Date Night

Way back when we were college students, Dan would occasionally show up outside my classroom door with a hot Milky Way coffee and walk me through the cold to my next class. It was quite charming. And nearly always perfect.

Last night when I stepped out of my grad school night class in Creighton Hall, there he was again. This time he had flowers but his yep-this-just-happened smile was the same.

The kids had plans already with their amazing uncle and aunts so the night was ours to enjoy. (I’m only slightly nervous that allowing the newlyweds extended periods of time with all the nieces and nephews will reduce my chances of getting cute nieces and nephews from them! But it doesn’t stop me from accepting their gifts of childcare, especially for a few precious hours on a Thursday night.)

So after a chain restaurant meal in the Old Market (when funds are limited I’m too Scrooge-y to take a chance on bad food at a hole-in-the-wall local place even though I really want the experience – it’s sad), we decided to just start driving and see what we could find.

We’ve lived here in Omaha now
for almost five months and while there are many things I still wanted to
do, one thing was primary: find Joslyn Castle.

That’s right. We have a castle. But I’d never seen it in person.

So we drove and turned and drove some more until suddenly there we were, in the middle of Midtown, driving up the narrow pathway toward Joslyn Castle. At this point, of course, my fears of breaking some kind of rule kind of got the best of me and I think I might have yelled a little about how they probably don’t let cars get this close or something, but Dan did as usual and proceeded anyway. (Sometimes I really know I married my father.)

It’s the sweetest little gem of a place, really. The castle (mansion might be a more appropriate label, but considering the rest of the houses in the neighborhood in relative terms castle seems about right) sits on a hill smack in the middle of an ordinary midtown neighborhood. Front porches and small garages and swing sets all around. Then suddenly you notice a stone fence that matches the stone in the castle so you know something important is on the other side. You make one turn into a small driveway – that doesn’t look that different from the last driveway you passed – and you’re suddenly driving up to the front doors of a castle! I don’t know for sure, but it seems like growing up in one of those neighborhood houses with a view of castle grounds just over the fence, as near to you as a Walgreens or a Taco Bell, might be enough to make someone believe in magic or at least in the possibility of many good things.

As it happened, I think there was a special event at the Castle because once we made it around the front we saw that a parking lot was full and another nearly half. We parked with a view of the front and Dan pulled out chocolate truffles he had hidden in the back seat.

And it was perfect. Right there in the middle of an ordinary Thursday night.

Welcome to My New Place!

fire

Not literally. Well, sort of. This is an image of my own fireplace in our rental house in Omaha, but my intent here is to welcome you to my new blog design! Even though Dan says I ask about a new blog design all the time, it’s not really true. However, based on a few reasons, we thought it would be a good time to transition.

1. I’m not blogging for the same purpose. I started this blog with the idea of fleshing out a book idea, Rare Rocks. I think I’ve done that. I still love the Rare Rocks title and concept, but I’m tying it up with a bow for now and putting it in the archives. I will still refer to you as Rare Rocks, of course, because that is what we are and what we do, but I chose to give the new blog my name as a title so I can branch out into other topics as well. Which leads to . . .

2. I’m not blogging the same things. I don’t know why the publishers didn’t come knocking down my door, but I forgive them (and maybe it’s because I never sent that proposal?). Anyway, while I enjoyed blogging about spiritual formation, I’m going to just go against the best blogging advice grain and bust this blog open for all kinds of non-focused content. I want to write about my new city, my work, my kids, my reading, my dog, etc. And what, you ask, is the unifying thread of all my new subject ideas (which really aren’t that new)? Right. Me. Basically, I just want to stay in touch with you. Write what I think you’d like to hear about. That’s all. And I was really already doing that. Now I’m just giving myself permission.

3. I’m not blogging with the same frequency. You’ve probably noticed. But I want to be a little more diligent and thought opening up my format might help with that. When we were thinking about a change, it became clear that I just wanted somewhere to write now and then about my life – all of it – and switching things up seemed to accommodate that. I’ll still be boring you with Bible quotes and Victorian literature and cute photos of my kids . . . . wait, that stuff probably wasn’t boring you – that’s why you’re still here and really nothing’s going to change.

. . . . Great, then, carry on!

And welcome to my new place!