Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wrangling: {Welcoming the Dawn}

(A weekly round up. Each week I am going to “wrangle” my life's happenings into a post filled with pictures, lists & general tidbits about the past 7 days.)

Hi friends, happy Friday!

(Oy. How on earth did it get to be Friday all ready?)

I feel like lately the weeks have been spinning by faster and faster, but this week has been in a league all its own. I've been busy at work, trying to get about a bazillion projects wrapped up in anticipation of my trip to Denver next week.

With the exception of yesterday, it's been a rainy week, perfect for nesting & getting the 'homey affairs' in order. We've spent our evenings in the kitchen, and snuggled under blankets on the couch. It's been chaotic, it's been frustrating and it's been emotional, with a bit of heady euphoria, joy and laughter. In short, it's been a beautiful, life filled, normal week.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

(First off, a Love Letter.)

(photo from April & TJ, the proud parents)

Baby Aurora,

On Sunday April 17 our worlds, hearts and lives were changed for good.

Welcome to the world, sweet girl.

Aunt Amy

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Have I ever told you about Thursday nights? For pretty much as long as I can remember, when I was growing up, Thursday night were the busiest nights of the week for us. When we were little, we had children's choir practice on Thursday nights; by the time I reached high school it had shifted to cross country practice followed by guitar lessons. For at least 2 semesters when I was in college, Thursdays consisted of a day in the lab, followed by tedious organizational meetings.

And at some point, I promised myself that someday I would LOVE Thursdays.

Last night, as I sat wrapped in a blanket, drinking a well deserved glass of wine and blasting AC/DC through my headphones while Jon watches Fam.ily Guy... I realized, I'm here. I love Thursday nights and their promise of relaxation before the final push. Just knowing that Friday-- and perhaps more importantly, the weekend is on the horizon -- sustains and comforts me. I look forward to Thursdays now.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

(shower photos courtesy of Kaitie)
(Coffee bar: take a mug, fill it with whatever suits your fancy. It was a hit!)

Sunday was a rush. The whole weekend was, really. I've discovered that I absolutely live for entertaining. I love the planning and cleaning & anticipation of welcoming others into my home. I think that hosting a dinner party a month for the rest of my life would be heaven to me.... (Anyone in the Columbus area want to take me up on that?)

Sunday morning I woke early and lay in bed excitedly rolling through the details in my mind. At 10:30 am, my friend and co-host Kaitie arrived, and we spent the next several hours prepping decorations and favors.
(My other favorite "finishing touch" was the pillar candles in hurricane vases, surrounded by coffee beans. Looked cute, smelled amazing.)

We wrapped silvery wrapping paper around water bottles and tied ribbon around the handles of coffee mugs, we brewed countless cups of coffee and twirled crepe paper.

Although the invitations said 2pm -4pm, once Saundra, her mother and sister arrived, the party started. I think we laughed for 3.5 straight hours. It was wonderful. Being surrounded by a group of warm, witty women who were gathered to celebrate my best friend was truly uplifting.

And after everyone left & it was just the three of us: Kaitie, Saundra & me? That was awesome. The only thing better than sharing 1 super fun sophomore year of college living together has been gathering together 5 (wow) years later and catching up; reconnecting.

Being Saundra's bridesmaid (and more importantly, her friend) has blessed me in so many ways, and I am honored to be a part of her special day. ... Looking forward to June 25!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A couple weeks ago, when Jon & I were attending a family birthday party, I got a chance to sit and talk with my brother-in-law. (Read: I had relegated myself to the basement with the boys because the windows were open upstairs and I was hot; and I think Dan took pity on me because I was pretty much oblivious when it came to the gaming conversations. Truthfully, I wasn't phased. I'm used to being clueless about that stuff, haha. I was just enjoying my cake & ice cream and spacing out, content & comfortable with the company :) And while we were talking, he said something to me that totally caught me off guard. "I almost envy you, Amy," he said (I paraphrase.) "I mean, you run all the time ... and you like it."

I am absolutely floored that this is one of the ways others might see me & define me. Because in real life? This is something I struggle with on an everyday basis. I want to be a runner with every fiber of my being. But I struggle with the idea of calling myself a runner-- I feel that I'm falling short in so many ways. For example, I don't run every day. I never have... But some weeks? Some weeks I run once. I've pledged to myself that I am going to run a marathon in October, but I have a lot of anxiety about that. Quite frankly, I'm worried that I am going to slack too much on training and sabotage myself.

I know that I need to love myself in my imperfections, and to believe in my own abilities. I know that I need to push forward and not let the fears and the what-ifs hold me back.

...But sometimes that's easier said than done. I'm a work in progress, and this is definitely at the top of my "work on it" list. Between the rain & the fatigue, this has not been a "follow the plan running week" at all. But I am looking forward to a fresh start.

It's never too late for redemption.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

As you might have picked up on, this week has been kind of a dark & contemplative one for me. I think it's the natural "ebb" (ya know, versus "flow") that comes at the tail end of a bunch of good stuff.... where all of a sudden you realize that your world has stopped turning upside down and you are left seated in the quiet emptiness thinking, "hey. what on earth do I do now?"

...Add that to a whalloping dose of hormones, and I had Jon throwing his hands up in the air saying, "I just. don't. understand. women." (Yes, my love, I know. That won't keep me from trying to explain to you to get you to empathize :)

So, there were some tears, there was dark chocolate consumption and there commenced some 10+ spiral notebook pages worth of soul-pouring. But even in the midst of the dark days, even as I ached & yearned for more, I could not be oblivious to the good. I've found that life is never exclusively black or white. The good has a way of creeping in and coloring the bad; blurring and softening the edges-- painting lifetimes out of days and moments; the shadows beautifully contrasting the vibrant colors and light.

Even in the darkest night, I believe light will return. And when the sun begins to rise, I welcome it with open arms.

Today, I celebrate & welcome the dawn.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Good List

1. Jon. He is my anchor.
2. 100 watt light bulbs
3. Head phones, and dancing around the kitchen during dinner prep.
4. Digging through the archives for a sure-fire pick me up: Wedding Memories

5. Spending some quality time gardening this past weekend.
6. this post
7. Spiral notebooks. I appreciate technology, but sometimes there's nothing like putting a pen to paper. Spiral notebooks & legal pads are my favorite :)
8. Double sided tape
9. Lighting candles to chase away the gloom of a rainy evening.
10. "Expect to have hope rekindled. Expect your prayers to be answered in wondrous ways. The dry seasons in life do not last. The spring rains will come again." --Sarah Ban Breathnach

Your Turn: Any good weekend plans -- or special Easter traditions? How are you welcoming the good in your week?