Monday, May 23, 2016

Boats & Bites

With a working teenager in the house and a hubby on third shift, family outings can be a bit of a scheduling headache.  We end up making the most of moments that we find in each week, between the comings and goings.

But at some point this weekend, once realizing the beautiful weather forecast for Sunday, we decided to make an impromptu trip to Kentucky Lake.  It's one of Noah's only for sure days off, as the restaurant is closed.  And while Tim normally goes in on Sunday night, he was able to shift some things around.  It was a good thing since we didn't roll in last night until almost 10 pm!

Oh, what a beautiful day it was!

I'm always at peace on the water but Kentucky Lake is one of my favorite destinations.  It's about as close to a beachy/ocean feel as this bluegrass girl can get to without a full day's drive.

We spent Saturday getting everything prepped so that we could head out quickly Sunday morning.  Of course, we didn't get out the door quite as early as we'd like, due to our not-a-morning person teen we love.  Since he was our driver, we needed to ensure he was fully awake!

It was his first time pulling the boat such a distance and he did amazing.  Although we made a little game of counting the road kill along our trip, I was silently praying all wildlife stay clear of the interstate.  But enough about all that....let's get back to the lake.

My hubby would say would there are no bad days on the boat but I'm a little high maintenance.  (Don't tell him I just admitted that!)  I want sunshine...but not too much, so I don't sweat.  I want clear-ish water and snake-free zones, so I don't hyperventilate.  Beautiful views are a bonus.  And a nice cool breeze doesn't hurt.

I'm happy to report we achieved all of these yesterday.  The water was sparkling, as the sun stretched its way across the lake.  Just as we'd begin to get a little heated, God would send us a cooling draft of air.  My views weren't obstructed, so I could scan for slithery things and take in the sailboats.  We floated and fished, being rocked by waves.  Our Sunday even included having "church" on the boat, as ours offers a podcast so we listened from our phone.

The only problem was the fish weren't really biting.  Despite the terrific fishing forecast, they more nibbled than bit.  Tim won our regular bet of "who catches one first" with the first and only good catch of the day.  I had the best fight but it was a trash and toss fish.  And poor Noah had zero luck.  Of course, it didn't help that part of his time was spent snoozing and the other on his phone!

More than anything, we just shared a wonderful day together.  Lots of laughs.  Great moods. Good tunes. Yummy food.  In fact, our food was the best "bite" of the day!

We picnicked under the bridge for shade.  Well, really we grazed all day.  I've become pretty good at packing a boater's lunch with a few year's practice now.  What I've learned is that nobody wants a big heavy meal all at once.  Instead, I pack cheese and crackers, fruits and veggies, and meats to snack on throughout our day.  Even with that simple selection, Noah invented a new culinary masterpiece - cheese Pringle, square of cheddar and pepperoni.  That boy...

By late afternoon, once my hubby realized the fish just weren't going to participate, we opted to hop over to Patti's for dinner.  Noah didn't remember the restaurant at first, as it is a splurge and one we don't get to do often.  After perusing the menu online, he knew what he wanted and was eager to get the boat on dry land and food in his belly.

After the sampler platter, two flower pots of bread and strawberry butter, salads, so much dinner we all needed doggy bags and a massive ice cream dessert, I remembered why we don't eat out often.  All kidding aside, it was fun watching him enjoy every morsel.  And he was so appreciative he offered to help pay!  We told him to save his money for the fudge and gift shop.

We arrived home a little burnt and a lot tired but so thankful for the blessing of a family day.  God is good.  All the time.  But maybe even more so on a sunny, family-filled day at the lake!

Monday, May 2, 2016


My soul has been praying for restoration for our family for many years.  Perhaps from the moment of losing my oldest son.

In the depths of chaos and unimaginable grief, even in those first hours, I knew peace and restoration from God would be the only way we would survive.  Back then, I tucked the hope for being restored deep within my heart, for I was hurt and scared -even mad at God- and unsure if He'd ever answer another prayer of mine.

For those early years, we were held together only by His grace, but slowly, piece by piece, I began to see signs of being restored.

Our family laughed again.  The dark cloud that consumed my husband was showing signs of light.  Fear began to give way from my youngest son's eyes.  Joy was returning.

It was a gradual change.  A see-saw of emotions at times.  While we experienced some highs, in looking back, it felt like the wind was knocked out of us again and again, year after year.  Every time we'd glimpse a peek of mountain tops, we'd come crashing back down with a new blow.  The last couple of years were unexpectedly rough, for very different reasons, but again we saw our family being torn apart before we could return together whole.

In the midst of that new grief, my prayer became a constant, louder whisper from within my heart.

Restore us, God.  Restore.

Not just in our family of three but within the circles of others we loved.  So many breaks and fractures since losing Austin, perhaps all in some way connected.  Some from poor choices in grief, some from a lifetime of mistakes.  But I knew that the only way we could ever be whole again, even if patched together, would be by the hand of God.

Though God led me to choose "Forward" as my word for 2016, the underlying theme has always been restoration.  Forward was just where He wanted me to look.  To let go of hurts from the past and see the good He has in store.

Restore has been my prayer, from my seat in church, in my bed, hands locked with my husband and knees bent.

All of this came swirling around me upon our entrance to the Women of Joy conference last month.  Though I'm sure at some point I heard or saw the theme of WOJ, it didn't resonate until that very moment.  As I looked down at the pamphlet in my trembling hand and saw the screens in the distance, it was as if God himself was revealing the message.  Immediately a sense of peace about the weekend -and all that is to come- washed over me.

God is so good.

He has restored our brokenness.  He has calmed our storms.  He has promised good to come.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation 
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Psalm 51:12
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