If only I’d known

As we sat down to dinner at the dining room table, I couldn’t wait to eat. Any meal I don’t have to cook is a good one, and I had picked up Chinese take out for all of us. I got one of my favorite meals- chicken with cashew nuts. Honestly, the only thing I love about it is the cashews- I LOVE roasted cashews! That is absolutely the best part of the meal.

As I ate, I dug around and picked out each cashew. It’s kind of like saving dessert for last- who’s got time for that?! I wanted to eat the good stuff first! And then the saddest moment happened. I searched and searched… and low and behold- I had already eaten the last cashew.

Well, if I had known it was my last one, I would have enjoyed it even more!

All day I’ve been thinking about those little things that “…if only I’d know were the last..” , I would have appreciated it so much more.

-Like the last time I ran a bath for the girls and helped them wash their hair. Oh, the splashing and giggling I would hear!

-or the last time I nursed them as babies

-Or the last time I read my girls a bedtime story and tucked them in

-or tied their shoes

-or kissed them on the cheek

-walked them to the bus stop

-held their hand

If I had known back then that those moments would be the last time I would “get to” do all those little things-

I certainly would have taken the time to remember and enjoy!

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adulting

My girls went back to school yesterday.

It brings me JOY.. and it also makes me a little bit sad.  I remember all those years I dreamed of having a baby, and in my own naiveté, I thought those toddler years would last forever.  But I blinked, and my girls have grown up overnight.

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We celebrated so many firsts when they were little… their first giggle, their first bite of real food, their first steps… then came their first days of school… losing their first teeth…

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And now those “firsts” are becoming fewer and farther between. With one in 7th grade, and the other in 9th grade, I had to literally beg them for a first-day-of-school picture.  Gone are the days of them running to give me hugs when they get off the school bus, or them wanting to tell me all about their day.  I feel them trying to pull away from me and it is hard.

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But this time at our back-to-school night, I witnessed another first… 

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My oldest, who normally hides behind me- afraid to speak to anyone;  she actually introduced herself to all of her teachers-  on her own! And then she even asked them important questions- like about testing and whether they accepted late work.  And for the first time, I watched her beam with confidence as she walked down the hallways, waving and smiling at her friends.

My oldest was adulting… and it was one of my proudest “mom” moments yet!  Those little girl days may be a fading memory, but growing up is a good thing!IMG_4676

When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.

1 Corinthians 13:11 

crayons and markers

 

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like crayons and markers 

I watched as she drew 

outlined and shadowed 

but before she was through- 

she’d say look this way- 

and with special care 

she’d dab a little here 

and she’d dab a little there- 

transforming me into 

a queen for a day 

how I loved it when

Grandmother 

came to play! 

Today I was thinking about my Grandmother and remembering all the times she used to travel to visit us.  We didn’t see her often- maybe a couple of times a year, but she was a true southern belle and I loved her dearly!  She passed away just a few years after I got married.  As I was putting on my moisturizer this morning, I remembered something special she used to do with us…

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Grandmother kept her make-up in something like this

 

 

 

 

One of the things I loved most when Grandmother came to visit is when she would put her make-up on in the morning.  She would sit on the couch and lay out all of her makeup on the coffee table. And if my sister and I were sitting with her, she would include us in her beauty ritual.  We would carefully watch her apply her blue eye-shadow, and then it was our turn!

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I kept my make-up in one of these! 

She’d lean over and swipe the blue shadows on our lids.  And then she’d dab a little bit of mascara on our lashes, and then we’d pick a shade of lipstick.  A little puff of nude powder dusted on our faces, and we were all dolled up!  I remember thinking- oh just wait till my friends see me like this! 

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Her favorite powder…White Shoulders 

And then I’d go outside to see our friends who lived next door, and I’d wait for them to notice something different about me.  Inside, I felt like a beauty queen, but the funny thing was that to them- I didn’t look any different!

It is amazing how a little extra attention from someone you love can transform your own thoughts about yourself.

 I am so thankful for those memories-

and for how special and loved my Grandmother always made me feel!

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment such as braided hair or gold jewelry or fine clothes, but from the inner disposition of your heart, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in God’s sight. 

1 Peter 3:4

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a home-cooked meal

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Cooking is something I have never really enjoyed, but eating– that’s a whole different ball game! I love food! And I have gotten much better at meal planning and cooking lately.  But these summer days seem to be even busier for me than the school year.

After running around all day, my youngest daughter asked me what we were going to have for dinner-

“Come here”, I told her.  “I have something really important to tell you…”

Actually, I was in the middle of practicing one of the saddest songs I have ever heard, trying to learn it to sing at an upcoming funeral- and I was choking back tears as she called to me from the other room.

I wanted to have this super sappy conversation with her.  I wanted to hug her tight and tell her how much I loved her and that I didn’t ever want her to get big and leave home- but I didn’t.

“I have been meaning to tell you this,” I said in my most serious voice.   “Dinner is cancelled.  We won’t be having dinner tonight.” I said with a deadpan expression on my face.

“Mom!” she smiled at me and rolled her eyes.

“I think I’m going to make quesadillas… or maybe spaghetti?”  Dinner of champions! Those are my easy go-to meals when I don’t wanna think about meal prep.

“But Mom- you NEVER make us a home-cooked meal anymore! Never!  All I want is to order pizza!  Please?  Pretty please?!”

I burst out laughing.

Because ordering pizza is definitely not a home-cooked meal!

But that night pizza seemed perfect.

And in that moment I realized how incredibly blessed I am.

I have two awesome daughters- who definitely do NOT expect perfectly home-cooked meals from me,

a hubby who loves me just as I am- and was equally in favor of pizza,

and a God who loves me infinitely more than I could ever comprehend.

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stayin’ alive

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I basked in their peak today

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rose petals unfurled

all the way

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oh how I wish

I could make them stay

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alive

for even just

one

more

day

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My hubby brought home these lovely peaches roses for me last week to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary.  They were the same color as the roses I held on our wedding day.  They were so lovely, and I wanted to take a few pics of them before they wilted…

ah, ha, ha, ha stayin’ alive!

I bet you’re singing that song now 😉

Which reminded me of something my youngest daughter showed me recently…

She came running in the room, snickering, to show me what she had pinned on Pinterest-

“Mom- this is TOTALLY you!”

Now, I could have been TOTALLY offended, but instead I laughed.  Both of my girls crack me up.  They are becoming more teenager-ish by the hour.

I actually did LOL at that one…because I do LOVE taking pictures!  Of practically everything!  

So, maybe I’m not a “professional” photographer- but while I may not make a single cent,  I am paid in full in the joy it brings me to capture beautiful things and moments on camera!  Just the other day I was looking at pictures on my phone and happened to scroll through over a year’s worth of pictures, and I was so grateful for every single moment I was reminded of.  Even my youngest daughter’s numerous crazy selfies brought a smile to my face!

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And you know what is so special about looking back at all the pictures we take?  It’s not about how we looked in them, or where they were… it’s about who we were with and how we felt during those moments.

And these flowers, well they are going in the trash soon…but when I see these rose pics I will remember the love I felt for my hubby as he ran up the stairs to surprise me that morning last week.  Priceless! 

So whatever hobbies bring you joy- even if you aren’t the greatest at it- keep on doing what you love!

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.  Colossians 3:17

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seasons in between

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I walked to the beat 

of falling leaves 

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beneath my feet 

leaves thick as thieves

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I watched the foliage 

drift and sway 

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on this breezy, balmy

autumn day 

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I wanted to hit the pause button again this morning. This is my favorite time of year… that time when we are still full with Thanksgiving JOY and yet we anticipate all the excitement the Christmas Season brings!!   And secretly, I wish I could hoard pumpkin spice EVERYTHING so that I could savor it a bit longer…

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Speaking of this in-between season, I’ve got a ‘tween at home…  She marches to her own beat, and I honestly don’t know what’s going to come out of her mouth from moment to moment.  A strong willed child, she’s also a delightful mix of sarcasm, humor and wit.  Her name is “Sophia” which actually means wisdom.

I was out running errands with both girls the other day, and my oldest commented that I’m getting old.  My jaw dropped as I turned to her with a look of disbelief that she would say such a horrid thing!

Well, I guess there’s a little bit of truth to that- I will hit the big 4-0 in June….ugghh….

Without skipping a beat, my youngest chimes in with her words of wisdom- “Mom, I like that you’re getting older- it means your more experienced!”

My heart warmed just a little bit as I turned to look at her lovingly.  “Soph, that’s so sweet!”

“Well, I just said it to make you feel better.  You ARE old!”

Sigh.   

But then, just a few days later, she surprised me again…

I went to my favorite grocery store the other day- Trader Joe’s.  If you’ve never been- you are missing out.  I love everything about this place!  The employees treat me like a long, lost friend- always eager to chit-chat and offer suggestions of new things to try.  I was desperate, I mean DESPERATE for more Pumpkin Spice k-cups, but, alas, they were all out.

At check out, the cashier asked me if I found everything I was looking for.  I told him how I wanted more Pumpkin Spice coffee.  We both commiserated over the ending of the “pumpkin season”,  and he shed an imaginary tear with me.

Then my  daughter piped up-

“But Mom, it wouldn’t be as special if you had it all the time!” 

So true.

Which reminds me to treasure those special days with these girls… because just like pumpkin spice- they are only young for a “season”!

“It’s been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.” – L.M. Montgomery 

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contentment

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I took my youngest daughter to the bus stop one recent chilly fall morning, and as I pulled around the corner-  I saw a rose colored sunrise in the sky, dew drops glistened on amber colored tree leaves, and lots and lots of kids. Happy children ran back and forth across the quiet street, playing with a new puppy. Mommas were gathered with coffee mugs in hand, some with their dogs leashed up along side them.

As I sat in my van (honestly I was hiding in my minivan… I was still in my pajamas, lol) my daughter said goodbye and dashed crossed the street.  She began chatting away with the other kids at the stop, talking excitedly, grinning from ear to ear about something.

And in that moment, I fought back tears.  Because this was my greatest dream as a child- to have a family! 

I have been so guilty of seeking happiness in the wrong places…and thinking if only this or that would happen (insert any number of random circumstances), I would be so much happier…

But that morning it hit me like a ton of bricks how greatly blessed I am.

I have a wonderful husband who loves me, and he’s a great provider for our family.

I have two amazing, healthy, intelligent girls whom I have great expectations of doing awesome things in the future… and my greatest hope is for them to serve the Lord in whatever they choose to do with their lives.

Our greatest source of joy is found only in Jesus… not in anyone or in anything else!

I told my husband that I felt like an old mom that day.  I came in the house from taking my youngest to the bus stop wearing exactly what I had slept in.  My hair was all disheveled, and I didn’t have shoes on.  When I look in the mirror these days, I see a few more laugh lines and wrinkles on my face.  And you know what?

I’m ok with that 🙂

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  Philippians 4:12

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Romans 15:13

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If you love something, set it free…

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Sometimes as a mom, we have to let go of our own dreams for our kids so they can pursue their own passions.   I’m not ashamed to admit that I sometimes live vicariously through my girls. We want for them to experience the same joys we had as children, while at the same time- we want to make things better than we had it, too.

One of those things for me was being involved in chorus.  Although my girls love to sing, they have NO DESIRE to sing in chorus.  It broke my heart a little bit, but both of them have been playing in the band at school.

My youngest came home the other day and begged to take a different elective next year.

But you are so good at the clarinet!  You will regret it if you don’t continue! I told her.  I secretly wanted to cry when she told me she didn’t want to do band anymore.  She loves art and wanted to explore other things in school.

Honestly, I wanted to put my foot down and not give her the option of quitting.  I think as parents we have to encourage our kids to do the things that they excel at- because if we don’t, who else will? But my husband and I talked and he asked me if I wanted her to do band because it was something I wanted for her.  He felt like we should give her the option to choose what she wanted to do.  I thought my heart was going to break, but I told her that evening that it was her decision. I had to trust the Lord and let go of my own desire for her.  She chose to not take band and I begrudgingly signed the form for her.

This past week was my daughters’ band concert. I was so sad that my daughter opted not to do band next year, I didn’t even want to go that night.  I watched my youngest walk onto the stage and she found us instantly in the audience.  She smiled the whole time she was up there. I was so proud.  I watched all of them tapping their feet to the beat, bobbing their heads up and down to the tempo. They finished, and my youngest was brimming with pride.  I held back tears, knowing it was the last time she would be sitting up there.

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It was a bittersweet evening.  I can’t explain why, but every time I go to a band or a chorus concert, I get really emotional. If it weren’t for my involvement in music in school, I don’t know where I’d be today.

And then later that evening, my youngest daughter sat near me and began to cry.

Momma, I DO want to do band!  And I want to play all through high school.  Please, can I change my schedule?   I don’t ever want to stop…

I hadn’t imagined it. She really does love to play.

If I had put my foot down and made her take band next year, she may have not had that epiphany. I was so thankful that she realized how much playing in band meant to her that night.

It was truly the greatest Mother’s Day gift I could have received this year.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;  Proverbs 3:5

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waiting for a song

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I sit here waiting 

anticipating 

for company 

i do long

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for friends that I 

watch soar on by 

I’m listening 

for their song 

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After a morning at church, we settled in for a restful afternoon.  From my bedroom, I heard hustling and bustling coming from the kitchen.  Curiously I got up and went to see what was going on…

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“Mom- look what I did, ” my oldest daughter smiled proudly as she opened the cabinets.  All organized and tidy.  And on the floor- probably more stuff than was in the cabinets.  All expired canned foods, old tupperware, and junk, junk, junk!

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“That is wonderful, babe!  But make sure you put all the junk in the trash.”  I tried my best to hide my disapproval of the huge mess in the floor.  I knew that I was going to be the one to finish this project…when all I wanted to do was take a nap!IMG_1464

“And guess what else I did, Mom- I found a bag of birdseed and put it out on the patio for you!”  She was all smiles, knowing how much I love to watch birds- something I have not done much lately.

She always knows how to make my day. Simply knowing that she thought about me and did something she knew would make me happy was the highlight of my afternoon!  As I finished cleaning up the kitchen this morning, I realized that even in the middle of a mess, there’s always a reason to be blessed!  IMG_1462And so this morning, after I got the girls on the bus, I found myself running to the kitchen window every time I heard a noise- anxiously waiting for my feathered friends to make their first appearance!

They’re on their way 🙂

He gives food to every creature.
His love endures forever.  

Psalm 136

when my heart is overwhelmed

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From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety

Psalm 61:2

I heard other moms say it would happen, but I didn’t see it coming.  My girls have been my whole world for the last 13 years, but it seems like overnight they have started wanting to do things without me.

We went to a Christian concert last weekend.  I was so excited to go with them!  When we got into the arena, we found some good seats and I sat between the girls.  As the bands came on stage, each one encouraged the audience to clap, dance, and raise their hands.

I was all in… meaning ALL IN to groovin’ down at the concert, until my oldest daughter said “umm… could you please not to that?  And can you switch seats?”  Not only did they NOT want me to make a fool of myself, but they didn’t want me sitting beside them either.  I switched seats with my other daughter so that they were together with their friend.

I admit- I was a tad bit sad, but I was grateful to have the experience of being there with them.  I sat for most of the concert as I watched the girls and their friend sing and dance and jump around.

And then towards the end, the Newsboys sang the song “We Believe”.

I had tears in my eyes as I watched the three of them sing with all their hearts, arms raised and eyes closed- like no one was watching them.

We believe in God the Father , we believe in Jesus Christ, we believe in the Holy Spirit , and He’s given us new life. We believe in the crucifixion, we believe that He conquered death, we believe in the resurrection,  and He’s coming back again.  We believe .

Watching my girls actually worship was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.  Almost every Sunday, I am not sitting with my family during the worship service- I am at the piano leading worship. I think because it’s “Mommy” leading the singing at church, my girls are more hesitant to join in.  But not in that stadium!  It overwhelmed me to see that they knew every word to these songs and to see that they really do love to sing!

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And then yesterday, as we listened to the sermon- my daughter motioned for me to hand her my phone.  I shook my head no,  and then she batted her long lashed puppy-dog eyes at me.

I reluctantly handed it over, and I watched as she moved her thumbs at lightning speed.  I didn’t have a clue what she was doing until she handed me my phone back 30 seconds later.

This was the screen saver that she put on it-

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My heart was overwhelmed.

God continues to nudge me to plant seeds- even when my girls don’t seem to be listening.

 Even when they act like I embarrass them.

Even when what I say isn’t what they want to hear.

That little screen saver was His way of reassuring me-

they’re  listening.  

It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.  

Isaiah 55:11