So Much Good Stuff

You guys! There is so much stuff going on! I had been feeling overwhelmed, but now I’m just feeling blessed. I’ve been going through the most recent online IF:Equip study on the Spiritual Disciplines and it’s been so magnificent. It has reminded me to slow down and lean into God instead of hyperventilating over my super long to-do list. Which I already knew, but sometimes you just need a different voice to remind you.  I even wrote this post for Renewing the Heart Ministries about what I’ve been discovering (or re-discovering and putting into practice.) I’m still struggling in certain areas – always will, no doubt – but they are called “practices” for a reason. So let me tell you all the good stuff!

First, Grace & Such has published our first in (hopefully) a very long line of devotionals. Ten of the writers (myself included) have contributed to 30 Days of Grace.   It is currently available through Amazon.com and will be available for Kindle sometime in the next month or so. I read through the book several times during the editing process and let me just tell you this. I was amazed at the wisdom and encouragement every single time I read each entry. I mean, I might be biased, but I really do think this is a lovely book. And it’s just in time for Mother’s Day! Both the title and the picture link to the Amazon store.

Next on the agenda, this Saturday, April 29th, is the Iron Sharpens Iron Conference for Women in the Reading area. (For those of you who grew up playing Monopoly but aren’t from around here, it’s pronounced “Redding”.) The ministry I’m involved with – Renewing the Heart Ministries (RTH) – is the sponsor so we’ve been planning and planning for months. We have two keynote speakers, a regular worship team, a mid-day concert and testimony by TAMMY TRENT, nine workshops in the morning and nine workshops in the afternoon, one of which I’ll be leading.

I am truly excited about this event, not to mention RTH in general. Because RTH doesn’t just put on a conference and then say, “See ya next year!” We provide resources and training and follow up and everything after the conference. We are, as our fearless leader, Diane Karchner, says, “boots on the ground” and we do much more than just host a conference once a year. Trust me when I say you’ll be hearing more about RTH. Much more.

So then, after the conference is four straight days of house cleaning because Todd’s parents will be here next Thursday. We haven’t seen them for what seems like forever and their timing is perfect because I am in desperate need of decorating help from his mom. She’s really good with colors and styles and such.

But they’re not coming to help me choose a paint color (though I’m planning on that being a bonus). They are coming because Katie graduates from college on the 6th of May. GRADUATES! FROM COLLEGE! Or camp.  Whichever way you want to look at it.

After graduation, Katie will come home for the week so she can hang out with her grandparents before they go back to California. Then she will go back down to Virginia to start her real, adult life. And I gotta tell ya. As much as I wish she would be closer to home, I can’t even be sad about it. I’m just happy for her.

On Sunday, May 14th, I am going to go to church and then come home and do nothing. I’m going to truly practice Sabbath. I will not have a to do list and will only do what I want to do. And while I’m looking forward to being able to breathe for a minute, I’m pretty sure I’ll be a little forlorn that all that good stuff is over. Until the next round of good stuff.

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Good Things, Man

 

Oh my, but it’s been two-and-a-half months since my last post. I’m sure that is a great disappointment to my reader. Or readers. I think I have two, now.

I have many things to tell you! 2017 is looking very promising with an awful lot to look forward to. Today I’m just going to give you some of the highlights and then I’ll expand on them later. (See what I’m doing here? This is my way of making sure I have at least a few more posts in line. Brilliant, don’t you think?)

Okay. Now that we’ve agreed on the genius of my plan, let’s carry on, shall we?:

I’ve been consistently busy designing websites and thoroughly enjoy the challenge. It’s both logical and creative all at the same time.
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There are exciting plans for Grace & Such in the works, not the least of which is the fact we’re publishing a 30 Day devotional, hopefully by April. I read all the devotions several times while editing the book and all I can say is, I know how to surround myself with talented people. They really make me look good!
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Renewing the Heart Ministries, the regional ministry I’ve been involved with for the past year or so, is gearing up for our first conference at the end of April. There is so much more to tell you, but you’re going to have to wait. Suffice it to say it’s super exciting stuff! (And check out the website designed by Yours truly.)
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Todd and I are starting a new blogging adventure. Well, what I really mean is I’m starting a new blogging adventure and he’s coming along for the ride. Well, what I really mean is he’s coming along for the ride because he doesn’t actually have a choice. Well, he has a choice, but he’s being very supportive. Well, what I mean by “very supportive” is he says, “Whatever.” Due to the first three items above, I don’t have a target date for this new endeavor. Trust me when I say you’ll be among the first to know. As a show of my affection for you, I’ve given you a hint by revealing the logo my very talented friend, Gail, made for us. My requirements were that the characters looked like us, except not fat or old and she certainly delivered!
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Katie graduates from college in May. Did you read that people? GRADUATES. FROM COLLEGE! Yikes times infinity, man.

I’ve booked our vacation for this summer. With two adult children, being all adulty and everything, there’s no telling if or when we’ll be able to plan another family vacation. This could be our last one for a while. I hope not, but it’s going to be fabulous and memorable just in case.

I’m back to eating healthy again. The difference this time is that I’ve been doing it for about two months now and it’s FINALLY starting to make a difference.

And that’s all you’re getting. Seven little teasers to bring you back. As P.T. Barnum famously said, “Always leave them wanting more.” Of course, I think he was talking about fierce animals and death defying acts. This isn’t quite that exciting, but I think you should come back anyway.

 

Forget Me Not

Forget Me Not

It’s kind of funny that I chose the word “Remember” for June over at Grace & Such. I had no idea just how far into reminisce mode I would be as the month began. Todd and I came to Arkansas for a Thompson Family Reunion – the first time we’ve been back in 8 years.

We moved here the day after our wedding and resided here for the next 18 years. We did a lot of living in that time. This is where we learned how to be married, where we brought two precious babies home from the hospital, where we raised those babies into school aged children. This is where I was diagnosed with breast cancer and where my surgery was performed, where my treatment was given. This is where Todd had his knee rebuilt and where I left him – he in his cast, still recuperating from the surgery – on the side of the freeway while it was sleeting. This is where he decided that Jesus was real and worthy of his devotion.

The happiest days of my life were spent here.

Each friend or family member we’ve seen has brought back those memories with such a force. I reminisce with every landmark we pass and the bittersweet emotions are raw and heavy.

I think it’s kind of funny that we will leave to return to Pennsylvania on the same day we left Arkansas for good ten years earlier. That was a rough day as well. But an exciting one, just the same.

The past ten years have been spent building a new life in a new place we have come to love. We’ve made cherished friends and are happy there. We love the location and the proximity to different places – the shore, DC, NYC, etc.. But it’s also been a hard stage of life, in my opinion. The empty nest (or pseudo empty nest, really) syndrome has its benefits, but it’s also painful. And there are times I still carry bitter and angry feelings towards cancer and how it changed me, both physically and emotionally.

I long for the days when I was still me and when my kids were around and we would explore and have fun. Where I lived life to the fullest. And all that happened here, in Arkansas.

Next week when we’re back at home and doing our thing, I’ll be happy to be there. I will get back into my routine and enjoy what Pennsylvania has to offer this summer. And I’ll fondly think back on this trip and the treasured people we were blessed to see.

And I will continue working on learning how to enjoy this stage of life so I can live it to the fullest. But I will always remember.

So Much Love

So Much Love

Last Friday, only a few hours after I posted I Wait, my father peacefully took his last breath. My mother and one sister were there with him and there was no struggle, no suffering, just a calm passing from this life to the next.

The response to my post was astounding. So many people expressed sympathy and prayers and a shared mourning. I could feel the love of friends and family through the computer screen.

Between my two sisters and myself, we gave Dad nine grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren. After his passing the grandkids with social media posted beautiful tributes to him, setting to words the legacy he passed on.

Their words not only honored him, they blessed my mother, my sisters and me, and glorified God. The responses to their posts were again full of sympathy, prayers and a unified grieving. Again, the warmth and caring that came through was astonishing.

My dad was a great man and together, he and my mother forged lifelong friendships and the respect and admiration of so many people. We, as a family, have been comforted and gladdened by the outpouring of love.

While this time is a sad time, there’s a complete joy and comfort in knowing where he is, a pleasure in our entire family being together, and an overwhelming peace that can only come from God.

All that love is overwhelming.

Tea and Quilts

Today was a lovely day for me and The Girl. She goes back to school on Sunday and we decided to finally make our way to the Penn Museum in Philadelphia, a place she’s wanted to visit since we moved here nearly ten years ago. Turns out, however, the museum is closed on Mondays.

Undaunted, we still made our way into the city, managed to find a decent parking spot and met The Boy for a cheap, delicious and way too large lunch. Philadelphia is known for its murals and, in fact, there are more than 3,000 of the colorful works of art scattered throughout the city. I’m always awed by their vibrant beauty so I grabbed these pics with my phone. (I made the conscious decision to leave my camera at home. *sigh*)

Mural 2

After we ate lunch The Boy went back to work and The Girl and I walked four blocks to Miel Patisserie, a divine French pastry shop, so we could finally experience French macarons. They’re quite as colorful as the murals and look like the little cookies on the time wasting game, Cookie Jam, on my iPad.

Macarons 2 Tea and Macarons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They also had really good tea. My tea was caramel toffee flavored and Katie’s was called Noel and was flavored with cinnamon and cardamom.

We enjoyed our sweet refreshments and walked back the four blocks to the car with about 15 minutes to spare before the meter ran out.

On our way home we made a stop at IKEA because IKEA. It’s like Disneyland. It even has flags at the entrance to the parking lot. The Girl bought a plant and named her Mabel, while I bought a $5.00 cheese grater. I spare no expense for my cheese preparations.

When we got home Mr. Jenster was off bowling so we made more tea to go with the macarons we brought with us and watched a few episodes of “Call the Midwife”.

Even though our original plans were dashed, it was an absolutely delightful day.

And as for quilts, it’s my day over at Grace & Such.

The Beginning of the Beginning

 

The beginningToday was my very last day at work. I don’t actually know how I feel about it. I do know that I feel better about it than I did a couple of weeks ago. Now that I’ve worked with my replacement for two weeks I feel such a relief. She’s going to do a bang up job and there’s a huge comfort in knowing everything will be fine without me.

But can I tell you a little secret? That makes me a little sad. Turns out the laid back, “whatever” Jenster has a small issue with control.

I know! It came as a surprise to me, too!!

I relinquished all my keys, my desk drawers, my phone, my email and a ton of other things today and gave up what little control and/or power that came with the position. It wasn’t much, to be sure. But it was mine and now it’s not.

The thought of not seeing these people I’ve become so fond of over the last several years is kind of weird. And sad. But mostly weird because it just doesn’t seem very real. I wonder how long it’s going to take me to realize it’s really, truly, absolutely over.

But it’s not just an end for me. It’s a beginning and I’m delighted at the prospects!

There are a lot of things in my near future that I’m definitely looking forward to. A trip with Todd, a girls’ trip to Myrtle Beach, another trip up to Maine, and just today I booked a trip to Fort Worth to see both my sisters and my mom. There are some projects around the house that I’m eager to get started on, along with just keeping up with the day to day stuff. How crazy is it that I’m happy to have time to do my chores other than in the evenings or on the weekends?

I’m most anxious to get down to writing, though. Working on my book and keeping up with this blog a little better. (I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, Oh brother. She’s going to go back to the days when she blogged about every.blessed.thing like boob tattoos and hairy feet, and you’re rolling your eyes. Well maybe I will and maybe I won’t. We’ll just have to see.) And I’m especially thrilled to start working on the project I mentioned in the last post. I’m still not ready to tell you much about it, but I will say it’s going to be fabulous.

Just like this new chapter of my life. Another Someday is here and I believe it’s going to be fabulous!

 

On The Road To A Great 2015

Driving on an empty road to upcoming 20152015 is a big year with some huge milestones for me. In May I will celebrate 10 years as a cancer survivor and in November I’ll be a half a century old. My 40’s have not been at all what I had planned them to be. I’m fairly certain that if I didn’t have a reason to celebrate the 10 year surviversary things would have been much different. But nothing can be done about that so I’ll just go from here, making whatever changes I can to be who/what I want to be.

I started off my year by “retiring” from the preschool. June 5th will be my last day and while I know this was the right decision, it was a hard thing to do. I like my job and I adore my co-workers. But this job started out as a part time “something to do” a little over six years ago and it has morphed into a full time position for all intents and purposes. I am unable to do the things I need to do, the things I want to do and work with any type of proficiency. My job gets the vast majority of my efforts and everything else gets whatever is left.

Make no mistake. I fully understand just how fortunate I am to be able to make this decision and believe you me, I am very grateful! With all this new-found time I’ll have on my hands I will write books and clean my house and complete projects and cook more dinners and eat healthy and exercise and accompany Mr. Jenster on business trips and learn how to garden and go visit Katie at school on a whim and try yoga and volunteer more and go into Philly to meet Taylor for lunch and take more pictures and learn new things. I’ll have much more time to start making my somedays happen. Or maybe I’ll just read more. Who knows?

Mr. Jenster believes I’m leaving the working world so I can take care of him. I’m just going to let him believe that. It’s easier this way.

 

Good For The Soul

I’ve been stuck in a rut lately . You know how it is – every day you repeat the same task, the same function, the same drudgery . You are merely existing and not really living.

That’s just life and I see no help for it. At least not on a daily basis. But sometimes you just gotta get away from that existence and live a little. And that’s exactly what I’m doing this weekend.

I am in Cape May, right across the street from a quiet beach with five girlfriends. The kind of friends who will unashamedly make you pee your pants because they make you laugh so hard. They see you stand that certain way and know you’re just one zinger away from cursing your lack of Depends. Cruel women, and yet I adore them.

They’re also the kind of women who strive to know Jesus better. I think of them kind of like a soul trust – a brain trust for the spirit. The collective wisdom is staggering. I am so happy to be a leach to their oozing brilliance.

I love this very safe environment. We sometimes have opposing views about politics, church, books, fashionable hats and the like, but we love each other and we don’t waste time on such unimportant differences. The one thing we have in common is a very big, very awesome God. Well, that and a love of all things Outlander.

Some may say we should feel guilty about going away without our husbands, the other half of our whole group. And by “some” I mean our husbands. But I say I’m not into guilt so let’s make it up with a barbecue for the entire gang later this month and call it good.

This weekend is about recharging my batteries. It’s about getting away from the monotony of the every day and embracing this big, beautiful life. It’s about the peace that envelops me from gazing at a steel gray ocean and listening to pounding surf. It’s about tears with friends over a reenactment of the first Outlander episode or a real hurt that another is experiencing.

It’s about connecting. Connecting to each other and connecting to God.

It’s about disconnecting. Disconnecting from the stress of that daily life.

It’s about sitting on a balcony overlooking the beach and writing or reading. It’s about shopping and eating and coffee and wine and napping and sinking toes in the sand and breathing in the tangy air and just being.

It’s about living. And it’s good for my soul.

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Celebration Surprise

Todd is going to be 50 next Tuesday and we have a whole week of celebrating planned. We started the birthday week last night with a surprise visit from Katie.

Let me give you a little back story for this surprise. Over the summer she was our ice cream gopher. She would even tell you she was bullied a couple of evenings to run out for ice cream for the rest of us. I don’t think that’s technically true as she was never threatened or verbally assaulted, but whatever. I’ll let her have it.

She has also always been the one to change our whiteboard calendar. Said calendar still says August. So the other day I posted a picture on Facebook, tagged Katie and said, “You need to come home and change the calendar.”

So this is how it went down yesterday. She left after her last class and made the 7 hour drive home. But before she came to the house she stopped at the store and called me, saying she was bored so she thought she would call. (We had to keep to the script in case Todd could hear our conversation.) It went something like this:

KT:     Hi! I’m bored so I thought I would call.

Me:    No plans with the friends tonight?

KT:     No. They all went home for the weekend.

Me:    Oh. I know! You can come home and change the calendar!

KT:     Haha.

Me:    Or you could bring me ice cream!

KT:     Yeah. I’ll get right on that.

Me:    Okay!

KT:     I gotta go! Emily just came in.

Me:    Alright. Have fun!

About 10 minutes later she came walking in the front door, carrying a bag with a gallon of ice cream and a package of Oreos. Todd had no idea and he was so happy to see her!

Note to self: Don’t let Katie leave tomorrow without fixing the calendar.

A Happy June

June has been quite a month. A great month, really. From really close to the very beginning. I think I’ll tell you about it.

The first week of the month it became much too apparent that we needed a new washer and dryer. I was running the spin cycle a couple times, sometimes up to 5 times for bedding, just so things wouldn’t be dripping when I put them into the dryer, which nearly always took at least two runs to get mostly dry clothes. The set had been purchased when the original owners built the house 14 years ago so they’d had a good run. But it was time to say our goodbyes and move on.

While the thought of bigger, better, shiner and maybe even colorful was thrilling, the thought of paying for it was not. This year is already shaping up to be the year of needing money faster than we can pull it off the tree. Adding yet another large expense made me cringe. Until I started doing research and looking at the alluring beauties and learning what friends’ had and what they liked and what they didn’t. So one night while Todd was out of town Katie and I headed up to Home Depot to “look”. Looking turned into talking to an employee which turned into ordering it right there on the spot with Todd on the phone so he could answer all the manly questions that I didn’t possess knowledge of.

I ended up buying the white ones (cheaper), but aren't they lovely?

I ended up buying the white ones (cheaper), but aren’t they lovely?

The worst part about the whole thing — well, besides the money that is now forever gone — is that they delivered and hooked up the set the following Monday. I was not home that day, nor the next two days after that (which is part of my great month story I’ll be getting to in a minute). Todd had to wash all manner of bedding (which is another part of my great month story) and I promise you I was jealous. Never in my whole entire life have I ever been jealous of someone else doing laundry. Seriously never. Ever.

So that Monday, which was the 10th, was the beginning of my really great month. Katie was in the last week of high school but her finals were done. Thursday night was graduation and Wednesday was mandatory walk through, but she had gotten permission to miss it so she could attend her college orientation.

You read that right. College my-baby’s-going-away-in-the-fall orientation. More on that later. Much later. I’m not quite ready to go there.

Back to the 10th. Katie and I packed up Raven (the name she has given my new car – one of our please-take-my-money-because-obviously-I-don’t-want-it expenses) and hit the road, bound for Radford University.

Radford

Yes, THAT Radford. The Radford that’s been all over the news this past week for misspellings on their diplomas. At least it took the focus off their party school status.

Anyhoo, it’s about a 7 1/2 hour drive so we were fully stocked with good tunes and, well, that’s about it. I had my coffee and we each had a bottle of water. We made our appropriate stops at the great rest areas they have between here and there for a Starbucks and water and snacks, etc., and then began our search for the obligatory Cracker Barrel stop. After driving through some pretty heavy rain and cursing the 18-wheelers for spraying up water so that I couldn’t see where I was going, the sun peaked out and shined it’s ever-loving rays on the glorious Cracker Barrel sign about an hour out of our final destination.

Cracker Barrel

“Ahhhhhhhhhh” (That would be the sound of angels singing.)

We ate our fill, emptied our bladders and bought chocolate. There was a very ominous black cloud ahead of us, but I wasn’t daunted. I had just driven through a rainstorm of epic proportions. I could handle this miniature dark cloud.

Except I couldn’t. Just as we were going over a bit of a mountain pass the cloud’s dam burst and we couldn’t see more than 10 yards ahead of us. It was horrifying. The only time I’ve ever driven through anything like that before was in the middle of Tennessee on I-40 and I had to pull off until it had passed. This time I put on my hazards, pulled onto the shoulder and crawled along with at least two other vehicles. Ten minutes and it was blessedly done.

We stayed in a hotel Monday night and Tuesday morning began the orientation. After the initial session parents and kids were sent in separate directions and we saw very little of each other after that. Kids and parents were actually supposed to meet up again for dinner, but Katie’s roommate was also there so they ditched me and left me alone to my own devices. I didn’t feel like eating alone in the cafeteria so I went to Wal-Mart, which has unconsciously become a routine stop on every one of my trips, no matter where I am. I don’t remember what exactly I got to eat, but in the spirit of being at college it was something overly processed, extremely flavorful and super unhealthy.

Oh. I forgot to mention that I stayed in a dorm room that night. It was a recently renovated room and had air conditioning and its own bathroom. But let me tell you this. It was no night at the Ritz. Or even Motel 6. When you stripped away those two conveniences it was still a dorm room. A kind of smelly dorm room with a very uncomfortable bed, no cable and no coffee maker.

dorm

Notice the coffee maker, mini-fridge and large flat-screen TV? Oh yeah. Me neither.

Wednesday morning Katie and I checked out of our dorm rooms, (Hers was worse than mine because it didn’t have air conditioning and she had to share her bathroom with three other girls. Only three.) threw our stuff in Raven and grabbed some coffee at the campus Starbucks. After that we split up again and then met up around 11 where we ate at the campus Chick-Fil-A and then headed for home.

Taylor stayed in Lynchburg after school this year because he’s taking two summer sessions and working. He had promised Katie that he would come home for her graduation, though, so after his class on Wednesday morning he and Shelby made for home. Both Lynchburg and Radford are in the same general vicinity of Virginia and I-81 is the way to go. I had joked with him that maybe we would see each other on the road.

Due to my less than comfortable bed the night before I was tired. Katie was blissfully snoozing in the passenger seat and somewhere along the line I started getting really sleepy so I decided it was time to pull off. As we approached a rest area there was a sign that said, “Next rest area, 33 miles”. I debated about waiting until the next stop, but at the last minute chose to stop at the first one. A stretch was really in order and waiting another half an hour did not seem a viable option. I pulled into a spot with no cars on either side, cracked the windows since Katie was still asleep and went into the restroom. As I was coming out she was walking in. She didn’t say much other than she woke up and thought she should probably go, too.

I got out to the car and there was a green truck parked next to me. This green truck looked suspiciously (and exactly) like Taylor’s green truck.

Truck

My reflection in the tailgate is an optical illusion. I’m actually rather tall and thin. (in my head)

Sure enough. He had pulled in after us and parked right next to Raven – the sporty little black car on the left. The funniest thing about all of this is that he had no idea it was my car he parked next to, no idea that we were even there until Katie came out of the bathroom and walked up to him while he was looking at his phone, waiting for Shelby, and said, “Hey, Bro.”

So we had a little mini-reunion at some random rest area in Virginia. This was a very fortuitous meeting for Taylor as I bought his gas and dinner for he and Shelby at our usual stop in Carlisle Pennsylvania right before getting on the turnpike for the last leg of the trip.

Todd and Sookie were extremely excited to see so many of their people getting home at the same time. But the fun wasn’t over quite yet. I went to bed rather early – I think before 9 – and Todd had to drive to the airport around 11 or so to pick up his parents who were coming in from California for Katie’s graduation.

Which is why we had all that bedding to wash. (See? I told you I would explain it.)

Alright. Let’s see. We’re now on Thursday. Yeah.  So Thursday was supposed to be graduation, except the weather was unpredictable (much like it’s been for a while) and the graduation class is very large so moving it inside is a logistical nightmare and reduces the number of people who can attend. They finally postponed it until Friday. So it went like this:

Thursday:

I ran to the drugstore early in the morning for milk and cereal because there was no food in the cupboard. Seriously – nothing good to eat. And I knew grocery shopping was going to be an all day event but I couldn’t let all those people in my house starve whilst waiting for me to get back with the goods. A storm was rolling in and I wanted some sort of sustenance for my guests before the epic weather hit.

I forgot to mention that at this point I hadn’t had a shower since, um, Monday. No, Tuesday. I did take a shower at the hotel Tuesday morning.  I guess it wasn’t so horrible. I hadn’t started really smelling yet so we were good.

I made it home from this quick run right before a good storm rolled through. I then took a shower. A gloriously hot, steamy, long shower. I love guests and all, but at that point I didn’t care if I used up all the hot water. I figured I had risked the tumultuous elements so they wouldn’t starve, I had done my unselfish deed for the day. Besides, there was a lot of shaving that had to get done.

Katie and I then spent the day buying consumables. We started at Costco, brought that stuff home, and then went to the grocery store for all the rest. I know I’ve mentioned before that I hate grocery shopping. That day was no exception and boy was I glad to be done with it!

Friday:

We had sandwiches for dinner – but not lame and wimpy sandwiches. I had the good bread, the good lunch meat, all the toppings and condiments along with chips, dips, salads and all that good stuff.

Then we went to the football stadium for the graduation ceremony. It turned out to be a perfect evening for an outdoor event.

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600+ kids takes a long time to get through, however, and those bleachers are not exactly barcaloungers, if you know what I’m sayin. Still, as far as high school graduations go, it was pretty decent.

After the graduation we went back to the house for desserts and our friends, Kris and Shelby (not to be confused with Taylor’s Shelby) came over and joined us. It was nice.

Saturday:

Todd’s parents took us all to dinner to celebrate the following:

Taylor’s 21st birthday (April)

Shelby’s graduation (May)

Mother’s Day (May)

Katie’s graduation (June)

Father’s Day (June)

Our Anniversary (June)

And I think that’s it. We went to a place called Parc Bistro and ordered rather exotic foods like lamb chops with merguez stuffing and mustard barbecue sauce; sauteed king salmon with whipped okinawa sweet potatoes, warm asparagus and stone fruit chutney; venison loin wrapped in applewood smoked bacon, served with cous cous, balsamic glazed brussels sprouts and port wine pear sauce. I would have taken pictures (because that’s what I do) but since it was a rather upscale place I resisted. Not only that, but I had already eaten half of my dish before I even thought about memorializing the meal in a photo.

Sunday was a sad, sad day because Taylor and Shelby left. But it had been a really great visit with them.

Though nice, the following week was much less exciting. Susan and Philip were still here, but Todd and I both had to work and Katie had several things she had to do as well. Philip went on a walkabout with Sookie every day. I’m talking miles and miles. They would be gone for an hour at the least, sometimes up to two. Someday I might do that, too. But I would want to take my camera with me and it would take me infinitely longer to walk the same distance because I’d be stopping to take pictures along the way. So maybe I won’t.

We didn’t get to do any real touristy stuff and I felt bad about that, but it was a nice and relaxed visit. Saturday morning Todd took them to the airport. On Sunday he went back to the airport to fly to Akron and Katie hopped on a bus with a ton of other teenagers for their annual teen conference – this year in Michigan.

I know you’re all intelligent people and I don’t have to spell it out for you, but I’m going to anyway. I was alone. A-L-O-N-E. From Sunday afternoon until Friday morning. I watched what I wanted or I watched nothing at all. I ate what I wanted. It was a delightful week.

Sidenote – When I took Sookie for a walk on Monday we went around the block. The big block – almost a half a mile. When we got back to the house she gave me this look like, “Are you kidding me? That’s it?” Yep. That’s it, dog.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my people a lot.  I love them a lot of a lot. And I missed them, too. But I relished the temporary aloneness. It was just nice. I was more than ready for Todd to come home, though. Probably by Wednesday. And I’m definitely ready for Katie to get home tonight as well.

Which leads me to revisit a comment I made earlier about her going to college in the fall. Right now she’s been gone for a week and I miss her and the realization that I will be going weeks, if not months sometimes, without seeing her makes me sad. Ask me again next Saturday after she’s been home for a week. I might have a completely different outlook. Typically it changes from day to day, sometimes hour to hour, or even minute to minute.

But all that is a post for another day and I have wasted enough of your time waxing poetically about the beauty of my June. That is assuming, of course, that you actually made it to here. And if you did, thanks for hanging around. I appreciate it.