Tuesday, April 30, 2013

around these parts


1. on the way to study scripture by the lake. pablo had just woken up, so excuse his bedhead.
2.  springtime, everyone loves you already. you can stop showing off now. 
3. hotel room in the middle of the afternoon, in the middle of nowhere, north carolina. getting ready to see a community play that ended up blowing us away.
4. one of many pit stops on the way home this weekend. cliffs of the neuse state park. a playground in the fifties, it sits empty in these cool spring months. perfect for frolicking and wasting time.

i love weekends, and getaways. and weekend getaways. life is moving slow these days, and that's good by me.

Monday, April 22, 2013

on mondays, this sometimes hits me hardest

there was a drudge this morning. a physical slowness that hit just about the second my eyes adjusted to the sunshine spilling in across the covers. the heaps of winter afghans and blankets piled onto our bed in the middle of april in a futile attempt to save money by turning off the a/c unit, which works well on humid, sticky weeks like the last, but not so great when spring dallies a bit too long with winter and nights get down to near freezing.

i awoke and immediately prayed my morning prayer, that the Lord would open the doors to His will for my life today. that i would live as He saw fit today. that today, He would place the people in my path that needed someone to journey with, if even for a second over the water cooler.

there was no burst of excitement, unlike this weekend, filled with celebrations both big and tiny, the sweetest little pocket of rest. rather, there were papers, spilled coffee and car maintenance issues to wrestle with. then i read these beautiful, heart-stirring words, and realized that here, today, was indeed a blessed miracle of the most holy sort:

My eyes will never know China’s jade green Li River. I’m never going to see those black-haired boys

under straw brimmed hats fish off their bamboo rafts with the ringed cormorants, the mist rising behind over the karst formations, surreal and dark. I am never going to be ascending the Loita Hills of Kenya to witness the dance of gazelles migrating up by the millions from the Serengeti. I am not going to be swimming the sapphire waters of some South Pacific grotto, or sitting up late listening to the wind whisper through the Sequoia woods, or spending my golden years scaling the summit of emerald Machu Picchu.

I run my hand across the thick of the terry towels. I’m a farmer’s wife. I’m the homeschooling mother of six children. There are no fancy degrees, titles, diplomas hanging on these finger-smudged walls. Are there places that must be known, accomplishments that must be had, before one is really ready?

Isn’t it here? Can’t I find it here?

These very real lungs will breathe in more than 11,000 liters of air today, and tonight over our farm will rise the Great Hexagon of the blazing winter stars-Sirius, Rigel, ruby Aldebran, Capella, the fiery Gemini twins, and Procyon, and in the center, scarlet Betelgeuse, the red supergiant larger than twice the size of earth’s orbit around the sun.

And at the same time,I will embrace the skin of a boy child that my body grew from a seed. The low heavens outside the paned windows fill with more snowflakes than stars, no two-stacked crystals the same; the trees in the wood draw in collective green breath to the still of January hibernation, and God in the world will birth ice from His womb, frost of heaven, bind the chains of the Pleiades, loose the cords of Orion, and number again the strands on my head (Job 38:31; Matthew 10:30).

Isn’t it here? The wonder? Why do I spend so much of my living hours struggling to see it? Do we truly stumble so blind that we must be affronted with blinding magnificence for our blurry soul-sight to recognize grandeur? The very same surging magnificence that cascades over our every day here. Who has time or eyes to notice?
-from one thousand gifts by ann voskamp
there is magnificence here, blinding, if we clean our vision enough to let it permeate. today, i am clearing the smudges of dissatisfaction, impatience and anxiety. will you join me?

Friday, April 19, 2013

a weekend wish

it's supposed to be overcast this weekend in our little corner of carolina. we've got plans to spread compost dirt in the garden, attend a wedding for some sweet friends, and crash the local greek church spaghetti dinner on sunday.

hope your weekend is beautiful and blessed. i hope you get to help someone, catch a sunrise, and laugh terribly hard over the next two days. for those little moments are what makes the week ahead bearable. those little nuggets of escape--parentheses on a string of weekday mornings, coffees, meetings and deadlines--those make it worth it, after all.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

diving into now

i was awakened this morning by phone calls from my sweet family. a chorus of the voices i love to hear the most serenading me from right down the road, then from miles and states away. robert made me my favorite egg, cheese and mustard sandwich and i curled my hair. for today is my birthday, and as such, celebrations both little and big must ensue.

i started thinking as i got dressed about all the things i hope this year holds. materialistic and maternal dreams alike started popping into my head. but then i kissed my husband and pup goodbye and promised i'd see them tonight. and the sunrise hit the pavement and cut through the crab apple tree and i was reminded that now, yes right now. now is good.

Monday, April 15, 2013

things i've learned since this time last year


this weekend was a lazy, hazy delicious dream of a break. the only weekend we have free for the next few weeks. there are weddings coming up, the ever anticipated trip to the middle of nowhere for the mount olive pickle festival, and concerts on grass lawns.

but this weekend offered a reprieve from responsibility, and fairly seasonable weather. warm during the days and what i like to call "light sweater weather" in the evenings. it was the commencement of my birthday week, which is always one of the best, best weeks of the year!

this time last year, i was practicing, panting and shaking nervously in anticipation of my master's thesis defense. i was driving an hour away during my lunch break for last-minute speech therapy visits and driving my friends and co-workers crazy by rehearsing my speech aloud every free moment available.

but this year is different, a bit more relaxed. and i've learned some things in the interim.

great things move slow. they take patience and perseverance in measures typically beyond what we consider humanly possible. but bend with it. fall into the wait and find that it, too, has a very specific sort of beauty. what is God saying during this time? we can't add a single second to our life by worrying, and fretting about an event will not spur it to occur any faster.

we all need a phone drawer. a place to drop that beautiful burden of an instrument the second we get home. because the life span of people and puppy dogs is infinitely less than the life span of technology, which will only grow and develop and become more youthful as we benjamin button-it into a more refined state. on the other hand, you've got living, breathing, speaking and barking, flesh and blood dependents who are, for a lack of a prettier phase, dying every day. and as much as i adore instagram for its ability to make me feel like a photographer, and as much as i care about e-mails and even this little blog of mine, i've got to find a balance to counteract the oppression of the screen, and the mindlessness it forces me into. for me, this means allotting one evening a week as screen-free. with the pretty weather and longer days, this is completely do-able.

where your treasure is, there your heart is. and you deem something your treasure by the time you assign to it and the passion with which you approach it. i've learned to choose my treasures better this year, weeding out faux riches for the real gems. but it's a journey, and one i can only wish to travel my whole life through.

so 26, huh? too late for that quarter-life crisis john mayer sung about. or is it? every day is a bit of a crisis, to some degree. a time of danger. but i'm learning how to pack my armor. that counts for something, i suppose.

Friday, April 12, 2013

10,000 new pets

this was a love affair that started two years ago, at the davidson county fair. armed with boiled peanuts and the notion that there was nowhere more magical to be on a friday night than with dirt on our shoes and a country song wafting through the denim short-clad crowd.

the local honeybee association had an exhibit. set up between the homemade pot holders and the wedding cake decorating contest, the latter of which was behind a glass cabinet, fruit flies trapped behind the pane.

we saw the queen bee, proudly marked with a crimson dot. a scarlet letter of a different sort, i suppose. we saw the not-so-ironically named female worker bees, and the drones. and the delicate, back-and-forth dance of intelligence they all did, working together more harmoniously than most adults with fully developed brains and college degrees tend to do.

and we stewed about it for years. thought about the possibility of setting up a hive of our own behind the little cottage, beside the blueberry bush where they could forage all day for nectar, traveling to the bespeckled shrub the same way we did every time we grilled out. we let two summers go by. we tended a garden. nanno passed away. we moved into his home and tore up the carpet to reveal the glorious hardwoods. i graduated and we put down pine needles.

then last friday, we finally installed a hive of our own. ten thousand new pets buzz about in the yard. and we're learning. robert situated the queen between the frames, pressing her between the wood for support, failing to create a platform made of nails as we learned in the documentary we watched one night as the snow fell. we fretted about her for a week until it was finally time to check on the hive yesterday and she was safe and sound, released from her candy cage and fluttering about near the honeycomb.

last night, at an hour more attuned to morning, we were beginning to drag ourselves to bed, when we remembered the storm about to barrel through. robert wanted to go strap down the hive to make sure it didn't fall down from the promised winds.

i sat on my knees in my nightgown, pressed against our headboard as i peered out our back bedroom window, watching as he finagled a flashlight with one hand and a tie with another, safeguarding the girls against mama nature.

we protect the things we love, and the people too. no matter how long it takes us to find and realize each other.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

golden hour

there is a sliver of time before sunset known as the golden hour. when the sun pours across windows and through tree branches. when i walk to the mailbox in my flip flops and feel the small gravel stones against my feet. there is a breath at this hour unlike any other. a release of the day, a sending off of upsets and stresses and disappointments. at the old cottage, my favorite place to soak in this special half hour was sitting on the countertop, my calves resting against the cupboards. but here in this new place, its on the driveway. watching as robert and pablo pull up in the truck and both come falling into my arms.

the day can wear. oh, it can wear a girl down. but all it takes are moments like this, pieced together through a lifetime, to build us back again.