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Jan 19 2017

Keeping My Hopes Up

Posted by Mugs @ 7:21 pm in Family,Nature Print This Post Print This Post

Today I was up on the housetop (click click click) performing the Christmas lights removal. I can use Gabe’s surprise appendectomy as an excuse for not having done it before January 19th, but it was more a result of, “It’s raining and cold and I’m lazy.”

However, today was warm and sunny and a good day for climbing around on a roof. As I was sitting up there, pondering the great mysteries of life – “Why do half of each strand of icicle lights stop working halfway through Holly Jolly time?” – I looked down in admiration at my mountain laurel. The mountain laurel always looks happy in the cool and sad in the hot.

“It feels like late winter,” I thought. Followed quickly by, “Maybe the snowdrops have come!” I climbed back through the window since jumping off the roof is probably not a good idea when you are 50, and searched the garden for my first bloom of 2017.

The tiny snowdrop was blooming there – its nodding head and green markings filling me with hope.

Jan 10 2017

The Backpacks of Life

Posted by Mugs @ 8:35 pm in Family,school,Sightseeing Print This Post Print This Post

Abby has dreamed of studying abroad in sunny Spain since high school. Today, she boarded a plane with a backpack full of dreams, school supplies and a box of mike and ikes. I watched her go – happy that her grand adventure had begun and sad that our precious daughter would now be far, far away.

It recalled to mind the day I boarded a plane to New Jersey to raise my hand for Uncle Sam’s offer to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States…” I had a suitcase in hand, but the Army helpfully issued me a backpack and all the gear I would need for my grand adventure.

Abby, on the other hand, spent several days trying to decipher which items were essential to cram inside her backpack for a semester in Europe. When the backpack, looking too fat, was brought down this morning, she finally let me see inside.

How do you explain to a future Elementary School Teacher that three coloring books and a box of crayons really are not essential items for traveling?

 

Jan 01 2017

Putting the Happy in New Year

Posted by Mugs @ 11:15 pm in Family Print This Post Print This Post

Once again, the Manry Clan New Year was filled with gingerbread, family, friends, chinese takeout, puzzles, games, poppers, and the banging of pots and pans.

Dec 19 2016

Sanibel Creatures

Posted by Mugs @ 10:06 am in Family,Nature,Sightseeing Print This Post Print This Post

Dale and I had great fun observing the creatures of Sanibel Island. We were in pursuit of shells, but unfortunately for us, some of the unique shells were occupied with creatures who were not interested in sharing. Our first morning, we had a tour from a naturalist who pointed out the many different shells we would find. Dale reached down and grabbed the end of a pointy shell he saw sticking out of the sand. He pulled up a massive lightening whelk and the naturalist was thrilled and explained it to the group. (I failed to take a photo of this massive whelk, so Gabe has declared it a beach legend.) The next day when we toured the shell museum, the workers asked if we had been on the tour where someone found a large lightning whelk. Dale smiled and enjoyed his moment of fame.

One morning at low tide, we walked out onto a sandbar and had an amazing few hours pulling up shells and looking inside. The water was ankle to knee deep and we could see down to all the sea life. I was admiring a beautiful shell I had picked up when a crab reached out and smacked me. I jumped and screamed like a child making Dale laugh. He held the mollusks and the crabs in his hand and they slid or walked back and forth much to his delight.

We visited a bird sanctuary and admired the pink roseate spoonbill, but it was the jumping fish that made us gasp. The lake was full of large fish that would periodically leap out of the water as high as three feet and then splash back down on their sides. It was highly entertaining.

At dusk, we discovered an evening formation of gulls. The commander was in front looking over his troops and a large sergeant major was in back getting the stragglers in line. The sight of it brought back the many memories of standing in formation so very long ago. Oh how my life has changed, but it’s funny how the sight of them transported me back.

Two mornings at low tide, we found a dozen sand dollars. I began to learn the names of the shells: jewel box, buttercup, turkey wing, scallop, cockle, jingle, kittenpaw, conch, olive… It was a treasure hunt for me. At the museum, we learned that the greatest treasure to find is a junonia. They are rare because they reside so deep in the ocean. If someone brings one in, they’ll get their picture in the newsletter. One naturalist told us she had been searching for one for 42 years.

I loved the finding and filled my pockets and bags with shells, but it was the quiet moments walking along with Dale looking at God’s amazing creation that filled me with a peaceful joy.

Dec 17 2016

Jubilee

Posted by Mugs @ 11:29 am in Family,Nature,Sightseeing Print This Post Print This Post

I celebrated my 50th birthday on the beach at Sanibel Island, Florida courtesy of my wonderful husband. We had a terrific four days searching for shells and relaxing. When I told Abby, we were playing shuffleboard, she replied, “I’ve got old folks now.” (I found great joy beating Dale at shuffleboard.) I’m grateful to the Lord for 50 years of life and have declared this my year of jubilee – full of celebration and restoration.

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