Monday, December 22, 2014

Overwhelming Gratitude

I hate to be melodramatic....ah, who am I kidding? I'm a melodramatic sensationalist at heart! At any all know that I'm far from one who goes around publicizing struggles, negativity or drama. I have a great poker face, and sometimes too good of one, because I even fool myself. Take the past year for instance: my job situation was bad. I had a burning lump of anxiety in my stomach all year....I lived each day to get to the next weekend- and I crashed. I was exhausted and spent the weekend "living" and "doing"  and then, around 4 PM on Sunday afternoon the reality of having to go back to the office on Monday morning started the burning sensation in my stomach all over again. I couldn't sleep at night and in the mornings I couldn't wake up.
Towards the end of my time there.....being M I S E R A B L E would have been a luxury. I was beyond miserable. SOMETHING had to give.

I began seriously praying in July- thinking- I can't do this another WEEK. I can't continue. The dynamics of the situation was compounding and my will to take the high road was dwindling.

In August I had a job interview. And then another. They called me back a total of  F I V E times. It was a 30+ minute drive from home, away from the kids school. I would make the same, drive farther and have insurance. And I was desperate.  My letter of resignation sat typed, folded and ready to hand in.
They were calling me on Thursday to make an offer. And I was going to accept it.
No matter W H A T. it was.

I waited.  A L L  D A Y. 

I'm not the type of person who sits idly by, patiently waiting.  I don't wait well- not on my kids, not in the drive-thru, not at red lights, not in movie lines, carpool lines, at the doctor office, or the checkout line. And come to find out, not even on God.

And I whine. A lot. I'm an impatient, whiney waiter.

I had done everything I could do- I was at my wits end- at the point that any job offer would have been accepted....but God doesn't do just anything. He does EVERYTHING. He meets all of our needs.

But the next day, the call still hadn't came.

But a call was made. Not the call I had set into motion.....but the call that God  had ordained. The call that instantly raised my heart rate....and stopped that woefully insistent burning in my stomach. The call that I didn't foresee....or even dream of.  The phone call said everything that I needed and wanted. And I knew.  When God ordains- there is no strain to make gears turn, pieces lock in place. It just happens...  and so it did.
(Disclaimer: I'm omitting a huge chunk of soap opera worthy drama here---- The Reader's Digest Condensed Version Cliff Notes are: Words were said. Feelings were hurt. Mean people do and say desperate things in self-preservation. Always take the high road...there's less smog of life in higher elevations! )

 I can't begin to describe the overwhelming gratitude I have for my new employer, the new setting in which I work. The people. The location. The dynamics. The view (I have a window!). The options. The consideration. The welcoming.
My heart gushes with gratitude at people willing to take a risk, willing to try new ideas, willing to be a shelter, willing to be a family.
The New Year is looking clear, stable and full of promise......and I happen to know the One who keeps all of his promises. <3 br="">Shine All Your Light,


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Galavanting The North Carolina Country Side

Barn Quilt in Randolph County, North Carolina. One weekend we took a driving tour of the Barn Quilts in Randolph County.

Junius Lindsey Vineyards take the Hoity-Toity out of wine tours. They offer open grassy fields for kids to play and romp with the resident dogs, fences to climb and a general airy, "come as you may" atmosphere.  Rocking Chairs, round tables and an open pavilion welcome you at the end of a beautiful, windy road into the property.

Roadside black Eyed Susans held their aging heads up

Less than an hour from home is the famous Childress Vineyards. If it weren't for the humidity, you'd feel as if you were touring a Napa Valley establishment.....

Look, but don't touch.

The Carolina Blue skies over Childress Vineyards

Monday, August 25, 2014

Finding the Light....

For years, I've had struggled with finding a balance between creating a memory and capturing a memory with my children. There are some photos that I look back on and see the annoyance in my children's eyes....the "Are you done yet? We just want to play!" look. All the while I'm adjusting WB's, ISO's and determining which position would best capture the catch light in their eyes.
So many memories were contaminated with different variations of "Wait. DO that again! Stand here, face that, hold your chin up, square up to the lens" commands coming from behind the camera. Or embarrassingly enough, staged moments usually consisting of making kids REDO what they had just done..... trying to capture the sunlight through the trees, the sweet pigtails flying behind their darting bodies....all the movement, light and poignancy of a nice portrait......long after the "real moment" is lost.

These numerous occasions were results of  artistically pleasing my photographic eye at the expense of  disappointedly losing the moment; the true light of excitement is missing from their eyes replaced with repulsion for the annoying, repositioning, ever fidgeting half mother/half photographer turning knobs, and muttering about appertures and leading lines. And none of the photos are really worth a hoot. Because, I am a little repulsed at the memories. The memories I chose to make----rather than capture.

And now. I don't even charge my camera.  I haven't used it in months- evidenced by the fact that I "found" my camera in the trunk of the van last weekend. It still had pictures on it from a March ice storm.  As much as I hate to admit it- I'm a person of extreme degrees. ALL IN or ALL OUT. 

My camera phone has been my go-to-camera for the last two years....and although sometimes there's grainy "noise" in the back ground or fuzzy edges from a kid in motion...with no catch light to be found---the pictures are of a moment. A memory. A captured piece of my heart that I can recall time and time again full of excitement, wtih depth. Developed by a light of the photographer's heart capturing and documenting every moment in full frame, full color and full tilt in life.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Big Tears and Mini-Coffins

I have a friend. His granddaughter was born premature with a lot of medical problems. She wasn't expected to live through the day she was born. She did live. She fought for 15 months. She had numerous surgeries. She never saw her mommy's face- because she was blind; Never heard her daddy's voice tell her stories, because she was deaf. Never ate dirt or learned to walk...never blew kisses, or learned to clap and play patty-cake.
IV's and medical cords seemed to be the only thing that tied the little one to this world.
Thursday night, the nurses freed her of the IV's and freed her spirit into eternity.
I feel at a loss. Today is the service, which was postponed because they couldn't bear to say Goodbye to her on Father's Day. This is one of those days where you truly, truly lean on the everlasting arms.....and pray for the peace that passes all understanding. I ask that God bathes the family in Grace and Love.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Sunrise, Sunset

Note: I began this post in June of 2013....been sorta busy experiencing life! :)

This weekend has been all about my little man, Jakey. He's my finale' know, the last chance to rock a little one to sleep, buy sippy cups, register for behind a wobbly bike without training wheels....all those things that make up the journey of "Mommyhood"....and Jake's childhood is my last golden ticket that allows me to board that exclusive, fast-track train.

Mommy's heartbeat and love.

At times, I find myself in an emotional tug-of-war; loving and dreading, in syncopated turn, each cherished moment. I hear the clock ticking; each milestone for Jake is a measured step for me.

With Gabe (my nearly 21 year old son), I grimaced at the sight of frogs and night crawlers. With Jake, I feel the need to sit in the dirt and experience every last little dirty wonder with him. Gabe was nearly force-fed oatmeal for breakfast. Jakey gets Oatmeal cookies.

Jake has awakened something in me that's hard to explain. It took four children to get me to the place where I wasn't on the sidelines cheering- but part of the action.  Maybe, it's the fact that I'm not wrangling four children anymore, carrying diaper bags etc.... Maybe its the reality of the fleetingness of time? Or the cold realization that his "high noon of firsts" are my "setting sun" on mothering a little squirt? There's something very scary about that to me.....and I find myself trying to eke every moment, experience and memory out of every occasion.  Last weekend he lost a tooth. And we discovered he's already into a size 2 shoe. It all happens over night. So fast.  One night their cuddled up with you in your bed watching Toy Story, wearing Buzz Lightyear Pajamas.....and the next night they're grown and living in their own quarters at Ft. Riley.....

Squeeze Them. Hold Them. Love Them. Cherish every cotton-pickin' moment with them.... that's what I've been up to.