Hello October!

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My granddaughter last fall as we explored along Natchez Trace Parkway

Today is October 1, 2016 and I actually woke up a little excited about that.   Anyone who has read my past blogs or who knows me very well will recall that we have entered my favorite month.  The only thing casting a shadow on this otherwise lovely day is the horrible storm churning about in the Caribbean Sea, its sight seemingly set on Jamaica.  I pray earnestly for those in the path of this hurricane.

Somewhat selfishly, I am also vexed with the thought that the storm will interfere with my carefully laid plans to spend next weekend in North Carolina with my daughter and granddaughter.  I have been looking forward to spending a few days alone with them, taking in some Blue Ridge sights as we enjoy some of the changes of the season together.

I long to don a sweater, have my nose tickled by a blustery breeze and watch my granddaughter gracefully navigate a pumpkin patch somewhere along the way.  I am dreaming of slurping warm seasonal soups and sharing a slice of apple pie with my daughter as we catch up.  I envision us dancing along trails as we forage for adventure.

I know the trees will have already begun their dress in more vibrant hues of gold and scarlet.  They remind me of debutantes aspiring to be the belle of the ball as they slip into their fanciful attire.

The ground may not be carpeted with the crunchy relics of summer yet, but in a few short weeks, the riot of color will cover the mountains.   If I could stay for the entire month of October, I would.  Better yet, I would stay until the last leaf floated down from the place of its origin and the skeletal trees shivered in the bitter winter wind, heralding winter.

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My granddaughter last fall as we explored along Natchez Trace Parkway

Daily Post: Graceful

Daily Prompt: Flourish

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As I pondered the word flourish from today’s prompt, I couldn’t help but think about my one month old granddaughter, Cali.  If you read my blog or follow my Facebook page, you are already acquainted with Cali as she has been a repeat guest.  She is flourishing in her NICU environment, and almost up to 6 lbs.

I was telling my daughter the other day that as much as we would all love to see her home, she is where she needs to be right now.   They have adjusted her environment from the day she arrived until now to ensure she is thriving.  She arrived on a ventilator and worked her way down to no oxygen support at all.  She no longer needs the added warmth of incubation as she can now adjust her own body temperature.  She continues to flourish, surrounded by prayer in the hands of these skilled doctors and nurses who are blessed with their talent by God.

In contemplating this, I began to think about how often we attempt to make all the conditions right for things to flourish.  We plant that rose bush where it will receive 5-6 hours of sun per day, we water and fertilize it faithfully, we remove any encroaching weeds and pick off the dead bulbs and we watch and wait, hoping for a beautiful blossom covered bush.

Do we do the same thing for our souls?  Do we make sure we are planted firmly on truth, rooted and grounded in faith?  Do we water our souls with the Word of God, eating and drinking from the wellspring of Divine knowledge?  Are we conscious of our environments, realizing that the places we go, the things we do and yes, even the company we keep has an effect on our lives?  Are we cautious about who or what we pledge our loyalty to?  Do we dig up, pull out and destroy the encroaching weeds of resentment, bitterness and un-forgiveness?

If we do, we are growing stronger every day and we can look forward to spiritually prosperous lives.  If not then maybe this will serve as a gentle reminder.  Let’s grow and thrive together!  Blessings!

Daily Prompt: Inevitable

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The Daily Prompt was to use the word “inevitable” in a post.

I look at her tiny little body with it’s protruding little belly, the glow of pending motherhood shining on her face.

Wasn’t it just yesterday, I sat in this same living room with her dad in domestic bliss ooing and ahhing over her gymnastic abilities already apparent as my swollen belly jumped and heaved with her somersaults?

In a mere matter of a couple of months, my baby will bring her baby into this world.  My blonde smiling, whimsical cherub will be a mother.

But I guess it was inevitable.

Left over cold

 

HydrangeasOkay, I know yesterday, I said to enjoy the leftovers; the sweet memories.

However, this morning, when I woke up with achy muscles, swollen glands and a headache, I was not the least bit thankful for the “left-over” cold my eldest brought with her to FL.  Her trip was delayed on the way down due to feeling ill, but I guess she had enough of it left to share.

Today was my first day back to work after over a week off and it needed to be productive. Lo and behold our network is down, so things just aren’t going according to plan.  My head is in a fog and all I want to do on this lunch break is go to sleep, but if I do, I’m afraid I will feel worse.  Since I am dedicated to my 30 day blog challenge, I figured I better get this done, while I had a minute because if things don’t change, I will be in the bed when I get off.

Prayers appreciated 🙂

Hope you are having a marvelous Monday!

I am mom

Dearest Mother BIG tag

Dearest Mother BIG tag (Photo credit: AForestFrolic)

From the time you see that soft, wiggly, bawling baby, you fall in love.  You become a fierce protector.  You are mom.  This tiny gift from heaven rocks your world and melts your heart.

You vow she will always be safe in your arms, sheltered by your love, kept far away from all evil and danger.  She needs you.

She will be given every opportunity, receive plenty of praise and encouragement along with proper discipline and instruction.

As the years go marching by in this journey, you stumble, yes you even fall a time or two, but you do your best.  You learn quickly that this thing called parenting is no easy feat.  Your best isn’t perfect, but you never give up.  You defend, you teach, your love grows deeper.

She drives you crazy sometimes.  She reminds you of when you were that age.  She makes you want to tell your mom you’re sorry again.

She grows up overnight and it seems she doesn’t need you as much anymore.   Thankfully, she still calls and asks your advice.  She doesn’t always take it.  You probably drive her crazy sometimes.  You have dreams and goals and hopes for her.  She has different ones, but you will love her anyway.

Your love grows ever deeper and she returns that love.  She begins to realize that you often make sense and tells you so.  You watch her become more like you in many ways.  You become one of her closest confidantes.

She’s not perfect; she stumbles and yes, even falls sometimes, but she gets right back up. You are her biggest fan and you secretly hope she got that tenacity from you.

Your role as a parent never ends; it merely changes.  You continue to pray that as the years pass and you both continue to grow older, that you are always what she needs you to be.  You are mom.

Dust bunnies and Diaries

Will I even miss the mess?

Will I even miss the mess?

“My mom used to force us to do this at least twice a year”, I said, as we sifted through each and every item in her closet and drawers.  My daughter is quite the packrat and I knew we had better take a day (and preferably a full one) before her move to Texas to dig in deep.

As we went through every box, purse, bag and crate piece by piece, she painstakingly decided which pile the item would make its home.

Memory after memory assaulted my mind as I tried to keep this a lighthearted event.  There were the multiple pairs of Toms that she began wearing after her first trip to Mexico, when she learned she could supply another child with a pair if we bought them.  This reminded me of how compassionate she has always been.  There was the birthday card from Granny that still had the crisp $2 bills tucked inside that she had been saving; the tiny pee wee cheerleader uniform she once wore; the drum sticks that light up when you play from her days of drum lessons; the Dr. Seuss books, stuffed animals and old report cards.

She laughed as she opened an old diary and began to read.  As I listened to the words written by a nine year old, describing her days in detail, the thing that brought me the most pleasure was the happiness reflected in her entries.  So, as we laughed over silly diary entries and I again hid tears, we reflected on the past.

When you clean the cobwebs and dust bunnies from things long forgotten, it’s akin to cleaning the cobwebs from the recesses of your mind, or removing the layers of dust accumulated from years of not remembering.

Thankfully, my mind is alive tonight with so many beautiful memories that I had tucked away.  It’s a joy and a pleasure to revisit them, to recall all the good times with my family.

Falling into a new season

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“You’re gonna miss this, mom”, she says after I halfway scold her for one of her annoying habits of doing something to about 95% completion.   And I know that she is right.  That all too familiar constriction begins in my throat and I silently pray that I won’t be forced to speak any time soon.  My eyes are damp too, but she won’t notice that from the next room.  It’s not that I’m afraid to show my emotions; we’ve been a tangled mess of emotions over the past few weeks.

I’ve thought about it and written about, but now the time is here.  Our youngest will leap headlong from the nest this coming Saturday and when she gets up and brushes herself off, she will have a new last name and a new protector.

If time permits and the words flow, I will share it all in the coming days, the ups and downs, the panic and the quiet and all the other pre-wedding drama.

I’ve always said that fall is my favorite season and it is, but I find myself wondering if now it will also represent the time of year that I fell into the “empty nest”.

And she isn’t even gone

Dusky, hazy, purple day after rain

Dusky, hazy, purple day after rain

As the thunder rolls outside, it’s almost deafening, compared to the silence inside.  There is a faint whisper from one of the televisions left on in another room.  Other than that, there is nothing.

Normally, I relish in the quiet but today it is different.  Today I cannot seem to stop the agonizing silence from reminding me that there is much more of it to come.

You see my days of telling toddlers to eat all of their dinner or get in the bathtub are over.  My days of shuttling adolescents to appointments long before they get their permit are gone.  Sleepovers and sports, bedtime stories and battling are a thing of the past.  When my youngest departs in a couple of months to carry on with her life, it will leave its mark.

People will tell you to think on the bright side; of lives fulfilled and your “good raising” and grandchildren and hope and dreams realized.  And I will.  They will say, “This is a normal, natural part of life and you should embrace it”.  And I have.  Some offer that, “Now, you have all this free time and you and the hubby can enjoy each other!”  Yes, this I realize.

But you know what?  That doesn’t take away the ache, the missing and the worry.

I know God has His hand on all of us, and things really will work out for the best.  And maybe I will even look back someday and laugh about my melancholy days, missing my children before the last one is even really gone.

But not today, not right now.

Weekly Photo Challenge: In the background

My youngest not far from our home on a November day; we are surrounded by beauty and blessed by it.

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Pondering prom

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I was just there to do a favor; take pictures that the kids would like, with a decent camera.  My role was photographer (not even close to professional and not pretending to be) and spectator.

One of the first cars to pull up after my friend and I arrived was my daughter and wow, she looked amazing.  She had that perfect dress on and when she smiled at me, I considered how blessed I was to be here, a part of her senior prom.  I could watch her from the sidelines, beside myself with emotion that was pushed way down deep, yet ever threatening to bubble to the top and overflow.  But, I promised myself there would be no waterworks tonight.

As I watched the young adults begin to arrive, I was amazed at how beautiful and handsome they all looked.  Since I’ve known most of them since they were in diapers, my heart lurched for them too.  For some, this would be the final big event of their high school career.

They let me take their pictures, ate a wonderful meal and then the dancing began.  This was a great group, not the kind you constantly have to worry about and follow around to intercept any mischief.  They were content to be together.

Looking around the room casually, careful not to let my eyes linger anywhere long enough to be that nosy parent, the memories overwhelmed me.  The sleepovers, the birthday parties, little league games and youth group.  Many have been found eating at my table, riding in my car, sharing secrets and dreams.

We complain sometimes because we live in a small town and our kids go to a K-12 school.  It’s small so it doesn’t offer as much variety or choice in sports or academics as some schools.  Everyone knows each other’s business, so gossip can run rampant.

But, sitting there thinking about these kids and some of the lifelong friendships, I realized that where we fall short in some areas, we far exceed in others.  We’re like family; we all come together when it’s needed.  They may argue, but when push comes to shove and there is a need, it’s met.

Their futures loom just ahead of them and no one knows what tomorrow holds, but whenever they return home, they will have those of us who welcome them.  We will share in their joy of accomplishments and feel sorrow in their losses.

I had been home about an hour when my daughter arrived and we went through the pictures together and discussed the night.  She was happy with how things went, so of course, so was I.   (and I was glad she was home and off the road early so this mom could get some much needed rest!)

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