Hi there. I’m Dana.
My favorite phrase is “come on in,” which seems fitting now as I introduce myself to you.
A long time ago, when my college degree still had wet ink, I married the guy I’d known since junior high school. When I met him, he sang soprano in the school choir. I knew him before puberty, for goodness sakes. And now, after thirty-five years, we’re attempting to defy gravity as we are getting dangerously close to our parents’ ages. We live in a small town in the Texas Hill Country outside Austin with our English Mastiff named Pearl.
The guy I mentioned is Todd, and every single dream I’ve chased after, he was beside me making sure I stayed hydrated, I didn’t forget to breathe, and I didn’t forget about God. Everything most dear to me is tangled up with him—the dearest of them being our three grown kids and the two smartest, adorable, melt-me-like-butter grandbabies. They call me Dovie. They’re all the best parts of me. Some of them live really far away, and I love it when they all come home. I love cooking food with them and laughing with them. I want them to want to come see me. I want to be available for them. I want to be wise for them and learn from them at the same time. I want to stay interested and interesting so we have something to talk about besides the weather and a heart healthy diet. When I go see them, I want to leave about a half-second before I overstay my welcome.
I tell you what, though, it was rough going for a while—when they left the nest at the same time my estrogen levels were plummeting. But right there in the midst of all my carrying on, God began to show me the expanse of what’s next. We sold our farmhouse on the river and converted a brownstone into a one-bedroom loft—with a downstairs bunk room for the kids. We got rid of stuff. So much stuff. Y’all. Be not afraid! It’s good over here!
And, I know things now, too, so I write about them. Things like these.
Jesus loves us, yes he does. There is way more good in the world than bad, no matter what you hear. We were meant to love. Period. There is always light at the end of the tunnel, even when it’s a particularly long one. God really does restore the years the nasty locusts eat away. He does. If you can rummage up three bucks a day, you can fill your belly. If we must choose between going to church or being the church, we should always choose the latter. Eat fresh food. See something. People were better when phones were attached to walls. When there’s a problem, dig around a bit and I’ll bet you unearth pride. I can accomplish most anything as long as I have hairspray and a tube of lipstick. Lingering is very underrated. Our world is plagued by ills most likely curable if our homes are open, our tables are open and our hearts are open. I’m trying to do better.
For me, a day that includes even one of the following is a song of a day—combine any two and I have myself a full on rhapsody.
Drinking the coffee pot dry as I start the day with Todd. The best. I love planning adventures, riding my bike and hiking. I love late-night deep conversations on the porch with friends. I love it when guests open up my fridge and help themselves. I love phones call from the kids. I love the chaos of family on holidays. I love quiet dinners at my table with a few good friends, with music playing in the background. I love James Taylor always. I love reading frivolous things and deep things. I love giving stuff away. I love holding a sleeping grandchild. I love lingering.
I hope the minutes in my days—the good ones and bad ones—count. I use a lot of words in a day, so I pray the ones I write and speak would humor, encourage and be good company to sister and brother sojourners. The best gift of being my age is time. I keep reminding myself to bask in the possibility, immensity and grace of it.
“Let me live in a house by the side of the road where the race of men go by.
The men who are good and the men who are bad, as good and as bad as I.
I would not sit in the scorner’s seat or hurl the cynic’s ban.
Let me live in a house by the side of the road and be a friend to man”.
-Sam Walter Foss