This is the last “fantastic friday” I’m doing and it’s a relief. This has not been an easy project and honestly I’ll be glad when it’s over. I am happy that I stretched myself and documented at least part of my year. I’ve valued journaling for a long time, seeing it as a way to document my thoughts, dreams, goals, prayers, life. I love knowing that they are preserved somewhere. I’m thankful for writing and that I have parents who fostered and grew that in me.
We’re down in Santa Rosa to celebrate Christmas with Jason’s family. Jess, Jeremiah, and the kids will be coming over tomorrow morning and we’ll eat, open presents, and play games. Lots and lots of games. As I’ve said before, I love this time of year and really love all the family time. I know not everyone loves Christmas, that it can be a difficult time of year for a lot of people who have lost loved ones or for one reason or another have not so great memories. It’s also difficult with the pressures of consumerism and the “need” to buy stuff for people. But I feel like my family, for the most part, does not get caught up in all that and we can just enjoy each other and the gift of spending shared moments together. I love that.
Since today is Friday the 13th our friend Marc had a movie night. We weren’t able to go to the one in September but we did go a few years ago when we watched two B movies. This time around we watched Ernest Saves Christmas. There was a list of rules that Marc made up and each person who attended brought a snack to share. As the movie went on we had to do different things, some of which involved moving snack bowls to the left or right, making farting noises with our hands, or yelling at the TV. It was really fun and I’m thankful for friends who like to do silly things and include us in them.
This can be the season of gifts and the gimmie, gimmie, gimmies. But it’s also a wonderful time to flex our giving muscles. I love giving gifts, and it’s especially awesome when the recipient is not expecting it and when it’s something that just fits them. I love the look on their face and the smiles that come from it. I know people who are just wonderful givers beyond the physical stuff and I really admire them. They give of their time, their love, and use their resources to help bless others. I would like to follow their example and make my life a gift to those around me.
I love this time of year. This year we had actual Thanksgiving with my family and Kelly’s parents joined us. It has been so nice to spend time with them since I didn’t really get to at the wedding, the first and only other time I saw them. Tomorrow we’ll go back up to Santa Rosa and have Thanksgiving with Jason’s family. I love all this family time, and not feeling so rushed since it’s not just a short weekend trip. I’m thankful for Thanksgiving.
It’s such a terribly vague and yet powerful force, time. The whole idea of trying to measure it could easily get me into a thought tailspin. But I am thankful for its gift, for the way it sometimes extends itself to allow for more moments of bliss and gives more of itself, even while feeling like it’s sped up. I am thankful that these last few months have shown the generosity of time and what can happen in those extra moments.
We’re spending another weekend with the family, this time to celebrate Mom and Micah’s birthday. Grandma and Auntie Mieko have come from SoCal to join us. I so love this precious time with family, the time to celebrate the lives of two very precious people. I’m thankful that we’re so close, and that we can be so close and build these beautiful memories together.
We’re having another girls/guys sleepover for our Life Group. It’s the girl’s turn to have the kids and so we’re staying in. We had a potluck, Ruthie is doing henna, we’re painting nails, and just talking. I love this time with the wonderful women in my life. We’ve had some deep discussions and I know we’re all enjoying our time. I’m thankful for this group on an almost daily basis. Each one of these women mean so much to me and I’m thankful beyond words to know them. And I love these semi-regular sleepovers we have.
I’ve never really been a fan of Halloween. As a kid I wasn’t into it and that carried on into my adulthood. It’s not that my parents didn’t support it or anything, it was self motivated. I did go trick-or-treating a few times when I was a teenager and it was pretty fun. One year we all dressed up like characters from Lord of the Rings and I was a Ring Wraith. Another year, with the same group, Micah and I dressed up like “gangsters.” I wore a pair of my dad’s pants, cinched up and very baggy, a big t-shirt over a long sleeved shirt, and I tucked my hair up into a baseball cap. I actually had a few people think I was a guy, it was pretty funny.
Anyway, for some reason I was actually excited about Halloween this year. Our Marriage Life Group decided to get together and we all dressed up (Jason was a debonair vampire and I was a Minion (thanks, Ruthie!)) and had dinner. We saw some wild costumes, both inside the restaurant and outside, where it was quite cold. We had a fun time and didn’t get home until almost Midnight. I’m thankful that we participated this year, even if we didn’t do the trick-or-treat thing (actually, probably because we didn’t).
Tonight I went to a baby shower for my friend Anna. Ruthie was one of the planners and she did a wonderful job. It was a very quiet, intimate gathering and it was nice to meet some of Anna’s other friends. One of her friends gave her a foot massage, did her toenails, and also gave her belly a henna tattoo. We each decorated a fabric triangle for a banner that Ruthie will construct later and it was fun to see what others came up with.
I’m thankful for showers. It’s so beautiful to hear the advice from the other mothers (Ruthie and I were the only ones who aren’t moms yet); to see the love they have for their children, and the support I know they’ll be to Anna. I look forward to the day when I will enter into motherhood, though I can certainly wait. Those women were such a beautiful testament to the wonder that comes with being a mom and I was thankful to be a part of the celebration of this little baby and his mom.
We’re visiting Mom & Dad this weekend. Mom’s cousin Jan and her daughter Mary Gwen are going to be here and Micah is here as well. I’m so excited to be able to hang out everyone. We’re going to San Francisco tomorrow since Mary Gwen has never been. I’m thankful for extended family, for the opportunity to get to know my relatives. Mom’s family is really large, her dad was one of twelve and that means that we have many relatives all over the country. This whole network of family and the knowledge that we’re all connected somehow is a wonderful feeling. I’m thankful for my different communities and each individual that makes up those communities.
I love being able to just relax on a Friday night. We’re still housesitting and we’ve been watching our shows almost every night. I like Phil’s recliner and Hobbes always cuddles with me. We didn’t have a show to watch tonight so I’m hanging out with her on the couch and it’s really cozy. Jason and I went out for ice cream and then came back and have just vegged out. It’s nice to be restful after a busy week. Phil and Ruthie will be coming back tomorrow sometime and Jason has a service project in the morning and gaming in the afternoon/evening. I’ll stick around their house for a while, do some cleaning, and work on projects while the dishwasher and washing machine are running. But for now I’ll just enjoy some quiet time.
We’re watching Phil & Ruthie’s house for a little bit while they are in Hawaii celebrating Ruthie’s parent’s 40th anniversary. It’s been fun and kinda weird to be in their house when they aren’t here. Hobbes is super sweet and always excited to have us around. I like the change of scenery, though I do miss the kitties. It’ll be fun to play house and I’m thankful for the opportunity to help Phil and Ruthie out (not to mention have access to their flat screen TV ;).
Tomorrow some friends of ours are moving from our city to a nearby city. Jason won’t be able to help but I’ll be heading over in the morning. I’m thankful for my community, that we have people who will give of themselves and rally around to help in such an important event. I’m also really thankful for the family that I’m getting to help. They pretty much single-handedly run our church and they do a phenomenal job. They are beautiful people who give so much of themselves and our community and they are such a godly example of marriage and faith. I’m excited for this new part of their journey and am thankful that I get to be a part of it. I’m bummed they will be moving further away, but it’s a great place for them and I know they will bless their new neighborhood.
Tomorrow Ruthie is hosting a book club at her house. She specifically rescheduled it so that I could be there. Well, we’re in Santa Rosa and she’s been so wonderful about it. I’m going to Skype in so that I can still participate (since I did finish the book a while ago and started re-reading it to keep it fresh).
I’m thankful for friends who are understanding and forgiving when I mess up their plans. I’m thankful for flexibility and love. I’m thankful for Ruthie.
Another relaxing day. This was the first time that the humidity was not oppressive and it was actually pleasant to be outside. Alisha was going to make us some Thai soup and so we made another run to Whole Foods. On our way home we stopped by Sam’s parents house so we could meet her family. Her dad was on his way out so we didn’t really get to meet him, but we saw her mom and some of her siblings (she has 6).
When we got back to the house I agreed to learn a new game, Lords of Waterdeep. Yup, I really love it, Jason was right. David had a bus to catch at 5 and so it was a little bittersweet. We had talked about taking the metro again but ultimately decided against it. Taylor drove us and we hit traffic not far from the exit. We had planned on getting out to give hugs and linger a little but David had to run to the station and gave us all a hurried goodbye. Then there were 7.
The rest of the day was spent just hanging out, eating, and playing games. I know I was a little anxious about the visit, not really knowing any of the people. But I’m so glad I tagged along and got to experience all these adventures. I do like Virginia and the people here and wouldn’t mind another visit, though probably more in the Fall or Spring so as to avoid some of the humidity.
We’re going to Virginia! I’ve never been all the way to the East Coast, the furthest I’ve been is Louisiana. Jason’s nerd friends planned a get together and they decided on Virginia since one of the girls has a really big house that would hold all 8 of us . I’m a little nervous about meeting them but I’m excited to see a new place and am so thankful that I’m able to tag along. We’re flying out tomorrow morning and will return the following Saturday. We’re going to see D.C. and the Atlantic ocean (my first time). I’m thankful for adventures and the opportunity to see our Capitol and meet new people. It’s going to be great!
I got the promotion at work, just found out today. I can’t believe it! It’s going to mean more responsibility and I get to work with the tougher clients, but I’m excited about this opportunity. I was headed out to go do a site visit when our project manager called me, asking me to come to her office. My mind immediately went to, “what did I do wrong?” When I got there she had my supervisor on speaker phone and she offered me the position. I accepted (duh) and was really touched by their thoughtfulness. They wanted to make sure I knew before the weekend so that I would have something awesome to dwell on. They’ll officially announce it when we return next Tuesday. I’m thankful for a job that allows upward mobility. I’m thankful for my job.
We joined another Life Group earlier this year, a “nearly/newlywed” group. It started out with 10 couples and has dwindled down to 5. I really love getting to know people who are in similar situations to us. Except for the facilitators of the group none of us has kids. And we’ve been trying to meet even on the “off” weeks (we only technically meet two times a month). We’ve really been transparent and vulnerable with each other and it’s been a growing experience. So thankful for this new group.
I’m thankful for my friends. Last night we went to one of my favorite restaurants and had a blast. The waitress was amazing and fun and she even printed out the lyrics to their birthday song so the rest of our table could sing to me. And then tonight Jason and I went to another delicious restaurant. It was funny how different that experience was from last night. It was really nice tonight but I couldn’t help but compare it to the rowdy and rambunctious experience we had before. All in all, I would say this birthday was a success.
It’s almost here! Tomorrow is the Big Day. I’m so thankful to be a part of the wedding party, to get an “inside scoop” of the day. Kelly and Micah have some awesome friends and a wonderful community supporting them. I’m so proud of my brother and am so excited for this new adventure they are embarking on. Not long after they started dating, Jason and I went to visit Micah and got to meet Kelly in the context of their dating (we had met her before, but that was before they started dating). One of the nights Kelly wasn’t feeling good and so we went out without her. On the way to the restaurant I was commenting to Micah about name changes and he told me, “too soon.” But we all knew, even that early on, that they were meant to be. I’m so thankful that my brother found his best friend and partner who can share in this life with him.
The last few weekends have been really busy and the next few weekends will be the same. It’s nice to just spend some time at home. Tomorrow we’re going to spend time with Phil and Ruthie and go see a play put on by a local theatre group. I’m really looking forward to it since all the other local plays I’ve been to have been fantastic. For now, I’ll enjoy my quite time at home.
So Friday is often our grocery shopping night. We decide what we want to eat for the next week and get any ingredients we don’t already have. Plus we stock up on our fruits and other snacks. I really hate shopping, but I do love this time to hang out with Jason and laugh while we find things to sustain us. I love this routine that we have and doing it together makes it something that I look forward to rather than dread.
Another weekend with my parents. They had doctor’s appointments in Capitola and so we made a afternoon/evening of it. I’m so thankful that I’m able to come down so often. Every moment I spend with them is so precious. After the appointments we walked downtown, enjoying the light breeze and beautiful sunshine. We had dinner outside, right next to the water (and a nice outdoor heater so the temperature was perfect). Then Mom and I decided to get ice cream across the street. They had the smallest cones I’ve ever seen, about a tablespoon and a half worth of ice cream. It was just the right size after dinner. Another wonderful start to the weekend.
I am down with my parents again this weekend. Micah and Kelly are here and I’m already so thankful for this time we’ll have together. I’m thankful that I have the weekends off, that I can really take advantage of them in coming down and visiting. My job at the hospital meant that I was working 3 days on, 4 days off, and it didn’t matter if those days included weekends (or holidays). When I think about working that schedule again, I am reminded how blessed I am at my current job. I’m so thankful that I can be here now.
We went camping with Phil and Ruthie for the 4th. It really was fantastic. We camped on the 3rd and then spent the 4th at a really nice water hole and wasn’t too crowded most of the day. I haven’t been swimming in a long time and it was great to be outside and explore a new area. I would definitely like to go back, especially since it was only about half an hour, 45 minutes away. I love the natural beauty we are so surrounded by here. And I’m thankful for friends that we can enjoy it with. And tonight is the girls’/guys’ sleep over, which we haven’t done since January.
Jason and I drove down to visit my family last night. On our way we picked Micah up from the airport. We didn’t get in until about 11 or 11:30 but Dad managed to keep Mom up so we could really surprise her. It was the greatest thing to see the look on her face when she walked into the living room and saw all three of us standing there. It was a really precious moment and I’ll hold it close forever. We then managed to stay up another hour or so just chatting and basking in the warm feeling of being together again.
Friday afternoon we all went to the doctor’s appointment and got another (maybe) good surprise. The prognosis might not be as bad as we thought. There’s a feeling of cautious hope. Micah picked Kelly up from the airport and we spent some time jamming with a close friend of his. Life is filled with so many unknowns, things that catch us off guard. I’m thankful for the good surprises and will treasure the blessings they bring.
In the roller coaster week that I’ve had, it’s nice to have a “normal” Friday night, wherein we have dinner, make a trek to Target, and hang out at the house. I’m thankful for the quiet nights and the reprieve they offer.
We’re helping my in-laws move this weekend. It’s bittersweet since we won’t be visiting them in the same wonderful little neighborhood they’ve lived in since before Jason and I met, but they’re moving to another great area and I’m excited to see what adventures are in store for them in this next part of their journey. I’m also very thankful that we can help them move (and maybe take a treadmill of their hands in the process ;). I love my in-laws and the wonderful relationship we have.
Jason and I had the pleasure of hanging out with two of my co-workers tonight. It was great to see them outside the context of work and be goofy with them. I really hope to be able to do it again as I really enjoy their company. I’m continually thankful for my job and the wonderful people I get to work with. I’m so very blessed.