the end of an era, you might say

That’s what Monica called it, so it works for me…

This morning was likely the last we all woke up with Paige living under our roof.

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It’s different than leaving for college. She’ll be going to college…but she left to start her life.

Who doesn’t know what I’m talking about
Who’s never left home, who’s never struck out
To find a dream and a life of their own
A place in the clouds, a foundation of stone

She left 2 years ago to do the college thing… the one she’d always talked about. That was much scarier and traumatic. We were so new in town. There was no one here to say goodbye. There was no one here to miss her like we do. There was no one to offer understanding and solace.

This time is so different. We are all older, wiser, and more familiar. Paige was sent off with dinners and cupcakes and even a concert at the beach last night (I mean, it wasn’t actually in her honor, but still….)

So today has basically been a hodge-podge of quieter emotions and some reflection… about how much Paige is like her daddy (almost stoic in the face of emotional circumstances), about how this feels like she’s never coming back (I predicted a pastorate over a cowboy church in Montana…we’ll see), about how neat it is to see her through the eyes of our mutual friends as they bid her farewell and offer her support in her ministry endeavors, about how our nest is now half-empty, and we have ways to go…

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It was also a hodge-podge of our usual pop culture quotables. My day started with “The Living Years,” originally Mike & The Mechanics and recently/beautifully by The Isaacs. It quicly turned into Many Friends Quotes, namely from the episodes about Rachel moving out of Monica’s apartment (“IT’S THE END OF AN ERA…YOU MIGHT SAY!”) And finally, as we hugged goodbye, I couldn’t help but warble in my nearly-gone voice the lyrics of the Dixie Chicks first hit, because:

She needs wide open spaces,
room to make the big mistakes.
She needs new-ew-ew faces,
she knows the high stakes…

It was fun. Really.

And there were pictures… from a sisters’ goodbye, a little breakfast we got to have just with Rod, Paige, and me, and from this evening…when the little girls chose hot dogs and pool time to drown their proverbial sorrows. They’re all gonna be alright! <smile>
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summer lovin’ happened so fast

The #bestsummerever is quickly transitioning to #readyforfall.

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This week is the culmination of sorts. The last of our summer visitors will say goodbye. Paige is packing to leave for her new life in Charlotte (I need to learn how to spell that) with Shabbach Masters’ Commission on Monday. Then we will begin the countdown to having a kindergartner and first grader.

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The circle of life... is exhausting.

I was pretty sure my emotions were at bay until about an hour ago, when my husband sent me my new phone number. It seems after 2 years and 3 months in a new state, I am finally able to make the change. With the school and with work, it makes sense.

But seeing that 843-xxx-xxxx started me on a road of nostalgia. After all, I’ve been 708 since 1989, when 312 changed and well…whatever. Chicago has a lot of area codes. We had 3 or 4 in the same household. Myrtle Beach has one, and it’s time to embrace it.

 

Other things I’m embracing this week~

Our house is going bye-bye…our house in Illinois, that is. It’s full of details and very typical 2013 economics, but I’m thankful for closing this chapter. It is a house full of beautiful memories… getting married, making a family, bringing our babies home…but it stopped being where I thought of as home a long time ago. HOME is where we are together, my love and me, our kids (as many of them as we can have around!), and whoever is daring enough to call themselves our family. One of the most profound lessons learned for me in the past 2 years and 3 months is that definition of home.

IMG_2699Our wedding anniversary is Thursday. 10 years, baby, 10 YEARS! Yes, we celebrated this in March, on our marriage anniversary. Yes, we got married twice, so we celebrate twice every year. We will be delaying a big date night a little bit because of all the other stuff going on. But really, every day is a celebration with this guy! I’m thankful for the great health God has blessed him with this year. I’m thankful almost every moment of this #bestsummerever involved him being able to play and bask and enjoy with us!

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The week ahead will include scurried calls to update the phone number, turn summer hair into back-to-school hair, find the perfect backpacks, cook an awesome steak-and-fettuccine-alfredo-farewell-dinner, soak in some more free summer movies, find a babysitter to keep on retainer, and…get me to the beach.

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These faces make it easy to have a blast, even when the boat rocks or the waves take us by surprise.

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Lots of mixes metaphors here. I’m on medicine (for just a few days, thankfully) that makes my heart beat fast…and my emotions are trying to keep up with all the crazy change, again.

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Stay happy, friends. Summer isn’t over yet!

grand bittersweetness

I love the social media trend of “Throwback Thursday.” Usually, rather than trying to find time to scan old pictures for uploading, it sends me Googling through my own online presence for what was just a few years ago.

Since our ventures in business and ministry, our moves, and our small children makes it seem like our lives change dramatically all the time, finding stark differences in recent history is not hard…

girls2009These two little girls existed in 2009. They are so OLD now in comparison to four years ago…

 

randa2009Also in 2009, they embraced The Sound of Music. This is 3 year old Miranda dancing and singing in the backyard as Maria Von Trapp. They were obsessed with the movie and the songs. I still am!

 

kkbday12009 was also full-on HOME OFFICE mode in our house as we prepared for the first Branson Gospel Music Convention. KK was newly two. She still likes to “work” at my desk (even though we got her one of her own). She will be a CEO, perhaps of the world, and look spectacular while doing so!

 

TheGrandTheatre.usShifting gears completely, today I am switching the website of The Grand Theatre to forward directly to our church website. The sun has set on The Grand. I have gone through my mourning period into one of peace and relief. It was a wonderful season, a wonderful set of little dreams come true in some of the concerts Rod and I got to promote together, a wonderful chance to work the family-friendly entertainment world, … and know that while it has many wonderful points, it’s probably not for me. My mind might be for business, but my heart is for relationship, and Jerry McGuire I am not. I am so grateful for the opportunities we had at The Grand, the connections and memories made. It truly was entertainment on a grander scale!

invite / accept

invitedThere is no greater gift to me than an invitation.

I love being invited to come, to share, to participate, to dine, to join, to stay.

I love it when my children are extended any of the same.

I love to open up and invite others in… sit, take off your shoes, open my refrigerator, pet my dog, hug my girls.

Be in my life. Save me a seat for yours…

~

The past weeks have involved some serious inner growth. I have been looking at relationships in a new way. It is all due to some disciplined study of how God loves {without expectation}, how leaders approach people {with something to give rather than something to gain}, and understanding compassion {others’ needs over my wants}. Something in all of this mix has blended together and filled my cup. Along with this is a realization: nothing will ever be like it was. Nothing will ever be like it is in my best-case scenario. People can never fill the gaps we have in our own hearts. But God… He can. And then ~

– it becomes rewarding to hug someone because she needs it, and let it go, and be ok.

– it becomes just fine to hang out at home all day on a Saturday, with my family, doing chores and doing nothing, because they’re my people first.

– it becomes acceptable that some people are only in our lives for a season, because we learned, we loved, we grew, and maybe we do the same for others in our seasons, too.

– it becomes a step of maturity to let intensity and need fade into peace and security, knowing that people who love us are “here” for us even when they aren’t always active spectators in our everyday.

– it becomes more important to be available and open for others than it is to worry about dry spells and empty spots on our agendas. In fact, it becomes freeing not to have an agenda at all!

I think I have spent a good portion of life waiting on an invitation to the in crowd, the cool lunch table, the front row, the VIP room… and now as I find myself in a new phase of life (we will call it settled in), the most important – most invitinginvitation in my eyes is the one to someone’s home, someone’s heart, someone’s life. Let me in, even though you have some piles of paper in the counter. Let me in, even though we’re both disheveled and gun-shy. Let me in, even though it’s risky to trust someone, even though friendship is hard, even though….

I’m grateful tonight for the invitations I’ve sent, even the ones rejected. They mean my heart is open.

I’m grateful tonight for the invitations offered, especially those I thought would never come. They are always worth the wait.

 

what box?

In May, we attended Kindergarten Open House with Kaity. It involved some things my baby – the youngest of 4 children with ages that span from 5 to 22 – does not appreciate: convention, expectations, being involved in something that her 6 year old sister knows more about, the perception that she has to dress a) fancy or b) like a princess. (And if you are wondering, she did wear her “fancy” shorts…)

This is how it started:

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No surprises: she does not always do things like we want her to do or think she should.kinderkk3

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However, I gave her space. I stopped trying to take posed pictures. I stopped trying to create a moment and instead, stepped inside her moment. She needed several of them, and then… she was ready to explore her surroundings:

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And after a bit, she was ready to embrace them, in her way...IMG_1745 Sometimes I think KK is so very different from me that I don’t know how I will possibly deal with her, much less raise her, to be a productive member of society. And then I pause, and often find that she has taught me all over again. She is actually just like me, in that she has a specific, sometimes “unconventional” way of doing things. The difference is that while I obsess about making that part of me fit into a box, she couldn’t care less about the box.

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I want to be more like that when I (finish) grow(ing) up.