Monday, September 24, 2012

Our Smallest Nephew

I became an aunt again a couple of Fridays ago, and this weekend Derek and I got to meet the newest nephew, baby Elliott. He is really little and really sweet.

And we got to spend some time with his older brothers. These guys were lots of fun.

In addition to family fun time this weekend, we also had 2 soccer games on Saturday. Derek and I coach a sweet little 2nd and 3rd grade girls soccer team. Even though we're in the 2nd to 3rd grade division, our whole team is made up of 2nd graders, and even a couple of 1st graders who are playing up. We have been the smallest team in every game we've played so far. But they are playing tough, and we have only been beat by 1 goal in one game and tied the other two. Which considering how much they mature and grow in the course of a year, is really good. I think next year when they're all 3rd graders we will be the team to beat.

After our second soccer game we went up to Cincinnati to go to a Reds game with our friends Brent and Karin, who live in Florida and were up visiting for the weekend. We had been planning to go to this game for a while and it was just our luck that it happened to be the game in which the Reds clinched the NL Central Division. It was a really fun game to be at.

Afterwards we went back to Brent's parents' condo, which has a great view of the Ohio River and downtown Cincinnati. Yay for little babies and fun weekends!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

One Year

My apologies in advance. This is a long post with no pictures, but I needed to write it all out. 

It's been a little over a year since Derek and I stopped leading Young Life. A lot has happened since then. Not a lot of big things that I could easily list, but a lot of things in my heart. I have changed. I have learned and have grown, and I continue to do those things.

There has been a lot that has been hard in this past year. I haven't really written about it on the blog. I've thought about it, but have never really had peace with the thought of putting very fresh, raw, feelings and hurts out there for everyone to read. I know that a lot of people do open up on their blogs, and honestly, those are usually my favorite blogs to read. But for me, it just hasn't felt right. As I look back on my blog recently, it has been mostly just an attempt at recording what is going on in our lives so I don't forget. Not much about what is really going on. Maybe one day I will feel comfortable sharing everything, but I'm not there yet. {Mostly because my emotions and thoughts are all over the place, and one day I feel really good about things and what God is teaching me, and the next I feel frustrated and mad at life. So in the hopes of not appearing to have it all together when I don't, or to come across as a crazy person, I've decided that when it comes to posting things that will be on the interwebs forever, I will try and use discretion.}

One fun thing that I haven't written about is a little book club I started with some of the women I work with. We started out reading Blue Like Jazz, which is one of my favorites and today just finished discussing our second book, Peace Is Every Step. I started the book club hoping it would turn into more of a Bible study, but, the group is made up of people with different beliefs, and knowing that, I don't want to wear anybody out of only hearing my beliefs. I believe that if I want people to listen to and discuss what I believe, I need to afford them the same courtesy. So we have expanded our books to more than just my favorite Christian authors. But I still love the opportunity to talk about deep, meaningful subjects, to share our beliefs, to be able to share the hope I have in Jesus, and to deepen friendships beyond the surface of most co-worker relationships.

The next book we are going to read is called The Happiness Project. As we were talking about it at lunch, I said how I am excited to read this book as I am really beginning to figure out what makes me happy. I didn't have much free time in the first 5 years of my marriage (and before that I was in college, which is a lot of free time but in a whole different way). I was definitely happy, I loved doing Young Life, but one of the things I have had to learn over this past year is what to do with free time. I often find myself in the position of being so overwhelmed by all my options that I just end up wasting my time by watching tv or doing something stupid.

I am beginning to make progress though!. Just this past week I decided to start following along with the Lil Blue Boo journaling project. I got myself a new journal with no lines and have started following the daily prompts. I am learning that it makes me happy to be able to create without an agenda or a "right way" of doing things. Just to be able to get thoughts, memories, ideas, etc. onto paper, sometimes writing those things, sometimes drawing them. It's only been a couple days but I already feel like I have a brighter outlook.

I've also started sewing. I'm learning that it is good for me to take time to be creative, especially since I have a very analytical job. I'm finding I enjoy using different parts of my brain.

Another thing I've discovered is that I really like exploring new places and trying new things. Our church small group went geocaching this weekend and I loved it. I love the idea of going someplace that you've been many times before and discovering new parts where you would have never been as your look for hidden things. It would also be a great way to discover new places that you've never been.

Finally, I have found that I have more time to invest in friendships. This has probably been one of the things I have enjoyed most. I think I'm learning how to be a good friend. I used to try and hang out with people mostly just to catch up and make sure that I still know what's going on in people's lives and they know what is going on in mine. Now I am really trying to go into spending time with people by being intentional about encouraging them in Christ and helping to sharpen them and allow myself to be sharpened as well.

One last thought...I read Donald Miller's boo A Million Miles in a Thousand Years last year and it left me frustrated. And I see that lots of people in the blog world have been reading it and loving it and that makes me frustrated too. I want my life to be a good story, but when reading the book, I had no idea what I was passionate about, other than Young Life and it was clear that God was getting ready to finish up our time in that ministry. I still am not sure what the next "big thing" is going to be that God will make us a part of. But I think I'm on the right track as I begin to discover what really excites me and makes me really enjoy life. I think journaling, creating, exploring, and being intentional with friends are all beginning to work together to point me in the right direction

So...It's definitely been a year of growing and learning how God has created me, what makes me excited, what re-energizes me and what drains me. I don't have it all figured out yet, but it has been good to have this time of just being. I'm excited for whatever is in store, and for God to continue to reveal Himself and His plans to me as I continue in this process I have begun. It's not been easy, but it has been good.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Bryan and Fran Got Hitched

We had such a fun weekend as we got to celebrate Derek's best friend Bryan, getting hitched to the fabulous Fran. They got married at her family's home way out in the country. The weather and scenery were beautiful to match the joyous occasion.

Of course, Bryan is one of our favorites,and God couldn't have given him a more perfect wife than Fran. She embraces everything we love about Bryan. We're so excited for these 2 starting out their married life together. I feel so blessed that we were able to be a part of the big day, and that we get to share life with them. Congrats, Bryan and Fran! We love you!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

August...A Look Back

August went by really fast this year. It was full of lots of celebrating, and enjoying the end of summer. Of course I find myself looking back with very few pictures to document this month, which I say I will try to get better at and never seem to do. Never the less, here is a quick little look back at the month of August:
  • August 3 - We acquired a little house guest for the weekend. His name is Oscar and he belongs to one of my coworkers. Having a bull dog is very different from having a retriever, but everyone got along well and I would say it was a success. 
  • August 4 - Baby shower for a friend from church. She is having twin boys (crazy!) who were actually just born last week. They definitely have their hands full. 
  • August 8 - Katie's birthday dinner celebration. Our birthdays are less than a week apart, along with our friend Ryan. We are already making big plans for our 30th next year!
  • August 10 - Taco Truck pool party at my boss's house. The weather cooled off substantially, so we didn't swim, but we did enjoy some amazing tacos from the coolest little taco truck, and some wonderful Mexican themed beverages.
  • August 11 - Holly's bachelorette party at the lake. I love going to the lake, and this was the only time I made it there this summer. Again, it was a little chilly, so I never actually got into the water, but enjoyed the boat ride as well as time spent relaxing with good friends and celebrating Holly's upcoming marriage.
  • August 12 - Birthday shopping with Derek! He took me to Target and let me pick out my gifts. It was lots of fun!
  • August 14 - My 29th Birthday! It's the last year of my 20s, which started out well with some surprise birthday donuts from Derek, followed by a little birthday dinner with friends and Graeters afterwards. 
  • August 18 - Holly's wedding. The reception took place at a beautiful bed and breakfast out in the country. And the weather couldn't have been more perfect for a wedding in the middle of August. We love Holly and Matt and are so excited for them to begin this adventure together. Before Holly's wedding I made it to the farmer's market for the first time this year, and then Moose and I went to the dog park to wear him out, so he would be well behaved at the Woodland art fair. He did a great job letting all the little kids come pet him, and especially being in a very crowded area. We both had lots of fun there!

  • August 24 - Derek and I headed up to Columbus to visit my family, but first, we stopped at the Kings Island water park on our way up. My goal all summer has been to go to a water park. I can't tell you the last time I went down a water slide. We were a little disappointed when we first got there and a lot of the water slides weren't open. But after a few trips around the lazy river, we noticed that some more slides were opening up, and it ended up being a really fun time. We were also able to go over to the regular park, and ride a few roller coasters without waiting in line! We ate some funnel cake and drove up to Columbus. 
  • August 25-26 - Spent time with my family. This was so so good, but also hard. My grandpa has had some health issues recently, so he was not feeling well. Also, because of his health, he isn't able to take care of my grandma right now, so she is in a nursing home. It's a hard situation that there really isn't a good solution to. Prayers for them and for my parents and aunt and uncle as they take care of my grandparents would be much appreciated. I love my family so much, and it's definitely hard living so far away from them. 
  • August 26 - Jenna moved in with us! Jenna gets married in a little over a week, and is moving, so we were so excited to have her stay with us for a little bit. I love having girl roommates!
  • August 28 - First soccer practice! Derek and I are coaching a girls 2nd and 3rd grade soccer team this fall. What was supposed to be our first practice the week before was cancelled due to weather, so this was our official first practice. About half of our team are girls that we coached last year. I'm excited to get to continue to invest in them this season, and for all the new girls we will get to know and love as well. Also - wow, what a difference a year makes. We are noticing that they listen much better this year and their skills have improved too.
Well, I think that hits the highlights. Sorry I'm very wordy. I struggle doing short and sweet recaps, but I want to get it all down before I forget. And here's to taking more pictures in September!