Inspired by Jen's Saint's Name Generator, I decided to pick a personal patron saint for 2013. Of course, being the complete control freak that I am, I couldn’t simply leave such a choice to chance. So, I wandered down that beautiful rabbit hole that is The Interwebs using as my search terms key words from certain areas of my life that I wanted to focus on this year, and then of course following links through to discover other saints or patronages that I had not previously considered. Late into the night I found myself reading through a description of St. Teresa of Avila. I knew her story in only the simplest of sketches and had read only her Interior Castle and even that some time ago, but as I perused the paragraphs, I found myself drawn to so many moments of her life as well as to her thoughtful, sometimes humorous, quotations that were liberally sprinkled throughout. I said a quick prayer and began writing to sort out my thoughts about asking for her intercession throughout this year and to examine why I would be interested in spending time contemplating her life and writings over the next 12 months. As it turned out, I filled nearly half of a 5” by 8.5” Moleskine notebook with ideas inspired by what little I had just read of her (much more about those musings as the year progresses). So, it seems I have my patron for 2013:
St. Teresa of Avila, Pray for Us
The first day of our new year was an auspicious start. For the first time in over a month the baby slept through the night (cue the angelic chorus and heavenly light filtering down from above!) We all slept in, and then started off the day with mass at the cathedral followed by a TexMex lunch served by Woody Harrelson’s doppelganger. Thus fortified, we headed once more into the furniture store fray (a celebration of our hard won success in a moment), then it was back home to sort through the Christmas chaos strewn through each and every room of the house. We finished our night with a delicious dinner prepared by my handsome Hubs. Heaps and heaps of what Li’l E calls “good luck food”: Chicken with black eyed peas, collard greens, and corn bread. Definitely my idea of a perfect day. I’m hoping that it sets the tone for our entire year (the day, not the food... though the food was pretty fantastic, too!)
For the past few months, I’ve been organizing my days using the lovely, little printables from Ann Voskamp who blogs at A Holy Experience. She’s such a poetic writer and prolific photographer! After reading her book, One Thousand Gifts, I was immediately inspired to jump on the Joy Dare bandwagon, though there were only a few months left of the year. I’m so excited to start from scratch this year and celebrate every day of the next 12 months with gratitude... but I digress. What I actually intended to share, before being hijacked by my own enthusiasm, was sweet Li’l E’s new interest. She has been watching me use the planning sheets day after day, and this week snuggled up next to me while I was writing out to-do’s for the day and ever so casually mentioned that she really wanted to make lists “just like that” when she was a “grown-up.” Music to this OCD mama’s ears! Why wait?! I asked if she would like a printable of her own and when she replied enthusiastically and ran to get a pencil, I pulled out a fresh sheet and handed it off to her. She worked on her list as I worked on mine and I was so tickled by what she ended up with that I just had to share it. Beautiful heart, this girl!
I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned here that we haven’t had a table to eat at in almost a month. The table that we’ve used since being married was given to us on “extended loan” by my aunt and uncle. During a fit of renovation delirium a couple of years ago, when I turned our formal dining room into a playroom (which later became my office and now serves as my husband’s recording studio) I stored the buffet and hutch at my parents’ house and moved the table into our kitchen’s breakfast nook. A couple of months ago, my parents decided that they wanted to finish out the room above the garage that had until then been used as a storage space. As we had neither desire nor space to bring the extra furniture back into our home, I let my aunt know that if they wanted to sell everything as a set, we were happy to help them load it all up and haul it to a consignment store. The Hubs and I had been discussing a new table that would better fit the space, our needs, and the style of our kitchen, so it seemed like as good a time as any to make a switch. We moved the table out and thus began the process of trying to find a new one. We went to every single furniture store and consignment shop in the city and outlying areas, dragging our reluctant girls along with us. Entire days were spent wandering showroom floors, sitting in chairs, comparing woods, and testing out butterfly wing conversions. It was pure misery. The only thing working in our favor was that the holiday necessarily involved eating many of our meals away from home with family and friends, and yet, a month without a table to gather around quickly wears thin. Finally, on the first day of the year we went to one last store, our final option in a 50 mile radius, and there it was... Our Table! As novel and fun as our “carpet” picnics were in the beginning, I think every one of us is ecstatic to finally be able to sit down (in chairs!) for a meal (at table!) again.
The table is arriving just in time because this Saturday we are having just a few people over to celebrate Li’l E’s 7th birthday. SEVEN?! I’m still reeling at the thought of having a seven year old. Not only is she acting more grown up than ever, on the morning of new year’s eve she decided that she was ready to let go of the “rapunzel hair” and have a “big girl” haircut to start the new year. At her insistence, I cut off over 6 inches of hair. Her new style looks so sweet and really does make her seem all the more grown up (“No! Put it back! She can’t look that old yet!” lamented my mom half-jokingly when she received the first post-cut pictures). Her hair appears so much thicker and healthier now, and as an added bonus: there are 6 fewer inches of tangles to contend with every morning. We are all celebrating the New Li'l E: Now with 33% Less Hair Brushing Drama!
My first book of the year is a hold-over from last year. I began it, but with all the business of the holidays, it was put on the back-burner until now. I can’t even remember how I first heard the name Katie Davis, but after some brief mention, I found her blog, marvelled at her story, bought several necklaces as Christmas presents in support of her foundation, and picked up her book, Kisses from Katie. What I’ve read is beautiful, heart-breaking, humbling, and overwhelmingly inspiring. I’m so excited to finally have time to dive back into her story, and I will definitely post a review when I come to the end.
And finally, my first music pick of 2013. I heard a single from Carla Morrison’s album Dejenme Llorar when it was first released and was positively captivated by her voice, but somehow after putting of the purchase for a more financially opportune time, I let it slip my mind. In case the title didn’t tip you off, this is “latin alternative” (in other words, gringos- it’s in Spanish). That shouldn’t even slow you down as you click your way over to iTunes to check her out. The album is full of sweetly sad melodies impeccably coupled with her hauntingly honeyed voice. It starts with a lonely bass line and ends with laughter and is worth it for every emotion elicited between the two.