I just got home yesterday from a trip home for a friend's wedding and to spend some time with family. As usual, a few days is never enough time to make up for not getting to see each other all the time, but it is still so good.
We drank coffee with my Grandma Donna, talking about Norwegian mannerisms and the daily practice of pausing your day to enjoy a cup of coffee and a little something to eat.
I spent time at my brother's new house. Me and my family had a tour of the house and yard, and then Matt and I cooked supper together for the family. Later that night, before bed, my brother and I went on a night walk through the dewy grass and chilly air to test out headlamps and flashlights (way more fun than it sounds!)
My friend, Sarah, had a dinner cruise on a river boat for her bachelorette party. It was a bit wet, windy, blustery, and left us with messy hair and full hearts. It was the perfect way to celebrate Sarah and her almost-husband, Tom.
Other highlights from time at home:
- brunch at Hazel's NE with family (a favorite)
- Gingersnaps (one of my parents' puppies) sleeping at the foot of my bed
- touring my parent's yard—seeing the irises, hostas, ferns, pink coneflowers, and sneaking a few raspberries right out of the garden
- temperatures in 60's and 70's (so nice)
- Spyhouse coffee with my mom: cortado for me, caramel latte for her, and an almond croissant to share
- giving a quick hug to my friend Lauren (not nearly enough time together, but I simply couldn't miss out on a hug)
- talking about plans for a big upcoming trip in September that Nicholas and I are taking with my family!
And of course—the original impetus for the visit—seeing my longtime friend, Sarah, marry her sweetheart, Tom. The day was perfectly them, and perfectly lovely. I actually didn't take any pictures the whole day, and it was refreshing! I got to be there, fully present, taking it all in. As such, I had a reunion with all my dearest friends from high school (yes, we still keep in touch)! It's been some time since we've all been together, and we talked about all sorts of things, but one topic that resurface multiple times was community. As high schoolers, we shared something special, for lack of a better term. Although time has us in different life stages, we are still close-knit. I cherish these people.
Time in community and with family in Minnesota made me think of my community here in Austin, too. I've been blessed in having community around me in most life stages, this current one is no exception. And really, even though it sometimes takes work and sacrifice and always takes intentionality, I'd argue it's not optional. That is to say: worthwhile, life-giving, edifying community is something no one should be without for long. So those people who hug you just the right way and ask the right questions about your heart and are okay with silence when the moment allows? Work hard to preserve those ties. Call your parents and your brother more than you do right now (I'm writing to myself) and be intentional. The result is joy and an extended family, where true familial lines are blurred—an extended family that reaches into every hard and good part of life, knowing your heart, and taking your hand.
P.S.—coincidentally, a sweet family friend, Liz Holst, just wrote an article about establishing community/friendships with other women and how even if it takes time, it's worth the wait. Spot on, Liz. :)
Fall feels like a number of transitions, one right after the other. We are now bridging into late fall, with lots of frost in the mornings, first sightings of bare trees, and darker, cozier evenings at home. Of course, there is talk of Thanksgiving and Christmas on the horizon too, along with early preparations for those. I do tend to be swept by the momentum of this season, if I'm not careful. I'll admit that Christmas music accompanies us throughout the day sometimes, and I've already done most of our shopping, but I do want to be intentional to savor the almost-but-not-yet. To not wish away November and it's baring of trees in favor of the glow of Thanksgiving and Christmastime. There is great beauty and contentment in this month, as well. I don't want to miss it.
We've taken to a regular "cozy hike," as we've termed it. A nearly wooded path, my favorite spot for fall color, a wagon, an eager toddler, a cozy blanket, and snacks. I look for the bright red leaves, since those are a favorite for both of us. And we also look for acorns and pinecones, treasures on the ground.
I'm typically in a rush to wish away the hot days of summer, to exchange them for cozy days, sweater season, cool mornings. I'm an optimist, and that optimism frequently couples itself with being future minded. Constantly looking forward with hope, but also sometimes looking forward with misplaced longing that can inhibit me from being present. But this past weekend, the events of both days were lovely, and being present felt easy and good.