Thursday, June 15, 2017

Feeling At Home

I have so much to talk many thoughts and stories and feelings to process, but for now, a quick little story.

That guy that I like so much and I spent three weeks in May in Europe...he was working the first 12 days in Germany and Austria, guiding 150 people through a concert tour.  I'll write about it soon but know that God was present...but so was Satan and while parts were beautiful, parts were hard.

But again, God WAS present.

On the 12th day, he put everyone on a plane for home and he and I hopped a short flight to Rome...and from the moment we landed, it felt like home.

The language?  Home.
The food?  Home.
The people?  Home.
The whole way they live?  Home.

We both got teary eyed as we drove towards the historical center and once in our hotel, swung open the doors to our piazza.


Here is the difference between Italy and where I live in America.  Where I live, life is full of garages and streets.  Italy is full of piazzas.

All streets end every few blocks in a piazza...or little square.  And the thing about piazzas is that people gather in them.  You walk...and then you stop.  You greet people around you.  You talk, laugh, cry, wave your arms, maybe eat some pasta or gelato.  You look around, hesitate for a moment, settle in a bit and then go on your way.

Piazzas are a way of life.  A social experience.  A reminder that life IS hard, that work IS hard, that problems DO exist...but they are also a reminder that we are not here to do it alone.  That part of making this life bearable is who we surround ourselves with and who we choose to let in.

I realized while I was there that I want our little house on our little street (and our garden) to be like a piazza.  I want people to want to gather here, to feel comfortable, to be fed, to feel like they belong.  I want them to feel God's love, to sit for a bit, to relax, to breathe.  I want it to be social and fun and joyful.  

And so, that is what we will strive to do again this summer.  To be a piazza to those who need it.

I miss everything about Italy...but I'm going to live like I am there until I can return again.


Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Month Of April...In Pictures

I'm wondering how I'm even keeping up...and I'm also wondering how loved ones, in the height of busy schedules, communicated before text messaging???

I've had two weeks of traveling and two weeks of so. much. change. at. work. that. I. just. can't. handle. much. more.  

How's that for enunciation?  

Or maybe I can...I'll let you know once I've had time to chill a bit.  It was all good until I was butt dialed by a boss and let's just say, a lesson needs to be learned: make sure your phone is off before talking trash about others.  And also, thanks for talking loud and clear because I heard EVERYTHING.


I spray painted the heck out everything I could get my hands on, including my bare feet and let me tell you, that stuff is rather permanent...that's good for the stuff I painted but not for my toes.


This was a rather precarious situation and one that most likely won't be repeated for quite awhile.

But they sure are cute!

I ran and ran and ran and BOOM....the flu caught me like a fast moving freight train.  It hung on for 3 days and then left just as fast as it came, but I've gotta say that the older I get, the longer it takes to bounce back.  

No fun.  No fun at all.

Turkish olives...which were the only thing that tasted good for 2 of the 3 days I was laid low with the flu.  I seriously think I have some turkish blood flowing through my veins...except for the yogurt liking part.  Not sure I can ever join that team.


And along with the flu, a diagnosis of an autoimmune disease that had me both relieved to finally have answers and scared for how my life was going to look from here on out.  Along came my own personal health guru who arrived on a jet plane and talked and talked and talked me through my new life.  

And that whole thing where your best friends become best friends is just way way cool.

Girls need's just a fact of life.


Lots of hiking at the beginning of the month...the mustard grew well over my head and while it looks so pretty, lots of creepy crawly slithering things like to live underneath.  My trails are beautiful and I found some great podcasts (!) to listen to, but seriously, I spent a lot of time looking down for snakes.  

None yet.  Whew.

These two babies, born to parents who went to college together, are now going to college together.


Found myself a few Sundays having church at my lake.  I'm not one to ever miss but found myself slipping down a slippery slope...a slope that the devil himself was smiling and watching with glee.  I just was feeling...well, alone.  And that's the other thing...I'm used to being alone in church, so this whole lonely, feeling sorry for myself thing was just not groovy at all.

But church at the lake?  It was beautiful and quiet and....good.  It was just super good.

I had dinner with all three of my boys....something that just hardly never happens at this stage of the game due to where they all live, but we laughed and laughed and laughed.  Their relationships with each other are so hilarious and for that I am thankful.

They're a fun bunch, my houseful of boys.  Exhausting, but fun.


The oldest of our trio has been down this way quite a bit for gigs and I'm just soaking it all in every time he comes home.



We're hoarders...and here's the proof.


That guy that I like so much has had the most exhausting semester ever and it's just one major thing followed by another major thing and he never, ever complains.  But then I watch him catch moments in the garden...just him (and usually one or two of the older boys, if they are home) and he looks so relaxed and peaceful with a pipe in one hand and a single malt in the other.

This middle of life stage, while exhausting, is also quite fun.

The garden has woken up from it's long, rainy winter slumber and we've been filling it here and there with friends and family.  Garden party season won't officially begin until June...and I'm so very, very ready.


Easter - He is risen!  

And the bunny cake was yummy.

Trip one for me...Texas.

Lots of work and lots of rain.

We almost left one of the bosses asleep in the airport but in the end, decided it best to wake him up.  Someone needs to sign the paychecks.


Home for a weekend and there was a black tie gala at the university where that guy that I like so much works.  I grumbled about going but it was super fun.

And the next night, there was the dinner party at Ruths Chris...those hot plates with the sizzling butter are the stuff dreams are made of.

And then - back to work!  Florida this time!

It took me a few days to settle in this time around...I was just plain ole tired.  But this was such a sweet trip in so many ways...and might be my last one there.  It just makes more sense to have someone running the show from that side of the country rather than flying me back and forth, and I get that, but I have a great team there who work so hard.  

So I was able to see all of them...from Key Biscayne to West Palm Beach to Kissimmee to Ocoee to Tampa and wow, that was a lot of driving in four days.

Key Biscayne has the best cuban pastries in the world...filled with guava and cheese and served with shots of cuban coffee.  I could eat that same thing every day of my life and never get tired of it.  

So yummy!

By the time I arrived in Orlando, I was exhausted and when I walked up to room 1802, I noticed the sign 'presidential suite' and kind of laughed...until I realized they had given me a little upgrade.  All 2,000 sq feet of penthouse were mine for 2 whole nights...complete with an atrium with floor to ceiling windows.

Oh yes yes yes yes yes.

I almost called in sick...but didn't.


A first for me...called in this litlle 4 foot alligator to wildlife control because he was too close to where children were.

He was all freaked out...oh wait, that was me.  He just stared.

Flight delays - seems to be the story of my trips, but they're always a bit sweeter when I'm still on the company's dollar and can have a fancy cocktail....or two.

Bonus if you can snag an outlet, too!

And today, the last day of at our home church this morning.  Thai food for lunch.  A meeting at school (for him) and laundry and meatball making (for me), followed by a few hours in the garden.  He's off to yet another recital tonight and I'm off to bed...I need to be up and out early tomorrow morning.

Tis the season...but thankful for the moments.

Tomorrow is May and while the month will be busy, summer is coming.  I can see it...and I'm ready.  


Friday, March 10, 2017

Hey March!

And just like that, another month has gone by.  I blinked and it was over!

I've logged almost 100 miles on the trails in the last month...I'm finding that a long hike late morning helps clear my brain and makes me feel like my work life isn't winning.  I'm still struggling with things that are happening at my place of work and trying to find my new normal...and laced up shoes and fresh air are a big help.

That guy that I like so much came down with a horrible case of the flu, as did a few of my boys.  I became a mad woman, disinfecting everything that was in front of me.  Finally....FINALLY, everyone turned a corner just as this quarters shipment of bubbly arrived.  Perfect timing.

Lunch, while working.

Dinner, while not.

We had a strange, severe storm blow through and had so many broken trees and flooding all over these parts.  It was crazy....we hunkered down but it felt like the big bad wolf was huffing and puffing and trying to blow our house down.

So. Much. Rain.

But So. Much. Green.

A Saturday morning coffee with a girlfriend in Laguna.  The beach in the winter is so perfect...empty and quiet.  But then again, the beach in the summer features warm sand and my toes love that so much more.

I'm in love with rae dunn, love, love them.  Cute sayings, a funky (I guess some would say organic?) shape that hold a lot and are easy to drink from.  I'm on a constant hunt for them because they are so cute!

The ultimate, wad them up and throw them in your suitcase tuxedo shirts for that guy that I like so well as one of our boys who also lives in a penguin suit.   These are really only for travel and aren't cheap...but I like anything that can be thrown in the washing machine.

I wish our dog could be...he's pretty smelly right now.

I dropped my work phone and thought that meant I could take the day off.  No such luck.  Good news?  I got a new one.  Bad news?  Lost everything.

Such a bummer.

The youngest of our houseful of boys is home for Spring Break and I'll be honest, his hours of operation are doing me in.  His 'day' literally starts at 10:00pm and because I am a mother, I hear everything.  

But he's cute and I like him a lot and can't believe he's almost done with his first year of college.  Still on the pre-med track and doing well!

Sunday after church in a town 30 miles away and who do we run into but our neighbors.  It's a small world, friends....also known as 'you can run but you can't hide'.


That guy that I like so much has also been on Spring Break and so we lunched at Disneyland.  Mr Toad's is still one of my very favorite rides.

We took Brian to dinner at Nick's and splurged on dessert...they have the best spumoni.  And the best food.  And the best servers.  And the best everything.


The garden has been planted and we had our first supper outside last night and tonight, we will again. It's a bit chilly but it's coming party season is coming.  I can feel it...and I'm ready.

And those yellow poppies?  Dreamy.

The oldest of our houseful of boys makes the BEST, he's super cute.  Still teaching music, still playing trumpet and now he's a master baker.  

And not to be left out...but boy #2 is around too but I just haven't taken a recent picture of him.  Still working as an apprentice electrician for a construction company,  going to school,  dating his high school sweetheart. 

I blinked and they all grew up on me!

And that is that...all the pictures from my phone.  I'm still cooking (and cleaning) and walking the dog and parenting grown boys, working my way (slowly) through the book of Ruth and trying to work a normal work day.  I love that it is Lent and I'm trying to be more intentional about praying because sadly, my prayer life hasn't been all that great.  Hiking's usually quiet and still.  I am calmed by the faithfulness of God and that he never wanders or waivers, unlike comforting is that?

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