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Monthly Archives: April 2014

Quality Time

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The Presiding Bishop is coming to visit Holy Cross Faith Memorial.  Everyone involved is buzzing with energy and honor.  It comes on the tail end of a great Spring Break with my family.  We did all those local things we never seem to have time for: Brookgreens, lazy beach mornings, playground and ice cream adventures, and even amusement rides at Broadway at the Beach. Wil was able to join us for some of the fun but he stayed pretty busy with preparations and the usual church stuff.  Most folks were out of town or working so we got LOTS of quality time together, just us girls…..

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Willow is in a new, tantrum phase which I vaguely remember from Lilly’s two almost three year old days.  I also vaguely remember trying to forget those days because they are mentally and sometimes emotionally exhausting.  A struggle with Willow can bring out a side of me that I just don’t like at all and end up feeling sad about later.  Consequences that once worked aren’t working and simple questions, “Would you like green beans or corn?” can send Willow into a full on, stomping the floor, hitting and even spitting whirlwind.  Not cool Willow, not cool.  Then, in the exact same section of the day, she can turn around and give Lilly a huge hug or sing the sweetest rendition of ABC’s.  Of course, when we are right in the middle of one of the tantrums, Lilly finds it the perfect moment to drill me with a million question like, ‘How do they make nails?” or “Why does it rain?” or the ever popular “When can I have a sleepover?”  The combination of these two events makes me want to bang my head against a wall but I have found something that is less violent:  I dramatically put my hands in prayer and gaze up into the sky and say, “God, I need some patience right now… One of my children is mad over green beans and the other is asking me the same questions she asked yesterday.”  This makes both Lilly and Willow laugh and it gives me enough time to cool down and regroup.  This almost always works…almost.  All the hard work pays off when I go to pick them up from school and the teachers say how good they’ve been with a look of, “we don’t say this to every parent.”  They DO know how to be polite and follow directions!

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The weather has finally officially changed.  We went from cool breezes to slightly muggy which means I have to start shaving again.  That or officially go all natural which nobody wants.  Looking forward to the upcoming weeks when new things bloom and old things come to an end…..

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Hallelujah!

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IMG_9692Hallelujah!  For real!  We made it to the end of Holy Week pretty much intact.

Thursday, Lilly had her school party (Willow’s was on Wednesday but I did not attend that one.)  I had helped with the arrangements and the hiding of the eggs for Lilly’s class.  It was fun to see all the 4 and 5 year olds running around finding the eggs.  What took 20 minutes to hide took 2 minutes to find.  This is the day the sugar started taking over our lives…..

Lilly also had dance practice Thursday and we are getting so close to her very first recital.

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I was able to attend the Maundy Thursday service which always conjures up lots of emotion for me.  The young washing the feet of the old.  The well dressed washing the feet of the jean and t shirt clad.  There’s always nervousness when washing and confidence too.  There’s usually hugs that linger and eyes that meet for a moment as the foot washing begins or ends.  I like the uneasy feeling of a service that is only done once a year and the intimacy of the people who attend.  The word that stays with me is humbleness. I love that service.

Then today was Easter.  I woke up on my own which was strange because I am usually awakened by children.  I wandered out of bed and saw Lilly playing busily with the doll house.  Slowly I hear Willow wake up with a song.  This morning it was the Oompa Loompa song.  I waited for them to mention Easter baskets but neither was mentioning anything so I waited until I just couldn’t stand it and brought up the subject.  As we looked around, Lilly asked, “Is the Easter bunny even real?”  I wasn’t ready for that question (I hadn’t even had coffee yet) but at Christmas there’s little to no doubt so it caught me off guard.   I guess a man delivering presents makes more sense then a rabbit hiding eggs.  I asked her what she thought and before we could really give it a good theoretical discussion, we had found the baskets and excitement and magic took over.

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After a few nibbles on the hollow Easter bunnies ears, we got dressed quickly and headed to church.  We arrived too late to help hide the eggs for the big after church hunt but it gave me enough time to find a good place to sit for the service and catch my breath before the crowd arrived.  The service was good and very crowded indeed!  Wil gave a great sermon about this being one of the only times emptiness can bring so much joy.  Everything went well and the Easter egg hunt, though the ground was puddled and soggy, was chaotic and fun.  My children came away with way too much candy.  Wil is now passed out taking a nap but at lunch, I could already see the relief and light come back into his eyes.  This past week, he was asked many times whether he was going to “make it” without passing out this year.  As much as people say that in a jokingly, wanting to bond over something manner, it was a memory that was brought back up with dread.  Now, only good Easter memories will follow us throughout this next year.

And It Was All Yellow

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Easter.  So much happiness as the plants bloom and the weather warms.  So much excitement with summer around the corner and the promise of more time with family and friends.  Easter is also VERY stressful for clergy and their families.  It doesn’t help that all of us have gone through some sort of cough or sinus yuck, a fever accompanying it with some in the hopes that Wil stays healthy.  People tend to stay away from us during Holy Week because they are busy with family and Easter preparation but they also feel like it would just be too much for us to deal with.  Part of that is true but this is definitely one of those times of the year that I am alone in a sea of people.  With the stress comes relationship issues.  Wil and I have been much like sandpaper lately, nothing is said in the right way and one of us always ends up needing to back off.  As much as it consumes us, I know it will be getting better eventually and we must ride the wave, trying not to walk on egg shells since the Easter Bunny needs those eggs in one piece.  The fact that we are not perfect never escapes me.  To be human with someone else for the rest of my life is humbling indeed.

Then there’s God and church and the way this week follows me around with inspiration and a bit of melancholy. I managed to fail at every Lenten discipline I put into place.  I could be sad about that but I’m not. Maybe I’m disappointed but not surprised at myself:   I like chocolate and Facebook.  If nothing else, it has made me aware of my obsessions and tone them back a bit.   I purchased “Jesus Calling” for kids and it has been the perfect amount of a daily thinker for Willow, Lilly and myself.  Much of it, I think, is still out of reach for the girls but I usually read it then talk about it with them.  Willow will be making a mess while Lilly stares off into space but it’s seeping in on some level.

In between the sniffles and intense discussions on improvement, we have joined in on the neighborhood yard sale, cleaned the back porch of all its yellow pollen, been to some birthday parties, and even dyed eggs.  The azaleas are ridiculously gorgeous around here and I’ve taken a lot of, “Okay, stand there with your sister and smile” photos.

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After dropping Lilly off at school yesterday, a small voice from the back of the car said, “Where’s Lilly?  I want her with me.  I love her.”  Let the sisterly love blossom and inspire us to be better people.

Mountain Mama

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I’ve had a tough reentry into normal life today.  Willow, Lilly and I are back from a 10 day trip to WNC.  One of the reasons for the trip was a yearly get together but to different locations going on five years now.  Clergy Spouses from my time at Sewanee get together to vent, to compare notes, to motivate, and to have a whole bunch of fun.  This year, we met up at Sky Valley, GA thanks to my in laws and their get-away home.

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The trip started at Lake James with my folks who are layin low until my dad heals up from his stint in the  hospital.  Turns out he had Valley Fever!  I was able to see the xray of his lungs with the fungus.  My mom and I did some just ladies shopping and we all had great meals together with great talks.  A huge highlight was Lilly’s very first mountain hike.  Daddy George, Lilly and myself headed up towards the via-duct until we found “that trail I used to always do with Sylus” back in college.  We found it and its name: “Rough Ridge.”  I wasn’t sure if Lilly was going to be able to make it to the top but every rock, every cave, every view seemed like magic as she explored and jumped.  It was an amazing feeling to be with her and my dad doing something I love that I rarely get to do.  This will be the first of many NC hikes for my beach babies….

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Then we headed to Kei Kei and Pepaw’s house in Asheville.  The minute upon our arrival, we headed to the Biltmore Estate because it is one of the most gorgeous places and we knew the weather was going to turn. On this visit to TBE, Lilly wanted to see the basement so we did and then we headed out to the farm to see the animals. Lilly calls the house, “the castle.”

While in Asheville, it snowed!  We had missed all other snows (obviously) and I think everyone that got snow was pretty much over it so Lilly was super excited and went out to take it all in not once but twice.  She even made a snowperson.

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A huge highlight of the trip for my girls was the trip to Chuck E Cheese.  We met up with Tricia and the cousins and my folks came over from Lake James.  It was fun but boy howdy was it exhausting.  At one point, Willow just sat on the floor and looked wide eyed at all the lights and noises.

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Then it came time for me to get in the car and solo drive it to Sky Valley for my ladies retreat.  As I was listening to Alison Krauss, driving a clean (borrowed) car, surrounded by the mountains I love and headed to one of my favorite times of the year, I cried a happy tear or three.  It was a feeling I wish I could bottle up and keep.  The weekend was awesome and I left my soul sisters feeling rejuvenated, inspired, loved and a little bit hung over.    Can’t wait until next year when we do it all again.

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Before we left for our trip, I decided to stop using Facebook.  I must not be in a good place since I found myself being judgmental or hurt by posts.  I miss the connection with my far away blasts from the past but I haven’t had those feelings since and am happy for that. So, as the suitcases still have a steady stream of clothing pouring out of them and my children readjust to their usual bedtimes, WNC and the people there once again filled up my heart and helped me feel whole.