afc half marathon

Running a half marathon was never on my bucket list. I've never really even considered myself a runner, per se, since my routes don't typically exceed 2-3 miles. I simply never pushed myself beyond that distance--maybe because deep down I didn't really believe I could do it. Now I know it's not that I couldn't run long distances, it's that I wanted to avoid the discomfort of running long distances. I also now know running is never without discomfort. It doesn't matter if it's a 15 minute run or a two hour run, at some point you will probably want to stop. But when you don't stop, you will feel like a champion. 

Shortly after moving to San Diego, I decided to train for this race, mostly so I would have something to do. Running helped get me out of the house after work each day and into the wonderful sun. Every time I achieved a new high distance, it felt like a miracle. "Did I really just run 6 miles? 7 miles? Seriously, 12 miles?!?" It definitely wasn't without pain, and I let my training go for a couple weeks and worried myself towards the end, but I had committed to running 13.1 on August 18th. So, just a week before it sold out, I finally registered to run America's Finest City Half Marathon along with 8,000 other runners!  

Runners getting ready to begin.

Runners getting ready to begin.

Although the race consumed most of my thoughts on Friday and Saturday, by that time I wasn't nervous. I've been training since April!  I felt ready and even excited to finally do it. I read articles online about what to do and what to eat the days leading up to a race. Hydrating was a no brainer, but I found good information like this about eating lots of carbohydrates so my muscles would store up extra glycogen as an energy source during the race (this is obvious to many of you athletes, but it was all new to me). Then I enjoyed every second of getting to eat extra bread, muffins, pancakes and pasta starting two days before my race (okay, maybe I took proper carbo-loading a TINY bit too far). On Saturday I went for a 15 minute run that felt like 45. It didn't do a lot to boost my confidence, but still I held out hope that I could conquer my race the next day.

On Sunday I woke up at 4am to eat breakfast: dry granola, a cup of blueberries and lots of water (I took two mini LARA bars for later on). I put on my running clothes and made sure my hair was in a bun that wouldn't fall out while running (the worst). I have a tiny pocket in my running shorts where I kept a small bag of sport beans, which I was told help give you energy during a race. I also put two dollars in my pocket in case I needed to buy a water bottle before the race. It felt cool to pin on my bib and attach a cool contraption onto my shoe that would keep my official race time.

So overcast. Perfect running weather!

So overcast. Perfect running weather!

One of my favorite parts of the experience was, interestingly, the playing of the national anthem just before the race began. It still surprises me to feel the sense of reverence as hats are removed and hands are placed over hearts in a huge crowd like that as our country's anthem plays. We were at a national monument site that sits basically on a military base, so I was feeling very patriotic and truly grateful for the opportunity to do what I was about to do. After that, we all lined up for the start. I heard the gun go off, and slowly people began walking, then trotting, then we all settled into our individual paces.

To be honest, the race as a whole is kind of a blur in my memory. I don't wear headphones while I run and often my mind wanders, but I don't remember a single thing except for little moments and decisions I was making throughout. The first 4 miles were basically all downhill so I had to be very intentional about running at a pace that felt natural and not faster than normal. I was feeling really good. Then, at mile 4, I realized I was going to have to stop at the next port-o-potty. Stupid! I had drank a final cup of water about an hour before the start, and looking back, I really should have skipped it. Now I was uncomfortable and knew I couldn't run 9 more miles feeling like I had to pee! So I made a quick stop and was back at it in no time (feeling much better). :)

I started looking for Luke around mile 7.5 since he had given me a general idea of where he would wait to see me mid-race. I was still feeling strong at this point, and I decided to get my first drink of water at an aid station. At about mile 8, I began to have some pain in my right knee. This knee has given me trouble for awhile now and is the reason I took a little time off from my training program, but I thought that rest and foam rolling had really helped it, so the amount of pain I was suddenly in really took me off guard. I decided to eat my sport beans to take my mind off of it. When I retrieved them from my pocket, my two dollars fell out! Looking back, I feel like I was a little delirious at this point because it seemed totally not worth it to stop and pick up my two dollars, so I let them fall to the ground and kept running! What?! So, two dollars in the hole, I ate a few sport beans and tried to focus on the sight of Luke from the side cheering me on. Finally I spotted him at mile 9, and I was in so much pain I was almost limping. My pace had drastically slowed down--from 8:36 in mile 5 to to 9:47 in mile 9. I ran over to Luke and asked him to pray for me because I didn't know if I could finish. He did. He cheered as I ran off again, and I really think he prayed and cheered me right to the finish line. After that, there are stretches of the route that I honestly have zero recollection of. I was focused so hard on getting to the end. I yelled out "YES!" when my RunKeeper app talked to me to say I'd run 10 miles. Only 3 to go. 

By now we had run from the tip of Point Loma (a peninsula) all the way into downtown San Diego. At mile 11, the course began a steady uphill that would continue nearly to the end. SO. CRUEL. I had to keep reminding myself that I was fine, I could still go faster, I could push myself harder. When someone would pass me, I tried to match their pace for as long as I could. The crowd support was unbelievable--spectators lined the sides of the road holding signs and yelling encouragement. At mile 12, I was saying weird things out loud to myself. I tried to share my excitement with the girl next to me when I exceeded my longest distance ever. She didn't seem impressed. Oh well. I had to do everything possible to keep going! It felt like we climbed that hill FOREVER. My body was so tired.

Finally, the road leveled out and someone yelled to us "The finish is right around the corner! For real this time." He was right, people had been telling us that for the last mile! Not helpful. We entered the final stretch and I scanned the crowd for Luke. I spotted him along with our friends Emilee, Kyle, Olivia and Cathi.  They were cheering like crazy and I especially remember Cathi jumping up and down with the hugest smile on her face! I ran across the finish line with a final time of 2:03:22.  

At the finish!

At the finish!

I know you've heard this a million times before, but if you think you can't run a half marathon, YOU CAN. Your mind is your only obstacle. When I started training, I couldn't wrap my brain around the possibility of running 13.1 miles. I honestly don't even really enjoy running! But it's incredible to set a goal and watch yourself achieve it--just give yourself lots of time and patience, and don't give up. I was lucky to have a lot of support from family and friends, too. Thanks especially to this awesome crew (& Cathi who took the pic) for being there for me at the end of the race! 

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inspired words | heaven filled me

I really love these lyrics from one of my favorite songwriters, Josh Garrels. He is a wonderful poet, incredibly talented musician, and admirable in so many ways. He recently ran a campaign where all of his albums were offered for free download, with just a request that listeners leave "tips"--100% of which he donated to World Relief in their efforts to bring peace and restoration in the DR Congo where the conflict and  terror is unimaginable.

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a week in portland

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I recently got to spend a week in Portland, Oregon for work! Bryn is operating Paperfinger there for the summer and it was the perfect opportunity for us to get together for the first time in months. As a bonus I was able to stay with one of my very best friends Mary and her dear husband Clint, who have called Portland home for over two years now! They gracefully hosted me, showed me around, and helped me sample the best of the local fare. Thank you so much Mary and Clint, you guys are the greatest. 

The first morning of work was a bit surreal--and hilarious--as Bryn rolled up while yelling "Where are we?!?" It was crazy to think that the last time we had seen each other was in Brooklyn and we were both still living in New York--now here we were on the west coast meeting up in Portland. Of course the first item on our agenda was COFFEE and she took me to Coava which was truly the best coffee I've ever had. I don't say that lightly! Fun fact: they're so fancy (read: snobby?) they don't even set out milk/cream/sugar for customers.

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Throughout the week, my hosting parties took me to many favorite local eating spots. I haven't eaten that much--or that well--in a long time. I can't even begin to explain how good the restaurants in Portland are. 

And of course, Mary & Clint prepared some delicious meals for me at home. They also took me sightseeing to Sauvie Island, where we sat in the sand and watched huge barges float by, and the beautiful Rose Garden where over 7,000 species of roses are planted. It was so amazing. I was never much of a rose girl until I started working at Sassafras where I was completely taken by their insane variety and heavenly scent. I probably smelled 100 different roses by the time we left the garden.

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Bryn and I got a TON of work done and our week felt incredibly productive, not to mention sooo fun just to catch up and hang out together. I'm seriously thankful to have such a great boss and a job I love. We brainstormed, planned an intensive 6 months ahead, set lots of goals and deadlines, and finally had a photo shoot so the web portfolio could get updated with all of our new amazing samples!

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Portland, you definitely did not disappoint. From your dramatic clouds and spastic weather to your bungalows and endlessly flowering front yards. From your tasty treats and roasteries to your lovely shops and markets. From your grungy side streets to your shiny Pearl district. From the serene Columbia river to the glorious peak of Mt. Hood.

Below are just a few more snapshots of things I did and saw, including: the most weather-ready Portlandia biker I've ever seen (yes she's wearing chaps), being caught in complete unpreparedness as I biked into a downpour, another funny Portlandia moment in the office (pure local sea salt hand-harvested from the bay, anyone?), running through a beautiful rhododendron garden early one morning, the daily moody clouds.

 

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Already looking forward to my next trip! xo

hand-drawn herb notecards with watercolor

 

I wanted to create something special for mothers' day to send to my sweet mom and my wonderful mother-in-law. I knew they would both appreciate the herb motif since they are likely to be growing one or more of the above as we speak. I drew the herbs, scanned and printed them on 100% cotton scored cards and hand-painted them with watercolor. I sent our moms a set of six (two of each card) with matching envelopes.

If you're also a reader of Kaylan's lifestyle blog, you may have seen that I recently began offering short-run printing services (Kaylan was my first official client with her gorgeous original watercolor notecards). My new printer is capable of the highest quality printing and especially suited for fine art papers and heavy cardstock--making it perfect for printing stationery, wedding invitations, announcements, etc. Nightingale Handmade is now an official business registered in the state of California in San Diego county. I pay taxes and everything, woo hoo!

It's a fun new endeavor that's still at the very beginning stages, but I'm excited to see where it takes me. If you are a designer or artist looking for a custom digital printing job, I would love for you to contact me to discuss the project. I know as a designer how difficult it can be to find top quality flat printing on the paper you want with the care you yourself would give it! You can contact me at nightingalehandmade@gmail.com.

 Oh, and if you'd like to purchase a set of the cards above, I'm hoping to make that possible soon with an online shop. Changes changes coming to the NH blog! 

 

current living space

Hello! It's been awhile! We've been settling into our day-to-day routine here in San Diego. We've met some kind people, been attending a church downtown, spent a fair share of time eating fish tacos. I'm training for a half marathon! We are learning to trust God more and more every day. And, of course, we've had more than a couple beach days. :)

Today I cleaned our apartment because our landlord asked to show a couple people the floor plan, and then later I thought to snap a few photos so we remember where we spent our first several months in San Diego. We're looking for a new place to live with 2 bedrooms--however, if we don't find anything affordable, we might stay in this current tiny place! It's month-to-month until August so we have a bit of time to decide. 

Enjoy a few snapshots. There's not much to see! We sold or donated most of our possessions and I'm enjoying this massive simplification of our belongings. Turns out we really don't need much to live at all. 

 

 

Here's one of the two of us from last night after a mini-date of craft beers from a cool place down the street. Oh yeah, did I mention that THE BEST taco shop, bagel shop, donut shop and happy hour joint are within walking distance of us? We're in trouble!

 

Stay on the Bike

 


 

The day we left New York for our cross country road trip extravaganza, a few of our friends gave us hours and hours of driving music on burned CDs. It was awesome and we appreciated every single disc. One of them, however, got a lot more play time than all the others...because our singer/songwriter/jack-of-all-trades friend Matt wrote the songs, and our other multi-talented friend Annah contributed her insanely beautiful vocals to what became the soundtrack of our trip: a self-titled, home-recorded/mixed EP, the debut of their musical collaboration known as Stay on the Bike

From the very first listen, these 5 songs spoke to us.

Each and every morning, we began our day's journey with 1) a prayer for safety and 2) several consecutive plays through the EP. Matt and Annah's voices blend together with a sound I can only describe as pure. And maybe heavenly (clearly I'm not a music critic, this lingo is straight from my heart). I have always been blown away by Matt's musical talent, but hearing these songs took things to a new level. And considering that I always thought of Annah as a pretty quiet person (not to mention one of the sweetest, most creatively gifted people I know!), it was a relatively surprising--but awesome--realization to hear that she has a voice like glass. Friends, this is good stuff. I'm really passionate about what these two have created so far and I'm anxious to see what's in store for them in their new musical endeavor! The EP was released today for streaming and purchasing. Go check it out!

Matt and Annah, thank you for the gift of these songs, and more importantly, the soundtrack to a road trip I will remember for the rest of my life. The first line of "Build" is my favorite from the EP, and every time I hear it I know it will bring to mind a vivid reel of our vast country's hills, plains, rocky mountains, deserts, and finally, rolling seas. I drank in those scenes along with your sound. I will think back to those moments, embarking on a new adventure with my love, and I will sing along earnestly:

"I want to carve a road
like the one I used to travel with you..."

 


Monique's Baby Shower

My dear friend Monique is having a baby in several weeks!! I had the pleasure of creating the invitations for her shower. She picked out the colors and the chevron pattern based on decisions they made for Baby Penny's nursery and I loved the pale orange + mint together. I overlaid the chevron pattern with a subtle watercolor design to get some slight variation in the color. We used gray top-open envelopes which worked out great with the oversized hang tag shape!

 

 

Monique's mom and sisters threw her the most adorable party! There were so many thoughtful details and the food was amazing. It was a huge blessing to be able to be there (the day we were packing up our trailer!) although it kills me that I won't be around for the birth of her sweet baby--the gender of whom is yet to be determined :) Luke and I are so blessed to have Monique and her husband Gavin in our lives. We miss them so much and can't wait for precious Baby Penny to arrive.

 

 

 

 

Mo, I love you and miss you so much! You're going to be an AMAZING mommy.

easter sunday

 

 

Our God is so faithful to provide for all of our needs. Last Sunday we planned to visit 2 different churches...but ended up not even making it into the service at the first church because I started to cry. It had been a hard week (2 weeks ago) and I was sad, lonely, and feeling like we didn't belong anywhere. This particular church didn't have its own parking lot so we parked several streets down and began walking, coincidentally alongside another member of the congregation. Maybe this middle-aged woman was shy, or maybe she was having a bad day herself, but she made no effort whatsoever to engage with us in conversation or even ask our names. It was an awkward, silent walk to the church a few blocks down. I was in a weak, self-pitying state and just before we entered the church doors a thought came into my mind that caused me to utterly break down.

"We don't belong here."

I couldn't control my tears and we had to walk away. I cried because of all the things I was deeply missing--mostly, at that moment, our sense of belonging. We had a place in Nyack among our friends, in our work, and especially in our church, and I was grieving the loss of that. I felt sorry for myself for the hours I had spent alone that week and the many uncomfortable situations I'd been in, fully aware of the fact that I just didn't quite fit in.

But I know that our God is good! In him I have the power over those debilitating thoughts (lies) telling me I have no place. As a child of God I belong to his family, and in him I find comfort just like a little girl finding comfort in the arms of her mom or dad. I can trust that his plan for my life is good and that no matter where I find myself (even on the opposite side of the country from my family and friends!) God is with me and will not leave me alone. After that very difficult morning, we went on to the second church and were received by some of the most warm and welcoming people. I believe that God was teaching me to find my place, my fulfilment and my sense of belonging in him.

What a different experience I had this past week. Holy week and the celebration of Easter are all about what Jesus did for us so that there would be NO MORE SEPARATION between us and the Father. This intimate relationship I have with God--one in which I find all of my hope and peace and belonging--exists only because Jesus died on the cross. I am so thankful for that sacrifice!!

So we had a wonderful Easter day. Like all wonderful days, it began with pancakes and bacon. We went back to the warm and welcoming church, came home to make salsa and watch basketball, and then spent the rest of our day feeling like adopted family members at the Easter gathering of some of our good friends' relatives who happen to live in San Diego. Luke and I are blessed and thankful. Thank you so much for your prayers for us!

 

 

hello california!

 

 

We're here! Just over a week has flown by since our Subaru first rolled into San Diego. It has been a really good week of exploring, settling in and enjoying the sunshine.

San Diego is beautiful. I feel so lucky to be surrounded by such brilliant scenes as the blue skies and seas that make Point Loma so beautiful. In the mornings, Luke and I have been going for walks around our new area, and the other day we grabbed coffee and then found ourselves down by the Point Loma marina. We passed a lot of dogs and their owners and we got jealous (we really really want a dog). It was sunny and lovely.

 

 

I feel a little foolish and even mad at myself for all the energy I spent stressing and feeling fearful of our move. I was doing all that worrying when I could have been getting excited! Yes, I miss my family and friends terribly and I wish that we could all live close together, but this is something pretty cool that Luke and I are getting to do for a couple years. I should have trusted that God was going to take care of my heart and let go of all the worry from the beginning. Because here we are in California, and I'm not sad or lonely or hating life here or any of those things I was fearful of before we arrived! Thank you, anyone who has been praying for me!!

One thing we have definitely been enjoying is the local fare. There are "taco shops" all over the place, and we were tipped off that Ortiz' is one of the best places to get a burrito--luckily (or unluckily, depending on how you look at it) for us, it's just around the corner from our apartment! Apparently, the "california" is a popular burrito variety here and it is a burrito with FRENCH FRIES on it. How have I never heard of this before? When the guy in the shop said "french fries", I had him repeat himself because I didn't think I was hearing him right! Needless to say, it was amazing. 

 

 

Luke has been absolutely loving his new job. I am so happy that he is doing what he loves. I'm also incredibly proud of him for doing something that few people actually do--realize your passion, pursue it wholeheartedly, work hard to earn knowledge & qualifications, and then enjoy doing it every day! He is an amazing coach and I know he'll come out of our time here even better. 

I have been getting back into my work routine too--workdays last week found me at many different coffee shops as we waited for our internet to get set up at home. Now that we're all set up (after countless hours on the phone with service providers), I'm spending way too much time scouring Craigslist for a desk and shelving and other workspace items so that I can get my little home office corner set up! Paperfinger: San Diego Edition is underway! 

Oh! Lastly: we had a GREAT drive out here. I took thousands of pictures and I will post here once I've gotten a chance to go through & compile them. For now, enjoy this amazing Pacific coast sunset I watched last week! 

 

 

breathing the breath

Moving to San Diego scares me. It's hard to write about because I'm usually jumping at the opportunity to go somewhere new. New places excite me, and I've never been one to stay put for long. But this feels different. Is it because I'm getting older? Is it because it's SO VERY far away? Maybe because San Diego feels like a different world? Expansive, bare, brown. I grew up in lush woods, tree canopies, rolling hills.

I have never been against the decision we made to move there. I know in my heart that it's the right decision. I'm so proud of Luke for pursuing his coaching career and I know he has never once put that above what's best for our relationship. Together we prayed and struggled with the decision of what to do next with our life, and this is where God led us. I'm not about to doubt that it is right, but it is so hard.

I'm going to miss being close to my entire family and my sweet little nieces. Every single member of my immediate family lives in my hometown. We've been able to visit them for a weekend anytime we wanted. Now what will it entail? Saving for months and a cross country flight. My nieces will get bigger without seeing me for long stretches of time. It hurts my heart to think of all the little phases of their ages I will miss.

I'm going to miss our friends here in Nyack. I remember when we first moved here, how lonely I was, and then how we gradually became part of a wonderful community. Friends who host breakfast every single Saturday. Friends who checked in on me and invited me for dinner when Luke had to go away for a month. Friends who play music together, make food together, drink together, laugh and cry together, go camping together, play games together, throw parties together.

Friends who go to church together. Here in Nyack we are a part of the most wonderful little church we've ever been to. I have cried in church every Sunday since we made the decision to move because it hurts to know we can't be a part of such a beautiful community anymore. In the past, church has hurt and damaged my heart at times. Now at SaviorCC we are refreshed and inspired every week and throughout the week by teaching and fellowship with people who don't pretend to have it all together and who love Luke and I for who we are. God's love is represented well there.

I don't want to be afraid anymore. I am comfortable here and surrounded by love and friends and community, but we're leaving and we have to find new friends, a new community, a new church and a new life. I want to be filled with excitement. I want to focus on the wonderful things about our new city and surroundings. I want to kick fear out for good so that I can be filled with God's peace and know that he would never steer me wrong. This morning Matt Redman's song "Breathing the Breath" came on as I was washing dishes and I thought, that is my job. That's all I have to do. I'm merely breathing the breath that God gave me to breathe, and he will take care of the rest. My life is an act of worship no matter where I am. I don't have to be afraid.

"From him and through him and to him are ALL THINGS. To him be the glory forever, amen." Romans 11:36

 

goodbye ny

 

 

Shortly before we moved here from the South, Luke and I listened to this wonderful book by a lifelong native of NYC. We hoped it would acclimate us to the city and give us a bit of insight to understand, navigate, and experience it the best we could. At the time I found it difficult to really hear what the author was saying as he described locations and street names I'd never heard of or seen. Now that we're leaving, it seems only fitting to listen to the book again. After our time living nearby and frequently visiting the city, the stories are so much easier to place in my mind.

I'll miss New York. A year and a half isn't nearly long enough to even begin to get to know such a vast and interesting place. But we did our best to take advantage of the time we lived so close to this magical city, and I will always remember it.

 

View of the skyline before entering the Lincoln Tunnel

Honey at the Union Square GreenmarketRooftops and old lettering

The Tree at Rockefeller Center

New York TimesCommutingScenes from my only jog in the city

Lower Manhattan from the FDR highway

Walking on the High Line
Grand Central Terminal
Empire State sights
Manhattan Bridge from DUMBO, BrooklynPretty brownstones near the Paperfinger studio
Luke and I at Brooklyn Bridge Park

merry christmas

 

 

Merry Christmas to all of the wonderful people God has placed in our life!

The season for us so far has been busy and a bit stressful as we try to determine what's next for us in 2013, but we have been meditating on the fact that we have JOY because God decided not to remain distant from us, but instead he sent his Son--our hope, our light, our Savior--to live among us. The words echoing in my mind all this Christmas have been "Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel has come!"

I am so thankful that Jesus entered the world ultimately to save it for our joy and His glory. We wish you all the hope and gladness offered by our Lord and this wonderful season.

 

Luke and I recorded a Christmas song to share with our families this year and decided to post it here. Please forgive the poor quality and focus on the love with which it was recorded. :) We love you!

 

 

can't buy me love

I know for a fact that money doesn't buy happiness. Because tonight, in an ongoing attempt to save save save, Luke and I had the cheapest date night ever: dinner at IKEA for $10 and then shopping with a $15 price limit. And we had more fun than anyone who went on the fancy-pancy-shmanciest date ever. 

 

I spent $10 for a really great pair of winter socks. He spent $3.50 for a pocket tee. 

 

Sharing Joys and Burdens, Part 2: The Bicycle Deliveryman

Dan and Alaina paid us a visit recently. I love visits to our New York home. I love taking friends and family into the city and playing the part of the guide. On this particular night it was just chilly enough for a light coat, and Luke was at the wheel trying to find a parking spot. After the usual 30+ minutes, he and I had, impressively (to us), kept our cool AND found a spot we were 95% sure was legal (I think Dan and Alaina were impressed, too). Good start to the night.

We began the walk to one of our favorite dinner spots and we were feeling the good city vibes. The buzz of action was all around us and we took in the people and the sights. I felt like I was showing off the great city of New York, in which I wasn't born, but have been a frequent visitor this past year; in which I still feel like an outsider, but have become somewhat comfortable; in which I've gotten lost many times, but know my way around fairly well now, for a non-native.

We walked along with countless others, paying little attention to anyone until we approached a busy intersection along with two other girls who were acting a little odd, a little jittery. They were dressed in black, one taller and one shorter, the shorter wore spiky boots and cropped hair. The taller called out to her as she began to walk straight out into oncoming traffic, ignoring the don't walk sign. "No, wait! Don't do that!" but the shorter one was already in the street. We heard shouts and horns as she was struck by a bicycle deliveryman who then nearly fell into the path of a speeding yellow taxi. It was one of those things you never want to see, so you just wait, cringing, not knowing what will happen next. Somehow both individuals managed to stay on their feet and avoid contact with moving vehicles, but as she came stumbling back towards her friend on the curb, she was laughing. LAUGHING, while the deliveryman stood with his bike off to the side, traumatized, surely having just seen his life flash before his eyes. It was a terrifying series of events, but what followed was even more shocking.

I recently read a New York Times article about NYC food deliverymen on bicycles, just like this man was. Every day is dangerous for them. I read that many receive a base pay of about $30 a day, plus tips, but could be ticketed at any time for riding electric bikes which are banned in New York (but are by far the best means of working efficiently). I read that they work 10+ hours a day, 6 days a week, and that every night wealthy New Yorkers in fancy Park Avenue flats receive takeout deliveries from them and tip minimally. I recalled all these things as I watched what unfolded next.

At the intersection, the walk signal finally flashed and everyone began to cross, relieved it was over and all parties were okay. The girl who stepped out into oncoming traffic turned suddenly toward the deliveryman, who hadn't moved, and kicked his bike with her spiky black heel. She yelled obscenities at him and, in a final fit of rage, she threw her drink on him. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. It was all I could do to sputter "What are you doing?!" as she stormed away.

I looked at the man on the bike. I saw the liquid covering him and the bewildered look on his face. "That was not your fault," I said. A man behind me told him "We all saw it! She walked out right in front of you!" I was so angry. We kept walking and found ourselves just behind her and her friend for the next three blocks. She was laughing again, and I was imagining all the different ways I could potentially hurt her. Luke knew; he said "Margaret, she's messed up. She's on something." You could tell by the way they were walking. I heard the taller one say "That was the most hilarious thing I've ever seen in my life." All I could think about was the deliveryman and the drink soaking his coat. She had no reason to throw her drink on him. My heart was heavy with the scene: the man, the article, the drink, and this girl who was perhaps drunk or on drugs and had just come close to killing him. 

I couldn't stop thinking about the man on the bike for a long time. I replayed the events and pined over whether or not I should have said or done anything more. The opportunity has passed, but maybe I did all I could humanly do at the time: to share his burden. And maybe, just maybe those who are burdened need only for someone to come along and carry part of the weight.

 

more:

Beautiful blog post about bearing one another's burdens.

The Bible talks about sharing each other's burdens, too.

 

Sharing Joys and Burdens, Part 1: Song from Beijing

Yesterday should have been a relaxing Sunday, the kind meant for napping, but I was restless. Too often the effects of working from home catch up with me and I feel like I just need to GET OUT, so Luke and I went for a walk. We made our way down winding Lowland Road and over the expressway to downtown Nyack where we knew a fall festival had been taking place. The festival was over by the time we arrived, so we found an empty park bench overlooking the Hudson river and continued what had turned into a somewhat involved conversation about our future.

My body was turned toward Luke as we sat, and in the middle of our conversation I saw him look past me for a split second with confusion on his face. A very pregnant Asian woman had sat down next to me--I mean RIGHT next to me--on the park bench. I felt a little invaded, a little irked, and immediately I attributed her actions to her internationality. Luke and I tapered off our conversation and as much I wanted to get up and leave then, I looked at the woman and said "Hello." In all honesty, I didn't even know if she spoke English. But she said hi back and apologized if she had interrupted our conversation, she was just so tired. I noticed how beautiful she was. Cropped black hair that fell in short waves around her roundish Chinese face, bright white teeth, very stylish sunglasses and a camel poncho that tied just above her big belly. She was a real estate broker in Manhattan, but she had only moved from Beijing in 2009. I asked a few more questions about what brought her to Nyack that day until the conversation inevitably went to the pregnancy of her first child.

"When are you due?"

"November the 6th."

"Do you know what you're having?"

"A baby girl."

I'm not sure why, but at the mention of her baby girl, tears came to my eyes. I was filled with joy for this complete stranger. We continued our conversation for a little while until Luke asked if they had a name picked out. She smiled, hesitated, and then said "You will be the first ones I've told." We all started laughing at the craziness of it: Luke and I, having no connection to this woman whatsoever, knowing the name of this precious baby even before the grandparents?! We felt honored and promised not to tell anyone she knows.

We parted ways soon after that, but I was very touched by our meeting. I was ultimately glad she sat down on our park bench in a stroke of very un-New-York-like behavior. I was also glad I didn't get up like I wanted to and walk away without a word. It was a good reminder that in a society where anonymity and keeping to ourselves is the cultural norm, that's not what we we were made for. We were made to connect with one another, to share the joys and burdens even of strangers on a very personal level. Getting up from that park bench would have been to miss a great opportunity to live out what I am created for.

So for little Cleo Song who will be out in the world in less than a month, I pray God's grace and blessings. Her middle name is after her mama, who I was glad to know for a very short time on an early fall afternoon. 

 

I'll be back this week with part two about a burden shared with a New York City bicycle deliveryman.

 

two years

Today is our official two year anniversary, but we celebrated on Sunday with a day trip to the Catskills. We had so much fun hiking, exploring little mountain towns, taking in the GORGEOUSNESS of upstate NY fall, enjoying some good eats and trying to wrap our minds around the fact that we've already been married for two years!

We left home early Sunday morning and had to make it a whole HOUR to New Paltz before we had our coffee. It was tough, but we managed. ;) It was worth it too--The Bakery in New Paltz was sooo yummy. We had egg sandwiches, obviously (you know my love for egg sandwiches!) and took a big pumpkin chocolate chip cookie to go.

 

   

 

From there we drove another hour north to hike to Kaaterskill Falls, the highest falls in New York. Even higher than Niagara top to bottom!

 

  

    

 

Kaaterskill was so beautiful. After trekking around at the base, we ended up driving to the top since the trail from base to top is now closed because it's so dangerous. At the top, we took in some of the most unbelievable views of the Catskills and the changing colors. There were hundreds of names and dates etched into the rocks, some dating back to the early 1800s!

 

   

 

We did a bit more hiking at a nearby park and campground, and then continued to Hunter Mountain, a ski slope, where we went SKYRIDIN'. 

 The skyride was just a ski lift they were running to the top of the highest mountain, but we enjoyed incorporating the term into as many conversations as possible. It was beautiful actually, a really cool way to see the Catskills. I love how a simple change in perspective can really wow you. We took a nerdy video which I will share.

 

 

 

At the end of the video I say "I'm not going to drop it" because he was nervous the whole time that I was going to drop my phone off the lift. Nervous Nelly! 

 

 

   

 

Hunter Mountain had Oktoberfest going on, so we walked around a bit before hitting the road again. We went to a little tavern that had over 300 beers. I've been wanting to try Wolaver's Pumpkin! SO YUMMY! and we got cheese fries. We walked around Hunter, Phoenecia, and then Woodstock where we saw an amazing drum circle and channeled good vibes from the 1969 festival. 

 

 

 

We stopped in New Paltz again on the way home for a Thai food dinner. It was a perfect way to spend the day with the man I love. 

 . . . . 

Guys, TWO YEARS. It feels like we've been married forever, but at the same time it's gone by so fast. I am the luckiest girl in the world to call Luke my husband. Never have I known a man so faithful, loving, encouraging and respectable. I could go on and on about his good traits, but the one I am most thankful for is his ability to love me so well. 

It is difficult to put into words the love I have for Luke. Growing up, I was that girl who ALWAYS had a boyfriend. I dated from roughly ages 13-21 until the final breakup of my life as a sophomore in college. I knew of Luke then--he was the cute Southern transfer student who played on the soccer team and had recently started hanging out with my friends--but I did not anticipate what would happen between us. The last thing I expected was to get into another relationship, let alone the one that would last. You just never know what life has in store. God is so good and kind. He knew Luke had just what I needed. Of course we have our difficulties sometimes (sometimes often), but we are incredibly blessed with a beautiful, happy marriage and life together. And I have never been so proud of him as I am now! He works so hard every day to complete his graduate work and to be the very best he can be for Nyack College. The way his players respect and respond to him has shown me worlds about his character. I'm so so so excited to see where his coaching career will take us down the road.

Thank you so much to everyone who has loved us and prayed for us these past two years (and prior). Thank you for being part of our relationship and support system. I ask you to continue to support us in prayer these next several months as we determine the next steps of our journey. It's always a bit intimidating when the future is unknown, but God is so faithful and he has provided all that we've ever needed and I know he will continue to do so!

We really really love you all! 

 

pumpkin chocolate chip cookies

 

 

Yesterday morning I woke up to our windows thrown open as usual. Lately the angle of the sun has been directly in our eyes around 7am every day. I was quite chilly as I hurriedly decided what to wear to church. I was glad I chose flats instead of sandals for the first time in months.

The day seemed right, then, for this perfectly fall cookie. I was in the spirit at Trader Joe's last week and decided I couldn't go wrong to throw a can of pumpkin in my cart. So glad I did.

 

 

reloved | vintage bread box


 

Last week I dusted off one of my old relics and finally gave it the love it deserved. Over a year ago I posted this "before" of a bread box I grabbed at a yard sale for $2. 

 

 

I'm no refurbishing expert when it comes to painting anything. Painting intimidates me. So I basically sanded it down as best I could and then applied 4 layers of paint sloppily, wiping away excess paint after each layer. I didn't originally anticipate giving it a shabby look, but that's just what happened eventually as different layers went on in different thicknesses. The paint I was using was old and tacky, but since the look was imperfect I didn't mind. I'm too impatient to paint perfectly anyway.

 

 

I applied some colorful vintage wallpaper to the inside of the handle for a happy little detail. I left the "bread" plaque as-is, because the aged patina is just too good to mess up.

I wish I had a before shot of this kitchen shelf as it was set up before. It was getting a little too crowded and messy, which is what originally inspired me to redo the bread box and make it a part of the shelf in the first place. Now it's clean and simple, mixed with new and old, and makes me happy to look at. 

 

 

Is anybody doing anything fun this weekend? Luke and I are going to have a Shake Shack and thrifting date in the city tonight. I haven't seen much of him as he's been working so hard on his thesis this week for his Master's program. He's also the latest up-and-coming barista man at our favorite local joint. ;) I'm in major trouble with him working there! Best baked goods EVER!

 

Happy weekend! xo

 

pretty vintage floral dinnerware

I just love these. Forget-Me-Nots against a white background...such happy plates for the kitchen table.

 

 

I have a dinnerware obsession and I love plate patterns. This particular pattern is called "Clear Day" and it was designed by Ben Siebel for Mikasa in the 70's. He designed many, many other plate patterns, but this one ranks up there as one of my favorites.

 

 

I'm selling these in my etsy shop--sometimes when I find fun thrifted treasures, I just have to pick them up even though I can't justify holding onto them myself. 

 

what i learned in college when my hard drive failed and i didn't have it backed up and i lost everything

absolutely nothing, as it would seem, because it just happened to me again.

 

my macbook pro decided to have a little freakout and then the folks at the apple store decided to suck and then i decided i am the world's biggest fool for not having any of my photos from the first two years of our married life backed up, and then luke decided not to be mad at me when we have to shell out $900 to recover my data.

 

YOU READ THAT RIGHT, $900.

 

so thanks tekserve for capitalizing on other peoples' stupidity and charging an absolute premium to give me back my own pictures. and if anyone has any better ideas, let me know? thanks.