June 27, 2008

My Minnesota Trip

My trip to Minnesota was nice. The drive up was uneventful- just the way I like long distance trips on the road alone- and so was the drive back.

I stayed with my friend Gail at her stylish apartment in downtown Minneapolis. Gail and I have know each other since 1995- we met the day we moved into our dorm rooms in college. Her cousin was my roommate, but it was Gail and I that spent the most time together. Gail is a good friend and one of the things that is so great about our friendship is that we can pick up where we left off......even if it has been months since we last spoke.

Gail is adventurous and inspiring because she is always pursuing things that others spend a lot of time thinking about. For example, she began running a couple of years ago and immediately began training for a marathon.

She had beautiful views of the Mississippi River and access to one of the private rooftop decks......which is where this picture was taken of Gail the first night I was there:

What's that you say? You see someone else in the picture? Oh, that's nobody special........NOT!That nobody is indeed somebody, dear readers........that is Naomi! Here she is with Gail:

Naomi decided to drive down for a very brief visit.....she arrived Friday night and left Sunday morning. Camp calls!

Here is a picture of us before we went out on the town on Saturday night- it's not the best, but we had to take our own picture.

I am not going to bore you with how much I love Naomi.....I think I have written about that a thousand times on this blog!

I also had the chance to visit Angie, who just has her second baby boy eight weeks ago- here is me with Baby Ben:

I wish I had a picture of Angie.....not sure why I did not take one with her. Angie is a special friend for many reasons, but what I love most about being friends with her is how unexpected our friendship was. It's not that she is not "friend material," quite the contrary; but rather that we were first roommates my senior year of college when I was unexpectedly living off campus for the last couple of months that year and had a bit of a rough start.

Angie is honest yet tender; joyful; real; and she loves the Lord and the people around her fiercely. What a lucky girl I am to have a friend like her!

And then Naomi and I had lunch with Ericka- here is a picture of the three of us in her backyard:

The three of us were roommates in Minnesota for a few years. We used to spend hours sitting on the couch talking about bascially nothing and everything. I don't mean to say that our time together was pointless, because it was not! I mean we made a lot of discoveries about each other during those marathon times on the couch, but I'll have to save that for another time!

Ericka has the voice of an angel (she sang in our wedding) and got her masters in vocal performance......but now she is pursuing a nursing degree. Pretty much the girl has a lot of gusto and is on track to becoming the nation's first opera perforoming nurse.....I have a feeling patients are going to be requesting her floor! Two years ago, Naomi and I had the privilege of standing up in Ericka's wedding- it was a beautiful wedding made only more beautiful by the way her and Nate's love story unfolded.

Then my picture taking stopped, which is no surprise really. The surprise is that I took pictures.....I'm not one for picture-taking.

I had a wonderful evening with Alisha; we met in 2002 when she joined our department at the college I used to work at in Minnesota. I have always loved her ability to usher you in to her heart in a matter of minutes after sitting down with her. Alisha is senstive and strong at the same time and is a true example of a lady. I love that Alisha and I are friends because there again, it was unexpected that we would be.

And on my last night I spent the evening with my dear friends Kim and Tim and their two children. I'll never be able to tell you how much of an impact they have made on my life. I met Kim in 1998 at my internship and am convinced that the reason why I interned where I did is so I could meet her.

Kim is Spirit-led and God has used her to speak Truth into my life and find healing. Tim is tender and strong in the Lord and his presence is calming. Together, they are a beautiful couple who minister to the lives of the many people that God puts in their path. Being with them on my last night in Minnesota was the perfect way to end my trip.

And I learned something about my life here. I learned that Simple Guy and I have a wonderful community of family and friends that love us here and while it would be nice to be in Minnesota with the friends in this post and our other friends, this is where God wants us and it feels good to be here. It feels good to be home. It really does.

June 26, 2008

Missing Simple Guy....A Lot!

My feelings of missing Simple Guy while he is away on business can best be conveyed in this classic song by Everything But The Girl:

Baby come home, I miss the sound of the door
Your step on the stair's not there to wake me no more
(or the repeated alarms that you set and constantly hit snooze on every morning)
And every day's like Christmas Day without you
It's cold and there's nothing to do
(well, it's awfully hot here and there is stuff to do, but it's not as fun without you)

And it's mighty quiet here now that you're gone
(no one else wants to sings to me)
I've been behaving myself for too long
'Cause I don't like sleeping
(or eating, or walking, or drinking coffee)
Or watching TV on my own
(even Nancy Grace is wondering where you have been)

So please come on home

Baby, what's keeping you all this time
You're wasting your days out there in the sunshine
(well, wasting is not a good word, but you have been gone a long time)
And who can I turn to if you believe still
That England don't love you and she never will
(of course England loves you......but I love you more)

For it's mighty quiet here now that you're gone
(and there is no one to sing show tunes with)
And I've been behaving myself for too long
(I am always well-behaved and plan on staying that way forever)
I don't like drinking or painting the town on my own
(or going to the farmer's market to buy tomatoes on my own)

So please come on home
Baby come on home
(please do not miss your flight home)

June 19, 2008

Gone Fishin'

Well, not really! But I am going to a place where there is a lot of fishing to do.....the land of 10,000 Lakes! Just wanted to let you know that while I am hanging with Gail and Naomi; sipping coffee with Angie; lunching with Ericka; dining with Alisha; and chilling with Kim, this blog may be a bit quiet. Depending on time and internet availability, I may get to post something in the next few days....but if not, please come back once I'm back from fishin'!

June 16, 2008

30 Years Ago

Thirty years ago, on June 16, a beautiful baby boy was born in a small town in Wisconsin and now he and I are making a life together in my hometown.

Simple Guy is 30 and while his age is a milestone of sorts, what is really special about June 16 is that it is the perfect day to celebrate and give thanks for the life of the most amazing person I know. How can I ever tell you just how remarkable he is? How can I convey to you in words how much I feel blessed by this man and how much my heart swells with love for him?

All I know to say is that on days when I feel down and defeated, he lifts my spirits with a song and a dance (literally, he does!); when I am hurt and angry, he speaks Truth to me and reminds me where to put my focus and energy; when I am anxious, he stares me in the eyes and reassures me of his love for me; when I am heartbroken, he wraps me in his arms and prays over me. He does all things and so much more.

But the thing that he does that I love the most, is that he wakes up each day and sets out to be a man of integrity, tenderness, compassion, and humility. That is the kind of life worth celebrating- one that puts others before himself and always seeks out the good in people, knowing that it's there, but sometimes you have to dig a little harder.

I love him beyond all boundaries; I never knew I could love someone this much. June 16 never meant anything to me until 1996, when I first laid eyes on the man that is now my husband. Now, June 16 is one of the most amazing days I know!

Happy Birthday Honey!
I love, love, love you!

June 12, 2008

Who Knew?

Who knew that one could be allergic to carrots? Turns out that Simple Guy is......after having a healthy serving of them in his lunch every weekday for nearly the past 3 years, we have concluded that he is indeed allergic to carrots! Guess I'll have to switch over to celery.

June 10, 2008

My Soap Box on Consumerism and the Youth of America

Last night, Simple Guy and I found ourselves killing time before an appointment in one of my most least favorite places in the world.....a mall. About six years ago I developed a strong dislike for shopping malls. It all started with not being able to escape from the gargantuan images of scantily clad men and women, who looked like they were getting ready to do anything BUT try to sell me on a t-shirt or perfume. I used to be offended by those images, but now I am just disgusted by them. Also, I think they are ridiculous- why do we insist on sexualizing everything? Try to think of an answer beyond "Sex sells."

I am beginning to digress......okay, so I do not like malls, but last night I was on high alert and my sensors were going off loud and clear. You see, I am slowly acquiring a distaste for consumerism and we all know that malls are one of the most consumeristic places you can find yourself in- the whole purpose of going to a mall is to buy things.

Anyway, some people may get a chuckle out of my being turned off by consumerism, because to you, it appears that all I do is consume. You know what? You are wrong! I am far more aware of what I am buying, why I am buying it, and how much I am buying it for more than I ever have been....and, I would say, more than the average consumer.

Our TV is old, but it works, and until it only broadcasts a black screen, we will keep it. And to be honest, I would be tempted to not buy another one. But that's a conversation for later.

Our car is getting up there, but it works, and when the time comes to turn in the keys for good, we will most likely be purchasing another used car.

Our place is small, but it suits our needs, and when the time comes to pack up and move, I can guarantee you will not be buying a place that is double the size that we would ever need. Why would we get something bigger? Just to fill it up with things? No, thank you!

Our clothes are fine, and while we nary look like we just walked off the runway, our bodies are covered and we look presentable enough to go on the occassional interview or hot date. It is not in our value system to spend gobs of money on clothing. We believe in spending a bit more to get something of quality that will last a long time, but we do not spend money on trends and frills.

All this to say, I am turned off by consumerism. And being in that dang mall made me want to run for the mountains and never go back.

And here is the other thing that really bothered me that night while we were there: the pre-teens and teenagers that were swarming all over the place. That in itself does not bother me, but what did were the cell phones and texting devices permanently attached to their ears and hands; the bling-bling wallets that when they opended, revealed credit cards and a good chunk of cash; the clothes that weren't really there; the attitiude that was given to those working in the stores; the complete disregard for picking up after themselves.

You know what? Yuck! Maybe I am becoming crusty in my "old age," but the problem with our youth these days is that they have too much stuff; too much money given to them and not earned; too much attitiude because as a society we believe we should treat youth as our equals and sometimes with more revere because they supposedly know more than anyone over the age of 21; and they have too much time on their hands.

I am not saying that all of America's youth is like this, but I would venture to say that most are. I once heard a speaker at a conference talk about his interactions with youth and when they would complain that they were bored because there were no video games to play; clothes to buy; or movies to go to, he would say. "You're not bored, you ARE boring!"

I love that! There is too much going on in this world to be bored. There are people to help; places to volunteer; books to read; eldery people that need visiting; at-risk youth to mentor; and so on and so on. The reason why they were bored is because they made life about just themselves, and that gets boring. Heck, I am bored just thinking about me, but when I think about a cause that helps people in need, then I am excited.

Obviously, we all could apply the idea of not making our lives just about us, but I am choosing to single out our youth.....they are, after all, our future.

And that concludes this rant on my soap box today.

June 8, 2008

Simple Things That Made Me Smile Today

  • Seeing Liz in Starbucks before church and knowing that she was about to embark on walking there in the nasty humidity and heat.....and then seeing her in the church foyer glowing from her morning walk.....she is an amazon woman! You rock, Liz!
  • Seeing the children in our church "sing" together for the first time.....just precious.
  • Seeing a friend who moved away but was in town for the weekend.....Leslie, you're right, we were just about to embark on a great friendship before you moved.....and even though we can't hang out very often, I think it's great just the same!
  • Seeing Phil get so excited about our children's ministry that he made color-coded signs for the rooms.....Phil, are you becoming a softy?!
  • Getting a ride to our car after church because we did not have umbrellas, only to have the rain stop when we were being driven to the car, and then all of the sudden downpour as soon as we got out of the car to get to our car......you tracking with me on that?!
  • Naomi telling me she found notes from a talk we had almost two years ago
  • Simple Guy asking if he could have a few more roasted potatoes after his first helping at dinner.....I guess they were that good!
  • Listening to Fernando Ortega so many times tonight that I could now go on tour with him as his back-up singer.....or stand-in should he fall ill!

June 7, 2008

Updates, Updates

I interrupt this previously quiet blog to give a few updates:

Update #1: My Herb Garden Remember when my herbs looked like this?

Well feast your eyes on them now! That's cilantro on your left and basil on your right.

As you can see, they are very much alive and thriving.

Update #2: My Book Reading I have to confess that for the life of me, I could not make it through either of my Jane Austen books. It's one thing to watch the movie and appreciate the sophisticated dialogue of the olden days in England, but to read them....uh, I prefer this century's dialogue!

So instead, a friend lent me this book and I read it through:

I give it 3 out of 5 bookmarks- a good read just before bed.

Update #3: Simple Guy's Crazy Work Schedule Not too much has changed there.....this photo was taken at 8:30pm on a Saturday night.....it is, in case you cannot tell, Simple Guy working on his computer! Sigh.

Update #4: Missing Minnesota Friends Remember how I was lamenting for my MN friends? Well, in the midst of being so lonely for them, I got an e-mail from one of them announcing she was coming in for a weekend! Yippee for me! We had dinner with her and her new fiance....they had just gotten engaged the night before! Yippee for them! And when I head up to MN to see more of my friends, I'll stay with my newly-engaged friend. Yippee!
This is a picture from our night together.

That's all for now.....hope this finds you well.