“We have our very own baby bump” – Tom
MONEY (name that song?).
For better or for worse our world runs on money.
Navigating the pro’s and con’s of The Dollar is honestly an exciting challenge for me. I love saving (almost as much as I love a clean house, folded t-shirts and my cat). Tom is a saver too, which is why (shockingly) we have never fought about money. Really that’s a good things for us considering we’ve yet to reach a compromise on whether the flip-flop’s should be stored inside or outside (for the record, I vote outside – less mess. Tom hates cold shoes. We’re working on this).
Money is extra important to us because we have school loans. UGH. They were a necessary evil to fund our education and, two Bachelor’s degree’s and an almost-completed Master’s degree later, I would say they were worth it. However, we’re now in the payback mode (well, we have been for a while).
In addition to that our world is getting ready to change in a big way – six more months and we have a little bundle of baby joining Tom & I. Yesterday, on Facebook, I asked for suggestions to help pay down loans faster/continue to make money when home with a wee one. Friends had some WONDERFUL ideas which got me thinking about ways we could refine things we were already doing and adapt them for our future family.
Since the baby isn’t here yet I can’t tell you all the ways we will be adapting BUT I can tell you what we’ve been doing for the past year and a half. These tips have let us pay down several thousand dollars on loans, save and more than provided for our basic needs. It’s not rocket science but, since reading people’s ideas helped me so much, I thought I’d put these out there.
1) If you can’t work your dream job work a job.
Neither Tom or I have our dream jobs but WE HAVE JOBS. Last night we were praying and thanking God for that. The economy is rough (hardly new information, I know) and I’m grateful that, for the past year and half, we’ve BOTH been employed. Sometimes you have to take what you can get to make headway on your loans (and any other financial obligations).
Right now we’re somewhere a lot of recent graduates end up; between the dreaming and coming true. Our degree’s (Biblical languages, Bible, TEFL) are not money-making degrees. We didn’t pursue them because they were. We chose our programs because we were and are passionate for people to have and be able to read the Bible in their own language (i.e. translation and literacy). We want Christ to be known around the world, we want to serve people in small ways, we want to help struggling communities grow, we want to be an example of how God can change lives (because He has done some amazing work in ours).
We know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that our place is overseas. We belong there. It’ll be lonely, hard and complicated in all different ways but it’s what we’re passionate about. We want to go, we want to pour ourselves out in whatever way we can for the needs of another culture.
I think until we’re finally there (wherever there turns out to be) we’ll feel a little incomplete.
Last night we sat on the couch; brainstorming, dreaming, praying. I was reminded of something important;
Joy can be found in any set of circumstances.
Just because we’re not where we want to be doesn’t mean we’re not where we SHOULD be. In fact, we’re confident that this is where we belong at the moment.
Right now, we have things to take care of here – I can rest in contentment at that (as long I remind myself every few minutes to do so ). These years of working hard to pay down loans, starting our family and living small in a mobile home are beautiful ones. I don’t want to wish them away to fast.
2) Take advantage of payment plans.
Sometimes life happens and catches you financially off guard.
In December I had to have semi-emergency dental work done to prevent a crown from becoming a root canal (ugh). Last fall I took a class, this spring Tom took a class. Short-term payment plans (make sure there is no interest added!) can help spread out the financial pressure over a few months. For us, taking advantage of that option let us continue to pay our loans regularly and didn’t drain our savings.
3) Use EVERYTHING you have, cut all the corners you can.
It’s amazing how much you can save when you’re paying attention.
There are so many little ways to cut costs – cloth napkins you can wash and reuse instead of paper, packed lunches instead of purchased lunches, water to drink instead of juice. Old t-shirts make great cleaning rags, soap and water stikll clean just as well as more expensive products, coupons, BOGO deals, Aldi can revolutionize your grocery budget
I make a pan of chicken every week – we chop it up and Tom has it on his sandwiches for lunch. We buy wash cloths and use them as napkins. I make our laundry detergent (easiest thing in the world – washing soap, borax and grated soap), saves a TON of money. We shop clearance, Goodwill and hand-me-down’s. We multi-task errands to save on gas, if we “splurge” we usually keep it under $10.00 (i.e. frozen yogurt, the dollar theater, a matinée movie for $4.00, splitting a $5.00 foot long at Subway etc.).
We did a few mini get-a-way’s last year for around $50.00. We booked a $40.00 room on Hotwire that included a continental breakfast and a pool, requested early check-in and BAM, vacation . It helps that my husband knows how to inspect for bedbugs (which he did thoroughly and religiously), read the reviews on the hotels before booking but…don’t be afraid to take a risk. You may have a great time, end up with a poolside room and get to sneak in a midnight swim with your husband . All for $40.00.
I think the biggest part of all this is accepting the fact that living small requires sacrifice. Tom loves steak & sushi; the one time we’ve had sushi was on his birthday last year. He settles for the frozen shrimp I grill at home. I love massages – my sweet mother-in-law took me for one at Thanksgiving but, otherwise, I take the one’s Tom gives (which are actually quite fantastic). We can’t have it all but, really, we don’t NEED it all.
Find free pastimes that you love! We enjoy Scrabble, card games, occasional shows on Hulu, baking together, walking/hiking, reading in the evenings, making up games for our cat (i.e….Chasing Tangerines).
All free, all enjoyable.
4) Consider credit (don’t be enslaved to credit).
This one is touchy – I know there are a LOT of different opinions on it. It bothers me when people seem to…live in fear of credit? Credit in and of itself is not evil, how it’s handled is what makes or breaks you. Tom & I have one credit card that we both use – we regularly make our payments and reap the rewards. The rewards points allowed us to purchase our KitchenAid, some Christmas gifts and now we’re close to being able to purchase a laptop (finally!).
Credit is not free money. If you treat it that way you’ll get in trouble. We treat our credit as debit (by immediately deducting purchases from our budget) and have gotten both rewards points, cash back and an excellent credit score because of how we’ve handled it.
I honestly think the key with credit is knowing yourself. If it’s too much of a temptation – don’t use it! If you simply prefer not to use it, don’t use it! In some cases the rewards won’t be worth it for you. If you’re like me and have budgeted your money since you were seven (thanks, mom) it may be safe.
If you choose to use it, use it wisely.
5) Budget, budget, budget.
This is KEY. Know where your money is going – it makes a HUGE difference. We budget everything; stops at Subway (Subway is not sponsoring this essay by the way, we just…like their food), toothpaste, garlic salt. The time it takes to do that is more than rewarded by the fact that we know exactly where every penny goes.
I still budget the “old-fashioned” way – on paper. I’ve tried Mint, Quicken and a few others... I still prefer a pen, paper and budget book.
I may love it too much. At one time our budget had 21 categories. Tom pointed out that we would have carpal tunnel by the time we were done recording expenses which led to some…necessary edits.
I created a one-page document which lists all our monthly expenses (tithe, gas, water, cell phone etc.). After a bill is paid, I mark, it off. Simple. I’ve structured our budget around our paychecks with means we pay bills three times a month. Our monthly expenses page has a column where we also record all our loan payments/any extra payments we’re able to make that month.
The system itself doesn’t matter so much, having a system does. When I was little I would tithe 10%, save 50% and spend 40% or all the money I got. Now, saving 50% of a paycheck is a lot more feasible when your biggest expense is the new Lipsmacker flavor. However, a general rule of thumb is saving some of each check (for us, equally a priority is tithing some of each check). We try to live exclusively off of Tom’s income (in the winter months pest control is a slower business so it can be harder to do that) which frees up my checks for extra loan payments, emergencies and savings. That system is also what will allow me to be home with baby (aww).
Get you a system and stick to it.
6) When the money is gone – stop spending.
This, this is where will-power is put to the test. When the check is gone for the month, it’s gone. I guess this is where people get anxious about having the option of credit. It’s not really an option, people. In emergencies, yes, put an end-of-the-month emergency on your credit card (i.e. last year our car died and needed a new battery AND alternator). A meal out? A new dress? Not emergencies.
7) Think outside the box.
This is where we are now.
We’ll continue with all these systems but…our supplemental income will grind to a halt in September when my “job” becomes full-time mom (which by the way, I’m so thrilled about). We’re researching options now for ways I can continue to make some money from home – I’m actually very excited about a few of the ideas, we’ll see what happens!
I’m very humbled and grateful for what we’ve been able to accomplish over the past 14 months of marriage. We’ve worked hard to use our money well and, though, it will be more years down the road before we’re free of school loans, we’ve already been able to enjoy the numbers decreasing and that, that is very encouraging .
This is the post I’ve been wanting to write since a cold, sunny Saturday in late December.
Early that morning (well, early for Saturday) I woke up and I knew. Somehow, in that moment I knew: we were three. Maybe it was hope more than knowledge that gave me the confidence to say to say it? Maybe the desire more than the reality? Mother’s intuition? Woman’s intuition?
There are moments in life when you get a gift you didn’t even know you were aching to receive. We knew we wanted a baby but, until that moment when we stood barefoot in the bathroom waiting the two minutes (an eternity) for an answer, we didn’t know how much we had been hoping for a baby; how badly we wanted it to be a resounding, positive yes.
The emotions of that moment.
Quietly meeting Tom’s eyes to verify that yes, we both saw a plus sign. Smiling till our faces were sore. Crawling back into bed, his hands on my belly, talking to this baby, our precious baby, that was smaller than a dot. Praying for a new, little life. Dreaming about a tiny face, squishy toes and baby fingers.
For the last year I’ve had a picture in my mind.
It’s late summer. Northern summer, the kind when it’s still possible to be outside and enjoy it. The sky is dusky blue and shot through with stars. The grass is evening cool. It’s the kind of night I experienced most of my childhood.
Tom is there, holding those two, pudgy hands, letting little feet walk around in the grass and, most importantly, teaching them how to catch fireflies.
It’s so vivid.
I can feel the porch on my bare legs, I’m sitting there watching them. I can feel the nighttime breeze and see the shadows of the house. I can feel the love Tom has for his baby, his absolute joy in introducing that little one to the fireflies.
That image has brought me so much comfort over the last few months.
The hardest part of this pregnancy (so far) has the been the anxiety (thanks, pregnancy hormones). I expected a lot of things for my first pregnancy, I didn’t expect so much fear. It feels silly to write about it now but the past few weeks it’s been very real.
There’s so much I can’t know with this baby. Even a low-risk pregnancy is a risk. There are no guarantee’s. Those realities have weighed so heavily on me. I’ve been afraid to embrace something I wanted so much only to find out at our appointments that we lost the baby, there was an ectopic pregnancy, a chemical pregnancy, one of a million birth defects or something else I haven’t even thought of (around week 7 I stopped Googling everything pregnancy-related. Not good for me at all. I have a special talent for making mountains out of molehills).
Love makes you vulnerable, deeply vulnerable.
Because the reality is that we are already so in love with this baby.
I deeply, overwhelmingly love this child.
This three-inch long person that, today, is the size of a peach. Baby has arms, toes, fingers, knees, the beginning of fingernails and toenails and, right now, vocal cords are developing. At 12 weeks. Twelve weeks. That’s a whole, little person who didn’t exist three months ago.
In the past few weeks I’ve come into a greater state of peace (though, I have to remind myself everyday of what is true).
Whatever happens on earth with this child, we will always and forever be parents, their parents. This is our firstborn whether we meet now or in Heaven. Accepting the inevitable, that I cannot control the outcome, has given me the freedom to begin (a little every day) to delight in the uncertainty. The unexpected. The surprises of pregnancy.
For two months my hope and prayer has been that they would easily find the heartbeat. I’ve dreamed they didn’t, taken six pregnancy tests to confirm the likelihood that they would (yes, yes, I know – occasionally excess is permissible) and counted down the seconds to our 12 1/2 week appointment.
Yesterday, Tom met me at the birth center. We sat with our midwife for an hour going over nutrition, exercise, symptoms and the good results from all my blood work.
Then it was time.
I crawled onto the table, Tom holding my…ankle (the wall and the midwife had my arms/hands blocked in ).
“You’ll hear two heartbeats. Yours will be slower and rhythmic the baby’s will be fast”.
My heartbeat didn’t feel slow to me, I was close to holding my breath, aching to hear it.
“The gel might be a little cold, I’ll try not to press to hard”.
She could have dumped a BOWL of ice cubes on me. I didn’t care.
“Alright, there’s your heartbeat, nice and regular…let me just find the little ones…”
Then, there it was.
The most beautiful sound in the world. Nestled below my belly button. A perfect little drumming heart of 170 bpm (old wives tales say it’s a girl!).
The second she found it Tom & I locked eyes. I burst into tears and Tom teared up. His hand was rubbing my ankle (haha) and our sweet midwife was beaming.The anxiety of two months rolled off my shoulders.
It’s a moment I’ll never forget.
The tears were the utter relief that this wasn’t my imagination. That the exhaustion, nausea and anxiety had a reason, that, even though the future is never guaranteed, right now – all is well (and God will grant courage for anything and everything to come).
Thank you all for sharing our joy.
It’s made me smile and made me cry (story of a pregnant woman?) to see the joy and excitement over our little one. I don’t know who they’ll be yet, but I’m giddy to find out.
We love you, sweet baby, your daddy’s gonna catch you a firefly.
In honor of a beautiful psuedo-spring day in South Carolina.
“Every moment the patches of green grew bigger and the patches of snow grew smaller. Every moment more and more of the trees shook off their robes of snow.
Soon, wherever you looked, instead of white shapes you saw the dark green of firs or the black prickly branches of bare oaks and beeches and elms. Then the mist turned from white to gold and presently cleared away altogether. Shafts of delicious sunlight struck down onto the forest floor and overhead you could see a blue sky between the trees.
Soon there were more wonderful things happening.
Coming suddenly round a corner into a glad of silver birch trees Edmund saw the ground covered in all directions with little yellow flowers – celandine’s. The noise of water grew louder. Presently they actually crossed a stream. Beyond it they found snowdrops growing…
…Only five minutes later he noticed a dozen crocuses growing round the foot of an old tree – gold and purple and white. Then came a sound even more delicious than the sound of water.
Close beside the path they were following a bird suddenly chirped from the branch of a tree. It was answered by the chuckle of another bird a little farther off. And then, as if that had been a signal, there was chattering and chirruping in every direction, and then a moment of full song, and within five minutes the whole wood was ringing with birds music and wherever Edmund’s eyes turned he saw birds alighting or sailing overhead or chasing one another or having their little quarrels or tidying up their feathers with their beaks…
There was no trace of the fog now.
The sky became bluer and bluer, and now there were white clouds hurrying across it from time to time. In the wide glades there were primroses. A light breeze sprang up which scattered drops of moisture from the swaying branches and carried cool, delicious scents across the faces of the travelers. The trees began to come fully alive.
The larches and birches were covered in green, the laburnums with gold. Soon the beach trees had put forth their delicate, transparent leaves. As the travelers walked under them the light also became green. A bee buzzed across their path.
This is no thaw, said the dwarf, suddenly stopping, this is Spring”.
-”The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” (C.S. Lewis)
This little love story still means more to me that any full length romantic movie.
If you’ve never seen it, WATCH IT NOW. The first time I saw it I cried for an hour. Somehow, in just under nine minutes, they poignantly capture the beauty of marriage in all of its mundane glory.
Isn’t that real life? Isn’t that real marriage?
Carl & Ellie helped me understand several things about marriage.
1) Dream BIG dreams with your spouse.
Have an adventure book, do something crazy, get as close as possible to making dreams happen. Tom asks me every single day if I’ve written something. He wants to see me write a book (almost) more than I even do.
The fact that he dreams that for me, with me keeps my dreams alive.
2) Work alongside each other.
Ellie, still in her wedding dress, sawing through a 2×4 captures this point.
She was there, alongside her husband. When Tom & I are eighty, ninety or however long we have together I want to look at his face, lined with time and love, and know we did this together. Whether we were happy, sad, rich, poor, sick or healthy we stuck it out, we built our lives. When we got married we committed to a common goal and I never want to forget that.
Together, Tom & I have painted cabinets, assembled furniture, tiled floors, steam-cleaned carpet, decorated a tree, made meals, made the bed, done load after load of laundry, begun to study a language, jumped a car, welcomed a kitten, prepared Sunday school lessons, grocery shopped, written thank-you notes, raked the yard and scrubbed paint out of carpets. Together.
3) Let your spouse be who THEY are.
Ellie is a spitfire, talker, dynamic. Carl is the steady eddy, the support, the rock.
They let each other be that way. The best them they can be.
That takes skill and grace – to cherish all the good things and learn to navigate around the spots that will always ache in a marriage. That’s one of so many reasons marriage is for the long-haul, it takes a while to perfect this one .
4) Laugh together. Be silly together.
Carl & Ellie knew this too. They enjoyed each other.
The amount of inside jokes, stories and memories Tom & I have already could fill a book. God knew I’d need a man who knew how to laugh at himself (it teaches me to laugh at myself), who could debate the logistics of time travel and who would make up songs with me about chocolate pudding.
Life’s hard, busy and full of the unexpected – the ability (and the choice) to laugh with your spouse through the up’s and down’s is a gift.
5) Comfort your spouse in their grief.
The quiet, gentle way Carl comforts Ellie when both their heats are breaking will always move me. Grief is awkward, it’s easy to feel uncomfortable and unsure of what to say. Being present does the trick nine times out of ten. Present and compassionate.
6) When dreams fail dream new ones.
There’s no danger in dreaming big, there’s danger in clinging so tightly to expectations that you can’t be re-routed.
The practical way Carl & Ellie acknowledge the need to use their savings for a blown tire or a medical bill is dreaming tempered by real-life. The best kind.
Alright, off to watch the clip…again and cry…again.
Writing isn’t the difficult part for me, returning from a writing hiatus is.
These days are simple ones, rich ones. Capturing them in a way that does them any justice is complicated but, today, I’m up for the challenge. Putting life into words is a worthwhile goal.
Capturing a miniscule portion of my life in a blog post is also an exercise in courage. Choosing what to say, thinking deeply about life – writing is my catharsis, my armor, my weapon, my prayer beads and my blanket.
The winter hush between semesters is my favorite time of year.
Those rare…seconds when you need a coat in South Carolina are full of visible breath, the snap of frozen twigs and the quickening silence between Autumn and Spring.
The holidays, fresh starts, our anniversary. All fall in the festive days of late December and early January. We celebrated a lot this year – all in the simplest, best ways possible. Family, friends, togetherness.
Our first anniversary trip ushered in a new year, a new season of our lives. We spent hours talking, barefoot and rain-sprinkled on the dark beach. We dreamed about the future, Tom anticipated his Hebrew class and learning Hindi together, we worked on our budget (again). It was an intimate, needed week. We laughed. A lot.
Since we’ve been home I’ve been wrestling with anxiety. Wrestling really is the right word, I don’t want to surrender to it but it’s always lurking at the corners of my conscience. There are so many things, in the next two years, that we’re hoping for. Sacred hopes and dreams that are only partially in our control.
I don’t do well there, partially in control. I’m a first-born, plan-maker, efficient, detailed and capable. I like to think through and accomplish what I’ve dreamed up. I cherish my illusions of control.
For me anxiety comes with two things; the unknown and the waiting. When we’re waiting for the unknown of The Future my anxiety quadruples in intensity. That’s where I am now.
Waiting. Waiting for the unknown.
Anxiety is composed of so many things, isn’t it?
Fear of the worst coming to pass, fear of pain that doesn’t seem bearable.
Rationalizing. For better or worse. No amount of re-assurance is ever enough.
Dread. When you’re on the precipice of the worst actually happening.
Anxiety is a suffocating emotional weight. The clouds of worry block out the path and stall me. It’s not depression, I know the difference. The clouds aren’t dark they’re just there. Swirling around, obscuring the road.
Writing out the battle helps significantly, which is the reason for the blog entry. It grants me perspective and community.
I’ve heard people say that Christians expect life to be all sunshine and rainbows.
I never expected that. Even as a kid. Quite the opposite, I expect life to be excruciatingly painful, full of loss and goodbyes. We weren’t promised Heaven on earth. We were promised trials and suffering with a Hope that supersedes fear to guide us through.
What makes my heart twist out of joint is not knowing which things will fall apart in my life. There’s a significant level of uncertainty that comes with being human and living life. Some seasons of my life I’m more acutely aware of that reality. Like right now.
I want to live my life with open hands and an open heart. God, if I accomplish that one thing I’ll consider it a success.
Allowing the good, good gifts in my life to rest on open palms. Clinging to things doesn’t preserve them, it strips the life from them and leaves us with claws for hands. The good things in our lives supplement us, they don’t complete us.I won’t shut the door to good things, I’ll continue to give and receive with an open heart, despite the inevitability of loss.
I needed to write this. Honesty is my lifeline, living transparently is what has always comforted, encouraged and guided me. I don’t always have the words to say in person, which is why I’m so grateful for this blog.
Anxiety takes the present AND the future and I won’t sacrifice those because of uncertainty. I can’t prepare for, avoid or anticipate pain. I won’t stop living, stop emotionally engaging, while I wait for resolve that may or may not come – THAT I refuse to do.
Would you ask that the Holy Spirit of God would remind me of future hope? Would concentrate my mind on the things that are TRUE? Would help me to cherish all the present goodness of these days?
Anxiety forces me to pray specific prayers, intentionally chosen words temper my fears and remind me of truth. Thanks for being part of my journey.
Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid. Frederick Buechner
(I’m including this link to Chris Tomlin’s new album because I have listened to it countless times over the past few weeks. It’s been immensely comforting to me).
When I’m in a new place I like to quietly soak in everything that makes it unique. The scent of the air, the accents, the color of the sunlight on the water.
I could travel forever (as long as there are built-in pit-stops for naps).
On that note, you know what I want to open?
A NAP CAFE.
Dream with me a moment: There would be a long hallway with little cubbyholes just big enough to just hold a bed. They would have circular doors painted ruby-red. Everything else would be white. White sheets, pillows and light. There would be STRICT noise regulations and complimentary slippers (the cheapo kind). Everything would smell faintly of jasmine incense and the rooms would each have a fan with a rainmaker noise machine.
People could rent the rooms for 3-5 dollars an hour and take a nap WITHOUT HAVING TO DRIVE ALL THE WAY HOME FIRST.
Can you tell I’m tired of squeezing in little naps in my car over my lunch break?
We need Nap Cafe’s.
Also, writing all that out made me think of Phoebe, Rachel and the relaxi taxi. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, please watch this:
So, back to Mexico.
We had an amazing week.
Logistically everything went smoothly; no delayed flights, no lost luggage, reasonable lines in customs. Traveling is tiring but it’s thrilling to me.
Flying through a sunrise is otherworldly.
Watching goldenrod, magenta and ruby split the sky silences me. The explosion of light temporarily overwhelms the pain in the world. It’s breathtaking. A foretaste of a time and place that will not know pain.
The most strenuous part of the week was just getting to Mexico (then, of course, getting home ).
Once we arrived we settled in to our resort for a lot of…nothing. We took naps, we read books, we went to 21 consecutive meals together, we played Scrabble and Monopoly, we lounged around the pool, I got a massage (Tom hates massages. He’s an anomaly), we watched lizards, attempted a lot of elementary level Spanish, talked like we did when we were dating (i.e. late-night, heartfelt conversations without the pressure to fall asleep fast and wake up at 6:15), studied Hindi, took looooooong showers (which our water heater at home doesn’t really allow), made ten new inside jokes and watched the sun rise and set over the Caribbean.
My heart is at peace. I’m refreshed by time with my God and my husband (though, know that we’re both back at work I”m back to missing him. A lot :/. Ahh).
Good to be back to blogging as well (my favorite way to grapple with life). More posts to come soon.
Even though Cancun isn’t exactly (ok, at all) mentioned in this song it’s still today’s pick.
Leaving for vacation in 11 hours!
You’re going to change my life, 2013. I just know it.
I hope your Christmas and New Years were all wonderful! Ours were low-key and refreshing (much needed). I’ve spent the first half of this week recovering from a rolled ankle and blocked eustachian* tubes. Charming right? For the uniformed (which, four days ago, was…me) the eustachian tube links the middle ear to the… non-middle ear. It helps equalize pressure – so, since mine is clogged I have been under a lot of pressure AND thrown off balance (thus the rolled ankle) .
For us, New Years eve/New Years celebrations were a lot of playing games and watching White Collar (I’m hooked) while alternating popping my ears and icing my ankle with a bag of frozen peas. The good news is that my ankle feels much better and my ears are less pressurized. Also, we leave for Mexico in about 55 hours which makes almost anything bearable.
Tonight we take down the Christmas tree…we’ve been putting it off because we kind of adore it. However, the only thing more depressing than taking it down now is coming back from a much-anticipated vacation and taking it down. Bah. I am going to find a way to leave the Christmas lights up though – where there’s a stubborn will there’s a semi-feasible way.
I found an awesome gold shelf for $10.00 at the local antique mall. That, and a little re-furbished end table will take the place of the tree in our living room. Tom’s getting (all-natural, spinach-enhanced, nicely sliced) frozen pizza for dinner tonight while over-excited wife starts re-doing a table.
I have no patience with DIY projects. Which is why all the ones I start are usually finished in the same day…which is why they’re all very easy and some of them are downright lame. This year I want to learn to paint (my specialty now is the same as when I was seven: Amish farmers. That isn’t a joke – if you go to my parents house one of them is still hanging on the wall…not the actual farmer just his portrait.). There are so many quotes, colors and patterns that inspire me – I would feel better if I at least tried to put some of them on canvas. I also want to learn to sew as well as to knit or crochet. Right now though I don’t even know the difference between knitting and crocheting so this one is probably far down the list. I knew they involve hooks which leads me to believe Tilapia is also involved.
Finally, here is a picture of how my cat spent New Years. PLEASE look at his eyes. Why do I have the most intense cat in the universe?
Gus is so squishy and huggable these days. I’m going to miss him much while we’re gone (thankfully, we have wonderful people staying at our house who will love on him as much as we do. Almost).
cook an elaborate dinner paint a table…pictures to follow .
Our first anniversary is on Sunday.
Since our internet is out at home I’m posting this today.
All I can say, without tearing up, is thank you.
Thank you for a wonderful year as husband & wife. Thank you for the many moments of laughter, prayer, encouragement, love and planning the past twelve months have held. Thank for you loving me & Gus with absolutely everything you have. Thank you for telling me I’m gorgeous first thing in the morning, for remembering that I love orange tulips and for fully embracing the emotional, creative, whimsical, not always down-to-earth woman that I am. You’ve given me incredible freedom to be myself.
I had no idea what it would be like to be a wife but your kindness and patience when I don’t have words, am sad or (stereotypically for new wives) mess up dinner have filled me with love for the “job” . You now know what tights, a hair straightener, foundation and exfoliating are. I can (almost) write my name in Greek, know what a camel cricket is and can properly hold a golf club. Our individual world’s have grown so much.
Together we’ve learned that you will (nearly) always win at Scrabble, I’m terrible at washing dishes, you cannot cook a turkey burger to save you life and we both hate making two trips to the car for groceries. We’ve learned that fighting after 10 p.m. is pointless, I’ll overreact to nearly everything, pasta with cheese sauce is our first pick for a quick dinner and Psych night needs to be a bi-weekly event (at least).
We now know that, to pamper me, a candle-lit massage is the way to go and, for you…a trip out for chicken wings. I still don’t understand that, honey. You also know that I believe everything is better by candlelight and that each moment has its own soundtrack. I know that you will always request commentaries for gifts and that $4.00 for you to go to the golfing range is worth its weight in…quarters.
We’ve learned some of our weak spots and some of our vulnerabilities. We’ve learned that there is absolutely nowhere we’d rather be than curled up in each other’s arms. The best part of the day is still when I hear your work boots on the front walkway. We’ve learned that on our knees in prayer is the first and best place to be when we’re overwhelmed.
If I could do it all again I’d choose you faster than the first time.
Ok, clearly I found more to say than just “thank you” .
I love you, honey!
I know that we’ve only begun to scratch the surface of what life and God have in store for us. Here’s to a lot more sacred, special moments in the years to come,