Wednesday, July 8, 2009



Snapshot of the Day has MOVED! I have consolidated my once divided interests into a cohesive and what I hope is a more professional package. Please, please, please come visit me at my new home!!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

on the road

Pull over, pull over! they squealed - our four squirmy, sweaty, agonizingly bored children desperate for a break from the nausea inducing monotony of a seven-hour car ride - when they spotted an outstretched thumb by the side of the road. He was on his his way to Chicago, just him, his Martin guitar, and his glassy-eyed dog, hoping to carve out a modest career for himself in that big ole windy city where good music (not that canned and contrived "top 40" drivel) still means something. It'd be way cool of you to help me out, he said. 

Next thing I knew, we were shoving Arthur books and piles of Goldfish cracker crumbs off of the only seat available. Sorry for the mess, I told him. What's your name? Where are you from? Our bearded and mysterious hitchhiker replied only in riddles. I am every man. I am light born of darkness.  I'm still searching for my birthplace in this land of anonymity and endless pasts. 

He was hard to read, impossible to summarize and yet each of us, from my husband on down to little Mary, saw a bit of ourselves in that calloused-footed stranger. We traveled for hours in comfortable, contemplative silence until all too soon a steel and glass embedded skyline seemed to rise majestically, instantaneously, from the asphalt. Drop me anywhere, he told us confidently. Every street is paved with enlightenment. Troy pulled our van up to a curb outside a diner. Well, It's been real, he offered finally, sincerely, almost gratefully after a long and pregnant pause. Then just like that (poof!), to our astonishment ... he was gone. 

Yesterday, I heard a melody soft and entrancing on the radio. It stopped me dead in my tracks, pierced my soul. I waited breathlessly for the morning DJ to announce the name of the title and artist. Could it be? I wondered anxiously before impulsively turning the volume down quickly to zero. I would choose to believe so, to preserve my image of him as a noble wanderer born to fly up from out of the ashes - to let the memory of that encounter (our brush with greatness? madness? genius?) serenade me ever more. Oh, what a song! 

O.K. O.K. so maybe we were really just giving Troy's cousin, ERIK, a lift to a nearby coffee shop but that photo, I think, deserved a bigger and better narrative. 

How silly am I? : )


Sunday, June 28, 2009 which the Sabourins take a vacation

So I honestly did not anticipate how thoroughly I would enjoy getting away, out in nature, for a full week with my family. Troy grew up vacationing in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where in summer the days are long, the lake water cool and kids roam free on bikes, scooters and skateboards throughout their neighborhoods. I can see now why he, why anyone for that matter, would get the urge to leave behind television, Internet, cell phone coverage and head North. 

We stayed at his late grandparent's house, which is now mostly empty save for a couple of beds, arm chairs, pots and pans and a coffee maker (whew!). We bought groceries on an "as needed" basis. We read, played board games, took long walks, went on field trips and actually rested - really and truly relaxed. More than once I awoke in the middle of the night, snuggled up close to my peacefully sleeping husband, and simply relished in the light breeze pouring in through our window and in the knowledge that we had nowhere to be at any certain time, nothing pressing or urgent to rush out of bed first thing in the morning for.

We are stuffed, filled to the brim with pizza and ice cream, ice cream and pizza. Tomorrow, later today even, we will hit the ground running but with a little less harried perspective and seven days worth of new and fantastic memories binding the six of us just that much more intimately one to another. 

Thursday, June 18, 2009

let go



Last year my excuse was the book and the fact that I'd started homeschooling my children. I was legitimately super busy and cut myself some much needed slack in order to accomplish two very significant undertakings, reminding myself all the while that the resulting chaos would only be temporary. It dawned on me, however, while in Indianapolis (see previous post) that although Close to Home was published in March and the school year was basically over, I was still living by the seat of my pants and not in an endearing, "wow, she's so laid back," kind of way.  

The truth is, I'd developed some pretty debilitating habits involving procrastination and impulse shopping (at thrift stores and garage sales) as a way to relieve stress. I was forgetting important dates, scrambling to find things (keys, cell phone, swim goggles, etc.) on a regular basis and filling our house with s-t-u-f-f. I felt like the walls were closing in on me and that for Troy's sake (who wants to come home every night to a distracted and frazzled spouse?), for the children's sake (what kind of an example was I setting?) and for my sake (clutter heightens my anxiety, keeps me gazing over yonder where the grass is always greener,  makes me grumpy) it was time I let go of what was holding me back from becoming a deliberate manager of my home instead of a helpless and unwitting victim of circumstance, blown here and there and everywhere by my whims and feelings of guilt, even shame and dissatisfaction.

So I started with the kitchen. For eight whole hours I went through drawers and cabinets and each and every shelf, tossing expired spices and throwing all kinds of duplicate gadgets, plastic cereal bowls, never used linens, etc., etc., etc,. in big "donate" boxes. I thinned out my possessions, keeping only what was necessary until some semblance of order began to emerge - until everything had a place. I scrubbed the baseboards, dusted the ceiling fan, wiped down the appliances until I could barely move due to so much sweat and grime and soreness. For nearly a week, I did this daily from early in the morning till often past midnight. Not one cranny of this old house escaped my scrutiny. 

My parents, bless their hearts, came to help out with the basement. It was a monumental job as  for years it had been our dumping ground. Every time I went down with the laundry the sheer volume of junk overwhelmed me. When it too was finally emptied, and cleaned and sorted through, I teared up in relief. As each room was scoured and gutted of excess, I began to fall in love all over again with our sweet home. Our garage is full now, and I mean FULL of bags and toys and even furniture. I keep taking loads to our local resale shop whenever I'm out running errands. 

Although it was grueling (I won't lie), simplifying our lives by getting rid of all the "extras" has been extraordinarily satisfying. Troy is happy. I am elated. The kids, who initially mourned the loss of their 5,000 stuffed animals, board games with missing pieces, mildewed train tracks, and torn dress-up clothes have come around, thanks to their easy to keep clean bedrooms, the rediscovery of treasured items they'd totally forgotten about (having been long ago buried at the bottom of their toy chest), and our decision to encourage our kids to get outside and play by going in with our neighbor on THIS!

This Saturday, we leave for vacation and I will, for once, be able to drive away without carrying the mental burden of knowing I've  left a mess behind. Less is more, so so much more. May God give me the strength and discipline to think twice before hitting clearance sales or letting the clutter breed and multiply. For me, it is a quality of life issue and am I tired of being inhibited by my lust for things and negligence.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

baby, baby, sweet baby

Jennifer announced to us she was pregnant on the first night of our wine tasting trip last October. We were over the top excited for her and anxious, even then, to meet the teeny tiny somebody for whose sake she was guzzling sparkling juice instead of Merlot, Chablis and Cabernet like the rest of us. To say that for the following nine months Jen was a "trooper" would be an understatement. Since we'd seen her last, our dear Jennifer had endured months of bed rest, countless uncomfortable and intrusive exams and then finally an intense delivery, via c-section, weeks earlier than expected. Beth, Paige and I were desperate to help in any way we could. 

Two weekends ago, the three of, plus one Benjamin, packed up Beth's car and drove to Indianapolis. The Larsens (Jennifer, Nathan, their son, Owen, and now one Thatcher Finnegan "baby Finn") live in a way cool section of the city where neighbors take great pride in their historic bungalows and carefully manicured lawns. Jennifer's own charming house is drenched in warmth and character, in the same delightful, eclectic style she's brought to every dorm room and apartment she's ever inhabited. "Where are you going to put that big, red Lobster?" I asked her recently, when we were shopping for antiques and quirky, vintage home decor. "It will go great in Owen's room," she told me. And it does (see above). And I adore that she is completely unafraid to display what makes her happy, including the awesome crafty cut-outs she and Owen and our friend, Kara, made out of xerox copied photos of Owen's and Kara's (from a high school prom picture) heads attached to paper bodies. Aren't they precious?

Finn, well he's just the cutest little thing. After forcing Jennifer upstairs to rest and catch up on some sleep, Paige, Beth and I took turns rocking, changing, feeding and inhaling him - all seven some pounds worth of soft and dainty sweetness. It was wonderfully relaxing to be together like that, cleaning someone else's house, staying up late and talking. I hadn't realized how in need I was of a get away. I came home refreshed and determined to make some changes - changes I'll expand upon in my next post. We're growing always, all of us, always adjusting to new stages. There's always, every day, something significant to discover about yourself, your kids, friendship, love, and faith, of course faith - pulsating, woven tightly, in and throughout all of it. The older I get, the less I claim to be absolutely certain of.  Mystery, the Mystery, is bigger, broader, holier, more breath taking, more demanding, more incomprehensible and yet, at the same time, more accessible than I ever, in the past, ever, ever imagined possible. New life has a way of peeling back, just a bit, the cloudy veil of earthly now-ness revealing the brightness of what could be, what should be, what IS.