Changes and a new hashtag!

Hey, hey! Happy Thanksgiving!

This is a little different than my usual posts, but its because I have some news to share that I am SUPER excited about, and a tad nervous too.

I already announced it on social media, but figured maybe I should share here, for obvious reasons. On December 15th I am launching a re-design of this ol' blog. It will have a new name, new design, and new content! This has seriously been such a long time coming, and I am just so pumped about it!

In the meantime, I will continue posting here. And I would LOVE for you to follow along, if you don't already, by entering your email address in the side bar. This will enable you to receive the posts via email, as well as be the first to find out new information, and be part of upcoming GIVEAWAYS! Yes, I am not above bribery. I just prefer to call it "incentives for my lovely readers". It sounds a little less desperate and slimy. So, go ahead and subscribe. If you are on mobile, you may have to view in the web version. That is one of the issues that will be resolved with the new design launch, so yay!

The kind of good smell of rotting leaves (Part 2): unicorn fart edition

When I labeled my last post as "Part 1" I almost instantly regretted it because, well Part 1 kinda sorta insinuates that there is a Part 2 coming. I knew I had more thoughts about the idea of something dying being a beautiful act of worship, just as dead leaves offer up a fragrant offering this time of year. But, truthfully this Part 2 is harder for me to write.

I have gotten pretty okay at writing about grief and suffering. God has heaped grace upon grace on me since my dad's diagnosis of Early Onset Alzheimer's nearly 2 years ago. I have actually come to understand new shades of grace ("grace", not gray people!) as I face into suffering and grief in ways I never had to before now. He has taught me that grace isn't always glamorous, or easy. It doesn't always smell of lilacs and unicorn farts or feel like falling into a pile of soft pillows. Sometimes grace is messy and ugly (hideous even) and hard. Sometimes it smells like a bunch of crap instead of the sweet rainbow aroma that I am sure a unicorn fart smells like (disclaimer: I have never actually smelled a unicorn fart.) And sometimes those pillows are soaked in tears, because grace doesn't always feel like a soft landing. Sometimes it feels like you just crashed face first into a brick wall. And sometimes, grace doesn't feel like you are crashing, but instead it feels like you are hovering, exhausted, and will never find a safe, soft place to land.

The kind of good smell of rotting leaves (Part 1)

A couple weeks ago we were walking, all 6 of us, in our new neighborhood (well, Baby Titus had the luxury of being pushed in a stroller. That kid, 2 months old and yet to carry his own weight). There was the perfect crispness in the air, the perfect crunch of fallen leaves under our boots, the perfect melody of a dog barking at us as we passed by his yard. This dog even went so above and beyond as to chase us through piles of said leaves and nip at ankles of said boots for an entire block, while we resisted temptation to subtly kick him, hoping no one would see. Just a typical, lovely, somewhat awkward family walk.

The kids noticed a missing cat sign, which has since become a bit of an obnoxious obsession , noble charitable mission. Suddenly every cat we see might be the missing one. "No, that one has a hint of grey. The missing cat is more of a blackish-grey." Wait! Oh, no. That cat has a white dot on the very tip of its toenail. It can't be the missing one." "Look! Its the...oh no its not. Its a squirrel." Sigh. So close. But despite all the kids' training in "eye py wid my nittul eye" and all their valiant efforts, I am assuming the cat is still missing because the signs are still up. If in fact the cat has been found can someone please take the signs down, for the love of God?! Or host a block party in celebration? Or put up a new sign, saying "Gavenda kids: I have found the cat (or just given up looking). Thank you so very much everyone for all your time spent searching for my cat. I will reward you by giving you a million dollars, or ice-cream with sprinkles before dinner, whichever you prefer. "?

Other than the missing cat propaganda and the ankle biting dog (who could probably lead a search party for the cat. He was persistent enough), the kids noticed a smell in the air. When I told them it was actually the smell of dead, rotting leaves they asked "How can something dead smell so kind of good?"

That stuck me as funny. I always noticed that smell growing up. I always wondered that same thought. It is one of those things that you forget to notice as an adult, but when you do, it kind of makes you chuckle. The observations of a child. I forgot about it for a while. Then one morning, I looked out our bedroom window at the tree whose branches greet me each day. I have watched them turn from verdant green, to vibrant yellow and now they are more of a dusty brown. This particular morning I looked at the leaves and thought "Why does everything have to die? Why does everything beautiful have to become brown and shriveled and fall apart?"

I'm baaack (back again. She's back. Tell a friend)

So, I haven't written in a while. It is not just that I have been avoiding the blog; I haven't written anywhere, except in my head. There are always quips and prose and run-on sentences chock-full-a adjectives and sarcasm running around up in there. And I have missed it, terribly. More than I actually realized until lately when my very soul felt something missing. And my head is quite possibly about to explode with word/thought/sarcasm constipation. So, here I am. Writing.  I have given my brain a laxative (how's that for a word picture?!) and I am ready for the free flow of everything that's been bottled up for nearly a year. Words. Ideas. It's gonna get messy.

But then I sat and nothing happened. (I swear I did not mean for this metaphor to carry on this long.) Where do I start? I feel almost like I am at a high school reunion, with people I haven't seen in years, and I am worried that I am the fat one or the one with nothing interesting to say. Or that I am nothing like anyone remembers, or exactly the same...

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