* Last Saturday, I spent seven hours with a group of like-minded writers. Listening to poetry and writing responses. Creating poetry and short stories. Telling stories and shedding tears. Making new friends and reconnecting with old friends. Eating delicious food and drinking ice water.
* On Monday morning, a dear friend, Miakoda Taylor,
came and visited for three days. When we met in 1989, she was a junior at my high school alma mater and I was a Spanish teacher there. Even as a high school student, she was more of a teacher to me than a student. We became friends that year and have maintained contact ever since. She is one of the wisest and most compassionate person I have ever known. We hadn't seen each other since Kristiana was two years old. But we picked up our face-to-face conversations as though we see each other every few months.
* Miakoda is a fantastic cook who turns simple and nutritious foods - like curried lentils over brown rice and kale salad - into a feast. She brought stories, questions, joy, laughter, and warmth into our home. We must not wait so long before our next visit.
* We have had a tremendous amount of rain lately, some would say it has been too much rain. But we have been in drought conditions for nearly a year, so I am grateful that we are getting a good soaking these days. I pray that rain will also soak the great state of Colorado to douse those flames. I pray that tornadoes will stop hitting the ravaged midwest. I pray for an end to violence, abuse, disease, and war. And I pray that all people everywhere will know peace. No small or easy prayers for me, no sirree!!!
* Every day I feel more at home in this body of mine. The scars on my chest are getting smoother every day. My hair is getting longer and curlier. And I spend more and more time each day feeling "normal." I spent time with another woman on the kanswer journey this past Monday morning and she reminded me that from this time on, we are living in "a new normal." Indeed.
*This new normal is more joyous, more fulfilling, more honest, more wholehearted, and also more aware of the great suffering in the world. I cry nearly everytime I read about someone being diagnosed with kanswer, car accidents, open heart surgery, and job loss. There is so much pain and I feel it more now than ever.
* Physical therapy is going well. My range of motion (in my shoulders, back, chest, and torso) is increasing daily. I am doing strength training now with an elastic band and several stretches that will help me get back into some of my regular activities. My physical therapist says I can try to carry the laundry basket and groceries as long as nothing is too heavy. She said I shouldn't pick up more than ten pounds... but I picked up my favorite baby boy today even though he weighs more than ten pounds. That little boy is the source of so much joy and laughter in my life that I couldn't resist, Heather. I just couldn't resist. I had to hold him in my arms again. I will do some extra stretching tonight to make up for my rule-breaking.
* Before picking Miakoda up at the airport, Kristiana and I discovered the airport overlook area. There is a parking lot and picnic area where we can watch airplanes take off and land. One hundred yards of grass separated us from the runway. We watched several departures and arrivals on Monday evening before she arrived, and today I watched several more after dropping her off. Standing there, I was as happy as I've been in a very long time. I had to restrain myself from throwing my arms up in the air and cheering each time an airplane went past. I suspect I will spend many hours there in the coming weeks and months. I may lose a degree of hearing. I may breathe in many cubic meters of exhaust. But I will be one very happy airport overlooker. And a very cheap date for my husband - I am easily entertained.
What else am I thankful for on this rainy Thursday evening?
* fresh, local peaches
* heirloom tomatoes
* spending time playing with my sweet little dog
* offroad vehicles that look like they have been off road
* maxi dresses
* homemade salad dressing
* time sitting poolside with Gibbs, sipping coffee, scratching Wrangler, staring out at the lake
* a handwritten letter with butterflies on the card and envelope
* tank tops
* not having to wear a bra
* needing a brush again
* seeing my earrings hanging down and not "losing" them in my locs
self-portraits while watching airplanes
* embracing the joy-filled vanity of staring at my hair in the mirror and taking weekly hair portraits
* sprouted raw almonds
* ceiling fans on hot nights
* Pinterest - especially all the "pins" related to travel wardrobes
* dental floss
* talking about parenting, nursing, beach vacations, and food budgets with Heather
* saying "no" to radiation
* a spontaneous lesson on drought, irrigation, the Hoover Dam, and the importance of eating locally grown produce at one of the local farmer's markets
* watching a movie with Kristiana and Miakoda
* solitude and silence
I have been led back to these verses often lately, so I am making them mine tonight.
Psalm 91:1 and 2 - She (that's me) who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, "She (that's my Sweet Momma Jesus) is my refuge and fortress,
my God in whom I trust."