Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Kayaking the Flint

Finally made it out on the first kayak trip for this year... Almost June!  How could that be??

The rainy spring brought the water level up a couple feet from previous trips. We could see signs that it had dropped several feet the days before. It is hard to get bored with this strectch of river. Each trip offers new sightings or different experiences.

As Hubs paddled up to fly fish, something big flew out of the tree and across the river.

I paddled to the area I thought I saw it fly to.

And I found it... and it was acutely aware of me...

And he flew away again... just a bit further downstream.

And I followed ...

And I followed . . .

He made me day!

A wise old owl sat on an oak; The more he saw the less he spoke; The less he spoke the more he heard; Why aren’t we like that wise old bird?
Edward Hersey Richards

Monday, June 3, 2013

Making Mud Holes

Making mud holes for some, made for simple pleasures for me.

The Man has been into lawnmower racing. Without the racing. So far he is just REALLY into junk lawnmowers that he, and a couple friends, are trying to make into something much more supreme than a junk lawnmower.

For me, this is a little trying, since all the "junk" "treasures land up in an area of the yard I thought I had deemed as "mine." And they also end up right outside the back door.

But I have held back from ranting and squaking much about. I have learned alot along this parenting path, and one thing is, this season will soon be over too, so enjoy his deep interest in something and all the little lessons he is learning along the way.

The other day, they were working and welding and tinkering until they got the lawnmower running. Then it all shifted to another part of the yard.

Back in the corner it is wild.

 An old Mayhaw tree that never produces mayhaws. Scrub oaks and trash trees that seem impossible to keep up with.

A week earlier, The Man and his friend spent the afternoon clearing out part of that section. When the tinkering and thinking changed to the sound of the motor, they were found back in this corner. This was weeds and scrub oaks and such a week earlier.

Add a flowing hose and some teenage boys and you now have lawnmower bogging...

Except for the occasional text . . .ugh

(Now, to be sure, the lawnmower WAS shared with the gentleman watering the mud hole. That picture happens to be on The Man's phone and he happens to be at a pool party. :))

I left them to their mud.  It seems when the pickup truck was taken back, to test the four wheel drive, the fun ended. And the 4-wheel drive did not work. While I have very little belief in the chance that that lawnmower will EVER make racing status. It sure has kept those hands from getting too idol.

Nothing like simple muddy fun. Glad to have these wonderful moments...


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Eagle Project Done!

Well, sorta.

The work is done!

Let's make that the MANUAL LABOR work is complete. We still have to finalize paperwork, write thank you notes and The Man then goes through an interview about the project, about scouts, about his thoughts.

THEN... he gets pinned Eagle Scout.

But right now, the biggest hurdle is complete.

15 boys
10 boards for a jig
8 paint brushes
7 bags of concrete
6 cans of paint
2 blowers
1 auger/tractor
and LUNCH!

The Man stepped up to the plate and led this group of fellas in painting handicap spaces at Chehaw Park Zoo.  They were long overdue. In fact, we originally thought we would have this project complete this time last year. But this project required a little more research, a few more hoops to jump, phone calls to make and more conflicts in calendars than had been first anticipated.

Besides the zoo, the park also has a campground. We loaded up Friday night, all the supplies, the camper and two scouts and camped for the evening.

The scouts and hubs were able to set up and were ready as the first scouts arrived.

Safety meeting and directions being given . . .

One of the older Scouts waiting to get busy...

First hole dug, getting ready to set the first post . . .

 Troop 15 serving the community. Good job guys!

Time to eat. Time to go.  They all did a great job, serving their community on a Saturday morning.  As the scouts worked and painted, visitors were in and out. I noticed several groups that had need of the closer spots, proving these 7 parking spots were in great need of identification. To quote the park representative, they are now obnoxiously apparent. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Pixie Dust and Magic

I have found myself often in that spot of utter busyness which feels as if nothing is really getting accomplished and yet it there is constant activity. Sometimes it is as much my mind going in too many different directions, and that feeling of just blah in the spirit, as it might be physical busyness. Lately much more emotional and mental than physical.

Sometimes though, something taps on the window and begs to be let in. Sometimes I just stumble on that that feeds the soul and taps into the joy that is inside, maybe deep and covered with all the other, but it is there. That happened to me recently. Nothing earth shattering or explosive. Rather subtle.

Just reading and there it was.

I had mentioned a few blogs ago, the journeys of a couple young men on the Appalachian Trail. As I started reading various journal entries on the trail site, and reading Duffle Miner's mother's writing of his adventure (that is his trail name), the first tapping into the tank of excitement was felt. Then there was the mention of "Trail Magic." Trail magic is the love of strangers for hikers on the trail. Trail Angels reaching out with food, or even a full spread breakfast cooked on the trail. Beverages or a cooler left with iced down Mt. Dew. Sometimes even shuttles into town and back. Angels loving their neighbors, even if the hikers are only passing through.

(not the AT; Muir Woods path)

 At the same time as learning of trail magic, I stumbled across a book, Wonderstruck (by Margaret Feiberg). Her words and descriptions, her desire for "Pixie Dust" from God tapped deeper into tank of excitement and joy. I needed both these worlds, they fed what I desired, even though I did not know I even desired it until I stumbled across it. I didn't realize I was missing it either: God's wonder and amazement.

I saw it, but wasn't soaking it in, relishing in it. From Wonderstruck, she said her pixie dust prayer was like the "Mary Poppins of all prayers, asking for pixie dust is hard to do without a frolicsome smile on your face, a playful cheer in your spirit, a holy anticipation of how God may answer." I tried it, she is right.

As I realized I desired Pixie Dust and Magic. Or maybe I desired Pixie Dust and WANTED to be a Trail Angel leaving Trail Magic along life's path for others... At any rate, I did start to notice pixie dust all around. Busyness had been creating blind spots.

She mentioned something else, a few pages back, "Scripture affirms that God speaks through the chattering and clattering, crunching and scrunching, pittering and pattering, yet I've been unresponsive." BINGO. There is was again- what busyness does if allowed. Reminded me of my post ,recently, of things missed. Pixie Dust was there, and if I was lucky enough, I have a picture or two, so the whole gift was not missed.

The weekend is here. And it is a busy one - physically. My son heads up his Eagle Project. Leads his troop in creating what may seem just functional and practical to most - identifying, cleaning, repainting, handicap parking spaces at the zoo - but in actuality, it just may be trail magic for someone else on this life's journey. And while he is doing that and as my husband and I support and help him, I hope not to be too busy, or too worried or too "thinkee" to miss the pixie dust moments that are sure to be there. I don't plan to stumble on them, I will be watching and waiting with joyful anticipation.

And before I stop rambling, some pixie dust from earlier this year...

5 whale spouts, amazing! Especially for someone who can claim this to be the first time experience.

Wishing you a pixie dust kind of weekend!

"Asking God to unleash his mercy and grace and goodness and love is like boldly looking into the eyes of God and saying, 'Surprise me!" The wonder is that he does" Margaret Feiberg

Thursday, April 18, 2013

More Than Meets the Eye

Do you ever look back through your pictures, and notice things you didn’t notice before?

I do. Items that were not even seen at the time of the snap and the flash (unless you are a really good
photographer – no Flash!)

I did not notice in this picture of city wear and tear, that bit of bling in the midst. Do you see it? In the
window? A modest chandelier.

Then there is this one:

My youngest, my husband and I were waiting on orders of baked oysters at a local beach pub, and The
Man asked hubs to join him a game of pool. I was playing with the camera on my tablet. Never noticed
while we were there, the words in chalk on the wall. The Will with a heart under it. Hubs name is Will and that is him(the blur) readying for his next shot. And we did not write that.

And my favorite picture right now:

I took this focusing on The Man and his friend at scout weekend. I love it because they had no idea they
were being focused in on, and I love it because I was oblivious to the reflections behind them. Of the
wind cutting across the reflection, adding layers to the picture.

These all make me wonder, what all do I miss in life? What is before me that I totally look around or fail
to see, fail to enjoy?

Or are these examples of gifts in life? When the picture was snapped, I was enjoying what I
was capturing, when I looked again, I still enjoyed, but found new little treasures.

I guess a picture is worth a thousand words . . .


Thursday, March 7, 2013


Journey’s seem to be all around me. Earlier this week my sweet friend’s journey, here on Earth came to an end. Came to an end all too young (42) and there seems to be a vacuum effect with the spot she has left. While mine and her interactions were sporadic and random, a text message here and there, facebook kept the pace of happenings and interactions and I loved her dearly. I cannot imagine what those that were much closer to her are feeling this week. My heart is broken.

I was sorting the mail this afternoon and in it was an envelope, handwritten, with the return address of one of the former youth in our church. It is actually the second one we have received this week, from a second former youth member (as well as friends of one or more of our children).

I pulled the other envelope from the stack and opened both. Both made me remember a third “former youth” and a road in front of him.

A journey ahead for all.

The first letter was raising funds for competition, under what is formerly known as Campus Crusade for Christ. The competition is in Belgium, where there will be mission type opportunities too. He says in the letter, that in addition to competing in pole vaulting, there is a goal of deepening his relationship with God and sharing his faith. A big change from the campus of UGA.

The second letter was raising funds too. This one is closer to home, but quite a journey in a huge way. In fact, this letter is what made me remember the young man that heads out tomorrow on his journey. Basically the same as the young man sending out fundraising letters: hiking the Appalachian Trail.

Six months from Springer Mountain Georgia to Mount Katahdin Maine. Two young men, on similar journeys, starting a month apart, taking time to test their endurance, search their souls, digging deep in self discovery, perseverance with a goal of achievement and finding a direction for when they return home.

The Dillon (letter gentleman) has traveled some. Lived in a couple cities – worked at an ice cream shop to cover rent and surfed in his free time, living life to the fullest in an easy going simple way. The friend that traveled this path with him, discovered he was ready to go back to school and finish his Batchelor’s degree. I will be excited to see what discoveries Dillon comes home with and what direction he goes next.

Our young friend Josh begins his tomorrow, with a college friend, and countless strangers. Josh is a post graduate trying to figure out his niche in this great big world. Transitioning can be overwhelming. I have been excited for him as this date as inched closer. I have enjoyed hearing how his preparations have progressed as he readies for this journey. For Josh, this has been a goal since he entered Boy Scouts.

And then I thought of our Traveler. Four years ago she was preparing for college graduation with big plans for living in the Netherlands. Graduation came, plans crashed and she struggled to regroup in her post graduate setting. She moved to a big city and has traveled extensively. Over the past year, her dad has had several phone calls asking for his thoughts on her ideas about finding a career – most the time about going back to college.

I noticed a bit ago, she had posted last night about figuring out what she wants to be when she grows up. I have to smile, I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.

As I type this about the journey's of five others, I do know this: the journey, no matter how well thought out and planned for, will take on a life of its own. It is best to embrace each moment and fill it with as much joy and love as possible and grasp the teachings that come with it. All the other details will work out, even if bumpy and even if in the end there are tears. Candy showed all of us, that were looking, how to do that. As she battled cancer, which is never what anyone wants on their journey, she lived. She lived with a level of faith, contentment and joy that was apparent in her smile and the peace of her journey.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

TP 235 Part II: Ross Alley Frisco

Ross Alley in San Francisco was a great spot for the letters and character theme that Carmi has been hosting.  I knew China Town needed to have a quick run through, if not for any other reason than Ross Alley.  We found the sign and hung a right.

Past the arrow...

And past Superior Trading Company....

To the birthplace of the fortune cookie. Did you know that the fortune cookie is not a traditional Chinese treat? But an "American" Chinese treat? Created right here in the United States, right here on Ross Alley in San Fransisco.

 But that was not our only stop in this alley. I had read about a gentleman, a barber, that had a very short appearance in the Prusuit of Happiness movie with Will Smith. And I read that if you asked the gentleman to play his instrument, he would. And he did. His name is Jun Yu and he did have a cameo in the movie. I had read NOT to have him give you haircut, so I did not ask my husband to take that chance. But I did ask him if he would play us a song. FIRST though, he takes the bow and with that cute smile works his way thru the bullet points that list the movie title, Will Smith's name, the channel it aired on, the date and time. Then he will play a Mozart piece on his ehru (kinda squeeky violin sound, made on a tin can looking piece that plugs into the wall). Sometimes those side steps in life take you to a spot with a little bit of sunshine and humor, if we let it.  We experienced letters and characters that day!

This character has given me a smile thinking about that alley and the sounds and the sites.

Life has its bumps, and my excitement to be back blogging was challenged (and this post almost skipped) this past week by a friend's fight against cancer turning for the worse. As her family stays by her side to be a part of every awake moment there is left, I have thought about her life and what a great, while random and sporadic, spot of sunshine she has been in my world, and many others.  She made fighting cancer look so easy, but what she really did, was live life in each moment with a combination of contentment and forward moving. Enjoying what was around her, but going for the adventure, whether the beach or Aruba or cheering on her son and his basketball team, she has remained involved and living life big.

So I thought, hey, don't step away from sharing the fun and enjoyable moments in my life and from sharing the thoughts and feelings. As I visited Carmi's blog to see this week's theme, I was glad it was still letters, and I was saddened to read of his family's loss and mourning. Yesterday he posted a single shot of how there can be a bright spot in the midst of the grayest of times. So I moved forward with the post, because the bright and pleasant moments are important too.

It felt good typing out this post. Go live and smile and make the most of all things this week. Even the squeeky moments in life!

Check out Carmi's Blog and maybe listen to Jun Yu play his ehru (I am a sorry video taker) :)