April 17, 2012

The Little Things

It's the way he moves the potted tulips to the sunlight during the day.

It's the way he wipes down the counter.

It's the way he always cooks my fried egg a little longer.

It's the way he holds my hand when we pray.

It's the way he kisses me when we're done praying.

It's the way he opens the door for me.  Everytime.

It's the way he meticulously dries the dishes.

It's the way he makes the bed because he knows I feel better when it's made.

It's the way he closes the shower curtain because, as silly as it may seem to anyone else, he knows it matters to me.

It's the way he takes out the garbage. Every week.

It's the way he dances a little bit after the first bite at dinner.

It's the way he greets me when I walk through the door.

It's the way he loves people.  Without reservation, without pretense, without agenda.


It's all these little things and it's all these big things and it's things that can't be put into words and it's things that aren't even things at all.  This man has captured my heart.

May I never take this gift for granted.



April 14, 2012

Independence

I'm fairly independent.  I've always been quite independent.

I just spent the last few days exploring the Oakland/San Francisco area on my own.  Part of me loves the independent, jet-setting lifestyle of the young professional.  I love the adventure of exploring a new place.  Nerdy though it may be, I love figuring out new airports and highway systems. I love that feeling of accomplishment.
Source
And yet, while I love exploring and travelling and discovering new places, I'm learning quickly that - even though I can - it is not as fun to do it alone. This weekend, I saw the Golden Gate Bridge for the first time.  As incredible and awe-inspiring as it was, all I wanted was to share it with Cole.  To pull at his hand in excitement and marvel, "Look at that, Babe!  Let's walk it together!  How long do you think it is?  What do you think it was like while they were building it? Look at the way the fog nests beneath it... Oh man, this is cool!"  Instead, I drank it in alone, memorizing the details to recount to him later.   Not the same.

If I consider myself independent, I suppose the opposite would be 'dependent.'  Not that I am dependent upon Cole, but after nearly two years of marriage, I have gotten to a point of feeling somewhat incomplete without him. I suppose part of me has always craved dependence.  We are created for dependence.

On one hand, my pride tells me that I can do it all as long as I work hard, try hard, and use my head.  The thrill of "going it alone" and succeeding can be exhilarating. Independently, I'll be just fine.  As it turns out, the moment that I begin to believe that, I'm in trouble.  You see, this thinking extends far beyond checking my luggage, getting the keys to my rental car, and flying down I-680.  This "I-can-do-it-on-my-own" mentality has a tendency to encroach upon my faith.

How easily I fall into the trap that I can, singlehandedly, earn my salvation.  How often I must be reminded that there is, indeed, nothing good in me; and it is only because of what He's done that I can live.  In a society that so values the independent, the autonomous, the liberated, may we proudly stand as dependent. Dependent upon the only One who gives life.  Dependent upon the only One in whom hope is found.
Dependent.


In other news, I can't wait to get home and kiss that husband of mine!!


April 11, 2012

Family

I know that I've said it many, many times in this space.  And, I'll say it again. I am utterly overwhelmed at the way that we have been blessed with the gift of family.  Immediate, extended, in-laws, and out-laws, we are exceedingly blessed.

The month of March worked extremely hard to set itself up as the favorite month of 2012.  While the remaining 9 months of the year are bound to hold lots of excitement, March will be a tough act to follow.  For all throughout March, we ate and drank and inhaled and exhaled family.  Our weeks were book-ended with new sets of arms to hug, new stories to tell, and new memories to make.

March entered, bringing with it my big brother and his wife. We reveled in the pizza-making, the story-telling, the card-playing, the being.  My brother was my very first best friend, so it is a gift, indeed, to share this married-in-grad-school-without-kids stage of life with him.  We talked and laughed and felt no shame at calling it a night at a measly 10:30pm.  (Our younger selves would be incredulous.)

The next weekend signaled the beginning of SisterWeekend2012. Words upon words have already been spilled over that weekend.  What a wonderful, wonderful time it was.

The weekend that followed found us venturing back to Cole's hometown to drink afresh that sweet 9-month-old niece smell.  The weather was absolutely perfect, and sometime on Sunday afternoon, time stood still.  The sun was out, there was baseball on, sweet spring air wafted through the house, and we were together. All 8 of us.  And, for a moment, all was right with the world.  If only moments like that were catch-able, bottle-able, and sell-able.  I'd be a millionaire. Weekends like that make my heart beat with anticipation to return there, make a home there, and have weekly Sunday barbecues after church there.
March made its grand exit with a visit from my parents. My parents: fountains of knowledge, wisdom, generosity, love, and a fierce competitive streak.  Seriously.  Among 3 hour lunch dates, homemade pizza nights, shopping trips, and eye exams, we had the grandest of times.  They mercilessly cleaned our clocks at nearly every card game we played, and left us with an uncontrollable excitement for the next time we'll be together.

In typical fashion, I wasn't ready for the fun to end, simply because the month of March did.  So, this second week in April came carrying my mother-in-law. I don't care what you say about mothers-in-law, my mother-in-law is totally awesomer than your mother-in-law. (That is, unless you happen to be Carrie or Kelly Marie, duh. In that case, we'll just call it a draw.) She showed up Monday night - just in time to talk politics, catch up on family goings-on, and lose at Settlers.  Then, Tuesday, I came home from work to find candles lit about the house, the kitchen cleaned, and dinner on the stove.  On a weeknight, there are few gifts greater than that.  We spent our last evening together talking and playing endless games of Settlers.  Our time with her was too short, but oh-so-sweet.

March was a treasure that has stretched into April.  It's been the perfect medicine to keep homesickness at bay and to refresh the heart. What outrageous Grace.



April 8, 2012

Bucket List

If you've spent much time around this blog, you know that, being in grad school, our current living situation is temporary. In other words, we have an expiration date. In just over a year, we'll be packing up and moving.  Most days, it is hard to believe that we're nearly 2/3 of the way through our time here.  And 'here' is actually a pretty great place to be.

Before we moved down, (knowing that our time would be limited) we made a list of things that we wanted to make sure we did/saw/experienced before we left, making the most of our time here.  So, as promised, here is our "Things To Do Before We Leave Forest Grove," or The Portland Bucket List.
  1. Visit the Tillamook Cheese Factory - done 1/7-1/8/12
  2. Go to Tree-to-Tree Adventure Park - done 8/4/12
  3. Do an Oregon Wine Tour/Tasting - done 1/8/12
  4. Go to Roloff Farms - done 10/15/11
  5. Visit Oregon Zoo ChristmasLights - done 12/9/11
  6. Visit the Newport Aquarium
  7. Visit The Grotto at Christmastime
  8. Graduate OD School
  9. Run the Portland Marathon
  10. Attend a Blazer’s Game - done 3/3/12
  11. Attend a Timber’s Game - done 8/5/12
  12. Voodoo Donuts - done 8/5/12
  13. Visit the Rose Gardens - done 8/4/12
Any thing you locals would add to our must see / must do list?



April 7, 2012

Tradition

If you spend any amount of time with my family during any given holiday, one thing becomes evidently clear: we hold tightly to our traditions.  To detail our Christmas traditions, alone, would take a novel.  But, quirky as they may be, we love them - and chances are, I'll pass 'em along to our kiddos.

Growing up, we always had Hot Cross Buns on Easter morning.  On Christmas morning, we always had Cinnamon Rolls and Egg-dish.  It didn't take long for the Schlect kids to realize: Christmas Breakfast > Easter Breakfast.  So, when we kids realized the inequity of the holiday breakfasts, we staged a *respectful* coup requesting Egg-dish and Cinnamon Rolls at all holiday breakfasts.  (If you've had my mama's cinnamon rolls, you know why.  If you have not, my pity for you knows no bounds.)  Ever since, we've had "Christmas Breakfast" for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and any other time we can finagle it out of Mom.

Please don't count the number of times I just said 'breakfast.'  It's embarrassing.  Also, now you know far more than you ever bargained for about our weird food traditions.  You're welcome.
All that to say, it is Easter.  So, I made Hot Cross Buns. I used a new recipe this year *gasp*, and I'm still not too sure how I feel about it. Sorry, Ree, but no one can beat Mama's recipe.
Also, for what it's worth, it was with this new recipe that I had my first kitchen fire.  That's right, ladies and gentlemen, flames.  In my kitchen.  Apparently milk has flammable properties.  My best advice: watch the darn saucepan while it's on the stove.  (Don't worry, Mom, it wasn't really that bad.)
While making these rolls, it suddenly dawned on my as to why we lobbied so hard for Mom's Cinnamon Rolls over Hot Cross Buns:  the icing to bread ratio.  Think about it, cinnamon rolls are slathered and dripping with that sugary goodness.  Hot Cross Buns just get those two measly strips.  Well, this year, I found a solution:
Not quite true to its name, but tasty nonetheless.  While it's fun to keep the tradition going, something still feels missing.  It may be the different recipe, it may be the absence of raisins (because, ew), or it may just be because it's not Mama's.

And Mama's is a tradition.

Happy Easter!  He is Risen!


1000 Gifts: 201-220

-The Eleventh Installment of 1000 Gifts-

201.  His perfect Faithfulness
202.  A PR on my mile time
204.  Dried apples
205.  A cancelled appointment that frees the afternoon
206.  Black bean hummus
207.  My sister's birthday - celebrating her life
208.  The smile of a niece that lights up a room
209.  A weekend at 'home'
210.  Carrie Boboth
211.  T-shirts in my underwear drawer, and a husband who helps with laundry.
212.  Listening to him talk about theology
213.  Greek food and red wine
214.  An evening with Greg & Cole
215.  A special afternoon with my Dad
216.  A lunch date with my Mom
217.  Post-Church potlucks - what a blessing our church family is!
218.  A sunny run with Cole
220.  Kalamata Olives




April 6, 2012

Friday

It is not that I think that I have anything of significance to add to the millions of words being written - today or any other day. I bring no new wisdom, no new ideas, nothing that would be new under the sun.  And yet, there are so many times that I return to this screen and wed fingers to keys because I must.

On this day, among many days, I am humbled, I am thankful, and I am acutely aware of the Great Exchange that has taken place.  While words fail me at the gravity and significance of this Good day, I'll leave you with this:
Credit: Johnny Hart
Today is, indeed, Good.   And Sunday is coming.

"All our sins for Your Grace, what a glorious exchange!" - Bob Kauflin


April 5, 2012

Answers

Get ready for Laura: Laid Bare.  You ready?  Okay.

In the spirit of transparency, I must admit that - sometimes - when I pray, I hesitate to pray specifically.  It is so much easier to pray generally and hope for general outcomes.  I hesitate to pray for something so specific because if it does not turn out the very way I prayed, I wonder if my faith would be shaken.  Over the course of this last week, I've been learning more about prayer, more about myself, and - most importantly - more about my Father.

Tuesday, Cole had - other than Boards - the biggest test of his graduate school career.  He spent hours in preparation: getting ready, practicing, shining endless lights into my (and others') eyes, trying to get his procedure under the requisite time limit.... he was nervous.  And, being ridiculously empathetic, I was too.

Monday night we laid in bed, and he tossed and turned fitfully as the anxiety welled.  He rolled over, grabbed my hand, and asked me to pray with him.  Okay, easy enough.  So, with my head on his pounding heart, I started praying.

Never before have I prayed so specifically.  Asking God that Cole would get a patient who doesn't wear corrective lenses and doesn't have an extensive case history and a gracious proctor and a patient with big pupils.  (For those of you not married to an optometry student, all of those things make the exam go much more smoothly)  On and on, we prayed. Part of my heart felt completely silly to ask my Big God for something so seemingly trivial, while part of my heart soared to be sitting at the feet of my Father who delights to give good gifts to His children.

Tuesday came. It was 3pm, the test had begun. My heart was in knots. So, unable to do anything else, I prayed.  And prayed.  And prayed.  Until I FINALLY got the phone call.

He passed.

HE PASSED.  With flying colors and with plenty of time to spare.  As if there was any doubt...

Then, he began to tell me about the exam: it was the easiest patient ever, no corrective lenses, no extensive case history, a gracious proctor, and - whaddya know - a patient with large pupils.  Forget the patient, my eyes were the ones watering at that point!  What an incredible God we serve!

In a step of faith, I had preemptively picked up some steaks and champagne for dinner on my lunch break, anticipating a celebration.  And celebrate we did. (Note to self: Champagne is icky. I'll stick with Martinelli's thankyouverymuch.)

I know that I still have much to learn.  And, I recognize that even in the seemingly unanswered prayers, God is still, at all times and in all ways, at work to achieve His perfect purposes.  I have seen Him use "unanswered" prayers to grow my faith rather than shake it.  But, for today, I revel in this answered prayer, I marvel in a God who sees, and I rejoice in His grace abounding.  For His glory and our eternal good...

Oh, and I'm pretty darn proud of that man of mine.  ;)




April 3, 2012

Love.

source
There are no words needed.  I'm in awe at the man with which the Lord has entrusted me.  It took not long to fall in love, and I can't wait for a lifetime of learning what it means to love this man.



Just Us

We will also remind you that this is just a BLOG…just the highlights. We don’t sit around happily smiling for pictures all day long. Our life is far from perfect: we are imperfect people serving a perfect God. We do strive to glorify God, but we fail miserably and find comfort in knowing that our debts have been paid and we have been set free.

Follow by Email