life of faith

taking baby steps & leaps & everything in between


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New Beginnings at Unexpected Times

I woke up today feeling like I had a fresh start. Admittedly, there are a few things that are “fresh” today, but I can’t figure out why I felt that way the very instant I woke up. It was definitely appreciated, though, as I cried 2x yesterday and life’s been feeling kinda stuffy to me lately.

Obviously, today is October 1st, and it finally feels like fall. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to love the autumn season more and more, especially as it leads up to Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas — all times of fun & celebration. I’ve decided to host Christmas dinner for my family & Dayne’s immediate family this year, and I am beyond excited about that. I love party planning!

Remember this look from my great-aunt Louise’s surprise 90th birthday party? Acting like kids & having fun! We had goody bags and crazy straws in the retirement community.

Take a look back at last year’s post about Christmas decorating and Aunt Louise’s party here.

Beyond my excitement for Christmas, I’m starting the New Testament today in my Daily Walk Bible (see my guest post from yesterday about finishing the Old Testament). There’s something really fresh about that — after 400 years of silence in Israel, God breaks His silence by sending John the Baptist followed by His Son. It’s a big frigging deal.

I’m also finally starting my anti-anxiety medication today, after months of putting it off (you can read about my struggles with anxiety & depression throughout my blog, but more specifically here, here, and here). I’m scared (as usual), but if it helps, it will be a great thing.

Dayne and I decided to switch out our summer quilt for our down comforter last night, and it is soooooo cozy.

I chose not to make the bed or de-wrinkle the comforter AND to leave that “PCOS for Dummies” book out so that you can see that we are human, too.

And lastly, I decided to intentionally embrace my writing and make it a part of my routine, and I have defied the kittens & their chewing issues so I could get my desk space back:

That’s Theodore. He’s the main culprit.

My fresh & improved writing space.

So – on this October 1st – what is fresh in your life?


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Our President’s Day Getaway with a Surprise

Over President’s Day weekend (February 18th-20th), Dayne & I ventured on a little getaway to Absecon, NJ (pronounced ab-SEE-con, not AB-se-CON, like I originally thought). We arrived typically late (thanks to me) on Saturday night to Clarion Inn & Suites and unpacked our bags in our jacuzzi suite. The suite was spacious, the bed was comfortable, the jacuzzi was suh-weet!, and the bathroom was okay. Unfortunately, I took zero pictures of the suite.

On Sunday, we headed out to the Atlantic City Aquarium, home of the stingrays you can pet and absolutely nothing bigger than a seaturtle. It was fabulous. We love going to places like that.

Us at the Atlantic City Aquarium, 2/19/20.

We have a tradition (Dayne hates when I use that word, since he claims nothing we do has actually been repeated enough to become a tradition) of buying magnets from everywhere we go on vacation together, so we picked up this little guy:

He is proudly hanging on our fridge with our Aruba and Bushkill Falls magnets (3 whole traditions!).

After the Atlantic City Aquarium, we had lunch at Ruby Tuesday’s and then did some outlet shopping. Dayne got a few new work shirts from Eddie Bauer, and I finally got new black heels for work (my old ones were completely falling apart) and a couple pieces of work clothes. Shopping at the outlets was exhausting because: 1) neither one of us likes shopping, and 2) it was SO cold & windy & FRIGID that day. But it was fun to be together and to get something accomplished.

One of my goals for this trip to Absecon/Atlantic City was to finally eat at The Melting Pot, which we did that night, even though we weren’t very hungry. Being not-so-hungry is both good and bad at The Melting Pot — good because you won’t spend as much money (it is expensive), but bad because everything is so freaking delicious. We split a cheese fondue as an appetizer, then a salad, and finally a mixed entree of shrimp, filet mignon, chicken, sausage, and veggies rubbed in some cajun spices and dipped in this amazing fondue that I cannot even describe to you with justice. I also had a perfect glass of white wine. The saddest part is that we could not fit dessert (chocolate fondue) in our bellies.

The damage. Taken after everything was eaten because I could not stop stuffing my face & enjoying myself long enough to take a picture beforehand.

Blissfully fondue-d in a little corner at The Melting Pot.

Our getaway was simply lovely. While the hotel was mostly not relaxing (there were no noise barriers at all, so falling asleep with doors slamming, kids yelling, and people dropping dumbbells in the room above us was incredibly difficult), the temporary relaxation of sipping sparkling white wine in a warm jacuzzi tub in the evenings made up for it.

The reason I chose to take pictures at all during this trip, besides wanting to have something to remember it by, was also to document that on Sunday, February 19th, 2012 (the day when all these pictures were taken besides the lighthouse one), we found out that our offer was accepted on a house.

So… we are under contract on a house! While it is exciting and worthy of celebration and even worthy of describing the God-ordained details to you, there is so much involved in the process (still) that I don’t feel like divulging any of the details is quite appropriate yet. But we are in the process, and we just had our first home inspection, and we are throwing a lot of money around, and I may be developing an ulcer, and we have started collecting boxes because we’ll be moving pretty soon if all goes well.

With so much going on, and with both of us working full-time, I have had little time to blog. Today, I stayed home from work because of stomach pains (see aforementioned possible ulcer) and finally had the time to gather my thoughts and pictures and put together an update. I desire to blog more, but the days have been so fast-paced, tiring, and uncertain that it becomes quite difficult. There is still lots more I could write about, and I would love to document the whole process on the house so that other future first-time homebuyers could learn from it, but we’ll just have to see how frequently I get a chance to blog. Otherwise, there will be bigger updates like this a little less frequently.

We’re doing well, we’re happy to be in this stage of life and in the process of buying a home, and I will do my best to keep this blog in the loop of any updates. 🙂 Thanks for reading!


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Valentine’s Day

I gotta say, I still don’t like Valentine’s Day very much. To me, the holiday is way too focused on the proving of love and comparing yourself with others, and the pressure increases exponentially when you’re in any kind of social environment that day.

…Or maybe I’m the only girl who compares herself and her relationship against other people and their relationships…

Anyhow, Valentine’s Day is a much better day for me when it falls on a weekend, when I can keep to myself and not be bombarded with other people’s forced expressions of love.

That being said, I did actually enjoy my first Valentine’s Day as a married woman. I did not like being at work that day (especially being the person who has to accept the flower deliveries), but I did like coming home to a card that made me tear up, some chocolate treats, and my husband. And I especially liked that he made us reservations to one of our favorite restaurants that night – Firecreek. I had that to look forward to all day! And what woman doesn’t appreciate a night when she doesn’t have to cook?!

We dressed up at Dayne’s request and headed out for dinner. Dayne didn’t know this, but they were doing a complimentary glass of champagne and a long-stemmed rose for the ladies that night, as well as a Prix Fixe 4-course dinner… ummm, awesome!

Firecreek is just beautiful. We’ve eaten there two other times (one of them being our 1-year anniversary), and the weather was nice each time so we got to sit outside on their patio overlooking Brandywine Creek. This time, we sat inside – and the inside is just as gorgeous! Very modern and cozy and intimate. Not only that, but they also had live jazz scheduled for 6:00 that night – right behind us!

You’ll probably remember from my post about loving Ruby Tuesday’s that I am quite geriatric, so I really appreciated that our reservation was at 5:30. We got to take our time and enjoy the food, wine, ambience, and jazz. The food was ah.maz.ing. Dayne ordered wine pairings, so we shared those, and ate shrimp lejon as an appetizer (bacon-wrapped shrimp with some kind of awesome sauce), salads, veal (Dayne) and crab-stuffed lobster tail (me) for entreés, and bananas foster for dessert. I got to try succotash for the first time, and we both got to try port (our wine pairing for dessert). Yum in my tum.

We both kind of hobbled our way out of there after a lovely hour and a half of pure culinary, alcoholic, and musical bliss, and then came home and watched the movie Valentine’s Day – which I watched two years ago to the day when I was still single and alone, one week before Dayne and I started seeing each other. It was a wonderful way to wrap up the night.

So, my dear readers, Happy Valentine’s Day. Or Happy Tuesday. Or Happy 14th Day of the Month of February Day. Happy You Day. Happy Real Love Day. Happy Jesus Day. Happy Appreciation Day. Whatever you want to make it. 🙂