Absolutely nothing this week has gone according to plan.  I am a big plan person.  I like to know what’s going to happen, and I usually have a pretty good idea of how I want it to play out.

Life does not always work out that way.

Often, what happens is even better.

Last Sunday, we had the unique opportunity to go flying with a friend and to take the kids along.  I’m all about life experiences for Harper Lee and Isaac.  Unfortunately, I often deny myself these experiences because they cause me to be afraid or they deviate from the original plan.  This trip did both.  But what I would deny myself, I won’t deny them.  I want them to embrace life in every way they can and to enthusiastically take all the wonderful opportunities that come their way– even if they are completely unexpected. 

We flew up to Martinsville, Virginia for lunch and saw, up close and personal, Pilot Mountain, which we’d hiked up the day before, the high school track, a lot more rural open spaces than I had even imagined, our house, Stone Mountain, and most of our little town.  I have to admit, it was a little scary.  There really wasn’t much turbulence, but it was a lot bumpier than a commercial jet, so there was some “getting used to it” required.  Harper Lee and Isaac looked fairly terrified for the first part of the trip, but halfway through they were inching back and forth across their seats to get a better view and talking non-stop via the headsets.  Just like old pros.

 I love their adaptability and try to learn from it every chance I get. It was well worth the change of plans and something we won’t forget anytime soon.

Isaac enjoyed pointing out all the landmarks over the headset.

This is the relaxed part of the trip.

Our little corner of the world.  I love that our red barn shows up so well. 

Flying over Stone Mountain

And the rest of the week?

I ended up actually teaching, not just subbing and overseeing someone else’s plans, 8th grade English.  It was a tremendous amount of fun.  Because of circumstances beyond anyone’s control (deviations from the “plan”), I had no lessons to follow, but that meant I got to write my own.  It was the most fun I’ve had in a classroom in a while, which leads me to believe that having no plan can actually be a good thing.

Isaac ended up with the flu.  By the time we discovered this, unfortunately, he had already spread the love.  I thought he had a really bad cold.  Having the flu was not part of our plan.  We had the freakin’ flu shot. 

And a dear old friend passed away after a long and well-fought battle.  So the week included a funeral that had not necessarily been part of the plan either.  But what a funeral it was.  It was the most beautiful and most fitting service I’ve ever seen.  Hazel was a one of kind individual.  Full of life, full of joy, full of love.  Her funeral was a testament to that.

The thing that cracked me up about it, however, was that Hazel herself had planned the whole thing.  I mean down to the second.  She had chosen exactly what hymns would be played, who would speak and for exactly how long, what would be served at her bereavement meal and how it would be prepared.  In fact, a couple of weeks before she died, she sent some of the ladies from church to her house to get all of her canned beans and beets from her pantry and take them to the church to make for the day of her funeral.  I think that’s one of the best things I’ve heard in a long time.  She had a plan, a vision of how she wanted her send-off to look, to feel, and to be.

As her dear friend spoke about her during the service, he noted, in particular, her sense of humor and her joyful way of living.  Over the course of her life, she had some curveballs thrown her way, things that were definitely not part of her plan, but in spite of these things, Hazel went on to live a very happy and fulfilled life. 

Maybe the lesson here is that we should have the forethought to envision a life for ourselves, to dare to dream that big picture, to have a sort of flight plan that guides us along the journey, but the grace and good humor to make adjustments as needed.