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Place

A couple of weeks ago we were in that slice of summer that tucks you away from reality and covers you with sunshine and solace from the outside world.
We were on vacation.
The place : Hilton Head, South Carolina. Where the buildings are all neutral and hidden in plazas and strip malls. Bicycle wheels spinning up and down streets as this is a popular mode of transportation.
We spent the last of July soaking up the searing sun poolside or beachside and then couch-side recovering from all of the rich food we consumed. My mom spent most of her vacation cooking. She couldn't be persuaded to take it easy and made feasts for us every night.
We watched little boy enjoy the pool despite his pink floaties courtesy of his sissies.
We watched him revel in the tide chasing his baby feet. Laughing freely as his dad held him fast against his chest as the waves knocked into them.
He kept pointing at the ocean and telling us, "The Big Waa" (his word for water).
We judged countless dives …
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Try

Last week I read an eye opening article.  The article was on literacy and children.  A study points to something other than sight words and alphabet recognition to literacy success.
Kate-Koch Sundquist writes, "The best indicator of future success as a reader is actually a child’s ability to use invented spelling as he writes."
My eyes widened.  I was expecting to read that parents reading to their children daily was the key.  Or perhaps an exposure to wide variety of books. I wasn't expecting to be reading about inventive spelling.
My mind instantly pictured Moriah, my four year old.
Golden head bent over she focuses long on a drawing and usually includes letters that seem out of order to summarize what she has drawn.
She comes to me with her story.  She usually asks me to read what she has written.  I smile and think of how I'll correctly read her collection of letters.  They are usually real letters, but they are definitely out of order. Sometimes I can decipher…

Collect

I read this word and think instantly about four pairs of kid feet coated with sand running across the bare beach trying to collect sea shells.
That will be much of our week.  It's vacation time.
That time always brings out the collector in my kids. Porous pieces of sea life, broken pieces of driftwood, shells scalloped and colored in a myriad of ways.
Then the kids will go to some tacky beach shop and try to spend their savings on souvenirs to add to their already overflowing dresser.
Kids collect things.  I remember doing it and I watch this treasure hunt play out in the eyes of my kids today.
I looked at my girls' this week and finally asked for someone to clean up the mess that was peeking out from every corner.
"Wait!" third girl said, "These are my collections!" The priceless nature of these 'organized' toys brought to weight in a pair of serious four year old eyes.
Moriah is a collector.
A twilight hunter of fireflies. Her small fingers m…

Comfort

The baby of our house is usually steady on his feet.  He's careful, cautious.
Sometimes though he runs too fast and trips over uneven places in the sidewalk.
Little knees scraping the road.
Little Mac immediately sits down, tears pooling in hazel eyes.
He holds the injury up, pointing with tiny fingers.
He is waiting, sitting in the sidewalk for someone to recognize his hurt suffered and kiss the place back to okay.
We kneel down and acknowledge his hurt with a quick kiss and he immediately springs up as if nothing happened.
Everything is better, though the scraped skin is still there.

Mac knows who will comfort him.
His parents and his middle sister, Madelyn.
She always will.
He brings his hurts to her and then sits down infront of her waiting for her to kiss them away.
She's always to be counted on.
She bends her skinny knees down to the ground and lowers to kiss his knees, her glasses sliding down her tiny nose.
And magically, Mac is better. Completely.
We have o…

Thrown Together

Last Tuesday it didn't really feel like the fourth of July.
Our oldest and chief bearer of enthusiasm was at camp and the day was pretty quiet.
She would have been the cheerleader championing a party or maybe a day at the pool and then counting down the minutes until we went to a fireworks show.
As the day waxed on our plans were cancelled for an afternoon cookout. 
That was actually fine with me.
I felt kinda tired and perfectly fine with not doing much of anything.
Then four o'clock rolled around and my parents called.
A few conversations and minutes later a dinner was thrown together.
"You have chicken?"
"Yes, and you have buns?"
"Please bring pickles. Oh...and maybe a bottle of oil."
"Stop and get some tea and some steak fries."
Conversations went on between my parents, my husband, my sister and I.
We all put our heads and supplies together and made a super simple supper.
Within an hour we were all bumping into each other in my s…

Play

This weeks word prompt was play. Fitting for my week.

"Bye Meredith." She responded by pushing me away.
She sat with a group of girls at the back of the bus.
Eagerly awaiting their arrival at summer camp.
I had to smile and laugh at her new phase of independence.
It was her first week away from us.
Her first week spending the night with someone other than her grandparents.
"How is she?" I asked the camp leader.
"She's doing great." was the quick reply.
And she did do great. 
A couple days passed and we visited the camp.
Summer camp is a mix of sweat, messy cabins, non stop activities, loud voices, and ongoing laughter, worship services, climbing hills, the din of the cafeteria, and most of all day and into the night play.
After two counselors had to leave I arrived back to help out.
Kids everywhere were playing.  Hard.
Small arms cradling bows and aiming arrows in archery class.
Splashing in the pool with balls during water games.
Little kids s…

Blessing

This weeks word prompt was the word blessing.  Normally that makes me think about counting blessings and growing gratitude. A kitchen splattered spiral notebook that holds my blessings in barely legible scrawl.  For my eyes only.  Daily reminders to ponder God's goodness.
Or blessing leads me down a table of pies, stuffing, and gravy bowls and families circled up table side mentioning a few blessings of the year.
But today I read this verse containing the word blessing and my mind ran down a different trail...


"Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult.  On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing." 1 Peter 3:9
The verses that follow this admonition discuss a promise of blessing for those who don't engage in evil for evil behavior.
"For, 'Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech.  They must turn from evil and do good;…