Month: July 2011

  • A Day Off!


    Friday night at dinner, Ben surprised me [greatly] by saying he wants to give me the day off on Saturday.
    A very stunned wife stared at him in amazement, because a day off —-?
    Exactly what is a day off? It seems I can’t remember.

    I’ve only had one other such day since beginning my career as a mother. Without any appointments or schedules or places that I had to go. Exactly what does one even do on a day off?

    My kind husband continued on… “I think you’ve been really tired lately. Maybe a little burned out? I know I’ve been working Saturdays and some evenings, so you’ve been doing double duty. And I’d like to give you Saturday off… Would you like that?”

    A slow smile crept across my astonished face. Would I like that??
    Oh, indeed, kind sir, I would LOVE that, in fact.

    My Type A personality wished I would have had a week to plan!
    What does one do on a day off?
    Where does one go?
    What stores would I go to, without two kiddos in tow?
    Where would I park with my journal and Bible and books?
    What books should I read?

    My tired-mommy mind, on the other hand, wasn’t about to plead for the following weekend instead of the the following day. What kind of woman would EVER refuse such a generous offer?! A day off looked like a breath of fresh air!

    A few quick idea were jotted down, possible places to go, since I knew going out of town was definitely in the plans. We have no coffee shop in town, or bookstore/cafe, or anything remotely charming for such an occasion. McDonalds just wasn’t going to work. Or any of the many fast-food options we do have in town.

    Saturday morning dawned…. We had already been planning to host people for lunch on Sunday, so I did spend the forenoon doing some food prep. That was okay. I was getting all afternoon and evening off, and that in itself was enough to make even the food prep exciting. :)

    While I was making dessert and other meal plans, Ben took Olivia out on her first date. It was beyond precious. It was really for her birthday, two months ago, but it was her first date ever.

    First Date

    I have to insert here, that when I birthed Zoe, one of my very first thoughts upon knowing we had a little girl, was the excitement that she could go on a date with her daddy. I don’t know why that was one of my first thoughts, in the midst of birth excitement and feelings of physical pain beyond what I expected. But I was so excited about my little girl going on a date with her daddy. 

    Fast forward several more years, and it’s my second daughter now going on dates. To the donut shop. I should have sent the camera along with him, but knowing my husband, that would not have added to his time there. :) So I took a few pictures of them before they left.

    They just melted me.  A daddy and his little girl have got to be one of the most precious and tender things in this world.

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    Another little girl was also melted. As in “melt-down” though, at not being included in this one-on-one date. I tried to think of something to console her with, so Zoe and I made a paper chain, to count down the days until HER birthday, which at that point was less than a week away. Thoughts of birthdays made all tears flee at rapid speeds, and a happy three-year-old was chattering away as I mixed cream cheese with sugar and patted herbed hamburger steak into big pans.

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    And then – it was dress up time for me! Strappy sandals, flower brooch, sheer scarf, a touch of make up… and after kissing Husband and a million thanks, and after hugging wailing little girls who didn’t like the idea of their mother going away without them [how dare she!], I drove off.

    A phone call to my grandmother to wish her a happy birthday as she nears 80 years old, a call to the florist shop to deliver flowers to her door, a chat with my own dear mother, and even some moments of utmost quietness made up my one-hour drive to my destination.

    A few stops at various stores, just because I could. A music store, to buy a copy of  beautiful new piano music, a craft store to buy a few supplies for a party coming later this week, a few clothing store faves…. just to check their sale racks, of course. :) Nope, just because I could. And finding a few new cutesy things that good prices.  I did try to be a good girl… :)

    I do adore the feminine style that can be found so readily these days. Designers sure are creative when it comes to styles and fashion. I love the ruffles, the lace, the flowers, the skirts and dresses… It seems the last few seasons I keep thinking styles can’t get any more darling, and they DO! They sure know how to tempt people trying very hard to stay within the budget…

    But the majority of my time was spent at a little table in the cafe corner of Barnes & Noble.
    My heavy bag containing my journal and Bible was taken off my weary shoulder,
    and I had a date with my Daddy.
    More than anything, solitude and quietness refresh my soul.
    As much as I adore my husband and little girls, time spent solo is what my soul craves for restoration and rejuvenation.

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    A quiche from the cafe, as well as a [venti] Caramel White Mocha, added the perfect touch.
    Oh, and One Thousand Gifts.
    Pages in my journal were scrawled, pages in books turned.

    If I could have openly wept in that little corner of B & N, I would have. Truth be told, I didn’t feel like causing a scene. But my eyes were constantly filling with tears as I sat there… reading… writing… thinking… thanking. My heart really needed to be refreshed… encouraged.

    That week I had been feeling so weary, and yes, a little discouraged.
    Am I doing this mommy thing okay?
    I feel like I mess up so often…
    Will my children need counseling when they grow up?
    Could someone please walk beside me and just tell me I’m going to make it?
    How can I have enough of energy for everything that I’m supposed to do?
    How can I reach around and love everyone well?

    I had been longing for mentors, in flesh and blood.
    God gave me mentors that day, but in the form of written words.

    There were two mentors “present” with me, other than God.
    One was an article from John Piper’s website [found on Janelle's blogthank you!!]  that I had printed and brought along with me.  Here are a few paragraphs from a powerful post…

    “Everywhere you go, people want to talk about your children. Why you shouldn’t’t have had them, how you could have prevented them, and why they would never do what you have done. They want to make sure you know that you won’t be smiling anymore when they are teenagers. All this at the grocery store, in line, while your children listen.

    Children rank way below college. Below world travel for sure. Below the ability to go out at night at your leisure. Below honing your body at the gym. Below any job you may have or hope to get. In fact, children rate below your desire to sit around and pick your toes, if that is what you want to do. Below everything. Children are the last thing you should ever spend your time doing…

    If you grew up in this culture, it is very hard to get a biblical perspective on motherhood, to think like a free Christian woman about your life, your children….Is motherhood a rock-bottom job for those who can’t do more, or those who are satisfied with drudgery? If so, what were we thinking?…

    Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for.

    Christian mothers carry their children in hostile territory. When you are in public with them, you are standing with, and defending, the objects of cultural dislike. You are publicly testifying that you value what God values, and that you refuse to value what the world values. You stand with the defenseless and in front of the needy. You represent everything that our culture hates, because you represent laying down your life for another—and laying down your life for another represents the gospel.

    The question here is not whether you are representing the gospel, it is how you are representing it. Have you given your life to your children resentfully? Do you tally every thing you do for them like a loan shark tallies debts? Or do you give them life the way God gave it to us—freely?

    It isn’t enough to pretend. You might fool a few people. That person in line at the store might believe you when you plaster on a fake smile, but your children won’t. They know exactly where they stand with you. They know the things that you rate above them. They know everything you resent and hold against them. They know that you faked a cheerful answer to that lady, only to whisper threats or bark at them in the car.

    Children know the difference between a mother who is saving face to a stranger and a mother who defends their life and their worth with her smile, her love, and her absolute loyalty.

    Live the gospel in the things that no one sees. Sacrifice for your children in places that only they will know about. Put their value ahead of yours. Grow them up in the clean air of gospel living. Your testimony to the gospel in the little details of your life is more valuable to them than you can imagine. If you tell them the gospel, but live to yourself, they will never believe it. Give your life for theirs every day, joyfully. Lay down pettiness. Lay down fussiness. Lay down resentment about the dishes, about the laundry, about how no one knows how hard you work…”

    [Rachel Jankovic]

    I read and re-read those words, finding strength and deep encouragement in them. I was so challenged and convicted and encouraged all at once.
    The whole article can be found here.

    And I read the first three chapters of Ann Voskamp’s beautiful words. Through tears. She is an anointed writer, who reaches deep into the hearts of readers with her words. Now I know why people read and re-read this book. I would have sat all night and finished at one time, had I had no time limit.

    The last few years I’ve felt and known my need of God more than any other time of my life.

    When I was single, I thought I was a fairly sanctified person. Sure, there were areas I knew that needed God to desperately work in them, but it felt like I was on the road to being a person with less and less flaws. [doesn't that sound awful!? i'm embarrassed to admit it!]

    After I got married, my weaknesses suddenly flared up wildly. You mean I had disagreements with my husband? You mean I had a hard time admitting I was wrong? You mean I had a hard time surrendering to an unknown life? Yes, all of the above. And I suddenly felt very much in need of God.

    And then there were children…. and my weaknesses and faults and blind spots seem to glare at me daily. How can little people of such short years and short stature show up my sinfulness so drastically? How is it that I feel like a perfect heathen some days? Never have I realized my own shortcomings, not only in myself and how I relate to my family, but in how I relate to other people, and my faults in relationships and how badly I mess up.

    But there is grace. Sweet grace.

    And in those few short hours, I took hold of His grace yet again.

    I walked away feeling like a new woman, with a fresh sense of hope. A renewed sense of purpose. A taking hold of Truth once more, a desire to live our of fresh conviction and courage and love and life and purpose….

    Such days are rare, quiet rare.  And I cannot live my life waiting for such glorious moments of quiet. For long time of no interruption.

    But God will continue to meet in the midst of the busy moments, in the middle of pitter-patters of feet and chatter of baby voices. He is always near.

    And thank you, dear husband, for the my soul refreshment…
    I am a better wife and mother because of it. :)



  • a taste of summer


    I’m in my afternoon perch, with a cup of, well, I was going to say, “fresh-squeezed lemonade”
    but it’s been a few days since the “squeezed” part. So, with an ice-cold glad of homemade lemonade. 
    Nothing beats a cold glass of lemonade in the middle of these blazing summer days!

    Every afternoon, I am presented with a dilemna:
    do I rest while the girls rest or do I use that precious bit of quiet time for something else?
    I’m not a napper, but almost every morning when I smilingly greet the day groggily roll out of bed,
    I think to myself, “I’m still sooo tired. Today, for sure, I will take a nap.”
    And what do you know, but when both girls are either resting or in their quiet time hour,
    that little bit of quietness seems soooo precious that I just can’t bear to loose it on sleep.
    So sometimes I clean, just so the toilet won’t have an extra set of hands [without gloves] trying clean its interior.
    Or sometimes I read, which happened more frequently in the winter than it does now.
    Or sometimes, oftentimes, it’s just time of day to catch up with emails and online things,
    because the girls don’t like when I’m on the computer very much during their waking time.

    So what feels like a great dilemna in the morning is usually not even a question by after lunch.
    Today is a such similar day.

    Welcome to some rest and quiet, my house beckons me.
    And I respond in the affirmative.

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    We’ve been having a full but rather restful summer.
    With family out of state, most summers we make an extended trip up north 
    and other weekend trips scattered around.
    This summer, with planning to go to Colorado for three months this fall, we’re sitting low.
    That doesn’t really mean we’re not doing anything,
    because we’re still finding plenty to do, but it definitely makes our summer feel much less busy.
    Ben has been working a few side jobs, which take some evenings and Saturdays,
    trying to save up a little bit because the not-working-for-three-months this fall.

    And the girls and I have been having a lot of good times together.
    With the intense heat, we’ve been staying indoors more than I like to be,
    but I’m the first one to want to get back in the air conditioning when we are brave enough to step outside!
    We have a little kiddie pool, and all four of our little family has been known to get in it at one time. :)
    That’s desperate, but hey, it’s water, and it has great cooling effects!

    The girls were enrolled in the Summer Reading Program at the library, which went on for 6 weeks,
    so that felt like a big chunk of time that we set apart for that.
    A library day once a week, rather than our normal bi-monthly, and extra reading time every day.

    Zoe is a big reader - not that she reads herself,
    though she tries to convince herself and us that she indeed can,
    but the child does not tire of being read to.
    My voice would grow hoarse before she’d say she’s had enough, and it has.
    Olivia, with the Energizer-Bunny personality,
    is just growing into the books that actually have more than 5 words on the page.
    It’s taken her a long time to settle down enough to enjoy it,
    but my scholar-heart is rejoicing that she is showing signs of improvement. :)

     I read over 80 books to Zoe during those 6 weeks,
    which really is that not much when broken down by week,
    but it felt like we were reading all the time.  Which she loved.
    And which I was a little relieved to have it over with. :)  
    But in the end she won a small art set, which she was so pleased with she couldn’t stop smiling.
    She’s never painted before. Ever. Crayons, almost daily.
    But this was a first, and it was an instant hit. She did so well.
    I drew a basic house outline and she took it from there.
    I was in the same room but she worked alone for two hours.


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    she added the clouds and sunshine and chose all the colors. i was so proud of her!

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    with daddy’s socks and little dollies.

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    picking blueberries.

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    little hands with little buckets. little buckets that are always emptied after two little “ping” sounds of blueberries.

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    little mouths that turned blue.

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    little girl that got herself dressed in sunday frock finery to pick blueberries.

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    little girl who is always an
    early riser.

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    precious even in little children.

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    french braids
    for two-year olds.
    [and whose mother bribed her with charlie & lola vidoes while hair was being combed]

    taste of summer 12


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    i think we can each eat a whole melon. :)

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    a extra good day of

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    strawberry smoothies.

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    homemade soft pretzels.

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    shish kebobs.
    i can’t get enough of them!
    [follow the link to get the recipe!]

    taste of summer 1

    little olivia
    growing up.

    taste of summer 5


    which has gone FAR better than expectations. sigh of relief!

    hung outside.

    taste of summer 4

    mr. turtle
    for a pet.

    turtle 1

    little sister is not so gentle.
    “here, let me help you stick your head out.”


    baby bunny
    rescued and nursed to health.

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    by the river.

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    we thought it was going to be a date, but not after all…
    and it was scorching hot and lots of bugs, so the pictures were better than reality. :)

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    summertime in a bucket.
    [grandma's house on corn day]

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    “Alas! if the principles of contentment are not within us,
    the height of station and worldly grandeur will as soon add a cubit to a man’s stature as to his happiness.

    [Laurence Sterne]

     and that’s a small taste of our summer so far!



  • Savannah {II}


    Summertime seems to bring an overload of pictures to my camera and computer.
    Oh, I realize, I’m fully guilty of putting said pictures on said gadgets.
    Happily, I do so, wanting to capture these precious moments!
    It’s just a bit harder to catch up in photo albums, scrapbooking, and blogs when pictures are continually streaming in.

    Sometimes it’s hard for me to know:
    Shall I just soak in the moment without a camera?
    Or grab the camera and remember the moment forever?
    It’s a hard choice, and I do both.
    But often if I didn’t grab the camera, I regret that decision.
    But do I want my children to always think of me as camera-in-hand?

    Pictures are a big deal to me.
    Not as in feeling the need to compete with the big guys out there that are simply amazing.
    But as in, wanting to remember these days.

    Well, not all days.
    I’d better be honest. :)
    Some days are best forgotten, and I’d rather remember another.
    Some days when my patience is less than a fraction and I end in tears.
    Some days when it seems as though someone wakes up with the intent
    to make our lives are miserable as possible by morning grouches [until stopped, of course].
    But most days… most days I want to remember.
    And a picture transports me back to the moment like nothing else can.
    Well, music can do that to me too.
    But I can’t capture music like I capture a picture.

    The rest of this post is almost entirely a picture post.
    And a long one, at that. Just so you know you were warned! :)
    once again. :)

    The occasion this time was a visit from my parents and brothers over July 4th.
    So this would be more appropriately titled:
    ‘July 4 – Savannah’
    but since the 4th is long past, and I didn’t want you all to think I was a week behind in my calendar….

    I should insert a bit more history into this post than the last, since we took a carriage ride
    {compliments of father dear}
    and heard history about Savannah from 1700-2010′s…
    But since I always needed to study really hard to memorize dates for tests in school,
    I’m not the one to be telling you history dates.
    Other than that Savannah was begun in the 1700s,
    and there is a vast mixture of architectural design here
    {please don’t ask me names}.
    But, translated, that means,

    And we were with amazing people!
    When your family lives almost a thousand miles away,
    time spent with them is ever so special!

    [cathedral spires]

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    [small dome with old bell dating from the 1700's, gift from France]

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    [side entrance (not main) to one of the above cathedrals]

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    [There are gorgeous old oak trees, that must be hundreds of years old, based on their size...]

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    [there are city parks almost every block, when you near the River
    and often musicians that hope for spare change]

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    [John Wesley, who preached in Savannah]

    July 4 006

    [there was a loving grandmother who walks with her granddaughter]

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    [there was a little girl who loved the attention of Papa & Nana and two uncles]

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    “Can you pleeeeease wear your fedora hat while we’re in Savannah?
    At least for a few pictures?”

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    [there were fun uncles to play with and hold tired girls]


    [there was the brother James, an avid skateboarder.
    and quite good too, if I may say so]

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    [there were my parents themselves,
    we even did a little photoshoot in downtown Savannah :)
    (with my dad's fancy-shmancy camera that I hardly knew how to operate)]

    mums and pops

    [papa explaining the gargoyles (as I run to the spell-check)]

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    [Savannah is where Paula Deen launched her first big restaurant, if I'm correct]

    Lady & Sons

    [Lady & Sons: isn't that a precious name?]

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    We stopped for an ice cream break after passing by [not through] Lady & Sons.
    When I got Zoe dressed that morning, I didn’t realize the shoes she chose were too small.
    That shows how often the girl wears shoes in the summer.
    So she walked barefoot most of the day.
    [Eeeeww, gross, I know. I could hardly stand it!]
    Papa loved her anyway.

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    [I love this tender moment!]

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    Not to be out-done, Olivia joins in the middle with her monkey-business.
    The tender moment in the background continues.

    These little girls just love their grandparents!

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    And my dear husband, who I wanted to get father/daughter pictures of that day.
    But it wasn’t going to happen.

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    [another failed photo shoot.]
    this was less than 15 minutes after arriving and the shoe was starting to pain the child.
    that also means she didn’t like the idea of pictures.]

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    There are grandiose homes in the city. Absolutely breathtaking!
    The carriage ride we took was just at dusk,
    and although I was disappointed when it got too dark for pictures,
    the evening light made the homes look so cozy!

    [not sure when I stopped using these things ][]

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    And even stores have beautiful window boxes.

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    There is a charming Irish restaurant, where at least one movie was filmed by the red telephone booth. Savannah has had many movies filmed in the city, so we heard.

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    [more closer to the river]

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    [these used to be storage for carriages.
    now people pay a lot and park their swanky cars in them]

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    [also the place of a few pictures]

    James and David

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    Our little family, where I completely overexposed the pictures. Grrr..

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    Since it was July 4th, there was festive decor everywhere!
    Check out those massive columns!

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    I added my own little bit of festive. :)

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    [I do have to give credit for these to my dear friend, Ruth,
    who finds THE most amazing shoes ever.
    I asked her if I could copy her... :)
    Fourth of July aside, these make a great addition to the many black/white/grey outfits I often wear.]

    And we ended the day with the celebration of the freedom of America,
    with fireworks over the Savannah River!


    A little girl, exhausted beyond words but still going strong.
    Blurred pictures because of low shutter speed for lighting purposes,
    but I love the story they tell of a little girl who loved her day.
    And who is never too tired for just a little more excitement.
    The perfect addition to the picture would be a navy/red flower thingy in her hair,
    which I didn’t take the time to make…

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    A day in Savannah is always lovely.

    A day in Savannah with family is even lovelier!

    I am not to pretend that our family is perfect, because we are far from it.
    Both our little family of four, and my larger family I was born into.
    But we love each other so dearly, and I feel incredibly blessed to be a part of them!

    I loved this quote I found,

    At the end of the day, a loving family should find everything forgivable. ”
    ~Mark V. Olsen and Will Sheffer, Big Love

    and this one

    “Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. 
    Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.” 
    ~Jane Howard

    Here’s cheers to families and to making memories together!




  • Celebrating Six Years!


    Celebrating 6! 144

    Our anniversary day deserves a post all its own. :)
    It was a day so lovely I keep thinking back to it and smiling…and smiling!

    To a girl whose love language is quality time, a whole day with my man just exudes affection and devotion!

    The day was so blissful and carefree,
    and full of young love remembered and enjoyed all over again!

    There were the usual questions and planning and deciding about where to go…
    Somewhere new?
    Somewhere we’ve been before?
    Stay more local?
    Drive several hours?
    Pursue a dream anniversary trip to Italy?
    The last one was merely a thought. :)

    We finally decided on Savannah, Georgia.

    Ahhhh, I love me some Savannah!

    So off we went!
    First though, we took the wee girlies to my dear friend Linda’s house.
    She had offered to keep the girls for a whole day, and even overnight if need be!
    Linda is one amazing friend!

    10:30am – drop off girls, and leave for Savannah!

    We spend several days a year in Savannah – it’s close enough for a day trip, but far enough away that it doesn’t happen too often.

    Sometimes it’s a shopping trip, since there are so many fun places there to shop.
    Sometimes it’s to take friends and relatives that come to visit.
    Sometimes it’s for a date.

    It’s ALWAYS fun. :)
    It’s where Olivia was born.
    It’s where I’ve found great deals on craigslist.

    Yeah, you understand. I rather like Savannah. :)

    And I especially like Savannah when I’m on a date!

    We started by hitting Panera for lunch, always a favorite spot. Not too much money is spent there, but it’s such a cool atmosphere and their food is always good.

    Well, almost always. For the second time in a row (several months apart) I ordered the Thai Salad, thinking it was the Asian Sesame Salad. Both times I was almost crying by the end – not from disappointment, although it’s not my favorite, but from the very poignant flavor which brought tears against my will. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I don’t really like hot spicy things in my salad. I surely will remember by next time…

    We also visited a camera shop to see if they could repair our camcorder [negative, we'd have to buy a new one. :( ] and then to World Market to look for outdoor rugs. Just the little things that remind us  of the reality of real life. :)

    And THEN we were carefree! Off we went to Tybee Island!

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    I love the ocean.
    I love the calmness about it.
    I love the rest that the sound of the waves bring to my soul.
    I love being there with my children.
    I especially love being there on a day that is not so busy, with Ben.

    [Tybee Lighthouse, with an old Battery built beside it]

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    There was no sand castle making that day.

    This was a Castles in the Sky sort of day! :)

    This was a walk-along-the-beach-holding-hands day.
    A lay-on-the beach towel flannel-blanket-and-talk day.
    [we forgot beach towels]
    A feeling-like-we’re-kids-again kind of day.

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    A lovely day!

    After a few hours there, we headed to down-town Savannah.

    I had secured some restaurant coupons months ago, the kind where you spend $45 and get $25 off, and so we were hoping for a really nice meal. Appetizers, dessert, drinks, [we always just order water with lemon :) ordering things we usually just think would be great...

    The restaurant ended up being an awesome little building, but basically a hole in the wall with a very basic menu and cheap food. It was decent food, but there was no way we could have ordered $45 worth of food without getting most of it as take-out! We seriously wondered how this little joint ever found its way onto the internet!

    They did have some interesting features though...
    Such as fried crawdads...
    Such as spiked ketchup...
    Such as a cool little window we sat by.

    [The Man]

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    [The Girl]

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    Can you guess his and her personalities by these  ^^ pictures? :)  

    We had enough of daylight time left over to walk around the city a bit…
    I love old Savannah. It’s such an ancient city.
    Ancient for the United States, I should say. 1700′s is old for the U.S.

    [The old Savannah Cotton Exchange, right by the river]

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    [how neat would it be to study at such an amazing place?]

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    [darling little restaurant signs]

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    [I love the ferns that grow out of the sides of the old brick walls]

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    [ not sure what this is, but it looks regal. :) ]

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    [of course, a walk down River Street...]

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    [also of course, always a free praline sample]

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    [I love window boxes and old stone/brick work]

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    [so old!]

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    [We didn't walk in the residential area very much, but there are amazing houses in down-town Savannah.]

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    [I am so fascinated by doorways]

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    [How would you like to say, "I live in the house with the pink shutters." ? :) ]

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    And we found little places to set my camera on self-timer…
    We had to some at least a few pictures of US!

    Probably at least a few other people can relate to how hard it is to get a good picture of just the two of you?
    Yes, us too. Lots of the kiddos. Not so many of us.

    So, self-timer pictures are less than perfect. Angles and rule-of-thirds and such aren’t exactly as I’d like.
    But I do like the pictures. :)

    These got a little blurry, the focus was a bit off, but I liked the angle from being shot on the ground.

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    celebrating 6!

    And we finished off with a venti iced white mocha for the ride home…

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    There is truly something wonderful about being able to say, and truly mean it:

    “We are more in love now than we have ever been any year prior to this, including our wedding day!”

    About knowing that, if you had a choice, you’d make the same decision.

    This was our 6th anniversary, and honestly, this past year has been the best out of all six. 
    I think it’s been the hardest in some ways, and yet God has done amazing things for us. 
    When I married him, I didn’t know how I could love him more, my heart felt so full.
    Six years later, I look back and wonder if I even loved him, our love has grown so much.

    God has done some wonderful, deep things in us, and I have never been as secure in our relationship as I am now. There are whole new levels of trust and communication that have been built. He has won my heart in ways that were never open to him before, and it feels like our souls are more united that we’ve ever experienced.

    So, to spend a whole day together, Ben even taking off of work, was simply wonderful!
    In his words, “To have a whole day where we could just be together without constant interruption is almost heaven!!” :)

    Even the driving time was sweet… He spent over a hour talking non-stop ~ reminiscing about our journey  and how God brought us together.

    How he remembered the first time he ever saw me (I don’t even remember the first time I saw him) and how he thought, “This could be interesting!” He had not been expecting any attraction/romantic interest while we were at Bible School together, and on day #1 he already had to go outside and walk around to clear his mind. :)

    He told me about calling me dad to ask if he could date me, and how he dialed the number several times by kept hanging up because he was so nervous. About how heartbroken he was when I told him no. How almost a year later he dared to risk to ask me again, and how God did lead us together…

    I was in tears by the end, it was so sweet to hear all of that from him! His memory is impeccable! And when he talked it was as if he entered into the emotions of everything all over again!

    I am so grateful to God for our story, for bringing us together, for the unique way that He led us
    I am so grateful for the gift of marriage that He has brought to us!
    Even when I was single and independent and didn’t think I needed a man…
    God knew I did.

    Ben is the perfect opposite of me in many ways.
    Sometimes opposites are hard work.
    But a huge positive thing is that my areas of greatest weakness are his areas of greatest strength.

    I love Shakespeare’s words… about commitment, about growing old together, about love that doesn’t give up in the face of disappointment or pain…


    Shakespeare’s Love Sonnet 116:

    Let me not to the marriage of true minds
    Admit impediments. Love is not love
    Which alters when it alteration finds,
    Or bends with the remover to remove:

    O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
    That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
    It is the star to every wandering bark,
    Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.

    Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
    Within his bending sickle’s compass come:
    Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
    But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

    If this be error and upon me proved,
    I never writ, nor no man ever love


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    Ben is such a good sport about my ever-clicking camera, and even about the little self-timer deals. I was thanking him for being such a sport, and he just smiled and said he knows how much it means to me, and how I look back at a picture and am transported to the memory that is associated with it. I had once told him that, to help explain why I love pictures so much. They don’t have to be perfect pictures, but when I see a picture I am right back there in that moment. I’m thankful he understands!

    And now we both can be transported back to the moment of the Celebration of the 6th…

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