All Saints

As I sit here writing, November is almost half way over and, as I've said before here, I feel like Fall is the shortest and most beautiful season. In October, with days in the 80s I still cut fresh hydrangeas yet soon our home will match all the stores, in full swing of the Christmas chaos joy. But before that, we are diving in to Fall.
This season always seems so fleeting to me.  Tonight, I look on my mantle with decorations of Molly's art, I think about how much I love this season of the year a little as a metaphor for this season my life, also fleeting. 

 Fall is busy yet we find some semblance of peace in the routines we've established and squeeze in the traditions and activities.

The first Sunday of November is what this Methodist girl calls "All Saints Day." Baptists don't really call it that, but in between helping Anna Cate do her kiddo program during the service on that first Sunday in November, I noticed there was a time in the service for loved ones to be mentioned aloud.  BJ said someone mentioned his mother's name when I nudged him to say her name aloud. 

I said names in my heart on this holy day,  thinking about those departed on whom I reflect on "All Saints Days" as saints to me.  I thought of my dear Granny. 

In fleeting moments of clarity and peace with the present, I realize I am living the life I treasure about these loved ones who have gone before -- celebrating holidays, creating traditions and finding spaces of joy in the midst of the chaos.  Will my name be mentioned in the hearts of my children and grandchildren? I can assume based on the relationship, not necessarily by my actions, the answer is yes.

  While I'm certainly not a saint, I like to think the life I'm leading is holy because of these experiences I'm sharing with family and  friends. 

The Pumpkin patch:

Anna Cate (and her best friend Leana) wrapped up their first year playing softball. It was a wonderful experience and they had great coaches. 
Nana came for a visit and we enjoyed having her for a game. 

Anna Cate and I got away one Sunday afternoon for a run in my favorite place -- the Chancellorsville battlefield.  She rode her bike as I ran.  As we were "working out"  (doing air squats), we saw a couple coming to the far-off field for pictures, and I thought I'd take a cue and catch the same sunlight a professional used. 
Who needs fancy outfits? I was happy.  The picture above shows this gorgeous dark streak Anna Cate has in her hair. I honestly had never noticed it until a hair stylist pointed it out to me as a birth mark. I think it makes Anna Cate feel special. 

She is such a precious child with a dear heart that I often forget to focus on her beauty. Molly is precious, too, in her own way.  (After I typed that, she came and cuddled up next to me on the couch; I'm a sucker for cuddles)
We celebrated Halloween with the Pences. Molly's costume was centered around Luke's -- he was a bandit and she was a sherriff.
Libby was the most precious Dorothy ever to walk, and I think the whole crew should have been characters from OZ. I tried to talk Anna Cate into being Galinda, but she said, "I'm not that snooty," since I've showed her youtube clips of Wicked. She chose a mummy instead. 

The very next morning, we headed out to a day at Historic Montpelier for the  horse races with some friends. 

It is BJ's favorite day of the year and he pretty much does everything but send out the invites. 

Last weekend, Anna Cate had her first "year round" swim meet and we are so thankful she is having a good experience as well as finding success in the sport. 

Anna Cate's activities absorb a lot of our free time, and often I try to arrange for Molly to have other things to do.  One night this Fall, she spent the evening with her dear Baba.

 But when she does come along, I love watching how Molly makes friends with other children. During the swim meet, these kids built a little fort for crafts and games under the bleachers.

Molly is the youngest of this little crew and they are so sweet to her! I was so touched that Molly found a way to crawl out to cheer during her sissy's races. 

Tonight, the girls and I dipped into the Christmas season a bit as we shopped for shoe-box donations to children in war-torn countries.  While we've done these type things with Molly before, tonight was the first night I think she really "got it." She enthusiastically picked out gifts for an unknown girl, and never asked for something for herself. 
 She carefully crafted a note, asking us how to spell "I hope you enjoy these Christmas presents." She asked us how to spell "from." I think she understands how important it is to give -- to be on the other side of from. 

On the outside of the box, she drew a picture of a little girl and wrote, "I love you," and showed it to me saying, "look how sweet I am, Mommy."  It was really special and she knew how proud of her I was. I told her how we have done things like this before, but this is the first time I can see her giving heart. (When we visited a local church to help give supplies after Sandy two years ago, I remember her saying, "I don't want to give this to Jersey!!!")
These are the moment we will remember, the experiences of ordinary saints.  May I metaphorically say their names aloud in their presence now.  

As I remember those saints of my past, may I honor this circle of life by appreciating who I'm sharing my journey with now. 

All Saints’ Day 
 Grant us grace so to follow thy blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those ineffable joys which thou hast prepared for those who unfeignedly love thee.
~From the Common Book of Prayer