August 27, 2012

Last First Day

Growing up, I loved the first day of school. The night before, I would lay out the outfit that had been carefully selected weeks in advance, I would triple-check my alarm to make sure I was leaving myself enough time to get ready, then I would lay in bed restlessly in anticipation of what the next day, and year, would bring.

Every year, my mom made a big deal of the first day of school: cooking a special breakfast and then posing us on our front porch with backpacks and lunch boxes for the annual picture.  That whole picture part, we kids could have done without, but it was all for tradition.  Alas, the older I get, I realize more and more that I am - happily - turning into my mother.  And, so, the first day of school picture tradition continues with our family.

Today was Cole's last first day of school. Last last last.  Ever. Yes, technically, he has another year before he graduates, but that last year will be all clinical and this is the last day that he goes to class for the first time and so I'm allowed to be sentimental, okay?  (Following me, here?)  This is his 20th and final first day of school.  It is hard to believe that we're over halfway through his grad school career.

Today, as I headed out the door for work, I forgot to snap that traditional first day picture.  (much to his relief, no doubt)  But, I can assure you, he was the most handsome guy I've ever seen sporting that White Coat. (Or any coat, for that matter.)

So, Cole, on your last first day, know that I am so incredibly proud of you and of all that you have and will accomplish.  You are an incredible student, an amazing husband, and will be the most wonderful doctor.  You have met every challenge with a grace that blows my mind; and you balance your roles as student and husband impeccably.  I love you, I love you, I love you.

Here's to another great year!

August 23, 2012

1000 Gifts: 321-340

-The Seventeenth Installment of 1000 Gifts-

321.  Hawaii
322.  Cinnamon Rolls with Ty
323.  Spokane Placement
324.  Flavored water
325.  Instagram
326.  A night at home
327.  Free food
328.  Youth Group
329.  Morning Coffee
330.  Cranberry Juice mixed with Orange Juice.  Try it. You're welcome.
331.  Potato rolls
332.  Closing the office early
333.  The Olympic Theme Song.  Anyone else?
334.  Patriotism
335.  Family willing to drive long distances for a visit
336.  An evening walk with Cole
337.  Homemade bread
338.  Beach Volleyball
339.  S'mores with the small group
340.  The Olympics

August 13, 2012

Safe Place

It's him.  And it's Him.

If there's one thing I've learned, it is that life never ceases its crazed pace.  We continue running until we're worn through, then we strap on new shoes and run all the more. Stress finds fertile soil and drives its roots down deep.  Its early buds begin to peak out in the quiet of the night, when the mind seeks hibernation and then the sleepless nights string together in a blur.

And yet, at the end of a long day, when it seems that my mind will not cease its spinning, he is there. And everything else disappears. And it is us, again. The rest of the world fades away. The frustrations, stresses and fears evaporate with the sound of his laugh, the smell of his shirt; and I am at peace.  The sound of his voice slows my heart and quickens its pace all the same.  The strength of his arms and the words of his prayers tell me I am untouchable. 

And, in that moment, he leads me to the Safe Place. And he lays me at the foot of the Cross and he lifts me up and he holds me tight and I am safe.

And I know, my heart has found its home.

August 11, 2012

Note to Self

I could use this reminder every day...

"Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.  If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else,  for each one should carry their own load."

-Galatians 6:2-5

August 9, 2012

48 Hours

It wasn't long.  Not long at all.  In fact, it went by all too fast for my taste.  This last weekend was incredible, friends.  Seriously.  My feeble attempt to recount the weekend will - in no way - do justice to the thrill, excitement, and sheer bliss that it was.  Ladies and Gentlemen, this weekend was nothing short of epic.

This past weekend, we celebrated our second anniversary.  Yes, it was nearly a month late, but perhaps that is a true testament of the pace of our lives these days.   Anywho, Cole had just finished his finals for Summer Term so we had double the reason to celebrate; and celebrate we did.  (and we checked a LOT off of our Forest Grove Bucket List!!)

We had the entire weekend planned.  Saturday dawned bright and warm, and found us on our way to Tree-to-Tree Adventure Park.  Okay, guys, this place is amazing!  It is a multi-level high ropes course, and we've been wanting to visit since we moved here.  We spent over four hours there, traversing the various elements and courses.  It was so. much. fun.  (and, coincidentally, an incredible core workout!  We're still sore!)

We walked across balance beams suspended, swung across rope swings, jumped from platform to platform, teetered across tight ropes... all while 40+ feet in the air.  And, the highlight for me, there was zipline after zipline at the end of each element.  So. Much. Fun.  We haven't laughed so hard in a long time.
Obviously, after the 'workout' we were more than ready for a good meal.  So we stopped off at Famous Dave's for some solid barbecue fare.
After eating more than our fill of ribs and pulled chicken sandwiches, we headed to the batting cages to hit around.  It was so much fun to see Cole doing what he loves.  He was clearly in his happy place.  And I, in mine by his side, was content to swing away at the *slower* softball pitches. 
After the busy, hot morning, we were ready to get cleaned up.  We had rented a hotel room in downtown Portland for the night for our little get-away.  We cleaned up, caught a few Olympics highlights and headed out for dinner....  we decided to take a detour through the Rose Gardens.  Cole was wonderfully patient as I played around with settings on my camera and clicked away at all the beautiful flowers.   We had barely set foot in the Gardens when we heard music.  After following the sound, we happened upon an opera in the park!!!  So. Cool.  Seriously.    So we had a soundtrack to our evening walk through the gardens.  Stroll, Click, Aria.  It was heavenly.

Perhaps the most wonderful thing to me was the proximity of these gardens to downtown.  We were literally in the middle of downtown, yet we felt as though we were miles away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Still not hungry (after our ginormous lunch BBQ feast), we headed to Henry's for appetizers and drinks.  Now, friends, I'm not sure what it is about Henry's, but we had the most fabulous time there.  We talked for nearly 3 hours... and talked and talked and talked.  After a crazy-busy summer, this reconnect was, perhaps, the highlight of my weekend.  But the Gorgonzola fries were a close second.
Sunday morning was spent lazily enjoying every minute of quiet that we could.  Then, we headed out to conquer more of our Bucket List and finally partake in the Portland ritual that is Voodoo Donuts.  We spent nearly 45 minutes in line (in 90+ degree heat, no less) to procure the famous donuts.  (I'll let you in on a little secret that may very well disqualify me from being a true Portland-er:  we didn't think they were all that great.)  Well, at least, not worth the long wait in the scorching heat.  ;)  But, for me, it was worth it to check another thing off the List.
 By this point, I was becoming painfully aware of how food-centric our weekend had become.  But can you blame us?  Portland is a hotbed for all kinds of incredible culinary delights!  And, considering how shamefully rarely we get into town, we had to capitalize on this opportunity!  So, for lunch, we grabbed a burger at Little Big Burger.  And, guys,  if you're ever in Portland, eat here.  It's fabulous. And fresh.  And their fries are fried in truffle oil, so you can feel sophisticated.
 So, the big shebang of the weekend was the Timbers game on Sunday.  I had bought Cole tickets for an anniversary gift, and we were SO excited to finally experience our first MLS game.  And it certainly did not disappoint.  While I could have done without the 101⁰ weather and the near-heat stroke, it was so much fun.  

Like I said, words nor pictures can do justice to this weekend.  But for those family and friends far away, I felt like I should document. :)  This weekend was truly a breath of fresh air and a sweet reminder of how much we love being together. 

I couldn't be more thankful for this man with whom I have been blessed.  He truly knows me better than anyone else and continues to be a student of my heart.  I know that I certainly finished the weekend feeling more known and more loved.  What a blessing indeed - far beyond anything I could deserve.  What boundless Grace.  

What an incredible 48 hours, what an incredible lifetime ahead!

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.

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