2.25.2011

Day Dreaming and Penny Pinching

Today, i've been daydreaming about the camera i'm saving up for. I mentioned i was saving for said camera back in June of 2010 and that week I made an awesome piggy bank that is virtually indestructible. Basically, it's a giant plastic almond container from Costco and I cut a hole in the lid. Duct taped the entire thing shut. Then wrapped it in pretty wrapping paper.

behold.


This thing is great, because I can't cheat and take money from my camera savings to buy new shoes. to get into the container would mean I would have to take the entire thing apart which i'm sure will be semi-difficult considering it's that freakish plastic that is next to impossible to cut through. (as a child it seemed that EVERYTHING at christmas was packaged in this stuff!)

this set up is good for me because i have a habit of randomly blowing money on things I don't really need, like another pair of $6 leggings from target, some more black shirts, etc.

Anyway, I've decided I want a Canon 50D, plus a lens or two, a cool camera bag(maybe this one - or this one), a tri-pod, some UV filters, and a clip on flash.

Since i spent some time daydreaming about my camera today i decided it would be a good time to decorate my savings-almond-container to inspire me to continue to put my clothing fund in there every other week rather than blow it all at Target.

I sketched a camera!

Then, to spice it up, I added some stars!

and then willow wanted to jump on my lap. so we took some pictures too.



The only draw back to my almond-savings-container is I have no idea how much i have in there. In order to find out, i will need to rip the thing to shreds. Basically, i would rather wait too long and have too much then then get in there too soon not have enough and then not have a safe continer for my money thus tempting me to go thrifting with my hard-earned camera money.  I should have been keeping track how much i put in there on the side of the container or something, but alas, i was not smart enough to think of such a thing last June. I think I have about $750 in there...who knows. I think come April 1, i'm going to bust in there and see what kind of damage i can do.

Any of you out there have SLR cameras? Which do you use? Any advice for a camera novice?

2.23.2011

Feathers

"You had to be there." 

A phrase we have all undoubtedly spoken at least once in our past when trying to convey an impactful experience we've had to someone else. Mid-story you begin to realize the other person isn't quite getting it, and words aren't sufficient to convey the memory held in your heart. Be it a time when something so hilariously funny happened you found stomach muscles you didn't know existed because you were laughing so hard. Or a beautiful snapshot in time where you were left awestruck at a majestic sunset, powerful soloist, a stunning painting. Or even a moment where the Lord took a normal day and completely rocked your world by showing you a new side of His love. It's utterly futile to try and explain these experiences to other people so you find yourself giving up and ending the conversation with "you had to be there."

Well, this has recently happened to me. Even though I know it won't make a lot of sense, i'm going to try and explain. The Lord likes to show me how much he loves me by giving me feathers. During a season of my life in Jan - May 2010 I began to have more and more of a realization of God's presence in my life. Not just a guy I go to from time to time to throw up pray requests to, but someone that I do life with every single day. Sharing my hopes, dreams, desires and even failures, disappointments, and frustrations with.

During this Jan - March season and even still to this day I find feathers everywhere in the most obscure places. On my desk at work, under my windshield wiper, on me ALL the time. Any time I need encouragement or comfort God just plops a few feather into my day and it makes me smile. One time I even looked down to realize I was standing in a big PILE of feathers on the ground! Now do you understand why it's one of those "you had to be there" stories?

One particular day i really needed encouragement and a reminder of the promises that God has for me and I opened my bible to the next chapter I was slated to read in my read-through-the-bible-in-one/three-years program and this is what I read: Psalms 91:4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness with be your shield and rampart. I was SO encouraged!

Anyway, I tell you all of this because I wanted a constant reminder of God's presence and this special symbol of His love for me, so I got a tattoo!




I didn't make this decision lightly. since 2008 I have wanted a particular tattoo on my hand, but feel like i should wait till i'm at a work place (or working from home) that is OK with this. So, after thinking about my feather tattoo for over a year, getting Josh's complete support and feeling total peace/excitement about my decision i took the plunge. This is my first tattoo, and I really really love how it turned out.

If you are in Nashville, I went to Ian White at Black 13.  My experience there was first rate. the place was clean. they were very friendly and professional. AND  it turns out Ian is a believer from Dayton, OH and actually did a lot of my sister Cynthia's friends tattoos when he lived there.

Do any of you out there have tattoos? Do they have a special meaning to you?

2.22.2011

Fall Creek Falls

In case you weren't aware, yesterday was presidents day. The day we celebrate all the past leaders of the great U-S of A by getting a perfectly timed day off giving many people an unusually warm long weekend in February. The man and I decided to fill said weekend/president's day with a camping trip to Fall Creek Falls state park a few hours outside of Nashville.

We had originally planned the camping trip as an extended Valentine's Day celebration, but then we realized camping is always better with friends and Cynthia (my older sis), her hubby - JP, and trooper-3-month-old-niece, Annalee came along as well.

We circled all the possible campsites several times trying to find the perfect fit.

We saw a deer at the camp site Josh and I stayed at a last year.


We (read: the guys) chopped wood.
hott!
 Willow was cute.

 Sadie (Cynthia and JP's dog) was cute.
We (read: the guys) started a fire.

We made hot dogs and smores. YUM!

We made fun of our neighbors and suspected them of "hot-boxing" in their tent when we caught whiff of some sneaky drug like scents...

Josh, Willow, and I slept horribly the first night in our ridiculously small tent with no ground padding, 40 degree weather, coons rooting around outside our tent all night.

We made eggs, sausage, and toast over the fire. They were ridiculously dried out, but they tasted good anyway because they were made in the wilderness...over a fire.

The guys whittled things embracing their inner-Samson hoping to slay 1000 men with a donkey's jawbone.

We hiked to the main falls and were amazed at how Annalee slept the whole way there and gazed silently from her baby bijorn at God's creation all the way back.

We wondered at God's creation with her.

We let the quietness of nature soak deep into our souls.

We crossed a precarious suspension bridge.

Cynthia and Willow were cute.

We ate pie irons. (yup...there's an official website for pie irons...)

I made myself sick on them, actually...i can't resist a good pie iron.

We stayed up late watching in awe as the fire the men built raged on for hours without ceasing. I was quite impressed.

We ate more smores.
I'm a little too excited about that smore.
We slept better the second night when the temperature rose about 15 degrees and we realized putting the dog food in the car was the solution to our coon problem.

Josh, Willow and I hiked to the bottom of the main falls Monday morning and we talked about how we would hike this every weekend multiple times if we ever were training for a rim-to-rim Grand Canyon hike again.


you wouldn't think it, but she's a natural hiker!

We took the stereotypical breaking the rules picture.

We used up an Olive Garden gift card on the ride home.

And took the best nap of our lives in our California King upon reaching the humble abode.

In case you were wondering, this is what a sleepy-worn-out puppy looks like. (Sorry for the bad audio and awkward sideways view! I had the windows down and didn't realize the video needed to be the other direction!!)
video

2.17.2011

Me. The Romantic.

Guys get a lot of pressure to be prince charming and sweep us women off our feet. I'm 100% on board with being swept off my feet, however I never ever want Josh to feel pressure from me to bring home flowers, chocolates, diamond...er...target jewelry, etc. If he simply does these things because he is feeling pressure to be romantic it's not his true love coming through. And no one wants fake love. Trust me. (God sets the perfect example of this when He granted humans freewill, but that's another conversation for another day...)

When the hubster takes me out to a nice dinner or sends me to get a massage, or takes me on a fun weekend get away to the mountains, or takes me horseback riding on a beach...with the sunset...and champagne...and violinists....(not hinting at anything. ha. ) that it's because he WANTS to spoil me and treat me like a princess because of all the love overflowing in his heart. :)

So I have been feeling like Josh does feel pressure every time a holiday rolls around, so this Valentines day, I wanted to do something romantic for him. So I made him breakfast in bed. (eggs in a frame + water + coffee + strawberry muffins)

and i decorated our kitchen. with hearts. cut out of old christmas giftbags. (frugal and pretty!)


and I gave him 2 handmade valentines cards with some love quotes on them.


I guess you could say my valentine's day was full of making and love...or you could say....love making, but then you might get weirded out...and stop reading my blog...sooooo....anyway.

even with all my making and love I could not top by my lovely husband's romantic heart.

He bought me 2...(TWO!) dozen beautiful red roses.


a fabulous dinner out to Pie in the Sky restaurant to their free heart shaped pizza roll appetizer on v-day.


some amazing truffles

some delicious wine.

peppermint Teavanna tea

Mulan Rouge/Tristan and Isolde DVD from Target.

Valentine's Night we stayed up way to late watching movies in our traditional lovenest on valentines day. What is a love nest you say? I will tell you.

nest: (noun) a snug retreat or refuge; resting place; home
love: (noun) a profoundly passionate tender affection for another person; desire
lovenest: (noun) a giant pile of every pillow and blanket we own in the middle of our living room floor that is so comfortable you end up sleeping in it and leaving it up for days because you prefer it to your couches. only the threat of guest coming to visit forces you to put the blankets away; Also a snug retreat or refuge where you cuddle with the person you are profoundly passionate about.

I forgot to take a picture of it before we cleaned it up. i'm sad. :(

Hope you all had a great Valentine's week with tons of love and un-forced romantic stuff.

2.14.2011

I Carry Your Heart

Here is the deepest secret nobody knows.
Here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
And the sky of the sky of a tree called life;
Which grows higher than soul can hope or mind can hide.
And this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart.
I carry your heart.
I carry it in my heart.



E.E. Cummings


Happy Valentine's Day!

2.11.2011

France - Days 7 & 8

After a very long hiatus from my these posts, I'm continuing on with days 7 and 8 of our France trip from last October. (If you are new here you can find the rest of the France Journey through out my blog: Days 1 & 2, Days 3 & 4, Days 5 & 6) I'm determined to finish these posts by the end of February!

Day 7 - Wednesday, October 6, 2010

We rolled out of our slumber back in Chambery at about 10 am, Wednesday morning. Nathan and Joanna's apartment had such heavy blinds we could barley even tell it was daylight out when we finally forced ourselves to rise. We spent the morning putzing around eating yogurt, cereal and enjoying each other's company. By noon we decided it was about time to do get out and about. Even though we were warned that French clothing wouldn't fit our *ahem* Large/Tall frames, we hit up a local store called Kabi.

After a short walk from Nate and Jo's apt. we got to the store and immediately realized they were having a MASSIVE sweater sale AND they had clothes in our size! After about 2.5 hours of trying things on we walked away with basically an entire new wardrobe for Josh. You have no idea what kind of feat this is...it is impossible to find clothing to fit him that is also fashionable and that day he left with like 3 sweaters, and 3 jackets. A.maze.ing

The only un-amazing part was a very embarrassing situation at the cash register where the woman checking us out didn't speak any english. She wasn't like most french people who say they don't speak english, but really do. She ended up having to page someone to come to the front and translate what was going on. (apparently we didn't have the right amount of sweaters to get the buy one, get one deal they had going on). Eventually, things worked out and we walked out with only a slightly bruised ego from having .01 French speaking skills.

After shopping, Nate, Josh and I went to the velo station (bike rental shop) to pick up some bikes for the rest of our trip. We had a little bit of trouble finding bikes tall enough for Nate and Josh considering they are the one's pushing up the national height average, but in the end we all pedeled away on super cute and matching light blue cycles. Mine with a special little basket on the front.

These bikes opened up an entirely new France for me. We decided to pick up some bread on the way home and Nate took us the scenic route. We zigged and zagged across traffic to a little car-less area where old, brightly colored buildings stood tall on either side of us. French women strolled in pairs eating ice cream in high heels, vendors stood outside by their shops beckoning passerbys into try their wares, Old men walked their dogs along cobblestone streets and fountains provided background music to the scene. And the best part of it all, I got to carry the baguette in my basket on the way home. I felt like i was living in a dream land. It was perfect. This first bike ride is still one of my strongest memories from the entire trip.

That night Josh and I went on a special dinner date at a crêperie, so josh got ready and Nate took some pictures of him.
So handsome!

Headed out to dinner!

Hey there handsome. :)

I was really excited about my crepe.




The place was packed and Josh and I discovered that it is strange for someone to wait for a table at a restaurant if there isn't immediate seating. I guess this is due to the fact that there are so many food choices within walking distance and also because most French dinners last several hours, but we waited anyway! Awkwardly in the alley outside the restaurant right by the windows where people were eating because there was no entry area. 


We got a table within 20 minutes and I enjoyed crepes filled with hamburger, egg, onion and mushrooms, while josh ordered one with goat cheese and Lardon (the same stuff that was in tartiflette). He asked to add tomato but, some how it ended up coming out with ham in it instead. The BEST part of 
the meal though was dessert which consisted of delicious nuttella, banana and whipped cream. Yumm!


After dinner we headed back to N&J's apartment for a little hang out time and a late night Pirates of the Caribbean viewing. Life was good.


Day 8 - Thursday, October 7, 2010.


Thursday, October 7, 2010 is a very special day. For Thursday, October 7, 2010 was Joanna's 27th birthday! We woke up to the smell of Nate making french toast...out of a french baguette...in a french kitchen...with a french mustache...OK I may have made up that last part about the mustache...but either way it was an awesomely french way to make french toast with a french baguette. FRENCH!
At breakfast I gave Jo her present I carted over from the US - Real Simple magazines and a pair of earrings - only to find out that my Mother-in-Law had brought her all the same Real Simple magazines a few weeks prior, and that Jo already had a very similar pair of earrings...sigh. Great minds think alike i guess. :)

After breakfast we all got ready and headed out for a quick bike ride around Chambery. Again - amazingness abounds and I have no pictures of it all because I was so worried about not being hit by traffic while aggressively riding my bike around the busy streets. Also, i didn't want to look TOO much like a tourist with a rented bike and a giant camera around my neck all the time.

After our fun bike ride on matching bikes we grabbed a quick lunch at a sandwich shop. As usual we ended up getting duped into buying more than we realized because we couldn't read the French signs.

Taking our lunch to a nearby park I had me and Josh's sandwiches in my awesome bike basket. While trying to keep up with Nate and Jo I carelessly ran my bike through a huge pot-hole and watched in slow motion as my awesome sandwich came flying out of the bag, then out of the box, landed on the ground in front of me and i swiftly ran over it with my bike. I may or may not have cursed like an American sailor at that point...so much for blending in.
me right before I ran over my sandwich.

Lunch was beautiful. We parked our tooshies right next to a fountain in the middle of a busy park. Little Ayla ran around picking up leaves and showing us then throwing them into the fountain. (haha!) The whole lunch was very peaceful and the weather couldn't have been more perfect in early fall.





Once lunch was over we continued to ride our bikes around time and did a bit of shopping. I found a good deal on a pair of shoes and we found some good christmas presents for our family around the Old Town area of Chambery.
The happy family in the old-town area of Chambry. 

Later, I went back to Kabi while the rest of the crew went home for a quick nap. Looking back - I wish I wouldn't have done as much shopping (surprise!) I wish we would have spend more time riding our bikes, walking, hiking, doing cliche toursity things like going to museums, or taking tours, or even just sitting and reading outside in a park.

After sufficiently doing some damage to our shopping fund, we went back to Nate and Jo's apartment for Taco Night with some of their friends to celebrate Jo Jo's birthday.

Their friends brought Settlers of Catan over for us to borrow later that evening and play just Nate, Jo, Josh, and me. Apparently this was a HUGE deal because the guy who lent the game to us is very particular about his game. So particular that all the pieces were packaged in color coordinated Altoid boxes and pill bottles. Exhibit A.
We may or may not have taken this picture so we could remember how the game was supposed to go back in the box.

After the shock/amazement of his Catan packaging set in we had an epic battle till late in the evening with yours truly taking home the big win. (are you even remotely surprised?!)

We finally crashed around 2:30 am and set our alarms for a 5:45 am wake up call for Josh and I to make it to the 7:00 am train to Annecy the next morning.

2.08.2011

A New Word

I'm learning a new word this week: content.

It's a difficult word to learn and it's forcing me to grow and confront some immaturity that has been seeping into my veins for the past year. I have a constant feeling that real peace and happiness are always just out of my reach. That the next step in my career, a baby, a move, a new house, car, tv, coffee, will make me feel better. It's the american dream at it's best and Katherine Michael at her worst.

This "grass-is-always-greener-syndrome" is poisoning my heart.

Why am I constantly looking for what is missing in my life? I know I have blessings beyond belief. I get to experience things others only DREAM of! I'm married to an amazing man. I've traveled to switzerland, france and mexico. I own my home. Never been unemployed. I have literally been saved from an eternity of condemnation. I am never truly hungry. I have money in a little jar beside my bed saving for a dream (not a need!). We have two running and paid-for cars. I get to use my talents for the Lord through worship. I have experienced God's love. My dog is {cute} and house trained. I have 2 guitars to waiting for songs to be written on them. I have a computer. Relationship with my mom and dad is solid. relationship with my sisters is awesome and growing.

But, somehow i find a way to complain. I'm constantly looking for ways to adjust my life and make it better. Loose weight. Cut my hair. Clean my house. Re-decorate. Upgrade everything. change. move. tweak. morph. switch. vary. transition. It's disgusting. It has actually gotten to the point where i'm doing most of these things subconsciously without rhyme or reason and i wind up more confused than ever.

I know i'm called to be content.  I also know, from the deepest parts of me, that Jesus inspires greatness! Not mediocrity! another "awesome" (read: confusing/frustrating) paradox of the Kingdom. I don't want to be mediocre. Inside me there is still an echo of my childhood dreams. Inside of me is still a box with all the promises God has given me. I'm only 26. I still want to do great things with my life.

Am I supposed to give up on great in quest for content?

Maybe my definition of greatness needs to be reworked.

Maybe my definition of content needs to be reworked.

God, i'm opening myself up to be reworked starting now.

p.s. i just went to dictionary.reference.com to look up content...i got an error message.
I tried again. I got a page that said "Content: no dictionary results" I guess God really wants me to go to Him this time.

2.07.2011

Burn it Up

sometimes I feel
these threadbare wheels
won't stop their reel?

like i'm going 85
stuck on the passenger side
with a severed break line?

like suddenly it's been revealed
that a gigantic bar of steel
is in the place of the steering wheel

and i can't gain control no matter how hard i try?

well, it seems about time to crash to a halt
and maybe this will end up being my fault
but i'm ok with that cause
now is as good a time as any to
burn it up
and start over.

Then maybe i'll get it right next time.
really listen instead of chase after
the carrot i idealize
in my beat-down-burned-up-threadbare
life.

2.04.2011

Synchronized

Legs straddled
Arms raveled
head resting
on chest rising

two to one
i'm coming undone
we could just lay here
till the collapse of the sun

Oh to steal
(or even stretch!)
This grain of sand
through the hour glass slips

moments of treasure
untainted pleasure

synchronized breathing
hearts beating

my love, eternal
Breathe in.
my love, divine
Breath out.

2.02.2011

Infinity

morning overcast seeps through the blinds.
8 hours still feels like not enough time
when you wish you could spend the day with your lover
undercover, under covers
eating popcorn and holding each other.

cubicles wait
filled with progress and and i try not to
hate how stifling it feels.

importance just 2 miles out of reach.
may i beseech
you for something a bit more filling
instead of this paper-pushing
that does nothing for replenishing

my soul that longs for ascension
a real encounter with The One who sang
heavens in motion.
a brush with the Trinity
your feathers that tether this heart
and surge me to worship
for infinity

2.01.2011

Confessions

  • Sometimes I don't do the dinner dishes till the next day.
  • I'm secretly wishing Nashville was part of Snowpocalypse 2011. I never get snow days off work, but i think if something was being described with "pocalypse" in the nick name they might let me stay home. Right now it's warmish and raining.
  • I'm mad I had never heard of the band Over the Rhine till now, but i'm glad i've discovered how i'm going to spend the iTunes gift card I got for my birthday.
  • Sometimes I think i've done all i want to do before I have kids, then I think about how much fun it is to take naps and change my mind.
  • My dog has eaten some pretty nasty things including but not limited to - a quarter, dirty tissues, and the crotch of several pairs of underwear. 
  • I'm getting sick of facebook. 
  • I think have about $400 for my camera I said I was going to start saving for last summer, but i'm kind of regretting making my money jar impossible to get into unless it's completely destroyed because that $400 mark could be give or take $100.
  • There are still pine needles all over my house because i haven't swept the back porch since we carried our tree to the dumpster and we keep tracking them back in. 
  • Every now and then I find a REALLY long hair on my cheek. I have no idea how this happens considering i put on make-up every morning and look closely at my face, but the mystery hair just appears in all it.s 1 inch of glory about once a year. Oh, life's mysteries...
  • I wrote a song the other day and it consisted of 2 chords. A little sad, but at least it's a start on one of my new year's resolutions.
  • I bought a machine called the "one armed bandit" for work last week. Any guesses on what this machine does?
  • Working out in the morning is best for your body, but I've discovered working out at night is better than setting your alarm to work out in the morning and just hitting the snooze for an hour.
  • I'm pretty sure if I played the mandolin any song I write would instantly be cool. Learning to play the mandolin is going on my bucket list. 
  • Jesus is teaching me things right now but i'm having trouble with communicating what those things are. They are like seeds that were planted and have yet to break through the dirt for me to discover what kind of plant they are.