I come through the back door from an evening walk to find the kids noshing on shrimp alfredo. We wake early and preheat the oven for homemade bread. As the sun rises on a Saturday, puffy beignets are pulled out of hot oil and dusted with powdered sugar. My man, the chef. Courtesy of quarantine. Our lives have surely shifted over the last year. You may have once done the grocery shopping, but now your partner orders and picks up. Your spouse may have paid the monthly bills, but you took . . .
More than once, I've thought how absolutely perfect it is to be finishing my 90-day Contentment Challenge during the most gorgeous week of the year. Everything is in bloom in Virginia. The days are getting warmer but not hot. The grass is greening up but doesn't need to be cut just yet. There is more sun on my face and more Vitamin D soaking into my body. The winter doldrums have lifted in our house. We feel. . . content. In a few days, my 3-month commitment to resist spending for my . . .
Yesterday, my ten-year-old son and I finished reading the book Where the Red Fern Grows. Obviously there were tears. Side note that the book serves as a 1961 reminder of all the things you're NOT supposed to say to a child who has experienced loss, though a classic nonetheless. I had been reading it aloud to Henry for a few weeks and upon finishing, the thought came that I don't ever not want to be reading to or with my kids. What we're reading now is one of the sweetest markers of childhood and . . .
For most of my life, the word retreat has been synomynous with the church. I can't tell you how many youth group retreats I went on in high school or women's retreats I've signed up for as an adult. Graham and I even did a couples' retreat once in Seattle and fought the whole way home. So, that didn't seem to have the intended effect. As my memory serves me, these weekends away were filled with girlfriends and gab with a few speakers and group activities built in. Maybe an hour in the . . .
In January, our family visited the Blue Ridge Tunnel in Nelson County, Virginia. The old railroad tunnel, built by Irish immigrants and enslaved Americans, became operational in 1858. The tunnel cuts into greenstone, a metamorphic rock, and is a mile long hike from one end to the other with no light except a very dim outline of the exit on the other side. About a half mile into our hike, with headlamps and flashlights used as guides, the periphery faded away into darkness and my vision . . .