The full moon was last night and it was unbelievably beautiful. As I drove home, I kept chasing it, searching for it in the dark on the highway. When the bend in the highway concealed it behind the trees, from my sight, I found myself wishing the road winded after it, not away from it. A haze of wispy clouds couldn’t conceal it’s brightness last night. It made it glow all the more, every cloud nearby shimmering with its light. If the trees and hills had been snowy, evening would have been as bright as day with this January wolf moon.
With such beauty to feast on, there’s always an urge in me to share it with someone, especially my husband. I think I frightened him last week, when I called his cell during my commute home from work. “I just had to call you,” I told him, as I pulled off the highway, “Because the sunset is beautiful and I wanted to share it with you.”
It was beautiful – oranges and pinks all over the clouded skyline. And so was the moon, all evening and again in the morning at work. Beautiful, ghostly white as it rose last night and pale pink as the dawning sky this morning as it fled from the sun. I shared it with my husband when I saw him at the station and I had to point it out to my co-workers this morning, just before it dipped behind the hills for the day. Silly, in a way, because it’s just a moon. But it was so pretty, so perfect and it was a shame to ignore and miss it.
All this beauty
You might have to close your eyes
And slowly open wide
All this beauty, we traveled all night
We drank the ocean dry
And watched the sun rise
(“All this Beauty” by the Weepies)
So. Let’s go star-gazing and moon chasing, sunset-looking and sunrise-discovering. More beauty. It’s a gift waiting for us. We just have to look to see it.
(photo stolen shamelessly from my mom – apparently she was looking at it through the lense of her camera just as I was looking at it through the window at work!)
If there’s one thing I happen to have a penchant for (rather like ‘my one weakness!’ to quote someone from Larkrise to Candleford), it would be stories told in the form of letters. Correspondence, if you will. I love it. I’ve corresponded with friends since I was seven or eight, my first pen-pal being my now sister-in-law. Letters give such a glimpse into the every day life, into the stories people are living every day.
I enjoy writing them and receiving them from loved ones, and I enjoy reading letters by people I don’t even know, especially if they are telling a story. A few favorites come quickly to mind:
Whether or not you’re a huge fan of Ronald Reagan, this memoir is an adorable collection of letters written by Ronald Reagan to his wife, Nancy. It’s a poignant glimpse into the love life of this famous couple before and during their years in the White House. This book inspires me to continue writing love notes to my man.
An unusual friendship begins with the correspondence between an American and the staff of a British bookshop on Charing Cross Road in England. Set post-WWII, it’s a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the correspondents and the culture of the time. You come to care for the characters just as they come to care for each other. It has a rather bittersweet flavor to it, however; best consumed with a cup of tea.
A sweet and satisfying story told in letters exchanged between Juliet Ashton and the inhabitants of the small island of Guernsey. Also post-WWII, set in the UK. Romance. Intrigue. And a glimpse of an island held captive by the Germans during WWII. Love this book.
While the story isn’t told entirely in letter format, a good portion of it consists of letters written by Anne to her fiance, Gilbert, during the couple years of teaching before their marriage. While you can definitely tell that it was one of Montgomery’s later works in the Anne series, she’s still quite, witty and charming. I would love to have Anne’s knack for letter-writing.
What are your favorite books told in letter-format?
What a coincidence, then, that after working on it for about 3 weeks, I finally finished a letter to a friend and got it out in the mail! I think perhaps I should take a leaf out of the calendar and have it motivate me to write more letters and notes to friends. Because, after all, there is nothing more cheery than finding a friendly epistle in the mailbox amongst all the boring, mundane bills and junk mail.
I have a few posts lined up reviewing books in letter format, whether real correspondence or fictional, but in the meantime, I’m going to sign off and write a few notes and get them out in the mail to friends. 🙂 Pretty paper and fun stamps, a good pen and I’m on my way.
When was the last time you wrote or received a letter?
A handful of years ago, I bumped into the grandmother of a girlfriend at the optometrist office. It had been some time since I’d seen my friend – her granddaughter – and just as long as I’d last spoken or written to her. Life got busy for me; I had a full-time job and was going to school (albeit, very much part-time). There just wasn’t time to devote to letter-writing and friendship-maintaining, especially with friends who weren’t on the same page in life as me.
You see, this friend and I had once agreed on a few things, but very important things, at least in her book. As young teens, we thought it was a better, more godly thing for unmarried adult daughters to be stay-at-home daughters until married. Live at home. Serve their families. Honor their parents. Obey their fathers’ wishes. Stay in the hierarchy of patriarchy. This meant working outside the home was far less than ideal because by working outside the home, you were under the authority of someone who was not your father or husband.
You’ll notice the key word in the first sentence in the above paragraph. I *had* agreed with her on all this as a teenager, but when I bumped into her grandmother that day, I no longer did – as clearly evidenced by my full-time job at a local business and studies online through a local community college. I’m sure her grandmother noticed this as we chatted and got caught up on family news while sitting in the waiting room. I’m sure she must have said something to her daughter or granddaughter later, whether meant negatively or positively on her part, I’m not sure. I honestly don’t know what her opinion on women’s roles within and without the home were.
In any case, I highly doubt it was a coincidence that a few weeks later I received a parcel in the mail from this friend. No note, no letter, but there was a hard-cover copy of a book. A book I’d already read and was familiar with, having grown up in the conservative Christian home-school movement.
So Much More by Anna-Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin.
It’s probably one of Vision Forum’s best sellers and it’s earned itself a spot on my ‘disagree-with-but-keep-for-reference-only’ shelf, for many reasons. I’m not going to go into them today, but this excellent blog post explains most of the problems I have with it.
And so, the idea that when a woman works for someone else – whether male or female, Christian or non – outside of her family home is a sin, well, it’s so familiar to me, it doesn’t shock me like it would the average person. Even still, it makes me shake my head today because it is so ridiculous. I can’t believe that I drank that one as a teenager and thought it was Biblically accurate – and yet I can. I wish I hadn’t because even today I find myself sorting through ideas and thoughts that I’d discarded years ago.
Today, I’m married and working outside the home. My husband has no problem with it. I have no problem with it. The money I’m earning today is helping provide for us as we build our future home. Basically, by working outside the home, I’m being exactly what most Christians think wives should be: a help-meet. We’re a team, my husband and I. We have a combined end goal in sight: establishing our own family in our own home. A house that my husband is building. I’m not able to help out with the physical work at the moment, but I *am* able to help by earning a paycheck. I have to remind myself of this occasionally because some days I find it hard to fight the thoughts that were normal to me as a teenager.
As my co-workers and I struggle through a stressful transition in our department due to new management, I’ve found it hard to deal with the stress without wondering, “Why am I doing this to myself?” I found myself comparing my stress to the stress of many young mothers I know and feeling as though the stage of life I’m in is worthless compared to the stage of life that they are in. They’re moms; they are raising children, they are going through a stressful period of life that is worth it because children are always worth it.
Me? I’m stressed because of 12 hour work days that require loads of collection phone calls on top of my regular work.
So not as important as what my friends are doing right now in the mothering stage of life. Or is it? Isn’t every moment worth it? Isn’t every moment I work so that my husband doesn’t have to stress as much about working full-time, building the house and supporting me worth it? Is it not worth it that I’m doing the best I can right now for our family, for our situation in life right now?
What I’m doing right now is important because it’s where I’m meant to be right now. I don’t care what the Botkin sisters say. I don’t care what my old friend probably thinks – that I’m bordering on ungodly with my attitude and actions – because she doesn’t know what God’s will is for me today or tomorrow.
Today? I’m a working wife. And it is worth it because that’s what God’s called me to be right now. And that’s enough.
I bought myself a bouquet of red roses at the beginning of the week. I think there is a saying that says something about flowers and books feeding the soul. It’s true. I love the flash of crimson I glimpse out of the corner of my eye when I walk through the dining room and I love sinking my nose into a blossom for a faint scent. Faint because these roses don’t smell like the ones in my mom’s garden smell. Strong, heady and delicious in June, little blossoms that look wilder than cultivated. Those are real roses, good for feeding all senses.
But it’s winter. Mild for New England, but winter just the same and June is months away.
For now, a bouquet of roses from Aldi’s is enough.