do stuff with your kids


one day I’ll look back-

grateful for the time I spent

being with my girls

I love haikus. They say a lot with few words. Sometimes lots of words make me tired, lol!

Like yesterday- for some reason I was really, really tired. I could chalk it up to the time change and still getting adjusted to that, but I was really wanting to take a nap when I got home yesterday afternoon.

And then my daughters got home. One of my girls has been begging me every day to take one of our dogs to the dog park (the other one of them is not so friendly, that’s for another post, lol…). I said earlier in the week that it would be too muddy from all the rain we have had lately- which was true. It is also true that I am tired and don’t feel like going anywhere extra once the girls get home.

She asked me again yesterday. My whole “muddy” excuse didn’t really fly after the few gorgeous, sunny days we have had here. I began to think about what a blessing it is that my 16 year old daughter really WANTS me to do something with her. I began to think about all the other things that will eventually get in the way of her time… a job, college (one day), future relationships, children… the list goes on and on. One day she will be too busy for me.

So I made an extra cup of coffee and said “Sure! Let’s go!”

Can I tell you what a joy it was for me to say yes to her?

All smiles, she was, as we got into the car with our friendly fur baby! She beamed from ear to ear the entire drive. She kept saying how she hoped there would be other dogs there that ours could be friends with. And sure enough, we pulled up to the dog park, and there were several dogs playing.

Our dog pranced around the fenced in park- reveling in his newfound freedom. I sat on a bench and watched as my daughter went up to strangers to talk to them about their dogs. I was so proud of her. She is shy and it takes a lot for her to initiate conversation with strangers, but dogs are her love language. Bring a dog around her and she can’t help but be joyful.

It was a perfect afternoon.

My other daughter asked me to do something with her today.

This time I didn’t hesitate.

I can’t wait for our afternoon together ūüôā

Children are a heritage from the Lord,
    offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
    are children born in one’s youth.
 Blessed is the man
    whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
    when they contend with their opponents in court- Psalm 127:3-5

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take a walk

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take a walk with me 

see the landscape through my eyes 

become like children 

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clouds illuminate 

and direct my attention 

to our Creator

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glittering sunbeams 

highlight the snow’s afterglow¬†

and dance in the sky 

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the sun awakens 

ice crunching beneath my feet 

the only sound heard 

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take a walk with me 

see the snowscape through my eyes 

become like children 

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There’s a patch of old snow in a corner
     That I should have guessed
Was a blow-away paper the rain
     Had brought to rest.

It is speckled with grime as if
     Small print overspread it,
The news of a day I‚Äôve forgotten‚ÄĒ
     If I ever read it.

Robert Frost 

 

glory gazin’

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we’re glory gazin’

chowing down on Chick-fil-a

the sky- our dessert! 

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Having two teenage daughters is… interesting. ¬†I never quite know what to expect. ¬†One minute they are screaming at each other, the next minute they are hysterically laughing together. ¬†It is an adventure, for sure!

The other day, I picked the girls up early from school due to an orthodontist appointment.  Hubby was out of town for work, so I decided to stay in town and take the girls to Chick-fil-a for dinner after our appointment.  As we pulled through the drive thru, I noticed the sky was beginning to change colors.

¬†When you feed your teenagers Chick-Fil-a, they will smile and agree to anything! ¬†They were in the best mood. Let’s watch the sunset, I suggest. ¬†Since they were happily eating CFA , they naturally obliged. ¬† As we drove around, my youngest daughter stuck her hand out of the window-

Look, Mom- even the sun is shining down on my Chick-Fil-A milkshake! 

lol. I had to chuckle at that one!

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His radiance is like the sunlight;
He has rays flashing from His hand- Habakkuk 3:4

We parked in the shopping center across the street and took in the beautiful evening. ¬†The girls were hysterically laughing at each other, taking “selfies” because it was “glow time” (sunset lighting) and I thought my heart would burst. ¬†Any strife that may have occurred earlier in the day paled in comparison to the joy we experienced in the car. ¬†It was the perfect evening.

On the ride home, I literally cried from laughing so hard at the girls. They can be so funny sometimes.

It has been way too long since I have laughed like that.

I never realized how quickly their childhood would fly by.

I am savoring every moment-

and realizing how short life is!

I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.  

Psalm 27:13

being “present”

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The moment I seek

and desire His presence-

I find He is near

Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.  Isaiah 55:6

Twilight is my favorite time of day. ¬†It is a time of two-fold expectation for me- expecting to see something beautiful in the sky, and it’s also a time to have a momentary heart-to-heart chat with my Heavenly Father.

Speaking of heart-to-heart chats,  I have been lamenting over how those chats with my daughters are fewer and farther between now that they are getting older.

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The girls woke me up early the other day with one request- to watch a movie with them. ¬†Honestly, it wasn’t a movie that I had any desire to watch, but I thought about how seldom they ask me to do things with them now.

“Momma- NO laptop and NO phone! ¬†You have to sit and pay attention!”

I smiled and secretly loved the fact that they wanted my undivided attention. So I obliged- I put away every electronic device and set aside every thought that was not pertinent to the task as hand.

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Surprisingly, I enjoyed watching the movie. ¬†Mostly it was because I knew how much my girls wanted me to sit with them and experience the very same joy that they have when they put themselves into the movie’s fantasy world. But the greatest joy for me was watching their smiles, the way they looked back at me to see if I laughed when they did…and knowing that they wanted to feel connected to me through this shared experience.

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The verse above reminds me that when we seek to be in His presence, we know He is already with us. ¬†As my girls are getting more independent, I find them asking to spend time with me less…and only coming to me when they need something.

But it made me think about all the times I do that very same thing with the Lord…only going to Him in prayer when I have a need- when my greatest need is to continually¬†be in His presence.

He desires my constant fellowship with Him- reminding me that when my girls are truly seeking to spend time with me- all I need to do is to be present.

Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face continually.

1 Chronicles 16:11

before the sun sets

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Before the sun sets 

waiting for the afterglow 

watching for nightfall 

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mountains like oceans 

undulating clouds like waves 

a twilight delight 

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playing hide and seek 

sunlight slips behind slivers 

of silver lined clouds 

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50 shades of blue 

the Blue Ridge Mountains aglow 

sun sings her swan song 

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not a single sound 

not a plane nor bird was heard 

just tranquillity 

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little did we know 

peacefulness would disappear 

panic would set in…

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We took these photos on our last evening of our mini-vacation. ¬†My hubby surprised me and took me away for a belated anniversary/ birthday trip to Wintergreen and we had the most amazing weekend! ¬†But our last evening almost didn’t go as planned.

One of the local people told us about this little overlook where there was a perfect view of the sunset.  The last evening, we were prepared to sit and watch until the last glimmer of light was gone.

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The sun had set and after we lingered a while, we decided to head back to our car. The lookout was back away from the road, and the trail was rugged- thick with trees and undergrowth. As we walked off of the trail and onto the street, I held up my keyring in utter disbelief. My car key was gone!  I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach as I called ahead to my husband and told him that my key was missing.

I knew I had it when we parked, because I remembered locking the door and then hooking the carabiner onto my camera bag.  We just traded in my mini van for a new car, and I had put the new key on a simple ring and looped it through the carabiner.  Somehow the key had come loose and fallen off.

We were several miles away from where we were staying, it was getting dark fast, and I was beginning to panic. ¬†We decided to walk back out to the overlook and I prayed the whole way. ¬†I glanced from side to side as we walked the trail, and once we got onto the deck of the overlook, I frantically looked for the key. ¬†The slats between the boards of the deck were large enough that the key could have easily fallen through and down onto the jagged rocks below us. ¬†If that had happened, there was no way we’d ever see that key again. ¬†We searched, but didn’t see the key anywhere.

Amazingly, my husband remained calm, cool, and collected… but I felt like I was going to hurl. ¬†Of all the times I have lost my car keys, this was definitely the worst time for this to happen. I kept praying and took out my cell phone to shine some light on our path. ¬†Soon we wouldn’t be able to see a thing! We stepped off of the wooden deck, and I frantically looked at the ground, shining the light from my phone from side to side as I shuffled my feet.

“Oh, God… please, PLEASE help us find this key!!” I repeated this same phrase over and over.

And then a miracle happened. ¬†About halfway down the trail, the light from my phone reflected off of something shiny under a patch of grass. I bent down and couldn’t believe my eyes- I found my key!

I jumped up and down and thanked God!  Man was that a close call! And it was a an important lesson for me to NEVER hook my keys on the outside of my purse, camera bag, or ANYTHING else EVER again!

I will give You thanks, O LORD, with all my heart. I will tell about all the miracles you have done.  

Psalm 9:1

Don’t let the good stuff pass you by

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savor each moment

don’t let the good stuff pass by

take joy in small things!! 

We met for a quick lunch date today to celebrate our 19th ¬†wedding anniversary. ¬†I can’t believe how fast the years are going by. ¬†I got married at 19… and now have been married for half of my life. ¬†And it has definitely been the best half ūüôā

I thought I knew what I wanted to order, but then my hubby suggested we get the crab dip and pita chips.

I admit- part of me wanted to object, because I have been trying to stay away from bread and carbs- but I obliged.

And they were the absolute best pita chips I have ever had. ¬†Hands down. ¬†And the dip was absolutely amazing!! ¬†Babe- I’m so glad you love food as much as I do¬†I told him as we enjoyed the feast laid out before us.

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Afterwards, we went to get coffee.  I usually order something completely boring.  No sugar, hold the whip cream.  The barista usually comments that I am no fun because of it.

Not today.

Hubby said get what you love today. ¬†As I took the first sip of my iced caramel macchiato, I took in a huge swirl of caramel syrup. ¬†My eyes were as big as saucers- oh. ¬†my. ¬†goodness… this is the best thing I have tasted in forever- I told my husband.

He smiled and gave me some great advice-

don’t let the good stuff pass you by. ¬†

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And as he said that, God flashed before me all the good stuff I have to be thankful for.  There is so much good- far too much for me to ever dwell on anything else.  I am so grateful for my husband and for how different we are- how we perfectly compliment each other.

He is the peanut butter to my jelly.  The yin to my yang.  He is my lobster.

He is good stuff.

Today was a great reminder to appreciate all the good stuff in life… it’s there in abundance if we open our eyes, focus on Him at all times, ¬†and take it in.

like bread

and caramel syrup 

and marriage

God is good and I am blessed! 

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the fog lifted…

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perspective changes 

when the fog lifts- we see what 

was there all along

Speaking of fog…over the summer I got to “view” this gorgeous place- ¬†Swannanoa Palace¬†… and it just so happened to be under a heavy blanket of fog that day- adding to the mysterious but still lovely atmosphere. ¬†I had the joy of going back to Swannanoa with my sister and a dear friend recently, to catch a glimpse of the clear mountain views and to take a few more pictures.

I am so thankful for the visit with my sister and our childhood friend! ¬†It doesn’t matter how much time has passed between seeing each other- it’s like no time has passed at all when we are together…and it’s just like we’re kids again!

It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

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panoramic views from the Palace tower

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crystal clear view from the palace tower

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panoramic views from the tower

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the overgrown, but still beautiful pergola

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the pergola on a perfect fall day

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I found this little ivy covered bridge in the garden

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can you imagine waking up to a view like this every day?!

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a view to remember…the Blue Ridge Mountains

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The stunning foliage around the water tower

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Have you ever seen a hydrangea bush this big?!

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The best view of all… my girls and their cousins!

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The water tower (or Rapunzel’s tower… as I like to call it)

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the view of the gardens from the stairwell

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The best view of all… my sister, my dear friend, and our wee ones ūüôā

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Swannanoa Palace

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The stained glass TIffany window

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The magnificent stairwell

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The only way to have a friend is to be one

РRalph Waldo Emerson  

canopies of gold… a walk through autumn’s peak

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canopies of gold

dancing in the autumn air

singing their swan song

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branches leaning in

hoping to hear the last laughs

of summer’s folly

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The grass withers and the flowers fade,
    but the word of our God stands forever.  Isaiah 40:8

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Let the whole earth be filled with His glory- Psalm 72:19

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to every thing there is a season,

and a time to every purpose under heaven

Ecclesiastes 3:1

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I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. John 15:1

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Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

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To Him who made the great lights, For His lovingkindness is everlasting:  

Psalm 136:7-9

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He has made everything beautiful in it’s time- Ecclesiastes 3:11

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Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.  

Psalm 119:105

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The Lord upholds all that fall,

and raises up all those that are bowed down- 145:14

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Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy!
    Let the trees of the forest sing for joy  

Psalm 96:12

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He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers.  

Psalm 1:3

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Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy in his dwelling place.  

1 Chronicles 16:27
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walking in the rain

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walking in the rain

is always more loverly

when you walk with friends 

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walking in the rain 

all that is ordinary

glows with morning dew

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music to my ears

percussive pitter patter

of drip drops on leaves

I had planned to meet a friend to go walking yesterday. ¬†What I hadn’t planned on was rain. In fact, if I had- I would have definitely come up with an alternative plan! ¬†When I saw the dreary day, I briefly considered canceling our walk to stay dry indoors. ¬†But I thought about how many times we decide NOT do something just because of a little rain. It’s not like we’re going to melt or anything… in fact, I kind of enjoy being out in the rain. ¬†So, I decided if my friend showed up- well, I was game for a walk in the rain, too!

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Sure enough, she was ready and waiting to join me.

The weather was perfect for a walk…well, only if you’re not afraid of a little rain on your parade! ¬†The air was damp and cool, but surprisingly there were many others out walking- soaking up the late summer morning. ¬†I especially loved the crow that was perched on the tippy top of this tree in the picture above. He certainly had a “bird’s eye view” of God’s Creation. ¬†While most of us are running for cover from the rain- here he is, cheerfully cawing and keeping watch over the trail.

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My friend and I chatted and listened to the sounds all around us.  Being out in the rain was refreshing- and so peaceful.  There was something about walking in the rain that made me feel more alive than ever. 

So, don’t let a little rain stop you from your walk ūüôā

“Some people feel the rain- others just get wet” ¬†– Roger Miller¬†

God’s thunder sets the oak trees dancing
A wild dance, whirling; the pelting rain strips their branches.
We fall to our knees‚ÄĒwe call out, ‚ÄúGlory!‚ÄĚ ¬†Psalm 29 (Msg)

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Burning embers

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like burning embers 

 the daylight flickers and fades

calming the night sky

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This is where “church” is for me-

anywhere there is an open sky and and a grand view of nature…

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For many years, church was a place I went to spend time with God and to be filled up.  Church service was the only place I sang Christian songs, and the only time I earnestly prayed for much of my life.  I was a Sunday Christian.

Now I am overjoyed to be used by Him- to be serving Him and leading worship every week. It’s an awesome thing that now I “get to” serve and help lead others to worship and be “fed” after all those years of being a “consumer” of church…

but after a Sunday Service, I am often left feeling empty and completely drained.

So when I need to “recharge”, I spend time in nature… this is “going to church” for me now.

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Last Sunday evening I jumped into the car and found a perfect spot to worship.  I turned the radio up loud and sang as the colors glowed in the sky.  I felt a peace come over me, and every care I had faded away with the daylight.

And the intimate evening sunset “worship” service was spectacular ūüôā

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,  for our

‚ÄúGod is a consuming fire.‚ÄĚ ¬†

Hebrews 12:28-29

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His word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones.

I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.  

Jeremiah 20:9