May 29, 2008

Oh, How Good it Feels....

To know that in just a matter of weeks I'll be heading up to Minnesota to see my friends and the timing couldn't be any better- I have been craving their company for weeks. Well, actually, for months. Simple Guy and I talked about it and decided that I should go and see my friends; this girl needs some time with her peeps.

There are engagements to celebrate, babies to hold, laughing to do, stories to tell in person, and hugs to share. Oh Minnesota friends, please do not get sick, skip town, or schedule anything for fear that we should not get to see one another. You are the reason I am coming....well, aren't you special? Yes, you are!

May 26, 2008

Missing Minnesota

It's not a big secret that I love Minnesota; it is, after all, where I lived for some of the most formative years of my life (ages 17-25) to date and it is where I met Simple Guy on our college campus, as well as my dear friends.

Leaving Minnesota almost five years ago was easy in some respects because I was moving back to my birth city where my family still was and where Simple Guy had relocated to. I took a position at a university that I was very excited about because it was in the field I wanted to be in and it was allowing me to move up in my career in higher education. These things made leaving easy.

But I left behind a lot, too- friends I love; a church I was growing in; and a great job at my alma mater being just a few things. I left behind the places and the people that were a part of my journey to knowing God more fully than when I came and nurtured and helped heal the hurting parts of me.

I have never been able to shake the longing and love I have for Minnesota and the life I used to have there. And some days, like today, I miss it so much that I get a pain in my heart and my eyes swell with tears. I know that if I were to go back, it would not be the same - so much has changed in five years. But I miss it just the same and would give just about anything to be there right now.

So where is all this coming from? I don't know. Maybe it's because we just had dinner with an old friend from Minnesota who is in town visiting. Maybe it's because as we were eating lunch together today, Simple Guy and I shared some things we are feeling and it points back to missing the people and the places we love in Minnesota. Or maybe it's because we are never satisfied with where we are and we always want something different. I don't know!

But since it is Memorial Day, I wanted to memorialize a place that is close to my heart and of which I'll always be grateful for.

May 23, 2008

7 Years of Life!

Seven years ago, on May 27 sometime after 6:00 a.m., a beautiful, dark-hair mopped baby girl named Lauren was birthed into this world. And I was there. And I held her minutes after she took her first breath. And it was, in the simplest of words, the most beautiful, awe-inspiring event I have ever been a part of.

After Lauren was born, I felt as if I was on a high- my adrenaline was pumping; my head was spinning; and my heart was swelling with love for this newest addition to our family. I looked at my cousin, who was tired but elated, and thought, "This is one of the gifts of being a woman: giving life." As a woman, it was a gift that I will never forget seeing. As a human, it was one of the times in my life that I felt so close to God, I could lean in to Him; His presence to me in those moments after her arrival were very real and tangible.

Lauren grew, and she grew, and she grew until eventually she no longer was that sweet little baby, but rather a sweet young lady with giggles and frills, who loves school and her friends and baking chocolate chip cookies.

Her seven years of life have not been without their scares or obstacles, but she has stayed brave and strong and has shown to her mom, dad, brothers, and the rest of her family, just what it means to take one day at a time and to find joy and laughter in the simple, every day things.

Seven years of, the time has gone by fast sweet girl.

Happy 7th Birthday, Lauren! We love you!

May 21, 2008

The Same Longing

Not too long ago, as I was desperatley trying to fall asleep, the same thought kept running through my mind, "We all want to be known." I'm not entirely certain as to why that thought crept into my sleepy head that night, but I've been sitting with it, savoring it, and letting it swirl in my thoughts more and more.

I think it's true- we all long to be known; to be understood; to be seen. We have been given the gift of family and friendships, and the capacity to love deeply, but I think even in the relationships that we have, we can feel lonely and unknown. I feel that way a lot. I feel that sometimes even with my own family and closest friends.

But lately, I have been craving to connect with some old friends- I have this image in my mind of us curled up on a couch- laughing, crying, being quiet, being still, being goofy-together. This friend in particular knows me well- she is more than a friend, she is a sister- and she comes pretty close to knowing me fully.

Do you ever find yourself in situations where people are simply broadcasting to those around them? What I mean by that is others are just spewing off words/thoughts/opinions/etc. to anyone who will listen. These people are not looking to understand or engage with anyone, they just want to be heard because for some reason they feel they are quite important. Those situations drain me....and those people annoy me. We are all likely guilty of being "broadcasters" at some time in our lives, but some people seem to make a living out of it.

But let me challenge you with this: the next time you are with another human being, seek to know them more than you already do. Ask them questions that go beyond simple pleasantries, but rather invite them to share a part of themselves that you may not have ever seen or known.

It's a wonderful feeling to have someone seek to know you; to understand you; to see you.

The truth is, no one can ever fully know us. But God does. In fact, He knows us more than we know ourselves. He is the Author of our lives; the Giver of all things; the Healer of all that pains us. He is our Redeemer; our Deliverer; our Sustainer; our Alpha; and our Omega. He is our Creator and He has created us not for this place, but to be with Him; to be in His all-knowing presence.

It's no wonder we all have such a longing to be known this side of heaven.

May 18, 2008

Herb Garden Update #1

Okay, so I heeded the advice of those who responded to my Code Red call for help and the result, well, see for yourself:

See the tiny green specks clustered in the middle? Whoo-hoo! It appears that my gardening "techniques" are working, after all. Thanks for the advice Mom and Liz.

I must confess, though, that I have committed a gardening blooper: I have no idea which pot houses basil or cilantro. I have my guesses, but until at least one pot yields more obvious leaves, I will be in the dark. I guess it adds to the excitmement of watching them grow- can you call that excitement?

Stay tuned....I know I will!

May 16, 2008


I did something very fun today.....and just for the occasion I curled my hair and put on a pretty pink top that billows in the wind to add to this momentous day. Well actually, that was not intentional, but it paints a nicer picture than me just slugging along.

What did I do? I got my city public library card! I felt so happy to walk into a library, flash my license and then recieve my first library card in, well, must be at least 10 or so years.

And to mark this speacial day I came back with two books that promise to delight the heart, tickle the senses, and prove to be good company in bed and outside under an umbrella.

Here is my first pick:

I have never read this book and have never seen the movie, but I have several friends who are OBSESSED with this novel. I think it will make them happy to know that I am finally getting to see what all the hype is about!

My second pick is one of my most favorite movies....can you say "Willoughby!"

My choices are a bit "safe," I know, but I will gladly welcome your recommendations for my next round of reading. Please, no self-help books.

May 14, 2008

Code Red?

Is it normal that some of my herb seeds have crept their way to the surface of the soil? My seeds have not claimed DNR (Do Not Resuscitate), so is this a Code Red situation? Should I step in?

May 12, 2008

I Heart Herbs

It's true I do. Mostly basil, but I'm not one to snub to cilantro, oregano, or spearmint. This is a blog about keeping it simple- doing things in a simple manner and enjoying the simple things in life. Having an herb garden of my own in my urban abode has been a simple thing in life that I have wanted to enjoy for a few weeks now.

It seems charming to be able to clip a few leaves of my own home-grown basil for a tomato salad. Have you seen the movie "Baby Boom" with Diane Keaton? I love that movie and what I love most about it is the idea that a city girl can move to the country and live a charmed life in an old house and pluck apples from her own orchard trees. The fact that she turns her apples into a multi-million dollar food empire never passes me either....heck, I am a capitalist!

So today I ventured out and brought home itty, bitty seeds for basil and cilantro and planted them in chartreuse green pots, hoping that the green will inspire the seeds to grow, Grow, GROW!

Despite having a mother who can grow anything, anywhere, I do not believe I am a natural gardener or botanist, so this is a leap of faith for me and the seeds. Fortunately, Simple Guy knows a thing or two about plants and such, so he may need to step in if/when things turn sour. But seriously, can you kill basil?

As my little herb garden grows, I'll give you picture updates.

May 9, 2008

Update on Waging War

I just got off the phone with my alderman's office and while I do not know what will come of my complaint about this, I can tell you that they were very happy that I called and provided all the information necessary to investigate this horrible billboard.

May 8, 2008

Familial Scent

You know how you are suddenly taken back to a time or place or immediately think of someone you know when you smell something in the air? I love that feeling- it's warm and cozy and makes me feel grounded and attached to the people and places I love.

This afternoon as I prepped for my daily walk, I slipped a light and sheer scarf around my neck (even though it's May, it's still chilly here!) and whoof!, there was a lovely scent that wisked pass my nose. It reminded me of my grandma, or Meme (pronounced May-may; a French term for "Grandma"), as Simple Guy likes to call her. The smell was of my own perfume, but today it smelled just like my grandma as she ushers out of her bedroom looking all fabulous and put together and smelling lovely.

I could just see her in her dark, skinny jeans, patent heels, and a cotton V-neck shirt, topped off with an eye-catching necklace, earrings, and a bracelet or watch. She'll stand in the middle of the kitchen and we all will admire her chic ability to put things together and then sheepishly look at ourselves and feel a bit underdressed.

And then I'll go over and give her a squeeze and tell her how great she looks, she'll plant a red lipstick kiss on my cheek and I'll be engulfed in her lovely scent. When I pull back, she'll have a crooked smile on her face and then will give me a sassy wink.

I wish you all could meet and see my grandma.....she is, in my opinion, the Eighth Wonder of the World!

We love you, Grandma!

Grandma reading her birthday card from Lauren and Eric (her great-grandchildren) - note her hip shades and halter-style dress

Grandma and Me

Lunch for One....and I Won't Share!

I just had to share what I had for lunch today......hmmmmmmmmmm! This is my fourth tomato salad since spring officially started and the tomatoes are- how can I put this- HEAVENLY! They are from northern Illinois and were purchased by Simple Guy when he went to the farmer's market down the block. Yippee for locally-grown produce!

And no, I did not eat the entire mini baguette.....but I was tempted!

May 6, 2008


I'm a bit bummed that I failed to notice when my blog got exactly 1000 hits, but hey, 7 has always been my lucky number, so I noticed it when it had 1000 + 7 hits!

My condolences to those of you who entered my contest and lost.......and shame on you for not entering it! I had a few great prize ideas- I guess you'll have to wait until the next contest.

Gotta run.....I am in the midst of making many, many cards.....just wanted to come up for air for a few minutes!

May 3, 2008

Guest Blogger: My Mother-in-Love

I'm in Chicago spending the weekend with the Simple Guy and Girl. They are gracious hosts and I enjoy spending every minute available with both of you. I have to tell you Simple Girl, you have been a blessing to me and our family. You are a wonderful wife to Simple Guy and friend to me. I love you and God Bless.


I'll write again when I have the hang of this. HA!