Monday, August 31, 2009

dare i say?

today seems fall-like here in charlotte. i am sure it won't last, but it's nice to get a little taste of cooler weather and general coziness.

here's what i'm looking forward to this week:

tomorrow night we're starting a book club/craft night/cooking group sort of thing at my house (also on the agenda..come up with a more concise name). it's going to be great. playing on the coziness of today, we'll have tea/coffee and chocolate chip banana bread, which reminds me of the northwest.

so that's my favorite thing about this week so far.

Friday, August 28, 2009

best part of my year, part II

i was nervous as we drove down our street. we had an entire country to cross, and i had made all of the plans and routes myself. things were resting pretty squarely on my shoulders. not to mention that my dad had just been diagnosed with bronchitis.

this was a big undertaking, and we were also feeling the anxiety of having to navigate potentially treacherous roads as we wound our way up and over the snoqualmie pass.

highway 167 that runs through puyallup was packed, and almost immediately i was convinced i'd made a navigation error, but it turned out fine and we got on i-90 after waiting in plenty of afternoon traffic. beulah slept quietly in her bed that had been tucked in between boxes and bags.

almost immediately we started making our way up, up, up. within an hour and a half we saw feet of snow packed on the sides of the interstate. definitely the most snow i'd ever seen. the roads were surprisingly clear, and we made it through without a thought.

soon after we got past snoqualmie, the scenery changed. before i knew it, this is what we saw:

(not my picture)

i had no idea that eastern washington had so many rolling hills and farms. but i loved it, and as we drove through this, the sun started to set. we passed through spokane, and crossed the line into idaho, and stopped for our first night on the road.

[i am pretty sure it was during our afternoon drive down from the mountain that i realized i had left my purse in the new beginnings van. i called jessi, and could not believe i left my wallet in puyallup. i'm still kicking myself about that. nick or jess, not sure which, fedexed it to one of the hotels along our route. thanks friends.]

we stayed at this hotel in post falls, idaho that didn't have an elevator. if you could have seen how much stuff we hauled in and out of our hotels each night (we streamlined SO much by our last night)-- coolers of food, dog bed, dog food, our bags, computers, it was ridiculous. not even to mention a dog on a leash. getting our stuff up the stairs was a workout, and not funny after a very full day, that had started with a trip to doctor's care, and was now finally ending.

as soon as our room was quiet, and beu had been walked, we closed our eyes. phew, deep breath, settle in for a good night's rest. pretty quickly, i realized-- i had not thought at all about my dad's snoring. oh the snoring. my dad had stinking bronchitis, so i was just glad he was resting at all, so i didn't want to tell him or make him feel bad, there was nothing he could do. so of course, i took to my blog in the middle of the night to talk about just how horrible it was. ha. and twitter (see above). as you can see above, that first night, i laid there, and thought of anything i could do to make it go away. finally, i decided the most logical (?) choice would be to use my nail clippers, go in the bathroom, and shred the inside of a maxi pad and shove it in my ears. i was obviously dillusional. i had an iPod. that was suggested later, and i felt quite silly.

we woke up that next morning, made our 16 trips back and forth to load up the car, and kept going east. this leg of our trip was one of my favorites. we drove back up a very tall mountain and into deep snow.

there were several well preserved mining towns, so we stopped in wallace, idaho to check things out.

b girl loved the snow.

not too long after these photos, we crossed over into montana. my favorite state (maybe i love wyoming more? toss up). this day was the most oddly perfect one of our trip. we stopped at the university of montana and threw the ball around the university's practice field for beulah. ate taco bell (which became our go-to fast food), and got some coffee. after that break we drove on, and this afternoon was the most picturesque leg of the trip, in my opinion.

after several hours of driving after our break the university, i asked my dad to pull over on an exit* and let beulah use the bathroom, and maybe there'd be room to run her around a little bit to keep her tired for the rest of the day in the car.

*exits in montana are much different than i was used to. they all have cattle guards and are free range, meaning cattle just roam where they please.

it was late afternoon by now, and we drove up over a hill as we exited the highway and saw the prettiest scene..ever.

turns out we had stopped at a historical marker, and this was a campground for lewis and clark. as i walked beulah around, i looked down by the river bank beside me and saw a group of horses walking over to me. history, animals, farmland. i was in heaven. this is still my favorite memory of the trip.

more to come..[this is getting long:)]

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

best part of my year

as i drove up to starbucks this morning, i started thinking about my trip across the country with my dad. i think about it a lot, actually. to say that i loved that trip would be an understatement. it was perfect. i realized today, that besides a few quick pictures, i never really told you about any of our tales from the road.

i need to get out the binder that i made (with directions, phone numbers for hotels, starbucks at each stop, and dog parks near our hotels, etc.) and look at our route and all of the receipts and stuff that were collected along the way. that would probably bring back a flood of other memories. for now though, we'll just go with what i've got stored in the ol' mind grapes.

i picked up my dad from the airport the night before we would head out. i was not particularly 'excited' about everything that was about to happen, i didn't have a job, and was not sure where i would live when i made it across the country, so it was the next step in the process, but it wasn't particularly exciting. i made it through the heavy traffic to the airport, picked up my dad, and quickly realized that he wasn't feeling too great. we stopped by trackside pizza on the way home, and then back to new beginnings.

i don't remember thinking anything out of the ordinary about spending the last night in my bed in washington.

the next morning i went to take beulah for a walk, and fixed my dad and i some toast and eggs. the first thing out of my dad's mouth that morning was that he needed to go to urgent care. he avoids the doctor more than anyone i know, so hearing him say that i knew things had gone south over night. before we headed out for urgent care, we checked the condition of the snoqualmie pass, which we would have to cross to continue on our way east. on the washington DOT website they have a 24 hour a day webcam of the conditions of the pass. when it came up on my computer, all you could see was white. all white, with maybe a swirl of white once in a while. we would have to re-route.

i was familiar with the local puyallup doctor's care, because i just been there myself after getting bitten in the face by a dog about a week earlier. so he and i made it up the hill, and got in and out of there relatively quickly. turns out my dad had bronchitis, and the doctor put him on an antibiotic that was 'one rung below hooking him up to an IV'. all morning i had been trying to convince dad that we should take another day, let him get better, and hopefully allow the pass to thaw out some.

there was no convincing him, and after a stop by fred meyer for his prescription and some food to fill our cooler, we decided to go ahead and pick up our rental car. on our way to get the car, i dropped beulah off down the street with her best friend tucker, so she would be nice and tired for the first leg of our journey. tucker's mom, vicki and i talked about the pass, and she said that many times it will snow all morning, but then be 'passable' by the afternoon, but that the window is very slim, because as soon as the sun starts to go down, everything refreezes. we were on the clock, we had to make it to the pass at just the right time.

that rental car trip turned into an ordeal that lasted a couple of hours. after some frustration, including waiting for a car, hertz taking back a car, and then waiting another hour for a new car, we drove off the lot. the wait was only intensified as watched our window of time dwindle smaller and smaller.

on the drive back to the house, i texted jessi and told her that we were on our way. she was waiting to leave for her doctor's appointment until i got back. she also waited to put glory down for her nap until i could say goodbye. this trip home before saying goodbye was the first time i really cried about leaving the connollys. i walked in, and hugged the kids on the stairs, hugged jessi, and she left quickly for her doctor's appointment.

we just ripped it off like a bandaid.

my dad i packed the rental car quickly, and it began to rain. we packed and repacked the car trying to configure all of the puzzle pieces of boxes and luggage, and dog beds. finally, we had everything placed. we hugged nick goodbye, and pulled out of new beginnings, and drove down the street to pick up a tired and wet beulah. i said a tearful goodbye to our friends vicki and tucker as well.

then we were off.
[longer than i expected, will continue soon..]

Monday, August 24, 2009


i actually like mondays. i've had some time to build up a resevoir of patience, and it is fun to see the kids after being gone a few days, so mondays are usually full of twin kisses and new words they've learned over the weekend, it's the wednesdays and thursdays when we're all used to each other again, that things get a little hairy.

life these days is really good. my nights are filling up with time with great friends that i'm beginning to know well enough that i don't feel like my house has to be spotless for their visits, and i know that i can call them if i'm feeling upset or having a bad day. you know when your friendships cross over into that mode? from acquaintances to daily supporters? it's nice.

i'll tell you though, loneliness does still creep in. more so now that i'm living by myself. because when i drive up at night, it's just me. i've thought a lot about this, because when you get married, or are in a relationship, this doesn't magically change. you are still alone in your heart of hearts--alone in the way that you're accountable ultimately to the Lord for your thoughts and actions. so the struggle to find contentment in that quiet place where it's just you, is something we all share, right?

but on a more basic level, i can get a little sad, being on my own. i think i forget that God can be my biggest supporter, if i let him. many times, i keep him contained to being 'my help in trouble' or i seek him so that my motives are a little less selfish and little more serving, and i forget that he can be my encourager, my comfort, my cure for loneliness. my ultimate companion when i come home to an empty house again.

i am going to do my best to remember he can be that for me.

Friday, August 21, 2009

happy birthday to my sister

this is maria the first time i met her (after she and jared were dating--this picture is from the weekend i came down to meet her as jared's girlfriend). i met her that one other time at metro coffee house, and wondered to myself who exactly this maria thomas was, and if my brother loved her. turns out he did.

tomorrow you'll be 22. weird that i didn't know you four years ago, and now you're my sister and best friend.

on your birthday i want you to know, that i couldn't have dreamed up a better person to marry my brother. ever ever. you have a big heart (and regular sized hands), and i learn a lot from who you are. thanks for being my partner in crime in this new life here in charlotte.


  • thanks for helping me out with the babies more times than i can count.
  • i love our sunday mornings, going to starbucks (when we can afford it, french press when we can't) together after jared has gone super early to work.
  • you love beulah even though you're allergic, and you pretend like it doesn't bother you even when you're sneezing.
  • you're a GREAT wife to jare.
  • thanks for taking the time to know me and love me well.

happy birthday maria!!! i hope it is a great day, and maybe they won't call you in to work!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

a little heavy hearted

today i feel bogged down. just like there is a LOT going on. and to be honest, a lot of spiritual warfare stuff happening. like that feeling of needless worry, darkness, and anxiety. but also of hope and expectation.

i've been put in situations in the last few weeks where i have the opportunity to speak truth. but it's hard because i have the opportunity to speak truth about things that i am currently struggling with, or have struggled with in the past. in the midst of those opportunities i am convinced that i am an impostor, and that i am in no position to speak truth, and have even belittled the healing that has taken place in my life, because i'm scared that i will mess up in the future, and that someone will be there and say, "HA! i thought you said you were healed".

and i know none of these thoughts are coincidental. part of me runs from phrases like "spiritual warfare" because of ways i've seen people abuse the notion in the past. they've made it an excuse for emotional fanfare. but here is the reality, when you get involved and become apart of something that is changing lives, there will be a force that works against you.

so today, right now, i feel equal parts excited and ready to fight.

all of this said, i also covet your prayers for my church and all of the staff and families in the next few days. saturday/sunday are huge days for elevation. the anticipation is thick and tangible. please pray for protection and rest for everyone gearing up for this weekend.

it's been a long time since i've been this excited about church.

Monday, August 17, 2009

to my friend

(this, my friend, i'm sorry to say, is the only picture of the two of us on my computer taken on the morning after your slumber party last year)

dear jessi,

remember when i lived with you? in that yellow house? oh yeah, me too.

there are a lot of things i could write about you as a friend. people see the wisdom that is evident in your actions, and the love that is freely given to those around you (both far and near). that's easy to see. people admire the confidence with which you and nick walk this road you're walking, not because you have it all figured out, but because you don't.

i love all those things about you, yes. but here's what i want to talk about on your birthday. my favorite non-important, non-life-altering moments from living with you.
  • how much you wanted to be in/plan faythe and jimmy's wedding
  • you holding my cell phone ransom
  • ice cream nights
  • fights about LOST
  • taking the girls to see baby mama, and you being so excited to drive. by yourself.
  • your to-do list for me while y'all were in the carolinas.
  • when we first started spinning class.
  • any time we cooked something (your bday cake last year, thanksgiving, etc.)
  • your interpretation of the 'so you think you can dance' dance from last season. and yes, it is still on my computer.
  • anytime we'd have to be a team and go regulate with one of the girls (too soon? still too raw?)
  • remember when i had to go to a certain girl's baby shower by myself. have we ever talked about how awful that one really was?
  • you leaving a pregnancy test on my night stand while my parents were visiting.
  • anytime one of those freaking cats would get in the house, and you would run around trying to corrall them.
  • you puking on middle school volunteers (not on, i guess)
  • ANY interview we did with potential girls (britney, me and faythe walking in in our pajamas)
  • the morning after your birthday slumber party last year, playing trivial pursuit in the dungeon with you, nick, thadd and marilee. and the babies of course.
  • lunch times with the connollys (amy's meals)
  • trying to sneak in the musick's garage to get some diet coke
  • bomb threat at h&m
  • absolutely any time we talked about pregnancy questions during the weekly meetings.
part of me feels like i'm forgetting a lot of funny moments from the year, and the other part thinks maybe there weren't a whole ton of hilarious moments. BUT, i would not have lasted through it without you.

i hope you have a wonderful day today, I LOVVVVVEEEE YOU.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Favorite Women

I want to talk about a couple of things before the madness begins tomorrow.


It's been a year since I first heard/read about Stephanie Nielsen's plane crash, and I have been challenged and broken-hearted by her courage (her entire family's, truly). Tonight, after I realized I had forgotten to eat dinner, I sat down with my bowl of cereal and thought I'd check in and see if Nie had posted anything new on her blog. Here's the thing, Stephanie was burned over 80% of her body. Not only is that an incredibly difficult recovery from medical standpoint, but from an emotional one as well. Up until now she had not posted a picture of her new self (a new outside at least) on her blog.

When her page came up tonight, I gasped. Not because what I saw was shocking, but because what I saw was this woman I'd come to know over the last year. New. Changed. Alive. And achingly beautiful in tranperancy and bravery.

It may seem silly to say, but after praying for her over this year, I consider her my friend, and seeing her face tonight really blessed my heart (there's a button on my right sidebar to her blog).

I also need to talk about Jessi. In forty five minutes (east coast time) it will be her birthday. I thought a lot today about what I could or would want to say about my friend. But I am going to wait until tomorrow to write her a proper post. Because I've erased and rewritten like six things.

For now though, Happy Birthday Jessi!!!

Saturday, August 15, 2009


Tonight I watched the first part of Ken Burns' Civil War documentary. I can't think of many things I'm more moved by than stories of people's every day lives. I felt much the same after watching any of Ken Burns' work. Hungry, like I just want to learn more. What a gift to be able to give an audience. Passion.

The first part ended with a letter written by Sullivan Ballou to his wife. To be honest, I was up and around doing stuff in my house and wasn't paying enough attention to appreciate it fully, but as I read an article just now on this documentary it kept mentioning this letter and how amazing it was. So I found it, here it is:

July 14, 1861

Dearest Sarah,

The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days - perhaps tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to write you again, I feel impelled to write lines that may fall under your eye when I shall be no more.

Our movement may be one of a few days duration and full of pleasure - and it may be one of severe conflict and death to me. Not my will, but thine 0 God, be done. If it is necessary that I should fall on the battlefield for my country, I am ready. I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in, the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how strongly American Civilization now leans upon the triumph of the Government, and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and suffering of the Revolution. And I am willing - perfectly willing - to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this Government, and to pay that debt.

But, my dear wife, when I know that with my own joys I lay down nearly all of yours, and replace them in this life with cares and sorrows - when, after having eaten for long years the bitter fruit of orphanage myself, I must offer it as their only sustenance to my dear little children - is it weak or dishonorable, while the banner of my purpose floats calmly and proudly in the breeze, that my unbounded love for you, my darling wife and children, should struggle in fierce, though useless, contest with my love of country?

I cannot describe to you my feelings on this calm summer night, when two thousand men are sleeping around me, many of them enjoying the last, perhaps, before that of death -- and I, suspicious that Death is creeping behind me with his fatal dart, am communing with God, my country, and thee.

I have sought most closely and diligently, and often in my breast, for a wrong motive in thus hazarding the happiness of those I loved and I could not find one. A pure love of my country and of the principles have often advocated before the people and "the name of honor that I love more than I fear death" have called upon me, and I have obeyed.

Sarah, my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me to you with mighty cables that nothing but Omnipotence could break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me irresistibly on with all these chains to the battlefield.

The memories of the blissful moments I have spent with you come creeping over me, and I feel most gratified to God and to you that I have enjoyed them so long. And hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes of future years, when God willing, we might still have lived and loved together and seen our sons grow up to honorable manhood around us. I have, I know, but few and small claims upon Divine Providence, but something whispers to me - perhaps it is the wafted prayer of my little Edgar -- that I shall return to my loved ones unharmed. If I do not, my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you, and when my last breath escapes me on the battlefield, it will whisper your name.

Forgive my many faults, and the many pains I have caused you. How thoughtless and foolish I have oftentimes been! How gladly would I wash out with my tears every little spot upon your happiness, and struggle with all the misfortune of this world, to shield you and my children from harm. But I cannot. I must watch you from the spirit land and hover near you, while you buffet the storms with your precious little freight, and wait with sad patience till we meet to part no more.

But, O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the garish day and in the darkest night -- amidst your happiest scenes and gloomiest hours - always, always; and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath; or the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by.

Sarah, do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for thee, for we shall meet again.

As for my little boys, they will grow as I have done, and never know a father's love and care. Little Willie is too young to remember me long, and my blue eyed Edgar will keep my frolics with him among the dimmest memories of his childhood. Sarah, I have unlimited confidence in your maternal care and your development of their characters. Tell my two mothers his and hers I call God's blessing upon them. O Sarah, I wait for you there! Come to me, and lead thither my children.


Friday, August 14, 2009

fantasy five year plan

i am currently sitting on the couch with the kids (i think they've graduated from 'babies', they're BIG). we're watching flo rida on the today show, because, you know, i like to keep them educated on all things hip hop. not really, but i am trying to keep them from hitting a wall, for there shall be no morning nap.

so here we sit.

this morning on the way in to work, i was thinking about what i want the next five years to look like. it's easy to live day to day, and not think about the long term. but i am really trying to get my finances together, and hope to take a class on finances this fall. but my lofty, five year goal, is to buy a house.

yesterday i was looking at farms for sale, and i had fun envisioning how i would change it, and make it amazing.

[time out for the actual biggest fit in history, deep breath, and continue].

so here's my latest find:

100 year old farmhouse, about 45 minutes north of charlotte. it's on a little over 5 acres.

look! it has a canning shed behind the house.

part of the pasture and there's a barn out there, too.

there are pictures from inside the house that i'll have to show you another time. but anyway, there's another house to dream about. you guys can pray for me in that area, that i will really get things in order and grow up when it comes to saving and being wise about finances. i am making a turn around. a big one. so maybe this won't always be a fantasy.

love you, and i hope you have a great weekend. for now, here's what i'm doing right now:

started out fine,

there it is



excuse me

they both joined in..

happppy friday!

i love these nuts.

Monday, August 10, 2009


my parents came up for a short visit this weekend.

when i was talking with ally the next day, i was telling her that my mom had been asking if there were "any men in my life". we laughed, and she said, "oh it'll get better, just wait until they offer to pay for eharmony".

i will admit, turning 25 has put the fear of God in me a little. BUT, let's not get ahead of ourselves, i'm not an old maid.

maybe i have a portion of bridget jones in me, but not an old maid.

i'm content with my quiet little life.
but those that know me well, can always be on the lookout (awink).

Thursday, August 06, 2009

what are your staples?

when cooking for one, you have to be creative. keep it small, low maintenance, quick. unless it's the weekend, and then you can go nuts.

usually when i find a breakfast or lunch that works, i stick with it until i am sick of it. i guess that's sort of the same for everyone. dinners are more inconsistent. there is a higher chance of eating out, and many times i will just scavenge something at the house, or worse, stop and pay for take-out (rarely).

so, let's help each other. if you're single, what are your tricks for keeping meals small? and everyone else, what are the things you eat every day at your house?

for me right now, pretty much every morning, i have a whole wheat english muffin (double fiber), split, with a fried egg on top of each slice. it's heaven. with some french press coffee. eaten in between having food thrown at me from two high chairs.

lunch lately has been a lot of dr. praeger's california veggie burgers (also thrown on an english muffin, or just plain with a salad). and then scraps from the kids food:)

snacks have been animal crackers and milk (ehhh?).

oh man, my dinners lately have been LACKing. but last night was good. just some tomato, fresh mozz, pita chip, basil/balsamic action. wine. and some sea salt brownies for dessert. that, to me, is perfection.

other things that i'm never without:
  • luna bars/fiber one bars for a quick breakfast
  • vanilla soy milk
  • hummus
  • avocado
  • great harvest bread (for a grilled cheese or pb&j)
  • yogurt
  • bisquick (breakfast for dinner..duh)
so tell me. what is always on your grocery list?

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

no direction

i'm starting this post with no clear direction, or anything specific to share with you. jared recently informed me that blogs are 'out'. since then, i've had a hard time thinking of things to write about. it made me self-conscious.

it's just another tuesday around here, and i just ate one handful too many of animal crackers. why are those things so good? all lemony and awesome. dipped in milk, even better.

this week has been full of transition, my favorite roommate/person moved out on saturday. i knew it was coming, but geeze, living on my own hit me like a ton of bricks. when you have good roommates it's a really nice thing. so the last few days have consisted of a lot of rummaging, trying to find things to fill up the house. i was able to make it liveable, and dare i say, kind of cute with found items around the house.

my first visitor, and new friend, laci, is coming over tonight to watch tv, and hang out. so that's good.

the kids are napping right now, and the very last scene of the sopranos is on a&e right now. gosh, so frustrating. i was just like everyone else when that first aired, i totally thought my dvr had messed up and cut off the ending. but no, that was it.

what else?

not sure how august got here? though, in some ways it is really hard to believe i've only been in charlotte 4 months. 4 more months and it's the holidays. i had that realization today, which sent me searching for christmas cabins.

also, i have sent out emails and talked to anyone who would possibly read this blog about needing roommates. unless you're a lurker, in which case, i need a roommate. if you know of anyone in charlotte who needs a place until the end of december, please let me know! and if you know of someone really cool, then i'll definitely be needing someone to live with more long term than that. the rental i'm in now will just be through december though. so if you know of anyone, leave me a comment.

update on my farmers market project: i have not forgotten. i took this week off, because i didn't make a meal plan, and didn't want to just get helter-skelter produce. but, i'll be updating with pictures after this weekend.

on a similar subject, has anyone seen 'food, inc.' yet?

i figured this is one i'll have to go see by myself. looks really good though, huh?

annnnnyway, i think that is a pretty good wrap up of life right now.

love love love.
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