Friday, May 20, 2016

Springtime Mercy Hunting : In Search of "Fine"

How are you?  I am fine.

That's how I began every letter I ever wrote until age ten :o)

'It's May! It's May!  The month of "yes, you may ... " '  (name that tune!)

"Yes" is all over our calendar.  Of the 31 days in May, only 8 days have nothing scrawled over them, and only two of those "nothing" days sit next to each other.  Maybe that doesn't constitute busy in your world but it sure does in mine.  I could see it stacking up back in March, and the things just  kept. on. coming.  All good things, every one of them ... but for an extroverted introvert who needs time alone to revive and restore energy ... well.  I kept finding myself  thinking and saying and writing, "May is CRAZY BUSY!!" and feeling the requisite adrenaline rush to determine whether fight or flight was necessary.  This is the self talk you're supposed to be wary of.  Finally, I rescripted myself to think/say/write, "There's a lot of LIFE to be lived in May!"  I also programmed myself with phrases like "This is going to be SO FUN!", "I can do this!" and "It's all going to be FINE."  Thank you, Gretchen Rubin and HAPPIER Podcast #57!

When I swiped through the pictures in my phone, I realized I haven't shared a Mercy Hunting expedition since last fall.  Mercy Hunting is looking for things new and delightful every day ... being mindful that God's mercies never come to an end and are new every morning; I snap pictures of things that make me happy and remind me.  Most often I find those things when I'm on my morning walk, but God's mercy doesn't keep hours.  

Just to catch you up, here are a few things that happened during this lovely spring ...

I walked through not one but TWO pairs of boots.  Although mud boots aren't the best footwear for taking exercise, I find my ankles feel just a tad too exposed when I wear walking shoes and walk through the fields along the creek.  Although I've not seen any snakes yet this season, there's evidence that cold-blooded creatures are coming out to play.  Our puppy Maggie had a snake encounter and was apparently bitten on her mouth.  We heard her yelp and saw her streak out of the tall grass heading for the house.  Her face was swollen and she was vastly lethargic for a day, then she was fine the next morning.  That should teach her to put her nose into snaky places.  Meanwhile, Blanca the cat lounged in patches of sunshine.

Nathan, our #2 son, turned 21 in February just before we went on a family cruise.  Twenty-one!  It seems like just yesterday he was learning to ride his bike in the cul-de-sac and playing Mega Man on the Nintendo.  He's the perfect mix of Good Times and Keep Your Head on Straight.  He works as a waiter at a popular Mexican Food restaurant, and takes great pride in serving his customers well.  I'm so proud of him.  

Ben, our oldest, left for Army Basic Training in March.  We've had seven letters from him since he left, and spoken to him on the phone less than 30 minutes in total.  But every letter and every minute on the phone has been a treasure.  We've also had two (form) letters from his commanding officer, explaining what to expect at the graduation ceremony, tactfully worded to convey, in case there was any confusion, that our son no longer reports to Mom and Dad but to the US Army.  We LOVE the company Facebook page where we get glimpses of what's happening in training.  The good news is there are pictures!  The bad news is everyone has the same haircut and clothes!  We're SO looking forward to seeing Ben at graduation!  

Always every year I think spring will never come, and that the trees will never fill out with leaves like they did last year.  I'm always sure the drought has finally done us in ... I am the ye, of little faith.  But slowly and surely, the green starts to pop out.  I was so sad that what I thought was our lone dogwood tree was cut down when the pipeline came through our back pasture.  But I found another small one this spring - what a delight!

We've had water in the creek pretty consistently all spring long, which is so great to see after years of drought.  Several trees lost their grip on the bank and fell into the water, but I'm learning that's part of the natural cycle.  The dogs love splashing down into the creek water to cool off.  They also enjoy dragging strange things into the yard for us to find; the weirdest of late was a leg bone from a cow (I guess?).  The cow was likely the victim of coyotes - our dogs just found the bone and brought it home.  You never know what you're going to find in the yard when you're in the country.  

As spring gained traction, the field across the creek exploded with yellow wildflowers.  It always makes me think of the field of poppies Dorothy has to cross to get to Oz that makes everyone fall asleep :o)  I started a meditation practice during my morning walks that has a significant impact on my state of mind, and this is the view before I close my eyes.  Then after five minutes of still, I look up into the green and enjoy a few moments of fluttering leaves.  

Our homeschool co-op's drama department continues to grow and raise the bar on the standard of excellence.  Every production, I wonder how in the world can they top this one, and then they do.  Aaron and Abbie auditioned for Alice in Wonderland, Jr. and Aaron was cast as the Dodo Bird a.k.a. The Monarch of the Seas, and Abbie was cast as Petunia, one of the Girls of the Golden Afternoon (the nerdy one, as it turned out).  The production was a rainbow riot of color and fun and the cast was packed with personality.  They had a BLAST, from auditions to the cast party after the final show that took over IHOP's big banquet room until the wee hours of the morning.  

I adore all springtime wildflowers, but it seems here in Texas bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrushes are the most special.  We don't have bluebonnets on our property, but I was delighted that our patch of Indian Paintbrush was bigger and more expansive than ever this year.

The Junior Class executed a successful Senior Kidnapping on a bright and cheery Saturday morning.  There was food and games and the whole shindig ended with a paint war that was much much fun.  Definitely a day to remember!

I found these white flowers, that vine through the grass and under trees and hang down the creek bank are wildberry vines ... maybe blackberries?  If you note where the white flowering vines are, you know where to look for a snack in a few weeks.  Whatever they are, they're delicious :o)

I always say the little blue flowers that appear first are my favorites, but it's hard to stick to that, once everything starts blooming.  Really, I love them all.

Lt. Dan and I attended several business training events ... wherein my brain came very close to exploding what with all the information.  One weekend, I checked in with the hotel desk attendant and she asked if I was there for the Star Trek Convention ... I'm still trying to figure out exactly why ... but when she asked, I started giggling and then she started giggling and it was a minute before we gained our professional composure.  I heard that Captain James T. Kirk - I mean William Shatner - was going to be there, but Lt. Dan and I were too involved in the craziness (in this case, the term is correct:  Crazy Fun but also a TON of learning) of our own business training and we missed him.  But, as you can see below, we did see some Star Fleet officers.

I got my car washed.  Which isn't really big news, except that it was "the works", professionally detailed, inside and out.  I don't know about you, but when you're supposed to list things that make you feel indulged, or things that are "treats", I have a hard time coming up with a list.  But I LOVE to have my car sparkling clean and feeling like new.  So last year I decided I would treat myself to professional detailing each new season.  It's the little things, right?

My Sweet Girl went to prom.  Maybe you thought homeschoolers don't have proms?  Ah no, that couldn't be further from the truth.  This particular prom is the Texas Christian Homeschool Prom, and the theme was Paris circa 1900.  Paris, complete with the Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, the Bastille, the Champs-Elysees, NotreDam, Point des Arts, and the Catacombs.  In attendance were Napoleon and his wife, Musketeers, traditional mimes, Vincent Van Gogh, Belle and Gaston, Quasimodo, Christine and the Phantom of the Opera ... and 1,760 High School students who danced the night away.

We have a frequent evening visitor these days.  He swoops across the east side of the treeline and then up into the trees over the standing water at the end of it.  Sometimes he likes to sit on the loafing shed.  Maybe this is the same barred owl that Abbie saw out the window once during English class?  If so, his name would be Merlin.  We never see his friends, but we can hear them talk to each other.

We had a girls night out and went to see Wicked!  What a fun show!  Hurrah for Dallas Summer Musicals!  

When I decided to flip my outlook on the month of May, I determined to say yes to three things:

1.  Yes to every opportunity that pushes me out of my comfort zone and toward growth.
2.  Yes to more life experiences.
3.  Yes to being busier, because being busy with intention and purpose renders the most satisfying rest.

It's been a month of blue skies and puffy clouds, wildflowers and wildlife, song and dance, learning and laughter.  It's been so fun!  I think I can do it!  It's all going to be FINE.  

I'm going to make it to June after all.  

Shared joy is doubled joy ... let's double the joy for both of us - what are you most grateful for today? Click below to leave your comment. I'll go first :

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