just like that….she grew up

This sweet girl of mine just graduated high school. Well, actually, there hasn’t been the “actual” graduation yet because COVID-19. However, school is done. Boxes are checked. Grad announcements mailed out. Done-ZO!!

She also graduated from our local state college with her AA degree and so at 18 she is half-way through college and hoping to get in to the nursing program this fall.

Amazing, beautiful, smart, inside and out in every single way only scratches the surface. Our sweet girl.

She did it!!

The big 5-0

and so somehow, just like that this number now applies to me. It is absolutely surreal. and yet, there it is. I’m fine with it, actually. It’s just a bizarro number that once was old and now……not so much!

I do not have AirPods. I can barely keep regular pods in my ears without forgetting they are there and then swatting them away like a bug. At least these have strings so I can chase them down when I do that!

If there was anything that I could wish for or want for my 50th birthday (if I keep saying it, maybe it will sink in), it is for peace and happiness in where I am. Although my life is far from perfect, I am absolutely at peace with where I am. I have an awesome husband, 4 amazing kids, incredible family and friends. I am loved. So much peace in that. So much joy. To be loved.

It is an absolute travesty that you can’t smell these

There was no surprise party full of friends and family (thank you very little, Coronavirus). But my entire day/weekend was FULL of friends and family. Texts, calls, cards, lunch, flowers, chocolate (SOOOOO much chocolate), dinner, cake. So good. And who knew? At 50 it is the simplest things that bring me so much joy—what a shame it took so long to figure that out, but I plan to keep embracing it.

Dear Publix bakery,
I love you.
Tracy

Here’s to 50 ish more!!

Great way to end a beautiful weekend.

Clinging to sanity

Replaced this mess (no before pic) of mint and weeds and replaced with some mulch and plants. Transplanted my rosemary from its pot (purposely planted further away from the house) to it’s new home as well as our surplus of succulents (which will probably die due to afternoon sun…….or, adapt!).

So. what are y’all doing with all this extra time at home? Hopefully finding lots to do to occupy the mind and body and maybe incorporate some new habits to take you through this marathon of quarantining and social distancing.

I figured I’d take this rainy Sunday opportunity to share with you what we’ve been doing because at this moment, I’ve got nothing else planned. Because you know, life.

First and foremost….avoiding the news. Except for the headlines on my landing page and CDC/Florida Department of Health. It’s all so new and unknown, I find the news exploits the speculation to the point it is paralyzing. Choose carefully……..the mind doesn’t need much encouraging to run wild with fearful scenarios. Here’s been our Movies/TV choices: Mass with Bishop Barron, a series from JPII Healing Center, Knives out (very entertaining……a modern Clue come to life). The great British baking show—duh, always a good choice and Handcrafted America (makes me want to MAKE something!) and The Tiger King—currently watching—-jury is out but these people—ummmmm………very different—watch at your risk. Since we have a rainy day on the agenda today, hoping to watch: A dog’s purpose, and The Peanut Butter Falcon.

Painting my own nails. Fingers, easy enough. toenails…..help! I have plenty of time to practice—or enlist my daughters.

Swapping clothes from winter to spring and the inevitable purge of what was not worn in last year. Also, re-organized our closet with new shoe rack—amazing what a difference it made.

Our library is still open. You can still reserve books and they will walk them out to you and their e-library is substantial as well. Practical and economical because I can’t sustain purchasing for the unforeseen future!! Books I’ve read or finished in the last couple of weeks: Undone, Atomic habits, A man called Ove, The unlikely pilgrimage of Harold Fry and currently Lincoln in the Bardo.

Baking more. Need to swap it out for meal-planning for the week. Although, I did buy yeast so will probably make some bread soon—so satisfying!

YouTube has provided an endless supply of videos for core work and stretching to start the day and tighten the tummy. I mean, what else are we going to do? Might as well get ready for summer!!

It is spring and mulch was on sale, so we took the opportunity of the amazing and not HOT weather (which means minimal whining from Tracy) to refresh our island and house borders . In case you wanted to know, the magic number of bags for our house is 20. Which required an additional trip to the hardware store since 15 wasn’t quite enough. Anyhoo…… we pulled weeds, planted some new plants, transplanted mint, rosemary and succulents, poured mulch (dirty work, folks) and over the course of a few days have the casa looking fresh and spring-y. Hoping for the best, we always choose “hearty” varieties and tell them good luck! I frequently forget to water, so it’s up to the Hubby (who is better than I at watering) and Mother Nature—who has been on vacation for the last few months…until today. So there’s hope! (This strategy has worked with our plumerias, GIGANTIC fern and peace lilly and a couple other plants that I don’t know their names)

Much to our doggo’s delight, in addition to our regularly a.m. walk at o’dark hundred, we have been walking after dinner—good for the digestion (note to self: bring doggy bags!) and gets us out of the house. Unlike our solitary morning walks, at night we “meet” (from a safe social distance) many neighbors doing the same thing with their dogs (cue the bark fest), skateboarding kids and bike riding friends. A little fresh air does wonders for us all, not to mention burn a few calories.

We’ve also been bike riding most days, exploring other neighborhoods—it’s amazing how different things look when you change perspective from cars to bikes to feet. My balance is improving (I can take tighter turns now) and my rear has toughened up so that it no longer cringes when it sees the bike in the driveway. Of course, we have learned to avoid the local park with the sweet big sidewalk around the lake because EVERYONE else and their brother is taking advantage of it as well (although my balance has improved, zig zagging is not super safe as I get a bit nervous and don’t want to take anyone out).

We have broken out the paddle boards out from their winter slumber. The weather has been perfect and the water refreshing. Spruce Creek has many different launch areas and we explored a new creek direction. Able to watch nature up close and personal is pretty relaxing and takes your mind off going against the wind or current as fish jump, birds soar and fish for a meal and a view of “Big Daddy”, a large gator, as he submerged upstream from us as we headed in his direction. Needless to say, we paddled to the other side of the creek and managed to stay ON the board. Oddly enough I wasn’t too scared although I did keep CLOSE watch on the creek for evidence of company. We also tried out a river launch near our house which is EXCELLENT; close to the house, providing quick water entry and plentiful parking. Almost every paddle outing has gifted us with nearby dolphins hunting and pelicans divebombing for dinner/lunch/snack. While exploring we have both taken turns falling into the river while looking about and failing to take note of an incoming wake. Fortunately, the water isn’t too cold and neither of us hit any oysters, unfortunately, we don’t take phones and have no videos to share for a good laugh.

There you have it. These are the activities filling our weekends and evenings.

We are both fortunate enough to still be working, Hubby from home and myself in Radiology. Hubby’s days are spent working insurance claims and mine are spent analyzing and agonizing over the ever-changing CDC recommendations and implementing them into our daily work flow.

So we all put one foot in front of the other and work to find our way until one day we are able to find our new “normal”. The reality is, there is only one way through it and that is THROUGH it, not around, over or under it. We will eventually get to the other side. For, this too, will pass. Until then, keep washing hands, avoid gatherings, clean until your fingerprints are wiped off, mask when you have to go out and find activities to keep you safe and calm and allow you to vent some stress off.

Lots of paddle boarding. River and creek, ocean is still a bit rough this time of year.
Washed 100 re-usable masks for our staff to utilize daily. Pretty, right???

The miracle business

Mark 7:31-37

In today’s Gospel reading we see Jesus heal a deaf man in a very physical, and if I’m going to be honest, a kind of gross manner.  However, as I am (slowly) learning, Jesus always meets us where we are and perhaps this man needed a physical and dramatic healing, whereas others are content with merely touching his cloak or receiving his words to experience their personal healing.  Each one of us has our own, personal relationship to Christ and rarely is it cookie-cutter, more like a  unique mosaic.

Sometimes, when I am feeling very melodramatic, I wonder why we don’t see more of these miracles today; it seems as though we are inundated with the madness of the world and that mayhem, chaos, tragedy and evil rule with glee.  However, when I take a breath, step to the side and allow Jesus to meet me face-to-face, commanding my  mind and heart “be opened” I can clearly see that these miracles DO continue to happen every day, in my very presence.  A marriage that should have imploded due to adultery and addiction has been made strong, new and continues to thrive.  Hardened hearts softened and a father and son reconciled, able to reconnect prior to the father’s death.  A boy tormented by demons in his sleep, healed by prayer, in Jesus’ name, never to be tormented again. A wayward son surrounded by constant prayers of protection is delivered from tragedy.  The list goes on and on and if you sit for a minute, you can very likely tick off your own list of miracles.  Christ, who made the deaf hear and the dumb speak, is still in the miracle business every single day.

Where do you find God and what kind of miracles has He allowed you to witness?

Lord, lead us to find consistent opportunity to hear you, to receive the healing you desire for us and to recognize daily miracles as a glimpse of your unending grace.

 

It’s a girl!!

18 years tomorrow, we heard those words in the delivery room. We chose not to find out the gender of our babe and since we had two busy boys at home and we were mostly managing with their wild ways, I truly just expected another boy cub to add to the mix. And so….my first words after the declaration of adding a GIRL to the mix: “What do I do with a girl???”

Mother of the year, right here.

After the initial shock (which lasted probably .02 seconds but seems longer in my mind) of my complete wrong guess and mental gymnastics to process that we have an actual GIRL baby in the house……..it was absolute love and we were smitten!! She was as adorable as could be (if I can say so my biased self) and did a phenomenal job of keeping up with two brothers in the bossiest of little sister ways. 16 months later, she was thrilled to have a baby of her own in the form of a little sister and young enough to not even realize her sole spot of family princess just opened up to a joint venture.

This girl. She has our heart. The most empathetic, loving, kind young woman. She is serious and a strong worker. Has a heart for the marginalized and her favorite volunteer work is with special needs kids at school. She will see through any BS if you try to feed it to her and wise beyond her years.

As our kids grow and are connnnnnnnnnnnnstantly on the go, we’ve instituted Sunday night dinner so that we can visit and have real conversations in person! I snatch hugs where I can during the week, FaceTime, text and call frequently with the occasional Snap thrown in.

I love watching these babies grow up from squishy little snuggle bugs into their own person but it is a BITTERSWEET pill to swallow. Because dang!! She was just:

  • Nestling that soft head into my shoulder
  • Enjoying the mud in the backyard
  • Trying sweet potatoes for the first time
  • Taking her first steps, quickly followed by run, jump, climb and—-sliding down the slide on her own!!
  • Pouring her sweet, chubby legs into tights and a tutu
  • Changing her babies clothes
  • Swimming in the deep end….on her own!!
  • Learning how to ride a bike with her brother running along side her
  • Meeting princesses and riding the Tea cups at Disney
  • Making friends in middle school
  • Distancing herself from friends on faster paths, but managing to stay friendly
  • Hitting that sweet spot of best friends with her sister–thank you Jesus, Mary & Joseph!!
  • Navigating relationships and coming out on the other side stronger from the fight
  • Driving away for the first time
  • Making new friends in college (#dualenrollment life)
  • Hugging me in the driveway because we hadn’t physically crossed paths in 3 days!!
  • Off to the ACT test

Blinking sucks. And time flies. The days are long but the years, oh so short!

All of this is true. And wonderful and heartbreaking and edifying and a blessing!!

Happy 18, baby girl!!! You are amazing and it is absolutely spell binding to watch you mold this world into your own!!!

Get it girl!!!

XO Mom