Wednesday, December 4, 2013

[ Our First Snow ]

It snowed... 
Like snowflakes-dumping-from-the-heavens-for-hours snowed! 

This school bus almost didn't make it up from the hill coming home from work today. It slipped and slid all the way up the hill. Thank the Lord for my 4 wheel drive truck that my wonderful husband insisted I drive today! A normal 15 minute drive took a solid 30-40 minutes, but the view was breathtaking! Everything was wearing a fresh blanket of snow, include the trees.

I love all the seasons, but the first snowfall makes everything look fresh and decorated for the Christmas season. Now my inside decorations match the outside decorations! This weekend we are supposed to have an "arctic chill" set in with highs in the teeny teens and that doesn't even include the windchill. I'm ready to hunker down and enjoy some Eggnog Chai (try it! you can't judge until you do!) and listen to some Charlie Brown Christmas music.

Remington's favorite part of this time of year is the time he gets to go snow plowing with the Hubs. Tonight was the first night we hooked up the plow to the truck and Remy was beside himself with excitement. When the Hubs opened the door and ask Remy to go, Remy jumped up like he was boss and into his co-pilot spot. Halfway through, the Hubs got a fire call and the poor dog had to come inside with me. I came into the living to find him sitting like this on the couch, where he has a good view out the dining room window as he was waiting for his plow truck to come back.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

[ The Day He Had a Bobcat ]

So I left one morning to go to work and the Hubs was at home. 

A friend came over with his bobcat (think machine, not animal). 

They worked outside all day and I came home to a lot less trees, bushes, shrubbery...

And a lot prettier view too! 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

[ This Year, I'm Thanksgiving ]

Thanksgiving is in two days.  To be exact, it's in 1 day, 22 hours and a few minutes. Turkey, dressing, family, time to rest, time to be thankful, football and all kind of fun traditions that are made by being with people, enjoying them and what we've been given. Between Christmas and Thanksgiving, they run a pretty close race for my favorite holiday. Christmas wins because of the advent season and a month of reflections, the snow and lastly the incredible decorations... But Thanksgiving is a holiday that I look forward to. I enjoy it and try to soak up every moment. 

This year, as I was 'preparing' for thanksgiving (aka writing a grocery list since my wonderful mother-in-law actually hosts the main meal), I realized that I was dreading something. I was dreading Black Thursday/Friday. The last couple years, I have partook in the tradition of Black Friday which is quickly beginning to spill into Thursday and eat up Thanksgiving Day. I did the whole standing-in-line-freezing-my-buns-off thing to get some kind of good deals. This year, I realized I was dreading it. Dreading the shopping, dreading the crowds of tired-grumpy people. I didn't look forward to the tired cashiers who missed out on most of their meal because they had to be at Target preparing for the onslaught of people. 

This year, most stores seem to be opening earlier on Thursday, some even during dinner times. This year, I realized would be the first year that I didn't partook in this tradition. No more waiting in lines for stores to open. No more rushing to the electronics department for some sweet deal. This year, I did most of my shopping online. Thank-you Amazon Prime Shipping! This year, I want Thanksgiving to be about family, food, football and focus on people. Not focused on presents. Presents will come, there will be other sales. I can go shopping another day. Maybe Friday, after I've had my coffee and the lines have died down. But no midnight standing in line for this gal!

Blogger Matt Walsh wrote for the Huffington Post last week about the problem is regarding Black Thursday/Friday and extends a challenge to all shoppers... here's an excerpt from his article, which you should read if you've got the time! It's a good one!  

" COULD wait until Friday, couldn't you? And if you did wait until Friday, and if everyone waited until Friday, no store would ever open on Thanksgiving again, right? So you COULD take steps to protect Thanksgiving from the decay of materialism and consumerism, and, while you're at it, give this wonderful holiday back to the customer service representatives who have been forced to abandon it and cater to the stampeding throngs, right?"

read more from Walsh's article:

[ It's Arrived! ]

29 day until Christmas. Not that I am counting. Not that my tree has been up for 2 weeks already. Not that I already have been listening to Christmas music in my office for at least a week. Not that I already have 90% of my Christmas shopping done- thank-you Amazon!

I almost feel guilty for skipping Thanksgiving. Almost, but not quite. This year feels different. Actually, this year is different. I love the changing seasons. When the leaves changed color and the temperatures began to drop, I was so excited! Being pregnant has been great. I'm enjoying the different seasons and looking forward to the ones ahead. I'm 19 weeks today and finally feeling so much better that I am enjoying being pregnant. No longer sick for most of the day, I am enjoy the morning and have so much more energy. Yet, I'm still looking forward to the next season of being pregnant. I can't wait to feel my baby kick for the first time, for the Hubs to be able to feel it too. It's just all so exciting!

Monday, November 25, 2013

[ It's not so far... ]

My favorite part of this weekend was facetiming a wedding shower for my sister Kara & Paul. I was in the checkoutl line at Target when my phone started ringing and Dad's face appeared asking if I'd like to be a part of one of their Jack and Jill showers. Um, yes?! And this is why I always-always-always have headphones with me. I snuck over to the Target Cafe, popped in those headphones and got to sit in on a little bridal shower for my sista! I got to hear good friends speak words of encouragement and blessings, tell great stories about these two great people and give them prayers of blessing! 

Sometimes living in another country doesn't have to feel so far away...

Saturday, October 12, 2013

[ Check out Bitty Baby! ]

I hit 12 weeks this week. I hoped this would be a magical week, filled with feeling better and more energy. Well, let's just say we're still looking forward to next week. There are lots more weeks to come and I'm sure they will each be better.

Right now, I just can't believe it's a bitty baby inside. We had an ultrasound done this week and we were mind blown! I'm so glad that the Hubs got to come with me to see our baby. The baby was kicking and moving around so much. It's crazy that I can't feel him or her move, yet seeing all those little jumps and kicks on the screen was awesome. Absolutely awesome. Then, to make it even better (like it wasn't already pretty sweet) the tech took a 3D photo of our baby. He or she actually looks like a bitty human.

In case you can't see what's happening, the bitty baby has it's arms up by it's head, waving them like she don't care. You can see her little tummy and string bean legs at the bottom.

So here's to 12 weeks and our bitty baby! Even though I'm still not feeling 100%, I do love this season!

Monday, September 23, 2013

[ Exciting Update! ]

We announced some exciting news in Friday to the world that the Hubs and I are going to have a little peanut joining our world in April. We are so excited! 

This week, she is the size of a fig. 

Yes, I said she. No, that doesn't mean it's a girl. I just can't handle the idea of calling a baby, "It."  So for now, since I was raised in a house of all girls and we don't really know a lot about boys, I am going to be using "she" until the time comes for that to change. 

The past couple months have been fun with a little bits of sickness mixed in. The most common question I've been asked so far, "How are you feeling" with a nice side tilt of head. To answer that quite plainly, not so hot. Some days are awesome, especially when it's cooler outside. But there have been some rougher days. I'm looking forward the weeks ahead of hopefully feeling better. 

So far, my favorite part has been sharing our news with others. We have loved having others join us on this journey through prayers and support when the days are a bit rough. It's been great! I loved telling my sisters and hearing them scream and cry! I loved hearing my mum use the term, "Grama" for the first time! 

It's a lot of firsts right now and we are trying to soak it all in and loving every second so far!

Friday, July 19, 2013

[ Camping, Cruising & Marshmallows ]

We love camping. Being outdoors, exploring new campgrounds, smelling like campfire smoke and eating way too many marshmallows for the normal human being... We love it all. Last year we acquired a pop-up camper from the in-laws which I was skeptical about at first. I thought anything outside a tent "wasn't really camping."  I know some people still hold fast to this view, but after sleeping through torrential downpours and being able to organise all our kitchen gear and bedding and everything camping, I'm in love. I love our little trailer. 

This weekend we are camping in a new place. It's a place like I've never experienced. Kids run in packs, on bikes and scooters. Grown men cruise up and down the well worn paths, blue beverage cans in hand and loads more of children on board. It seems to be some kind of established little summer camping town and we've decided to crash the party this weekend. Being an outsider, I got stared at by some "regulars" cruised by in their golf cart. No wave, just a stare. This camp neighbourhood is great, totally a different camping experience! 

So here's to camping, cruising in golf carts and marshmallows! 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

[ Looking on the Bright Side ]

This week started off with lots of heat and humidity and storms, but despite all of that and my feeble attempt to look on the bright side of things on Monday, Tuesday has been a new day. I woke up to cool temps, which have since zoomed up into the high 80s, beautiful birds outside and a better attitude... Thank goodness for opportunity to look on the bright side, see the beautiful things and be thankful for the little things, like AC in my office and the ability to make iced coffee. Here's to an even better day tomorrow!

Friday, June 21, 2013

[ Bad Ideas ]

This whole warm weather thing has been a bit of a doozy. Maybe it was the long winter, maybe I'm just getting old, but I feel as though I am melting. Slowly, slowly melting...

Last night, a storm swept through our area, taking out some power lines, thundering through the night and keeping us all awake until the early hours. Even Remington was not a fan of the storm and ended up sleeping with us so he would calm down. I'm going to blame the lack of sleep for the worst coffee making experience...

I've started making my cold press in the mornings. 1 part coffee to 4.5 parts water. Mix in a French Press and let is sit for 8+ hours. Last night, as my kitchen was 86.4 degrees and I was, again, slowly melting, I decided to put my French Press in the fridge. Good idea, right? I would have nice chilled coffee in the morning and be able to handle the humidity and dew points that are creeping into 70% (which makes it feel tropical outside).

Nope, not a good idea... it was a BAD IDEA! My fridge has issues and occasionally freezes things. Like last night, it froze a good 1/2 inch of my coffee grounds on top of my delicious cold press coffee. After staring at my coffee and letting a few ideas run through of how to get to the deliciousness underneath, I stuck it in the microwave for a minute or two. Not a bad idea and it loosened up some of the ice. I then took a knife to the ice and tried to push it down.

That was bad idea #2 as coffee squished out of the ice and a new Old Faithful erupted in a mess of soaked coffee grounds and cold water in my kitchen, on the counter, on the floor and all over my shirt. I quickly realized my French Press was made to push the grounds down (again, blamed on lack of sleep from storm) and used the French Press for its actual purpose. It worked like a gem, I pour my coffee, added some creamer and set it on the counter. Absolutely did not actually screw the cap on causing me to spill yet again on myself, the floor and counter and shoes. After cleaning coffee up AGAIN, I finally made it out the door and into the car without anymore incidents...

So... here's to Minnesota storms, Fridays & laughing at yourself!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

[ A Weakness ]

I have a weakness. I'm not talking about coffee or photos of puppies or my favorite food group: dessert. I have another weakness: weather. 

I love weather. I recently looked into becoming a trainer weather spotter for my local area which would assist NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Admonstration). Machines and computer programs can only predict so much when it comes to unpredictable weather patterns so NOAA has trained spotters that can report live when certain a events happen (hail, cloud rotation, etc). 

I've wanted to do this for about 2 years now and finally looked into getting the official training this along. Unfortunately, I missed the last day by 3 days and have to wait until next fall.  But don't worry! There is a 70+ training guide available and I've been doing some light reading.

On top of my light reading, the weather right now is actually fantastic! We currently have a strong system moving towards us tonight and it's hard to go to sleep knowing that's going be moving in! 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

[ 'Round These Parts ]

One of my favorite things about living where we do are the sunsets. Somehow, whenever our house was built in the early 1900s, someone had the foresight to make my kitchen window overlook a beautiful pasture filled with warm golden sunshine more days than I can count in the spring, summer & fall. Then right behind the house, I walk out my backdoor and see our barn bathed in sunshine that you just want to soak up and hold onto for as long as possible. 

I love my fleeting moments of golden sunshine. Even though they don't last very long, they warm you to the bone. Like seeing an old friend or curling up with a good book on a rainy day. Golden sunsets are one of my favorite parts 'round here. These moments remind me to breathe in deep, enjoying the moment before continuing with my evening...

[ I like this Wednesday ]

I'm starting to dislike Wednesdays... 

Wednesdays mean that it's been 2 days since I've really spent time with the Hubs.
It also means that there's 2 more days until I get to see him. 
Our crazy schedule makes Wednesdays unbelievably long. 

Except for today. Today is the day I got flowers at work... 

Monday, June 17, 2013

[ Weekend Highlight : Canoeing & Camping ]

This weekend the Hubs and I joined another married couple and we went camping for the weekend. We hasn't ever camped together as couples but it worked wonderfully. It was chill, no pressure for a schedule or any agenda. We got up whenever and no one cares that it took us 3 hours for breakfast from start to finish. 

One of my highlights was canoeing with the Hubs down the St. Crouix river. It was our first time canoeing together but we work well as a team and really enjoyed ourselves! 

Despite almost being carried off by mosquitoes, I'd say it was an overall successful weekend. Lots of good food, good company and more than anything- lots of time with my man during this busy season.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

[ Days like Today ]

Life is going about a million miles a minute. We've official been submerged into craziness while the Hubs is in the last stretch of his school and while we can see the end in sight. Days like today make it easier to forget that this is just a season, a short season.

Days like today are the days when you wake up and later than you thought you would and you don't shower so it feels like you never really woke up. Days like today are the days when you seem to have a to-do list three miles long at work and it just keeps piling on. Days like today are the days when you wish you could yell, "Mullligan!" and start over- right back to the moment when your alarm went off and you should have gotten out of your warm bed instead of hitting that snooze button.

BUT days like today are the days that remind me of the important things. The more time the Hubs and I spend apart with his crazy schedule, makes our time together so much more fun, spontaneous and memorable. It makes me appreciate his sense of humor and his ridiculous jokes. It makes me look forward to his kiss on my forward when he crawls into bed after a long day. It makes me look forward to our weekends together camping, working in the yard and eating meals together.

Days like today are important because they require me to rely on Something bigger than me. I find kindness and patience in God. He's a God who knew that today would be a long day, that I would be tired and feeling overwhelmed and lonely yet beautifully orchestrated a dinner with girlfriends at my house. A dinner that would make me sit down, breathe and enjoy conversation with some delightful ladies. Who knew that digging in deeper with friends have a bigger purpose than eating Grandma's spaghetti?

Days like today are the days that remind me of the important things...

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

[ Keeping Busy ]

Spring life has been in full swing in our household. Memorial Day weekend seems to mark a time when all craziness begins to wind up and hits the ground running. This past weekend was no different. Saturday was full with much needed landscaping around the yard. Including planting flowering plants, re-spreading chips around the house and mowing the grass. We spent time with family every day this past weekend and soaked up as much as we could. Through bonfires, going to a water park and spending several meals together, it was a weekend full of family. The Hubs and I soaked it up.

Tuesday we hit the ground running. It marked the beginning of the last portion of the Hubs school, which means less hours at home and more hours at school and work. We can see the end and know that it's close but it's going to be a long 2 months and July cannot come soon enough!

In the meantime, while the Hubs is off learning and working, I have a to-do list of things to get done this sring that will hopefully keep me busy:
  1. Plant the Vegetable Garden
  2. Prepare for our Family Garage Sale
  3. Begin Studying to become a Trained Weather Spotter (more coming on that later!)
  4. Learn How to Use My Crockpot
  5. Reread the Harry Potter Series
So far, the list is off to a great start too! 80% of the garden was planted last night. Book 1 of Harry Potter has been read and I've moved onto the 2nd already. AND I bought price tags for the garage sale. Ya, I would say spring is off to a pretty strong start. 

So 3 cheers to spring as we started off running this week, raise your glasses and let's keep going!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

[ Spring has Sprung ]

I feel like this day has been one a long in the making (and apparently, I'm feeling all southern tonight). Warm gold sunshine, a walk along the lake with a good friend and Remington... it was a night to soak in. The changing of seasons this year from a very long winter to a wet spring has been building with anticipation. There always seemed to be another snowstorm around the corner, but after seeing this magnificent tree and amazing sky- I am going to go out on a limb and say that spring has sprung. And it's sprung beautifully! Even Remington got to enjoy tonight as we took him down by the lake and he thoroughly enjoyed fetching from the water.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

[ Our View ]

This view will never get old... 

No matter how long I stare, I love my backyard view.  Yesterday, I got to mow the lawn for the first time this year.  Plants are beginning to pop out of my little gardens and the leaves have actual leaves on them. It's about time to welcome warmer weather, that should stay for a while, we are hoping for a 90 degree day today. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

[ A Grampa Birthday ]

My two grandpa's are a day apart. They are both incredible men, rich with wisdom and history. They are solidly rooted in family and God. They are men who I know love me and I had the privilege of having them pour into my life growing up. They taught me how to love their wives, how to love their kids and how to love their grandkids. I learned how to shoot gophers, the importance of an ice cream cone and to always use kind words. So happy birthday to both of you! You are incredible men of God and family!

Meet Papa Al. He turned 80 yesterday.

Grama, Papa & Me

Meet Grampa Rex. He turns 80 today. 

Grampa & Grama Boda and Grandkids
Yes, I am in the photo above, along with all of my sisters, 
but for sake of not wanting my sisters to drive 18 hours to my home
 and personally give me a whooping for putting this photo up, all will go unnamed. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

[ Raindrops and Tulips ]

The changing of seasons has me all giddy like a kid staring at a Christmas tree. Except that I know what is coming. I know that the trees are about to change into a beautiful array of lush greens. I know that my tulips are about to pop and soon my garden by the back patio is going to begin filling back in. I know what's going to happen. But I am excited! 

So I challenge you to embrace the change, embrace the humidity and some string of rainy days. It means your toes might get wet and your hair will get a bit fuzzy. But it also means something is changing! Beautiful sunny days are on the horizon!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

[ The Smell of a Good Day ]

Warm sunny mornings are my favorite. It's easy to get up with the fresh aroma of a good day and warm golden sunshine welcoming you out of bed. On these days I enjoy coming into work early. It's quiet, only a couple of staff members are here this early too. There are no phones ringing, no emails popping up, no one making coffee in my office. The only sounds are the birds outside my window, busy making their spring nests, and one of my favorite songs.

Sometimes morning are grey and it's hard to get up and begin enjoying the day, but on days like today- I'm up, I'm ready and enjoying whatever is coming my way....

Here's one of my favorite songs, if you want to listen along...

Monday, May 6, 2013

[ I Dont Like Mothers Day ]

I don't really like Mother's Day. And I don't like that I don't like Mother's Day. I like my mother, a lot actually. We're good friends. And I like Sundays. I even like celebrating the beautiful person that my mother is and continues to grow into, teaching me all along the way. Celebrating mothers is important. Moms should be applauded, celebrated and cheered for. But Mother's Day could and should be so much more.

I have been married for 2 1/2 years, and at this point the Hubs and I don't have children. We are not in that place yet and have made that choice. When we are, it will be wonderful and I will embrace it with open arms. Yet not having kids has made me more sensitive. Sensitive to other women and their beautiful journeys. Celebrating a day solely for women who are mothers, leaving the others hurting at the wayside, strikes a chord with me that resonates deeply and hits a nerve.

What about those who struggle with infertility? What about those who have been abused by their mothers? What about those who have lost their mothers this year? What about those who have struggled through miscarriages? What about those who are mentor or spiritual moms? These women matter, but they don't match the cookie-cutter mom with kids in tow. These women should be celebrated, acknowledged and not forgotten. Each story is beautiful, telling it's own narrative of love, hope and grace.

So this Mother's Day, I want to celebrate mothering women. I came across a blog that explains my heart in words so eloquently and clearly, they hit straight to my heart. Her words commend mothering for the ways it reflects the Image of God. It's beautiful, freeing and made me a little teary eyed as she celebrates all of our beautiful journeys.

To those who gave birth this year to their first child—we celebrate with you

To those who lost a child this year – we mourn with you

To those who are in the trenches with little ones every day and wear the badge of food stains – we appreciate you

To those who experienced loss this year through miscarriage, failed adoptions, or running away—we mourn with you

To those who walk the hard path of infertility, fraught with pokes, prods, tears, and disappointment – we walk with you. Forgive us when we say foolish things. We don’t mean to make this harder than it is.

To those who are foster moms, mentor moms, and spiritual moms – we need you

To those who have warm and close relationships with your children – we celebrate with you

To those who have disappointment, heart ache, and distance with your children – we sit with you

To those who lost their mothers this year – we grieve with you

To those who experienced abuse at the hands of your own mother – we acknowledge your experience

To those who lived through driving tests, medical tests, and the overall testing of motherhood – we are better for having you in our midst

To those who will have emptier nests in the upcoming year – we grieve and rejoice with you
And to those who are pregnant with new life, both expected and surprising –we anticipate with you

This Mother’s Day, we walk with you. Mothering is not for the faint of heart and we have real warriors in our midst. We remember you.

To read the blog post visit her blog at: Messy Middle

Thursday, April 25, 2013

[ How I see it... ]


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

[ Work & Play ]

Remington got to come to work at the college with me. Our counseling department puts on a Stress Relief time before Finals start next week. Every year they have a petting zoo consisting of kittens, puppies and dogs. So I figured that this would be a great time for Remington to make some new friends, practice his social skills and a fun excuse to bring him with me to work! He had a blast and even got a bit overstimulated at times (I never thought that day would come!). My work day ended with him crashing on my office floor.

Last night we went out to the Sugar Shack. I know, it seems like we live our there right now. But since the season is so dependent on the weather and we're about to hit a really warm streak, we have to collect and cook as much as possible. Otherwise it'll go bad. Last night was like every other night, where we bring the dog. (Sorry, but this is turning into a bit of a dog post. Bear with me, mother!) I got the sweetest shot, including waning evening sunshine, a dog sitting still, and me actually getting my camera out before he got distracted. Meet the caramel eyes that melt my heart....

Saturday, April 20, 2013

[ Meet the Sugar Shack ]

Meet the Maple Syrup Sugar Shack. Better known as the Sugar Shack. It is one of my favorite places on earth. Yes, it's right up there with the Lake Morraine in BC, Canada and the Dalmatian Coast in Croatia. Maybe it is the quiet charm or remote location. Maybe it's the memories or the hours spent staring at a fire boiling maple syrup.

It's my favorite and one reason I'm so glad it just keeps on snowing in Minnesota. The Sugar Shack's maple syrup season has been stretched to capacity with multiple gallons of pure, golden-delicious syrup ready for consumption.

Don't believe me? Don't think it's all I've cracked it up to be, you should come visit. Seriously.

[ My Half Full Glass ]

I'm typically your "glass is always half empty" type of gal. It must come naturally or something because there's not a lot of effort put forth on my part, yet that's just how it seems to be. One of my dear brother in-laws has a number of different sayings, all of which revolve around the idea of the glass always been half full. Bless his dear heart, but when we come to Friday and I'm totally stoked for the weekend, and his response is, "There's only 2 days left until we GET to go back to work!" I swear we are not related. Not even by marriage. Yet, recently something has started to shift. Something in my world is changing. I see potential. I see joy. I see happiness. I see half full glasses. I'm beginning to see the world like my brother in law sees it. And it's beautiful.

A great example would be the 7 inches of snow that was dumped on us this last Thursday and Friday. Yes, that would be a mid-April snow storm that once again sent us into a winter wonderland. Facebook was filled with complaints of wishing spring would just come already and everyone wanting be anywhere but in Minnesota. What about me? I totally loved it. I embraced it. I watched in awe as three foot drifts slowly filled in our driveway and another drift that was taller than me formed by the barn. The storm was magnificent and beautiful. I know that spring will come. I know that soon I will be wishing for colder weather when the humidity is pushing 100% and the temperatures won't drop below 60 at night. This snow storm was one last time to embrace and enjoy winter before another season moves in.

I don't know what this new outlook is doing to me, but I have found myself encouraging others to embrace this season.  I've found myself thinking the best of people. I've found myself seeing joy even in circumstances that seem dark. Maybe it has something to do with The Journey that the Hubs and I have been on. It's been a long few years as we've been this journey, with a lot of ups and downs as we've searched for our place in the world. As we've searched for his place in the world, I can see the growth in my husband. I can see the man he's been shaped into and is being shaped into. His experiences, education, and character have enabled him to grow immensely through our hard times of jobs, schooling, different jobs and all the other curve balls that we've have had thrown our way.

I can see the growth in him, but until recently I must have thought I'd escape unchanged. I'm beginning to realize that I could not have been more wrong. Something is changing and my glass is half full....

Friday, April 19, 2013

[ Pain is Inevitable ]

Our news stations bring us horrible stories this week of death and tragedy. It's on Facebook, Instagram- we cannot escape. I learned about the Boston bombings through Facebook as friends and family  began offering up prayers. I learned about Texas and the fertilizer plant on Instagram as people began remembering those suffering as they went about their days. Pain and suffering is inevitable. Without it, we would not know God. We would not know good. We would not know hope. Yet, during weeks like this when it seems as though pain is everywhere, it's hard to grasp. Hard to comprehend... 

Yet, there is hope... a friend posted on Facebook that she was praying through Psalm 46. I read it aloud with a friend and we were both struck with the powerful words of hope found only is God. It's the only way I know how to swallow what's going on. The only way I know how to pray for those who hurt and are dealing with a pain I've never had to face. 

Psalm 46
God is our refuge and strength, 
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
though the earth give way 
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam and
the mountains quake with their surging.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, 
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall; 
God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
 he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord Almighty is with us; 
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Come and see what the Lord has done, 
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; 
he burns the shields[d] with fire.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; 
I will be exalted among the nations, 
I will be exalted in the earth.”
The Lord Almighty is with us; 
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Friday, March 22, 2013

4 days. 1 hour. 5 minutes. 10 seconds.

The countdown has been ticking down the minutes since January. January 29th to be exact. That would be he day my sisters, Kara and Kitty, booked their flights to come and visit the Hubs and me in Minnesota. 4 days and some change is all that is left, and I cannot wait. Having the Hubs family close by fills a huge hole in my heart for sisters and parents and I'll always be so thankful for their open and generous hearts. But there is something satisfying for the soul when you are with your own sisters. The ones that mood between 2 countries, countless houses, went through the awkward ages and still chose to be friends with you. The sisters who you yelled at, cried with and watched endless episodes of stupid tv shows like Bridezillas, Friends or Gilmore Girls. I cannot wait for Tuesday. Let the countdown continue.....

Thursday, March 21, 2013

I'm Dreaming of Summer

I'm dreaming of summer. For those who do not have the privilege of living someplace dreamy and green and are still stuck in wind blown snow drifts, the cold is beginning to grow old. For someone who loves winter and layering clothes, it takes a lot of strength to admit the struggle with the snow. Just this last weekend we got another several inches of snow followed by bone chilling winds. Yet all I can think about it planting, new baby green leaves and mowing the lawn!

 I know it will come soon enough, but since it's just around the corner, I can't wait!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Am I Enough?

A woman of many to do lists, constant ideas of efficiency and effectiveness and a touch of perfectionism mixed into the lot, I've really struggled with being enough. I have had many days when I've felt like I am not enough. This measuring stick held up by myself, but standards set by society, create a level of anxiety that for years I have struggled with.  Despite crossing everything off on my to-do list, I still felt like I missed something vital, something that will make me "measure up more," but measure up to what? I could never find that end answer. 

My mother has often inspired me to make decisions not based on tradition or guilt, but to do things motivated out of love, things propelled by a deeper purpose. She shared a blog link this past week that summed up my thoughts and feelings surrounding the idea that I'm not enough from Rachel Held Evans: Enough. She talks about being the ideal woman, referring to Proverbs 31. I'm not sure if you've ever read Proverbs 31, but after I read it for the first time, I knew I was doomed if that was how a truly Biblical woman lived. After the first couple verses where it talks about rising before dawn, I knew I was a goner. I'm working on mornings...

But hope is found when Rachel Held Evans continues and talks about another woman in the Bible, Ruth. Ruth was different. She didn't fit the mold and immediately I am in sync with what I'm reading.  Yes, I am enough. In God's eyes, I am enough. I've been digging into God's grace, love and the idea- no, the promise- that I'm made the way I am for a beautiful reason. When I struggle with not being enough, when I feel inadequate, insecure, boring, not skinny enough, love romantic or intimate enough, too messy and unorganized, when I feel these things, I know it's wrong. I'm not perfect and that's the beauty of me. To do lists and efficiencies aside, beautifully human is how I was made.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Learning Lent

Today is a beautiful day.

Wednesdays are always a slump day for me. You're right in the middle of your week, not quite to the weekend, but still in full gear.

But this morning was different.

For Lent, I gave up sleeping in. I didn't set a lofty goal of saying that I'd be up by 5am everyday for coffee and quiet time, because I know that I'm not a morning person and wouldn't have been able to function the rest of the day. However, I have been getting up around 6 and enjoying my mornings. I listen to music or prayer podcasts. I enjoy the sunrise. I enjoy my coffee.

However, it's not all bunnies and unicorns and rainbows. It's been 1 week today, and there have more morning where I have been tempted to stay in my warm bed and not brave the frigid 52 degrees that our bedroom averages. But that's the point right? I'm learning obedience, even when I am tired, even when I'm cold, even when I just don't feel like it. I'm learning self-discipline- something that seems to come easier to others but that talent or gene skipped right over me. Yet, there is something special about it not being easy. There's something to be gained by choosing to do something for Jesus.

This morning, was a good morning even though I was cold and a bit tired. I was rewarded with a reminder that I'm loved.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Cookie Genius

Follow my blog with Bloglovin For those with gluten intolerance, sensitivity or those that have been blessed with full-blown Celiac, I always appreciate when I find new tips or tricks. The Hubs loves cookies, especially the Boda family recipe for chocolate chip cookies. I've struggled for the past 2 years with flat cookies that resemble pancakes more than cookies or mushy piles of who-knows-what. Cookies are a delicate science and those who baked gluten free know that I am actually not kidding. I've found a couple of tips that have been very beneficial to my cookie makin':

1. Don't completely melt the butter, just soften it. It might mean that you need to check it a couple more times if you're heating it in the microwave, but it'll be worth it.

2. Use Xathan Gum. It helps do what normal flour would be doing and keeps the dough together. For a regular batch of cookies, I use about 1 tablespoon. It may seem like a lot, but they are cookies and well worth it!

3. Let your dough chill for at least 30 minutes before you spoon it onto a pan. This makes the whole cookie-makin' process a bit longer, but it helps to keep cookies from melting into puddles on the pan in the over.

4. Freeze cookie dough balls for future use. The Hubs loves cookies but I don't want to make 2 dozen cookies and have them hanging around the kitchen. I freeze an entire pan of cookie dough balls, which one they are frozen can be store in an airtight container and pulled out when you feel like having a warm cookie or two with a class of milk.

5. This is my latest, awesomest trick: cook your cookie dough balls in muffin tins. I have reusable muffin cups and they worked awesome! Make sure to let the cookie cool a bit before you pull it out, otherwise it'll probably fall apart.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Hello Old Friend...

I breathe a sigh of relief as I sit down to write this. Comfy on the couch with my man next to me, my feet in cozy slipper that don’t touch the floor because our couches are the kind that you sink into and I’m too short. It’s been almost 2 months. 2 months since I’ve sat down to write. No blogging for 2 months feels like an old friend that I haven’t seen for in a long time. There’s just so much to say, so much to catch upon. There’s Christmas, adjusting back to work, organizing what feels like a ballizzion events at work, filled evenings with friends and trying to start the New Year with less clutter and more organization. Before I can even beginning to dive back into the world of blogging, I need to catch you up....

It's been a considerably colder winter than last year. We've had more snow and more ridiculous wind chills. Our pipes have frozen three times when the basement just got way too cold to handle it. We've since added some type of heat tape or something fancy like that. It wraps around the pipe and keeps it warm. Whoever invented it is my newest favorite person because I definitely prefer showering at my own house as opposed to walking across the snow-blown, wind-swept yard to the in-laws.

 Remington has never seen so much snow. This is only his second winter and since last year was so mild, he's had a bit of a shocker! He doesn't last out in the cold for very long, but loves the warmer days when he can sprint in the snow, kicking it everywhere. We've spent a lot of time in the kitchen trying new recipes, organizing closets and catching up on one of the 10 seasons of Friends.

With event planning and other work duties, the Hubs' busy schedule with school and work and then finding time to invest in each other and friends and family, it's been an awesome first 2 months of the year. I've starting working out again. I've starting different time management skills. I've pursued more friendships and been digging deeper into my marriage. I've been working on quiet times and being still. I've been enjoying the past 2 months, but missed this- missed writing, missed chatting.

Here's to a new start, to a new year- even if it is already February!
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