Sunday, May 29, 2011

As for Me and My House...

This little townhouse was busting at the seams this weekend...filled with friends and family as our engagement was celebrated (thanks to some fabulous bridesmaids!) and I loved every minute of it. Even the minutes that involved the hot water going, the 10 p.m. dinner (a little later than I had planned) and the 3rd dishwasher run in the same day.

But it got me thinking, that I haven't shared with the blog world the photos of this house I am so proud of! This house has quickly become a haven and I have loved inviting friends in, showing hospitality, sharing a meal and making it feel more like home. I really enjoy the work of finding just the right thing for the corners that need it. So -- at the risk of too much showmanship....I thought I would share photos of our little place in the world.

One view of the Living Room

A favorite feature: the built-in bookshelves

Music Corner

Our Dining Room

View of Breakfast Nook and Bakers Rack

Breakfast Nook, complete with re-covered chairs!

Jason calls this Dec-organizing


Guest Room Guest-Ready

Master Bath

Two views of the Master Bedroom

So me and my house...we will continue to welcome any who want to visit and share in the hospitality and a meal. Even if you have to wait until 10 p.m.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

I Dos and I Wills

They are such small words "I do," "I will." Certainly not the kind of words that get you big points in scrabble - but the kinds of words that promises are made with.

Today I heard those words spoken by about fifty students that were part of the Confirmation Class of 2011 that I helped lead. They said "I do" to putting their whole trust in Christ's grace-amongst other things- and "I will" to being loyal to the United Methodist church. Their convinction was strong. As strong as a 12-year old could muster. And their parents were proud and their friends were excited for them.

Witnessing that commitment of those confirmands has come in the midst of a beautiful time in my life when I get to hear "I dos" and "I wills" very regularly. It seems like once a month there is a wedding to attend...and though each one has its own uniquities and quirks, the words of promise, small though they may be, are always there. And I believe that as my friends make those promises, and say those words, their conviction is strong. As strong as they can muster. And their parents are proud and their friends are excited for them.

And I hope that for all these making promises, the convinction never fails. I feel confident (and hope) that my sweet, idealistic confirmands will question and consider new dynamics to their faith as they become adults. But that is not the failure we sometimes make it out to be; I hope that if I have taught them nothing else, they have learned that questioning and considering is just fine. Its their effort that should not falter. And for my friends who say I do and I will to cherish and love in sickness and in health, there will be questions and new dynamics to their relationship. But that is not a failure and I hope that we all remind one another of that.

The most poignant part of the vows that we make to join the church or to marry or to be baptized - is that we do not stop with I do. We do not make only a commitment for that moment in time. We also say "I will," cementing our future commitment to another person, to the church, to our faith.

I forgot to mention that I also joined the church this morning; this is the 5th church I have joined as a professing member of the United Methodist Church. And though it felt familiar, it was a new commitment of my prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness. I can't say that every day since I joined the church in 1996, I have lived out my promise of prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness. But I can renew my commitment to that, renew my promise to making an effort; and just as I said those "I dos" and "I wills" this morning, I prepare my heart now to say those small, simple words alongside Jason come September....I do and I will.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

graduation. and beyond.

My little sister, Ellen, graduated from college today. I am still in a bit of shock from the idea that my sister...5 years younger than I, could possibly be done with her college career. After all, I just finished my college years, right?

As I celebrated with Ellen, shared in her accomplishments and even listened to her turn a phrase as she presented her class' history at the Meredith Class Day, I got wrapped up in all the tradition of that special place. Much like a wedding (you knew I would tie it in somehow), there were certain players assigned specific lines, particular moments that had been dreamt of and hope for. For these alumnae of Meredith those moments are connected to corn, odds vs. evens, crooks (as in belonging to shepherd's not thieves), daisies, charms and especially that precious onyx. And while Meredith had its own flavor of traditions, I noticed a few that were reminiscent of my dear ol' Wofford: the turning of the class ring, the presentation of a Bible at graduation and even photos by a fountain. The pomp and circumstance of these moments is all tied end to the ending of such a rich time of life. But, the news is good...the grass is not greener; it is just different on the other side.

Your friendships change--in your day-to-day relationships but certainly not in their value, your goals become clarified, your sense of self is defined. And at the end of the next five years, you'll look back in bewilderment at where five more years have led you.

I imagine that is what a 5-, 10-, 25-year wedding anniversary is like: fondness over the memories of years past as well as a sense of bewilderment about how exactly you got to where you are. As you prepare for your next steps, my dear sister...I hope you'll remember these words from our family's favorite poet:

you have brains in your head

you have feet in your shoes* (when you wear shoes)

you can steer yourself

any direction you choose.

on and on you will hike.

and I know you'll hike far

and face up to your problems

whatever they are.

you're off to Great Places!

Today is your day!

your mountain is waiting.

So...get on your way!

hold on to the joy, good and tight --- and know that I'm dark days or light!

Happy Graduation and Beyond, Ellen Frances!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Cuatro de Mayo

5 Years. That's 1825 days. So about 1825 phone calls. Countless obscure Scrubs quotes. Dozens of papers exchanged for edits and remarks. Three graduations (2 for me, 1 for far), lots of family celebrations, debates of space theology and other dynamics of religion and politics, thousands of miles driven, 1 puppy dog loved exponentially and of course the two break ups that bring us to where we now are.

When Jason and I first started dating, May 4, 2006, there were doubts. Our friends had doubts, we had doubts, I'm sure that our family had doubts. It was, afterall, 10 days before my graduation and 10 days before the end of Jason's freshman year. And in those moments of doubt, one stands out: the moment I sat with one of my dear friends, Bess and told her that in spite of those doubts, I felt a complete assurance about the man Jason would become and that I wanted to be alongside him for that journey. Sure, I acknowledged that he was not that guy yet, but I wasn't the woman I wanted to be as an adult yet either. About a year ago, I sat with Bess again - and I told her with great joy - that Jason had in fact become that man, the one I had known in 2006 he could be.

Waiting for that meant some of those 1825 days were very dark - growing pains, tears shed, harsh words spoken. But in that growing up, we have had the chance to share with one another the most vulnerable, tender and faithful interchange: forgiveness. And it seems that forgiveness is a cyclical thing -- we are each daily forgiving one another for past transgressions and for the current mess ups. It seems that the future debts/trespasses are less daunting with that as our reality.

As a person of faith, I can't help but make the jump to the daily forgiveness from God for our past transgressions, for our current mess ups and even for our future sins. And I know that God looks at us, His children, with the same assurance I had about Jason circa 2006. God knew then that he would someday be Jason circa 2011...and that I would someday be Elizabeth circa 2011. And God knows now the people we can and will become. What a fulfilling love it is to know you love a constantly growing and transforming person.

With all of that in our past 1825 days - I can't help but think of what will come in the next 1825. And even the next 20,075. I would say that there's a good chance there will be a few more obscure Scrubs quotes...and our fair share of forgiveness.

Happy Cuatro de Mayo!