Tuesday, December 22, 2009


As websters says, "the act of looking forward; especially : pleasurable expectation"

I have sack loads of anticipation for the new year. I love looking forward, dreaming, hoping and planning and looking back at all we have seen, done and learned in 2009.

This has been a big year for me, for us. We bought a house, we got engaged and married and pregnant (just kidding about the last one, geez give us a chance!!) We had to learn to live together, share our space and our time in a way new to both of us. We took on a large home project leaving us working late into the night for weeks. We have kept ourselves busy and that has been fun, and at times challenging. We have made many adjustments, but something tells me we have many, many more to come.

We have laughed and cried together, we have filed for and got my green card - yay!

Christmas is the celebration of Christ coming to earth as a baby, bringing life and salvation. We celebrate the life we have been given, the days we have had to live, and anticipate all God has in store for us in the coming year.

And now to think of some new years resolutions...watch this space!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Just another Sunday night...

The fire was lit in the living room and we set out the pieces of the gingerbread train. I knew this would be a fun night!

I love these quiet times together. Laughing as the frosting drips off the cookies onto the table - or from the bag straight in Jeremy's mouth (gross) Creating something together, even if it was just a gingerbread train!

After the train we sat by the fire and read a chapter of a marriage book called 'His needs, her needs' It highlights the top 5 emotional needs of men and women, and talks about why they are important. It is starting some good, hard, honest, funny, revealing and necessary conversation for us. So the flames flickered in the fireplace and we read and shared.

To top this romantic night off, Jeremy reminded me we needed to do our teeth whitening. We both got trays made for our mouths and free whitening stuff when we joined our dentist as new patients! So now we are lisping to each other as we tidy up and get ready for bed!

This blend of intentional fun time and everyday life feels like an important balance to find as we move forward with our marriage.

P.s. I am SO glad we have finished with our Christmas shopping and did not have to brave the crowds at Northgate today - yikes!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The simple things

I LOVE the Christmas season, but the simple pleasures of life can seem to get lost amongst all the wrapping paper and twinkle lights. Last night I made stuffed peppers for dinner for Jeremy and I, a favourite of his. We sat at the table, candles flickering just sharing about our day. We sat by the fire and took turns reading a book aloud together, the warm fire being the perfect desert!
Jeremy left to play basket ball and I set about making some soup while watching the finale of 'So you think you can dance'. (Such beautiful dances, so much talent - did you see it? Who was your favourite?!)

What a wonderful night. Good food. Intimate conversation. Hoping and dreaming about the future. A warm fireplace. Time and space to create. A hug from my husband. Each such special gifts.

Christmas is a wonderful time and all the sparkle only makes it better, but the reason is the celebration of Christ coming to earth as a baby. Bringing him with him the gift of salvation. He gives true life.

As I sit in in the quiet, I am reminded to take stock of each moment and every opportunity. To recognise and be thankful for every day I have to live. In this light, I make better choices for how I spend my time and better appreciate the people in my life. In these moments of awareness I see all I have and at the same time recognise my own unworthiness. This revelation in turn makes my heart more generous, it grows my desire to give.

I am looking forward to Christmas for a million reasons, but along the way I really want to take time with family and friends to experience and appreciate the simple things. To remember the birth of that special baby and the life he has given me.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Thoughts about Christmas and stuff

Last night, our dear friends Zach and Amanda and their kids, Zara and Caden came over for dinner. It was a time to share a meal and open presents because we won't be together this Christmas. It was really special for me to see the way Zara and Caden have embraced Jeremy! It was so nice to have our home full of laughter and conversation, our home is beginning to truly be the place we dreamed and prayed it would be.

Zach and Amanda gave us a book to record Christmas memories for many years to come. I am so looking forward to filling these now empty pages with pictures and stories though the years. As I flicked through the pages of the book, Jeremy and I looked at each other and said, "wow, that's a lot of years".

At the end of a week where things haven't been all moonlight and roses in our house, it was a gentle reminder and reassurance that we are in this marriage together. We are a unit. We can look ahead at what OUR future will hold, and have an expectation and joy about the memories we will make and share.

Our non-perfect week was mostly us still adjusting to being attached to another person and sharing space. Both Jeremy and I being firstborns in our family have strong personalities and also a strong sense of entitlement and are used to getting our own way. This leads to some interesting discussions and for me is a reminder that I am a very imperfect person!

My own selfishness is paralyzing at times and my movie-based expectations of marriage rear their ugly heads and mess with our real life! As we move into this holiday season, Jeremy and I are realising that we missed some important discussions regarding this time of year. Both of us are just used to doing Christmas our own way. Somehow life got away from us for a week or two and suddenly we saw our Christmas plans, preparations and thinking had not been the same at all. It is at times like this I understand why people say the first two years of marriage are the hardest. It feels like you would have to walk through seasons and celebrations together at least a couple of times to get (mostly) on the same page. So many of our expectations and assumptions simply come from our life experience - which have not been exactly the same.

For Jeremy and I, our conflict mostly occurs from the extreme places of our personality differences. He and I are pretty much total opposites, which I believe is one of our relationship strengths as well as a place of conflict. We compliment each other in ways that enable the other to become a better person. However, this means at the most extreme points of some of our personality traits we become more of a challenge for the other person to understand! I guess it is a good thing that this 'hard to reach' thing is felt in equal measure for both of us!! It might be a struggle in some moments but it calls us to have integrity, transparency and honesty in our relationship every day. It takes us to a place of trust in the Lord and the work of transformation he is doing in both our hearts.

It is true that marriage is a gift, but I liken it to being given a pet. In this scenario Jeremy is NOT the pet, instead he and I have both been given the pet. It is a gift that comes with responsibility and a need to be cared for, but in return it can give so much joy!!

Speaking of joy - had many hours (literally) of laughter this past weekend trying to take our 2009 Christmas card picture with the self-timer on the camera. We tried taking the picture in a few different places around our house, but with fading light and challenges in our photogenic-ness amid fits of laughter, we settled on this one!

and I couldn't resist sharing this one too even though it didn't make the final cut! Jeremy thought he loked weird? I guess maybe he does a little bit but I still like it.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Tonight was full of Christmas cheer. We met up with some friends, and walked around Greenlake for their pathway of lights.

They put luminaries on both sides of the pathway around the lake. The groups of carol singers foster the Christmas cheer around the lake as does the Starbucks hot chocolate (or coffee, pick your poison). People dress up wearing Christmas hats, and adorn baby strollers, and even dogs with twinkle lights. This night also provides an opportunity to show off flashing Christmas earings or broaches in all their glaring glory!

After the walk, Jeremy and I came home and I took him up on his offer to watch a Christmas movie - I think he forgot when he made the offer that by nature most Christmas movies are sappy, and many star Sandra Bullock and/or Hugh Grant! After many suggestions he conceded to watch on 'Love Actually'. Jeremy had never seen it before (I know, how could I have married him without checking that he had at least a few lines from this movie committed to memory?!)

It was a wonderful Christmas evening. It is one I would like to reproduce in the years to come.

Since I moved to Seattle, I have spent many of my Christmas seasons overseas with teams for YWAM. As Jeremy and I start our married life together we have been considering the traditions we want to embrace. Walking in the candlelight, bundled up warm with hot drinks in hand is one tradition we want to remember for next year.

As Christmas approaches in the years to come what will be the things we'll look forward to?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Post-wedding weight gain?

When my husband offers to make breakfast, there is no messing around.

Yes, that is a stack of bacon waffles waiting to be drowned in syrup (hummm...death by syrup, not a bad way to go really?)

Hope I still fit in my dress on February 20th when we are back to England for our blessing and reception number two.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Baby, it's cold outside

Jacket on, boots on, open the front door - Wowzers, glaring sunshine! Run back up the stairs for my sunglasses. Sunglasses in December, that's just how we're rolling in the pacific northwest these days. I am full of anticipation that my errand of walking to the store will be fruitful because of what I will get to make upon my return. My use of the word fruitful may have been misleading in reality my list had no fruit on it. It consisted of an 8oz block of cooking chocolate, a bag of chocolate chunks and some onions. (The onions were for a different recipe)

I digress...as I left the house my daydreams of chocolate chunk cookies kept me warm for a few blocks before reality hit. And by reality I mean frost bite. It has been a long time since I have been that cold and I think I was in the boonies of Tibet - no exaggeration, in fact, Tibet may have been warmer. I was too far gone in the direction of the store to return and bundle myself in more layers. I knew if I went home I would not venture out again that day, knowing the cold fate that awaited me. My determination for the cookie ingredients, fueled by my overwhelming desire to eat said cookies kept me going until I got to my sacred place, Albertson's.

Inside the warm and wonderful grocery store I wished that I had a much longer list which would keep me inside for longer. Sadly, my shopping came to an end very quickly. As I browsed up and down aisles of glorious yummies, I had the stark realisation that number 1, I WOULD have to leave the store at some point and head back into the arctic conditions outside (the fate of the cookies depended on it) and number 2, that if I left with a mountain of extra shopping in tow, I not only would be cold but I would also be very frustrated at having to carry such heavy bags. I put back my non essentials and left with the things on my list, some freezer bags, vegetable broth and bread. Not bad for me. Also as an impulse buy at the register I got one of the 99 cent re-usable grocery bags which on that day could not have felt more like a Christmas miracle, the longer straps meant I could carry it over my shoulder making the whole things way more manageable.

One thing I have never fully appreciated about Seattle until now is that we have coffee shops IN our grocery stores. Albertson's is home to a Tulley's Coffee and before I ventured back outside I stopped by and picked up an extra hot, decaf, peppermint mocha. And yes, I got whipped cream on it, judge me if you will but any extra fat I am carrying is just good insulation at this point! My groceries over one shoulder and my purse over the other left my gloved hands free to sip away as I walked home. Each step being moment closer to the cookies. I made it home in 10 minutes.

The Rosie Thomas Christmas album blaring, I baked the cold away and ended up making the best chocolate cookies in the world.

I am having some girls over tonight for the annual viewing of 'While you were sleeping', I hope to offload some of the chocolate goodness on them.

Where ever you are today stay warm. I hope the joy of the season is filling your heats...


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