Monday, May 29, 2017

And still counting (10,460-10,494)

twist in a cup
books on hold at the library
Babette's Feast, waiting
his good neighbors to take out the trash
friends, that when you text them, they call you
Mrs. "Ward"

her hug, tears and blessing
geraniums in the window boxes
a mountain of mulch
the green season
all the rain

nights at home with my man
cream, again, for my coffee
a dental check up
a glimpse of Linda's house on the way to the vet
audiobook on Hoopla, "Unoffended"

an extra Tuesday in May--for tea
purple verbena
and one to gift away
the good aches from hauling mulch
safe travels in the storm

and the glowy sunset with Lanie for the ride home
Sherry's help
an afternoon of podcasts while I cut the grass and mulched the gardens
Shane home for three days
evening walks with my kids

Lanie's sweet thank you
chocolate coffee in the afternoon
Joyce Meyer podcast "No Parking"
tired legs
a morning chat outside with my sister

fresh fruit salad
good sleep
snake stompers
Erin's love of writing, returned

her smile

geraniums, verbena


glowy sun after the storm

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Day story


Outside my window, it's overcast. One of the things I love about living in the woods is that I hardly even feel the rain unless I'm in the open spaces. I can work in the big front garden and not get drenched. Chances of rain and thunderstorms this weekend and lately. Right now, a break from mulching. So far, just the front strip and house garden beds nearly finished. To do: the big front garden and weed the pool rock gardens.

Giving thanks for this time at home. It's been a whirlwind of a year. Funeral February. My sister in the hospital in March. And these past two months, near daily visits with her as she works through unexpected set backs. It's a bigger journey than we expected--but I'm thankful she's closer and for our time together. I'm thankful for the people I've met as a result of the unexpected. I appreciate even more the time at home. It is a new level of contentment to clean and do laundry. Callouses on my hands from shoveling mulch--I love the beauty after the work. This is living. The sweat and aches. The life. The new relationships. The learning. This is living.

In the school room, we are wrapping up a school year that started with a predictable rhythm and ended in grace. It was such a relief to realize that despite two funerals and a sister's health crisis this year, we were able to keep up. Just grading to do, and stretching out math drills for Erin. Seriously considering a year-round approach. I have my book lists made up for fifth and ninth grades. Wow. Lanie starts high school. It goes so fast.

From the kitchen, a holiday weekend and grilling. It's just us at home, so no cookouts or company. But I have a pack of hot dogs and a cut of steak. So thankful we are together. So thankful for this hunkering close. Respite. Restore.

I am thinking long on balance and busy seasons. Thinking long on the best yes. Grateful for grace.

I don't want to forget my kids' company while we visit with my sister. One or both will come along. It means so much to me to have them with me. I don't want to forget my husband's understanding and support. I don't want to forget the friends in trenches with me--they have no idea how they lighten this load just by listening.

I am reading "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" by Victor Hugo. A student (from ancients the other year) commented it was a favorite of his, and so I checked it out. I love to read books that are someone's favorite. Also reading "Mountain Born" by Elizabeth Yates, "Jacob Have I Loved" by Katherine Paterson, and "The Kindness Challenge" by Shaunti Feldhahn. I have a few others waiting, and a few used gems on the way in the mail, including "Experiencing Grief" by H. Norman Wright--whose book "Recovering From Losses in Life" was instrumental in grieving broken relationships and expectations.

Around the house, it's the green season. I'm still uncertain whatever happened to February, March, and April. But here we are, the end of May. A mountain of mulch beside the big garden, and weeds-weeds-weeds in many garden beds. This weekend, a slow and steady effort to catch up. It's good, grounding work. A recent woods walk with Erin and Suzanne--along thirty-year-old trails, felt like being carried along the veins of life itself. The green, everywhere, so lush and full of life. Yes, this is living. Inhaling deeply.

A view of my favorite things:
The gorgeous, glowy setting sun after the storm

This man. These kids.
Blessed. With love. And laughter. Grateful.

Our neighbors. And Cubby!

The nursery cat that stole our hearts

Squirrel proof. Bah!

Summer hustle

At the table, the four of us. And in my heart, hopes and plans of bonfires, poetry teas, field picnics, summer splashes, and woods walks. Time together, a love language, and looking to live true to that.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A sister at first sight

Her name wasn't really Mrs. Ward. The name on the room said otherwise, and I saw her write out her name, first and last, in cursive across the paper. Her handwriting was so lovely. I think she may have had a stroke. She struggled for words, yet some she spoke unmistakably.

Her hands were always quick to raise in praise of God. Her face showed many years. Sometimes, I saw her lost in sadness. But sometimes she laughed in joy and her smile beamed. She thought it was funny when I told her I mostly owned gray shirts, and she laughed at my stories.

Recently, she told me with great relief that she was being discharged (today!). I hoped to make it in to see her before she left. From the doorway, her bed was stripped, and I thought I was too late. But I saw her foot, and realized she was sitting in her wheelchair. I walked in quietly. She sat in that chair, eyes closed. I said her name softly. She opened her eyes, and immediately mine teared up.

"I'm so glad I got to see you before you left," I started. And before I knew it, she was hugging me and grasping my hands, and we were both crying and speaking blessing over the other. It was joy. She touched at her heart, and pointed to mine and said, "I know. I know. You! I know your heart. I know." She glanced over her shoulder, a worried look, and back to me, "It will be ok. You will be ok. You will be ok."

And thanks poured out of my mouth, tears from my eyes.

Wonder of unexpected turns life takes. Thankful to open my eyes to the people in this journey. Thankful for a sister in Christ, who often couldn't finish her thoughts because of a stroke, but who made sure to speak encouragement and blessing over me. As the attendant wheeled her to the lobby, the kids and I stood by and clapped and cheered. Well, I did most of the cheering because I don't mind cheering someone on.

God bless you, Mrs. Ward.