Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009, meet 2010.

Helloooo all of you who are on your computers right now as opposed to celebrating the collision of 2009/2010. I'll be out there shortly. Nap first. Then grocery store. Then celebration.

There are some grand plans in the works for life in general during 2010. New beginnings are so inspiring, no? New apartment, new job, new year!! It's good. If all goes well, I will be paying visits to some of our nation's more drool-worthy cities (yes! cities!) and of course, reporting all of it right here.

I am also brainstorming ways to make the blog more worthy of your time. It has somehow morphed into a public diary...which, quite frankly, is not ideal! We may experience growing pains, but bear with me. Hopefully it will be an interesting, inspiring little stop on the web.

I will leave you with this completely unrelated yet helpful hint: eat apples last. If you eat them first, they rot under the food you put on top of them, resulting in you and the innocent bystanders experiencing some level of discomfort. Two different sources have told me this in the past month! It must be true.

Wouldn't it be lovely to be in Paris for New Year's?


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!!

Happy, Merry Christmas to you! Enjoy a rich celebration of God's abundant grace in granting us Immanuel, 'God with us.'

May your bellies be filled, your hearts warmed, and your lips smooched under the mistletoe.

Have an unforgettable holiday. xo

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

This Little Room

The icy wind is howling against my window, and I'm huddled under the blanket trying to warm my toes. I look around my room at the piles of my belongings, all ready to move to their new home. This is one of my last nights here, and I'm noticing every detail of this room I love so much. It hardly seems possible that over a year ago I left my Los Angeles life behind and followed my few boxes out to my parents' Colorado home.

The life to which I bid farewell almost seems like the life of a close friend, not my own. Sometimes I don't want to remember any piece of it, but what I've come to realize is that I will never forget most of what happened. It was a life of wondering if I was literally going crazy; of being stuck between decisions that, in my mind, rivaled choosing between loss of sight or loss of hearing -- either one leaves you without something you don't want to live without; and of things getting only worse the harder I worked to make them better.

One of the lessons I've learned in this little room is that freedom and redemption are waiting if you'll only ask for it. My goal should not be to forget the hard things but to redeem every single one of them. Jesus is the only place to go for complete wholeness, and I'm still learning this. I still get nauseous sometimes when I sit down to speak with Jesus. He can rub you raw, but it's a healing rub. He promises never to leave us or forsake us, and that promise is stronger than anything.

Right before I left California, I was a skeleton in every sense. Mom and Dad offered a safe place where I could drag my weary bones and stay awhile, so I accepted the offer and moved in with nothing to give. Depleted to the core, I set about the task of recovering. There were times I longed to sense God's comforting presence. It had been so long since I'd acknowledged that, but He held me close to His chest just like a father. He rescued me, and everything has changed.

Colossians 1: 13-14 says, "He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." Indeed He has. This room has been the spot for so many significant moments in my heart this past year, it's strange to leave. But the room I'm moving to will have a story all its own, and I can't wait to live it. 

This blog was born during that first month home. Here are the words from the first post: White walls signal new beginnings. An empty room with white walls is the most welcome place for change as the only thing to do is to add color, design and function. The finished room depends entirely on the vision of the designer. This is where I am -- I've been emptied out, swept, painted white and primed for renovation. My architect and designer are One, and He will put His mastery on display as He completes the room according to His initial design. This designer is Jesus, the Redeemer, the only one who can create life out of death and make old things truly new. This blog will serve as the place I describe the color, the furniture, the artwork, and even the fresh flowers set on the table. It's time to start over. 


Another chapter ends, a new one begins. The walls in this little room have a story from this year all their own. Maybe someday they'll talk, but today I'm one step closer to painted walls, the zebra rug put out on the floor and the furniture arranged with beautiful flowers on the table. 

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Office

They say the holidays will add ten pounds to your figure. That's all good and fine, if you don't mind a larger girth, but what about the brainwaves? Are they affected by massive sugar consumption? I ask because yesterday was my lifetime record intake of cookies and sweets, and today I was about as dumb as could be. Everything I touched turned to lead. The first thing I did this morning at work was brew coffee...without the coffee. I eagerly went to fill my mug only to find hot water, slightly browned by yesterday's grounds. Gross.

The whole day was like this. One thing after another: oops...woops...oh, uhh. To finish the day, I had a little visit from the computer man. At my desk, I sensed someone behind me and turned to see who it was. A man was there, holding foreign objects in his hand, silent and staring. And standing. And silent. "Hi...is...there something...?" "You called about your computer." "Oh? I don't remember..." "It's buzzing." "Oh YEAH! Yes, it is. But it hasn't. Not today." Silence. "So...do you need to look at my computer?" Computer man moves toward computer. I stand up and leave the cube. "You need to shut it down." "Mmmk." I about-face, fly through shutting down, take my work and leave, flustered.

Clearly not a good day for brainwork. And a good reminder to put brakes on the sugar-glut.

Goodnight.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Becoming Colorado

In this drawn-out quest to transform from California girl to Colorado mountain woman, I've met with some obstacles -- the biggest of which is this Colorado winter. It's a bear. I may, on occasion, be prone to exaggerate...however, this is not one of those occasions. Yesterday morning I drove to work in -11F, not including windchill. That's eleven degrees below zero. My little pink coat simply doesn't cut it anywhere below 50F, and as it was the only coat I had, I was an ice sculpture by the time I reached the office door. That was when I decided it was time. Buying a winter coat was the only logical, adult thing to do (see previous post). 

Guess what. Macy's had a one-day sale yesterday, which was honestly a gift from the Lord Jesus. I know because money is what has kept me from buying a coat and now that I'm on the Dave Ramsey budget, I am being extra careful. There was really only one coat I liked, and it had everything I was looking for: length, belt, pockets, neutral color. But it was $10 over my budget. Don't tell Dave, but I thought it was worth a shot. At the counter, it rang up at about HALF of what I thought it was going to be, and I almost kissed the clerk. On the way in I prayed for a coat within my budget, and this was far under!

You may be wondering why this is such a big deal. I'll tell you. You never realize how much you appreciate basics -- like a winter coat -- until you're without one on a very cold day. When I put that coat on to walk back out to my car, I finally understood why not having a coat is such a big deal, and why good-hearted people work so hard to provide coats to those who don't have one. It's not just uncomfortable to be out in the cold, in some cases it is life-threatening. Life's basics are not negotiable. I guess that's why they're called basics.

It was also a big deal because it has been a need of mine for a long time, and I've been unable to meet it. I can't tell you how happy I was to hand the coat over the counter and then pay for it with money I'd earned. Work is not just something we do to fill time and pay bills. I think it is a matter of survival, whether it's mental, emotional or physical survival. Being able to take care of yourself is fabulous!! I highly recommend it.

So that's my coat story. I'm the proud owner of a beautiful black coat with a big collar. With my bargain I got a whole lot more than I expected, and I'm thankful. God is in the little details, even the ones that keep us warm.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Churn

The blog has been drowned out the last couple weeks, and my brain has been churning but unable to write.  Call it brain hiccups. I don't even have a specific topic tonight, but I do need to write, so I hope whatever comes out makes sense. 

I've been heavy with a new sense of responsibility that hit early November. I am suddenly aware of what an adult life requires, and am thus working hard to put things in place. I was terribly unlike myself for about a year after college, and for the past year have been rebuilding some of what was lost and deciding to leave some things completely out. It's a tortoise race, but progress is being made. 

I believe some children spend their childhoods pretending to be adults, and end up being lousy playmates  but very competent adults. I also believe that some adults spend their adulthoods pretending to be children, and end up being poor at both. I was a child that loved my childhood and remember so many moments filled with wonder and magic. I thought being an adult would come easily, but for some reason it's taking conscious effort. Budgeting, meal planning, furniture shopping, maintaining relationships, setting goals and achieving them, staying active, deciding what's really important and sticking to it, these are all moving parts that I can't always juggle. I want to be good at being grown-up, but I don't want to lose the magic of life. There must be a way to do both. 

Maturity comes with making decisions, with deciding who you're going to be and why, and continuing on even if few others join you. That is the Christian life; it's narrow, it's often difficult, and it requires c-o-m-m-i-t-m-e-n-t of the purest kind. 

I'll have to finish my thoughts later...heading to the gym (regretfully, as it's 4 degrees outside). 


Friday, November 27, 2009

Holiday Tidings

Christmas season is here!! It rarely feels like the holidays to me until Thanksgiving Day, regardless of the sparkle and fa-la-las everywhere you turn. Yesterday, 21 of us gathered around our kitchen for the feast. Smoked turkey, mashed potatoes that WILL change your life, fresh cranberry sauce, candied yams, green beans, pumpkin pie and trifle, apple pie and sparkling cider. Throw in some football, comedy, and the Bowl Game and that was a glorious Thanksgiving Day!

Embarrassments: The carrots I made were too hard to spear with a fork and almost too hard to cut with a knife (we used plastic cutlery...nice plastic cutlery...there were 21 of us!) But the glaze tasted good and everything else fully satisfied the little taste buds. After dinner we played games in front of the fire and then shared moments and people we were thankful for. Something has changed in my old age: I never -- I repeat, never -- would be caught crying in public in high school or even college. Last night, I said four words about my touching moment and that was all I could get out through my tears and the pesky lump in my throat. Please. I wanted to crawl under my chair.

The Lord is truly good, but it sometimes gets lost in the shuffle of striving after what we need or want, and it's so refreshing to take a day to reflect on His faithfulness and provision. He is and will always be the Potter, the Shepherd, and the Rock.

Just about everyone at our house under age 30 left at about 10pm to drive to the Castle Rock Outlets. I do confess to shopping at the first opportunity on Black Friday, but I had specific things in mind and brought cash. The place was a zoo. And a hoax. My brother was in a certain clothing store just a couple weeks ago looking at a $50 peacoat. Deciding to wait until it went on sale, he looked at the same peacoat last night, this time marked at an original price of $100, but on sale for 50% off. Creepy? Wrong? Ignorance is bliss?

I will close by wishing you a Merry Christmas season, and hearts filled with gratitude for the daily gifts we receive and the abundant life we have now and forever.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Jobs, Old and New

Today was my third-to-last shift at Bed Bath & Beyond (not Bath & Body Works). That means I only have two left. Two. This is great news in every way except for two reasons: One, the book I was going to write entitled "I'm Just Browsing: Adventures in Big-Box Retail" may now only be a pamphlet. Two, the cookware set I ordered might not arrive before my last day...which means the employee discount won't apply, presenting a golden opportunity for sweet-talking.

The new job is lovely. I have a grey cube to decorate and new friends. The work itself seems to be right up my alley, and I'm chomping at the bit to get started. I've already been told that, if I didn't mind her saying, I look like I'm 16 ("oh! thank you..."). Can't wait for the day when that's a compliment.  I've met several higher-ups and was -- I think -- able to pull myself together without saying something completely awkward. And, during my first company-wide chapel service I couldn't stop laughing at a most unfortunate moment. A military chaplain was talking about families left behind after the death of a soldier. Here's the catch: the chaplain was bald with a rather bulbous head and nose to match, and the first thing I thought when I saw him was, "oh no, he looks just like Bob the Tomato." I stared at the ground.

To my friends who are still searching, keep your chin up. Don't give up, don't look away, don't remain discouraged. What is so amazing about a job search is that, when you find a job, you realize how much the company needed a person like you and how much you needed a company like them. And when both sides were praying for whatever the new situation would be and it works out so well in the end, God receives the glory and it's beautiful.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Head in the Clouds

Yesterday morning I went in for an interview (yes, an interview) -- actually two, back to back, for the same position. Whew. I was told I'd be updated on the status at least once every ten business days, so I came home still in job-hunt mode. 24 hours later, the phone rings. They offer me the job. I ask for time to think about it. I crunch numbers. I go for a celebratory run. I call back and accept. I call BB&B and put in my notice (praises). I text all my friends and run a useless errand. Before it's officially official, the background check has to go through. As long as the ring I stole from the Christian book store when I was four isn't on there, I should be okay.

It still won't hit me until I'm sitting at my new desk, relearning Microsoft programs (after falling head over heels for Mac) and slowly learning the ropes. This will be a time to embrace new challenges, new friendships, new life patterns, and new competencies. Fun fact: the job was offered one year and a week after moving here.

I've been in the clouds today, and it's a joy to sit and write this. This is the first time since starting this blog that I've been gainfully employed. Granted, I've had other jobs and done things to make money, but this is my first Bachelor's-degree-required job in Colorado. The Lord's timing is remarkable. Perfect to Him, not always to us. What's funny is, as soon as things start falling into place, I admit His perfect timing. I did not feel the same way just a couple weeks prior, when there may have been a pouty lip or two. All that to say, had this not happened now or very soon, I would be shuffling down the street in my bathrobe stealing crumbs from birds. Yes, His timing is perfect.

Did I mention that a requirement of this job is to travel to Washington, D.C. for a week? Or that a real interview question was whether or not I'd be okay with that bit of travel?

Please.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Eureka.

Cast your worries aside. The location of my title dawned on me while I was brushing my teeth.

{This is where it gets embarrassing}

The pumpkin background was orange, so I changed the title font color to white. My normal background, sans pumpkin, is white. Thus, white background + white title = invisible title. My teachers were right: Math is practical!

Would you believe me if I told you I'm brunette-ish?

Goodnight.

Title?

So...I removed the festive pumpkin from my header, and it ate the blog title. Where's White Walls? Does the fact that I don't know how to fix this disqualify me from the blogosphere? And is it only me that can't see the title? Heeeellllp!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Elegant Classic

I'm copying Em and posting the results to my home decor style quiz: Elegant Classic. 

You have a refined sensibility with an appreciation for history and tradition in your furniture and your rooms. You value beauty, things that are well crafted, and family heirlooms. You are visually sensitive and understand how symmetry and a formal layout give order to a room, and hence your home is refined and calming. You are not taken in by the trends of the moment. You go for things with a timeless appeal, and appreciate old-fashioned virtues like manners and handwritten notes and making a home that is welcoming for others.
You value serenity. While there are probably a lot of interesting things in your home, they are joined by your taste or a certain palette that keeps them in harmony. You appreciate the beauty in simple forms. Whether fancy or plain, you appreciate things that are well made and function as well as they look. You also have a strong respect for the environment and craftsmanship. You care about how things are made, and how they are used.
Right on...mostly. I like to think my home will have a little more flair to it, but that has yet to be seen. Style is how we express ourselves creatively, and that's important. I told Em to take the quiz because I need all the help I can get to understand her style. I recently told her how difficult it is for me to identify her taste, and here's why: she's Bohemian Eclectic. Well of COURSE that's hard to nail down! Buying her anything from a bobby pin to a headboard is almost a shot in the dark. And it all boils down to style, my friends, which reflects who we are as people. Take the quiz and see what you think! And don't be shy -- tell me your results!


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

City Photos!

This blog is the perfect spot to park on a snowy afternoon. Tim hails from Chicago and takes beautiful photographs of everyday life there. They all have that delightful city feel that does something to me. Take a peek.

A Plea. Where's the light at the end of the tunnel?

Job searching is the pits. Er, I love considering the endless possibilities that speckle the horizon!!

I lost track of when I started this major hunt. Granted, there are many souls who have been looking far longer than I, and blessings be upon them, but seriously. We need jobs.

I'm not going to say this isn't a rant, because it is. But it's short. We try to put our best foot forward, yes? Yes. I don't believe I can do this online, simply by pasting my resume, typing out my work history 389157468 times and clicking 'submit.' I'm happy to do all those things, to the moon and back, but let me shake your hand and look you in the eye and then hand you the nitty-gritty details on paper. By looking at someone's resume, you can't usually tell if they're bright and promising or if you'd be better off hiring a dead fish. Trust me, I've been on the hiring side of the job search.

I decided to defy this online limitation and walk in with my resume and cover letter in hand. At one particular locale, I had quite an adventure getting past the front desk to HR. When I did, I was told how to apply online. Good. I walked out, still clutching my resume and cover letter, and drove straight back home to the opportunity awaiting me online.

Someone's potential is not found on paper. Can I get an AMEN?

It's time for a breakthrough.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Known

Omniscience. If you're anything like me, you've thought about omniscience, marveled, but concluded you couldn't comprehend it, so logged it away in the mental archives for later. I don't know that I've ever thought about how God's all-knowledge affects me personally besides the uncomfortable understanding that He knows all my deepest, darkest secrets even better than I do. He knows the past, present, and future of the whole world. And that's about the extent of my comprehension of the matter.

That is, until I read A.W. Tozer's thoughts. "... no unsuspected weakness in our characters can come to light to turn God away from us, since He knew us utterly before we knew Him and called us to Himself in the full knowledge of everything that was against us." I still don't know why this overwhelmed me like it did. As I type, it seems like such a fundamental pillar of Christianity. The moment I read it, I realized that somewhere inside me, I believe I can test God's unconditional love and perhaps shock or disappoint Him out of His decision to call me to Himself. There is no shock factor, no element of surprise, when He already knew your whole plan. Foiled. I suppose one of my greatest fears is believing that I hold His rich love forever only to find in the end that I believed a lie. That terrifies me, and my reaction is to test it. Wrong move (Courage and Faith, enter stage right). 

All glory be to Him who chose us and called us to Himself when we were dead in our transgressions. I'm not cool enough, nerdy enough, pretty or ugly enough to get His attention. He wasn't looking at that. When He looked, He saw death in us. But because of His great love with which He loved us, we have redemption through the blood of Jesus, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace. Why this is so hard for bird-brain to grasp, I don't know, but my little moment of revelation seriously helped, so I had to share.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Courageous Spirit

The Girls just left after a long night of talking through our long-awaited look at the "gentle and quiet spirit." There are about as many ideas on what this means and how it looks as there are women to ponder it. Some explanations I've heard are subtler versions of, "if you must speak, sugar-coat it." Because 1 Peter 3:4 allows for only one kind of spirit, and the spirit and the personality can be hard to differentiate in our minds, I was curious about tonight's discussion.

I have never beheld a close group of friends so diverse as The Girls. Elyze is the older sister, type-A, athletic paramedic who is also one of the most giving people I know. I like to say ridiculous things around her only to see her roll her eyes and drop her forehead into her hand. She keeps us on track. Dawn is the goal-oriented public-policy Analyst who is most likely to be the CEO of a major corporation. I've never seen her cry although she swears she does. She also keeps us on track. Em is the color-lovin' gypsy who would drop almost anything to come to the aid of a friend...or for a good adventure. She is the most graceful blend of feminine tomboy I have ever met. Lauren is the animated artist with a wild imagination. You would travel for miles to watch her tell a story. You would also travel for miles to cry on her shoulder. She feels other people's emotions as if they were her own.

Back to the topic at hand. I gave the group bio to show that we are not generally taciturn. But we do sincerely want to know what is important to the Lord, which is why we so badly wanted to find out what Scripture means by the gentle, quiet spirit. I mentioned in an earlier post that my chosen tangent was courage and how it relates to the quiet spirit. In 1 Peter 3, you'll notice that just beyond the gentle and quiet spirit is verse 6 which speaks of Sarah and says, "...and you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening." Anything that is frightening? You're sure? I dug deeper and found that almost every reference to fear or courage is coupled with a reference to the Lord's presence or character.

Courageous acts in battle are all over the Old Testament. Surely they had superior weaponry? Or an immense amount of stuff on the other side of the wall waiting to be pillaged? No. Their courage came from an invisible yet undeniable source. Ezra 7:28 -- "I took courage, for the hand of the Lord my God was on me." Isaiah 35:4 -- "Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God...will come and save you." Haggai 2:4-5 -- "Be strong, declares the Lord. Work, for I am with you. My Spirit remains in your midst. Fear not." Exodus 14:13-14 -- "Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will work for you today...The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent."

I noticed a common thread: our courage comes not from what we conjure up, but from an inexhaustible source that is ever reliable and will do what He promised. Our strength fails, our bravery runs out. But when our courage is in the Lord, in the knowledge of His character, we will see battles fought and won for us. We will behold the salvation of the Lord right in the midst of what we fear the most.

So women (and men), I believe a huge step toward quieting your spirit is simply trust. It is casting all your cares at His feet and wholly believing that He picked them up from where you laid them and is working a victory. When we do that, courage naturally follows. Whether your personality is analytical, emotional, funny, serious, black, white, wet, dry or something in between, you can have a quiet spirit because it's the attitude of your heart before the One who knows it perfectly.

Whew! The End.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Day in Denver

At the risk of boring you with my Denver love, I write with caution.

{I LOVE DENVER}

Because I am currently working very part-time and on the hunt for a job, I enjoy the luxury of a little spare time. Jonny lives in Denver and so happened to have some free time at the same time I did, so I visited. My friend Lauren, the artist, recently introduced me to Stella's coffeehouse on Pearl Street and my heart fluttered a bit, so I had to take Jonny. After all, they have an entire basket of treats devoted to Gluten Free People, of which Jonny is one.

This is a hot-spot for students during the day, so it felt more like a library than a coffeehouse. We ended up on the patio outside, sipping our coffee and trying to play tricks on the brazen squirrels. The air was crisp but just right, and several hours passed before I even blinked.

Jonny is a delight. Period. I could be wind-burned and chapped, stranded in the middle of the Sahara, but if Jonny was there, I'd be happy as a clam. He told me all about life at college, and the adventure of leaving a world of being just another Christian in a Christian parade to a world where...where... you're wind-burned and chapped, stranded in the middle of the Sahara and would give anything for a drop of water. Morality used to be admirable. Now you feel like a one-eyed Cyclops if you stick to your guns and live a pure, consistent life devoted to Christ.

Long after my hazelnut Americano dried up, we meandered down the street to a funny little shop that had all sorts of outrageous things. Our favorites: A peacock butter dish for $42, a blue and yellow seahorse attached to a bungee, and a mini sock monkey keychain! We walked out empty-handed. On our way back to campus, we went googly-eyed in front of several houses. Wood, rock, a smidge contemporary and utterly Colorado.

Yes, it was divine.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Things I'm Curious About

Four-year-olds are not the only ones who ask 'why'. These questions run through my head all the time, so I figured it was time to get them out. Please enlighten me if you know the answers.

I would like to know...

why the gender assigned to wear makeup is the same gender most likely to cry on any given day, requiring a makeup re-do.

why people assume you never eat if you weigh less than 150 pounds and slightly resemble a toothpick.

if Emeril ever tires of cooking, or Oprah of talking.

why residential architects, after about 1960 (with few exceptions), stopped using their imaginations to design tract homes.

what I have to say to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

why we forget dreams.

why finding "balance" is so tricky.

why I'm embarrassed about my part-time job.

why chocolate is that good.

how Creation is so readily denied. My thumb could be as long as my leg, your eyebrow hair could grow an inch an hour, and grass could be razor sharp. But it all fits together perfectly.

in what ways we would be different if we'd been born in another era, another culture.

That's all for now. I'm off to explore.

Monday, October 12, 2009

100

one hundred posts!


throw a little confetti. 


and please come back for 101.


thanks for stopping by this little corner of the world.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

nothing in particular

O-mi-garsh! It's been so long. The write side of my brain has been dead the last while, which is a baaad sign. Or a good one, because maybe it means it's time for an inspiration trip -- Denver Art Museum, a drive through the mountains, cooking a good meal (which is happening tomorrow night), or something to stir the creative juices. Would love to hear your inspiring ideas.

The girls and I have been doing a fascinating study the last two weeks that is yet unfinished, and I can't wait to give you the skinny when we've thought it all through! My assignment is to study courage. Yes! I love that topic, because I am quite lacking in this quality so essential to the life of faith.

Brother Jonny informed me that he doesn't read my blog unless he's in it, so here he is, in the blog: Jonny.  :)  p.s. I get to see him this weekend!

Well friends, my next post will be my 100th! until then, xo.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Distracted

I sat wedged in the corner of the sofa, sputtering out words and wondering how I could possibly be so distracted. I was speaking to the most attention-commanding, fear-inducing, jaw-dropping Being in the universe, and I was distracted by little thoughts flitting by. I imagined myself approaching the most magnificent castle in the world, its spires stretching toward the heavens and its gates sparkling in the sun. I had been invited to spend the day with the king. Just before I stepped through the gate, a pink flower caught my eye and I left the path to take a closer look. It was a pretty flower, so I sat down in the grass and picked it so I could breathe in the fragrance. Completely taken with it, I forgot all about my appointment with the king and ran all the way back to my little hut to put it in a vase.

How ridiculous. A worthless sacrifice. The flower will be gone tomorrow, and when I remember the king I will feel quite foolish explaining why I didn't come to see him.

Is it because I don't understand who I'm meeting with when I come before the Lord in prayer?

Listen to the offer we've been given: "Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; hear that your soul may live...seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near." (Isaiah 55:1-3, 6)

Annie Dillard was rather frank when she said this about church, "Why do people in churches seem like cheerful, brainless tourists on a packaged tour of the absolute? On the whole, I do not find Christians, outside of the catacombs, sufficiently sensible of conditions. Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we so blithely invoke? Or, as I suspect, does no one believe a word of it? The churches are children playing on the floor with their chemistry sets, making up a batch of TNT to kill a Sunday morning. It is madness to wear ladies hats and straw hats and velvet hats to church; we should all be wearing crash helmets. Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to our pews. For the sleeping god may wake someday and take offense, or the waking god may draw us out to where we can never return."


Ouch. I think I would do good to think long and hard about who I'm approaching when I pray, and who it is that sees my every move, my every thought, and knows my every word. Every thought, every word, known perfectly by the One who has the power to kill, to breathe life, to save, and to destroy. Yikes. He listens to the humble and righteous and offers forgiveness for their souls. That's motivation. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Mountain People

Embracing the culture you live in is part of what makes living there fun. When I lived in southern California, I loved going to the beach, renting cruisers and riding up and down the boardwalk, and was forced into everyone's favorite activity: shopping. 

Colorado has a little something different to offer. Expecting the beach in a landlocked state and oodles of shopping where everyone would rather be hiking, naturally, I would be disappointed. I was ready to leave the glam behind in L.A. and welcome the comfortable, no-pressure Colorado lifestyle.  

Most of Colorado's best is still untouched by me, but last weekend I had a small taste. My high school friends who are now married like to shoot when they're not mountain biking or horseback riding. And when I say shoot, I mean shoot. Guns. The entire back of the Land Cruiser was filled with guns of all shapes and sizes. I happily accepted the invitation, and we drove up to Woodland Park and set up the targets.

Travis was the expert, so he assembled everything (I didn't know assembly was required...) and showed me where the safety was, how to cock, how to aim, how to stand, but not how to not freak out after I pulled the trigger. I started with child's play -- a little .22 something (maybe) -- and eventually graduated to a shotgun and a rifle of some sort.

here's travis, assembling


notice the two holes awfully close to the bull's eye


i was nervous. this is a big gun. heidi helped me brace for impact.
and i'm standing like a girl.


this is how it's supposed to look.


We finished everything off with dinner and a banana split at The Hungry Bear. That's where the mountain people eat. I think I need to invest in a flannel shirt and a good pair of boots...cowboy boots.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Last Pedals

Here is a glimpse of some of the last glorious flowers of summer. My mom's flower pots are her gardening joy, with everything from faded hydrangea to brilliant morning glories. I snapped these yesterday, in my bare feet, while it was snowing just a few miles away on Pikes Peak. If you've never been to Colorado, please visit.



















Summer is hanging on. Autumn is creeping in. I'm afraid the colder one will win out.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Paris Tribute

Paris has singlehandedly enchanted more people than any other city in the world. I have permanently joined those who have fallen head over heels for Paris, and it came out of nowhere. I used to think it was overrated and cliche, but no more.

I recently finished reading Adam Gopnik's Paris to the Moon, where he shares life in Paris through the eyes of an American writer, husband and father. He explores French cuisine, fashion, culture, and observations on the differences between American and Parisian culture. Let me share with you the description of his favorite restaurant, the Balzar.

"The Balzar is a brasserie, which means that it is Alsatian in origin, serves beer, and stays open late. Over the years it has added a full dinner menu, so that it has become indistinguishable from a restaurant. For more than a hundred years the Balzar has been a family business, and each of the families has managed to keep it constant without making it stale. It's a one-story, one-room spot, small by brasserie standards---with only ninety or so covers---and has a glass front that looks out onto the street; you can see with one eye people boarding the number 63 bus in the twilight, and with the other a pretty little park dedicated to Montaigne, with plane trees and pink-flowering chestnuts."

Can't you picture yourself sitting there? Are you charmed just thinking about it? This book alone made me want to at least visit Paris, if not move there. Then, one of my favorite bloggers took a trip to Paris and is now posting pictures and describing its magic. Another of my favorite bloggers recently published a book on Paris -- she lives there when she's not living on her houseboat in Amsterdam. Seriously? I've also watched Julie & Julia (the new movie about Julia Child's adventure in French cooking) and French Kiss ('90s Meg Ryan movie). It's all too much. I simply can't help myself.

AND I wake up to this on my wall every morning:

I'm convinced it's the most romantic place. Parisians live life beautifully. The everyday bits of life are beautiful. I don't know how they do it, but they do, and effortlessly. *sigh*
I hope you find some inspiration to add some charm to your day. If you need a little more help, browse Haven in Paris and start planning your visit. 

Monday, September 14, 2009

Pancakes: Morning, Noon, or Night

Last night, the weekly Pancake Night was reinstated after the summer break, and everybody's excited about it. Here's an idea for you: try cinnamon-apple pancakes. You must. Even if you don't eat pancakes, try it.

What you need to do:
Grate a granny-smith apple.
Mix cinnamon with sugar.
Sprinkle grated apple and cinnamon/sugar onto the pancake while it's cooking on the griddle.
Top with syrup.
Eat.
Enjoy your new life post cinnamon-apple pancake.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Lovestruck

This week I've been struck by love. The power and the reality of it, really. Some of you will laugh at this, but so did I, so laugh away. I mentioned that Jonny is gone. Monday, we moved him in and said goodbye. It didn't hit me until I drove home from work late that night...and then it really hit me. Men probably aren't so much like this, but I think women react more strongly to the fear of losing a close relationship, even if it's not lost. This was me -- worried that the close friendship I enjoyed with him would change forever. He was moving on, I wasn't. Devastating, right? Although this isn't reality, it's still a fear. So my tears were not of grief, but of excitement for him, pressing through necessary change, a little bit of loss and a little bit of fear.

I'm not even his mother (just his sister), and there's a major lump in my throat. I don't understand how all mothers don't just plop on the floor in sackcloth and ashes for weeks after their children leave. Not to belabor the point, but I have been amazed at how deeply I feel concern and hope for him since he left. I want to know he will be okay, that God will shield and guide him, that he will not grow discouraged. Psalm 71:3, "Be to me a rock of refuge, to which I may continually come; you have given the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress." And God will be that.

When you feel deeply about one thing, it usually spills over. As I've thought about the relationship with my brother, I've thought about all my relationships. It's funny how a little bit of pain seems to resurrect past pain you didn't fully deal with but buried anyway.

Back to my topic: love. In the past couple weeks, God has allowed me to reconcile two very important relationships that were damaged a while ago and never mended. My understanding of love is so limited: I thought I had lost them, or at least permanently cramped their ability to forgive and love me fully, again. The abundance and readiness of their forgiveness overwhelmed me. And it led me to one place -- the Cross -- that sacred place where Jesus answers every cry for forgiveness and love with a shocking answer: it is completely, wholly, forever, Finished. There is no hesitation to pour out all love and to spread his welcoming arms wide to forgive his Beloved.

"But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved--and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus." Ephesians 2:4-7. Full, unlimited forgiveness and love.

Life is incredible and rich. And all because of love.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Bye Bye Jonny

Little Jonny is leaving. He's going to college on Monday, and I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to do. This guy is sunshine. He's hilarious, a wonderful friend, and allergic to gluten. You all want to know him, don't deny it. I would invite you for dinner so you could meet him, but he's leaving.

Before your eyes get too misty, I should tell you he's going to the University of Denver. It's an hour away. So what that means is I'll be waiting outside his classrooms to walk him to the next.

I was trying to remember my thoughts on the days just before I went to college. Everything was rosy. The world was full of uncontaminated opportunity. New things to learn, new people to meet, independence. Starting out my "adult" life on the right foot, with bright hope for the future. Aah, those were the days.

Now he has new things to learn, new people to meet, and independence. He's starting out on the right foot and has bright hope for the future. And he'll be just fine. His best will get better, and every bump in the road will be good for him.

p.s. You may now officially consider me a Pioneers fan. Go Denver!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Synthetic or Sustainable?


This post is entirely opinion, but it's also a sincere question.

Sustainability is a HUGE project worldwide. It's like a wildfire -- everybody's catching the craze. Sustainability promotes smarter financial, social, personal, and philanthropic decisions. It encourages responsibility and awareness of our actions and our surroundings. What's not to like about that?

If I'm not mistaken, this entire movement was initiated by left-wingers and their hope to save the environment. Here's what's funny: we've begun creating synthetic products in order to avoid damaging too much of the earth's plant and animal life (dead or alive), but doesn't that defeat the purpose of sustainability? It seems to me that the most sustainable way of life -- and the way it's been done for centuries -- is to use the earth and the natural life cycle as a valuable resource.

Synthetic bone china, for instance, is what is mostly being used to produce the best quality china: bone china. It used to be made from the ground-up bone of oxen and mixed with clay, but vegetarians wouldn't eat off the plate and revolted. It was cruelty to animals and, after all, vegetarians are herbivores! I don't think it made much difference to the ox (unless, of course, he was inhumanely treated). My question is, wouldn't it be most sustainable to use real bone instead of creating new processes and possibly building new machines to make this synthetic bone?

Where do we draw the line? It seems like this has gone full circle...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Holy Matrimony

They met in college and fell in love. Things didn't work out. He never got over her. They moved to opposite corners of the country and didn't talk for years.

And then...

They were both in the bridal party for a friend's wedding in California. Something clicked.

And now...


They're married! And will be in love for the rest of life.

The time in Seattle was utter joy. Not even a hint of bittersweet like I thought there might be. Just pure, simple bliss (better than chocolate).

We did what we could to help set up for the reception the day before. Dorie, their wedding decorator, was all over it and didn't need much help from us amateurs. We were all assigned to napkin committee and general manual labor.



- the groom is that strapping one on the left -

Once the work was done, things got crazy.





-the groom was a little protective when he saw the above-



After that it was time for the rehearsal and subsequent dinner, both of which went very well. The pace down the aisle took some practice, as did walking up and down stairs in very tall, strappy heels. Dinner was at The Lobster Shop, an old beach-house-turned-fish-house right on the water. We ate upstairs in a quaint room lined with wood from floor to ceiling and just enough room for all of us. It was perfect. I laughed harder than (possibly) ever before and therefore left most of my food on the plate. One of the groomsmen at the table had, well, a contagious laugh. And if he squeaks even a little bit, you're done for.

-mom and dad celebrated their 27th anniversary on the eve of matt and stacey's wedding-

-groom and best man/brother-

-the beautiful couple-

-brother and me-

-just outside The Lobster Shop. this was also where Matthew asked and "she said yes!"-

And now, for the big day. The ladies arrived at the church at 9:15am to beautify themselves. Hair, makeup, dress and shoes. It takes a long time, guys. We went off-site for pictures, and I managed to avoid pulling up grass with my heels on an absolutely beautiful Washington day by the coast. Once the camera was put away, the nerves started to set in. By the way, my brother was in rare form. Perfectly understandable. He could not -- I repeat: could not -- take his eyes off Stacey. Jonny had to drive their car to ensure they would arrive in one piece.

Just look at his face. I snapped this just after they'd seen each other for the first time (finally. he'd been holding his breath, quasi-unconscious, all morning). I've never seen him so happy. Or so committed, for that matter.

During the ceremony, he looked like such a man. He stood there, strong and unwavering, knowing exactly what he was about to do. And when he repeated his vows, he looked right into her eyes and told her what he'd waited so long to tell her. He meant every single word. I've also never seen him so intensely focused and serious. Marriage will be good for him. Good doesn't seem the best word. Stacey is going to add to his life in such a dramatic way, that although he was complete without her, it feels like he is a new man. She's not the icing on the cake; it's a whole different cake altogether. And it's better than ever.

Speaking of cake, let's get to the reception. Gino's Italian catered the dinner. Walnut/cranberry/feta salad, chicken, ravioli, cream sauce, meat sauce, oh! It was good.


They signed the marriage license, worked the room, danced, ate some cake (no smashing in the face), and then ran through a tunnel of sparklers out to their limo. Whew! You know that feeling of happiness where you fear you may explode? Precisely.



The Holy Spirit would be in every one of these pictures, but He's invisible. :) Everything about the weekend was so good, so pure, so full. It pointed to the One who made everything, who is love and who created us to love.

Faith, hope, and love. It was beautiful. The End.

Friday, August 28, 2009

A Prayer

O Majesty unspeakable, my soul desires to behold Thee. I cry to Thee from the dust.

Yet when I inquire after Thy name it is secret. Thou art hidden in the light which no man can approach unto. What Thou art cannot be thought or uttered, for Thy glory is ineffable.

Still, prophet and psalmist, apostle and saint have encouraged me to believe that I may in some measure know Thee. Therefore, I pray, whatever of Thyself Thou hast been pleased to disclose, help me to search out as treasure more precious than rubies or the merchandise of fine gold: for with Thee shall I live when the stars of the twilight are no more and the heavens have vanished away and only thou remainest.
Amen.

-- Stumbled upon in A.W. Tozer's Knowledge of the Holy and thought it too beautiful not to share.

Washington tour update coming soon.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Current Events


Things are changing, after all! Saturday night was my very last as an employee of Cafe 36. Voted 'Best Romantic Restaurant' in Colorado Springs, it's no surprise that the months spent working there sparked my romance with gourmet food. I quite liked being behind the scenes with a brilliant chef who slipped me the occasional recipe. The man could make weeds taste good. Part of me will miss the good ol' days there, but adventure awaits and I dare not reject it.

At an ungodly hour tomorrow morning, the family and I are flying to Seattle for brother Matthew's wedding. It's finally here and I can't believe it. We've already placed bets on who's going to cry during the ceremony and who will keep it together. I will update you with pictures from the whole week when I get back. For now, it's shut-eye and sweet dreams for me.

Soak up these final days of summer. Enjoy the long shadows at the end of the day and the smell of sun-soaked earth. Spread a blanket and look at the stars. Barbecue. Eat sorbet with berries!

Be back soon.
xo.


Friday, August 14, 2009

Standby

A perfectly glum day began with clouds, rain, and that beautiful air that feels just like the coast. Life, I love you but sometimes you leave me so...speechless. Minor disappointments, forks in the road, faint glimmers of a bright future, lovely moments, crying and laughing in the same sweet breath, new challenges. Life takes faith.

From the 'Valley of Vision' --

"Thou hast taught me that faith is nothing else than receiving thy kindness; that it is an adherence to Christ, a resting on him, love clinging to him as a branch to the tree, to seek life and vigour from him...I have seen thee by reason and have not been amazed, I have seen thee as thou art in thy Son and have been ravished to behold thee."

On the days when I want to be scooped up into the Father's loving arms and rest, frustrated that I can't, I find Psalm 139 to be the very words I need to hear. "Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me."

Tomorrow is another day. Another perspective, another batch of circumstances. Tomorrow is refreshing. Please standby.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Whirly Ideas

Folks, I'm starting to buzz -- like a bee.

My brainwaves just went from . . . . . . .
to /\/\/\/\/\><<><>/

For months, I'll have one idea about what to do with my life. And THEN, out of the blue, I have enough ideas for all of China. What's a girl to do about it? Pick one and run with it?

Courage and faith have something to do with it. Insanity has something to do with it. Fear has something to do with it.

I'm on the brink of a change. I can feel it.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Josh Garrels

Has anyone out there been searching, hunting for a good Christian musician that's not your everyday? Look no further. It just found you.

I was introduced to Josh Garrels the other night, and must confess he's been singing through my speakers ever since. I don't think any two songs sound the same. He's a talent, an incredible story, and I can't wait to hear more. My favorite song (so far) is "Don't Wait for Me."

Amen and Amen.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Grandma Dot

This week would've been Grandma Dot's 99th birthday. If she were still here, she would celebrate by accomplishing a feat that most 99-year-olds don't do. She celebrated her 80th birthday on a water slide, and hosted a huge backyard tea party for all her friends for her 90th. Grandma died at 91. She's a hard woman to forget.

She married at 39 and bore her first child at 41 {Thanks, Grandma, for taking the pressure off :) }! Grandma was THE Hostess. Never fancy or pretentious, she knew how to put everyone at ease. So at ease, in fact, that she developed mild narcolepsy...and even fell asleep while hosting a neighbor for tea. I remember her laid-back but engaged manner, and the genuine interest she had in people around her.

Because she lived in Canada, we never saw her much, but she wrote warm letters and visited often for Thanksgiving. She had a twinkle in her eye that resembled mischief, and she was the first to help with pranks when we had the idea. The man my Dad is tells all about the kind of woman my grandmother was. Grandma was gone before I really got to know her, but I have a feeling we would have been kindred spirits. She was a dear soul. She found tremendous delight in being alive and cherished more friends than anyone else I've met. Grandma Dot was resilient, persevering, joyful and determined. She will always be a treasure.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Same Lame Same

This past week filled up quickly with unusual and unexpected activity, but my brain was full of things to tell you. I hope to get it all out over the next few posts. First item on the list: my suburbia rant. I felt very strongly about it when I left California nearly nine months ago. I wrote about it here and promised a more detailed post to follow, which is just now happening. Still, at the mere mention of moving back to the suburbs, a warrior inside me wakes up, puts on his armor and starts marching toward whoever spoke the idea.

"Why is it such a big deal??" you ask. When I'm completely honest with myself, it's not entirely superficial. In fact, most of it is an effort to save the creative part of life and to preserve our design as humans to reflect and live beauty.

Pastor Matt this Sunday spoke on eight elements of worship, and I think he's been spying on my thoughts. It resonated so much with what I felt deep in my heart. I'll share this quote on 'creativity as worship' with you: "We believe our creativity is to be a fundamental part of our life of worship -- as individuals but also as a community. Therefore, we yearn to celebrate God's creativity -- and ours -- as a worshipping community by being creative and taking risks while refusing to seek security in suffocating predictability."

Suffocating predictability? Precisely. I've met people who pull into the wrong driveway...because they can't tell their own house from their neighbors'! And because existing in a place where everything is the same lulls our souls into a deep sleep. We stop thinking. I stopped thinking for about a year and just followed the crowd. Living in Valencia, I observed life closely. Valencians are uncomfortable painting their nails a different color than the lady next to them. They're uncomfortable having a normal, natural body or a naturally beautiful face that tells the stories of their lives. They wanted to hide who they really were in order to be like everyone else. They drove the same cars, decorated the same way, dressed the same, talked the same, ate the same, smelled the same, had the same interests. Same. Same. Same.

When you think about the reason suburbs were created in the first place, it sounds like a good idea. A great idea, even. They were created with family in mind, as a place children could be raised in a community. Community was the reason. If you live in a suburb today, odds are you don't know your neighbor's name, or maybe even what they look like. What does it look like from the outside? Doors and windows closed. 7am: garage door opens, car backs out, garage door closes. 6pm: garage door opens, car pulls in, garage door closes. Doors and windows closed, light from television flickering. 11pm: lights out. Are you twitching yet?


Doesn't it make you want to paint your front door purple? To gut the insides and rebuild a haven that is your family's expression? To throw the television into the street and invite friends over to discuss ideas and actually know them? Please tell me I'm not crazy.

It's not about living in the suburbs. It's about keeping the creative core of who we are alive. And that, Emily and Dawn, is why I won't move to North Carefree and Powers. I rest my case. :)

xo


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Give Me Simple

Okay dear souls, I'm sharing my business website with you, and it makes me a pinch queasy. It's been in the works for a while, and I finally got everything together. If you visit and have a thought about the site, I'd love to hear it. But go somewhat easy on me -- I didn't hire anyone to help me.
:)

So here it is: givemesimple.net

a million thanks. xo

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Black, White, or Both?

Does life ever humor you with its contradictions?

In the same moment, you can...
be going everywhere yet be going nowhere.
cry and laugh.
be confident but terrified.
be rich and broke.
yell and not be heard.
fail and succeed.

I'm sitting on my deck right now watching the golfers (one in particular), chuckling at what must be his present irony. He's concentrating, winding up, following through, swinging so hard he almost swung full circle. Now he's gazing, hopeful. Will the ball do what he wanted it to? No. No it didn't. All the effort, the focus, the hours of behind-the-scenes practice, just to watch the ball land exactly where you didn't want it to. It's no wonder I don't golf.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Clever little song

We're not supposed to have favorites, I know. But who doesn't? And who's counting? My favorite kinds of people are the clever ones, the ones who can say something that leave you thinking you've never thought that thought before. Even though you have.

Musicians and writers are especially good at this (at least the good ones are). My beautiful friend Erica introduced me to this song by Jason Mraz, and I've hardly been able to stop listening. Enjoy.


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Unconditional

Love. Perhaps the most overused and misunderstood word in the English language, it's easy to see why love is underrated and overrated at the same time. I love to travel and I love to run. I love chocolate and I love my mom. I loved my Subaru, I don't love my Ford. I love Jesus my Savior, and He loves me.

You see? Confusing. Of course we all assume the intensity of the love based on the context. But have you ever wondered if we actually don't differentiate and only think we do? What if our brains register love for orchids in the same category as love for family? Hot disaster. I only say this because I've recently wondered if I truly believe the Bible when it speaks of God's steadfast love for us, or if I skim over it as I would someone writing of their love for Michael Jackson. There's a massive difference, and I've been shocked to realize that I have to consciously process it in order to realize it.

I'm not suggesting that we add more 'love' words to our language (although it's not a bad idea). That's not my point. Love is sacred. It is pure, its beneficiaries don't compete for love. It's given freely, fully, completely. Love originated in God, and it knows no condition. We can't search its depth, and therefore can never be beyond its reach. It is the safest place to be.

Psalm 63:3-4. "Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands."

I had been thinking about this for several days, and timing was perfect. A few days ago, some people I LOVE very much told me that my tongue was malfunctioning. Or maybe it was my heart that was in the wrong place, but either way, I needed to be inspected and fix my DRA (dirty rotten attitude). This is painful to hear, especially when your name means "full of grace" and that is what you hope to be. But because of God's steadfast love, I need not despair. He is a refuge, a safe haven that wants love and humility from His children.

This is love:
Ephesians 1:7-10. "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth."

In love is hope. precious hope. precious Jesus. worthy of all our best and deepest love.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Vail, part 2

Still obsessing over Vail, I picked up this vintage postcard up there and had to share it with you.


Does this not make you want to hit the slopes TODAY? and I don't even ski. but that's about to change.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Vail!

Spontaneous Dad popped a trip on us this weekend to celebrate Mom's birthday: Vail! It's hard to describe Vail. It's that good.

For example: Vail Village. European charm, surrounded by mountains, shops, art, restaurants, internationals!


We arrived at lunchtime and checked into our hotel. If I could, I'd drop a down payment on this place. It was a cozy, quirky townhouse with spectacular views.



we tried to figure out what the pose
over the fireplace was exactly.

I shared this one with emiline.

making sure we don't mess around


the reasons for our celebration!

Our amazing meals included a turkey/brie/cranberry sandwich, sauerbraten, stuffed french toast, alaskan halibut. My favorite restaurant was a little place called Up the Creek.


This chap was fly-fishing right next to the restaurant trying to
lure customers over to his guided fishing tours. Perhaps next time...



We rode the gondola to the top of the mountain and biked down...on the black diamond.

On second thought, maybe it was the bunny slope. Em and I wore jeans and sandals. Why didn't the bike shop guy take us seriously? He even made a snide remark about me losing a toe. Couldn't wait to show him all ten toes still intact after we finished.


the view from the top



short pit stop


Did I fail to mention that it rained most of the way down?
Here's what we looked like from behind
(jonny gave me permission to post):

it rained for the rest of the day, so after we were warm and dry, we had to get back on the bikes and ride them across town to return them. dad said something about building character...?

Sunday introduced the summer's first Farmers and Arts Market in Vail Village. We meandered for hours, sampling and admiring.

papi and me on father's day:



and i must include this last photo i took today.

Psalm 8 was our theme chapter for the weekend.

"When I look at Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which You have set in place,
what is man that You are mindful of him,
and the son of man that You care for him?
...O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is Your name in all the earth!"

I hope this gave you a mini vacation, and if you ever have the chance to go to Vail, you must!