Sunday, March 30, 2014


I spent the past two-and-a-half days at Beaver Camp enjoying scrapbooking with the smallest group of ladies in a long while.  And that meant that the hosting was low-key, the conversations were in-depth and meaningful, the encouragement was tangible.  

I came home this afternoon not sure if our boys would be asleep yet...and they were hiding under a blanket on daddy's lap, waiting to jump out and surprise me with the most wonderful, WONDERFUL Welcome Home smiles.  I have such sweet boys.  

I could have jumped right back in to taking care of my family by making them a real dinner...but instead I ordered pizza and a salad and we had family movie night in the living room.  We rented Frozen--which really is a delightful movie.  Near the end, when the guy you thought was good but is actually bad reveals his true character, Lewis declared him a Bad Guy, complete with smashing gestures.  He has such a discerning heart (you know, for a 2 year old).  And at the end, when the bad spell almost wins but love saves the day, Lincoln cried.  He has such a sweet heart.  And then he gets all cuddly and reminds you that he likes you.  Actually, he loves you.  Ah, my mama heart!

And somewhere in all that action, Fred came into the living room with a mouse in her mouth.  Way to go Fred!!!  But of course, it's startling and the mouse was still alive at that point, so we all rushes around and managed to get FredandMouse out the front door so she could take care of it in her own fashion...  

While the boys went up with Andy to brush their teeth I cleaned up the mouse guts that Fred left behind in the entryway.  There wasn't much, and I couldn't find any more Mouse outside on the porch or I'm hoping Fred tossed the rest of that mouse away somewhere, and that it isn't all in her belly...  Yuck.  I'm all about that mouse being dead and not in our house.  But it's still pretty darn yucky to deal with guts, even for a girl who is fascinated by biology dissection labs and the like.  

And then I headed upstairs to help Andy finish tucking our boys into bed, and give lots of kisses, and give Lincoln a chatting story about that time when I was a piece of wall (by request).  We're serious about storytelling entertainment around here.  

Sometimes days happen that remind me my own normal, busy, distracted, wonderful life really is made up of some serious storytelling entertainment.  And so is yours.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Simple Gifts

This past weekend has been so wonderful, and I didn't take a single picture of it for you.  

The highlight of it was returning to my high school to watch their musical production of "Titanic"--which also happens to be the first-ever musical I performed in, 12 years ago when I was a junior at the Academy.  

The first gift of the weekend was finding out that, for the first time ever, my dad was able to leave his job on time, which meant that he and I got to enjoy a daddy-daughter theater date together.  He's usually on the phones at work an hour and a half or more past "quitting time."  Our prayers through the week wrought a small miracle, because, you know, God cares about the little things, and He cares about our desires. 

The next gift was given by my mom, who despite exhaustion after a day of shop-vaccing a flooding basement, babysat my boys for the evening so I could enjoy the show.  

And an extra piece of that gift was that she let me leave earlier than expected to do a little SHOPPING!  I was hoping to find a pair of great-fitting jeans at TJ Maxx.  I didn't.  I miss when everything was boot-cut style.  And I miss jeans that are cut for short people.  Instead, I bought a top and new cute-crocs that went better with the jeans I've got, and made me feel fresh and pretty.

And the sun was shining on a 52 degree evening in Canandaigua.  I literally smiled my way across the parking lot and had to consciously slow down my excited lead foot all the way to the school.  I drive faster when I'm happy.  Do you?  

(As I write, I have all these beautiful mental snapshots illustrating my words.  Too bad you can't see them along with me!)

And then, the gift of the weekend--sitting in the auditorium of Canandaigua Academy to take in every last minute of the stunning and excellently done "Titanic."  I LOVE this show, and am always just blown away by the quality of the performances, and performers, of the CA theater department.  And of course, because of my roles in "Titanic" and "Les Miserables," there's a very special piece of my heart connected to all the memories I made there.  

I started crying about 4 minutes into the show.  When the captain, the owner, and the builder of the ship sing their first trio--oh my, there were Ryan and Joe and Dick, right there on the stage of my memory.  And that lasted all through the show: the ghosts of the actors of 12 years ago were all over that stage, living again in the wonderful kids performing this time around.  In their faces and voices, I saw Jake, Cyp, Ryan, Sarah, Katie, Dick, Phil, Katherine, David, and others. I saw them up there, and the beauty of it teetered back and forth along that fine emotional line I had set for myself.  I had expected, even wanted to cry at this show.  But I didn't actually want to sob uncontrollably.  And so between my own memories and the thoughts that these characters were real people, full of hopes and dreams that drowned in the Atlantic--well, let's just say the line was very, very blurred.  

At the end of the show, I got to chat for a few minutes with the director--my director--Scott Schauman.  When I found him to give him a hug he said, "One of my Kates!"  And you know, it just warms a girl's heart to not only remember, but to be remembered.  

Lots of simple gifts.  

Friday, March 14, 2014

Heart Friends, Tho I've Never Met Them

For a little over a year now, I've given a part of my heart to a family I've never met, but with whom I've cried and ached and laughed and longed for heaven

Aaron and Stephanie Kelley are currently in Kenya, Africa as medical missionaries.  Well, Aaron does the medical part, Stephanie does the school-teaching part, and together they do everything else that goes along with living with and loving their three boys and a community of Kenyans and other missionary families.  

And for a full year now, they've walked through the Valley, praising God in the storm and letting Him carry them, because their little girl, Hannah, went to be Jesus on March 14, 2013.  

Because of their pain--and their triumph in the midst of their trial--I have grown and been challenged, and been altogether edified and exhorted in pursuing steadfastness and Love for my Jesus.  

And it's not even that I just haven't met them.  I haven't so much as commented on a blog post of theirs.  

And yet, because my Heart connects with them, and connects with the story God is writing through them, I love them.

Maybe I should tell them <3  Thank you, Jesus, for this family.

For the Kelley family, at one year.  
Psalm 138

I give You thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart;
       before the gods I sing Your praise;
I bow down toward Your holy temple
       and give thanks to Your name for
       Your steadfast love and Your faithfulness,
For You have exalted above all things
       Your name and Your word.
On the day I called, You answered me;
All the kings of the earth shall give You thanks, O Lord,
       for they have heard the words of Your mouth,
For though the Lord is high,
       He regards the lowly,
       but the haughty He knows from afar.

Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
       You preserve my life;
       You stretch out Your hand against
       the wrath of my enemies,
       and Your right hand delivers me.
       Your steadfast love, O Lord,
       endures forever.
Do not forsake the work of Your hands.

See their Story for yourself at Mom on a Mission and Aaron in Kenya

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Spring Will Tip-Toe

A few weeks ago, the boys and I took our first stroller walk in months (our first ANY walk in almost as many months).  It was 40some degrees and thrilling.  And I asked the boys if they could spot any clues that spring is on its way.  I was expecting something like "puddles," or "wind."  Instead, Lincoln's response was a little more profound: "Because the days just keep passing, mommy."  

But I've kept my senses peeled to the clues, and these are some of the ways I know my hope is not in vain.

1) The air is suddenly more humid:

  • My split fingertips are healing, and I know it isn't because I'm putting cream on them more or cleaning any fewer messes;
  • When I climb out of the shower in the morning, our vent-less bathroom has begun to drip its ceiling condensation instead of being just steamy enough to make my nose comfortable;
  • Foggy mornings happen sometimes. 
2) The sun shines more often than it does not, and it is shining WARMLY, whether or not the windchill agrees.

3) The skunks have woken up.  A few nights ago I was literally woken from a deep sleep by the horrible stink of fresh, very close-by skunk spray.  There's a family of skunks that live in our back woods, so we always know when they're about!

4) Fred the Cat wants to spend some time outside again.  For many weeks it was a very forced fresh-air-and-potty break.

5) Even if I'm wearing lightweight capris for sleeping, I've spent some time awake most nights recently because I'm too warm.  And when I get up with Lewis, I still put on my hoodie and slippers, but I'm not actually scrunched up with bearing the cold until I can be back in my own bed. 

6) Playing on our sliding hill last week, I noticed hints of shimmering green on some tree buds (HOORAY!).

6) The lady bugs are exploring my home.  They were the very first sign that spring is near, beginning their investigations of my home lots of weeks ago.  

And we've all got our senses peeled for Spring.  Yesterday, climbing into our van, Lincoln noticed this Sign of Spring: mud!  And in the evening, the boys and I played in our front yard snowbanks without hats or snowpants.  And while we played, we discovered THIS most hopeful, most wonderful sign that Spring will be here soon, no matter what snow Events come our way between now and then!

This morning, as the sun climbed over the horizon and lit up our porch roof-slide, Lincoln claimed the dripping edges as our latest Sign. 

She's coming, friends.  Slowly, tip-toeing into our hearts and into our land.  But just as surely as the sun will rise, just as surely as my God lives and loves, the Spring will be here soon.  Take heart!