Fynneus climbed in bed with me and Jim early this morning and whispered "Nanna, after we eat breakfast, can we go to Starbucks - and to that other place that Poppa went to?" I said do you mean Bass Pro to which he replied "Yes, Can we go to Starbucks and Bass Pro?"
Joy is planning our Sunday with our beautiful grandson!
Sweet Fynneus is spending the night with us. He has already asked me if he can have Broccoli for dessert tomorrow! That's because, as we all know, Broccoli is good for little boy muscles! And at 4 years old it's all about the muscles!
I stepped outside today for my morning run to find cloudy skies. However, everything looked dry so I began my warm up stretches. As I began my last round of stretching, the clouds opened and the rain poured down. I headed back in the house with great appreciation. It was so worth crawling out of bed at 4:45 for those two minutes - to stand in total silence under a dark sky and marvel at the beauty of the universe! Thank you Life!
I have been shopping for the past several days getting ready to mark my entry back into the work world. I have been excited to contemplate the changes that will occur in our lives (mine and Jim's) as I begin working again. I have enjoyed this time away from the busy-ness of my career. I have been given a gift of time and that is so very precious in the fast paced lives that we live.
But it is with great anticipation, great expectations, and great appreciation that I move forward now. Life is so good and I would not ever trade this amazing ride for anything different! Enjoying the Ride Every Day!!!!!
I sat at Starbucks today with my favorite drink - Americano with creme, and deleted old text messages off my phone. I had so many conversations with Jenn and Liz. Lots of I love you's followed by x's and o's! Christmas plans, pictures of Liz's boys, pictures of pumpkins, Thanksgiving messages, notes from Rudy, plans with Darrin and Tyler and so much more.
I was reminded as I read these old messages that a part of my history was captured in this little device that allows me to communicate with so many people that I love!
Jim and I visited our first Mississippi State Park since moving to the mid west. We hiked around their artesian fed lake with John Wayne and with weighted back packs to make the hike a little more challenging.
We are planning to go back to New Hampshire this fall for some hiking and kayaking in the mountains, so we are spending a portion of each weekend hiking and week days getting physically fit. Our longer term goal is to hike a portion of the Appalachian Trail.
But with each hike, each walk, I see something new. Today I saw Cypress trees standing stately in the lake. I stood in a large clearing at the top of a hill overlooking the water and imagined others who have walked this trail for years and years before me. And I felt Joy standing under the clear sky, trees reaching straight up, knowing that this beauty had been shared with others.
I believe Jim was a cowboy in another life, and now has to settle for just reading Louise L"Amour books! We have a stack of books by the bedside and he reads them over and over. He dreams most nights of living in the wild west, and longs for a simpler time. A time when cowboys "ruled"!
This week he got a shot at being a cowboy for a day as he joined in the National Bird Dog Championship that is held in LaGrange Tennessee. 250 horses spent the afternoon following 2 dogs chasing a half dozen birds. The end result - a really really really happy man!
I have begun a new writing practice session this week. Today is Day 3 of a 40 day session. I continue to struggle with the new lines and the new curves yet I keep pushing myself to write. I have practiced all the letters in the alphabet along with a few ligatures (two letters connected as one) and still it feels tedious. I practice writing the letters in the air - big bold letters, and I breathe into each word, each sentence, each paragraph. I cross the letters out if they don't meet my expectations and I try again. And again!
Still, I love this challenge. I must stop mentally and physically to write anything, and therein lies the beauty of this exercise. I am here, writing, breathing, changing. And that always brings me Joy!
As Jim and I sat in a restaurant tonight enjoying a wonderful dinner together, we began to count the Valentines we have spent together. Turns out it's 38!
Thirty eight years of love! 38 years of sharing chocolate! 38 years of flowers! 38 years of romantic cards! 38 years of sweet surprises! 38 years of affirmation of our life together! 38 years of promises kept! 38 years of dreaming dreams!
As we end this day wrapped in each others arms my only wish is that I want 38 more with this wonderful man who agreed, long ago, to be my one and only Valentine!
We spent the weekend with very dear friends from Michigan visiting us. We did a little sight seeing in Memphis, visited the Ghost River Brewery, checked out Beale Street and the Flying Saucer for a new brew. But the best times were just the conversation we shared for the past few days. Catching up with family news and sharing stories. Remembering old times together and hoping to plan a reunion that will include grandchildren and sons in-law.
It has been 14 years since we left Michigan and began our travels that have taken us to the middle and then to southern Indiana. Next, we were off to Florida for several years and now a little further north to Tennessee. And yet, time with good friends from long ago, erase all those in between years and it's like we've never left. This is Joy! A weekend with friends - Priceless!
Liz and her boys came over tonight for her birthday. Dinner, ice cream, presents, knock knock jokes, playing with John Wayne, hugs, kisses and then good byes. It all goes by so quickly, just as another year has passed since the birth of our youngest daughter. But there is so much Joy packed in all these years, and in this moment. I am so glad that Liz is in our lives and I appreciate the Joy that she brings to us! Life is good celebrating these moments!!
We have discovered that John Wayne is a "pack" dog. Meaning he likes to hang with the family! He wants to be part of, if not in the middle of, any group or gathering. He spends most of his evenings, when we are home, snuggled between Jim and I on the sofa. He always likes a part of his body touching us, and will stretch as far as he can to touch both at the same time. When I leave the room he pulls my jacket down and lays on it until I come back. He paces back and forth in the morning until I let him run to the bedroom and entertain Jim as he gets ready for work. This little dog has made us smile so much and has stolen our hearts as he makes himself right at home in our pack!
We watched the Super Bowl at Liz and Thad's house last night with friends and family. While it's fun to watch the game, many of us are there for the commercials and a few times we all laughed out loud. It was wonderful evening to share food, drink, laughter, hugs and lively conversation. The power of the Super Bowl - bringing us all together for a delightful evening. That is Joy!
Saturday has turned into one of those days when we had nothing "important" to do so Jim and I are finishing up the little things that always get put off until later. He stained his fly tying table. I have replaced the leg pads on all the kitchen chairs. I made a batch of rice for the coming week. He is fixing the frame on the picture over the living room fireplace. We are re-adjusting the mirror in the dining room. He is shortening the blinds on the living room windows, I am organizing the pantry. And on it goes.............
But we paused together this afternoon for a slice of chocolate fudge cake and a cup of delicious coffee. Both of us feeling great appreciation for this productive day of "unimportant" things!
Scrolling through iPhoto today I came across Fynn's 3rd birthday party. He is going to be 4 on Monday and I am filled with love and appreciation to be living close by so that I don't miss this wonderful ride with our grandsons! They make life so Joyful!
The weather has been very cold and mostly cloudy all day long. Just when I didn't think I was going to see any sunshine today, Liz stopped by with Tucker, Rollin and Fynneus and my day got a whole lot brighter and a whole bunch warmer.
Jim gave me a Spa package for my birthday titled "A Little Peace and Quiet" so I have spent the day at Serenity being pampered like never before! A wonderful massage! Delicious spa water! (with lemon, orange and cucumber) Scrumptious lunch! Delightful manicure! Sensational pedicure!
Life is good with A Little Peace and Quiet! Thank you Jim!
A cold front has moved into Tennessee this evening and I am rounding up all my warm clothes for my walk in the morning. The temperature was in the 60's this morning and it is spiraling down to the 20's as I write. It is surprising how fast the weather changes and how fast we automatically adjust. A couple of warm days and we are quickly shedding layers. A fast moving cold front and we are adding layers.
And at the same time learning that the weather can only be experienced in the Now. A lesson in being present. A reminder to enjoy the moment.