Because I know you want more cute kiddo photos, less "Deep Thoughts by Suzanne Nahay". Nothings says "Joy!" like the smile on Beck's face in some of these photos.
(above) High-fives to "HoHo" (his visit an annual tradition at the Gehret Family Christmas Party, which is held in the church basement because there are just shy of a million people in our family. Truly, it's so fun for all!). Hanging with Uncle Grant and his sweet girlfriend, Rebecca.
And tonight, on the piano, the one, the only, Beck Nahay.
Then... 'Twas the night before Christmas.
We took a spoonful of dirt from the flower beds because Beck insisted reindeer eat dirt, not carrots.
...and they apparently enjoy dog bones, too. Delicious bone for Rudolph courtesy of Sebastian.
Not your everyday cookies and milk: A green rocket in honor of my high school alma mater, of course, along with dark chocolate shortbread stars from Trader Joe's and some delicious soy milk. The note to Santa included one final plea for Beck's only wish: a "blue Mater" truck from the movie Cars. (see next photo)
This Christmas Day - one we'll never forget.
Ours was a happy little Christmas cottage, bursting at the seams with people, laughter, robots, puppies and good food (oh wait, the latter made ME burst at the seams).
but in her belly's globe that desert night the earth's
full burden swayed.
- From DESCENDING THEOLOGY: THE NATIVITY by Mary Karr
After a day full of noise -- the big, banging, beautiful noise of paper tearing, cars vrooming, blocks crashing, timers beeping, toddlers taunting and friends & family laughing -- the house is quiet. Save for the television and low grunts of the football players and occasional roars of the crowd gathered 'round, shivering and shaking against the biting night air.
I am filled with food and drink and the yearning for sleep. I am filled with gratitude. I am filled with pure, peaceful joy.
The spirit of Christmas has come upon me in so many ways this year. Through celebrations and connections with friends, old and new. In books, poetry and music. Through a renewed relationship with God and church, one that is quiet and intense, joyful and inspiring.
And through the constant love of -- and for -- husband and son. Today and everyday. What joy they give me. Our day has ended as it began. Quiet. Just the three of us. Hugging and laughing, telling stories and dreaming about what will come tomorrow.
Christmas Day may be flickering at its end, but my, the memories of my sweet son's third Christmas will endure. Photos will follow soon. Cannot wait to share the joy with you. Merry Christmas.
Since I'd elected not to attend any of the orientation or meet-and-greet sessions at my writers’ retreat this weekend, when I finally decided—three-fourths of the way in—to attend a scheduled Q&A session, I happened upon an empty meeting room. The group had apparently changed the schedule at some point, and I'd had no way of knowing. A blessing in disguise, though?
I ended up sitting alone in the pale pink-walled reading room of the café and artists’ studio at Scarritt-Bennett, which is a beautiful old campus nestled smack dab in the middle of Nashville. In the middle of a city blanketed with friends and acquaintances and people I recognize around almost every corner. But there, in that solitary space, I was alone and anonymous.
Away from my computer but still inclined to write, here is what I recorded in my notebook as I sat in that space:
A man is playing piano in the next room. Just as I was sketching out the last five chapters of my book, the music started and my eyes welled with tears. Such a perfect sound, the piano played well.
I feel God in here today.
I just stood at the front window for a few minutes, holding my white coffee mug with both hands, looking out at the old stone and brick buildings across the way, the hand-painted multi-colored rocking chairs on the front porch just outside the window and at the bright crimson berries covering the shrub just beyond. The sky above is the lightest of blues, and suspended in it is a bright white sun.
The air is cold. But clean. Crisp.
And there is solitude. A solitude I embrace despite the occasional discomfort.
At times I am tempted to run to my car, drive straight home to Beckett, lift him from his nap and hold him tight for the remainder of the day.
But I stay. I feel the gift of this solitude and this time and space in which to write. It is a gift from God. Supported by Matt. Made possible by our moms (who chipped in for the registration fee as an early Christmas surprise). And today I was bolstered by words from my dad, in a simple text message that said “You were born to write.”
I don’t know if that is true, but I do know I’d not feel fully alive if I didn’t write. So that’s why I’ve locked myself up in a 10’ x 10’ room with nothing but a bed, desk and computer. I’ve got to finish this book. And I hope I get to say that about another book and another. But one at a time, right?
Yes, this one first. Now at a little over 26,000 words. A leap from the 9,000 I had in September. Eight of fifteen (I think) chapters complete. I may even finish this before my August deadline. I hope so. Then I’ll have more time to plan and save for that precious reward.
Mm hmm... I see London. I see France. Indeed, I do. I’ve got my mind set on you.
Here's wishing you the gift of space, time & solitude, to do with which whatever you need, whatever you dream.
Two-year-old Beckett often called out, "I hold you!" And no matter where I was standing -- empty-handed at his bedside or juggling grocery bags, a laptop bag, lunch box and preschool art in our driveway -- I could not refuse him. I loved his upside-down language. And I loved being able to grant his wish. To let him hold me.
Here I look forward to sharing snapshots of Beckett's young life with family and friends - and, someday, with him. I also look forward to exploring and sharing the other things in life that beckon me to pick them up, pay them attention, carry them with me wherever I go.