Sunsets and Birdsong Dawns…

Clackamas River Sunset

Life has thrown another curve… It does that.

I’m not entirely sure what I’ll find after I turn the corner, but for now I’m walking slowly along the path in no real hurry to get around the bend. I have spent this last week or so in my childhood home while working on my Finals for this term — this curve in life forced me to fall way behind in my classwork and I needed some help with the boys so I could get everything caught up and finished before the term ended. Somehow I’ve managed to catch up with everything despite all my current life drama…

While here my “baby” sister and I have had the opportunity to go for evening walks together — the boys have grandparents to help if someone takes a fall — I can be away for an extended period of time without worrying. This means that there has been a period of unexpected Rest in the midst of this chaos. Being with family – it’s easier to get up in the morning, easier to remember to eat, easier to sleep… I’m not spending my nights right now dreading the waking of another day…

Out walking with my sister in the evenings gives me the chance to just breathe, and hiking along the river in all its familiarity, it’s easy to remember who I am. The beauty that shaped me is still here — sunset skies above the river and birdsong filling the dawn. The air here at my childhood home by the river I know so well – it still smells like the late summers of my girlhood — like sun-warmed berries and dry grass, heavy with the weight of the heat and the scent of the river… Summer’s end hangs in the air as the days shorten and we all feel the coming autumn looming despite the present heatwave. I miss the sea – the sound of her breathing tides and her scent in the air – but I am so grateful to be here right now…

Life is hard — I hope you all can find Beauty when you’re travelling your own rocky path… Remember we’re all on this journey together – stay soft with each other…

  • #rememberingme
  • #childhoodforests
  • #viewfromthewaterfall
  • #clackamasriver
  • #sunsetsandbirdsongdawns

Grief, Grandmas, and Love-Lessons…

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The Philosopher and his Great-Grandma…

The day before yesterday would have been my grandma’s 83rd birthday.

I’ve been missing her a lot lately. Probably partly because I knew her birthday was coming, but it’s also because of the time of year — the holidays are such a family-oriented time. I’ve actually begun this post multiple times over the past couple of days… I just don’t seem to have the words I need…

Grief is such a huge part of the human experience and it’s so unpredictable. I’ve been doing a lot of cooking lately — I’m not sure if it’s coincidental that I’ve been spending so much time in the kitchen, or if it’s related to missing my grandma (Grandma was a great cook when I was a young girl)… but being in any kitchen makes me think of her, while also making me feel a little closer to her… So many of my memories with the women in my family center around time in the kitchen, even when I was too little to help much I would sit in there and listen to them talk and laugh as meals were prepared. I’ve never had a lot of interest in food — but sitting around a table, laughing and sharing food in the warmth of the family — that I love…

Mama came over this afternoon and helped me make bone broth for the first time in my instant pot. It’s not exactly rocket science, but it’s always easier to have someone experienced around when you’re trying something new… :) And it was a good excuse to get to spend time with Mama in my kitchen. We talked and vented about life’s challenges while I learned how to work the instant pot without being so nervous around it (I have no idea why the thing makes me so anxious!), and I shared recipes from my new cookbook with her as we talked about a good way to modify one so I could use it at dinner without having to run to the store.  It was homey and just so nice to be in the kitchen together — even if my kitchen sink was already piled high with dishes and my useable counter-space was at a minimum. When does a good meal ever come without dirty dishes? Sometimes you have to make a mess to create something beautiful.

Isn’t that true about so much of life?

I’ve found that the older I get, the more I appreciate the women in my family — the heritage they’ve left me, and all I’ve learned from them. Since my grandma’s passing, as I edge ever closer to 40, I’ve learned that what matters the most to me is family… and I no longer feel like that’s somehow not okay, or not “good enough” — these lives I’ve been blessed to be surrounded with are more than enough. I love spending time with them — I love laughing together and making memories. I love the simple day in and day out of walking the journey of life together. I wish I hadn’t spent so much of my life feeling like this was somehow “wrong”… I’ve become so much more comfortable in my own skin — so much more sure of who I am — now that I have spent so much time spinning around this sun. I wish there was some way to have all this internal knowledge of myself sooner — it would have saved me a lot of pointless heartache.

Tonight, now that my kitchen is clean and the house is quiet as everyone is spending their last hours before bed relaxing before another Monday, I’m feeling especially thankful — thankful and a little bit teary-eyed. It’s so hard to miss those we love. Grief is just the continuation of loving the ones we can no longer touch… it’s that missing-ache… like homesickness, but for a loved one instead of a loved place… so it’s much harder to handle. And we never know when waves of this “missing-ache” will hit us…

I am so blessed to have so many of those I love around me… and I am trying to never take my time with them for granted — it’s just so short…

“God sets the lonely in families…” (Psalm 68:6)

I am grateful…

  1. chicken dinners with all the trimmings…
  2. leftovers hand pie pastries (gluten and dairy free of course!)
  3. cooking with Mama…
  4. Arnica…
  5. my boys visiting with grandparents today…
  6. laughing with Papa Jeff…
  7. listening to Little Boy tell the names of his Hot Wheels…
  8. The Philosopher and Brother-in-law talking video game design…
  9. The Professor playing with Little Boy…
  10. fighting with the hubby’s new computer setup…

It’s all Grace…