• ~Psalm 46:4-5~

    There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy dwelling places of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.
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growing up and other random ramblings

My love for blogging seems to ebb and flow. Some months, I can find a story or a picture to share every day. Other months find me ducking in to share a quick anecdote and a picture. That’s the way I roll. I’m not apologizing for it, or anything.

But sometimes, after lurking on other blogs instead of writing my own, I find that I’ve lost my voice. That hasn’t been too much of a problem here, but on my professional blog, I am suffering from a major case of laryngitis. I find that I either repeat myself over there and just repost things from this blog, or I agonize for hours over what to type. It’s so hard to just let go and throw my personality into it.

I wonder if this is what it’s like to be shy.

Our darling Bri has been growing up during my long silences over here. She’s such a big girl now. Today we went to the mall with my assistant for practice shooting. Before we left, I packed the diaper bag with her sippy cup and some treats. Then I left it on the counter and marched right out the door! Brilliant! Luckily we keep spare diapers in the van, so all I had to make up for were the forgotten treats. Bri surprised me by using the straw correctly on her juice box. I didn’t know she could do that by herself now! Usually she makes a huge mess by squirting juice everywhere.

She also surprised me by climbing up the flower slide all by herself several times on the playscape. Usually she asks for help, but today she figured out how to do it all by herself.

We were delighted to discover that the pretzel shop was giving away free pretzels in the food court. And even though we got booted from Sephora (because I asked if we could take some pictures – harrumph – didn’t even get to take the lens cap off in the store) it’s pretty safe to say that all three of us girls had a marvelous time.

Bri still says cute little things that I hope I’ll never forget. She likes to say Mumby instead of Mommy and at night when we draw up her bath she asks us to “put bubbles known it.” We have a plethora of baby dolls that she adores. Her most recent treasure came from her Daddy for Valentine’s Day.

We were all sick last weekend and didn’t get to celebrate. So Thursday afternoon, when we arrived home from school, Hubs had a vase full of roses and a new Dora doll on the kitchen table for us. He’d also cleaned the house and bought me dark chocolate. Each of us had a sweet card with his love to us. It was so much more special than the expected commercial holiday! We loved it!

for the bride-to-be

She’s beautiful. The kind of beautiful that lights up a room with laughter and the smell of cookies. I honestly don’t know how her fiancee stands to live fifteen hours away from her. And I say all of this knowing full well her many faults because she is my little sister. I’m very proud of her.

I watched her yesterday, surrounded by friends and loved ones as she opened gift after gift at one of her wedding showers. We’d been asked to write down marital advice for the bride-to-be and I found my slip of paper to be too small to capture the words I wanted to say. In an effort to be poetic I merely wrote, “The early years fly by so fast. Write down the best parts and be patient through the worst.” I felt so sage.

No one tells you what marriage will be like. The good, the bad and the ugly. Most people just stick to the good stuff. And maybe it’s different for everyone. Maybe it’s just hard to put it into words. But every fairy tale seems to end with the magic words, “and they lived happily ever after.” Only as far as I know, nobody lives in the happily ever after.

I wanted to write something more substantial on the card, something that would help her know what to expect in the foggy future of marriage. I wanted to tell her that the new towels she was unwrapping will one day have muddy stains on them. The everyday china that she finds enthralling at the moment will one day be chipped and dirty in a sink full of dishes. The man that seems to hang on her every word now will one day pretend to listen while his brain jogs down more interesting paths.

Of course, I didn’t share these predictions with her. It was neither the time nor the place to be offering that point of view. And more importantly, I was afraid she wouldn’t understand my meaning. It sounds rather dismal at first glance.

You see, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in marriage it’s this – things change. It’s normal. You get a dog. The dog gets muddy. The towels get stained.

You have a baby. The baby spits up all over you at the table and in an effort to clean you up, your husband knocks your plate to the floor. It chips. Then it goes in a pile of dishes in the sink while you head off to take a shower. He takes the baby and cleans her up for you.

That topic that you find mesmerizing – the one you talk about non-stop everyday – it makes you feel alive. Well, he loves you to death, but he finds that topic beyond dull. He’d never tell you. So he pretends to listen because it makes you happy. He’s really thinking about the way your mouth curves when you smile.

Hands down, the best part of her wedding shower was at the end of the newlywed game. The groom had answered a bunch of questions on a tape recorder and my sister had to guess the answers before we heard his versions. She did a great job of predicting his responses. At the very end he had recorded a message just for her. During part of that he said, “Our wedding still seems kind of far away, but I can’t wait for it to arrive. You’re my best friend and I love you.”

What I really wanted to tell my little sister on the advice card that we were given was this: “The towels will get stained. The dishes will get chipped and dirty. There will be days when you feel like you don’t recognize the people you’ve both become. Cling to this. Never forget this. Y’all are best friends. You love each other. As long as those things don’t change everything else is an adventure.”

Happy Saturday Morning!

We’ve been enjoying a lazy morning, complete with cartoons and cereal. Bridoodle really wanted ice cream for breakfast but she settled for Golden Grahams. My goal for today is to go grocery shopping and bake cranberry pumpkin bread. So far though, we’re still in our pajamas.

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I’ve been puling Bri’s birthday presents out of the closet to keep her entertained lately. We saved several of them from September so that we could introduce new toys to her one at a time. She’s been ignoring the older toys in her toy basket.

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She loves these play curlers that came with her pretend make up set. It has a little hair dryer that’s battery operated and a tiny curling iron. So cute!

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Hope you have a fabulous day today! What will you be doing?

Murder and Mayhem and Memories

Last weekend, Hubs and I had a little holiday at home. We took Bri to stay with her Mimi and Gampa, so that we could attend a party. The party was a costume party set in the 1920’s that included a full murder-mystery plot.

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We were each assigned various characters. Meet Guilda – the innocent wife of the Mafia boss’s accountant.

 

guilda

And here’s the mayor. He’s on the mafia’s payroll. Don’t say that I told you so!

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At the party, the lights flickered out and someone was “shot” in the dark. (It sounded more like a high heeled shoe slamming down.) We spent the rest of the evening pointing fingers, claiming our own innocence and discovering dirty secrets about the other characters at the party.

evidence

Secret affairs and marriages were brought to light. As well as dirty money and threats of blackmail.

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Did I mention that the food was delicious? Yum!

 

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And the setting was lovely. It was the Grand Opening of the new speakeasy – a gin joint owned by a couple known for their houses of ill-repute.

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And our hostess herself, was a doll. She and I had so much fun capturing photos for the party.

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She made sure that I got in front of the lens every once in awhile too. We had a blast! Can’t wait to do it again.

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Anniversary Kiss

5 yrs

the best way to learn is to teach

Once a week I spend an evening discipling a group of girls from the church youth group. And by disciple I mean, I stutter and stammer over a lesson that pierces me to the core. It seems that every Sunday I’m slammed over the head with a concept that I haven’t mastered myself. And most of the time the message that I bring to the group seems to fall on deaf ears. Time and time again, I’ve asked the Lord why He’s called me to lead these girls. I feel like the most unsuited person for this task.

These teenagers live a completely different life than I lived growing up. Where I was the ugly duckling, these girls are painfully beautiful. Where I was the band geek who worked part time at the library, these girls are practically a sorority unto themselves. My high school self had one thing in common with these girls: an extroverted love for the spotlight.

Yet despite our differences, I cannot help but love them.

As I reach into their world of insecurities and melodrama, I find myself convicted of the petty grudges that I’ve been holding in my own life. I find myself mortified about my own flippancy regarding my faith. When I hold Jesus up as a mirror for these girls, I realize that my own soul is covered with grime and cobwebs. Rather than setting a shining example for them, I feel like an epic FAIL.

It’s discouraging to have these revelations. I’m used to being the self-righteous one. The goody-two-shoe. The girl that has her act together. I usually enjoy looking into the church mirror the way a straight-A student looks forward to taking a test. It’s been a decade or so since I sat through a Bible study without secretly thinking that I could probably teach the lesson better than the teacher. I’m that kind of judgemental.

When it comes down to walking and talking like a Christian, I’ve got it down, babe. Or at least that’s what I thought. Turns out that I have a whole lot more sin inside myself than I realized. Now I feel pretty stupid for my holier-than-thou attitude. I’ve seen some pretty horrible thoughts and attitudes lurking beneath that shallow Sunday layer that I put on. I think that I was too busy judging other people to really focus on myself.

Now that I’m leading this discipleship group, I’m suddenly feeling very introspective. Those superficial layers are being stripped away. It’s painful to see myself as defiled and hypocritical, but in some ways it’s actually refreshing. It feels good to be honest with myself again. I don’t like the conceited person that I had become.

You know that feeling where you realize that you’re disgustingly dirty and all you want to do is take a shower to make the smell go away? That’s where I am spiritually. I’m filthy. I stink. I seriously need my Savior. And despite my mountain of sin, His grace is enough for me. He doesn’t treat me the way that I deserve to be treated.

He loves me despite my filthy sin and His grace is the spiritual shower that washes me clean.

Who says dreams don’t come true?

There were five tiny houses across the street and each was painted a different color. Their little porches and upper balconies were so cute despite the lack of space between them. In front of each house there were exactly two apple trees, but each house had a different color of apple growing. The blue house had green apples. The yellow house had red apples and so on.

Our house was much bigger and the wrap around porch with ceiling fans gave off a plantation era feel, even though the house had just been constructed. We stood together, looking out our fat wooden blinds at the five houses taking up the same amount of space across the street. It was beautiful. Then we decided to go on a walk.

At this point, the dream morphed. Hubster became Officer Hubster and when I looked down, I was wearing a uniform too. Behind us there were a few other officers trudging along and we were listening intently to Hubs because he was our boss.

At this point in my retelling of the dream, you’d hear real live Hubs butt in to ask “Were we married?”

I pause to consider the question. “I’m not sure honey. We were together, but it was more like a sidekick kind of thing. You were like Batman and I was like Robin. I don’t know if we were married.”

So back to the dream. Hubster was explaining to us the importance of not using the apples as weapons against bad guys. Remember all of the apple trees across the street? Well, there was an abundance of apples all over the ground as a result. So Hubs wanted us to know that even if a bad guy should come racing past at that exact moment, we should not throw any apples at him. Or her.

“But what if the bad guy was about to get away?” My dream-self protested. He shook his head at me. We continued walking for a long way to the sub station and the whole way there we argued about the use of apples as weapons.

When we reached the sub station, it was the size of a closet. Hubs sat at a desk and we scrunched together on the floor at his feet. It was night shift, so we were all going to have to stay awake for the night. Hubs asked if anyone wanted a Coke. I offered to go back to the house to get drinks for everyone. Hubster said to make sure I got myself a Coke too, because I’d need the caffeine to stay up. I disagreed. I told him that I could stay up just fine without any caffeine.

At this point, Hubster butts in again, “So we were married then.”

“What do you mean?” I said while pulling my mussed up hair back in a rubber band.

“We were arguing. So we must’ve been married.”

Both of us laughed. “I guess so.” I mused. “But seriously, you could use an apple as a weapon, couldn’t you?”

“No,” Hubs replied. “I was right in your dream. You wouldn’t throw an apple at a bad guy.”

I stared at him incredulously. “Are you kidding with me? Because surely you could throw an apple at a bad guy!”

Hubster countered with a fine argument on the intricacies of level of force and training. He finally convinced me that an apple would indeed be a poor choice for a weapon.

And there you have it. I dreamed about arguing with my Hubs and then I woke up and continued the argument. It was the BEST dream ever! And I’m very weird. Unless you haven’t figured that out by now.

Friday Flowers – Week 5 -

Hubster has outdone himself again this week with my beautiful birthday promise flowers.

sunny sun flowers

A few months after our engagement, Hubster went on a mission trip to the island of Corsica for spring break. He enjoyed balmy oceanic breezes and exotic accents while I slaved away at the Kaplan office, getting soaked as I dashed out to my car in the rain each evening, and working to finish my preparations for the MCAT. Every night he would call me with news of the latest adventure. Every night my heart broke at the physical distance between us. It was the l..o..n..g..e..s..t.. week of my life.

blue ceramic vase

Somewhere along the way on that trip, he found this beautiful blue ceramic vase and bought it for me. He wrapped all of his clothes around it and stuffed paper inside so that it wouldn’t break on the flight home. We rode homefrom the airport in the backseat of his parent’s mini-van with our fingers and arms entertwined. He absent-mindedly twirled my engagement ring around my finger. We laughed at his perfect impersonation of the French accent. I remember sighing happily at the thought that I’d never have to let him go off on a trip without me again.

Validate Me Please

The three of us went out to eat tonight. I had had a long day of working on my monster portfolio and Hubster had had a long day of class where he learned about NCIC. (He explained what the letters stand for but Bridoodle was throwing crayons and causing general havoc during that part of dinner, so I missed a lot of the explanation).

Our dinner was absolutely delicious. We were starving when we arrived, so that might have had something to do with it. Anyway, as we were gathering up all of the stuff that we brought for Bri, she managed to wriggle out of one of her tennis shoes.

I’m going to hit the fast forward button here, because I doubt you really want all of the details. Suffice it to say, I ended up crouched on all fours under the mini-van trying to save a sippy cup that had fallen just out of my reach. Then I managed to swat it under someone else’s Jeep Cherokee. Meanwhile, Hubster was back inside hunting for the missing shoe. It was humiliating. I felt so vulnerable. Needless to say, I was not a happy camper when we finally got into the mini-van to go home.

So we fought about it.

It really wasn’t much of a fight. It was more of a venting session on my part and a blame dodging session on Hubster’s part. We were about half way home when I exclaimed, “I’m not trying to say that it was your fault! Why can’t you just say ‘that was a terrible experience’? Or ‘Gee, sweetie, I’m so sorry that happened’? All I want is for you to validate my experience. I’m handing you my parking ticket and saying punch a hole in it please. Just validate my feelings.”

The words were still hanging in the air in a little cartoon bubble over my head when I realized just how true they were. It seems like I’m always bouncing my experiences off of other people in search for approval and understanding. Maybe I should be more secure in my own opinions, or maybe I’m a normal female, but either way I find that I solve most of my problems by talking them out with other people in this way.

Let love be genuine.

Let love be genuine.

Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.

Love one another with brotherly affection.

Outdo one another in showing honor.

Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

Romans 12: 9-13

(ESV)

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