Category Archives: seasons

catch up.

I really want to not be a crappy blogger, but the longer you accidentally go between posts, the more hopeless you feel about catching up. This is why I always have about four unfinished projects going on at the same time. ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway, our little family has now relocated to South Florida. It’s been almost a month, and we’ve celebrated three birthdays, shared Christmas with two families, and are enjoying the pace of this new life. (In some ways, of course, it’s not so new; but doing it with a baby and while not in high school–that’s new.)

We had planned on leaving Highlands the Wednesday after Thanksgiving, but decided to slip out late at night on Tuesday as we were feeling too much anticipation. In a way this was great, because we were able to get five out of twelve hours of driving done while Summer slept, and it gave me no time to be extremely ceremonial about things like Summer’s last bath in the house, or Summer’s last night in her first bedroom, or our last night in our bedroom/kitchen/house. No no, instead we decided around 6 to leave by 10, and we ran around like mad people swiffering and zipping suitcases and making Summer giggle.

The next day we were in Fort Lauderdale before sunset, spending time with family as if it were a typical Wednesday night occurrence. Our lives since then have been nonstop, mostly because a lot of our friends (and two siblings!) that live in other states or countries come home at this point in the year and choose to spend some time with us. They are so sweet. (Though I’m sure the draw is da baby.)

We have had an amazing time so far, but we’re realizing that it may take quite some time before this doesn’t feel like just a break or a vacation. It’s been close to six years since either of us have lived here full time (minus Tim’s semester at home), so it’s hard to make this reality sink in. However, now that the majority of people that have kept our calendar hoppin’ are leaving, we are really looking forward to a slower and more grounded sense of life. Don’t get me wrong–I look forward to Christmastime all year. But I also really enjoy alone time and concentrated time with Tim and I’ll be honest–less people to share Summer with. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Just kidding!

Actually, that has been the biggest blessing and source of joy for us thus far. Last week I was moved to tears as Summer was surrounded by 15+ family members–she just looked around the room at all of them with a huge smile on her face and just the most beautiful sense of contentment. She makes it clear that she knows who her family is, and she is so happy just being with us. It is so amazing to witness the amount of love surrounding this little girl. There are so many people very close to her that love her, which is truly is such a gift to all three of us. I would highly recommend living near family when you have a baby if at all possible (this is a statement that would go against my typical MO of “be independent! do what you want! explore everything!” so you know I must be serious).

In bullet point form, we have found a church that we like. It’s probably comprised of 40 people so we are really loving that. Summer has her first pediatrician appointment on Monday, and Tim is getting ready to hold auditions for a musical at Atlantic Christian Academy! We are really enjoying taking our time in getting around to serious things, a luxury afforded to us by our parents’ generosity.

I will update again very soon with photos and more fun things! Thanks for reading!

Gratitude Lately.

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This week I’ve been grateful for the last colored leaves gracing our deck.

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Bathtime funtime with this silly goose.

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Colors and silhouettes and all of the natural things we are surrounded by.

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Summer’s teething lips and the dress that matches Dolly’s.

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Spying on story time with these two darlings.

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That somehow they become extra cute when they’re all bundled up and cuddly.

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Our last days in this teensy mountain town.

Gratitude.

Every week, I’ll be taking a nod from one of my favorite blogs and just doing a quick update and practice in thankfulness.

So in the past few weeks, here are a few things I’ve been grateful for:

family

My sweet best loves who make everyday exciting.
kimery tim

Best friends who drive 5 hours up horrible roads to see us. And the beautiful scenery we’re surrounded by!

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Fresh air, mobility, and shared experiences.

pumpkin outfit

This perfect girl and the silly and adorable outfits she lets us flaunt her in (pardon the cleavage).

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My family that only gets better with age.

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Facetiming the best sister/aunt.

leaves

Watching this girl enjoy the seasons.

Happy Thursday everyone! May we each experience the amazing power of gratitude: how it turns everything into enough.

โ€œLet us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.โ€
โ€• Marcel Proust

on meeting rachel held evans.

Last year for Christmas, Tim gave me both of Rachel Held Evans’ books. I had asked for her most recent, A Year of Biblical Womanhood, but he got me both saying that he thought it would be helpful to have her whole canon haha. Boy am I lucky–he is so thoughtful. And right.

My first introduction to Rachel was in a World Religions class my senior year. Our professor showed us this post, and while it wasn’t written by her, I knew she must have been pretty awesome to have this featured on her blog. For some time I would randomly visit her website, read some things she had posted and walk away really grateful and happy that someone out there had the ability to write so well about things that I felt I couldn’t, simply because to gather all my thoughts on these subjects and wrestle them down into actual words and sentences seemed like so much work (and by this time I was pregnant anyway, and making placenta is just truly exhausting). This is how I heard about her book, and I was ECSTATIC that not only was a young woman confronting the ideas that calling anything “biblical” is quite silly and that the Bible offers one actual stance on womanhood, but she actually took various instructions from the Bible as they related to women and lived them out literally for a year. So yeah, this gal sincerely refrained from touching anyone for twelve days during her period. She. is. awesome. I’ll let you read the publisher-approved Amazon description of it here.

But anyway, my biggest takeaway from this gem of a book was the idea of a “hermeneutic of love.” Tim and I have so many conversations centered on the frustrating task of interpreting the Bible, including how upset we get when people assume it’s a simple task and that there are little questions to be asked of it. Plus we both know just from, oh I don’t know–living life–that it is 10000% impossible to approach anything without some sort of filter or even ambition. And even if you are coming at it as objectively as possible, without any goal in mind, you cannot shed your layers of experience, personality, and ideas of who God is as you read the Bible. I’m positive that this is why there is so much debate about many of the Church’s “touchy” subjects–especially women. But Rachel reminds us that Jesus is the fulfillment of, well, the Bible. He is the standard of perfection–the human example given to us (& GOD ON EARTH) and the one that we should emulate. And when asked, Jesus offers that theย greatest commandment is toย love. EVERYONE. What a beautiful lens through which to read the Bible. And of course, one could easily go into specifics on Jesus’ wonderful, edifying, and important relationships with women as further instruction, but this hermeneutic of love offers so much. It encourages us to speak kindly, listen to other views, and–dare I say it–perhaps interpret the Bible in a more progressive, “What would Jesus do with this group of people now?” kind of way. I don’t know, I loved this book to pieces. I highly recommend it to ALL.

A few months later, I read her first book, Evolving in Monkey Town. This was a sincere treat for me, because during her junior year of college, she entered a very similar faith crisis as I did my junior year of college (but you know, ten years later). Her thoughts and ways of contending with ongoing doubt spoke so deeply to me as I continue to question and wrestle and doubt (as I surely will for all my days sigh). So seriously, if you’ve ever had just the slightest doubtful question and are not okay with trying to completely shut it up but would rather live with it and soak in the tension, please read this book. I’m pretty sure she’s revising it right now so a second edition should be coming out fairly soon. (Another book of comfort to me was In Praise of Doubt.)

ANYWAY, last night, Tim and I (and Summer!) ventured to Asheville to hear Rachel speak about this year of “biblical womanhood” and have a Q&A session. Tim and I were in. our. glory. As grateful as we are for this current season and the tremendous gift it has been to spend these 18 months in Highlands, we are severely devoid of “fellowship” (GAH that word) with people of like-mindedness, people who are willing to challenge us, and jeez I don’t know, Christians at all. And some of this is our fault, because we have been slightly reluctant to get too involved with the church we go to (because we are leaving soon, theological differences, lack of young married couples–much less 23 year old parents, etc.). But some of it is also work schedules, and that we are living in (partial) seclusion. But to be able to have a quick chat with Rachel and her husband Dan, to ask some questions and hear ideas from them, to just have a small interaction of this nature sincerely refreshed our souls so much. (Obviously, we really miss Taylor. ๐Ÿ˜ฅ We react similarly every time friends come to visit haha.)

We are so excited about taking our time to find a church in Florida, getting to know the people there, obtaining mentors (I’ve never had one but my friend Naomi tells me it’s the sheet) (Rachel plz b my long-distance mentor, thx bb), and just hopefully being a part of a group or network of people in which we can be honest about our questions and thoughts, challenged in these, encouraged in these, and pushed toward excellence and ongoing growth.

My personal challenge for myself as we enter this new time in our lives is summed up in this Henri Nouwen quote: “Sometimes I feel imprisoned by my own insights and ‘spiritual competence’. You alone, Lord, can reach out to me and save me. You alone.”

I want to sit through a church service without making a mental list of all the “wrong” or “backwards” things I just heard. I want to shed any idea that I have an elite view of how to live a Christian life. And I want to remind myself of the potency of the resurrection every single day, holding Jesus’ act as my motivation for doing everything instead of my pride or insecurity (what’s the difference, people) or fear.

I want to not be intellectually lazy. There are some days that I, embarrassingly enough, choose to read an article on Kim Kardashian’s parenting habits over one on the latest in Syria. When I have new questions and interests, I want to purposefully set aside time to research da hellz out of it. Ja feel?

And I want to be an excellent mom. A mom worthy of the praise-phrase eshet chayil! (Link is to a guest post by Rachel on another blog.)

(Majah props to Rachel and Dan for inadvertently helping us to sort of create these goals.)

So here’s to Asheville, Rachel and Dan, the most perfect partner Tim, moving, humility, and growth. (And hopefully no pregnancies in 2014.)

Rachel’s Amazon Page
Rachel’s Website & Blog

mmm fall.

I truly can’t believe it, but this is our last fall for a long time. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ One of the first benefits that Tim and I reaped by going to Taylor was this magnificent season. I mean for pity’s sake, it’s 90 degrees in both South Florida and the Bahamas right now, and the only trees I see in those parts are Palm Trees (which, don’t get me wrong, I adore). It’s just that it’s going to be hard giving up this relatively new discovery of ours, and so we’ve been trying to think of ways to celebrate this last one. Here is our tentative Fall To-Do List:

  1. Acquire pumpkins. (Done on October 10. Maybe there are literally hundreds of pumpkins currently decorating town. Maybe some storefronts and inns and restaurants have an excessive amount on display. Maybe Summer and I decided to help them out [of course I add her in to the blame]. And maybe there are now four delightful pumpkins sitting on my porch.)
  2. Decorate and carve said pumpkins.
  3. Hike Whiteside Mountain to take in the foliage. (Check out this recent article about Whiteside).
  4. Rake and play in the leaves before the lawn service does.
  5. Bake something new with pumpkin. (I’m thinking pumpkin scones considering Tim and I are constantly tempted to live off the Starbucks ones.)
  6. Make something involving apple cider. Maybe this is apple cider itself, or whatever. We’ll see.
  7. Go to an orchard or a pumpkin patch.
  8. Go to some type of festival. (We went to a state fair on September 11 and an apple festival last weekend. Like many events we get excited for in these little towns, neither quite lived up to the hype. Sigh.)
  9. Drink hot chocolate at Sunset Rock.
  10. Have some sort of Halloween Party. (Sweet, innocent Tim McD and Kimery are coming to visit and I’m thinking I’m going to force some sort of fest on them muahaha. Of course, this will probably end up being us starting a Harry Potter movie while drinking this. Just kidding, I hope we’re not that boring yet.)
  11. Take a million photos of Summer…oh wait. I do this daily.
  12. Dress her up for Halloween! She and I will be in Ft. Lauderdale for this occasion and boy does my mama have plans.

So there’s a start at least. Who knows what will happen ha. Anyway, I’m sorry it took me so long to post again. It’s mostly because last week we had a really terrible time with Summer. She cried constantly, needed to be held all the time, woke up throughout the night, and just seemed miserable. She also started to get a little rash on her forehead, tummy, and feet. I was so upset for a while, thinking that her personality must have altered and now I had a miserable baby instead of a happy one. Which, of course, would be fine cause it’s not like she’s going to be a baby forever–I just missed her giggles and smiles and stuff. But then in addition to the rash, she stopped wanting to eat anything and thus stopped wetting her diaper. We finally realized that she must be sick. We went to the doctor last Monday and he told us that she has a little stomach virus, which was also causing the rash (luckily Summer had a really mild version). He recommended that we give her Pedialyte to keep her hydrated and told us that it should remedy itself in a few days. Luckily, he was so right. After only one or two small drinks of Pedialyte, she was ready to nurse again, which was a HUGE relief. We made it through several episodes of diarrhea and just one more grumpy day and then she was back!! We are so grateful that she got better as quickly as she got sick. This is the first time she’s been ill, so Tim and I feel like we’ve made it through another parenting challenge. High five (said like Borat). The last few days I’ve inadvertently been doing even more fawning over her because I’m just so grateful that she’s still the same sweet yummy girl.

Other recent highlights include a visit from Ellen, a Taylor friend yesterday! She was a junior when I was a freshman, and that class on our wing treated us babies like royalty. Best upperclassmen award, for sure. I hadn’t seen her in a couple of years, so it was great to be with a fellow 2CO lady, catching up and walking around Highlands.

Also, Tim has been kicking butt at both work and school lately. He’s had an amazing work week, what with town being CRAZY and packed with leaf-lookers and such. He’s so sweet and complains so little. What a troopah. Also, he’s got a 97% in his class right now BAM.

And also! Summer is so close to crawling! She gets herself on her hands and knees all the time, and then pushes up into planks haha. Little yogi. But still no mobility!

And finally, here are some recent photos. ๐Ÿ™‚