Friday, October 29, 2010

Fall Lovelies

I found these fall lovelies at Williams-Sonoma.
They're hanging above our sink now and making things feel just right and seasonal.
I especially like the mustard-yellow and gray one, as all things yellow with gray right now are my fave.

This week in the mail, I got this fall-toned headband from my dear friend Ilene's etsy shop.
My friend Kirra wears hers especially adorably, as you can see.
You should get one too, don't you think?
This one is my favorite of the colors in Ilene's shop, but she has lots of other cute ones too.

I would love to get this nail polish color from Essie's fall collection.
Too bad stores sold out in like, August, they say.
The fact that they haven't re-stocked makes me nuts.
I guess I'll just have to wait for their winter collection, which comes out Nov. 1st!

I think Anthropologie might have designed this hat and gloves just for me.
I'm still waiting for them to call and let me know they'd like me to come pick up my complimentary set.
Pairing these with a long sleeve and jeans and walking around city streets, swept over with crunchy leaves? Yes, please.

With what remains of October and November, let's make a carrot cake.
Somehow, served with a hot cup of chai tea, it seems like fall to me.
I have been in love with the Emma collection for a long time,
and if I could have one piece, I think it would be the cake stand.
Anyone have a yummy carrot cake recipe??
Heavy on the cream cheese frosting, please!

If you found a $20 bill on the street, what would you do?
I'd find the nearest Yankee Candle store and get "Autumn Wreath,"
the smell of autumn leaves and cinnamon apples.

For a break from jeans, I'd welcome these gray cords.

To transport a neutral top into fall, I'd add one of these scarves.
Love these!

Fall loves. Love fall.
(Don't forget to let me in on your favorite carrot cake recipe!)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

For This Day, Another Day in the Journey

I've been enjoying fall.
Words that don't need to be said after recipes for pumpkin muffins and apple pies, pictures of trails and leaves, pumpkins and mums,
lattes and ciders.

All five senses of mine have been more heightened to the pleasures of fall... partly because the pain in my body has been lessened.
And partly because if this year has taught me anything, it's been to reach with all your being to cradle the little pleasures of life that each day offers, as they might otherwise, in especially difficult seasons,
be passed over unnoticed leaving you with... just pain.

My pain has been physical in this season, but yours may be pain of soul, pain of heart, and you'd know how much space in a day
pain can easily fill.
How much care it takes to guard some of those spaces for good.

But really, I have good news to share. I've been feeling incredibly better for a significant number of weeks now.
Many doctors believe that this now is the time frame in which my body should start slowly coming back to normal.
Will it, and soon?
I'm not sure. I have reason to hope, but I still have discouraging, set-back type days.
And while today was kinda one of those days, it also was an exciting day,
as I started a new "project," for lack of a better word, that I'm looking forward to sharing soon.
My progress on my health lately has been just that good!

I'm thankful, and I'm impatient.
I'm given an inch, and I'm taking a mile.
I'm hopeful and I'm unsure.
And maybe that's why today, I pulled out this prayer again.

A student and friend of mine and Neal's, Kyle Tennant, wrote this prayer for us (um, wow) in light of my journey- or I should say our journey since Neal has been with me every step of the way- this past year and counting.

I asked Kyle if I could post the prayer here.
Every time I read it, I spend a little more time really reading it.
I find it heavy on theology (and Old Testament symbolism), and equally heavy on emotion.
Now that, I love.
For that, you might just stay at your computer for a few extra moments, since those kind of integrations just don't happen often enough.

Thank you, Kyle! Your friendship is dear to us.

*Just in case Biblical terms aren't familiar to you, Haran is Abraham's home land in the Bible. God calls him to leave there, and go to an unknown land called Canaan.
Similarly, Egypt was where the nation of Israel was living in slavery, until God led them out and gave them a land He promised them, called fittingly, "The Promised Land."
The prayer uses some imagery of these journeys.

Oh God,

You are the God of our comings and goings, the God who leads us from our many Harans unto our many Canaans.
You see us as we leave those places of comfort and safety, and you see us as we arrive into the places of wild and unknown expectation.
You call us out of the lands of familiarity, and into the lands of the unknown.

And we go, because we believe You.

You, O God of our fathers, are also the God of our journeys.
You are aware of the arduous steps we take from our Egypts unto our Promised Lands, and you are aware of each of our painful, wearied steps across an unknown, unforgiving, unending wilderness.
You know our hungers and our thirsts—sometimes sating them, and sometimes waiting longer than we’d like
—and you know our need.

And they—my dear friends—are tired from such a journey.

Yet, ahead, there is a new unknown, a possible oasis in the path, and perhaps what looks like an oasis could lead into the Promised Land, into our Canaan.
Hope flutters again in our chests, at once our worst enemies (having so often betrayed us before) and best friend (having so often imparted us strength before).
We see the oasis, and we wonder.

And we pray: do not let their eyes be fastened on the oasis, but on you, their Living Water.
Lead them not into the temptation of the temporary, but into the effervescence of eternity.
Help them to submit to whatever lies over the next hill, be it more desert or our long-awaited repose.

In short, be Your good and maybe even healing self again.

Be their Christmas, that new life may come.
Be their Easter, and resurrect their exhausted Spirits.
Be their Pentecost, and impart to them new strength for what lies ahead.
Be their Savior, and impart to them more of Yourself, that their union with You may be sweet even as the journey is often bitter.

Restore them, O God, we pray.

In the name of our Living Redeemer,
Who journeyed from your side—His Haran,
To our side—His Canaan,
That He, and We, Could Be With Him and You in Paradise.

Monday, October 25, 2010

My Very Soul is Wedded To It

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.
- George Eliot

The last of the fall break pictures.
Too hard to pick a favorite, but of these, my very soul says, delicious autumn!
After a late afternoon run through leaf-covered trails, Neal and I pulled on hoodies and climbed into the boat under a pile of blankets.

As the still waters carried us on a tour of colors, we chattered and told stories with Neal's parents, interrupted only by that one side of the lake that runs shallower and always delivers a momentary silence... Are we stuck?
But then Dad revs the engine inasmuch as you can rev a pontoon boat engine, and we're off again, laughing and describing the life-flashing-before-our-eyes scenes our psyches just over-reacted with, as fight or flight translates to paddle or swim, respectively.

But of course, we stay dry, and the only sensation I feel is not fight or flight, but the delicious feeling of mingled energy and calm flowing through my post-jog, autumn-boating being.

Oh. And then home again. The going home part always seems to happen.

Good thing we really, really like Chicago in the fall.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Run. Trip. Fall. Break.

Witty title credit: Eric Lunde
So, a week later I'm still getting fall break posted.
About this time last Friday, we were tossing weekend bags into the car, and I was finally settling on that caramel apple cider. Did your week go fast too?
Now a week later, the goodness is lingering for me as I finish up transferring fall break from there to here.

As saturated as we were on our weekend with quiet trails and smooth lake waters, we found that happy place between staying in and going out. The out-goings found us at a breakfast restaurant, a pumpkin farm, and a flannel-shirt apple-cider kind of meeting up of Neal's family and mine.
Beautiful settings aside, the people make the day for me, and getting our families together is rare, so it's an extra heap of special when it happens!

Upon our arrival, we were greeted by these sweet faces.
A weekend of conversation and sharing with these two wonderful parents was lovely...
something that we eat up when we get the chance.
And are they not adorable?

Saturday morning, Neal came to wake me up out of white sheets, saying if I wanted, we would all head out to breakfast. A quick messy bun and jeans later, we arrived at Green Gables.
For context, when we go here, I feel like I'm in a movie similar to Sweet Home Alabama.

We got to this neighborhood Mom and Pop's at 10:40, just after they stopped serving breakfast at 10:30.
Someone made the comment that whether that's a formal daily rule, or they really just do whatever they want, is unclear.
With our narrow miss of the Green Gables experience, we headed into town to look for breakfast.
After a plate of biscuits and gravy, I saw this candy jar on the way out.
The strawberry and butterscotch candies on the top are totally from my childhood and I haven't seen them in years!
Anyone else grow up on those?
An afternoon at Rader's Pumpkin Farm

When our families got together, I snapped a picture of my sweet big sister (and best friend!) Tiff's beautiful family.
Four kids now!!
I'm ever and always in love with her littles.
That they call me auntie makes my whole world go 'round.

Favorite picture from the weekend

The beautiful Grammy.
The Anthro Grammy, no less, with those Anthropologie earrings!

Family together. So good.
What will your weekend hold, friend?
Be it family, friends who feel like family, or some other goodness, I hope you go get at least a sliver of it this weekend.

Before mine starts, I've gotta head out on my jog.
I think today calls for breaking out the running tights.
It's getting chilly!
And then, let the quiet, slow weekend begin.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fall Therapy

Standing in line at Joe's Coffee Shop, I was shifting my feet and mind back and forth deciding what hot drink to get for the trip. Why would I bother?
A caramel apple cider is only obvious for giving way to fall break, don't you think?
Sometimes I think too hard.

And (yes, I'm going here right now), sometimes I don't wear enough jewelry, as evidenced by this picture.
It's one of my many faults, as Tiff has been pointing out to me for years.
Thank God for sisters, even when you forget to take their advice because your mind is too cluttered with the randoms, like grabbing a hot drink before the car ride.

My salute to the women out there who manage drink pickups and earrings.

{So ready to get outta town!}

But in better ways of thinking, I'm still thinking on fall break and how incredibly perfect the setting was for fall, for break, for getaway chill time.
It's hard to believe it's already come and gone.

I like seasonal, and I like the right aesthetics, and I got both in generous doses of orange, red, and sunlit yellow all weekend.
For those of you who don't get a fall in the part of the country where you reside,
consider this post of pictures the fall therapy you've been needing.

Breathe deeply, be still for a moment.
God has given us a great gift in the colors, textures, and changes of fall.
I'm so in love with these pictures right now!

Besides the palette of leaf colors that are at once both brilliant and intimate,
could plaid coats and North Face fleeces be one of the best parts about fall?
Quite possibly.

On a final note, I thought I would mention that Neal has taken to calling me his "pumpkin spice" this fall.
Is that not cute??

I'm going to keep posting away about fall break. See you soon!