Friday, November 30, 2012

A Three State Day

I think it's sort of a novelty and a bit fun that I can easily get to three states and back in one day.  I made a quick trip over to Missoula, Montana yesterday for a client meeting.  It was a gorgeous drive over.  I haven't been beyond Coeur d'Alene for quite a while and I had forgotten just how beautiful the country is after you get beyond the lake.

I took along some Christmas music to listen to in the car since I knew it would be a long day.  I was completely blessed at one point by a song on one of Amy Grant's Christmas albums.  The song, Agnus Dei, came on just as I was driving through one of the gorgeous parts of the trip.  I was moved to tears as I realized how blessed we really are and how often I forget to notice.

This month, on Facebook, I have made a daily statement about what I was thankful for that day.  It has been great to look back and see just how blessed this month has been.  There have been very few days where I had to reach for something to be thankful for.

As we head into the Christmas season, I need to remember to take a moment during the hustle and bustle to be thankful for the ultimate gift we were given and the reason we celebrate.  I hope the beginning of your Advent time is full of joy and an awareness of the blessings around us every day.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving

Since my law school years I have seen Thanksgiving as an opportunity to travel.  Sometimes, Thanksgiving at home where I'm a bit of the odd man out ("one of these things is not like the other") as the only non-family person can be a bit lonely.  I figured out that people must be on to something with this "busiest travel day of the year" thing so I have often joined the masses and traveled about the country enjoying new traditions and making a lot of wonderful memories.

My first year of Law School I went to my roommate's parents house in Southern Minnesota.  It was the year I learned how much I love to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving parade.  I had a migraine the entire weekend but on the way home we stopped at an apple orchard.  I was in search of some good hand pressed apple cider (a favorite of mine) and the apple orchards were prevalent in the area we were traveling through.  The one where we chose to stop had a cute red barn area where they sold their products.  We walked up to the automatic door and it didn't open.  We looked through the glass and saw a family inside having dinner and realized quickly it was closed.  Three members of the family jumped up and opened the doors for us and welcomed us to join them for dinner.  We were flattered but respectfully declined.  We were already interlopers.  That seemed to be a step too far.  They asked us what we had stopped for and I told them I was looking for some apple cider so the Patriarch of the family disappeared and came back with two giant containers of apple cider.  When I tried to pay him he said they were closed and couldn't take any money but that he would be honored to give the cider to me as a gift.

Minnesota nice is not just a saying.

My second year of law school I went to Chicago to visit Jess' friends Josh and Anna.  I had never been to Chicago and I fell in love with the city that weekend.  All of the blaring horns and the novelty of the L (I hadn't really been in a town with such a great mass transit system since my time in London), the museums, the chance to see the Home Alone house (and meet the woman who lived there who beckoned me across the street so she could give me a picture of the house during the time the movie was being filmed), the great shopping and doing more cooking with Anna who taught me to really cook the summer between Willamette and Hamline made that weekend one of my favorites.

My third year of law school I spent the holiday with Kit, Jan and Adam in Iowa.  We stopped at the little Brown Church in the Vale, played games with Heyo and Jan's sister and nephews and I cried when I had to leave them.  I was a frequent visitor back to Iowa to visit Heyo after that weekend.

Since then I've spent some Thanksgivings with my family, making the trip over the mountains to sit around the dining room table we've had since I was a kid but I have also gone to Colorado Springs (I HAD to meet this Chris fella) and the family has come to me.

This year I'm looking forward to the second Thanksgiving morning in my own home.  I don't have to prepare the full meal but I will be making my usual Great Grandpa James' Pecan Pie and a fancier version of green bean casserole that I discovered and my family fell in love with last year. 

I feel so blessed this year.  The amount of things I'm thankful for are at times overwhelming. 

I'm thankful for my loving family and my extended family made up of friends.  I'm thankful to have a good job that makes me happy (most of the time).  But most importantly I'm thankful to have a Lord and Savior who has me in the palm of his hand.

I pray your Thanksgiving is full of good food, laughter, family and love.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

November 8, 1977

My mom loves to tell the story about the night I was born.  Her water broke and so my dad thought it would be a good time to jump in the shower, have her iron his pants and then get lost on the way to the hospital.

Awesome.

Birthdays in my family are a big deal.   We have always had big friend parties and always celebrated as a family.  Many of my memories from growing up are surrounded by a backdrop of a Birthday.

There was my 4th Birthday with a clown theme (before clowns became creepy).

My 13th birthday was a bowling party where I remember specifically picking where my friends would sit in each vehicle. I had multiple page lists. I should have made a spreadsheet.  I also got to watch my first PG-13 movie.  Beaches, for the record.

There was my 16th birthday when we went hiking to Lake Dorothy. 

My freshman year of college my mom and dad arranged for my choir to sing to me at our concert.  This room of a few hundred people and this gorgeous choir singing to me while they brought out a cake with candles was something I won't forget for my lifetime.

My 21st Birthday in London consisted of a party at Ruth and my house with all the other American students and then Belinda, Sarah and Sarah and I taking in Annie on the West End - a show I had always wanted to see since my sister got to go without me when I was a kid.  (Check that off the list)

My 24th Birthday at Sarah's apartment where she and Jodi sabotaged me.  They remember that night better than I do.  Jodi almost paid for it more than anyone however.

My 30th Birthday party at Devine Wines in Mill Creek.  That was a night where those friendships were developed and deepened in a way they wouldn't have without that event.

On my 32nd Birthday I spent a long weekend in Austin with Erin.  It was a memorable weekend in a lot of ways - mostly ways that aren't blog appropriate. :-)

I've had fun Birthdays in Spokane too.  The first one at The Elk and then the second one with a Small Group party for my beautiful Birthday Buddy Jen and I and also a night out with mom, Jess, Chrissy and Alexis.

This year was 35 for me.  I feel like there should be a significant shindig every five years.  Why not, right?  It started out with SHF (fka RG) meeting my family.  He fits in nicely and it meant the world to me that he was there.  He had flown in from a work trip to Miami that afternoon.  I had no expectation he would want to meet my family under those circumstances.  But he did.  As always it was great to hang out with my family.  We had a delicious dinner made by my mom and blew off fireworks.

Plus I got to hang out with these two

Then on Saturday I had a party with my friends.  Geana, Jen, Chrissy and Jess came over before we went wine tasting.  We got dressed up and went to Rocket Market where other friends were waiting.  Again it was a night of meeting people for SHF.  Poor guy.  But unsurprisingly, everyone really liked him.  My friends are as important to me as my family so this event was not insignificant. 


It's fun to think about what my life will be like five years from now.  I suspect many of the friends who are around the table in the above picture will still be there.  This year I just made my way into the middle of a decade.  Five years from now will have me entering a new decade.  Scary.

But exciting.

Thanks to all of my friends who have celebrated (with) me over the years. 

And to SHF - I can't thank you enough for all you have done for me over the last week.  You continue to amaze me in ways I can't put into words. xo