Thursday, September 27, 2007

Decisions and Honors

Recently my daughter was inducted as a Kansas Honor Scholar by the KU Alumni Association. She is Co-Valedictorian of her senior class and along with several other students in the county, was honored at a banquet.

She sat quietly at the table, taking in the conversation and yet, feeling apart from it as talk turned to college. She is uncertain at this point of where she'd like to go and what she wants to do.

I try to reassure her that many kids her age are unsure of their future goals and the direction they want to take with their lives (as well as some of us 'older' folks!). The fact that 60% of college freshmen are undeclared and students change majors more than five times during their college career does little to comfort her.

Yesterday we went on our first college visit where we toured the campus of a community college about an hour from home. I watched as she strolled along the sidewalks, taking in the sights and observing the
differences between that world and her own. She was charmed by the young man sitting outside in the sunshine playing his guitar and the auditorium filled with sets for an upcoming play. I saw a light in her face as she observed the diversity of a college setting and in her smile as she talked with her guide (Of course, it helped that he was a very handsome college freshman)!

As hard as it will be for me to let her go next fall, I'm excited for the possibilities that lay ahead for her. And even though she's unsure of what she wants to be when she grows up, she will soon learn that it is in the journey of becoming an adult where she will grow and change and not so much in what she actually chooses to do.

I am so proud of her accomplishments thus far and of the direction she's moving. But the greatest honor lies in simply being her mother. and in walking this amazing path that she is so willing to share.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Wishing to Fly

"I truly believe if my time is up here,
Then I will be called.
Till then I am safe.
So...I fly."

I am not a risk taker, preferring to tiptoe around the dangerous edges as I rest comfortably within my safety net. I like to think it's because I value my life and want to steer clear of anything that may cause me harm.

But then I wonder...

I was talking with a friend who spoke of living life to the fullest and gleaning all you can from the day, knowing that you are held safely until your time on this earth is through.

I don't want to leave here with my dreams still neatly wrapped, contained within their packaging because I was too afraid to trust, believe, soar.
So...where do you draw the line between living...and living dangerously? When do you throw caution to the wind, rely on faith....and fly?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Coronado's Castle

On top of a rocky hill, resting in the middle of the Kansas prairie lies a stone castle: Coronado's Castle. It's a beautiful place where travelers can stop for a bird's eye view of its rich rural heritage and undisturbed acres of grassland.

Tucked away in my archives, buried in the year 2005, lives a post I wrote about the castle at Coronado Heights. It's a place that has always been dear to me; a place to go where I can find beauty, peace and an abundance of memories.

It is truly a breathtaking journey, this road that leads to the top of Coronado, and the stay is one that lingers in the mind long after the trip has ended. Along the winding road that leads to the top of the hill lies a marker that reads: "A Place to Share", and through that sharing comes moments which are never shaken, nor ever very far away.

My favorite time to visit Coronado is when no one else is there. It then becomes a treasured secret, a hidden escape that leaves no admittance to the outside world. Cares drift away on the Kansas wind and the soul finds a resting place of contentment among the rustling grasses and wildflowers.

There are trails to explore and something new to see each time. Remnants of past loves and memories are left in stones scattered around the hill, yet enhance instead of distract from the setting, as if they have always been a part of its history.

Inside the castle, one can make his way up the steep, spiraled staircase to the top of the world that can rival any city skyscraper in its view.
Fields lay like patchwork quilts along the landscape and small farms dot the top like colorful buttons, tying it all together. The busyness of the city lies far in a distant dream upon the canvas, and there is no room for ill thoughts in the vast loveliness.

Stone picnic tables are scattered on the edge of the hill, inviting intimate meals and quiet conversation. And if one is fortunate to be there at twilight he is treated to a private view of a spectacular display of colors, courtesy of God Himself.

The Rockies of Colorado are beautiful in their awesome height and glory, and it's hard to beat the brilliance of an Ozark mountain lit by Autumn. But give me the quiet hilltop off a lonely Kansas road for a place of peace and reflection. I will choose it every time.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

This was the view of our sky tonight. It was as if a great artist tipped his brush in golden embers and swept it across the horizon, leaving trails of pink and purple to float away like wisps of colored smoke.

It's always magical to watch our western canvas each night and witness God's masterpiece in the making: a gift I never tire of.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

I'm always amazed at how the simplest things can hold so much beauty. For the past few months I've been making cards for friends and family, using my photography on the front cover to showcase the natural loveliness of the Kansas landscape. I call them, "Backyard Blessings" because most of the pictures are taken literally, from my backyard and remind me how fortunate I truly am.

This weekend when you look out your window, may you see beauty all around you. May the stillness of late summer wrap you in its gentle warmth as we slip into Fall and may your backyard, too, hold many blessings.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

A Must Read

If your soul is searching for a place to rest, if you are feeling tired, lonely, frustrated or at a loss, this is for you. Bonnie Bruno has a new book hitting the shelves September 5th entitled, "When God Steps In." Inside you will find fifty stories that share God's grace and how it has impacted and changed lives. Each writing is accompanied by breathtaking photographs taken by Bonnie; a true gift she is sharing with the world.

I got to know Bonnie through her beautiful blog entitled, "Macromoments". In her writing she eloquently shares a joy-filled approach to life as she walks beside God. Her photography blog, "Photo Buffet" shares brilliant pictures and is a lovely respite from the sometimes crazy world we live in today. I feel very honored to share a path with Bonnie and invite you all to get to know her through the poignant beauty of her artistry.

Blessings to you, my friend.....and my sincerest thanks for both the joy and hope you bring to all whose lives you touch.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Casting Cares

I have much on my mind these days. Though the busyness of school hasn't yet hit, it waits just over the horizon and will soon fill our days and nights with a continuous flurry. Financial obligations teeter treacherously on a thin line as I hold my breath for balance. New projects are started for dreams yet to come, and worry perches on my shoulders.

During these times I step outside my back door, head down the dusty road and cast out my cares along the ditches. There is beauty to be seen and moments to hold close and there is no room for the concerns that cloud my day.

And though I am a realist and never run too far, it doesn't hurt every now and then to shrug away the worry, lose myself in silhouette and gather sunflowers for tomorrow.


"Make new friends, but keep the old.
One is silver and the other's Gold."

I was looking at photographs with my daughter yesterday and came across this one, taken last summer during her birthday. Pictured here is one of her oldest and dearest friends who lives in the city we once called home. They met in kindergarten and immediately became kindred spirits.

How well I remember those childhood days when they played dress-up, had lemonade stands and ran screaming through the sprinkler! I've watched them grow through the years, going from giggly little girls who danced in the living room, to lovely young women, with real dances to attend. I love that though separated through miles, they're connected in heart with a tie that will bind them throughout their lives. Next year they will fly out into the world, but how comforting to know that no matter where they roam, they will always have each other.