Tag Archives: gratitude

Weekend check in.

Ended up caught in a snowstorm yesterday which made my return home from downtown nearly impossible. Roads in Denver were a mess, I-70 was icy and slow, and 285 had been shut down due to a fatality. When I finally got home, Audrey had fallen asleep on the couch after spending the afternoon sledding, and we were trying to get ahold of friends who had invited us over. We were exhausted and stuck at home with a sleeping kiddo. Our friends ended up wandering up to our house, bearing wine, desserts, and a print of one of her sketches in a handmade frame by him as a late holiday/thank you gift. All of this was a complete surprise to us, and we welcomed their company as always. Now, looking at her picture, I feel so grateful to have found such wonderful friends in just a few short months.

We ended up down the hill again today, at the apple store and a couple of other mall places. Ugh. If there is a hell in this universe, I’m pretty sure it looks like a shopping mall. Mission accomplished and I am so grateful that we are all home safe, in our quiet house in the woods where I can see the stars. I seriously think I would never survive the suburbs. Curled up by the fire with my ancient cat, I keep thinking about the good fortune I have had in this life; continue to have daily. Once again, I am reminded of what and who is important in this life, and trying to make note to remember that in all the hectic days. We are all here and safe. We are blessed in so many ways. (Also, my kid is asleep and the house is lovely and quiet!)  🙂  That said, don’t ever forget how lucky you are, and go hug somebody.

Oh, and I made things. Encountered photos of these agate coasters on Pinterest, and they seemed super easy to make (which they are). It could be argued that in this family, we should just spread 6mm plastic over everything to protect the furniture, but coasters are a start. I really like how they turned out.





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Still here.

I realize this space has been quiet for literally, months. I do apologize. I have been pulled in a dozen different directions; big projects and big scary things. A literal broken heart as opposed to a figurative one. Creating a tiny legacy in this cute little town where I’m living. Wondering how long I’ll live here. Thinking a lot about mothers and daughters; from both perspectives. Writing when I can. Completely shaken and glued to NPR during the last week of Boston madness. Trying to remember what stillness feels like, and trying to personify hope. A few essays scribbled into pages, the backs of napkins from the coffee shop while I sit in the car and she sleeps in the backseat. (the upside of growth spurts -> naps!) Life is chaotic and messy right now; all beginnings and the dust and mud and clutter that entails. I’m still trying to tease the threads apart, weave them into something tangible and strong; a rope I can hold on to. I’ll let you know when I sort it out. It may take a little while so bear with me, but know that I’m here in the corner, listening, taking notes when I can, and trying to memorize everything.

What keeps you going when the world feels stretched too thin?


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The weight of today

Lately I have been thinking of resolve, Bodhisattvas, purpose, healing, and this song.


I wrote no more judgment, no guilt, no fear
And then folded them up in a note
Threw it on the fire on the eve of New Years
And said goodbye to the rising smoke

I wrote that note with the simple hope
That by putting it all out there
I could let go of the voice that says ‘no’
There’s no way you will ever compare

Take a minute, take an easy step back
There’s no secret password, no code to crack
It’s not a race or a contest, but if you’re still keeping score
You will always have less, they will always have more

We all can get caught up in our half empty cups
In all the little things that seem to go wrong
Your dog pees on the oriental, you can’t rent your rental
And it’s been three months since you wrote a song

Soon it’s all about you, all the errands to do
All your flaws you wish that you could improve
Like the way you wear makeup, the mood you’re in when you wake up
How when you’re nervous, you never keep your cool

Take a minute, take an easy step back
Look at all that you have and the time that you lack
It’s not a race or a contest, but if you’re still keeping score
You will always have less, they will always have more

Your eyes are all red, you’ve got the blues in your head
You look around but can’t find your halo
So you stay up too late watching TV you hate
And fall asleep on the couch wrapped in yellow

Take a minute, take an easy step back
There’s no secret password, no code to crack
It’s not a race or a contest, but if you’re still keeping score
You will always have less, they will always have more

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I want to remember this when I am very old.

You wander bow-legged up and down the hallway, too nervous to stray from the ledge on the wainscoting, trying all the doors. When you can’t open them, you knock. When you can, you squeal, giggle, and tumble into the next room. Every day in this house is a new exploration for you, and this is your favorite game. You chatter all the time, gathering new words like shiny rocks placed in pockets next to string and a leaf you found. You sing songs and periodically shout, “happy!” You are desperate to know how everything works, and want to be in the middle of it all. Sometime during the last fourteen months, I blinked and you grew from a baby into a child.

Your hair is always a crazy rat’s nest — too long in the front and back, too short on the sides, and I dare not cut it. You are often sporting the latest bruise on your forehead from trying to run before you really felt ready to walk (so like me in that regard), and your face and hands are always grubby. Baby gates and outlet covers have become polite requests to you, rather than barricades, and you say, “no, no” to yourself as you remove them. You are joyful and curious, and mercurial in the way that comes naturally and easily to young children. You sit beside me and empty papers from the recycle bin, examining each one, discussing it in your secret language, and arranging them on the floor around you. When you find one you really like, you stop to giggle. So this is toddlerhood.

You still love me, but your sun rises and sets around your Daddy right now, and the little stuffed dog we can never pry from your hands for a much-needed laundering. I am slowly learning to share the messy baby kisses and gleeful smiles a little more each day. I am filing away in my memory the smell of your hair as you snuggle under my chin and your sing-song cries of “Ma-ma! Ma-ma!”, as I begin to realize that this time exists to teach me that you won’t always be so tiny, and you won’t always be just mine. But this evening, I will tuck you under the covers of my bed, and hold you close, a tiny furnace; and we will stare at the slowly moving blades of the ceiling fan until your eyes droop and your breathing is slow and deep. Blessed be, little one.

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photo by kimikolbaphoto.com

It’s 6am Thanksgiving morning. The house is quiet. I crawled back into bed with my laptop so I can sit next to him and type while he is sleeping. It has been a tumultuous year for us, but one in which I have so much to be thankful for.I am so grateful for my husband, and this life we share. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s warm and secure, and ours. I’m so dearly looking forward to welcoming this little girl into the fold with us soon, and so grateful for the wonderful encouragement of family and friends, who have offered more laughter, generosity, and advice than I could have ever dreamed possible. I am so thankful for the health of myself and my family; especially since for a few it was hard won this year.

I am looking forward to baking a pie this morning, heading over to my sister’s for a couple of hours, then coming home and roasting a duck for a late thanksgiving feast. (We have long ago given up on turkey.)

For now, a warm blanket and a cup of tea seems the best way to welcome the morning.

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Piecing things together seems to be a theme around here lately. I have been learning how things fit, how people fit, and realizing that perfection can only rise from imperfection. Occasionally, the two words can become synonymous.

We had a bit of a scare with one of my relatives the other day. Not something new, or even unexpected, but still enough to cause worry to rest in a ball just beneath my heart.

I suppose I should backtrack.

My family has been fragmented for as long as I can remember. Even though we have nearly always lived fairly close to each other geographically, we often have gone for very long stretches without seeing each other or speaking. This is less of an active decision than a function of some deeper reason, which I think we are all still trying to figure out. I spent many years alternately trying to force us together, or giving up and trying to remove myself entirely. I think some people, some families, do that.

I have always been in awe of those families that just “work”. They remain friendly and involved despite marriages, deaths, divorces, and minor everyday crises which change the fabric of our relationships. Mine was never one of those families, and after years of struggling with that, I decided several years ago that it’s just fine. That’s not us. And it’s okay.

I have come to the conclusion that most families are like a patchwork quilt. You start with a pile of fabric scraps, and perhaps some idea of what it will look like in the end, perhaps none. If you’re very lucky, the fabric pieces are all uniform, with neat edges that are easily sewn together. More likely, the pieces are not uniform. Some are larger than others, some are unlikely shapes, some are so small that you may have to cut them and piece them together to make just one square, some of them may have edges so frayed or be so threadbare that you are unsure whether they can be bound to another piece.

When I found out the other day that my mother was having some health issues, I immediately encouraged her to go to the doctor. She of course, refused. I am not someone to whom she will listen. After talking with her on the phone, and encouraging her to make better decisions about her health care, I was still really bothered by the conversation. I thought a lot about it, then emailed my sister, and asked if she could talk to mom. Maybe mom would listen to her. If nothing else, my sister works in medicine, and would probably have a clearer idea of the level of risk this was. Fortunately, it is easily corrected — something I suspected as a possibility, but would have never known. And even more fortunately, my mom seems to have listened to my sister on this one, and made an appointment to see the doctor.

I am just grateful. There was a time when I probably wouldn’t have contacted my sister. I would have tried to promote a solution on my own. I would have made the doctor’s appointment myself, and then fiercely tried to convince my mom to go. So, I suppose I am learning. I am so grateful for my sister’s wisdom and her help to navigate the situation. And slowly, slowly, I am beginning to see how we all piece together, even though I have no idea what the finished product will look like.

It’s as though we are sitting in this pile of scraps, trying to decide how each of us will deal with it. Sometimes, we ignore them. Sometimes we get angry because they are not the right fabric, or the right texture. Years ago, I decided to give up, making occasional attempts to place a piece or two next to each other to see if they fit easily, then moving on with my life. Several months ago, I noticed my sister sitting quietly to one side, arranging the pieces, and starting to sew. The last few months, I have been locating my needle and thread, and am starting to join her.

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