I love Sunday dreaming. I’ve been married for over twenty years, and some of my favorite times have been the quiet, dreamy weekend days when my husband and I would talk about the future of our home. Early on, in our apartment-dwelling days, we’d chat about the kind of house we’d like and where we’d like to settle down. After we moved into our first home, and fell in love with the Norman Rockwell-esque neighborhood, we would plan for small revisions — fix the porch steps, closet storage, new paint and lighting. And we stayed as long as we could before outgrowing our beloved cottage. Now that we’re in our second house, and feeling like this is where we’ll stay to raise our children, the plans tend to be larger and feel more permanent — finishing the basement, making the laundry room the office and vice versa, gutting a bathroom to build something new and lovely. So on a day like today, free of places to be and filled with summer sunshine, to sit with the man in my favorite room of the house and plan built-in bookshelves like we used to is wonderful. It reminds me of sweet days gone by, melds memories of so many past Sundays with the happy life we have today, and feeds my soul. My heart is grateful.
…sometimes, when I have a few moments of down time, I sit across from the book shelf in the piano room and wonder at the many books I’ve collected. So many I haven’t read. And I wonder when I will have the time to read them. Life is good, and life is full. (I feel like there can’t be a *but* there; life is good and it is full —*but* would imply that life being full carries with it a negative connotation. I don’t think it does; a full life can be crazy busy, but still wonderfully good.) Taking a few moments to breathe and admire the beautiful mess that is the bookshelf, it causes me to reflect on my hours, my days, and what fills them. I wouldn’t trade the hours I spend with my children for a book, nor the moments I steal to watch and care for the birds in my yard. I wouldn’t trade the time I spend taking photographs, or watching a movie with and laughing beside my husband. I *might* trade the hours of laundry, decluttering, or dishes. But, even those tasks are filled with life and cheer, if I choose to see it. But, back to looking at the colorful bindings of the books in front of me…there’s so much I want to learn from the books, so many people I want to meet. I’m not one of those responsible book readers that respects the fact that dawn will appear bright and early every morning, no matter what time I put down my book. I just keep turning to the next page, then the next, and then suddenly it’s 2:00 a.m. Maybe it’s just the season of life that I’m in, and maybe there will be more hours for books in the years ahead. The shelves are certainly well stocked and waiting. They’ll be there.
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.
You know, some days are all smiles & laughter, backyard bouquets & Pinterest gems, sunshine & success. Other days? Other days are like today. Ones pretty much the opposite of the aforementioned. Sure, we DID listen to a couple Sparkle Stories and discover the local jazz station on the radio. There was some phonics & math. But overall, it was flat. out. hard. The kind of day that would make you question whether or not you were really truly (for REAL) cut out for this parenting thing, if you could, in fact, find your way out of the dense fog that had overtaken your brain and left you with barely cohesive fragments of thought that could have no hope of posing such a question, let alone answering it. The kind of day that lays waste to peace and threatens you with the fear of a repeat performance tomorrow. Days like this can wear you down and try to steal your hope. I’m not feeling crazy hopeful or cheery tonight. Not always easy to admit, but it’s where I’m at. Pretty darned tired, actually. Feeling rather directionless and quite unmotivated at bedtime (children’s, not my own) I wandered around the kitchen and finally found myself loading the dishwasher and doing a huge mess of hand-washables. Then I made chocolate ice cream and molten lava cakes, and whipped up some mint ice cream too, just in case. But then none of it sounded good at all. So, there it sat.
I ended up in the glider in the corner of my bedroom, you know, finally letting the tears come. I’m accustomed to looking for the beauty and the beloved around me. The sound of the cars going by on the street is lovely, as is the shadow of a branch on my window, silhouetted by a neighbor’s back porch light. The ever moving and changing shapes on my armoire, created by the headlights of the passing cars. The somewhat lulling sound of the heat racing through the vents. And when your nerves are raw, everything is visceral. Tonight, that’s a good thing. I find myself drawn to the flameless candle in a glass jar across the room from me. It springs to life every night around 8:00. There is something even warmer and endearing about it tonight. It reminds me of all sorts of happy, and I’m grateful. Thankful for something to focus on, to see the beauty in at the end of a day that one might call forgettable, if it weren’t at all so.
Needing to dig deep for solace tonight. Somewhere deep down, under the layers of frustration, fear, and discouragement (which can, indeed, take hold sometimes) roars the truth that God works ALL things for the good of those He’s called, and He never wastes pain. He promises rest to all who are weary and burdened, they need but come. Praying in the quiet darkness (which is never truly dark) that God would bring rest to those in this household, renew our strength & encourage, (grow us,) and bring new mercies with the morning. Missing my loved ones as they sleep; always strangely desperate for them on the nights following days filled with strife. Even in my need for solitude, still my heart stretches and my arms ache for them.
Parenting. *shakes head* The struggle is REAL.
Thankful for the working out that comes with 26 letters arranged & formed, and a space of my own carved out on the Internet, in which to wrestle, heave, and sigh.