It’s the morning of Memorial Day. We don’t have big plans today, but that’s exactly the kind of holiday we need. We made pancakes. We hung a flag. Cory will be finishing up our porch, and we’ll hit the good playground after dinner.
I have complicated feelings surrounding military action. It’s a somber sort of thing. I hate the thought of war, of combat, of families separated–sometimes forever. Yet, I feel thankful for men and women who are willing to give their lives if necessary. I respect them even when I hesitate to celebrate the work that they must do. I pray that God’s will washes over our nation, makes our missions pure, and our actions selfless. To that, I can raise my flag and give thanks for the men and women who died in service and those who are still willing to serve today.
Every spring we drive a little north for a maple syrup festival. It’s great! All-you-can-eat pancakes served by cute little Boy Scouts, locally tapped maple syrup, pony rides, historical reenactments, and live music. Lots of good fun. The weather can be erratic in this region in April, so over the years, we’ve had to be ready for snow, freezing rain, drizzle, or sun. There is almost always mud. This year was chilly but partly sunny. We needed to be bundled, but we had no trouble enjoying ourselves.
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!