On Wednesday, I went to work and then bought a car and then drove to the farm to have my dad check my first completely on my own adult decision ever.  Although, at that point there wasn't much I could do about it had it been shifty.  Lucky for me, the nod of approval was received.  And then I sat next to my mom on the loveseat while she finished crocheting me a scarf.  I'm not sure it was planned for me but I saw the soft gray pretty thing lying there unfinished and said, "Hey, I love that!  Can I have it?  Ummmm...could you finish it now?"  She did.  My mom pulled the wool yarn in and around and lopped and looped it while we visited about this big thing called life.  

Then I went to a Pampered Chef party at Danae's house.  I was late.  An hour and a half late of course.  Once I discussed the cause being life talk while sitting next to Momma Debi as she finished the scarf I adamently claimed for my own, all was smooth.  

And then on the drive home in the dark starry night I felt like a weight had been lifted off of me.  Because I've been feeling all kinds of pressure from all kinds of sources.  Probably if I'm honest, mostly from myself.  I needed the permission to make decisions based on what I want to do, not based on what others will think or judge.

I needed to remember to keep on trying to be a good egg and all else will fall into place.  Just as it always does. 


Just Call Me a Sap Now

I don't know if it's the month of November which does this to me or if it's because I tend to run like a sap of emotions, but these intense feelings of gratefulness have been surging through me. 
There are moments I'm almost brought to tears.  And not in an unpleasing way, more in the essence of total perfection.  The kind which brings the heart squeeze and makes me think, "My goodness is this really happening?" 
And the crazy notion is, it is happening.  In my life.   
My life includes cuddling up in a jean quilt on a friend's couch with a hot cup of tea while she sits in the chair across the room and we steal a few minutes of quiet visiting while her kids are planning their next building project. 
The few minutes of quiet visiting were a gift yes, but the bursting interruptions of "Look at this!  Here's what I'm going to build!" were it.  IT. 
Hearing Emma with her sweet tiny lisp go over every blessed detail of her sewer system was unbelievable.  Tears in my eyes while I watched her arms gesture with every important aspect, "This is where the qwean watarr will go."  Heart squeezing while noticing her strong spirit shining through because she needs that stubborn strength, it will serve her well in her upcoming years.  The notion running through my head, "Is this happening right now?" 
It was so pure. 
Of course, I have always known I would, that we all would, grow up.  That's what happens, we all grow up and try to become what we are meant to be.  Being a part of those moments between my best friend since sixth grade and her babies made it more than clear to me she has become exactly who she is meant to be. 
Her children are the signs.  Their beautiful spirits are a result of her efforts.   
And I get to be a part of their family.  Intense feelings of gratefulness surging through me.  Maybe I should just start wearing a sign now which says, "Why yes, I am a sap." 


Not Hollow on All Hollow's Eve

Last week was shadowed.  Outside our windows was a gray sky and cold damp weather; inside our hearts and minds were also shocked gray and dark.  It's still unbelievable.  And I'm only on the peripheral fringe of the intense inner circle his family is in.  I can not imagine.  Every few seconds it stops me in my tracks and I say some prayers.  Prayers of please help them find a way.  

It also has brought up this intense feeling to gut check my life which I think is a natural consequence of a tragic event.  When someone young passes, it reminds us all of the ever fragility of our lives and it leaves us wondering what we still have left to do and makes us ponder our regrets in the past and pushes us to strive harder for our hopes for the future.  

Halloween happened and I was blessed with stop ins from my friends and family,  I felt it deeper this year.  Their happy little faces paired with their sibling love for each other alongside their parents pride and over the moon-ness, all beyond sweet.  I drank it in. 

And I made each of those kids who belong to my forever friends sit or stand in my favorite flower chair because you know what, these are the moments.  The moments which are fleeting and precious. 

Those kids, the ones who are the replica shadows of my friends, are worth more than gold to me.  And I'm thankful for each squeeze. 

When my brother and sister-in-law showed up with their brood, chaos of the good stuff of life ensued.  Love a duck, this is my life.  How did I get so lucky?   

Punky the skunk couldn't get enough of digging in the candy while the three bigs could not get their fill of passing out candy to the crowds of trick-o-treaters.  They squealed in delight. 

Chaos is the perfect description.  Precious chaos.  I kept telling my brother, "Don't you remember how it felt to grow up on a farm?  To want to do things like hand out Halloween candy?"  He kept telling me, "No, no I don't."  I guess we didn't feel the same things about Halloween.  Needless to say though, their Auntie Amy loved every second of watching them run from the dining room to the front door to pass out the treats.  Not a shy stitch in their quilts that's for sure.

I felt Halloween deeper this year, kept looking around my house at the sight of running barefeet and piles of jackets and grinning chubby cheeked littles while hearing the sounds of giggles and squeals of pure bliss from those small beings.  I enjoyed visiting with my friends, that pesky older brother of mine, and my sweet sister-in-law while watching them all love their families right. 

I drank it in. 


It is Something

I'm not one to get into the he said she said of politics and I tend to veer away from the news and I often think about what I could do with my tax money instead of the way it is handled.  But being able to stand in a voting line and hear a pair of grandparents go on about the day they spent with their granddaughter Lily and see the light in their eyes from loving her...is something.  And it's something because we all live in a place where we have every opportunity under the sun to work hard and be good humans.  He said she said all aside. 


Blessed Bracelets

Feeling grateful this Monday. 

It's impossible to not feel the need to look around and soak all the things which are right in this life when so much went wrong so suddenly.  It's impossible to not want to bottle up the good.  To keep it tucked safely away on a shelf so it can never be shattered.  It's impossible to not look back a couple of weeks at a simple Saturday afternoon after a busy party morning with a best kind of friend and the three littles who call her Mom and not feel grateful for every freaking second of that time shared.    

Thankful and blessed to have had the few hours to slow down, in both my actions and my thoughts.  Relaxed enough to be still and enjoy sipping tea while visiting.

It seems Autumn will usually at some point end up on my hip.  We share a laugh over her siblings' antics or we distract ourselves with the outside view or we just take it all in.   

Wearing jewelry is not necessary.  It's a thing thing.  However, it seems my jewelry can bring about a real moment.  Whenever I wrap my arm around Autumn, her small fingers inevitably find my rings.

She toils with the stack of three while sometimes feeling the shiny polish in between.  Warms my heart.

My bracelets often become shared, handed out to keep a baby busy during dinner out or given to a toddler during the quiet parts of church or even used to unabashedly bribe a little one into my arms.  They are sparkly, shiny, and make noise.  Therefore, instant attraction.  This time, two for the big sister.

And one for the little sister.  Until the baby, who might be not such a baby anymore, realized she only had one which just wouldn't do.  So it was two for her as well. 

A simple Saturday afternoon with littles, tea, jewelry, and best friend visits.  I am grateful.    


Icky In Between

When you make a cup of tea, there is this time when the tea has filtered through at the ideal ratio and the water has cooled to the temperature where the sip is hot enough you breathe in slightly but not burning.  It's brief.  Lasting only a couple of minutes.  You have to fully drink it in during those minutes.  Because then the tea can turn too strong and the water keeps cooling until soon it's not perfection anymore.  It's cold tea.  But not iced tea.  It's the icky in between.  

The perfect time is brief.  Lasting only a couple of minutes.  

When you make a life, the perfect times are brief too.  Lasting for a day or a week or a month or maybe even a season, but inevitably something comes along to bring forth the icky in between.  

A strong man left the Earthly world this week.  A guy I have never known to not be in my life; he was the big brother.  The cool brother.  The one who if he played with you, you couldn't help but beam a little.  After all, he was the big brother.  It's inconceivable to me a family should have to go through the painful process of losing a child or a sibling more than once, but it happened this week.  Daryl and Jo, the parents who always welcomed any and all of us into their home and family, lost their oldest son at the young age of thirty-three.  There is no sane reasoning for why this could be happening again and I feel like I want to take away their hurt with every passing second and every hug, being all too aware it's not possible.

To know there are two little beings left without a dad is a place where I can't go.  There are no words.  Their dad will live on through their accomplishments and their shining.  He has to.   

Darick joined his sister Missi and somehow in someway Wade, the remaining sibling, will keep going.  I can only hope he knows how much we all are lifting him and feeling with him and for him.  And when I slid two pieces of pepperoni beef pizza onto a paper plate for him on the first night of the news, I hope he knows I was trying to slide my love over to him too.  Because how does one know what to do during the ickiest of icky in between.  I don't.  So I bring pizza and give hugs and pray.  

As I opened the door of the house into the dense fog and haze of that night, I walked next to my own brother.  It felt right to do that with him.  To leave together.  As we parted ways at our vehicles a glance was shared between us.  Followed by, "Life is short Amy."

It is.  Short and fleeting and unexplainable and fragile.  So make your life a life and drink in the cup of tea fully.  Drink it in.  For all that it has to offer to you and all you have to give back to it.