Last Sunday was exceptional in several ways, and since it was both the first day of September and the front edge of the new moon cycle, the time when we plant seeds and intentions for growth in the coming weeks, I am accepting the specialness of that one day as a gift meant to extend into the near future.
Early that morning I enjoyed an hour or so alone, reading devotionals and journaling my pre-dawn thoughts, teasing our scriptures that spoke to me.
Then I drove to a nearby park to run with some local friends, an indulgence I rarely allow myself. It was fun and sweaty and overall good for my soul. These runners are all chasing big goals, which motivates me; and they are each fascinating people, full spectrum humans who are just plain fun to talk to. If you are a runner, then you have probably experienced that strange and wonderful phenomenon of striking up deep and sudden personal conversation with the person moving in the same plane, just adjacent to your elbow. I am sure there is plenty of science and psychology to support this; all I know is that this unique shared space, the talking we do while running, is some of life’s best conversation.
Around mile 4 or 5, the group encountered a mammoth cottonwood tree, fallen from recent storms. Its trunk was maybe three feet in diameter and lying across the path. We all slowed to navigate the roadblock safely; then my new friend Lori nearly tripped on an unrelated twig. We laughed and immediately saw the connection to real life: That we can avoid the big stuff easily enough but get tripped up on the details. It was funny for a moment then the profound truth of it really stilled me.
While I was with friends, Handsome made some exciting progress on the Batmobile. If I haven’t told you yet, he is transforming a 1964 Ford Thunderbird into a real and true Batmobile for use in our Outreach events. This project deserves lots of its own posts and photos, which I will tend to soon. But for now, just know that seeing him enjoying this work is so gratifying, so heartwarming.
Midday, Handsome and I ran a few errands together and decided to swap a planned zoo date for a spontaneous bonfire gathering at the farm. We sent out a handful of invitations and gathered a few things to eat. Then we luxuriated in the cool dark of our living room until dusk, when friends started filtering in.
Two couples from different social circles plus two young adult couples (very sweet kids of our new friends Francis and Latonya) helped us fill the deck. We all nibbled on plates of food and chatted easily about everything. We learned a lot about each other, and I was amazed by the accidental chemistry of the tiny group. Don’t you love it when that happens? We meandered onto topics like religion versus spirituality and energy healing and barefoot grounding, and (my favorite topic that night) the power of music to evoke emotion and inspire us, especially during worship. The six of us adults were all from varying backgrounds. This never ceases to amaze me, how unique our upbringings can be, even as we all seem to live in this homogenous American culture. And we danced! Lynn is a professional dancer and studio owner and an excellent conversationalist, and I love her. She so generously taught me two simple foundational steps, and we practiced barefoot on the wooden deck. Later, I asked Handsome to dance with me to What a Wonderful World, and one by one each of our friends took someone’s hand. Soon everyone, of all ages, was swaying and humming under the lights. Moments like this sear into my heart’s memory in the best way.
So if all of that beauty from last Sunday could be packaged and promoted, laid as a wrapped gift at the doorstep of each new day this month, then September should be quite beautiful. We can expect movement and connection. Dancing and fireside safety of communal spirits. We can look forward to teenagers and young adults and married couples surrounding and warming our own love nest. Running with the rising sun and unexpected lessons from fallen trees, good meals and great music and attention to detail, these gifts will infuse our threshold month with beauty. Crossing over from summertime to autumn will be graceful and intentional, and for all of this I am already so grateful.
Speaking of young adults, Jocelyn will be 24 tomorrow. Every time I to speak her name or write about her, it hurts more than I expect it to. She is ok, I believe, but I miss her so much, we all do. This is not the first birthday of hers when we have been separated but this time it feels different. It feels riddled with misunderstanding, and that make the grief of apartness more difficult. They say that grief is love not yet fully expressed, and this is so true with my girls. Ever big and little things I crave to do for them or say to them, it binds up in my throat or in my belly and ferments a little. Enough has happened over the years that in grand ways I do trust that God will move in His time and even restore what the locusts have eaten away. That is an assurance that never trembles. But the aching to connect, that intense craving to share in her beautiful life and to have her share in ours, it is strong.
Happiest of birthdays, my magical girl. Thank you, friends, for sharing your love and energy with us last Sunday. The healing energy from those gatherings will carry us through, I already feel it. Happy September!
On Wednesday, the weather was cool and mild, nothing like we normally have in August in Oklahoma. Jess was at the farm recovering from the surgical eviction of her ill-fitting wisdom teeth, and Handsome was home from the Commish, cheerfully juggling all sorts of farm projects and repairs. But you know what else Wednesday was? August 28th. My sweet, strong, amazing husband’s birthday.
On that date in 1975, his Mom, natural red hair flowing almost down to her waist, gave birth to the boy that she and Harvey craved beyond cravings. They started a new chapter in the story of their blended family, quite against the odds then, and I will forever be grateful for their choices.
Because of their son, everything is better. He works hard and loves hard and kindles passionate fires with anyone who crosses his path. He cultivates progress and efficiency. He chooses joy and celebrates the big and the small victories in life. He is also the most supportive, most protective, most affectionate husband and father you can imagine. After all these years together, he often shocks me with his depth of love and compassion and ability to reflect.
Plus life with him is just plain fun.
If you know Handsome in real life, then you know he loves beaches and summertime, motionless pool days and crazy parties. You know that Halloween is his favorite holiday, but with a little encouragement he will throw himself into every other (lesser) holiday. He favors movies that make him laugh, and he saves long road trips for country music that helps him cry. He loves steak dinners and 911 hot wings and one very specific flavor of ice cream from Baskin Robbins. (Don’t bother trying to convince him of reasonable substitutes. On this point, he is quite stubborn.)
He will eat spinach salads and roasted broccoli, sometimes zucchini and Eggplant Parmesan, but don’t press him into a salad bar, okay, unless you can time travel back to before Steak and Ale went out of business. Despite his apathy for most vegetables, though, he will go to great lengths to build structures for my vegetable gardens. And he will do anything I ask or hint at to protect all our growing efforts here.
If you don’t know yet, I will tell you that his heart has been broken repeatedly. It’s because he does love so deeply. And losing people or severing relationships has injured him in awful ways. Still, he resists bitterness. He fights it actively and pours his love into new people over and over again.
Spend a little time with this man and you will sense his fascination with other cultures and belief systems. This is one of the qualities that first captured my heart years and years ago, and he continues to woo me with his open mind and natural hospitality.
Every job he does, professional, domestic, and otherwise, becomes a proving ground. Every project he tackles ends with more than outward success; he transforms the process and re-charts the path forward. It can be frustrating. Maddening. Infuriating. And always inspiring.
True to his childhood form, he treasures toys and collections, never leaving things in their boxes. He displays them. Plays with them. He watches cartoons while staying up to date on current events (he is often part of the current events). He loves dressing up in costume, and lately he has especially loved doing this for kids. His heart for children who are hurting would make his Mom and his Grandma so proud.
On our cool, quiet Wednesday, once Jess and I were home from the dentist, we ate homemade chicken and dumplings first (thin chicken soup for the oral surgery patient) then a buttery slab of shortbread apple tart (ice cream for Jess). We watched movies and had pedicures in the living room, the three of us plus Klaus, and silently missed Jocelyn but immersed ourselves in the many joys of the moment.
On Thursday, the weather grew steamy again and we ventured outside here and there. Jess was recovering beautifully, falling asleep in weird places at the drop of a hat, often mid-sentence haha! The birthday boy worked too hard but seemed happy with his progress on our deck. Eventually Alex joined us for a surprise, casual dinner, and we all simmered in love. Jess left the farm happy and healthy. Klaus pouted. I gave my husband a hard-earned massage.
There is so much more to say for his birthday, so much unending love to give and appreciation that needs to be expressed. Brandy is the backbone of our home, of his office, in many ways of our community. Nothing would be as good and safe and beautiful without him. He is my past, my present, and my future, and today more than ever I am acutely grateful for Harvey and Judy choosing to have their baby together. I am floored by how much love and teaching has built their boy into this man.
Happiest of birthdays, babe!! It is raining a monsoon as I type this, and I don’t know exactly how the rest of your week off will look, but as always we will make the very most of what gifts we are offered. Cheers to the next year of life!
Hello, I have missed this space! I have missed writing long, meandering stories about our life. I have missed connecting with you in better ways than just quick photo shares and social media “likes.” Thank you for being here with me!
All summer, technical difficulties have made blogging impossible, so I have retreated to daily pen-and-paper journaling and, actually, have enjoyed that quite a bit. But we are now on the road to electronic repair, and that feels pretty great too. So much to share! Where to begin?
Late last night, a storm blew across Oklahoma. It could have been much worse, but it was still strong enough to do real damage around the farm. Sustained, straight line winds shredded and up-ended even heavy stationary objects, and the wind also seems to have dried up all the heavy rain that fell! Our concrete was dry at 5 a.m. Weird, right? Handsome is working from home today so he can also work at home, ha.
The vegetable gardens are enjoying that exciting late summer breath of fresh air. It doesn’t happen every year, but when it does, my heart is flooded with optimism. And my brain hits overdrive just like in early spring, searching wildly for every seed that might still be planted, every beautification task that might help. For me, compost work and weeding goes a long way. I love adding straw to the beds, too, just for mulch, but the more I read about “core” gardening, a no dig method, the more I imagine this is helping next year’s harvest.
All summer we have been partying and celebrating life in a thousand gorgeous ways. Handsome and I feel super lucky to have the space and wherewithal to gather our people, feed ourselves well, and make memories left and right. Most recently, our Dunaways convened at the farm to celebrate all of our August birthdays and anniversaries. Added together, it was a raucous party for 238 years of life and love! The next morning was a sleepy Saturday. We were exhausted in the best way, just kind of sifting through cleanup and enjoying those post-party vibrations. Below you can see that Natasha, one of our barn cats, had snuck inside to feast on a mountain of leftovers. Klaus has lots of mixed feelings about that.
This summer I have been following the moon cycles more than ever before, and it has been the most delicious learning curve. Is this of interest to you? Do you want to know what I am finding out? This was first on my radar years ago with relation to gardening; then I started tracking it for personal health reasons; and in both respects I have been thrilled with new understanding. The many ways that God has designed interweaving patterns is just so beautiful to me. And understanding it all is actually helping my daily life. Amazing.
Ok friends, the sky is a dim navy blue now, plenty of light to do some evaluation of storm damage. Then I am off for a 12 or 13 mile run before some fun midweek events. I wish you the best of everything Tuesdays can offer! Thanks again for checking in. Please come back often because there is a lot to tell and even more on the horizon at the Lazy W.
“Be led by joy.
It’s the whole point.”
My blog has devolved recently from troublesome and buggy to fully down and out. If my blog were a summer garden vegetable, it would be zuchinni overtaken by squash bugs. Whithering and brown and oozing with regret. Failure. Please know that one million stories are aching to be shared; life is full to bursting around the W. I hope you’ll check in with us again soon!