Monday, November 29, 2010


As my little night owl lays beside me totally enthralled with a crinkly pretzel bag I stare at this screen, this little chunk of space where I keep some of our memories.

It's been a while, but not because the stories are few. It's been a while because the stories are many, and I've needed time to sort through thoughts and feelings and life. Time to think, yes, but also time to hear. Time to understand and time to just be.

I miss writing, capturing, reflecting when I don't because it's like my days as a classroom teacher. At the end of them, I could sit down and think about this, this, this, and oh yeah-- that. All the things that could have gone better, been more effective, what I would strive for tomorrow. A wise mentor once advised me to stop once those children walked out my door and write down at least a handful of things that went well, that made a difference for that day.

So it is with motherhood. My time is often short, but taking what and when I can of it and reflecting on what went well, what made a difference for that day is never regretted.

It's just another way to wake up with fresh eyes... thankful, so very thankful for this family I've been given. It's my handful at a day's end, and I'm better because of it.

It's raining outside right now, and with all this talk I'm remembering Thanksgiving. It was small this year as Christmas waits around the corner with its promise to see both sides of our family. It was also pretty crazy because I did it all myself.
Seems I went and channeled my inner Popeye for the picture, but hey, I DID IT! Not that I've never cooked a big meal before, but there's something very grown up and motherly and extremely satisfying about getting all of Thanksgiving on the table for your family... timed just so... and to hear them say sweet Daddy-inspired things about it all.

So pardon me if there are a lot of pictures of food here, but... I guess there is no but, I'm just documenting this momentous occasion for the record books.

I had myself a plan. That plan included chicken, instead of turkey, but I figured out a killer rub to go on a really good quality bird I found a few weeks back. It worked.
One slightly grated knuckle and broken votive glass were the only casualties. Impressive, right?
Of course, it helped to have the girls creating nearby in their new little nook in bed head, mismatched pajamas and slippers, and the like. If you'll look closely, you'll notice I still didn't cook without my Mama. She got passed around almost right up to eatin' time.

Eventually we cleaned ourselves up a bit and Hope came running back downstairs with "the most perfect devotion EVER for this very day!" So what if Maddie switched seats and lost her dress mid-meal? That's our girls.

We had dessert later with some friends, but following our mid-afternoon lunch we had to sample the girls' Thanksgiving pride and joy.
Impressive, right? :)

As the holiday weekend wound down from all the excitement of dragging boxes out of the attic (which next year with a one, three, and four year-old I will surely have better organized-- mark my blog)... there was peace.
That time taken to listen paid off. This time taken to reflect is paying off.

But the time with the crinkly pretzel bag? Done worn off.

Truly I am thankful, so very thankful for it all.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Memory Card

There is always this moment when we flick on our signal, go around that deep curve, and see this stretching out ahead of us:
Hope, who now understands what this moment means, leads the girls in excited shouts and the pumping of fists... "We're here! We're here!" What a joyful chorus.

But there's another moment when we fold the last bit of laundry Nana so graciously washed, when the final bag makes its way out to the car, when we hug and cry and pray.

The moment when we see that drive from the opposite angle.

Every time it's hard and every time the girls catch on to the bittersweetness all the more. I fight back another round of tears, take a deep breath, and about a half hour into the drive remember something precious.

Our memory card.

I click through each photo, each memory... and my tank is refueled. An apple orchard afternoon, Uncle Billy coaching young men in the Friday night lights, late bedtimes and lazy mornings, big meals, extra hugs and kisses, caramel apples with Aunt Andrea, dinner and laughs with Aunties, and fall fun with lots of extended family in Pop Pop and Nana's leaf strewn yard. There is so much to be thankful for.

It reminds me of Hope just the other day choking back tears as I helped her dress for the preschool that she loves. "Sometimes, Mama," she says scrunching up close to my face, "Sometimes I still miss you." I hold her close because I remember something too. Almost seven years ago when Joe and I showed up at my parents upon returning from our honeymoon. We reminisced about the wedding, shared the vacation pictures, and then it was time for me to officially leave their house on the way to my very own home. I didn't have the words, but we all swallowed hard.

As a grown woman who today leaves that place for another more far away home with my family that I love, for a home where God has called us to be... I still choke back tears whenever my "sometimes" surfaces and bubbles over.

Hopey, girl after my own heart, I get it. For as long as I'm able to do it, may this blog be your very own memory card. One to share with your sisters in all the half hours down the road that you all might need.