currently…6.0

current reading material: I’m trying to get into “The Jane Austen Book Club” without much success, so I am probably going to start the newest biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and put a hold on “The Help” and “Unbroken” from the library.

current songs o’ delight: the Sovereign Grace version/remake of the classic hymn “O the Deep Deep Love of Jesus”. I just learned it this week when I sang on the worship team and its beautiful. God seems to be driving home to my heart His love for me right now. Which I cannot even begin to deserve or understand.

This isn’t a new song, or even a message I totally agree with, but this performance of Pink’s “Perfect” just BLEW me away when I started watching the show “The Voice” this week. I don’t know how you could choose one or the other of them to be eliminated – they both just rocked and really sang together instead of against each other.

current projects: lots of party planning! I’m hosting a baby shower for my friend Anna in June, Jackson’s 2nd birthday and a bridal shower in July and a girls weekend at our house for a bunch of old friends in August. Shew! It’s going to be a busy summer, but lots of fun. 🙂 I’m trying to keep things reasonable, but I just can’t help going a little crazy with fun details…I love throwing parties for people I love!

current recipes I’ve tried: I made these amazing cupcakes recently, and they were a big hit. The buttercream is intensely rich, so don’t pile it on if you have a low frosting tolerance like me. It’s dang good on graham crackers too. 🙂 But I wouldn’t know ANYTHING about that, no sir-ee. And on my hot list to make as soon as I go grocery shopping and fill my bare cupboards are these: Warm Spinach and Sweet Potato Salad, Coconut Lime Semifreddo, and Strawberry Summer Cake.

current hair color: my natural mousy brown. Somethings gotta give soon – I hate my haircut AND the color. Time to do something drastic – mwuhahaha! Which means I’ll probably get some totally tame highlights and I don’t know what to do about the cut…I really, really want to get it LONGER, but I am so so so sick of layers. Blergh. Any serious suggestions are welcome.

current events:

1. today we remembered the fallen and celebrated our freedom this Memorial Day. We joined Kyle’s family for a lovely cookout at their home and a fun afternoon of chatting, horseshoes and other summer shenanigans while MN finally showed its true summer weather with humidity and warmth. Hooray!

2. Jack and I have lots of park playdates scheduled this week and next. He is becoming such a social little man. EVERYDAY he tells me (around 8am usually) “Wet’s DOE!” with a big ta-da of his hands. (Translation: Let’s go!)

upcoming events:

1. My 29th birthday! I can’t believe its only about 2 weeks away. I sort of have this stupid childish delight over my birthday still…Kyle told me this afternoon that he is taking me to a cute little cafe in Minneapolis and we plan to putz the day away in the city: Farmers Market, Lake Nokomis/Harriet/Calhoun, then maybe cupcakes with friends and family in the evening.

2. A baby shower for my friend Anna and her sweet baby girl, Cassie Faith, who will arrive right about the same time as my little Taylor Charlotte! 🙂 It’s been a wonderful joy to see the Lord answer her prayers for a child after waiting on Him and its very fun to be pregnant together.

current photos:

1. pansies and coleus on my deck table 2. My cute little man

  

Advertisements

21/52

I love our backyard. 🙂 It’s so green, comfortable and restful. Ignore the fences and background…let the stepping stones draw you to the ring of chairs, and come sit alongside me with a cup of tea. We’ll talk about life while we just relax from this busy world for a moment. Or thirty. 🙂

the will of God

last week I finished a great book that Kyle gave me for Mother’s Day. It has nothing to do with motherhood – it was a novel set in China in the 1900’s about a missionary couple. The author based much of the book on the lives of her grandparents, who were also missionaries to China in that time period. When I reached the last two pages, I was totally blown away by how much I related to the main character’s feelings about the will of God and his life.

I went through this realization about 6 years ago when I wasn’t really sure what I was supposed to do next – where God wanted me or what my purpose was at the time. But I WANTED to follow God and I trusted that He had given me a brain and I could choose to do something that was perfectly good and right and He would reveal His will as I went along this path of life.

I was also completely undone (maybe pregnancy hormones came into play, I don’t know) by the last phrase of the last big paragraph – where he says how much God loves him. I needed that reminder because I tend to be very, very hard on myself and not rest in His unending and beautiful love for me.

Anyway – maybe it will bless you too. Happy Wednesday!

I pray that throughout the day God’s will, not mine, be done, whatever that may mean. When I was younger, I thought it meant traveling a road that was straight and confining and predictable, something to be done correctly, like finding my way through a maze where only one path is right.

I thought following that path would always feel true and safe and virtuous and that it would give me a surefooted, foolproof sense about life. This narrow thinking was mine, not His; I no longer believe it.

WHen I am in God’s will, sometimes i do feel comfortable and at ease, but I just as often feel anxious and unsettled, for He often leads me into unfamiliar waters. I do not let these feelings guide me. Over time I have come to believe that God’s will is a mystery, fluid and surprising. Following is like stepping out into something I cannot see, and am frequently unsure about whether I am doing God’s will until after the fact.

But I have learned that while I don’t always know when I’m doing something right, I always know when I am doing something wrong, and I rely on this as I go forward, trusting that He will use my mistakes as well as my triumphs and knowing that He does not ask me to be perfect, or even good. He simply asks me to be His, which to me is the heart of His Good News: that I am deeply and passionately loved exactly as I am, despite the faults that grieve me most, by a God who delights in me more than I can know.

With the gift of renewed certainty when I awake each morning, I rise to meet the day and to praise my dear Lord, and to finish my course with joy.

20/52

i love this tree in our front yard, so when we went on vacation last week and I saw that the buds were about to burst into bloom, I was a little worried that we’d miss its full beauty. But when we returned on Friday, it was in all it’s glory. Harsh weather this weekend caused many of the petals to start falling, but the scent is still intoxicating and delicious when you walk past and the pale pink flowers still make me smile.

All the blooming trees and bushes – lilacs, azalea, dogwood, crabapple, pear and chokecherry, inspire me to want to plant things in the fresh dirt. This weekend I got a bunch of rhubarb cuttings from my parents and can’t wait for those to produce for the first part of summer. Tomorrow I’m going to make a trip to the greenhouse nearby to pick up herbs of all varieties for my hydroponic garden and some flowers to make various pretty pots around the house. I’m not really a gardener, but I try to make our yard and environs pretty for the short months we can enjoy living, flowering plants. 🙂

I am greatly anticipating our Farmer’s Market starting and visiting it on Wednesday’s and Saturday’s to pick up fresh vegetables and fruit from local farmers. Sometime soon I also want to visit the St. Paul and Minneapolis Farmer’s Markets – they are the grandpappys of markets in the Twin Cities – overflowing abundance of plants, fruits, vegetables and other delectable edibles like fresh bread and amazing scones. I could spend a. lot. of. cash. there. 🙂

I really, really love spring and I’m so glad its finally here!

partying al fresco

I am dying to host outdoor parties now that our grass is green, the trees are leafing out and the flowers are blooming.

Two summers ago, Kyle transformed our overgrown jungle of a backyard into a verdant, peaceful haven with a stone fire ring and inviting Adirondack chairs. He and our friend Jesse did the back-breaking work of clearing out the underbrush, pulling up stumps and leveling out the uneven hummocks into a smooth green carpet of cool grass. Isn’t it beautiful? (I took this last year…)

So I have in my head  a brunch or dinner party with rustic, delicious home-cooked food and perfectly mis-matched, vintage-y and rustic environs. Sounds fun, yes?

If its a brunch, it would feature a menu something like this:

  • frittata or quiche with spring produce and fragrant cheese
  • thick cut, maple glazed bacon
  • massive sugar crusted scones studded with dried fruit
  • piles of whipped cream and jam
  • berries of all kinds
  • greek yogurt parfaits with fresh peaches or rhubarb compote topped with almond granola
If it was dinner, something like this:
I envision a backyard scene with elements like these: (inspiration photos to follow)
  • rustic wooden tables
  • mismatched vintage/antique chairs in all finishes and colors
  • gauzy fabric, vintage table linens
  • lots of fresh flowers – wild, natural, twiggy and colorful. definitely daisies and sunflowers mixed in
  • lanterns or big bulbed lights strung in the trees
  • garlands hanging from the trees
  • comfy couches, big chairs mixed with classic outdoor furniture
  • cute citronella candles to keep the mosquitoes at bay
  • lots of friends and family from near and far

we’ll see if this comes to fruition this summer…I’m already throwing at least three other parties before fall: a baby shower, a bridal shower and my little man’s 2nd birthday party. But I sure hope to do it – I LOVE entertaining, beautiful things, people and good food so a party such as the above seems like a fun marriage of those elements, in spite of how much work it would be to pull off.

In addition to those parties, we’ll definitely have plenty of casual dinners on the deck with friends, cookouts and family brunches al fresco! Are you planning to do any outdoor entertaining this summer? Do you have favorite summer recipes?

foto friday: vacation

this past week we enjoyed a lovely vacation on the North Shore of Lake Superior. Last year, Kyle entered a photo contest sponsored by a local magazine and a resort and won the grand prize: 5 days at Grand Superior Lodge. Needless to say – we were totally thrilled and booked our stay for this perfect week.

the weather was exquisite, the company wonderful and the location positively perfect. We enjoyed hiking, throwing rocks into the lake (Jack), tasty meals, finding new favorite spots, visiting state parks and just being together in the beauty of one of our favorite places on Earth.

despite forgetting part of the tripod, we managed to get a couple photos of our whole family thanks to an obliging rock or stump. I loved this one of all of us in our sunglasses at Gooseberry Falls, and then I also have to share one of Jack because he’s so very adorable.

Jack’s vocabulary and speaking skills blossomed in the past week. I couldn’t get over all the things he was saying and telling us and repeating over and over again. He would say “bye-bye” to the lake whenever he had to come inside and learned all kinds of new words throughout the week. totally priceless. I think we got some of it on video to share later.

yes, it was a wonderful week! thankful to our kind God for the rest, relaxation and beautiful creation He made for us to enjoy. It was truly all a special gift.