Thursday, March 31, 2011

March, in photos that really don't make much sense. Mostly.

 I'm going to be honest.  (Like I'd be anything else with you.) I'm really looking forward to these posts more and more.  I can't explain it.  But I've also got to be honest, most of the photos I took this month for my 365 were kind of, "Oh dangit, it's 4:00 and I'm losing the light, so what can I photograph?"  I'm just saying.  Last month I did that cool thing, where I put one word under every photo.  Remember that?  Well, I won't be doing that, because if I did, I'd say things like, "Uhhhh."  Not very entertaining.  KnowwhatImean?
 A lot of work went into this month.  And I'm not just talking about the packing, and then unpacking thing.  Okay, I am talking about that. 
 A lot of love went into this month.  Mainly, from other people to me.  And man, I needed it. 
 This was the month of JJ.  It just was. 
 This was the hardest day I've lived in a looonnng time.  Pulling things out of boxes, wringing my hands in frustration, trying to figure out what to put where.  And why. 
 This day... well, this day, I made lemonade.  Metaphorically.  Somehow, I put the pieces back together and pulled myself up by my bootstraps.  Cause life goes on. 
 I hung things back on my walls. 
 And then I moved one box too many and.... ouch.  Pain.  Apparently I don't have the back of a twenty year old anymore.  Weird.
 I worked slowly, taking plenty of time to ice my back.
 And finally got my Etsy collection together.  Can I just say... I'm still madly in love with these napkins?  Possibly my number one favorite thing so far.... (Get it?  "Number one?")
 This was just one of those days... you know the aforementioned, "Oh dangit, it's 4:00 and I'm losing the light, so what can I photograph?" kind of days. 

 So was this. 
 And this...
 I'm sorry... I'm boring. 
 Ah... but finally, we found a reason to celebrate. 
I don't know... she was there, I was there, and I had a camera in my hand.  Pretty much a normal day in my life.
 Feeling once again, overwhelmed by the kindness of my friends, readers, and (yay!) customers. 
 Open house. Walk in the park.  Incidentally, the last time we had any traffic through our home.  Let's not think about that today.  We'll think about that tomorrow. 
 Party planning....
 For my little green-eyed hoodlum.
 Sick day, where I was completely manipulated by one tiny, "sick" little girl, who just needed some mama time, as best I could tell.  It happens. 
 Yep.  One of those days again.  Man, 4:00 just comes up on ya!
 Seriously thinking I need to find a way to bottle up the moment and never forget how little they are. 
 I tried really hard to snap photos for my 365 that didn't appear in my blog posts, but I loved this one too much. 
 I bought this because the sign said it was a "Tangelo."  I didn't know what that was, but guess what?  It was a grapefruit.  So I felt lied to.  I mean, here I was all jazzed about trying my first tangelo, and I got a grapefruit.  Wow, big surprise... I know exactly what a grapefruit tastes like!  I'm really craving tangelo right now.  I think.  I can't be sure exactly though, since I don't really know what that would taste like. 
 I bought a ruffled pillow cover for my bed, on a whim.  And it made me feel better. 
 Did I ever (and please tell me if I did) say that I didn't want a dog?  Because I can't imagine me ever saying something so utterly ridiculous.  Who on earth would say something like that?  I know I certainly wouldn't have. 
She really makes a nice rug.  Or pillow.  Or footstool.  She completes us. 
 And this photo was just so I could wrap things up for the month.  I plan to do something cute with them in April.

Good bye March.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

All I needed to learn about waiting, I learned in Hawaii.

I  know.  I said I would be gone this week.  I'm a liar.  Actually, I've just had the most amazing things to share so here I am.  Again.  Maybe I'll take next week off instead.  Ha!  Anyway, the other day, I posted about our long ago, would-be trip to the Bahamas, that never actually happened.  I'd like to continue that story because it actually has a great ending.  The following year, Adrain worked twice as hard at work, and the market was booming.  At the end of his year, he was awarded a second trip, only this one was for Maui, Hawaii.  Please keep in mind that I'd flown on a plane for 30 minutes in my entire life, (you know... in anticipation of going to the Bahamas that ended in tears and a rental car.) and I'd just finished potty training my youngest child.  So in other words, I was desperate for a get away.  When Adrain said the magic words of, "five days and four nights," I wanted to get excited, but the truth is, I didn't actually believe it until I stepped off the plane and the loveliest smiling faces I'd ever seen, greeted me with fragrant, purple leis.

The second evening of our Hawaiian escape, we were scheduled to attend a luau.  After an afternoon spent walking up and down sandy beaches with my main squeeze, we headed up to our room to freshen up.  My hair was super curly from the tropical environment, so I went with it, leaving it loose.  I slipped into a simple white sundress and sandals, and we headed to the luau.  We breathed in the scent of hibiscus mingling with aromas of roasting pig, as we lined up to enter.  Music played softly in the background, and waiters passed out tropical drinks sporting colorful orchids.  Some small children tried catching a gecko nearby, and we smiled as we thought about our hoodlums, left back on the mainland, with their grandparents.

We were seated at a long table, and as seats around us filled in, people began introducing themselves, and sharing where they were traveling from.  Companionable chatter filled the air, and I learned that the couple seated on my right were celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary, all the way from the Midwest.  Across the table, was a woman I'm going to refer to as Zsa Zsa.  Sporting diamonds on each finger, and frosted hair, she was swathed in sequins and heavy-looking, fake eyelashes.  She immediately began fidgeting, and twisting in her chair to find our waiter.  No sooner had he departed, than she began fussing about this and that, ever impatient for food, drinks, and miscellaneous other things she was being required to wait for.  After the meal had been served, fanning herself and rolling her eyes, she looked across to my new Midwest friend, and began to complain at length, about how long it was taking for the performance to begin.  Setting her drink beside her plate, the woman to my right looked straight into Zsa Zsa's eyes, and said, in a deadpan tone that I'll never forget, "Do you have someplace that you need to be?"  It was one of those times, where the entire table went silent at just that moment, and though said in a quiet, and respectful voice, a very clear message was sent.

I lifted my napkin to cover a smile, and noticed many dining companions doing likewise.  It was a moment that struck a chord in my heart, and I've often recounted, when I'm given to impatient waiting on something or someone.  Here we were, in the most beautiful place on earth, being required to relax, be patient, and enjoy the slow process of waiting for the evening to unfold all around us.  (Sometimes it's hard to wait patiently when you want something.) 

The other night, Adrain read something to me from John Ortberg's book, If you want to walk on water, you've got to get out of the boat, and it enfolds perfectly into what I've just shared with you. "Henri Nouwen gave us a picture of patient trust not long before he died in 1996.  Writing about some trapeze artists who became good friends of his, he explained that there is a very special relationship between the flyer and the catcher...As the flyer is swinging high above the crowd, the moment comes when he lets go of the trapeze, when he arcs out into the air.  For that moment, which must feel like an eternity, the flyer is suspended in nothingness.  It is too late to reach back for the trapeze.  There is no going back now.  However, it is too soon to be grasped by the one who will catch him.  He cannot accelerate the catch.  In that moment, his job is to be as still and motionless as he can.  'The flyer must never try and catch the catcher,' the trapeze artist told Nouwen.  'He must wait in absolute trust.  The catcher will catch him.  But he must wait.  His job is not to flail about in anxiety.  In fact, if he does, it could kill him.  His job is to be still.  To wait.  And to wait is the hardest work of all.'  You may be in that very vulnerable moment right now- you have let go of what God has called you to let go of, but you can't feel God's other hand catching you yet.  Will you wait in absolute trust?  Will you be patient?  Waiting requires patient trust."  
Corbis Images
 I  know a lot of you are waiting for something.  And really... do we have some place we've got to be?  It's not like we're in control of any of it! God's other hand is still there, and He will catch us in His time. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Unshakeable security

(I planned to break away for the week, but I had to quickly post this.) When I was seventeen, I began casually observing a guy in my English class.  When he stood in front of our class to give speeches, he was relaxed, at home, and easy to listen to, exuding a quiet confidence.  He was incredibly athletic, and excelled at every sport he played, making team captain in most of them.  He belonged to the many clubs, who's advertisements littered the hallways, splashed in tempera paint, and school pride.  He ran for the school presidency, and was voted most likely to become president of our country, probably based in part, on his easy way, and firm handshake. 

It didn't take very long for me to figure out that this was a guy who was going somewhere in life.  A guy who could be depended on.  A guy who would provide security and stability.  By age seventeen, my family had moved more times than I could count, transferring me from one school to the next, and security was something I craved.  One afternoon, he sauntered up to me, clad in his letterman jacket, books tucked under his arm.  He flashed me a grin and said, "You know... you should really go out with me, because someday, I'm going to be the president."  That was all.  I blushed like crazy, boosting his confidence until he convinced me to let him drive me home after school.  On the way, he pulled into a bakery and bought us each a doughnut.  Over the course of many years, we dated, married, and every single shred of security was ripped away from us, as our life's plans crumbled into the ashes of reality.

I tried desperately to cling to him through the ups and downs.  After all, though he was a man, he was a good man.  A reliable man.  Steady, and ever optimistic.  Try as I might, I could not fit all the broken pieces of security back into my hands, no matter what our circumstances became, or what my man provided for me.  Four years ago, I was faced with the sight of my husband growing restless with life "as usual" and it was a terrifying thing to behold.  I continually looked at it through the filter of, "how will this affect me."  (I know.  Selfish, and I'm not proud.)  At first, I longed for him to hurry up and find his way, so I could settle back down into a nice, secure, little life, never dreaming that I was primed for a little shake up myself. 

Slowly, God began to rock me out of my safe, comfortable, nest.  Apparently, you can't sit in a nest all your life, or you'll never learn to fly and spread the wings of faith.  At first, I clung to whatever passed by that offered a glimpse of security, but time and time again, it proved false and easily shaken.  I don't know when I began to transfer my idea of security from a mere man, directly to God's blessings, but I'm sorry to say that I did.  Somehow, I decided that as long as God was blessing me (or giving me what I wanted) I would be secure.  I was putting my security into the blessings of God, rather than God Himself.  I read a quote by Beth Moore in January, that felt like an explosion of "Wow! and Aha!" in my brain.  She said, "If our trust is in manifestiations of God's favor, rather than God Himself, we will crumble like dry clay when He calls us to walk a distance of our journeys entirely by faith and not by sight."

Today, I'm choosing to cling to God Himself,- not what He does or doesn't do.  And I'm resting in this amazing verse while I do that; "My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken." Psalm 62:1-2  (emphasis mine)

Let the adventure continue...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A ten year old's top ten, captured in 87 photos.

 I feel like I'm a little rusty in the party-throwing department.  For the past year, everything has been a little "subdued" because the hope of house showing/moving/packing has taken too much priority, and parties were just too much work.
 I figured you can't go very wrong with Star Wars though, so that's where we began.  For ten years, every single birthday cake JJ has requested, has been carrot cake.
 I can't believe this little hoodlum is ten. 
 We put together a top ten day, complete with map, and ten locations for fun, food, and gifts.  It was a hit. 
 We kicked off the day, at location number one- a gourmet cupcake shop.  (The same one I brought Becky to when she came for a visit.)  I think I go there for the polka dot plates.  I am so addicted to these plates.  My man looked at me while I was photographing about 28 photos of our cupcakes, and said I have a plate addiction. Someday, I'm going to have to own a set of these babies.

 We love to celebrate around these here parts. 
 This man makes my top ten. 
 We goofed around and then headed off to continue our day of fun. 
 After several stops, we ended up at JJ's favorite restaurant.  An old fashioned car hop drive-in, where waffle fries, burgers, and milk shakes compliment the 1950's music.  I'm sad to say that none of us were feeling all that great, and we mainly nibbled at the outer edges of our meal.

 One of our last stops, was a bowling alley.  Ava was hilarious to watch, because every time she finished a round, she started celebrating and jumping all the way back to her seat, regardless of her score. 
 The highlight for me, was watching my little man try out his new skateboard.  No, actually... it was seeing my brother, Officer McJakey riding JJ's bike up and down the street.  Big guy on a little bike... I'm still laughing.
 Aunties and Uncles are the best.  Especially when the Uncles try and pop wheelies. 
The grandparents came and had cake to round out the day, and I'm pretty sure my JJ had a perfect birthday party this year.  Whew.

Now on to Adrain and Ava.... I'll be absent from my blog all the rest of this week, but I'll be back with a fun Easter idea on Friday!