Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Good Life

People never seem to realize how good their lives really were - until that good is absent.

Tonight, I am very aware of how good I had it living in such a nice neighborhood when I was growing up.

And do you know what was especially good about it?

Street lights.

Yep. Street lights. Lighting up the sidewalks so that people still felt safe when they walked or ran after dark.

Here, there is no light. And to make it worse there are woods. And who wants to take a walk out where you feel like you could get jumped by a human or animal at any moment - and you can't even see to defend yourself?

Street lights. A simple thing that could allow me and Maggie to feel safe out there.

I had it so good.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Spending Time

As I continue to try and not have such a hateful attitude toward fall, I have discovered something. It really is beautiful to play in the leaves, to gaze at the color exploding from the trees, and I think that my attitude and disdain for change is deeper than just the time of year we are now experiencing.

For weeks I have thought it might be nice to spend more time in the Word. It might be nice to wake up early and read my Bible, journal a bit, enjoy some time being still before jumping in to the day. I know this is true. It was a thought that persisted and I felt myself sharing it week after week as we met with church friends.

But I never did it.

This was clearly pointed out one week, when someone said, "Rebecca, didn't you say that last week?" Yes, yes I did. And every week before it.

But I never did it.

I am busy - but, aren't we all busy? This excuse is stupid. And I know it. And I took last Tuesday evening to be in the Word. I locked Maggie in her cage. She could not distract. The Mister was not home. It was just me. Me and several studies to get through.

"Don't rush it." I told myself. "Spend time here."

And just like that, spending a bit of time reading and a bit of time praying and a bit of time journaling - and I felt so much better.

I don't think we should pursue Christ for the sake of finding happiness - but we definitely become happier, when we do take that time for Him. Joyful even.

What a relief for my tired and cranky soul.


Enjoying the yellow forest with Maggie on a lunch break walk.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Seasonal

I have informed the Mister that I think I have seasonal depression. I think I was totally distracted in college by great learning and amazing opportunities, and of course the great friendships. But now that I am a working girl I can tell that I am in need of year-long sunshine. Retiring to Florida is totally in my future.

I am not a fan of the seasons changing and the weather getting cold. I am not a fan of getting up in the dark. And coming home to the dark. I am not a fan of having to pile on the layers. I have no energy when it is dark. I would have made a great bear, hibernating away.

To combat my hateful attitude toward this time, I have tried to focus on things I do like about the fall.

It is taking a lot of concentration.

I turned the heat on high as I drove south on a beautiful day and admired the many colors in the trees lining the highway.

I lit a candle called "Autumn Wreath" to put myself in a cozy mood.

I wore a few scarves. I do love scarves.

I pulled my moccasin slippers out. Maggie tried to eat them. Multiple times. I put my moccasin slippers away.

I bought red corduroys. Oh yes I did.

I hiked the trails with Mister. We earned a new shield for our hiking staff.

And I made a delicious apple crisp and savored every bite.

Still on the to-do list:
- Bust out my boots
- Drink apple cider
- Make pumpkin bread


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Puppy Love

I am in love with this little lady. She is proving to be just the dog for us, and has been quite a little buddy for some in the yard chores like harvesting potatoes, planting fall bulbs and raking leaves. She loves to play in the leaves, snuggle in her blankets and play fetch - it is adorable! She knows how to sit and to lie down. Good start right?





A quick update on my fears/concerns/what if statements:

What if we are not able to train her properly? And she is not well behaved?

So far, she has been very easy to train and incredibly well behaved. She has visited two homes, the vet, and had her first college visit. At all places she is very well behaved. She is a little shy, which definitely helps her to not be too jumpy or sniffing about in all the wrong places.

What if she likes the Mister better than me?

She does like the Mister better. When it is just me and my girl at home, she is my constant shadow. But when that man is in the house, she could care less about where I am and what I'm doing, even when I'm holding a treat out to her.

I am learning to be ok with this. Trying to be ok with this.


What if she eats my shoes? I will be so mad...

So far she has not destroyed any shoes. She has tried to chew on some slippers but we have caught her before any damage was done.

What if she bites people?
No worries here. The only people she likes to bite are me and Mister, and honestly, mostly just me. Bite my hair, my clothes, bite at scarves and jewelry. So if I'm not looking quite as cute as normal, it's because I have to dress down in scrubby clothes so my pup doesn't destroy my nice things!


What if she isn't good with kids?

My nephew has been over several times and both of them are rather disinterested in each other. I am hoping this changes and they become best buds.

What if she grows up to be ugly?

So far - she's just super cute. I haven't been able to capture her sweet face when she's looking up at us. It's the cutest little expression. I hope to get a photo of it soon. And then frame it. And spend lots of money to get it on canvas and hang it prominently in our house. Yep. I am well on my way to becoming one of those dog ladies.

We love her.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Change

I remember that I always loved dogs. And one Christmas morning, our parents led us (three siblings at this time) into the kitchen where we discovered the present they were so excited to show us was three cages with a parakeet in each one. "That's what you asked for, on your Christmas list," they claimed. None of us knew what a parakeet was. After a trip to the library and some reading, we attempted to teach them to talk, because that was what you were supposed to do with parakeets. Then we found out that these parakeets were old rejects our neighbors were trying to get rid of. There would be no teaching them to talk. There would be no tricks. They were done learning. Merry Christmas to all!

Oh how I wanted to have a puppy.

So when I met the Mister, and we were dating and talking about getting married, I made sure that he knew this about me. It was a problem at first, because he wanted a cat. We didn't know how the two could work together. A few marriage counseling sessions later, we worked it out that we could have both. Compromise.

And I didn't think this would happen until later, much later.

Partly because Mister didn't like dogs at all. He wouldn't kiss me if a dog licked my face. He wouldn't let dogs in our house. He would run away from them a little or yell at them if they jumped at him. He really, didn't like dogs. This will be tough, I thought. I knew it would be a while before we could have one.

And I didn't think it would happen until later partly, because we are so young (aren't we?) and possibly too young for any kind of responsibility.

And then last month on the occasion of our two-year wedding anniversary, Mister looked across the table at me and said "I think I am ready for pets." I stared at him, and let him know that I was not ready.

"You will never be ready for anything," he said.

Rude.

And true.

So last week, when he told me he had contacted a place, about a puppy, and filled out the application, and contacted some vets, and that we had been accepted to adopt - I was more than a little surprised. It actually reminded me a little of when he asked me to marry him, and I didn't smile or cry, but just kind of stared and was pretty quiet.

This is how I handle surprise - I am not proud of it. It tends to ruin happy moments, as you can see.

But we went and looked at the puppies. Silly thing to do. How could I say no when they are there, and so cute, and the woman is saying "Which one do you want?"

So we picked one. I think I will like her when she arrives tomorrow.

This is Maggie.



She is so tiny. And adorable. I know that when she comes, I will love her.

Tonight I am anxious. The change is overwhelming me and I feel as though I am drowning in the "what ifs."

What if we are not able to train her properly? And she is not well behaved?

What if she likes the Mister better than me?

What if she eats my shoes? I will be so mad...

What if she bites people?

What if she isn't good with kids?

What if she grows up to be ugly?

I think this must be a lot like parenting. Having ugly children is a big fear I have about having my own kids someday. So, seems like these might be similar situations.

Also - I have seen Marley & Me. Multiple times. And I cry every single time. At multiple parts. I keep watching the film because of the story it tells, of a family, of growing together, of getting older. I think it is really beautiful. It might even be a favorite. But I know what happens at the end, and that makes me more anxious. I look at Maggie's picture (I have been looking at it again and again all week) and start getting sad and teary about something that is years and years down the road, hopefully.

This is another reason I don't like change. She will not stay the same forever. I suppose I won't either, but here in my twenties I do feel like I will never change.

I should change my perspective: perhaps we will live the Marley & Me story with a puppy that grows into a beloved family member as our family grows. I will still cry as changes happen, but I can cherish the here and now and be content in the present moment.

This would be a better way to live. This would be a good change to make.

I hope that we will be good at training her and loving her. I hope that she will love it here at Green Acres with us.

I really hope that she owns our land, makes it her own, jumps in the pond when she wants to, follows us around the gardens, runs to chase the geese with us...

I can't wait to watch her grow. One more sleep until we have our Maggie home.






Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Love Story

Four years ago, our love story began...


12:41 PM me: I can watch Forrest Gump tonight
  if you're still free
 Mister: Hey
12:42 PM as a matter of fact, i am
  i meant to ask you twice today (since I have seen you that many times), but i forgot both times until after you left
12:45 PM i assume we will start the feature presentation after dinner...
 me: sure
  feature presentation eh?
  this had better be a good movie
 Mister: are you kidding?


It was a good movie, a spectacular presentation (the most beautiful bouquet I've ever received!) and was followed by the best DTR conversation I'd ever experienced.

Thank you Google Chat for making things happen.
Thank you family and friends for never introducing me to this classic film prior to this very specific Friday evening.
Thank you Mister for being brave even when I said I needed to think and pray about it.

I am a lucky girl.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Just Lunch

I walked out the door of my office today and stood by the curb as a familiar vehicle pulled up. I realized then, that it had been quite a while since I had been picked up like this... with doors being opened for me and such.

And you might think it was a special occasion, birthday, anniversary, or the like.

It certainly looked like a date. I was dressed somewhat-fancy, and he in jeans and a polo. Our standard date clothes.

But what it really was - the reason for this mid-day gathering, was just lunch. Chipotle lunch. Because he had the day off and I only work two miles from home, so why not?

We feasted and still had time left over, and found ourselves wandering in World Market for a while, sitting on furniture and picking up pitchers. Like we were engaged again and picking out things for our future home. Coincidentally the new layout of World Market looks as though it is set up for wedding registry purposes.

But we are married now and testing out things for our current home. The loveseat was the perfect size but the cushion didn't make the cut. The table was gorgeous but far too big for our space.

Then he drove me to my office and I let him in and showed him my office space, introduced him to a few co-workers. I was so proud to show him off - like he was new again, because to this crowd, he was new, a novelty, a novelty that belonged to me.

How fun, that something so simple, just lunch really, could be so romantic. And how exciting that it made me feel so young again, like we were new, just beginning. And how wonderful that it made me fall in love with my Mister all over again.

I love you Mister! I am glad you asked me to be your girl.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Thought for Today

The abundant life is when, in the midst of your impossible situation, you say, "Now is the time!" 
- Priscilla Shirer

"Now to Him who by the power that is working within us is able to do far beyond all that we ask or think, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever." Ephesians 3:20-21

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Dad knows his girl

"Hey it's your Dad, I just wanted to let you know that we did get you a birthday present. We haven't forgotten about you. I didn't know that your Mom didn't get it to you. Quite frankly she forgot ... So don't fret. We didn't forget about you. I know you're fretting, so that's why I called."

I received this voicemail eleven days after my birthday. It has been a standard practice for my dad to be gone on my birthday, making phone calls from him on that day especially important, and a big fuss over me of equal importance. It wasn't really his fault - he was committed to an activity before I was born and it turns out it takes place at the same time every year. I have forgiven him. But growing up I did expect a daddy-daughter date as soon as he came back into town... which I always received. This was part of the big fuss I expected to surround me every year.

You might think that as I grew up I would be less of a five-year-old about this day.

Nope.

Every July 28 I morph back into my five-year-old self, anxiously waiting for every member of my family to call me, staring down the Mister until he remembers and wishes me birthday greetings, reminding my parents that they still owe me a present. If it bothers them, they don't complain about it to me so I see no reason to change my behaviors and expectations.

This year the fuss around my birthday has exceeded my wildest dreams! I have been receiving presents since July 24 and there is still one in the mail. This has been the longest birthday celebration of my entire life!! I figure, as long as I am still receiving presents, it is still my birthday. True logic, eh? Plus my birthday kicked off our week long beach vacation - and I still have a nice tan from that trip, which is like another present in itself!

So that is why I didn't cry and complain when my parents finally handed over my birthday gift, on August 12, fifteen days after my birthday. I have been especially blessed this year, or perhaps especially selfish and self-absorbed. Call it what you will - but I am relishing the birthday celebration of 2012! And the little five-year-old in me has been giggling with delight.

Ya done me good family, ya done me real good!


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Beach

We took a drive to the southern side
And enjoyed the sun and higher tides
We joined the family in a great big house
But this morning was just me and my spouse
We woke up early to sneak in a run
And returned, and were greeted by no one
All the rest remained fast asleep
While we read and dined not making a peep
So though there are nine others here at the beach
This morning it was my husband and me, his peach

Friday, July 27, 2012

Birthday

It is weird to grow up and experience grown-up birthdays. My birthday is July 28. I never thought of it as the end of summer. My parents always delayed my birthday party until mid-August, when they could have a joint party and include my brother. My parents always delayed our summer vacation until the very beginning of September, so that we could avoid crowds at popular destinations.

It's strange to hear people talking about summer as almost over, and school right around the corner, when my birthday is tomorrow. No way. My birthday is tomorrow. We are still in the middle of summer. 

This chalk message was drawn for me on my very first grown-up birthday, the summer after I graduated high school. I had to work on my birthday, my first job, my first responsibility. I was terribly upset about it. Also, my father was away. But really, he was away for every birthday, so I shouldn't have allowed that to bother me another year. It was not his fault. My birthday is always the last week of July, and his summer camp is always the last week of July. So really, it's not his fault. I was the one who was born ten days late, if we're keeping score. 

Anyway.

On this first grown-up birthday, my best friend Lana came over while I was working and enlisted my sisters to create a spectacular chalk message with her to welcome me home. Inside, they had balloons and gifts waiting. It was so much fun and a total surprise! They made my first grown-up birthday not so bad after all. 

This week, I have celebrated my birthday on Sunday, Tuesday, and Friday. And my birthday is Saturday. These grown-up birthdays, they really aren't so bad. As you age, your circles grow and expand and you are celebrated even more!

At least that is how it is for me. May your birthday always bring you childish joy, love and smiles, and a slice of cake.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Secrets to a Successful Marriage

We have attended two weddings this summer, we have two to go, and we will be unable to attend two. All the white dresses and first dances make me think of my own wedding day, almost two years ago now. My only regret, which I have just realized, is that I wish we had hired a videographer.

They might have captured some beautiful scenes for me to treasure, like this one:
Both sets of my grandparents taking to the dance floor and staying out there as the DJ eliminated other couples during the anniversary dance. "58 years!" I can hear my grandmother exclaiming into the microphone the DJ held out to her. "And what is the secret to your marriage?" he asked. And then, my poor memory can't remember if she said "I do the hula every morning!" or... "I hula hoop every morning!" 

Either way - I do remember that she laughed at her own joke, which made me laugh even more. And knowing her, it really could have been either one of those. If I had known she would be revealing such secrets, if I knew then what I know now, I would have been sure to have a video camera on hand...

I am sure in the moment I had decided any additional expense would just be too much, but I am glad that I was married first, so that I can tell my sisters that it must be in the budget. And if it can't be, I think I will pay for it myself. We can't let secrets like this fade away.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

On Growing Up

It snuck up on me - because I had spent my whole childhood waiting to be bigger, so that I could stay up later. So that I could get my ears pierced. So that I could drive. So that I could go to college. So that I could get married.

And here I am. I can do all of those things. I did do all of those things. And more than anything, I just want to go back.

I watch my sisters pile into a car together and I know when they get home they will continue to hang out, maybe watch a movie, probably talk until the lights go off, probably talk after the lights go off. And I want to be there too.

I think about what to do next, which task to take on, and remember when I did not have things to do or responsibility to anyone. I woke up and read a book. I ate lunch and played outside. I enjoyed family dinner and watched military tv shows with my brother and my dad. I went to bed. That was nice.

Now I sit and feel guilty just sitting when there are weeds growing up in my garden which I should pull. And there is mold in my bathroom that I need to clean. But I just sit and try to relax my mind and allow myself to just sit and not feel responsible or obligated, only indulge in a carefree moment. This is hard to do.

I don't have regrets - except that I wish I had savored it more. Except that I know even when there were people telling me to savor it, don't grow up to fast, being an adult really isn't that much fun ... I didn't listen.

Now I look around and wonder why my baby cousins are driving. How are they taller than me? Why does my grandfather look so very old? When did my parents become my friends and not my protectors?  Why am I now holding my mother up in an icy parking lot? Wasn't it really not that long ago that she took my hand to make sure I didn't fall? When did my family become so spread out across the country? I think it was just a moment ago we were all together in the same place ...

I am not sad about where I am now. I just want to capture as many of those joyous childhood memories as I can, because it was actually, despite what I told my parents or how my thirteen year old self was feeling, actually lovely. At least I can reminisce with a smile on my face. I know I am lucky.

This week especially, growing up has been very hard.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Man vs. Beast

Mister and I frequently walk around the yard inspecting. Checking on what areas need weeding and what areas need watered. I am nervous when we do this, afraid that I will come across plants we neglected and stay forever in the category of "beginner gardeners."

This year though I have been surprised. We seem to be doing well. And things are growing! The only thing that disappointed me was that a lack of rain didn't bring the abundant blueberry and raspberry crops we enjoyed so much last year. Even still, we did have some blueberries and raspberries to enjoy.

And then we got a reminder that all of the careful tending and watering can still be all for nothing. Even when you have sprayed for bugs. Even when you have put on plant food. Even when you have weeded. Because sometimes, the animals still win and there's not much you can do about it except sit in the yard 24/7 and keep watch, which is unfortunate when we both work full time and require at least 7 hours of sleep.

Yesterday, we lost the most beautiful peach. It was almost ready, just one more day would have made it perfect. And someone else out there knew that too.

I am hoping these others stay safe so that we can enjoy some peach smoothies soon.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Proud

I grew these mahself!
It's now time for zucchini bread, zucchini stir-fry, and my ultimate favorite -- fried zucchini!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Garden Chores

Spent a few hours weeding the potatoes. I enjoy weeding, because I can see my progress and it motivates me to keep going and finish the job. A finished job is neat and tidy, something to take pride in, a sweet accomplishment. Tonight these four clean rows of potatoes are making me a very happy girl.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Raspberries

I grew up with a small raspberry patch in my backyard. We would fight over picking them, because if you picked them then you could be a sneak and eat them too... Getting more than a fair share before bringing them inside to be devoured by the masses.

Now, I have a patch four times the size. It is fantastic. My favorite thing to do with them this year is to make raspberry-banana smoothies.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Summertime is for...

getting up with the sun.

When I was younger I routinely woke up at sunrise. I loved getting a jump start on the day and diving into a great book or meeting my mom for breakfast while everyone else slept. My bedroom at the time was pale yellow, my bedspread a pale blue... a perfectly cheery combination that added to my overall happiness those summer mornings.

I stopped doing this naturally just a few years later and slept well into the morning or depended on an alarm clock to rise and begin the day. As a working adult, I savor weekend sleep. Usually I can only sleep in one day of the weekend, the other is devoted to a long run before it gets too hot.

But this past weekend - a miraculous thing happened: I woke up with the sun both Saturday and Sunday morning. My days off! With no alarm! And I felt rested!

It was glorious. I caught up on some email that I had neglected during the week. I read my book. I ate breakfast before my run. It was lovely. And I was glad to learn it is still possible for me to rise early enough to know when night becomes day and bask in the beauty of that moment.

Today I am thankful for warm and bright mornings that come so often with this summer season.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Hello

I thought I would try this blog thing again. And get rid of the notion that it was this blog that was dragging me down, it was this format, this web host, this blog title.

It wasn't any of that. It was just me. So here we go again.

I snapped this photo - my joy of the day. Those blueberries are the first ones from the garden this year - a whole bowl full. The green plant was part of a bouquet that has since died, but this green leafy thing keeps growing new leaves. I like it. A good reminder that we keep growing too.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Caution: Risks Ahead

Our church will be comprised of three campuses by the end of the year. I've never been a part of a dynamic church like this: a church where it grows and there is concern for reaching the lost and there are real steps and actual movement in making visions a reality. And so, a third campus.

There is such risk in taking on another church and claiming their debt as our own and training them up in the way they should go. Plus - sending our own to this new space to help it grow strong roots. We live across the street from the campus we attend and will likely not be asked to move, and of course I am very comfortable with this fact.

But we're not supposed to be comfortable are we? Jesus didn't tell us to go out into the world and be comfortable. And try as I might to twist the words in bright red font in my Bible, I can't get around that small detail. I am glad that my church community will challenge me to sacrifice, to risk, to take a step or two in faith.

Because let's be honest, that is quite the opposite of my spirit. I've always been comfortable and I've never  once had need. I've always chosen a safe step. I may agonize over my safe steps and create unnecessary drama because in my small mind it's a great big deal... but the truth is I don't think I've ever risked anything.

One of my growing goals is to change this - I want to be so trusting of God's plan that I don't fear where He leads. Lord, change me.