Friday, June 28, 2013

Five Minutes of In Between

Joining in with Lisa Jo Baker's Five Minute Friday today.  The rules are simple-write for 5 minutes flat for pure unedited love of the written word, then link back to her blog and invite others to join the party.  Don't forget to leave a comment for the writer who linked up just before you.

Y'all know how I feel about 'unedited', but I'm jumping in anyway.

Five Minute Friday

Today's word-In between

I live in the land of in between. That time and space known to some as middle age, but to me as the great gulf of in between. The place where I wait for what's next. The place where my young adult daughters are making some of life's most important decisions, decisions with consequences that will stretch far beyond their own future season of in between.

The place where they want to steer their own course, yet know in their heart of hearts they still need their momma to listen, encourage, and pray....to resist telling them precisely what to do, yet confirm the direction they're heading is the right one.  They need a soft touch, a gentle suggestion, prayer as deep as the ocean.

I have one daughter living in a city that is not here, completely independent yet still calling home when her car won't start, she's lost her keys, or she needs a splash of the unconditional love of a mother for her daughter.

I have another daughter, also living in her own apartment in a state that is not here, finishing graduate school, job-hunting,  preparing to move to yet another far from home city. A daughter who occasionally still needs her momma to get on an airplane and sleep beside her as she wrestles with a future that is full of excitement, possibility, and questions for which there are no sure answers.

The land of in between is a place where your twenty-something daughters sometimes give you a sweet glimpse of their seven year old selves. A place, where for a minute, you long for the glorious days of young motherhood, yet know if actually given the chance you wouldn't go back.

It's the place where you look at your once upon a time pony-tailed, hula hooping, dress up wearing, children of your heart and say wow. It's the place where you have a spectacular view of how God's design for the seasons of parenting is good and perfect. Where your heart is fuller than it ever was, and where you realize each stage you've walked through with your children was your favorite.

The land of in between is a place where a husband who has worked hard all his life dreams of retirement. Where the dream is close enough to taste, but not quite close enough to touch. The place where instead of an office or an airport, he'll spend hours tinkering with a boat at the end of a dock. A place we can both see as clearly as if we were standing there now, except we're not. We're still in between.

The land of in between is a sometimes restless place. A place of looking back and looking forward, but struggling some days to look at the now. A place where time is easily wasted waiting for the what's next. A place where you feel young and still full to overflowing with plans...still dreaming of accomplishing much and big and meaningful, working to reconcile what you feel on the inside with what you see on the outside.

The land of in between is a place where I've met God anew. It's in this season He has given me the gift of empty spaces to be filled up with the knowledge of Him. The place He knew I'd need to be way back when I was still reading bedtime stories to freshly bathed little girls in footie pajamas, whose soft sweet curls made me feel all was right with the world.

It's a place to think, reflect, and plan. A place to pray more and deep and big. A place to rest after walking the winding trail to here. A place to make us ready for what's across the gulf of in between.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Day in the Life

Today is one of those days where I'd love to stay in my PJ's and spend the whole day writing. Instead I need to take the dog for a haircut and then schlep back to the groomers later in the day to collect her sassy self, and then pick up the dry cleaning before coming home to get ready for a dinner out with friends.

And since the groomer is just a hop, skip, and a jump down the road from my gym it only makes sense to show my face there too. Then there is an insurance question to be dealt with, which will mean an hour on the phone, because we all know you can't call your agent for a simple question without them feeling the need to 'review your policies'.

And, while I made a dent in the deep clean yesterday, it was just that-a dent. Daughter1 is coming home for the weekend which means I need to tackle that end of the house, and when I clean I quite often get sidetracked into organizing a closet or looking through pictures I've happened upon or really anything but the dusting and the vacuuming.

I'm not alone in that am I?

Plus there are bills to be paid, and travel logistics to be sorted and booked, and some emails needing a reply.  On top of that in order to meet friends for a highly anticipated curry this evening we have to leave tinytown, so I'll be collecting the wife half of the couple and then we'll trek out to meet the husbands for dinner at an Indian restaurant in a town a little further away.

I will get excited about that curry after all of the above is behind me today.

So, I'm not in my PJ's, I'm in my work out clothes instead, and that's okay too. A big part of writing for me is the large chunk of thinking time I need to organize my thoughts, and running on a treadmill or pushing a vacuum are as good a place as any for that I suppose.

Well, not as good as a beach but almost.

Actually, not even almost, but good enough.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

It's Baaa-aack...The Wednesday Hodgepodge

I'm happy to be back in the Hodgepodge this week after a mini-blog break.  Here are my answers to this week's questions-


1. Summertime is a season of reunions, weddings, and other family celebrations and gatherings...are any of the above on your calendar in the next two months?

Do we have anything on our summer calendar? Ha! 

Only some little something every weekend but two in the next couple of months. All good fun, but still this will be a summer where we hop from event to event.  

I spent last weekend at a reunion with friends from my long ago days as a camp counselor (wrote about that here if you're curious). We have plans to attend hubs high school reunion, and also to catch up with extended family in July, and later that month I'll be trekking to North Carolina for a fun weekend reunion with college sorority sisters. We have a wedding to attend in August and in between all that some international house guests, and a daughter's graduation. 

And you thought life with toddlers was busy??!!

2. June is National Iced Tea Month...are you an iced tea drinker? If so, how do you like yours (sweet, flavored, etc)?

I love iced tea, and drink it by the gallon during the summer months. My family is partial to the way I make my iced tea, which is lightly sweetened with a lot of lemon. I can drink it unsweetened, but if there's no lemon I'll pass on the iced tea.  

3. When were you last nervous? Looking back, was the event actually 'nerve-worthy'?

I was a bit nervous last weekend as I  got talked into was asked to speak/share something in the way of devotions on Saturday morning at the camp reunion. In hindsight was it nerve-worthy? No, but that's because I felt prepared. In the end I really enjoyed the experience, which is true of most things that give me a case of the nerves.  

4. The bristle toothbrush was invented in China on June 26, 1498...not sure how that date was pinned down so precisely but, on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being sick to your stomach and 1 being not at all, how nervous do you feel when you're headed to the dentist? Do you see your dentist twice a year?

I don't know anyone who enjoys going to the dentist, myself included. In spite of that I see my dentist without fail, three times a year, because if I get my teeth cleaned three times a year I don't have issues-twice is not enough. Teeth are on my list of things to ask God about when I get to heaven.  

On a scale of 1-10 I'm a 7. 

5. What's making news in your town this week?

I live in tinytown so normally not a lot of news is made here, but we did have a little excitement last weekend.  

A man pulled his vehicle into a driveway to speak to a family member and thought he put the brake on.  Alas, he did not. He actually put the jeep in reverse and then got out to speak to his friend at which point the vehicle rolled right on down the driveway about 100 feet, across the road, through a neighbor's closed iron gate, and over a rock wall.  It then flew another 250 feet down a side yard, before launching itself off the sea wall and into the lake, where it promptly sank.  

Thankfully nobody was hurt, but I imagine the poor man will be hearing about that little mishap for a long long time.  

6. Curtains, drapes, blinds...your window treatment of choice?  Are there any bare windows in your house?  Is that by choice or because you just haven't gotten around to covering them?

My window treatment of choice would be plantation shutters.  I have them downstairs and would love to have them in every room. Upstairs I have blinds in the bedrooms and sheers alongside. I do have some bare windows in my dining room and may or may not add shutters there.  It's not a necessity because it's not a room anyone can really see in...I like natural light in a house, so shutters are still up for debate.

7. Summertime is officially here (in the Northern hemisphere anyway)....what one song is a must-have on your summer playlist?

These 'pick one song' questions are always so hard for me...do I go with something new or an old favorite?  

Okay-going with an oldie, but one that's definitely on my summer play list-Summer in The City by The Lovin' Spoonful.  I like to sing this one in the car.  

Loudly.    

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

While I was away last weekend, hubs purchased a great big umbrella for our patio. We sat outside Sunday evening and played backgammon and listened to music.  I still need to finish my flower pots, but we're getting there.  


Now we just need to pencil some 'porch sittin' time into our very busy summer calendar.  




Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 130

After a week's hiatus, the Hodgepodge is back.  Here are the questions...answer on your own blog, and be sure to hop back here tomorrow to link your answers with the whole wide world.  A small corner of it anyway~


1. Summertime is a season of reunions, weddings, and other family celebrations and gatherings...are any of the above on your calendar in the next two months?

2. June is National Iced Tea Month...are you an iced tea drinker? If so, how do you like yours (sweet, flavored, etc)? 

3. When were you last nervous?  Looking back, was the 'event' actually nerve-worthy?

4. The bristle toothbrush was invented in China on June 26, 1498...not sure how that date was pinned down so precisely but, on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being sick to your stomach and 1 being not at all, how nervous do you feel when you're headed to the dentist?  Do you see your dentist twice a year?

5. What's making news in your town this week?

6. Curtains, drapes, blinds...your window treatment of choice? Are there any bare windows in your house? Is that by choice or because you haven't gotten around to covering them? 

7. Summertime is officially here (in the Northern hemisphere anyway)...what one song is a must-have on your summer playlist?

8.  Insert your own random thought here.  

Monday, June 24, 2013

Deep and Wide

I've been on a mini hiatus from my blog for the past week or so...do you go on hiatus or take a hiatus? Either way, my blog has been too quiet and needs reawakening.

It's hard knowing where to begin so I guess I'll go with my usual, which means diving in any old place, and hoping somehow the words make sense when I'm through.

It certainly seems like I should have a lot to say on this Monday morning, but the reality is I'm feeling quiet and reflective after a weekend away in one of my favorite places on earth. This was my third year to attend a reunion of summer camp staff, people who shared summers on a little plot of paradise in Northeast Maryland, sometime during the 1970's. I've written about camp on my blog before-here, here, and here if you're curious, but the one thing you should know about it is this-you never come away from camp empty.

In the past I've always taken gobs of pictures, but this year I decided to just be. To free myself of that small distraction and give my tired head and heart the rest I didn't realize I'd been needing. I soaked in the quiet beauty of a pinky orange sunset and sipped coffee from the comfort of a camp chair.  I saw with my own eyes instead of through a camera lens, the osprey soaring high across a sun drenched clear blue sky. I hushed the noise inside my head, and heard the sounds of a guitar strummed beneath the light of a silver circled moon. I took deep breaths and inhaled the crisp fresh fragrance of a summertime wood, a scent that never fails to carry me back to those magical summers of my youth.

Deep and Wide. It's an old familiar children's song, and one we used to sing with our campers. There were hand motions, and it was fun because the kids could be a little bit silly too, but also those words?  They meant something then, and they mean something still, and this weekend I remembered what that was.

God's love for each one of us is deep. So deep and so wide and so high that I can barely grasp the notion of it. I get caught up so easily in the busyness of life, and weighed down so quickly by the heaviness of life, and sometimes I just need to go back to summer camp. To retreat to a place where the enormity of His love for me is impossible to miss.

I can stand at the waters edge and see it.
Look up through a canopy of leafy green and feel it.
Sit under a blanket of stars He set in place and that He knows by name, and remember He knows mine too.

I can grow up and away and come back to this place.  I can sit on a wooden bench in a makeshift chapel in the woods and sing Amazing Grace...


...and be amazed anew.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Hodgpepodge

Hi Hodgepodgers (and anyone else who stumbled in here today)...just a reminder the Hodgepodge is on summer holiday this week.  Go here to read why, or just hop back next week (June 25th) to grab the new questions.  See you then!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Snow Day

It has been a busy June, and as such this blog has been a teensy bit neglected. There are seasons. I've got a lot going on just now, and have decided to call snow day on the Hodgepodge this week. I know those who play along every week are always disappointed to see I need a break, but I need a break.

I have a calendar full of appointments starting today, with the dentist this morning and the gyno this afternoon. No idea what I was thinking booking my two fun things on the same day, but Hello Monday!

Tuesday and Wednesday look similar, except those days events will actually be fun, and then I'm heading out of town for a reunion with old friends in one of my favorite places-camp. I've committed to giving a brief devotional on Saturday morning to the group (not sweating that at all-ha!), and will also be run/walking a 5K, both of which require some prep time this week. Actually, that 5K prep should have been an ongoing thing, but whatever.

On top of that, the dust is approximately knee deep on my furniture, my Plantation shutters are not going to clean themselves, and my patio pots need attention, i.e.-plants.

So-that's the list of excuses  reasoning behind the 'No Hodgepodge' declaration this week.  I love the Hodgepodge, and appreciate everyone who participates, the faithful and the intermittent alike. Thank you for understanding that my attention needs to be somewhere else this week, and rest assured Volume 130 will be up and running again soon. (Our next set of questions will be posted on June 25th/the link on June 26th).

Wherever this Monday morning finds you, enjoy!



Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Discovering the Hodgepodge

Welcome to this week's edition of the Wednesday Hodgepodge (Volume 129!) So glad you played along today, and if you're visiting for the first time, know that everyone is welcome to join the party.  Answer the questions on your own blog, then add your link at the end of my post. Here are my answers~

1.  What do you think makes a good dad?

I imagine my answer will sound a bit old fashioned, but I think a good dad provides for his family, and sets a good example when it comes to honesty, integrity, and work ethic. He makes time for his children and encourages them in the pursuit of their dreams. He loves his children's mother, and treats her with gentleness and respect. He kills spiders and other creepy crawlies, changes smoke detector batteries in the middle of the night, and investigates suspicious noises coming from a dark basement. He is not above zipping little girl coats, or brushing little girl hair, and is the voice of reason when hormones run amok in a houseful of women. He's solid and can be counted on whatever this world brings.

2.  What's something you learned from your own father?

Lots of things, but in a nutshell-

Work hard
Elbows off the table
Help others
Jesus loves me

3.  It's your birthday-what kind of cake will we be having?

Growing up I always asked for a German chocolate cake for my birthday, the kind with the real German chocolate icing, homemade, gooey, coconut caramel-y goodness. My mom will still make this for me if I see her on or around my birthday. Hubs always gets me a decadent chocolate cake, super rich with a raspberry filling, because he knows I love that too. 

4.  When you're faced with a big decision are you more of a go with your gut type of person, or are you someone who reasons it all out, weighing the pros and cons?

I go with my gut, but I will think through the pros and cons to be sure my gut reaction makes sense.

5.  June is National Dairy Month. what's your favorite dairy item? Most often purchased dairy item?

My favorite dairy item is most definitely cheese. 
My most purchased would be yogurt.

6.  Explorer Jacques Cousteau was born on June 11, 1910...what's something you've recently discovered or something you'd like to explore?

Something I'd like to explore?  
Pretty much anywhere in this world I haven't been.  

7.  Are you typical of your generation?

Probably. I'm married, educated, have two young adult children, worry about aging parents/ in-laws, pay attention to what's going on in the world around me, and spend a lot of time thinking about what retirement will look like for us. I try to keep up with technology, but a recent conversation with my ten and thirteen year old nephews let me know the gap in that area is wider than most of my generation wants to admit.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.


My daughter2 was home all last week, and like all visits with my girls, it was just too short. I ended up flying back to SC with her on Sunday, because why not?  Today I drove her to class so I could use her car and I snapped this picture when we pulled onto the mall.  No matter the season, this campus is always so beautiful.  


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Hodgepodge Questions-Vol 129

Here are the questions to this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge...answer on your own blog, then hop back here tomorrow to see what the neighbors are saying.


1. What do you think makes a good dad?

2.  What's something you learned from your own father?

3. It's your birthday-what kind of cake will we be having?

4. When you're faced with a big decision are you more of a go with your gut type of person, or are you someone who reasons it all out, weighing the pros and cons?

5. June is National Dairy Month. What's your favorite dairy item? Most often purchased dairy item?

6. Explorer Jacques Cousteau was born on June 11, 1910....what's something you've recently discovered or something you'd like to explore?

7. Are you typical of your generation?

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Happy Fragments To You...

Twenty five years ago today I became a mother-


How's that for a fragment?

Here are my sweet girls on Easter Sunday this year, the birthday girl is on the left.
She's all grown up now, her heart still so kind and gentle.


She makes me want to be a better person.

Happy Birthday Daughter1! She has a cute blog, so if you have a minute hop over and wish her a happy day today. You only turn a quarter of a century once, and she has the sweetest friends who've got a fun weekend planned. You'll find her blog here.

In other news, Daughter2 is still home for a few more days, and we're off to my gourmet group's luncheon in just a little while.  We have a luau theme this month, but a steady rain is falling, so not looking too tropical outside.


We can still eat mango cheesecake, right?


We're bringing two desserts, the cheesecake and these Blue Hawaii cupcakes with a spiked whipped cream icing.  Daughter2 is serious about her baking.

We used this recipe for the cupcakes and bought fun little umbrellas and pink flamingos for the top.  We also crushed a handful of plain graham crackers into fine crumbs to resemble sand. We had to display them on two trays because just like the Jersey shore, umbrellas crowd.

If they don't taste good at least they'll look good.


No worries...they taste good.
When you're taking a baked item to a party the rule book says you must first taste.

We resisted cutting in to the cheesecake.
Believe me, we considered it about 10 PM last night, but we talked each other down and the cheesecake is still intact this morning.

While Daughter2 made the treats for today I made meatballs and spaghetti sauce for last night's dinner.  Except instead of spaghetti we had spaghetti squash. Have you tried that? We'd both seen the recipe all over Pinterest, and if you watch The Biggest Loser, they make it a lot on there too. As I smelled the sauce simmering away I was kind of wishing we were having actual spaghetti, but this was pretty good too.  I'd never cooked spaghetti squash before and it's an interesting vegetable. It really does look a lot like spaghetti!  Next time I'll drain it more, before topping with sauce because we thought it was a teensy bit soggy, but overall pretty tasty.

Half-Past Kissin' Time

I'm sure I've got more fragments to share, but I've also got a luau to get to so will end this post here. Why not hop over to Half Past Kissin' Time and share some fragments of your own today?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Rollin' on the Hodgepodge

Welcome to this week's edition of the Wednesday Hodgepodge. If you'd like to join the party, answer the questions on your own blog, then add your link at the end of my post. Here are my answers~


1. Have you learned more from success or failure?  Explain.

Success.

While I do believe we learn from failure, I think success is what's given me the confidence to try something new, different, or even hard.  

2. What did you call your grandparents when you were growing up? If you have children, what do they call your parents?  If you have grandchildren, what do they call you?

When I was a toddler, and we lived with my mom's parents for a year, I called that grandmother GaGa. Eventually though, that became Grandma and my sibs and I called both sets of grandparents Grandma and Grandpa. If we were talking about them within the family we would add their last name to differentiate, but in person they were just Grandma and Grandpa. Once great grandchildren arrived my mom's mother became GiGi. 

My girls call hubs parents Grandma and Grandpa, and when my dad was alive he was known as Poppie. My mom is Mema to the girl grands, but my nephew calls her Mimi and she answers to both. I don't have grandchildren yet, and am not quite sure what I want to be called. In England it seemed most children called their grandmothers Nan, and I kind of like that. I like Grandma too.   

3. You're invited to a luau.  In keeping with that theme, what dish do you bring to share?

My gourmet group this month has a luau theme which is what prompted this question. The menu is set and each person chooses a recipe from the set menu. Since my daughter2 loves to bake, and will be going with me to the luncheon, I chose two desserts. One is a mango cheesecake and the other is a Blue Hawaii cupcake, made with blue curacao, cream of coconut, and crushed pineapple. Sounds good to me!

4. Besides Jesus, what one person's life story do you think everyone should know?

Who came up with this question? I had an answer in my head and asked my hubs what he would say and his answer was identical to mine. 

Hitler-so we don't forget what evil is.  

5. "Don't sweat the small stuff." Agree or disagree?

It depends. For the most part small stuff is just that-small stuff.  It shouldn't ruin our day, week, or outlook on life. I do think an exception to this can, in some instances, be found in parenting.  If you allow the seemingly small stuff to accumulate unchecked, before you know it you have a kid nobody wants to be around.  

When it comes to parenting sometimes you do need to sweat the small stuff.   

6. June is National Rivers Month...when were you last on a river?  What's the prettiest river you've ever seen?  What's a river you'd like to see?

We spent the Labor Day weekend with my sister on their boat down in Maryland, which was probably the last time I was on a river.  The marina is on a creek which runs into the Chester River.  You can pretty much put me on any Maryland waterway, and I'm happy. 

As far as the prettiest? Most rivers are pretty in some way, but we lived in Maryland for nine years, and kept our boat on the Magothy River which is still near and dear to my heart.  


C. 2002

I think I've posted this picture about four or five different times on my blog, so what's one more? A rainbow painted river sunset never gets old.  

What's a river I'd like to see? The Danube. 

7. Speaking of rivers-paddling, swimming, fishing, or bird watching safely from the shore?  Which activity would you choose?  Yes-you have to choose.

All of the above? I guess if I can only choose one, it would be paddling a canoe or kayak, although my real favorite is a motor boat. 

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Sometimes your grown up 22-year old daughter comes home for a week, and the weight of a real world job hunt, a last looming semester of grad school, the two part time jobs she's juggling, and an impending move to a new city and state weigh heavy on her mind and heart. You listen, advise, wipe tears, and decide what she really needs is a Friendly's hot fudge sundae at 11 o'clock on a Tuesday morning.  

Because sometimes you just do.  




Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Hodgepodge Questions-Vol 128

Here are the questions for this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog then hop back here tomorrow to share answers with all your friends and neighbors.


1. Have you learned more from success or failure? Explain.

2.  What did you call your grandparents when you were growing up? If you have children, what do they call your parents? If you have grandchildren, what do they call you?

3.  You're invited to a luau.  In keeping with that theme, what dish will you bring to share?

4. Besides Jesus, what one person's life story do you think everyone should know about?

5. "Don't sweat the small stuff." Agree or Disagree? Why?

6.  June is National Rivers Month. When were you last on a river? What's the prettiest river you've ever seen? What's a river you'd like to see?

7.  Speaking of rivers-paddling, fishing, swimming, or bird watching safely from the shore? Which activity would you choose? Yes-you have to choose.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Monday, June 3, 2013

It's Raining, It's Pouring...

The old man went to work anyway. Ha! He's definitely not old, but the rhyme seemed to fit on this gray and rainy Monday morning.  

We had gorgeous weather over the weekend as we trekked to Philly for my nephew's birthday party.  He turned 7 and had a big day beginning with a baseball game, and then a trip to the Aquarium with friends.


I am slightly obsessed with roses this spring. They seem especially beautiful this year everywhere you go. My sister had these blooming in her backyard-


I told hubs we need to plant some, but our yard is tricky. We have fewer blooming plants in this yard than in other places we've lived. We're set against the woods, with lots of natural rock and tall trees so natural feels better. Plus we have serious granite in the ground and an abundance of creatures who think anything that blooms is dessert. Still, I am determined to plant some roses.


Back to Saturday...we sat outside and my brother in law grilled hamburgers and hotdogs, and of course there were presents to be unwrapped...


Lots of running and playing and fun with friends ...


Then there was this-


...tuxedo cheesecake for dessert.


Daughter2 will say her trip home was worth it for this reason alone.
Cheesecake is her love language.


His too. Everybody knows Ninjas need cheesecake, right? Sorry it's a little blurry, but ninjas don't stay still for long.

My sister has a brand new puppy which has once more stirred up the 'we need a puppy' conversation at our house.  


She is so sweet, but when my sister starts talking about taking her outside at 11 PM, and the baby gates, and the need to always know where your puppy is and what she's into I falter. They also have an older dog who seems to have been given a new lease on life with a puppy in the house, so there's that to consider. Our pup is a party girl, and I know she'd love a playmate, but...but...but...sigh. This is one of those things I'll think about another day.

We spent the night at my mom's and she and I got up Sunday morning and sat on the bench beside her front porch to chat and sip coffee.  Hubs joined us and then eventually my girl came out too.  I had to take a picture because she and her dad were in the same shirt and it was too cute.


They look happy to have their picture taken upon awakening, don't they?
I think they're used to me.

We got back home late afternoon and grilled out and then Daughter2 and I talked hubs into watching Les Mis with us which I think he kinda liked.  Better than what we're going to have him watching tonite anyway. teehee.