“Mrs. Hever” (Heather 🙂 ) misses and loves little Miss Chloee and her sisters too. ❤
Amazing what a little reminder can do to brighten someone’s day. Thank ya Miss Chloee!
“Mrs. Hever” (Heather 🙂 ) misses and loves little Miss Chloee and her sisters too. ❤
Amazing what a little reminder can do to brighten someone’s day. Thank ya Miss Chloee!
So, I don’t know if any of you have noticed, but I’ve been blogging a bit (LOT) more than usual. The reason? A blissful three week break. Yep three whole weeks. Teaching year round school has its advantages for sure.
But it’s Sunday night, actually, Monday morning (12:03) a.m. and I’m sitting here kind of wired-tired.(Just got back from picking up Tan in SC) I can usually drink coffee late at night, but it wasn’t a good idea tonight as I’m a bit restless. *Sigh*. My three week break is officially over…and work starts in about 7 hours. Sigh again.
And since a picture is worth a thousand words, I’m going to post a few from this three weeks to remind myself of how sweet it was and to be thankful for my job that gives me some long breaks.I’m so thankful for time with dear friends and my kids…and want to remember… I’m gonna do like Dr. Seuss says, “Don’t be sad it’s over, smile that it happened.” So there. Gonna attempt that.
So here goes…The first week had a lot of reading, sitting, writing, and even…playing guitar in my lime green chair. Was so good for me.
I cleaned and organized a lot that first week as well. I promise I did… but I also took lots of photos and had the creative outlet of making little tea cup bird feeders.
And then, come Friday, I left for the beach to see these guys…<3
…and then, Melanie and Zac in Calabash. We went to the beach, ate at a cute little coffee shop called Drift’s in Ocean Isle, and even went to some thrift shops (for tea cups…surprise, surprise!). That night, we ate dinner with Melanie’s parents. Loved getting to know them and thankful Melanie and Zac have such great people in their lives.
Yep, there’s me and Zac. (Am usually behind the camera, but actually got in front of it this time.)
Even got to eat breakfast on the patio…Bible (check), camera (check), coffee (check)…yep, it was a good start to the day.
I then went and spent a few glorious days with my mother-in-law. Doing what you ask? Anything we wanted!! That was a switch! And what we wanted included gardening and fixing fountains and eating food that didn’t take long at all to prepare. Got to spend time with my nieces as well and see my sister in law and brother in law as well…and all of their cute quite affectionate dogs. Also got to go to a sweet Psalm Sunday service at my mother-in-law’s church. So thankful for the time. Even got to go to a senior breakfast with 30 ‘senior’ ladies on the Pier in Myrtle Beach as a last hurrah. I felt like I fit right in…
Then, back to Shelby to be with Tanner and Bud. But had to go see my girl up in Boone. But on the way to Boone, made a stop in Hickory to have a precious time with a dear, dear friend. So thankful for time spent just talking and encouraging and so being real I needed that. More than I knew I did. Thankful . So then off to Boone. So good to spend time with Hope and take in the sights. (Oh, and I promise I was wearing shoes. Flip flops that is. They have a tendency to flip off when I’m sitting down. (Especially when I have to have good footing on a cliff. )
We even got to spend some time with one of her friends that I just adore. When it was about time to go she said, “Mom, do you want to stay tonight and have a girls’ night?” I said YES 🙂 And we drank coffee, ate cannoli and watched “Safe Haven” and cried. Yep, a perfect girls’ night.
The next morning, I left early and drove down the mountain to see some dear friends for breakfast. I had hoped to see the sun rise over the mountains, but it was pouring. Was still beautiful. Yep. I even had to stop to take a photo of fog…
I had a sweet breakfast with dear friends of the family. They’ve been mentors and encouragers of mine since I was a young mom. Talk about priceless.
And then, back to Shelby. Got to see a sweet friend and her kids as well the week before Easter.
So thankful for the truths of scripture that refresh and rejuvenate more than any amount of time well spent. Had lots of time to read, pray, and take in encouragement from scripture and friends. So good.
And then, the next week was full of more cleaning and making (MoRe 🙂 ) teacup things and lots of baseball games.
And, I discovered the culprit for the huge branches that keep coming down off the mimosa tree! This guy right here… He was caught red-handed (headed). Ah well, It needed to be pruned anyway.
I went to an Earth Day art show and sold (a bunch!) of the tea cup bird feeders. We all got to see a butterflies set free. Kind of cool. But was very important to watch your step…they weren’t sure what to do with their brave new world after being set free. I’m sure they’ll find their way…
And I’m guessing I’ll find my way as well in this going back to school in the morning. Gotta be brave sometimes, right? If it’s hard for me to go back after three weeks, just think of how the students I work with must feel. I’m guessing I’m not the only one wanting to rewind the clock right now. Gotta focus on helping them be brave and spread their wings a bit.
And so, I’ve gotta focus forward…and focus outward… and “not cry because it’s over, but be happy because it happened.” I’m so thankful for time well spent. Even when it’s full of nothing. I think I needed a big dose of that…and I’m so thankful for the “thousand words” each of these photos represents. So, when the coming days are full and busy and a little bit chaotic, well, I can look back and remember and thank God for the little respites we all have amidst the busy-ness of life. And to my kids? Well, what a joy it was to spend time with you all. And what a gift you are to this woman who happens to be your mom. Thanks so very much for time well spent.
P.S. Didn’t get to see Austin this break. (California is just a bit too long of a ride these days!) So thankful for the time we had from Jan-March. Still have your ‘office area’ all set up…clocks, crazy water bottle and all 🙂 xoxox
Was sweet to be able to spend time with Chase a few weeks back. We walked and talked on the beach and then he started throwing shells as I took some beach shots with my camera. He didn’t realize that he was the subject of the photos a lot of the time…
And as I looked through the lens and watched him skip shells, well, it brought a huge smile to my face. I don’t even think he realized what he was doing. It was like he was back on the third base line, firing a ball home….He would put the shell behind his back…
Lift that left leg…
..stick his tongue in his right cheek (yep, every time)…and…
…whiz that shell to the waves.
Then, he’d watch. Just for a moment because it disappears right away of course…
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen my boy-now-man repeat those steps. He played third base as far back as coach-pitch…and muscle memory tells him that when he picks up a ball, a rock, a shell, he follows a certain sequence. And he follows it…even when skipping shells at the beach 🙂 And I don’t even think he realized it. Until I couldn’t hold back my laughter and he realized that this not-so-conspicuous photographer of a mom was taking photos of him. And then I told him about his stance…totally baseball third base stance was on the beach …and he smiled as he reached down for the next shell.
And I did a lot of grinning as I watched. Because no matter how crazy life gets, well, we have our ‘go-tos’. We have our little things that are so ingrained in us that we don’t even realize it. We have our things that help us stay steady when life gets a bit unbalanced.
And as I watched, I thought about how the patterns developed during the easier times in our lives so matter during the storms. When our hearts and minds go to defaults, where do they go? I mean, I know that skipping shells or stones in a certain way isn’t a big deal, but it just reminded me of how what we practice is what we do. What we pour into our hearts, minds, bodies comes out even when we don’t realize it. What we pour in comes out. What we practice is what we do. What we think is how we live.
And during crazy times when we may not feel like we can sort through things, well, we have our defaults. So am mindful of making sure my default, the things I practice, are the things I want to flesh out when I’m not thinking. Because, if I’m honest with myself, there’s a lot of instances when yours truly is so not thinking. I react, respond, and revert to my default. Some good defaults. Some so not. Gotta work on those so nots.
Because you never know when someone is watching and taking it all in. Ask Chase 🙂 When a stone is thrown in a lake, the splash goes in and then the ripples go out and out and out… And it’s the ripples, not just the act, that can impact those we never even know. Our defaults matter. They so matter.
I’m thankful that scripture gives good defaults…good things to ponder and pray through and practice. Here’s one of my favorites. (the verse below, Philippians 4: 4-8)….. Cool how determined, disciplined action that may start out as going against the grain of our feelings, etc. can, with practice, become our “go-to” defaults. And peace follows…peace that passes understanding. That’s another cool thing about defaults…they provide stability, normalcy, familiarity, when things might be so not stable, normal, familiar. Love that. Crazy how watching my Chase throw a shell can start these rambling thoughts… Maybe that’s one of my defaults….rambling thoughts, ha! Yikes. Oh well…here’s the verse to think on…
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
And one more (rambling) thought. Those shells that Chase threw out to sea? They’ll most likely come back to shore soon. It’s what waves do. It’s what shells do. There are “defaults” and “go-to”s all around us designed by a loving God. Creation speaks of His Presence and love. Being mindful of His goodness can make this whole setting good defaults a whole lot easier. We love because He first loved us. It’s what He does. Maybe the more we realize that, the more we will, as the verse says, have our defaults be to love. Maybe so.
Can you guess which one of these baseball players is mine? Ha. Yep. Stirrup-clad guy front and center.
So on this ‘Thankful Thursday’ am thankful for courage to stand out. Maybe when we don’t ‘stand out’ in baseball, well, we find other ways to find our niche’. Here’s to kids finding their niche’ and being stand outs in new ways. Here’s to self-expression that quietly and loudly says, “I’m not afraid to be different.” We can be part of a team, part of a whole, and still maintain authenticity and originality. Take it from my Tanner. He’s been paving his own road from day one. Love that.
I’ve been making bird feeders again. “For today” feeders is what I like to call them. And here’s why… In the past year, the phrase “for today” has become one of my favorite, favorite phrases. I’ve always appreciated the saying of “One Day At a Time. This quickly became, “one moment at a time” when I was a young mom to more little ones than my arms could hold. (Our third son was born when our oldest was 2…and by the time our oldest was 8 years old, well, he had 5 younger siblings…no twins…just a little visual for ya to see the necessity of the MOMENT thing.) There were so many needs for the moment. I needed grace for the minutes. I loved the phrase, “grace for the moment” and repeated that to my heart too many times to count. And there was, grace, that is…and miracle of miracles, we survived and even had our sweet familial blips of total thriving. Thankful for all of it.
So that was then. Fast forward 20 some years and I still so hold on to the grace for the moment phrase and truth. But in the past year ‘for today’ has had deeper meaning for me. A year ago this month, my family had the privilege of four of us spending a week together at a center in Georgia. Willingway works with those with alcohol and drug addictions. I am the wife and mom of two people I adore who struggle in this area. Big struggle. Big consequences. Big fears. Big losses. I could lose a lifetime worrying, wringing my hands, planning for things that never even occur. Or bemoaning and becoming bitter over things that have. But it’s a battle in which the victories and the losses come by the choices in the now, the momentary choices today. That’s something that I’m learning…and a little visual helped it sink it further.
In one of our morning sessions at Willingway, a woman named Hope led our family group. She reminded me so much of what my 22 year old Hope might be in 20 years. Both Hopes are unashamedly feisty, determined, compassionate, beautiful, and bold. Hope, the counselor, gave a great little picture that I don’t think I’ll ever forget. She was talking about the need to live in the now. (For the full effect of this, I ask that you do try to visualize it, as it adds a dimension to the story, ha!) She stood up, and said this: ” If we keep one foot in the past, worrying over regrets of what we did or didn’t do…” (and with this, she stepped her left foot to the far left…), “and then, add to that, that we worry about all the the things in the future that could or couldn’t happen tomorrow, next week, or in the years to come…” (and with that, she slid her right foot to the far right and squatted a bit…), “then ALL we do is crap* all over today.”
Yep. But she didn’t say “crap”. And we laughed…and I teared up through my laughter because I so got it. I literally could’ve cried buckets at that moment because the realization of what she was saying was like a lightbulb to my heart. Yes. We can lose today so easily. Especially when loved ones are struggling. Especially when we are struggling. I mean, we’d have to be crazy not to be consumed with worry over what has been or what will be, right…? Not necessarily… Because worry just makes things worse. We so miss the moments in the now when we’ve got one foot in the past or one foot in the future…or both. Worry of what was or what will be eats up, consumes, the now. Life can get pretty full when we’re doing well, but when we add the chaos that addictions and wrong thinking to the whole mix (along with the dominoes that follow..), well, moments, days, weeks, years…can be eaten up in fear, worry, and a focus on loss…
So, when I came home from the week in Georgia, I thought a lot about what Hope has said and so aptly demonstrated. I prayed and thanked God for today so many times. I thanked him for the big and the little and the hard and the good and the in between and tried to trust for today, for the moment. It was Spring time and the birds were flitting and flying around..and added a whole new dimension to the lesson I so needed to live. I remembered what Jesus said about provision…and to consider… consider the birds of the air… Consider…look at, think on. The verse says, “Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?” Matthew 6:26.
I thought about daily need, daily seed, provision for today. Even in the midst of a lot of struggles through the years, I’ve seen God’s hand of provision more times than I can count… I’m so aware that He can open doors that we never even knew were there. He can provide in ways we never imagined, and He can bring people into our lives at just the right time who we’ve never even met. So…that’s when I started making bird feeders…not that have seed for a week or a month or a season, but food for today. At night or in the morning, out goes a handful of seed…
the quiet and serene…
they come two by two..
…and they come in all kinds of weather….
and when they come, they remind me that for today, I have what I need. For today, I can do what I need to do one step at a time. For today, I am thankful. I love how Jesus spoke to worry and said (still in Matthew 6) and said, “Let today’s own troubles be sufficient for today.” Yeah, there’s usually plenty to handle for today. And the great thing is, that it sure is a lot easier to handle when I’m not trying to conquer the past and the future at the same time.
Yeah, I can learn a thing or two from birds. And I am …learning that is. (Side note) As I’m writing this, the two mourning doves are on the deck, one in the feeder, and one underneath. They really seem to have this “for today thing down…always together, never in too big of a hurry, (unless I get up to take a photo of them, then they’ll fly and coo in a heartbeat!) And I’ll spare them. But here’s a photo of them taken this morning. Yeah, they seem to have the for today thing down.
Maybe one day, I will as well. But I’m not going to worry about that, right? Because for today, for today, …there’s provision and grace for today.
(“For Today” feeders can be purchased at Gifted:Local Artisan Gift Shop and Supply or can be ordered via pm on Facebook ) I love doing special orders with a theme. Am happy to mail them as well.
Blessings for today ~
P.S. Gotta share a favorite song here…Live It Well <3.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Matthew 6: 25-34