This is just to say

 

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This is just to say
I wasted almost every minute
of the last 24 hours.

Dishes languished in the sink.
Purchases went unreturned.
The laundry has over-run the basket.

You see, I downloaded 9 episodes
of Downton Abbey.
And I simply couldn’t stop
until I knew what happened
to Anna and Mr. Bates.

My condolences to the dishes.

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This is just to say

I know I should
have gone
to church
this morning.

But instead
I talked an hour
on the phone
with my darling friend.

I chatted
over sushi
and read
and ran.

I’ll dare to say
it helped
my soul more
than a sermon.

I guess this is
where I’m supposed
to say I’m sorry,
but I’m not.

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This is just to say

I have found myself
a bit disillusioned,
though just a bit.

But tonight,
I looked up from
the concrete

and saw the pale
yellow light
of a quiet,
setting sun
break through
the clouds
and reflect
off the pavement,
smiling back at itself.

I guess this is
just to say
thank you.
And forgive me.

I know not
how to live
this life
so gracefully.

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You guys, you’re fabulous. And I thank you.

There are times when living life can be draining, when grace is an impassable mountain, treacherous and exhausting and insurmountable.

There are times when it is difficult to believe that you are loved, when even the kindness of dear friends has to fight through the darkness to be heard.

I have spent some time on that dark pass, friends. And it can be terrible, lonely, exhilarating, painful, hopeful, cold, and strengthening all at the same time.

But then there are weekends like this last one.

And I don’t subscribe to the notion that you have to know how bad Lima beans can taste in order to recognize just how blissfully apples, pastry, and cinnamon can compliment each other. Our minds and eyes and tongues and hearts know good when they experience it; the ugly bitterness isn’t necessary.

But a heart that has shivered in the loneliness, that has longed achingly for the sun, that has slipped into a chasm where its rising no longer seems certain – that heart has learned gratitude.

Because when that sun rises again – and it does – you are constantly aware of the tickling warmth on the back of your legs, and the feather soft rays that trickle through the clouds. And when you stop for a moment to remember, to recognize, I swear, it’ll bring you to your knees.

And so it was this weekend.

From the overwhelming generosity of my church to family who drove several hours on Saturday just to be there and then turned around Sunday afternoon to drive several hours back.

From a hand-crafted tribute to one of our favorite movies from my cousins to all the precious Christmas gifts from family members that made me feel so known.

My cousin made this. Because she is awesome and talented.

From my dad leaving my favorite road trip snack by my suitcase to a fantastic collection of recipes from my future mother-in-law to the hard-work of my gracious and talented hostesses to another cousin who is helping me do all the decorations because she’s fabulous.

This is the recipe book that I got from Susan. Is that not fan-freaking-tastic? Now, I not only have tons of actual dinner recipes, but I have some of David’s favorites.

And as if all that wasn’t enough, my forever friend and bridesmaid who lives out in California flew in early and completely surprised me by showing up to my shower. So of course I screamed and ran to hug her and we both cried a few happy, happy tears. And I can’t believe we didn’t get a picture, but it was so good to see her.

By the way, she blogs delightfully about all things fashion, here, and you should check it out.

Plus a whole bunch of sweet phone calls and text messages from friends who couldn’t be there, but let me know that I was loved anyway.

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And here are a few gift highlights.
Obviously, one of us likes coffee. I’ll give you a hint: it’s me. I’m the one who likes coffee.

I went with both the fast, single serve (that can also make hot chocolate for David) and the french press. Because why not?

My sister bought me this beautiful blanket. It’s the grown-up version of the blanket I still sleep with every night gave up when I went to college like a grown-up. She picked it out because I can stick my fingers through the holes just like I do with my other one. Yeah, she’s pretty wonderful.

My OhSo soft blanket.

They had a pitcher of wooden spoons set out for people to write their best marriage advice. David and I read through them when I got home last night. Isn’t that such a cute idea?

We got a bit of conflicting advice. Thankfully, I took Glen Pemberton’s Wisdom and Devotional Lit. of the OT class where I learned that wisdom is not bits of universally applicable facts, but is rather the ability to discern when you should apply varied, sometimes contradictory truth. So this is not a problem.
Unless we apply the wrong one…

Confession: this one was my favorite. Mostly because it made me laugh.

I couldn’t capture it in a picture, but sometime I’ll share one of my other forever friends Abby’s brilliant gift. The consensus was that she “won the shower”. Ha.

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I feel blessed beyond words by your love, your generosity, your creativity, and your presence. Thank you. Though those words can hardly contain the depth of my gratitude, thank you, all the same.

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I will think of you each time I get a cup of coffee in the morning or decorate my Christmas tree or curl up with my grown-up blanket.  As Ann Voskamp said, “Remembering is an act of thanksgiving, a way of thanksgiving, this turn of the heart over time’s shoulder to see all the long way his arms have carried.”

A lovely, lazy weekend

Well we survived our first home game weekend. When it took me half an hour to get back from lunch on Friday, I wasn’t sure I’d make it. But I found a solution:

Don’t leave the house all weekend.

Which is pretty much what we did. Though we did take advantage of the fact that every single person in the city of College Station was screaming and cheering and mourning in Kyle Field; we went to the grocery store. Where it was basically empty. On a Saturday.

That’s my new favorite thing about football.

Aside from that, I got approximately zero things accomplished this weekend.

Which is bad. Because my to-do list is, I’m not joking, three full single-spaced pages long. Plus my bedroom is currently mess level: hoarders. It’s embarrassing, y’all.

And here is what I did this weekend:

-baked carrots and zucchini for myself for dinner
-slept in
-read Behind the Beautiful Forevers
-watched friends with David
-downloaded and played The Daily Show iPad game
-took a nap
-finished season 6 of Doctor Who
-decidedly didn’t care about football
-baked chicken from pinterest that was not very good
-baked a vanilla pumpkin cinnamon thing that was pretty good
-took pictures of my dessert and posted them on instagram
-watched friends with my roommates
-went to church
-went to lunch
-watched more friends with David
-made a panini with the left-over not very good chicken that was actually kind of delicious
-watched 30Rock while I did the dishes

So according to this weekend, my life mostly revolves around food, the Internet, and television. That seems healthy.

On the bright side, this is what my pumpkin cinnamon frosted heaven looked like.

It tastes like a crisp autumn day that’s been swirled with a pumpkin spice latte and baked into a cake. I was hoping that I could trick the weather into thinking fall had arrived, and I’m pretty sure it worked; there was a definite chill in the air this evening. You’re welcome.

I think that tomorrow I’ll wear a scarf and Tuesday I’ll bake pumpkin bread. By Friday we should be enjoying 60 degree temps and the delicious crunch of fallen leaves.

And I promise I will get at least one thing crossed off that list before I go to bed. Progress is progress, right?