Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Celebrating April.

Engagement photos. We spent an early April evening with a friend - and great photographer! - walking around our alma mater posing for pictures. It was fun, and funny (more practice at being the center of attention for a day), and we got some wonderful shots for our Save the Date and for framing. Thanks, B!

Dinner with high school friends. A couple of my high school friends have moved nearby and they had us over to dinner one night. They cooked a delicious roast chicken, rice and asparagus, and we (by "we" I mean my better cooking half) contributed a homemade apple pie. A fun night!

Final School of the Spirit retreat. It's really hard for me to believe that 11 months have passed so quickly. These five spiritual retreats - in May, July, October, January and April of the last year - and the people I've met have been such a blessing to me. The last one was perhaps the most special because of all we've been through together. I keep expecting that we'll get together again in three months. If you're in North Carolina - even if you're not - check out the Lydia Group and its amazing spiritual offerings throughout the year!

"Baby" Spin. As I've mentioned before, my favorite spin instructor loves theme classes; we've celebrated everything from Halloween to March Madness to prom while sprinting and hill-climbing on our stationary bikes. Well, we bid her farewell with a Baby Spin class at the start of the month, since her twin boys were on the way (and were actually born today!). All of the songs had - yes, you guessed it - "baby" in the lyrics. Congratulations, Julianna!

100 Years of The Davidsonian. My college newspaper, which I  always read and enjoyed, celebrated its centennial this year, and one of the events included a panel of former writers and editors, now alums. Several of them are friends and mentors of mine and many have made writing their life's work. Really enjoyable to spend an afternoon listening, learning, and catching up with folks.

Palm Sunday Stations of the Cross organ service. My friend is a phenomenal organist, and one of his many talents is taking a tune and improvising, creating an entirely new piece of music on the spot. Did I mention that he often does it in front of an audience? That's what he did on Palm Sunday, when he offered a service on the Stations of the Cross. He had a familiar Lenten/Holy Week tune for each station, and he played haunting arrangements of each. The sanctuary was silent except for the organ, for his expressive interpretations of Scripture and music. It was a moving and meditative way to begin Holy Week.

Home for Easter. Easter is one of my favorite weekends of the year, and I can't imagine spending it anywhere else besides at home with my family. We got into town in time for the powerful Good Friday service at church. We had a lot of time with family (catching up, watching "Frozen" and Braves baseball, playing with the dog), and delicious meals at my favorite spots (plus a great new taco place). I also had my first official wedding dress fitting. (As soon as she saw me, the woman said, "I can tell you're a comfort girl." She's right, of course.) Easter Sunday was glorious in weather, music and spirit. It meant a lot to me that my future in-laws came with my family to church, and brunch afterwards - a truly blended family in the making!

Lunch with our Rev. Before we hit the road on Monday, we stopped and had lunch with our dear friend who is going to perform our wedding. Jess is amazing; she lights up everything and everyone around her. She took us to a delicious pub with a rooftop patio where we sat in the shade, chatted over burgers and looked through the United Methodist Book of Worship (after so much planning for the reception, it was fun to begin thinking about the actual ceremony!).
Spending time outside. Last weekend's weather was gorgeous and I was in the thick of it (without too much sneezing, thank goodness). I spent time photographing a preschool family carnival, then the next day walked to church and back, savoring the warmth, the birds, and the lack of stress about parking. Later that day I took another walk over to Ben & Jerry's. Exercise and mint chocolate chunk ice cream - can't get much better!

Semester One is done! I submitted my last of five packets on Monday, officially completing my first semester of my MFA. All I can say is PHEW. It was a marathon of 14 books, 16 short papers, 5 process letters to my advisor, not to mention 62 pages of creative writing towards my memoir manuscript. In the next several days I'm planning to share my reading list and other observations from the semester. Now it's time for "summer" until next semester starts in July!

{Linking up with blogger Leigh Kramer for What I'm Into!}


Sarah Denley said...

My best friend has an MFA and holy hard! So congrats on semester one under your belt. And the weather- yes, so thankful for Spring finally!

Leigh Kramer said...

The Lydia Group sounds amazing. Congrats on finishing the first semester of your MFA!