Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A Dusty Travel Journal

You know how some dates are just seared in you memory? You can't forget them no matter what. The weeks leading up to the date are full of expectation. You know something big has happened in your history, just because of the way your brain treats the date. 

Today is one of those days for me. 

Today is the 7th anniversary of this blog.

So...big deal, you say. What's that got to do with anything? 

Seven years ago, I got on a plane by myself for the first time. I'd traveled with groups before, sure. Never by myself. Never across the ocean. But now, I can't say that any more.

As the years pass, the memories start to fade. Some things I will never forget, like stepping foot in C. S. Lewis' church, seeing his home & his grave. Sitting in the warm rooms of The Bird & The Baby on a cold and rainy night.  Seeing London from the top of St. Paul's, the city stretching out as far as I could see in all directions. Attending a show at the Globe, in the freezing cold fall weather. (Honestly, I don't remember the cold; I just know it was. I remember that night and know that it was a supremely happy memory.) Feeling the breeze from the rushing train approaching the Tube platform; feeling thankful that the train had finally arrived and praying that you might actually make it to class on time. Seeing and falling in love with Scotland in a single moment. Praying desperately to God when I felt lost in the city and watching him answer in a big way. Sunday lunches with the Diamond's and friends from St. Giles. Bible study and Christmas party with the student group at KCBC.

Seven years ago, I started this small blog to keep my family and friends up to date on my life while I was in England. It's become so much more than a simple travel blog to me. Thank you for sticking around during the months I don't write and the ones that I do, for putting up with silly posts about fall weather & coffee and literature & theologically deep ones where I try to process different thoughts in my head. 

This blogging thing continues to be an adventure for me, so thank you for sticking with me. Thank you for the encouragement to keep writing and exploring things, even if it is simple every day things. Because really, the big stuff is great and memory making. But it's the every day stuff that makes life full and rich and worth getting up for in the morning. 

So here's to more coffee dates with friends, knitting projects accomplished, and half miles run with my niece. Here's to learning what it means to be content in the life you've been given but not sit back and watch it pass you by. Here's to staying out with friends and sleeping late. 

Here's to more adventures!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Starting to look like Fall...

Last week, we had a cold snap that I thought would surely put us into fall a few weeks early. For good or for ill, that was just not the case. The sun is still hot for my mid-morning jogs. We did get cooler evenings out of the deal, though. I am loving sleeping with my hand-knit jumbo blanket I made last year. Almost so much that I'm considering another blanket...clearly, I've forgotten the headache that was knitting with size 50 needles and three balls of yarn at a time. And even though the mornings would be enhanced by a hot cup of coffee...'tis the season for allergy issues. I have been coffee free for about two weeks, minus two days. It is the strangest feeling to go about my day without coffee but also a little refreshing.

Speaking of knitting (even though I don't think I've mentioned this on my blog), I've started knitting hats this year! I guess it was about two years ago that I got back into knitting. It required an online refresher course and a lot of patience with myself. I did mostly simple scarves the first year, then graduated to cable knits and complicated stitches. I did a few mug cozies last year too. I'm not a huge fan of using them but they are super cute and super easy to knit up. 
I've just finished my second hat this morning. I'm still kind of in awe that it "worked" meaning I took a ball of yarn and made A THING that is wearable. I love the excitement I get from a finished project. It's so much better than the thing I feel after my run...which is usually just pain.
My next project is a simple scarf pattern (a huge relief after the lace patterned hat) that I'm knitting as a gift. I'm hoping to be able to focus on it a bit more now that I've finished my hat.

Classes are back in session and we are almost done with week four. The students are in a bit of a fog as colds make the rounds and assignments start coming due. Our slightly archaic printers still make my life interesting. It's anyone's guess if they will all be working at any given time and if simply clearing the jam will work or if it will require a full on exorcism to get things back up and running.

I know you noticed it and no, I'm not gonna talk about it. What I DO want to talk about is that my niece (who is now THREE whole years old! Where did the time go?) ran half a mile with me last week. It was the highlight of my week (and still would have been even if I didn't get sick for three days). She was cranky, the way almost-three-year-olds get, and so I decided it was time for a run. I changed and when she saw me putting on my sneakers, she also wanted to put sneakers on. 

"Okay," I said, "Let's go get the jogging stroller." 
"Nooooo! I munna do running feet!" 

Um...okay. We hit the sidewalk and she didn't stop running. Even after we did the loop around the development. 
"Hey, we are back at the house! Are you ready to be done running?" 

She didn't answer me so much as she just kept running. Before the end of the second lap though, she was ready to be done. We took breaks and jumped some hopscotch. We raced each other to stop signs. Then she was done with everything and she became Sonora Webster and I was Redlips, her amazing diving horse. We galloped into the front yard a sweaty laughing mess. 
At dinner later that night, I thanked her for doing running feet with me and told her that I had fun being with her. She looked at me seriously and said, "Thanks, Aunt Lawa, for doing running feet and meeting our goals."

For all the cranky, she really is the most precious girl I've ever met.Every time I talk with her I can hardly believe that she was once a tiny helpless baby who loved to snuggle. Getting her to sit still eating dinner is a chore; good luck getting her to hold still long enough for a good bye hug. Even so, if you don't get a hug or a kiss, you can usually get a dragon roar from her. I'll take one of those any day.