Surprise Snack

This is reposted from my school blog where I am participating in a month-long blogging challenge to write a small, slice-of-life story each day throughout the month of March.  This is the fourth time I’ve taken on the challenge, though last year I struggle to keep up.

When March rolled around, I thought about writing from this blog, but decided to keep it consistent and use the one I’ve used for all past challenges.  But, I might, from time to time, repost something here.  Because more often than not, I find myself writing about my family, I’m sure much to the chagrin of my students.

Perhaps, when I return to the classroom in the fall, I will try to structure it differently – professional and personal, school blog and personal blog.  But then again, perhaps not.  Because writing is writing and we are all inspired by so many different things.  So, for now…here’s a little slice from yesterday…

*                         *                          *

Today, we’re resting and recovering in hopes of returning to full health for the week ahead. I realize how rarely these days tend to come around, and how we might fare better if we took these days more often while healthy, instead of only after days of sickness.  Soft blankets surround snuggled bodies on comfortable couches.  Laughter and light fill the living room where we have played, talked, watched, and read throughout the morning.

With our encouragement, the kids headed upstairs to play in Seneca’s room.  We could hear them playing and were suspicious of the enthusiasm with which they bounded down the stairs, and their warnings to stay out of the kitchen.  A few minutes later and the whispered clanking we’d heard all made sense.

Excitedly, they presented me with the snack they’d prepared – Chicken in a Biskit crackers with Nutella, and cold coffee with creamer.

snack

If you’d have told me ten years ago that such a snack could have warmed my heart, I might have agreed to be polite.  But I realize now that it’s not about the snack at all, but the motivation of kindness that brings joy to my soul.

Sunflowers ~ Best Shot Monday

I remember when we first walked through the house where we now live.  After seeing many homes ~ some great, some absolutely NOT ~ we’d kept coming back to the pictures of this one online.  When we finally decided to look at it, even though it wasn’t in the location we really wanted, we knew it was the one we would buy.  I snapped dozens of pictures on our second walk-through and would scroll through them back at our apartment.  Before long, the house was ours…one week away from our first wedding anniversary. 

Recently, I found a few of those pictures  and was amazed to see the ways in which the home both inside and out has changed to fit the needs of our growing family.  Projects such as landscaping, painting, or updating the deck, or installing the new playset have really changed the look over the nearly five years we’ve lived there. 

A few years ago we pulled out the dead and dying lilac trees that resided in the back corner of our yard.  I was sad to see them go because the smell of lilacs is something I remember fondly from days spent in Grandma Gert’s backyard.  We’ve tried wildflowers, which ended up looking more wild than flowery.  We’d thought about turning it into some type of sitting area with a bench, arbor and fountain.  But none of those plans ever felt right.

This year, Garth sprinkled sunflower seeds (aka leftovers from a winter of feeding the birds) into converging rows.  I liked the idea, but it was really his thing.  He’d be out there watering or thinning them while we played in the yard.  Even when they were small, it already looked so much better than any of our prior attempts.  Then, after two weeks of rain and the sudden warmth, they exploded.  What was once a cute patch of knee-high plants, became a forest through which Calder was suddenly wary to explore. 

Sunflowers 1

The first signs of buds appeared.  Our excitement grew. 

Sunflowers 2

We watched and counted the numbers of buds appearing on a single stalk.  Did you know there could be more than one per stem?  I observed the pride on Garth’s face as his laboring was paying off.  While our time away has been refreshing, we’re anticipating a sea of sunny yellow to smile upon us when we arrive home.

Sunflowers 3

My best shot this week is the first one, I love all the possibility that it holds, and yet wince a little to think about how quickly the time will pass when he really will be forging out on his own, exploring the world around him.  And yet, if you look closely, you’ll see his daddy’s hand, outstretched.  It’s enough to make my heart melt. 

How about you?  What’s blossoming in your world this week?  What are you exploring?

It’s Not You, It’s Me

Don’t worry, I’m not breaking up with you!  I figured I’d better clarify a little bit in case you’re wondering if your reader has gone haywire!  I finally sat down with the intentions of getting “caught up” with the posts that have been rolling around in my head, some started on paper and others in the form of titles scribbled in my planner. 

I know there are those out there completely appalled by such “backblogging” (by the way I think I invented this word.  I kinda hope I did, but probably not!) but when I really ask myself why I blog I arrive at a simple answer.  I want to remember the little things, the big things and all those in-between that shape the past, present and future of our lives.  OK, so it doesn’t seem simple when I re-read it.   But it is.

Maybe I am breaking rules.  If so, I guess I’m doing so intentionally.  There are very few places where we can control time.  If doing this on occasion means I get to enjoy a clean house, some fun with my kids, AND a creative entry that shares those adventures…that’s good enough for me!  Thanks for allowing me to flood you with feeds…and rest assured I’m pretty much back on track.  It feels good to write.  Here’s to making it happen more regularly!

A Few Hours On a Thursday Morning

Life has always surprised me, but I find that as a mother I’m surprised more often and my vision more acute to the subtle changes, the slight differences that amuse and delight me.  Like the day this spring when I was bustling around the kitchen trying to leave the house on time and Calder saw a packet of Equal in my hand.  “Momma, you makin’ coffee?” he asked.  A mundane task and one he watches and remembers.

Or last week when, after climbing into his booster seat indpendently and without being buckled (after all we’d just finished lunch) he sat there for a moment before announcing, “I be careful, else I crack my head!” 

And this morning, as Seneca and I greeted him by coming in to play and he bounded out of bed and asked, “You sleep good Momma?” just the way I ask him every day.  I suppose I’m painting a pretty rosy picture here, so to give myself some real credibility, the little ditty I made up that goes, “Calder Damien, Calder Damien, Calder Damien, Stop Picking Your Nose!” also gets recounted often complete with the nose-picking that originally altered the final lines of his little song in the first place!

In any case, it’s these moments, that make me realize just what an awesome privilege it is to raise these two little people.  And today, I’m sure that my own mom didn’t know that she’d provided an amazing title to a poem or short story or piece of episodic fiction that I have yet to write when, basking in the gorgeous sun of a perfect summer day she commented on the perfection of the park we visited.  “It feels like we’re up north camping,” she said, “and really it’s just been a few hours on a Thursday morning.”

I guess as children we’re always watching our parents.  I’m thankful for such amazing examples and pray that I too can provide a model I’d be proud to have emulated.

Collage 1

July 2009 279

July 2009 281

July 2009 282

July 2009 289

July 2009 291

July 2009 294

July 2009 296

July 2009 304

Special Sunrise ~ Best Shot Monday

On our first day in Tahoe I awoke several times throughout the night and finally decided to stay up around 4am – my typical wake-up time considering the 3-hour time difference.  After hearing that a few groups (also East Coasters who were wide awake in the morning, and completely dragging by early evening) had gone down to the lake to see the sunrise, I knew I had to do it too. 

Friday morning found us taking a stroll around the resort which ended with an “I’m-too-chicken-to-go-any-higher” hike up a nearby mountain.  Saturday, I felt peace and we climbed higher and hiked longer since we knew where we wanted to go and didn’t “happen upon” the trail. 

Following the celebration dinner where everyone came together to share in rich conversation and the accomplishments of our weekend’s work, we proceeded to hoot, howl laugh and cry through the Open Mic portion of the evening.  I’m not sure if the headiness I felt was due to the overwhelming sense of awe that I had spent three days with such talented and intelligent people or if it was an effect of the margaritas.  Perhaps one intensified the other!  Either way, it carried me back to the room where I sleepily crawled into bed for the final night.    

          “Are we going to the lake tomorrow?” Melissa asked.
          “If we make it, great!  If not, it’s no big deal,” I replied.  “I’m not going to set an alarm.  We’ll see what happens.”
          “Are you sure?  You’ve wanted to see it since we got here,” she continued. 
          “I know, but it’s a late night and a long day tomorrow.  We’ll see.  G’night!”
          “‘Night.”

I welcomed sleep and savored the restorative rest I knew I’d need for the day of travel ahead.  Knowing that we were slowly adjusting to the time change and suspecting our latest wake-up yet, I accepted that I’d see another sunrise, another day.

*                    *                    *

The darkness in our room was my first clue that I’d awoken in time, even without an alarm.  I checked the clock – 4:59.  Having researched it earlier I knew that dawn typically broke around 5:45 – just enough time to walk the mile or so into town to the lake.  I contemplated staying in the comfort of my warm bed for a couple hours longer knowing that I wouldn’t have the luxury of sleeping in once I returned home to the kids I desperately missed.

Then, in the quiet of that room, I knew I had to go.  I’d never felt more certain of anything in my life than I was at that moment.  I knew that God had prepared something special and that he was inviting me to share that beauty with him.

Pier 1

Sunrise 2

Sunrise 3

Sunrise 4

Sunrise 5

It’s impossible for me to choose a favorite among these, because they each capture a portion of my experience. If you can, leave a comment telling me which one you like best!

What’s shining in your world today?