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The Gifts of January/February

For some reason I thought 2017 would go by slower than 2016, what foolish thinking as it is March already! (how did this happen??) I enjoy blogging, as sporadic as it can be. It’s a creative space to share photos and updates. Here are some happings from our 2017 so far.

JANUARY

THE ZOO

For Christmas, Adam’s parents gave us membership passes to the Zoo and Botanical Gardens (great gift, thank you!). On a sunny and warm winter day we explored the zoo. Highlights included watching the monkeys, red panda, and the elephants, of course. We didn’t get a chance to see the panda cubs, but hey that’s what a membership is for, right?

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WOMEN’S MARCH

We joined 60,000 marchers in Atlanta, and it was an empowering experience for me. Many were marching for certain policies and rights, while others marched against. For me this march was a space to say how much I value a diverse country and to stress the importance of policies that are inclusive and ensure safety to our diverse communities, including the refugee, immigrant, Muslim, brown and black brothers, LGBTQ community, and to my fellow sisters.

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FEBRUARY

DETENTION CENTER VISIT

Adam and I joined friends and drove south towards Lumpkin, Georgia to visit undocumented immigrants who have been detained at a private prison called the Stewart Center. Our first stop was at El Refugio, a hospitality home that provides food and a night’s stay for families who have driven to visit a loved one. We did a brief training and El Refugio partnered me with the individual I was to visit with. I’m writing a reflection on this experience as it was a hard, yet meaningful day.

FAMILY VISIT (BOTANICAL GARDENS)

My dad and Eydie stayed with us for a few days during February. It was a low-key time together as my father recovered from their traveling adventures. We enjoyed a day trip to the Botanical Gardens here in Atlanta.

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DATE DAY/NIGHT

Adam and I took a half day off work on a Friday (yay extended weekend!) and headed to Midtown to walk the belt line (a path that connects neighborhoods with several restaurants along the way), followed by Hidden Figures and dinner at a new restaurant. It was refreshing to enjoy time together in a new way. It’s easy for us to do our “usual date” of dinner in the evening. If you have creative date ideas to do in Atlanta or otherwise, please feel free to share. 🙂

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Christmas in Idaho – Part 2

The second part of our stay was in Nampa with my mom and brother, Spencer. On Christmas morning my brother Aaron surprised us with a visit from Washington! Christmas evening my grandparents and aunt and uncle joined us for dessert. It was a wonderful day spent with family I hadn’t seen in a couple of years.

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While visiting Adam and I snuck away for a date to watch La La Land (so good!) and dinner. We went bowling with the family (my mom got a strike in the picture below) and played raquetball in the gym.

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On our last evening together we lasted about 10 minutes looking at Christmas lights before forgoing our plan to warm up in a local restaurant.

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Not pictured: lots of laughter, movies, brisk walks in the snow, getting cars unstuck in said snow, the game Tension, visit with a best friend, and a favorite aunt and uncle.

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Christmas in Idaho – Part 1

We enjoyed a whole lot of snow while in Idaho for Christmas this past year. Our first few days were spent up in McCall, Idaho with my Dad and Eydie.

During our first full day we walked through McCall which led us to the lake where Adam and Spencer had a snowball fight.

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We met up with some friends and went ice-skating!

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We enjoyed opening Christmas gifts and took some family photos as well.

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Our bus was delayed leaving McCall so we had time to drive around the lake which was beautiful!

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Not pictured: playing Quelf, watching movies, eating at the Pancake House (a tradition we do during every visit), delicious meals, reading, walks with Sophie (the dog).  We had a great stay.

Give Thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving! Adam and I are currently in Greenwood, Indiana to celebrate Thanksgiving with his mom’s side of the family. Then on Friday we will drive to Ohio to spend a couple of days with his parents.

On the drive (and this morning) we read through notes of thanks from our thankful jar – a new tradition we plan to do each year. I thought I’d share some on the blog:

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Grateful for small things:

  • I’m thankful for walks in the neighborhood with Adam
  • I am thankful for our cat, Avery, for the playful personality and her quirks – she keeps us entertained
  • Meals shared together
  • For slow Saturday mornings.
  • I’m thankful for cool fall days, and a front porch where I can sit, watch the sunset, and give God praise for his beauty.

Thankful for each other (Adam and I)

  • I’m thankful that Adam cleans the cat litter and kills scary spiders on the outside of our door
  • I am thankful for how patient and supportive Katherine has been through 6 triathlons, hours of training, and of me talking about races.
  • I give thanks for Adam and how he is constant when I am stressed/in a poor mood
  • I am thankful for the way Katherine has picked up a double load of housework and cooking these past two weeks as I have studied for the PE exam.

Thankful for our church and community

  • I’m thankful for Renovation. The challenging sermons and the community/friends we are finding
  • I am thankful for a wife, friends, and church who are also not ok with the decisions our country is making and desire instead to extend God’s love and caring against the darkness
  • I’m thankful for food and fellowship with our discipleship group

May we continue to have hearts of gratitude no matter what season it is.

 

 

 

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The Gifts of September

It’s hard to believe it’s the second week of October already, but we gladly welcome the cooler weather! Here are a few happenings from our September:

I went to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens during the Chihuly exhibit, and it was beautiful! I have friends with season passes and got in for free, which was great. The park closed early so we weren’t able to walk through the entire garden, but they gave me a free pass, so no complaints!

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Into the Heights – Weekend Date! Adam and I enjoy going to plays together. It has become a favorite date of ours. Fiddler on the Roof and My Fair Lady have been two favorites of mine, and Into the Heights was added to the list! The play, which had a talented and diverse cast was about gentrification, interracial dating, love, loss, and grief. I was crying at the end, in the best kind of way.

We’re married, it’s messy, and that’s okay! A couple from our church has the gift of hospitality. They welcomed us to their home to talk about marriage with other couples over homemade mac and cheese, brownies, and wine. We shared our struggles, love stories, and communication styles. We listened, nodded heads in agreement, and laughed. A sacred space was created out of a desire to be real and it was beautiful. We hope it is something we can continue.

We celebrated Adam’s birthday! Adam is content with allowing his birthday to fly under the radar, while I love to make a big deal out of it (how can you not celebrate when you’re married to such a great guy?!). Adam had to work late on his birthday, so we found ourselves at a restaurant at 9pm, but that didn’t matter. As long as he felt celebrated and loved, and I’m pretty sure he did. 🙂

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September was also a busy month as Adam trained for his half-ironman, which he completed last weekend! More on that to come…..

Oh, and a few recipes I’ve tried – all were delicious and healthy, too!

Plantain Tacos (omg!!!)  

Squash Bowls

Honey Apple Galette:

 

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Arabia Mountain

Over Labor Day weekend Adam and I hiked up Arabia Mountain, which is located on the east side of Atlanta near Lithonia. It has been on my list of hikes since one of Adam’s co-workers mentioned it, and we were not disappointed!

The cool part of Arabia Mountain are the different hike and walk paths. There is even a thirty mile bike path that ends near a monastery (so cool!), which we’ve talked about doing at some point. I love the idea of returning to a place to do something completely different.

Below are some photos of the Top Trail Hike Adam and I did. The day was hot, but the view and blue sky was worth the heat!

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I was so surprised to come across this lake on the mountain! How pretty is that view? There are so many parks/hikes/trails we want to explore while in Atlanta. Have you gone on any great hikes recently? Any recommendations?!

Never too Late

Do you have any hobbies you dream of doing? I do:

Photography

Learn Spanish

Knitting

Playing the piano

I’ve spent time with all four, and enjoyed each during a season, but I wasn’t consistent with practicing. The small skills I acquired while dabbling disappeared followed by a wish for more tenacity. Can anyone relate?

A conversation reminded me that it’s never too late. How beautiful is that?

Let me introduce you to *Marie, a retired attorney who volunteers with our office. She is classy and ridiculously smart. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve seen her so when I asked whether she took a vacation, she responded by saying she was in school – in Columbia!

Marie was in a two week immersion Spanish class. The majority of her time was spent interacting with strangers in the streets prompted by questions her instructor gave. (how cool!!)

In the past she declined opportunities to study abroad while in school because that thought was uncomfortable to her. Last month she sat in a class among students who could be her grandkids. They welcomed her and shared life with her.

Thank you Marie for encouraging me to believe it’s never too late to accomplish a goal, push myself outside my comfort zone, or become skilled in a hobby. As my journal reminds me I gave myself an entire decade (hello thirties!) to learn Spanish.

*name has been changed for this reflection.