Friday, August 31, 2012

Farewell Summer

This summer, Michael discovered the cast net. Or should I say the JOYS of a cast net.

 He spent hours along the creek. Searching for critters.

 Perfecting his cast....

In his pajama top and shorts...(probably hasn't showered in DAYS)...

He caught 2 shrimp!!

I wish I could capture that feeling again. Remember? No sense of time, no urgency, no "to do" list, no dinner to cook or laundry to fold? No heartaches, no backaches. And the absolute wonder and thrill of 2 shrimp stuck in your cast net!

Just last night, Michael crawled up in the bed with me as I was propped up on my pillow returning some emails - computer on my lap.... and he says, "You are always working. I'm sorry, Mama. Don't you wish you could be like me and not do anything but play?"

Yes, Michael.

But don't be sorry - I had my time as a 9 year old - and the only thing better than being a 9 year old is watching my very own 9 year old do nothing but play! And discover the joys of a cast net.

Labor Day weekend is my summer swan song - we will be creekside, casting a net and watching the sun set. I am going to try and forget my heartaches and backaches and "to do" lists. Maybe I will walk barefoot in the pluff mud.

OK. Scratch the pluff mud comment.

But I am going to take a cue from my child and enjoy the wonder a bit more than I usually do. Shouldn't we all?

Cast the net out there this weekend and see how much beauty you can drag in!

Happy Labor Day!


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

So Sad

As is so sad that I have no real talent for WORK/LIFE BALANCE.

None of us can "do it all", but some of us just really stink at it.


I had a great summer - did lots of wonderful things. All of which I was intending to blog about. All summer.

But didn't.

I can't balance at all.

And then, I cried the first day of school.

What does that have to do with work/life balance, you ask? Nothing. Except I need to talk about the crying. So, I finally blog.

I haven't cried on the first day of school in my entire adult life. For me, the first day of school was always a relief! If there were any tears, they were tears of joy! I was glad that I had the house to myself and that my children were being taught, mentored and cared for by other people for 8 hours, Monday through Friday. I have talkative children. Active children. (Some) messy children.

But things have slowly grown more quiet at home. I have had the time - and if I am totally honest - the growing realization - that this group of talkative, messy, active children that are my own....well, they are flying the coop, one by one. And there is an awful lot of emptiness in these four walls. There is beginning to be an echo in my heart.

And on the first day of school, I crept upstairs to check in on Martha. You know, to see if she didn't hit the snooze button one too many times.

And there she was, at her desk. Applying make up (so unnecessary) and dressed in her FIRST DAY OF MY SENIOR YEAR SPECIAL OUTFIT.

Friends, what will I do? When she is gone. And my last big kid lives somewhere else and gets a life separate from my own?

Tears. Tears then and tears now.

It has gone so fast.

What? Oh, yes, I still have Michael - and what a joy he is. But my last big kid. Somehow, it is different.   The end of an era. The bittersweet summation of a portion of my life that at many points I thought I wouldn't survive.

So, I am melancholy. I know.

It is just a "new chapter". And all that stuff you tell yourself to make it feel ok.

Thanks for listening. I feel better already!


Saturday, June 16, 2012

5 More Things

It is already the middle of June! Ugh. Summer is moving too fast!

Here are 5 more things about my summer that I wanted to share....

Summer 2012 VBS was a big hit and I enjoyed making the set for SKY! I will never look at clouds in the same way again.
Michael really enjoyed participating in the drama portion of SKY.

I am still trying to figure out how this little squeezable thing became...
This little squeezable thing!

A Pelicans game is a real summer treat - especially when a certain someone throws out the first pitch! And you discover that they sell Harp draft.

I would love to include some photos of Martha... AKA the other child living at home with us, BUT it would only be a shot of her car taillights - or maybe a shadowy picture of her standing at my bedside at midnight telling me she is home.


Thank you, God, for fresh corn-on-the-cob, cantaloup, tree frogs, clean sheets, Benadryl, Celebrex and votive candles.

This concludes my summer post, part 2!


Monday, June 4, 2012

Five Things

These are five firsts for summer 2012....

 Yeeee-yoooo! Now that's live action!!! For real....cable doesn't have anything on our neighborhood.

Its lasagna, its linguine...rigatoni, tortellini...cheese sprinkled on my fettuccine, a peachy-keeny cuisine!

 You say limes....I say mojito!

Fact. I live in a beautiful place. I snapped this with my iPhone while running errands!

My favorite flower. My neighbors were so kind to share. This bouquet literally makes me smile. Bury me beneath a blanket of gardenias....

In summer, the song sings itself.  ~William Carlos Williams


Sunday, June 3, 2012

A Daisy For Your Thoughts

Mother's Day weekend was not such a grand thing. Plagued by miserable weather, indifferent children and a case of "poor old me" -  I should have thrown the covers over my head and retreated until my head came around to thinking like my heart usually feels...which is grateful. But I didn't. I sipped on my disappointment like some folks sip champagne. Cheers to crummy weekends.

WHY am I bringing up Mother's Day weekend a month late, you ask?

Well, in addition to a bad attitude, that same not-so-great weekend brought a small tragedy, too. Our Bichon Frisee, Daisy, decided to push the envelop a little and get tangled up with husband's moving car. The result is too horrific to write about, really. No, REALLY.

But she is improving. I am certain most people wouldn't have spared her life. I am not certain we should have. But our emotions have made us come this far with her and now we are committed to helping her survive.

She is snoozing on the couch beside me. In her bandages and bonnet. And a feeding tube. She is happiest on the screened porch. I guess because it is a close to being outside as you can get without actually being outside!

She can't walk. She can't. Yet. But she is trying. She is eating better and looking interested in things around her. She likes to lie close to me, so I guess she has forgiven me.

We sleep next to her in case she needs to go out at 4 am. Or in case she soils the puppy pad. Or gets thirsty. Sometimes I think she is just bored. And then again, she might need a pain pill. I know I would!

My summer will have some highs, I am sure. We have travel plans, a wedding, camp, golf, new bikes and other things -- but most of my summer will be here on the porch, with my pooch. God's miracle. Daisy.

I am learning to appreciate the small things.


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Windows to the Soul

This past week was a real grind. Martha's surgery, while obviously tough on Martha, wasn't a cake walk for old mom, either.

In between dosing out the pain medication, providing service with a smile and food on a tray, I was peering out the windshield of my car window at the dear old Kings Highway.

Realizing that life must go on in spite of the unexpected....I fit in grocery shopping, doctor appointments, meetings, rehab, dogs groomed, bills paid.... and it got under my skin and into my lower back! The view from behind the wheel of my car was a bit depressing.

 The view from Martha's eyes wasn't great either. We were quite the pair!

 And then, there was baseball. Extra innings. Late to bed. Poor nutrition. Rushing the homework.

 And somehow we managed to get Martha off the couch, into the car, over to the school, into the gator (under the protective eye of the school athletic trainer) to support her team through a challenging game (thank you Vicodin).

But I have come to realize that I have a choice as to how to view this past week. Will I view it through the window of my car or through the eyes of my children?

The traditional proverb says that "the eyes are the windows to the soul". And for me a mirror, into which I see reflected a life of gratitude and joy and countless blessings. I am reminded of the ultimate goal -- to see those things of eternal value reflected there, in the eyes of my children and not those things framed out by the front windshield of my car!

I am making adjustments now, for a better view next week.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Soccer Monkey

In my house, there is a girl.

She is Strong. Determined. Lovely. Funny. Too Hard On Herself. Really not a girl but a YOUNG WOMAN. Sigh.

She loves soccer. She has played for most of her few years. I love to watch her. I had to sift through HUNDREDS of parent pride-driven photos to find this one...

I was looking for a shot of some magical trick or amazing throw-in, but chose this one because you can see her joy! She loves to play soccer.

I will be in deep trouble for posting these pictures. If you have ever read my posts, you will know she hates having her not-pre-approved-pictures made available for public consumption. But we can see her beauty even when she cannot.

Soccer got her in a little bit of trouble this year.

The first regulation game. On her 17th birthday. In the last minute of the game. OUCH!

Today was the surgery day. She was scared. There were tears of fear and tears of pain...from both of us!

 Dear God, protect Martha. Go before her. Give her peace and provide her with Your healing mercies. Amen.

 Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.

In 6 months, she will be back on the soccer field. Strong. Determined. Lovely. Funny.

Brave girl-woman, you are an inspiration and an example to me -- of commitment, passion and loyalty to the thing that you love!

Go Warriors!



Monday, April 30, 2012

Overcome with Laziness

Clouds make me lazy. It must be the clouds! When the sun is shining, I DO things. I exercise, I work at my office, I cook and clean.

The sun was shining on Saturday, and we took ourselves over to the "Stomp Out Bullying" event at the Middle School.

We walked a few miles, talked, ate hamburgers and hot dogs, played kick ball and dunked the principal in the dunk tank.

But that was then...when there were no lazy-clouds. See that blue sky??

Today, the lazy-clouds are forcing me to read about bacon-wrapped figs, Reese's baby bump and the right amount of sparkle for day. Just to name a few. I really don't want to be lounging in my bed, in my pajamas, surrounded by dirty laundry while reading about Tuscany and searching for recipes for almond biscotti.

I really want to be exercising, and paying bills, and washing down the screened porch...but these darn clouds....

If the sun doesn't shine tomorrow, you may need to do an intervention over here. If you can get through the mess.

Now, back to meringue mushrooms and You Tube.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Life of My Mind

This is what is on my mind...

1. Rainbow cake
2. James (as in the Bible) -- specifically chapter 5: 1-6 -- and how I can study it, prepare a lesson and present it in a way that is pleasing to God
3. Prom. No. AFTER the prom.
4. I forgot the oranges tonight for the soccer team.
5. Dinner...I only have rainbow cake and it is for (see #6)
6. Michael's birthday party
7. The sad fact that I don't stop and smell the roses. Or blog.
8. Sleep.
9. Sweet potato fries. I need them.
10. Mosquitos - or maybe I should say, bug spray.

Some days are like this.

Feeling a little out of balance...


PS My nose looks huge.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Did I Tell You?

I have a little domestic improvement project going on at our house...a kitchen/den thing.

You know the expression "It gets worse before it gets better"?

Well, it is worse. Here. In my kitchen/den. Not better.


In fact, all the stuff from the cabinets, shelves and bookcases, pantry, island and drawers has been in the middle of the dining room floor. Since January 1st.

We have been making coffee in the dining room.

The dining room is also where my wooden spoons are. And my spatulas. And my salt and pepper shakers.

I made a promise to myself that I would go through ALL THE STUFF before I put it back. No more chipped plates, weird electronic cords, half finished art projects, broken calculators or Latin dictionaries are going back in my beautifully redecorated kitchen/den!

Does anyone use a dictionary anymore? I mean with spellcheck and all....anyway, I have at least 10 of them so I decided to get rid of the Latin one. This is progress!

(Note: No one has studied Latin in this house in 8 years.)

Back to picking through my STUFF....

I found duplicate copies of a booklet called Did I Tell You? by Elizabeth Knapp.

I think I bought them in 1996.

One for each of my girls.

I needed to hang on to them for a while since they couldn't read in 1996 and they are meant for older daughters. I have carried them with me through several moves. Saving them and then forgetting where I put them.

They were in my kitchen/den cabinets.

It is a beautiful book(let).

Now that you are almost grown, I look back and ask myself - Did I tell you?

Did I tell you to laugh, to dance, to sing? There is a lot in life that is hard, but take it as it comes and find the good...and make time to dance!

Did I tell you to serve other people if only in a small way. There is growth and satisfaction in being part of something larger than yourself and your life will be richer knowing this.

Did I tell you to be for what you believe...

Did I tell you?

There is more, but I don't want to spoil it for my beautiful daughters.

I hope they listen to these wise words.

If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that I want for them a good life.

My family. Is my life.

Thank you, God.

Didn't mean to leave little Michael out....

Who knows what else I might find in the dining room floor! I hope it is a little magic fairy that will finish the job with a wave of its wand!

More later...


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Mop Handle Musings

I love that I am still learning about myself.

It would be so boring to occupy this body/mind, day after day, and already know everything there is to know about it.

Recently, I went to the hardware store to purchase a newer, better kitchen mop. I chose the hardware store over and above Walmart or something because I believed there would be a better selection of mops to choose from. I stood in front of the dozen or more mop choices for 30 minutes.

Cotton? Poly?

16" or 18" or 24"?

Twist mop?

And the mop long? Plastic clamp at the end or metal?

Some of them looked sturdier than others. Some were "lint free" and others were labeled "big, thirsty".

I really gave this mopping issue some thought.

I made the decision. And then I needed a new bucket. They were on another aisle.

I was super focused. Doing the right thing by my mop.

There were a lot of bucket choices, too.

Dang! Buckets are expensive. I really wanted the one that wrings out your 18", all cotton mop head, for you. It was $69. Instead, I wisely chose a different one.

Mission accomplished, 45 minutes later, bucket and mop head and mop handle in hand (plus a some de-greaser, granite cleaner and other extras), I turn to walk to the check out counter.....

And the back end of the long mop handle rips across the shelf and about 50 stocked items crash to the floor.

I turned to see the disaster....

And the mop handle takes another 50 stocked items off the other shelf....

I look around, thinking I am being filmed for America's Funniest Home Videos.

No such luck. No camera. Just me and a mess.

So this is my latest "I am still learning about me" lesson:

I try really hard at life. I am focused, goal-oriented, thoughtful and motivated.

But even when I am productively making headway, I am inadvertently knocking a whole bunch of other stuff off the shelf. Mainly because I am TOO focused on the finish line and not paying attention my surroundings.



It is the circle of life. Or the circus of life. Or the (short) circuits of life.

My motives are good, people.

The results don't always reflect my good motives, but that is why I need grace. And mercy.

Please accept my humble apologies if you have ever been in the wake of my mop handle.

I may never change. I may write this chapter and continue on in my overly focused, blindly ambitious manner but I am going to try and slow down and notice my surroundings a little more.

Which ain't so bad, you know?!

Have a good weekend!