gratitude, day 18.

gratitude_xsgratitude is a miraculous, wonderful thing. it really does turn what we have into enough. sometimes – often, even – it reminds us that what we have is even more than we need. although it’s kind of a “thing” for people to list something they are grateful for each day in november, this isn’t really that. it’s sort of my mash-up of a daily writing exercise i see people do every day in october paired with practicing gratitude. it won’t be the same every day. sometimes it will be a short, quick post, and other times it will be a reflection or recipe. but most importantly, every day there will be gratitude.

today, i am grateful for storypeople.

storypeople_singlemind

*image from storypeople

friends, truth be told, more often than not, email and i are at odds. it comes down to being an in-person person, but let’s be honest – email can be a monster. cluttering up the good stuff, there are weekly emails, promo emails, e-receipts, blah-blah-blah. i’m pretty good at deleting them & unsubscribing to lists i don’t need or want to be on for whatever reason, however, there is one email that i actually subscribe to daily (crazy, right?!) and actually read every. single. day. if for some reason i can’t read one on the day it comes, i save it & get a little bonus the next day when i get to read two. storypeople.

brian andreas is the mastermind behind storypeople, and his short thoughts, reflections, and tidbits share stories of hope, goodness, & imagination. the emails are simple and very short with only an image of one of brian’s prints as the body of the email, and they always encourage & re-center me, offer a nugget of inspiration, or make me smile or laugh. today’s email was “single mind” – the image in this post. when i was finally able to read it this afternoon, i knew right away that i wanted to share this today because, as happens so often, as soon as i opened it, my heart swelled, a smile stretched across my face, and i thought to myself, “oh, thank you, thank you for what this reminds me of & inspires in me.”

this particular print also just so happens to be the one that introduced me to storypeople. i was at bibelot in uptown years ago looking for a gift & soaking up the goodness that is bibelot ;o) when i noticed some prints near the register. flipping through them, this one immediately caught my eye. being single and longing to be married, this print deeply resonated with me as i thought instantly of my husband who was still “out there somewhere” and the love that i already had for him. i bought it that day & it served as a sweet reminder for years as i waited for the day i would meet my husband. now that i get to spend my days with dustin & to know the man i loved for so long before i knew him, the print is even more treasured.

i know we don’t need more technology distractions, but if a little inspiration is what you might need, i highly recommend the emails (the sign-up is right in the middle of the main page storypeople webpage). brian is also fun to follow on instagram, and he has a new book out that i’ve been totally crushing on. the title is, “something like magic: on remembering how to be alive;” the title alone makes me swoon.

gratitude, day 1.  ::  gratitude, day 2.  ::  gratitude, day 3.  ::  gratitude, day 4.  ::  gratitude, day 5.
gratitude, day 6.  ::  gratitude, day 7.  ::  gratitude, day 8.  ::  gratitude, day 9.  ::  gratitude, day 10.
gratitude, day 11. :: gratitude, day 12. :: gratitude, day 13. :: gratitude, day 14. :: gratitude, day 15.
gratitude, day 16. :: gratitude, day 17.

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gratitude, day 10.

gratitude_xsgratitude is a miraculous, wonderful thing. it really does turn what we have into enough. sometimes – often, even – it reminds us that what we have is even more than we need. although it’s kind of a “thing” for people to list something they are grateful for each day in november, this isn’t really that. it’s sort of my mash-up of a daily writing exercise i see people do every day in october paired with practicing gratitude. it won’t be the same every day. sometimes it will be a short, quick post, and other times it will be a reflection or recipe. but most importantly, every day there will be gratitude.

today, i am grateful for youtube.

that’s an odd one, isn’t it? but honestly, one short youtube video can deliver 30 seconds of laughter that can brighten a day, share a story that warms your heart & reminds you of the good in people & in the world, or inspire a movement. there is a growing list of adorable kid, tearjerking, and laugh-out-loud videos growing on this piece of blogland, but today i’ll call out two that are sort of related. they’re videos of kristen bell & dax shepard appearing separately on ellen, and they are related in part because kristen & dax are married and in part because each of their videos is about the thing that they both adore. kristen: sloths. dax: brad pitt. so random, and so darn funny.

 

gratitude, day 1.
gratitude, day 2.
gratitude, day 3.
gratitude, day 4.
gratitude, day 5.
gratitude, day 6.
gratitude, day 7.
gratitude, day 8.
gratitude, day 9.

gratitude, day 7 & friday fun.

gratitude_xsgratitude is a miraculous, wonderful thing. it really does turn what we have into enough. sometimes – often, even – it reminds us that what we have is even more than we need. although it’s kind of a “thing” for people to list something they are grateful for each day in november, this isn’t really that. it’s sort of my mash-up of a daily writing exercise i see people do every day in october paired with practicing gratitude. it won’t be the same every day. sometimes it will be a short, quick post, and other times it will be a reflection or recipe. but most importantly, every day there will be gratitude.

today, i am grateful for halloween 2014.

for as long as i can remember, i have had an aversion to dressing up. i find this rather strange since i am a pretty creative person, but it’s just not my jam. i didn’t even like it when i was little. i would guess that the last time i dressed up for halloween was maybe 4th grade? i remember wanting to like dressing up & thinking it really wasn’t so bad…but when i see that picture of me dressed as a witch, i can see the discomfort on my face.

the beauty of halloween, however, is that you don’t have to dress up to enjoy the day. to me, the very best part of halloween is all the little kids in their adorable little costumes in their glory. and the creativity of those costumes?! it’s over the top fun to watch.

**speaking of over the top fun to watch – check this little minion out. it’s all of 21 seconds long, & i will be shocked if it doesn’t make you laugh out loud.**

this year, we were invited to a halloween party that was, considering my aversion, right up my alley: costumes optional. hooray! dustin knew exactly what he wanted to be, and he didn’t mind at all if i didn’t dress up. although at first i had admitted that i might be ok with dressing up, as our crazy month of october sped along, costume research & making didn’t rise to the top.

to our dismay, the day of the party, we found ourselves exhausted. we came home from work, power-napped like champs, and somehow when i woke up, i had a completely uncharacteristic idea for a costume. maybe it was delirium? at any rate, it required minimal fuss, kept me in normal clothes, and seemed at first blush to be something i might be able to pull off. a quick youtube video (i am the least educated person on how to do one’s hair) and 30 minutes later, we were off to the party – both in costume! (although i may have been quietly repeating rosie the riveter’s “we can do this!” all the way to the party…”)

halloween 2014 will go down as the halloween that changed everything – in terms of me dressing up for halloween, that is. not only was i finally comfortable dressed up (which seemed like an impossible feat), the costumes at the party were SO GOOD! cousin eddie from national lampoon’s christmas vacation…mary poppins & bert…american gladiators…the undeniably awesome banana & pea pod suits…too many to list, but just seriously SO GOOD*! we pretty much spent the rest of last weekend dreaming up possibilities for next year’s costumes. go figure! :o)

*does anyone else hear jimmy fallon & justin timberlake now whenever they hear/say, “so good!”??

gratitude, day 1.
gratitude, day 2.
gratitude, day 3.
gratitude, day 4.
gratitude, day 5.
gratitude, day 6.

community, failure, & chocolate chip cookies.

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when dustin and i got engaged, i remember that one of the first things i felt in some of those initial conversations as i shared our exciting news was feeling like i had just gotten invited to a special club. not because of the ring or anything like that, but because as one of the last people to get married in my group of friends, among lots of fun new connections, being engaged allowed me to (finally) be part of the marriage-y conversations. the good, the challenging, the utterly hilarious.

marriage, like all relationships, requires us to be intentional, present, and honest, and having a community to share with and be accountable to has added a richness to our growth as a couple. we are blessed beyond measure to have a community that stretches near and far including friends and groups we meet and share with individually as well as family and friends that we hang out with together. we are also incredibly grateful to have been welcomed together as a couple into a couples small group. we get together monthly at one of our houses for dinner, a considerable amount of laughter, and conversation about marriage, challenges, joys, faith, encouragement.

this month’s dinner was this past weekend, and we had volunteered to bring dessert. i woke up saturday morning super excited to find a new recipe to try, and it didn’t take me long to do so. my search ended when my heart got set on bon appétit’s caramel budinos with salted caramel sauce (“budino” is Italian for “pudding”). they had me at caramel. topped with salted caramel.

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friday fun: oh, sheldon.

happy friday! here’s to savoring this last official weekend of summer. maybe next week i’ll be more ok with transitioning to fall? i’m not sold on the idea yet…

is anyone else pumped for shows to start up again next week? in honor of the the big bang theory kicking off on monday, here’s a little throwback to one of my very favorite (and for sure the most quoted, at our house) sheldon scene. do you have a favorite?

the story of us: our first anniversary.

our first anniversary_us

our first anniversarythe covenant of marriage is, first & foremost, sacred ground. i have experienced unconditional love throughout my life, however the love my husband – and God through my husband – has introduced me to this year is overwhelming.

when i first learned about covenants seven years ago or so, the term instantly, deeply resonated. a covenant is sort of like a promise, but so, so much more. like agape is sort of like love, but so, so much more. although the Greek word “agape” is often translated as similar to “unconditional love,” it is infinitely more than that. so much so that there aren’t adequate words in the English language to accurately describe all that “agape” truly means & encompasses. the same is true, for me, with “covenant” and “promise.” when you make a promise with someone, it is deeply important and meaningful. a covenant, though, takes everything to another level. entering into a covenant with someone is intrinsically more rich, transformative, and powerful than a promise. covenants require us to give more of ourselves; to truly be honored, we have to commit everything to them.

and then – then, there is the covenant of marriage. what. in. the. world! it is true that the covenant of marriage is sacred, above all. however, the first word that actually comes to mind when i think about the covenant of marriage is audacious. the two words play rather perfectly off of each other. after months of loving the word connection, i finally looked up the definition of “audacious,” and what i found matched strong, encouraging words to what i’d been feeling as the words rolled around in my thoughts. the definition of ‘audacious’ is, “showing a willingness to take surprisingly bold risks.” synonyms for “audacious” (ack! so incredible!) are: bold, daring, fearless, intrepid, brave, courageous, valiant, heroic, plucky.

this man that i am still baffled & giddy that i get to call my husband & i are such rookies. in every way we are just beginning to figure out marriage & each other & how to love each other well. however, what i think we’ve gotten right so far are these: we laugh a lot. we hold hands. we enjoy time with family & friends and encourage time with the guys/girls…but prefer each other & being together. with very few exceptions, we go to bed at the same time. we share our passions. some we enjoy together, and some we like to learn about & talk to each other about. we pray together. we realize how easy it is to mis-communicate & try hard to learn how to communicate better for & with each other. and, most importantly, we choose audacious love.

i actually think that if we do this marriage thing well, we will be old, gray-haired, & wrinkled, still figuring out marriage & each other & how to love each other well. we’ll just have more years & experience & stories of taking surprisingly bold risks in loving each other well to build from & grown on.

our first anniversary group 1

hockey.

hockey is back! i haven’t gotten to see even a second of a game yet, but i’m happy just knowing it’s back in action & hearing the buzz of game chatter.

in celebration of the season’s long-awaited beginning – my favorite hockey video.

since the first time i saw this hilarious little guy, there are certain words i can’t say without laughing. like opper-TOON-ies. HA! and when he says “i’m sick of tired, hear’n about…” and his sweet little lisp. and those big eyes…and dimples…that tie…when he pretends to read off of his cards. he’s just too much; i love it!

i hope you enjoy it, too!