Thanksgiving 2016

I am thankful every day – for amazing family and beautiful friends, for the choices I have the privilege to make, for opportunities and new days and sunsets and ice cream and adventures and wine and every good thing in my life.  I’m not happy to be thankful.  I’m happy because I’m thankful.

And today, I’m happy to celebrate at home in the mountains.  But, you know, it’s good this holiday only comes once a year, because it’s not even noon and I’ve already eaten more than my weight in delicious things and I don’t know if I could handle this much thankful every day.

Happy Thanksgiving from our (smoky) little corner of Virginia!

Graham

Today is Graham’s birthday.

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I went to bed last night feeling like I live in a country I no longer recognize.  I was sad.  I was shocked.  My fellow Americans have elected as our leader a man who clearly views women as inferior, as objects, as fun little toys meant for his amusement.  To me, and to many American women, and humanity as a whole, his election is a frightening reminder of the ugliness and hate that festers in this great and proud nation.  He is a dangerous man.  He will be a scary leader.  And I am terrified.

As the gravity of this reality hit me last night, Graham wrapped his arms around me and reminded me that he loves me, and that I am not alone.  This morning, he made the coffee and sat with me as I stared at the wall.  Today, he will check in on me whenever he gets the chance, and he will send me interesting articles to read and funny pictures to lift my spirits.  Tonight, he will head to the grocery store so that I can spend the day with my thoughts and my blank pages and write until I feel whole again.

He will spend this day, his birthday, making me feel loved.  That is the kind of man he is.  He is kind and thoughtful, he is patient and respectful, he is empathetic and full of love and all the other good stuff that makes us human.

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Graham is a good man.  I’ve been fortunate to have many good men in my life, and he is the best of them.  I am encouraged by the strength of his character and his tireless drive to do right.  I am heartened by his genuine smile and lifted up every day by his gentle spirit.  The depth of his heart and all the love that it can hold inspires me and gives me hope for a better, brighter, happier, kinder future.  Because he is a good man, I know that my country is not lost.  It is there, in the steadiness of his temperament, the power of his convictions, and the goodness in all that he is and all that he will become.

This beautiful soul is my guiding star, and today is his day.  I am proud of Graham, proud to be his wife, and proud to call him my husband.  Happy birthday, wonderful man!  I love you.

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Election Night 2016

I voted today.

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I’m proud of my vote.  I’m also grateful I have the right to vote, and more than excited to exercise that right.  No one fought for my right to vote so that I could complain about the choices and then stay silent when it matters.  I feel a tremendous sense of responsibility to history, to my country, and to myself to stand up and be counted.  I’m fortunate to live in a great and proud nation where I have a voice, and it is a privilege to use it today.

I voted today.  I’m relieved, on the one hand, that this election season is nearly over.  On the other, I’m sad for our country.  It will take time for us to recover from the hateful, xenophobic campaign messages, from the astounding lack of kindness and empathy, that we have endured this election cycle.

I voted today.  But the picture is bigger than what happens today.  The future is not one candidate.  The future is the people of this country choosing to work together.  The future is building relationships, respecting differences, and listening, and compromising.  No one person, alone, can shoulder that burden.  No matter what happens at the end of this night, we have to wake up tomorrow morning and, as one nation, united, move forward.

Together.

Something for the Writers

Today is the first day of National Novel Writing Month.  I won’t be officially participating, but I admire those who will be, and I’m in awe of their bravery and confidence.  Hats off to those wonderful, crazy few starting the journey today.

I’ve always wanted to be a writer.  I used to write stories for my parents (scrawled in pink crayon with illustrations and morals at the end) that I’m pretty sure they’ve still got tucked away in a box somewhere.

I’ve wanted to be other things, too.  I’ve wanted to be an actress, a singer, a lawyer, a teacher, a librarian, and sometimes all of these things on the same day.

But more than anything else, I’ve always wanted to be a writer.  Even before I really knew what it meant, I wanted to be a writer.  And what does it mean, to be a writer?

Being a writer is lonely hours with a laptop or a pen and paper.  And sometimes not so lonely hours, too, because being a writer is creating new best friends every day, bringing to life on a page people you wish you knew (and some you wish you didn’t) in real life.

Being a writer is rejection and ridicule, from agents and publishers, from people you’d like to interview for a great story, from random strangers who ask what you do but really mean what (can) you do (for me), and (never, in my case, thankfully) sometimes from friends and family.

Being a writer is incredible, exhilarating achievement, because writers create something from nothing and build new worlds and new people and new life out of coffee and thin air.  It’s amazing, inspiring magic, no wand required.

Being a writer is simultaneous risk and reward, madness and genius, dark places and illumination.  Being a writer is powerful and humbling, and to walk the path of the written word is brave and bold (and crazy, and scary, and fun).

I’ve always wanted to be a writer, because I’d rather live a thousand lives than just one, and I’d rather open doors than close them, and I want to create those beautiful, heavenly little things called books, because they make life better.

So, to all those taking the first step in a journey of a thousand today, good luck, and enjoy, and make sure you’ve got plenty of coffee very close by.  And to those thinking about it, dreaming about it, and wondering when’s the right time to start, why not today, and why not now?

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