October Joys

Curious? Check out #6!

Curious? Check out #6!

You may have noticed there haven't been many "Friday Five" posts around here recently, so I've decided to return to monthly favorites for the time being. October went by so quickly, but there were so many good moments in these 31 days. Here are a few:

1. We went to the beach! We didn't get to go on our regular trip this summer because of other exciting travel adventures, but I was hankering for the cottage and am grateful that we were able to work out our schedules to go (and celebrate our second wedding anniversary at the same time!). While we were there...

2. I took the entire four days off of social media and email, which I hadn't done in quite awhile, and it was balm for my soul. I love you people, but I get too entangled sometimes, and it was lovely to not even think about checking in. I felt healthy and inwardly clean in a different way, too.

3. I read new books! A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny (the newest Gamache mystery), Very Married by Katherine Willis Pershey (I am so glad this book exists, please read it), and A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L'Engle. The last one particularly struck me, perhaps especially while I was within my own "circle of quiet," in one of my favorite places, with my closest people, without the buzz of the world. As a writer and a seeker and a wife and a someday mother (don't read into this, people--I literally mean someday, as in I have no idea when), wondering how to hold all of those in tension, it felt like the perfect book to read, and to return to.

4. Birthday celebrations. I was born in October and so was my brother, so we had two cozy dinners at my parents' house in the middle of the month and again at the end. My mother has also begun making these phenomenal birthday cards out of old photos of us, and it's the best. Grateful for another year (and, let's face it, lots of cake).

5. Connecting with Davidson folks in Atlanta. We are Wildcats through and through, as anyone who knows us just a little bit is aware, and we got to attend two alumni events that introduced us to new Davidsonians in the area. The second was a morning spent working in a local community garden alongside the Atlanta Community Food Bank, which was a lot of fun, hard work, and quite satisfying to see the end result (and to enjoy some fried chicken at Paschal's afterwards).

6. Speaking of Davidson, we went up to the actual Exit 30 for one weekend, which was (predictably) lovely in every way, weather included (it actually felt like fall, wish Atlanta would catch the hint!). We got there around 10 a.m. on Saturday, hightailed it immediately to our favorite breakfast spot (that isn't our dining room table), went to the farmer's market, watched the 'Cats' annual Red & Black scrimmage, met up with lots of friends, walked our favorite black lab, finally ate at nationally-renowned Kindred, and... I participated in a reading with my old writing workshop peers at the Warehouse Performing Arts Center in Cornelius. My teacher and mentor Gilda graciously invited me back to take part, and boy was it great fun, and so meaningful. Eleven folks read original pieces of memoir, and it was such a reminder of why I love personal writing, and how it can move so deeply in our lives, both writer and reader/hearer. And for me, the most meaningful part was that several dear North Carolina friends came to support me. It was a wonderfully special evening.

(And then we watched the Cubs win the pennant and the next morning we went to our favorite breakfast place one more time and then headed back to ATL. There are always mixed feelings, but mine is primarily gratitude that our two places are less than half a day's drive away from one another. And yet, we always have to choose.)

7. Clint read in Atlanta! For those of you who don't know my college classmate Clint Smith, let me introduce you. Go to his website and check out his tour dates, watch his TED Talk, buy and read his new book of poetry, Counting Descent. It was a gift to sit outside on a warm (sigh) evening at A Cappella Books and listen to his poems and his reflections about so many relevant pieces of our country's history and current situation. He's an inspiration. Speaking of which...

8. ...My reading in Cornelius, plus listening to/talking with Clint, were the final straws, as it were, that helped me open up my memoir manuscript that I wrote for my MFA program and haven't really touched since January. I think it's good that I've taken that time away, but I also feel like I have something to create (or finish creating, make better), and I've been too afraid? undisciplined? busy? to bring it back to the forefront. So I'm doing my best. And you may not see me around here as much until it's done (or you may, if I'm procrastinating). But I want this to be something, and it's not going to be until I take action.

9. I got to take a work field trip! I drove up to Emory's Oxford College campus last week for research on a feature story, and got to shadow a class visiting the school's organic farm. It was fun and refreshing to be on a small college campus and watch the kids (yes, that's how I think of them now) experience the afternoon. I wish I could have spent more time there--it's where my great-grandfather started school at Emory (back when this was the only campus) in the early 1900s.

10. We had a delicious staff potluck last Friday, which was a great way to kick off the weekend. Fellowship, food, and Friday -- hard to beat that combination.

Finally, I wanted to share this article that I stumbled across today, the first day of a new month, on tuning out technology to tune in God. And I'm going to try it. Join me?

What about you? What were your favorite moments in October? Anyone else waiting for it to actually feel like November, temps-wise?