and again, i'm acutely aware that my life is a boon of unmerited goodness, of argyle socks, wooly blankets, family within hugging distance and those i hold close across an ocean and half a continent. of forgiveness and every breath pulled and released. of college chums who know all my tells; of fog-shrouded trees and singing to big hair bands in the car; of water and warmth and hope.
[photo courtesy of christianyves]
and just when my heart seems fit to burst, it expands yet again to make room enough for the joy of a single slip of paper from US immigration, one that approves our petition to bring a little boy with a smile as big as sky home to our family.
1. homemade pancakes taste roughly sixteen times better than the kind from the box, and they only take two minutes extra. ps brownies too.
[so i am typing to you from the un-uncle's computer, which means you are getting photos from my flickr archives which will likely have nothing to do with this post. this is because i made an executive decision that irrelevance is a lesser sin than a pictureless post.]
2. i love airports. i adore them smell of them, eau de cinnamon coffee mingled with gyros and a note of fresh wall-street-journal. i love the people bustling, everyone traveling someplace far-flung, or hungry for home. i love the flight attendants who smile like they wouldn't trade this day for anything in the world, the kid pressing her nose against the glass, the teal suitcase in a sea of black.
2b. i love how i can have this whole airport bathroom experience without actually touching anything. the faucet starts, the toilet flushes, the paper towels dispense all by my presence. it's a very harry potter moment for me.
3. also, i hate airports. i despise how, invariably, i am picked from the line of harried passengers for the extra-special screening at security checkpoints. i deplore the ninety seconds where i'm out on the jetway waiting to embark, and i'm positioned right at the part where it accordions to the door of the plane like so much high-tech origami. and i'm slightly nervous that the thing is going to collapse, or, you know, refold itself into a paper crane and fly away in the wind, and i want the people in front of me to each scooch just like two inches forward so i can please get ON the plane, which is metal and solid and safe.
clearly neurotic and also the opposite of most people's flying fears, i'm aware.
4. i have the best sort of friends, the kind that will welcome me over to requisition their desktop when they hear that my printer and hard drive are no longer speaking. the kind who would cheerfully care for my littles so the hubby and i can board a plane to ethiopia. the kind who see all sorts of good things in me so that i eventually begin to become that person.
5. i have the best sort of family, too.
[haHA, what a gem from the archives. this is me and the bros, circa 1980's. i'm the one with the wacked out hair and painty mustache.]
6. and i have the bestest sort of husband. he has been doing these incredibly cute and selfless things as of late, which would make us all a bit ill if i wax romantic on them here so i shall just leave it at that. he's a good man.
7. when i grow up, i want to translate bibles.
7b. and also knit and throw pottery.
7c. and start a fire with nothing but flinty stones and some wood.
8. it is entirely possible to miss someone you have never met.
so lately i’ve been hopping from one carousel of crazy to the next, but i’m finally getting around to blogging a few recent sessions. i hope to have them all up in the next week or two.
up first: dustin and mindi.
these two are some kind of wonderful, i tell you what. warm, tender, wonderfully funny and authentic. i wish i could bottle this kind of joy, though i don't think i'd sell it. i think i'd slather it over everyone within reach. :)
[can you tell that dustin is an ornery fellow? i love how he makes mindi laugh.]
mindi and dustin, thanks for the privilege of photographing your engagement. i loved every last bit of it.
the two of you are incredible. grace incarnate. i pray your years together are beautiful and Christ-filled.
she told me not to worry about cleaning, and i haven't, not yet, not inside. but the afternoon was ripe with sunshine, and the sky as blue as a promise, so i headed out into the yard for a bit of tidying up.
about an hour, five yellowed hostas, four tomato plants, two unidentified stickly bushes, and sixty armfuls of leaves later, i surveyed the yard and realized two things: 1. it looked remarkably the same as when i'd started. it's like the yard absorbed my efforts and channeled them into its personal demonstration of ugly. 2. ten thousand leaves with a side of dead isn't enough to scare shannan off. she's made of stern stuff, that girl.
plus 3. the sun was doing its pinkish glaze thing, that age-old hurrah before checking out for the night. and while i know i should be immune to its siren song by now, i'm reeled in like a suckerfish every time. so i abandoned my yardworkingness to pop into the house, sock-skate down the hall, and head back out properly girded with a camera.
so at the end of the day i cannot boast a tidy lawn, but i do have additional footage of my inexplicable enthusiasm for bushes and trees. (which you'd think would calm down a bit given their connection to my leaf problem, but nope. still going strong.)
see you tomorrow, shan. ours will be the house with the lifetime supply of browned foliage out front.
she was annie’s baby sister, and when we met those many moons ago, i didn’t spot the flashing neon sign that said pay attention: this shy twelve year old will one day wash your life bright with hope.
but time did its flying trick, and we both grew up and married and moved to the same college town and the same church by the pond with all the geese and the same small group circling my living room come sunday nights.
and these days i know her not as annie’s little sister, but as lori. lori who thinks long and feels deep, who is meticulous, efficient, resourceful. lori with her lithe runner’s limbs and eyes that crescent into moons when she laughs. lori who loves with abandon, the lid of her heart pried wide open.
she reminds me to forgive like rain, how to trust the best in people. she sharpens my appetite for God.
little did i know some sixteen years ago that God had such good things up his sleeve.
belated haircuts for snaggle-toothed boys : cooking show (featuring elle's signature peanut-fish soup) : chili and backyard s'mores and mayonnaise cake and happy chatter at the warmly lit home of new friends : a marginally-sane computer (compliments of the hubby and the online geek squad) : salvaging frostbitten tomatoes : zee's intricate battle schemes to take over the world and/or the dining table : clean hallway floors : pittacus lore on the treadmill : prepping sunday lessons (and snacks) for my pre-k class : emails from college friends : yellow maple leaves shivering in thin sunlight : mixing corncake and apple cobbler with smallish helpers : an extra hour of crazy-dream sleep : joy everywhere
your tenderness toward my parents is the stuff of legends.
thank you for loading my dad up with trail mix, and for besieging their doorstep with gifts, and for your eager willingness to supply both the paint and the labor to refinish their walls. thank you for carrying their hearts with buoyant affirmation, both spoken and written.
thank you for hearing their pie-in-the-sky yearning to see the grandkids, and answering with webcams, for them and us both.
thank you for honoring my dad as a pastor still, even though it’s been a good nine years since his stroke. and for that matter, thank you for carrying our family then, for braving that uncertain shaky terrain and never once letting go.
thank you for praying big and loving fierce and smiling with an earnestness that still feels like home to me. despite my leanings toward autonomy, ‘tis not always a breeze to do life some five thousand miles from my mom and dad. but i find rest knowing they keep good company in each one of you.
you are Jesus in sweet island skin, and you pour my heart so full.