Thursday, January 31, 2013

bon voyage

So remember how I got married in June 16, 2012?  Well maybe I forgot to mention about how I started a new job on June 1, 2012 - and promptly used my vacation time for the year to go get married and take a honeymoon.  Haha.  Needless to say, 2012 was a year of many changes, many new things... one being the subject of this post, that is, my new job.  I have been blessed with an awesome job.  Working as a young attorney can be rough - the legal community too often than not takes advantage of young associates eager to impress and sucks the life in work/life balance out of them.  Partners can be cruel, and an associate can be viewed for her billable-hour worth instead of for the quality of her work-product.  I have seen it happen.  But thankfully, God has shielded me from that and has blessed me with this job.  I get to do work that I enjoy, with coworkers that are terrific to work with, and at the end of the day I get to go home feeling proud of what I accomplished that day.

Oh, and did I mention the huge perk that I get to go to a conference in San Diego tomorrow?  For 5 days?  For free?!?  :-D  Yippee!!  California, here we come!  70 degrees and sunny every day, yes please.  Especially when it's currently a typical dreary January day up here, complete with 26 degrees and snow galore.  I mean, I love winter and all, but I am ready for spring to arrive. 

Although I will be in meetings during the conference, Steve and I are flying out a day early to see some of the sights.  The thing I am most looking forward to seeing?  These guys at the San Diego Zoo!

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I've never seen a panda in real life and am almost giddy thinking about it.  The last encounter that I had with a wild animal was swimming with manatees during our honeymoon.  Although I doubt this will quite be the same (I mean, come on, swimming with manatees, who can top that??), I am still excited to see the famous zoo. 

Now it's time to get to packing!  Catch ya on the flip side!
-


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

kid at heart

Last June when I married Steve, I also officially became an aunty to three adorable nieces.  Just looking at them melts my heart, they are all such sweethearts.  And this past weekend, Steve and I got to take them all on a date to Disney on Ice! 

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I never went to Disney on Ice as a kid, but always wanted to go.  Something about putting Disney princesses on ice skates made the entire Disney kingdom that much more magical in my little-girl-eyes.  Surprisingly enough, that sentiment still remains in my twenty-six-year-old-eyes.  Maybe that's because I am still a kid at heart... you know, the one who loves to take silly photos with her five-year-old niece :)


The evening was magical for all parties involved... except maybe Steve.  But he put on a brave face, and we all had a great time.  Nothing like letting the little kid inside of you come out to play for an evening!


And of course, what kind of uncle and aunt would we be if we didn't give in and buy the $15 glow in the dark slushies? 

Especially when they did this to the girls' tongues!  Haha.


All in all, it was a lovely evening and I am sure the first of many dates with my dear nieces.  Not to mention, it was good to get a break from "adult world" and embrace my inner kid (whose heart leapt, I must admit, when Ariel appeared on the ice and serenaded us with Part of Your World)!



Wednesday, January 16, 2013

un-niversaries

Today is Steve's and my seven-month anniversary.  Not that I was counting down to it or anything... I actually only realized it last night.  As a matter of fact, we (and I really mean both of us) have been absolutely terrible about celebrating our anniversaries thus far.  We have tended to celebrate our un-niversaries more than anniversaries - ya know, in the Alice in Wonderland un-birthday sort of way.



We missed our one-month while we were busy bidding on our house, two-months fell right during packing/moving time and month 3 flew by before we knew it.  We somehow managed to remember month 4, of all months... Steve made homemade spaghetti sauce and brought home a bouquet of lilies (my favorite):

And month 5 was celebrated with a quick lunch date at our favorite restaurant, Stone Creek.  Yes it was just lunch, and yes I got a massive piece of carrot cake.  So sue me :)


So we were on a roll, if you'd call it that (2 months in a row is quite an improvement from the first three months, haha!) but somehow, we missed the 6-month anniversary.  Epic fail.  Actually, to be honest, December 16th was the biggest fight that we have ever had as a married couple.  But I'll tell you what - that day, we got real with each other.  We opened up to each other.  We exposed all of our ugliness and sinful natures to each other... all of our hurts and struggles and imperfections.  We didn't hold back.  And here's the beautiful thing - on our 6-month anniversary, we got a glimpse of what "real marriage" is all about.  Not the fighting part per se, but loving each other in spite of (both of) our sinful natures.  Not of hiding, but sharing.  Not denying, but admitting and confiding.  Making ourselves completely vulnerable to the other, so that we can show Christ's love to each other and forgive as Christ forgives.  That in our weaknesses, we can find strength through Christ.

This is the only picture that I have on my phone from December 16th.  The only documentation of our 6-month.  But how incredibly fitting of that day.


I shall dwell secure.  He shall be my peace.
We shall dwell secure.  He shall be our peace.

On that day, I declared that over my life.  And I declared that over our marriage.  So no matter what our seven-month anniversary, or any other anniversary, has in store, I know that day by day, I shall dwell secure because my Heavenly Father is my peace.  And His hand is on my life, and on Steve's life, and on our marriage.  Through Him, two sinners can learn the true meaning of covenant love.


Friday, January 11, 2013

auld lang syne

Happy New Year (11 days late)! :)  New Years Eve is such a fun holiday (well, technically a half-holiday - my office closed at noon.  Hooray!).  Full of excitement, anticipation, and a sense of impatience with the past year as we bid it farewell and enter a new one.  It's kind of funny though, really, because everyone in the world waits breathlessly for the "New Year" - that moment when the NYC ball drops and confetti flies through the air, when people turn to their loved ones and exchange hugs and kisses... and then the moment is gone.  It's "officially" the new year, everyone returns home to their beds and wake up to begin another day - albeit, maybe with great visions of new years resolutions and life changes and goals, but nothing magical happens overnight.  We just usher in another sunrise, another day.  It really amazes me how one ordinary day can be made into something so fascinating, thrilling, and sometimes even life-changing.  I mean, just look at the excitement in this picture!  All for a single moment!

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What I personally love the most about NYE is that it allows you to look back on the past year.  To praise God for the things that you were blessed with throughout the year, and to appreciate some of the hard times (and what you learned through them).  Only on NYE does that ever really happen!  I'll be honest, I never find myself sitting down on August 24th, or March 5th, and thinking about my life over the past year.  What a cool thing that December 31st gives us that special time to reflect and rejoice in the beauty of the past year. 

Our NYE this year was spent with great friends doing ordinary things - a euchre tournament, Monopoly (with credit cards instead of cash money!?  Who'd have thought!), sharing pizza and an epic "couples quiz."  One tradition that we were introduced to was painting a summary of the past year.  I am no artist by any means, but the entire concept was such a great way to look back through all the "stuff" of this past year - our wedding, new job, honeymoon, new house, Pops' passing, sin struggles and wounds, visits with friends and family, fights, struggles with life - and be able to see clearly what really matters.  I've been struggling lately with life and, to be honest, wasn't really sure what I would draw.  So many things and moments of this past year have been tainted in my head.  But one thing stood out - the everlasting glory of God's love and of his plan for Steve and me.  So I did my best to paint something that would remind me every day of His great love and faithfulness.  You can see us hard at work and my little piece of art here:


Steve claims that my little cross and wedding bands are a masterpiece (haha, that's quite funny), so it may end up on a wall in our house at some point despite my protestations.  We will see!  :)

On a sidenote - did you know that "Auld Lang Syne" is often translated as "old long ago"?  I think that is just so beautiful.  Here's to New Year's being an opportunity to reflect not only on God's faithfulness not just in the past year, but even in times long ago.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings

Christmas is by far my favorite holiday of the year.  And after Steve and I got hitched, one of the things I most looked forward to this year was spending the holidays as that newlywed couple.  You know, getting pulled this way and that, trying to juggle two families, celebrating two Christmases, embracing two sets of Christmas traditions.  Steve couldn't wait for his staple - watching It's a Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve by the fireplace.  I was excited beyond belief for mine - eating Gannie's Christmas cookies and Christmas bread I mean, Christmas Eve candlelight service with the family.  We both looked forward to sharing other traditions with each other - reading the Christmas story in Luke, singing Christmas carols, Christmas stockings, a big family breakfast, opening presents with the family, watching every claymation Christmas movie known to mankind (maybe that's just me), Elf, A Christmas Story, ping-pong tournament, admiring the Christmas tree... you name it, we couldn't wait to do it.  I knew that despite whatever life was throwing at us at the time, Christmas itself was going to be picture-perfect.  Something kind of like this:

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Boy was I wrong. 

For starters, we awoke on Christmas Eve morning to discover that our Christmas tree had committed suicide overnight and was lying in the middle of the living room.  Pine needles were everywhere (yes, I gave in and let Steve get a live tree this year; no, we will never be getting a live tree again).  After several valliant efforts by Steve and a friend, the tree was back up and running and the floor was rid of pine needles.  No less than 10 minutes later, the tree collapsed AGAIN.  At that point we had two options - either a) start crying hysterically about how our Christmas was cursed since our tree committed suicide not once but twice within 20 minutes, or b) get it out of there.  We chose option (b).  So yes - hi we are the Simcox newlyweds and we spent our first Christmas without an actual Christmas tree. 

Now the tree was only the beginning of things going...differently than expected.  Not seeing my family after all on Christmas.  Christmas Eve service running so late that we had to leave early (aka before the Silent Night/candlelighting part - everyone's favorite!) to meet Steve's family for dinner.  Blizzard 2012 changing Simcox family plans so everyone left town at 9am on Christmas Day except for Steve and me.  Opening presents by ourselves.  Attempting (and failing miserably) to recreate my grandma's Christmas dinner - soggy stuffing and runny sweet potatoes, no thank you.  Essentially spending Christmas day alone.

But God taught me a lot on that Christmas Day and helped me to see it for what it truly was.  Just like how Clarence shows George in It's a Wonderful Life how truly precious and priceless his life really is.  If nothing else, our first Christmas together was real.  We may not have had the picturesque scene above, but here is what we did have:

Time.  No distractions.  Relaxation.  Tears.  Heartache.  Repentence.  Forgiveness.  Understanding.  No pretending, no hiding, no shame.  Embracing brokenness.  Celebrating God's faithfulness.  Appreciating the little things.  Enjoying each other's company.  Serving each other.  Learning how to love.  A fresh start. 

I can't imagine a better way to spend our first Christmas together. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

the sunny side of life

One of the great heroes of my life is my grandpa, known dearly to those in our family as Pops.  He was one of those people that just brought light into the room whenever he would walk in. He was my biggest fan through many years of swimming, academics and music.  He passed away earlier this year- two days after our wedding.  I miss him every day.

Throughout my life, Pops taught me many great lessons. I am reminded of many of them daily:
- You've never met a stranger...a stranger is just a friend you haven't met yet.
- Angels fly because they take themselves lightly.
- You can't fly with the eagles if you run with the turkeys.
- First in, first out (of the water, at countless swim meets growing up).
- Always know how to read a map.
And last but not least, the importance of commemorating, documenting, celebrating and remembering those precious moments in life so they will never be forgotten.

My hope is that this blog will be my way to capture those small moments in life, just as Pops did through countless photo albums, videos and pictures that I will cherish always.  And in his honor, this little blog's title comes from his favorite song, "The Silver Lining."

Look for the silver lining,
Whenever clouds appear in the blue,
Remember somewhere, the sun is shining,
And so the right thing to do
Is make it shine for you
A heart full of love and gladness
Will banish all your sadness and strife
So always look for the silver lining
And try to find the sunny side of life.