Friday, April 30, 2010

Stormy weather . . .

(image not my own)
Early morning.
The coffee brews. I hear it dripping. Smell the earthy tones in it drifting my way.
I inhale slowly, a long breath that makes me close my eyes, lift my head, let out a sigh.
That first sip of coffee is like a kiss.
I look out the window at a storm brewing outside.
The sky is so dark. Layers of gray. The clouds could be mistaken for mountains rising from ancient mists. Olympus floating by.
Wind gusts. The trees dance . . .not a waltz, but a furious dance. Their new green leaves tremble.
Grass bows low, waving to the whimsy of the wind.
I do not know what will happen today. Or tomorrow.
I cannot guess what the future holds.
There is no planning now. No agenda. No place to be.
Just here. Sitting. Sipping coffee. Snuggling with my small waking son.
I watch the storm come.
But there is a peace that passes knowing it is out there.

I have been thinking a lot, lately, about my life.
About what is good in it.
It is a long list. One I will write down one day. . . soon.
Those good things, those blessings and magical moments, those Divine encounters . . . they are what anchor me.
They enable me to watch the storm with quiet eyes and calm heart.
They help me remember there are things bigger, longer-lasting than storms.
And so, playing in grandpa's backyard with the boys in the late afternoon sun yesterday, sitting on the porch and talking with grandpa, coming together around the table for our weekly family dinner, watching Daniel and his dad bond on a John Deere against a pinking sun-set, spying young strawberries waiting to ripe-- life in my neglected garden, finding a dewy-eyed Peter Rabbit near our blackberry bushes, listening to our boys prayers before they climbed into their beds . . . those things are what I am thinking of this morning as I watch through my window the dark skies gather outside and the grasses supplicate to a wild wind.
I draw Daniel close. I hear Joe working on things in the other room. I think of my boys at school across town.
I remember that He holds all things in His hands.
I take another sip.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Today . . .

Today the cool breeze blows through our windows, sweeping around the house.
The curtains that frame our large living room window billow out like sails.
Daniel climbs up on the bench in front of them.
"This is my stage!" he says.
This spot in front of the big picture window has been one of his favorite places for a long time. Usually, he sits in pensive mood, looking at the birds on the lawn and the cars riding past. Watching the world go by. Or he jumps up there when he hears a siren, looking for the excitement of a red fire truck whizzing by. And today, it is his stage. His place to explore his voice. To be "on".
He is so funny and so sweet. He lights my smile up from inside my face until I feel like it will crack, and I will become a ball of light and laughter, rising like the sun.
Who else can fill us with such feelings like our children?
No one.
Today, I am feeling better, but not yet my best self. I think the cool air, the sunlight that splatters on the walls and the floor beckoning to come out and play, the prospect of getting out of the house, will help.
Today, I will put one foot in front of the other. I will move forward. I will breathe.
Today, I will enjoy the simple blessings. I will smile at my sons. I will embrace my life and live it the best way I know how, and learn how to live it even better.
Today, I will bless the Maker of all things bright and beautiful. I will thank the Healer. I will remember the faithfulness.
Today is going to be a great day!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Once upon a time . . .

The other night, as I was reading a book to Daniel before bed, he said to me, "Mom, I wish I could get into that picture in the book. How do I get in there? I want to jump into that picture and be in the book!"
I know just how he feels.
There are many a book I would  love to fall into . . . .
I love that he feels that way about books. That he knows, even now, that they can take him places . . . far or near. That they create worlds. 
Life is still crazy busy here, though winding down a bit now.
The week after my last post, I was busy preparing for that Friday night, when our school had a spring concert centered around the theme "The Whole Earth is Filled with His Glory."
All our kids did such a great job singing and dancing and reciting poetry and prayers and playing instruments. I was so proud of all of them!
We also had a school wide writing contest, and the winners were announced during the concert, and winning entries were read.
Josiah won first place in his category (1st and 2nd grade cinquain), along with his good pal Nathaniel, and they both were the only two students to score a perfect score on their writing, so they both won best of show as well. He won a Sonic gift card for getting first place, a pizza party to be shared by all winners, and a writer's basket for getting best of show.
Isaac also won first place in the 5th-6th grade narrative category, and he took third place in the poetry contest.
Our kids pulled out their best to show their friends and family members that indeed, the whole earth is filled with His glory!
Isaac and Joe left right after the concert for a Boy Scout camp out. I stayed home and got the house ready for an open house we were having that Sunday, (All that work, and only one family came through! Oh well, at least it made me get my spring cleaning done!).
 Isaac got pretty sick while he was at camp, and it was a long recovery for him. He had a fever that he couldn't shake, ear infections in both ears and an upper respiratory infection. It was his first sickness of the year. He had perfect attendance up until that point, and he was sad to be missing school.
It was a short week anyway, because the teacher's went on a much needed retreat to a beautiful house nestled in the wooded banks of a river near Branson, Mo.
It was a wonderful time of refocusing and refreshing, listening to hearts, hearing and sharing encouragement, and looking ahead to the next school year.
The house was luxurious, to say the least, and the setting was beautiful . . . river winding behind the house that could be seen from the large windows and many decks, trees surrounding and shading. There was an amazing view from . . . everywhere!
 This is the kind of dinning table I want . . . BIG!
Unfortunately, while there, I got sick. A trip to the Urgent Care on Monday morning revealed that I had sinusitis, an upper respiratory infection and an inner ear infection that still has me not hearing much at all out of my right ear. Very annoying! I got a shot of antibiotics in my "rear-hind" as Daniel calls it, and some other strong medications to help alleviate symptoms of the infections.
Yesterday, I woke up sicker than I was the day before, not only from all the infections, but from negative reactions to the meds as well. I was sicker than I have been in a long time. I ran a high fever all day, had a headache that would not go away, and felt like I was going to throw up the whole time. My skin turned a bright red color all over, and I felt like I was burning from the inside out. I was miserable! A call to the pharmacist confirmed that some of my discomfort was due to the high doses and combination of meds I am taking. Nothing dangerous . . . just "regular side effects." I was told to continue all meds and stick it out until they could work. My mom came and watched Daniel until Joe woke up, and then he took over, letting me rest and recover. He has taken very good care of me, helping me with my meds and making me endless cups of tea. Thank you, Joe, for being such a good nurse!
So, that pretty much is the short version of the past two weeks or so.
What am I looking forward to?
This weekend is the school track meet, weather permitting.
After that, there are only two weeks of school left. I can't believe it. Really. It feels like we just got started. How can it be over?
This is Isaac's last year of grade school. Next year he will be a seventh grader. Wow. That is crazy to me. Sometimes, lately, I will look at him and I feel . . .overwhelming waves of love, and wonderment at his every growing self, and sadness that his little kid years are coming to an end, and anticipation for what lies ahead for him. It's all very mixed. And sometimes, that pre-teen craziness takes over, like Mr. Hyde, and I think . . . "who are you? And what did you do with my sweet little son?"
We are facing new parenting territory. There is no doubt about it. And we are doing it with hope and anticipation and excitement . . . and a little nostalgia. And some holy trepidation. What happens in the next few years will solidify things in him . . .ideas about the world, family, himself and God.
I find myself listening a little more closely, looking at him a little longer, hugging him a little tighter. He changes by the minute, it seems. Sometimes he is the boy. Sometimes he is the young man. And I think . . . "just a little longer, please. Be little just a little longer . . . "
But little has long been over. And I am enjoying this new young man in the house. Mostly. And when the pre-teen crazies raise their ugly head, we continue to love, continue to admonish, continue to teach character and Godliness, continue to hope for a good future, continue to ask God for answers we don't have. And he is faithful, as he is in everything!
One of my fondest memories of when Isaac was little, was giving him sink baths. He loved to sit in our deep sink in our first house, and I would fill it with water and bubbles. Patti and I would sit and talk and Isaac would play in the sink until he was a wrinkled prune of a boy, full of suds and clean as a whistle. We did sink baths with Jo, too, from the time he was very little. We'd put him in Gram and Gramp's sink, and grandma would talk to him and coo at him as we washed him clean , and he would turn his face to hers, and listen to her voice, and answer in smiles and soft baby speak. (I have lots of pics, but they are from the olden days, when we developed film and got our pics on photo paper, so until I can get a scanner . . . . they are in the photo box.)
I had almost forgotten about sink baths, until Monday evening, when , almost by accident, Daniel, who was sitting on the counter-top, looking out the window, asked to get into the sink. And get into the sink he did. He had a blast! And it brought back so many good memories of my other boys!
I am on the mend today. Still recovering a bit. And having had a high fever yesterday, I am still home today. But I look forward to tomorrow, when I will re-enter society and get back into the swing of things. I am ready to be better. I am ready to face my new days.
And who wouldn't be, with this little guy to keep up with?
He told me today when he gets big he's "gonna have a horse and a cow."
Just maybe.
FYI: I have added photos to my last post, so scroll down and take a look!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Whewwwww. . . .

As I sit here on my brown couch, typing this post, it is late Sunday night.
It is always late at night, it seems, when I am posting (. . .thus all the typos. At a certain point, all the letters just kinda blur together. But sometimes, I just gotta write!).
It's been a busy weekend.
Heck. It's been a busy life.
But this weekend was a bit busier than average weekend stuff.
There was a family party for Josiah Friday night.
Our very dear friends, Pat and Theresa Forbes joined us for the celebration. We used to celebrate all our holidays and family milestones with them. They have moved far away, but they are always in our hearts, and on Friday, we had the pleasure of having them at our table!
Saturday, I did some housework . . . not as much as I needed to, but enough to keep me busy until I had to get ready for the wedding of our good friends Ugo and Amy.
I know the wedding ceremony and celebration is primarily for the bride and groom, but I had so much fun seeing old friends and talking to people I haven't seen in a while and bustin' a few moves with my home girl Kerri, it felt like we were all the stars of the evening!

On the way home in the car, Josiah told me he danced his first dance with another person . . .a friend of his from school, "you know, to a slow song," he explained as I drove him toward home, the darkening sky falling around us . Apparently, she offered him two pieces of candy to dance with her, and he refused. But she upped the ante to three pieces of candy, and he folded like a bad hand.
He seemed quite squeemish about the whole thing.
I just couldn't believe I missed the photo op.
And my little dancing man.
I stayed way latter than I planned to.
It was that much fun.
Staying late has it's consequences though.
Just ask Cinderella.
By the time I got home, I was too tired to do the things I had to do to get the house ready for Josiah's "friend party" today.
So, this morning was a rush, and this afternoon was a bit crazy too. Lots of people came for dinner and the party, and the house was packed out . . . but I love it when that happens.
The whole house fills up with the sounds of laughter and talking and family and life and . . . friendship. Dishes rattle and silverware clinks and clanks. Children laugh, run, get under your feet . . . and you smile. Friends share stories, tell jokes, remember when, laugh out loud . . . their voices becoming part of the space where you are, maybe forever. If you press your ear up to the wall another day, can you hear them again? . . . the conversations, the words, the hearts . . . ? I like to think they live on in the walls, and that is the essence of what makes your house a home. That the happy words bounce around the place. A place to gather. Friends and memories. To mingle lives. Holy work. A sanctuary.
So, I sit in silence now.
But I can still hear the voices of the afternoon. Not in the walls. But in my head. My heart.
I smile.
These moments . . .days . . . of beauty and grace, are what our lives are built on.
A wonderful life.
I face another busy week.
Busier than this last one, even.
The thought of it makes me let out a sigh into the stillness.
My heart sinks a little.
Why can't we just live in this marvelous today for a bit longer?
Why can't this late night stillness linger . . . last for days . . . stretch out and on and on . . .with no agenda but to enfold this house and my sleeping boys and me posting here?
It will not.
It can not.
There is more ahead . . . glimmers of the beauty, the grace, yet to be lived.