i have no title for this post

The breezes taste 
Of apple peel 
The air is full 
Of smells to feel- 
Ripe fruit, old footballs, 
Burning brush, 
New books, erasers, 
Chalk, and such. 
The bee, his hive, 
Well-honeyed hum, 
And Mother cuts 
Like plates washed clean 
With suds, the days 
Are polished with 
A morning haze. 

John Updike, September

It's beginning to feel a little like fall, and I'm beginning to get on board with this new season. A couple overcast days, some new candles, and a hearty meal or two nudge me into the autumn state of mind. I'll pick up some mums today, and some eucalyptus branches to "flavor" the house. I'll swap out the slip cover on the couch. Tonight, as we play games for Date Night, I'll bust out apple cider and kettle corn. Maybe we'll have a pot pie for dinner.

~ ~ ~

I've been grieving the loss of an Internet friend this weekend. Beautiful Sara Frankl, the Gitzen Girl, is finally home. It is sad for us, but it is so good for her to finally be free from the chronic pain of a terrible 17-year illness that kept her home bound for the last three years of her life.

This woman is amazing. Amazing. Her ability to choose joy in the midst of pain humbles, awes, and inspires me to be better. I want to be like her when I grow up. She loved well. And made a huge impact on many lives, despite the physical limits of her life. To learn more about the impact of this remarkable woman, read through some of the tributes that people have written about her. (I especially love Mathew's, Mandy's, and Shannon's.)

The Internet is a strange and wondrous place. I'm thankful I've been able to know Sara, and now so many of her friends. Technology can be destructive, but it can also bring life and love and connection. So very, very cool.

~ ~ ~

The change of seasons and the grieving of Sara and the ramp up for my friend's wedding on Saturday have my heart overflowing with thankfulness and a deep sense of how precious life is. And how short. And what a gift it all is.


once upon a time...

Two dear friends both got engaged right around the same time, but we had to wait awhile before hosting the second celebration. Friday night MM and I got to celebrate the betrothal of Princess Faborina and her Very Own Prince. We feasted on homemade Chinese food, jasmine tea, and fortune cookies under the twinkle-lights, and talked of how love changes and heals us.

"I'm supposed to meet you!" exclaimed a cheerful voice behind me in the registration line. I turned to see a pretty, smiling face and met a gal who would become one of my dearest friends, a sister from another mister. (Lame, but it rhymes.) We were at a Youth Specialties conference. She worked in the Junior High group, and I worked with high schoolers, and though it was a small church, we'd somehow managed to work there for months without ever meeting each other.

We hung out all day at the conference, and thus began an epic friendship. Faborina has enriched my life with her creativity, intelligence, depth, passion, and joie de vivre for almost 20 years.

She brings Adventure! So many amazing travel memories from the past two decades... the Lincoln memorial, a Las Vegas piano bar, a downpour in a poverty-stricken village in Mexico, a starlit night at the Grand Canyon, the glorious crash of the Pacific Ocean... are because of her.

She brings Music! We've attended concerts and festivals and Broadway shows. We've sung together on worship team, in talent shows, in Christmas productions, at memorial services, weddings, and once to celebrate a friend's hysterectomy (Uterous-free Day!). And we've sung in the car or around the house.

She brings Fun! Faborina invented Bonk-Bonk Ball, and Miller Family Fun Day. And she taught us to shoot pool, throw darts, and play poker for Boys Night Out. She's hosted parties for Pancake Day and Elephant Appreciation Day and the World Premiere of High School Musical 2.

And with all the fun and delight, she brings a faithfulness and depth to her friendships that have blessed me again and again over the years. She's loaned me power tools. She's et me move in with her three times when I had no where else to go. She's rescued me countless times when my car has died - usually in the middle of the night, somewhere in the boonies. She's pursued connection with me, even when I've lived in other towns, and she's been brave to share her authentic self with me, which inspires me to do the same.

She is a good friend. She has a good heart.

And I am so happy to see her beautiful heart be truly cherished by a good, kind, tender man. On Friday, in telling a story, the Prince affirmed that after months of feeling displaced by remodeling/packing chaos, Faborina now has a home. And while he was talking about his house that she will move into after the wedding, it is so much more than that. He is her home. His steady love gives her a soft place to fall and comfort and rest.

Can't wait to celebrate these two join their hearts as a family!


thursdaybook - potato chips are good

For today I am:

Seeing... I'm mostly at my "desk" today. Earlier this month we hauled my old white desk out to the curb, and I set up one of our long fold-up tables in my corner of the office. A mustard yellow table cloth matches the giant Lord of the Rings map of Middle Earth above the table. And elsewhere spots of red bring cheer: a square pot for my desk plant, a lamp, Ikea boxes for office supplies, my mouse and mouse pad, a lovely little fabric-covered, gilt-edged copy of Pride and Prejudice from Book Girl, and a paper frame around a crayon drawing MM gave me. In front of me are a few chotchkies and a fanciful box for stationary, covered in flowers and fairies and doilies and whatnot. It doesn't fit any of my other stuff, but I like it anyway. Go figure.

Hearing... The lawn guys mowing and blowing and hollering at each other... ticking clocks... my tummy rumbling for a snack...

Tasting... Right now: a handful of Trader Joe's salt and pepper potato chips. Later: Homemade chicken soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. (Gruyere on whole wheat bread. Yum!)

Working... Today's Lineup: Dishes, Laundry, Iron Shirts, Mend Clothes, Clean Out Weird Stuff From Fridge, Toilet, Tub*, Counters, Mirrors, Sink, File Papers, Answer Giant Mountain of Email, Scan/Transcribe Documents... It's a lot. Why am I still blogging?

*Cleaning the tub involves the weekly unclogging of the drains. Old house. Old pipes. Can't use liquid plumber-esque stuff, so its a fun baking soda/vinegar/boiling water treatment instead.

Reading... Still working on Salt. Also reading the aforementioned Pride and Prejudice. And lots and lots of articles on Biblical Criticism (see below). Lots. My brain is nearly fried. Better get some more potato chips...

Learning... About the various theories on who wrote/edited/compiled/transcribed the Jewish bible. I am a writing/literature nerd, so it has been fascinating to see all the connections/reactions to history, politics, art, culture, etc. unfolding in the documents. This quote on Straight Dope sums up the impact:

"Questions of provenance notwithstanding, the text is one of the great works of literature. It has endured for at least 2,500 years, parts of it for at least 3,200 years, and is still read today. There is hardly a work of art or writing in the western world that does not build from the five books or use images or phrases from them. Our notions of good and evil, of history as a linear process, of the relationship between the individual and morality, of the dignity of man ("created in the image of God"), all stem from this seminal work."

Creating... Decorations for a wedding shower. :)

Dreaming... Simple dreams right now... a quiet evening to toast the end of summer... another quiet evening of twinkle-lights to toast an engagement... a morning of art and an afternoon of riding bikes along the river...

Pondering... Truth. Beauty. Purpose. The long-neglected needs/wants/dreams of my heart. Old wounds. New ideas. And the new template I must build for life and relationship. How does this all work? Some days its all clear, and others... not so much. But I will keep pondering.

Thankful for... I know I sound like a broken record, but MM has been so good to me. My heart has been rocked hard several times this week and he has listened and comforted and encouraged, and best of all - understood. For reals. He just gets stuff. And I am amazed. He hopes when I can't. He has faith when mine fails. And he dreams Big Awesome Dreams for me when I just don't see how. I still can't get used to this love.