Way To Go

I'm getting a kick out of dropping my boy off at the local high school. 
Not that I want to get rid of him - not at all! Homeschooling dies hard, after all, and 
I miss the company of My Youngest so very, very much! 
But returning home fully dressed, with shoes on, before 8 a.m is pretty wonderful.
It seems to lengthen the day, almost to double it! 
Enough to take foggy-background photos guilt free.
This morning we waited behind a big ol' car as another high schooler unloaded.
A burley teenager fairly leaped out of the car, and a split second later, his mother did, too.
She crossed behind the vehicle, headed for her boy.
He turned to her and, as if it was a matter of course, submitted to a goodbye kiss.
Does it matter that it was a lip kiss? Does your family lip kiss or cheek kiss?
Sometimes I end up kissing the sleeve of one of my tall sons, if they're on the way out 
and in too much of a hurry for a cheek smooch.
Sometimes they bend down to plant a quick kiss my forehead or temple.
But there is no lip kissing around here ... at least none between parent and son.
ANYWAY - The point is that the mom was kissing her son goodbye in the 
middle of a teeming high school parking lot!
She sent me a prickly glance on her way back to the driver's side.
I smiled and nodded in return, hoping that my respect for the Parking Lot Kiss would be
evident. She would not receive any condemning glares from me! If a kid is still willing
to hop out of the car and (lip) kiss you goodbye in front of 471.5 other teenagers, then, well 

* Don Juan climbing rose
** Mandevilla vine


Night Moves

The sound woke us up at about 3 a.m.
I keep one window cracked open, and I was the first to hear the repetitive, sharp sound.
Only a few seconds at the window was needed to determine that the sound was coming
from the garbage cans by the carport. 
Figuring it out was pretty much a no-brainer, in view of the pork roast debacle of the day before:
there were two juicy, raw and mostly rotten slabs of pork in those garbage cans 
raccoons stalk our garbage cans.
There you have it --- a recipe for disaster.
My Brave Husband went out with his biggest flashlight and tried to scare the raccoon 
away from his feast, but how intimidating can one be in blue boxers?
Maybe if he had worn camo boxers...?
In the morning, this is what we found. 
A guilty young raccoon all alone in the can. 
No pork and no accomplices to be found, pressed flatly to the bottom
 of the can, hoping and maybe praying for invisibility.

Even after the can was kicked over, he hung around until we gave up spying on him.
A pretty bold kinda 'coon.



Move In Day

It's impossibly crowded on Move In Day at the local university.
* vehicles parked every jiggity way *
*  overly enthusiastic helper students to lug stuffstuffstuff up steps *
* parents wandering about in a dazed stupor *
This was our first MID, and it was a struggle to decide how to feel  about it.
There were not so many tears, since the boy is only moving 20 minutes from home,
and we enjoyed our time helping him to organize, clean and arrange.
Time was spent with the roommate and his family, and we laughed as we unpacked 
lots of duplicate items.

Even so, everyone knew that a definite line of demarcation was being approached, 
and the underlying solemness of the event buzzed in the air.
As we were about to leave our Second Son, our Middle Boy, in his dorm room
and drive back home, we clasped hands and prayed. 
People in the room who were perhaps not used to praying within the safety of a believing circle 
joined those who knew the Savior well, 
and fervent prayers were said over the college freshmen who had been celebrated that day.

If you've ever sent a practically grown child to live on his own, 
you probably know exactly how those prayers sounded.
How quickly we moved from   way back then   to   here and now!


Blue Reminder

In the last days of summer, I was invited out for an All Girls Day Out at White's Farm.
It turned out to be one of my favorite summer memories! 
(check out the video to get a peek)
Whenever I get a glimpse out my front door and see this -
it reminds me of that lovely day with my Pal and her Lovely Daughters.

I couldn't get my money out quickly enough - $5!
The vendor held the plant until the end of the day when I could 
swoop back around and pick it up. 
Great deals there - huge geranium pots and overflowing hanging baskets for only $5.
And the cutest miniature duck you ever saw! 
I helped the girls beg and scheme to bring it home...
I've never seen such a beautiful blue flower anywhere except on a 
heavenly blue morning glory vine! As it turns out, they're close cousins.
Blue evolvulus  is only annual, but I'll be trying to overwinter this in the greenhouse.

Are you diggin' my Potty Seat?
Who knew the bottom rotting out of  our ice cream parlor chair would turn out so well?


You Gotta Laugh

When I start to fret about finances, I try to regrow lettuce. 
If this makes sense to you, you've probably been in similar circumstances.

Thinking of too many things the other afternoon, I cut a lovely head of 
ruffly lettuce, put a handful in with my tomato lunch and
absentmindedly threw the delicious remainder in the garbage.
Hovering over the trashcan for a moment, I considered trying to retrieve it
since I believe almost  anything is pretty much still fine if you just rinse it really well, 
but ... no.
So I felt obligated to get the very most out of the  heel.

 Here it is in its place on the window sill just above the kitchen sink. 
New leaves began to sprout from the center the same afternoon!

It didn't take me long to see it.
Do you see it?

THIS made me shout out with laughter!
A plastic caveman staring at me from the leafy lettuce foliage: 
I knew it was just my husband, playing with me. 
I stopped washing dishes to go find him and enjoy the joke.

A long time ago, we discovered that the component of 'play' in our marriage
was invaluable. We misplaced it, actually, for a little while, after the 
birth of our first son. The pressures of decoding a new baby (when neither of us had
any experience with them at all) seemed so heavy as we each tried to
put on a good show of being  GROWN UP enough to parent.
Then one  night, as we lay awake hoping that the baby didn't wake up again in the wee hours,
we mused over how hard this all seemed to be. 
And how long it had been since we had laughed. 
Really hard. 
Out loud. 
Tears-on-your-face laughter.

We made a change that very night! I'll spare you the details, but with  
determination, PLAY was re-established at our address. Doesn't it seem odd to
pair words like 'determination' and 'play'? Maybe so, but in the more difficult bits of
our life together, this very element has saved the day more than once, 
making it worth the cost of a good helping of determined diligence.

How long since you and your spouse had a really good laugh together?
I'd love to hear about that!



My zinnias didn't do so well this year.
Seems it's better to scatter the seed than to transplant seedlings.
Even if the birds clean up a lot of the seeds after 
I go back to the house.
But there are a few blooming plants out there in the zinnia bed. 
Not a riot, as in past years - more like a quiet get together.
 I've got some of these beauties, though!
Last night, as all my guys hit apples*, I deadheaded the plants I have, 
reminding myself that the old has to be pulled away to make room for the new.
And that the removal of the spent flower heads causes the plant to 
produce even more blooms than it would if they were allowed to remain.

The Lord is so good as He uses His natural things to speak wisdom to my heart.
I never feel alone in the garden - it seems like He walks along, pointing and teaching,
if only I can still my chattering soul long enough to listen. 
"Incline your ear ..." the scriptures say, and when I do, He meets me there.

Old things are being pulled away in our lives right now. 
Fifteen years of homeschooling is now a thing of the past and My Youngest 
will be launching into the local high school tomorrow morning. 
On Friday, our Middle Son will be moving into 
a dorm and beginning his college career at a nearby university.
Change is the name of the game over here, and how good the Lord is
to remind me of the appropriateness of it all. The necessity of it. The promise in it.
And the safety and peace He offers in its midst.

*Our apple 'orchard' is wildly out of control and has been for years.
The apples produced are tiny and misshapen - fine for the critters who enjoy them.
And perfect for some casual batting practice! 
All our guys happened to be home last night and after dinner, they ended up 
pitching and hitting apples. I loved having them all out in the yard 'to play' again!


Party On!

It's a 24 hour party out there under our apple trees. 
Just look at this evidence of somebody's rockin' good time:
Pecked the good stuff right out and left only the core.
No thumbs required!
It might  have been a squirrel, though - they've set up camp out there and staked a claim.
I had to fight one the other afternoon just to get a bag for myself...