California | celebrating 11 years later


THE BEST OF IT by Kay Ryan

However carved up

or pared down we get,

we keep on making

the best of it as though

it doesn’t matter that

our acre’s down to

a square foot. As

though our garden

could be one bean

and we’d rejoice if

it flourishes, as

though one bean

could nourish us.

Remember last summer when vine borers infested the spaghetti and butternut squash in our garden? After learning more about the bug, you took a razor blade and extracted every. single. borer. from the stems of our squash, saving most of our yield. This, Mark, is how you love people, patiently and tenderly, always dealing with the heart, even when it occasionally requires dealing with the pests in their life. And remember when you noticed Blythe self-consciously touching her then mostly green summer hair as she admired/stared at a “fancy” little girl in the store; you took both of the girls home and painted their fingernails, while you reminded them of the many ways they reveal beauty?  Or remember when you took the boys with you and your father to their first aTm football game, then let them wrestle on Kyle field afterward? This is how you love our children, watchfully anticipating the needs of their heart, while giving them experiences to enjoy with you. Remember when we were at Goat Rock Beach this summer, wrapped in our sweaters and blankets beneath the July sun, reading, lunching, and watching seals in the frigid surf? At one point, I was taking pictures near the water’s edge when a surprising, cold wave drenched me waist down.  Your love for me is like that wave, always slamming into my heart in a new, unsuspecting way. Still. Almost 11 years later.

Remember the first time we read this poetic anecdote (above), savoring its clever and hopeful imagery? Who knew it would become a picture of our current life, at times, finding ourselves relishing even the tiniest sprouts of hope as though they could nourish us for tomorrow?

Still we have

made the best of it

allowing our lives to entangle all the more, giving way to what we hold as our own —

laboring with laughter and a fool’s hope.




Thank you for these years to remember (and our 10th anniversary trip to California this last summer). I love you.

Here’s a few pictures from the trip below: 1200 miles through Northern California. Monterey to see the Langfords, Big Sur, San Francisco/Berkeley, the Sonoma Valley. Restful and lovely in every respect.  You also turned 35 this year, and although it’s not a “big” birthday, I and some of your friends/family thought you needed to be celebrated; we did this.

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  1. Love it, and love the look of the new blog!! Sorry if I’m behind, I always read through my reader, and might be behind on that:)

  2. What a beautiful expression of life being lived! Love you honey:)

  3. Perfectly expressed. I particularly love the fingernail painting. I don’t do that enough (metaphorically OR actually) with my little ladies who are not fancy.

    Have I ever told you that, just a few weeks after you and Mark met (or, met again, as was the case if I remember) he and I were having lunch in the cafeteria at UTA and I noticed he wasn’t eating and I asked why. He said something like, “I’m in love with this girl Bethany and I can’t eat because of it,” then a few weeks later, there was a ring and a proposal (I’ve forgotten the details, but there was a dock and a full moon that was obscured, and then it wasn’t–is that right?) and I assume he began to eat again.

    Is is possible that eleven years have passed?

    1. Ha! That sounds about right. He claims he never ate most delicious things before me, always so disciplined, you know. And yes, 11 years this May.

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