130...that's how many days it's been since our wedding. It was such a magical day that I wanted to share a few of my favorite photos from Ben Pancoast Photography, as well as our wedding video (the one I've watched a hundred times) from the folks over at I Do Films. I fell in love with their work even before we met them at Indie Wed.
Ben and our filmmaker, Louis, did such an amazing job. We are forever grateful for their hard work in capturing the day. Not to mention, they are probably two of the sweetest guys you'll ever meet in the wedding industry.
Favorite kind of weekend...we packed in a lot of family time and fun! Started Saturday making cookies for two events that day--my 6-year-old's first piano recital and my good friend's family Halloween party (that even my dad seemed to enjoy!). My son did an awesome job playing, "Come See the Parade" at his first recital (he was not even nervous and he memorized the piece!). Then, my boys went to the party wearing the "tin man" and "lion" Halloween costumes that my mom made for them (she is uber-talented). Oops! I forgot that since we were going near IKEA for the party, we made a stop there for some necessities!
Sunday was: worship, church, lunch, raking leaves (we have a LOT of large trees; but, we still prefer raking over any other method...how else could we give "rides" to our kids on the tarp that we use to drag the leaves to the curb for leaf vacuuming?); then, I did a lot of laundry in between reading (I started helping with the leaves; but my boys had it under control). Then, dinner, campfire, roasted marshmallows and sparklers. That's what our weekends are made of...
Although we missed the meteor shower over the weekend, we did attend an adorable little one-year-old's birthday party, went trap shootin', and I jumped in a pile of leaves...the smell was just as I'd remembered.
I love that. I also love all different kinds of music. How lucky we are that Mom and Dad are 17 years apart in age (and in music!). The music that I find people relate to most is from their "coming of age" years. For me, that was (kind of unfortunately) grunge rock; but, honestly, I still appreciate it...it's just no longer my favorite. Fortunately, today, I love a good voice, a great sound or a perfect piano (or guitar) piece, in addition to amazing and touching lyrics (in any genre).
But, nothing beats a song that everyone can sing. Today, in the car, I was trying to distract my kids and we started singing, "Jingle Bells". The best part was when Dad recognized the lyrics and, he, too, started to sing along. So, for about a minute, we were all singing together. My kids noticed how special that was.
When we were on our way back home, they asked if we could sing it again. And, we did - all of us. (sniffle)
I love music. Growing up with dad, I was exposed to so many different genres of music. From Harry Belafonte to Buddy Holly to the Beatles to the Carpenters to Billy Joel...that man appreciates music. Car rides were the best rides growing up.
I would love getting in the car with dad to look at his latest tape or cd. The artists we loved to sing along to were definitely Elvis and Buddy Holly. Dad really got into it...I loved when he sang "(Let Me Be Your)Teddy Bear" by Elvis...he was happy in these moments. I was happy in these moments.
I remember you mentioning that I loved the song "Bette Davis Eyes" to someone at my wedding shower. "She's always loved that song...ever since she was little", you said. The reason I love that song so much is because I can remember every time I got into the car with mom, she would blast it...that, and "Hotel California". She would listen to those two songs over and over. I would always beg her to put the "do, do, do, doot" song on, otherwise known as "Be My Baby" by the Ronettes. I was only five.
Nowadays, I still listen to music in the car, but I also listen to it when I cook or clean, or workout (not often) and during dinner...and every now and then, someone will ask me to dance...and one time, that someone got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. Happy in that moment. Happy still.
For every season, there is music. This is my Fall Mix. Enjoy!
This is eerie, I tell you. This is not the first "conversation" that I have had about the contents of the book I am reading with someone NOT reading, "Making Room" by Christine Pohl. It is a book I am reading in a discussion group with about 6 other ladies with varying viewpoints.
"Making Room" is hard to sum up. Ms. Pohl tells of the history of hospitality and it's Christian roots. She tells of how we got away from providing hospitality (in the most spiritual sense) as our communities and society became more industrialized and more private. It has totally made sense and has been really enlightening. Instead of commercial hotels and restaurants and even hospitals, the "hospitality" to which Ms. Pohl is encouraging is in creating relationships with strangers.
And, the tie in to your experience with the man outside the sandwich shop.
Ms. Pohl's insights provide understanding of the basic human need to connect with others. When people have been estranged from a community or society, their sense of shame deepens each time they fail to connect with someone (I am guessing that they would be afraid to even try after awhile). So, "making room" for strangers in our lives, in our hearts and in our homes creates a place in which people can feel capable, confident, and connected again.
I pray for opportunities to make a difference to others. And, I often feel that I miss things. So, then I pray that I acknowledge opportunities to help others. I need those connections, too.
Jon and I were running a few errands today and decided to go to Ba Le Bakery, one of our favorite sandwich joints, for a banh mi. As we were leaving, a homeless man waiting outside the door, asked Jon for some money. Jon just shook his head.
We walked a bit toward the car and then he stopped, turned to me and said, "Should we buy him a sandwich or something?" I said, "Sure. Why not?" So we turned around.
I asked the man, "Can we buy you a sandwich?"
He nodded and said, "Yes...oh, and some juice, too. Please."
Jon asked, "What kind of sandwich do you want?"
The man immediately said, "Uh, uh, uh, shrimp...and some juice, please. Or some soda...oh, and..."
I said, "We'll just get you something." He kept going on with a list of things that perhaps he missed eating...I added, "Beggars can't be choosers." I don't know why I said this.
Jon got the man a shrimp and pork sandwich with an iced tea. Jon asked me to give it to him. I handed it to the man. I felt badly for what I had said...I could barely look him in the eye. He looked at me, so I looked at him, too and he thanked me and we walked away.
I asked Jon why he asked the man what kind of sandwich he wanted. He shrugged and replied, "We may as well get the guy something he wants."
As we were driving to another store, stuck in traffic, I looked out the window. There was a man walking down the sidewalk, yelling things, as people sometimes do, and he passed a couple guys. I watched as the man asked one of these guys for a cigarette. The guy gave him one and began walking away. The man, seeming disillusioned by such generosity, caught up to the two guys and gave the one guy a hug...then he asked for a light. This made me smile.
Look people in the eyes. It shows you care.
Give someone a hug. It shows you care.
Tell someone that they matter. Because they do. We all do.
Well, my "to-do" lists seem never-ending; but, I agree that it is quite satisfying to cross something off your list! I need my lists! I love my lists! This is not my typical list as this is just for me, my wants (not need-to-do-right-now-or-else!); but, still this list is not as fun as yours:
1. Learn more Spanish (my plan is to be fluent)
2. Take a CPR class (with my two adventurers, I feel the need to be on the safe side)
3. Take a woodworking class (I would like to build furniture, including a built-in bookcase with--gasp--drawers below)
4. Jump in a pile of leaves and enjoy the sweet, sweet smell of the change in seasons
5. Take more moments to just enjoy my family
6. Laugh out loud from my belly until I can't breathe and I have tears streaming (I don't feel like I do this enough...like maybe I got something stuck, if you know what I mean)
Above is my list for the upcoming year. I will look for classes at our hospital and community college and the rest I just have to be mindful to accomplish. I have another "list" of sorts...it changes a bit...but, here are some of the things I keep in mind to do:
7. Learn to play the piano (my son may be able to teach me soon...for real)
8. Travel to Florence, Italy (for an extended stay, preferably)
9. Go on an African safari (I hear Tanzania is the best)
10. Go on more road trips (itching to go to Canada, an East Coast tour, to Glacier National and down the entire West Coast (just CA was awesome))
11. Along those lines, maybe try camping (maybe...I know I would enjoy seeing a gazillion stars...not sure about bugs, cold, wet, cooking and dirt...would also be awesome to wake to an amazing sunrise)
12. Possibly make something (art, for example...which I love) and go to fairs to sell it (or maybe even a gallery...you never know!)
13. Possibly write a book and get it published (of poetry, a memoir, a combination, a kids book...again, you never know!)
14. Travel to Australia
15. Try to ski
16. What I think about most (and pray for) is making a difference, trying to take advantage of opportunities to make someone's day, month, year. I feel like I don't do this enough.
Feel free to call me out...I would love a "push" to do any of these!
I've decided I need to start making to-do lists in order to get stuff done. There's something very gratifying about being able to physically cross stuff off a list of things you want to accomplish.
But, no one wants to read that I need to get a steady job, clean the floors, wash our whites, and find where that odor is coming from...seriously, what IS that?
So, in honor of getting stuff done, and the fact that a fall crisp has settled in the air, I present to you...
Fall 2012 To-Do List
Start a fire...preferably somewhere outside
Jump in a pile of leaves
Bob for apples
Inhale that that sweet smell of dead leaves and damp earth
Inadvertently scare the shit out of a loved one
Bake a pie...then eat the pie
Fart under the covers, then dutch oven the person sleeping next to you
Drink cider...no, mulled wine. Drink both
Wield an axe like a pro
Buy food from a food truck
When protesters are in your neighborhood, indiscreetly join them and hold a sign that says, "I hate puppies!" on the back it says, "But what I really hate is kittens!"
Go apple pickin'
Go pumpkin pickin'
Go pick stuff
Give that bum who dumpster dives in your alley some decent food already...but just leave it there with a note...after all, last time you took out the garbage, he did scream obscenities at you.
Try to pet a bunny
Go for a brisk run in the nude
Stay at a bed and breakfast for the weekend
Moon an innocent bystander
I do believe you can kill two birds with one stone, so to speak, on a few of these.
Coincidentally, I did manage to actually kill a bird the other day...actually, I was trying to save it. It was just lying there, kind of flapping around. I tried putting it upright, but it fell over. I looked up what to do because I didn't want to just leave it there. So I put it in a shoebox and put it in the closet. (which is what this bird conservatory page told me to do)
Thirty minutes later, a guy from their rescue team showed up at my door. I handed him the box. He peeked inside and said, "Thrush."
I said, "Come again?"
He told me that's what kind of bird it was...then he said, "Oh, that's dead."
I got really sad and said, "Whaaaaat?" Then, he peeked again, and said, "Oh wait! He's still breathing. He just might make it."
I told him to let me know if the bird survived. Needless to say, I didn't hear back.
I agree that happiness is in the little things. Today (not all days; but, I can safely say today), I am very grateful to have Dad in our home. Earlier today, he was looking at some pictures that I had not seen in awhile. I just found him in his room (sitting on his bed, which he always has to make), thumbing through a few pictures mostly from the '70s and mostly of me and our oldest brother, David. Dad always wrote the who/what/when/where on the back of the pictures. I love that. Later in life, he stopped doing that (I wonder if that should have been a sign?).
Unfortunately, Dad did not remember that it was us. I had to tell him. They did look "familiar" to him, though. It was still a joy to find him there, looking for something to jog his memory.
It's also a joy to see me at my children's ages. They are unique; but, my sons may have picked up a gesture, a personality trait, a "look"... in addition to some of my physical features. That makes me feel like when I leave this world, I will live on in my children, as we will do for our father. Bitter and sweet, like that chocolate frosting on your cake! By the way, where's my slice?
...is finding joy in the little things. I learned this when I was very young because, well...I had to.
I remember the time when a certain gracious aunt of ours took me grocery shopping. Although she didn't say why, I knew. She asked what dad packed in our lunches. I shrugged. What lunches? We received the reduced lunch at school. I didn't help much, so she just started putting things in the cart.
That's when I saw them...those little bags of chips that all my friends would bring to school in their oh-so-trendy lunch boxes. (When dad did pack me a lunch, it was packaged in a recycled plastic grocery bag...later, he eventually broke down and got me a Beauty & the Beast lunchbox, I think from a garage sale.) I asked if I could get them. I almost begged. She looked like she wanted to cry.
I was so happy and proud to carry those chips in my lunch...perhaps because I wanted to fit in better with my friends. They knew we didn't have much, but they were friends with me anyways. I am so grateful to call them my friends still today.
I told dad how happy it made me to bring a lunch to school. He began packing me lunches from then on. I made sure to give him pointers. He wasn't very good at it, but I think he was happy to do it.
The truth of the matter is that a lot of things which made us happy as a child, makes us happy as an adult. Rolling down hills, eating cake (today, I like mine with a beer), riding bikes, doodling, painting, spinning, dancing, catching fireflies (this may be a stretch, but I like it), being recognized, being praised...I remember the day I asked you to be my matron of honor. You cried. I cried. Your son bumped his head. He later ate raspberries off his fingers...which made me think of one of my favorite movies...and then made me think of dad when we went raspberry picking and it was so hot and he fell in the bushes and cut himself. (which shouldn't make me happy, but it does...it was a little funny and still fun)
Speaking of happiness...we got to view our wedding video yesterday. (which we weren't expecting to get until Christmas) It is so special and I can't wait to share. I may have watched it a hundred times, but it made me happy...so, lay off.
To celebrate, I made a cake. It made me happy, and I'll be happier when I get to eat a slice tonight with my love. With a beer to wash it down, of course.