Saturday, September 21, 2013

{September Reverie}

If you know me, you know that I love September. Just love it. Earlier this week, one foggy-bright morning (the combination is stunning), I sat in the rocking chair with my tea and just let the sunlight stream over me into the living room. I wanted to swim in it, dance in it, drink it all in. (However, I was still rather bleary-eyed, so I just rocked in it.) It was a good way to start the day.

Since then I've been wondering if these September days are my favorite days because of their beauty and the return of rhythm to our homes, or if I've been conditioned to love my birth month (as children tend to do).

With shy hesitation, September lands softly in demure shades of green,
burnt orange, and soothing yellows and blues.
~Victoria Magazine

I'm eager to start a fire, to wear sweaters and to drink (even more) tea. To curl up with a good book (right now I'm enjoying Not a Fan and All Creatures Great and Small) while the rain drums its soothing rhythm on the roof or while the slanted sunlight streams through the windows and the squirrels increase their activity (if that's even possible).

This morning we drove out toward the country for Aidan's flag football game. The vines and grasses, long and brown, entwine themselves charmingly around lichen covered split-rail fences. A hawk perches on a wire, peering patiently, expectantly into the field of grass. The rose hips dot the countryside with their festive oranges, and the cows keep munching and munching. It makes me come alive. And I wonder if it makes everyone else feel the same way.

Best I love September's yellow,
Morns of dew strung gossamer,
Thoughtful days without a stir,
Rooky clamours, brazen leaves,
Stubble dotted o'er with sheaves --
More than spring's bright uncontrol
Suit the autumn of my soul.
~Alex Smith

So I'm curious: Do you have a favorite month of the year? Does it happen to be your birth month? 

Blessings to you, dear readers. Have a lovely, Septembery weekend. For my part, I will be celebrating my four-year-old niece and the first day of autumn!   

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Saturday, September 14, 2013

{Birthday Girls}

Avery and I have birthdays about two weeks apart. She turned eight this year, and I turned thirty-eight. When I was a kid, I thought it was strange when adults had to pause to think about how old they were. Here I was counting every single month and half birthday and three-quarters marker along the way, and they couldn't even remember the year?!

The traditional birthday doughnuts

Well folks, it happens. Thankfully, I can remember that I'm thirty years older than Avery, and I have no trouble remembering how old she is. A little quick math (don't laugh) and I'm golden.

Last month my Little Miss had demurely hinted in front of her generous Auntie that she would like to have a swimming party. Her Auntie was quick as ever and replied, "We could have it here!" Little Miss accepted.

So the cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents gathered to watch the kids splash and play, build ice cream sundaes and open gifts. She had a lovely time, and was especially in heaven spending the day with her best friend and cousin, Braelynn.

We didn't go swimming for my birthday, and I was just fine with that. It was actually a fairly normal kind of day (poor Jamie was sick!), with school and a meeting and such, but there were special treats along the way. The morning highlight was a Skype visit with Johnny, Brooke and Kinsley. As usual, the kids held up treasures to the screen to share with Kinsley, and she in turn showed us her books and dolls and various three-year-old antics.

At one point Aidan was fiddling around with a rope in the background, and Uncle Johnny lit up. "Whatcha got there, Aidan?" And soon they were comparing knots back and forth, Uncle Johnny expertly teaching Aidan the butterfly and sheep shank knots (or something like that!). It was such a simple interaction, but the joy it brought to my heart was immense.

Loving phone calls, messages, texts and emails filled my day with reminders that I am blessed with very dear friends and family.

Special cupcake delivery from my wonderful inlaws. Salted caramel deliciousness.

That night I had a meeting, and the kids were somewhat whispery and pointed in their questioning as I left. Assuming that this meant dessert, I gently hinted that it would be nice if the kitchen was tidy when I got home. The dears rose to the occasion, and I walked in to find a clean (although wet) kitchen and a pile of chocolate chip cookies, ready to be made into ice cream sandwiches. The ice cream was rather melty (they forgot to let the cookies cool), but we enjoyed the treat together, and I loved seeing the hearts of my kids who wanted to do something special for their mama.

We celebrated with dinner and a movie last night, when Jamie was feeling better. He had asked me what I would like for dinner, and I said (as I often do) that it would be such a gift to not even have to think about it -- just to have the decision made for me. So he did the shopping and worked his magic in the kitchen, and my tastebuds (and heart) were delighted.

In a fit of nostalgia, I chose Anne of Green Gables for our movie, and it was cozy to laugh and cry together in all of the usual places. The well-loved DVD skipped a few times, but I had no trouble filling in the dialogue for the kids. ("I want you to act smart and be respectful!" They've heard that one before.)

They laughed over the hairstyles (which in the 80s I thought were quite lovely) and I smiled with pride when "The Wreck of the Hesperus" was recited and Aidan recognized it from his lessons (all is not lost). Now if I can just get the girls to memorize "The Highway Man . . . ." Wouldn't Little Miss be smashing? And oh, how they laughed at Gilbert when he stood for the encore, his head wagging back and forth. Some things never change.

I no longer re-enact Anne scenes with my sister. Forty is looming on the horizon, and it would probably look strange if we recited "The Lady of Shallot" in the back yard (still). But I'm okay with that. Something in me clicked over the last year, as though I know more about who I am and who God is calling me to be. As I look over my prayer journals, one of my most frequent requests is "Teach me, Lord . . ." So I pray that I will be teachable and humble, finding joy and delight with each passing year, and that I will never, ever forget how to spell chrysanthemum.    

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Saturday, September 7, 2013

{Nooks and Crannies}

We dive full speed ahead into our school year next week. Deep breaths. Things look a little bit different this time around. Drew and Bethie will be taking classes part time at a local school (they've already had their first half day). They're excited for the new adventures and challenges, and I'm looking forward to having some quieter, simpler days with Aidan and Avery. (Not that they'll be quiet. Just easier. Maybe.)

I've been working on the school room on and off for days, hitting thrift shops here and there to add little touches along the way. The room is made mostly of windows and cabinets, which is excellent for light and storage. Not so much for wall decor.

It's been a fun challenge (and a unique and specific way to pray!) to find pieces that fit in the little nooks and crannies that make up the rest of the space.

A new school year always makes me think of the line from You've Got Mail: "I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils . . . ." As I sharpened pencils and sniffed crayons (of course) I was young again. And I love it that the kids are just as excited about pens and pencils, composition notebooks and binders.

There's a nip in the air and that charming slant of light that is so Septemberish. This morning was deliciously foggy. Soon we'll crave evening fires. The squirrels are busy and the earth is preparing to don its golden hues. I think I'm just about ready. 

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