Monday, August 10, 2015


It's already been a full week, since Nolan left.

I try to think back to when the dream began?  Was he 3, 5 or 6 maybe?  He loved the NHL hockey player, Sidney Crosby.  He read about Crosby's hockey history, and wrote reports about him for school.  We turned his entire bedroom into a "Penguins," theme with grey walls, black bedding and decals everywhere.  

He named our dog, "Crosby," for Pete's sake.  Could we be any more obsessed?  

Imagine his sheer delight, to discover, "Sid the kid," had gone to school in Minnesota.  Sidney had attended school, and played hockey at Shattuck- St. Mary's in Faribault, Minnesota.  

Nolan just longed to visit the campus.

Flash forward all these years, and the list of NHL players that Nolan admires has grown more diverse.  So many qualities, in so many of them, to look up to.  But his admiration for Sid, has never waned.

So when fate and opportunity knocked on our door?  How could we not help achieve a childhood dream for our son?

Earlier this spring, Nolan was accepted into a hockey camp at Shattuck, for two weeks.  Last Sunday, the long awaited day arrived.  Rick would drive Nolan the 5 hours to his hockey camp. 

Tears streamed all morning for me.  Nolan has never left before.  Never been gone for longer than a sleepover, somewhere close by.  He tried to reassure me.  "Mom, it will go quick and I'll be back before you know it."  

But I finally put into words, what wasn't readily apparent.

"Nolan, these are happy tears, I promise.  I will miss you, so very much.  But I am so happy you get to go!"  

Plus, the pile of wood had showed up, just when I needed it most.

I've felt so vulnerable lately.  Depleted in energy.  Inability to see very far down the road.  There have been some long, quiet, and lonely days, open for much reflection.

Have we been doing the right things?  Have we been good stewards of our gifts?  Do we bless others as we have been blessed?  

As I've wrestled with these very big things, a pile of wood with a number on it, landed in our front yard.

And the number?  Is my mother's old house address.

My mom. 

With a message, coming through, loud and clear.

The address of her old house, that we just sold, in trying to settle her estate and pay off her debt, with a tiny bit left when its all done.  My mother's estate, that is seeing us through some of the big changes we face.  (The 1703 is most likely a job number, but the irony of the meaning for us is no coincidence.) 

It feels like a wink from her, from Him, saying, "it's okay."  

 So I assure Nolan,  I hope he feels, Grandma, and all of us, are happy he gets to go to camp.   

That day he left, I threw on a hat and threw my arms around him, holding on tight as long as I could.  What I love about this kid?  He held me, just as hard, just as long, his strength and maturity climbing to new levels, as we parted ways.

Hours later, I receive this photo, via text from Rick.  This is the main entrance to the campus at Shattuck-St. Mary's.  It's simply breathtaking.

Gradually, each day, I've felt a little better.  I've been able to be on my feet for increasing amounts of time.  Some color has come back to my face, and my breathing and heart rate are not so laborious again.

So on Friday, Rick made a small bed for me in the back of the truck.  We had yearbooks to pick up, just an hour away from Faribault, and Nolan.

Friday at dinnertime, we arrived at Shattuck to see Nolan.

Here is the entrance to Whipple Dormitory, where Nolan is staying.

The fascinating details lurking behind every turn.

I'm breathing so hard, and I couldn't care less.  I'm pushing through, camera in hand, trying to take it all in.

A long walk across campus to the ice arena to pick up hockey gear.

Loved this philosophical statement on the side of the building.  Its the heart of what the hockey development camp is all about.

The ice arena is filled with memorabilia from former students and players.  Sidney Crosby to the left, Zach Parise above, as Nolan walks on ahead through the doors.  

Then back we go, through the old buildings on our way to the car.

But I skipped forward,  just a bit, as the church beckoned me up ahead.

First, this prayer circle off to the side.  The peace welling within was unmistakable.

Nolan had called one night during his free time and said "Mom, I just feel so much peace."  Amen.  

And then this...  

So aptly named, Chapel of the Good Sheperd.  Its an Episcopalian Church, and I longed to see inside, but we were in a hurry to gather Nolan, and his friend, and leave for a day.

The next day?  We arrived in Brainerd, for a hockey tryout for Nolan.  

But in between the try-out sessions?  We knew just where to go... Zorbaz on Gull Lake.

The boys quickly paired off for some beach volleyball, while the adults settled under a shady tree, listening to the live music.  

Boats cruised in and out of the dock area, as the perfect day rendered us quiet, and happy to just be there enjoying it.

Nolan and his hockey friends had a great time, taking it easy for a bit, before they headed back to their final session.  (Here I am eating my words.  I took the picture saying I wouldn't post it and merely texted it,  but then it surfaced on Instagram-hehe)

Later that night, Nolan and his friend Ben headed back to Shattuck, to finish their last week of hockey camp.

Rick and I headed back to Moorhead.  

I am happy, exhausted in some ways, and revived in many others.

I have a full week ahead, and so much more to share.  

~all shall be well~


  1. letting go with mixed emotions is part of motherhood. good job, Vicky! what a LOVELY and inspiring campus! can't wait to hear about Nolan's next phase of development as he reaches for the goal of playing hockey in college. love you, honey!

  2. These photos of the wonderful facilities are beautiful.

    As are you! Your beauty shines thru in the picture of you and your son.

    What a great experience for Nolan :-)

  3. What a beautiful place to spend a week for hockey camp. Looks like there is beauty lurking around every corner. I enjoy reading about Nolan's journey as he works toward his goal of playing professional hockey. He has come so far and matured into a son you have every right to be proud of.

    Sometimes when we push ourselves to do something, even if we don't have the energy or will to do it, that is the time that revives us the most to keep on going .That simple change of scenery is what does wonders for our soul. Glad you were able to go along with Rick and see the lovely sights.

    Love and hugs sweet friend!

  4. What a beautiful spot for your son to experience. I think of Carmel and the peace we have felt there. I think of Nolan's adventure and the peace he feels. And I just smile! God is so good and loves you and your boys so much, Vicky. You are all in very good hands!

  5. What an amazing place for Nolan to be. Glad to hear some strength is returning.

  6. A wonderful story of Nolan's life-long dream becoming a reality.
    I love the photos....stories in themselves.
    And the block of wood. Ms. Mary Ann surely is smiling real big right now....sending those smiles and reassurances to her sweet daughter and to Nolan. Makes my heart happy.
    Love you real good.....

  7. What an amazingly beautiful place to be, as well as the reason for being there! Glad you were feeling well enough to go and to share that beauty with us.

  8. My heart is so full....tears here.

    All my love~~~~~~~~~~and thank you.

  9. My dear sweet friend...I am overwhelmed in reading this as tears stream down my cheeks. As I read your words, each one speaking to my heart, I am left wondering if one of life's most poignant lessons is surrendering and letting go, and doing it with trust and JOY!

    Surrendering to making each day the best it can be when we are ill, surrendering, inch-by-inch, to the process of our beloved children becoming independent. Surrendering to seeing them be taller than we are as they pursue their dreams. And surrendering to the knowing that He is there, all the time. In the hard and vulnerable moments that bring us to our knees and the moments watching young people play volleyball.

    I so love that Nolan has a passion and is giving it his all and I look at the picture of those young men and think "Yikes! he is really becoming a young man!" And his hug that held on...and the reassurance to his Momma that he's be back soon...well you have raised a fine young man, dear Vicky. Heart and hard work and passion in Nolan's eyes and on his face.

    But most of all my tears were tears of JOY that you got to be in a bed in that truck and see this with your very own eyes. I have just known that you have not felt well and known that you were feeling vulnerable, just as all of us would... facing what you are facing. But the gifts...the
    reminders that God sends...that All is well and that He is here!...well they bring me to my knees.

    The wood...that

    And while I can still see through my tears as I try to type this, running nose and tears those quiet still moments when you ask those hard questions about gratitude and giving back, may the Lord God remind you what you have given to me, to everyone you touch.
    Your gratitude and faith and grace remind me daily about how God wants ME to live.

    And I am grateful you are my friend. To the moon and back! ALWAYS!

  10. Awesome, every inch of it. What an incredible place, what a fantastic experience for your son...and you!

  11. the wink from your mom

  12. A signpost, Vicky. Oh how I LOVE signposts. It's not a coincidence. It's a touch, a word, a comfort, a wink, a hug, a you're-RIGHT-where-you're-supposed-to-be affirmation. These are precious comforts and joys. Oh what a thin veil separates us from the eternal. All shall be well.

    And then to see that incredible campus where Nolan was...... You have some of the MOST gorgeous places I have ever seen in your state. It's as if spring, summer, and fall apologize so fiercely for winter that they go overboard giving you lavish beauty to immerse yourselves in. California is so hot and dry with our drought that I drank up every bit of green. And the architecture is inviting on so many levels but the chapel was my favorite.

    What a joy to see Nolan getting so grown up. So much to be proud of, friend. What a wonderful young man and I love that he returned that hard hug giving as much as he got. Sigh. Sons. Love, love, love.

    I'm sorry I've been so out of touch. I am consumed on many levels but you know the background so I won't say more. But I am determined to be the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that crushed it. I love you.

  13. what a stunning atmosphere for a hockey camp! Hoping energy returns and you get stronger.


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