Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Josie Girl Turns One!

We all love this little girl. Who could resist?
We love that she's named in honor of our son by his best friend.
And now she's One.
Happy Birthday Sunshine Girl!

Numbers 6:24-26
The LORD bless you and keep you;
the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Angie's Day

Angie's Sunflowers
Yesterday my friend Sharon honored the 2nd anniversary of her daughter's death. I worried for her and prayed for her all day. These anniversaries are not happy days like wedding anniversaries. These are terrible days that have you bent over in pain, trying to figure out how you will get through the next 24 hours.

You need love and comfort and a plan to get through these days, but it's still never enough. You brace before they come, and you're exhausted after they pass, and the day itself requires something else--something that you don't feel you have inside of you. Courage, I guess. It's like walking into a hurricane and being pretty certain you will be swept away by the deafening swirling force. But you walk into it anyway-because there is no other way through.

A few days ago, I found out that my college roommate was sexually abused by her father when she was growing up. She had lots of headaches that year we were together at college. Headaches that would require the lights to be out, the window shades lowered, and silence in the room. It irritated me at the time. Now I get it, and ache for her. She had the perfect family, the perfect college professor father, a Christian leader, a missionary. I envied her for that. Now it makes me angry...and sad. How cruel is life.

I am overwhelmed by the sadness of life right now. Trying to find sunshine, but seeing shadows everywhere.

My roommate found a way through her storm. She's started a ministry to comfort others who've been through trauma. I read her beautiful poetry and see she connected deeply with her perfect, compassionate Heavenly Father to comfort her sorrow. Ahhh. Good. Sunshine.

I too experience bits and pieces of sunshine, often just enough for the day at hand. A verse here, a promise there, a bit of good news, hope in a dark world.

And I just need enough for each day.

Psalm 27:13
I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living.

Lamentations 3:22-23
It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness

Friday, June 18, 2010

Two Graduations

Both of my beautiful 11-year old granddaughters graduated from elementary school this week. This provides fodder for an abundance of emotions and thoughts for all the adults in our family. We are by turns proud, nervous, clingy, nudging, and misty-eyed--and this is only elementary school. The kids seem to be mostly glad that they are moving on to the next thing. Sure they will miss their friends and their schools, but there's a new adventure ahead. For Joe and I, it's another reminder that the conveyor belt that is life just keeps moving forward, ready or not.

My granddaughters attend two different schools so the ceremonies were very different. Yet watching all the parents in each audience, I was reminded again how deeply people love their children. They are the hope carriers for every generation. Both faculty and parents were so tender, so encouraging and affirming, so eager for them to enjoy this landmark moment in their fleeting childhoods.

Isabel's class wore matching "I Survived" t-shirts and had an informal ceremony focused on honoring their school and their years of camaraderie and friendship there.

We're just grateful we get to be present at such moments. It's such a privilege to share their lives. They are beyond question the most important people in our world and their is no sacrifice for them that is not worth the price.

Isabel isn't one for a lot of fuss, and she only wore these leis for a second, but she tolerated the attention and the ever-present camera pretty well. She seemed to like this squeeze from her Mom best of all.

Graduation, continued

Clare's graduation ceremony was more formal. The graduates dressed up and took a final walk through the halls of their much loved school. The other students lined the hallways and applauded them. The faculty focussed more on each individual student and gave them the charge to use their gifts and talents to make the world a better place. The reception after included cupcakes in the school colors with a picture of each child on top!

Clare patiently tolerated the clicks of three different cameras, and multiple formal poses very well. She wouldn't don the leis we brought till after pictures. Here she smiles with us, her proud Nana and Papa.

Then she does it again with her proud Dad and Mom...

And finally with her proud Chu-Chu and Poppy.
We eventually let her go get a cupcake and say goodbye to her friends.

Though the two schools handled the details differently, they both echoed the same message:
Our beautiful, beloved children, even these young, newly blossoming ones, hold our hopes and dreams for a better world in their precious hands.

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.
You're on your own. And you know what you know.
You are the guy who'll decide where to go.”
Dr. Seuss

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Weddings make me sad. For the obvious reason. I try to be there for my friends, but really, they just make me sad. Twice in a row, in the only two weddings I've attempted, I've ended up leaving the room at some point in the festivities. Actually, that mother/son dance did me in this time. And now, Father's Day is coming, and I'm in a state of profound sadness, yet again. How those days stack up. I have a mind-numbing stack of sad days behind me, and more to come.

I took my granddaughter shopping yesterday. She needed summer clothes. She's going to Florida for three weeks. I can't bear that she's leaving. I have to get used to it, I know. They leave.

If they could see inside my heart, I would be prone on the ground, holding them by their feet, as they drag me along, pleading, "please don't leave. don't grow up. don't explore. don't risk life. just stay. please."

But I don't. I just press it inside where all those sad days are stacked up.
Mind-numbing. Unspoken. Sad. Days.

My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.

Psalm 119:28

Monday, June 14, 2010

Window into a Wedding, Part II

In the salon, getting prettified, the bride (in the white shirt) and her bridal party are captivated by the "Growing Up" slide show that they are watching between hair-dos. This was a special quiet moment for mother and daughters and closest companions. A look back at all the days that led to this moment.

My dear friend Alison, standing in the back and leaning over, is the Mother of the Bride. She's a happy mama. She's invested so much into her daughters and is so happy to see them so happy.
The bride just graduated two weeks ago, after many years of hard work, from UVA med school with both an M.D. and a Ph.D.. We are all understandably impressed. And all very glad that she's finally got enough time in her packed schedule to marry the man she loves and get her MRS! (silly 50's joke. )

The bride's sister and Maid of Honor is getting married this year, too. Here she provides good cheer and liquid support. That's what sisters are for. They always know what's needed.

And here, a couple of hours later, the happy culmination of all this time, effort, and expense
--the Big Moment!

We did it!!
Let's get this party started!
They are thoroughly enjoying this wonderful set apart moment, for on
Tuesday, her residency begins.

Come live with me and be my love,
And we will some new pleasures prove
Of golden sands and crystal brooks,
With silken lines and silver hooks.
- John Donne

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Window into a Wedding

Aged brick pathways
through overgrown hedges.
James Monroe greets you at the end.
We are, after all, at his farm.

An enormous welcoming gazebo
all set for a reception--
twinkle lights, twigs, tulle
and trees everywhere.

flowers in bottles hanging from the rafters

a romantic lover's nook

and this view.
oh my.
A gorgeous setting for such an important event.
The exchanging of the most sacred promises:
for better for worse
for richer for poorer
in sickness and in health
till death do we part.

Street Art in C'ville

meet moonlight

noble cause

your time

into each others eyes
like it

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Charlottesville Weekend

We're at a dear friend's wedding this weekend. We're enjoying the beautiful hills and dales and flowering trees of central Virginia.

The centerpiece of the town is the University of Virginia, and this is the jewel in the crown.
The Rotunda on the UVA campus, designed by Thomas Jefferson.

It's shares architectural similarities to his home, Monticello, just a few miles away.
The wedding will be held later this day down the road at Ash Lawn-Highland, President James Monroe's farm home. We're enjoying our little history lesson very much.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Something We Don't Like To Do

Saying goodbye to Rachel...

At the airport.
We have a number of these goodbye photos, with Rachel at the airport with her backpack, which I guess means she always comes back.

We love this beautiful girl, and always miss her when she's gone. Rachel's life has changed so much and yet she has the courage and faith to go on. That's easier said than done. Still she presses forward and is slowly rebuilding. She has grace, compassion and patience.
We are so proud of her.
Big hugs, Rachel, if you are reading this.

We miss you...

PHI 1:6
...being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.