The sun is slanting early rays across the lush green of new grass planted this fall. It is still warm-ish here, almost balmy the last couple of days. Last evening when I stepped outside barefoot, I heard the wrens talking, and this morning, the cardinals, robins, and crows. If I didn't know better, I might guess that we'd skipped winter altogether. I'm sure it will come.
I am still sort of basking in the wonderful-ness of our Thanksgiving trip to Virginia and giving thanks for special time with my children:
2111. Cooking with Erin and Grammie
2112. A long walk through Ft. Hunt park and along the parkway bike-path with Kay
2113. Reading Alfie books (oh, I love those books!) with Clara
2114.Seeing cousins re-unite and enjoy each other on the football field, playing fish-bowl, walking, talking, laughing, just being together
2115. A long evening conversation with one of our engaged nephews and his fiance with five married couples joining in to share out of our 132 collective years marriage wisdom. Graym and Sasha (below) will be married next September.
2116. Walks in the neighborhood
2117. Sitting long at the table on Thanksgiving evening with family
2118. A fantastic trip to the zoo
Clara's first view of the lions when we arrived - pretty excited! And, of course,
the pandas... they were so up close and active this time.
2119. Watching the adoring uncles play with Clara and seeing her little fun personality coming out more and more
2120. Giving haircuts with crazy buzzing electric clippers to Matthew and Andrew
2121. Safe journeys to and fro for all the travelers
2122. Getting back into the routine of reading, studying, preparing for classes, cooking ...
2123. Anticipating ... so much.
...and we made it to Grammie's house. I'm very glad Coty likes to drive because I would not have enjoyed navigating the traffic in the mist and dark. But we're here, and now I am waiting for a car load to arrive from North Carolina and a truck to pull in from New York state. The boys and Kay from NC and Erin, Luke, and Clara from NY may all be pulling in here at the same time - right around 2 AM.
The next few days will have plenty of happy, noisy chaos and some quiet times, too. Clara will get to see all the people whose names she's been practicing. We will eat and talk and laugh a lot. We'll go for walks and play some games. There will be football on Thanksgiving morning and many hands to prepare food for a crowd. We'll squeeze everyone into a picture and hope we all smile or at least look half-way decent at the same time. On Friday, some of us will go to the zoo.
Five of our six children will be here. All but two of the twelve cousins. Some spouses, fiances, and a few other assorted relations and friends. This will be a full house.
I am very thankful to be here. Thankful for the chance to see family members we don't see often enough, thankful for the gift of gathering.
The office I'm referring to used to look sort of like this, (this link should take you to a photo of William F. Buckley's home office). Coty's office is considerably smaller, with far fewer lamps and lights and with more paper on the floor. Only now the paper is all gone.
I have spent the past three weeks, while Coty was away in India, digging everything out of his office, sorting, tossing, painting, moving, building, purchasing, sewing, and totally remaking the space in which he spends much of his working time.
It was a super secret operation. He didn't have a clue. Oh, a few other people knew, and some of them were were worried on his behalf. What if I threw out something he needed? What if I got rid of important papers? What if he couldn't find things? All valid questions. All I can say is I tried very hard to be careful in my tossing. I examined every piece of paper before it went in the trash can. The ones I didn't throw away are neatly stacked in another room awaiting his perusal.
Special thanks go to Thomas, Kay, and Joel who helped me move every book and bookshelf out of the room; to Chandra who came with her stud finder, level, and drill and helped me install the double track shelf brackets; and to Amber and Carla who gave moral support and design advice and approval. Thanks to them, I left the shelves their natural color with only a satin polyurethane finish.
Just in time for his return home yesterday, the reading lamp was mounted on the wall above his new chair, the last pictures framed and hung, and the trash can emptied. When I was finished, I just sat in his chair and looked around the room at the pictures of our family, at the poem Erin wrote for him before her wedding and the pictures of the two of them together, at the track and cross-country awards, the photos from India and Kenya, and the map of the world.
I felt like it is finally right. It is a fitting place for Coty now. It reflects this man who loves his family so deeply and wisely, who serves the church so diligently and faithfully, who goes to far-away places because he is asked to come, to teach pastors who are hungry for greater depth and knowledge of God's word.
It is really a lovely room now. Would you like to see? (sorry, the pictures are a little dark. They were taken early this morning)...
Looking in from the hallway.
The tray table is one Coty brought home from Pakistan years ago, the fly whisk a gift to him from one of his African students during the Williams days; the chair and picture rail, Ikea; the pillow, my creation
Looks a little different doesn't it, Rachel!
New reading light, new curtains easy to slide on cafe rings ...
closet door removed and shelves repositioned to make a printer and office supplies closet with...
paper supplies cleverly concealed!
I do love this new curtain fabric. It looks Indian to me.
Thank you, Hancock Fabrics for having it on sale just when I needed it!
The pictures to the right of the curtain are of
Coty's first time living in Kenya - before I knew him!
A young Coty with his host father,
and the family of one of the teachers he worked with.
I love these old pictures.
new computer desk (thank you, Salvation Army) and more family pictures...
and perhaps my favorite part,
built in wall-to-wall bookshelves across the whole 10 foot width of the wall.
The throw across the back of his office chair is one that
Thomas and Andrew brought back from Burkina Faso
And now, I think I'll make a cup of tea and go up and sit with my sweetheart...
Today was a long day... so long it felt like two days. Now, I'm sitting at my desk with a cup of hot cocoa and the space heater blowing on me to thaw out my chilled body (it was cold on the sidelines at soccer practice tonight!) I'm breathing a tired happy sigh and giving thanks for ...
two college visits in one day
a meeting with a coach that was way longer and more personal than expected
lots to think about and the peace of knowing the Lord will lead
a great group of soccer moms and dads, reunited at the first club practice tonight
Joel's club coach and words of encouragement
safe travels yesterday and today
time with my folks and Andrew
google voice and cheap phone calls to India
a short conversation with Coty's Indian host last night and laughter with him over Coty's walking speed!
the children at Bapatla - Coty gets to see them again this week
friends - I am really so very thankful for my friends
beautiful yarn and knitting in the car while Joel drives
books - so many on my list right now
my friend, Lisa's safereturn to the states for medical care for a high risk pregnancy
the most gorgeous fall day imaginable
mums and pumpkins and gingko trees blazing golden Mars Hill Audio that I've started listening to again, and Ken Myers recovery from a heart attack
The prospect of a quiet day at home tomorrow
The gift of rest
I must confess. This is not my favorite month. It is the month when ...
...the cold creeps in and the golden glow of hickories in the sun out back disappears.
...the pool cover goes on and I look out my kitchen window at a black eyesore.
...I am always chilly in the house, unless I'm bundled under my duvet with the heating pad on, sitting in front of a space heater, or wrapped in sweaters and shawls.
BUT, I will turn my thoughts away from the complaints and give thanks!
Because it is also the month of...
... tea and comfort food
...blustery walks and flying geese
...seeing almost all of my children and much of my extended family at Thanksgiving.
These are days of more quiet reflection as thoughts turn to the gifts we have been given and how we might more fully give back.
This November, I join one dear friend in paying closer attention to how I spend money, especially on food, and giving more away. This could mean not just giving money, but sharing more meals with others - friends, family, and strangers. I join many others in making this a month, not just a day, of thanksgiving.
Yes, welcome November. I may grow to love you more this year.
Multicolored rice and grains from the Korean grocery