Friday, March 14, 2014

Thoughts on a Houseplant at 6 AM

It's 6:00 am, and I've been up since 4, unable to sleep. I've always been a good sleeper, except for college and that was clearly because of the perfect combination of papers, dorms, caffeine, and a boyfriend.

These days the cause for my lack of sleep isn't as clear. There are a number of major things going on in our lives, one of them being our beginning steps of adoption, so that's likely part of it. I also don't have a very straightforward schedule for my life, and that's probably part of it too. And then, (I hate to think this), the fact that I'm getting slightly older may be contributing as well.

Whatever the reason, I'm up, and I've spent a good amount of the last two hours catching up on blogs. Not writing blogs (except for this post), but reading them.

One of the blogs I enjoy reading is You Grow Girl, a blog about gardening and more. Every so often, the author shares writing prompts to help inspire garden writing. She calls it the Grow Write Guild. I have often looked at the prompts and thought them through, but I have yet to actually sit and write a response. Being that it's 6:09 and my hub won't be up for hours, I'm going to join in.

Grow Write Guild

In our music room, a striped ficus plant sits in front of the large window. Its two small trunks grow tightly together, one overlapping the other, and bright leaves hang off the branches. The green is streaked with yellow, providing a lovely contrast in a nearly all-white room. When the afternoon sun shines through the window, the leaves glow softly.

This was the first plant I purchased when my husband and I moved into our house. I knew from watching HGTV and reading Martha Stewart that adding houseplants was what you did to make a home beautiful. I didn't put much thought into the choosing of the plant; I simply went to Lowe's and picked up the one with interesting leaves. I potted it in a small container, set it on the mantel, and there it remained for some time.

But it didn't grow. It didn't die, mind you, but it didn't grow. It stayed the same height, never growing, never changing, except for the sad dropping of leaves. Finally, when I had tossed yet another wilted leaf, I decided it was time for it to go.

I set it outside, waiting for the right moment to chuck it in the green waste.

And there, it was rescued. My husband, one who has a soft place in his heart for just about anything, found it. "Are you getting rid of this?" he asked. I knew he looked at it with sentimentality (it was our first houseplant, afterall), so I explained as kindly as I could that it was dead.

It wasn't dead, though, and he knew it. For the next half hour, he worked quietly, repotting the plant with fresh soil in a larger ceramic pot. And then for the next days and weeks, he tended to the plant, moved it around the house so that it got enough light, made sure its water was just right. He did for the plant what he does for so many people and living things: he loved it, and he wanted to see it thrive.

Soon, there were fresh leaves budding. And soon after that, there were more leaves. And then months passed, then years passed, and it grew two feet. It has indeed thrived, tripling in size, a permanent yet changing part of our home, a reminder of what care and attention can do for something.

About a month ago, I gave it its new space in our music room, moving it from our bathroom to the prime place in front of the window. As I walked down the hallway carrying the plant, my husband smiled. "I saved that guy," he said. He was right; he did save it. He loved a dying plant (silly man), and that is precisely the reason why I love him.


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Blessings in Monterey!

It's always fun experiencing a first with my hubby. This past weekend, we went to Monterey together for the first time. What a place! I am falling in love with the northern coast of California. The trees are unbelievable, so different than what I'm used to seeing in the southern and central coast areas of California.

Although we were drawn by the sea and sand, our primary reason to visit Monterey was to see friends. One of Robby's college roommates had just moved back to California with his wife, after being in Germany for three years! We had a sweet time together, catching up and hearing what's new in their lives. And their beautiful home--complete with a stunning garden--made it the perfect atmosphere to do so! (Just look at their callas and narcissus blooming like crazy!)
We all hiked to Point Lobos together, enjoying the gorgeous Monterey Cypress trees and coastal Redwoods. I knew we were going to see something beautiful, but nothing could have prepared me for the view we came to:
Glory!!! I'm sure I sounded like I had never seen the ocean before with my squeals, but truly, it was an amazing sight. And it kept getting better: we saw seals, a sea otter, and off in the distance a whole slew of migrating whales! Well...I saw their puffs, which was awesome. The others were able to see the backs of the whales slightly skim the surface.
We made it to a bunch of tide pools where sea anemone, snails, crabs, and other tiny creatures were hanging out. Robby and Tex climbed down to get a better look and catch some of the crashing waves.
The only downside was that I slipped and landed in one of the tide pools. Yep. Except for cold, wet pants, I was fine. 
We were so blessed to see our old friends. We left encouraged and invigorated, a sign that the time was nothing but good. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Once upon a time...

Ages and ages ago, before New Year's, before Christmas, even before Thanksgiving, Robby and I took a vacation and spent a few days in Oceanside.
Those few days came and went quickly, so before I jump too far into 2014, I wanted to highlight them.
  1. We got to spend nearly a whole day with John and Kelly and their family. With both of our lives being busy and full, we don't get to see our dear friends as often as we we would like. This was a great day, easy and fun. 
  2. We went to Disneyland (twice) and purchased annual passes, which means we'll be going again soon! To be honest, D-land was a little busier than I handle well, but it was still fun. Tower of Terror was a favorite, as usual, and the Christmas Fireworks Show is still the best fireworks show I've ever seen.
  3. We awoke to the brightest sparkliest mornings ever. I don't remember seeing water sparkle the way it did those days. Unbelievable.
  4. We saw glorious sunsets every night from our hotel room. 
  5. We ate lots of yummy beach food: fish and chips, clam chowder in a bread bowl, onion rings, and pizza. Beach food is not healthy, in case you were wondering.
  6. We shopped. A lot. That was fun.
  7. We bought nearly all our Christmas presents. That was fun, too.
  8. We slept in, took walks, lounged around, dressed up, and hung out.
  9. We walked on the pier, which was just outside our hotel.
  10. We breathed in the salt water air and left the windows open at night. 


Sunday, January 5, 2014

So Much for Starting Strong

The inevitable has happened. I caught a cold, a pretty mean one at that. I blamed Robby for my illness, to which he quickly passed the buck to our nephew Nathan. I suppose Nathan would have a finger or two to point, as well, so I'm just going to let it go.

How does something as trivial as a cold do such damage? I'm usually full of energy at the beginning of the year, ready to knock down cobwebs and organize desk drawers. I've done little more than move from one room to the next with my box of tissues in hand, and even that requires all that I've got. Christmas is half put away. It's pathetic: I've been staring at a bare Christmas tree for two days because I was only able to pack up the ornaments before this thing hit. And as much as I sing the praises for fake Christmas trees, they're a sorry thing to look at unlit and untrimmed.

Needless to say, I'm not starting off my year strong. Physically, I'm the weakest I've been in a long time, and emotionally I'm pretty spent too. Yeah, it's just a cold, but I still want to cry about it.

The only good thing is I have read my Bible every day. It's a comfort to know that although my flesh and heart may fail, God is my strength.


Friday, January 3, 2014

Word for the Year

I love making resolutions and goals for a new year. I have a very long list rolling in my mind as I write, things I want to change or begin or fix. But in an effort to rein it back, I'm giving one word for the year, one word that sums up my resolutions and goals: strength.

I want to focus on building my strength this year, and this applies to all areas of my life, but primarily the physical, emotional, and spiritual areas of my life.

Physical: I want to be strong! Sure, being fit and hot is a plus, too, but more than that, I want to be a strong person. I am tired of being a weakling. I am tired of being tired, for that matter. I want to significantly raise my level of fitness, and I know that unless I make it a priority with exercise and strength-training, it won't happen. This includes improving my eating, sleeping, and resting habits, as well.

Emotional: I want to be strong emotionally. That doesn't mean I want to stifle my tears and put on a happy face. It means I want to invest in areas that are healthy for me emotionally, namely relationships. It's too easy for me to let friendships go when I am overwhelmed and exhausted, and I want to change that.

Spiritual: I have grown closer to Christ in these past years, learning to lean on Him and trust Him. But my daily practices of prayer and reading the Bible have been an afterthought. I am starting the One-Year Bible again, which has been an awesome thing for me to do in the past. And I am committing to daily times of prayer.

This year has a lot of changes coming our way, and I want to rely on God to have me as prepared as I can be.

What about you? Do you have a word for the year?

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

This Year's Simple Mantel: Evergreen, White, and Silver

This is our sixth Christmas in our home in Visalia. Many of our decorations remain the same each year––there's something wonderful about tradition. But I like to change up a few things, just to keep it fresh. The mantel was my focus this Christmas season, kept simple with a real piece of driftwood,  evergreen ('s fake) garland, shiny deer and candles, and white touches. Oh and of course silver bells.

Come along, she says. 
Stockings aren't hung yet. I'm waiting until Christmas Eve this year! That's a new one for me.

To complete the look, we added two lighted white deer to the backyard, which I can see from the window next to the mantel. (These we won at an auction this weekend supporting overseas missions. Great items for a great cause!)
Aren't they sweet? I love deer, although I understand they can be quite a nuisance to those who actually find them in their backyards.

What about you? Did you make any changes to your Christmas decorating this year? Or do you find warm comfort in keeping it the same?