Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tuesday ~ Starbucks Tuesday (Smoothie Edition)

Happy Starbucks Tuesday, me hearties! Okay, not sure where "me hearties" just came from, but since the world geareth up for Valentine's Day, I'll leave it in honor of that upcoming romantic event. ;)

Today I broke the mold. I know that celebrating Starbucks Tuesday usually indicates that I went to Starbucks, but frankly....this morning I was just not in the coffee mood. Still being a little drained from being sick all last week, something more cool and refreshing sounded nice. So, I took a little detour on my way to work and stopped by our local Jamba Juice, which for those who've not heard of Jamba Juice before, is a smoothie chain that makes really good smoothies. A perk of Jamba is that it's not as busy as Starbucks usually is and I was able to walk right up to the counter and order...since I was the only one in there at the time. A couple guys came in later and one came on stood near me while I was waiting for my smoothie to be ready. It was slightly awkward because 1) he was cute (yah, just gonna admit it!) and 2) he kept talking and I couldn't tell if he was talking to me or not, since I can't hear out of my right ear, thanks to an ear infection gone bad last week. Well, unless you call magnified pitch, constant echo and non-stop high-pitched ringing hearing...which I certainly don't. Anyways, I decided he was talking on the phone, a fact which I hope I was right, because otherwise I came across as hopelessly rude. But I digress...back to smoothies.

So, sitting here in my office listening to Jesse Bonanno's album "Turn It Up", I've been sippin' on Jamba's old faithful, none other than the:

You really just can't go wrong with this baby - strawberries, bananas, berry juice and orange sherbert, oh my!

And the power-size cup is huge...I definitely got my hydration in for the morning! If you've got a Jamba Juice in your area but have never gone, you might thank me if you do. :)

Just a reminder to all you coffee-lovin', smoothie-drinkin', and tea guzzlin' friends out there...

Next Tuesday:
Starbucks Tuesday Link-Up
February 5, 2013

Monday, January 28, 2013

Monday ~ Grey Days to Glimmerings Link-Up

Okay, so perhaps the whole "survey" thing gets overdone at times, but I'm just gonna admit it right now...I love filling these things out! *grin* And since I love her blog so much, I wanted to join this other Kellie-with-an-ie's blog party!

1) What's your favorite thing to do when you've been feeling uninspired?

I usually always default to reading a book. But I do that all the time, not just when I feel uninspired. But I've also found delicious escapism in watching some favored shows, three of which shall be revealed (to no surprise) in the next question.

2) Tell us about a really great movie/show that you've just discovered.

In the past 6 months, I’ve become a hopeless fangirl for Doctor Who, Merlin and now Once Upon a Time…but I think out of the three so far…Merlin trumps. :)

3) What do you like to do to change your mood?

Go outside into the golden hour around sunset and just “soak” in beauty. Walking around our property at this time of day always brings back so many memories of good times and wonderful people that I always come inside feeling perhaps still melancholy, but so, so blessed. I have also found that exercising goes a long way in improving my mood, too! Yes, I know. That's so unlike me, but 'tis true, 'tis true.

4) Your favorite drink is currently...

I still have my hankerings for large root beers from Sonic…Barq’s tastes so much better out of a big cup with a red straw especially when you can get it for free. :)

5) When you hear the word exuberant, what's the first word that comes to mind?

Not a word but a picture: of a girl throwing up her arms, looking up into the sky with a huge smile and just laughing joyously.

6) What made you smile last?

My bestie Anna’s text about me visiting her this year!

7) What five songs would make a playlist to describe your week?

Since I’ve been sick all this past week, it would probably have to be songs about bumming in bed all day long, watching movies, not wearing any make-up, and pain-killers (in appropriate doses, of course. ;)  But if I’d had to choose what songs to listen to during my sabbatical in bed…I might have chosen:

1) Never Alone or Dancing with You by Jesse Bonanno
2) Someday by Chloe Agnew
3) The Call by Regina Spektor
4) I Won’t Give Up by Jason Mraz
5) Send Me a Song by Lisa (Celtic Woman)

8) What's at the top of your creative 'To-Do' list?

As silly as it might sound...I need to go through my sock drawer, throw away the sad socks that have lost their partners and reunite the ones that got lost from each other. And also take out all that other stuff that just somehow got shoved into my sock drawer...

9) The last thing you crossed off the above list was...

A frock coat that became the nightmare of my sewing life.

10)  Quickly - the first movie quote from the top of your head, please!

Two come to mind: first flashed into my mind Peter saying “best of badgers” from Prince Caspian (since I like that phrase; seriously say it, it rolls of the tongue so magically) and then Miss Ruby Pratt saying “What is one to do…when there is nothing to be done?” from Lark Rise to Candleford S2.

11)  The best thing about January is...

That it’s only two more months until my birthday, of course!!

12) The worst thing about January is...

That it’s the farthest point of the year away from all the other wonderful things I anticipate each year (my March birthday, family vacations, more barn dances, the summer hols, fall, and the holidays!)

13) What's your #1 resolution for 2013?

Didn’t make any resolutions actually, not that type anymore…but I did make a bunch of “wishes” for the year – one of which includes going to Europe, which I highly doubt will happen this year. But that’s the great thing about wishes. :)

14)  And lastly, share a quote or verse that you've found especially inspiring lately.

(which unsurprisingly comes from Pinterest!)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Saturday ~ Don't Rain on My Parade

**This post is long, but it is also something that is very near and dear to my heart right now. I want to know your thoughts - from the marrieds and the singles!!**

We were sitting around the dinner table the other day, eating and laughing as we discussed the news of the day – Scott passing his driver's exam, hurray! That's pretty big stuff! As we talked about his new-found freedoms, Mom said to him “Hey! Now you can be the one to make those quick runs into town when we need something!” Inwardly I grinned – yet another driving-happy brother to hopefully run some of those errands instead of me! Across the table from me, Karis began commenting “I can't wait until I can drive. It sounds fun.” Instantly, I opened my mouth to say it, the thing I always say. Because I always respond to comments like this with the same reply: “Driving is not all it's cracked-up to be.

{OLD PICTURE ALERT!! Me at age 18 **cringe** on the day I passed my driver's exam}

Like I said, I've been a certified licensed driver for eight years. The first few years I was the first person who volunteered to make any trips into town or run any errands...because I just loved to drive! It was freedom, it was speed, it was “grown up,” it was just so much fun! But now, on this side of eight years, I've reached that point where driving has lost a lot of it savor. Oh, I still love it and I always want to be the driver in whatever vehicle I happen to be in...but somewhere after getting my job that's twenty-five minutes away from my home and having to drive that all alone every day, and then getting my own car where I've spent what feels like half of my waking life in all alone....it's just not as exciting anymore.

When Karis made her comment about wanting to be a driver herself,  I went to make my usual reply. But something inside me stopped...because I recognized something in my reply that I didn't like. Hang with me.

{the best nail polish brand}

Every American person is expected to drive. You never hear a red-blooded teenager saying “Ah, I don't want to get my driver's license.” Neither do you ever hear an adult telling said teenager that a driver's license isn't necessary. It just what everyone does. Everyone will pursue and ultimately achieve getting their own driver's license.

I say this because....marriage is like getting our driver's license. It's what we do. It's what we work towards, some more passionately that others, but looking at life in a big picture, we're all heading towards marriage. And single girls are like teenagers who want their driver's license – we really, really want it. Because it's what we do.

But so many married people respond to the single girl's desire in the same way I was about to reply to Karis: "Marriage isn't all it's cracked-up to be.” If I had continued in my reply to Karis, would it really have made any difference? Would she really have suddenly decided that “Oh okay, you're probably right. I'll just forget about getting a driver's license.” And when Marrieds or even single people with good intentions, say that “marriage isn't all it's cracked-up to be,” that doesn't change our desire at  all and at times, it can be hurtful and demeaning.

 {current reading...and the fact that all the books are about firefighters, policemen, etc....may or may not have everything to do with it **wink & a grin**}

As a single woman, the issue of “contentment” comes up a lot. It's been so heavily pushed at us single girls that it's becomes a prison, not a liberation. We're told to be “content” so much and so forcefully that when we feel those twinges of marriage-longings, we're slapped with a load of guilt that we aren't abiding in Christ, that we're not seeking Him hard enough and that we're not pleasing Him.

It is important to be content in Christ, and that goes for everyone, not just single women. But this pressure of “contentedness” for single women breaks my heart....because the message is wrong. Yes, I'm basically going against everything anybody has probably ever told you about singleness and boy, let me tell you...does it feel good. Stay with me. :)

First of all, when did wanting-marriage become something to be ashamed of? The desire for marriage isn't like an unwanted disease - why do so many people treat wanting-marriage as something to rid ourselves of? Most especially, why do married people always try and convince us that marriage isn't going to fix our problems? I've considered myself eligible for marriage since I graduated high-school and turned eighteen. That was eight year ago. Why do the Marrieds so often seem to think that in the eight years of being single I haven't caught on to the fact that marriage isn't easy? I'm not blind to marriages around me. I've seen my friends marry and experience the difficulties, I've seen my parents work through stuff in their marriage, I've seen my siblings work though stuff in their marriages, too. Trust me when I say I know that marriage isn't easy and I know that marriage will not solve my contentment issues.

{these babies are getting me back into work on Monday after this entire week being out sick}

But here's my second point and it's very important: the very purpose of the entire female population even being created in the first place on the sixth day of creation...was to be a help-meet. The very core of the existence of women is to get married and have a husband. It's not just something we tend to want to do. It's what we were designed to do. Marriage isn't just a want. It's a purpose, the heartbeat at the very reason for women.

Yet Singles are repeatedly told to deny the very longing that God created them with. We're constantly told to suppress the very purpose of why we're here on earth as created beings. When the truth is...you can't. As in literally....you can't. Just like I can't stop being female, I can't put a stop to the desire for marriage.

Married's will tell us single women that marriage is a beautiful thing...but then turn around and tell us that we need to die to that desire and serve God only. This is wrong – because our main service to God, by right of purpose at creation, is to be married and be help-meets to our husband. There is nothing wrong with wanting marriage. There's nothing shameful in admitting it, nothing shameful in praying for it, there's nothing shameful in telling someone that marriage is your goal. What's shameful is denying the very reason God created us. To suppress the desire for marriage as an unwanted disease, is to say God created us with a wrong desire. That's saying God goofed and God never goofs up.

{Poof in the grass}

Anyway, this word “contentment” - who started that? Because it's wrong, at least the common understanding when relating it to Singles is wrong. Because being content doesn't mean letting go of our desire for marriage. I used to think it was and so I'd continually be sacrificing my desires on the alter of God's good pleasure, trying to do the right thing...when it was a no-where road, because it was impossible to let go of that desire to the point where I no longer wanted marriage AND all it got me was guilt and shame that I wasn't being a good, “content” Christian single woman.

I will tell you a truth:
When someone says they are longing for marriage, that doesn't always express a discontent with their life; someone can feel the dull ache and loneliness of singleness without be discontent. When I blog about those days that are kinda hard because I want to be married, that doesn't mean I'm expressing discontent or that I'm not finding my fulfillment in Christ – it merely means....um, that I want to get married!?! Nothing more, nothing less. I can be content in Christ to it's fullest potential and still long for marriage. There's nothing wrong with wanting marriage. There's no hand-cuff between “content” and “wanting marriage” that keeps them always together; they can be two separate entities. I can want to get married, plan for that day, hope for that day, even ache for that day...while still finding my satisfaction in Christ.

{"my one weakness"}

I dearly, dearly long to go to Europe some day and when I tell you that, the last thing you'd even think about telling me is “Europe isn't as wonderful as you think it is. I've been there. I know. You'd be better off learning to be satisfied with the United States.” That's ludicrous. The issue of being content where you are doesn't even cross our minds.

But when we single girls say “I dearly, dearly long to be married,” it' s like the world rises up against us with pitchforks and branding rods, backing us up into a corner saying “Marriage won't fix your problems! You'll still struggle to be content! Marriage is hard!” You want to know what I want to say when well-meaning married's say that? This is what I want to say:

“I KNOW marriage is hard, I KNOW marriage will not take away my every longing, I KNOW that I will still always be striving for “contentment” even as a married women. But did that stop you from wanting to marry your husband? Did that stop you from getting married?”

That's what I want to say. And I want to say it with tears in my eyes. Married's forget so quickly what it's like to be single. They see the hardships in marriage, and forget that there's hardships in being single, too. Either way, there's going to be hardships. But God created me for marriage, so isn't it natural that I should want to get married and face those hardships myself?

{flannels in the wind}

Being satisfied in Christ is vastly important and being content in Christ has no lesser value. But here's this: I am content today, while wanting and longing someday for marriage. There is nothing wrong with them co-existing. Especially as He admonishes the one and created us for the other. They go together in blissful harmony.

So, if you've had people tell you that to be content means that all thoughts and desires for marriage are inappropriate and should be exterminated...that's not true. If you are a married person and you find yourself falling back on telling single people “Marriage won't satisfy you,” you don't need to. I'm not looking for marriage to make me happy, fulfilled and content. I'm desiring after the very purpose of my creation. I know marriage will be hard, a husband won't fill the God-sized hole in my heart and that I will still have to work to be satisfied in Christ. But I will be doing that all my life anyway...and there's nothing wrong with wanting to be married/fulfill your created calling while daily learning to do all those things.

{sticky note reminders}

Bottom Line:
My sister wants her driver's license and I want to go to Europe someday (the sooner the better!), but I'm content today in the United States. I want to get married (the sooner the better!) but I'm still content even in my longing today. To want marriage is not to be discontent. There is nothing shameful or wrong in wanting to get married or even aching for it.

Bottom Line #2:
To anybody married...rather than give advice to a Single from the perspective of a Married, instead give advice from your experiences as a Single yourself. Remember. Remember what it was like for you as a Single. That will go a much farther way in encouraging us.

**bonus thought: how come when there's a young married woman at church who wants to have children, but is having a difficult time conceiving, the women of the church will rise up around here, praying for a child? But when a single woman wants to get married, all they get from the married women is “you should learn to be content.” You'd NEVER tell a woman trying to have a child to “just be content, it may not be God's will for you to be a mother,” but it's the “right answer” to tell a single girl “just be content, marriage may not be God's will.”

I smell a rat.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tuesday ~ The End of a Dynasty

“House on the left with the two palm trees.”

That is the house description I have given to people for the last 14 years of my life. That’s more than half of my life and certainly all of my adult life. Those two palm tree have sat like twin sentinels in giant brick planters in our front lawn, providing center pieces of my life, especially the shorter of the two giant trees. I was tied to and “burnt at the stake” on that shortest palm tree when I was young. Every winter we’ve wrapped white Christmas lights all around the trunk as a fog beacon to those of us driving home in thick fog that frequents my area. I’ve weeded around the palm tree, watched the owls roosting in its lofty fronds, and each morning as I’ve woken up, that palm tree was always one of the first things I’ve seen out of my bedroom window. For fourteen years. That’s a long time. 

{one of the two beautiful palm trees that have lived in my front yard}

And yesterday, they cut it down. It was not our choice. Instead of simply trimming off a few overextending branches that were getting close to the power lines, the power company waved their scepter of indisputable authority and had the entire tree in all it’s beautiful glory brutally cut down. I was sitting on my bed when the tree people pulled up and as dramatic as it sounds, I wanted to be that crazy lady who runs screaming out in front of the demolition crew, wrap my body around the tree and swear that I would not let go until they vowed they’d leave the tree alone. It took them a day and a half and I could barely bring myself to look out the window as the fabric of my memories was unraveled.

{the travesty begins}

{Stuart and I watching through my bedroom window}


{being there for it during it's last moments of grief}

{mortal remains}

{the stump had an overnight stay and it did just beg to be play one...}

{my crazy-brave sister!}

{I only made it this far before chickening out...}

I know it’s crazy to get attached to inanimate objects so much, but I do and I did. I don’t handle change very well and even these small, seemingly miniscule variables that get removed from our lives will leave “change” in its wake. And this tree was a big part of my life. And now it’s gone and I honestly feel a massive sense of loss. My front yard is now marred, brutally stripped of one of its ancient landmarks, and there’s a solitary palm tree that I’m sure is grieving its sibling palm right along with me.

No longer is it the “house on the left with the two palm trees” but “the house on the left with just one sad, lonely palm tree.” I will miss that tree for a very long time.

Not to mention that there is certain snowy-colored owl that’s now without a home.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday ~ Dull Aches and Pains

There’s this thing called a dull ache. It’s like a pain that, instead of just hurting like a normal pain, feels like the silence made by an empty hole in your heart. It makes you want to cry but when you go to be alone to shed those threatening tears….no tears will come.

{the quilt on my bed that I made several years ago}

Today was the dull ache kind of day. It was an exceptionally good day, but inside of my genuine smile, the silence was felt keenly. The silence screamed as I met my bestie/last-few-single-friend’s “beau” and he seemed so perfect for her. I felt the silence as I walked out of a crowded building all alone, down the street a few blocks to where my car was parked. The silence boomed out as I ate my lunch alone. The silence laughed when I went to contact my friend to hang out tonight…and remembered she’d be busy. The eerie echo bounced inside that hole of silence after a nice cozy chat with a friend at work.

{Wednesday's devotional}

I talked to God about it today. He knows about my dull ache. He knows that I don’t feel it every day, but every little while, it comes back. And He and I know that it’s okay. If I milked the silence and let the dull ache become a raging flood of self-pity, that wouldn’t be okay. But as long as I still abide in Jesus, dull aches are okay. But even still…they hurt in that bizarre painless kind of way.

{the books on my shelf - all Jane Austie's out there should ask me about Georgette Heyer if you've never heard of her before!}

I don’t have a spiritual ending for this post or a spiritual point to make. I’m just not pretending that every day as a single girl is easy. We often get the misguided idea that being “content” means being tough-girl all the time or pretending with other single girls that we never long for more. Especially since God might see it as us questioning Him and His perfect plan. But you see, content can still mean hoping. Content is accepting today, while still hoping for tomorrow.  And yes, today I’m hoping that the dull ache of silence of now will one day become the happy, enchanting orchestra of forever and ever.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Thursday ~ Bits of A Frosty Morn

I don't work on Wednesdays, but instead of kippin' in as I'd normally be inclined to do, I was mysteriously summoned out of bed yesterday and out into the frosty morning. With sweat pants ungainly tucked into my brown fuzzy boots, fingerless gloves, and a zip-lock bag (as all cold-weather photographer should!), the camera and I spent a beautifully shivery half an hour trying to capture the magic of the morn.

Whether the pictures do it any sort of justice or not, it really was beautiful....."like sun on glass." (Name that movie quote!)

{water an inch thick frozen on top of the barrels}

{me and my shadow; that's a messy bun on my head, not a tumor}

 {frozen ivy}

{my darling Poof-cat catching some cold rays on the porch swing; he then proceeded to come with me as I tramped around the house and grounds}

{a strangely frozen puddle}

{strength in adversity}

{so don't laugh if you're from a much colder climate that me!}

{my car's spoiler looking pretty and sparkly}

{the best 100 feet of road in the world...the driveway to home}

Have a fantastic Thursday!
Oh! And I almost forgot the most IMPORTANT news of the day!
Season 4 of Merlin is out today! My pre-ordered copy is already on it's way! 
No apologies for the fan-girling going on, folks.
**wink & a grin**

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tuesday ~ Starbucks Tuesday

My morning began with it's usual routine:

5:40am - I wake up for no reason at exactly this time, like I do every morning. I happily go back to sleep.
6:15am - my alarm goes off. I turn it off and go back to sleep.
6:20am - my secondary alarm goes off. I turn it off and go back to sleep.
6:21-6:30am - I wake up about every two minutes, check the time and debate for about 5 seconds whether I should get up this time or wait a few more minutes. I usually go back to sleep.
6:30am - I get out of bed.
6:30-7:06am - get dresses while shivering in our ice-cold walk-in closet; walk to bathroom and wash face, brush teeth, etc. I then put on my make up and do my hair, which usually means twisting it up into a messy-bun or on the rare occasion (like today), leave it down, which generally requires an extra moment to straighten the naughty strands that want to kink up.
7:06-7:11am - pack lunch, gather stuff together, read Bible.
7:12am - walk out into FREEZING cold to warm up my frosted car. Hurry back inside.
7:13-7:17am - read Bible some more.
7:18am - with a quick spritz of Love Spell, I'm out the door, stopping to pet my cat who's asleep on the porch swing.

I made my usual Tuesday swing through the Starbucks drive-thru this morning and after last week success with a vanilla beverage, decided to try the new drink:

Unlike the Vanilla Chai, the Vanilla Spice does have coffee in it, a fact of which I noticed immediately. I wouldn't classify this as a "sweet drink," but as I've sipped on it slowly this morning, it's sorta grown on me. I can't exactly isolate any extraordinary vanilla or spice flavor, but the overall impression of taste is that of a average good-tasting coffee.

It's a good thing I've begun taking pictures of the inside of the cup before I even leave the Starbucks parking lot, since this drink was SO HOT that the wiped cream has already almost melted by the time I drove the 30 feet from the drive-thru window into an empty parking place. I also almost burnt my hand on the cup, but I'll, of course, no sue them. :)

And this is me trying to take a picture of myself in an active parking lot without being obvious. 
I hope all of you who read this post are having a good Tuesday! My personal challenge for myself today comes from my bible reading this morning:

(Hebrews 10:22.23)
"Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful."

Be true of heart!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Monday ~ Bits of a Sunday Afternoon

Sundays at my house are slow and quiet and that's exactly the way I like them. After we all get home from our churches at our various times, we'll have a simple lunch and then in quick order, we all sorta crash into place on the floors, couches and beds. Some sleep, some read, some write letters...it's just quiet stuff.

Yesterday, I grabbed the camera and just snapped a few shots of what I could see happening around me. Without further delay, presenting....my Sunday.

{my feline side comes out when I see patches of sun on carpet}

{I love me some feminine trinkets and accessories}

 {The Sisters Three believe in the power of scarves}


 {my mani &  me}

{Karis designed and crochetted these fabulous slippers; perfect not only around the house, but for keeping feet snug and toasty inside of boots}

{happy finches outside our living room window}

{we do puzzles like other people do video games}

 {listening to some tunes while working on my latest writing project}

{my bedtime snuggle buddy; this fat pink kitty was given to me on my 20th birthday by a fondly remembered traveling buddy from my travelin' ministry days! Hey-ah, Beth D!}

I hope you have as lovely Sunday afternoons as I do. :)