#reverb14: thanks & gratitude

Thanks and Gratitude | What are you so grateful for? How did you count your blessings in 2014? I am so grateful for the summer I was able to work (write an article with colleagues), spend time with M and travel. Most of all I'm grateful for the month of July we spent housesitting. It was a time we desperately needed and though it may seem like our friends asked us to do a favor for them by housesitting, we both felt like they were offering a lifeline to us, a place to spend together, just the two of us, a much needed respite. The kindness of our friends, these in particular, always generous with their time and energy, I am continuously grateful for.

Despite the fact we got wicked sunburns, the joy of taking my father to his first NFL game in October made it worth it. I am grateful for the time I can spend with them, to know one another as adults.

My parents and I at a Bengals game in October
My parents and I at a Bengals game in October

Not one day passes when I am not more in love with M than I was the day before. She is my partner in life, my partner in adventure, in laughter, in all the tough times. There's nothing I feel like I cannot do with her in my corner.

M and I, date night in late October
M and I, date night in late October

What can I say, I love coffee.

Creme Brulee Latte

To say that I am grateful for the relationship I have with my niece would be an understatement. She is a kind of pure joy. She makes me laugh, reminds me of the importance of  impromptu dance parties, of silliness, of what it means to learn. Her excitement at the world around her is infectious. There is so much I want her to know, but mostly I want her to feel so incredibly loved because she is.


#reverb 14: home

Home | Tell us about what home meant to you this year. Are you a homebody? Did you do a renovation? Move? Redecorate? I write about home so often, about rooms, and houses, streets I remember. I have always been a nomad. I cannot know what it is like to only live in one place, though I often wonder about it, marvel even at those who grow up in a town and stay there as they make their lives. I don't necessarily think one way to live is better than another, just that my own experience is of moving around the Southeast and then through the Midwest. I also spent summers and long weekends with my grandparents and other relatives, and enjoyed traveling my family, though there is much of the country I still want to see.

Today, I live my life in between Illinois and Ohio, Alabama and the Midwest. A piece of my heart will always be in Mobile, where I went to college, where I really grew up, where I lived with my grandmother and great-grandmother, where I fell in love and had my heart broken, where I drove across the bay with windows down so I could taste the salt water on my tongue. Ever since moving to the Midwest from grad school, I have felt in-between. These feelings have become the cornerstone of much of my blogging, writing about what shapes us, and where we are from.

I wrote a bit about what home meant to me this summer. What I said then still holds true: home, I think, is fluid. It’s where the people you love are, where you find comfort and curiosity and kindness and joy. I have many places to call home, and I feel incredibly lucky that I do.

Home doesn't have to be where you were born, or grew up. I firmly believe you can grow up in many ways and thus, many places. I believe home is where you make it. I love the line from Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros: "Home is wherever I'm with you."