Come Visit

I like to contribute, when I can, to Five Minute Friday over at Lisa Jo’s blog. The place where we write on the topic for 5 minutes. Exactly five minutes. Don’t worry about typos, or making a mess. It is just you and the word.

So, I will take 5 minutes to write about the word of the week, VISIT. Here. I. Go !!!

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I love the word visit. It makes me think of family and friends and sharing memories. It makes my heart full.

I visit Maryland in my thoughts, often. The place where I grew up, and learned about all the things that made me who I am. When I go back to visit during the holidays, a part of me reconnects with my childhood. It doesn’t really matter that I am 45, Maryland is all about my childhood and the family that shares my memories.

I want and need to visit in Tennessee. The place that I spent over two decades of my adult life. College life, friendships that have lasted over time and distance, my years of teaching,  learning to bleed orange for the University of Tennessee, pinto beans and cornbread and fried green tomatoes. Enlarging my vocabulary to add “fixin’ to”,and  “y’all”. Everyone should spend time in the south.

Family and friends in Kentucky, Indiana, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York. I need to road trip.

After all the visiting I would come back. Home to the quiet rural landscape of Ohio. My new home.

Snapshots Of Life

When we are in our last moments, I’m fairly sure we will not be thinking about the job, the bills, or whether we were having a good hair day. We will be thinking about the moments that made up our lives. The things that changed us. Those moments that moved us. The love we shared and the times we cared. All the days that were filled with God’s amazing grace……

Here are some of my life moments, in pictures. I look at them and remember. I smile. I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I did. What are the snapshots of life that you long for? Decide, and then go out and make them happen. Make the days count and make the moments matter.

Thank you, God, for life………….

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17 NIV

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Memories of Childhood Christmas

Sometimes I go back and read through my previously written posts…and I believe my words are still as fresh today as when I first wrote them. This is a poem I wrote a few years back. Every time I read it I am transported back to my vivid childhood memories of Christmas’ past.  Maybe you will be, too?

Christmas Memories

Joy to the World,

 

sky so bright.

 

Church lit at night

 

childhood delight.

 

Christmas songs,

 

I’ve known so long.

 

Family together,

 

in all kinds of weather.

 

Jumping up and down,

 

as snow hits the ground.

 

Christmas trees,

 

of all shapes and sizes.

 

Beautiful packages,

 

filled full of surprises.

 

Mom’s special albums,

 

of Nat King Cole,

 

Bing, and Sinatra,

 

their songs don’t grow old.

 

TV specials,

 

my sis and I watched.

 

Charlie Brown, The Grinch

 

and don’t forget Rudolph!

 

All these are wonderful,

 

and dear to my heart.

 

Memories  mean so much

 

never to part.

 

But, above all else

 

what means the most…

 

is the proclamation of

 

the heavenly host.

 

“Unto you,

 

a Savior is born.”

 

With those words, everything changed

 

from that night on.  —– Written by Dawn Gibson

 

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11 NIV

 

 

Circa 1990

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Everyone seems to be doing “Throw Back” Thursday. I thought I’d add a picture, just for fun.

This is a picture of me, circa 1990. I was a fresh faced young adult. I had just turned twenty-two, the month before this picture was taken.

A new college graduate.

Everything in front of me.

Opportunity.

I would land my first “real” job in a mere two months from the time of this picture.

My adult life was just unfurling… I was new and green.

I thought I had it all together.

But, I had no real idea. Sigh, no idea…

The road ahead would lead me to some of the best times of my life and some of the most tragic.

Isn’t that how life is?

A constant mystery. Choices and decisions lead to other choices and decisions.

They knit together a life.

I look at this young woman in the picture

It seems a million years ago, and yet I remember it like yesterday…….

and I smile.

Memories Of The Moment

I was born in 1968, on a beautiful spring day, when many of our men and women were fighting in Vietnam. I grew up singing Simon and IMG_0213Garfunkel’s Sound of Silence in elementary music class, I watched Free To Be, You and Me with Marlo Thomas, and caught the Kroft Super Show on Saturday mornings, well before cable was the norm. As a teen, I listened to Michael Jackson’s, Thriller, and loved Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future. I had excellent grades in high school. Life was good.

I didn’t know war. It was always some place else.

I graduated from college in 1990. I was teaching at my first “real” job. I had my own apartment, car, and was taking care of myself as an independent adult. Twenty-two seemed old and young all at the same time. The Gulf War started and I watched the news coverage. I had my students write letters to the soldiers. I became a pen pal to a young man who was my age. He was a native Iowan, named Pete. We talked of sand, and scud missiles, and the autumn beauty of Iowa. I told him about my classroom at school, how I loved teaching and the leaves changing on the east Tennessee mountains. I wanted him to remember what home felt like….even in the midst of the heat and feeling so alone.

I didn’t know war, except through Pete’s man-boy scrawl. The war was someplace else.

It was 2001. That Tuesday morning started like any other, early September day. It was sunny and calm. My classroom was active with the wiggles that come from corralling energetic elementary school children. Little did I know that the minutes were ticking down on normal. Things were about to change…and my memories of the moments that were about to occur would be forever etched in both my mind and heart. I remember running to the office where there was a TV in the school conference room. I saw the planes hit, I distinctly remember the sinking feeling in my gut. The memories of pacing the floor in disbelief and uttering, “Are we at war?”

With these attacks, this horrible tragedy…war came home…and it has changed me.

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Forever.

O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me.  Psalm 30:2

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Remembering those who were lost on this tragic day, twelve years ago. Remembering the police, coast guard, firefighters, and civilians that served that day, and some that paid the ultimate price. Remembering the servicemen and women who have fought and continue to fight for our freedom.

 

Americana At Its Finest

I love going to the fair. Sure, it smells of animals and greasy fair food, but I do so enjoy it.

Last night we found ourselves at the Hardin County fair, here in rural Ohio.

The Friday night air of early September, was crisp, even a tad bit chilly.

It definitely felt like Fall is just around the corner…waiting just a few more weeks before bursting on the scene with all its fiery glory.

My husband and I spent time at our church’s booth, meeting and greeting people, sharing bubble gum, balloons, and Jesus.

The kids walked around the fairgrounds for a couple of hours, amidst the blinking lights, animal barns, and food booths.

We all agreed that if it can be deep fried and on a stick, people will eat it at the fair.

Americana at it’s finest.

 

 

 

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The Gift Of Not Taking Anything For Granted

I’m always amazed at how quickly the sand slides through the hour glass. It seems like just yesterday school was winding down, I was looking forward to the trip to Costa Rica, and the kids were off to be counselors at camp. Here it is, the last week of (unofficial) summer. School starts next week. It is not staying light as long in the evenings, and there is a slight chill in the air. Autumn is only a few weeks away.

 

 

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Time…I think I have all the time in the world. Don’t most of us feel that way? I complain this day is boring, or that day is too busy, I rearrange a schedule, or squeeze one more thing in, and still time marches on. A minute is always sixty seconds, there are always twenty-four hours in a day. The tick tock of time remains calm and even, no matter what is going on with me at the moment.

 

 

 

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Sweet, precious moments, and me holding the sand as it slides through my fingers.

The best gift one can receive is the gift of appreciating. The gift of realizing.

The gift of not taking anything for granted.

 

 

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There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens.  Ecclesiastes 3:1  NIV

Let Summer Begin!

The day started out gray, and for an early June day, chilly.

Beach shoes

Beach shoes (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

No matter the weather because this is the first official day of my summer break.

The summer season is ahead!

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Today I am thankful for:

* sleeping in an extra half hour

* a quiet morning

* first day of summer vacation

* a more relaxed schedule

* my two younger children are counselors this summer at camp, a great opportunity

* a trip to Costa Rica, my first time needing a passport!

* looking forward to this adventure with my husband, making memories

* beautiful flowers on the deck

* my husband putting up a fence on our back property…it is a lot of hard work and he is doing such a wonderful job!

* God who loves me, even when I mess up…so many times.






Stay With Me

The Gypsy Mama

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

Oh and Ahem, if you would take pity and turn off comment verification, it would make leaving some love on your post that much easier for folks!

OK, are you ready? Please give us your best five minutes on:::

Stay…

Time flows like white water rapids….fast, churning, sometimes exhilarating, sometimes terrifying. Never slowing down–never staying the same.

Oh, how I wish it would stay. I wish I could just blink my eyes and time would stand still.

amber sunrise

amber sunrise (Photo credit: harold.lloyd)

Stay with me, feelings of first love.

Stay with me, little boy with the dimpled hands, and toothless smile.

Stay with me, storybook time and sweet hugs.

Stay with me, birthday party surprise and friend’s smiling faces.

Stay with me, travels to places near and far.

Stay with me, parent that is now aging.

Stay with me, priceless memories.

Stay with me, young woman that said, “I do”.

Stay with me….

Stay.

 

 

It Has Changed Me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can hear my foot steps as I meander through the dry grass. The dog stops and sniffs the air, smelling the scent of something unseen to me. The sun hangs low in the sky, as the evening takes on the subdued hues of twilight. I stop and look toward the horizon. The silhouettes of the trees, dark against the fading light. I enjoy walking in the evening. There is a peace for me at that time of the day. The day is drawing to a close, and whether or not I have finished all I had planned is no longer important.

Time is valued the most when the pace is slow.
I am realizing this more and more. When I have too much to do, when the urgent steals the minutes, I lose time. Precious time. Sure, there are still twenty-four hours in each day regardless of schedule, but what is time for, if not to enjoy it?  There are too many things in this life that pull at peace. I never want to regret time lost, to that which is not worthy.

I drove down the road yesterday and saw a wild, mama turkey with her two babies. Last week a mama deer with her two fawn. I smell the fresh cut grass as I watch my husband ride across our yard. I notice the smile on the oldest son’s face as he shows off his new (used) car. I feel the scruff of  my son’s stubble against my cheek when  I receive a quick kiss. I hear the sound of the door slam as my daughter goes to take care of her horse. I appreciate the short back rub that I get. I laugh out loud at the antics of the dogs, and shrug my shoulders at the spilled food dishes. I smell the scent of vanilla and cinnamon in the air, and enjoy the blast of cold from the freezer while getting some ice for my tea.

English: A Canada Goose flying at Burnaby Lake...

Soon, I will hear the Canadian geese flying overhead and know that they carry the crisper, cooler days of Autumn, with them. The corn will fade and the tractors will chug with the sounds of harvest. The skies will turn gray, and there will be the hint of wood smoke in the air. The summer of 2012 will fade into memories. That is what I mean. Time….it moves on. That is why it is so important to me to enjoy the days, the moments, that make up this life….because they will not be here forever.

Slowing down, enjoying…..changes things.

It has changed me.

 

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.  James 4:14 NIV