Today, just thankful

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    • Waking up on Sunday morning to the sound of rain outside the window, just lying in the dark thinking, “I don’t have to get up right now. I can enjoy this.”
    • Downton Abbey (how am I just now watching this?) and Maggie Smith portraying the Dowager Countess with lines like, “Of course it would happen to a foreigner. No Englishman would dream of dying in someone else’s house.”
    • Late brunch on Sunday (well let’s be honest, if you don’t eat until 1:00, it was lunch with eggs, but whatever you call it, it was delicious).
    • Birthday cards and birthday presents and birthday phone calls. It is nice to be remembered.
    • Finding out that my college roommate, Kaitlyn, won’t be going out of town after all, so I get to spend all weekend with her!
    • The new Valentine’s Day Pact that David and I agreed to Saturday night. It is as follows: one “Fancy” dinner out between my birthday and Valentine’s (but never on Valentine’s Day, because crowded) and we will wait to buy chocolate until it goes on sale on February 15th (his), provided we only buy the good stuff (mine).
    • Getting the photo booth pictures back from our wedding. Man, my family is awesome. And embarrassing. And awesome. Also, it is official that I look about as uncomfortable as I feel when taking goofy pictures. I definitely got my loud, fast-talking speech from the Fullerton’s, but the goofy gene got lost in translation.
    • New books.
    • I GET TO SEE MY FAMILY THIS WEEKEND!!!
    • @PopeRandyHarris. I don’t know who is responsible for this. I only know that I love them.
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Disappointing football and fantastic food.

Well, I have returned from the land of the Okies.

I hope you all had a really wonderful Thanksgiving full of food, family, relaxation, and gratitude.

I have so many, many things to be thankful for – more than I could possibly list here – but here are just a few to brighten Return to Work Monday.

1.  Gravy. I discovered it this Thanksgiving. I’ve always given gravy a wide berth; brown liquid made from turkey giblets just never sounded the least bit appealing to me.

But apparently, it isn’t always made with the innards of a large bird. And tasty brown sauce made from normal kitchen ingredients sounds great! So I ventured into New Territory, something I almost never do on Thanksgiving.

And I was rewarded most deliciously.

I am now a person who likes gravy. I think I have to register for a gravy boat now…

2. Brisk fall days and long walks with David to work off all that gravy.

3. Leaves coloring trees all bright red, leaves gathering in crunchy piles for the amusement of children (and 22 year old joggers), leaves raining down, leaves caught in the blustery wind, leaves resting gently on lawns and driveways and front stoops.

The view from David’s parents kitchen. I just love a perfectly yellow tree.

4. All the crazies who went out at 8 pm on Thanksgiving day, resulting in a perfectly pleasant day of Black Friday shopping (seriously no dressing room lines! no trouble finding a parking spot! no wait at check-out! how does such a thing happen?)

5. Baking Thanksgiving pies with David’s grandmother. (We made a Vodka crust; it was fun times).

6. Sorting through hilarious-precious pictures of David and his siblings as children (and several of his mom and my aunt when they were in school together).

Aren’t they SO cute? David is on the left. And his older brother, John, is on the right.

David’s mom and my aunt were roommates in college. A seriously serendipitous little fact. Don’t they just look so lovely? Left to right: Susan, some woman I do not know, my Aunt Beth.
I love it.

7. Running into my sweet friend, Matt Anderson during our 4 hour layover in Abilene yesterday. Plus he gave me free coffee, which let me tell you, is one of my very favorite things ever.

8. Speaking of, Peppermint Mochas have returned to Starbucks. (And don’t tell me they have peppermint flavoring year round. I refuse to acknowledge that reality. It doesn’t count unless it comes in a happy red cup that orders Cheer! and Rekindle! and Joy!)

9. The world’s best fiance who was wonderfully sweet to me when I get All Kinds of Sick on the drive home yesterday.

As an aside, here are some things that do not help car sickness:

 

  1. Migraines
  2. Having to close your eyes every time headlights pass in the opposite direction because the lights cause your migraine to start screaming in protest
  3. Sprite – I used to like Sprite when I was sick – I do not anymore
  4. 12 hours in the car in one day
  5. Letting yourself become seriously dehydrated
  6. Drinking coffee as a solution to this problem
  7. Setting off the car alarm when you try to get out of the locked car

Here are some things that make me feel much better:

 

  1. Meds recommended by Dr. Dad
  2. David driving my whole six hour shift after he’d already driven for six hours
  3. Sitting on the curb outside of Walgreens while David buys me a drink
  4. David rubbing my back while hunched over in the front seat displaying all manner of Pathetic and Sad and Uuughughugh
  5. A somewhat hilarious combination of peek-a-boo and red light/green light, wherein David warned me every time lights appeared on the horizon so that I could cover my eyes, then let me know when I could safely watch the road again – dealing with a headache and car sickness is a careful balancing act – definitely a two person job.

Seriously though, he’s great.

10. A really beautiful Thanksgiving break full family, food (with almost an entire serving of Puppy Chow all to myself), board games, and Christmas decorating.

Where it starts

I am ten and I’m wearing a pink shirt
with a dalmatian that covers my entire torso.

I’ve paired this with black tights;
it’s my favorite outfit.

I come downstairs, but skip breakfast-
I’m ready to go.

But she’s not.
She’s sick.

I’m jealous
because she gets to
stay home with mom,
watching tv.

But I return to my room,
drag my stuffed whale off my bed,
the big one,
the one I got on a girl scout trip to Sea World.

It’s her favorite,
and I let her cuddle with it,
even though she’s sick.
And I think this is brave.

She doesn’t seem to care
very much.

Maybe this is where it starts.

—–

I’m thirteen,
and I don’t have any friends
and I’m so lonely.
and I don’t know how she does it.

And there’s
so much anger.

Maybe this is where it starts.

—–

And I’m seventeen
And she’s sick again.
But heart sick
this time.

And I want to know.
I want to help.
But she’s all yelling.
No, not you.

So she goes out with
our church friends instead.

And they cry
to the guy at Starbucks.
They tell me about it later.
Yes, how funny.

And there’s so many tears.
But it seems I just make it worse.
There’s nothing
I can do.

And maybe this is where it starts.

—–

And then we’re old,
married old,
with kids old,
Christmas card correspondence old.

Not taller.
But maybe
wiser.
Maybe not.

And I don’t know where it starts.

Quiet world, my soul awakening.

I walked outside yesterday afternoon to find a pure and true chill in the air. Not the cool, untouched air of early morning or the faint September promise of winter to come.

No this was the real thing, the brisk, dense air falling in around me despite the bright sun, touching something holy. Somehow I can’t imagine heaven being anything if isn’t this, if the air isn’t just cold enough to awaken your soul with a start, if the leaves don’t blaze like fire against an ocean blue sky.

I could hear the trees turning in on themselves, slowing down the constant production, resting tiny chloroplasts in tiny cells. There is enough, enough for the winter – the leaves whispering tenderly before falling to the ground, the branches believing in a spring to come. The seasons turn, and the trees trust better than we do.

I climb into the car and the windows come down, because sun roofs were made for days like this. And the music echoes up from my speakers, from the voice of someone speaking my heart back to me – mumford & sons, the lumineers, the avett brothers. They’re sadness all mixed in with hope and joy, inseparable.

And I think I might cry with the beauty of it, with this rain for my desert soul.

It’s New York with my grandparents, feeding apples to the horses behind their house, staring up into those beckoning hills.

And it’s dancing around the front yard in Irving with my family, celebrating those few, infinitesimal flakes of snow. It’s circling, all of us, around a table laden with turkey and broccoli rice casserole, each giving our own thanks, remembering another breathless year.

And it’s family retreats, crowding under a shadowy awning for singing and communion, pressing in to keep each other warm.

Fall is here.

Is there anything more quintessentially fall than nuggy spices like these?

Can you feel it?The shift in the air, the oncoming quiet? The marrow in my bones is settling in, rejoicing, waiting for the winter ahead.