Silent Sunday is a small act of gratitude, a wordless reflection on a beautiful moment or image from the week, a tiny act of worship to God.
Oh, yes. Oh, yes. It’s cold, friends.
We had a flat tire last night. We were about 1/2 of a mile from home, on our way to a nice dinner at a nice restaurant–something we haven’t done in quite awhile. There was a strange ticking sound, and I quickly pulled into a nearby parking lot. Not too bad, right? Sure, we were lucky to be near home, and there hadn’t been a dramatic blowout. But the thermometer was reading 4 degrees Fahrenheit. FOUR! Poor Cory had to crawl on the snowy, icy ground to jack the car up, to coax a stubborn tire off, and to place a sorry little doughnut on to the car. He was frozen, and as you can imagine, the kids were antsy–and hungry. I couldn’t do much except pray that frost bite wouldn’t set in. It didn’t.
This was not how we imagined our evening. However, as I sat in the car with the heater blasting, thumbing through an IKEA catalog while the kids chattered in the back, I was flooded with a deep sense of gratitude. I have been blessed with a hard-working husband who doesn’t blink an eye at doing and being everything his family needs. I *know* how to change a tire–in my head–but as I felt the car rocking and saw Cory using all of his might (and he has a lot of might!) to remove the stuck tire, I knew with complete certainty that if I didn’t have him, we would have been stranded at the side of the road in frigid temperatures. I have been blessed with the means to have a warm car that takes us where we need to go. (Cory’s wet, muddy clothes meant that we didn’t have the nice dinner in a nice restaurant, but we did pick up a quick bite at Moe’s.) I have a house with a cozy fireplace, and when we returned from our cold outing, we lit that baby and watched the hot flames dance.
I am grateful. Life is hard sometimes, but the blessings are abundant.
(Note: Thank you for the wonderful response to my last blog post. Here and on Facebook, many of you took the time to offer your support of my resolutions and goals. That means so much to me! In particular, I was pleased that you think I could be good at doula-ing. I’ll do my best!)
On to the post…
I love Valentine’s Day. I’ve written about it on the blog before. You can read my reasons here. Fluffy pink cupcakes are another reason to enjoy this holiday, and this year, we added a new thing to love in a little V-day celebration: reacquainting with an old friend.
Toni and I met in college. We even shared a suite at one point, and I always found her to be pleasant and fun to be around. Life moved on, as is time’s habit, and I stayed connected to very few college friends. (Of course, I married my best college friend, so there’s that.) Anyway, through the wonders of social media, Toni and I reconnected about a year ago. We found ourselves in similar positions. We both had acquired a lot of graduate education, yet we also developed hearts for being home with our children. We care about nutrition and health, and we are both interested in alternative education choices for our families. We had plenty of common ground to use as a firm launching pad for a renewed friendship.
On Friday, we were able to get together for a little Valentine party at my house. Spending time together, becoming reacquainted, watching our children play together, having lunch, and exchanging Valentines brought such joy to our week. I keep thinking of that old Girl Scout song: Make new friends, but keep the old. One is Silver but the others Gold.
Thanks, Toni, for a fun afternoon!
We had a beautiful Christmas. For me, the holiday felt subdued yet special. There were many moments when I felt as though I were watching my life from the outside–seeing my children smile, watching how they interact with each other, with their grandparents, and with their aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Christmas Day was rather quiet, and it was the kind of holiday we needed–restorative, introspective. For me at least. On the kids’ side, it was a major LEGO holiday. Legos, Legos everywhere. On a final note, we managed to not have colds, flu, or the like. Praising God for that!
I hope you also had a lovely Christmas and a great start to the new year.
So, yes. I did not “win” NANOWRIMO. Not even close. After the midway point, our family had a string of minor illnesses that left me with little sleep and much laundry. I had a hard time keeping up with my standard responsibilities, so writing for fun got squeezed off the to-do list most days. I learned a lot though, and I will use those lessons for Camp NANOWRIMO in July. Here is what I learned:
1. I don’t write well at night. I already knew this, but for some reason, I imagined that I would work on my novel after the kids went to bed. Nope. Cory simply couldn’t drag me out of bed after I snuggled in to read bedtime stories. Sleep trumps all. At least for now.
2. I missed fiction. I have been reading nonfiction almost exclusively. I would say in 2014 I’ve read about 4 or 5 novels and zero in the last three months. I felt a little out of my element as I dipped into novel-writing. Before I try again in July, I will need to study up with some good fiction.
3. Dialogue is hard. Really hard. I need practice and great models. See #2.
4. I must plan ahead. And I don’t mean story notes! I mean meals and chores and errands and activities. Writing a novel is a bit like birthing a baby. Although babies are more cuddly! You really need to figure out how to cover the regular LIFE stuff when the baby (novel!) is being born. Honestly, generating ideas for my novel was the easy part. Figuring out how to write those ideas while still keeping my children fed, clothed, and educated was a much bigger challenge.
Those are the main lessons learned. Thanks for all the supportive messages here and on Facebook! I hated letting you down!
Confession: this picture was taken on Saturday, but I had a cup of the same tea this morning. I don’t want the blog world to believe that I whip up fluffy pancakes and sausage on an ordinary Tuesday morning. That’s not happenin’ here. Nope.
Anyway, this is carrot cake loose leaf tea in one of my favorite mugs. The tea is delicious. It’s from the Oswego Tea Company. It’s nicely spicy and a little sweet even without a sweetener. There are pieces of dried carrots and spices mixed with black tea. It tastes and smells like autumn. Love it!
The mug was a gift from my mom and dad. I believe it was for my birthday when I was first married and living far away. On the other side it says, “In all the ways that really count, I can always count on you.” I love it. I’ve been using it almost everyday lately. I love the picture, and the message, and the fact that my mom picked it out for me.
Finally, I must share my dear tea man with you. Isn’t he the cutest thing? He is a diffuser for loose leaf tea, and I love how content he looks relaxing in the hot water. I can’t help but laugh! Officially called “Mister Tea,” my tea man was my Mother’s Day gift this year. I first encountered him in this video, and I fell in love! (He is shown in the first couple of minutes of the video.) You can also buy your own little fellow on Amazon.
Please tell me in the comments what kind of tea you are enjoying.
I’ve been thinking.
When people have surgery, they are expected to rest. When they come down with the flu or bronchitis or a simple, common cold, rest is prescribed. Sprained ankle? Rest it. Mothers tell their children–even the grown ones–to get some rest when they have any ailment or injury. Everyone knows that rest promotes healing. It’s a given.
But do we remember that emotional fatigue and pain also require rest for healing? Too often, we assume that we can continue our usual, zippy speed as long as our bodies are keeping pace. Although I can’t speak for everyone, I’m pretty good at identifying bodily fatigue. I recognize the slow, dragging feeling, the muscle aches, the heavy eyes, and sore feet. I feel them, identify them, and slow down. I’ve learned that ignoring those signs means paying the price in headaches, sore throats, fevers, and colds. Not worth the price.
I’m not as good at remembering the toll of emotional busyness. I think of “emotional busyness” as periods of time when I’m experiencing a wild ride of high and low emotions, a time when I need to invest myself emotionally in events and people that seem to overlap and collide all at once. That is exactly how life has looked lately. Crushingly sad news followed by happy news. A fun trip followed by a sad good-bye. Scary news before a fun weekend. And on and on.
You know what though? I am thankful that I care enough about people to have developed some powerful emotional ties–bonds that require some big emotional investment. That is something to celebrate. I want to love and be loved.
Nonetheless, rest is required!
We took a serious Sabbath on Sunday. Without apology, we announced our absence at an evening event–an outing that the whole family usually enjoys, and instead, we did some restful things. We attended the morning worship service, changed into comfy clothes, and did nothing of importance! The kids jumped in thousands of yellow leaves that blanket our yard. We watched a movie. Cory didn’t even turn on football until after the kids went to bed. I did some tidying around the house and snuggled with the baby. Easy, restful day.
The bad news is still real, but with it has come a lot of love–love from all directions. The world is still a weird place, and the future is big and open and kind of scary sometimes. BUT…I know…
Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Psalm 62:5