I am sitting in the coziest coffee shop. It helps that the sky is low and gray. The last remaining leaves dance loosely on the branches, some concede defeat and fall to the quiet sidewalk. This is a sleepy city, at least on my side of town it is. Boho-professionals and art professors linger long in these corner cafes. I'm just one among many here, sipping my soy latte. Mornings like these are few and far between, as I'm usually explaining to Madeleine at this point why she can't watch another Blues Clues. With meetings on the schedule, I planned a morning away, strolled off silently down the quiet streets to this little haven.
Right now I feel a bit like Kathleen Kelly. Yes, in fact, this place fits the description. Except I have no rose, no Pride and Prejudice and I am not waiting for Mr. NY152 to walk through the door. Not this morning at least. I have other sorts of meetings that include words like "design" and stuff.
Last year I came back north around this time, nursing a restless, slightly broken heart. Thanksgiving was my relief in sight and I counted down the days to seeing mountains, feeling cold, playing football with the family.
I drove through Rochester then and I remember thinking, (no lie) "Why would I ever move here? Of all the places to go from Texas, this would probably be the last place I would go."
Flash forward 12 months.
Here I sit, looking over the sleepy city, paying my electric bill for the third month in a row.
The dearest Ashleigh Baker wrote recently and I agreed with her when she said, "I think “this is life” posts are just kinda the best. To read and to write."
So this is a "this is the life". Not 12 months ago. Not even 12 weeks ago. But just today.
:: Tonight I am hosting a small Thanksgiving gathering for our small group of friends. I'm guessing it won't look that much different from our normal routine. Dinner consumed, a few ill-timed conversations that leave us all laughing, the quiet of an evening indoors, dishes washed, puns tossed about, coffee brewed, irish cream poured, a guitar strummed, and the very subtle ease of being with some of my favorite people.
:: I feel like I stepped into a goldmine when I arrived here. No exaggeration, I have met some of the best people ever in this town. And they're not the best because of what they do, or say. I genuinely feel hemmed in and around by them, with them. I begged God when I left Texas, somewhere along the highway between Texarkana and Little Rock, to please not leave me alone. I can handle solitude. I can deal with loneliness. But just being alone...well that is what I feared would happen in this town. That I'd arrive and spend hours, days, weeks on end with no phone calls, faces, touch. I can survive it. However, I admit — I need faces. I crave hugs. I look for eye contact. I listen for the familiar. This quick little community took me in and a very small handful of people have become those I consider the nearest and dearest. That, my friends, is a gift that cannot be measured.
:: The Gospel is at work here in the City. I'm encouraged by it, challenged by it, and excited to see how Grace changes lives (including my own, daily.) It is daily, and God is consistently, diligently and relentlessly in pursuit of everything. He won't let up, and I'm ok with that.
:: My days are full. Beginning to end, full. Between parenting, working, keeping a home, connecting with church and seeing friends, I have little to no spare moments. The luxury of time I had last fall is a dream today. In 2010, when I fully put on the Vegan-cape and ran on streets and treadmills daily for those four months, I had no idea what I had. In that one way, I'm jealous of last year me. But I wouldn't go back. Strange thing, right?
:: Madeleine asks a lot of questions. She's entering the "why" phase and I pray that Grace is abundant. I used to think that when parents let out an exasperated, "Just because", that they were cheating their children. Now, I get it. I GET IT. After the (easily) 200th question of the day, I have run out of creative answers and steam. I cross my fingers and hope that when she asks,
"What do blue lights mean?"
and I answer,
"They mean, be silly."
that she'll be ok with that and not follow it up with,
:: Christmas. I want a fat, tall blue spruce where maybe I even have to saw off the bottom of the trunk just to make it fit. I want to need a ladder to put the star on the top (though, that's not so much a stretch.)
So that's life these days, for now.