1. I used to do this thing called Thursday Thirteen. (Holy cow. November 2011 was the last one I did. Time flies!) It was a great tool for releasing the hounds of radomnimity on a weekly basis, which is one reason I carried on with it long past the expiration date its originators intended. And why I am carrying on with it still. I am a "color outside the lines" rebel like that. (Let me have this delusion. I enjoy it so much.)
2. Text from my mother this morning: "I'm on the boat. Nice!" I love this woman. She is on her second big trip of the year, and has plans for at least two more between now and July. Right now, she is in Florida. She flew to Ft. Myers to visit a long time family friend, and caught a ferry there today that will deposit her in the Keys for a weekend with yet another friend. In March, she's jetting out to Arizona to visit a woman she's known for years. And come July, she is accompanying her 16 year old granddaughter on a school sponsored trip to London and Paris.
3. The fact that she is willing to swallow her fears, work up her courage, and put a foot forward into new experiences makes me so happy. I could have predicted that she would blossom into herself all the more after my father's death. It is who she is and how she's made. But you never know. After devoting every waking hour for several years to his care and attention, she could have flailed. She could have tucked into herself a bit more, weighed down by the gaping absence of need left behind. But she didn't. She picked herself up, evaluated her surroundings, and kept on living.
4. In addition to the travel, you should see what she's done to her home. It's over the top gorgeous. The woman is a whirling dervish of constant forward movement. She exhausts me and inspires me, all at once.
5. See also: how beautiful is she?!? Inside and out, I tell you what. She can drive me crazy in the confines of the mother-daughter dynamic sometimes, but she is the most lovely human being I know, hands down, bar none, zero bias involved. Ask anyone. They'll tell you the same.
6. Have you signed up at Go Mighty yet? Check it out. I'm a little in love with it right now.
7. Over the next three nights, I'm attending functions that will celebrate bits of the best my city has to offer. Tonight is a book launch soiree for the ever-amazing Emily Bennington. Tomorrow night, Affrilachian Poetess Extraordinaire Crystal Good will be hostessing a "multi-media poetry celebration event" at the Culture Center in recognition of Black History Month. And Friday night, the husband and I will don our fancy duds and partake of the first ever FeastivALL par-tay.
8. And on the seventh day - after teaching Sunday school and going to church - we rest. As God intended. Except with modern creature comforts designed to ensure we don't get too bored. Which defeats the whole day of rest point, I guess. Stuff is hard.
9. This child needs to stop growing up so fast. I swear, she looks four years old in this picture and WHAT IS THE RUSH SLOW DOWN ALREADY KTHXBAI. I need a hug.
10. Henley's parents are planning a Big Trip™ of their own, in celebration of their April anniversary. All of the globe trotting taking place around me has me itching to sketch out an itinerary of our own. For the first time in a very, very long time, there are no Significant Events on the calendar to look forward to with giddy anticipation. This needs to be fixed. Pronto.
11. I read this article sometime last year, and it got me contemplating the idea to embark on a spiritual retreat of some sort as a gift to myself on the occasion of my 50th birthday (again with this thing! what the heck?!). I have a few parameters. I want it to be a long weekend, at a place that is close enough to drive to, in an environment designed to feed and fuel my soul, offering some guided activity and lots of private alone time. So far, three options have risen to the top of the pile: 1) a retreat just down the road in Kentucky at the Abbey of Gethsemani or nearby Bethany Springs (Gethsemani is the place referenced in the article); 2) an Emmaus walk (highly recommended by friends, but maybe a little too intense for where I am? I can't decide); and 3) a long weekend at The Cove in North Carolina (the event calendar is amazing, picking when to go might be the hardest thing).
12. Aside from a couple of Emmaus walkers, I've never really discussed the idea of a spiritual retreat with anybody who has been on one before. I have some ingrained, long-held expectations about what I *hope* they are - one of which includes my belief that I will get out of whatever retreat I choose exactly what I put into the act of being there. If I'm timid or afraid, my experience will be shallow. If I'm open and receptive, my experience will be deep. If I'm able to overcome my natural inclination toward the former by actively practicing the latter? Well, the retreat will be a win in my book.
13. I wrote my first ever blog post in February of 2004. Are you kidding me?! Next year at this time, I will be remarking on ONE DECADE of tossing my litter out the window of the internets. That seems ... insane. The other day, I stumbled onto the innards of my very first Blogger blogspot blog. I honestly didn't know any remnants remained, much less an index of all 323 posts I penned in that space.
Here is one beauty from February 16, 2004:
After enduring several days of an on again/off again flirtation with Severe Winter Weather that never materialized, I awoke this morning to SUN. Wow. It's really a beautiful thing. I can feel the beginnings of a sunnier disposition rumbling about inside my core in reflective homage to Nature's brightest thing. Rumbling, mind you...not yet fully roused to alertness, but at least giving consideration to coming out of its momentary hibernation.
The silence is vast,
consuming the room
and commanding attention until
the sun peeps in the window
as if checking for slumbering souls
before shining its full brightness
to invoke an awakening.
Yeah. Well. The more things change, the more they evidently don't.
Ten years of this brilliance. What can I say?
Sorry, not sorry?
Fitting, I guess.
*Title quote courtesy of Kim Nance.