Hope in the Woods

Last week after I got some hard news, I wrote the poem, “over.”  I was hurting, and I remembered all of the times when I hurt like this–when I had to say goodbyes that I didn’t want to say.  When I had to close the door and not turn back.  Ever.

It was pointed out to me first by someone I know and admire and have grown to care about (though we’ve never met) that in the poem I shared that I had tossed an acorn into an open grave, and that told him something.  Later, another sweet soul pointed it out as well and said she agreed.  For me to keep tossing acorns.

Wow.

Keep tossing acorns.  

Hope.

I hadn’t looked at it like that.

This afternoon I took a few minutes to wander off by myself.  It was a lovely afternoon, just right for a walk.  I went down near the edge of the woods in search of a treasure.  I wasn’t sure if they would be there or not, but when I got there and they were–I was elated.

It was peaceful there, squatting by myself at the edge of the woods, pushing back the tendrils of grass that didn’t die off in the frost a couple of weeks ago, searching for the gifts from the trees there.

Acorns.

I gently picked up each one.  For whatever reason, the caps fell off of many of them, but I tucked each one and its cap in my jar.  I needed them, you see.  It was as though each one I picked up fed my soul a little bit more.  When I rose from the ground, I headed home toting my jar of acorns with a little more peace than I had when I began.

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And I give thanks for that.

I look at these little amazing things, and I wonder if anyone ever told them that simply dropping to the ground and waiting in one place would not get them anywhere.  I wonder if anyone ever told them about gravity and how something that falls to the ground can never really reach the skies again.  I wonder if anyone ever told them that it was all over.  Done.

No.  Of course not.

And even if someone had, it wouldn’t have made a lick of difference because an acorn defies gravity and proves that sometimes good things can come from sitting still, from waiting.  Just simply by being.  By the way it lives out its story.

Tonight I’m thankful for the peace that can be found by sitting in a patch of grass at the edge of the woods.  And for the hope that can be found in a little acorn.

Wishing you all a healthy dose of hope and peace and a little patch of grass to squat in and find it.

Love to all.

 

…..It All

Today was a day of “it all.”

At our Princess' swim meet this morning.....she stayed buoyant through it all.

At our Princess’ swim meet this morning…..she stayed buoyant through it all.

Our day started off with our Princess giving it all her best.  She swam in her second Swim meet, and she swam in four different events and did it all well.  She did her personal best in each one.  She was so happy and kept her sweet, excited spirit through it all.

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Our oldest home from college had a photo shoot with a friend this morning.  She loved every minute of it, and the photos were lovely–somehow they managed to capture her spunk and her beauty and her light all at the same time.  These, however, are not those pictures.  This is my goofy girl keeping me laughing, bless it all.  She nearly made me scream when I turned around and saw her with the dog’s head.  When she donned the horse’s head, I only laughed and told her no way I’d put that nasty thing on my head.  She neighed and walked away.  I love how she makes me laugh.  So much.

My little guy who at the beginning of the year could not read.....I love this picture so much.

My little guy who at the beginning of the year could not read…..I love this picture so much.

At one point while we were in the Getting Place looking around, I couldn’t find Cooter.  When I looked down and around, there he was.  Y’all.  For the love of it all.  This little guy amazes me.  At the beginning of this year, he could not read.  And now it’s very common to find him just like this. Tucked away with a book.  Sure, a lot of times he is tucked away trying to keep from cleaning his room or picking up his Lego’s but yes, he’s actually reading, so I count it as a win.  A big one.

And moving on to the category of “Now I’ve seen it all…..” I offer you the following from our adventures today:

Party in the Tub.....need I say more?

Party in the Tub…..it just sells itself, doesn’t it?

Our Princess saw this in one of the Getting Places and was so excited.  “Mama, I’ll start taking baths again if you get me this.”  Ummm, no?  I am actually quite okay with her showering rather than taking baths, so that bargaining point was null and void.  Seriously though, I’d love to see the episode of Shark Tank where the makers tried to pitch this idea.  It’s a light, for your tub–it’s a party in the making!  Because we all need a bath time light show…..ahem. If you have one and love yours, no offense.  I’ve just never heard of such.   Oh my.

And then this.....y'all I'm laughing so hard right now.  It's clever and ridiculous all at the same time.

And then this…..y’all I’m laughing so hard right now. It’s clever and ridiculous all at the same time.

This made me laugh.  I saw this as I was dashing through to meet my crew on the other side of the store.   I had to stop and take a picture though.  Cooter came up asking me what was taking so long, but how could I not?  It’s mesmerizing.  I almost think I need one. Or that someone I know does.  Wouldn’t this be the talk of Christmas morning if I had this wrapped under the tree for that special family or friend?  Shhh.  That’s just between you and me.  I cannot stop laughing or looking at it.  I think it’s clever and ridiculous all at the same time.  Yep.  Somebody’s getting this for Christmas this year.  For sure.

I might just have seen it all, y’all.

Tonight I’m thankful for a day spent with my crew,  a day with no math involved.  (Just kidding, we love math, but some days I’m glad when we take a day off from homeschooling.)  I give thanks for the laughter, the joy, the love, and even the arguing.  Togetherness isn’t always happy happy joy joy, but when it comes right down to it, we know who will be there to see us through it all…..and that’s these folks right here.  I love this crazy bunch of people I share this home with.

May you have a day of celebrating the little things, the “it alls” of life, and may it make you happy too.

Love to all.

The Comfort When Things Get Wonky

Today we were on our new “fall” schedule in earnest.  I use the term “fall” loosely because there’s nothing remotely related to fall in August in Georgia. (97 degrees people.) Except for the fact that all of the schools have started.  There is that.

Today was “divide and conquer” day.  As in, if the Fella were deployed, I’d need a clone to get it all done.  But he’s not, so we each took a little and headed out in opposite directions.  We didn’t even all eat together tonight.  That is important to us, so it’s rare for us not to eat supper together.  Very different.  Very hard to wrap my feelings around it.  I like to be where my children are, a spectator and cheerleader when possible and appropriate, a quiet support when not.  So today was…..

different.  Have I mentioned that already?

The Fella and Cooter went to eat (because of our hectic schedules on Monday, it is unofficially our “pickup supper” night).  Then they headed to swim lessons.  Since our Princess made the swim team last month, Cooter wants to try his best and see where he lands (or swims–ha).  He will take classes for this lesson period, and we’ll let him decide if he wants to continue after.  This is all him–we have no pressure or expectations.

After stuffing the Princess with yogurt and having her grab a couple of healthy snacks and water for the car, she and I headed to her dance and gymnastics classes.  She loves it there.  And we love the people there too.  It’s a great experience for her.  I used to wonder at parents who over-scheduled their children.  Now my girl is in dance, gymnastics and swim team.  Ahem.  Be careful what you judge, my friend–yeah, you just never know.  I’m hoping that, since we are at home for school during the days and have little to no other commitments right now, this will be a stress free, really great year for us all.

Check with me again in May.

Yeah.  I’ll let you know.

After her classes were over, we did a run-in at the grocery store–I was out of Granny Smith apples, and that’s my usual bednight snack, so we HAD to stop for those.  Then we did our drive thru routine (minus food for the boys) and headed home.

All out of order.  Feeling rather wonky at how different it all was today–and will be for a few weeks.

And then we got home.  Cooter came and met us and our grocery bags and supper bags and dance bags at the door.

“Hey!”  Oh that toothless grin.  (He lost another yesterday, just came up and handed it to me with a smile and a hug and then ran off to play.  Bless him.) I will never tire of it.  “Guess whose group I’m in at swimming?”

“Who?” our Princess asked quickly, as she dropped her bags.  (I had the apples, thank goodness.)

He told us the name of the male instructor our Princess  had this summer.  He teaches the students at the other end of the pool.  This is a huge deal, y’all.

“What?!” she squealed, hugging her brother.  “That is awesome!”

The light in that boy’s eyes.  Oh me.  He was so happy.  And to have his sister celebrate with him…..good stuff right there.  The best.

As we moved to the kitchen and our Princess pulled out her supper and began eating, Cooter said, “Sooo, how was dance?  Who was there?  Did you have fun?”

I was putting things away in the kitchen with my back to him, but it straight tickled me.  To hear him asking his sister these questions, it was like hearing an echo from the past.  The questions I’ve asked over and over through the years.  They are listening, y’all, never doubt.  More than we know.

After baths and things started settling down, Cooter came in and called his big sister away at college.  He wanted to tell her too.   I could hear her excitement three feet away from the phone.  Sharing the joy.  I love it.

Tonight I am thankful that even when things get all wonky and out of sorts and far away from my comfort zone, there are things that stay the same and remind me how wonderful family is.

hugs and high fives between brothers and sisters

compassionate, tender hearts

voices squealing in excitement

caring questions of genuine interest

giggles and dreams shared

That’s the really good stuff in life.  The stuff that makes heading back out there into the unknown just a little easier.

Here’s to comfort when things get wonky.  May you all have a bit of that right when you need it most.

Love to all.

 

 

A GW Boutique Tale of Transformation and Appreciation

It had been a while since I’d been to the GW Boutique before my visit last Monday.  A long while.  As in, if I sat down and thought about it, I’d probably find myself in the middle of withdrawals.  I’m not making light of withdrawals, y’all.  It is a serious need I have.  To find great bargains and bring them home or give them to folks I love.  It makes me happy.

So last Monday, I looked around and found a dress that I really, really liked.  The Fella looked at it and asked, “Isn’t it too short?”

Well, without trying it on, ummm, well…..yes, it probably is.  But you know what?  I brought it home anyway.  And I tried it on and wouldn’t you know it, it was too short. I spent the morning of our Alumnae weekend festivities back in April in a dress that hit my knees when I was standing, but when I sat down, well…..I was raised to know better.  Now that I’m a girl of a “certain age” I just don’t think I can pull it off.  (Actually, I should pull it off…..that would solve the whole problem.)  I was so relieved to change into my shorts and shirt for the afternoon events.  I came home and told my Fella not to let me walk out of the house EVER AGAIN with a dress that short.  (It was okay ten years ago, but no more.)  And he didn’t let me down.

I was sad though.  The dress felt good and I loved the way the top was made.  After thinking on it for a bit, I decided to take the leap.  It was from the GW Boutique after all.  If I messed it up, I wouldn’t be out too much.  But if I succeeded…..well, a girl can dream.  Even one of a certain age.

A call to my Aunt, who is a talented seamstress, and a trip to get the right needle, and I was set.  With a pounding headache, I cut, I pinned, I wound a bobbin, and I was set.  Five minutes later, the hem was done.

From a dress hanging at the GW Boutique to my new favorite summer top.

From a dress hanging at the GW Boutique to my new favorite summer top.

And, oh y’all. My new favorite summer top. Seriously.  I’m ready to raid my closet and attack the rest of the dresses from my twenties and thirties…..well the ones that have survived the cut so far.  I love the transformation here.

Another great find that day sent me on a trip down memory lane.   This cute little number right here–

Miss Sophie photobombing the picture of my cute little bag.  I didn't retake it, so you can see just how little it is.

Miss Sophie photobombing the picture of my cute little bag. I didn’t retake it, so you can see just how little it is.

It is a fun shade of green, one of my favorites.  And it is tiny.  My friends, for those of you whom I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting up with in “real life,” I must confess–I am not a “tiny toter.”

If anyone has watched Anita Renfroe’s Purse-onality performance, you know the different kinds of folks–from those who are tiny toters to those whose cars serve as their purses.  Ahem.  *looks away* And I, alas, am not a tiny toter.  Remember Justin Case?  He requires that I carry a massive bag with smaller bags inside full of all sorts of things.  Justin Case we need them.  Unfortunately, Anxiety Girl concurs.  She also thinks I need to carry everything but the kitchen sink with me whenever I leave the house.

I so aspire to be a tiny toter, y’all.

It’s nothing new.  Many years ago, maybe fourteen or fifteen, Aub was taking dance as was her friend, whose Mama was my dear Joyful friend.  We were supposed to meet them there on Saturday morning. But they never arrived.  I was on my way home when I got a call that they had been in an accident and were at the hospital.  Before I could get there, another friend called me and said she’d seen the vehicle being towed through town.  Totaled.  A mess.  My heart was pounding.

When Aub and I got to the hospital, I saw her girls.  They were both okay, thank goodness.  I was told my friend was back in the ER room, and that I should go back to see her.  I left Aub with the family in the waiting room and went back.  I walked in that room, and what I saw filled me with gratitude.  My friend was sitting up on the bed/table.  She looked okay.  She was very sore, and I can’t remember what other injuries she had, but she was okay overall.  So thankful.  It could have been so much worse.

I went over to hug her.  I asked her how she was feeling.  She was in pain and told me so, and then she looked at the tiny toter I was carrying very unsuccessfully with things hanging all out of it and over the sides, and said, “I’m really hurting but I’ll be okay.” She paused and pointed.  “And YOU need a bigger bag.”

Y’all.

That’s the kind of friendship I have always loved.  The one where she loves you so much she calls you out on your junk and you love and respect her enough that you say, “I know, right?  I’ll try to do better.”

Which is pretty much what I said.

I think that’s the last time I really tried to be a tiny toter as an everyday thing.  I graduated on to diaper bags, twice more, and wound up embracing it as my style.  I carry the convenience store around in my bag–baby wipes, pain reliever, homeopathic remedies, bandaids, gum, fruit snacks, crayons, paper, keys, matchbox car or two, extraneous Legos, Polly Pocket clothes, extra clothes, tissues, gloves, a book or two ALWAYS, and all kinds of electronic chargers.  I’m ready y’all.  Until I’m not.  And then I reassess and sometimes get a bigger bag. To carry.  More.  Stuff.

But I love that little green bag.  I carried it for some business we had to handle last week.  I tucked in just what I really needed for those few hours.  (I was on this little venture without my littles, so that made a difference too.)  I have to tell you I felt rather chic carrying my tiny toter, dropping my keys and phone inside and being able to see them–right there–anytime I glanced over.  Sometimes during the meeting I just glanced over.  Hello over there, keys and phone, I see you in there.  I like seeing you. Aren’t y’all just too precious, right there waiting so patiently for me in this cute little bag? 

*sigh*  I wish I were a tiny toter all the time.

But it’s not to be.  As Mama said, to everything there is a season. And right now is not the season for me to tote tiny bags.  Everyday, anyway.

But I’m going to hang on to this little cutie.  I think from time to time I will find it appropriate to carry.  And one day, it might just become an everyday bag for me.

In the meantime, I am thankful for my new summer top and for the ways that we can find beauty and usefulness in transformation.  I appreciate my Aunt who empowered and encouraged me to go for it.  The courage to transform anything, including ourselves, takes bravery and encouragement from those we love.

I’m also thankful for the great friends who have joined me on this Journey–who, like my Joyful friend, see my “stuff,” call me out on it, and never stop loving me through it all.  That’s a treasure beyond compare right there.

And finally, I give thanks for an ordinary extraordinary trip to the GW Boutique.  One that had me transforming and appreciating where I am all at the same time.  See, one day I know I’ll be back to the tiny toter.  The last one I carried with any success I put away on September 19, 1995, the day my first baby was born.  And one day, I know, when I’m carrying this little green bag or another cutie like it, I will look back wistfully and wish I had a reason to carry my big ol’ convenience store bag again.

Or maybe I won’t.  Who knows?  Life’s an adventure, and I’m thankful I’m not just standing in line waiting to get on.  No matter what bag you carry, it’s all about where you are, where you’ve been, where you’re headed, and most importantly, who’s along for the ride.

Love to all.

 

 

Laundry duty

I didn’t have anything appropriate to wear to my Mama’s funeral.  I couldn’t wear the black dress I’d worn to my Great Aunt’s almost three years before.  Mama HATED the color black and with good reason, so just no.  I didn’t think the denim skirt she’d asked me to wear to Daddy’s would work either.  At some point I was at the GW Boutique in the midst of all the other planning and I found a dress.  A muted brown that would go with the boots she and Daddy got me.  I thankfully purchased it and moved on to what was next to be done.

I took it home and planned to wash it and get it ready to wear on Tuesday afternoon.

Only I’d forgotten that our washer was broken.  The new one hadn’t been delivered yet.  In all of the running around, I forgot.  And then the message came from my sweet Neighborfriend:

“Stop by when you get home.  I have your dress and Princess’ too.”

Bless her.  She’d not only washed but dried and pressed our dresses and hung them on hangers.  All we had to do is get dressed when the time came.  What a gift.

I’ve been thinking about that gift this week as the date gets closer.  As I remembered the relief that the gift of her doing my laundry brought me, my mind drifted to the gift I had of doing laundry for others.  Three different times.

In 2010, when my Great Aunt died, Mama wasn’t able to go to her house very often and take care of things because Daddy was fighting his battle with the Giant.  One time when I was down there checking on things for her, I was cleaning up and putting things away.  I found my Great Aunt’s dirty clothes bin under the sink in a cabinet.  And there were her dirty clothes.  From her last few days.  I found a garbage bag to put them in and I saved the tears for the drive home.

I waited a day or two to wash them.  For whatever reason, I needed the time to prepare myself.  It felt so sacred, like I was on holy ground.  It was such an intimate thing to have her clothes that she had chosen to wear each day, laying there in a heap, waiting on her to save up a load and wash them.  It was very precious to me to be the one to do this instead.

I remember it was a quiet day around here.  Not sure why, or maybe it was just a quiet day in my heart and soul.  I put them on to wash, carefully putting each item into the machine and closing the lid.  A short time later, when the load was through, I took each item out, one by one, and placed it into the dryer.  I set the dryer to run and went back to other chores.  I went out to feed the cats in our side yard and experienced the most amazing thing.  My yard smelled like my Great Aunt.  It was beautiful.  I closed my eyes and felt the sunshine on my face. The gentle breeze that carried my Great Aunt’s essence upon it caressed my face and curled around my hands.  The dryer vent is on that side of the house, so the clothes were sharing their scent through the hole on the side of the house.  It was one of the most precious blessings.  For a few minutes, I was hugged by her.  One more time.

Last year during Mama’s HospitalStay, we moved her bag of clothes she’d worn to the hospital from the ER to her room to the next hospital and from one room to the next there.  Before she went down to surgery she asked me to take her clothes on back.  We didn’t want to leave all of that in her room.  I put them in the car and promptly forgot about them in all the events that ensued.  I don’t remember when exactly, but one day during that last week when she was in the STICU and I wasn’t allowed to visit as much, I found them and washed them.  Her outfit and coat and socks and all.  Again, holy ground.  I put them in a clean garbage bag to take back to her house.  We found the bag just a week ago in the bottom of her closet where I’d tucked them.  Clean and waiting.

A week after Mama left this earth, I sat next to our cousin in another hospital as she took her last breath.  Bless her, she’d had a rough go of it too.  The next couple of days after she passed, I had the sad task of cleaning out her room at the assisted living home where she lived.  After loading the last of the things from her room, her roommate’s sweet guardian and friend of our cousin and Mama, Miss D, called me into the bathroom.  “Sugar, I’m sorry to tell you this, but we’ve got a few things in here to take care of.”  We went through the drawers and cleared off the countertop.  She looked in a basket and clicked her tongue.  “Oh honey, I’m so sorry.  They shouldn’t have left this for you.  They should have washed these things before now.”  I shook my head and held back the tears.  More laundry.  I was thankful in a way.  I would rather be the one to do it than have the staff just throw it in with all the rest.  I found a bag, loaded the clothes and towels in, and brought them home.  Once again, I found an uncluttered afternoon and did her laundry.  As I folded the tops and pajamas and hung up her robe, I remembered and gave thanks for the one who had worn them just a few weeks before.

Tonight I’m thankful to be the one who was on laundry duty.  It was a gift to me–a time of tearful remembering and feeling close to them as I sorted and folded and stacked.  And I give thanks for my sweet Neighborfriend who made our journey a little easier with her gift of laundry and love.

That’s the key, isn’t it?  Loving through the everyday stuff.  Finding a blessing in it.  Acknowledging the holy and sacred in the piles and messes and brokenness of our day-to-day lives.  Remembering.  And giving thanks.  The gifts that can be found in the sorting and cleaning and putting away.  It doesn’t have to be glamorous to be beautiful.  It just has to be real.

More Love Than Any Woman Could Handle

Yesterday my college girl stopped and got her oil changed on the way to the house.

My Mama would be so proud.

When she came in the door, however, all was not well.  The car had cut off on her several times at lights ands stop signs.  This was not a problem before getting her oil changed.  *sigh*

Okay.  I did what my Mama would have done (or told me to do, not sure at this point) and called the mechanic shop.  The manager was very apologetic and asked that she “run it back over” and they would fix it.  He had a feeling he knew what had happened.  I told Aub, but driving it again made her nervous.  I get it.  But “running it back over” was easier said than done.  Highway 96 after 3:30 in the afternoon is a battlefield.  You’d better be prepared for anything.  And now that they have started the road expansion project, it’s even crazier.  All the time.  Please don’t think I’m making light of battlefields–you seriously have to be on your game and very aware on that road.  Every single second.

I decided I’d drive it back over.  It was a rough trip.  There was an accident on 96 (thank goodness we know that the worst damage on that one was to the vehicles), so I had to re-route.  The car did not cut off on me, but it idled a bit wonky, and reminded me of my days of driving my MGB–a stick shift.  And this car is NOT a stick shift.

I made it there safely, thankfully.  When I went in, I told the manager that not only would I not be mad if he found they had made an error, but I would be thankful.  It is not yet time for this car to start giving us trouble like that.  He looked a little startled, “Don’t get mad, ma’am.  Don’t get mad.”  Well I just said I wouldn’t, didn’t I?  It did not take him long at all. Sure enough a vacuum had come “aloose” and once it was popped back in, she ran just as smoothly as the day she was brand new.  (I’m assuming here, I mean, it was a very smooth drive back home.)

I decided to stop at the grocery store on the way home.  I wanted to find something quick to prepare for supper (Leroy was cooking White Chicken Chili at his house the afternoon before–he flung a craving on me).  So I planned on a dash in-dash out-only get the necessities kind of trip.  That store is hopping on a Friday afternoon, and I was limited on time.

As I left the produce section and headed over to the canned beans and vegetables aisle, I had to work around several other carts.  There was an older gentleman who was looking at the baked beans.  I apologized for being in his way as I loaded up on Great Northern beans.  He was very gallant, something you don’t see a lot of anymore.  He insisted that I wasn’t in his way, and we began our visit.

I could see something in his eyes, a story he needed to tell.  All thoughts of my quick “in and out” slipped out of my mind, but it only gave me a moment’s pause–then my word to embrace this year–with–echoed in my head, and I stopped to listen.

Mr. Al, much to my surprise, is 81 years old.  He looked younger. He has been widowed right at 3 years.  I think the day his wife died is coming up in the next few days.  They were married 34 years but they’d known each other 36.  He had actually moved away from where she lived, but he couldn’t get her out of his mind.  So sweet.  They later married. A few years ago, she was diagnosed with cancer and given a life expectancy of 3 years, but with his loving care, she made it more than five years after her diagnosis.  Bless him.  Looking in his eyes, I could see a kindred spirit.  The tears that threatened to come to the surface as he shared–I’ve felt those myself.   I apologized to him as we shared stories–losing a Mama and Daddy is not the same as losing a spouse, and I know that.  He shook his head.  “It’s all hard.  It doesn’t matter, if you loved them dearly.”  I appreciated his grace.   He understands.  Grief is…..what it is.

He talked about how much he loved his wife, how absolutely perfect she was.  A dear lady he knew came to him a while after his wife died and said, “If you ever think about marrying again…..”  He shook his head.  No.  That would not be happening.  He talked about how he loved his precious wife.  “We are told that a husband should love his wife as Christ loved the church.”  He shook his head and chuckled.  “That’s a lot more love than any woman can handle, isn’t it?”  But he tried.  He said he could get upset sometimes, but that he would get to the bottom of the steps and have to go back in the house. “Well, hello, here comes Mr. Repentant,” his wife would say with her beautiful smile.  “I knew you couldn’t stay upset.”  And she’d been right.  She had seen the best in him and brought it to the surface.

Oh how he misses her.

I don’t know how much time we spent there at the beans talking and listening and tearing up together.  Time seemed to fly and to stand still all at the same time.

What do you do with all that love when the person is no longer here to soak it all in?

I don’t know.

Maybe you stand and tell someone who understands in the middle of a grocery store.

Tonight I am thankful for a mechanical error that made a car go wonky.  That error led to my unplanned trip to the grocery store and the privilege of visiting with Mr. Al.  We may never meet again, but his love story has touched my heart and I will carry it with me for a long time.  I am humbled to hear of this love of a husband for a wife that is so great it will last forever.  The smile on his face when he spoke of her and the tears in his eyes as he remembered–that right there.  What a beautiful reminder of what being “with” is really all about.

Playing with Ice Cubes and Holy Moments

So this happened this evening.

Sophie Ru chasing after an ice mouse.

Sophie Ru chasing after an ice mouse.

This is what happens when you have an overzealous ice dispenser, a playful puppy, and two littles (and okay, one Mama) to cheer her on.

Daddy was the first to call those pieces of ice that scattered when you were trying to fill a cup “ice mice.”  Try with all your might, it was hard to catch those things.  In the words of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, “Slippery little suckers.”

And so Sophie found out.  It was quite by accident.  Our ice dispenser sometimes shoots out one last cube though you and your cup might have moved on.  It has been known to land on the floor.  Sophie saw something moving and went after it.  And after it.  And after it.  It was funny to watch because sometimes she’d catch it and try to carry it in her mouth and then she’d act surprised and drop it and there it’d go across the floor again.

"I got it!"

“I got it!”

This.  This is why I so needed a puppy.

"Is it going to move again?"

“I’ve got my eye on you.”

Laughter has filled this house…..the littles (okay, me too) have been kicking that ice cube all over the place…..and then off she’d go again.  She loved trying to catch that ice cube. (or cubes, there might have been more than one–totally by accident.  Absolutely.)

Who needs cable or electronics when you’ve got this much fun an ice cube away?

Sleepy baby.  Wore herself out and crashed next to her water bowl.  Sweet dreams.

Sleepy baby. Wore herself out and crashed next to her water bowl. Sweet dreams.

Of course, as with all things, the fun must come to an end…..and we were all exhausted.  It’s hard being the life of the party.

Tonight I am thankful for moments like these.  Impromptu joy.  Unexpected laughter.  The exuberance of new life.  In the midst of sorting out all kinds of emotions and thoughts that come with living this life, it is a good and holy thing to laugh with my children, to watch them learn and grow with every moment, and to see the light reflected in their eyes and realize that, for a while, the shadows are gone.

Those moments when light and laughter and simple joy chase the shadows into the corners–that’s what I’m most thankful for tonight.

Go play with an ice cube.  Love to all.