29 August 2008

summer's safety net

i was beginning to feel as though i was living out of my beloved backpack since april. it never was relegated to its usual place in my closet all through the days from april until now...& it's still not back in its "place" because, you guessed it, there is more travel on the horizon. now for someone with a serious case of wanderlust like me, this is very nearly a dream year.no complaints, no sir!! but i do embrace the idea of down time...& this has been a year of very little of that! the times in between the flights & drives have been completely loaded with school (for the boys in the spring & again now, for me all the way through it), all that catch-up laundry, scurrying to vet appointments for vaccination updates (because you can't board your hound without 'em), & all the usual suspects around the house to keep things up & running. (no, the bills did not pay themselves while i was away!) if that's not crazy enough, some of the travel was unplanned & when the opportunity arose, squeezing in the unplanned travel necessitated maneuvering the already planned travel!i did not realize the serendipitous nature of this shuffling around in late may, but last weekend i sure did! Baby Girl & i had planned to take our yearly retreat together at mepkin abbey last monthbut the change to last weekend was just perfect - it was just when i needed it! it was a weekend of pure peace...no cell phones save a nightly call home, no TV, no iPod,...zip, zilch, nada in the way of exterior noise except the chant of the monks. under the graceful sway of spanish moss-laden live oaks, we renewed our minds, our perspectives...we readied ourselves for more life at full speed. the brothers who maintain this beautiful place & open their doors in hospitality to life's weary warriors have my undying gratitude.we re-entered the real world monday afternoon, dodging fay's crazy rainclouds...back to boyworld for me! & for Baby Girl...some serious travel on the horizon as she prepares for her semester abroad in costa rica!! through the fall we will carry our gifts of this respite...104. bright, clear skies after quenching summer rains...105. time to dream, uninterrupted...106. time to envision the future...107. & finally, a note of belonging...inscribed inside the Bible in our room was this message...the priest who signed this note was the same priest who married D. & i over 21 years ago, baptised our 2 sons 14 & 16 years ago, & presided at Baby Girl's First Holy Communion Mass 12 years ago~~ all these events occurring 4 states & 700 miles away from mepkin abbey!! i took the photo of the signature because i could not believe what i was seeing.i compared it his signature to our marriage certificate at home & there is no doubt it is his signature! in the years we lived in his parish i never once heard him mention mepkin abbey, nor did i know of the place at that time in my life. coincidence? i think not...& so i'll cherish that message as a gentle reminder.

21 August 2008

love n' music...

before i share a bit of D.'s weekend surprise, i wanted to update you on josiah. he is hanging in there with some small but positive steps. his journey from here will be a long & arduous one, so thank you all so much for your prayer-answers to my friday shout-out. & please keep them coming...
& now from last weekend, D.'s big surprise...anyone who knows me from back in the day, knows that i wasn't then & am still not a hard-rockin' kinda gal (though i did have my fair share of styx 45's & an actual def leppard album- yes, vinyl!). my music tastes tend toward this & this & this, plus a whole lotta this with a little of this thrown in to shake things up!

now with D., things are a bit different. our 5 year age difference made all the difference with music, hence he has a very spiffy 8 track tape collection with a bit more of a rock sound than my vinyl & cassette cache. one of his all-time favorite bands is boston. it is the most-likely-to-be-found cd in his car's player. (70's music meets 21st century technology!) imagine my delight a few weeks ago when my terrific ticketmaster email update arrived, announcing a boston/styx concert just a short piece away from home!

in the name of love, i decided to bite the bullet & brave a (tame) rock concert...surprising D. with 2 tickets & a night away! it was truly a memorable weekend for both of us. after hotel check-in, i told D. i needed to fortify the night with a bit caffeine & a starbucks was conveniently located between the hotel & concert venue. D. knows well enough to indulge my caffeine addiction & this time he was quite glad he did! you would not believe who we met over coffee!...michael sweet, vocalist/guitarist for boston. he is just the nicest person you could imagine. would you believe i did not have my camera...it was off-limits for the concert & i left it behind :-(...

the concert itself was stupendous, even for a non-hard rocker like me. really, it was a mix of awesome music, a calm crowd, the beautiful carolina outdoors, & a full moon rising stage right. D. & i both agreed the best songs of the evening were come sail away & the encore performance of renegade (for those of you who read "45" above & wondered what that was...this is it!!!)

we enjoyed a great trip down memory lane (my middle school & D.'s high school years were peppered with this stuff). happy love thursday y'all!!

15 August 2008

desperate shout-out for prayers...

...for josiah. this young man has been in my "light a candle" sidebar section since his leukemia (AML) diagnosis back in january. he is at a very critical junction in his treatment & i beg of you, please offer a prayer or two for him right now. to follow his progress, go to carepages, create your own profile (must have one to visit) & then go to the link on the main page labeled 'search for a carepages website'. at this link enter 'JosiahsPage.' he is a valiant young man...

weather or not...the end of our first week

or as some of us like to say, "5 days down, 175 to go!"now, that's optimism! our first week was a fine one, both in terms of weather (one perfect, rainy day that made you *want* to work on school sandwiched between 4 to-die-for perfect summer days that do not fit the eastern NC august pattern) & school.we generally start out on the light side of work as our routines shift...this week was a 3 subject only week. (next will be the full deal.) i like it that way & boyworld concurs. Little Man began his high school career with algebra, latin & literature (we're reading the aeneid), ending his first week with an outstanding paper on virgil's themes present in the aeneid. who knew?? a meteorologist who has a way with letters! way to go!!Big Bro managed to sneak in a jack johnson (i'd love some banana pancakes!!) concert with his sister Baby Girl and still rule with his pre-calculus, physics & literature (we're reading beowulf).for me, it was lots of coffee, a time to get reacquainted with the infamous red pen of corrections, & more of my own school work with lots of reading, several papers due & many, many more to go!what's cooking wednesday (omg, shan! i sure could use a sip of that!!)???...you'll have to ask D. about that one, as *he* picked up the slack with some awesome okra & pork tenderloin. (i love you, man!) love thursday...well, let's just say i loved when it was thursday & we were in the home stretch with lots of successful work behind us!poetry...at least i managed to squeak out some creative stuff & to stay true to my snapping of 366 photos in '08 this week. on tap for the weekend...i have a big surprise for D.!!! y'all will just have to wait til next week to read about that one! until then, have a delightful late summer weekend!

11 August 2008

go get 'em, boys!

today you begin anew...Little Man you are starting high school!...Big Bro, we will only do this one more time before you move on to college...may this school year be filled with brilliance...may your lights shine brightly into your futures...keep your feet on the ground...but don't forget to fly...remember our family's rule of 6...& may you have the best school year ever, boys!!...love, your momma

10 August 2008

catch of the day...

yesterday...(scallops courtesy of D.'s hunter/gather skills)
& today...guess what's for dinner?!? (the shrimp, not the baby sting ray! we put him safely back in the bay.)

07 August 2008

love thursday...God's post-it notes all over my morning!

did you ever feel a nudge & a whisper in the first morning light, like God is poking you & saying, "get up sleepyhead...i have a day full of wonder & beauty planned just for you!" that sleepy eye peeks open, taking in the morning's pink portrait of bent light in the sky, & you know a masterpiece awaits, free for the viewing but for a limited time only. so you get up! & you draw a sharp intake of breath as you take in the sight...96. from the perch i am blessed to call my deck this was my wake-up call...from this to coffee on the lower deck (a bit more shaded in the summer heat, thank you very much!...& yes, it is hot out here, even in the early morn)...i am blessed to sit in the quiet & continue to count my gifts (the quiet alone being a profound gift!) lest i thought the sunrise was the morning's one & only, God again nudged me out of my reverie with a "quick, get up & look over the water!"

97. at first i saw nothing, heard nothing, but in a moment an otter cleared the surface, floated on his back & looked at me with his adorable smile! (sorry, he's much too quick for photo ops!) i watched him cavort around our dock for awhile & just as he started to swim away, another gift appeared~~ again in silence...

98. a great blue heron poked his head out from under our dock.he threw a weary glance over his shoulder at me & once he perceived i was no threat (hey, i had my coffee!), he continued fishing in his own elegant way.

99. just as i was reconsidering the comfort of my padded deck chair, a pair of morning gifts flew in with an unlikely ruckus...2 snowy egrets were in competition for a fishing spot opposite the heron. to look at these graceful birds you would never believe the sounds that can come out of them! think: call of a bull frog crossed with the buzz of locust swarms & a cow in agony! i'm not kidding.

100. that sound alone is a gift because it makes you laugh! it is not long before everyone in the water has had enough of the adolescent antics of the egrets & they all fly away but one...101. when one of these elegant creatures sees fit to land on our dock, i cannot help but think it is a benediction! soon he is gone too & i am settled into my chair once again. & once again, in the quiet, 2 more gifts...102. i let my eyes settle on my deck flowers that are now overhanging their pots in all their summer glory when i see a rustle of green that is not a leaf in the breeze...

103. but rather my ol' friend the anole! nearly every morning he parades across my deck railing, strutting his stuff. sometimes he even brings a lady friend. when i talk to him (yes, the neighbors think i am crazy!), he stops to consider me with a tilt of his brilliant green head. & he's not camera-shy either!soon he too sauntered off amongst the wisteria vine that now stretches from ground to top deck & i sipped the last of my coffee...& full of gifts, began my day. happy love thursday everyone!