Thanksgiving 2019

We were happy to host family for Thanksgiving dinner, and it ended up being the first year we mixed both sides of the family. Unfortunately, Hayli couldn’t make it, but we had Tom Jr. here alongside my parents, Grandpa Thomas, and Mamaw. I was happy to cook, happy to serve, and happy to have people in our home. Of course, I was wiped out after the fact, but that’s what comes with the territory.

Mamaw was a surprise late addition to our Thanksgiving dinner, but I’ll always take what I can get when it comes to spending time with her! This photo was the only group photo I took.

The only other photo I captured from Thanksgiving was this one of my and Mamaw’s wedding rings. I never realized how similar our rings are, and in truth, this isn’t Mamaw’s original wedding band. She said they traded in her original bands for this one years ago.

My ring is on the left, hers is on the right.

We had two extra visitors for the holiday, though they didn’t join us for dinner. We were pleased to open the Hamster Hotel for our sweet friends who were traveling for a week. Thankfully, Major and Salem are uninterested in the hamsters!

Bruno is on the left and Starr is on the right.

Being nocturnal, they’d sleep all day in their cozy houses and roll around in their balls at night.

Starr is on the run!

They left this morning, and I honestly miss them.

As you can see from the photo, we’ve decorated for Christmas. This is the earliest we’ve ever put up a tree, that I can recall. Again, we’ll host family for Christmas and I couldn’t be more pleased about it. I can’t wait to have my nephews here.

We have a few more weeks of school and then we’re tapping out. We’re all exhausted and ready for a slow-down. I, especially, need to pull back and realign. I did a poor job in 2019 limiting the things I said “yes” to. I broke my own inner vows about being less busy. I got tired of hearing myself tell other people that I was too busy. It’s all so counter-productive. As I plan for the spring semester and map out story ideas for the magazine, I need to work smarter and not harder. I’m pretty sure that will be my New Year’s resolution.

Blog Challenge Day 19: Worst habits

What are my worst habits?

In the broadest terms, worrying is my worst habit. I can worry myself into a stomach ache, an acne breakout, a binge-eating session, a long run, a massive closet clean-out, or a good cry, sometimes all in the same day.

Worrying is in my blood. My Mamaw is a worrier, so is my Aunt Gloria. My father worries, my sister worries, I worry. We all worry.

Here’s a photo of worriers, taken in February:

Mamaw Gloria and me

I think Mamaw and Aunt Gloria would agree that we’d love to stop being worriers. What’s the point anyway? Does it help anything? No. Is it the best way to spend our time? No. Is it a practical way to relieve stress? Um, no.

I once read that worrying is the same as telling God, “I don’t think you can handle this stuff so I’m gonna handle it myself.” It’s a point of view that bothers me because I’ve not once been mouthy like that with God. Instead I’m always like, “GOD PLEASE HELP ME BECAUSE I JUST CAN’T.” 

And then I sit and worry. 

I have a lot of bad habits, like nit-picking and rolling my eyes and being sarcastic with my kids. I chew the inside of my mouth when I’m thinking hard about something and I forget to update the checkbook too often. I let the recycling pile up for weeks until our garage looks like a landfill. I’m terrible about replying to text messages in my brain but not actually doing them for real.

But if I could remove one bad habit from my life, it would be worrying. What a freakin’ waste of time.

A Brief Escape

I’ve been melancholy lately, so on a bit of a whim I took the boys to visit my grandmother in West Virginia this past weekend. It was a quiet couple of days and I was happy not to share her attention with other family members, which is usually the case when we gather with her around holidays. This visit was entirely my own, and after the boys went to bed, we’d stay up talking about all sort of random things – family stories, curiosities, books… There is warmth and safety at my Mamaw’s house, so when it was time to leave, I was back to being a little sad.

On Saturday morning there was a short bit of time after she left for a church conference and prior to us going to Aunt Gloria’s, so I took the opportunity to peek at the photos of my Papaw in her bedroom. He was so handsome and kind, hard working and loyal. There was only Jacob, my sister’s first-born, when he passed away, so of course he didn’t know five more great-grandsons would follow. In one of our conversations Friday night, Mamaw sighed and said, “He was so gentle.” How I wish my own children could have known him.

My Mamaw and Papaw had a real romance, one marked by letters and love notes that crossed states and continents. She still gets teary-eyed when she speaks of him, and I remember how sweetly he used to look at her. Even when I was a child and knew no such thing of romance, I knew there was a spark between them.

May we all be so blessed.

Marriage cross stitch

A New Keepsake from Mamaw

There are things that trigger memories of childhood – the random wall hanging, the collection of knick-knacks in the China cabinet, the tin ladle Papaw used to keep by the sink when he wanted a quick drink of water… No matter the house in which these trinkets sit, all it takes is a quick glimpse and I’ve all but time traveled to the Treadway farm in Meadow Bridge, West Virginia.

Yesterday I eyeballed the owl ladle rest on Mamaw’s stovetop. Today she washed it and told me to take it home. What seems like a meaningless piece of porcelain is actually quite dear to me and it will be well-used in my kitchen.