Monday, December 11, 2017

And still counting (11,276-11,311)

66 Books
a broken heart
a Father who loves
purges
tears, released

cloudy days
a sky blue sweater, warmth
a sewing project with Erin
phone chats with Lori
early morning hours

books in the mail
books from the library
the farmhouse mug of coffee
their laughter from the living room
Sophia's happy voice

coupons from Joanne
grace for (piano) history
a full fridge
a full table
abundant life

the splatter of fat raindrops
sunrises through the woods, glorious
and sunsets, equally beautiful
the wrestle
a word for 2018

her open mouth catching fat flakes
snowfall, the season's first
Suzanne's happy text at finding the chocolate snowmen
an actual Christmas card to send this year
these girls, who tell me they love me a million ways


a day of "no" for a day of "yes"
the quiet of snowfall, all day long
a birthday party that didn't get snowed out
edible flowers
savory cupcakes

tea with friends


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

{restore}


I had big hopes for you, Restore.

I imagined a smoothing over the rough spots and rough years. A reconciliation. A father's love, restored. But you had other plans. A plan to take away the one thing I have heartachingly, heartbreakingly pursued--my dad.

Restore.

When I said I didn't want a door opened, you opened it by slamming and sealing another. And what could I do? One foot in front of another, humbly.

Restore.

Love, goodbye--silenced. Closure, none. Heart numbed. Heart broken. And it wouldn't be the last of the breaks, no. You had other plans, Restore. I looked at his peaceful face. I looked into the deep hole. I looked into her eyes. A new chapter. A new day.

Restore.

The emergency. The urgency. At a bedside and heart-to-heart talks that seemed like lasts. You broke me down by taking away first my family, then my excuses. A doctor's call. A numbing drive. A ventilator. I couldn't fathom another funeral so soon.

Restore.

I sifted through the information, a growing realization that nothing was what I thought it was. No one to work it out with. Just me, the facts, and you. What do I do with all the broken pieces? They don't fit back together. How could they fit, the lies.

Restore.

Gone. Weeks turned to months, a sister, sick. I mourned a lot of things. I grieved their opinions. I grieved the truth, and grieved the betrayal of believing the best. Opportunity, gone. Belongings packed up, donated, auctioned, sold--and with them, the memories. And with them, my worth. 

Restore.





I wonder, still, at your mystery, that maybe restoration wasn't in holding on or getting back, but in letting go.

Letting go of strongholds, of hurts, of chasing acceptance and approval that I never seemed to catch. Letting go of all the things that actually hindered and held back. (Let go, let go.)

Restored, to run. To run the race marked out for me. Unhindered.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. (Hebrews 12:1-2, NLT)

Free.

Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
(John 10:7, 9-10 NIV)

A Father's love.

21 Yet I still dare to hope
    when I remember this:
22 The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
    His mercies never cease.
23 Great is his faithfulness;
    his mercies begin afresh each morning.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
    therefore, I will hope in him!”
25 The Lord is good to those who depend on him,
    to those who search for (seek) him.
26 So it is good to wait quietly
    for salvation from the Lord. (Lamentations 3:21-26, NLT)

And I am loved.

Restored.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Drink me

I have a friend who's all into natural things. I remember being at a playdate at her house one time when Erin was really little and Erin wanted a glass of milk. My friend looked at me apprehensively for a second, opened her fridge, and got out a container. She gave it a few quick shakes and poured a glass for Erin, watching her for a reaction.

Erin took a sip and paused. She put the glass down and went back to playing.

"I wasn't sure she'd like it," my friend explained. It was goat milk with some things she'd added to it. I no longer remember what she said she put in it.

Erin was an easy baby and an easy eater, until she turned three. Suddenly, she boycotted black beans and much of what else I put in front of her.

She was about eight when our household went gluten free, and she didn't take the transition easily. She deeply missed the breakfast cereals she used to eat daily. My days became weeks of searching and reading and buying lots of gluten-free cookbooks. Then I got introduced to paleo and Whole30 eating. Now I use a combo of all: gluten-free with its rice flours and potato starches, paleo with its nut flours and natural sugars.

I go to the library for a lot of the cookbooks, and if I love the book, I buy it online. (I just did a purge of cookbooks back from the gluten days, but in all honesty, they weren't very good cookbooks. I love the ones I have now, well, mostly. There's an almond flour cookbook that has given me some disappointing suggestions.)

Today, I made a smoothie while Erin fed the animals. I had to be stealth because IF SHE KNEW ...

coconut milk
a frozen banana
almond butter
dark chocolate cocoa
medjool dates (double check the pits are out)
a handful of spinach
ice

Blend and put away all evidence of dates and spinach. It is absolutely DELICIOUS. Definitely needs a smoothie straw though. (Looking forward to Amazon delivering them.) Inspired by Danielle Walker's Against All Grain--Meals Made Simple a library pick (not compensated to mention) and a soon to be welcomed addition to my books.

Lanie and I joined her for today's hygge: Togetherness. Although, Erin isn't quite on board with the smoothie part. (It takes just like a chocolate milkshake. So good.)

Monday, December 4, 2017

Happy hygge!

I think I've always carried the spirit of hygge in my heart. No wonder I seek it. The restful hermitting and introverting, seeking beauty, savoring a season with meaning and the people I love.

Day one: light

Day two: decoration--spent the day arranging fabrics for a special sewing project with Erin. She ironed the fabrics for me and chat-chat-chatted the entire time. It was sweet. She loves ironing. Said she will iron anything I need (hahaha, because I never iron anything unless in dire need). Said she wants to iron for the neighbors too. (On a side note, I manned the sewing machine. Lesson in patience or comedy to thread a needle with readers and cataracts.)


Day three: comfort. Spent an afternoon at my dad's putting the last of his clothes out for a charity pick-up in the morning. It's nearing a year that he's been gone, and I'm almost done with last tasks. I listened to Christmas music on the drive, took in the landscape of his community--the bank, the shopping centers, the nearby houses, and then farther out, the farms and towns and mountains. I didn't expect such a wave of mourning to hit. So comfort? The arms of my husband when I got home and how he listened to the hurt that still stirs, unresolved and heavy. After dinner, I made up a rich hot chocolate for the kids. We settled on the couch and watched Chopped Junior episodes. Christmas lights glowed on the tree. The embrace of home and family. And even more so, when a message is in my inbox, a sister writer speaks: He is my portion. Truly, eternally held. Comfort.

favorite minis

Day four: pastries. Or in this case, cookies, because gluten-free pastry is a little more than I can handle on a Monday. Oatmeal cookies with chocolate chips. Yes, please.



And still counting (11,253-11,275)

Comfort and Joy boxed and en route
mild days
a full fridge

a little lamp on the piano
frankincense
a preview of her Christmas cards
a mom who is willing to teach a group to knit
hygge

the freedom of December
a bag of library books
Erin and her joy at half hour rides for talking
Miss Pat's hugs
Christmas songs

boxes in the mail
eternal things
Shane
hot chocolate on a Thursday
art with Suzanne

the challenges and stretching of 2017
yeses and nos on a blog year
the nearing completion of 10 years on 66 Books
a word for 2018
the gift of each day

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say, rejoice! Thank you, God, for life in you--abundant, rich and complete. You are my portion, and I will hope in you. 

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Thirty-one days

On Instagram, a homeschooler I follow posted thirty-one days of hygge for December. And after this year? I'm. All. In.

While I doubt I'll truly be able to hide away for winter to rest and restore, I do hope to be mindful of my days as the year closes.

I still have my father's things to wrap up, my sister to care for, and all the homeschooling and holiday loveliness to attend. But my hope it is all wrapped in a big hygge.

  1. Light
  2. Decorating
  3. Comfort
  4. Pastries
  5. Togetherness
  6. Books
  7. Hot beverages
  8. Puzzles
  9. Slow food
  10. Board games
  11. Bread (gf)
  12. Wood
  13. Clothing
  14. Nature
  15. Hobbies
  16. Cozy
  17. Pets
  18. Blanket
  19. Relax
  20. Chocolate
  21. Outside
  22. Casual
  23. Taste
  24. Grattitude
  25. Traditions
  26. Smells
  27. Hyggekrog
  28. Warmth
  29. Quiet
  30. Puzzles
  31. Fire
May your days be merry and bright. 

Monday, November 27, 2017

And still counting (11,200-11,252)

"Thankful hearts run to God and not away. Thankfulness begins in my thinking. Do I trust the heart of the Father? Thankfulness is a sacrifice when storms come, when disappointment comes. Thankfulness isn’t a response to my circumstances, my circumstances respond to my thankfulness." My friend Amy wrote these words on a recent post on 66 Books.

boxes packed
a move, on
and moving on
last trips
Angela's help
a solid week

time with Marshall's Mom
Christy
Rebecca
Sandy
Becky

Denise
my man
my kids
Michi
Diona

Suzanne
Anita
Casi
Jennifer
my sisters

Jeneane's Christmas trees
fat farmhouse mugs
the heat from the woodstoves
blankets on crisp mornings
the hum of heat, lulling

elderberry syrup
oatmeal cookies
books on the shelves
great movers
a great night's sleep

a grocery run with Lanie
a feast with three and many more
the familiar faces at the nursing home
the knightly kiss upon my hand
a bench to shiver and freeze upon

and a great friend (Marshall's Mom) to shiver and freeze alongside me!
a neighbor's request and a chance to bless a bunch
the fleece blanket on the bed
hot lunch
Christmas music

a drive alone to sing out loud! loud! loud!
a walk with Nora
the cardinal ornament
Linda's love and influence in my life
phone chats with Lori

the song Tracey said reminds her of me (and I couldn't finish listening to it because I started crying  and it was going to be ugly)
Lanie's request for a house cut
a friend's mom to borrow for knitting lessons
the sled Lori made for me, inscribed with "home" in glitter
her tears and mine, the photos requested

Melody's grandma next to me at church
four days home with my guy



Saturday, November 25, 2017

Tradition

For more than fifteen years, we've trekked to a local nursery that becomes a Christmas wonderland in their off season. It's a fun trip, and each year the kids pick out one ornament a piece. Sometimes it's something reminiscent of the year to date. Sometimes it's random. They look forward to the trip. I do too. But this year, it felt different.

***

A year ago, there were a lot of extra people in our lives, now gone. My mother-in-law died the day after Thanksgiving last year. Two months later, I'd lose my dad, and unexpectedly, Linda. This past summer, we grieved the loss of a precious niece.

***

This year, Lori, Denise and my crew filled the dining room table. It was lovely. New recipes: the melted Camembert wheel with garlic and herbs, a Brussels sprout salad with honey mustard vinaigrette, and old favorites: the sweet potato bake Linda always loved, butternut bisque soup. The weather was lovely, the atmosphere pleasant, and there was laughter.

I kept thoughts of Dad and Linda at bay, though later I wondered how her day was, missing her.

Photo snap by Denise because I couldn't remember how to use the timer

At the table

feast



pies!


***

Friday, our foursome went ornament shopping. Lanie got a snowflake. Erin got a hot air balloon. I picked a red cardinal. (I was looking for Scrooge.)

This fall, a female cardinal was on our driveway, injured. I got out of the car to assist if I could. She couldn't fly, her wings wounded. She scuttled along the ground in panic. I knelt down to try to cup her, but she looked agitated, angry, afraid, if birds have expressions. She splayed her wings wide, perhaps in an effort to look bigger, or maybe in submission. I reached down and gently stroked her back and spoke softly. I wanted to pick her up but was afraid she'd snap at me and peck at my hand. She moved over to the grass, and we went on to piano lessons. I looked for her when we got back, but she was gone.

This ornament somehow seemed fitting for the year.

***

Tradition feels off this year. I'm not the same person I was last year and my life doesn't look the same either, and yet, there I was walking past's path, changed. Like deja vu without the comfort. More like an imposter, a pretender that somehow life is still what it was, when it's not.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Day story

November


Outside my window, it's dark after the fullness of a day, week. It's dark. Tomorrow, Thanksgiving, I look forward to an easy breakfast bake, a turkey to roast, and a house full of warmth and love. But first, sleep.
 
Giving thanks for full tables and full heart. Today, Erin and I were special guests at the nursing home alongside other families and residents. All my requests to help were declined and it made my heart so restless--and I realized that today was just one of a small few, in a long year's journey, where I felt like myself--and it felt so good to remember who I am. A servant. The plates piled high around us. The music and merriment. A tender blessing. When I wondered months ago, "Who will fill my table?" Little did I know I would be a guest at a bigger table, feasting with friends I know in heart. Thank you, God, for this beautiful access to The Invisible, my people. I noticed one familiar face later and went to shake his hand and said, "I see you." Maybe odd words, but they matter. The joy on his face, the knightly kiss upon my hand. It matters.

In the school room, wood stacked for a tomorrow fire and Erin's art spread on the table. I'm not entirely sure of all her plans, but I think she is making Christmas cards for the residents on Lori's floor.

From the kitchen, two loaves of Trader Joe's gluten-free bread for a morning French toast bake. A turkey to roast, and two kinds of potatoes. Soup! Brussels sprout salad! Pies! Denise joins us tomorrow, and my sister too. I asked (Lori) today, "Do you remember Thanksgiving last year?"

"No," she said.

"It was nice," I told her. And it was. But this year, while I save a spot that won't be filled, my house will still be filled with Thanksgiving and joy. This is my story to tell.

I am feeling lighter and feeling full. A busy week of packing and moving and meetings. Shopping and doing and laundry too. But today I woke in lightness after a Monday and Tuesday that I thought would crush me. I am not crushed.

I don't want to forget my life is not my own. Tonight, Erin and I settled in for the start of one of my very favorites: A Christmas Carol (a movie tonight, a book later). We watched as Scrooge grumped and guarded. "Scrooge reminds me of Granddaddy," she said, "The way he was about his money." I listened and considered her words. Lord, help me to number my days and give generously of time, talent and treasure. My life is not my own. (At my dad's house, there was a snowglobe in his office of Scrooge and Tiny Tim. I noticed it recently there on the shelf as I sorted and packed. I left it there. In memory.)

Around the house, I am looking forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas. To Erin's eleventh birthday. And hoping for a gathering of friends to look back and look ahead. I'm looking forward to the laundry and cleaning the floors. To making menus and packing lunches. To hustling fires and schooling. To snow days and movie days and hot chocolates with marshmallows buried under swirly hats of whipped cream. I'm looking forward to a slowing and savoring and seeking of a Savior. Counting the many ways he has covered me in love this year and always. Grateful.

I am hearing the rhythmic ticking beat of the clock on the piano. Everyone is asleep now. 

A view of my favorite things:
 
time with my girl


my sister at the feast

mug love, a movie, a fire

my crew

a hefty farmhouse mug in my hands--the little things, and all the things

the out-of-focus image of Erin climbing the tree at my dad's house

man those beans were amazing!

Pre-Thanksgiving selfie with my sister

Brussels sprouts from Trader Joe's. Love!

At the table, yes. Thinking of a time on Fixer Upper when Joanna Gaines said, "Everything happens around a table." Thinking of yesterday as the movers wrapped up my dad's kitchen table and loaded it in their truck. Thinking of the long table in the cafeteria of the nursing home, tables clothed, plates heaping (heaping!). My own table (Joel's old table) tonight as we ate pizza. And my table tomorrow, when I wondered, Lord, who will fill my table? My heart?

He did. He filled it.

Monday, November 20, 2017

And still counting (11,174-11,199)

elderberries in the mail
the fragrant scent of simmering cinnamon

wood stacked
candles gifted for melting down
firestarters lined up for a season
duck in the freezer
her joy in party planning

my sister's face sorting through the box--so engrossed
the familiar faces at the rehab center
a social worker who gets vibes like I do
a Thanksgiving friends and family sign up sheet
a full fridge, all year

Miss Pat at Wegmans
the finger rosary she carried for months to gift to me
her hugs--fiercely strong and for real
corn fields leveled
big hawks circling

the wood stoves
a case of gluten free spaghetti
Friday night mug love with the kids
whipped cream and caramel
Willy Wonka played by Gene Wilder

sweet memories of childhood
birds lined up on a wire
a home day and cleaned floors!
spring rolls gifted and delivered by a neighbor


mug love and Willy Wonka

birds on the wire

these people

farmhouse mugs at Crate and Barrel--my new favorite

the finger rosary from Miss Pat

candle wax gifted from a bestie for our firestarters

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Countdown

Somehow I landed on etsy.com to see what fun ideas were there.

There was an advent wall calendar that had dog cookies tucked into each day. So cute!

Then there were these advent woodland scenes on sweet satchels.

I love the woods.

I love everything about the woods.

Everything.

(Today, I looked out my kitchen window through the bare branches of backyard trees to spy three enormous hawks circling. I watched them for a few minutes, in synchronization, dipping, soaring, circling. And one sailing over the pines, his wing span so large. Mesmerizing ... there was a scent of some essential oil I got once, something with healing, uplifting properties, and no wonder pine was listed in the mix. These last six years in this wonderland have been a healing salve to soul wounds.)

Further down in this etsy shop, I found the owner also had woodland stickers to affix on craft bags.

"Erin," I said. "Look at these."

This child's love language is gifts.

"Wouldn't this be the cutest! We could fill the bags with teas and poetry for (a lovely, unsuspecting soul)!" I said.

She loved the thought, "You mean you're going to do this? You're not just talking about it?"

I put the item in my shopping cart.

"I think it would be so fun!" I pondered. Then, "Erin, look!"

Over my shoulder, she read the warning: 1 left; this item is in four other baskets.

"Get my purse!" I had to fill out new information. Remember, this is the year our credit card was compromised twice. Boo.

I filled it out. She stood eagerly behind me, eyes like saucers splashed with merriment.

I purchased the item!

We high fived. It reminded me of the ebay days when I would bid on little board books at the auction's last seconds.

"Somewhere there's a person who's excited about getting those stickers and you just snatched it from them!" she laughed. Imitation of a scene elsewhere in the world ... "Oh, I can't wait to make these advent bags, aren't they the cutest! Hey! Where'd they go?!"

She's got a bit of mischief in her. Perhaps I do too.

I'm sure the owner can print more.

Countdown. To a gift purchase. To wrap up a hard year. To Christmas.

Monday, November 13, 2017

And still counting (11,135-11,173)

safe travels there and back

a beautiful wedding
a fun lodge stay
New England in autumn
large coffee
gluten free restaurants

a special lunch with newlyweds
a good sleep in our own beds
the happiest hound homecoming!
kitties returned too
November skies

laundry to do
wood stacked by the wood stoves
sheets washed and folded
a hot shower at home
sweater weather

and a sweater to wear
home, sweet home
a month of menus
the grandmother that reminded me of Strega Nona in CT
a spa day for a dog

the love of Jesus
that man of mine
our life together
the winding down of big stuff on the calendar
Denise's yes to Thanksgiving! Jumping! Joy!

shoes on big sale
new jeans to wear
and a rust colored sweater at a sweet price
phone calls with my sister
pumpkin pie in the oven

epsom salt baths
two fires burning
texts with Lisa
November everything
tears

leaves like flames
windows wrapped and wintered
a date on the calendar with Rebecca!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Loveliness

We took a trip through New England this weekend. Linda's sisters told me they had encouraged my dad and Linda to take a train ride in the fall--my memory is vague they had gone. Our goal was a wedding. The drive was nice--good weather and a great app on hand (Find Me Gluten Free) made it even better.

We found a fun place in Connecticut where nearly everything was gluten free and all was made from scratch. The kids shared a pizza with brown rice and flax based crust. It was a little different from what they were used to, but it was good. The Caesar salad I got was probably the best I ever tasted, but everything in Connecticut was just that good. It was possibly the most visually delightful feast I had ever witnessed. The cozy neighborhoods called community to me, and I imagined all the children's friendships and trick-or-treating and summer fun that took place along their streets. Shane had to remind me, repeatedly, how much it snows up north. But in the fall? I couldn't get enough of it. My eyes felt like sponges soaking up all the beauty. My family is used to me gushing over beauty, but this was unlike anything I'd ever seen--and we live in the woods!

We continued on and reached our lodging--in lodge fashion. We stayed at a Great Wolf Lodge, and it was so enjoyable. We didn't even get to do all the fun things they offered--but the kids did enjoy the water attractions, and I, as the unofficial, official designated ride parent, braved the tornado plunger ride and all the fun, thrill-filled raft slides. I'm just thankful it wasn't rollercoasters! The hotel also had a great restaurant that had designated fryers to avoid cross contamination. Lanie ate there safely.

Shane and I got dressed up to attend his son's wedding. It was held at a lovely farm, and the drive along was stunning. I love the rock property boarders everywhere. What work. But so cool! And the trees! This all called to my heart.

"Next week there will be forty inches of snow," Shane commented.

Autumn in our yard happens mid-October, and quite often by early November, the trees are bare and the leaves heaped forlornly upon the lawn. But here--the trees held their gorgeous glory so long that I felt like we arrived at autumn's prime.

"It's so beautiful," I spoke, over and over and over.

We had special front row seats to witness the union. The ceremony took place outside, gorgeous gray overcast skies magnified the rich rusts and golds of the woods all around. Stunning. And the couple? Heart melting.

Inside the venue was beautiful, elegant, with lovely low lighting. A patio called with a roaring fire in the fireplace. Everything--perfect.

Our next day threatened a bit of rain all afternoon, so we lunched with the newlyweds in time that seemed not long enough, and headed home. This old, cold house, a sweet welcome. A chocolate from the freezer, and a glass of wine with my man after the kids went (easily!) up to bed. And today, laundry, coffee, schooling, etc. The wonderful loveliness of here and home.

Life is a feast.

A very out of order selection.

The lighting and colors spoke of intimate gathering

Pizza in CT

Bridges

Father and son

there were walls like this EVERYWHERE

cozy

quick selfie--and granny glasses

the happiest couple!

because I had to get out in the woods, wind-whipped, and my man goofing off behind us

GORGEOUS!

this cluster of pines, I had to walk among the trees

Everywhere, ponds and gathering places, rocks and trails--wonderland

Only had my cell phone on me. Wishing I'd had my camera to get these images. Stunning.

oh, love!

Monday, November 6, 2017

And still counting (11,119-11,134)

fun visits with my sister
a neighbor with a green porch light for us

Helen's spoiling of my kids every year
a nice night walk, all of us
good sleep
tidy spaces
shoes on sale

leftovers for dinner
a cupboard of mugs, gifted
the simple pleasure of a chunky mug in hand
errands with Erin
Lanie's songs

a happy hound
cats in a castle
that man of mine
reading glasses

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Count the ways

I loved driving down the road today and seeing October's garments strewn across the lawn--pumpkins and Halloween decorations leftover from the night before, and the day like a hangover hush--the world's party that has yet to be cleaned up. November is the quiet rest after a fall season of too much.

Pumpkin spices, hot apple pie, roasty things, crockpot things, soups (and friends who eat soup with me!), moody skies, frosty lawns, fallen leaves, bare branches, falling back--an extra hour, dark mornings, sunrises through the woods, smoking chimneys, woodsmoke smells, heat, blankets, extra socks, boots, a puffy vest, homemade hats, scarves, hot drinks cupped in cold hands, hot pillows on my lap, coffee or tea dates with friends, feasting focus, bluster and gust. Watching big birds hunt and soar, squirrels out in full foraging force, leaves lifted and tossed in a seasonal celebration--hooray! hooray! Welcome brown.

A month of lessons portioned out. Art classes again in the coziness of a studio. Plans and more plans, but first, a day home for cookie baking. Savoring slow. I schedule it in. This self care, home care, soul care.

Firestarters made and waiting. Wood stacked. Chimneys swept. Oh, when can we start the season's first? Soon, soon. Soon.

November means home, family, gathering together, gratitude, slowing down and preparing for winter, for advent, for a new year. It is the hunkering in of hibernation. And this year, an especially intentional homeward focus.

Monday, October 30, 2017

And still counting (11,083-11,118)

her good scan results
construction workers who stopped traffic so we could cross
her honesty in the hard truth

a song on my ride home
and one that brought me to more tears
an autumn landscape
their hugs and happiness for me at home
vanilla tea with honey

a brown cardigan
how the hound runs free
a hot bowl of cheesy noodles and olives
Comfort and Joy tea with honey
a soup cookbook times two

Denise
antibiotics
how a hot mug feels in these old cold hands
tags returned
trash hauled

a good doctor these past 15 years
chocolates for Lori
her calls on the phone
a corn maze with the kids
a gorgeous fall evening out

our first ever trunk or treat
wind gusts
a rainy Sunday
more than enough time to get to the store and back
a cleaned dining room!

a great night's sleep
warmth
bento books
Linda's sisters
flowers at the table
pancakes for breakfast

we went out!

apple walnut chocolate chip coffee cake

flowers at the table


votive candles


a gift card, redeemed
a check in the mail
God's provision



Sunday, October 29, 2017

Day story

October


Outside my window, leaves fallen, autumn golds and rusts. We packed up the patio furniture over the weekend and repotted some herbs. My dad's truck is gone. I suppose it might take a little getting used to it being gone. I'm glad it is. But a week later, I'm still very much aware of its absence.

Giving thanks for a rainy Sunday, a delightful weekend, wonderful temperatures. Thankful for warm blankets and small floral arrangements and smaller bowls for a luncheon soup. Thankful for Denise at my table, and today, Linda's sisters. Thankful to laugh and remember well.

In the school room, it is clean. In fact, I needed the motivation of a first impression to kick myself in gear to clean up the paperwork from my dad's estate, to put away school books, to dust tables. My dining room looks like it used to, and my school room is a cozy delight, awaiting a new week--and I look forward to it too.

From the kitchen, today, vegetable healing soup (burdock root, daikon radish, carrots and onion--so flavorful!), mini cukes and peppers with hummus, chicken salad in lettuce boats, and assorted salty/crunchy snacks. Dessert, a favorite apple-walnut-chocolate chip coffee cake from Cooking for Isaiah (not compensated to mention). Tea!

I am so glad to have people at the table again. And to hear Linda's sisters reminisce about her--joyful. 
 
I don't want to forget life goes on and that there is no guilt in that. I wondered how I'd feel having Linda's sisters here when she wasn't. Wondered how I'd go about filling seats, or if I would, at Thanksgiving, and how I'd feel about that. Life goes on. Love goes on. It always hopes. It always perseveres.

Around the house, summer closed for the season, and eyeing the wood stacks. Soon. Soon. Anticipating the holidays--but truly, just enjoying the feeling of order. So thankful for order.

I am hearing the steady slap of rain against the flagstone. Peace.

A view of my favorite things:

It was beautiful

Oh, little pot of flowers

Lanie asked for two slices =)

candles at the table

a fun night out with friends and my very favorite people

from breakfast earlier this week, and a mug reminding me I am loved


At the table, company. I could hear Linda in one sister's accent. I caught a glimpse of her in another sister's face. I thought of her in selecting the little pot of flowers, in the preparation to feed her family, in the lighting and music and table setting. While my table may never be the same as it once was, may it always be a full and welcoming place.