Table Topic Tuesday. 1/30.

Happy Table Topic Tuesday, y’all!

Here’s the question:

table topice 1_30You mean, like, today? I’m a trained professional.

I happy cry during the usual suspects, the milestones. Weddings.

MOH
This one got hitched last year.
sibs
The young one ties the knot this year.

I happy cry each First Day of School. It’s an ambivalent alchemy of tears. Anxiety collides with pride. Hope for a fresh start trickles into the fear that I’m failing them. And, for reals, I’m just giddy to get back on a schedule.

I happy cry in church, most Sundays, in surrender to the music or the message or the moment. The Holy Spirit slips out of my eyes and soaks my shirt. Case, inevitably, will lean over and say: Mom, are you crying?

I happy cry during animated features. Watercolor lessons run deep. Case, inevitably, will lean over and say: Mom, are you crying?

I happy cry as we drive into Disney, riding under the welcome sign. Every. Single. Time. (#notsorry: this is where dreams come true). Case, inevitably, will lean up from the backseat and say: Mom. Seriously?

WDW entrance
Disney Digression

 

Illuminations, Reflections of Earth, makes me misty. There’s this epic moment when all of the lanterns are burning by each country, each pavilion, and the entire lake is illuminated by this warm fire light. Then the narrator exhales a whisper, extinguishing each flame. What?!?

spaceship earth
Spaceship Earth. EPCOT at night.

But it’s the sneaky happy cries I love the most. The ones that creep up on tip toe and whisk you up in all the feelings.

Like surprise notes from your boys in your stocking that say, in permanent ink, why they love you so big.

Thanksgiving. Everyone gathered around one table, hearts heavy with blessings, lips thick with gratitude.

Hugs from a friend you haven’t seen in way too long.

Landing after a rough flight.

Seeing anyone else happy cry. Joy, unhinged, is contagious.

Any story on ESPN on Saturday. If you need a therapeutic sob, watch Game Day.

All of this happy crying may sound like I’m leaking weakness. But, after decades of living on the edge of all of my feelings, I’ve learned these tears are liquid honesty.

What about you? Have you ever been so happy you cried?

 

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Thursday Thanks. Helping #21.

My teensy Thanksgiving chair is in serious need of a warm up. I can’t remember the last time I sat still in gratitude. So, today’s the day. I’m settling in my chair, thankful for all of the friends who keep my heart cozy.

chair.JPG

My husband Jeff wasn’t a runner when he registered for a marathon. I’m thankful for the friend who bet him to do it–and then coached him through the training and doubt and nipple stickers.

I’m thankful for my friend who followed Jeff’s race progress from across the country, grounded me in goodness and then video-chatted with a Texas-sized toast after he crossed the finish line.

text.PNG

I’m grateful for the friends who believe in starting bus sing-a-longs, post-midnight pajama dance parties and sangria breakfasts.

sangria.jpg
Disney Springs Digression

And what about the friends who notice things and, in a single snapshot, capture the best bits of your kiddos? Your favorite little pieces of life: boy fingernails, fresh freckles, untamed hair, airborne feet.

Tucker.JPG

Case.JPG
Photos by the incomparable Erika B.

There are friends who are fountains, not drains. Friends who put your furniture in their truck and drive all the way out to the burbs for you. Friends who know what to say and when to pray. I’m so grateful for them today.

Are you thankful for a friend?

Thursday Thanks. Helping #19.

It’s the first Thursday of the new year and it’s high time I spent a little time in my Thanksgiving Chair.

Thanksgiving Chair

Some of my friends got engaged last year. Some got married, some became parents, some had a milestone year.

But, for a lot of people I love, 2013 was a broken year flooded with bad news, deflated dreams and health gone kaput. It wasn’t my favorite year because, frankly, it wasn’t an easy one. But I am thankful for it. And the more I looked back on it, the more 2013 looked up. Here’s an itty bitty smidgen of the blessings I counted.

January:

We rang in 2013 with some of our dearest friends and hotfooted it into the new year full speed.

Tucker started reading more and more–signs, labels, recipes. And Jeff and I had to stop spelling secret things out loud.

reading

Case’s contagious dino craze intensified.

Dino World!

Dino World 2

And I kicked off what would become my busiest, best professional year to date.

Publix shoot

February:

I got 1 year older and I got a bike.

bike

March:

We celebrated my sister’s 30th birthday in the most magical way.

Disney Digression
Disney Digression

We danced. A lot.

my three

April:

We spent Saturdays unplugged at the ball park. Tucker batted.

Tucker at bat

Case cheered.

biggest fan

They grew. I noticed.

growing big

May:

We celebrated our brand new 4-year-old spunk muffin–my own personal sunshine.

my heart

We unleashed the Jedi on Star Wars Weekend.

The Force

And we joined Forces with some pretty great friends.

Disney love

June:

I started this silly little blog.

For possibly the only time this will ever happen, the boys were on the same team. Summer Flag Football.

flag football

Well, Jeff coached. Tucker played. Case chased the field’s wild peacock family.

peacock

Tucker had his first sleepover ever (gulp.) and said goodbye to his best bud who moved out of state.

Gavin

I bought a fancy dress (for the first time in years, no lie) and went to a swanky industry soiree in New York City.

NYC

July:

Because I have the best parents (a lot of people think they do, but I know that I do), they came to keep the boys so Jeff and I could celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary a few weeks early. I will always remember our trip as one of the most wonderful weeks of my life. Plus, we hit all four Disney parks in one day: Grand Slam Dunk.

grand slam

We also celebrated Tucker’s 7th Birthday a little early. Lego love for life.

lego party

Jeff had a birthday. And we popped into the Trop. Sat up top. Make me stop.

Rays

August:

I flew to LA for a shoot.

pie

There was Pretty everywhere.

LA

My boy, my little man, thoughtful old soul, turned 7 while I was away.

Seven

I hung out with my parents–just the 3 of us for the first time since ?–on a work trip in the Big Apple.

Morandi

And another school year started.

school

September:

I realize just how much I love my husband each football season. His unshakeable fanhood has rubbed off.

football

October:

After so many seasons in the stands, Case finally had a team of his own. And an amazing coach.

Cubs

Tucker perfected his slide.

slide

And Gamps & Grandmama came to see.

G&G

During our 5th annual sister trip to EPCOT’s Food and Wine Festival, Lindsey sat with me through 3 sets of Boyz II Men. Check.

Boys II Men

Halloween was pretty rad, too. The boys trick-or-treated in my office, in the neighborhood and in the Magic Kingdom.

Halloween 2013

November:

We joined our church.

Jeff’s Movember team raised $2820 (and quite a few facial hairs) in honor of his dad.

staches

And when we went to spend Thanksgiving with his dad in the quiet Carolina country, we had a good prognosis to be thankful for.

Thanksgiving

December:

In a season that’s bedazzled with busyness, sometimes you need something simple to slow you down. Like these December skies.

skies

The Bucs did not have a winning season, but the Faith & Football event cemented one thing. Love has already won.

Bucs

And I spent Christmas with my entire family–my husband, our boys, my parents, my sister and my brother. It. Was. Super.

supers

At first mention, 2013 rings a little unlucky, a little sour. But, look at all the life, the fun, the growth, the triumphs, the good.

I’m so grateful that I re-measured the year.

Thursday Thanks. Helping #17.

It’s a Halloween episode of Thursday Thanks–coming to you live from my Thanksgiving Chair.

Thanksgiving Chair

Today, I’m thankful for the plumpest, perfectest gourd on earth and all of the gems in its glorious guts (I ate my weight in roasted pumpkin seeds last night–anybody with me?).

Disney Digression
Disney Digression

I’m thankful for chocolate candy, hard candy and any candy that’s not candy corn.

And I’m beyond grateful that I work for a company that lets me be a mom–especially on holidays. Like most good companies, mine encourages a healthy “work/life balance”.

That said, I think the phrase “work/life balance” is bunk–harder to grab and hold than a fistful of slinky pumpkin guts. Work is part of life. And balance is only real in math and budgets and beams, of course.

I worked at a magazine for a skinny minute where I went from a senior writer to managing editor overnight. The business manager offered up some advice. “This is a lot more responsibility, obviously, and probably a lot more stressful. I just want you to remember that this is a magazine. It’s not brain surgery. No one is going to die.”

I’m still thankful for that perspective–and never more than today. In (superficially) crazy times, I’ve always used his line: “it’s not brain surgery.” Until it is. Like this last week, when someone I love more than my life had a second brain surgery. That will wake your perspective. Shake your core. Make you feel anything but balance.

Then you find footing in gratitude, and new sweetness in every breath.

What are you thankful for today?

Thursday Thanks. Helping #2.

From my Thanksgiving Chair :

Thanksgiving Chair

This week (and every week) I’m grateful for pizza night. Every single Wednesday, we have pizza. This means no cooking, no dishes and no one making a decision about dinner. Yay!

pizza

We’ve had angry weather this week–tornado warnings, “excessive lightning” and delicious humidity. But I’m grateful for summer storms. They cool the day, green the grass and give me a chance to share this cute Disney Digression.

Eeyore

Mostly, though, I’m thankful we have boys. Boys mean you find rubber frogs in the dishwasher. Legos in the utensil drawer. And you say things like: “please watch where you’re peeing!”

With boys, there’s always a brotherly brouhaha. A round-the-clock ruckus. And they say things like: “you’re the most beautiful mommy ever” (even if you’ve just peeled yourself off your pillowcase, no proof of beauty sleep in sight).

Then, boys have summer camp and dress-up-like-a-bug day. With boys, you don’t have any buggy headbands or glittery wings. Nope. With boys, you have these:

Light Sabers

(P.S.: We did not buy all of these sabers. My sweet cousin Alaura, our rockstar babysitter–and another reason I’m thankful this week–brought a bag full of The Force with her last weekend.)

So, for a bug day with boys, you get some long, black socks and rifle through the closet for a cool shirt. Dad digs his beanie out of the winter drawer. And you make a spider.

spider

Or, Case says, “a tarantula.”  Dun Dun Dah:

tarantula

(Filtered for more drama)

And boys? They think this feeble attempt is picture-worthy. Thank goodness.

drawing

Then you tuck that boy tarantula into class with a squeeze and a smooch.

And boys, my boy, says: “Momma? You’re my happy thought.”

How about you? What are you thankful for this Thursday?

Thursday Thanks. Helping #1.

Say hello to my little friend.

This lil’ fella sits on my bookcase at work.

Thanksgiving Chair

He’s my Thanksgiving chair. I ordered him after I heard a message about a human-sized Thanksgiving chair—one that we should all (metaphorically) sit in as we waddle/push/sprint through life.

What I heard that day was this: the key to big miracles is being thankful for the small ones.

When life’s no fun—whether you’re swirling in a self-inflicted stupid storm or you’re just being pelted by the universe and there ain’t nothing you can do about it, sit in that moment in your Thanksgiving chair and look again through grateful eyes. Look for the good.

There’s a reason my bud is perched in primo real estate—directly in my eye line—in the room where I spend a lot of my awake hours. I need a daily reminder.

(Disney Digression)
(Disney Digression)

So, every Thursday, I’m going to settle in to my chair and share something(s) I’m thankful for. Nothing’s too trite (can I get a “squee” for comfy-cute shoes?) or too obvious (I woke up? In one piece? Yay!).

As a chronic, self-inflicted stupid storm sufferer, I can’t wait to share, out loud, what I’m grateful for. Hope you’ll join me, too.

This week, I’m thankful for our summer schedule—which means there’s no 8am bell to beat. We’re still rushing to get out the door. And, in those moments, I’m grateful for frozen waffles and the boys’ detangling spray that douses their bed head in a skinny minute.

I’m thankful for after-work sunshine, those magic beams that light up the street for play. I’m grateful that my husband, who’s barely in the door before the boys are pushing him back out of it, will lace up his sneaks and chase a training-wheel-free bike around the block.

Bike 1

photo(31)

photo(32)

I’m especially thankful for Lindsay Edwards this week—my encouragement and blog knowledge guru—the push I needed to go public with my notes.

So, how about you? Share your Thursday Thanks. I want to hear!