Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Life...Day to Day...

It is Tuesday already of another week...where is this time going?  Seems like the world has sped up and the days and weeks just fly by like a blur.  Even when I don't have a lot going on, it just seems like every time I turn around another week is starting.
I really don't have much to say, but it has been about two weeks since I posted anything, so I figured I needed to write something.  I have been in a writing slump lately and just don't seem to want to take time to sit down and think about what I am writing. 

When I got back on blogger I discovered that they have changed the format some and I can't find the spellcheck, so if anything is misspelled, please over look it because I am a bit lazy today and decided to just type without dwelling on it to much.

Not a lot going on in my world this past week.  Just the usual routines of house work, cooking, kids, homeschooling...
Lauren has been gone for several days.  She went down to Charleston, SC to nanny for our pastor and his wife while they were at a retreat.  Their youngest child is four and she didn't want to stay behind, so instead of Lauren staying with all three of the kids, they left the older two with someone else and took Lauren along with them.  She had a great time...enjoyed the resort and having a villa to herself.  It was almost like living on her own again for a few days.

It was Andrew's weekend to work, so Megan, Noah and I went shopping Saturday. Noah wanted to go to the mall so he could ride the carousel.  So as much as I despise going to the mall, especially on a Saturday, I relented and we fought the crowds at the local mall.

They both ended up getting a few things while we were there, so I suppose the trip wasn't a total waste of time.

Sunday AM we had a good service.  We are in a four-part teaching series about "Starving for Love."  The first week was geared toward the family, the second was about spouse to spouse relationships, this week was about our relationship with the community.  They have all been very good.

Well, I am still reading Jon Katz books, have been really slow at it lately.  To many distractions I suppose.  But I am rather enjoying the books.  I am reading "A Dog Year" now.

Still have a couple more of his to read.  I don't know what I will read next, after I finish all of Katz' books.  I picked up "Clay's Quilt" the other day.  I have intended to read it for years now, but never have gotten to it.  It was written by a guy in Kentucky who lived a couple of counties over from us when we were in Kentucky.  It was actually published when we lived in Kentucky.  When I worked at the library one of the ladies that worked there told me that her daughter worked with him.  He was a mail carrier for the post office.  So I have put it on my to read list for years, but for some reason it always slipped by.  I was in the H section looking for Hosseini, the author of "The Kite Runner" and I found Silas House's book.  So I decided to get it and read it finally.  So I think I will start it next.

Well, I am just rambling more than usual so I will shut up for now.  Maybe next time I will have something more interesting or profound to share...until then I will leave you with a couple of quotes...

Today's Quotes

Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint on it you can.

~Danny Kaye~

Life is the sum of all your choices.

~Albert Camus~
Life is like a ten-speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use.
~Charles Schulz~

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Chicago at the Close of Summer

A trip that almost wasn't; due to weather conditions we ended up in Chicago at the close of summer. It is a trip we will never forget.

I was going through so photos on my computer and I ran across some I had taken in Chicago two years ago. It was the end of summer and we had a trip planned for Florida. However, the week leading up to our trip the weather caused us to change our direction. There was a hurricane in the gulf and they were predicting landfall in Florida during the time we were to be there. So we begin to discuss alternate plans for our family trip.
We discussed flying to San Diego, because the kids really wanted to go to the beach. However, trying to get a last minute flight proved to be an impossible endeavour. Did I mention that our trip would include the Labor Day holiday? Anyway, I was unable to find tickets that would guarantee that we could all sit together on the flights and the prices were more than I wanted to pay...so we begin to discuss where we would like to spend our holiday.
Since getting a flight to anywhere at that late date was out of the question, we got the map out and literally drew a circle that would take us ten hours or less to drive from Little Rock.

Because going south was risking running into hurricane weather, and we've already been south, we decided to go north...Chicago was our pick city.

We drove into Chicago after dark and the lights of the city were beautiful. There was a warm breeze blowing and the city was hustling. I had made reservations at a major hotel at the Magnificent Mile. After getting into our rooms, we ordered some of that famous Chicago Style Pizza for our supper and looked out over the city from our seventh floor suite. We were all tired from the trip but decided to wake early the following day to start our fun.

We spent a few days sightseeing, shopping till we dropped and enjoying the cuisine. We walked all over Chicago, at least our part of it. We logged in quite a few miles on that trip.
On Labor Day evening we walked down to the beach at Lake Michigan to enjoy the sand and water once more. The day after Labor Day the beach closes and the kids go back to school, and Chicagoans get ready for winter.

Being from Louisiana where we are notorious for only two seasons...summer and not summer...I wasn't prepared for the sudden change of weather. It was just as though someone flipped the summer switch off the next day. The evening before we stayed at the beach until about 10:00pm. We walked back to the hotel and down the Magnificent Mile one last time before we were to leave town and it was a wonderful summer night. Warm breezes blew from the water and everyone was dressed in beach wear and flip flops.

The following morning we woke to rain and cold winds. It was as though winter had come while we slept. Driving out of Chicago was a much different trip than driving in. It seemed we had stay much longer than a few days. We came in during the summer time, as we left winter was moving into the city. I suppose Chicagoans are prepared for such weather changes, but for us, we were only prepared for summer weather.
As we drove down the street, people were hailing taxi's dressed in long trench coats, hats and scarves. It felt as though we, in our lightweight clothes and summer shoes, had suddenly been dropped into another world. It felt foreign to me, unlike the place I had come to know and enjoy in the week prior. It reminded me that every place has its good qualities and bad. The day before I was thinking that I could get use to living here, but on that rainy and cold morning, I realized that living there might not be so great after all.
As we drove further south, back toward Little Rock I thought back on the week. If I go back to Chicago, I think I will go again during that same time of year, so that I can once again enjoy the closing days of summer. Only this time I will be prepared.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Restless Wednesday

The last few days there has been a restlessness about me. I can't seem to settle into the daily routines like I normally do. After being sick for what seemed like a month, we all are feeling much better now. I suppose that might have something do to with the sudden restlessness that has enveloped me as of late.

For so long we were inside and not feeling well, and it was nice to have the haven of home. Wrapping ourselves in Granny's warm quilts and spending long days in our pj's were welcomed activities. While we were sick, those things were nice and comforting, but coming out of the sickness, much like coming out of a long dark tunnel, we are experiencing a bit of "cabin fever." At least I know this to be true of myself. I realized this morning what I was feeling and why I seemed to be discontented and not able to concentrate for long periods of time. I have found that even the task of reading is not an inviting one, as much as I love to read and even though I am in the middle of a very interesting book, I just can't seem to keep my mind there now.

I was looking back through some photographs and found these two. They were both taken last March. We had just come to North Carolina looking for a house to move into and the weather had been bad. We left Little Rock and followed the cold and snow all the way. And true to this type of weather, I had been sick for the whole trip. Eventually ending up in the emergency room at 3 o'clock in the morning.

We weren't having any luck, after days of searching for a place we wanted to live, and being so sick and drug hazed, I wanted nothing more than a reprieve from the stress of everything. The four of us had been staying in a fairly small one room hotel for several nights, spending our days riding around in the car for hours looking at one house after another. Desperately trying to learn the layout of the area and decipher where we wouldn't mind spending the next year and a half of our lives. Noah, who was three at the time, was very restless and tired of being confined, and was especially rowdy and cranky thus adding to the stress of it all. Not getting enough rest and due to the influence of medication I was so worn down, I just wanted to be left alone to sleep. But that wasn't to be, there was work to be done and in short order. The longer it took for us to find a place to live, the less time we would have once back in Little Rock to actually get everything ready for the movers to come pack.

One day we just decided to forgo the usual routine of searching and chose instead to have a "play day." A day for a road trip, to clear our heads and come back refreshed and ready to tackle the task at hand. This was just such a day...

We drove south to Wilmington and then to the coast ending up at Carolina Beach. Driving along the coast road I could smell the ocean. Looking out across the inlet I could see the sails from the boats in their docks. Being a lover of all things nautical, I felt an ease and a sudden peace begin to flood my troubled spirit. I knew that everything would be fine. I relaxed and was comforted.

The sun was warm and the breezes light off the Atlantic. We spent several hours basking in the glow and the warmth. I'll never forget how the sand felt underneath me as I lay there listening to the sound of the ocean waves.

While Andrew and the kids played nearby, I closed my eyes and slept. It was the most wonderful sleep...The warm sun shining down on me, warming my body, but also my soul. I know this sounds strange, but it felt to me as though God was reaching down and healing my body and my spirit. After that day I begin to feel better, we found a house and went back to Little Rock and survived yet another move.

So on this day, almost a year later, the long winter and sickness once again has me in need of some warm sun and ocean breezes. However, since the weather is not cooperating, I suppose just a road trip would do. Someplace I haven't been or rarely go. Something new for my eyes to see; a place to breath different air.

I suppose my nature is such that I often need to kick out of the rut I dig for myself. I can go some time on the same track, but then I reach a breaking point where I have to have a change. It doesn't necessarily need to be a permanent change, but something to break things up a bit.
Something that will help me to change the way I view the rut. Sometimes people get so bogged down in the daily routine they become like a kiddie ride at the carnival. They go round and round on the same track for so long that they see things the same way they always saw them...nothing changes, they stop growing, expanding their minds and lives. They die before they die. They become the walking dead.

I suspect my gypsy ways are a direct result of the fear of that happening to me. I have watched people who day in day out, year in year out, have lived the same lives, driven the same roads, done the same things...I decided long ago that I couldn't live that way. It may be fine for some folks, maybe that is the life that fulfills them, makes them happy. Not me, I would wither away, shrivel up and become a shell of myself. My creativity would dry up and turn to dust. Change is for me a way to recharge to view things from a different prospective. A way to open my eyes and really see again. Change has become my best friend; my closest companion. I seek it out, need it and desire it regularly. Without it, I could not exist...it is just a part of who I am.

Some people would see that as a character flaw, and I would not deny that perhaps it is one. But just as some people seek security and routine, I desire change, new places, new territory, new challenges, new prospectives. Perhaps it is just part of my nature, my personality, a part of me that was shaped by some event in my past. But I think it is just the way I was wired. An extention of the same nature in us that causes some people to like some things and detest others. What we call our preferences...

I know often times our lives become such that we are no longer free to indulge our preferences. But in the midst of living a responsible life, finding little things that bring life back into our rut; give us a new outlook, a new attitude; can be a welcome respite.

Due to the weather and prior appointments, I will not be taking a road trip this week, but I am looking at and planning one for the very near future. Something to shake up the daily grind and blow some refreshing breezes through my staid routine.


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