Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Living in the moment . . . and loving every minute

The older I get, the more beauty I see in everyday scenes. Last Friday, I left the lush green hills of Bastrop county and headed west to Fort Sumner, New Mexico.

Staci had surgery on Tuesday and needed some help with the kids while she recovered so I siezed the chance to be that extra hand. I was due for a break from kitchen remodeling (and I think Mike was ready to tackle some creative construction without my valuable input) so the timing was perfect.

The weather was ideal for traveling and the audio book I was listening to (the Memory Keeper's Daughter) was great. The fields and hills between Lampasas and Brownwood still held their green from the summer rains. The windmill farms on the west side of Abilene, up around Sweetwater, looked like a majestic, kinetic sculpture garden that went on and on until they disappeared into the horizon. They have a sort of mechanical awesome look I like. The fact that they generate energy is a bonus.

The long desolate drive from Clovis to Fort Sumner was even pretty with an arid display of browns, lavenders and pinks that I found particularly pleasing. My friend, Sue, who lives near Austin is from Clovis and says she misses the wide open spaces of her hometown. I couldn't imagine missing the flat, sparse, desolate plains when you live in the gorgeous green hills of Texas - but I have to admit, the area is growing on me.

Saturday afternoon, I watched from the window in Staci's family room as the ranch horses lazily trailed in from the pasture to get food and water - cottontail rabbits scampering from sage brush to sage brush at the invasion. The cloud formations at sunset were too spectacular to photograph. The colors were amazing and moved like a giant kaleidoscope of brilliant yellows and pinks against steel gray, silver lined clouds. It was impossible for this amateur photographer (not to mention complete clutz) to get the right settings on the camera in time to catch the grandeur . . . so I just enjoyed it.

I did manage to capture a shot of the moon ascending over the livestock pens late yesterday afternoon though it still doesn't do the moment justice. All in all, it was a lovely trip. Staci is recovering very well, the twins were a delight to be around and the older kids broke my heart with their rapid maturity.

I'm so glad I took the time to slow down and enjoy the moment.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Choosing the Country

Fifteen miles from town and almost a mile down a gravel road, you'll find a tree lined, grassy lane that leads to our new front porch in the country. The house is smaller than the one we sold in Burnet, but comfortably so.

There's a large pond in the front yard that spills over into another pond on the side of the house. Calin and Codi Ann have already caught countless sun perch (that they dutifully threw back) in both ponds. A rather large community of turtles inhabit both ponds.

At night, the frogs provide wide range of unusual songs. At times they sound like an auditorium full of cuckoo clocks out of control and other times it sounds like hundreds of tech devices on the blink. We enjoy sitting on the porch with a glass of wine and listening to them while fireflies flit here and there on the warm summer night. It's simply wonderful.

This house and this place are just exactly what we were hoping for. The postmaster in the Red Rock post office knows my name. That's nice. On our first night in the house, we had nothing to cook so I ran into the little Red Rock grocery store to pick up something and found one of Mike's Leanin' Tree posters tacked above one of the doors.

Yes, we must drive 16 miles to do big grocery or hardware shopping but it's okay. We're learning to shop better. We had to tear out the kitchen and are in the middle of putting in a whole new one and yes, it's back breaking work. But when I stand back and look at the transformation, it brings me great joy. Joy to see our vision slowly coming to life and pride in knowing we did it ourselves. There will be more remodeling down the road as time and funds allow but for now, we're thrilled with our new home.

It's amazing what can come about when we let go and let God lead the way.