11/28/2011

hanging of the greens

So, in the midst of still wrestling with how to buy Christmas presents in a consumerist culture that tends to go a little crazy this time of year, we have more things making me think and ask questions.

NOTE: These posts are not meant as a criticism of how anyone else "does" Christmas, or a boast of how we're doing it all right. They are just a way for me to process what's going on in me as we practice these disciplines.

On Saturday we engaged our version of in the "hanging of the greens." Growing up removed from any experience of the Church universal, I didn't know that this was a thing. But, it is traditional to decorate at the beginning of Advent. There are whole prayers written to bless the Advent wreath and lintel and such. You were to hang your decorations at the beginning of Advent and take them down on Twelfth Night (Jan 5th or 6th, depending on whether you think of a day beginning in the morning or on the preceding evening.)

And there's various takes on the what and where and how this happened, but the decorations had meanings. The boughs of holly actually meant something to the folks decking their halls. And those purple - and one pink - candles that I thought were kind of ugly and odd amidst the cheery red and green, are the liturgical colors of the season. Purple is the color of repentance (repentance? at Christmas?). The season leading up to Christmas tide, used to be a season of fasting and reflection. (Which, by the way, would come in handy before stuffing yourself silly over 12 days of Christmas.) And the random pink one is meant as an encouragement that the time of repentance is almost over. It is lit on Gaudette Sunday, the candle of Joy.

The various books we've read in order to re-think our holiday seasons suggest incorporating some of these old traditions into our modern observations. Maybe incorporate some liturgical purple (or the more modern blue) into your decorations. Or, simplify your decorations, choosing only certain ones. Or, put decorations out in phases, rather than all of them at once, to create a sense of waiting and anticipation. Make an advent wreath or a Jesse tree, so that your decorations double as a devotional tool.

OK. Well this is fine. Good information. And we are down for trying some of these things.

I've kept an advent wreath (with red candles) for years, and MM and I kept one on our first Christmas together. (We did it when we were dating too, but we were a brand-new couple, so I don't know if he noticed, LOL) He really enjoyed having a little moment to read a bit of scripture and light a new candle each week - a little circle of quiet in a crazy, hectic season. He remarked that last Christmas felt exciting and meaningful, in part, because of building the anticipation with the wreath and taking specific time to reflect on what the season is about. This year, we're doing it again, and trying out blue candles. I'm even doing the one weird candle for Joy.

Some other intentional things we are doing are to:

- Decorate outside

- Put the (old) nativity scene on the mantle above the stockings and not buy a new one this year

- Add strings of blue lights to the multi-colored ones on our tree to bump up the blue factor

- Hang decorations in phases instead of all at once, and only hang ones that make us happy

Now, I am an artist and a homemaker and I freakin' love Christmas. I love decorating the tree. I love multi-colored twinkle lights. I love hanging stockings. I love setting out a creche. I love making ornaments. I love beauty and sparkle and pretty (and did I mention sparkle?). Love it. Love. It.

And as I continue to learn about myself, I see that I have a definite "sacramental" bent. I love tangible, sensory experiences to connect with inner ones. I love attaching emotional/spiritual meaning to physical things. I love lighting candles. I love Christmas music. I love Christmas cookies. I love seasons and rhythms and traditions. (I should tell you about The Pie Crust of Doom or those ancient plastic holly branches.) I love that this time of year has so much sensory stuff and purposeful beauty.

And with all this thinking and talking about decorations, my head and heart are swirling. If we're trying to incorporate more blue, do I use my bright red tree skirt? Is it lame to spend money on more blue lights and a new tree skirt? Now that we're having a proper tree and real stockings, what do we do with the tiny tree and tiny stockings we used in our first Christmases? Because the thought of not putting them up makes me sad. Is it too upper-middle-class white couple to have two trees up? What about simplicity?

And larger questions swirl too: Do we decorate the outsides of our home to bless our neighbors and spread a little good cheer, or to impress them with our awesome light and sound display and animatronic cartoon characters? How much is too much? Do the rows and rows of sparkly ornaments in the Christmas aisles have any meaning, or is it all just pretty? And is pretty the same as beauty? And the photos on blogs and pinterest of other people's beautifully decorated mantles and stairways and trees, do these make me inspired or envious? And what am I trying to do with my decorations? Am I truly just enjoying beauty, or am I trying to create perfection?

So, Christmas Decorating 2011 - more questions.

11/26/2011

advent - black friday thoughts

NOTE: These posts are not meant as a criticism of how anyone else "does" Christmas, or a boast of how we're doing it all right. They are just a way for me to process what's going on in me as we practice these disciplines.

It's not even Advent, and I can already feel a change, in just these few days. The garish frenzy of CHRISTMAS! CHRISTMAS! BUY! BUY! BUY! all around us - the lights, noise, color, and stress (pepper spray? shootings? Black Friday starting the Thursday before?) - stands in stark contrast to the quietness we're trying to pursue. Even before the official kick-off to the holiday season, we've been preparing to withdraw, so it feels weird to see this unfolding around us, but not touching us.

Friday, we unofficially participated in Buy Nothing Day. We made sure we had firewood, food, and the things we were assigned for the family Thanksgiving celebration by Wednesday, so we could ignore the call of the wild and just enjoy each other all weekend. No traffic, no parking, no angry people...

Several Facebook friends commented on this too, describing how they were spending their days instead of shopping: "I just put the apple crisp in the oven." "Leftover Pie for breakfast." "Happy Pajama Day! We're staying in to watch movies and play games."

And they got a lot of crap for it.

One commenter was particularly harsh, claiming that in our current economy, to not go shopping was selfish. Another got quite animated that she had to do Black Friday to get the gifts her family wanted, because she couldn't afford them otherwise.

Wait. What? We have to go shopping? And the only possible way to show our loved ones and neighbors that we care is by buying them stuff? And the right stuff? The stuff they want?

Blegh.

Now - I have friends and family members who love Black Friday. They get up early and make a whole fun, event of it. Cocoa or coffee in their mugs, carols on the radio - they see it as a chance to shop and visit and have some girl time. (I don't personally know any guys who do Black Friday, but I'm sure they're out there.) It's a tradition for them, and they do get great deals. I have nothing against a good deal. And I have nothing against my friends doing this. They certainly aren't out beating people up.

But I do have to question a culture that has made buying stuff the only acceptable way to express love.

MM and I are buying presents for people, but we're trying to scale things back, both in terms of money and in stress. We're trying to make things simple and meaningful and small. To decrease the focus on material things, and find other ways to show people that we love them. (I mean, what we really want is to communicate our love all the time and not just during the holidays!)

We haven't got this all figured out yet, and I don't think it will be easy. What we're trying to do definitely goes against the grain for our culture. Our people expect "wow" presents too, and our gifts may not be "wow"y enough this year. And that creates some tension. We feel guilty for not wowing them. And the guilt is especially intense when we know someone else spent a lot of money (or got up at 3am on the Friday after Thanksgiving to stand in line in the cold and dark) on us. Awkward.

And we have been conditioned to BUY! BUY! BUY!!! too. We don't have a TV, so we don't get exposed to all the commercials, but the other day, while watching Hulu, I heard a Sears commercial, and had a Pavlovian "awww, it's Christmas" response to the familiar sound. I can still remember Christmas commercial jingles from my childhood, "Merry Christmas, Merry Merry Christmas, from your Kmart Christmas Store!" We went to the mall for an eye exam, and I wanted to stroll around looking at the decorations and displays. It wasn't even Thanksgiving.

So. We have our work cut out for us, but feel like this is doing something in us. Do we just go with the flow too much? Do we rely on presents to show love, instead of finding other ways? Do we wait until this time of year to tell people we care? Do we let the pressure to "wow" people, force us into spending past our budget and incurring debt? Is there a different way to do this? How can we invest our dollars and time and other resources wisely in these season?

So, for right now, we're sitting in the questions. Waiting.

11/23/2011

good things are coming

It's 7:30 am, and I'm supposed to be ironing my husband's shirt. Or at least having my Official Evangelical Quiet Time. Or running out to the curb to chase the garbage truck with our recycling. (We forgot again.) But I had to take a couple of minutes to say Happy Thanksgiving.

I'm excited.

For the first time in years I have that excited-for-the-holidays feeling that I used to get. In little moments (cozied up on the couch watching You've Got Mail... the blast of crisp air that carries the fragrance of fallen leaves... nuzzled up against MM's neck with his arms wrapped around me tight...) I get that tingly feeling, "It feels like Christmas."

And not the actual (sometimes painful, always stressful) real Christmases of my life, but the magical, joyful, "I am loved, and good things are coming" Christmases that we read of in books, watch in movies, or see other people having.

I am loved, and good things are coming.

It is true. All the time. And I guess if I paid more attention, all my days would be filled with tingly magic.

But I don't. And they're not. My days are filled with lists and piles and schedules and plans that usually get the better of me. Most of the time I feel anxious or worried or fearful or irritated. And it's lame, because my life is awesome. It really is. And has been. Even when things have, technically, sucked.

So, I am thankful for these moments of magic and anticipation, and hopeful that the advent season offers a chance to meditate on this idea: I am loved, and good things are coming.

11/21/2011

it smells like mushrooms...

Some random stuff on a Monday:

~ ~ ~

Got my mammogram today. Girls, take care of your girls. Don't put it off. Someone loves you too much for you to wait.

~ ~ ~

All week the trees flash fire into impossibly blue skies. The reds and oranges break my heart with beauty every time we drive down the street. I try to take pictures, but there's just no way to capture this. Thank you, Lord, for eyes and color and reminders to drink deep and pay attention, cuz this season only lasts a short while and then its gone, baby, gone.

~ ~ ~

We made good use of our fireplace over a slow, snuggly weekend. How I have missed the coziness of a fire on a rainy afternoon! In just a few weekends we've managed to use up the small pile of wood we found behind The Pink Garage. Time to find a local source for firewood.  I've never bought wood from anywhere but the grocery store, so this should be interesting. Any tips?

~ ~ ~

So - now that we're done moving, and I'm getting a handle on things at The Pink House, I'm totally ramping up for the holiday season. (!!!!!) MM has been so sweet about talking through my Advent thoughts and decorating questions and scheduling conflicts and gift ideas. He grins when I start a conversation with, "so I've been thinking." Not that he doesn't care about that stuff, but I tend to get a little spazzy about it all, and since this year we are doing the whole Advent-Epiphany Shebang (Nov 27-Jan6), I am Extra Spazzy.

Did I mention that we're getting a real Christmas tree this year?

And that we have a mantle? For stockings?

We TOTALLY DO!

Thursday I can officially get my spazz on as we launch into a month of candles and sheperds and angels. And tubas. And a medieval village made of sugar.

I feel a little like Buddy. "First we'll make snow angels for a two hours, then we'll go ice skating, then we'll eat a whole roll of Tollhouse Cookiedough as fast as we can, and then we'll snuggle."


So, yeah. Spazzy the Elf, what's your favorite color?

~ ~ ~

And here's a quote I'm chewing on this week of thankfulness:

A wise lover regards not so much the gift of him who loves, as the love of him who gives. He esteems affection rather than valuables, and sets all gifts below the Beloved. A noble-minded lover rests not in the gift, but in Me above every gift. ~ Thomas a Kempis

I am thankful for so much: my husband and his amazing love, our Pink House, income during these uncertain economic times... With my mind constantly blown by so much goodness, it's hard to remember to be thankful, simply, for Him.

11/17/2011

thursdaybook - all things new

For today I am

Seeing... Bright leaves spiral, swirl, and swoop past my writing window. Fluffs of cloud drift low through sky so blue it hurts. Bushes bob and bend and dip in the wind... Mason jars filled with colored pens and rows of crayons, a sprig of dried lavender, pretty papers and a pile of pictures for my inspiration wall... I made a start on the office this week, and my desk is ready for working, creating, and dreaming.

Hearing... The whoosh of wind through branches... The click and hiss of the wall heater... The constant wizz of the nearby freeway...

Tasting... French press coffee. I know, I know - I am totally cheating, but oh, it tastes so good to be bad. I feel like singing Barbara Mandrell, "If lovin' you is wrong, I don't wanna be right" to my coffee mug this morning.

Working... Today I am a writer. I've promised myself that I'll work on blog posts, my Nanowrimo project, and make a stab at a couple other works that I keep putting off. I'm going to write in the morning and clean in the afternoon. This will please my man who gets frustrated at me for doing housework all day and not leaving myself time to create or rest or daydream, which is really the point of this sabbatical from the 9-5.

On applications for things for "Occupation" I put down "Writer, Self-employed." Which is true, but feels fake right now, cuz I've not written much for a year, but I'm getting there. My soul is recovering. Slowly.

I am also going to file paperwork and update our budget spreadsheets. Woo. And clean the bathroom. Double woo.

Reading... Oh, let's see. Lots of the same things: Salt, On Writing, The Big Over Easy, Practicing the Way of Jesus... MM and I are still enjoying The Eagle Has Landed, Anne of Avonlea, Changes that Heal, and Hearing God. We are simply, "book drunkards" as Lucy Maud Montgomery would say.

Learning... I learned about the O Antiphons this week in my gathering of Advent resources. I read a bit about them last year, but didn't have time to really investigate further. I've always loved "O come, O come, Emanuel" which is based on them. Here are some of the articles I read:

O Antiphons

O Antiphons to sing

To sing with several versions

Another version

Creating... A home. Little by little we're settling in to The Pink House. I try to tackle one project a day to bring a little more order and peace to this space. I have a long list of things we need, but while I wait for money or time I do what I can with what I have...

Soup. Its a good day for something hot and simmery, paired with grilled cheese sandwhiches. My favorite soups have no recipe. I just throw a bunch of things into a pot and see what happens. Veggie alchemy. Today feels like that sort of day.

Dreaming... Lots of stuff. Advent and Christmas are coming, so we're thinking through those things. (We're to have our first proper Christmas tree! And we want to find a creche that is ours together. And which events will we attend. And our budget and gift ideas and how to celebrate Advent with a three-year-old... ) We're looking forward to hosting people in our home this coming year, so we're thinking about chairs and seating and how to make food with no counter space. We're also dreaming about church and what that will look like this year. New things are coming!

Pondering... Attended a lecture by N.T. Wright last night. Fantastic. Rich and deep and yet approachable for non-theologians. He gave a picture of what it means to read the gospels "in surround sound." To read them in such a way as to be sustained by them as we live in this world as "the merciful, the peacemakers, the ones whose passion for justice that will not be slaked like thirst." As we confront the oppressive kingdoms of this world with a new way to "do power" - with "suffering love." Very cool.

Thankful for... So much! My home. My warm bathrobe. My husband's encouraging, supportive love. My coffee this morning. My Writer's Window. The fall leaves - this week's been glorious! Quinoa on sale. The upcoming holidays...

11/11/2011

ffff - its been awhile

It's been a while since I've done a fake friday fave five, so here goes:

1 I cleaned our old house this week. Several 8 hour days. My dishpan hands and sore shoulder and tired self are all happy at the result: a cleaner-than-when-we-moved-in house when MM handed in the keys yesterday. I don't know why, but I just feel good about that. I think some of it is that with all the transitions this year, I went from being a career woman to being a housewife -- in a old, moldy, falling-apart house that I could never get really clean. It was like I got a new job, and was constantly failing at it. It felt good to dig in deep and scrub and scour and steam the place within an inch of its existence. Ha ha! I am victorious! You, Old Moldy House, have not defeated me! Suck it, Loser!

2 My sweet MM, who is unable to do a lot of physical work right now because of a back injury, took good care of me this week. He kept me fed and watered and got me to bed early and took on the nightly tasks all by himself, so I could come home and crash. It felt good to be taken care of by my man. And he insisted that I take yesterday off and rest, and thanked me profusely when I did.

3 Dinners. Working physically all day makes me hungry! I just recall being particularly thankful for my dinners this week. Burgers and a good porter, chinese food from our favorite Fake New York restaurant, pork chops and mac and cheese... In this month of thankfulness, I am deeply grateful for a full tummy at the end of a hard day. So many work so hard and have very little to come home to. They are hungry all the time. (This week, I am reading the posts of the Compassion Bloggers trip to Ecuador. Pictures and stories of the hungry ones...)

At church right now, we are praying this for Thanksgiving:

Creator God, for daily bread
and all who work
to bring your harvest home
we bring our thanks today.
Forgive our ingratitude
we who have so much
yet waste what you have given.


For those whose harvest is poor,
whose crops have withered,
water tainted, children starve,
help those who bring relief
and bestow on us
an unaccustomed generosity,
that all might share from your garden
and all might sing your praise.


Creator God, provider of all
we bring our thanks today.
(Source)

I thought of that prayer as I sat my weary body down to eat each evening, or crawled under my comforter at night. Thank you for all this abundance.

4 Fall Leaves. Finally! The color show has just begun its haphazard opening act. Some trees already suck the breath out of me with their vibrancy. Others are as green as ever. Weird. But over the next few weeks I expect the blast of yellow, orange, and red that thrills me this time of year.

5 Watching the Lord of the Rings. For so many years, the films came out in November, so that now it just feels like part of the autumn/holiday season for me. The other day, we lit a fire, sipped some wine, and watched the little hobbits head out from the Shire. Felt like Christmas.

11/10/2011

a bit of nothing

Well, it certainly IS a quiet neighborhood. The folks from the property management company and the few neighbors we've met all say, "Its a really quiet neighborhood." We thought maybe it was a commentary on MM's tattoo and earring and me and my gangsta vibe, but no, it really is just a quiet neighborhood. Other than the occasional rumble when our neighbor and his buddies tinker with their motorcycles, or the lonely barks of Charlie the black lab puppy when his owner leaves him home alone, the neighborhood is silent.

This is true 40's/50's suburbia: big yards, houses set back from the side walk and far apart, a few attached garages, not many porches. Hardly ever see anyone, though this could also be due to the recent cold snap.

I DID catch sight of my elderly Asian neighbor collecting the newspaper a couple mornings ago. He picked it up, checked to see that no one was looking, and started tossing the paper high into the air and catching it. Every two or three throws he'd look around again, making sure he was alone. Part of me wants to draw a comic rendition of his newspaper shenanigans and tape it to his door, "I know what you did yesterday morning." But I suppose that's not too neighborly of me.

~ ~ ~

After a month of packing, moving, cleaning, and setting up, I am taking a day off to rest. I pulled a few long days at the old house cleaning carpets and whatnot, so we could turn in the keys today. Whoopee! Goodbye Old Moldy House! Jovie encouraged me to give myself some kind of reward for several 7+ hour days in a row of cleaning, so I'm giving myself a day of movies and crafts - although I'm interpreting "crafts" loosely. (I HAVE to do laundry today, or we will run out of underwear.)

I'll keep things light with RomComs and silly stuff. No deep thoughts or drama today. Today is a day for sipping tea and cheering on my girlfriends Kathleen Kelly, Lucy Elenor Monowitz, and Sally Albright.

Better get to it. Have a good one.

11/04/2011

lumpy lawns and apple pie cookies

Yesterday's grey bluster has turned to liquid gold, and overnight all the trees in my new neighborhood have started turning color. I hosted this month's Girlfriend Breakfast* with my dear Jovie this morning, and after stuffing ourselves silly we went for a walk in this glorious autumn weather. So, so good for my soul. I'm telling you - almost nothing beats deep conversation with a heart-friend over a spinach and mushroom scramble, bacon, apple pie cookies, and french press coffee on a gorgeous fall morning.

* Jovie read a book about a group of girlfriends who started a secret society of ladies who drink martinis - or something like that. We spent a good part of our morning trying to think up what our secret society would be. We decided that ours would be the Ladies Who Eat Big Breakfasts with Bacon. It is very exclusive. And tasty.

~ ~ ~

Fall

Fall, falling, fallen. That's the way the season
Changes its tense in the long-haired maples
That dot the road; the veiny hand-shaped leaves
Redden on their branches (in a fiery competition
With the final remaining cardinals) and then
Begin to sidle and float through the air, at last
Settling into colorful layers carpeting the ground.
At twilight the light, too, is layered in the trees
In a season of odd, dusky congruences—a scarlet tanager
And the odor of burning leaves, a golden retriever
Loping down the center of a wide street and the sun
Setting behind smoke-filled trees in the distance,
A gap opening up in the treetops and a bruised cloud
Blamelessly filling the space with purples. Everything
Changes and moves in the split second between summer's
Sprawling past and winter's hard revision, one moment
Pulling out of the station according to schedule,
Another moment arriving on the next platform. It
Happens almost like clockwork: the leaves drift away
From their branches and gather slowly at our feet,
Sliding over our ankles, and the season begins moving
Around us even as its colorful weather moves us,
Even as it pulls us into its dusty, twilit pockets.
And every year there is a brief, startling moment
When we pause in the middle of a long walk home and
Suddenly feel something invisible and weightless
Touching our shoulders, sweeping down from the air:
It is the autumn wind pressing against our bodies;
It is the changing light of fall falling on us.

~ Edward Hirsch


~ ~ ~

Seriously, those apple pie cookies are freaking awesome. Smitten Kitchen is one of my favorite sites. I am inspired by her cooking in a tiny space.

For two years I made a home in a tiny studio apartment - less than 150sq feet. Studios can be very depressing (a dingy overhead light, and a futon, and a TV), and since this was a season of healing, I needed to create a cheerful little nest to come home to. Apartment Therapy and IKEA helped me with layout and storage, and Smitten Kitchen helped me with food.

I had a tiny fridge, a 2-burner hotplate, a microwave, a toaster oven, a 4-cup coffee pot, and a crockpot, and a "kitchen" that was basically 1/2 of a closet, but I managed to cook real food during a time when I especially needed home comforts. I even hosted people. And I am not the most organized person in the kitchen, or a foodie by anyone's stretch of the imagination, so I don't mean to brag on me. Rather, I just got good advice from lots of sources (there are toaster oven cookbooks!), and inspiration from a gal who had a tiny kitchen too. Thanks to Smitten Kitchen, I could put on a full spread - dessert included. :)


View from standing in the kitchen looking toward the sofa bed. I had a table and four chairs off to the left.



View of the tiny kitchen from in front of the black cabinet.Tiny.

I wish I had known about the apple pie cookies when I lived in that apartment, cuz they are the perfect size! I will make up for lost time, by making lots of them this year. If you come to my house this year, chances are I will try to feed these to you.

~ ~ ~

The lawn guys just finished mowing our lumpy lawn. Yowza! But we can feel a bit better among our neighbors now. We already live in this garish house. The least we can do is keep our lumpy lawn mowed.

I've met a few of them, and they are all funny. They usually say something like, "So, she won't paint it, huh?" I guess a few years ago, they approached the property manager with an offer to all pitch in and pay for it. No dice. She loves the color.

And several neighbors commented that they worry about who will move into The Pink House, "Who will be drawn by that color?" but when they saw us put up our porch stuff, and plant flowers, they figured we were ok. (Heh heh - that's just cuz we haven't plugged in the amp yet, or hosted a sword event in our yard. Just wait, Neighbors, we'll freak you out.)

~ ~ ~


And I've taken up enough of your time. Happy November, folks!

11/03/2011

thursdaybook - swirling leaves and placid laundry

For today I am

Seeing... The view of the back yard out the window above my desk. Oh, how I have missed having a window above my desk! I see layers of oak and pecan trees sweeping their branches across a pearl grey sky. Before them, more layers: fruit tries, rosebushes, hydrangeas, butterfly bushes, an overgrown rosemary plant, and a squatty palm of some sort. Our lumpy lawn of crabgrass and weeds fills the space between the layers of foliage and the house. Flurries of leaves drift and swirl across my line of sight. A perfect November day. Oh, this will be a good spot for dreaming and creating...

Hearing... The freeway. If there's one bummer about The Pink House its that we hear the nearby freeway more than birds. We hope that our thermal drapes may provide some noise buffer as well. I also hear the washer and dryer churning, tumbling, whirring, and buzzing away.

Tasting... Water. I'm trying to drink more of it. I've come up with a plan to alternate Tea and water during the day, starting with black and working my way down to chamomile at the end of the day. Today was the first day that I did not cheat and have a mid-day coffee. Go me!

Working... Setting up our house. Today, I got started on the studio. Still need to get a few pieces of furniture, but it's in usable shape at least. Every room I work on generates a list of furniture or fixtures or storage containers, which we must wait to purchase, so nothing feels complete. But at least now we can find our clothes, make food, and print a document.

Reading... Salt. Still. It was packed in a box that I just opened today, so I can finish it up, finally. Though its been so long, I may start at the beginning again. While I was waiting to find my official current read, I picked up Steven King's superb On Writing. Perfect timing for NaNoWriMo (see below). MM and I are still enjoying our Cultural Exchange Read-Alouds (Jack Higgin's The Eagle has Landed and Anne of Avonlea. And I'm looking forward to him finishing his perusal of The Circle of Seasons, so we can come up with plans for Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany.

Learning... My brain is full of house projects, so I'm not sure there's space for learning right now...

Creating... It's NaNoWriMo, and I'm sort of participating. I'm not writing a novel, but I'm working on a short piece of fiction as time and energy allow. The goal is to write a little bit each day. I've also got a hankering to draw or sketch or something. (As an aside, MM -who is also doing short works this go around-has tons of ideas, and they're all so good! This is going to be a fun month of creating with my man.)

Dreaming... Of a new home to fill with music and stories and game nights and dinner parties and fireside chats and philosophy breakfasts... of ways to get our financial house in order faster, so we can get on with pursuing some life goals/dreams... of digging in the flowerbeds I can see through this window...

Pondering... The ways of gentleness and grace. Patience, trust, and that "in repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength." How I cultivate external peace (order, beauty, rhythms) because I crave internal peace.

Thankful for... The Pink House... my desk window... my new desk... The leaves swirling through the back yard... the spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove... my sweet MM, who had a frustrating day of exploding lunches and fruitless errands amidst the usual Thursday meeting madness, and all with good spirits. If it was me, I would have been flipping out and calling everyone in traffic a f***face. Good thing I was at home with the placid laundry.