tiny, tender mercies


woof. i had a really rough weekend (after a wild busy week). to be candid, i kind of hit rock bottom. now it's time to start climbing out.

i've found that in hard times (which are such a rich part of this beautiful life), i have a greater sensitivity to and reception of tiny, tender mercies - little, seemingly random tidbits that pop up and glow amidst darkness.

yesterday morning, i woke up after not much sleep due to intense distress in the wee hours, and saw snow - legit, heavy, snow - out the window. i really needed something to make me feel giddy happiness, and those ice crystals falling from the air fit the bill just perfectly. snow is very rare in london - i mentioned in my last post that i saw some a few days ago in mayfair, but it was really wimpy and temporary compared to what came from heaven yesterday - and i was just so excited. and i got to share that excitement with my little mo and my niece who is visiting from switzerland! (oh, and ian and my brother, too :) )

this morning, i went to a yoga class. it was so good for my body and spirit. during savasana (the final relaxation pose in most yoga practices), the instructor turned on a very specific song that is tied to really, really beautiful memories for me. i laid on my mat and let tears roll down the side of my face and into my ears. they weren't sad tears; they were wonderful cleansing tears. something about that song (i started to connect with it many years ago - it's the music in a video i posted back here) made my heart gleam in just the way i needed.

can you notice a tiny, tender mercy in your life today?

ps. yes, we know the gender of our baby! we are excited to share this news soon. and baby is perfectly healthy and well and active - we are so grateful. 
{artwork by my always favourite, caitlin connolly. this piece is called "detangling my mind, in process."

it's beginning to look a lot like...


… c h r i s t m a s ! ! !

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yes! yay! it is officially, officially christmastime - hurrah! last saturday ian, moses and i picked up and set up our (spectacular, might I say) christmas tree and it is shining brightly in our flat. and little mo and I have been scouring the city for festivity (which is actually very easily found) every day since thanksgiving. i am convinced that there is no place on earth like london at christmastime. it is, truly, magical.

(btw, i am going to put together a post in the next couple weeks with all my favourite christmassy spots around london. hopefully it is helpful for any one who visits the city during the holidays!)

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^^ at the christmas tree lot, and carrying the nine foot nordman fir to the tube station! ^^
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^^ you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do. taking our huge tree on the tube was definitely a memorable adventure :) ^^
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^^ unveiling her in her perfect bay window home … and slowly decorating her over the course of a few days… ^^
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^^ christmas in the flat and christmas in the neighborhood! ^^
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every time moses sees any kind of christmas decoration around london, he puts his hands in the air and hollers “yeeaaaaah!” he does the same thing every morning when we turn on the christmas tree lights. it is the best! he definitely inherited my fanatically-crazy-for-christmas gene.
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^^ if you look really closely in these two pictures you can see … s n o w … !!!!! it hardly ever snows in london, but just this morning while moses and i were walking down regent street, legit snowflakes started flurrying around. i was seriously so giddy. and so were many other people on the street - it was so fun! the snow lasted for about twenty minutes and i could not contain my excitement. what a thrill. ^^

happy christmastime to all! i am off to work on christmas cards and christmas presents - lots to get done during nap time these days!

giving thanks


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i am in love with thanksgiving. and it’s kind of tricky to celebrate that glorious holiday living across the wide ocean from america, far away from family members and cultural traditions. but i make it happen … because taking some to express extra gratitude and gather with loved ones and eat turkey and stuffing is important! 

last thursday morning i woke up with a glowing heart and racing mind - it was thanksgiving day! moses and I made a little turkey hat and cut out the rest of the orange and yellow leaves for our family thankful tree before ian left for work. and then i spent a good chunk of the day in my tiny kitchen preparing a modified feast and thinking about alllll the things i have to be thankful for. ian was able to come home from work a bit early (even though this month is by far the busiest time of the year for his team) and we had a makeshift thanksgiving dinner - a layered mashed potato/gravy/turkey/stuffing/cranberry casserole, some sweet potatoes and some green beans. 

on saturday we were so blessed to have a full, proper thanksgiving feast with loved ones. amy and rob and their four girls are our family in england, and we love them so much. i’ve known amy since the day i was born (literally) - she’s essentially my sister - and we adore her husband and daughters. the three of us wrights, the missionaries serving in amy and rob’s area, and a couple of other american families were invited to a thanksgiving celebration together in amy and rob’s new house (they just moved last month from a different house nearby) in the village of writtle, northeast of london. it was cozy and hearty and wonderful

so it was really a splendid thanksgiving weekend for us here across the pond! 

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^^ our little turkey mo … always looking out the back window trying to find the neighbor’s cat! ^^
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^^ i have to say, that layered casserole was actually bomb! all the flavors of thanksgiving in 1/10the the time/effort - win! ^^
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^^ this was a self-timer shot taken from the top of the couch … and instead of our faces being in focus, our cans of root beer are. oh well - they were the most relished and treasured part of the meal, so i guess the focus on them is appropriate! a&w is not easy to come by in this country, and i figured it would be a perfect uniquely american touch for our little thanksgiving dinner :) ^^
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^^ some pretty, late autumn scenes around the neighborhorhood from friday. ^^
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^^ love love love all of these faces! and i am obsessed with amy and rob’s new house. ^^
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^^ all the good stuff! ^^
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^^ thanksgiving sunset captured from out amy and rob’s back window. their place feels so isolated in the countryside even though it’s not far from london (and really close to the large town of chelmsford). ^^

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oh! also! the sunday before thanksgiving we gathered with a bunch of friends for a pie party! 

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it was a happy thanksgiving!!! soooo much to be thankful for. 
and now … on to christmas (yay yay yay YAY!)! 

the bold blaze in your depths


rejoice over everything. 

exult. exhilarate. 
be glad. be delighted, elated, and bowled over with joy!

frolic freely, hop, hope, dance on the dare, cheer, champion the little ones, revel in the riotous light.

invoke god without ceasing. pray with passion. whatever you do, do not quench the spirit.

take care not to douse or dampen the bold blaze in your depths. 
jump into life. hold fast to it.

give thanks for everything. 
for everything, even the most misshapen and misunderstood,
is the disguise of the divine. 

-susan virginia hull

this morning i opened up my facebook app and it told me that i had posted the words above six years ago, on thanksgiving day 2011. and that little notification was a big tender mercy for me. i needed the reminder - the reminder of who i am, of what i believe, that i should to exult, that i should hope.

real talk: i've been sad lately. i'm struggling with some things that are deep and difficult. i often feel a bit silly for struggling with the things that i do, given how outrageously blessed and privileged i am. (plus, i recognize that my emotions are intensified by pregnancy hormones!) but my pain is legitimate; it is real and wide for me. i've been working a bit with a therapist and trying to learn about myself and create some changes. it's hard work, but i can see how it is beautiful work. i believe in its fruits. the struggle is the disguise of the divine. there will be beauty for ashes.

and amidst the peppering of significant struggle, there is so much happiness in my life. i'm so grateful for moses, who reminds me every day to frolic freely and be delighted and elated. seriously, this kid is bowled over with joy by the simplest things, every single day. i think these couple of pictures capture how he exudes wonder and gladness and how it is contagious for ian and i! (and they are a  sneak peek of our christmas card photos!)

i'm remembering the bold blaze in my depths and continuing to focus on gratitude. life is really beautiful, in all its shades of good and hard.