Finishing well, Festus & French Toast

Lets get on the road by 7am they said. We stopped 5 minutes after pulling out of the driveway, to clear the leaking eyes, all started by my man,  yes, he man-cried …gah!             It was a slow start.  Then came the wrap around the building line.  Great place for learning patience, states my man, he just wants coffee! We finally really get on the road, heading north at 9am.

It was good and it was hard – like a bungee jump, positioned at the top, straining and waiting for the release. All those last times by here, over there. Oh and the remember when’s, accompanied by smiles and sighs. As the miles click by, the places familiar disappear from view, all behind us now. They’re still there, still breathing, just minus us two.

And its okay.

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Finishing well is ingrained in all things, a passed on trait. Clear the air, hug one more time, speak love, offer up kind words, bring laughter. Work hard. Let the tears fall, but finish the course.  Give of yourself, even when there is nothing left to give. It will come back, like bread across the waters. Know when to finish a chapter, don’t try to force another, just gently close the book.

The highway gets wider, the scenery changes and with it comes the chatter about this and that, laughter over silly things. Then there’s the embracing, that companionable silence that comes with knowing the one you are traveling life’s road with.  In a 5′ x 3′ space extremes of life come fast, from words read and talked about from ‘If’ by Mark Batterson to road signs that bring impromptu Elvis impersonations!

Positioned to face forward, rarely reaching back, except for a bottle of water or apples. The road ahead offers up traffic, detours and closed roads. All negotiable, keeping us on track, being directed due north on an external map, while following the guidance of an internal beat.

Festus – a place to rest for the night. Its meaning: joyous, festive. The young waitress, bringing that Broiche French toast with Bluberry Compote. Serving it up with a smile, compliments and a quick wit as my man challenges her for her lack of compliments toward him – the tip giver. He says she’s just like that for the tip, then a quick look around the room shows that not everyone there is joyous. Its one of those finishing well things… end the day with laughter, a quick smile and bring joy to someone else’s world. My man gives her a compliment about her sense of humor as she brings the check. Her smile lights up our table. A moment shared, at an intersection on a road of many miles traveled.

Oh and that French toast, best meal all day … except for that wrap around the building line coffee.

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Seasons,waves and wheat fields

Hey friends, its been a while, about 10 months or so to be exact!

Who would have ever thought that the ebb and flow of life could so easily determine ones routine. It wasn’t until I got the “pay for your blog” message that I realized how much I missed sharing my happenings with you, the unseen audience.

So here we are,  the POD has landed in our driveway, its opening begging to fit all we own into its 8′ x 16′ cavity. We’ve done the yard sale thing, the pre-yard sale thing and given stuff away to prepare for whatever lies at the other end…. in Seattle, Washington.  Wow! Did I really just write that? My man and I are moving – he says we’re going on a long term camping trip. And I don’t mind the sound of that – it says, this is what adventure, faith and long prayed over dreams are made of.

Seattle – that place that I dropped our youngest girl child off at 7 years ago. That place, that stole a part of me, with one glance at her green mountain grandeur, blue skies and waters … and yes, that misty rain. It was summer time then and I know…. I’ve heard it enough times since, that it rains a lot in Seattle! [It really doesn’t, its rained more in Mississippi here lately!]

For five years we have prayed off and on about this move, ever since I came back from that trip and blurted out the words “I could move out there!”

Its been a game of hide and go seek tug of war! “Here I am look at me” “Nope, I’m going this way” *yank on the rope* “Nope, your going this way” “Where are you?” *tug* “Over here.” Then we hit that season two years ago, when things began to change. Was this an open door?  It felt more like an open sea as the winds of change began to assail all that was familiar. Waves slapped hard at the familiarity of the boat we were doing life in.  Then it happened, the wind and waves became still and we knew.

And we remembered that time we took a left instead of a right out of the panhandle of Texas and ended up in the wheat fields of Oklahoma. Miles and miles and miles of nothing but amber, golden grain, and those words in my head “the fields are ripe for the harvest, but the workers are few.” My sensibility arguing back “well of course that’s what I’m going to think, while staring out the window at nothing but wheat fields!”

Look a building in the distance, at a crossroads, ask for directions. An abandoned building, its inhabitants long gone. Keep driving.  A few more miles and a few buildings, a man putting up letters on a sign outside of a church …. he steps out of the way, right as we drive up. His job done, ours just beginning. The letters wove together the words “Welcome Harvesters”  and in that moment when breathe is taken away and tears form, the way is made known.

Saturday, October 1st is get on the road day and head north to Michigan to visit with my man’s mom, then its onto Montana, for visits with his brother and an old high school friend and those wide open spaces, big blue sky, mountains ….moose and bears! Then finally into Washington state late October.

So much to share, but for right now its enough to know that indeed our steps are being directed and after 27 years of gulf coast living, we are moving to the pacific north west coast…..Sunday is party day, where our church family who have loved us well all those years, will bid us farewell. Say a prayer or two, leaving and letting go is never easy.

Come join us on the journey through my ramblings…and of course the photos. See you soon.

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Mash-up….

What did you just say? Mash-up?

Don’t you just love that word? Conjures up all kinds of mind boggles right….or not. I just love the sound of it, the inflections you can throw in there, how it just kinda rolls of your tongue. You tried it, right? Got ya.

I first heard of this word when listening to a post by Pastor Louie Giglio of Passion Church when he did this awesome science/creation piece based on one of the psalms that talked about the stars  and the animals of the deep praising God! It was amazing, listening to the recorded sound waves coming from those twinkling lights in the sky. Then he added the sounds of some whales talking, then dropped in a Chris Tomlin song on top of it all  and wow….just wow!

As explained in the dictionary: a mash-up is something created by combining elements from two sources…..such as a piece of music created by digitally overlaying an instrumental track with a vocal track from a different recording OR a movie or video having characters or situations from other sources.

I got thinking about us …. my kids, my dad and the uninhibited joy we all get from dressing up!  We can definitely “create some combined elements”.  I don’t know when it all started but as I look back through family pictures and look at the ones we post on Facebook there is always one of us clowning around …. bringing laughter to the environment we are in.  It’s the one thing that keeps us together, even though we live in different US states and other countries.

As far back as I can tell, my dad started it!  Come on now, he just won best male character dress up at a 60’s/70’s dress up party he went to at the retirement village where he lives!!

I followed in his footsteps and taught my kids to do the same. From impromptu dressing up as little kids, to vacation bible school, skits and just because we can and want to moments. It all lays in that innate ability to laugh at ourselves and make others laugh with us in the process. You should be with us when we have those rare moments of all being together – I promise you will hear the laughter being belted out and see the tears roll as I go into my silent, laughing to hard to breathe mode!  It’s the simplicity of  truly loving and enjoying one another.

It is an overlay of who we are as individuals and the combined element of who we are as a family …. one child who was adopted out, who found us and was embraced into our hearts and lives, one child who came from a broken marriage and who became the focus of doing life together as just the two of us,  one child who was adopted in and now lives nearby with his family,  and the two who came from a second marriage, that was founded on acceptance, love and a forever commitment.

As I think about that word mash-up, its who we all are.

Each of us created individually and perfectly from the combining of  two elements – the desire of our Creator to love and be loved.

It doesn’t get any better than that.


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Heinz 57 and Grace

I think the tendency to liken grace to Heinz 57 varieties could be valid.  You know there really are 57+ varieties of Heinz products. Of course, the most famous is their ketchup. In years past a new plastic bottle emerged, just squeeze it and that tomato based, red sauce goes wherever you direct it. Sure the lid gets a little messy if you try to close it mid- squirt, and if starts to run low, just add some vinegar, shake it up and you’re good to go. Oh, and if that bottle starts making those noises, go ahead and chuckle. We all do!

Don’t we do that to grace? Tend to aim it where we want it, get messy with it, dilute it?  Now before you come at me with theology based reasonings, critical assessments or even doctrinal correctness, I have to tell you a little something, just so you know, I receive grace on a daily basis. So please just go with me as I try to figure out what it looks like.

Come sit at my dining room table with me, would you? Seated? Good, now let’s say grace. “Thank you God for this food we eat, help Billy keep it on his plate and off his lap, look after Uncle Sam and Aunt Sue as they travel, and please keep PJ’s goldfish alive one more day, thank you. Aaaa-men.”   Honestly, will I ever truly grasp the depth and width of this five letter word.

Webster’s dictionary defined grace in a variety of ways – 10 actually, but I want to see if I can find a glimpse of grace in this one to start: Clemency (mercy, leniency, pity, charity, forgiveness, compassion, kindness).

Who has ever exhibited greater measures of pity and compassion on people than Jesus Christ?  He opened blind eyes, healed withered arms, gave barren women children, poured living water on dry souls, forgave adulterous women, restored the dead back to life (one was 4 days dead!), set the demoniac free, wept for a nation and forgave those who persecuted Him. Is this grace?

…… and I can’t get over the cashier who was rude or that loud, obviously agitated woman on her phone, standing in line right behind me.  I get so annoyed at the three teen’s walking in the middle of the road like they own it, at that old man who just keeps talking, like, I have nowhere else to go and who on earth is letting their kid cry like that?!

Then you have this story in the Bible about a widow woman named Ruth, who put her reputation on the line, to go sleep at the feet of male relative. Why? Basically, she was saying, I am willing to risk everything I am, to bring honor to you as my kinsman redeemer (two amazing words right there, check them out). Well, what if people found out that she had slept at his feet …*insert big gasp*… all night?  Her reputation would have been smeared, she would have been shunned on “principle” and forget about any hope she had for a good future.  Is this grace?

Here’s another definition of grace: a special favor (benevolence, courtesy, service).

Boaz, the man whose feet Ruth had laid at, had given her protection as she worked in his fields. He shielded her from uninvited looks and ill-intended chatter.  He provided safety for her, putting her among his female workers, in the best field. He gave her security in providing food and drink. He had heard of her. Her reputation of kindness and goodness, had preceded her presence. He was humbled by the simplicity of her actions. He defended her by rightfully doing everything he could to make her his bride.  Now I’m seeing it. Can you?

Psalm 23 says ” The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want….”  He refreshes, restores, gives no reason to fear evil, He protects, comforts, anoints in goodness, mercy and unfailing love all the days of ones life.

For the mother on her knees in the middle of the night, praying for a wayward child, He is there…listening, ready with His answers.  At the wedding, the birthday party, He is there … celebrating right along with everyone else in the midst of the love and laughter.  At the funeral, He is there…. grieving with those who mourn, comforting as only He can.  He is there …. with the one alone in a kitchen, making provision, even as she is wondering where the next meal will come from. He is there … in the dark, with the abandoned child, preparing the heart of a family to take her in. He is there … laying with the desperate one, strung out on drugs, as He carves a way out of the mess. There it is. Grace in full view.

HE is grace. I have seen Him.

P.S. Read the Book of Ruth, it won’t take long, its only four chapters.

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Rainy days & Birds

You know it, that saying -

You know that saying, “Birds of a feather flock together” … well in this case, adding some different feathers, makes for a bigger flock!

Make sure everyone you're hanging with is going the same direction .... then you won't be left standing on one foot.

Make sure everyone you’re hanging with is going the same direction …. even if you’ve only got one foot on the ground!

...... sometimes you just have to leave the rest of the group for a closer look.

…… sometimes you just have to leave the rest of the group for a closer look.

Just sayin’ 😀

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Saturday’s …..

Slowly clambering out of bed, being careful not to wake my still sleeping hubby (hereafter to be known as my man). This was my second wake up, the first time, as I looked at the clock, I thought, “Nope, not today” and dozed for another 30 minutes. I love Saturday’s! Saturday – that one day that gives me a different routine from my Monday to Friday of work, meetings, girlfriend lunches, reading, studying, dreaming and just doing life.

Life in the fast lane, the turning lane, at the red light waiting for the green light, at the stop sign, or even pulled over, out the front of your house, with some blue lights brightly flashing behind you and a spot light glaringly invading your mirrors! A courtesy pullover I received this week … my license plate light was not working … glad the polite young officer told me, but did we really need all his lights lighting up the neighborhood? 😉 Checked yours lately? ($3 at Auto Zone).  So  how do you do it? Life, that is.

In 1963 a young married couple with two children, left their homeland of England, to travel to the small island nation of Singapore, at the tip of Malaysia. On a three year assignment from the Royal Air Force life was different, immersed in a foreign culture.  Bumps in the road of their relationship, eventually led them to seek a better life in another country.  Leaving the air force behind, parents and siblings in England, they now immigrated to Australia, with their three children. They tried, but they never could flatten out those bumps. After a time they each went their separate ways, finding a new life with someone else.

In 1982 a young married couple with 1 child and another on the way, left Australia where they had met and married, to go to America, his homeland.  The wife had made a promise “wherever you go, I’ll go, your people, will be my people.”  As she was walked through the airport terminal to board a plane that would take her halfway round the world, leaving family and country behind, an older woman walked beside her.  As they approached the gate, she slipped a ring off her finger and put it in the hand of the younger woman, saying, “Now don’t cry, I love you.”  The younger woman, swallowed the huge lump in her throat, glanced down at her hand, and put the ring on her finger. It was a ring she had long admired. It had been bought at an antique store in London, England, by the older woman on her first trip back to her homeland since leaving in 1963. It was also the time she joined her remaining siblings as they buried their mother. Phone calls and hand written letters filled with photos of a growing family had kept the older woman and her mother close. Now the younger woman would do the same.                                                                               The circle of life.

Thirty one years later, the younger woman, returned to Australia to see her family.  She had kept up with the phone calls, the letter writing and sending photos of her growing family.  Excitement filled her heart at the thought of seeing those she had loved from a distance for so long: her father, a relationship that had been healed and restored over the years of communication; her oldest daughter, birthed in fear, restored in love, which in and of itself, is an amazing story, but that’s for another time! Hopes of seeing her brother and younger sister filled her mind. Would they want to see her?  The long absent older sister, who didn’t really know them. Then the bonus visit with her oldest son and his wife, who had decided in their first year of marriage to move to Australia, the land of his birth.  Then there would be the visit with the older woman, her mother, that carried with it all the emotion of knowing this indeed would be the last time they would see each other.  She was very ill and her life was drawing to a close.  Armed with the knowledge her daughter was coming to see her, the older woman bypassed a long held nagging fear that she would not see her daughter again.

So many emotions clamored and begged for the attention of the younger woman on that 14 hour flight – but one quieted and covered them all.  That deep seated peace that had held her life together for 31 years, did so now, as she flew far above the ocean’s floor below.   Life indeed is a circle.

For four days, for a few hours each day, mother and daughter laughed and cried, remembered and laughed and cried some more. They hugged a lot. Together they ate their favorite cakes and drank cups of tea….and talked about life. The good life they both had lived. Then, it was time to go. Just as that younger woman had walked through the airport terminal that day she, once again, lifted her head, pushed her shoulders back and hugged the older woman one last time, a little bit closer and a little bit longer. Walking out the door, she turned from what was and focused on what lay ahead.                                                A life that needed to be carried on.

Life on earth stopped for the older woman, my mother, one month ago today.

So as I remember her today, I want to ask you, what distance is there in any relationship you have?  Don’t let time, miles or words build up, write that letter, send some photos. Go ahead and make that phone call.

Love each other well and as much as you are able be at peace with all men.

Until next time

Ava

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Hello world!

Well, its finally happening! After setting this blog up a little over 6 months ago, I’m finally getting around to writing something! Aren’t YOU glad you didn’t hold your breath, while you waited to hear from me?!

It’s been six months of mountains climbed, valleys walked through and sunsets watched. Its been a defining time in my life personally as I pursue what I believe I should be doing in this season of my life.

The blog name “two with one heart” depicts many things – my journey through life with my husband, my individual connection with each one of our five children, how I feel when that friend I cherish, laughs and cries with me. It depicts those times when I am alone in my comfy chair, a good book on my lap and a cup of coffee (or tea, depending on how English/Australian or American I feel!) nearby. It is a myriad of things that represents who I am and who I know myself to be.

I hope that as I begin to write (more frequently…. promise!) that you will accept my invite and be drawn in to discovering more about who you are and who you can be.

Until next time – “Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” (William James)

Ava

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