October 31, 2008

boo to you!

a different heart

Every child is different... and each reacts differently to a situation. My children are no exception... I need to remember that. I need to remember that what make my daughter react and move along in the morning is not the same for my son. Those same words, or perhaps the tone of them, seep into his tender heart and work their way in down deep. I need to remember that while she takes nothing personally, he takes everything personally. I need to remind myself, so I don't break his sweet heart again...

see how they've grown

Once upon a time, there were two, sweet, little blond girls who had been signed up for swimming lessons. They had never met, but because they were so sweet, they had a lot of fun splashing in the pool, learning to swim. I believe God must have fashioned this meeting, because by His hand, they ended up in the very same pre-school class, even though one little girl was signed up for a totally different pre-school. These beautiful girls played together everyday at school, but their first out-of-school activity was riding on a float in the Swamp Buggy Parade. These little ones became inseparable, and out and about, people thought they were twins. No. Not these girls... but perhaps, sisters of the heart? The years have passed... a lot of them... and although these girls don't see each other every day, they remain close... and our families grow closer every year. Life would just not be quite as entertaining, if not for this family we hold so dear... no eyeglasses in the Little Mermaid tent... no 9-1- dialed and waiting... no slip & slide parties... But we continue to entertain, and be entertained by this friendship... forever, I hope. Last weekend, I took this photo for posterity... and made two Moms cry. I suppose that in another ten years, we'll have to drag these girls back from wherever their adventures have led them, for another milestone Swamp Buggy Parade photo.

October 30, 2008

dressed for school

My Laura is always chilly... always. Even the Florida summer will not keep her from her sweater. And now that the autumn chill has arrived, what is a girl to do?

Wrap a fashionable scarf just so.
Tie an extra sweater around your waist.

And wear your most sensible shoes.
Yes, she has become a true Florida girl.

October 29, 2008

just not the same

Sunday we were out and about... crossing off a few errands that were long overdue for that scribbly line... you know, like buy toilet paper. One thing we hadn't even talked about was pumpkins. Every morning I pass the church where the pumpkins are displayed over the lawn, amidst scarecrows and wheel barrows, and faux fall foliage twisted through an arbor. I have watched the supply dwindle to just a scattering of pumpkins on pallets. And so that is why, while we were at Sam's Club, I suggested we just look for a pumpkin there. There was no discussion, no disappointment- just peering and reaching over the edge of a deep cardboard bin. We all poked around, but when Laura said I don't think I want a pumpkin, I put an end to the misery. What has happened to me? At what point did I think this was the right thing for my kids? I suppose at the same point that I realized how tired I am... and how ragged I have run myself, and in turn, neglected my family. That will not likely change for the next week, but after that? I plan to be me once again. But in the moment, in Sam's, we walked away from the pumpkin bin, with Eric joking that they'd be sad and probably end up as pie, or pig food, and headed off to the pumpkin patch. I should have been happy, but it was one of the few days that my camera was not stashed in my purse... but I decided to get over that, and just enjoy. Laura & Cam wandered and pondered, and finally each chose their pumpkin. I couldn't resist... I did finally pull out my phone and snap a shot- just because it is tradition. And my smile carried on as I listened to Cam, the pumpkin whisperer, in the back seat... the one he chose? His name is Jeff.


The cold air has arrived... perhaps not for long, but for now. I have learned that you treasure these perfect weather days, and hard as it might be, not think about how many more will come your way before another heat wave settles in. Today was perfect. The cold, crisp air filled my lungs and sent a smile right up to my face- it makes me feel... alive. The air felt clean- renewing, refreshing... especially after a very warm Saturday! Driving along on my morning route, everything just looked... a little more. The rolling greens were darker, the blue sky brighter, and the red mulch-filled beds just cut a crisp streak through it all. The sun, rising behind me cast an gentle, golden glow on the morning... enough so that when I looked up at the palms swaying in the breeze, they almost looked... amber. All I could do was smile...

The morning pouring everywhere, its golden glory on the air.
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

October 24, 2008

so they will know

My box is stretching... that box that I find myself in day after day. I'm not quite ready to break down the walls yet, but I can feel the possibility. Two days ago I stood out on the corner of a busy intersection holding a political sign. I waved, people honked... some looked away. But it doesn't matter- I was out there for something I believe in. For most, the presidential election is the main focus of the vote this year... but not for me. I am fighting for a local school referendum. It will have the biggest personal impact on my family's life. Yes, bigger than who is elected president. So I am fired up... waving signs... making campaign buttons... going to meetings... bouncing new ideas around... talking to people... spending every waking non-working minute on this referendum. I want it to pass, but more than that? I want my kids to know that they can make a difference. There is so much in this world that is not just or right... and there are opportunities to make your voice heard. I want them to know that it is okay- no, more than okay to go out there and do something about it. I hope they see that their Mom is way beyond her comfort zone, but doing what is right anyway. I hope they know how hard I am fighting for them. I hope that someday, when they feel despair, they can look back on this experience and remember that sometimes you have to make your own way... sometimes people agree, and sometimes they don't- but keep on going. I am tired... I wonder how I will feel if this does not pass... I am exhilarated... I am making a difference- so they will know. And as my friend Steven says... Gotta-do gotta-do.

October 20, 2008

a little game

Okay- I have been procrastinating... again. Suz tagged me, and now I have to play her little game- only, I don't know seven people to tag, so I guess I'll just be "it" forever... just like when I was little... But here goes... seven things about me:

1. I hate to lose track of friends... those friends who I have lost touch with but still think about on a very regular basis. Sometimes I run into them at Publix and stand in the aisle talking forever while my ice cream is melting, and sometimes I just keep calling and leaving messages... hoping that they'll have time to call back to just say hi.

2. I am not a good typist. I thought my new job would correct that, with being at the computer all day, but no. Thank goodness for delete and backspace! Perhaps I should have taken typing in high school instead of art.

3. I was scared to go to college, because I didn't want to have to write a paper. Really. I did very well in school, and when the principal found out I wasn't applying anywhere, I was called down to the office. Trouble! I already had my mind made up not to go... so nothing he said made any difference, and I'm sure he thought I was crazy. But, we had a family business, and all I ever wanted to be was a Mom. Do I regret it? Only after I was a substitute teacher for 5 years, and then had the thought that I could've been a real teacher if I had just gone to college. But no real regrets... I'm a happy Mom.

4. I love ice cream, but I probably don't have a favorite flavor. Ones I love? Mint chip, fudge brownie, coconut almond... the list could go on forever! Favorite flavor combination? Fudge Brownie, Black Raspberry & Pistachio. Yes, really.

5. I love to teach myself new things... knitting, crocheting, photoshop... the only thing is, I never get really good at something. I just find something new to teach myself instead.

6. I would love to ride through the canopy of a rain forest on one of those zip lines.

7. I could spend hours, or days, in a bookshop. I'd prefer a little hometown shop, but I'll take a chain store if I have to. Being surrounded by books is a perfect way to spend the day...

Okay... I did it. Seven things about me. I probably didn't shock anyone with my facts, but I hope maybe I made you smile!


When this little postcard came in the mail the other day, I made it a point to tell Eric that I had to renew my driver's license- because I am bound to forget, and it would helpful for him to remind at some point before my birthday. What I didn't count on was his laughter. Yes, laughter- and then his comment- Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-haaaaa! You have to take the driver's test again! Ummm... excuse me? That's what it says! No, really- where? And so I read, and sure enough... it says that I will have to take the vision test and the hearing test and maybe the driving test- written and road. Does that seem fair? The answer is NO! So I thought about the prospect of these two tests. Written. Yeah, no way I can remember all of that 50 ft from this and 1200 ft from that. I would have to seriously study. Road test. Hmmmm... I think I would do great (do I hear my husband laughing again?) I am a good driver... no accidents! But I would definitely be nervous... how nervous? Nervous enough to possibly fail. Would they really take my license away from me? Maybe I could just forget that I got that post card... conveniently lose it? I suppose my hubby would turn me in... possibly himself. So now my options are these: go early, and find out if I really have to take all of those tests, and maybe have time to study? or wait until the last minute (my birthday!) and wing it. Neither option sounds very promising...

October 19, 2008


The other day I heard someone say It is lovely to be loved... It kept coming back to me- I suppose because it is so beautiful a sentiment... and so true. Love is like breath- necessary and life sustaining... but also, so lovely.

It is lovely to be loved by my Mom... the way she puts her arms around me and our hug lasts a thousand seconds... the way I can lean on her and feel her presence and have the comfort of her just being beside me... the way we can be silly together and laugh at ourselves... the way we know each others hearts, without words.

It is lovely to be loved by my husband... the way he supports everything I do... the way he believes I am SuperMom when I feel I have fallen so short... the way his arms around me bring peace and safety and hope... the way he reads my thoughts and see the best in me.

It is lovely to be loved by my children... the way they grow and laugh and smile... the way they do what I ask the first time... the way she puts her arms out and simply says hug... the way he giggles at bedtime when I talk like a penguin.

It is lovely to be loved by Jesus... the way He accepts me for just who I am... the way He makes me rely on Him so He can show me something new... the way He erases my mistakes and forgives me even when I cannot forgive myself... the way He shows himself in every part of my life, meeting me right where I am and urging me to stretch just a little more.

It is lovely to be loved...

October 18, 2008

finally fall

It is finally fall... at least in my mind. The humid Florida air has cooled- just a touch, and I have scattered my faux fall foliage about my house. My jack-o-lantern dessert plates are now in the plate rack... and my thoughts are really turning towards the new season. It has taken me a long time to get here, and I am glad I made it. I do love fall. The crisp air... the reds and golds of the leaves... apples and pumpkins. One of my favorite fall memories is Camden experiencing his first "real" fall... in Michigan. He was in second grade. While I was wishing for sun and crisp air, he just enjoyed every bit- the leaves, the corn maze, the pumpkins... all in the rain. He just loved experiencing something brand new. We love it here in Florida, but we do miss fall. And we wouldn't mind a day or two of a northern winter once in a while. But the passing seasons, and the ones we are missing don't matter much at all, as long as we are all together.

October 11, 2008


Thank you, God... for this daughter of mine... for who she is... for what she teaches me... for our renewed relationship. She takes my breath away.

oh, the frustration

Tonight is the homecoming dance... and I have not quite completed Laura's dress. So why am I blogging instead of sewing? Because I do not know how to follow directions...

Did you ever have to take that test in school... the one that begins with Read all of the directions before you begin. I think the second instruction reads Write your name on your paper, which, of course, you do- because that is pretty much a no-brainer. and then you continue on circling, and underlining, etc... until you reach the last instruction, which reads Do not write anything on this paper. That's me... rush in head first and figure it all out on my own-because certainly, I will be able to find some shortcut, and will be way ahead of the game. Hmmm... perhaps not. Because I came to this instruction around 10am... today: Did you see the one I mean? The one that says Allow garment to hang overnight? I think I'm out of luck on that one. If I had read ahead maybe I wouldn't have procrastinated so long. Maybe... maybe not. Regardless, I am allowing the garment to hang. Do you think an hour is long enough?

October 10, 2008

in the moment

Oh, how I love the moment after the announcer says Ladies and gentlemen, please stand and remove your caps for the presentation of our National Anthem. After everyone is standing... and there is just silence... for just a moment. That thousands of people are standing still... hand over their heart... feeling their own heart beat... feeling the anticipation of celebration... it gives me goosebumps.

drive time

With my new job (is it really still new?) I am commuting... 30-45 minutes each way. It is very far... for a girl who used to be able to leave for work at 7:25 and still be early for 7:30. But I am adjusting. I actually don't mind the drive into work... if only I could just somehow zap myself back home at the end of the day! As far as the morning goes though... I have come to enjoy the drive. For about 35 minutes, I am sitting by myself... with not much to do except drive. I suppose to some it could be boring, but me? I like to amuse myself. There are my "commuter friends" that I don't really know... but I like to see them on the road. Same people, day after day... green-pooch-hooch-truck; ford-fam-of-8; K-fish truck; zippy-little-red-car... I wonder of they "know" me? And then there is the scenery... and the birds... and the sky. I'm happy that I have the time to look around and see, while watching the road, of course. My favorite thing to do? No, not count the ladies out there that didn't have time to put their make-up on at home (curling your lashes in the car? Come on!) My favorite thing to do, is to listen to my radio station... listen, and worship. When a song comes on I have the time to really listen to the lyrics, and think about them. I do love Christian Hit Radio! It is my time to just listen... and sing... and worship. But most of all, listen... because if I listen carefully, I can hear His voice... connecting these amazing lyrics to my heart... to my life.

October 07, 2008

worth the trip

Life is busy... going here and there... running back and forth... trying to be everything to everyone. I keep trying to remind myself that this is temporary... this insanity. Soon the campaign will be over... and marching season will end... and there will be more free hours in the day. There are days when my husband contributes to my insanity... and there are other days when he keeps me from it. This afternoon, as I was racing home from work, knowing that I'd be racing out for a meeting after dinner, he talked me through my racing emotions. He said all of the right things... with the right tone of voice. He slowed me down... so I could think. And he suggested I just stay in town and kill time until the meeting. In my mind, I was trying to make the best decision... time with my family, or saving gas. And then there it was... the answer. Drive home... spend one hour with them... those people who make it all worth it. Spend one hour focused on life... not the craziness surrounding it. Live... don't just kill time. When I pulled into the driveway I propelled myself to the kitchen, where my husband was making dinner for our family... where my husband's arms were waiting for me... where he, for one hour, erased the insanity that was racing in my mind... where he showed me, once again, that God's love is our perfect example... and that the love we share comes from Him.

the highlight

It was definitely fun to play in the theme parks with my Mom & Sister & Pam... but Saturday morning brought the reason we travelled to Orlando- a parade! But not just any parade... my daughter's first. The Marching Pride was ready to take on Universal Studios! When we arrived at the park Saturday morning, we were sad to find out that the parade was not quite a parade at all... it was actually just our band. Disappointment... for us? for them? both? It doesn't matter, because it didn't last long. As soon as the band marched out of the gate I didn't care that there wasn't a real parade. The band was enough for me! I shouted and cheered... laughed, and cried... snapped pictures, and then chased them down to snap some more. Later Laura said to someone that I followed them the whole time. When I disagreed, she looked at me and said I saw you, like six times. Okay... so I followed them some. But not around the whole park! That would have been ridiculous! I would not have had enough energy left for more rides! The parade ended with a hug... from my Mom to me. A few more tears on my shoulder. Worth every moment.

October 06, 2008

girls just wanna have fun

Every once in a while it is good to run away... with your Momma... and your sister... and even a friend. The rules go out the window, and you can have whatever you want for lunch...
... because your Momma loves you- no matter what...

...even if you happen to wear your poncho on a water ride. She might be mad, but she'll still love you...
...but she'll fling water at you, so maybe you'll be as wet as she is. Even if it gets in your eye.
It's a good thing that we know the best way to air dry... three times in a row if we have to.
Yes, girls just wanna have fun... and a little champagne is just a little more fun.

And we learned that four heads might just be better than two... if you are playing a trivia game with men. And sometimes, two answers are better than one- as long as at least one is right... and the judge sees the one he is looking for.

October 03, 2008

in one hour

To say that I work better under pressure would be an understatement... a major understatement. A more accurate statement would be- I work under pressure. This doesn't apply to my work life though, just my home life. Why? I can't explain it... the home people are really so much more important than the work people... but these home people are also my distractions... my lovely distractions. And so, daily, I put so many to-do list items aside... so I can play. The result? Yes... little time to do quite a lot. This weekend, the girls are going away to play (& "work" in Laura's case, I suppose!) And my house is a mess. Piles of clutter... dirty socks, dropped wherever a boy happens to be standing... counters littered with breakfast crumbs (and honestly, probably dinner crumbs as well)... the list goes on. I love to be able to escape for a day or two- but when I come home, I love for home to be just as nice as away was... and so the pressure was on. One hour to make this house of mine presentable... so I know that I accomplished work before play... so that Eric will know that I want the house to be nice for him, too... so that when my Mom & Sister come to pick me up they could use the bathroom without being grossed out... so that I can walk out the door knowing that when I walk in, I will not be faced with a disaster zone. One hour. That is no small order. But give me a little pressure (or a lot) and I can perform. No stopping, no distractions, no TV. Clutter piles gone (or at least out of my sight)- check! Socks in the laundry- check! Counters clean and dishes put away- check! Bathroom clean(er)- check! Floors vacuumed- check! Mission accomplished!

October 02, 2008

pick and choose

There are days when I am sure I can do it all... and there are days when I try. But success? Rare. I just can't do it all, and satisfy every need. And it just leads to suffering... guess who suffers the most? Yes... me. If I let someone down, I am sad. If I accomplish everything, I am exhausted. But I haved learned... to pick and choose... and occasionally, I actually say no. I have learned over the years that we make time for what we love the most- so I make time for family and friends... and I probably put off housework just a bit too long! Today was one of those days though... I just had to try to fit it all in. Work- yes, of course. Lunch with my husband- a bright spot in my day. Racing home for dinner- delicious, and prepared with love, and charcoal. Volleyball- I had to go... and see my friend (and her daughter playing!)... too close to home to miss it, and for twenty minutes, I sat still and enjoyed. Campaign meeting- a must do... but overwhelming. Publix- I just needed a few things. Bedtime- not me, but the kids... I chose to take a few extra minutes for snuggling... they are worth it. And now? I'm exhausted. But I accomplished a lot today... I even did my campaign "homework." My heart rate is slowing down, and I can feel the rush seeping away. Thank you, God. Carry me. It's only a few short steps to sleep... Let me rest- so I can start again tomorrow.

October 01, 2008

never searching

Over the weekend, Laura & I headed out on a little mission... to find a dress for her first high school Homecoming dance. She & her friends will go together in their little group. So what's a girl to wear? I know her... and I know that she likes what she likes, and won't typically be swayed. She knows who she is... who she wants to be. She was a good sport... my girl who would rather not shop... or, at least "try on." We talked and decided that she should try on a lot (groan) just to see what styles she liked... and didn't like. I have walked by numerous "party dresses" over the past few years... waiting for this moment... to see her in one of those satin dresses.
And of course, she looked beautiful in each and every one she tried on. Beautiful, yes. Comfortable, no. Too low, too tight (fitted), too itchy... She really was a good sport. There were a couple that were... okay, in her eyes. But I wanted her to love it. I want her to have that feeling of being dressed up and feeling beautiful. There is a difference between someone saying you look beautiful, and actually feeling it yourself- and I wanted that for her. And so... I sew.