Tag Archives: fall

Scenes From Seattle, part 1

Because I have used up my 1,000 words, here are some pictures.

welcomeNothing says Welcome like chocolate. And an owl lamp.

restMy cozy resting place. I slept like a baby. Or maybe like a 2 year old. Either way, it was lovely.

img_5323The laptop I barely opened in the corner I loved.

img_5324Redemption truly does come in the strangest of places.

morning walkWalking to school.

The Seattle SchoolMy place.

coloringSo glad I decided to forgo packing all of the books and brought the colored pencils instead.

attachmentTaking notes in blue.

groupWhat I can share about group.

img_5340The ferry that I didn’t ride but watched come and go.

RestaurantChowder.

img_5347The precious people who loved me so very well all weekend. I love them.

img_5348Now I see my children not only in baristas, servers, and valets but also in street musicians. Of course I put money in the can in exchange for the picture!

Thanksgiving Wrap-up

Thanksgiving weekend has come to an end. November, with its month of thankfulness, is almost over.

I won’t pretend it was an easy month, an easy holiday, because it wasn’t. There were moments of goodness and thankfulness that I was grateful to feel before moments of darkness and pain settled around me more strongly.

There was a struggle to stay present and thankful through some incredibly hard moments that can’t be detailed here. Because privacy.

I battle depression and would be lying if I said that it isn’t threatening to take me down these days, this season. The first step is recognizing the danger zone and admitting that I am in a vulnerable place. The second is reaching out and speaking up. The third is taking action and making a plan.

All three have happened, are happening, will happen.

I don’t know why life is so hard and the struggle is so real, but it is. I am grateful for those on my team who walk with me through the darkness and point me to the light.

One place of light was this tree of life moment Thanksgiving morning.

My husband woke me with a cup of coffee and the words, Do you want to come out and watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade?

He had gone to the store in the early morning hours and purchased an antenna to hook up to the TV to capture the signal for NBC. Each year since our move to this house, Thanksgiving has been the one day I have longed for network TV to watch the parade. Each year we miss the opportunity, and I move on in hopefulness to the next.

Thanksgivings past have found my parents recording the parade for me to watch later or me heading over to their house to watch it. I have ignored it completely or deferred hope to another time down the road. This year it happened as I snuggled up on the couch with coffee and my kids, and we watched the parade together.

Then they watched the dog show.

It was a tree of life moment for us all around, and though it would soon pass and challenges present, for a few hours Thanksgiving morning, we escaped into musicals and marching bands and musicians and dancers and balloons and floats and dogs.

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Toothless watching himself in the parade is just one of many sweet moments shared together Thanksgiving morning.

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Don’t get too envious of the technology you see here. 2/5 of the electronic devices resting on the entertainment console are not ours. They are also the most modern of the devices. But whose counting? We are grateful for generous family and friends who share the fun with us.

Thankful

For time with just Roo, I am thankful.

Just Roo

For this heart-shaped leaf on a late-night dog walk, I am thankful.

heart

For family pizza out, even when it’s stressful, and the difficult littles have become difficult bigs, I am thankful.

Kirk and Mae

For progress in the tearing down and in the building back up, I am thankful.

tearing down

For moments celebrated and milestones reached and unexpected visits from adult children, I am thankful.

For a body that reminds me of its need for rest and for care in the busy, I’m thankful.

For time to think and space to write and a blog to return to, I’m thankful.

Grace

Today I am thankful for grace. I am thankful to have learned and to continue to learn that it’s not all about me, whatever it is.

Today it was worship team.

I love singing. I love Sundays when I can be on team. This season there are none.

When the last worship team email went out to indicate availability, I knew that I could not be available for any of the Wednesday practices or Sunday morning services or the Thanksgiving or Christmas service, either.

I knew I had to take time off to better care for and more fully engage with my family, because we are running thin these days. Thinner than usual.

I needed to step away from external activities to step towards and love them well.

And that realization was hard.

I missed Community Worship this month to have Steve’s parents for dinner and not be rushing out to the next thing. It was not easy, yet necessary in order to be more fully present in my relationship with them.

This morning as I walked into the church building, I heard lovely singing over the speakers. Moving to our row, I saw and heard my sweet friend Grace on stage singing with the team for the first time. We sing the same part. She has a beautiful voice.

My heart was touched and opened as I began to engage and be fully present in the moment.

The gentle reminder of seasons coming and going, of God’s provision in each, and of freedom to step down and rest was overpowering. The reminder that stepping down allows another to step up, and that through it all God is glorified, was humbling.

I can let it go and breathe and engage and receive grace.

I am grateful.

Apples

These aren’t just any apples. They are Black Twig apples, brought in a keepsake basket by Steve’s parents to us. Just because.

More than the gift of tart, delicious fruit, I am thankful for the gift of having both sets of parents (and the children’s grandparents) close by.

I am thankful that the littles get to experience their Grandparents McClay in their own way.

Tonight that experience involved grandparents driving Coco to and from soccer practice and then joining us for dinner. We sat around the table together and enjoyed time. We hugged goodbye.

We shared life together.

That, and a love for crisp, tart, Virginia-grown apples.

Leaves

I’m thankful today for fall leaves. Their brilliant colors remind me of the beauty to be found during times of change. The older I get, the more meaningful autumn becomes. I long to display beauty in each life season, and summer’s bloom is beginning to fade.

Welcome beautiful fall!

Little Mae brought a giant maple leaf and placed it on the table, commenting on how much she loved it. I nodded, not thinking much about where she would have found a giant leaf. Then it occurred to me, It was from the tree in our yard.

tree of friendship

Dubbed the Tree of Friendship in honor of my BFF who gave me a sapling years ago, it’s our only tree. I noticed how full the leaves looked and how beautiful the changing colors were. I noticed that there were some scattered on the ground.

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I felt grateful.

Grateful for a friendship that has spanned years and seasons.

Grateful for the beauty of a tree with giant, colorful leaves.

Grateful for the dream of a big old house to fix up and fill with kids coming true.

Grateful for seasons and the anticipation of my autumn.

Grateful for the hope of beauty even in change.

change

Grateful.

Breath

I woke this morning thankful for breath. The ability to breathe in and out without obstruction or stress is a gift. The growth in the ability to breathe through obstructions and stress is also a gift.

Spending time in Psalm 104 this morning, I was struck by the vastness, the greatness of God. Reminded of the good gifts that He gives to all living things, to us, verse 29 stood out to me.

When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust.

I am so grateful to still have my breath, even in the hard. Even when I feel like I can’t, or don’t want to, go on, there it is. In. Out. Reminding me of the one who loves me and sustains me. Reminding me that I am still alive.

I am also grateful for music and for Fernando Ortega’s version of Psalm 104. Breathe in the goodness and enjoy!

Marriage

This first day of November, when thoughts turn to thanks, I’m thankful for my marriage.

Thankful for a partner to journey with through life. Thankful that he is willing to help carry the baggage we bear together and to help examine the contents we’ve packed down tightly.

I’m thankful for the moments when we connect and for the hope we hold to in the moments that we don’t.

I’m thankful for choosing to carry on through the hard, when a lot of the time just feels hard. For the vows we made and agreed to keep.

I’m thankful for seasons.

I’m thankful for love and laughter and commitment.

I’m thankful for grace.

I’m thankful for us.

Just thankful.

Friendship Friday ~ Making it Happen

I planned a date night.

This may not seem like a big deal to some, but for me it is. For me it is saying, I really care about spending time together, I know Steve will enjoy this, I know I will enjoy this. Even though there are 1,001 reasons to not make it happen and then feel disappointed, I am going to TRY.

When I saw that Second City was returning to JMU, I wanted to go again with Steve. We attended a show a few years ago with No Strings Attached, and it was fun. I participated in a Second City workshop in Chicago while chaperoning a school trip for my son and learned a lot.

I desired to do this together.

Several weeks ago, I checked out the tickets and pricing. Seats were going fast. There were a few left scattered here and there, mostly in the balcony. Asking Steve what he thought about going, and not hearing clear Let’s do it! in his voice, I let it go.

Several weeks ago there was also great letdown as a failed communication between us resulted in an anticipated longing falling by the wayside, unmet. I struggled through deep disappointment and wrestled with how to let go of past hurts while communicating present ones honestly.

It was difficult to admit to myself and my husband that I stuff pain and quickly say, It’s okay, or It’s no big deal, when it’s not and it is. I had to acknowledge my hurt, disappointment, and true feelings without accusing, blaming, and attacking. It was a difficult time. We are still learning to communicate honestly and to hear one another in a safe space.

Steve can’t read my mind.

I minimize desire. I long for more together time but don’t take action. I wish for connection but grow busy with distraction.

It was time to make something happen.

Last night, out of curiosity, I logged onto the theater website to see what, if any, seats were left.

The seat map showed two yellow squares at the edge of a sea of x‘s. And by sea, I mean every other seat was marked taken.

Two seats at the end of a row! A countdown timer at the top of the laptop screen ticked away the minutes I had to make a decision while Steve was out walking Dewey. Two seats. At the end of a row! (Can you tell that part in itself was HUGE for me?) The last two seats. My favorite spot in any row.

I took them.

Almost immediately, contempt and sabotage began to creep in.

What did you just do? That was stupid. You don’t even know if you can get a babysitter at this late notice. Steve didn’t act as if he wanted to go when you mentioned it before. You just spent money on something that you don’t know will work out.

And on and on.

I began my usual pattern of faux-not-caring. He can always take a friend if we don’t get a sitter. I can be here with the kids. It doesn’t matter if I go or not.

It mattered.

I tried.

I told Steve when he returned and was met with a positive response. He helped me begin looking for a sitter, which in the end I secured.

Thanks, Mom and Dad!

So tonight is a real date night, not that popcorn and Parenthood at 9:30pm doesn’t count. It’s the fighting forward for fun together that doesn’t just magically happen because I wish it would. It’s being in the moment in our marriage, knowing that it is worth it.

We are worth making it happen!

Learn

Learn all you can

From those who are wiser

Practice doing what is right, just, and fair.

Fearing the Lord

While listening to counsel

From genuine heart~friends

Will help you grow wise. 

~thoughts on Proverbs 1~