home (two)

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(two) June 2003. This is the mantel in our master bedroom. Judging by the date on the photo, I’m guessing we had gone through a few rounds of baby showers and we were starting to pull things together for E’s birth in August. This crib was my baby crib, and we used it at the foot of our bed for the first six-eight weeks of her life. I was rocked in that wicker rocker as well. I love seeing the start of her library collection on the mantel; those square candles being used as bookends were from our wedding. Looking at this picture reminds me of how tiny our footprint was in our house in those early years. We were in the middle of renovating the attic at this point, and the back room on the second floor was our workshop. When I look at this photo, I think of the time the three of us shared this room – a quiet oasis from the sawdust and noise swirling around in the rest of the house.

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advent (home)  /  one

home (one)

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(one) December 2001. This is the northwest corner of the living room, where we used to put the tree before we built the bookshelves. It was our second year in this house, and our second gigantic Christmas tree. In this photo, M is holding our godson (almost two at the time) pretty high up into the air – perhaps to look at a certain ornament near the top. He’s holding his little body as stiff as a board while he is lifted. I remember those early Christmases when we celebrated with our best friends, unwrapping all of our homemade gifts. In this photo I can see the curtains my grandmother made for the front windows – a big improvement over the cardboard we had in the windows during our first Christmas in the house. That tree had about thirty-ornaments on it; the branches look so bare. He’ll be seventeen soon.

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I often feel like November flies by, and then December is here and we’re just not ready. We’ve had mixed results with advent calendars – I love the idea of counting down until Christmas, but sometimes it feels like it’s too much. But ready or not, it’s December, and I want to feel ready, prepared. Not so much in the to-do list sort of ready, but open to all the season has to offer.

I’m thinking a lot about our house these days. To be honest, I’m feeling a little nostalgic as well. I have plenty of quiet hours ahead of me this month to think about it some more, and so I’ve set aside a small little advent moment each day. No chocolates or little toys to unwrap. Just a memory from a certain corner of the house, and my heart. Few of them are tidy or neat; few are significant or momentous. All of them mean home to me.

(story)time: The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson

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The year is winding to a close, whether I’m ready for it or not. I was talking to someone the other day at the bookstore about the books I’ve read this year, and she asked me which book was the most important on that list.

I didn’t hesitate in my reply.

If you haven’t read The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson yet, I hope that you can find a place for it on your upcoming reading list. I reserved it from the library, and waited for a few weeks until a copy was available. I took my time with this book, reading just a chapter or two a night.

Isabel Wilkerson transforms the bullet point in our American History textbooks on the Great Migration into a complex telling of a movement of people from the southeastern region of the country to the northeast, the midwest, and the west coast, over the course of sixty+ years, by weaving three personal narratives from that era together into this story. Wilkerson doesn’t merely interview three people for this book, she becomes a part of their lives for the better part of a decade in their later years, listening to their stories, reading their letters, talking to their neighbors and children, driving them to doctor’s appointments and church potlucks and funerals. Each person represents a different genesis point in the south, and different times and circumstances for leaving. All of these factors dictate the course of their migration path, and understanding these forces and these paths provides a foundation for understanding so many issues and struggles of today.

I’m not a professional book reviewer, and I’ve struggled to write this post because I feared that I could not do this book justice. All I can do is speak to the way this book spoke to me on so many levels, and encourage you to add it to your reading list.

The measure of a man’s estimate of your strength,” he finally told them, “is the kind of weapons he feels that he must use in order to hold you fast in a prescribed place.”