Wrinkled hands and long-winded stories

I went to Starbucks today to get some work done. Headphones in, head down, writing, writing, writing.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw him. Hunched and shuffling his way through the shop with a brightly decorated walking stick that he bumped against things as he walked. Wrinkled hands, wispy hair, teeth yellowed with time. He sat down at the table next to me, sipping his coffee and staring off into space.

I took off my headphones and smiled at him. He started talking so quietly I had no choice but to move to his table to hear him. And there I sat for the next 30 minutes listening to him tell story after story–of the love of his life, of his faraway travels, of his love for all things NC State. Of a life well-lived.

At the end of his stories, he smiled and said, “Thank you for talking to me. Sometimes I get so lonely, I come in here looking for someone to talk to. Thanks for taking time to listen to my long stories.”

In this season of giving, it’s easy to get caught up in the gifts we have to buy and wrap and send. But sometimes the best gifts are the moments where we give ourselves–where we pause in the midst of our busy lives and give love to a stranger, offer a listening ear to a lonely soul, spread light by being present.

I’m bad at this because I’m a busy person, but I’m praying for the presence of mind to stop. To see the lonely. To see the hurting. And to give them the gift of my time.

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Perfect summer day

The boys slept til 6!! A modern day miracle. We were so excited, we had to get a jump on the day.

We went to the farmers market restaurant and ate outside on a surprisingly non-humid morning. We followed up breakfast with some vegetable perusing and parking-lot nursing (just to keep things classy). After we got home, Lucas and I went on a pool date where we enjoyed perfect swimming weather and sunshine, made some new friends and laughed outrageously.

Lunch was a perfect tomato sandwich followed by a solo trip to trader joes. When I got home, we set up the water table for Lucas and he invited me to sit with my feet in the water while we chatted. We went for a walk and he walked up to Alex and Zachary’s house to knock on their door and ask them to play. Be still my heart. A dinner of appetizers and dessert followed by an early bedtime.

These are the perfect days of summer. The meandering, soul-nourishing, slow-paced days that restore my soul.

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Durham day

We spent the morning in Durham at the Life and Science Museum. We thought Eli would konk out, but he stayed awake for all the fun.

I’m excited as they grow to think about all the fun family time we are going to have, the adventures, the silliness, the laughter.

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Conversations with Lucas

While driving to work the other day, Lucas starting asking me what all the different animals say.

When he got to ladybug, I just bluffed and, without missing a beat, told him that ladybugs eat grass, probably.

“Grass?! Grass?!” He laughed. “They don’t eat grass, mommy. They live in the grass. They eat aphids.”

Because of course.
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As we were driving home from work the other day, I asked Lu what he’d learned at school that day.

“I learned about Esther.”

“Oh, was Esther a queen?”

“No, she was not. She was beautiful.”

“And what did Esther do? Did she save her people?”

“No, she did not. She kicked the ladybug with her knee and made it cry.”

Theology fail.

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This kid makes me laugh. He’s smart and funny and can be sweet when he wants to be. I love our little conversations and getting to hear what he’s thinking.

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964

Last week was a little crazy at work. On Thursday, I was running around town trying to find 5,000 nametags. Friday morning our staff was frantically adding said nametags to inserts and stuffing bulletins. Posters were delivered and lost. It was just sort of a mess.

But today we got the final numbers for Connect Weekend: 964.

964 people signed up to try a small group at Hope. That’s crazy–more than 10% of the people who attend on a weekend signed up to try a small group and grow in their relationship with Jesus. These are the moments, and the numbers, that make this move to Hope an exciting one.

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Control

I’ve come to realize in my old age that I’m a bit of a control freak. I’m not very organized and don’t have very good follow-through, but I want to be in control–of my schedule, of your schedule, of all projects I’m involved in, of life in general.

Today my schedule was out of my control. Eli slept through the night, so I woke late. Josh’s dead car forced me to drive across town, with kids in tow, at 6 am. A stomach bug hit after I made the effort to get to work with both boys. I had to take important work meetings over the phone and over the protest of a two-year-old and two-month-old. Josh got home super late so I was on my own for bedtime.

But everything was just fine.

Days like today remind me that I’m not in control of anything and that life can be fun and exciting and work out just fine when you open your hand and refuse to get bent out of shape about the little things.

 

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Further

I went for my first run in about 9 months today and it felt so good. I went further than I ever thought I could thanks to Gretchen and her encouraging words. We ran almost 5 miles. So proud of us!

Here’s to getting back in shape, to toning up these soft curves, to pushing past the point of pain and to getting results, one painful step at a time.

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