Cleaning day(s)

I'm cleaning house today and tomorrow and thinking of a book I read a few years ago about a community of Orthodox Jews living in Tennessee. My favorite parts were just before the holidays (and it seemed like there was one around every corner), when the women busied themselves cleaning and cooking. You could feel the anticipation and excitement rising from the pages.

My heart was light as I pushed the vacuum cleaner under the crib to suck up dust bunnies and the odd silly band. I imagined my clean, peaceful house on Friday afternoon, ready for the words of prophets and apostles to echo through its halls. I thought about how messy and cluttered my life and my heart sometimes get, and how nice it is to get to cleaning day and know that everything will be put back in its place, and the floors will smell good and the bathtub will shine.

That's a nice feeling.


Evening on East

Before we left Durham we took a few minutes to right a ten-year-old wrong. Let me just sum it up by telling you that at one point on my wedding day I overheard the well-intentioned, but socially awkward photographer we had hired asking my Dad to "Please step away from the tripod, sir." The pictures were- how do I put this- devoid of any speck of artistry, interest or personality.

One day I was reflecting on this as one of the great regrets of my life (in all seriousness) and Lindsay said, in all seriousness, "Why don't you just redo them?" I had recently unearthed my wedding dress for my friend Cindy Lynn to wear at her wedding and my hair was even close to the same length it was when we got married. Why not indeed?

Melissa agreed to take the pictures, so on a sweltering night a week before we moved we reenacted our wedding day on East Campus under the magnolia trees. Even though it's not where we got married, Duke is the place where our marriage was born. We met there, made our first home there, and it felt right to be there barefoot and weighed down by white satin.

By the time I saw the pictures we were long gone to Atlanta, and the sunlight shining through the giant trees with all the memories they hold made me cry.

Then I remembered that I got to take that handsome guy in the pictures with me and I felt better.

I would follow him anywhere.


Old at last!

(Me on my twentieth, with friends Kelly and Carrie)

Today is my thirtieth birthday
. I've watched a lot of friends turn thirty over the past few years, and it never looked like very much fun. Here I am though, welcoming thirty like a new friend I already know I'm going to love. Maybe it's because I so frequently (less frequently now, come to think of it) get told I look like I'm nineteen, which would be a compliment, if it didn't imply that I'd had my first baby at age eleven, but I'm relieved to finally be able to answer: "I'm actually thirty years old thank you very much!"

I've been thinking a lot about the past decade of my life and its twists and turns...I began married life, learned to cook, became a mother, finished college, moved across the country and back again, bought a house, got a dog, raised chickens and made friends I hope I'll have forever. My twenties were full and productive, marked by constant change. Although I know there will be flux in my thirties, I'm looking forward to less of it. I want to find a place where we can put down roots, work more on becoming the mother and wife I want to be, add to our family if we feel right about it, and eventually go back to school to prepare for a career I will love and that has meaning for me. I'm sure there will be plenty of surprises along the way, but I feel like I can face them confidently, knowing I can rely on the Lord for help.

The past decade was focused on building foundations- of our family and of my own testimony of the Savior. As we sang the second verse of By Still My Soul in church today, I decided to make it my "motto" for my thirties:

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake

To guide the future, as He has the past.

Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;

All now mysterious shall be bright at last.

My experiences during my twenties have helped me develop the kind of faith that allows me to act on what I think is God's will for me. But beyond that is the kind of faith that brings peace and confidence when everything seems to be falling to pieces all around you and you forget for a moment that there is a plan and you're doing your best to follow it so everything will be okay in the end. When I look back on my thirties, I want to be able say I've got a little of that kind of faith too.


San Fran vs. Hotlanta

While the rest of my family is doing this:

...out in San Fransisco while visiting my brother and my only cousin, I just got my long run out of the way and stocked my house with bananas. We're getting ready for a visit from our very favorite people:
(minus Russ...unfortunately, because we would love to see Russ too- especially if he would make us breakfast!) The Alders are making the drive down 85, because a whole month is way too long for us to not see them! We're planning a trip to the Georgia Aquarium, dinner at our new favorite restaraunt: Farm Burger, and for Lindsay and me, a visit to Ikea. I can't tell you how much I need to just sit with my best friend, who knows me inside out, and not have to explain anything- just sit and talk, like old times. And even though I'm missing being with my family in California this weekend while they wander the Sonoma valley, I'll be with family here in Atlanta. And I won't even have to be a designated driver:).

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go clean the one bathroom that all 10 of us will be using for three days, put sheets on the guest bed, and take a nice long shower.

Happy Labor Day weekend!

P.S.- The bananas are for Carson, who is four, and loves bananas. And me- he tells me all the time. Probably because I give him bananas.