Summer Lovin’

SummerLovin_Missindeedy

Pretty soon…

I have a puppy named Roscoe P. Coltrain to hug.

There’s a nephew with x’s all over his face to mark the spot where my kisses will go.

There’s a Nana to shop with.

And, an Ahab to walk the beach with and talk to.

A brother to hug.

A sister-in-law to love.

Childhood friends to visit.

Sand to wiggle my toes in and sunrises to peek at.

Books are waiting to be devoured.

Oh. The. Books!

A lighthouse to ride over to.

There are snorkels calling our names.

Fins are flipping in anticipation.

Jetties are waiting to be hopped over and fished on.

Manatees are waiting to be spied.

I hear that even the Puffer fish are holding their breath for our arrival.

Summer lovin’ starts super soon around here!

What are your plans for the summer? And more importantly, what are you reading this summer?

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Happy Mother’s Day

Struggling to make sense of your relationship with your mother is a tale almost as old as time itself, isn’t it?

I have good news for those of you who are still in the midst of the struggle: there may come a time when you don’t.

I know it’s possible.

My mother and I have a mutual respect and a deeper love for each other, now, than I ever thought possible.

She means more to me than I could ever have imagined she would.  Much more.

That, in and of itself, is a gift of epic proportions.

So, to my mama…

Mama, I know that Ahab often gets the credit for instilling a love of The Ocean in us kids. But, I give a lot of that credit to you, too. It was you who packed us up, religiously, each and every Saturday, to head to the beach for the day. You, along with the three other mothers in our Beach Family, and enough cold tuna noodle casserole, Cheezits, and Crystal Light Iced Tea to feed an entire classroom full of children, would herd us 8 children into vans and onto the hot sand with promises of hours of unfettered free time.

I felt the most free when we were at the beach each Saturday.  You allowed me to run and swim and play and eat Cheezits until you thought I’d turn into one. And, although I now understand (OH, how I understand!) that in doing so, you also were getting some much needed breathing room yourself, I never felt more loved on than when you would allow me to just be me at the beach.  There were no comments of being ladylike, eating less, or being more like so-and-so. No. None of that. You packed us up and took us to the place where we could all get out and blow the stink off.  And you showed your love in that one act.

I am so grateful for your willingness to take us out there for fresh air and sunshine.

Grilled cheese sandwiches, with the cheese blackened on the top, are still a favorite of mine to this day.  Those and the chicken noodle soup that always accompanied it, were the only things I really remember about the times I was sick. And, I remember you lovingly (and maybe with more than a hint of frustration on the tenth and twentieth times) putting the socks back on my hands, to keep me from scratching at the chicken pox that covered my body when I was six.

I am so grateful for your tender loving care.

And I also look back on all of your attempts to take us on mother-daughter trips with a softer perspective. You desperately wanted me to want to go – shopping, out to lunch, to a movie. I can see, now, that you really just wanted us to have opportunities to do things together.

And, I’m so grateful that you tried.

I love you mama.  It took me an awful long time to realize that I am, indeed, blessed to call you “Mom”. And I want you to know how much I look forward to every new memory we carve out together in the future.

Happy Mother’s Day!

A Little Late, But…

Better later than never, right?  I mean, we can’t ALL have our act together, now can we? I feel it’s my job and duty to lead the Vacation Picture Slackers in their turtle march toward productivity.

Enjoy some of my favorite “scenes” from our vacation and a Word to go with it.  Happy Sunday, friends!

 

Jersey_Shore_Vacay_Aug_Missindeedy

“From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,
the name of the Lord is to be praised.”

Psalm 113:3

Lessons by Sunrise

As we were strolling along the beach, earlier than humans should be allowed to be strolling, and looking for shells and treasures, Sweetgirl kept stopping to pick up “shells” like this:

At least their vibrantly colored, right?

At least they’re vibrantly colored, right?

Ahab and I kept telling her that she should be looking for shells like this:

The ones with holes are perfect for stringing necklaces, right?

The ones with holes are perfect for stringing necklaces, right?

You know. Perfect shells.

Because, all of us adults seem to have this need for perfection.

Or, maybe just the pursuit of perfection.

And there’s that theme again. When, Lord?  When will I learn this lesson once and finally?

But, God doesn’t want perfection from us.

Perfection began and ended in His Son, Jesus Christ.

I just need to follow hard after Jesus.

And for every time I stumble, I need only look up at The Hand that is offered to get back up.

Maybe, I need to see myself as one of those broken shell pieces.

I should also try to remember that I am already precious to Someone exactly as I am.

Just as those broken bits are to my Little Bit.

Although I would have preferred an earlier start to this lesson in my life, I’m ever so thankful for it.

And, I thank God that He is providing opportunities to teach her this lesson much earlier in her own life.

I’m also hopeful that this lesson sticks with her as she navigates life amidst All The Broken.

Oh, yes indeedy!

And Then We…

I wanted to first say THANK YOU for praying!  My friend did receive good news a few days ago, and the cancer has not spread. I was praying in earnest, as I know so many of you were, too.  Those prayers… they are precious to me.  And more importantly, to my sweet friend.  Whom I love.

So, again, I am so very grateful for your prayers on her behalf.

2

Summer activity is in full swing around here.  And we like that.  It reminds us that there is a beginning (of All The Fun) and an end (of All The School).  We get to languish in the mornings, eat lunch on the deck, and rustle up dinner whenever we want to.  There is water to be played in and ice cream to be consumed.  It is all a sweet balm to this mama’s heart. And to my sweet children’s hearts, too.

As we make preparations to head down to Florida to see Captain Ahab and The Nana for most of July, I thought I’d show y’all what we were up to last week.  Because, who doesn’t like pictures to remind us of The Joy? (Although, I beg you to ignore the fact that I chose to hold up my Coke Zero like I was in an advertisement for the thing. Sigh…)

But, aside from that… LOOK!  Summer!

Yes, indeedy!

Beach_With_Friends_Missindeedy

Happy Summer!

What I Learned On Vacation

On vacation, I learned a few things.  Try, just try, I ask you, not to be impressed.

  1. Family time is precious, indeed. (In a related lesson, cousins sleeping in the same room after being apart for 6 months? No sleeping in. Ever.)
  2. Brushing your teeth in the morning as you listen the ocean lap the sandy shore? Blissful. (Hazelnut coffee after a Listerine rinse, however? Not so blissful.)
  3. Sheets that smell of the beach and have a bit more sand in them every day? The best! (Washing said sheets a couple of times each when you get home to rid them of said sand? Not so much.)
  4. Thank you God for inventing shrimp!  And, no, as it turns out, you can not over-shrimp yourself.  Just ask my family. (I think my new peachy-pink skin color suits me just fine, thankyouverymuch.)
  5. Being unplugged for the week is quite a feat. (If you don’t count the 2 iPads, 3 DS’s, and 4 iPod Touch’s that were necessary to allow the adults to enjoy adult conversation. We don’t count those, right?)
  6. Margaritas taste better when shared over a rousing game of Spades. (And apparently, my spades game improves with each new pour. Especially considering we narrowly averted a lost “nil” due to dealer error.  Let no more be said on the matter.)
  7. Moments like this make it worth every cent of the grocery bill that somehow triples when away from home:

    Footloose and fancy-free… just the way I like ’em.

In other news, I went on vacation and all I got were these lousy mountains of laundry.

The majesty of these mountains escape me…

“Why, that’s only 5 loads!”, you may be tempted to say.  No, no, my friend.  That was simply as many loads as I could get into one shot without revealing the disaster zone that is my house right now. And, although I have no problem what-so-ever sharing pictures of my dirty unmentionables with you, I simply must draw the line at pictures of the dust bunnies and toy box that looks like it vomited all over the floor.  Of every. Single. Room.  I’m off in a cloud of turtle dust to vacuum some sand and ponder my lessons learned. Oh, yes indeedy.

That’s More Like It

It’s been raining on and off since we arrived here in Not-So-Sunny-Florida.  We are, however, with a Nana and a Captain Ahab that we haven’t seen in a good long while;  and, so, we’ve been enjoying each other anyway.  Imagine. The Captain, however, is up to his same old tricks.  I haven’t  come up with a catchy name for the debacle that occurred this morning yet.  It could be called Watergate.  It really could.  But that’s already been taken.  Here’s the gist:

Ahab: “Let’s run the kids over to the beach to check the ocean before the day gets rolling.”

Me: (Naively) “That sounds like a great idea!”

The sun was sparkling across the water and peeking out just enough at 7:00 in the morning to give us hope for a decent day. We grabbed hold of that hope with a little more zeal than caution would warrant for the skies that were overhead. Can I just stop here a moment to tell you all, (all 8 of you), how poignant it is to watch my children walk the beach early in the morning with Captain Ahab?  That same daddy walked me and my brother when we were their age.  Oh, how the beach shell turns…

Aren’t Those Skies Talking?

Far longer than a “short beach run” later, we arrived home soaked to the bone.  You see, Captain Ahab thought it would be a mighty fine idea to walk the kids (including the littlest – Sweetgirl) all the way to the jetty.  And back. From where we started out, it was a good quarter-mile (or more) there, and then another good quarter-mile or more back.  That would have been great if we just had the two 9-year-old boys.  Alas… Halfway TO the jetty, Sweetgirl started telling us that her legs were tired of All The Walking.  Not a good sign.

Just about the time Ahab and I realized we should probably start heading back from the jetty, the skies decided to get angry.  We tried to shuffle the kids away, but dang it, there was a hot-pink mask washed ashore that was just Sweetgirl’s size, and a half-dead sea fan that begged to be brought back (despite the stench); not to mention the two turtle hatchling eggshells we found.  Oh, The Excitement!  Unfortunately, all of The Excitement made trying to hurry them along kind of like herding cats.  Only, harder.

Happily at the Jetty

All that to say, about 2 minutes into our 15 minute walk back, the skies opened up and rained on our beachy parade.  Here are a few things I heard from the lolly-gaggers before one of them needed to be picked up to keep the party moving along.

Sweetboy:  “We’ve walked 3 or 4 miles now, haven’t we Grampa?”

Sweetgirl: “My Eyes!  My Eyes are getting wet.  See, Grampa?”

Cousin:  “Can I just go ahead and jump in the ocean and go swimming?  I’m already wet!”

We did make it back. Wet, but happy to have enjoyed the adventure.  And to have made it back without getting struck by lightning. Obviously. As, I’m now sitting here in the comfort of the house telling you all about the latest adventure “abroad”.  Only, “abroad” is really just down South from up North.  Indeed.