Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Trek: Day Three in Gulfport, MS

The chilly morning greeted us with frost as we ventured outside to load our luggage back into the car.  It was so cold that the family dog Sara, curled up and nestled into a pile of leaves, chose to stay put rather than brave the air to get up and bid us farewell.  Hugs, love expressed and coffee cups in hand, we had to say goodbye.  We meandered slowly down the dirt road away from the house waving goodbye to Meme and Papa as they stood pressed against the storm door waving back at us.

A long day in the car toured us through Atlanta, GA which was chaotic at best and insane at worst.  The multitude of red strings representing major highways jumbled across the gps screen as we tried to navigate our way through the intertwined superstructures without incident.

We made our way out of the city intact, headed west and caught the cheapest gas sign we've seen so far.  The gas station, while not confirmed, was most probably photographed in some city, Alabama.

Eventually, and I do mean eventually, we arrived in Gulport, MS!  We unpacked quickly and met up with our dinner guests in the hotel lobby and sped off to dinner with them.  I was so delighted to see my friends, so caught up in the joy of the evening, that I actually forgot to take a photo of us together.  (Crazy, I know! Unlike me...totally!)

Ahh...but we're here for the night.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Trek: Day Two

Being around Mr. Smart Guy's family lets me take a sneak peek into the past and hear great tales of his childhood ways and dreams.  It's a treat for me to sleep in his old bedroom, now turned guest room, and hear him recount the many nights he spent as a young boy staring at the ceiling pondering his future, considering the next days fun or just plain staring into the darkness of the night.  

A young boy then, a man now, who resembles his father in so many ways: humor, gentleness, a strong work ethic, kindness and a guiding desire to do the right thing.    

But, the highlight of the visit proved to be audio cassettes that were recorded in 1974 and unearthed for our listening pleasure.  Mr. Smart Guy's mom had recorded family activities and then sent them to his dad who was away on duty in the United States Navy.  Parents, siblings, nieces and nephews gathered around the cassette player and chuckled at the crazy antics, the chaos of dinner conversations and the funny banter as the four kids were getting ready for school.  I hear the voice of my husband at age 11 and can hear the man he was becoming.  What a sweet gift that we hope to digitize and pass on to our boys some day.

Our visit sped by much too fast with lots of hugs, coffee and conversations around the kitchen table.  The packed bags are waiting by the doorway. The next stop on our trek...the gulf coast of Mississippi.  

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Trek: Day One

Day One began in our driveway with both of us near exhaustion.  The past few weeks have really taken a toll on us physically and emotionally.  Lots of packing, shifting, moving, hugging and goodbye'ing. (I know, go with it...it's my own word! lol)

We loaded our destination into the gps and climbed into the Prius and began the first leg of our journey cross-country. We laughed at how loaded our car was, how tired we were and how the coastal craziness is giving us such a burst of excitement.

Rock Hill, SC....here we come!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

An Award!!

If we get honest with ourselves for a moment, we find that we all desire some small portion of recognition or affirmation in our day.  I'm not talking about winning the Nobel Peace Prize or something of that grandeur.  I'm talking about that compliment that comes out of nowhere from your teenager who says, "Wow, Mom, you look cool today." It's the kind of recognition from your boss who says, "I see how hard you've been working on this project and I really appreciate your efforts."  Or, the warm touch of a friend in crisis who lays her hand on yours as she says, "Thank you so much for being here when I needed you."

It's the positive feedback we get from living life at our full potential and the result of reaching others with who God made us to be.   

So, imagine my delight when I realized I won an award!  Someone thought enough of my writing not only to read my stuff but to publicly acknowledge my writing!  And, it's not just any old award but an award from Pictures, Poetry & Prose. It's a blog I visit often to contribute thoughts and love the creativity push that Laura Jane's site gives me.  Please go check it out....it's really cool.  The actual award is on the right hand side of my blog. :)

Before your day runs out, purpose yourself to acknowledge someone around you.  See them, compliment them and most of all, let them know your life is being touched by them. You see, it really does matter that we "do" life together and part of that journey is to encourage each other.  

Here's the actual piece that won the award...


Photo by S. Kay Murphy

The writing prompt:  Cross the bridge.  What is on the other side?

***   ***   ***

Dense fog had made the journey quite tough.  She saw the outline of the bridge from a distance but couldn't make out its detail.

With each step she took, another detail filled in.

With each step she took, she was closer to her past being past.

With each step she took, she was closer to her future being now.

And, the bridge was change.

***   ***   ***

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

That Man

I couldn’t help but let my eyes gaze upon him every few seconds as I stood in line to order my coffee.  I wanted to look at him.  I didn’t want to turn away from him like others were doing.  I wanted to have conversation with him.  He was mesmerizing to me and his presence stirred something deep down in my soul with every move he made.  I wanted to drink in every detail of him with my eyes even though I was well aware that my stare might be interpreted as impolite.  I wanted to reach for my camera and snap a quick photograph or two, however, I couldn’t bring myself to invade his privacy like that.

He deserved respect; he didn’t deserve exploitation.  So, my hand never made into the pocket of my bag where my camera rested.

 His hair, blonde and wispy, was strewn atop his head revealing vast amounts of grime he’d surely picked up from street sleeping.  Even in its unkempt, unwashed state with large matted sections, I could tell that he had been handsome and stylish some years ago. 

 His hands were weathered and showed signs of both aging and harsh outdoor living conditions.  The nail beds were encased with dirt and the skin was cracked in several places along his fingers.  He had strong looking hands that I could tell had been purposeful some years ago.

He rested seemingly comfortable and upright in his wheel chair while he watched the hustle and bustle of others within the coffee shop.  His eyes were bright and alert and he seemed ready for conversation, ready to be acknowledged in any way.  He rolled up to the counter and engaged the barista with a wide, infectious smile as he asked for his “regular”.  She knew him and greeted him warmly by name.  Even though I couldn’t hear him speak to her, I heard her say, “Way to go!” back to him as she handed him a cup of hot, steaming tea. 

 I smiled to myself at the thought of him having friends.  People who would not just acknowledge him but dare to invest in him.  Friends who cared for him now just like friends who cared for him from some years ago.

 Then, he wheeled himself towards the door that led outside and I noticed the duffel bag positioned at the rear of his wheelchair.  His belongings fit into one small duffel bag.  I could tell that his bag had been one of many bags he had some years ago.

 I wondered what was in his bag.  I pondered the contents for a long time after he left the coffee shop.  What was in his bag?  Did he have one tattered, worn photograph in there that he gingerly took out each night to reminisce by? Or was there some other memento in the bag that represented his life from some years ago. 

Who was this man some years ago before circumstances led him to live such a wandering and harsh nomadic life?  And, why… am I so moved to want to follow him?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Thoughtful Tuesday

"Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing."  

- Helen Keller

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Greener Morning

Always on the lookout for those things that will help me live more green conscious, I came across a website I immediately fell in love with and just have to share with you.

Catalog Choice is a one-stop clicking space that allows you to reduce the sheer volume of merchandising catalogs that come into your home. The only bummer about it is you'll need the name of the catalog.  That sounds simple, however,  as I sit in a hotel room 3,000 miles away from home and the place where the catalogs are... it's difficult to remember all of them by name.

Anyways, friends, happy paper reduction and tree saving!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Time Zoned

Time zone changes have always been a challenge for me to physically adapt to.  Even when I travelled quite a bit on business, I would admire my peers who took the time difference in stride and stepped right into a new zone groove without much effort.  I just couldn't do it.  Not then and certainly not now. My body seems to adjust with excruciatingly slow increments to the new zone.

So, here I am, on East Coast time living in a West Coast morning.  Can someone get up and have breakfast with me?  Cuz it's really lunch according to the time zone in my body.  :)  lol

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Distraction

I needed to do a thousand things and be in at least two other places...but, I chose a distraction instead. I dashed into a fave shopping spot and found just the right accessory to perk up even the lowest of days.  Don't you think so?

Friday, December 5, 2008


After going to bed extremely late last night and waking up super early this morning, I have come to a sudden realization.

I am panicked!

This week we've accomplished
  • packing Mr. Smart Guy's office belongings
  • packing household goods for our soon to be "love nest" (ha!)
  • meeting with the realtor to sell our home here
  • drafting a list of apartments that we want to look at there
In the last three days of having Mr. Smart Guy with me in Virginia...we still need to
  • pack his closet (and, oh my goodness he has way more clothes than I do!)
  • clean the house and buy refreshments for his Bon Voyage party 
  • ready the house  (and ourselves) and make a meal to meet and host Theatre Dude's girlfriend's parents
  • put Mr. Smart Guy on the plane
Well, I thought writing things down would help squelch the tidal wave of fear and anxiety that seems to be growing in the pit of my stomach.  

I think it created an opposite affect.  Would anyone mind if I just crawled under the covers for a bit longer?  

oh, wait...where's the puppy?  

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Coastal Craziness - The Beginning

In the beginning...

Mr. Smart Guy and Ms. c u smyle met and fell in love in Seattle, WA.  Both of them claimed the Pacific Northwest as "home" and were happy in that part of the world.  They went about life amidst the misty rainfall and majestic mountains. They were a West Coast couple.

However, career opportunities came quickly for the newly engaged couple and Richmond, VA became the new home.  A spot on the map that they have called "home" for a very long time. Married, kids, jobs, homes...and community.  They went about life amidst the light seasonal changes and nestled themselves two hours away from the mountains, the nation's capital and the scent of the ocean breeze.  A perfect location.  They were an East Coast couple.

But, career opportunities came knocking once more.  The couple received news that  the layoff would take place in January '09, they had gotten a phone call that beckoned Mr. Smart Guy to join the ranks of technology creators in Silicon Valley, went about the decision making process, worked together to identify all aspects of the choice, adopted a healthy mantra for the upcoming change and readied themselves to announce the decision.  

They are going to California.... 

 (insert screeching halt sound now)

well...sort of.

Theatre Dude is a junior in high school and Mr. and Mrs. Smart Guy have chosen not to yank him out of school at such a critical time.  He just started the process of college interviews and applications and has community in Virginia.  His eyes have been set on Broadway for a very long time. He is an East Coast guy.

So, the family got a little creative and moved outside the traditional description of home.  Mr. Smart Guy will live in California, Theatre Dude will live in Virginia (with very close grown up supervision) and Mrs. c u smyle will navigate life between them.  She has agreed to a vagabond lifestyle.  A few weeks here, a few weeks there.  

~ a vagabond with lots of frequent flyer miles ~