Passing of time, seasons of life, the dead of winter. . .all those expressions about times in our lives find resonance in mine.  I haven't visited this space in way too long to sort out my thoughts and feelings on the happenings of our family as we journey together and in my effort to detail what's happened in our life, I think my writing experience suffers. I learned from another teacher recently to tell students not to just "data dump" in an essay with lots of facts. Rather, students should string sentences together in a meaningful way. Yet tonight, I do feel the need to get out the details and then I'll try string  all together in a meaningful way in my effort to write more often. 

The dump of details . . .

We had a lovely Christmas in Tennessee. It wasn't perfect and there was family arguments and the feeling that maybe we stayed too long, but that didn't make the time with the family any less lovely….it just made it more like family. We shared Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve (our 10th year anniversary) New Year's Day in Centerville. We squeezed in a visit with BJ's aging grandmother and my dear friend Whitney and her two children, who are exactly Anna Cate and Molly's age.  Many of the special moments I tried to capture here.

Christmas 2014 from Sarah King on Vimeo.

 It was bittersweet to leave family after we were there for so long, but we are thankful we have a full life here to which we return.  Molly loves being at Miss Diana's during the day, and I am so grateful that I often receive a text or picture from Diana of Molly's day. The one below says, "Molly, the animal whisperer."

We went out of town overnight to celebrate BJ's birthday. 

 It is so nice to have such fun friends with whom to celebrate BJ.  If you have not been to a piano bar, it is good time! We left the bar around 11:45 an the bouncer at the door said the players play until 2 am. I seriously could not fathom staying out 2 more hours, which made me feel old. 
 Meanwhile, the girls redeemed their Christmas gift from Sarah and Greg for a camping trip. 

Anna Cate, Molly, Sarah and I took the girls to a painting experience

 Anna Cate and I painted a piece together and Sarah and Molly were partners.  
I thought Molly would be more low key with Sarah. . .not so much.  Sarah got some pink on what was deemed a branch by Molly and Molly lost it. I had to take her out of the vicinity because her anger was so uncontrollable she said, "you don't know how this feels; I need a moment, so please let me cry" after I told her I was putting on the stopwatch and she had 60 seconds to cry.  She gathered herself and finished her piece.
It is so interesting, gut-wrenching and often frustrating to watch Molly deal with the world. At 4, she wants to master and understand everything and she takes it so personally when she doesn't. This week, I asked her how I can help her trust me that when I have her best interest at heart (don't open the oven; don't pick up broken glass) and listen to me; she said, "by trusting me." It will be a worthy journey with this child whose spirit seems so large.

The art turned out to be a lovely experience and while there are a lot of metaphors in the lessons of life we find in art, I like to think of Molly embodying this:

F. Scott Fitzgerald: Great art is the contempt of a great man for small art. great, contempt, man. Meetville Quotes

While many look at January and February as dreary months, our family particularly enjoys the slow times because it means BJ doesn't have to work on Saturdays.  Annually, we enjoy a delicious brunch at Marion's home whom the girls call Mum Mum. 

 Marian was a first grade teacher for decades, has 4 children and many grandchildren of her own, yet she still has the energy and spirit to welcome Anna Cate and Molly into her home and her heart. She really is amazing with them, and from a young age, both girls have always responded to her in a way that proves my hunch that children sense the authenticity of humanity in unspeakable ways.  
 She prepared a beautiful breakfast and as I wondered aloud how I was going to enter all this in MyFitness pal (a phone app that tracks calories), Molly said, "just lie." See what I mean . . kids understand what is important -- a meal with family. 
 Molly got a new comforter set since Rosie spent one too many nights on her bed and miraculously, she is sleeping all night in her own bed (Anna Cate has joined her so it is not exactly by herself).
Her reward was a movie with friends. We saw Paddington Bear -- fabulous show!!
 We worried that this January snow was the only one we were going to get, wondering if the Christmas gift of sleds was a jinx.  The girls enjoyed it anyway, and I enjoyed watching from the window.

Speaking of watching from the sideline, we went out to cheer on our dear friend Norah as she completed an ultra marathon. 
It was a beautiful winter's day and we were so glad it worked out to be there when she crossed the finish line. 
It was a beautiful winter's day and we were so glad it worked out to be there when she crossed the finish line, which really was more about supporting her journey 

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” 
I still have thoughts and experiences to flesh out and hope to write more often, but even if I don't have the time to write, I find that my mind and heart are open to the metaphors and experiences I would string together when I find the time. As always, I'm thankful for the journey and those with whom I share it. . . I just pray for the time and heart to enjoy it as I live it.

“A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.”