sleep can wait

Nights like this are so rare. It’s 70°, the moon is super bright, there’s an incredible breeze blowing through the trees, and the crickets are singing. I know it’s getting late and the sun is going to come before I know it, but I just can’t head to bed. Because, you can’t bottle up hours like this and save them for a more “reasonable” hour. I know the children will be up soon, and there will be all sorts of needs to be met, things to do, places we have to go. But I don’t want this glorious gift of a night to slip away without fully enjoying it. Everything is so alive out there. My daughter came downstairs about 45 minutes ago; she was having trouble falling asleep. And, she was hungry. So, she sat and ate a banana while chatting with me for a few minutes. She headed off to bed, but now I sort of wish she’d stayed to hang with me until the midnight hour. She loves these nights, too, and is such fabulous company. Now there’s a train horn in the distance, and I can hear the tracks, and there’s the sound of an ambulance somewhere else in town. Opportunity to lift someone else up in prayer, because the Lord is ever listening. The world is still turning, and life is always being lived. The cars going by outside my windows carry people to where at this hour? Lives being lived. And tonight they’re lived in bright moonlight and cricket song. And, I wonder how many people passing by — like the person walking by on the sidewalk behind my house — are able to stop and take in the beauty of the night. Beauty in the everyday. Any hour.
I hope wherever you are tonight, if you’re still up, that you’re able to take some time and enjoy the night before you head off to sleep. Because the heavens declare, and it’s autumn. Hopefully, you have a bright half moon where you’re at, too.


(*Disclaimer about the photo at the top of this post…it’s not perfectly lovely. This I know. But, it is authentic, it is the view I’m enjoying right now. It is beautiful in its own way, with the myriad of branches and the moon that is always so reluctant to be photographed well with the camera on my phone. Now imagine the train whistle and cricket chorus…)

a season of photos



It’s been a very busy few months. Busy sometimes to the point of distraction, but, in general, good busy. There has been the occasional schedule mishap, forgetting something here or there, but nothing we couldn’t get past rather quickly. I’ve come to realize in recent days that I took very few photos this summer. And, in this realization, I’ve come to understand that, for me, taking photos is a form of self care. Self care is a phrase that I have had rolling around in my head this autumn, as I have been following an Instagram friend who regularly uses it as a hashtag. Her self care has included running, trips to the salon, and visiting jazz clubs in the city. I’ve been pondering how photography is an art that I love and an activity I need to be purposeful about doing. It’s everyday life for me to look at something I find beautiful and set up a shot in my mind; it comes naturally. I’m passionate about seeing and capturing the beauty around me. When I get busy, I don’t make time for taking photos, and my life begins to lack something that is important to me. A necessary outlet, a pathway for self expression. Self care. I’m thankful that I noticed the gaping hole in the photo timeline when I was looking through iPhoto earlier this autumn. It helped me realize a few things about myself that I am hoping to remedy going forward. So, this blog post is an album of some of my favorite shots taken this season. No real rhyme or reason, just favorites. I hope you enjoy them.





























































exit the hummingbirds



I noticed this afternoon that the hummingbird feeder was fairly full of nectar. I did a quick calculation in my head and realized it had been days since it needed cleaning and refilling. I caught myself being purposeful to watch for the little birds as the day went on, but, I never saw them come. The weather took a solid turn this week, and autumn has truly arrived. (YES!) The winds today were cold and quite gusty, and the skies were a dark grey. Still, it was beautiful. We put on a couple of layers here in the house just to be able to keep the back door and windows open. We all appreciate the cooler autumn temps, and know that the days of free-flowing cross breezes through our home are numbered. So, layers it was. My daughter is a mini me, and longs for similar things as I on cloudy days like today — candles, jazz, hot chocolate. Beautiful fresh air. It’s nice to have the camaraderie between us, to share and enjoy the days as the seasons shift and the sun sleeps earlier each night. Sometimes I think the five-year old might be on board as well; he adds to the atmosphere by running for the instrument basket, grabbing some bongos or a harmonica (or, a tiny Mickey Mouse guitar) and adding his own rhythm and roll to the music we are enjoying. They’re good times. But, the changes bring changes. We will miss the hummingbirds. I mean, I’m glad they headed some place warmer and have hopes that they will return in seven months or so. I had never actually seen one until just a few years ago. Now we have become accustomed to seeing them all day, everyday, throughout the summer. It surprises me, but they come rain or shine. They return repeatedly to feed, and we marvel at their teeny feet and how they hover. Occasionally we see them fly into one of our trees and we can track them to a branch. Once, about a week ago, one landed on the metal ring around the feeder and rested there for a short spell. How I wished I could have photographed that! *sigh* It was a sad realization today, seeing all that nectar left in the bowl — our friends have moved on. I so love to care for them. They are such a wonderful source of beauty and enjoyment in our yard each summer during the growing season. And when they come again, my children will have grown some more. My mini me will likely be more like me in some ways, and more her own person in many others. The five-year old might have greater appreciation for jazz, but will likely still be playing loud and crazy songs on his tiny guitar. Seasons changing, winds blowing, babies growing. The hummingbirds bid adieu and the rhythm keeps going. A day in the life….

wrestling with freedom



I get very excited at this time of year for many reasons. I so look forward to the changing seasons. This particular time of year brings my favorite, autumn. And right now, there are school supplies everywhere! *sigh* I love school supplies. Pencils, paper, glue, erasers, binders, crayons, pencil pouches, folders, (and day planners!) …they just make my heart beat faster. Speaking of supplies, a close cousin of the school supplies is office supplies. My favorite thing to play as a child was Office. Papers, pens, stamps, clips, corded phones, message pads, calendars….To this day I love to go into office supply stores, and rarely leave without more than I went in to get. Because, pens…But I digress. Another reason I look forward to this time of year is the routine it brings. Out of the “free for all” of summer, into the schedule of the school year. I’ve come to realize in more recent years that, although I love the freedom that summer brings, I don’t thrive in it. I am more of a list maker kind of girl. I like knowing what I need to get done and then devise a plan for how it’s going to happen. (And I write it all down with fabulous, colorful, fine-tipped pens.) But, the rebel in me really, really loves her freedom. I like being able to choose how I’m going to orchestrate my day, based on, well, how I’m feeling that day. [This might be a good time to mention that I highly value authenticity. I like to know who I’m dealing with when it comes to other people, and I appreciate the freedom to speak genuinely about who I am and the struggles I have in my own life.] <— That being said, I’m just laying it out there with what I said in the sentence prior to the “ahem” brackets. It’s just true. I don’t believe that there is much good that can come from that kind of daily living, but I like to think I can find my way around it all and come out on top. So, as I’ve wrestled with this for years, now… enter my five year old. We’ve been going through a rough season with him. We’ve had these seasons in their different forms throughout the years that he has lived outside my body, but this one has brought more tears from me than I can recall the other ones bringing. As I lay in bed one morning after a particularly difficult evening prior, and found myself afraid of the day ahead, something came to me. Our roughest times have come just this summer. And what really changed for him this summer was routine. Or, rather, lack of a routine. I’ve always agreed that children thrive on routine — things go more smoothly when they know what to expect. But we really let that fly out the window this summer. He went from everyday at school in kindergarten prep, to “Ah, well, we’ll just see how the day goes.” And it occurred to me that perhaps what I have just been hoping was “a season” with him that we would weather and see pass by, really might be, in some part, my doing. Or, at least I could have helped the season pass in better form had I realized that what he really needed was the security of more of a schedule. So, as I sit here in my corner chair, watching the skies turn a glorious pale peach, and the cicadas are building up intensity in the trees to say goodnight to the first day of September, and my family has headed out for an evening walk, I am somewhat encouraged at the thought that as autumn approaches and the days get shorter, so shortens the leash of summer’s freedom. But, I suppose it should read, “freedom.” Because the way I handled this summer’s “freedom” brought bondage to fear — fear that we had already failed our son and were really going to struggle to help him get back on a good path. Yes, I know he’s only five. But as mothers, don’t we so often live and die in the hour? Sometime the minute? Thinking it is just.  never.  going.  to.  get.  better.  When life gets hard, and you’re afraid to get out of bed because you’re afraid of the battles you’re facing that day with your five year old.  The extracurricular activities are set, school starts in a week and a half, and with these things come daily lists of things to accomplish, a dry erase calendar telling us where to be and when, and the weight of responsibility that, in truth, actually seems more like a set of wings that I have had on a wish list for a long time. Or, at least the past couple months.


The crickets make me feel safe.


There is something about this time of year…when the crickets take over the nighttime air and the evening chill doesn’t really chill so much as it does wrap its arms around like an old and trusted friend. The soundtrack of my life, my favorite times of my life. Crickets. They come out at the best, most lovely time of year and their song plays ever stronger as evening becomes night, every night in the early autumn. Occasionally little frogs call back and forth to each other in the trees, adding to the September Chorus. I’ve always loved the night. There’s something about the depth of it that makes me feel more alive than when the sun is shining and it seems as though everything is thin and open, busy and fleeting. The night brings deep thoughts, deeper emotions, with the backdrop a deep & wondrous sky full of stars. And, my most favorite of all creation, the moon. Used to ask my dad to get me the moon. It’s true. I’ve always had my biggest thoughts and musings at night. (Likely wouldn’t surprise that, in my adolescence, I would write poetry by moonlight.) As I’ve gotten older, I’m content to sit in an overstuffed chair or glider in the corner, and stare out at the beautiful shadows that are creating the night’s landscape in front of and around me, garden beds still and yet so alive in the yard, the glow of lamplight in and on neighboring houses, streetlights illuminating the leaves on trees I hold dear. And crickets creating that perfect soundtrack….They keep me company and bring the night to life. Such wonderful life. Wild and wonderful and deep.