Around here now, my ordinary life

Tomorrow I’m going to start my first of four posts reflecting on 2015.  I know!  Already!  But with that in mind, I wanted to capture what the last few weeks have been like around here, in photographs.  Most of these images I’ve shared on Instagram (lemead) with the hashtag #everydaylife, because that’s what they are.  By photographing and memorializing the details of my regular old life in words, I hope to remember them, since I know that it’s in the grit that the glitter lives.  That was, after all the original purpose of this blog when I started it over 9 years ago.

When I was working on this post I read Katie’s gorgeous piece, Lighting Our Candles, her acknowledgment that ordinary work is a refuge, all we can do, and an occasional source of great joy.  I adored her words, and felt deeply reassured by them.  They reminded me of my own reflections from years ago that life’s quotidian demands can both hem us in and keep us together.

Katie’s post felt like an exhale, a reminder that I’m not alone, that my sense of rawness and raggedness is both internal and external, that feeling buffeted by the world these days hardly makes me insane.  So, with her words echoing in my mind and with my renewed sense that celebrating the small moments is both all I can do and simultaneously the most important thing I do, are a few scenes from around here lately.

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What a gift that Grace and Whit still enjoy reading picture books.  The Christmas Magic by Lauren Thompson and Jon Muth and The Birds of Bethlehem by Tomie dePaola are two of our very favorites.  As it very often does, reading together that night smoothed the edges of what had been a very rough day.

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We put up our tree.  As we decorated it, we discussed how some trees are decorated with beautiful, coordinated ornnaments and some are decorated with sentimental ornaments and sometimes those two things don’t coexist.  Ours is the latter, they concluded swiftly.  That’s ok by me.

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I traveled a lot for work the first couple of weeks of December, and one night I was away Matt sent me this photo of dinnertime.  I won’t lie to you: it made me cry.  But I love it, too.

Finally, some skies, because there’s no faster and surer way to bring me back to right now, to wonder and gratitude, to realizing how very full with beauty this life is.  I realize that admiring the sky doesn’t necessarily qualify as the “ordinary work” this post is meant to celebrate, but maybe, in some ways, it does?  Looking, watching, seeing, noticing: in some ways those are a big part of my everyday work.  I know that now.

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Sunset from my office, December 7, 2015.IMG_9069

Sunrise from the air between Boston and Chicago, December 9, 2015.

This is what I have.  This is what I see.  This is what I feel.  In a moment that feel so intensely dark – literally, but also metaphorically – these feel like small, small things.  But maybe they are also as big as life itself.


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7 Comments

  1. Posted December 14, 2015 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    This is the first thing I read this morning, and I loved its trajectory–starting with, in the future (tomorrow), I’m going to look back to the past of the whole year, but for now here are some closeups of inside my life and then the outside sky shots. I felt a breathless quality reading it–not sure if that was from your words or from what’s inside me. xox

    admin Reply:

    Thank you so, so much for this – I really appreciate your kind words. That trajectory was, I’ll be honest, not intentional, though it makes such sense now that you point it out!

  2. Nadine
    Posted December 14, 2015 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    I love this. I’ll be checking out these picture books, this is the first year my little guy show interest in books, although still mostly from a mechanical point of view (open – close – throw – eat).
    We put up our tree last night and it makes me insanely happy. If I leave our bedroom door open and position myself at the right angle I can see it from my bed. I love it.
    And the sky… Every morning, out of our kitchen window, I see the sun come up, and it reminds me of the beauty around.
    Have a wonderful December!

    admin Reply:

    Laughing at open-close-throw-eat!! xox

  3. Richard M Kennedy
    Posted December 14, 2015 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    The small things are the foundation of our everyday lives. Each element illuminates the simple beauty that carries us onward.

    And yes, we’re lighting quite a few candles this December to push back the darkness. We find, with light comes unanticipated joy.

    admin Reply:

    I love how you say this, about the small things being a foundation. Exactly.

  4. Posted December 14, 2015 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Beautiful pictures, all. I’m looking forward to your reflections on the year. I know they’ll give me a nudge to start thinking about how to look back on a very full — physically, mentally and emotionally — year, myself.

    (And I’m firmly in the sentimental ornament tree camp, myself.)

    admin Reply:

    Amen for sentimental (sometimes not super elegant!) ornaments. xox

  5. Posted December 14, 2015 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    You can never go wrong with Tomie dePaola.

    I look forward to your posts reflecting 2015. Those are always great.

    Paul (strugglingwriter.wordpress.com)

    admin Reply:

    Thank you so much. Mostly I’ll be reflecting on what I did and some of my favorite writing I shared over the year, but I hope there’s something of value in it. xox

  6. Posted December 14, 2015 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    Love. I think noticing is a big part of our ordinary work. xo

    admin Reply:

    Yours and mine, for sure. xox

  7. Posted December 14, 2015 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes to the softened edges of a long, hard day. Yes to the tears. Yes to the quotidian moments. And yes to the sky. Love to you all. xoxo

    admin Reply:

    Love to you, lady. xo