Thursday, May 23, 2019

Life Lately

It's been a while since last we spoke and I miss writing here.

A lot has been happening in our little corner of the world and I've struggled with the best way to go about getting back on track with my blog. How about we start with three things because three things somehow feels manageable. Three huge ginormous things, but still just three things.

There's no real easy way to write this so I'm going to be blunt. My daughter2 and her fiancee cancelled their wedding a week prior to the event and we're still feeling a little fragile round here. I imagine we will feel that way for quite some time.

It's not a secret but it is private, and yes there is a difference. I'm not going to write about the specifics here, in fact I probably wouldn't write about it at all except people have been emailing asking what's up so it felt like I needed to say something. Daughter2 loves my blog and knows I can't really keep writing here without mentioning the elephant in the room so she's told me to carry on.

This is me carrying on.

Second thing...Daughter1, her husband, son (aka cutest little mancub in all the land), and baby #2 (coming this fall!) are moving to South Korea.


My son-in-law finishes a grueling five year residency program in June, takes his written boards in July, then around the world they go. I will definitely write more about this but let's stick with headlines for now.

Thirdly, their overseas move means this guy is going to live with us for the next two years. Everyone say hi to Hunley-


He's adorable and only slightly naughty and I for sure will have more to say about him as he settles in to his temporary new home on the lake.

He will settle in right?

Of course he will.
We'll settle in too.

And I might have more to say along those lines so don't wander too far.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Easter

R is for The Old Rugged Cross

I have lots of favorite words, but if I have to pick a favorite favorite it is this one-hope. And never does that word pack more of a punch than on Easter morning. I like the quote by Thomas Aquinas that says, "Faith has to do with things not seen, hope with things that are not at hand." 

Easter for me is definitely a time of reflection. Everyone has something they're dealing with, and Easter reminds me to put my focus back on a God who is faithful. Who is all-knowing and never surprised or caught off guard by what life brings. 

No matter what small hill or giant mountain lies before us, what fire we're walking through, or what pit we're trying to climb out of, Easter morning tells us there is hope.

Sometimes the old hymns really do say it best-

Friday, April 19, 2019

A Cinderella Style Post

As in Quick! Write something for the A-Z challenge before the clock strikes twelve. Works for me-

Q is for Quick! 

We sat down to dinner tonight and it was only then I realized I hadn't blogged today. I asked for suggestions for letter Q and hubs said how about quit raining! He has a point. It was an absolute gully washer here today. 

Maybe more of a deluge than gully washer because when I looked up the definition of gully washer it said extremely heavy rain of short duration. Ours lasted the whole ding dong day, but I do love the word gully washer. It's delightful. 

Daughter1 has been doing much of the print design for her sister's wedding which is coming up super quick, and I think we finally got the last piece proofed and ready for printing today. That means she won't get ten emails/texts/phone calls from me every single day asking -can you make the font bigger, now it's too big can you change it back?, I moved person x from table one to table five-hey I moved person x back to table one so can you put the seating chart back the way it was three emails ago? can you send me a pdf to proof?, why can't I see the pdf? how do I make this booklet thing print right side up? wait just one more thing I promise....I know she's delighted-ha! 

This little man will be here for Easter-


He's had a big boy haircut since we saw him last, says new words and sentences every day, and is my favorite tiny human on the planet. Super delightful! 

This has nothing to do with anything, but last night we went out for Mexican food and daughter2 suggested we stop for ice cream on the way home. I mean we were driving right by, so how could we not? Also, it was educational.  


They make your ice cream one bowl at a time in the mixer right in front of you, adding liquid nitrogen at the end to make it freeze. Delicious and entertaining! 

Quick topic change-

With everything we have going on here currently I made the executive decision to order Easter dinner from Honey Baked Ham. I guess it wasn't so much an executive decision as a thought I spoke aloud in the presence of my daughter as something I was considering, and she leapt on the idea as soon as the words left my mouth. 'Do it Mom!' and so I did. 

Their hams are always wonderful and the deal I opted for comes with three sides and two desserts which are currently sitting in my frig and freezer just waiting to be warmed up. I know some of you are thinking what's the big deal, but I'm fussy about holiday dinners. I like homemade and I enjoying cooking these big meals and I make too many sides but that's tradition. This year is kinda kicking my behind though, so I'm giving myself a smallish break. Still doing Easter baskets, having ten people for dinner, and hosting a wedding a week later, but not cooking the whole meal somehow feels like a little break. 

I'll still make deviled eggs because is it even Easter dinner without deviled eggs? Daughter2 said we still have to make our favorite pineapple stuffing, but that's easy peasy to prepare so low stress. And I know people will tell me to use paper plates but I cannot. I literally can.not. If that's your thing then I say go for it. It is not in my DNA to serve Easter dinner on paper plates so I will set the table with my wedding china because thirty-five years in it still delights. 

And yes, this is a quick post when you're me. 

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Pressing On

We're more than half way through the A-Z blog challenge and in spite of ten thousand things going on here I'm managing to stay mostly on track.

Since I don't normally blog on Saturdays I've been using those posts to make lists of small things that delight centered around the day's letter. We're rolling in to the Easter weekend and I have something else in mind for this week's Saturday post so will make my list today instead.

Here we go-

P is for Pint-Sized Delights

peonies
Princess Kate
lightly salted popcorn
encountering patient people 
a package at the front door
Paris in the spring
overcoming the urge to procrastinate
old photos
homemade peanut butter cookies
lounging in my pjs
accomplishing a difficult task because I persevered 
porch sitting
a walk in Central Park
lots of stamps in my passport
opening up a brand new planner 
the last piece in a jigsaw puzzle
pearls
the first peach of the season 
playing peek-a-boo with the mancub
hitting publish


Wednesday, April 17, 2019

O is for Oops

As in oops I dropped the blog ball yesterday with letter N in the April A to Z blog challengeNot to worry though, because I'm picking it up today by way of a combination post. Two letters for the price of one you might say.

N is for Nature and O is for The Great Outdoors

See, it's gonna be fine.

I love high heels, pearls, and sipping champagne in a skyscraper restaurant overlooking Manhattan. I also love comfy jeans, a hike in the mountains, and running barefoot off the dock into the crystal clear lake waters of my own backyard.

Part country mouse, part city mouse.


Cities are noisy, energizing, and alive, but getting out into nature helps me remember I'm not in charge of the universe. The quiet of the woods on a gorgeous autumn day silences the soundtrack running on a loop inside my head.


 A mountaintop view gives me room to think and dream.


Standing in front of a seemingly endless expanse of ocean makes me feel small and sure there is a God.


A stroll through a lovely English garden tells me to stop and smell the roses.


We spend so much time in the 'connected' world these days that it's really hard to disconnect without physically leaving the places we plug in. We rely on our phones and computers to tell us about the world around us as opposed to standing in wide open spaces and observing for ourselves.


A trek up a mountain means I have to dip into my well of grit and determination, something that's not needed for scrolling the internet.


A starry night sky away from city lights inspires my sense of creativity and curiosity, and waves kissing the shore over and over and over again brings a sense of order to a very disorderly world.


There is peace and there is perspective and there is gratitude to be found in the great outdoors.


Let's all go out and get us some.

Monday, April 15, 2019

I See The Moon And The Moon Sees Me

Well today got away from me but I'm not giving up on the A to Z Challenge just yet. We happen to hit the middle of the alphabet today so let's keep calm and blog on.

M is for the Moon

In case you missed it my theme for this challenge has been centered around the word delight. The obvious M word to blab on about here would be motherhood, but I feel like I might have covered that in letter D. 

Let's go with something completely different here today-the moon

I tend to talk too much here about all things sky related-weather, clouds, sunrises, sunsets, and a brilliant moon in the dark night sky. Maybe it's the way it hangs over the lake or maybe it's that I have more time to notice, or maybe it really is more remarkable in the 21st century, but we've had so many incredible moonlit skies these past several months. 

The kind where we run out on the porch in our pjs just to get a better look. The kind that feel close enough to touch. Moons so bright and so brilliant and so seemingly close to where we're standing we snap thirty five pictures with our cell phones in an effort to capture beauty we know cannot be captured. 

There have been supermoons and blood moons and blue moons and harvest moons, each one a delight. In the words of Taylor Swift, some nights it really does feel like 'a spotlight on the lake'. 

The first thing I think of when I see a big full moon is the little rhyme I used to say to my girls when they were small. Back when I still tucked them in tight in their rooms upstairs. When I listened to their worries and their stories and their prayers and kissed their foreheads and said Mama loves you to the moon and back. 

"I see the moon and the moon sees me, God bless the moon and God bless me" 

There was something comforting in that old familiar verse...


There still is. 

Saturday, April 13, 2019

L Is For The Little Things

Keeping with my Saturday plans to mention small things that delight. And since we've reached the letter L in the A-Z challenge we'll call those small things little. Perhaps too little to merit individual blog posts, but not so little they don't deserve a mention.

L is for Little Things That Delight

a garden full of lavender
an empty laundry basket
newborn lambs on an English hillside
Thanksgiving leftovers
learning something new
love that lasts
the occasional lazy day
loons on the lake
a freshly mown lawn
long leisurely lunches
knowing all the lyrics to a song
lobster rolls on the coast of Maine
that perfect shade of lipstick
memories of London
the ocean lapping at your toes
a bowl of lemons on the kitchen counter
a letter in the mailbox
a perfectly pressed linen tablecloth
leaves changing color
red licorice

Okay, your turn...what's on your 'L' list?

Friday, April 12, 2019

Kruising Into The Weekend

Winding down week two in the A-Z Challenge and I'm still here. And it's Friday and my teacher daughter is on spring break next week so whoohoo! I think I'm as excited as she is not to be getting up before the crack of dawn for a solid week. Cheers to the weekend and sleeping past 5 AM!

I don't have a lot of time to blog, and if I'd been better organized I'd have written these A-Z posts weeks ago.  I probably didn't have time then either so here we are crawling into the weekend with one of the harder letters in the alphabet challenge.

I press on...

K is for Kindness

Not just the random unexpected kind either, but ordinary everyday kindness. Who doesn't feel delight at ordinary everyday kindness in the year 2019? I think this used to be what we called good manners, but now we call them 'acts'. 

Holding a door open for the person behind you, letting someone jump in line who has just a handful of groceries to purchase, picking up trash we didn't drop, returning the shopping cart, a baked treat for the new neighbor, going out of our way a little to help someone who needs helping, not saying everything you think. Saying good morning-thank you-you're welcome-I'm sorry. 

Kindness extended in even the simplest of ways lifts the spirit of both the giver and the receiver.

Then there are the random unexpected acts of kindness that come our way. The theme for my A-Z challenge this year was born out of one of these unexpected acts. Three months later and that small big act continues to delight me every single day.

Early in January I wrote about my word for this year. Someone read what I wrote and they acted on it. Two weeks later I had a package in the mail and I am still not over it. Every day I put that bracelet on my arm and every day I feel that same sense of delight all over again.

And now I've written two blog posts about it and it's only April.

Sometimes it feels a little obvious, trite, cliche to write about kindness. We're bombarded now with t-shirts, slogans, social media hashtags urging us to be kind but like most things that matter in this world, things that make a real difference in peoples lives, it's the doing as opposed to the 'talking about doing' that creates change.

Can kindness change the world?

In a word yes.
Our little corner of it anyway. 

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Half Full or What Glass?

Some of these A to Z Challenge letters are more problematic than others, and settling on a word for letter J required collective brain power.  I asked my daughter what she thought I should write about and she said, "Well you could write about yourself" 

Because I'm delightful?

Not quite what she meant, but let's pretend it was.

J is for Joyce 

I was thinking about how to tie in my theme of delight with my word and here's where I landed. I am an optimistic person. At least that's how I've always thought of myself. There's a little quiz you can take online (here) to determine if you're an optimist, pessimist, or realist and I came up as an uber realist.  

The description of an uber realist says I've always got a plan (true), and a plan B (true), I set reasonable expectations (I think so), I'm determined (true), and I'm probably listed as the emergency contact for several people I know-ha! I think that might be true too. 

In spite of what I'm sure is a completely scientifically accurate quiz as far as online quizzes go (ahem!), I still stay I'm an optimist. Maybe an optimistic realist? A hopeful person who wants to see the good in people, circumstances, and life, and who also sees nothing wrong with having a plan.

And maybe a plan B. 

A person who knows that sometimes you have to look really hard and dig really deep to find the good, but whose instincts tell her to do just that. And you know what? Sometimes that inclination to always be pointing out the bright side-silver lining is irritating to people who tend to see the glass as half empty. Who deal with what is right before them and choose not to think about what might be.

People who will tell you there isn't always a silver lining to be found.

Since I'm apparently more of a realist than I thought I know this. I know bad stuff happens and disappointments come our way and plans fall apart no matter how full we see the glass. I think it's how we react when any/all of the above happens that is the truer test of our levels of optimism, pessimism, and realism.

Also our faith and sense of hope in Someone greater than ourselves, and in that sense I'm definitely an optimist.

I'm going to find what might be the most microscopic bit of good in the failed plan, the disappointing circumstance, the hard thing, and I'm going to fix my eyes and my mind on that.

And fair warning...


It's very likely I'll try to get you to do the same. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Wednesday Medley With A Capital I

I might be stretching my A to Z Challenge theme with today's post, but it's my blog so I can. We're on Day 10 and if I want to keep up and enjoy this month of all things wedding I need a smallish break thrown into the mix now and then.

I is for I miss my weekly hodgepodge peeps and am going to participate in The Wednesday Medley today, hosted by Terri. The medley replaced the hodgepodge and it seems I rarely have time to play along, but today I'm playing along.

Terri asks the questions and we answer. Today's post is all about National Sibling Day which happens to be April 10th, and I believe she found this week's questions here.


1. How many siblings do you have? Are you rivals or do you support each other in all you do?

I have three siblings and feel like we're all supportive of one another. We're all different, but we enjoy one another and we all get along. We're bound together by shared childhoods and strong family ties. We're not rivals and I sincerely and genuinely care about their lives and happiness. I think they would say the same about me. 

2. Have you heard of the Birth Order Book? What are your thoughts on the premise that your birth order affects everything you do in life?

I've heard of the book and I'm the third of four children as far as birth order goes. There's a 5-year gap between my brother and I (he's five years older) and a one year gap between my younger sister and I. In a sense I'm the middle child since my brother is the only boy. 

Mostly I think I fit the stereotype of a third/middle child. Adaptable, independent, people-pleaser, peacemaker. I also read where middle children tend to be attentive to rules and structure and that might describe me-ha! Also an age gap can skew your descriptors so it's possible I have a few first born traits in me too.  

As far as your birth order affecting everything you do in life, probably not. I'm sure it plays a significant role, but there are so many factors that influence who we are and who we become. Our parents and the circumstances we encounter along life's way, just to name two. 

3. Is there something you still do that drives your siblings crazy?

Probably, but you'd have to ask them. 

4. Would you dare to tell an embarrassing story about a sibling?

Not here, and definitely not without permission. The bonds of sibling-hood run deep and strong. 

5.  Tell us something random about your week.

In keeping with my A to Z Challenge theme of delight-


Less than three weeks til our precious little Miss becomes a Mrs!

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

There's No Place Like Home

Day 9 and sill here delighting in the A to Z Blog Challenge.

H is for Home

Of course it is. Approximately 30% of the posts I've written on From This Side Of The Pond have been tagged with the word home, 29.2% to be exact. As an aside did you know there is a percentage calculator online and you don't even have to figure this stuff out for yourself anymore? I like math in 2019.

I've moved a lot and as a result have spent a fair amount of time thinking about the word home. H is for home might seem like an easy and obvious choice, even a bit cliche, but do you know why cliches are cliches? It's because there's some truth in there.

Home sweet home.
Home is where the heart is.
Home is where you hang your hat.
There's no place like home.

While there are many aspects of home that delight the one I'm going with today is this one-coming home. 

We are people on the go. Glancing at our calendar for the next six months will make your head spin. So much coming and going. And the more I'm away from home the more I long to be at home.

I love to travel. I love foreign lands and the good ole USA. I love seeing places I've never seen before. I love visiting people who are near and dear to my heart but living miles and states or sometimes even continents away. I love to go and see and do.

And I love coming home.

As soon as we hit that first bridge I know we're almost home. I love turning into our street and coming slowly down the drive. I love catching a glimpse of the lake behind the house.

I love opening the door and letting that sense of the comfortably familiar wash over me.

I love sleeping in my own bed.

I love standing at my kitchen sink that first morning back, sipping coffee from a favorite mug, watching the sun rise in a water colored painted sky.

There's no place like home...


Never does that thought delight me more than when I've been away.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Still Grand

It's Monday which means it's time to dive back in to the A-Z Blog Challenge. Here we go-

G is for Grandparenting

No series on delight would be complete without mentioning this one. If you check the dictionary pretty sure you'll find a picture of a grandchild beside the word delight. 


Or maybe a grandparent's face? 

Honestly I can be having the worst day and this little guy shows up on my phone screen and all my cares just fall by the wayside. Few things fill your heart to overflowing the way grandparenting does. 

Since I've written about this before (here, herehere, and here, so not too often) I think today I'll share a few ways our little mancub is currently spreading sunshine. 

His dimples. 

His vocabulary.

His hair!!

The way he says Cheese! then gives a toothy grin. 

The way he blows kisses.

The way he loves his chow. 

The way he sucks his thumb when he's sleepy. 

The way he backs into his mama's lap for a story. 

The way he loves his books. 

The way he says 'Oh No!' with much drama and inflection. 

The way he throws a ball which, not gonna lie, is pretty impressive for a 20-month old. 

The way he asks 'where is he? where is he?' with lots of slushy ssses. This question is most often asked in reference to his PawPaw, who we all agree is his favorite person in the world next to mom and dad. 

Case in point-since they live so far away from both sides of the family I made a book for him for Valentine's day. I put photographs of every family member inside along with their name and maybe a sentence or two. Parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, great aunts and great uncles, second cousins...in other words, all of his people. 

My daughter said he absolutely loves looking at this special book so I asked her to send me a picture. Guess who he's pointing to? 


Nope. Not crazy about his PawPaw at all

I have to say I think it's the absolute sweetest thing. I love that he feels an extra special connection with his PawPaw and pray that only deepens with time. I think little boys can learn a lot from their grandfathers and I look forward to seeing that happen. 

Okay, I could go on and on about all the ways he rocks our world except we have a wedding happening in 20-ish days and Nana's got a long list that does not include blogging. 

It might however include Facetime with a delightful almost two year old. 
At least I hope it does. 

Saturday, April 6, 2019

A Few Small Things

I've never been a weekend blogger, but I'm also not a rule breaker. The A to Z challenge says we blog on Saturdays, so a Saturday post it is-

F is for A Few Small Things

So much of what brings delight into our lives falls under the heading of 'small things'. We're told to enjoy the small things, that life is made up of small moments, small blessings, small delights. Some of these are perhaps not enough to fill a blog post on their own, but they are most definitely worth noting and calling out.  I think I might dedicate my Saturday posts to lists of small things that match the letter of the day.

Or I might not, we'll see.

The letter F and a few small things that never fail to delight-

50% off something I was going to buy anyway
finding something I'd misplaced
fresh flowers on ordinary days
French macrons
fine china
bluebirds at the feeder
fast cars
fragrance of a lilac tree on the summer breeze
free wifi in hotels, airports, assorted other venues
fairy lights
dressing fancy
finding out via Facebook that friends I know from different parts of my life know each other
first cup of coffee in the early morning hours
figuring out the solution to a complicated problem
friends who phone just because
baby farm animals out my car window
an unexpected ending in a work of fiction
a great big flag against a bright blue sky
a funny text from the hubs
the red tailed hawk flying overhead

Your turn....what small things are bringing you delight?





Friday, April 5, 2019

Drop And Give Me Twenty

It's Day 5 in the A-Z blog challenge and today's post is brought to you by the letter E.

E is for Exercise

Not going to lie. Delight is not the first word that comes to mind when I think of exercise, but I'm trying this year to find delight where there seemingly is none. Five years ago I got to a place where I looked forward to boot camp every morning. Then we moved and moved again and finding a time and a place and something I enjoyed doing as much as boot camp became a challenge.

Also I'm a little bit lazy when it comes to this particular area of my life because I've just never found it to be particularly fun. The opposite of delightful if you will. Oh I know some of you think working out is great fun but for me exercise has always been more of a necessary evil on my weekly to-do list.

I wish I were more athletically inclined. I wish I were stronger. And hey as long as I'm wishing I wish I weighed what I weighed in 1982, but that's not going to happen watching Netflix on the couch. So here I am still plugging away at the planks and the pushups and the newest thing- pickleball.

In the process I'm learning to find delight. Not necessarily in the doing, but definitely in the result, which I think is true in lots of areas of our lives.

It's taken a few sessions, but I've started looking forward to my M-W cardio-strength-pilates-yoga-barre-core-everything but the kitchen sink-class. It's tough and it's close and convenient and I enjoy the camaraderie with the other women there who are a lot like me.

I feel less clumsy. I am stronger, and pushing myself a little bit more each week has made me see I'm stronger than I think. I'm also intentional about what I grab for snacks, drinking lots of water, and not eating all the jellybeans in the bowl. The struggle is real y'all.

Because what's more delightful than a bowl full of jellybeans?

Toned arms for one. Also the energy to climb mountains, chase my grandson, keep up with my energizer bunny hubs, and wear a bathing suit all summer long.


Now that's delightful!

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Sweet Childs O' Mine

Back at it on Day 4 of the A to Z Blog Challenge-

D is for Daughters

We hear so much now about everything that's wrong with this 'millenial' generation, but I'm here to tell you there are more than a few defying the stereotype.

When my girls were small I don't think I spent a lot of time thinking about how we would interact as adults. Three decades of parenting have shown me there is something magical to be found in every season and this one I'm living now is no different. There are joys and there are challenges and there is grace for the day.

Since it's Thursday how about a list? Thirteen things I find delightful about these girls who call me momma-


1. They're funny. They share our sense of humor, get the inside family jokes, and they make us laugh. They help me laugh at myself too, which is a gift. We all need people in our lives who can do that with gentleness, and these girls are my people.

2. They're wise. When did they become so wise? Deep thoughts and observations about the world around them spill out and amaze me on a pretty regular basis. They give me a fresh perspective when I'm locked into an idea, and they're intuitive about people which is maybe my favorite thing of all the favorite things I'm going to list here.


3. They answer all my technology related questions of which there are many. Often they answer the exact same question multiple times because I can't remember what they told me to do the first time I asked. They only sigh a little.

4. They call to ask me cooking questions. I still sometimes call my own momma to ask a cooking question so this one is super delightful in my book.

5. They bless me with new titles like mother-in-law-


6.  And Nana.


7. They're strong and responsible. They work hard, make decisions, and do the difficult things adulthood so often requires. They make me want to be a better version of myself.

8. It's fun to watch their lives unfold. They help me remember what it was like to be young, newly married, raising babies.


9. They read the same books I read and share new titles they've discovered. Also fun things on Pinterest we should definitely make, hilarious twitter threads I'd never find on my own, cool websites, helpful apps, travel tips, TV shows they think we'd like, and restaurants we should try.

10. They keep my prayer life growing. This has been true in every stage of motherhood, but never more so than in these young adult years where some of life's biggest decisions are made. Where our children are figuring out a career path, choosing a mate, setting up their own homes, and starting families.

11. They are still and always best friends. Delights my heart more than words can say.


12. They encourage me in my pursuits and passions outside the role of mom. They're my honest critcs and my biggest cheerleaders. They hold my hand and laugh at my ridiculousness. They tell me to write more and try the new thing when I'm second guessing myself.

13. Every now and then I catch sight of the little girls they once were. Those little girls are in there still, only I see them now through the wider lens of time. I see all the ways they've grown and bloomed...


...and my heart beats wild with delight.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Sunday Morning Sunshine

I'm three for three in the A to Z Challenge. Whoohoo! (Read letter A here and letter B here).

C is for Church

I know there are people reading here today who won't get this one, but I am that person who has always loved church. I was not the teenager who had to be dragged out of bed and forced to attend. As an adult I love it still.

I like the way sitting in church helps me quiet my mind, regain perspective, think about things outside myself. I like the sense of peace it brings. I like specifically setting aside time at the beginning of a new week to take note of what God has done and is doing. I believe God hears us when we pray. I love old hymn lyrics, new praise music, and singing along even though I can't sing.

Few things fill me with more delight than seeing my whole family sitting side by each down a pew row.

I know there are all kinds of problems with all kinds of churches, specifically the imperfect people in them because isn't a church without people just a building? I guess I don't really understand the logic when someone tells me they won't go to church because it's full of hypocrites, liars, and fakes. Isn't church where those people need to be? And by 'those people' I mean me because we all have our junk.

Going to church is less about who I'm sitting next to and more about God meeting me there. Reminding me in the words spoken and the songs sung and the prayers whispered that He's God and I'm not.

I read the results of a recent survey that showed people who attend church regularly are happier than people who don't. They're more likely to vote, are more engaged in their communities outside of the church, and will say they are just happier in general.

Most of us are doing the best we can in a world gone mad, and I personally can't imagine navigating life on planet earth without my faith. It's a challenge in this season to be at church every week. I miss it when I'm not there, and find myself trying to fill in the gaps on my own, which just isn't the same.

I don't think you have to go to church to call yourself a person of faith, but life has a way of testing us on a pretty regular basis, and going to church helps me stay grounded.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Bridge Over Untroubled Water

Carrying on with Day 2 of the A-Z Blog Challenge and my theme of 'delight' (go here to read Day 1)

For most letters of the alphabet there are so many words I could choose. Maybe today you're expecting brides (we do have a wedding happening here this month) or baby boys (don't worry-he'll get his day!) or BBQ (hey, I do live in the south) but no.

When I think of the word delight I like to picture myself chugging along through life. In the middle of this everyday-ness some big or little something crosses my radar and lifts my spirits. That's delight.

B is for Bridges

We live on a lake so pretty much every day I have to cross several small bridges to get anywhere. I had an early morning doctor's appointment recently and as I drove across the first bridge savoring the silence and the sunrise I realized I was smiling.

I know there are people who freak out when faced with crossing a bridge, particularly the great big high bridges, but I'm not one of them. I love the water and there is something about the ride across a bridge that makes me feel all the feels...peace, contentment, awe...delight.

Most places I've lived there's been a big bridge. The Walt Whitman. The Delaware Memorial. The Chesapeake Bay. Tower Bridge. London Bridge. The George Washington Bridge.

Small bridges too which I love almost as much.

Barclay Farms Covered Bridge
This old fashioned covered bridge that's sat for six decades in the neighborhood where I grew up is a treasure. The carefree days of childhood and the memory of riding my bike across that bridge to our neighborhood swim club wash over me still when we drive beneath it's beams. 

I love the way a view opens up as you cross a bridge.


Crossing the Bay Bridge to and from Maryland's Eastern Shore gets me every time. As we near the top I think of summer sunshine, crab feasts, daughters in the house. 



I love the way a great big bridge can make you feel small.


That's London's Tower Bridge, which kindly opened as our small boat drew near and the sun shone and it was a moment. London for me is full of moments.



I love bridges that carry me into great big cities filled with people and taxis and life. I also love bridges that lead me to friends and take me to the ends of the earth.

Prince Edward Island Bridge 
Or what feels like it anyway.



Old bridges-


Bridges that say 'you are here'.



Zig Zag bridges half a world away.


Bridges carry us places. Somewhere new. Somewhere old and familiar. To people we love and people we haven't yet met.

I can't choose a favorite, but if pressed I'm going with this one-


The bridge in my own backyard.


It carries us to fun and friends-


Rest and stillness



Beauty...


...and delight. 

Monday, April 1, 2019

No Foolin'

In spite of being super slack in the blogging department lately I've managed to sign up for the tenth annual April A-Z blog challenge. I always enjoy this particular exercise and it usually gives my blog the little oomph it needs to keep sputtering on.

It's not necessary to have a theme, but I know me and know I need a jumping off point if I'm going to write 26 posts in 30 days (no Sunday blogging in the A-Z). I've participated in five of the ten A-Z challenges and every year I say I'm going to write a few posts ahead of the launch date and schedule them to publish. What actually happens is I blog on the fly, and that's likely how this year will play out too.

Let's get crackin', but first my theme. Keeping it short and sweet, and I'd like to think simple except I'm sure I'll manage to complicate it somehow.

Delight.

That's my theme. It's also my word for the year and I want to dig in a little. My plan is to write about things that delight. Also going to write about a few things that don't because I like to find the silver linings.

A is for Anticipation

I know it's the year 2019, but I'm still using a paper calendar. I'm a big fan of the week at a glance format, and love flipping the page to a new week or month to see what's waiting for me there. That app on my phone doesn't provide the same level of satisfaction as a planner whose pages I can turn, fill up, and re-visit does.

While I do love making plans and looking forward to seeing them materialize, I also take great delight in glancing at the week ahead and discovering a day with no plans on the calendar. It's possible the sense of anticipation I feel for a day on the horizon that's all my own ranks right up there with my birthday.


It seems we live in an age where we don't want to wait for things. We want what we want and we want it now. For me anticipating an event, special occasion, visit with a loved one, an extra special longed for gift, or a trip somewhere fabulous sometime in the future is a huge part of the pleasure those things bring.


I was always that mom who when their daughter said she wanted a new 'fill in the blank' told her to "put it on your birthday list" or "ask for that for Christmas".  Looking forward to new things and new experiences is for me, an integral part of the enjoyment of those longed-for things and experiences.


Hubs and I were talking recently about Saturday morning cartoons when we were kids. While I don't remember a lot of the specifics what I do remember is how much we looked forward to Saturday mornings. We didn't have our favorite programs available 24/7 and there was something about having to wait for your show from week to week that made watching in your pjs feel more like a deliberate experience and less like mindless viewing.

Anticipation brings delight. Not all the time of course (think anticipating a call from your doctor, your CPA at tax time, or a dental procedure scheduled in a few days time), but mostly when I hear the word I think happy thoughts. Good things. Something to look forward to in the near or distant future makes my heart zing a little.

Christmas. A holiday booked months in advance. A visit three months from now from a grown child living many states away. When my daughter leaves our home for a cross country flight back to her own it helps to know when that next visit will happen. Anticipation starts brewing almost as soon as she's out the door.

I like thinking about spring travel in the middle of a long winter, and while I think we've gone a bit overboard on all things Christmas, the month of December is filled with anticipation of the very best kind.

Don't even get me started on babies being born and babies getting married.


I know there's a flip side to anticipation. I know sometimes we can build up an event or looked forward to moment to an unreasonable level, then spend the actual event feeling disappointed and melancholy it hasn't lived up to our mental hype. I think we have to learn to manage anticipation and expectation without becoming Debbie Downer. We all know a Debbie Downer, dont' we?

I like to look on the bright side. I want to wear the rose colored glasses, see the glass as something more than half full. I love having something to look forward to and savor the sense of anticipation that comes along with making plans and living life.

Less Eeyore.
More Winnie-the Pooh.

"Well", said Pooh, "what I like best," and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called." A. A. Milne

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

A Bunch of Stuff

More like nothing at all but a bunch of stuff sounds a little bit interesting and nothing at all sounds quite the opposite.

Truth be told there are gobs of things I need and want to write about, just not quite yet.

I hate it when bloggers say they have something to tell and then don't tell, but I have a number of things to tell and I'm not telling. Not today anyway, but soon.

I won't say as soon as life settles down because y'all, life just does not seem to ever settle down round here.


Delight! That's my word for this year and I'm hanging on to it by my fingernails. I'm so grateful for my bracelet (read about it here) because I need the visual reminder these days to delight in all the things. I'm not successful every minute of every day, but catching a glimpse of that bracelet on my arm helps a lot.


So does sunshine, which I'm not gonna lie has been in short supply this winter. Yesterday though? Yesterday was glorious and we took advantage of the blue sky-warm air combo and enjoyed a boat ride courtesy of our neighbors. Look no socks!


Temps were in the 60's, we had blankets for our laps, and the sun felt wonderful.


Our boat is at the boat repair place (probably not the official name but whatever) because somehow we wrapped up last year's boating season with a nice little scratch on one side and wanted that fixed before this season launches. We think the scratch happened while docked at a local restaurant but we're not sure. We are sure it wasn't my fault and really that's what matters.

Hubs and I have been volunteering with a local elementary school's water safety program which means every Wednesday afternoon we get in the pool with third grade students and teach basic swimming strokes and general water safety.  There are lots of adult volunteers so we each only have a couple of kids. There's also a lifeguard on duty and I asked last week if she'd ever had to whistle at an instructor. Not yet she hasn't. Ha!

In wedding related news I picked up the bridal gown and my gown and the bride's rehearsal dinner dress from the alterations place last week which was exciting. There are still a lot of little details to be managed but in terms of our wardrobe we're ready. Also, here's a little wedding planning tip-


Use a colored envelope for your replies. So much fun opening the mailbox and seeing all that dusty blue.

Earlier this week I signed up for the April A-Z blog challenge. Kind of on a whim which, let's be honest, is how I always end up signing up for the A-Z.  Somehow this works for me. I do have an idea for a theme this go-round, I just need to find make time to write.

I think to be a good blogger you need to blog several days a week and set your posts to publish first thing in the morning. But here I am ten years in, still blogging when the mood strikes and the planets align, hitting publish on a Wednesday when I should be making dinner.

You know what they say..."If it ain't broke, don't fix it".