The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me. ~ Psalm 16:6 nasb

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Waiting, and the Big News

Time to Fly, Part Six -- May 10.

Thomas started his day with orientation, and Fernando and I returned to the beach to wait.  It was a gorgeous day (is there not a gorgeous day at the beach?), and we spent our time alternately swimming or sunning.

I ended up leaving my glasses in the beach bag at one point, and as Fernando and I were out during low tide, pelicans started flying into our area.  More and more, they flew around and over us, floating just feet away!  Some dived down into the water in search of fish, while more and more flew in.  It was amazing!

I took this photo right after we got out of the water:

Then, Thomas called--his orientation was over.  We headed back toward town; Thomas met us at our hotel, and we went out for a celebratory meal.  He wanted a decent photo of himself, and after several attempts, he approved.  I texted it to him, and he posted it on Facebook with his news:

I have been accepted into the BMW Service Technician Education Program (STEP) in Orlando, Florida. The program is 4 months long and my parents helped me move into my apartment where I'll be staying for the duration of my classes.
So there it was.  It's a pretty big deal--one of only 14 students in their program, paid by BMW, furthering his career in the auto technician field.  I'm still rather in awe of this amazing young man.

After our meal, we drove back to our hotel.  Thomas hung out for a little bit, then got in his car and drove away to his hotel.  That was the hardest goodbye, knowing I probably wouldn't see him until the end of summer, so far away from us.

I took this photo the day before, after we had helped Thomas move in to his apartment.  As we were pulling out of the apartment complex parking lot, I snapped a phone picture of Thomas' building.  When I looked at it I became frustrated that I caught the reflection of my cupped hands in the car window.  After editing it, though, I realized the photo captured something I never intended:  the illusion of my hands holding on to a son who had already flown our nest. 

This photo embodies the knowledge that holding on to our children means trying to grasp the air--they must fly, and we must let them go.

Back to life,

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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

An Apartment

Time to Fly, Part Five -- May 9.

The Big Day had come.  Securing housing was the order of the morning, and getting settled in the apartment was the second.  Thomas met his roommate, Eddie, signed paperwork, paid some money, and we helped him move in.

He wasn't too happy about posing for this photo, but he let me kiss him anyway.

Outside the apartment complex, a hibiscus plant was blooming happily in an unseen corner.  It was a beautiful symbol of new life.

The Even Bigger Day awaits us--tomorrow.

Back to life,

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Monday, May 8, 2017

Hitting the Beach

Time to Fly, Part Four -- May 8.

A super late Sunday night arrival at our hotel resulted in a late morning breakfast in the hotel breakfast lounge.  Fernando wanted to fuel up on coffee for the day, which would consist of mostly relaxing--on the beach!

Less than an hour away, up and over the bridge, and into Cocoa Beach.

We passed the famous Ron Jon Surf Shop, and I snapped a phone pic and sent it to my heart-sister Lori, whose family served as hosts for a week-long trip to this same area a several years back.  Fun memories!!

Since we were still not publishing the fact that Thomas was with us (and was the main "star" of this adventure), I left him out of my photos as you can see below--only two sets of feet.  :)

One glorious day at the beach, and then back to our hotel.  The exciting stuff will start tomorrow...

Back to life,

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Sunday, May 7, 2017

Georgia Sunshine

Time to Fly, Part Three -- May 6-7.

Next stop was a quick (relatively speaking!) three-hour drive over to Atlanta and the T family.  I really do miss my friends, but it is fun being able to make stops along our journey!

Just after we arrived at their house, I started getting texts from a friend:  Where are you?  Who's traveling with you?  Is this a family trip?  Our "semi-secret" trip (per Thomas' wishes) turned into another fun adventure--how much could we post on social media without revealing who was with us or what we were doing?  So far we had just posted photos of Fernando and me, and left Thomas out of it.  At that point we just decided to have some fun with it.

Brian had the grill going for dinner with a veritable feast of food!

We rested, relaxed, sat together, talked, laughed, played games, attended church on Sunday...  Just normal things and sharing our lives together for a day and a half.

Aren't we a good looking group?  This was after church, just before we left.

You knew this would be the next photo...

Donetta and I, hamming it up together!

Then, we were off, ever onward to our final destination.

Back to life,

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Saturday, May 6, 2017

Sweet Respite

Time to Fly, Part Two -- May 5-6.

After our rainy day-long drive and midnight arrival in South Carolina, we spent the next few days relaxing with the S family.  Sometimes you don't realize how much you miss friends until you see them again!

The littler girls took to Fernando quickly.  He's such a big teddy bear!

The kids took us on a little tour of their five-acre property, and the most important stop for the girls was the shed, and their baby chicks.

It was cool that day, which was fine with me since it was even cooler back home.  And our little walk--heavenly!  Spring had definitely arrived here!

Most of our time was spent just relaxing, talking, and laughing.  On our last morning, I did a quick photo shoot with all the kids, then we took some group photos. 

The guys wanted to show how they had all grown...

Not!  Thomas is quite a bit shorter than their two boys!

Finally, one group photo before we left.

And of course, the requisite goofy-face photo!

It was hard to leave, but time was marching on and we needed to get on with the journey.  So away we drove, eastward and southward to our next destination.

Back to life,

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Friday, May 5, 2017

Time to Fly

Time to Fly, Day One -- May 4

There's obviously a back story to this photo of a crazy-eyed Thomas, a pair of kitchen shears in his hand and camping gear strewn around the floor.  These things, plus a few more essentials, were all that he'd need for the upcoming weeks.

This has to do with a few posts ago, and an announcement from Thomas.  As you can guess by the title of this post, it was indeed time for him to fly--fly our nest, and it began with a road trip.

Fernando drove the Suburban, and Thomas drove his car with me riding shotgun for navigation if needed.  Fernando took the lead, we followed, and a new journey commenced.  In the below photo, we had just gotten on to I-80 East, and just as we did, Thomas flipped a radio station and Come Sail Away began playing.  It was the perfect song, and the two of us started singing it at the top of our lungs.  It was one of those forever moments.

I'm sailing away set an open course for the virgin sea
I've got to be free free to face the life that's ahead of me
On board I'm the captain so climb aboard
We'll search for tomorrow on every shore
And I'll try oh Lord I'll try to carry on...

Secular song, for sure.  But it captured the moment, the very beginning of a whole new journey for Thomas.  I posted the above photo on Instagram with a post reflecting the words of this song, not thinking much of it.  Thomas didn't want it advertised until he was ready, so since Instagram isn't Facebook, we left it there and drove on.

It started raining, a light sprinkle about an hour into our road trip when I begged to stop (that mug of tea...!).  Then it rained...

And it rained, all through Indiana and into Kentucky...

And it rained some more, into the hills and around the curves of the highway...

And on into the evening, it kept raining.

Into the mountains of South Carolina and into the fog--the dense, misty kind--it rained and rained, and never stopped.

Our first stop on this trip was in South Carolina, a nice resting stop with a family we hadn't seen in far too long.  That'll be the next post...

Back to life,

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Spring Thoughts

This spring will be spent waiting.  The bursts of color from the flowers, the popping buds on the trees, and the birdsong floating on the air all shout their message of newness and joy to my heart.  This day was spent with Fernando at The Morton Arboretum, since where else would I find so much color and spring?

The daffodils covered the field, as they do each spring.  I never knew there were so many varieties; I tried to capture them all.

Walking down one of the paths on the west side, we encountered the early mayapples!  Their umbrellas were just opening.

I love the redbuds with their beautiful little blossoms.

This was my first time capturing the waterfall from below.

I love trying to capture texture, as in this photo of standing water, twigs, and pieces of tree.

And oh, the glorious meadow with all its bright beauty!

Yellow magnolias.

Sometimes, and especially in spring when there's so much beauty and color surrounding me, I have to dig to see the special.  I have to get down on the ground, just lie there with my camera, turn to the side, to see something beyond the ground cover.  Pretty little white flowers, sweetspire (some call it lily of the valley), blossoming where no one looks, where no one even bothers to search.  Most don't even know it's there.  But I do, and so I lay down and search, then snap.

Hidden treasure.

Back to life,

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