Monday, July 29, 2013

hercules, tchaikovsky & a scarf-wearing giraffe

This weekend was great.  We started off the weekend with a Hercules sleepover with our sweet nieces.  The girls had never seen the Disney movie (one of my favorites growing up), so we took it upon ourselves to introduce them to it. We ordered a pizza, played some Disney Scene-It (yes, I own Disney Scene-It), and settled in for the movie.  
We also managed to sneak in Disney's Atlantis before heading to bed.  The next morning, we had a mini-salon day and I curled the girls' hair with my new curling wand.  They loved it!  We also went through my jewelry collection and high heels collection.  I think it was as much fun for me as it was for the girls.  Growing up, I always loved playing in my mother's closet and trying on her shoes.  It is really fun to be on the other side of it all now - to be the lady with the fun stuff for little girls to play with.  It really made me smile.
Their hair turned out beautifully!  I have such gorgeous nieces :)
All in all, the sleepover was a great success.  We hope to do it again soon.  I was in dire need of a power nap on Saturday though - just like Lyla.  The poor little pup played to her hearts content with those girls, but was exhausted when they left!
Sidenote: yes, the giraffe in this picture is sporting a scarf.  He wears it year-round.  I got him in the $1 sale bin at Petsmart and he is one of Lyla's favorites, in rain, snow or shine.  He clearly was also exhausted from the sleepover. 
On Saturday evening, we hopped over to Conner Prairie for a double date to Symphony on the Prairie with our dear friends Sam and Megan.  We packed a picnic and caught up with each other until the concert started.  The weather was gorgeous and couldn't have made for a better night.  
Sam and Meg brought this delicious spread, while Steve treated us to another one of his delicious salads.  Healthy picnicking at its finest!
After dinner, we sat back to enjoy an evening of Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky.  The performance was terrific, the weather was perfect (even a little on the chilly side), and we had a great time. 

We are so blessed to have such good friends to spend the evening with.  Not only are they fun to double-date with, but Megan has been an incredible Christian sister to me through the course of our friendship - just as I know Sam has been a Christian brother to Steve.  So thankful for them.  

Friday, July 26, 2013

the hooray friday bouquet

It's Friday!  This week has been a gorgeous one, full of sunshine and 80 degree weather.  Perfect summer weather and the perfect way to wrap up the last week of July.  Linking up with Lauren Elizabeth for five silver linings this week:
1.  This bouquet of lovely Friday flowers from the hubby makes me smile. 
2.  I finally completed a successful Pinterest project!  More to come on this later... but Steve and I are in figuring out the whole "married dating" thing and now have over 80 new date ideas.  We are both creatures of habit, so I'm hoping this little jar will get us out of our comfort zones a bit and allow us to try new things together. 
3.  We took a trip to Brown County last weekend and I'm still loving this view.  Hard to believe it's in Indiana! 
 4.  My husband/chef extraordinaire is still tearing it up in the kitchen.  This dinner consisted of swordfish, wild rice, grilled asparagus and roasted red pepper soup.  Yum.
 5.  Over the last week, I've realized 1) I actually enjoy golf; 2) golfing is not just for guys - ladies can do it too; and 3) a ladies' golf tournament is the perfect excuse to get out of the office on a bright sunny day.
This weekend, we are hitting another one of my summer to-do's - catching an outdoor summer concert - with two of our favorite people.  We're also hosting our nieces for a little sleepover / Disney's Hercules movie action tonight.  It's shaping up to be a great weekend!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

golf 101

Golf has never really been my thing.  I took golf lessons when I was twelve or so, but hadn't really picked up a golf club since.  I also thought golf was generally a "man's sport" (not true) and, well, boring.  But when another female associate at my firm approached me about doing a ladies' golf tournament, I somehow decided that it was a good idea to sign up.  Granted, she asked me in February and I figured I had plenty of time to a) back out or b) actually learn how to really swing a club.  Turns out neither option happened, so I realized last week that I needed to figure out how this whole golf thing worked before I made a fool of myself out on the golf course.  
Turns out, golf is actually fun!  Steve gave me a crash course on holding the club, getting a good stance and hand grip, and other small but important details to begin golfing with good technique.  After a few evenings hitting cloth balls in our backyard, we ventured to the driving range and had a great time.  Steve is a patient, encouraging teacher and I was able to hit pretty well with almost all of my clubs (which was quite a pleasant surprise).  The driving range turned out to be a great impromptu date, and I also got to see him show off some of his golf moves.  He's a good golfer.
Today was the day of our ladies' tournament.  We had a blast.  My team consisted of four female attorneys from our firm, and we are all what you would consider to be "beginners."  Each of us had some good shots, along with the bad - but we laughed our way through all eighteen holes and had a great day out of the office soaking up the sunshine.  And I only lost two golf balls!
I don't expect to turn into a pro golfer anytime soon, but I am glad that I stepped outside of my comfort zone and gave golf another try.  Turns out it's something I think I could really enjoy over the years.  Who would have thought?

Also, I'm sure it probably helped a bit that this ambidextrous girl finally figured out last week that she is left-handed, not right-handed, at golf.  Just a bit.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

like leah

"Now Laban had two daughters.  The name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel.  Leah's eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance.  Jacob loved Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her...but in the evening [Laban] took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob... and in the morning, behold, it was Leah!  And Jacob said to Laban, 'What is this you have done to me?  Did I not serve with you for Rachel?  Why then have you deceived me?'... So Jacob went in to Rachel also, and he loved Rachel more than Leah."
 "When the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb."
"And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, 'This time I will praise the Lord.'"
-Genesis 29 (esv) (selections)

Growing up, the love story of Jacob and Rachel was one of my favorite Bible stories.  Jacob loved Rachel so much that he worked for her father, Laban, for seven years to earn her hand in marriage.  And when Laban tricked Jacob into marrying Leah, Rachel's less-attractive older sister, Jacob worked another seven years to marry Rachel as well.  It was such a romantic story and I could easily envision a grown-up version of myself playing the part of Rachel, while my future husband-to-be would clearly epitomize Jacob's love and sacrifice anything and everything for me.  What a perfect love story.

The person that I missed in the story, as a kid, was Leah.  I always glossed over her because, well, she was the unattractive, less desirable sister - her name literally means "cow."  She wasn't the object of Jacob's affections.  And she was thrust in the way of Jacob's and Rachel's perfect love.  Jacob never wanted to marry her and Rachel didn't want to share Jacob with her.  Laban didn't want to keep her.  Leah was the unloved sister.

Here's the thing, though - we can all relate to Leah and learn from her story.

Surely we all at one point in time have felt like Leah - not good enough, unattractive, unwanted, forced into big life changes that we didn't necessarily want, rejected by those closest to us, unloved, unimportant, maybe even hated.  Maybe things didn't work out the way you had planned - surely Leah never envisioned her life to play out the way that it did, sharing a husband who didn't love her with an uber-competitive sister.

But Leah was beloved to the Lord.  She Reads Truth puts it best: "The Lord, in his infinite wisdom, saw behind Leah's tender eyes and discerned her heart. Leah may not have been "lovely in form," but she was exactly what God was looking for through whom to establish the house of David and the lineage of Christ. Leah recognized her children as blessings directly from the Lord, and despite the pain of rejection and her unquenchable desire to be loved by her husband, she praised Him."

If you feel unworthy, unloved, or unhappy with current life circumstances - look to Leah and how much the Lord loved her.  Just like Leah, you are beautiful and special to Him.  And even if those closest to you may fail you, He never will.  In fact, He will bless you far beyond anything you could ever imagine for yourself - just because He loves you and delights in you.  You are, and forever wil be, His precious princess.

Now that is a perfect love story.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

brown county

Despite hot weather and noisy neighbors, we had a good time camping in Brown County this weekend.  I don't know if camping is really my thing - maybe only in the fall-time or early spring when it's cool enough for me to fall asleep in a little tent - but it was still nice to get away for a little bit.  

On Saturday, we went on a bike ride through the state park and stumbled upon this beautiful view - the perfect place for a picnic.  
We hope to head back to Brown County sometime in the fall.  I'm looking forward to the sea of red, orange and yellow into which our little spot will be transformed come October.

Friday, July 19, 2013

being in love


the great heat wave of 2013

Happy Friday!  I'm linking up with Lauren today for five silver linings this week:
1.  It's been 90+ degrees and humid outside every day this week.  Unlike the rest of the Midwest, I am loving it.  Reminds me of high school/college summers in Houston :)  Bring on the sun!
2.  Steve took me on a date last weekend to see The King and I at an outdoor movie theatre (I wrote about it here).
3.  Our vegetable garden has exploded this week.  I guess the veggies love 90+ degree heat and super sunny days as much as I do.
4.  Lyla's go-to "frog stance" just cracks me up.
5.  While I've switched lately to morning workouts, I got in a nice afternoon jog on Wednesday and had the Monon all to myself.  Probably because it was 100 degree heat index and everyone else was smart enough to stay indoors.  Oh well...Amy for the win!
We are heading down to Brown County this weekend for another camping adventure.  I've never camped in 90 degree weather, so we'll see how this turns out.  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

taming the tongue

Words are powerful.  Through words, we have the ability to do so many things: to compliment a friend, to sing praises, to share secrets, to rejoice with others, to share stories, to pray.  Just as easily, though, our words can tear others down in a single snide remark or a sarcastic jab.  They can really hurt.  Words are powerful, powerful things.

We've been going through a lot of "life changes" lately.  Steve is looking to me a lot for support and encouragement as we work through this stuff.  But I'm not giving it.  Instead, I find myself snapping at him about little things and finding ways to criticize.  I think it's a defense mechanism that I developed over the last year...but it's not biblical and is definitely not what a Proverbs 31 wife would do.
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
Proverbs 31:26 (esv)
So why do I keep using harsh words?  Sometimes I just know I'm right.  Sometimes I'm stubborn, other times tired and cranky.  Sometimes I'm protecting myself.  Sometimes I'm selfish.  And sometimes I just don't feel like being nice.  But each and every time, I'm simply choosing to sin over choosing to love.
It all boils down to this: we are called to show Christ's love to others... and that includes through our words.  When I'm in a bad mood, I can respond to Steve with anger or frustration - but in the end, will that help him be a better husband?  Closer to the Lord?  Better able to sort through all of this stuff?  Nope.  But if I can guard my mouth, speak kindly, and love through my words, I think I'd be amazed at what God could do.  So that's my prayer this week - to give grace with my words. 
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
Ephesians 4:29 (esv)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

summer nights

Life seems to have gotten away from us lately, so we took a night off on Friday to see The King and I at the IMA.  Our first real date night in a while. 
We packed a picnic, watched the sunset and sat back to enjoy the classic musical (one of my all-time favorites) under the stars.
The evening certainly wasn't perfect, but it was real.  It was fun.  For one evening, we set aside all of the current baggage of our "normal lives," and picked up a blanket and picnic basket instead.  We got (unnecessarily) competitive over card games.  We stayed up too late and ate too much popcorn.... and it was so freeing.  Just like when we were first dating.
I think somewhere along the way, a lot of married couples forget how to date each other.  Life just gets in the way.  But it's amazing how one imperfect evening under the stars on a blanket with your love can lift that heavy burden of life off of your shoulders, even just temporarily, and bring you back to each other.  In that evening, you feel truly alive together - just like when you first fell in love. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

stars and stripes

Last weekend, we were blessed with a long weekend off of work to celebrate the Fourth of July.  On is the Fourth itself, we headed downtown for our tradition - attending an Indianapolis Indians game and then watching the downtown fireworks from the stadium.  We had a great time with Steve's brother and his girlfriend.  I really enjoyed getting in some quality time with them - since we all have busy work schedules, we don't get to hang out half as much as I would like.  And we had great seats at the sold-out game!
Rowdy kept trying to get people to stand up and get...well, rowdy.  It didn't work on us, but this lady in front looooved it.  So awesome. 
On Friday, we drove up to Gannie's house to spend the weekend with my extended family.  It was the first time to see many of them since our wedding last year, so it was great to catch up and reconnect.  I spent many Fourth of Julys at Gannie's as a kid, so it was fun to re-live those memories and share them with Steve. Here's one of my many memories - this cute little playhouse lies "hidden" in the backyard.  The grandkids spent countless hours out here over the years and it still makes me smile to see it, even if I don't comfortably fit into it anymore :)
Dune Acres officially celebrated the Fourth on Saturday the Sixth.  The town had an entire day of festivities planned, started with a 5K run through the dunes.  Check out our matching t-shirts!

Next up was the annual 4th of July Parade.  My grandparents have owned this antique army jeep for years and it is a staple in the parade.  When we were little, all six of us grandkids would squeeze our way into the backseat waving American flags like crazy. Nowadays, only three of us fit comfortably - Steve, my cousin Talia, and me - plus Lyla.  Her first puppy parade!
After the reading of the Declaration of Independence...
...we were ready to begin!
The parade's grand finale was a hot dog cookout at the beach. 
That evening, the town set off fireworks on the beach.  That's the best way to watch fireworks, let me tell ya - with your feet in the sand!
On Sunday, we spent the afternoon looking through old memories that my grandma is sorting through.  There is something so special to me about reading old letters and cards from family members.  The love letters that Pops wrote to my grandma brought tears to my eyes.  And I couldn't help but smile at pictures of my mom as a little kid.
Of all the momentos, I found a few precious gems - my grandparents' engagement announcement - isn't Gannie a beauty?
A sweet card from Pops to Gannie while he was working in Kansas City.
The start of my mom's swimming career...
...and all of her swimming ribbons.  She was a swimming champ!  Swimming definitely runs in our family :)

All in all, it was a lovely weekend and a great way to spend the holiday.  Hope you had a safe and enjoyable 4th of July!