Monday, January 27, 2014

When I grow up

I was an active participant in FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) in high school. My club was new and still figuring it all out which mostly meant more fun, less structure. We traveled in yellow buses and hung out in hotels watching late-night movies. We paraded around in business attire for competitions and won a surprising amount of awards.

One competition continues to surface in my mind from time to time. I had naively signed up for an event that was something to the effect of “Telephone Marketing.” In my pinstripe skirt and closed-toe pumps, I was shown into a small room with a desk, a telephone, and a prompt about some made-up company’s product. I had some time to study the prompt and then the phone rang. A man’s voice on the other line, low and deliberately slow, began asking me about the product. I was supposed to answer his questions, hitting all the bullets and features to effectively sell the product.

I was dreadful. I muttered and mumbled and stuttered and stumbled. I could hear in his voice that he knew I was doing a terrible job, and I’m sure he could hear in my voice that I knew that he knew that I was doing a terrible job. It was humiliating and my only saving grace was that I had those four walls to hide my shame.

Nearly ten years later, I will be at work and a project appears without much detail and a short deadline. And I have to chuckle because sometimes real life feels just like an FBLA prompt from an imaginary boss to prove my “deductive reasoning” and “quick action” skills. Seemingly I’m still 16 in a 25-year-old body just faking it each time I’m given any responsibility (people really trust me with things?!). I hope one day I will actually feel like a full-fledged, professional adult, but now I remind myself that I am not a Telephone Sales Rep for ABC Company and boy is life good.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Fondue night

A couple weekends ago, our friends broke out the wedding gift fondue set and we partook in the finer things in life, namely fondue. I love friends who make an event out of eating and we have the very best. We dipped everything in creamy cheese and even had a broth to cook meat. It may have been a little "dainty" for the guys but they couldn't really complain because it was all delicious.

If only this was my dinner every night.

Monday, January 20, 2014

I will try, I will try, I will try

I have realized that even in the depth of winter as nature lies dead and dormant, there is an unmistakable reminder. The sharp intake of breath. Limbs and skin laced with sensory nerves competing for attention. The twinge of new awareness and discomfort as every cell shouts its own existence. I am cold and feeling and alive.

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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Hello mister, pleased to meet ya

I listen to Pandora often at work. Spotify makes me feel like an old lady because I still haven't really figured it out and I start mumbling about technology and tarnation when people ask me if I use it. So yes, I use Pandora. I have about 20 stations. Some are well, ridiculous and embarrassing so let's start with those: Ke$ha is for spontaneous dance parties and Katy Perry is for belting loudly. Both only at home as I doubt my employees would appreciate either actions. I consider myself somewhat of a music snob but I still ashamedly fall prey to catchy songs, so sue me. I have the most wonderful Christmas station: a mix of classics (basically the playlist from Home Alone) and Sufjan Stevens style hymns and boy was it good for my soul this past season (get it here and save for next December!). Lana Del Rey is for feeling like an angsty — but dreamy — 20 something (comparable to emo music as a teen), Fanfarlo is for quirk and fun, Death Cab for Cutie and The Shins are for reliving high school and college, and All Sons & Daughters is one of the best Christian music stations ever, although Jon Foreman is a close second. It all makes for an odd mix, I know.

But usually when I load Pandora, my Angus and Julia Stone station kicks on, often with a hook like Big Jet Plane. It is humanly impossible (impossible!!) for me to change the station when the Stones are crooning and so it is settled just like that, this is my station for a few hours. The music crawls into my heart and swells and soothes and I know that today is going to be alright.
(A photo I took working from home one day with a helpful Lars)

Monday, January 13, 2014

This one

A couple weeks ago, Jason was on his winter break and we were running errands together. A simple act but particularly wonderful since he rarely joins me when he is in school. The radio was blasting as we sang and danced along; Jason singing falsetto and me acting like I actually know how to dance (I don't). I told Jason "I hope when my life is flashing before my eyes, one of the images I see is of us dancing in the car together like this." We had recently watched some late-night episodes of I Shouldn't Be Alive (bad dramatizations and all) and nearly everyone spoke about this "life flashing before my eyes" moment. Jason smiled and said simply, "Then make it this one." And so I breathed it all in and locked it away, putting in a silent request. This one.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Pit stop on I-80

I'm nearly finished with my 2013 photo book which is exciting considering I finished my 2012 book just two months ago. There's something very satisfying about having photos printed, something concrete that I can hold between my fingers after staring at them on a screen for so long. I hoping to make this a yearly tradition and when I'm thumbing through the pages I can't help but dream about sharing these books with our kids someday (and perhaps even our grandkids?!). 

When creating these photo books, I am forced to go through all my photos and organize them. This photo was slipped in my June folder and I had completely forgotten I'd taken it. We were returning from a trip to Omaha and had briefly pulled over on the side of the road. It generally works like this, Jason checks the tires or the oil and I take pictures (for more evidence, see my last post). I'm glad because this is now one of my favorite photos I took in 2013. Iowa in a nutshell.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Minus the penguins

I snapped this picture on our drive to St. Louis. We had to pull over to check something in my car and I sat inside (where it was warm) admiring my husband framed by headlights as he peered under the hood. It's one of those photos that could be a lot better if I knew the technical side of my camera, but at the same time I love it as is, a moment captured.

With temperatures way below zero this week, our cars have protested by simply not working. It's been a huge headache which I feel slightly guilty saying since Jason has taken the largest brunt of the pain - lugging a car battery to and from the bus stop, flagging down neighbors to jump the car, dealing with parts shop, moving each battery in and out of the cars multiple times, concocting a plan to tow his car with my car, and just generally coaxing the cars back to life. All of this when it's -11 with wind chills in the -30s (comparable weather to ANTARCTICA, although as my friend Marisa noted, minus the penguins).

I'm incredibly grateful for this guy who takes care of me – in exchange for cuddling and soup. I'm certain I got the better end of the deal.

Thursday, January 2, 2014


I wasn't great about blogging through the year, so here is a summation of 2013 in photos. What a year, ya know? But they always are. Started the year on a low, feeling sorry for myself, and consequently spent the second half of the year celebrating life and being thankful to make up for lost time. I learned a lot about intentionality and gratitude. God's love was always there woven into the highs and lows and for that, it was truly a great year.

Tried to come to terms with winter. Went to the buffalo reserve (!) and Pella with photography friends. Took advantage of the snow in the best ways possible.

Had some wonderful date nights. Spent a lot of time cuddling with Jason and kitties.

In one of the best weeks of the year, we went to New York and reunited with two wonderful friends.

Spring finally came and all things barbeque were celebrated once again.

Lots of time outdoors. I accepted a new job that I love and Jason finished his first year of medical school.

Visited Arizona and I got to see all the little ones (and adults too!) that I love and miss so very much. Spent much-needed time with Jason's family. Jason turned 25 and we celebrated our third wedding anniversary with a trip to Omaha, Nebraska.

Went camping with wonderful friends. Moved into a perfect little bungalow. Spent a week at a lake house with the McCalpin family.

I turned 25.  Marisa came to visit for the last days of August and the beginning of September and we were reminded once again of how much we miss her.

Went to Northfield with the Andersons and it is a trip we will always cherish.

Went on a lot of outings with friends; was glad to have girl time but missed Jason as school took a toll on everything.

Fall was magical once again. Fostered a little kitten who broke our heart to give up. Visited my family in Philadelphia for the first time and explored the city together.

Babysat a particularly cute puppy. Took some big risks this month - created a paper goods shop on a whim and sold at my first market, and filmed a wedding, stretching myself further than I have in quite a while. Ended the year with a visit to St. Louis for Christmas.

Happy New Year's everyone! Cheers to 2014.