When we were in Hawaii, we announced some very exciting news… we are expecting a sweet little girl in December! I have so much that I want to say over here, that it has been overwhelming to start at all. I cannot believe how gracious God has been to us in giving us this sweet gift. Everyday is a blessing, every kick and nudge is an incredible reminder of the miracle that is going on inside of me. Even her summersault in the middle of the night last night, while it felt like she was going to burst out for a second, her acrobats are just glimpses of the miracle. We already love her so deeply and are humbled by how much she is loved by others. I can’t wait to share more of our journey with you!
We live in a college town, and while we often reap the benefits of that. Great restaurants, lots of local activities, and coffee shops on every corner. However, being a college town also means that we are a transient community. People come and go a lot. Our Growth Group has gotten really good at moving people. We know just how to pack the trucks and the best way to move clothes while still on the hangers and exactly what angle each others couches need to be to fit through the front door. Sometimes people leave because their season here has ended. It is sometimes hard to develop authentic community when the community comes and goes. This last weekend we said goodbye to some friends. They are moving to take a job in another state. We are sad to see them go.
Part of me just wants to give up on the whole community thing, because what’s the point if people keep moving away. But I know that God wants us to live in the moment. To take each day as it is and live it to its fullest potential. To drink deeply of each and every experience, friendship and moment. So while I will miss our friends a lot, I want to commit to what is here and invest in right now. And say “see you later” instead of “goodbye”.
I’ve found myself needing an extra afternoon cuppa’ joe a lot lately.
I loved Bread & Wine so much, I read it in a matter of days.
2 of the girls started laying! Praise the great Lion of Judah
The minute we leave our spot on the couch the furry one sneaks in.
The Great Tomato Day was a success!
Linking up with Jeanette over at Life Rearranged to share insta friday.
I have never been a Black Friday shopper. Every year I scour the ads looking for “the deal”. You know the one deal that would make it worth getting out of bed a the butt crack of dawn (excuse my language) and standing in line in the freeing cold. But excusing the one year in Jr. High when I dragged my mom out to get the fleece blanket at Old Navy, what a bust they had thousands, I have never found the deal. I have found one sale that is worth dragging myself out of bed to stand in line for every year.
That sale is Tomato Mania. Every year the College of Agriculture at Cal Poly has a huge tomato sale full of beautiful heirloom tomato plants. It’s the place to be if you are serious about tomatoes in this part of the world. I love to get there early and stand in line with my tomato catalog (or is it catalogue… anywhoo) and coffee and discuss the merits of each of the tomato varieties with the local ranchers.
We discuss what did best last year, which was the sweetest, which canned best, who pulled theirs out the latest and who is still storing some jars of summer goodness in their pantry. It is not me this year, we used our last home canned tomatoes on Sunday in a lasagna. Now who still has last summer zucchini coming out of their ears is another question. (In case you were wondering, the answer is me.) And yes, I am usually the youngest person in line, but what can I say, I was born an old soul. Then the gates open and all small town front porch cordiality is out the window and the race is on. It is a scavenger hunt to find the tomatoes you want, with anyone who knows what they are doing searching for the Murray Smiths first, because they will for sure sell out within 15 minutes. Everybody is determined, stashing their hoard in corners and yelling out what they’ve found, unless it is the Murray Smith, everyone is on their own for that one. (The Murray Smith was breed by a dean in the college of agriculture for our specific environment on the Central Coast and no matter how warm or cold the summer is it thrives.)
Tomorrow is the great Tomato Mania, Hubby is bringing home the catalog dogeared and ready for me to stand in line with. I will get up early-ish, put on my yoga pants and go hang out with the ranchers. Then, when I come home, I will spend time planting my garden and hoping that in a small way I am stopping the clock. That by doing things the “old fashioned” and sometimes slow way, I am connecting to the past and fighting the battle to be faster, do more, and savor less.
There is something about spring that gets me aching for adventure. New Years comes crashing in following Thanksgiving, our anniversary, my birthday and Christmas and it seems like the party can’t be big enough, I feel this pressure to outdo all the other holidays, but am usually too tired and too full to even do anything. Than New Years day comes, oh the blessed New Years day, calm, quiet, full of half heartedly putting away Christmas decorations, taking naps and lazy conversations about what we hope the new year brings. Then some time in the following week, I reprioritize, restructure, reorganize and restart. I bask in the calm and structure and gain deep satisfaction in all the sameness and rhythm.
But then something happens about this time of year, when the sun stays out longer and the breeze dances through the curtains, that makes me long for adventure. I want to travel and explore and camp. I want to fill weekends with trips to the drive-ins and weeknights with hikes and fires in the backyard. I want to go and see and (thanks to Bread & Wine) eat.
I long to sit up late talking and spend lazy mornings reading and I want a deck overlooking water. I’m not too picky on the deck or the water, but I long for it. As I look at our calendar for the next few months, I am so tempted to pack it full of fun, to soak up every moment we possibly can. But this year, I know myself better than that. I know that I need quiet and rhythm and normal. I have spent too many season running through one thing so I can get to the next, and it is not my thing. I burn out, then melt down, then yell at those I love most, because obviously it is all their fault.
So this year I am trying to balance the two, this ache for adventure and newness and also, my need for normalcy and sameness. I’m sure I won’t get it perfect, and I am sure I will let myself and others down, but I will try again. I owe it to myself and those around me.
I once met Shauna Niequist. And by meet I mean that once when I was in college, she came to my home church to speak and I spent the weekend sitting next to her at meals. And because of such, now feel the right to call her by her first name. Cool? This particular weekend I was a little less than a stellar table mate, I was feeling the full force of parasite sickness terror and even snuck out crying at one point because I was in such terrible pain, I couldn’t sit there for a moment longer. At the end, Shauna asked my mom if I was ok, seriously people, she was the main speaker. And just because I can, I thought you’d like to see a picture of us, was I right?
Anywhooo, Shauna just wrote a new book called Bread & Wine that came out today. Seriously do yourselves a favor and buy this book. Today. I will wait while you do it.
It was perfect. Absolutely perfect. While the title may lead you to believe that this is a book about food, you will not be disappointed. It had my mouth watering at the turn of every page. I had to put the book down shortly after I started it to go make her mom’s blueberry crisp recipe. Mouth watering. In fact, I think I will whip up another batch of it when I am done with this.
Every chapter takes you to an event and emotion told through the food experienced. But more than the event, the community that broke the bread together. She talks of the community woven around the table and the food shared. I cried deep sobs through the first half of the book. She is so real and honest and, as was true with her first two books as well, brought words to emotions that had previously just been circling in my head and weighing on my heart.
To be honest, the community Shauna talks about made my heart ache. I desire community like that so much. I want people who are “in it” with us, no matter what “it” is. I am giving myself and us grace as we are newly in this post-college, married, homeowner, real job, lawn-mowing, chicken-raising life. And I realize that real community takes time. It takes being in the hard and the celebrating, in the mundane and in the exciting. It also takes sacrifice and risk and can sometime be messy. And for this introvert, it is even harder to step out of my comfort zone and risk vulnerability with others. But I want to.
I think there really is something to what Shauna is talking about. About community being formed around the table and through breaking bread together. Aren’t there studies that say kids are more likely to succeed if they eat dinner together with their families? It doesn’t matter what, just that they are together, eating. While reading Bread & Wine, I decided that I wanted to ask our Growth Group to eat with us every week. That as part of nourishing our souls together, we would also nourish our bodies. I pray that maybe by eating together our community would deepen.
I hope that you will read Bread & Wine and I pray that you will be as encouraged as I was. That you will grab some friends and get some food and savor the moment. I know that I want to.
Now if you will so kindly excuse me, the blueberries are calling my name.
I thought that I would break my blogging hiatus with a little Easter scene from our house. You know, now that I am putting my easter decorations away… I started saving eggshells after new years, and at the start of February I filled the shells with dirt, planted grass seeds and then gave them a place at the kitchen table. (My kitchen table gets the best sun and is close enough to allow the seedlings bask in the heat of the stove.) It is so fun to watch them grow and anticipate Easter coming. I put them in a darling little egg display with a sweet bunny that I got at Cost Plus, and plopped them on the cutest “spring” books I could find on our selves. There they sat until the week before Easter when Gidget plucked them, each one out of their little nest, ate three of them and smashed two of them in the rug… Sadly they were not on display for Easter, but fortunately the wells were open to hold jelly beans on Easter. Gidget however, has apparently entered a new eat everything stage. Just today, she ate the remainder of an Easter basket, chocolate, foil, Easter grass… as well as a dead animal while we were hiking… GROSS. There was no way I was touching what was in her mouth. NO WAY. I even tried to bribe her with a cow pie, no luck. And if you haven’t set your hands on a copy of this, I highly recommend taking a peak.
That is the word that I chose for my year. This 2013 that is already 1/6 of the way gone. At times I felt like 2012 was this blur and hubbub of doing, of just figuring things out as we went. We were new homeowners, we were completing our first year as young married professionals. We were getting established in a new church and rooted in new friendships. We were raising a terror of a dog. It was rich and real and really fast. It felt like we were surviving. Don’t get me wrong, last year was great, but this year my soul longed for rhythm and pattern and sustainability. I know myself enough to know that that doesn’t just happen for me, I have to be intentional about resting, investing, growing, learning, stretching, and just being. I am learning that this is more of a process than I may have first realized. It is a process of learning more about myself because how can I be intentional in resting when I don’t really know how I rest best.
As I think of living more intentionally, I realize that it means living more slowly. And that is the part I am having a harder time implementing. I do not have margin in my week. I get to Friday night exhausted and totally spent. Not exactly the what you hope for when you are doing your best to be intentional about how you live your life. Especially if you are being intentional about what you eat and have largely reduced the amount of processed food you are buying and are now trying to make more things from scratch. (It means you have nothing to eat.)
But for me, I think it is mostly about learning myself better and loving who that is, despite what our culture tells us is praiseworthy.
I know I haven’t been over here for a while, I will be back soon. This video was shared with me today and it brought joy and conviction to my heart.
This weekend we hosted a wine and cheese Christmas party. I got to decorate and hubby got to pair wines with cheeses, fruits, and nuts and our sweet, amazing friends cleaned our house. They are so great to us!
We put to the wines next to the cheese they went with and gave a complete pairing list on the chalkboard. Is anyone else incredibly nervous to write on chalkboards now that chalk art is so popular? I am! Any who, incase you can’t read it and want to know, the pairings were as follows:
Brie with cranberries and pecans paired with Prosecco and Chardonnay.
Red Gouda with apples and dried apricots paired with Pinot Noir and a Red Blend.
Manchego and Pecorino with figs, strawberries and Marcona almonds paired with Italian Red Blends.
Dubliner Cheddar with salami, candied walnuts and dried cherries paired with Petit Syrah.
I put tags on the wine glasses with red bakers twine and left pens so people could write their names on their glasses.
I used crates to create some height variation on the tables.
A friend of ours hosted the party with us and made prosciutto wrapped dates.
Hubby wore his bow tie and I wore my little black dress.
And speaking of hubby, I just need to brag on him for a minute, he got me these beautiful flowers for the party. He also sent me to get my toes painted the day before the party. He is pretty great friends.
Some of our sweet friends at the party.