She hears me ….

…. and I swoon with gratitude.

Last night
…. way past the scheduled bedtime of eight o’clock ….
I peek into her room again to motion her towards slumber.

She – still hovering over the keyboard – tells me she is working on homework …
one that has a rough draft due in several days …
but she’s filling the page in the word processor
line upon line.
A speedy typist she is not … yet text runs off the top and bottom of the page.
I wonder if she has cut and pasted from somewhere.
I query.
With wrinkled brow, she states, insulted, “No. I’m writing a story.”

And then her eyes twinkle, her brows arch and she sparkles, “Let me tell you about it!”

She cannot be interrupted. If she begins a story, she must finish. A three minute Youtube video can take twelve minutes to describe. But, she won’t be stopped. She m.u.s.t finish. I think, if she were a shoplifter and caught red-handed by a security guard in full uniform, pointing a loaded gun at her
she would still have to complete the action of putting the item into her pocket.
She can.not be interrupted.

I can’t squelch her enthusiasm and so I say, “Yes, tell me.” I hear the first of the story …. but can’t follow through listening intently to the end
because I am rejoicing and distracted in my spirit.

This is what I heard:
“It is a story about Edeth, a white witch, which is a witch that does good things. White witches are full of power and can cast spells, but as they age, they are are not able to cast as many as when they were young. They are allowed a death wish as a final wish. Edeth is invited to be a part of a group of witches that are abnormally beautiful. The reason they are so beautiful is because they used one of their wishes to ask that they be beautiful. Edeth recognized that they were selfish. They were outwardly beautiful, but inside they had evil hearts. Edeth told them she didn’t want to join their group
because
they didn’t use their power for good ….”

And that’s all I heard
of her six-minute story …
My eyes misted and my thoughts wandered as I gloried ….

She hears me!!

“Use your drama for good,” I tell her …
time and time again …
When she leaves the house, those are the words she hears last from me.
We have a talk about people being unkind or mean-spirited,
I tell her again.
When we talk about her own dramatic flair …
I implore her …
“Use your drama for good.”

She’s hearing me.

And I rejoice.

Uncommon …. influence

Just a few weeks ago, we packed bicycles into the van. We stuffed backpacks with bottles of water and apple juice, chips, homemade chicken salad, grapes and an array of  sweet treats.

We met Britt and her friend Julie there … Joy and I.

When Britt first called to ask if we could get together, she left the “how and where” we would meet up to us. She has traveled a good bit, lived in several cities and been lots of places. She’s always going and doing … so I assumed it might be a “step down” to take a common ride on our average bike and walking trail. I didn’t want to be hemmed in by a restaurant booth, bothered by waitresses or completely distracted by a movie. I wanted us to do something fun and freeing. Little did I know ….

As we rode, Britt confessed that she hadn’t been on a bike since she was probably around Joy’s age. She hadn’t been on this path (at all, if I remember right?).  This type of outing wasn’t her norm.  So, she was thrilled to ride a bike, feel the loose rocks under her tires and the wind in her hair. She … was like a little kid. She was thrilled with our outing choice.

Our world is small. A year ago, during summer camp, Joy met Britt and fell under her sphere of influence. Britt with her engaging smile and blue eyes that sparkle, has a way infecting others with her enthusiasm for life. She follows the rule that I try to instill in Joy: use your drama for good.

While Joy was enamored with Britt at camp, James had become her friend through a completely different circle of influence. He had friends who had introduced them. He had spent some time with her dining, at movies and through fellowship.

After camp ended last summer, Britt prepared to move to Chicago to go to college. So we met at Atlanta Bread for a meal … Joy and I, James and his friends, Britt and her mom. We had such a nice visit. And Britt took time to specifically talk to Joy. This was really about Joy.

Britt likes Joy. She sees something in Joy that I see. She sees a spark of creativity and an energy and determination that is not average. And she wants to encourage that.

So, in Britt’s crazy, whirlwind busy life of coming and going, college and family, moving and shaking, meeting and loving, she carves out time to influence my child.

And I *swoon.*

Britt’s heart desire is to be a world changer. I don’t know HOW God will use her, but He will. She will make difference in this huge orb of green and blue, land and sea, physical and spiritual. She will make a difference.

I reflect back on my own life. It took me years to build the momentum to love others as deeply as she does. It took me decades to embrace individuality that way that she does as a young 20. I am inspired by her focus and energy. She is …. uncommon.

Here is a project that Britt was inspired to create. This video is a good reflection of Britt’s ability to see more than a face, a skin color or a label : she sees value in every body … every soul … every spirit.

I know He will use her on a grand scale,
but He is also using her in a personal, intentional and focused way.
He is using her to influence Joy … to use her drama for good.

Britt has now left Chicago. She has moved to Asheville, NC and plans to finish her schooling there. And I treasure that she continues to nurture a friendship with my girl
because she sees the potential for my youngest.

We rode our bikes down a dirt path close to our home and it looked average and everyday.
But to Britt, it was invigorating and unusual and wonderful.
And as I watched Britt do her average, everyday thing
by pouring her energy and enthusiasm into my daughter’s impressionable spirit
I was moved by how out-of-the-ordinary and uncommon was her gifting.
Britt offers herself …. truly invests freely to encourage others to be
authentic, true and real
and use their drama for good.

For this I am grateful.
And I look forward to her return visits …
when we will fellowship
in what appears to be a common way
sharing an influence that is anything but.

The rash is worth it!

I am covered in a rash. Well … not actually covered. My BELLY is covered. Then there are spots on my elbow, right hip, left shin, right knee. I started itching on Saturday when I pulled my bathing suit off. I couldn’t figure out what caused this rash …
until Sunday when I put my sunglasses on after church.
The top of my ear where my sunglasses arm rests was sore … and began to itch.
And then it hit me ; chiggers.

They love to climb to the soft skin that is tucked behind
bathing suits, waistlines of shorts, socks …. and yes, I guess, sunglasses arms.

So, I’m keeping a bottle of anti-itch spray at arm’s length.
And, honestly, the slight irritation (okay, it’s more than slight) of this itch
is so.worth.the.way I became covered with chiggers.

Saturday, Joy and I paddled down the Savannah River with the annual Savannah Riverkeeper fundraiser called Paddlefest.

There were boats lined up everywhere. They crowded the walking/running  path ….

and crossed the walking bridge.

I’d estimate that hundreds competed between the homemade boat race, the competitive kayak/canoe race and the recreational race.

For those of you who are from the Augusta area, we put our boats in on the river at the Savannah Rapids Pavilion/head gates and paddled all the way past downtown to the Boat House/Savannah Riverkeeper office.

To be honest, I have no idea how I ended up covered in chigger bites, but this girl had none. We sat in the same places, stood in the same spots and walked the same paths. But, somehow, I ended up as chigger lunch while this sweet, tender girl … who would have been a much more tasty treat … walked away scathe-free.

The canal was so beautiful Saturday morn. Across the water, you can see the tow path which is a walking, biking, running path (part of the Bartram trail) that actually winds its way all the way downtown.

Here we are at the start of the race. We were sent off in groups of around fifteen, with a new group launching every ten minutes. It was nice that we weren’t crowded on the river … but there were people around for support, if we needed it.

You can see in this photo that the water had a nice, strong current at points. There were plenty of rocks to dodge just under the water. It made our paddling just a bit more exciting than the canal affords.

One of the neatest things about paddling the river
was the chance to have a new perspective.
This is a huge, open, grassy area on the tow path
is a place that I have run, walked and biked many times.
I have taken a book and a blanket for an afternoon.
We have picnicked here.
And at times, we just stop here to stretch while we’re on the path.

Here is the Augusta Water Works Department on the river and canal. I’ve passed it dozens if not hundreds of times through the years … but never seen it from this point.

And, as many times as I have traveled OVER I-20 into South Carolina,
I’ve never been under it on the river.

This is a view of the Amphitheater at the River Walk in downtown Augusta. We’ve been here to many functions and concerts. It’s neat to see it from a fresh point of view.

We stopped once or twice for Joy to take a dip into the water. I held onto her boat (to make sure that it didn’t get carried away) so I didn’t feel comfortable joining her in the water (as we brought no rope to anchor us securely).  Maybe I would have washed away some of the chiggers had I taken a dip?  We’ll never know.

This was my only travel UNDER Spanish moss (which is known to be full of chiggers).

The water was simply beautiful … clear and cool. Along the way, we saw a snorkeler (an Augusta/Richmond County Dive Team member) who told us of all the wonderful things he had seen and found since moving to our area from California. He said he was afraid that he would find no underwater excitement here in our “landlocked” area, but has enjoyed finding arrowheads and seeing gar, bass, bream and snakes. Next time, Joy and I are definitely taking our gear!!

By the end of our water trek
– a good three-hour paddle –
Joy was exhausted.
I was tired as well, but she was such a trooper!

I’m incredibly happy that Joy has no sign of mite nibbles
on her sweet, tender skin …
but I have to tell you
– itchiness and all –
the chiggers were worth it.

Typical

James has done this to me for years.
I try to take a photo of he and Glory
and he gives me one goofy face after another.
Usually I end up with 19 silly shots of James
and one awesome one.

And I guess, if I was honest,
I get 18 great shots of Glory
with James being goof-monster beside her.
THEN
when she finally does something weird –
like puts her hands over her face in frustration –
he flashes those beautiful pearly whites,
twinkles his eyes
and I snap.
The ONE good one of him
and SHE’S at the end of her rope.
I think he realizes what is happening
and THAT’S why I FINALLY get a good one of him.

But these two? Put them together
and the best I can get is
one silly face after another
and them *BAM!*
They’re done.
“Nope! No more, mom. That’s it. We’re done! Sorry!”

Glory worked a double shift so she wasn’t able to join us
for last night’s Montclair swim meet.
James came to cheer on Joy –
who sported sharpie under the eyes
to make her look “intimidating” like a football player.
It’s working, right??

So, this is what I got from
my oldest and my youngest …
the Comic Relief
and the Stage Queen.

They really make me belly laugh. hard.
and often.

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Camping at Congaree

For at least two summers, I’ve been trying to snag a spot on a kayaking tour of Cedar Creek near Columbia, South Carolina in the Congaree National Park. But, the tour would leave around eight o’clock on warm Saturdays.  In order to secure a seat on the next trip, you had to call near eight and they only booked two weeks out. I tried repeatedly and just couldn’t call at the right time. Or I’d forget. Or they would be booked by the time I got through the busy line.

But, thanks to a list of faithful volunteers, now there are four trips a weekend and they open up booking a quarter at a time.

So, this past weekend, Joy and I were able to join a trip. I still swoon when I think of our weekend.

Let me begin by telling you that Joy was all about camping
until I mentioned that we would be “primitive” camping.
“No electricity? Or bathrooms? Really?”

To ease the blow, I decided to pull out a porta-potty that we used to use in our camper. We took our changing tent and a solar shower and we were set. You -almost- couldn’t tell that we were primitive camping.

Here’s an inside look at our porta-bathroom-changing closet. (The water was to “flush” since the bellows on our potty is broken. I’ll be ordering a replacement this week.)

The most difficult part of the trip was hiking our stuff to the site.  We didn’t arrive early enough to capture one of the easy-to-get-to sites. So, we had to make s.e.v.e.r.a.l trips to get all of our equipment down the trail. I’m sure we’re both stronger for the trips … but we will definitely arrive earlier next time!

We spent one morning hanging out at the site playing games and relaxing. We did a good bit of hiking. With 22,000 acres, there is plenty of exploration space. We even join in a really fun ranger-guided, nighttime Owl Prowl with the full moon as our illumination.  OH! OH! OH! Did you know that an owl’s “ears” are not evenly placed on their head?  You know how a dog will tilt his head to the side to be able to hear better? Owls don’t have to do that. God placed their ears unevenly on their head so that they can more clearly hear sounds. Isn’t that cool?

But, the highlight of the weekend was the two full hours spent paddling down and then back up Cedar Creek on Saturday afternoon. Yes, it was littered with pollen … like the REST of the south right now!I think there were nine canoes with two or three people per boat plus two volunteers and a ranger, each in kayaks – plus Joy and I (in our kayaks). John, “The Snake Spotter” was our lead.  He was A.MAZ.ING at spotting snakes along the way.  I bet we saw ten draped on limbs and sunning on debris.  While that sounds like a lot and may even seem frightening, it wasn’t at all. They were still and content.  None were in the water and we stayed out from under limbs so as not to scare and cause them to fall into our boats.

If you are within a 2.5 – 3  hour drive of Columbia, this trip is WELL WORTH the drive. The paddling trip is completely free. Camping is completely free. And all the classes and tours are also free.  March 15 opened up reservations for the April through June quarter so call now, if you’re interested. The number is 803.776.4396, Ext 0. If you would like to look at the website and learn more about the guided canoe trips, click HERE.

And if you’re not into camping – especially the primitive kind – the park is right outside Columbia so “civilization” is close by, if you want to choose a more cushy way to travel.

After almost two years of waiting, we finally got to take a guided tour down Cedar Creek. We learned a lot more than we would have had we been on our own. We thoroughly enjoyed all the other paddlers.  If you’re looking for a great day or weekend outing and live in the area, this place is a great destination.

St. Patrick’s Day Celebration

The end of the quarter
was
cuh-ray-zeee.
I was so excited to hand my portfolio over to my instructor and know that all assignments had been completed.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been collecting.  I found gold wrapped, chocolate coins about six weeks ago. Cake mix and frosting were easy, of course. Well, the first two boxes, anyway. More on that in a moment. But, oh! Those little rainbow Airheads. My, oh my.  They were a bear to locate this year.

Last year, Joy came across this cute little recipe for St. Patty’s cupcakes.  I made them for her class last year and wanted to do it again this year.  The days are drawing near when cupcakes with green frosting, striped, rainbow Airhead rainbows and gold coins at the base of the rainbows … won’t be a cool thing any more!

With my portfolio on Mr. D’s desk on Wednesday, I could (take a big nap to catch up on lost sleep and then, Thursday morning,) begin the whirlwind cupcake preparation … only taking a break to check the mail, mid-morning. The kitchen was still a mess from lack of attention during the past few days of final preparation … but I knew I could clear a space for confection creating and then get the house back in order fairly quickly. Mail in the box

It came. The letter? Yes. It came!

I WOULD have had plenty of time to finish all the cupcakes and deliver them to Joy’s class when I went for lunch ….. had I not had to bake FOUR.STINKING.BOXES of cupcakes. The first batch burned. Really? Why, yes, really!  Then the second batch … was a little … let’s just say “smokey-flavored.”  I’ve had this problem for several years now. It’s been such an odd phenomenon.  After throwing out the second batch and a second run to Publix, I began to give this some thought. It occurred to me that layering the muffin pans side-by-side with their lips overlapping  and the edges all the way to the wall of the oven MIGHT not have been as smart as I thought. See, I thought I was baking faster because I wasn’t having to keep the oven running through two cycles of cupcakes. But, I figured out – on the THIRD box – that what I was actually doing was blocking the hot air from circulating in the oven.  The cupcakes were cooking from the bottom up, and of course, the bottoms were … well …. overdone.

But, hey! There are a lot of things that I AM …. but a slow learner I am NOT … at least, not when it comes to baking!  I got the third and fourth boxes right!  *grins proudly*

Oh. And yes, I said that I’ve had this problem for several years now … because I’ve just recently started baking marathon amounts of cupcakes because we’ve always homeschooled and rarely needed three dozen cupcakes at one time!

Have I mentioned that we don’t feed the dog treats? Never really have. You give her a snibble from the counter and she’ll follow you like a shadow for a month year. I can’t handle it. So, no treats for the dog.

But, ya know? *sing-song voice* It is St. Patrick’s Day. And … nobody was home to S.E.E me slip Dulcie a little treat. So, when I dropped an Airhead on the floor, I left it there. She found it fairly fast. It gave me such a warm, yummy feeling to know that I had given her a sweet little sugar treat … that is …. until about two minutes later when her belly full of dog-food breakfast decided that leathery, sugar-coated extravagance was not meant for canine consumption and she began to heave on the carpet. Every inch of counter covered in dishes, dozens of burned cupcakes in piles and I’m stopping to scoop up a heap of half-digested dogfood laced with an unchewed Airhead from the carpet. Great.

So … lunchtime drew close ….. burned cupcakes were here …. Airheads were there … icing was everywhere …. and I finally had to put everything down or I’d miss lunch with my boo-girl.

I didn’t take the letter with me to lunch. Because, she’d want to open it right then!  If she got in, I wouldn’t be able to jump up and down and yell and scream and hug her and twirl her in circles …. not in the lunchroom. If she didn’t make it, it would ruin her afternoon and by-golly, I wasn’t going to crush the celebratory scene that  these awesome cupcakes would create! And … I couldn’t bring her home early from school to open the letter … because she’d have 30 cupcakes to eat all by herself!

Yes, I had already teasingly told my Dad that I had C.O.N.S.I.D.E.R.E.D steaming the letter open so I would KNOW whether she made it. Then I would KNOW whether I could take it with me to school. But, that was dishonest … and besides, the school must have some experience with this because they cemented the letter shut with a piece of scotch tape that spanned THE ENTIRE LENGTH OF THE BACK of the envelope.  So, *stomps foot* steaming was out of the question.

Having been put in the position that I had to try more than one cupcake and lick more than one spoon, I found that I wasn’t very hungry for lunch.  I sat and watched Joy disrobe two not-nearly-ripe kiwis and eat a popsicle for lunch.  I’m not sure why but she didn’t want to eat the sausage and egg wrap that was microwaved in plastic so it would be warm.  She said she couldn’t eat it because “eggs and sausage aren’t supposed to smell like cinnamon.” Good point.  She hates eggs anyway. Oh, and she doesn’t like frozen broccoli … only fresh. Thus, she ate kiwi and a popsicle for lunch.

I couldn’t stand it. I finally caved and told her that the letter was at home. Oh.the.drama. She begged me to take her home. She pleaded with me to go get the letter. She groveled that I bring it back. She petitioned that I take her home and then bring her back.

Then she tattled on me.
She told her teacher that the letter came and that I didn’t bring it.
Her teacher is a big fan. Her teacher has a daughter that is similar (creative) so she understands my Boo. Her teacher has a daughter already at Davidson.  Her teacher wanted to know if she had made it.
I was sent home
to finish cupcakes
and return with treats
and a letter.

I returned in time for recess, which pleased me greatly because I would no longer feel embarrassed to
“jump up and down and yell and scream and hug Joy and twirl her in circles” …
because that is “normal” mom behavior on a playground, right?

And jump and yell I did.  Joy reading her acceptance letter from Davidson Fine Arts Magnet SchoolShe made it! She made it! She made it! Joy was accepted as a student for the 6th grade for the 2011-2012 school year at Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School!!

And Margaret made it, too!! As did several other friends from school, including her favorite friend at school, Caitlin!

As best I can find, there are approximately 19,000 public high schools in the nation.  US News & World Report ranked Davidson as #100 in a list of the top schools in the nation for 2010. And Newsweek rated the 1,600 schools in the nation (roughly 6% of the nation’s public high schools). Davidson was 247.

The kids all have to maintain an 80-or-above grade point average through the end of the school year to be fully accepted next year. And things are really going to be tough.  Davidson is an arts school … but still has a strong focus on academia. She’s going to have to really work hard to do well. But, I think the immersion in the arts world will feed her desire to stay enough that she will truly apply herself to the academics, as well. I know she can do it! I can’t wait to see what next year brings.

It’s such an honor that Joy was accepted.  She may not fully appreciate this gift she’s been given until some time after graduation.

So, we celebrated on St. Patrick’s day. We celebrated with cupcakes … and we celebrated with dancing on the playground.

Makes Me Happy Monday : Margaret & Joy

I think I’ve mentioned before
that Joy is quirky.
Sometimes quirky people attract others and
sometimes they don’t.
I am so thankful that Joy has found a friend as quirky as she is.
Margaret is one of Joy’s favorite people. They share a lot of the same interests.
They both like to write and lOvE to be the one with the mic in the spotlight.
I think they both dream of having an audience.
They’re both pretty creative. They love music (they have even formed a “band” together). They have incredible enthusiasm for … just about anything. And fun? It happens everywhere they go.
And they both tried out for Davidson Magnet School.

Yep, Margaret is the one on the right in a short sleeved shirt with a knitted cap (she said it covers her hair when it sticks up) and rain boots (no, it wasn’t raining).  She has a perpetual smile and the biggest, most compassionate, helpful spirit of any little person I know.

And Joy, she’s on the left in the bright salmon colored jacket. Yep. She’s carrying her 19 year old sister’s Spiderman lunchbox.

Joy asked me to point out that right after the two enter the gates, they skipped their way to the commons area.

They make me laugh!!

With two days of auditions and hundreds of kids trying out for the few spots available at the school, only time will tell and only God knows who will get in. But, I’m pulling for these two girls. We should receive letters around the week of Masters (our spring break) as to who made it in!  So, we’ll know soon!!

Yeah, Margaret and Joy Make Me Happy this marvelous Monday morning.
What brings you joy today?

Resourcefulness

I wrote about the Character Word of the Month for November for Georgia schools; Tolerance.
I love having a character word for the month …. but I don’t care for November’s choice.

This month’s character word is Resourcefulness.
A child from each class room is chosen to represent the word of the month.
So, there will be three fifth graders representing “resourcefulness.”

Sweet Joy was chosen for this month.

This is Joy’s desk this morning
…. pieces of who-knows-what
taken apart to be used for creating
who knows what.
pliers …. wire …. screwdrivers … tweezers … scissors ….
These are her tools of destruction  … and creation.

In fact, you see on the right a modified Nerf gun.  She took it apart, added a stronger spring, painted it, changed the barrel so it has a skinny tube to better aim her ammunition ….
and now it shoots bb’s.

Yeah. I took those away. We don’t make a weapon out of a gun that was a toy. I’m okay with guns. I’m not okay with toys that do things that real guns do. I’m okay taking her to a gun range where she learns respect for guns and how to shoot one properly and safely. I’m not okay with her learning the lesson the hard way that toy guns can put out an eye. When James was young, our next door neighbor put out his eye with a bb gun he got for Christmas. He was ten.  I’m just not willing to risk an eye with a modified toy.

As we get ready this morning, I can’t help but think that her teacher, the nominator, probably doesn’t realize JUST HOW RESOURCEFUL this child truly can be.

So, by the time you read this, we’ll be honoring her with a table full of goodies to eat with other resourceful kids.
I’m so thankful that she was chosen. The label is fitting.

Looking for Love

It’s all around. If you look, you will see it.
Last year, a friend at school made a Happy Single’s Awareness Day emblem for her Facebook page. I thought it was funny, so I came up with something of my own.

It wasn’t up for more than a day… when I had to take it down. It made me sad. If you’re happy and proud that you’re single, then celebrate it. But, at the time, I was neither happy nor proud that I was single.

This was my replacement. It made me smile. It focused on giving love … rather than my lack of the amount or kind of love that I might feel that I am owed or need. It felt less “Feel sorry for me” and more “Love One another.”

I can honestly say that I’m looking for love,
but not in the way that a country song might imply.
I keep my eyes open for the Creator of Love.
I want all He has to give me … teach me … show me. (yikes … that’s a scary thing to think, say or type!)
The Bible tell us that love comes from God (1 John 4:7). And not just that it comes from Him … but that He IS Love (1 John 4:8).

And so, the spiritual/physical parallel quest continues …. always looking for love.

Like Jesus spoke in parables, paralleling the spiritual and physical worlds, God convicts and teaches me through similar daily events.

I see its symbols all around … and I am encouraged.

He gives me  {{{{hugs}}}}
…. He shows me “love” through a serving of beans on a purple lunch plate in an elementary school cafeteria. And I snap a shot … to remember.
And then I eat the love … and am nourished.a string bean ... with a side view that offers a heart shape

I see it when I’m out walking the neighborhood.  This is a heart … that might be made of those little waxy sticks meant for creating.  Or maybe it is a piece of yarn dipped in glue and laid out in a heart shape to dry. I’m not sure …. but it’s on the sidewalk … and has been there for …. EVER! And it always makes me smile … as I step over the love and go about my life.

Even Joy sees it.  When she was working on her science fair project, she took off to find a camera and came back to take a photo of the little heart in the reflection of the cup. Oh, swoon. She gets it.
I see it, too, and love’s light is reflected back upon me.

I spied love on this rock. And my friends talked about me as they padded forward on the trail and I was left behind … “She’s stopped to take more pictures,” was flatly spoken from one person to another. *whispers* …. but, I see it … and I don’t want to forget. * snap, snap, snap. * I touch the love … run my fingers across its suppleness … clinging to a rock for dear life. Lichen working to form a heart on a rockEven when it’s rainy …. there is multicolored, natural love to be found … floating in puddles ….  I pick it up and inspect it … love drenched in living water.

They’re  all around. He leaves us notes … symbols …. gifts to remind us of His love … His presence. Look for them. They may be beautiful and obvious. They may be hidden and require a treasure hunt or a lifting of the mist to find. But, they are there. Look for them.