Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Philadelphia Story, or Grace Upon Grace: the Prequel

With family and friends at Church of the Savior, Palm Sunday 2012 (4/1).
Several weeks ago my brother sent me a text message: "Is there any way you guys could come down sometime this spring?"  He's a junior at Eastern University, Philly, PA.  The first (and last) time our little family made it down to visit was during his very first semester, when Lincoln was roughly three months old.  Obviously we were overdue for another visit.  The only problem?  I had just promised my husband we wouldn't travel anywhere during his spring break this year!
We talked it over in the following week and decided on a solution: I would travel down with Lewis alone on Palm Sunday weekend, leaving Andy and Lincoln home for a "man's weekend" together.  That way, Will could at least meet his new nephew before the kid is crawling.  
During this trip, and on my way home, the phrase "grace upon grace" first entered my head and I looked forward to writing about it for you; yesterday's post just happened to get written first, during that grace-filled breakfast.  Here are some of the reasons why my Philly trip proved so grace-full:

  1. The sun shone brilliantly all day Friday as I drove.  And I had new sunglasses :0)
  2. Lewis and I were pretty in-sync with our needs for bathroom and nursing breaks, which made for relaxed stops in Chittenango, the PA welcome center, and Allentown rest areas.  At the PA border, I even got to enjoy a beautiful view of the valley before me and all the travelers coming and going while Lewis enjoyed his meal. 
  3. I pulled in to Will's parking lot with just the right amount of time to hug him hard, deliver his loaf of banana bread and Earl Gray tea, and follow him to a good spot to settle in a bit before the start of his lacrosse practice.  
  4. During those thirty minutes, I met both Megan and Abbey, the two most anxious to cuddle my newborn among Will's many friends.  Arranged for cuddling to ensue at the dining hall table while I ate with free hands.
  5. Lewis had a diaper...meltdown...during that practice.  I congratulated him for not doing that in front of his uncle, who might never have touched him again.  And the thought of that made me giggle through the clean-up.  
  6. Took a walk around Eastern's beautiful campus, soaking in the sunshine and blossoming and blooming.  On one of the walkways, the chalked message "Are you ready to be transformed by God?" spoke very directly to me.  "Yes," I smiled, "yes I am!"  No matter that subsequent chalk messages further along the path proved it was an advertisement for a play on campus that night.  God knows how to get this girl's attention :0)
  7. I enjoyed an evening with college students, the first in a few years now.
  8. Then I followed my dad's very thorough instructions to my weekend home at the Allison's house, family friends who I haven't really seen in almost 7 years.  And we had a wonderful visit.
  9. Saturday morning their daughter Melissa brought her two boys over for awhile.  They are delightful.  I got to participate in a "road rally" on plasma cars in the driveway, and marvel with them at all the different birds visiting the feeders over our peanut butter sandwiches.
  10. THEN I got a quick visit with my old friend Eric, the boy across the street with whom I palled around as a kid every summer during the weeks we house sat for the Allisons.  Fourteen years since I last saw him.  
  11. I drove back to campus to meet up with my parents, who came down both to watch Will's game and to see their grandbaby.  
  12. Though it was a rainy, raw day in southeaster PA, I stayed cozy in a comfy lounge overlooking the lacrosse field, where I watched an excellent game (2 goals, 2 assists by my bro, and a big win for the team) while visiting with my parents and meeting lots more college girls enamored with my baby.  
  13. After the game, the team's "tailgate" party proved to be a muy bueno Italian feast.  YUM!
  14. Then we headed back to the Allison's for some muy bueno dessert and more visiting.  
  15. Sunday morning, we went all together to Church of the Savior, where I was in Sunday School from approximately ages 0-10.  So...almost 17 years since I've been there.  
  16. Chatted with a few families still there from when I was a kid.  
  17. Will took us to a yummy (though greasy) lunch at his local Five Guys.  
  18. For the first half of the trip home, I got the company of my wonderful dad, with whom I sang and talked about all sorts of good, meaty things before parting ways at a New York rest area.  And so, even though the drive home was through crummy weather, the mood inside the car was happy and bright. 
  19. My final nursing stop was in a comfy leather chair of an Indian souvenir shop in the Turning Stone Casino.  I'm not a big fan of gambling or the smoky game rooms.  But I'm just fine with their glitzy bathrooms and comfy, quiet places to sit...even if it is over the top to stock an Oneida Indian resort with Plains tribal artifacts.  
  20. Last stop: I picked up the other half of my family from the Putnam's home in Remsen, and swapped vehicles with my hubby so I could sing songs to Lincoln in the last 30 minutes of my trip.  I missed that little boy <3
This is a long read.  If you're all the way to here, thank you!  Now go do this for me: look around you, whatever your day is holding, and find your own graces-upon-graces.  They are there, and you'll be blessed!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Grace Upon Grace

This morning, I return to my job as Office Manager at Beaver Camp.  I've been home for about 7 weeks, enjoying the opportunity to grow and learn about my "new" family of four.  It's a good family :0)  That alone is grace upon grace. 

But there's so much more! 

In the past several days, I have not felt stress about the start of this new season; indeed, I've even looked forward to the going-ahead-and-starting of these next ten weeks (then yet another season will begin with the close of school and the start of summer's camp schedule).

Last night, Lewis slept for his longest stretches yet.  He went 4 and a 1/4 hours his first leg of the night, then another 3!  This meant that for the first time, I was only up twice in the night. 

And this morning, he slept through my 5am alarm, my shower, my dressing and even makeup, my preparations of Lincoln's breakfast before either boy was up, my own "first breakfast," packing some of our supplies for the day, making the bed, and also Lincoln's first breakfast once Andy got him up.

There have been no long stretches of crying, and Lincoln is currently tucking Lewis into the bouncer using the mostly clean burp cloth I always have close at hand. 

It is an immature measure of God's care for us that says "if He loves me, He'll do good things for me."  Of course hard and even terrible things happen to us--that is just part of living in a broken world, a broken body, with a sinful nature that reaps us unfortunate consequences.  However, He DOES love to shower us, His children, with good gifts. 

And this morning has already been a good--no, many good--gift(s)!