January 30, 2020

tale as old as time...

I love a handmade gift, and this new one has joined the other heirlooms that hang on the branches of our family tree. This is Laura's first attempt at wood burning and I love the result. She knows our love story, and I think it is beautiful that she celebrates it. 
: :
This summer, twenty-seven years after our wedding dance, he spun me in his arms again to Beauty and the Beast... this time under the stunning chandelier in the Grand Floridian Hotel. We were one monorail stop away from his 50th birthday dinner, just sipping on an icy beverage, enjoying the jazz band play when we heard those first few notes of our song. He knew he couldn't refuse...
The atrium of the Grand Floridian is beyond lovely, the way the way the ceiling almost touches the sky, and the railings run the edges like lace. It feels as magical as Cinderella's Castle, and each exquisite detail feels like a dream. Of course, being in his arms is my dream... and I'm wide awake.

January 29, 2020

life lately...

The words having been coming and going over the last few weeks. They swirl up in my mind and start to form a story, and my procrastination sends them packing. For someone who has decided to make this year more creative, this brings a little disappointment in myself. But then the reminder comes... grace not perfection. And, of course, today is a new day.
1. Over the last couple of years whenever we see someone fishing, I tell Eric
I have never caught a fish!
Last October he bought me a little pink fishing rod, but we had no luck.
We decided to try again on a recent Saturday, and on my first cast,
that little pink fishing rod went flying right into the pond. Oops.
But then... I caught a fish! It was pretty exciting!
And now I need a new to find something new to "complain" about!

2. Laura had her 26th birthday mid-month, and though we were not together,
our gifts to her arrived on time! We were thrilled that she had a night out with friends,
and then treated herself to a day at a museum to see the Pixar exhibit she had been excited to see.
I'd post a better photo, but... this is all I have!

3. This month has had me stalling.
It seems the consensus is that January has been dragging on,
but for me, it has been blur. I finally had to make a plan
and get myself back on track to win the last ten days...
and so far I am definitely I AM! 

4. & 5. The weather has been glorious... cool days and warm sunshine!
We took a trip to our favorite farm and admired the sunflowers, and picked
three baskets of strawberries. Maybe we'll get another trip in while the berries are deep red.

6. Do you save your Christmas cards?
I cannot toss them... those precious photos are just a blink of time.
I'm almost done organizing them on metal rings
so I can flip through them from year to year.

7. My office mate is the best! What a welcome to the weekend!

8. Last year the Sunshine State steak cook-off lacked the sun and soaked us.
But this year there was no shortage of sun or steak or fun with friends!

9. We got a walk in last night... down safari road and to the boardwalk. 
It's never the same, but always beautiful... and typically just what I need. 

January 14, 2020

life lately... the christmas edition

If December is my favorite {and it is}, Christmas is the cherry on top of the most delicious sundae, making it picture perfect. I worked hard to be prepared for the season... wanting to leave time to just enjoy the beauty. Laura's gifts were off to Colorado in plenty of time, and I finished up my shopping at the gift card kiosk at the grocery store. I was just about ready for Christmas when I felt the first signs of bronchitis in my chest - I just had a little baking I wanted to do. I was finally ready to try my hand at some gluten-free cookies for the one I love. I pushed myself until I couldn't... and then slept through the three days before Christmas Eve. But there was no way I was missing out on the most fun day of the entire year - I would rise to the occasion! 1. Christmas enrichment for the animals at the zoo! I love this time of year! 
At one point I mentioned to my boss that sometimes companies come to
volunteer at the zoo - and she loved the idea so much
that we turned it into our Christmas party.
I loved sharing my zoo job {and my Mom!} with my co-workers!

2. I made the gluten-free gingerbread cookies the Monday before Christmas,
and finally decorated them the day after. I was pleased with the taste and texture -
and Eric was thrilled! A few days later I attempted a thumbprint cookie and it was delicious!

3. This little guy hawks his newspaper every December, faithfully. He is one of my favorite
 Village People... reminding me of Newsies. The Christmas village brings me so much joy...

4. He sang A Soldier's King in church. His voice goes straight to my heart.

5. The tree! We purchased a new one in October, I set it up to check the lights...
and I've been enjoying it ever since. It might come down this weekend...
but I'm not making any promises.

6. Christmas Eve! I made it and the day was full of fun and laughter.
We waited for Camden to finish work before we started the saran wrap ball -
but that may have been a mistake! He really got lucky and every time it was his turn
he seemed to unroll a few layers, while some of us couldn't even find an end...

7. It is perhaps my favorite gift.
Eric loves to find something special for the three of us -
and these ice cream cone blankets are as soft as they are adorable.
Cozied up with my Mom & sister made the moment perfect. 

8. Christmas Legos. May there never be a Christmas without them...

9. Laura stayed in Colorado for the holidays, and while I missed her being here,
I was thankful she was invited to Eric's cousin's house.
She had a blast, and Erica sent me some photos during the day.
That smile on her face made it all okay for me. 

I hope your holidays were magical and full of light!

January 13, 2020

seeking beauty along the way... always

The back pocket of my jeans, the side pocket of my running pants, or just tucked into my wristlet... I hate to be without my phone. Leaving my phone behind means no camera... and usually, there will be something I feed the need to photograph. For years, any new purse purchase was concretely based upon its ability to tote my small point & shoot camera - because I became dedicated to capturing the ordinary every day moments of life. The grocery store, the park, a day out with friends... there is sure to be moment or an object my heart longs to capture. Now, of course, all I need is that handy phone...

I walk, I look, I see, I stop, I photograph. 
- Leon Levinstein

Its just... me. 
Why? Because no one is exaggerating when they say it all goes by in the blink of an eye, and if I cannot capture the sound of the laughter in the backseat, maybe I can freeze the moment in time. And when the beauty of nature speaks to my heart and soul, I can click the shutter, and revisit the colors and the journey of the day. I want to live without regret, and if slipping my phone out of my pocket to take the picture helps me imprint the vision on my heart, I will do so unapologetically. 

January 10, 2020

starting the day with a dance...

My body aches today, just a little past that good ache of a great workout. This was meant to be my testing the waters, take it slow week after the bronchitis, but... give me a great upbeat song and I just can't help but give a little more effort, and even dance through the breaks. The music just takes me places I can't go myself. And so... I will tell myself that this ache is good anyway.

It has been a year long prayer... to crave exercise. I never knew it was possible, but about six years ago, I was there, and what it did for my soul (and body) was incredible. But I got tired... and stopped, and then I couldn't find my way back through the sicknesses and surgeries. But here I am, two years surgery-free {and healed!} and finding ways to fit exercise into my life, even between the workouts.

I been praying (how long?)
For so, so long
Believing (for what?)
That day would come
He heard me (yes, he did)
And he pulled me out
He put me right here for such a time as now

This morning, it was Mandisa's Good News that set me off dancing. And that last line? I believe it. God has set me in this place for this moment. It may not be an Esther-size purpose, and that is just fine with me! I set out for my day, I feel propelled forward in His grace, ready for the purpose He places before me. God has stretched my heart in so many ways over the past few months... and I just trust. And run. And dance.

January 09, 2020

life lately...

I spent most of Christmas week like this...

in the recliner, wrapped up in my new, softest-ever ice cream blanket. But, once the bronchitis subsided, and I was left with just the cough {why, oh why does it last so long?!}, we made time for a few adventures.
1. I had really been thinking about embroidery for a while, and I finally began...

2. A walk down the trail, to enjoy the fresh air and get my lungs working.

3. The ballet! I had never seen the real Nutcracker, and now I have. The Moscow Ballet was beautiful!

4. Cam's birthday. Twenty-three. We celebrated with a trip to the food trucks, and he found a delicious birthday churro. 

5. Have you even been through a drive though convenience store? Now I have!

6. Cam & I... it was a beautiful day or mini golf.

7. I almost forgot this birthday gift from Suz... but now I am caught up and current. I have to write very small!

8. Back on the bike...

9. And back to running. It feels good to move!

January 08, 2020

the new year... take 2{020}

We rang in the new decade celebrating the 20s with friends and strangers. We never go out to ring in the new year, but our favorite pub announced a Roaring Twenties party, and we immediately signed up. We dined at home, fancy around the table. Candles and twinkle lights made the clear glass baubles of the Candlewick glisten, and set the mood for our night. Then we were off to the pub for games and the count down. Our midnight kiss was sweet and full of promise... there will be lots to love in this new year.

 I've probably said it before, but I'm not much a New Year kind of girl. The late hour makes me sleepy, and the resolutions make me queasy... full of false hope and already set up for regret. What makes January the boss of fresh starts, anyway? But maybe... how we feel about the new year coming relates to how successful we were in the twelve months prior.

And my last year? It was focused and full of hard work.
From beginning to end, I was focused on my health and being active. I gained an accountability partner - who immediately seemed like a long lost sister. Together we have stayed on track and inspired each other to keep going. And I lost... a good amount of weight and regret. I even did things I have never done... like exercise vacation, and run a 5k {actually, two!} My confidence soared and knowing I can do hard things, has made me a little proud, and a little fearless.
So what do I wish for this new year? More.
More energy, more motivation, more pounds lost.
More creativity, less phone.
More life, more adventure.
More love, more gratitude... more kindness.

I am truly thankful for the gifts of 2019.

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