I know I haven’t written in almost a year… that’s all I have to say about that. 


I like September.

It probably goes without saying that I like New England in September. I loved Fall in Missouri and Tennessee and Alabama, too, but Fall in Connecticut is a different category altogether.  September is the start, the slow fade at the tippy tops of trees. The maples in my yard are beginning that whispery-rustle of dropping leaves. September is the first hint of October’s brilliance.

I like the kids going back to school for a million reasons, namely this one: I’m by myself! Introverted me can hear my own thoughts, finish an entire task, choose my own adventure quiet moment. Geeky me can do ALL the nifty organizing and planning. But I also enjoy the process of choosing 1st day outfits and cleaning up the book bags and color-coding the calendar with school dates and activities. not everyone does that? what? weird. 

I like the new schedule, or the return of any schedule at all after summer lazily drifts by. The beginning of this season feels sweet and fresh. I like the chance it gives me to think about what’s important to me- where do I need a new routine? What do I need to work on, change, grow, or leave behind?  Note to self: leave behind Netflix binges on the couch, work on folding the laundry before the sock drawers are empty.

I like the transitional weather. Just past the heat of summer, before the bite of Winter hits the air. My favorite outfit is shorts with long-sleeves, which is a September staple. Cool mornings, warm afternoons, evenings outdoors by the fire pit… good, good, good.

I like that we celebrate our wedding anniversary in September. We remember the promise we made with our family and friends surrounding us, the bread and the wine (and the spider) and the rings and the kiss…


But I’ve cried more in September than most other months put together. Not just this year; as I look back, there has been a lot of sadness, grieving, fear, confusion, and pain in September. I’ve cried with friends, with family, with our nation, and by myself year after year at this time.

It has been a record month for loss and heartache over the years, and I don’t know how to hold that in tension with the fact that I just plain enjoy September.

It feels like too much- to remember the life and grieve the death of a beloved matriarch, but also to gather in celebration with the family she created and laugh together as her youngest great-grandchild happily smashes birthday cake and gives frosting covered grins. The first year and the last moment overlapping- a family circle.

It really is too much- to ache over and over for the friends carrying unimaginable sorrow and fear into this season, but to also look forward to these days with freedom to gather friends for coffee and conversation and laughter. Friendship in sacred moments of joy and sadness.

Too much- to remember the phone call, the diagnosis, the frightening and uncertain future, but to also savor the smell of fallen leaves in this morning’s misty rain and love the feel of September as I run.

It’s too much to cry and laugh in the same hour, sometimes the same breath.

September is too much, but I can’t help but like it.




sleepless things written well before sunrise

3:34 a.m.
it’s very still at this time of morning… no sound, just the occasional hum and exhale of the radiators combatting the 10 degree air seeping in through invisible cracks. sometimes the old farmhouse walls creak and settle, the sounds of a house that has held fast over time- held careful watch over many families.
the moon is brightly reflecting off the ice-blanketed snow on the lawn.  i can see to find my way across the house, turn on the coffee, round up some blankets.  
might as well warm my hands on delicious caffeinated bliss- heavily doused with dark chocolate almond milk.  it will taste like mud for the next two weeks, and i’m not going to sleep tonight. 
3:48 a.m.
getting ready for another day of chemo, another cycle of poisonous, life-saving infusions… it has the anticipation and fear of preparing for childbirth. packing a bag- the familiar and well-loved quilt, the light, refreshing snacks (frozen green grapes- do this for yourself), the distracting books and movies. we fill the waiting-days with washing sheets, stocking the pantry, planning the week to come so everything goes as smoothly as possible.  
the simultaneous ‘can i do this?‘ and ‘i must to do this‘ are alike, minus the beautifully enlarged family at the end of the labor struggle.  but maybe that, too?  if i get to stay here- if all this poison and surgery prevails- isn’t our family larger, too? so yes- i feel like i’m preparing for another day of labor:  fighting to be in the room with my babies, to complete our family of four.
3:57 a.m.
the cat is so happy that i’m up.  a little confused as to why i’m not filling his food dish, but pleased to be snuggled under blankets with me well before sunrise. the dog is sleeping and i’m struggling with jealousy.  i love to sleep, and i’m excellent at it when i’m not filled with steroids in preparation for tomorrow’s drug-fest.  
4:01 a.m.
i’ve listened to and read your many prayers, my friends and family from around the world.  you send healing, encouragement, grief, and love in your letters, gifts, and e-mails. i am filled by them. filled by Him through you.  i’ve tried to explain this before, somewhat unsuccessfully, and i doubt my sleepless, anxious, steroid-addled brain will do better this morning, but my heart will give it a try:
i don’t feel like i need to do something to enter into prayer in this season- no  formal ‘dear God, it’s me- rachel,’ no calling out for Him to come near, no A.C.T.S. (adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication for those not raised in evangelical-dom).  
i’m just lightly, constantly present with God, able to speak to Him, able to hear Truth. it’s not the same prayer as pre-September. it’s not the same place i was when Matt had cancer. and while i’m certainly not the same me, God is unchanged- just showing me His closeness in a new and precious way.
4:12 a.m.
i know that may not make sense.  i know some would like to see me doing something more- coming for prayer and anointing? asking for spiritual guidance in some way?  boldly proclaiming and claiming healing?  i am deeply thankful (on a good day) for this desire- it means love to me and my family. but all this is happening inside me… your prayers surround me and cover me with blessing. decades of your mentoring wisdom come back to me- your words floating before me when i need them most.  boldness. is there anything more bold than proclaiming to you that i am in the Lord’s presence?  my hands are shaking just knowing that Truth- even in my sick, broken body, i am with God.  i don’t know if i will be ultimately healed, though i ask for it.  but i know that i am already Healed- He does this (did it- it has happened!) the moment we see our need and trust He alone can fill it. 
this is the same as when matt was sick: 
i find again that God is enough for my need.

4:23 a.m.
oh coffee.  i will miss you.  see you in 10 days or so.