Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dear new home owner,

Today you will acquire our house and I could get all nostalgic and tell you that I fell in love in that house and how my sweat is mixed with the dirt in the back yard and the paint on the walls, but instead, I am going to give you some practical tips from my first few years as a new homeowner:
- When you are at the store buying equipment for the house and you are standing before, say, hoses and you want to buy the shorter - and cheaper - version ... don't. Always go for the larger, longer option, you wont regret it. For instance, when you send your fiance  over the roof with the hose to spray out the gutters on the other side, a nice long hose comes in handy. In the meantime, however, Gideon, the old guy across the street, has everything you may need and then some.
- The yard may seem a little daunting at first but if you take care of the weeds and overgrowth, that will go a long ways to making it look nice. The first year, it's a good idea to wait and see what comes up so that you don't go messing with something that is already there. My general rule for weeds is that if they weren't there yesterday and they pull up easily (short root system), then I am safe to rip them up to my hearts content.
- A squirrel has spent the last two winters in the shed and I haven't done much about it since I don't think it does any harm. So, just don't let him scare you in the spring. And a rabbit sometimes lives under the gazebo ... I call him/her/it Thumpy but he/she/it does not respond.
- I am sorry about the grass ...
- two words: weed hog. (or fertilizer). ok, three words.
- maybe it was because I was a single girl for part of the time I lived there but if I left the leaves un-raked or the sticks un-picked up or the snow un-shoveled for too long, one of my neighbors, usually the Bosnian guy would just do it for me. They are nice neighbors and they are all retired in the I'm-going-to-sweep-my-sidewalk-sort of way so don't even attempt to compete with their yards. In fact, instead, let them help you with yours (that was my motto anyway).
- always, always, always get promised work in writing.
That's all! I hope you enjoy the house, kitchen and yard!

by the numbers

(a shout out to the layout of my cousins' Christmas cards)
48 hours
558 miles
1 dinner with Chris' family
1 lunch with mine
a few text messages exchanged which resulted in 10 friends for dinner at my fav place ... so good for my heart!
22 signatures (a piece) to transfer the title of our house over to a stranger
3 banks and an undisclosed amount of money wired to the title company (this isn't the place for me to grip about the amount but it is, indeed, a number)
1 successful run to Hobby Lobby to pick up 1 ball of yarn - and a good reminder to get enough yarn the first time 
6 (I think?) lovely pictures viewed on Dunn Brothers walls
30 minutes Chris spent on the roof. in the freezing wind and rain
1 last token trip to the compost pile with 2 bags of wet leaves. did i mention the freezing wind and rain?
2 friends over for dessert and 1 long conversation in Colby - love you ladies!
3 doggie toys went with us ... 2 came home
1 thankful and happy heart. Selling the house is an answer to prayer and going home for a visit was oh, so much better than leaving  =) 
all this and Loki and I still had time for 1 nap on a super comfy couch while wrapped up in snuggies
oh, and 40 - 50 mph wind to push us back home
Can you say whirlwind?!? We get to do it all again (with slight variations) in 8 days and I couldn't be happier!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Multitude Monday: the wordy version

1015 -1017: Quiet nights at work. Yes, I may say that I am bored and wish for busier, sicker patients (only health care professionals can wish for people to be sick and it isn't odd) and I will be happy when that time comes but I am also enjoying the time to sit, think, read, write (type) and talk. I do my best thinking at night (hence the name of this blog) and the last couple of months are no exception. And I'm reading a book that is rocking my world: Strong Women, Soft Hearts by Paula Rinehart. (thanks Gina for the suggestion! You are 2 for 2 -- did you know I was counting? Crazy Love is next!)
1018 - 1021: Choosing what is important. When I work consecutive night shifts, I wake up around 4pm and am on my way to work by 6:30pm, leaving about two hours of time to see Chris and do a few things. That also leave some time for me to decide that I'd rather make dinner with Chris than finish putting away the laundry from last week. I'd rather sit on the couch with him than make sure my hair is perfectly straight. I'd rather bike with Loki than putter around on-line. If I only have two hours with my love, I am determined to make those one hundred and twenty minutes count.
1022 - 1026: Going to Rochester. After I sleep and Chris is done with class today, we are driving to Rochester (i.e. home) where we will see some of my favorite people, eat at my favorite restaurant and do a few of my favorite things. We'll also finish some paperwork to sell our house on Friday. I think the next few days will be as much about closure as long hugs, good food and laughter. And I get to spend several hours all strung together when I am awake in the same place as my husband -- major bonus.
1027 - 1034: That brings me to the next one: Christopher. I find so much security in knowing that I am known, listened to and cherished by him. He knows what makes me happy, what helps makes working nights easier. He takes care of Loki, makes me fantastic meals, spends awhile holding me in the morning while I fall asleep and sends me sweet, reflective e-mails when I am gone. He is wonderful and the way he selflessly loves me gives me a glimpse of God's love.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

One Year ...

It has been a year since I started counting up to 1,000 gifts and I completed my goal this week. That is roughly 2.7 things to be thankful for every day (which actually doesn’t sound like all that much right now).

A year ago I sent my first gratitude list to my old roommate working on the Africa Mercy and somewhat stealth-ly started this little journey. This week I walked through the woods and the leaves crunched beneath my feet, so many leaves that, at times, it was impossible to see the trail but for the opening in the trees, and our little black dog panted contently at my side and I reflected on the significance of my year of being thankful.

I now know that simple things can be rituals that fill my soul: tea or coffee in my favorite cup in the morning, morning prayers, open windows, post-night shift mornings that find me curled up next to Chris, sitting with Loki on my lap, farmer’s market produce, individual time with friends.

I have found that cataloging the things I am thankful for has made me more aware of the things I really enjoy, I have found what makes me tick: coffee with friends, snickerdoodle cookies. working out with Chris, the changing of the seasons, playing in the dirt/doing yard work, knitting, making dinner for friends, having a clean kitchen sink and getting real paper mail.

These things happen every single day, they make me happy and remind me of God’s generous and abundant provision.

I think being thankful has caused me to be more present, in a in-the-moment sort of way. For many years, I have had a sense that I was waiting for the next “big” thing … event … trip … life change ... something. During this year I have focused on enjoying today, weather if be a laundry/house work/mail tending to sort of day or a crazy/fun/adventure filled sort of day. Both are needed: one is like the kidneys of life (taking care of business) the other is like the brain of life (where the magic happens). And who’s to say that taking care of business can’t also be magical? If you talk to a human anatomy prof or a renal doc, they may beg to differ that the magic happens in the brain but that kinda thwarts my analogy right now so I’m not going o go there. Anyway, I have managed to find the magic and gifts in the everyday and I consider it a blessing to be on this journey.

I am happier and more content and it so simple to explain: I encounter God everyday by being cognizant of the gifts that surround me.

I hope that when I am 82 my list will be long … 20,000 gifts … 50,000 gifts … I’m not sure what is realistic.
I hope I will teach my grandchildren the importance of being thankful and maybe they’ll say “grandma, you were alive when they had blogs?!?!?
I hope that my grave stone will say “grateful child of God.”

But most importantly, I hope I will give thanks in all things and for all things and that the spirit of thanksgiving will lead me closer to the Giver.

And so …

1001. this past year
1002. God’s generous and abundant provision
1003. street lights on a dark road
1004. the sky right before the sun sets
1005. the so quiet doggy on mornings when I am sleeping
1006. a near-perfect work schedule for next month
1007. attending a new biblestudy
1008. listening to a little girl read a Psalm
1009. connecting with a couple … before we moved, Chris and I didn’t really meet many new couple friends so it is novel we realize that we both really like the couple we just met and that feeling seems mutual as dinner invitations hang generously in the air.
1010. listening to majestic music while running errands
1011. the little things Chris does with and for me
1012. feeling loved and cherished from said things
1013. hearing my dear friend talk about her new motherhood
1013. finding "our place" - a beautiful park on Lake Michigan
1014. losing Loki's ball in Lake Michigan ('cuz he simply wouldn't fetch it) and being reminded of a similar incident on a super fun date when we were still dating. (Loki took the loss of his ball much better than Cinder's did though ... but we did eventually get Cinder's ball out of that little lake in Lanesboro)

Hope you all have a beautiful, blessed weekend!

Monday, October 11, 2010

How can I keep from singing?

the first several items, i wrote last week when I was sick ... the rest are from today. 

967. LOKI
i love this dog more everyday =)
 968. wearing a winter hat for the first time. I love winter accessories.
969. discovering all the trails in the woods. right next to our apartment complex
970. taking Chris to school
971. pumpkin spice coffee with a friend
972. farmer's market produce

973. Chris taking care of me when I am sick.
974. Loki laying on our bed, and on my lap, uncharacteristically happy to lay around with me all day
975. saltine crackers
976. the gadget we saved for so we can watch Netflix movies (and youtube and listen to pandora) on our tv. so cool.
977. seeing the pattern of my knitting project take shape. and then changing the pattern to make it easier to not make mistakes

978. this weekend.

979. this

980. and this
981. and this, trying to be a spaniel
982. these girls
983. and these guys
984. and this girl (she gets her own 'cuz she's special)
985. watching my lovely friend develop her hobby - beautiful photography
986. i mean, when the weekend ends like this, you know it was good.    

987. Six other people sleeping in our apartment
988. discovering beautiful places in Milwaukee
989. being there when Eva decides she likes something - anything - but on Saturday, Thai food
990. Sunday morning doughnut runs
991. Chris' face when something we make is really yummy
992. bowls literally licked clean
993. videos from Nigeria
994. finding comfort in the proof that friendships aren't destroyed by distance
995. friends who have fridge rights =)
996. feeling better
997. looking at my husband's schedule and knowing that he worked his mornings around me coming home from work
998. moments when we walked around a corner in the woods and stood speechless at the beauty of God's creation
999. and walking into an open area and being stunned again
1000 (!!!)