A Full Moon in December

It has been a full week fraught with surprise, worry, and anticipation. We are near the end of our fall semester, which means tests and papers and sorting grades, and then I came down with an upper respiratory infection suddenly. (It’s not the flu, praise God. I got tested.)

And then my father had a medical emergency on the other side of the country, followed by a midnight trip to the emergency vet for Salem just last night.

So much came at us at once, and every day since Saturday has felt too heavy to carry. I’m low on sleep, so I’m pacing myself.

Then I saw the moon, and it was so bright that it lit up the entire neighborhood. For the first time in a long while, I grabbed my camera, full of inspiration. (I’ve missed that feeling, that pull to take photos and capture something in the moment. Honestly, it’s been a long time.)

Photographing the moon is tricky. You cannot rely on auto settings or a tripod. You have to know exactly how to account for distance, darkness, and the high contrast of a bright moon.

Using the Nikkor 55-200 mm lens, I set my Nikon 5300: ISO 100, shutter speed 1/125th, aperture f/8. Then I dug my elbows into my sides and snapped.

Full moon on Dec. 11, 2019, 8 p.m. EST. Nikon 5300/Nikkor 55-200 mm. Setting: ISO 100, shutter speed 1/125th, aperture f/8

It could be clearer, and, truthfully, I wish I’d captured it earlier in the night when it appeared even bigger. But, it is was it is, and I am pleased.

With Advent underway, I can’t help but feel extra pensive. More than usual, even! This is a season of waiting, but after this week, I feel like I’ve waited beyond my portion – waiting for phone calls, waiting for updates, waiting for doctors to finally work their way around to me, to my dad, to Salem.

Mercifully, this moon made me stop and take a breath. It pushed pause on my list of worries. It reminded me that there is much more going on in the world than I am privy to and still, I am not forgotten.

How Christmas is 13 days away, I cannot understand. I swear it was just Halloween. More than ever, I need to unburden our schedule and intentionally slow down. This moon was just what I needed to remind me that time doesn’t have to go by so quickly.

A Sunday afternoon of horseback riding

Last week, on the first full day with my parents, we went horseback riding. As a family we’d only been once beforehand, and Jackson did not ride his own horse. This time around, we let him have a go at riding on his own and did a great job balancing on the saddle. (Balancing and coordination are not his best skill sets!) He kept tethered to the lead horse and did a great job all around.

Jackson and TAT

Of course my animal-loving son was loving every minute.

Jeremy and his horse

A horse’s eyelashes are the most beautiful:

Equine eyelashes

Look into my camera

Petting Jeremy's horse

Chuck on his horse

Walking in a line

Riding through the creek was the best:

Through the river

We rode for an hour, which was just enough for these inexperienced bodies. The weather was perfect and the horses were precious. Such a great way to start our vacation 

Horseback riding in Philly

Summer Road Trip 2016

We got home last night from what felt like a long and short family vacation. Long in the car, short with the family. The usual.

Sunset on Friday June 24

This is how it is when you don’t live near family, or when any of your family members live near each other. My side is sprinkled across the country, primarily on the east coast, but still. Seeing my people includes long-distance travel almost every time.

But it’s worth it, you know?

Me and Mom at Hershey Park

Most of our time was spent in Philadelphia with my parents. We went horseback riding, spent an evening at Hershey Park, and Chuck and I were able to spend a whole day alone. We wandered around not knowing what to do with ourselves!

Date night in Philly

We’re home now, happy to be reunited with our home and beds and space. I missed my pets, missed my routine, and missed eating my own home-cooked meals. Vacation is always fun, but so is coming home.

Nearly home from family vacation

These are just a few photos from my phone. Sit tight for the ones from my camera. They are fabulous.

Happy 38th Anniversary!

This photo first appeared in one of their college yearbooks. It has since been photocopied and passed around the family. I adore it.

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!