Friday, May 31, 2013

Faithful Friday: Family Prayers

I'm such a slacker. 

Or, rather that's how I feel lately with my lack o' blogging.  And I'm sorry to all you loyal readers who are just pacing by your monitors awaiting the next post.  (tee hee)

Just in the midst of a busy season - at work and at church.  VBS is next week so my nights have been devoted to castles, cardboard boxes and memorizing skits in preparation for the big show. 

I'll go out on a limb now and say next week's post will be sliding into base at the last possible moment too!

Today's share is all about family....

My sister and mom are back from their trip to sunny Florida and they dropped in to see us, donning gifts and PB milkshakes.  Who am I kidding, the shake was a gift too!

Being in steady prayer for them while they were gone, ensuring safe travels and that the babies would enjoy their first visit to the beach without harm, I realized how I lack praying for them in other times.  I need to be more aware and consistent about praying for my extended family on just every-day occassions, not only when there is a great need.

Though this is my heart, this should be my daily prayer for them...

 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers... Ephesians 1:16

And of course Mom had a big heart hug for me too...

Faithfully yours,

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Summertime Smiles

Our official ringing in of the "unofficial start of summer" wasn't as planned, but as the Blair's always do, we improvised and made the best of it.

Originally, we wanted to take advantage of the long weekend and camp.  Time and money got away from us (still saving for Florida!) and as the week approached, we'd not even begun to clean the camper, pack/prepare, or reserve a spot anywhere.  I was also worried about the weather, which ended up being absolutely nights, breezy/sunny days...NO rain...sigh.

In the midst of our unorganized attempt at spontaneity though, we opted to postpone the trip. 

Yes, I see the humor in that sentence, but unlike my husband who really would just backpack it wherever, I can't rough it without a plan!

Another big deciding factor for our change of plans was an impromptu decision by Tina to enter the Jr Miss pageant at our local festival.  As this was way out of character for her, but we're always ones to encourage growth, we told her to go for it.  This added shopping, beauty routines, practices and the actual pageant to our weekend schedule.  But it was worth it to build up her confidence and see her smile....

 And....she placed 1st runner up.  Way to go, Tina!

Sunday, for what we thought was a "skip day" at church, turned out to be just as busy.  I helped sub in two classes and provided some yummy grape salad for Tina's, who had a breakfast planned for their seniors.  That evening we got a call to keep a sweet baby overnight.  I was pleasantly thankful he slept through the night, so I didn't have to see how my body did with up and down feedings! 

As Tim and I were playing with him in our bed, it brought back such sweet memories of our boys at that age.  Hard to believe that was 13 and nearly 19 years ago.  My how time flies...

Noah spent every minute and saved dollar he could at the said festival, enjoying all day arm band rides and the flock of girls that seemed to flitter wherever he went.  I think I could've just let him camp out there for the weekend and he would've been content!

All weekend, what I had left on my hopes list was to go boating. 

Once our itty bitty company left, we found ourselves with the bulk of a holiday afternoon free, so we packed up and headed out.  Loading the truck, we were all a bit surprised at the sudden heat wave and wondered if we'd regret being on water that was really still too cool to take a dip in, but we went anyway and hoped for the best.

Boy, are we glad we did!  An hour later we were lazily floating along the chocolate river with the intoxicating scent of honeysuckles drifting by and a baby blue slightly overcast sky above.  The cotton ball clouds kept Mr. Sun at bay so it made it de-lightful to be outside.  Donning my big floppy beach hat and barefoot toes, I lounged and finished my first of many summertime books, while chatting with Noah.  Tim and Tina bonded on the back fishing.  Though she'd been a couple times, she enjoyed her first actual catch (of many) that day and was beyond excited.  Every time she'd reel one in, she'd squeal and say, "Take a picture!"

And, of course, Austin said hello with a happy yellow butterfly and a soaring eagle during our outing.
It was a pretty perfect afternoon.

Maybe Tina summed it up best with a "greatest day ever!" as we were packed for the ride home, still smiling from ear to ear. 

...grateful for the blessings and the memories.  sweet summertime.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Faithful Friday: Date Night

Home from a somewhat impromptu date night and realized I wasn't faithful in posting today!  Oops!!

Given the late hour and the holiday weekend, where most of you are probably out soaking up the unofficial start of summer, I'll keep it short and sweet.

"My beloved is mine, and I am his" - Song of Solomon 2:16

A few nights ago, Tim asked if we had any plans Friday night.  As our camping trip had been turned upside down, for various reasons, I figured he wanted to try and squeeze some fishing into the weekend.  Instead, he surprised me and asked if I'd like to go out on a date.

Of course, I said yes...

It's been awhile since we've been out, just the two of us.  At times we do a good job of keeping a steady date night planned every month or so.  And then there are others, like this season, where we let life get in the way and forget.  As such, I was eager for one on one time with my man.

He wouldn't tell me any details, which frets this ocd gal who organizes and plans nearly every little detail of her life.  I detected from his casual tshirt and jeans though my attire was appropriate, so I happily entered the truck wearing my comfy flip-flops, capris and favorite blue jean jacket. 

When we passed the parkway, I glanced over at him questioning him with only a look as to where he might be taking me.  The direction he was headed just led to corn fields and country roads.  A short drive later, we ended up at a tiny hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant in the next town over.  Smiling inside, I realized he was listening several days ago when I mentioned a craving for Won Ton soup in passing. 

Nibbling over our buffet feast and crumbled fortunes, we inhaled the quiet chaos of our meal.  While we mainly enjoyed silence at our table, we took in the mini birthday party, kitchen clangs and foreign dialect, and kids slurping noodles around us. 

We arrived back in our hometown, still early for a date to end, so we stopped in to the first night of our local Strawberry Festival.  The next few hours were spent listening to karaoke and a somewhat-famous-local-country-singer-come-home, with a side of lots of interesting people watching.  Although I wanted to top the evening off with a funnel cake, the masses had already beat me to the last batch. 

There's always tomorrow...

Friday, May 17, 2013

Faithful Friday: Fly Little Bird

Graduation morning. 

Sliced, homemade strawberry bread to surprise Tina
for her special day. 

Hot coffee and my seat by the back window,
Good Morning America on the tv.  I'm only listening to the news; however, as I've noticed a tiny bird hopping across the deck.

Squatting in determination, it tries several times to flutter on top of  the outside coffee table.  Hop, Hop....Flutter....Fall.

I realize this isn't a tiny bird, but is the last of our babies learning to fly. 
Whispering a quiet yell to the kids, I call them to join me to watch and we gaze, mouths open, as the bird flutters higher and higher, then eventually across the lawn.  An unexpected, sneak peek at beautiful life.

Our little birds, from ocean blue tiny eggs... to babies... to flight.   

Heading out the door to Tina's 8th grade graduation the symbolism hit me.  Just as we'd witnessed growth in life, our own "little bird" was reaching a milestone.  Now promoted to high school, our bird is now an eagle.

She's grown so much these past two years.  Blossomed.
And we can't wait to see her spread her wings as a freshman, as she starts this next chapter of her life.

"God bless you and keep you,
God smile on you and gift you,
God look you full in the face
and make you prosper."
Numbers 6:24-26, MSG

Monday, May 13, 2013

Making it through...

The Monday after Mother's Day. 

A sigh of relief.  The letting go of held in breath. 
Of pinching yourself so you wouldn't cry.  Of brave faces. 
Of broken hearts.

Mother's Day is not the same for any of us from days past.

How I treasure those early years of chubby fingers bringing me dandelions from the yard.  Of hand-print poems framed for the occasion.  Of clip on ties and crisp white shirts little boys wriggled in.  Of bear hugs and wet kisses.

Life is different now in our home.

Me & Mom - Mother's Day 2013

I inhale the sweet embrace of my towering teenage boy and say prayers of thankfulness for the son who remains.  Smiles come from seeing him help his dad cook dinner for me and sweep the floor.  Touched by the thoughtfulness of Tim pre-ordering me a made from scratch red velvet cake, my favorite.  Surprised by the rose and card from my loving momma, even though I arrived at her church to give the surprise.  Thankful for a meal provided by my sister's in-laws, who opened their home and shared the day with us.  Combined families, new faces, changes in tradition.  Heart tugs from the quiet but loving "Happy Mother's Day" from my niece with my good-night hug.

I'm grateful for the simpleness of the holiday, because life isn't a Hallmark commercial, and honestly, simple is easier on everyone.

Because here...

Mothers long for their babies, whether they've left this earth too soon, were never given the joy of being born into this world, or are grown but paying for mistakes and not around. 


Children long for their mothers, whether they've earned their wings from wrinkled age, or made bad choices that separated them. 


Mother's Day includes visits to a graveside to say I love you.  To a graveside that also includes a son and a momma's heart is broken over watching her husband waiver in grief and longing for what can't be.


There is silent pain in a little girl's eye.  Of what was and wasn't all at the same time and of what will never be.  A girl who always holds her breath in life, waiting for the next shoe to fall.  Who is afraid to let go and hit a pinata at a birthday party because every joyful moment she has was followed by chaos and pain.  Who's afraid if she breathes and lets go, this new life she's grasping onto will change again for the worse.  And an aunt who hasn't quite figured out how to fill that gap and patch up the hurting holes, so she treads lightly, but desperately wants to heal her pain.


We pray without ceasing through the day.  We're grateful for the blessings. And we soak up every joyful tidbit.  We laugh harder, when it comes, and tuck it away with gratitude. 

But here... we're glad when Monday comes.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Faithful Friday: Everyday Joyful Moments

Maybe it's the emotions of Mother's Day upcoming...
Or, the sad recent news of several friends receiving cancer diagnoses...
Or just the acute knowledge of what a gift every single day is with those you love...

Whatever it is, I've soaked up the blessings of everyday moments this week, grateful within the experience and later still upon reflection. 

This past weekend we spent a rainy Saturday working on a school project.  Something I've missed doing with Noah, now that he's a teen in middle school.  A couple years ago, projects were sometimes a weekly activity, and thinking back, I don't know that I always enjoyed every one at the time. 
As they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Elbow deep in sticky, melting marshmallows, Noah and I soon remembered why we don't often make Rice Crispy treats.  After about the 400th stir, he exclaimed, "Who needs to work out at the gym?  Just make these things!"

Tim walked through the kitchen at one point, as we were both stuck to wads of soon to be planets trying to mold them, and not suffer second degree burns at the speed of light, before the gooey bits of cereal permanently glued to the pan.  He glanced back and forth between us and the mess, shook his head, and exited quickly. 

What Tim didn't realize was how he missed out on the mini science experiment, as we worked to concoct matching colors for each of the planets.  Sneaking fingers into the frosting for a lick in between our painting.  Limitless giggles and jokes.  And watching Noah repeat, "My Very Eager Mother Just Served Us Nachos" a couple dozen times to ensure he had them glued into the right order.  It was a fun afternoon and I'm thankful he still appreciates and wants Mom's assistance.

Monday I dropped in on my Grandma with a double surprise: 
#1 - Me in the middle of the afternoon, #2 - a giant red velvet cupcake to celebrate her birthday a day late.  A pot of coffee and a belly full of sugar and laughs later, I left misty eyed and grateful for the simple moments with one of the most influential women in my life. 

Tuesday on the way home from picking up Tina from an after school activity, we began to chat, as we often do.  Our chat moved more to a serious conversation though and I regretted we were so close to home.  What I loved is that after pulling into the driveway, neither of us stopped.  We just kept talking, bonding, sharing...until we were done.  Twenty minutes later as we walked in the house, Tina remarked how surprised she was at the length of time we'd been outside.  It blesses my heart to think of how much healing, progress, and transformation we've made since she's come into our home.  Oh, the changes we've seen the past two years.

Last night, after our devotion, though few words were said volumes were spoken.  Praying for a couple who is facing uncertain days because of a serious diagnosis, Tim and I were painfully aware of what a gift from God our marriage is. 

We know how fragile life is, how normal can change in an instant.  Though silent, our hold shared how thankful we both were for the other.  It was powerful, tangible, and I fell asleep in the midst of ceaseless prayers for my husband, our marriage, and our future.

Everyday, yet anything but ordinary...these precious relationships I treasure so.

Every time we think of you, we thank God for you. 
1 Thessalonians 1:2

Monday, May 6, 2013

Joy comes in the morning.

I woke up a bit aggravated this morning, which is never a very good way to start the day.

Hubby got called out at 3:30 this morning for a wreck that his help was later cancelled.  Normally I can block his pages out.  I'll put myself into almost a coma-like state, many times not even knowing he's left for a run until the next day.  I do this out of necessity, as there's an invisible switch inside of me, that once turned on, I'm wide awake.  No matter the hour or the need for more sleep, it just won't happen. 

Today would be example A.

Tim rolled back in a little after 4:00 and for the next 45 minutes I really tried to go back to sleep.  I tossed.  I turned.  I stretched.  I sighed.  And then, exasperated, I stomped to the living room.

It wasn't Tim's fault.  He didn't set the pager off, but I certainly directed my frustration to him when announcing I was getting up to stay.

Mumbling and grumbling, God nudged me that this might be a good opportunity to read His word. 

And so I did.  And soon, irritation turned to joy.

As the dark faded into light and the world began to stretch awake, I was gifted with the songs of the many birds around our home.  Many of them I know to be Mama birds, protecting the handful of nests I've spied in our yard.  (There's itty babies in the surprise nest from a previous post.  I hope to sneak pics soon!)

I was blessed by the peace that is the calm, quiet start of a new day.

There was the gift of time to prepare the kids a real, not from a box or frozen breakfast.  Hopefully this will warm their bellies and fuel their minds in preparation for the week of testing they have.

And I have the opportunity to apologize to dear hubby by taking him a steamy cup of coffee in a bit and waking him with a gentler mood than I last left him.

Simple, unexpected joys.  Thank you, God.

Oh and there's more...

This was actually yesterday afternoon's gift but I wanted to share.

Though it was misting rain, as it had all weekend, I was able to enjoy getting my hands dirty by planting happy little flowers in my window boxes.  It's what I call dirt therapy.  These are sure to brighten my every day and bring a smile as I come and go this season. 

It is well, it is well, it is well within my soul... 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Brave - Linking with Five Minute Friday

unscripted, unedited writing for 5 minutes.  Go...

Brave, to me.  From my earliest memory, it is shaky knees in the pew standing up anyway and going forward into the arms of my Grandpa Coons to become a Christian.

Brave, as a teen, was finding an outlet for my shyness, surprisingly on stage.  Miss Elmore, aka "Elmom" helped me to be brave.

Brave.  A young mom looking down into the eyes of her firstborn and wondering how I'd manage the next moment, much less the next day.  And finding unbelievable joy along the way.

Brave...beating the odds and not just surviving in our marriage, but thriving.  20 years strong this June.

Brave.  A word I've heard so often the past four and a half years, after the loss of my 14 year old son, Austin.  A word that people use to describe me when I feel anything but. 

Putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward, even on days when I wanted to do the exact opposite.  Holding it together for the sake of what was left of my family.  Prayer.  Lots and lots of prayer.  With giant heaps of faith in trusting that God would carry me through this nightmare.  I'm only brave because of Him. 

Brave...writing that first post to tell Austin's story.  Healing.  Transformation.
Eventually, slowly...turning to JOY. 


Faithful Friday: A Fruity Family

It's always our luck that whenever we're saving for something, a higher priority comes in the picture. 

If I haven't mentioned it yet, we're planning a trip to Florida this summer. We haven't been since 2008.  Our first and last beach vacation with Austin.  There's a post or two to come about that in the future, I'm sure.  I'm still processing...searching...healing, and yet, we are looking forward to time with the family in the sand and sun.

Enter center stage, our dilapidated central air unit.

It's coughed, hiccuped and sputtered the past couple years.  We've dug our heels, slapped band-aids on it, and said many prayers.  This year, we were fearful we'd have to take the ugly, deep plunge and buy a new one.  Even though our checkbook was frantically shaking its head, "NO!"

But my hubby, ever the optimist these days, persisted.  He puttered and tinkered, and with the help of a handful of A/C friends, we have our fingers crossed it'll survive the season.  And we're hoping for forgiving summer weather!  Yea right, we live in Kentucky...

In the meantime, we'll get into a more serious savings mode for what we know will inevitably come.  Budgets will be adjusted, shoestrings will be tightened.  We told the kids to prepare to spend a lot of time at the beach this summer, because after all, once we get there that attraction is free!

My mother summed it up best and put life into perspective with a great response to my whining.  "This will be our time for new FAMILY memories!! We don't need to spend a lot to be filled full of love and laughter!! So instead of eating out, we will have fun in the kitchen cooking together!! Playing games instead of seeing whatever...soaking up Gods sunshine and beauty!"

We're blessed that she's able to go with us this year.  Our first time together on the beach, as well as Tina's first-ever trip to see the ocean.  Perspective.  There's always blessings in the bumps.
It'll all work out...  

Between my mother's wise words and my hubby's uncharacteristically calm temperament through this chaos, I had to smile.  They were teaching me JOY.  They were showing me growing fruits of their own.

He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes... John 15:2

It wasn't too long ago that Tim might've shown his rising blood pressure when he'd tried for the fourteenth time to get the unit going but again failed.  He might not have been the caring voice this week, reminding me it was going to be ok when it was a sticky 20 degrees hotter in the house than outside.  He might not have been the first to remind me to take our concerns together in prayer.  Subtle, yet powerful changes. 
God gifts.  One budding fruit at a time...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
 photo design by_zpsv1mvteci.png