Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Domestic Bliss

Just an ordinary Friday.... With my hands fumbling around baby bottles, cereal bowls, and spoons deep in soapy water, my gaze wandered from the view out my kitchen window, a small patch of green grass between our building and the next, to my sweet girl in her high chair enjoying a handful of Gerber Puffs. She babbled and played with the her toy phone in one hand and attempted to pick up those tiny puffs with the other. Even while my thoughts wandered to the thousand and one tasks which have yet to be completed in order to brings order to the chaos of our new home and to the fact that my husband was far away on yet another work trip, I could not help but wear a smile of satisfaction for all seemed right with, well, at least, my world. Chris would be returning the next morning, and I wanted nothing more than for us to spend time together; the rest could wait.

We enjoyed two beautiful days. Shortly after I collected Chris from the airport mid-morning on Saturday, we grabbed an early lunch and returned home where all three of us settled in for a lovely afternoon nap. Normally, Chris and I don't nap. However, he was exhausted from the work week, and with both he and Willow Grace snuggled up in their beds, I didn't want to be left out! The rest of the weekend was filled with a variety of activities: a coed wedding shower/barbecue for Chris's brother and fiance, church, a trip top the grocery, and friends over for Sunday lunch. But I have to say that the best part of it all was having my husband by my side and my baby in my arms. God is so good.

I love being a wife and mother. I've been praying quite a bit lately that God would help me to continue to improve in those two areas. I want our home to be a place of comfort, safety, rest, and joy. When my family or anyone else walks through the door, I want them to feel a strong sense of peace. A lot of that has to do with the atmosphere I create within our home, and a great deal of that atmosphere is directly related to how much I pray and rely on Christ.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Place to Dream

I have written a few times about the garden which greets me each time I enter the building for my summer work. A few have asked me to post a picture or two, a request I am happy to oblige. While it is in no way grand, I don't think that any of my pictures do it any justice. It is just a humble little flower garden, and yet it still seems to whisper adventurous words of stories I've never written nor read and manages to bring me a smile each time I pause to examine a flower or a new view.

Serving as an invitation once I step onto the sidewalk from the parking lot, the sign below beckons to me. Much more than just the message of "Laugh" I hear "Lay aside your cares and concerns. Here is a place of peace and joy." It makes me think of I Peter 5: 7, "Cast all your cares on him for he cares for you."

I think that many people miss the beauty in a thistle, and I, too, was one of them. At first glance, it can seem nothing more than a mess of weeds and thorns, but there is something else there to be discovered, something you must find for yourself. I fell in love with them at Covenant College.

This metal pot of flowers is tucked back in a corner and can only be discovered if one takes the time to wander through the garden looking for hidden treasures. Life is a lot like that.

There is not much that I can say about the flowers below except that I was struck by their exotic beauty.

This little scene brings out the wistful romantic in me. (I'm sure that you've guessed that so much does.) Doesn't it look like the perfect place for a the clandestine meeting of two lovers?

At first, this stone wall emerging from the jungle of bushes and evergreens seemed like a mistake to me. However, I began to see it at a lovely place to rest while gazing at the beauty of the garden, reading a book, or perhaps even having a conversation with a cherished friend.

So many ideas for children's books come to mind when I look at this young boy. I find it a bit odd that he's reading a book on gardening, but perhaps that could be part of the mystery.

And this is the final object that catches my eye before I enter the building. It's somehow wild and orderly at the same time. That's certainly something with which I can relate.

I hope that you enjoyed my little tour!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Ready for Something Wild

Yesterday, Chris, Willow Grace, and I took our first trip to Nashville Zoo at Grassmere. While it was quite hot and extrememly humid, the three of us did manage to have a quite a nice time together. Neither Chris or Willow Grace had been to a zoo, and the last time I remember going was to the one in Chicago during my sophomore year of high school. It was such a treat to see the bengal tigers, porcupine, cranes, monkeys, bobcats, and other wild creatures. Willow Grace really enjoyed watching the meercats; it's a pity that we didn't take a picture of her watching them.

Chris and I each had an animal that we were looking forward to seeing.

For me, it was the giraffes.

They seemed to want to hang out at the back of their habitat and were a bit camera shy, but I still maganed to have a picture with them.
Chris was really looking forward to the elephants. Willow Grace loved them, too! When she first saw them, she yellled, "Dog!" Then she tried to say, "Bella" which of course comes out "Be-wah." She gets to see Bella whenever we go to Chris's parents house. We miss our big dog so much and are so grateful that we still get to see her. I don't think she quite understood our explanation that while Bella is indeed a very large dog, the elephants were much bigger and definitely not dogs. Oh well, at least she thought they were funny.

Monday, June 09, 2008

A House Becomes a Home

I tried to start this post Monday, but found that Willow Grace had become a little Houdini and was trying to escape all the boundaries I'd set up around the living room. She crawled through the bottom of the exersaucer, climbed on top of a black bin and tried to stand atop it before I rescued her, stepped up on the ledge of the fireplace and attempted to mount the ottoman-- all in desperate effort to set herself free to roam the unchartered territory outside of her normal play space. She's been really pushing her boundaries lately, and we have to keep an eagle eye on her. She's also teething pretty hard right now. She has two teeth coming in at the top, and it's made her fussy, feverish, a bit snotty, and extra sensitive. She cried more on Saturday than she has in a couple weeks put together, but by Sunday she was as chipper as ever. What a curiously delightful little girl!

Chris and I were buzzing around the house all day Monday attending to odds and ends. I hammered in a couple dozen nails for wall hangings and arranged anything I could get my hands on. We were finally able to find a piece of furniture for the dining room which can house the good china. I hated having it all wrapped up and stuck in the cabinet above the fridge. I'm not the type to wait for visiting dignitaries to use the good china, and I'll use it as soon as I can. I have a great dining room table; I just don't have any chairs to go with it at the moment unless you count our four folding chairs (which I don't). Chris is tackling the office and the patio today. Before long this house will be fit for company and perhaps even a few pictures for my blog!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Played Out!

Last night before bedtime, while Chris and I attended to the laundry, Willow Grace played in her crib until she just couldn't play anymore. See the little pink dog below her head? She loves it! She can say "dog" now and loves holding this one and repeating the word over and over!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Simple Pleasures

Today was my first day of summer work. Thankfully, I am only working two days a week this summer, much more time for family and personal projects. As I made my way into the building this morning, I could not help but smile as gazed at the quaint little flower garden near the entrance. During the school year, I use a completely different entrance on another side of the building and almost never see this little garden. However, during the summer, I have the privilege of being greeted each morning by lovely little yellow birds and brightly colored butterflies soaring around and through a wide array of flowers, ferns, and shrubs. Twice during the day I journey to the mailbox and get to walk back through this little garden, each time experiencing a few precious moments of peace and beauty. Ah, the little pleasures of life....

Speaking of pleasure, I love drinking hot tea. Today a kind coworker shared a bag of chai spice black tea with me. For me there's something almost romantic and... literary about drinking a cup of hot tea. In much the same way that a good book transports me to another place and time, hot tea seems to capture my senses and usher my thoughts to faraway lands. Each flavor, each aroma holds a different destination. I go through phases of indulging in this simple pleasure. It seems to me that I somehow become so busy or distracted that I simply forget about hot tea but then somehow I find my way back to my old friend and the romance begins again. In my single days, I would often take a cup of caffeine free tea out on the balcony of my apartment before bed each night and lazily sip away while gazing at the nigth sky and watching my neighbors come and go. Now my evenings are filled with giving the baby a bath, rocking her to sleep, preparing for the next day, and then hopefully catching a few moments with my husband before I wander off to bed. But we all have to find a few moments here and there to relax and find a bit of quiet peace, I hope that mine will include more hot tea!