Saturday, February 28, 2015

this makes me happy

Today was a good day. I finished my very last day of work. I'm officially full-term & if Babes decided to make her appearance now, it would be okay. 
And, my very favorite catalog came in the mail. I put it where I could see it plainly & made myself finish some unsavory tasks before I allowed myself to open its thick paper cover. To flip through it requires setting a scene: I made some tea & poured it in an old vintage tea cup. I moved some flowers to my desk & arranged everything neatly so I could just sip my tea & casually turn the pages without being distracted by ugliness or clutter. Just looking at it makes me happy. It reminds me of my sisters. I don't need to buy anything from it: I just like to admire the lush photography & imagine my house full of its beautiful random pretties. When I am done, I will file it away somewhere to be brought out again & again. Each time it will make me happy.

It makes me stop & look around me for beauty in unexpected places. Ironically, it makes me more content & determined to make do & upcycle what I already have, rather than need to buy & surround myself with things that will make me "happy". I remember an old hobnailed vase I have in the cupboard that would look lovely with flowering tree branches in it. I see how painting one chair an unexpected color spices up the kitchen table. Dishes that are stored away for special events suddenly seem totally appropriate for everyday.

Little things suddenly have value & importance. I know that I am blessed beyond measure & have a life just brimming with vibrance.

All this from one catalog that comes for free in the mail!

Monday, February 23, 2015

the Califamily in Oregon

I had the wonderful opportunity to host my previous hosts over the weekend. It was absolutely lovely to see them all again--to pick up where we'd left off almost two years ago (can it really be that long already?!). Their visit was all too brief, only one night, but we packed in as much as we could. 
The boys loved the golf course & even got Dar to get up early Sunday morning to play some croquet on it:)). I'm so glad Oregon put her best foot forward so they'll want to come back. It was a sunny, verdant day when they arrived & the daffodils & plum trees did their best to impress the Southern Californians. 
Some things have changed since I last saw them: the boys are getting woefully close to passing me up in height, Sophie is more mature than ever, I have my own personal little charge coming up, Will is in school. Some things haven't changed since I last saw them: they still love Irish coffee blondies:), Clint still imbibes iced coffee, the boys still try to dodge hugs when I see them, & the front seat of my Buick is as sought-after as ever. 

Here's a photo from this trip & one from two years ago. Oh my! I'm even wearing heels!
My hiatus in California seems like a dream. Did I really live there in the eternal sunshine & mountains? Did I really have pomegranates growing along my driveway & an avocado orchard across the valley? Did I really get to enjoy learning these three little people's quirks & isms & be part of their everyday lives? Did I really get to be friends with their parents & a slew of people from church? It was such a gift to be part of their everydays, and be at their dinner table, & be part of the pet chores & see them at their most genuine & real--in the good moments & not so good moments. 
I thank God for those six months. And wait expectantly for the Califamily to come back to visit Oregon, for longer next time. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Valentine's Day 2015

I'm not a roses/chocolate kind of girl. Roses are over-rated & I like chocolate in small, dark doses. Am I a make-a-really-good-dinner-at-home-with-my-man kind of girl? You bet! Dar planned the menu & did most of the cooking. That, people, is pure luxury these days. Even if he weren't an excellent chef, (which he is), it would be so nice to just sit back & watch someone else cook. 
 The menu:
Marinated Lamb Leg Chops-which were to die for! We decided then & there we will raise lambs. 
Fresh Green Beans
Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
Creamy Parmesan Mushrooms
Italian Salad
Creme Brulee

My biggest regret was that baby is taking up more than her share of abdominal space & I couldn't eat nearly the amount I wanted to. 
 Oh, & while I may not be a roses kind of girl, I sure am a pluck a bouquet from the garden kind of girl. The daffodils aren't quite in full swing yet, but Dar thoughtfully picked them days ago & forced them open inside so he'd have some to give me on Valentine's Day. He's pretty sweet.

And on another note: here are a few simple watercolors I had fun doodling out in honor of the day of love. I'd love to sell this kind of thing on etsy, but I'm not quite there yet. Someday though!

And I can't claim to be the creator of these sweet little notes, but they were sure fun to get in the mail from my three oldest nephews--even if the main topic of conversation was to tell Riley hi & to make sure I have a boy! And, testimony to being sisters, these notes looked oddly familiar to me when I opened them. I finally remembered: they were a free print-off from a Seattle lady's blog I follow. Unbeknownst to both of us, my sister & I were following the same blog! ( if you're interested. Lots of cute little tutorials & inspiration for everyday life.)
So, that's my 2015 Valentine's Day in a nutshell. Wonderfully loved, I am.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

baby moon

"Babymoon" is such a trendy term that evokes images of upper middle class Americans who live comfortably & have nice savings accounts & 10 year plans. I'm a little embarrassed to have gone on one. But I suppose we are middle class Americans with a savings account (whether or not there is always something in it is another story). And I did want one last little getaway before we become a threesome. I'm glad we went. 
It was nice to be just the two of us.
  Despite less than ideal weather--the worst storm of the winter was scheduled to hit the day we were there--we had a lovely time. We agonized over spending a little more money for an oceanfront room, but we went for it, thinking we might be spending the majority of our stay inside watching gales of wind & torrents of rain from our window. It didn't end up being quite that bad. We were able to go on a dusky beach walk with some peeps of pink sunset sky. The next morning we woke to sunshine & the crash of waves & a view that makes ones heart ache a little it's so beautiful & wild. It was absolute luxury to be able to sip good coffee & see the never-ending waves crashing relentlessly around Haystack Rock & on the sand--all from bed! 

 Sometimes I still have to stop & just wonder that I'm in such a beautiful place. That I'm married to such a sweet, godly man. That we are going to be...parents? Parents! soon. That God has brought me on such an unpredictably wonderful journey. I never imagined this is how my life would look six years ago. Six years ago, I was getting ready to go to Haiti on a mission trip with a troubled heart & no real relationship with my Savior. The future looked so hard & bleak & impossible. I didn't know what to do. Feelings of helplessness & quiet despair filled me. It's still hard to explain how I was able to give it all to Jesus & let Him carry my burdens & learn to trust Him. But really, all that matters, praise God, I was able to!
 And now this is my life: all three of us & an overwhelming sense of peace that no matter what life brings, I am not alone.

Thank God for His faithfulness!