comes to us...right where we matter where we are in life, in our faith, or lack of...and He offers us everything...everything...for nothing. We don't have to do anything, He's done it all. And still, is it not enough? We keep Him out there on the doorstep...knocking. We can trust Him...and isn't it easier to trust than to question? It is. It is put all of our burdens right in His loving, outstretched let Him take on all of our troubles...all of our pain. Open up your heart and let Him in.

May 05, 2008

chips 'n salsa

Seems I have always been a fan of Mexican restaurants...maybe it's the warm, salty chips and the fresh, spicy salsa that arrive at the table upon sitting down, or maybe it's just the memories that continue to build. My Grandma S used to take us to a little place for lunch once in a while...Tak-A-Taco. It was one of my favorites...pinatas hanging from the ceiling...colorful pottery everywhere. And then there was ChiChi's...where my Dad would take us to...on his weekend. That was where I first tried hot salsa...and fried ice cream. The atmosphere there was so fun...the girls in their brightly colored tiered dresses...singing in the background. And Chili's...where I went with friends, and then for my first date with Eric. By that time, I really had a love for all Mexican food...and had tried my hand at cooking a few things myself- but the chips and salsa...always my favorite. Eric taught me the art of nachos...he was the best at the layering of the cheese and chips...and eventually chili peppers became the decor in our kitchen. I think I could eat Mexican food every day and never get tired of it. And so, Cinco de Mayo is the perfect excuse for pulling out all of my special dishes and decorations. Just for fun...just for chips and salsa...and maybe a margarita, with salt around the rim.

don't be sick

No one likes to be sick...and I know that I will deny being sick until whatever I have has turned into something worse (for example, that whole appendix thing)...but the worst is when your baby is sick. He never complains about feeling poorly...not even when he feels his ear pop in the middle of the night...he wouldn't want to wake me up. I was so surprised today when I saw him come by on his way to the clinic... and so I took him home, and settled him in on the couch. Soon, he was asleep, curled up under the blanket...peace and healing for my sweet boy. Before long, he was up and running once again...and his smile was back.

May 04, 2008

gifts of love

A perfect pink rose on our first date...a panda proposal six months later...beautiful pearls on our wedding day...a PBR membership...the perfect book from the library...a Justin McBride banner...a sweet card on Leap Day...and the list goes on... One of his gifts is being a wonderful gift giver...he often brings tears of joy to my eyes over the thought he has taken to surprise me. His gifts are his way of showing me matter how simple the gift, I feel his extravagant love. I am so thankful for this love in my life...for this love of a lifetime.
He just has a knack for knowing me... for knowing what I need... and for finding heart shaped stones on the beach.

May 03, 2008

good hair

Yesterday, I hated my was making me mad...I had been growing out the bangs, and they were finally the right length...and I just didn't like them. All that "work..." But I was looking forward to my hair appointment...Anna would fix it. I sat in the chair, complained about my hair...and let her snip some of my bangs. Immediately I felt regret...did I really let her do that? Too late. I was happy enough when I left...but, then, this morning, my freshly washed & styled hair made me...joyful!

May 02, 2008

in the light

I will never forget those beautiful, wide, 3 1/2 year old eyes looking up at me, saying, "Jesus is the Light of the World." I was 25. It was the first time I had ever heard it...and I was not unfamiliar with church. I had gone to Sunday School...was baptised at age 11...gone to church off and on...married a man of faith...and here was my little girl telling me something that I never knew. She had learned it at pre-school. Jesus is the Light of the World. And it is why I went back to church. But I didn't just go to church...we immersed our family in it. And then it wasn't just became a relationship with my Father...and with Jesus. God uses little children in the most amazing ways. I thank my daughter for that...for helping me to see how much I needed Light in my life. Light...the flicker of a flame that dances above an ivory taper...the sunlight streaming through a stained glass window, scattering colored shadows on a crisp white wall...the glorious rays of sunshine that stream down through the clouds...the amber glow of the setting sun that sings a farewell song before it sinks into the sea. He is the Light in my days...the Light in my darkest moments...the Light that washed me clean and new...through Him, I find my blessings...and without Him, there would be none.

May 01, 2008

may day

Today we turn a to a fresh page on the calendar...May! It's almost summer...almost summer vacation. And it is May Day. I don't really know too much about the significance of May Day, but I do know that every May Day, my Grandma S would make May Baskets...cups decorated with rows of bright tissue paper, filled with candy- mostly those royal caramels. It's a sweet memory...and a tradition that I've continued to pass down. The kids and I make a few...and deliver them around to neighbors and teachers. Sometimes it's a complete secret....and sometimes not. It doesn't's the thought that counts! And the smile it brings. I love to make people smile- to brighten someone's day with the unexpected. I might not make it around to your door with a May basket...but know, that sweet summer is on it's way and I'm wishing you a smile.