peace

First, take a listen

It’s Saturday. The air is crisp, the coffee is brewing, my comforter is cozy and later laundry will whir away. Before my to-dos I turn on piano music and I sit, compiling this growing list of beautiful things readers and friends are sending me. We’re ALMOST up to 150! We’ve got a ways to go, but not a bad start. Grab your coffee, inhale deeply, start this tune.

 

Read this list of good in the world and then write your very own. More instructions are here. Send it to me and I’ll feature it here next time. Happy Saturday.

#97 There are so many great books out there that I can read whenever I want to
#98 The Great British Baking Show
#99 I have had and will have more opportunities to travel to wonderful new places around the world
#101 Parents who I know will be there for me and support me no matter what
#102 Just an awesome family all around
#103 An awesome dinner just waiting in the fridge for me to make it
#104 A community of bloggers that supports each other
#105 I am finally doing something that I love and writing about my travels and experiences
#106 Friends that are awesome people and who inspire my to be my best self every day

#97 – 106 Contributed by @QuietGrlLoudWrd

#107 Technology like Marco Polo and FaceTime that help us keep in contact with loved ones near and far
#108 Rural roads with beautiful sunsets in the rear view mirror
#109 Social workers- I’m so thankful to know some of the very best and feel honored to work alongside incredible humans who choose to walk the hills and valleys with anyone in need of a helping hand.
#110 Laugh attacks with friends
#111 Pickle wrap dip
#112 Holding the door for a stranger
#113 A good workout to release the stress
#114 A thermos of fresh coffee on a fall morning drive to work
#115 Football season
#116 Random acts of kindness

#107 – 116 Contributed by Katie Vodraska

#117 Holding a baby
#118 Lying in the grass looking at clouds
#119 brand new book that 10 pages in you can’t put down and know is a keeper
#120 Baking bread
#121 A good movie on a rainy day
#122 Helping a friend
#123 A bookstore
#124 A long shower after a hard days work in the yard
#125 Knowing your purpose and living it
#126 An unplanned day

#117 – #126 Contributed by Suzanne Moughon

#127 I have a gorgeous, accomplished daughter
#128 My daughter is my travel buddy
#129 For every day
#130 I’ve never met a stranger
#131 Moments of peace
#132 Watching Gossip Girl reruns at age 60
#133 Jethrow Gibbs on NCIS
#134 Ancestors that went before me
#135 Wool sweaters … actually all sweaters

#127 – #135 Contributed by Julie Beaubian

#136 The ability to redefine and reform friendships
#137 Modern Medicine
#138 Therapy
#139 Wine
#140 Friends you’ve chosen to be family
#141 To be curious and open about the world
#142 French fries and popcorn and tacos
#143 Friends who accept where you’re at
#144 Baby Snuggles

#136 – #144 Contributed by Katie Beaubian


Let’s keep resisting. Instructions on how you can participate in this effort are here.

If you like the idea, please share!

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A Tequila Toast

I stood at the edge of the stone pit, toes warming as flames licked the burning wood as it spat and sputtered to a start. I stuffed my hands in my pockets, the sounds of laughter rolling around behind me in the cold mountain air.

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Belly digesting rehearsal dinner food, I was having one of those moments where I felt full. Not just my stomach, my heart too. We had gathered for a wedding weekend for one of my oldest friends. All around me acquaintances chatted, laughter bubbling on the waves of pre-marital promise and bliss. I felt reminded of my roots, where I came from, and how these people shaped me at age thirteen, eighteen, twenty-two, twenty-five. Love for people with whom you have history.

I received a friendly slap on my back and I was invited into a loud conversation with my girlfriend’s dad. I used to spend weekends at his house, stealing Cokes and bobbing in the pool in his backyard. Summer afternoons on his ricksha, and movie nights in his basement. Time passed. I haven’t seen him in at least ten years.

With a big smile and a tip of his cowboy hat, he asked a perfectly normal question.

“How is your family?”

Oh…. shit… he doesn’t know. That question isn’t normal for me any more.

The warmth in my toes disappeared, and I shrank a bit into my puffy North Face jacket.

“Well,” I started, ” my mom is great. She’s working at a pre-school and my brother is still in town.”

Pause. How far do I go? Does he know? Gulp.

And then I jumped right in because I realize the burden of my grief often oozes out when I have to tell people who don’t know, over and over again, that we lost him.

“Not sure if your daughter told you,” I said, “but we lost my dad a year ago.”

Damnit.

I hadn’t had to say that stupid euphemism since I got a new job. I have exited the insurance agency, and the phone calls from his old clients stopped haunting me. I don’t remember how many of his clients had to hear the horrible news from me. Not many, but enough to make it no fun. A strength I didn’t even know I could possess, handling those calls.

The dad’s eyes softened. Chin dropped. Smile faded. He didn’t ask questions, and instead offered sympathy, jumping into his own story about the loss of his sister.

“Oh good,” my little, squeezing heart whispered to itself, “he kinda gets it.”

After mumbling a bit, said dad quickly bent over, grabbed a fancy glass bottle, and offered to toast to my dad. He poured the golden liquid. A couple fingers worth.

Strong, expensive tequila on ice in a styrofoam cup. Raised to you my papa, with other dads who wish they could still know you.

I drank it all down.

This is the space I’m living in now. A mix of integration, acceptance and painful memories. In being present in really happy moments, taking deep mountain breaths, and reconnecting with old friends. In telling people who don’t know and telling myself (who really ought to know by now) the damn truth. We lost him.

Yet, I haven’t lost these things:

  • I haven’t lost my friends. The ones who knew me when I was chubby and awkward with braces, who went to Prom with me, who stood by me when I got married, who I have had the privilege of watching walk down the aisle. They know me and they knew my dad and will continue to walk with me forward, out of this hell of sudden loss. Life long friends, a beautiful, beautiful gift.
  • The importance of laughter. Belly laughs. Make fun of yourself, dance, put on the cowboy boots. Show up. You will feel better when you get there.
  • The symbolism of toasts and celebration. Honoring memories with tequila makes sense. Standing and raising a glass to a friend of fifteen years as they make the biggest commitment of their life. A privilege.
  • Peace. It comes in waves and whispers and mountain breezes. A long hug. Fog rolling in, lapping your arms in cold, wet, kisses, the universe wants to bring me peace. If I am willing to accept help, people are there making me hot cocoa and offering an extra pair of socks.

Humans are funny, friendly, cheerful, present, and unsure. Death is inevitable and soul sucking for those left behind. Living in these real intersections of the choices to be in relationships and the quivering vulnerability that it can all go away – a beautiful thing.

 

 

Stand in the Circle

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There are debates. And shootings. And sickness. And brokenness galore.

And there is also rest. And joy. And hope. And peace.

And I want to choose peace.

I don’t know if you are religious, believe in God, or the power of the universe. If you are agnostic, atheist, or prone to struggle with others. It doesn’t matter where we come from, or how our religious backgrounds divide us. Instead, let us dwell on what can unite us.

My beautiful, simple prayer for this week, for this world, is this.

Encircle us Lord. Keep love in and hatred out. Keep joy in and fear out. Keep peace within and worry out. Keep light within and darkness out. May you stand in the circle with us today and always.

This is where I believe we need to dwell. Where we need to encourage each other. Where we need to return. Take the time to mediate on these words, and see what comes as a beautiful result.

 

On another note – I am extremely excited about my new logo for the blog designed by Blastoff Branding. If you need design work, I highly recommend this company.