Friday, January 23, 2015

table talk


Last week we built a table. Well, Trevor did. I mostly documented the process with my camera and made the occasional encouraging remark.

For years we had a dinky, glass-topped IKEA table, one of those bachelor purchases Trevor had made before I was really in the picture. Neither of us were ever too fond of it, for no real reason. We managed to avoid it our entire first year of marriage, opting for dinner on the couch almost every night. It was skinny, a little sickly looking for a kitchen table. Not something you want to plop down at after a long day. Dinner parties were always crowded, and not in a cozy way; my parents had to sit at our island for Easter dinner.

We needed something where we could actually have room for place settings and pots of mashed potatoes and, when I was dreaming really big, a centerpiece. And so, last week, we decided that we had officially outgrown our cheap newlywed table.

Trevor spent the entire weekend sanding, sawing, and making at least four trips to Lowes. We had invited two couples over for chili that Sunday night and were determined to have it finished by then. And it was, mostly. The finish wasn’t entirely dry (the dishes made a nice thwick sound when you lifted them up), but it was beautiful and bulky and enormous and everything I ever wanted in a table.

We sat in bed later that night, admiring it through the doorway. It’s a simple thing. Just a few wood planks. But it seems, to my sentimental self, to represent so much more. I, the girl so hesitant to even talk about having kids, can suddenly envision bibbed babies at that table, grinning up at us through mashed avocado. I see meetings held around that tabletop, late into the night, laptops and me pouring everyone cups of coffee as we dream about planting a church. I see myself in early hours of the morning, notebooks scattered and candle lit, as I hash out early drafts of a first novel. I see old friends laughing uproariously over a cheesy board game and some wine, and new friends sharing their stories with us for the first time, maybe over a new French recipe I braved. Family meals, birthdays, projects, early morning quiet times, celebrations. All the good stuff of life.

I get a little twitchy thinking about the future. How can we have kids if we can’t afford a house? How can we plant a church one day or be missionaries if we don’t even know how to lead a small group together? How will we make it all work? 

But the table – that’s a start. A very small, yet important step to whatever our future holds. Because the table, really, is what holds it all together. It’s the gathering place, it’s where dreams are shared, where dinnertime slips into kairos time. It's where ideas are birthed, friendships cemented.

It makes me feel just a little more grown up. Not because the IKEA table was really so bad, but because now I have a clearer picture in my head, a piece to the puzzle, of how our lives will look when we grow up. I don't know where we'll be in five years or what we'll be doing, but I know that table will be there, probably with a few marks and scratches picked up along the way. But right now it's shiny and new and there are candles and flowers on it - time for quiet celebrating and hope-filled dreaming.






Monday, January 12, 2015

engaged: micah and jessica

Don't you love it when two people you've known for years get together and decide to get married? 



































Thursday, January 8, 2015

currently



listening to so many great podcasts. I could never get into them until I started cleaning houses, and now I'm obsessed. If you like Gilmore Girls (and, honestly, even if you don't), Gilmore Guys is way fun. I'm also enjoying Around the Table and Elise Gets Crafty.

drinking looseleaf tea gifted to us by my sister. Looseleaf tea feels so luxurious to me that I save it for only those quiet moments when the house is clean and the neighbors aren't blaring techno music and all is right with the world.

watching Gilmore Girls, season four. And now I'm all, "Thirteen-year-old self, why the heck are you not watching this?" Also, every Audrey Hepburn movie on Netflix. Obviously.

reading Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton and Middlemarch by George Eliot. I love starting the year with thick, chunky reads. I would highly, highly recommend both.

wanting to do a juice cleanse. To stay in the habit of waking up early. To come up with weekly meal plans so I don't find myself in the checkout aisle at Target every afternoon at 4:30, flipping through all the magazines I pride myself in not reading.

attempting to wear real clothes instead of my flower pant leggings every day. But once you have flowers pants, it's really really hard to justify wearing anything else ever again.

feeling desperate to write again. I'm learning that my cute pink journal doesn't always cut it. Sometimes I need the clackety clack of keys in order to get down to business and write something worthwhile. I'm attempting fiction again (hold me.)

taking way too many photos of my husband, as I continue to learn the ins and outs of my camera. The scrapbooker in me is having a panic attack with all the 300+ photos on my computer of just. his. face. Maybe some things really don't need to be documented.

grateful for a fresh start. Carolina winters. A new shelf of books. Not having to work in an office, or at a mall, anymore. Just enough busy-ness to keep me sane, just enough quiet to give me space to breathe. A husband who encourages and challenges me.






Tuesday, December 2, 2014

katie and devin
























Grateful for these two, not only for their friendship but for the fact that they totally hammed it up in front of the camera and made this such a fun shoot. I love when my friends have secret modeling talents I didn't know about. 







Monday, November 24, 2014

three years















We went away to the Outer Banks for our third anniversary and it was windy and cold and cozy. There are a number of wonderful things to be said about the charming bed and breakfast we stayed at, but here's the main thing: they knew instinctually that a couple of coffee drinkers such as ourselves would require a pot delivered to the room before coffee at breakfast. 

It's nice, to feel so understood.

Mittened bike rides were taken to the lighthouse, books read, kayak rides contemplated until we realized we valued our lives too much to risk getting thrown out into the waves and eaten by a shark before dying of hypothermia. We ran out to the dock at night with blankets thrown over our heads like idiots, just to peek up at the starts before hurrying back for more coffee. (The innkeepers must know addicts when they see them; they informed us every time a new pot was brewed.)

On our second night, after watching It's a Wonderful Life in our room and drinking champagne out of the plastic cups they put by the sink, as one does, I thought I'd open up the reflection discussion. You know. I consider the reflection discussions part of my wifely duty. 

Reflections, of course, on our third year of marriage, how we fell infinitely deeper in love, how we began to understand one another on a deep, emotional level that was perhaps strong and true enough to fuel the raging sea outside our window, love and passion crashing together like thunderous November waves.

Mostly I was trying to think of the high points of the year. 

There were memorable moments, of course. The fancy dinner at that restaurant. A few trips here and there. A little mischief here and there.

But surely, surely there was something important we accomplished in our marriage. Some way we grew and changed and helped make each other better people. 

Silence.

"Um. We watched all eleven seasons of Cheers."

Cheers. 

That was our big accomplishment, watching Ted Danson age over the course of eleven years.



This was a bit depressing, even after the emotional song and dance of It's a Wonderful Life. (Good thing we hadn't chosen Rear Window instead; what can I say, I have a married lady crush on Jimmy Stewart.)

Had we really gone an entire year without changing in epic ways? Are we entering the years when you just sort of coast? My gosh, is THIS is why people have kids?

I did some solid, internal fretting for a good fifteen minutes. 

And then I looked around our room, which we had only inhabited for a couple of days but was already starting to look so much like us - the stacks of books, the scattered coffee mugs, the empty champagne bottle, the weird jar of coconut oil we use as toothpaste. Simple, everyday stuff.

And I realized there was so much ordinariness this year, in the midst of boredom and sometimes chaos. I didn't have a steady job for most of the year; Trevor worked two. It was confusing and hard at times, and we didn't have a lot of room to take epic leaps and bounds in our marriage. We had maybe two hours on a Monday afternoon. 


So maybe this year was mostly about staying sane and still liking each other. Maybe the grace that spurred us on was in the repetition of just doing the next right thing. Giving back rubs after a long day, making each other those boring old scrambled eggs every morning. Coffee with our friend Brittany every Tuesday, who made us laugh and taught us the pure joy that comes in walking with the Lord. The afternoons at the park, me on my unicycle, him running beside me, high-fiving each other every once in a while, a silent acknowledgement that we probably looked like a couple of circus freaks.


The dinners made together, the Target trips, redbox. Him jumping my car every time my battery died, me waving my hands around like a demented old woman and acting like I had no clue how this could have happened, again. Dinners with friends. White sheets and road trips and the farmer's market. Avocados. 


I bet a thousand little things happened that grew us and shifted our marriage and edged us a little bit closer to Christ. Like those moments that seem so ordinary - lunches in the cafeteria - until you look back ten years later and suddenly that part of your life looks like a freakin' Russian novel, each detail and character rushing the story forward to a dramatic conclusion you simply couldn't have seen at the time.

Maybe it's not for us to know, now. Maybe it's enough to trust God with the big stuff and to keep on keepin' on in our little appointed tasks. Maybe I'll go ahead and throw the chicken in the oven for him, before he comes home, and ask God for another year of love, of grace.








 
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