Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Give Thanks This Day

I keep telling Avram that I really, really love my life.

Oh, sure I have days like yesterday, when I didn't remember to take enough quarters to the laundromat, and so most of our clothes came out half wet and I strung them all over our two bedrooms and then managed to accomplish nothing else besides an unplanned nap and causing a screaming hysterical fit in Lydia because I took the wipes she had stolen for her baby. But most of the time, I really, really love my life.

I spent the last year and half in moving three times (which when I was single would have been nothing at all, but with a family and moving continents and not down the street, to me it was a very, very big deal). Also, I spent the last year and a half being pregnant, miscarrying, living with in laws in the country through a very hot Virginia summer (that was five months long), getting pregnant again, and then living in a foreign country, out in the country, during a very, very long winter, because it never warms up in England, and having no energy because of anemia, and then living with said (very nice) in-laws again. (I also like to use almost meaningless words that English teachers hate like very and really, really a very lot.)

In many ways I spent the last 18 months feeling only half alive. Telling myself I aught to value my time more, because I would only have one kid again once, and I would only have someone who makes dinner instead of me once (both my Mother-in-law and Avram through Elisheva's pregnancy), and I would only like in England once. And I did have parts I thoroughly enjoyed. But most of the last 18 months I spent desperately looking towards Settling Down. The magic day when we would live in the same place for an entire year or even more. Unpacking our belongings. Making friends that would last. Most importantly for me, when we would go to doctoral school, when we would move to Ohio, we would stay in one place, and I would love it. Going to Ohio became a mantra for me. A promised land to look forward to, flowing in my own car and belongings.

Avram tried to help me. He did help me. He reminded me that I needed to take joy in the here and now, that just moving situations would not automatically make my life perfect. I tried to follow his advice, but my time in Virginia and England always remained a sojourn to me. The only place I settled in at all at was our two respective wards, because I find as the more wards I move to that moving wards is only visiting different parts of my family - my church family that I have not yet met, but know I will love when I do.

Avram and I were married for two years before we left BYU. We've been gone from Provo almost as long as we were there as a married couple. And yet the time in Provo meant so much more to me because I gave myself to it. I decorated our walls, I walked all over the Tree streets, Indian hills and Wymount, and I became friends with Two Jacks and Lon's Cookin' Shack (can you become friends with restaurants? Yes, yes you can).

Since then I've left walls unadorned, I've spent many, many days never leaving the house at all because of either the heat and ticks or cold and damp, and because of half living off of student loans, I rarely made friends with any pub.

In many ways I've felt like my marriage, my life, my all have been somewhat on hold.

But, but (now let us get back to the whole point of this post) I really, really love my life now.

We've been in Columbus for five weeks, and I love, love, love my ward. We go on walks while I pick out my future houses I'm going to buy in a year (we even stumbled upon a neighborhood that's mere blocks from our townhome, and yet it feels like the country. It's tucked by the freeway and a large road, but it's surprisingly very quiet. It was built before subdivisions so every house is delightfully different, and resides on large, tree filled lots while multicolored leaves gently drift to the carpet of leaves below. There are no sidewalks, but also no cars pass. We saw two girls ride gently by on bikes. Neighbors were out talking to each other. I think we walked into the fifties, and I loved it.) We haven't yet made friends with restaurants, but hey, we have time.

We've been more social in the last few weeks that we were for the entire previous year and a half. I'm finally feeling like I can interact in a social situation before my rusty social skills seize up and I make a bunch of faux pas because I'm used to only interacting with my husband and the Internet while wearing pajamas.

And have I mentioned my stuff? My lovely, lovely stuff? I know that tomorrow if my house burned down and all I had was Avram, Lydia and Elisheva (and our trusty 72 hour kits because they're in our car) I'd be fine. Having said that, I sure love my stuff. I love our blanketed walls with a prayer rug, my triptych of family pictures, my Arabic hand quilted wall hangings, two of which actually say Ilrub ilalamein (the Lord is over all) and Bismallah ilrahman ilraheem (In the name of Allah, the most merciful one) but look like works of art. My Kitchenaid. Oh, how I love my kitchen aid. My shelf of beautiful books that are picked on the basis of looks alone. My pseudo Victorian standing lamp complete with hanging beads, that's from Walmart because I'm plebeian like that.

I could go one listing my beloved belongings, but I can't take pictures of them (silly lost camera battery. It's driving me crazy.), so you're bored and hence I'll move one.

Just let it be known, that although I know that one needs to be happy anywhere, and I need to bloom where I'm planted, and all that jazz, that moving to Ohio basically cured 18 months of the Blahs. Because I love my life.

Already I feel more settled in Columbus than I have for a long time. Today we went to a Metro Park, which are 15 parks that surround Columbus that are huge and have nature reserves and other activities. We went to Inniswoods, which is mostly gardens and strolled around while I marveled at the herbs and smelled every single rose bush so I could know what I someday want for my house. The weather has been perfect lately - not hot or cold, and the tall beech trees and other trees that I haven't the faintest idea of their species surrounded us in a bright spectrum of greens, golds, flaming oranges, bright yellows, intense reds. As we walked the trail I kept thinking to myself, and exclaiming out at points to Avram, that I love my life.

I once saw a Japanese film at the International Cinema at BYU about a holding place after death, where you pick one memory from your life. Then the people running the holding place help you recreate that memory, and then everyone gathers together to watch your memory in a theatre, and when the lights go up at the end of the film the person whose memory it was is gone from their seat - they've moved on to the rest of their eternity with only this one memory from their previous life. It was very International Cinema. Since then in my life I've thought a lot about what memory I would take with me if I could only have one. Today, walking with my family, surrounded by the wealth of Autumn, happy with my place and location in life, I felt so alive, so fulfilled. I could take that memory with me for eternity - it would be enough.

I love where we live. I love how all the older homes here, ours included, have marble windowsills. I love having a separate kitchen and living room, and having matching couches. I love how today my visiting teacher Sarah dropped by to meet me, and she's going to pick me and the girls up on Friday and take us to a Pumpkin Farm with other women from church and Lydia will get to pick her own pumpkin out. I've always wanted to go to a Pumpkin Farm. (And now I really, really need to find my camera).

I love Autumn. It's my favorite, favorite season. I love that Lydia's learning to play with other girls, although she still hates to share. I love that I'm going to go back to making homemade whole wheat bread this week instead of buying store-bought. My scripture study feels more alive, my interactions with Lydia feel more real. Even my continued dessert explorations are going great (I've stopped chronicling them because with out pictures it would be boring. Just know that I've made a layered birthday cake (from scratch), eclairs, and a blackberry cobbler.)

At Conference Elder Bednar talked about prayers of only gratitude. I know I should be grateful all the time anyway, but in the past week expressing prayers to Heavenly Father with only "Thank You" has been very easy. I am thankful for being in Columbus, for having a car, for our ward, for a townhome, for my lovely husband and daughters. I'm grateful for Avram's fellowship, for the Temple, for forever families, for not just having one perfect memory of today, but many memories of times past, and future memories to come, all of which I'll have forever, along with my love ones. Mostly I'm grateful to be me, to be Thora, living the life with those I love in Columbus, Ohio.


  1. Glad you are feeling settled, and that life is good. If you are ever in our neighborhood again, we'll try the bread and the desserts.

  2. I love pumpkin farms! And hayrack rides! I love Autumn! By the way, I recently made squash soup and Samuel loved it(!) Email me if you'd like the recipe. Squash is such a huge part of Autumn to me. We immediately bought another, larger squash after finishing up the soup, so we can make it again.

    I don't know if I ever mentioned this, but I have the tabletop version of your Pseudo-Victorian lamp. I bought it when I was a teenager. :D

  3. oh pookie! I love your life too! the way you write about it I can't halp it. I am so happy you are finaly feeling alive! Do you think it was really the moving to ohio or more that you just decided to be happy at the same time that you finaly moved to ohio? make sence? just curiouse! witch ever I am happy that you are happy. I love you!

  4. It is good to feel settled, to feel you can put in roots and it is good to have nature's beauties surround you. I think we sometimes minimize the importance of that in life. As we have been home hunting, I notice what a beautiful valley we live in and how exquisite the mountains are. I especially love to see the sunrise come up over the eastern mountains and then I look for homes where I could see this and home building completely ignores the physical beauty of the surroundings and just crowds the most houses possible in the least space possible with no accounting for anything else. How sad. I don't know if I can get everything I want/need in this dream house I am loitering in. I still feel the restlessness of not being settled and that is what it will take for me to settle.

  5. I am so happy you are loving life! Isn't it nice to just have that at home feeling? Having the beautiful book/friends unpacked. A joy!

    Being able to be outside without melting or freezing is a delight. Spring is nice, but Autumn is my favorite too.

  6. Im glad you are settling in so quickly. Travis and I have been married 4 years and lived 4 places this one we have been in 1.5 years now we are packing to leave, again. I was so excited to stay here in one place for so long. Now we are off to another state, to make more friends...

  7. oh, and its weird, but your blog thing to the left says that the last time I updated was 1 week ago. Ive posted 2x since then, so its not working right...

  8. um, sorry its me again... Just read more of your post. You made Eclairs? How do you do it? I want the recipe!