11–13 of 13 entries from the month of: November 2012

Better Things

November 9th

CS Lewis

Okay! I feel like we could all use a collective laugh around here. Anyone else? Have you been reading Mini’s blog? It’s always good for a laugh. So is Mr. CK. 

You go, you laugh. I’ve been watching a LOT of comedy this week, cheering myself up. It’s working. Thanks for hanging in there with me.



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Colorado, Community
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Mazel Tov!

November 8th

Bill and Amanda's wedding

Bill and Amanda were married last weekend. The ceremony was the most tasteful religious wedding I’ve ever attended. The programs walked those of us who weren’t familiar with Jewish wedding customs through the process. The pair added their own contemporary twists to several steps.

There wasn’t a dry eye the moment when Bill saw his bride walking down the aisle — even though they’d been together earlier in the day for the first part of the ceremony.  She has never looked more beautiful, nor Bill happier.

You know that feeling when your own happiness for your friends gets caught in your throat and you feel like spinning in circles and screaming with joy because life is just so right? That.

Bill and Amanda's wedding

As the sun set over South Mountain, we all watched as these two vowed to remain forever true to each other and God. I can’t think of a better way to spend a warm November Saturday in Phoenix. They went on to have their first dance to one of my new favorite songs. May we all be so blessed to be able to look at each other the way they do!

The only way to make this party more fun? Invite these two and let me be their third wheel:

Bill and Amanda's wedding 

I’m fairly certain Kent, Juliann and I could get in trouble, and laugh ourselves silly,  anywhere. Occasions that provide free booze and a dance floor? Well. It only gets better.

Bill and Amanda's wedding

Mavel tov, Mr. and Mrs. Mason! Wishing you a lifetime of love and happiness! (Also thanks to the father of the groom for giving Willie Nelson Mandela a shout out in his toast! Nelson’s first wedding mention! Woo!)


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Arizona, Celebrate!
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I’m not coping well.

November 5th


Black and white, but life falls somewhere in between. So rarely are experiences the “best” or “worst.” We like to dramatize and exaggerate as such, but the news smarts with the cruel, sweet truth: our worst is someone else’s dream. Our best means nothing.

My grandmother is dying. Someone I love is dying! I can’t stop it. I can’t make it better. I feel like screaming this at the highest mountain I can climb:


I’ve copied her recipes from handwritten, scribbled index cards housed in decaying three-ring binders. I’ve stolen her jewelry for moments on holidays when she’d be pleased to see me wearing it, but not too keen on me taking it home. I’ve listened to her stories and tried to replicate her cadence, word choice, kindness, smile.

My love for this woman is found in the thousand shades between. Her peanut butter chocolate balls — given Christmas morning, wrapped in in recycled cottage cheese containers. Delicious, but too big. So rich, you can’t really enjoy the entire thing without a stomach ache. Then again, this will be my first Christmas I remember without them, and I what I wouldn’t do for that sick stomach. To see that frosted-haired maven in her kitchen, plopping candies on warped cookie sheets with care. Humming along to her favorite on Lawrence Welk.

Her love for the southwest. Namely, her chunky Native American jewelry that defined her fashion for decades. The rugged three-stone rings set in sterling silver. The giant cross pendants. The cuff bracelets worn on each arm like Wonder Woman. This Pennsylvania farm girl fell in love with the desert at first sight. The pearls and other family heirlooms remained in her small cedar jewelry chest. She was known for her love of turquoise — the color of Sonoran opulence.

I think about the years I have to live and how I can do so to honor my grandmother. She wanted nothing more than to see me get married and have my own children. (To the extent of hilariously strong-arming boyfriends during holiday meals. “When are you going to make an honest woman of her? NOW is the the time!”)  If I am so lucky to share these moments with her, she won’t know. I’m left to consider what I can share with my future family to capture who she is — how very much she shaped who I am.

My Grandmother Maxine, along with my parents, gave me the opportunity to study in Mexico during high school. Spanish has given me a chance at many jobs for which I wouldn’t have otherwise been considered. Also, she’s always been a devoted pen pal. My first, second and third letter in the Peace Corps in central Africa were written by her nervous and supporting hand. The letters came with red crosses marked on the envelopes.

“No one will mess with mail sent with God’s wishes, honey.”

She taught me how to make a pie crust. How to put on make-up. How, and why, to tithe. She showed me how to love children with abandon. She epitomized frugality. To live a life as an example in loving Christ, family and community.

Today, she doesn’t know who I am. That pain is sharp. I can’t put to words how very much I miss her spirit. Or how deeply I am troubled by the change this has caused. My dad’s voice isn’t the same. His heart is heavy. My uncle is angry. I miss his quickness to make others laugh.

My reaction is ugly. I am unfairly angry with my mother, who listens with her own unabashed, patient love for her children. (Never mind she’s loved this same woman since her teens. My parent’s loss is that much sharper. Unsurmountable.)  Why I thought Grandma Max would live forever is unknown. I never thought it would be this painful.


This is how you know you’ve lived a life well loved — all are shaken by your retreat. I feel her with me. She is in my every breath and prayer. She may be in this life today, but her soul is with God.

I miss her so very much.



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