Wedding Fun!

One of my dear students/friends was married this weekend in one of the prettiest weddings I’ve ever been a part of (and you know how I love a good wedding!). The venue was a woodland chapel that the groom and his family and friends created themselves. To get there you had to follow winding trails marked with mulch paths and occasional plantings or benches. The seating was tree stumps with flat boards and the altar area was flanked by twisted wood arbors adorned with flowers. Even more twig-style trees lined the aisle. Gorgeous.

The non-nature decor was also Pinterest-worthy with hanging chandeliers, artsy frames, and vintage glassware. We took the opportunity to get some shots of ourselves behind the photo walls the bride’s family made out of old barn wood and re-purposed frames. It was as lovely an event as the two people who were married. We were proud to be part of the richness!














Thankful Tuesday: Cousin Love

Another Thankful Tuesday post with the MamaMonk blog:

In some of the British novels I like to read the sweetest love stories happen between first cousins. That was in the day when first cousins could (and often did) get married. To our modern sensibilities this may sound revolting, but if you’ve ever had a close relationship with your cousins, then you totally understand.

This weekend my baby sister (just to put that in a more reasonable perspective, she turns thirty next month) visited with her two brown-headed beauties and my kids were in cousin heaven. My Macy and Charity’s Nola literally held hands during as many activities as hand-holding was physically possible.

An unfortunate complication in these public displays of affection was that yesterday Macy tested positive for Strep. When the doctor (my Dad) wrote out the script for an antibiotic I told him he might as well write one for Nola, too. They shared everything this weekend!

Which is the nature of loving, I guess.

In a couple of weeks the cousins on my side of the family will have a small reunion for a Fiftieth Anniversary. These aren’t cousins I lived close to in proximity, but I admired them fiercely from a distance. (My first cat was named after my older, sophisticated cousin, Cindy. Now that cousin is a missionary and I’d name a child after her if I hadn’t already run out of them!) I’m looking forward to our time together, for ourselves and now our children.

When I look at my own daughters and the way they look up to their older boy cousins I can see how easy it would be to want to make this connection in families long ago. Who do you love more than your siblings or your siblings’ offspring? Some of my kids’ cousins look so much like them they could be mistaken for siblings. Others, like Nola and Macy, couldn’t look more different but share so many similarities in spirit that it is amazing to watch them interact.

So today I’m thankful for cousins! Do you have special cousin bonds?

Thankful Tuesday: A Short Bucket List

Micha Boyett blogs at MamaMonk exploring the application of St. Benedict’s teachings on the life of a modern wife and mother. This week she started a link-up party for her weekly thankful post. Here’s my offering for MamaMonk’s Thankful Tuesday.

Ada’s been making lists lately. Mostly pros and cons lists for various life-changing decisions, but this one was labeled “My Bucket List.” It was a neatly printed list of 4 items on a lime green post-it note. I had no idea where she had even heard of a bucket list at age 8, but my husband tells me it was the focus of one of the tween soap operas she watches on Disney or Nick or something. (Yes, I let her watch that trash in limited quantities.)

A bucket list is traditionally reserved for the elderly or the terminally ill. Ada is neither. But, of course, this is where the tween soaps come back in and, along with the phrase I know, right!, I have to give credit where credit is due.

Ada’s Bucket List:

1. Learn to Swim

2. Go to Paris

3. Go to College

4. Move to Omaha


This list is everything I love about our Ada Bean. She’s practical. Learning to swim is an achievable, short-term goal. No problem. Moving to Omaha might sound odd to strangers, but this midwest super city is the home to one set of her grandparents and a bus load of aunts, uncles, and cousins from both sides of the family. It makes perfect sense to her that someday she would join that crowd. And going to college is obvious. I’d like to take credit for that since I’ve been in college for most of her life, but I think this one comes from Disney, too. But she’s not just practical, she’s also a dreamer. Paris? Why not! I chose the picture above because it shows her in her favorite role: socialite caregiver. Protective arms around you but still smiling for the paparazzi.

What I love most about her bucket list is its length. Four items. Only four things she could think of in that moment that she had to do. Why? I think it’s because she’s a genuinely contented person. She laughs easily. She loves deeply. She’s as happy helping me set the table as she is riding her bike. I worry sometimes that because she is so agreeable I put too much responsibility on her trim 8 year-old shoulders. But she rarely complains and she regularly offers to do more.

I’m thankful for Ada’s short list. It reminds me to keep mine short as well. Really, how many things do I need to do? I want to be better at taking life as it comes, at accepting what is instead of obsessing over what could be. A short bucket list says something about a person’s ability to be pleased with whatever life has to offer in the moment. I’m thankful most of all for Ada, of course, because this list comes out of who she is: a complex but contented little girl.

And, yes, you can bet I’m making my own list now for how to help her cross off the things on hers!

How about you? Is your Bucket List long or short? Is there one thing on it that would surprise us?



Gone Songwriting!

It’s that time of year again! Dan’s 5in5 Songwriting Challenge! Check out the details here if you are interested. I’m not planning on writing anything alone, but I usually chip in on some of Dan’s songs.

Also, this year it seems that Jesse and Ada are planning to get in on the action. I found them this morning working on a draft of their lyrics along with performance notes. I won’t spoil the surprise, but it involves singing AND rapping, so be prepared for awesome.

You really are welcome to join in by writing or just by listening and spreading the word about the project. It is kind of amazing what happens to procrastination prone songwriters when someone gives them a deadline!