Category Archives: Relationships

Vacation recap: first leg of the journey

I realize that this is the kind of post that is really a diary for me, but I also wanted to give you some information on some cool things to do if you ever get a chance to visit Atlanta.

And the things to do were the only “cool” thing in Atlanta because they certainly know how to take heat and humidity to a new level.

On Russ’s “bucket list” was a trip to the College Football Hall of Fame. Thankfully the crew was interested as well and we all had a wonderful time here. The staff is mostly young kids and they were masked and yet their eyes conveyed a love for their job and an enthusiasm for college football that was contagious.

As we waited in line to get tickets a young man chatted with all of us. He asked each one who our favorite college team is.

Obviously he doesn’t know I am a stadium hopper….LOL…I told him I am more a fan of the atmosphere and love attending different games and just watching the fans enjoy their traditions. I told him we buy the team shirt and just enjoy being a guest at different places around the country.

He actually understood me.

But we did have to pick a team to go with our badges so most of us went Illini, though Russ opted for Rachel and Zach’s alma mater Millikin.

Every collegiate team’s helmet was represented and when you logged in the corresponding helmet would light up for a brief moment. So fun.

Also please note the gridiron stance of this bunch of goof balls…

Obviously Joel listened well to Lola’s only football advice given over the course of her life – be the quarterback and be so good you don’t get tackled. Ever.

The venue offers three floors, with a lot of hands on features and a wonderful movie that would turn anyone into a college football fan.

At all the displays, your badge works to personalize your experience.

These two cats had identified as Illini fans, when Russ walked up it switched to the Big Blue.

Chick-filla is the sponsor for this place so …

even this celeb knew us by name.

We had the privilege of meeting Terry LeCount. Just a tad older than us, he played for the University of Florida and was the second black quarterback in the school’s history. He also played for the 49ers.

He was such a nice man and so kind. It was an honor to read about the years he spent mentoring young students and now his work at the Hall of Fame.

While the second floor had all kinds of fun activities to do, it was the main floor that grabbed the kids’ attention and they enjoyed burning off some energy trying to make touch downs …

and field goals…

We loved the huge mural that featured paintings for all the schools and we even found the Chief.

After a trip through the gift shop where we discovered why Lola asked us not to touch the pyramid display of Hall of Fame golf balls….we let mom hold our badges…

cause she’s a team player of the finest sort…

and headed to dinner.

Russ had eaten at the historic Varsity many years ago and heard it might be moving to a new location. So we braved the long lines and lack of air conditioning and enjoyed burgers and fries…

Being a non-meat eater and worn out from the day, one of us was less than impressed…

The next day it was up and at ’em for a good breakfast and then a short walk to the Braves Stadium.

Zach had gotten tickets to surprise the kids. At the time he bought them getting to see Acuna was the big draw because Graham is a huge fan. Sadly the young player is off due to an injury to ACL, but we made the best of it.

We got there early enough for the boys to get autographs…

and stayed long enough for Caroline to down most of this gigando container of popcorn…with a little help from her friends.

The stadium is beautiful and clean, the staff was so kind and we thanked the good Lord and our son-in-law that our seats were in the shade…

On Sundays, following the game, they let kids run the bases.

Apparently this is a well-known secret as we stood in line for a sweet forever. There were moments we thought about leaving, but so so soooooooo glad we stuck it out.

As we got closer to the entrance to the field, we could see that you followed the line of families around the outfield and then the kids ran from first to home while we were urged to move along up to retrieve them.

Have mercy. I had no idea what a thrill it is to be in the outfield edge of a major league stadium.

We were snapping pictures on the run and it was making me laugh I was so happy.

I have been blessed to see the home field of the Cardinals pretty close up, but never have I walked where they catch those amazing fly balls as they crash into the wall.


And yes our boys were throwing themselves agains the wall like they were making that miracle out, until they were told not to by an usher ….oh my gosh.

How could you be 10, 8 and 5 and NOT do it???

Of course they all ran the bases, and G waited for little Miss to make it around and then took her hand to walk her back to us.

It was so much fun.

We drove on to our night’s stop and found an amazing place for dinner called Full Moon BBQ where apparently the chicken was good to the bone…

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When you get older….<3

This past week we have enjoyed some beach time with Rachel and Zach and their crew. 

It has been a deep joy in recent years to be able to do this with them and it is quite different to have no one in swim diapers or needing a pack and play. We can even squeak by without naps for what we still fondly call the “little two”.

Though truth be told, we could all use one by now as long days in sun and surf have taken their toll. 

The kids are all fish and love the water, and only Caroline still needs a life jacket in the pool. But the ocean is another story. 

Most days this week there have been strong warnings about the waves and undercurrent and so depending on age and skill, freedoms are varied and it has not been well received. 

Joel struggled today as his older brothers were allowed to venture out a bit farther sans jacket and so he chucked his and opted to build a castle on the shore. 

“When you are older…” is a carrot on a stick around here and will be for a number years. 

When you are older, you will, among other things…

Be able to ride your bike to a friend’s house several streets away

Drive a car

Go to the movies with friends

Get a part time job and make your own spending money

Go to college

Start a career


Make your own decisions about how you want your room to look and what you eat and your clothes and hair…

It’s all a wonderful world of freedom and opportunity and yet last week as I went for my morning walk I found myself thinking …

Now that I am getting older, it seems my my aches and pains multiply as quickly as my waist thickens and my metabolism slows. 

Now that I am getting older, I look at photos of myself and marvel at how much I am beginning to resemble my mother. 

Now that I am getting older, I think carefully before I do certain things because I know I can’t afford another tear in a shoulder or twist in the knee. 

Now that I am getting older, I spend time thinking if there is anything I have left undone or unspoken that should have been taken care of. 

It would seem life begins with a rush to get older and then at some point we pass that place where it seemed all would come together and we are on the back side of it wondering how on earth time passed so quickly. 

I want to call to these sweet ones and urge them to slow down. Enjoy being a child and a youth and a teen and a young parent. Don’t wish it away. 

But perhaps the pushing forward is all part of the plan,

And I want to call out to myself to steady the course. 

Yes there are parts of getting older now that are not so pleasant, but these times are rich with blessings. 

Wherever you are on the journey, God bless you with peace, contentment and an abundance of joy <3

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Often the most beautiful pictures are the ones I didn’t take <3

I love taking beach pictures. Even though I have quite the collection, I cherish every one. 

The ocean takes on different hues, the clouds or no clouds tell a different story. Sandy kids’ feet and shells, castles in various stages of the building process and the odd find of driftwood or a trinket lying half buried catch my eye. 

But today I saw the most beautiful picture I never took. 

Walking hand in tanned hand, they came down the beach around mid-day; weaving in and out of buckets, shovels, life jackets strewn about and kids literally body boarding up right in front of them. 

She laughed with the most incredible smile and sparkling eyes peeping out from under her ball cap and motioned to one of our own who had just rode a wave right in front of her and her sweetie.

Her companion nodded his silver gray head and smiled big too. 

Peaceful, serene, enjoying ever salty-aired moment, they strolled along as if they had all the time in the world ahead of them. 

I stood motionless as I watched them walk on past making their way down the sand. 

There was a short gray pony tail sticking out the back of her hat and I know from observing and being observed on age these days, they were maybe ten to fifteen years farther along than Russ and me. 

I wanted to run after them and tell them how they made my day.

I wanted to ask if they had been together forever or just found each other later in life. 

But it doesn’t really matter. 

The moment in time that was playing out in front of me in the midst of all the noise of music and waves crashing and kids chattering and parents warning them to be careful captured what we all went in our relationships. 

Overtime after the fourth quarter. 

I prayed a short prayer asking God if it be okay with His plans if I could be doing that same thing a long down the road of this journey with the one He gave me forty years ago.

I watched them until they turned away from the surf a little ways down from us to join a bunch of people of all ages gathered on chairs and towels, around coolers and umbrellas and more laughter.  

Obviously the generations they had raised and then watched be raised were having a vacation at the beach. 

Later I walked down just to see if I could get one more glimpse of them and she was standing in her pink cover up, laughing into the eyes of an older teen boy as she sprayed him good with sunscreen. He turned obediently and raised his arms and there was that smile again. 

I cried there and I am crying here. 

A glimpse into the future perhaps for me? 

I hope. 

I thought of all the wonderful people I have known who for whatever reason don’t or won’t have that and yet wanted it. 

I prayed again. 

This time for God’s love and comfort to fill the empty and hurting places in hearts. 

I prayed for me and for Russ and if this is not how our story goes.

And I thanked God for her. I don’t know her but I was so blessed to see her joy that it was almost as if it was mine. 

Last week we talked about peace and how one antonym for it is “lack”. 

We know that in all things God works for our good and His glory, but sometimes it is hard to see. 

I don’t know what the years will bring to Russ and me but as I walked away I thanked God for today and decided I am going to make a point of holding his hand as often as I can, while I can, wherever I can and especially at least one time on this vacation <3

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