* I remember 2 years ago when fall hit. In Iowa we usually got a very timid fall that lasted a week and then the snow would hit hard and the leaves would die on the trees. However, 2 years ago this was different. It was my senior year and I was beginning to wonder about a lot of unknowns in my future. I had some stress regarding jobs, a place to live some day, wedding plans, and all the to-do's that come with being a senior in college. I was busy. I was too busy to notice that fall was actually happening around me that year. One day I was driving back from a kids club I volunteered at and in that moment I remember seeing the beauty that was surrounding me and this prayer escaped my lips: LORD, I NEED THIS KIND OF BEAUTY TO HAPPEN IN ME. Driving back to Missouri last week, I again saw the beauty and peace in the trees' colors. I remembered this prayer I prayed two years prior, and felt it anew.
* There is nothing like driving down a country road that you know like your favorite song with the windows down. Every twist and turn is a part of your past. Experiencing this over the break, I drove past my entire childhood, past the hillsides that I'd sled down each winter, past the little white church that used to be so much smaller, past the grocery store which hasn't changed a bit, past the stores on main street, with their windows painted for the season by school children who attend the same brick school in which I used to slam lockers. I drove past the spot where dad used to drive Kali and me to get ice cream cones, and could almost see us sitting on the open tailgate, sweet sticky messes on our tanned faces, but blinking I realized that a fast food restaurant had taken its place. I drove onto gravel, caught a snake slithering into the grass along the roadside, and rolled down my windows to see if it all still smelled the same. It did. Like fresh laundry, and sweaty summertime children, and rainbows...but mostly it smelled like peace.
* After I returned to Kentucky, I washed the scent of home off of me and wrung my hair free of Missouri's highlights. I then picked up my current book and read this quote:
Your absence has gone through me
Like a thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its color. (W.S. Merwin)
How true that is of our pasts.
* Thanks family1 and family2 for making our trip home another wonderful one! We miss you deeply and are slightly amazed every time we walk through your doors that we are still received just as warmly as if we were still your bundled children just leaving the hospital for the first time. Thank you for loving us despite our inconsistencies, or many failures, or impatience, our prides, and our immaturity. We always spend part of the trip home reflecting on just how blessed we are to be able to sit around a family table with each of you.