"Enjoy the little things in life ~ one day you'll wake up and realize they were the big things"

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

I'm currently making very last minute plans for my sister and I to head 'back east' for a couple of days.  We lost our spunky, stubborn, no-nonsense, one of a kind, very special (90 year old) “Grammy” today. I will forever cherish fond memories of card games, vanilla ice cream (w/gobs of peanut butter mixed into it!), homemade relish, the creaking of her recliner, green olives, crossword puzzles, trips to the “jug milk store”, front yard porch swings, May’s hamburgers and the smell of trash burning (and BenGay ointment – but not together!) when I think of her.  I’m sad to have lived so far away from her for so many years, but thankful for the time I did have with her

Friday, March 10, 2017

Road trip musings . . .

(I wrote this while driving through Utah, almost a year ago, but never posted it . . . the photo/memory of starting out on that trip popped up on my FB page today and brought it  back to mind)


These moments bring great joy . . . and an acute awareness of how fast the clock ticks. 

Laughing, teasing, passing candy and colored pencils and essential oils,

Our kids together, a new arrangement (that they came up with themselves) to accommodate ipod chargers and shared interests and longer legs . . . they are laughing and teasing one another, actually conversing (about reading and carsickness), but enjoying being together . . . even coloring to pass the hours - with fancy colored pencils and ‘grown up’ coloring books – part of their little treat sacks that I snuck in the car last night.  Nothing big or fancy, just little surprises to help the hours pass more quickly. 
Relentless questions from a teen whose mind never stops pondering peculiar facets of the universe – another who sounds like she’s auditioning for ‘The Voice’, the back seat is quiet for a moment.  It is calm.  It is peaceful.  It is PURE bliss to be confined together, exploring new territory with familiar faces.  There is anticipation and excitement. 

Full van, full tank of gas, full bellies, full heart. 

No one expresses it, but I think perhaps they sense it too - the magic, the beauty, the brevity of these moments.  It lends itself to a harmony, a cooperation . . . and a peacefulness that I can't quite explain.  
My mind meanders back in time to trips that were even longer (with children who were much smaller!)  The planning was far more involved and overwhelming back then, but the joy equally profound.

My mind can’t help but wander forward to the days to come - when our trips will be much different. Close on its heels, comes the dreaded question “might THIS be our last family road trip”? . . . as we have known them - for this season?  Will future trips be minus a child (or parent) who can’t take time off or work or school? Will future trips involve a convoy of cars (with a boyfriend or girlfriend . . . or, gulp, spouse(!) . . . in tow? I don’t allow my mind to wander to more tragic (yet very possible) scenarios that would dramatically alter our road trips. 

For now, I drink in the treasure of this moment, the hum of the road passing quickly beneath us - and enjoy it while it lasts. It boggles my mind to think there are those who find road trips long, boring, mundane or miserable.  I just don’t see it. 
This is far from mundane.  This, my friend . . . THIS . . . is priceless.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Fun with a 17 1/2 year old . . . wow

By now you know about our half birthday tradition.  We celebrated Emily's half birthday recently and I suggested that perhaps an indoor target shooting range might be fun.  She was up for that and agreed that it sounded 'different and fun' . . . and since we followed it up with a trip to her favorite sushi buffet, the night was near perfect! 

THIS girl has great aim!  (all I can tell you is . . . if she ever ends up with a handgun, don't mess with her!)


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Gains and Losses . . .

I have been pondering the idea of 'gains and losses' today.  Have you noticed that life is full of them? 
Both of them.
Whether it's money, freedom, hope, privileges, perspective, weight (let's not talk about this one, Dec was just ugly!), relationships, material possessions, responsibilities, respect, even our very loved ones sometimes. Life, from a human standpoint, is really full of gains and losses.
Sometimes we just don't have a clear understanding, in the moment, of whether what has been given or what has been taken away is a disguised blessing or a crushing blow.  We are wise to remember that there is something beneficial to be found in every gain and every loss - IF we look for it.  All the more so, in the ones that appear the most brutally painful, those that are in stark contrast to what we'd been hoping for.  
I imagine that from God's perspective, there is something redemptive and incredibly useful for our growth in EVERY single circumstance that we perceive as a gain or a loss.  All of it is held in His incredibly capable hands and every last bit of it can be used by Him (in our lives).  God's love for us is like that of a perfect father.  I am convinced that it delights Him to see us rest in His love (for us), knowing ~ really knowing ~ that He has our best in mind.  Whatever we gain and whatever we lose pales in comparison to trusting that He will use ALL of it to bring us closer to Him.
"And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?" (Mark 8:36). 

Friday, January 6, 2017

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Who says school can't be fun? . . .

"Hey, you sunk my Rubidium, Strontium, Yttrium, Zirconium ship!" . . . after making them memorize the entire periodic table of elements (in order of atomic number), the least I could do is let them play a variation of Battleship!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Christie Lodge ~ Thanksgiving 2016

Some highlights from our Thanksgiving week in the mountains.  This has become our "accidental Thanksgiving tradition" for the past 7 years (meaning we never set out to make it a tradition, but it became one anyway!)




Friday, November 18, 2016

Snow Bowl 2016

And, we finally have a Snow Bowl winner for 2016 (definitely much later than I thought it would be!)

Sunday, October 16, 2016

"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I . . .

I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference"

I've been thinking lately about the incredible impact our choices have - both for ourselves and for those around us.  Especially the choices we make early on (in marriage, in parenting, in our Christian walk or even in a given day) and how they set the tone for success or struggle, blessing or burden, health or disease, and a host of other things.

My train of thought actually began with the topic of food choices - and how the ones made first thing in the morning truly set the tone for the rest of the day.  In my world, I have learned that once I give in to sugar - the rest is downhill (and usually it's a downright ugly ride!).  I have not found this to be an area where I have ANY concept of moderation.  For me, this is, sadly, an all or nothing arena (think of an alcoholic trying to take just one sip). Once I've unleashed that monster, I often just have to hang on, get through the day and make a fresh start in the morning (thankful that, EVEN in this, His mercies are new).

It's been said that we make our choices and then our choices make us.  Don't hear me wrong, God can absolutely redeem our poor choices and make something beautiful out of them, but it's far less painful to not make poor choices in the first place.  Whether it's a (seemingly trivial) battle with sugar, an attempt to control your temper, a desire to change a relationship, the resolve to stand firm in your convictions or . . . (fill in the blank).  It is wise to consider where the path is going to lead before you take the first step down it. 

It just might 'make all the difference'.


Sunday, October 9, 2016

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Home. It's a messy, yet glorious; exhausting yet exhilarating prospect.  There's truly no place like it (Dorothy was right!).  Hot tea and rich biographies shared together; cozy blankets and snuggly puppies . . . worn out carpet, unending dishes and mounds of laundry, cabinets that need decluttered . . .and (too often) tattered nerves and bickering children. 

The good, the bad, the ugly ~ it's a package deal . . . and a living picture of God's goodness and grace, moment by moment, day in and day out.  It's often under-appreciated, but for better or worse, it's where  you belong, it's where you 'become' and it's where you return to.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Our beloved Kenosha pass!

We are so thankful to have been able to go, once more, to Kenosha Pass for a super quick camping trip.  It was only 40 hours, but SO well worth the effort to get there!  GORGEOUS colors, fun time with family and sweet memories!  Sorry, WAY too many pictures!