Wednesday, July 28, 2010

are we not all children?

Sometimes things happen to us that we cannot explain.

Then sometimes they happen again.

I wonder if we are all toddlers to a loving parent looking down on us from Heaven.

Does God smile and shake His head with playful adoration when we make the same silly mistakes over and over again?

I believe that He created us and loves us, and that He is now watching us play in the fountains.

And if we look to Him and ask, He will warmly advise us to keep our heads to the side while waiting for the water.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Riverboat Captains.

Nine Dreams and a Thought:

1. We ride our bikes across the United States, settling down for the night wherever we are when we get tired, and we take just as long as we want to get where we are going. His bike has a cooler of food packed. Mine has a mountain of photography equipment.

2. We own a bit of land in the country with four, little log-cabins all facing each other. We host a quaint family reunion with campfires and singing and lots and lots of grandchildren.

3. We save diligently and find a perfect home to buy. Small and cozy with a grand tree in our yard. Before we do anything else with the place, we start planning and construction on a magnificent tree house, letting the boys customize and build along side of us.

4. We wave goodbye to family and friends, board a plane hand-in-hand, and set off on a two-year mission for our church, serving wherever we are needed (hopefully in a humanitarian-aid capacity). We can barely hold in the excitement we feel to begin our assignment.

5. We walk the emerald hills of Ireland.

6. We pay our last payment on our student loans, give each other a high-five that hurts because we're both so pumped, and take our family out to dinner at the cheapest restaurant possible to celebrate.

7. We harvest a giant pumpkin from our very own garden and carve it into a scary jack-o-lantern. We bake the seeds and make pumpkin pie, enjoying fully the plant we grew ourselves. We look over our homemade planter boxes and say to each other, "it is good."

8. We gather our children around a Christmas tree and exchange simple, home-made gifts. We hug each other tight. We sing carols and drink hot chocolate (though not simultaneously) and feel complete peace with our tiny children in our arms.

9. We sit together on the breezy coast, playing footsie while we each read our novels. Come sunset we put our books down and hold hands, marveling that the sky is so much bigger than we've ever seen. Our joints creak as we raise and take up our things to head back to our car.

All my best dreams begin with "we." Oh, my dear husband, I love him.

I keep writing down my dreams so that I can recognize their actualization once it happens. Sometimes I think we forget to stand still long enough to realize our wishes are actually coming true. Not so long ago I was wishing to be a wife and a mother.

For my birthday Duke took me on a riverboat ride for dinner and dancing. We danced on the lower deck, so close to the river that we felt as if the dance floor was a ripple of blue. We waved from the balcony at total strangers along the bank as we dined. It was a dream that I never knew I had.

At times it has become difficult for us to find time for one-another, but we will never stop trying, because to stop would be to let all of those dreams slip carelessly from our reach.

Keep love alive. Live dreams. Be happy.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Quarter-life crisis.

I'm just going to put this out there. On my twenty-fifth birthday I waxed my upper lip for the first time.

My brothers and I have joked for years that I can grow a better mustache than either of them. The joke was intended to be a burn in their direction, but recently I realized there was some truth to it on my end. Yes, that peach fuzz was looking mighty manly. I knew it was time when people stopped laughing and started acting uncomfortable when I joked about it.

Duke laughed when he found me hiding in my room, with a red upper-lip and a tub of ice-cream.

Yes, we all get older. Even me.

Not that I'd ever want to Benjamin Button myself, but it would be nice to slow time down just a bit. My kids are growing so quickly and soon I'll be wearing a giant, Hawaiian, floral-patterned swimming-suit with a huge skirt built into it.

Being the planner that I am, I find myself debating internally over whether to become an old, bohemian hippie, or a super classy lady with pearls and pink suits. Duke and I have compiled a list a mile long of all the neat things we could do when we decide to retire. Our top five include:
1. riverboat captains
2. bed and breakfast owners
3. tourists of silly world landmarks (world's biggest ball of yarn)
4. JC Penny's catalog models
5. wedding hall managers

Talking about all those sorts of things takes away the sting of the sudden realization of my recent transition to adulthood.

Yes, it's embarrassing growing old. I can only imagine how I will feel when my kids don't think I'm that cool anymore. But I'll take it, so long as I can bring Duke along for the ride.

I'm enjoying watching my little sisters transform from children to young ladies. I hope that as the oldest I can always set an example for them of aging with grace. I get to walk one step ahead and check for rocky footing.

And they can keep me young and spunky.

Other than the lip-wax, I really had the most wonderful birthday including:

Cheesecake
Hair Accessories
Gift Cards
Phone Calls
Lovely Notes
Texts and Emails and Facebook Messages
Cute, Green Purses with Sparkles
Handmade Treasures
Messages written to me in Face-paint
Cupcakes
Singing

And best of all was the abundance of love I felt from every direction. Good thing that as I get old I get to take you all with me.

Thank you all of you who helped me make it through my quarter-life crisis with my dignity. Sort-of.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

yesterday.

Yesterday afternoon Duke answered the phone to my frantic voice and the high-pitched screech of three angry monkeys. In a state of total anxiety I pleaded for help, recounting the last ten minutes of our day.

"Don't freak out. Just put him in the tub and feed the baby." Duke advised me.

"You just don't understand!" I yelled back, slapping my phone closed. You see, when anxiety attacks there is no reasoning with me. I will not hear logic; almost like my mind refuses to compute simple commands.

Duke came right home from work and started washing away the dirty, black cloud of dishes that had become the object of my deepest hate. I cannot explain why a messy house makes me want to run and jump into my bed like I have a monster in my closet. Duke walks in and turns the light on, showing me that the monster was in my mind the whole time.

Now I can laugh about the series of unfortunate events that led to my demise.

Baby asleep. Sparky happily playing. Iggy upstairs for his nap. I thought I'd take a shower before tackling the mound of dishes. Coming out of the shower, I hear a shout from Sparky.

"MOM! I woke the baby up!" Grrrrreat.

Then a shout from upstairs. "POOOOOOOOOOOP!" Excellent.

I open the playroom door to Iggy, naked from the waist down and covered in the latter exclamation. I tell him to get his little buns downstairs into the bathroom. He slides down each step, getting a good wipe along the way. No sign of his pants anywhere. Baby is screaming for me to feed him. I saw the dirty dishes and it all became too much. I boiled over.

After Duke came home and calmed the seas he hugged me and told me that he knows my job is not always easy and that he is proud of me. And then we went upstairs to look for the pants. We followed our noses. We found Iggy's underwear folded neatly inside his pants, hidden in a bundle in the bottom of his clean-clothing drawer.

We cleaned together, forced everyone to take naps, and kissed and laughed and kissed the afternoon away.

I'll bet you can relate, no?

The end.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Time traveling and culture shock.

One of the most wonderful places in the world for people-watching is a Renaissance Faire.

Trying to explain the way I see the culture of the majority of people who frequent them is difficult. The boys are sort-of like this; they can wear flamboyant costumes and shout in Old English to total strangers, but if it were normal life, they'd probably freeze-up and perspire heavily if a pretty girl talked to them.

The girls are also quite interesting to watch. Many rather busty ladies find in the Ren Faire environment, their place. The clothes are flattering on them. And in conjunction with the fact that the men there are pretty nerdy usually, but are blooming in their chain-male, the girls get a lot of attention.

The culture is not only a Renaissance culture. It is a mixture of angst, feigned anarchy, sudden confidence, brute desire to whack each other with swords, and a lot of cleavage. I don't exactly fit in while I'm there and I definitely don't stand out.

But it is absolutely the best place to be for people watching.

You know, my family and I do frequent Renaissance Faires, so I'll paint us right in to the nerdy picture. We dress in costumes and wear weapons. We admire the wares sold in the booths, and we even sell some of our own. We watch the minstrels and jousting, cheering along.

It's sort-of become our family reunion each summer. I'll bet you would like it.

I'll take a bunch of cheery goofs dressed up in costumes over channel surfing any day.

A few more photos here.

Ride a horse or pony.

Checking another item off of our live list!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

pioneer children.

I love the primary. I could shout it from the rooftops. I LOVE the primary.

In our church, most all of the members are assigned some sort of responsibility (commonly known as their "calling"). These responsibilities change as the leaders are guided and inspired to fill the needs of the church. Right now Duke and I are both working with young children in the primary.

We were pioneer wagon train leaders for a special activity on Saturday.

We trekked all the way from the church to our backyard (about three blocks) and pitched tents, played games, and sang songs together, all the while playing the part of courageous pioneers crossing the harsh wilderness.

Did I mention peach cobbler?

You know, some people might say that callings in primary are a chore; that it would be like babysitting, or that there are so many other more uplifting places to serve.

Some people are missing out.

These children are giants in all things beautiful, lovely, praiseworthy. Their hearts are light. I love them, and I love the primary.

I love the primary.

Apple Juice.

Our apple tree is in her last trimester. The weight of her harvest pulls her branches low enough for young fingers to feast.

I don't know a thing about gardening, growing, planting, or harvesting. I do not know why our mother tree is so fertile while her sisters nearby produce small, sour rot. I do know that this tree, with her branches a stretched umbrella of shade, is quite well-loved.

Babies swing from her limbs and climb gingerly about her trunk. Friends gather about her in lawn chairs to relish the summer. She is the setting of so many cherished photographs.

I can't help wondering if her sisters are envious. The thought makes me want to go read them a bed-time story and kiss them goodnight.

Rachel and I shook the mother tree's branches for her, sacrificing for a moment our own safety to relieve her limbs of their sweet bounty. Apples flied and we felt as if she sighed just a little, in relief.

Rachel and I mused about our connection to this tree; about our need to be loved and cherished, and to know that our contributions are appreciated. We work hard to bear fruit. So hard that sometimes we even need our branches shaken.

We had an apple party the other evening, juicing choice picks and drinking in the tart-sweetness. I'm trying not to think about saying goodbye. Our dear friends (dear after only a few months) are moving across the country in two days. I am so happy for the adventure they are heading into, but so sad at the same time. Rachel's been sitting in my shade, and swinging on my limbs, and she's been shaking my branches for me.

I've been sitting here for a few minutes now trying to think of a lighthearted way to wrap all of this up. I can't.

I'm really going to miss her.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thusday night lights.

I look forward to Thursdays all week long.

Softball night.

Yes, it's stressful letting Duke play while I repeatedly chase my Wild Things off the fields.

But after most all the competitive players have gone, we get to relax and be goofy together.

And now I'm a little less uncoordinated than I was in high school, so I even hit the ball sometimes.

Happy summer, friends.