Monday, August 17, 2015

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The House

Letting go can be hard. Following our move into a new home in March, we listed the house where we lived for 17 years for sale. It was in that home we became a family. I remember how we knew, the moment we stepped across the threshold of the model home, that it was the perfect place for our family. As construction commenced, we walked the boundary of the property and prayed over the home to be built, and the years we would spend there as a family.

And so it became the place where our fondest memories would be created and shared. The walls of the house saw us celebrate birthdays, milestones, graduations, and weddings. It would be the place we made traditions, and where we would gather for holidays and laughter. We learned, we struggled, we loved, and the house would see it all.

Against all we had ever imagined, it would become the place where friends and family gathered around us in large groups as we stumbled through the hours, days, and weeks when it was time to bury our son. There would be people in every conceivable space of the home, crowded to be with us in the darkest hours of disbelief. And several years later this last Thanksgiving, we had no way of knowing as we assembled for our traditional photo shoot that it would be the last time we would take photos at the house.

Our children grew from elementary to college, then would come home for summer vacation. We made our story in the house. Every floorboard, every wall would see us through all we became.

With our home 136 days on the market, I began to pray that God would bring us the right family to purchase our home. And then the offer came. My heart began to hold tight to the memories at the house.

This morning, I hurried from the office to meet the home inspectors as part of the due diligence in the sale. As I stepped away from my car in the driveway, I was greeted with the familiar face of a man who had helped my husband coach the boys in little league years ago. We chatted a bit to catch up over the years as he and his wife conducted their report, and I had the opportunity to meet the buyer for the house, which has been our home for so many years.

I greeted him with a smile and handshake, and he told me that they selected our home because they could tell it had been well-loved by a family. "Thank you, Lord", I thought as I drove away. Our God pays attention to detail. He sees our hearts. He hears our prayers.

I will hold tight to my heart the memories of our home...all we experienced there as we became who we are. I pray the house will be a blessing to the new family as they make their way through their years, and as it wraps its walls around them, I remember all it has been to ours.

Monday, August 3, 2015

227 Reasons This Was the Perfect Place

I couldn't believe the cabin was built just 12 years after America became a country. I wandered, literally awestruck and stunned, as my husband fumbled our luggage down the narrow stone pathway alone. I knew I should be helping with our bags, yet I couldn't escape the spell it had me under. Taking in the perfect blend of rustic historical finishes and added modern comforts, I rejoiced in my heart that our niece selected this as the perfect place to celebrate her husband's birthday.

We have become a bit of a surprise party family. It's comical, really, that any of us is still genuinely surprised, yet the surprise is, nonetheless, every bit as authentic as the heartfelt planning that goes into these occasions. When I came to my senses, we moseyed outside to survey the grounds.

The cabin was nestled onto a large grassy stretch of property with its back to a channel of lake water. Our little guy couldn't wait to get in the water with his great aunt while we enjoyed the property in wait for the guest of honor.

Some time after the surprise, I poured a glass of wine and walked down to the dock to find my husband. Struck once again by the overwhelming beauty and history of this place, I smiled and said out loud to myself, "I'm so lucky."

I'm grateful for my family and these times we get together. When I look at the photographs in my mind of all my most beloved memories, these same people are pictured. There is no place else I would rather place else in the world I feel completely and wonderfully myself.

We were there to celebrate Andy, and we did. We laughed, we swam, we cheered and we clinked our glasses in honor. But just being part of all that this family is, well that felt like a precious gift for me.

Monday, July 20, 2015

It's Not Just a Little Poison

I have a colleague at the office who is often suggesting that I try "just a little bit" of cake or home-baked confection even though he knows I have a gluten intolerance. "That little amount isn't going to hurt you, right?" he says. "Of course it will," I respond as I shake my head in disbelief. Gluten is toxic to my physical body, and so a small amount, even just in my cosmetics or hairspray, makes me sick... really sick. I can't help but think about all the toxic things we expose ourselves to, even when we know it will wreak havoc in our lives or our body. Back in the early days of my diagnosis with gluten intolerance, I used to think I could "treat" myself to some baked good every once in awhile, but it didn't take long (thank goodness, I'm a quick learner) to figure out that it was so not worth the price I had to pay.

I think about all the little bits of toxic things we allow into our lives. Maybe it's a nibble of bread for a celiac, or a spoonful of ice-cream for someone who is lactose intolerant. Why not? It's just a little poison (to your system) right? We know we need rest, yet there are times we can get so busy doing, that we run ourselves down without enough sleep.

Maybe (and for me this one is big), we deprive ourselves from the water we really need to keep our bodies hydrated, or we hang onto a friendship or relationship with someone who drags us down and makes us feel like we are less than we are.

It's impossible to completely avoid the intrusion of toxicity in our lives, and every once in awhile we just need to cleanse...purge all that is dragging down our bodies and minds and fill them instead with a healthy dose of something amazing.

Time with the family and the people I love does it for me. I need to get away, and take in the beauty of the world around me. That's where I can reflect upon the goodness in life and come back to the center of who I am.

Why are we so prone to take in so much of what we know isn't good for us? Where did that expectation come from that we must tolerate the unhealthy, and why are we afraid to just say, "no"?

I'm working on remembering to notice the simple beauty in each day. I want to take in what nurtures me to be my best self, and be brave enough to close out the toxic people and things that corrode my I can be all I wish to be.

Monday, July 13, 2015

A Car Show, A Sweater, and Something Beautiful

Summer is hot in Vegas, and my current project has been a slow knit. Don't get me wrong, I love the fine gauge cardi I'm working for my son. I adore the exquisite 100% mink yarn and the feel of the fabric it creates. Yet the darkly colored small thread makes rows of stockinette stitch slow moving. In the process of knitting this sweater, we have moved and made time for both special occasions and travel.

Our last such trip was a mini-vacation into Reno/Tahoe. An interesting car show was in town that weekend, and we saw the most interesting cars and people.

There was an entire street dedicated to these cars decked out in a rusted "souped up" condition. My favorites were the Volkswagen Bugs clad with rust, stencils and cargo for the trip.

Our little guy had fun just hanging out with us while we walked up and down the street commenting on the cars we liked best. My husband found a car just like the one his dad drove when my husband was just a boy, and we shared a laugh about how they "searched for dimes" through the hole rusted into the floor boards of his father's car.

It's times like these when I appreciate my husband most. I feel blessed by all the great moments I get to share with my family, and the relationships I enjoy. We have been through a lot as a family, and I believe it's the one thing we stand upon that keeps us strong.

Life is a gradual evolution of events and relationships that form us into who we are. Sometimes, it may seem like we aren't making progress and nothing is moving, but as with my son's cardigan, we can look back and see how it all loops together and forms itself into something beautiful.

Monday, June 22, 2015

A Cheerful Gift for a Non-Milestone Birthday

It's hot. It's so, so, hot outside, and with triple digit temperatures in only mid-June, we spend a bit more time indoors on our weekends in the city. Grabbing a remnant of summer-colored yarn, I decided to knit up a gift for a girlfriend who was having a "non-milestone" birthday (as the card I chose for her put it). She's 44, not quite on the lower half of those years leading up to her 50th birthday. Big deal, I joked with her before the weekend.

And since it was hot, I was thankful for a couple of hours to sit in my living room and knit a happy little something to celebrate her year and our friendship.

Wanting a break in the color, I inserted a patterned row of white, giving the cozy a bit of a creamsicle appearance, then chose a taller mug for the bulkier gauge of the wrap.

Get Pattern Here

I love having the opportunity to steal away for a little extra time with my little guy. Making a quick extra errand for a box for my gift, we stopped for some weekday morning brunch.

For me, it's doing little things for others that brings joy to my day, and though I get busy and distracted with my daily have-tos (just like everyone else), it's something this simple that sets my heart back on track.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Burning Off Debris and Stress After a Long Winter

We use our cabin on the mountain as a summer retreat, and invariably the winters seem long. This weekend, we tossed a few things in the Expedition, and headed into Utah for our inaugural visit. Because we had a little extra time for the drive, we stopped in Cedar City to check out one of my favorite recycle/up-cycle shops... fortunately for me, they were open.

I always have fun checking out what's new in the store since our last time shopping.

The mountain had experienced some rain and when I opened my car door, I was overcome with the deep pine and earth scent of the mountain.

We made quick work of putting away the groceries from our cooler, and hauled out the fire bowl for our first fire of the season. The temperature was perfect for burning off some wood, and the stress of our week.

Our little guy loves to ride with his Papa on the quads. Dragging a few down to the village for our annual start-up service, he couldn't wait to show me that he found one "just the right size".

The shop on the mountain inspired me with a DIY project for our home in the city. (Mostly, because she wouldn't sell me the weathered pallets from her display walls.) The shop owner and her husband gave us detailed instructions on how we might finish a set of new pallets to look almost the same. We were energized and up to the challenge.

As fate sometimes will have it, we found some discarded old pallets at the dumpsters when we stopped in the village to discard the weekend's trash before our drive home. Making room in the back of my husband's Expedition, we toted them back up to our place for another week or so of weathering.

Winters can seem long. In the fall, I cast-on a cardigan to knit for my son. I chose a thin gauge of 100% mink, and the slender thread of yarn (combined with its dark hue) make for a slow, although exquisite, knit. While I have worked this project over our Las Vegas winter, I still have much to do to until the cardigan will be ready for him to wear.

I'm left pondering that although the winters (like my project) can seem long and slow-moving, I look forward towards the light of fresh beginnings with gratitude for what I have learned along the way.