I had a chance to spend the weekend with one of my dearest, longest friends. I was sick as a dog and had about two hours of endurance between naps, but we made the most of those moments. Somehow it didn’t occur to me once to take a photo of the two of us, or of her family who both made me welcome and then made room for us to take a short road trip. The only photos I took were a handful in the Duke Gardens, where we took a short walk on this winter’s most beautiful day.
There are more than a few spots in my soul that are deeply dormant, if not dead, in this season. I am grateful for friends who remember who I am, deep down, and who will wait in this winter garden with me until life comes back.
We are a month back from our trip, and I feel like our autumn schedule is finally becoming routine. With dance and swim team each four times a week, voice lessons, piano lessons, three weekly online classes, meetings for the library’s teen advisory board, weekly physical therapy and school, it’s taken us a bit to fall into a rhythm.
The calendar in my phone looks like a crazy quilt, with all sorts of overlapping blue and green and red squares. What’s helping is a sit-down each weekend to plan the next week on paper.
There are little pockets of autumn beauty in the week as well. My porch is exactly the right temperature (and quiet!) for a quiet time between our read-aloud hour and lunch. The roses are blooming like nobody’s business, and our burning bushes are finally burning. Sam added two trees to our postage-stamp of a yard: one redbud and one apple.
I’m learning to make a short walk through the garden part of my autumn rhythm. Smell the roses. Admire the chrysanthemums. Thank the chickens and the peach tree for the bounty they gave us this summer.
I am learning to make gratitude and marvel parts of my fall rhythm. I just wish it hadn’t taken me so long.
Sunday we packed up a rental car to drive to California to see family for Thanksgiving. We were planning to wake up early to drive 18 hours over two days.
Four hours before we were to leave, I took Sam to the ER. Our plans have changed: it’s now Thanksgiving in the hospital, slowly healing and facing a surgery on Monday. (All prayers appreciated.) In the midst of many things that are out of our control, I have so much to be thankful for.
I am so grateful we weren’t five hundred miles from home in unfamiliar territory when he fell ill.
This situation would be so much harder without all those who have rallied around us. I am so grateful for those who have upheld us in prayer, visited the hospital, and cared for our kids. Thank you.
I’ll leave you with a quote from Robert Louis Stevenson:
“Keep your eyes open to your mercies. The man who forgets to be thankful has fallen asleep in life.”
May we find ourselves fully awake to our mercies this week.
It’s easy to feel sorry for myself when I can’t run. The absence of it affects many parts of my life, from how much patience I have for my kids to how my pants fit to how much I enjoy my food to how well I sleep. So while I am feeling the absence of running, I am trying to notice all the other things in my life that are making me happy right now. Maybe you will share some of your own in the comments?
Yoga with Adriene
Sam and I did Adriene’s 30 days of yoga in January (though it took more than 30 days around here) and got hooked. I like the variety in her workouts and how often she reminds me to check in with my own body and listen to what feels good, instead of trying to emulate postures that I’m not ready for.
Our garden very small, but taking note of what’s blooming or changing today makes me happy.
May was so wet that I used the dryer much more often than I liked. The twenty minutes it takes to hang (or pull down) a load of laundry is time I have to myself. (Weirdly, the kids aren’t so interested in hanging laundry with me.)
Mo Willems books
We had a stretch recently where the kids kept pulling Disney adaptations or bad series books off the shelf to read. I asked for some recommendations and discovered Mo Willems. I’m never disappointed.
Being a Yes Mommy
My default answer to all kids’ requests is No. My mind jumps immediately to the mess at the end, and I say no.
But like being the Yes mommy. Today I said yes to “Can I make pancakes?” (daughter 1) AND “Can I make waffles?” (daughter 2). Several hours after I put the kitchen back together, I said Yes to a tea party for lunch. I love saying Yes.
What’s making you happy right now?
Today I’m grateful for:
Last week’s visit of our friends, and our trip to the Margaret Brown House.
This week’s miles. I tried a new route for my five miler yesterday, and it felt good.
My birthday hike, delayed for a week. Obviously, this was before the winter descended on us like an acme anvil.
That my patient with liver failure is finally on the transplant list.
Tea and wool with a Christy on Saturday. Dinner guests three times this week. We are very blessed.
The miracle that let Mandy go home from the hospital.
Tea and pie with Heidi.
Playing games with my kids, even if they have to make up complicated alternate rules every time.
My friend Karen’s life, and how her recipes help me remember her. I made her pumpkin ribbon bread this week and posted a note to her fb page. Her cousin emailed me for the recipe, so I was able to share it.
I had planned a post on Links that make me think (as a counterpart to Links that Made me laugh) for today, but it was so depressing I’m going to skip it. I think the heaviness in the world is weighing me down even more than the Pepsi and brownies.
So instead, I’m going to share a few things I’m grateful for today:
:: a day at the Denver Art Museum. We didn’t actually go to any of the galleries; instead, we spent two hours in the hands-on sculpture area. I needed that.
:: visits from 3 dear friends (and children) during the past week, all timed while Sam was away. What a blessing to have some company!
:: that I noticed the laundry rotting in the washer after only one day, instead of two (like last time)
:: yesterday’s run in the pouring rain. I’m especially grateful that it was only sprinkling when I started. Had it been pouring rain (as it did once I got to mile two) I certainly wouldn’t have gone at all. I stopped at one point to take a photo of the water pouring in sheets off a roof, but I was so completely soaked and cold that my finger couldn’t conduct enough to unlock my phone.
:: the warm-air dryers at the rec center that I used to dry my shirt while I waited for the kids to finish swimming. (The little kid next to me thought I was crazy.)
:: girls who do school in costume.
:: boys who love to read on the couch.
:: the preterm baby we delivered last week, that mother and baby are doing well.
:: that Let Us Keep the Feast: Living the Church Year at Home (Complete Collection) (Amazon kindle book or Paperback from Doulos Resources) is available for pre-order. It’s coming out November 1st, just in time for Advent.
What are you especially grateful for today?
Hello, friends. I’m home today and grateful for a really good trip. I’ve so much to be grateful for:
:: for the five community health workers we had an opportunity to get to know
:: for their commitment to education and the health of their community
:: for laughter
:: for the gift of Spanish, which was indispensable this trip
:: for the tour bus of Salvadoran physicians who spontaneously gave us a ride to Antigua
:: for the kind couple who drove us from the bus station to our hotel
:: for Pam, whose company and partnership were such blessings
:: for Kim and Kelly, our house-mates, who are working there another week (and who humored my desire for game nights)
:: for the refrigerator that held the milk that Kelly made that made my morning tea work
:: for all the prayers that traveled with us (including those of a lovely prayer warrior sitting next to us on our plane down to Houston who had a pre-existing love for the people of Guatemala)
:: for all the love lavished on my family while I was away
More details to come, I promise!