11/30/2010

reassembly required

Ahhh. Even one day of quiet does wonders to reassemble my soul. All my scrambled thoughts and feelings begin to unscramble themselves and start to make sense. Clarity. Peace.

I try not to feel guilty about needing this - pace and time to sort myself out after big (or little) events. It makes me feel weak. And there is so much to do, of course, that it feels wicked and lazy to take time to stare out the window. I fight a barrage of: "I should __________ (update a website, file paperwork, reply to emails, return phone calls, do the dishes, do the laundry, ...etc, etc.)"

But sit I do, and submit to the reassembly process. And wait.

Today's reassembly process features candles, fancy bread, spiced apple cider, knitting, and a podcast or two.

11/29/2010

waiting for Christmas

We hosted three fun gatherings in four days. It was great to eat and laugh and connect with people. But I am done. Like way done.

I can tell, because now that Advent is here, I have zero interest in Christmas. Zero. Even the thought of it makes my blood pressure rise. (Oh the joys of the post-party introvert crash.)

I don't want a tree. I don't want to decorate. I don't want to bake. I don't want to make crafts. Or send cards. Or buy presents. Or go to concerts. Or do anything.

I just want to sit and stare at a wall in an empty, silent room. Alone. Eating Cheetos. For a month.

***

But instead, I will stare out the window at the beautiful tree in my yard, drinking in every last ounce of Autumn splendor. I will continue the rhythms of work and chores and exercise that are good for me. I will eat healthy food. (Turkey tacos and salad tonight.) I will let myself have coffee in the mornings. I will probably get a book or two at the library and read. I will hug my husband. A lot.

I will listen to Christmas music.

***

Last night we gathered with beloved friends to light the candle of Hope. We pondered what hope means. What makes it different from wanting or wishing? What happens when your heart is sick from "a hope deferred?" Keep hoping? Change what you hope for? Is choosing "contentment" the same as "giving up hope?"

We prayed that we would have the courage to hope, even when things are bleak and dry and sucky. That we would patiently wait for hopes deferred, and let that waiting do its work in us, increasing our faith, deepening our trust.

It was good for my soul to gather and share and ponder as we begin this season of waiting for Christmas.

***

I take that with me into this week.

I may not feel like decorating, shopping, or putting on an ugly sweater for a Christmas card photo. But that's ok. Right now, I feel like waiting. And that is enough.

11/26/2010

pressed down, shaken together

This morning I enjoy the soft sound of Husband Snores coming from the next room as I sit curled up in a fuzzy blanket, sipping coffee and watching colored leaves drift to the ground. Peace. Rest.

***

Yesterday we hosted both our families for Thanksgiving. The house was once again bursting at the seams with storytelling, laughter, art, and music. (My piano got delivered on Wednesday!)

At the beginning of our party, I took the three little neices into the mudroom to craft some centerpieces for our holiday tables. Each girl got to be the hostess for the table displaying her centerpiece. (Sure beats having to sit at a kid's table. :) And they were darling!) MM and I decided to add the creative snowman centerpiece to our Christmas decore this year.

Throughout the day our Thankful Tree filled up with colored leaves. Each guest wrote something he/she is thankful for on a colored paper leaf, and taped it to the poster of a bare tree that we'd hung on the wall. It was fun to watch the tree fill up and to go read the sweet messages: "My wife!" "My wonderful children." "Happiness is God's Love!" "Our house." "My pet hamster, Angelo." :) I loved walking out this morning to a quiet, post-party living room, and that tree on the wall, declaring gratitude, and echoing the joy of the day before.

The best part was that for hours, every nook and cranny of our little house was filled with people laughing, hugging, and loving on each other. Some people told family stories; others played games; still others played guitar or piano. In general, people celebrated life and love and each other. It was awesome.

Great moments:

~ My mom, upon seeing the maple in our yard, grinning and marveling over how it reminded her of the trees where she grew up (Rhode Island).

~ My sister-in-law, helping in the kitchen, heard the sound of classical guitar, and gasped with delight, "Oh! My honey is playing guitar!" and ran to go listen.

~ My honey waving at me from across the room full of noisy relatives and mouthing, "I love you!"

~ My sister dancing with imaginary castinettes during "The Camel Song" and roping my brother-in-law into an impromptu fox trot. He managed to break free: "You have had way too much pie!"

~ The little girls twirling around in their beautiful new Christmas dresses that Auntie P bought them.

***

Today we rest. We spend the day in gratitude, quietly this time. We admire the Thankful Tree inside and the maple tree outside. We sip eggnog and eat leftovers and snuggle in our jammies to watch movies. Our cup is full. "Good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over."

So thankful.

11/16/2010

fair to middlin'

The leaves have begun to fall in earnest around Fake New Jersey. A nice layer of them carpet my front lawn awaiting my attention with the rake. If only I could stop coughing long enough to get out there and scoop them all up into a ginormous, bejeweled pile.

I'm sick again. On the tail end of my last cold, I caught another one. Or it caught me. Either way, I am under the weather. MM is still coughing out his bronchitis, poor guy.

This makes three weeks of sickness in our little house. In our Nyquil haze, we're kind of missing out on, "the magical, golden enchantment of autumn days (the wine of the seasons, when the year held its breath at the approach of frost and fire)." No walks around our beautiful neighborhood yet, though we hold out hope for more porch time in our wicker chairs.

Thanksgiving is next week, so we are working hard to get better before we cram our house full of people and food. Tonight we're buying dining room chairs. Early next week we hope to have my piano delivered and tuned, ready for little fingers to play carols. On Thursday I plan to spelunk in the Scary Wedding Room in hopes of finding the fruit bowl.

There are still delights to be had: vanilla scented candles, delicious homemade soup, cranberry-chocoloate-chip-oatmeal cookies, flannel jammies, jazz music, good books to read...

We'll make it.

11/11/2010

autumny goodness

It has been an emotionally topsy-turvy week for me. I'm recovering from a cold, so I'm a bit run down, and I've just had lots of churning and gyrating in this healing soul of mine. I'm not even sure what all is going on in there. Just feeling a bit more fragile than usual.

It'll all come out in the wash eventually. For now I'm concentrating on the basics: eat healthy food, drink lots of water, get good sleep, don't over do it... MM, as always, has been supportive and loving, even while he is recovering from bronchitis.

Despite sickness and emotional upheaval I am still enjoying my favorite season:

~ I've not been able to go out walking much, but even my short drives to work or running errands make me squeal over the beautiful leaves.

~ At our house, I harvested the eucalyptus leaves from a couple bouquets and placed a small bowl of them in the living room. I run my fingers through them now and then to breathe in the fragrance of fall.

~ I assembled a wreath for the front door, set up a small display of gourds for the dining table, and set the little scarecrow on the front steps next to the one pumpkin that escaped carving this year.

~ On the sunny days, I join the scarecrow for a bit of porch time. I sit in my wicker chair to watch squirrels fight and play and stuff their faces. I watch the leaves of our maple tree flutter to the ground.

~ On the rainy days, I light candles and make soup and bake and wear sweaters and snuggle up on the couch to read under a soft blanket that's the same dark orange as my neighbor's tree.

~ This is the season of jazz and folk and "old timey" music for me. In early October MM put his Feels Like Home CD in my car, which is the perfect blend of jazz and country. Been listening to it a lot as I drive through the tree-lined streets.

~ The other day we watched You've Got Mail, "Don't you just love New York in the Fall?" And a Harry Potter movie is coming out, which, by now feels like a fall tradition.

Doing my best to soak in the golden beauty of this season, before the long dark of winter. What is everyone else doing too harvest some autumny goodness?

11/06/2010

ode to a vacuum

To the tune of "We are the Champions" by Queen. (This really is much better if you have MM nearby to do the dramatic orchestral pieces. But you'll do your best, I'm sure.)

We bought a vacuum, husband.
And we'll clean our carpets now and then.
We bought a Dyson!
We bought a Dyson!
No time for Hoovers,
cuz we bought a Dyson...
All Floors!


I've used it twice now, and I have two words:

Awesome!

and Gross!

11/02/2010

tuesdaybook - day off!

Its that time, friends. For today I am:

Seeing... Sunlight filtered through dirty window panes and venitian blinds on to our makeshift kitchen table. In front of me sit the small plant, candle, trivet, devotional book and small bible that are always on the table. (I could write a whole post about those items and what they mean to me... another time.) I also have my manicure set (to use my Autumny nail polish!), my Oprah magazine (she looks very peaceful on this cover), and The Queen of Attolia. Porch time, here I come! To the left I've got my bible, my journal, and my notebook. Ready for some thinking, planning, and organizing.

Hearing... The thump of the washer and dryer. The hummmm of the refrigerator. The occasional gurgle and sigh of the coffee pot. I do not hear MM coughing, which is good. Poor guy has been sick since Friday and just needs to sleep!

Wearing... My red "Hot Stuff" socks (a gift from my sister), blue jeans, a chocolate brown sweater layered over my red long-sleeved t-shirt. And I've got my brown plaid hat and my brown scarf ready and waiting for porch time. I feel warm and cozy.

Tasting... Dark, Kona coffee. I know, I know. Its Tuesday, and I'm supposed to drink tea during the week. But, oh, it feels like a celebration today. (No work!) So I'm celebrating with coffee. (Two cups!) And went with what MM calls "vacation coffee." (When we were younger, Kona wasn't everywhere. But anyone who vacationed in Hawaii brought it back, so in his mind Kona = Vacation Coffee.)

Creating... Not sure yet, but I've got vague notions of baking banana bread, and doing some sewing. This season really calls to my creative side, so I can feel the pull, but haven't got a project to focus on yet. Christmas is coming...

Working... Housework, mostly. Still catching up on dishes from the party last week. But I also want to start working on some website redesigns, and think about a couple of writing projects. This upcoming weekend is our writing retreat, so I want to be ready for that.

Pondering... Lately I've been thinking a lot about boundaries. In this new role as Wife, I'm having to renegotiate a lot of lines. How much ownership do we have over each other? Which things can we speak into and in which do we need to let the other just sort of work it out? What things do I have a right to ask of my spouse, and which things do I need to let go.

Boundaries have always been tricky for me, and this is 24/7 boundary work, so I get overwhelmed sometimes. The good news is that each of us loves the other so much that we both long to please and delight each other and neither one wants to hurt the other. That creates a beautiful space in which to figure out boundaries.

Remembering... Autumns past when I was so buried in work I couldn't see straight. Something about this season attracts deadlines. First Quarter projections, I guess. Anyway. I spent so many October/Novembers pulling all-nighters and sucking down coffee to fill in the gaps between adrenaline bursts. And of course two days into Christmas vacation, I'd crash, and be sick for the holidays. May it never be so again!

Planning... Lots of house planning around here lately. We are figuring out systems to keep the bills paid and the chores done and the pantry stocked. We're trying out a new form this month, and MM almost has the budget spreadsheet finished. All of this is so that we can get into a groove and devote our energies to other pursuits - hospitality, travel, writing, etc. But right now, we just gotta figure things out. We're getting there.

Thankful for... My friends. I have an army of friends who have made my life Rich. (Abundance!) All of them interesting, funny, creative, kind, talented, smart, and beautiful. And they have given me much love and fun over the years. I am blessed.

11/01/2010

two days off

I drove home from work at 2:30 today under a brilliant tree canopy filtering the golden sunlight of my favorite season. An afternoon of no work! Such abundance!

I stopped at the drugstore to get MM some medicine (poor guy has a cold), and to get me some "autumny" nail polish. On the spur of the moment I grabbed an Oprah magazine - of all things! I am off the next two days, so I plan on spending a lot of time on the front porch painting my nails and reading magazines and watching the leaves change color.

Bliss.

I am so thankful.

A season of true rest. Thank you, God. Thank you, Husband.