a post about nothing and something

Last Thursday Luke set off for Vegas to do some recruiting and I made my weekend list. Now, I love my husband more than anything on earth and I absolutely adore spending time with him. When he leaves for a recruiting trip, I get sad. But then after I’m on my own for a little while, a couple things happen...

First, I get uber-productive. I make lists, I accomplish tasks, I clean the house, I tackle things that I’ve been putting off. It’s AWESOME. A less awesome thing that happens is that I revert back to being in some kind of weird bachelorette mode: I stay up too late watching bad television, I sleep in, I don’t cook a darn thing. Tonight I had chips and salsa and wine for dinner, although I must say it was delicious homemade salsa with avocado, mango, kiwi, tomato, cilantro, salt, pepper, garlic & lime. TRY IT. My new basil plant lost a leaf in transit so I chopped that up and tossed it in to boot. Why not?

Earlier in the evening, since the apartment was empty, I had all the time in the world to let my jog linger on and on. I haven’t done much running lately, but I ran 2 miles down to the beach just as the sun went down. The thing about sunsets here is that they, too, linger on and on. Long past the time the sun sinks below the horizon, the sky is alight, shifting from pinky peach to burnt orange to dark blue. I love sunsets, the way they slowly change. You think they’re good, but then they get better; right up until the last tiny bit of light fades from the sky, they are beautiful. Good ’til the last drop. I walked down to the water and watched for awhile. I sat on the sand and listened to the waves. There’s something about being right there on the edge of the land, imagining how far and long and wide the water stretches out before you. Because I’ve learned that sometimes a simple change in perspective makes everything come alive, I turned my head sideways. I noticed the clouds, illuminate, small and scattered at random across the sky. I studied the way the colors of the sunset faded from one to the next—a perfect gradient. Then I sang a couple songs to myself. I thought about joining a choir again.

After awhile I got up and started jogging again, only because I wanted to speed up the next leg of my journey to a local co-op market. The best. I knew that the moment I walked in those doors, life would slow down once again. It would be nearly as peaceful as the crashing of the waves—strolling the aisles, basket in hand, taking in the bounty of fruit and vegetables and plants—I wasn’t expecting the baby plants!—and all kinds of other wonderful products. I was there for a few simple ingredients for the salsa, but as I said, the baby plants seduced me and before I knew it I had basil and heirloom tomatoes and three packets of seeds in hand. How could I not, when the beet packet boasted of greens in 20 days, beets in 40?

When all was said and done, my bill came to $23.13. I walked out of the store with my brown paper bag and marveled at the incredible resources I have access to. How thankful and blessed I am to be able to afford $23.13 for a few items at the market. I have to say, these days Luke and I have less than we’re used to in the way of finances. I’m trying to run my own business as my primary means of income, and that’s shaky ground to tread on. It means that we’ve gone without some of the things we’ve enjoyed regularly in the past: meals out, an overabundance of groceries, the occasional clothes shopping trip or home decoration item. But what I’ve found is that the money equation is really quite simple: you make more, you spend more. Making a lot of money is great, and I would never fault anyone for it. It's the natural thing to want to do and pursue. But the flip side of the equation is also simple: you make less, you spend less. Right now we’re in a season of making less. There are things for our apartment that I’d like to have. In fact, I’d like to not have an apartment at all—I’d prefer a beach cottage or bungalow. But these days we are going without the bigger place, the weekly restaurant jaunts, the $12 movie tickets, the nicer car, the newer clothes…and I am none the wiser, folks. I’m actually more aware of every blessing I have. I’m more thankful for every want and need fulfilled. And I am keenly aware of God’s provision in our lives, which never ceases to blow me away. These days our emptier bank account really seems to go further. Our goal is not to have money in excess, but to be generous with what we do have.

Anyway, by the time I was walking home from the co-op, it was dark out, but I felt completely safe. The air was cool but I was comfortable. As I considered my blessings, I thought about how lucky I am to live here. This thought comes to mind all the time. Daily my eyeballs are bombarded with beauty: the constant sunshine, the sparkly marinas, the pretty boats, the bursting florals, the breathtaking landscapes, the waves crashing on cliffs, the soaring palm trees, the masterpiece sunsets. It’s an amazing place and I wish you could all be here with me. I won’t pretend it’s all easy—it’s very hard sometimes, of course. The toughest part is being 3000 miles away from most of my family. But overall I can’t express how grateful I am for this place in our lives. It’s a sweet time for sure.

Luke said something about me that gave me a lot of joy and pride awhile back. At our community group we were asked what each other's life motto would be if we could assign one to our husband/wife. Luke stole mine from North Face: “Never Stop Exploring”, and I loved that. What an amazing life motto to have. Never stop exploring the beauty of this world. Never stop exploring how much you can love others. Never stop exploring the depths of Christ’s love for you. Never stop exploring how far you need to step out of your comfort zone to find real excitement and fulfillment. Never stop exploring how much you can give and be amazed at what is provided. Never stop exploring the endless things you have to offer. I never knew it was my life motto, but I’m glad Luke revealed it because now it’s time to live it more. 

I don’t have an ending for this blog post and it’s already incredibly long and choppy, so I’ll end with a story from the other night. I was walking in the Target parking lot and a homeless guy asked me for money. Whenever I get asked for money, I give it, as long as I have cash. Everyone approaches this type of thing differently but I always think of something our old pastor offered on the issue of giving money to beggars: “People say you shouldn’t give cash because ‘They might use it to buy beer.’ Yeah? Well, YOU might use it to buy beer!” Touche, Pastor Frank. That I probably would. So I gave him a dollar and he thanked me, and then he spouted off this long monologue that made absolutely no sense. He said he was going to get some money soon because he was the King and people owed him tax money. He said some other nonsense and then abruptly ended with “Well, thanks again! Love you.” And he reached out for a fist bump. There was a crazy innocence in the way he said it. I think it was because he was strung out, but still, it really struck me. I fist bumped him back and said “Love you too” and went into the store. He was gone by the time I came back outside.

a day in lewisburg, wv

This past weekend Luke and the team were traveling for two away games in Northern Virginia and Maryland. I'll admit that I was upset when I first realized I would be spending almost three days on my own in Hinton. There's not exactly a whole lot going on here.

But once I got over myself, I began making plans. For a Saturday day trip, I was tipped off by Alisha at Chestnut Revival to visit Lewisburg (voted one of the top 10 coolest small towns in America, 2011) which is about 45 minutes northeast, and I'm so glad I did. It was right up my alley. I spent the entire day touring the town's historical sites, wandering into cute shops, checking out the local farmer's market and hanging out at cafes.

What first caught my eye was the beauty of the aged homes and buildings. I don't know a lot about architecture, but I thought these buildings were really beautiful.

 

 

 

My first stop was the Greenbriar Valley farmers' market. Vendors were a bit sparse, but the live bluegrass made up for it.

 

 

I enjoyed an incredible cinnamon roll with brown butter glaze. A quaker-looking woman sold it to me. I guessed she probably didn't want her photo taken, so just imagine her in your mind, bonnet and all.

 

 

I then walked to the Lewisburg visitor's center to pick up some maps/walking guides/suggestions from the nice older ladies to help determine my next move. They told me that Lewisburg is home to one of the world's four Carnegie Halls (right along with that one in New York)! Who would have thought? I had to see it, so I walked through a beautiful park (part of what is now a local college) until I saw this fantastic building.

 

 

 

I was disappointed to find the front doors locked even though I could hear music coming from inside. My discovery of an unlocked side door allowed me to go into the small theater and listen to, presumably, a student in a piano lesson. I really enjoyed about ten minutes of peaceful solace in the presence of beautiful music, in a seat that has held hundreds of thousands of people before me.

 

 

At this point I still hadn't had my morning coffee, so I found my way to the Wild Bean cafe.

 

 

The menu looked amazing. I ended up spending quite a bit of time here blogging, catching up on some work emails, talking to my Mom and eating one of the best sandwiches of my life. It was a really large space that they'd filled out quite well with tables, booths, and lots of little nooks and corners to settle into. I decided on a window seat, though.

 

 

 Seriously, the sandwich above--one of the best of my life. The Wild Bean calls it the Green Goddess, and it consisted of spinach, sprouts, avocado, cucumber and cream cheese on ciabatta bread. Served with a side of sesame pasta. I think I could eat it every day.

From there, I checked out some of the little shops and antique stores along the main street.

Wolf Creek Gallery

Edith's Store

Stone House General Store

 

When I was all antiqued out, I found my way to a really pretty restaurant before the dinner rush hit. For the rest of the evening, I enjoyed the cool air and a beer and journaled in their tented area where I was surrounded by gardens. Such a pleasant way to spend time. And to top it all off, I ordered an appetizer of brie with caramelized pecan topping. Delicious!

 

 

A really cool gem of a town in the middle of nowhere, West Virginia. I loved my time in Lewisburg.

 

 

seen | What caught my eye this week...

I'm having a relaxing morning at home with Luke before we head out to start our day. He brought me coffee and cereal with bananas this morning while I collected some favorite links from the week--what a sweet man! Here are some of my favorite finds this week, hope you enjoy!

 

Amazed by this gorgeous outdoor party a husband threw for his wife (also seen above)...I'm thinking he had a little help ;)

A great new Tumblr filled with photos of awesome people hanging out together

My beautiful friend Hillary has her own clothing line...and she's hosting a fantastic giveaway over on her blog!

This will be me taking in New York City in a few months

I was late on the bandwagon finding this commercial, but it's too good to miss

I've been wanting to learn how make homemade sprinkles for awhile. I'm so excited to finally try it!

I've been loving this mermaid braid lately

And if you missed my posts on Tolstoy's inspired words or homemade kohlrabi this week, check them out too! 

 

PS, I have to share something so exciting: last night I met two of the most awesome blogging celebrities, John & Sherry (and their adorable Clara) from Young House Love!!! They were eating at Mellow Mushroom when Luke and our friends & I were there. I was SO nervous and excited to say hi and introduce myself. Their blog has been one of my absolute favorites for years. They were totally kind and gracious (I was stammering all over the place, but I do remember I said I'm a cupcake baker and Sherry replied "that's why you're so sweet!" aww!), I truly felt privileged to meet such an awesome pair. This amazing blogging duo operate under the same mindset as one of the most wise & accomplished men I know, Luke's granddad Cliff, and that is "if you don't know how to do something, learn how and do it yourself." Their blog is MUCHO successful and I just love it. If you've never read it, check it out NOW! Thanks for making my night, John & Sherry!

I hope you all have a fantastic, sunny Saturday and relaxing Sunday! xoxo