Category Archives: Relationships

Another one in the books <3

So yesterday was my birthday and also one of our full days with the Fab Four so it was a roller coaster from the moment my feet hit the floor. 

Russ made it extra special with a cake and a trip to a kind of destination driving range.

Picture a bunch of little patio type arrangements where you can order pizza, hit balls off a square of astro turf, little hands pulling out multiple golf balls from two huge buckets, a driving range with funny cutouts all over the expanse that you can aim for…plus four kids wielding clubs like the final battle in Lord of the Rings all in said small enclosed space and you pretty much have a visual of my party. 

We had a lot of fun and no one was injured so it was awesome. 

The cake was beautiful.

The kids were all about making sure we got candles on it, and I must say it was a proud moment as Graham dug through his mother’s plastic ziplock bag of assorted candles…some previously lit…some brand new…all different colors and designs.

I raised her well and the really important lessons have stuck because I have a similar bag in our bakery cabinet and it mirrors the one my mom pulled out every birthday of my childhood…as well as our own kids when they were little and happened to be at her house for a birthday. 

He found a “6” and enthusiastically dug through some other numbers, but alas…no 3.

So true to his genes, he began to find three matching candles and proudly stuck them in the cake in a row following the 6. 

Not to be outdone, Caroline grabs the bag to pull out two more of her own choosing…which brought a rather lengthy and vigorous discussion of how that was not going to be right for Lola’s age. 

I intervened and offered to take a picture of the true and honest cake representing 63 and then we would let Caroline add her extra touch and we would take another picture of that. 

It seemed to be acceptable to all parties although there was still a bit of a sad look in Graham’s eye as he lit all the extra ones, because he knew in his heart I am not ready for medicare and candles don’t lie

…and they sang and we pulled out those candles to save for another day…and dined on cake.

There were texts and memes and Facebook kindness showered down to bless the day plus dinner with my birthday twin and her husband plus Tia called while I was putting Caroline down for nap and read us a story.

A delight for all of us.

Later last night John called and as we chatted he asked how it felt to be 63. 

Interesting question because I don’t really “feel” 63. I feel all the ages and stages I have been and my life just keeps filling up with more and more of all the good, bad and ugly that is life on planet earth. 

I don’t really feel older…just fuller and fuller…and not just of cake.

Full of emotions and full of wonder at all that has been the days and years of my life.

I have started projecting on how old I will be when various little people I love reach certain milestones…71 when Graham graduates high school….75 when Caroline is able to drive…and then I stop thinking about that at all.

Because when I am those ages…if still the Lord has plans for me here…I will probably be shaking my head saying how I can’t see how I am that old when I don’t feel any older inside.

And I will most likely look at photos of me and marvel that my face has aged even more and there will doubtless be aches and pains and deterioration that no one warned me about or I simply chose not to listen.

But inside, I know I will still feel all the ages I have been and I hope and I pray that I have grown in grace and mercy and love and that I will still be a tree firmly planted by streams of living water…that’s the goal anyway. 

Blessings my friends…this journey is made rich by the people we travel with and you all are some of the best <3

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Birthday-palooza for John 2021

The celebration for John and just being together was so much fun for me I am probably going to over share but I can’t help myself.

Having family together and then throwing in assorted friends is what makes the journey so very special.

So here we go with some of my favorite pics from the weekend:

I love that they make room for each other and the two sisters were all in to make time for their “little” brother.

Last year we did our best to celebrate without much contact. He dreamed up an old-fashioned softball game at the park and requested ice cream cake and this year he expanded on the concept.

My week was kind of jam-packed leading up to the party, plus being the king of connectors he had quite the growing guest list, I pulled out all the stops on easy entertaining…

and even resorted to purchasing one of these..

to which a dear friend who knows me said…who are you, even???

But I knew the point wasn’t fancy food or Pinterest-worthy decor…the point was celebrating with friends

and family

and yes, sadly we were missing Zach…because gotta put food on the table for that crazy train of brothers and one sporty sis.

Speaking of food on the table…

we were delighted to see some old friends (please note Joel…hanging out in his own little bistro)

and new friends…

and just all the people we love to see who share life with us…

Before we feasted, we headed to the park and built our own field of dreams.

Since softball requires dry weather, we were thankful for beautiful blue skies…

and a hilarious mix of talent on both teams.

We enjoyed some serious competition…

where blood was not thicker than pine tar…

and yet some people….seemed to literally drop the ball for the under 6 set…

allowing him a supreme advantage…

cause you are only little for such a short time.

The party continued the next day as boys’ games were canceled and we maintained the fancy party theme….

where the object of the game is to sit as close to Papi


Uncle John as possible.

Also…we decided we do silly better than serious…

We had an impromptu overnight with the Fab Four due to canceled games and late notice and just that it’s fun so everyone went to church with us (again…sadly missing a dad who was scheduled all weekend!)

We bid a fond farewell to this group at pizza on Sunday afternoon…. where yet again…flavor of the day…

provided the fun.

While this one continued to stick very close to the side of her mom ….

On Monday we headed towards that airport that made it all possible with time to squeeze in a hike with this one…

and Russ and I thoroughly enjoyed traipsing along behind them as they quote lines from movies we have never seen and sang lyrics to songs we do not know…and we couldn’t have cared less if we understood what they were talking about or not because just too much fun to watch them be together…

It was one for the books and all in all…you know what I am going to say…so go ahead and say it with me….

Best. Day. Ever.


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The fullness of Joy <3

Yesterday we took an impromptu visit to the zoo with the Band of Brothers and Miss Thing. 

It wasn’t a particularly beautiful day…overcast…a little on the muggy cool side, and it worked out that their neighbors were interested in going and so that mom connected with us for a meet up. 

She thought it would be fun to treat all of them to a ride on the ancient carousel that is kind of the grand finale of a trip through the zoo and so as we waited for our turn to board, Caroline speculated on which animal she wanted to ride on as she held tightly to her little token like it was made of pure gold. 

Eyes dancing, she weighed in on various options and then set her heart on the “chocolate bunny.” As I looked at the paint-chipped animals creaking by, I had to laugh when I saw one that did indeed look like one of those Easter confections with the weird pink eyes. 

I pointed out to her that there were children ahead of us and our host that would have first pick, but God smiled on her little blonde head and she was able to clamor up on to the bunny of her dreams. 

We thought it a good idea that one of us ride with an arm between her and the open concrete to her left, since the child seems to have a penchant for scrapes and bruises. 

Since I was trying to keep my balance on the rickety ride whilst holding one hand out to her side…so as not to let her know I was actually going to catch her if she fell because she is one free spirit, I have only one blurry photo of her before we got going.

But I have a highlight reel in my heart that is a treasure moth and rust cannot destroy. 

As she started going up and down and around and around, I could hear her laughing and squealing. No expensive ride in the grandest theme park of any of the greatest of engineering feats by Walt Disney could have evoked any more joy. 

Several times she looked back at me and called out, “Dis is sooooo much fun!!! I never rode on da carousel before! Dis is my first time!!!!!”

Now it is entirely possible that she has indeed ridden on this icon of the local zoo, but with Covid entering our world and taking us all out of anything public for so long, she may not remember. 

But for her yesterday, this was her first time that someone said yes to the ride and put a coin in her hand and she got the animal she wanted and life for Caroline was good and full in that moment. 

And for me…oh my…I am reminded of a truth I have learned in my later years. 

Joy hurts. 

The fullness of people that God has blessed me to love and be loved by literally fills my heart so full at times that it feels it might burst wide open in a beautiful but almost painful way.

It is one of the parts of getting older that I had not heard of, but I can tell you that every year stretches this heart of mine wider to make room for more love and I can almost physically feel it expanding. 

And every time I gasp for breath as I feel my entire heart is growing like the old Grinch movie and will bust right out of my chest, I pray that God is pushing out the very last remnants of self-centeredness and pride so we can make room for more of His kind of love.

An old hymn speaks of the concept that at the Cross, joy and sorrow meet.

I feel certain that as we allow the pure love of Christ to rule in our hearts, we experience this mysterious mingling more and more.

The simple and ordinary moments become sacred and what may have just been a fun and happy memory becomes an offering of praise to God that we were given the chance to participate in as something precious and untainted in this broken world. 

I pray for you moments that are so filled with joy, they make your heart threaten to burst…not all the time…that would be too much…but just when you need them the most.

Journey onward my friends…we are not just getting older, God is making us better <3

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