|thank you leaf shadows for complimenting my boots|
Normally when I write these posts, I'm tucked into my apartment, usually on the couch, usually with something like 30 Rock playing in the background because, I don't know, something about Tina Fey soothes me.
Today though I am busting out of routine and sitting at Red Hills Market with my Jodi, a Harvest Hot Toddy (which based on the ingredients, is better known within The Camaraderie as something more akin to a Johnny Jump Up) at my right hand and a margherita pizza on the way.
It is blessedly dry and almost balmy outside (ok, it's 59 degrees but that means I don't need a jacket so we'll call it a win for the day) making me incredibly grateful for this part of the country I live in. My heart has gone out to all those in Sandy's path and my gratitude grows as I read posts and tweets assuring us all of their safety.
To be humbled by the power of nature is nothing new to a lot of us - growing up in the land of fire and earthquakes (California that is) will do that to you - but when you find yourself praying for people across the country you've never met in real life, but know and hold in your heart all the same, that's when you find true humility in something much, much bigger than yourself.
1. Thank you for Maria. I know I've mentioned my Maria before but just in case: back in the day when we met at LRT, my first memories of this girl were being introduced by Laura shortly after I moved back to Portland in 2009. I was greeted with "Nice to meet you - don't take any of my shifts." Still being rather quiet at the time, I was a little scared of her in all honesty. But over the years as we came to know each other better she became so much more than a coworker, and eventually so much more than a friend. She is a sister. She is one of those rare people with such an awesome capacity for love that it boggles my mind sometimes. You find yourself part of her family without even realizing it. She is fierce, make no mistake. And cross her once and while you will probably live to tell the tale, you'll never forget and make the same mistake twice. Maria is nothing if not a fighter and after a couple truly trying years, this girl has renewed faith in life (and a lot of other things) and by the grace of God, I am honored to be here in her life at this amazing time. Maria, you are a miracle. You are an inspiration. You are fearfully and wonderfully made and never forget that. You are on the brink of something incredible.
2. Thank you for Lisa and Helios. Wednesday night they invited a whole gaggle of folks over to their house on the river, the house I first called home in Portland, for a night of dinner, dessert and hearing what a dear friend of theirs, Dr. Laura Parajon has been working for with her husband, Dr. David Parajon with AMOS down in Nicaragua. Seeing them always lights me up inside - their love is infectious and you can't help smiling the instant you walk in the door (even though I've shown up on their porch more than once wanting nothing more than to cry, they always have the ability to turn that frown upside down). Along with this pseudo aunt and uncle of mine, I had the chance to see Gram & Gramps (Lisa's mom & dad) who I'd not seen in nearly three years. We talked about life, caught up on everything we'd missed and a good time was had by all. And I ate too many pumpkin bars so... You know... A good night.
3. Thank you God. Thank you for showing me why things happen the way they do and allowing me the frame of mind to be truly, wholly, and honestly grateful for the way You work.
4. Thank you for time off. I mentioned last week how my dad had made the crazy suggestion that I relax. Well, turns out that's a lot harder than it sounds. Sure enough, after two days of running around doing the necessary things in life, I was done with those pressing matters and had a day to do with what I pleased. I pondered this and decided on the allowance of a day to do nothing. I told myself that I would take the whole day to lounge on the couch, watch Parenthood, make a fun dinner and drink wine. Halfway through the day - guilt. The feeling of "wasting" the day started to take over and the itch to "be productive" started haunting the happy corners of my apartment. What's the deal with that? Why do we as a culture glorify being busy? Not that on the flip side of that to advocate being a sloth, but this seems almost uniquely American in so many ways. Other countries around the world (ones that are arguably known to be happier than the US) allow themselves the chance to breathe and reboot, as it were. Why do we not allow ourselves to do the same? Would we be happier for it? By the end of
my second glass of wine the night I felt a lovely wave of contentment. And wouldn't you know it, Sunday at church we focused almost entirely on the truth that "contentment is something you learn". So... Lesson learned, I suppose. Let yourself off the hook once in a while. Take a deep breath and tell the guilt the shove it.
So, apparently tomorrow night is Halloween? I feel like Sally this year (in advance, evidently).
No worry. There's been talks of seeing Night Of The Living Dead on the big screen.
That's fine... I didn't like sleeping anyway.