Sunday, June 28, 2009

Kansas in my bones...

Exhaustion and gratefulness are settling in my bones. I'm getting downright spoiled by friends and loved ones letting me abuse the excuse "I'm moving to Virginia July 2." The last final days have been full of final hurrahs and stuffed with the reminders that some things like BFFs are more permanent than a move to VA for a couple of years. Kansas is in my bones, just like it was for the 6 generations before me. Here are just a few of the blessings of the last few days...

1. A trip to Nell Hill's. Mom was surprised we drove all the way to Atchison. It's not for the shopping but for the experience and drive time. The 5 of us spent LESS than $50. We had lunch at Mar
igold cafe and laughed. Especially because we had time to take pictures while Abbey's purchase was gift wrapped for no reason.

2. The pool! Two days and no sunburn.

3. Sarah Z's wedding. God was in this place for this happy joining of two hearts.

4. Playing, dancing, laughing, and Red Bull. People laughing at me and with me every single day. Thankfully after almost 26 years, I know how to join in and hold my own.

5. A Last Cheer. Tonight at youth group I had powerful experiences that rocked my heart and affirmed this path. I've been at Village working with the youth most summers (and school years) since 2003. My first 7th graders are going to college! Tonight Matt offered incredibly kind words and led the group in praying for me. My coworkers and 35 youth laid their hands on me and prayed. For me. For the work God has begun in my life. It is a tradition that comes from the early church, and it is IMPOSSIBLE to not be moved by the spirit during that experience.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

When two of you get together...

Tuesday night was the last Bible study I'll be a part of before I move next week. We have met every 2nd and 4th Tuesday (or really really close to that!) since January 2007. We just finished studying Esther and had a potluck dinner. It was good, but probably not as good as our Thanksgiving Bible study dinner. That was really really good.

We have had a lot of different members since we started, and every addition has been a blessing! It started with me, Lindsay, Kate McIntyre (not Bradley yet), and Amy Biggs (not Warren yet) sitting around at Starbucks. Over the past two years, we added Raegan, Lauren V., Abbey, Tara, Kate Wallace, and Sarah Z. We also added two dogs, Stella and Belle.

As unofficial time keeper, I tried to keep us on pace to finish discussion (often lively) by 9:15. Prayer concerns and the sharing of what was really happening in our lives often took the majority of our time together.

While it's not the classiest picture of us, it is a good one. I love that Stella is perched in the front looking at us all like we're crazy. That's about right.

"When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action. And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I'll be there." Matthew 18:18-20.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Apartment 404

Last week they refinished the parking lots in our apartment complex. It was a pretty annoying project because it involved moving our cars several times, rain delays, and an extra long hike to the Pilot. But when I came home from Erica and Jon's lovely new house, it looked like this:

It was so peaceful. This is the view from my apartment looking across at Lindsay's building. I have lived here for just under 3 years, a very long time for a first apartment after college. Lots of good memories here, a few with Kenneth, but mostly with Erica. We cooked, watched a lot of TV, planned and hosted parties, Bible studies, and talked constantly about love, friendship and teaching adventures.

This quiet picture made me think of the day Erica got engaged. It was a really snowy day in early December, and Erica and I rented a movie to relax. I knew that Jon was going to propose, and I was super impatient. We watched Stardust, which is excellent, and were thankful we were out of the snowy mess outside. Belle lived with us then, and I remember curling up with her on the little square of carpet left next to Erica's huge coffee table. Jon was text messaging me as the weather affected his plans, and I made excuses to go in the room next door to talk with him on the phone.

Finally, he came to pick her up, and I settled in to wait. I knew they were headed to dinner and a proposal at the Nelson, and I impatiently fiddled about in the apartment, stuck inside because of the snow. I worked on Erica's Christmas present, a scrapbook full of all the gifts he had given her during the 12 days of proposal. Finally the phone call came, and I was tremendously excited because they are clearly a match.

I will miss them both immensely. What kind friends! Last night during Book Club, Jon washed my car. They are generous, loving, and both too willing to listen to my crazy stories.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Family Dinner

Kenneth, Melinda, Dereck, Jon, Erica and I have been having family dinners for a little over a year. We have had a lot of great family dinners together at Reeds Road, at Apt. 404 when we ate entirely leftovers, and at one of my favorite restaurants, La Bodega. Erica and I love to cook for the boys, and I will miss their willing stomachs. They would eat anything I cooked! They were suckers for my monster cookies and that homemade spaghetti sauce that I made on New Years' Day. Erica holds her own in the kitchen too, and Jon's a fantastic griller. We like when he grills so much that we all chipped in for a grill for their wedding present.

This weekend we had some awesome family dinners in New Mexico! The boys have all spent plenty of time there and were so excited to share their favorite places with us. We also tried a few new gems, and we ate green chili more times than I can count.

Thursday, we stopped at Standard Diner in Albuquerque. Jon found it after watching Guy's show on the Food Network. The best thing any of us ordered was Jon's choice of bacon wrapped meatloaf. Seriously delicious. I also loved the flash fried tuna with wasabi guacamole and ginger tartar sauce.

Friday, we ate lunch at Riveria's which used to be called Kristina's (and still is by the boys). Green chili, but more importantly, sopapillas! They are as big as a small plate, greasy and perfect with tons of honey. We ate them before and after our meal, and took them with us! We also went back on Saturday at lunch for more sopapillas.

After great breakfast at the Nortons' cabin on Saturday morning and a short hike, we went into Pecos again for lunch. Dairy Queen or the Pecos Drive-In. Easy choice: Drive-In. I ate my first green chili cheeseburger. Awesome. We would eat them again on Sunday night at the Owl Cafe in Alb
uquerque, because everything is better with green chili.

Our last family dinner was Kenneth and Melinda's wedding. I cried afterwards.

The goal we set at La Bodega is simple: one family dinner a year. I love these people.