Monday, August 15, 2011

Saying Good-bye


Sometimes saying good-bye is a lot harder then you think it will be. It can be  letting go of a beloved pet or a favorite home.


Good-bye can be painful.

Sometimes our good-byes are full of tears or anger. Other times our good-byes are full of hope and promise.


Saying good-bye can be a way of letting go of what was in order to embrace what is to be.

I believe God has a plan for me. Somewhere in the pain of good-bye is the promise of tomorrow.

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. -Jeremiah 29:11

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Our Enchanted Castle

Moving from Cotton-Top Hills has proved to be one of the most difficult moves I have ever made. Leaving the land, our home, and the people was gut wrenching to say the least. Now we find ourselves getting used to an entirely different way of life.
We no longer live on  acreage surrounded by ranchland, but in a gated neighborhood that is situated around a golf course. Neighbors used to come visit on horseback or 4 wheelers, now they zip around on golf carts.
But we live on the water. An oxbow, whose waters overflow into the Brazos. And we have trees that loom over our house that provide glorious shade during this hot, dry summer we are having. And we do have land, half an acre. I shouldn’t stub my nose at that. There are many houses in similar neighborhoods that sit squashed up to the house next door. I can still stand on my back porch and see people, but I’ll get used to it I suppose.
And there is wildlife. For those of you who followed my adventures at Cotton-Top Hills, you know how connected we were to the creatures around us. So I thought I’d introduce you to a few of our new friends.
These are our Whistling Ducks, and yes they do whistle. They like to perch on our fence outside of my shower window. They also will perch in trees, which for a duck, is a little unusual. But they are beautiful and curious little creatures.
Here is the majestic Blue Heron. We have a pair of these that love to fish our shores. They fly down the river early in the morning, long wings stretching silently across the sky.
We also had a pair of hawks nesting across the street. It was fun to watch them hunt for food in the neighborhood. Very different then seeing them soaring over the wide open skies above the canyons looking for gophers. These hawks are masters at navigating the trees and the spaces between the houses.
This fellow guards our moat. WB likes to tell the girls we live in an Enchanted Castle and our alligators guard a treasure buried deep in the water. We have several that vary in size. The largest being a 10 foot momma that is nesting up the way a bit. We are told the park rangers will come transport them back to the Brazos when they get too large. I’m not sure what “too large” measures for an alligator. A six foot one is pretty impressive to me, but I’m told over ten feet seems to put them in the “need to move out of the neighborhood” size.
We also have fish in that moat. The girls have found a new hobby, fishing. They have caught catfish and blue gill and have the best time. Oh, and turtles. Lots of turtles.
There are raccoons, armadillos, and opossums too. One opossum lives in one of our tree trunks by the water. My sister who lives literally down the street has seen deer and a bobcat. Their  house backs up to the water too, but they live closer to some unsettled land.
Oh, and I would be remiss to not add squirrels. We didn’t have those before, not enough trees. And lizards. My children have become the great lizard whisperers. They all have names and at any given moment I could walk outside to find any one of my children with a lizard perched on their hand or shoulder.
So our Enchanted Castle seems to be a wonderful new home for my family. We still ache for what we left behind, but have our eyes open to all the new adventures that surround us. God has set our path, and we shall joyfully continue to walk down it.
What surroundings are you inspired by?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Conquering Fears, Teaching Lessons

We were up by 4:30 AM and loaded in the car for Soph, my 9 year olds, first Triathlon.  She decided to compete a couple of months ago after she got interested in running with her Aunt. Her Aunt just happens to compete in TRI’s and Soph decided she’d like to try it to. She’s been to plenty, as her Dad, Aunt, and Uncle all participate in them, so she knew a little of what to expect.
As it always seems to happen, my children teach me lessons when I least expect them. The blessings they give me are continuous, and this day would prove no different.
First leg of the competition is the swim, 50 meters. Two years ago that swim would have caused me no worries, but that was before the “incident”. Soph was seven and had taken a summer of private swim lessons. She had gone from being afraid of the water to being a fish in the water. Then I put her in a group lesson, so she could be with a friend. She found herself in the deep end of the pool, leg cramp and struggling to keep her head above water. The instructor was unaware, as he was in the shallow end trying to deal with a child that didn’t need to be in that particular class. Someone got to her in a matter of minutes, but by then the fear of the water was back full force.
I watched her wait to enter the pool and I knew this would be her greatest challenge. She had come a long ways, but the fear, it was still there, waiting for the perfect opportunity to take hold. Her first 20 meters were beautiful, she looked strong and then she faltered. She was at the deep end of the pool 5 meters from the wall and she was struggling for breath. She managed to grab the wall and then stopped. Swimmers were catching up with her,tagging the wall and going under the rope to head back for the last 25 meters. The confusion on her face made others think she didn’t know to head back, but her grip on the wall told me otherwise.
I had to crawl on my hands in knees in front of a crowd of spectators to get close enough for her to hear me.
“Soph, you’re doing great. Are you okay?”
When she turned to look at me I knew it was not okay. Her glazed, wide eyed look spoke directly to my momma heart. She was petrified. I watched her frantically look around for a way out.  In that brief instant I thought she was done. I gripped the pebbly surface beneath my fingertips, torn. I wanted to soothe the fear, but I also knew she could do it. We talked it out. I, stretched out as close as I could get to her, offering words of encouragement. Her eyes slowly stopped darting around looking for that escape. “You can do this.” Big brown eyes, stared straight into mine. The glazed looked replaced by determination. In one quick breath she was gone. Head under the rope, up the other side and she was swimming her last 25 meters.
I ran to cheer her on as she got out of the pool and onto her bike. I prayed she was okay. Her steps were quick, but hesitant as she left the water. I told her she was awesome. Her face lit into a smile and she ran to her bike. She flew through the bike course and onto the run. She stopped along the way to offer support to a fellow competitor who was walking. This race was about far more then time for my Soph girl. She finished strong, among loud cheers from her family.
After the race Soph and I were cooling off under a tent when she told me about the water. “I couldn’t catch my breath and I realized I couldn’t stand. I just panicked. Next time I won’t.”
My momma heart soared with pride. She was conquering her fears. She was teaching her momma that no matter how good we get at something the fear is always lurking. And sometimes it takes hold, but that doesn’t mean it has to drag you under. Nope, it just means you hang on, catch your breath, and plunge ahead.
“I think I did good.”
Closing my eyes smiling, “ I think you did awesome.”

Have you conquered any fears recently?

Monday, August 1, 2011


“What is passion and what does it feel like?” The question came from one of my daughters.

I responded with, “Feeling strongly about something, so strongly that sometimes you get really excited about it.  Or sometimes it makes you blind to the other things around you. And sometimes it just makes you very happy”.

“Excited, like jumping up and down and yelling and screaming ?”

“Sort of like that, yes.”

“Blind like a horse wearing blinders and all he sees is what is in front of him?”


“And they very happy is when you are just enjoying every minute and smiling.”

“Sounds good.”

“Do you have passions Mom?”


“I think I can guess them. Football is the excited kind. Sometimes you jump up and down and yell and scream while watching it, especially  Tech football.”

Laughing, “Okay, you are probably right.”

“Writing. It makes you blind sometimes. You sit on the computer and type and we can be running around screaming or trying to talk to you and all you see is what is in front of you. The computer.”

“Hmmm, you are probably right about that too.”

“And the happy kind. That is easy. You are passionate about  life, especially your family and friends.”

Darn, she’s good. I’m so glad we had that discussion.

What are your passions?