Sunday, January 31

Before we get to the wedding pictures...

We drove to Texas the week of Christmas and got snowed in in Abilene for a night before heading to Austin for Christmas day. (Colin and I made the biggest snowman I'd ever built on Christmas Eve.) After Christmas, Colin and I stayed with my grandmother in Austin. He kept working from home while I made lists, got stressed out about how we weren't getting things done, ran errands, got my dress altered, etc. We did make time for a little fun here and there. :)

Anyway, the week of the wedding got there quickly. My sister, brother in law, and nephews came in Tuesday night, which officially meant to me that the countdown was on! Colin's twin brother arrived later that night.

We got our vows written and the programs finalized and copied on Wednesday, which felt excellent. The rest of Colin's family arrived that night and stayed out at the wedding site, Log Country Cove. My sister wound up the ribbon for the unity candle alternative part of our wedding that night, which took way too long. Mimi told her I should "give her a button for it" when she was done. Laura, I don't have a button for you - only a thank you!

On Thursday, Mimi hosted a lunch for some Austin friends and family that had come to town. She had her two long tables set up with full linens and place settings, typical Mimi style. Not sure why I didn't get a picture of that. I did get a few pictures of friends though!

And my cousin Sarah with nephew Curtis:

Thursday night, I joined the Thornes out at Log Country Cove. I got help arranging flowers for centerpieces on Friday. (Thanks to Darby for the green glass and SatuAamu, Brenda, and Chris for helping!)

Kevin (Colin's twin) helping out emptying sparklers (thanks, Kedra!) from the box into a container.

There was lots more done on Friday, too. A lot of family and friends arrived at the cove during the afternoon for the rehearsal, welcome dinner, and to stay the weekend with us. Satu Aamu did get some time to dye eyelashes for a few people before it got too crazy, though!

Thursday, January 28

my internal reset button

When I went to Kentucky around Thanksgiving, I'd been living in the California suburbs for a few months. I felt out of place in California and kind of resented that Colin didn't move to Texas instead. I was doing an inside workout program pretty faithfully and occasionally would take a jog outside to mix things up, but the area around the house where I was living didn't hold too many surprises. It did offer an occasional view of the mountains or some rolling hills, but mostly it was suburban America.

In Kentucky, as I got outside more often to spend time alone, I felt like my internal reset button had been pressed, that I was like a phone that finally got back into range where the clock could reset itself with the satellite to tell it what time it is. The expanse of the hills and long country roads put some spring back into my step. I went outside to find space for myself and took deep breaths of what nature had to offer.

In this journey of knowing another person more deeply than anyone else, I've found that I need to make space to release. Time to go out and run is sometimes more about personal therapy than exercise, but I'm glad it can serve both purposes. In the weeks leading up to the wedding, there were days I would work on wedding stuff until I got tense and then go for a jog. It worked pretty well to take me back to a state of near normality.

Now, for a month or so, we're living in Pasadena, in a real neighborhood! On both jogs that I've been on this week, real people have actually talked to me. (In contrast to the suburbs where it seems like people are rarely outside, and if they are, seem somehow still distant.) I jog by houses with character and independent businesses with their doors open and it makes me happy. I jog by palm trees in the foreground, setting my sights on mountains in the background, so close that it looks like I could jog right to their base. Enough writing then. Time to reset.

Wednesday, January 27

plotting to make me happy

I am a kind of paranoiac in reverse. I suspect people of plotting to make me happy.
- J. D. Salinger

Today is day three of being an unemployed newlywed. Well, it's more than that if you count the honeymoon, but I don't think I have to count that. We moved in to our first apartment together on Sunday, and it has been kinda fun getting settled. We are only living here for two months or less, while our friends are overseas. We are using their furniture and their kitchen stuff, so the settling in step hasn't been much of a hurdle.

Catching up on laundry, sorting through our stuff, making simple meals. That's all enjoyable for me. Even writing thank you notes for our wedding gifts is an enjoyable task. But looking for a job is the thing that I'm putting off. I really want a job. I just kind of dread looking for one. I don't want to settle for any job, but at the same time I'd like to start working sooner rather than later.

So, I ran across this quote just now and it's making me smile. That I could suspect people of plotting to make me happy is a good thought. That I seemed to have switched from being a general optimist to a too-often pessimist since becoming involved in a serious relationship is fodder for another post (writing that holds me to it). That's not to say that I am not happy now, because I am enjoying this new stage of life, but just that looking for the positive is something I am training myself to do again. And that is a good thing.

Saturday, January 2

Selah, the Sea, and St. Anthony

(Something I wrote for the church newsletter in California after our womens' retreat.)

There's something about the beach. I don't get there very often, even though I now live much closer to a beach than I ever have before. The infinity of the sky, the ocean, and the sand is overwhelming. The expanse of the ocean ahead, in contrast with the tiny grains of sand at my feet, impossible to count. The push and pull of the waves, and the sound of waves drowning out my own voice. I sit there, sifting through the sand with my hand, watching the birds go after their catch, singing or shouting to God knowing He hears me above the roar. I love to enjoy the beach with others, but for me something unique happens when I'm there alone.

I felt that as I walked down to the beach early on the Sunday morning of Selah, our women's retreat. I heard a tiny groan escape my throat as I saw the shore and smiled , so thankful to feel a connection to the depth of God.

That morning at the beach was part of a weekend of reconnecting, allowing God to claim my soul as a dwelling place for Himself again. He spoke to me about how He is my shelter, my refuge, my source through any tumult I face. As I sat in solitude among the other women there, I remembered what it feels like to really trust Him, to know him as the one who provides for me.

One of the readings we were given on the retreat was an article on solitude by Henri Nouwen. Nouwen tells of St. Anthony, who spent years of solitude in the desert: “He had become so Christlike, so radiant with God's love, that his entire being was ministry.” As I read about St. Anthony, I was reminded that my entire being will be ministry only as I allow myself that time in solitude. In solitude, I leave behind the finite life to sit in the expanse of God, the one who truly knows me.