life of faith

taking baby steps & leaps & everything in between


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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. 🙂

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Weekend Update: Flying Solo, Good Friends, & Live Music

Tonight is a very unusual night in that I’m spending it without Dayne. He’s away hosting one of his best friend’s bachelor parties at his parents’ farm (camping out in November — crazy!). I’m so happy for him and know this is great guy time for him. But I am all off-schedule! I napped and ate a hot dog & celery for dinner and have been successfully ignoring all the housework I was hoping to get done. I guess everyone deserves some lazy time every once in a while… 🙂 I’m simultaneously dreading and excited about having the bed to myself tonight. Oh, how things have changed since I got married!

Clock rewind: I got to see some of my very best girlfriends earlier today, which was such a special treat! My friend Megan drove down from NJ last night to spend time with Molly, Amy, and me. We all went to Eastern University together back in the not-so-distant past (Molly, Megan, & I were roommates for 2 years), and they are a. BLAST. to be around. We are always laughing and having fun and learning about life when we’re together. I love them so much, and they’re irreplaceable! I remembered today why it’s so important to have a) friends who have known you over periods of time, and b) friends who share your heart and hurts but can also make you smile 24/7.

FLASHBACK! Molly, Megan, & me at our baccalaureate, May 2007

FLASHBACK: Amy's b-day, 2008!

I just realized looking through old pictures that we need more recent pictures together! We’ll have to get on that.

So while that time was extra special, I also had an extra-special date night with Dayne last night! We drove down to Wilmington to the new World Café Live at the Queen to see Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers with “Deep River” (they’re changing their name any minute) and Jon McLaughlin. World Café Live in Philly is one of my favorite music venues, so I was anxious to see how the Queen compared. Well, it is amazing!!! Check out some of the older features they preserved, as well as the awesome lighting and new features they installed:

It’s a little hard to see, but they preserved the stage area, complete with surrounding walls with chipped paint (looking very vintage, shown above), brick walls behind the stage, a cupola in the center of the ceiling, and then everything else is totally brand new — flooring, chairs & tables, bar area, walls, sound panels, speakers, etc. The sound is incredible in that theater. And you can see the stage from almost every vantage point – a huge plus in any music venue.

We got there on the early side so we could eat dinner at our table, and we caught both opening acts. Normally, I admit, I try to avoid the opening acts. But last night, both Dayne and I were glad we got there early! Deep River had a folksy sound with great energy, and Rachel (the lead singer) has a powerful, versatile voice.

Unfortunately, I left my camera at home. The light was great in the venue, but Dayne’s phone didn’t react to it well, so these pictures are gonna be a little fuzzy.

Deep River

Jon McLaughlin was next; he made us laugh, and musically, he blew us away. He’s a great pianist with a soulful voice.

Jon McLaughlin

Then, of course, there were SK6ers. They were fantastic, as usual. They always put on such a fun and energetic live show, and Dayne was really impressed and had a great time (which was exactly what I was hoping for)! They are not to be missed in your hometown. Seriously. Check out their tour dates. And their music.

Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers

And there’s always at least one surprise at an SK6ers show:

TUBA!

It was a great date night; I look forward to experiencing many more concerts with Dayne as time goes on.

Part of how I discovered SK6ers was through Hanson and The Rock Boat. I highly recommend making the effort to always discover new music and support your favorite independent artists.

Over and out!


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The Importance of Date Night.

I was going to post about the Royal Wedding, but who needs to read/hear any more commentary about the Royal Wedding? Suffice it to say that I loved it — the fairytale of it, the things I appreciated from a planning standpoint (truth), and even the spiritual meaning behind that kind of a spectacular wedding. The Bible says all Christians are heading to a big Royal Wedding where the Bridegroom is waiting for us. We’re all sons and daughters of a King.

Anyways, I won’t go all Royal-Wedding on this blog entry. I wanted to post about our premarital counseling homework.

All we have to do for homework these next two months is date. Seemingly easy, right? Not for us — Dayne is in the middle of an extra assignment at work (above & beyond his normal workload), I am in a job transition, we are wedding planning, and we are still trying to keep up with friends and family and normal life.

We were supposed to date once a week, but we realistically had to pare it down to once every week and a half. That’s actually really good for us.

No wedding talk, no work talk, just good, old-fashioned dating.

Well, we did take it seriously and we planned out specific dates every week and a half for the next two months. Our first date day/night was yesterday (Saturday). We still had some wedding stuff to do beforehand – like buying Dayne’s wedding ring and having a tasting at our venue – but afterwards I went with Dayne to play disc golf (first time for me; he loves it), we visited my family, we ate frozen pizza at my apartment and watched The King’s Speech.

It was a beautiful, BEAUTIFUL day and I honestly forgot how much I enjoy spending time with Dayne. Pathetic, right? I’m marrying him and I couldn’t remember what it was like to just relax and spend time with him.

It turns out most of the anxiety I was feeling about the wedding revolved around that simple issue – that I couldn’t remember what it was like to enjoy being with Dayne. Everything had become work and stress, and that’s a very dangerous place for a relationship to be.

I realized that I have to tone it down and remember to take breaks (long breaks). I honestly remembered yesterday & today why I fell in love with Dayne in the first place. And how much more I love him now.

Yes, we did work on more wedding stuff today… and came up with a killer posterboard timeline:

And we worked on Dayne’s extra assignment together. But we also hung out, made dinner, and watched another good movie tonight (The Switch). It was lovely.

So I’m learning now that we’re going to have to fight for date night — not just during wedding planning, but during every season of life. There are going to be times when we don’t remember why we married each other, I’m sure. There are going to be times when our lives revolve around our jobs, or our kids, or friends or family crises. I hope we think back to our premarital counseling (or this blog entry) and remember to make time to date. Because we are happier and stronger as a couple that way 🙂

 ^^See how happy we are? We were dating.