You *can* put love in a box.

Three years ago (good grief, it seems like just a couple months ago) I went on spring break holiday with my bestie and her family. Tagging along I balanced out the adult-child ratio (they have three boys). I had an absolute blast, experiencing every thrilling twist and turn of Disney World roller coasters more than once. Mt. Everest was definitely my favorite.

Laura and I were able to wander off on our own (the boys are not the most enthusiastic shoppers) and indulge in some girl-time. Whenever we’re able to be together we make it a point to find a souvenir. This particular trip, we decided on matching pendants. Hers, a starfish; mine, a seahorse.

Today the postman brought me love in a box.

A surprise and happy mosey down memory lane. And a beautiful reminder of my beautiful friend.

Perpetual gifts


I’m a big fan of useful, practical gifts. I’m also a fan of house plants. And I *adore* when two favorite things come together.

I’ve had this little beauty several years now. When I look at it or water it, I’m reminded it is indeed a perpetual gift …

And every time it blooms, I’m impressed anew at Shelley’s generosity, kindness, and thoughtfulness.

Best. Week. Ever.

It was my birthday on Tuesday, and it was smashing (another shout-out to those who made it so). As a whole, #37 was pretty dang good. And the first week of my New Year that promises to be even better has been the best. week. ever. (Well, best ever so far in #38.)

What made last week so great? A few big things … like the incredibly thoughtful and touching way my colleagues helped me celebrate my birthday, the *awesome* presents from my family (exactly what I wanted), and making it to the final phase of an intense strategic planning process at work.

But it wasn’t just the big things. It was the small things, too. An unexpected brown paper package not tied up with string, but definitely full of love. A play date this morning, and the cup of coffee Corrie brought me, because I asked if she would. A sunny day and the start of this year’s Teva tan.

I especially love the sentiment in Lauren’s totally perfect gift … “to even greater heights!” I’m *so* looking forward to this next year of my life. Bring it, #38!

Puzzle Perfect

It was my first “grown up” two-week vacation, and I was staying with my very best friend. In London. It was the first time my travel required a passport! My flight was scheduled for Sept 12, 2001, and for obvious reasons, my whole itinerary was pushed back two weeks. But I did go, and I wouldn’t trade that trip for anything. It was the first time I’d seen my sister-friend in a few years, and we made the most it. 

Proper English tea. A weekend in Paris. Cheese and wine in a French museum followed by the most amazing Monet. The first time I’ve been moved to tears by
art. A beyond-words lovely day in Bath (no small thing for a Jane Austen fan). We had SUCH an adventure. So many new experiences. So much time together, celebrating
the moment and imprinting the memories.
For several summers, I’ve been part of my friend’s hot air balloon crew. This year, he started teaching me to fly. No one in this season of my life knows I’ve wanted to fly since I was 6 years old. Growing up, I dreamed of being a Navy pilot. I wanted so badly to fly aircraft off carriers. My junior year of high school, I started gathering the requisite recommendations for Annapolis. That summer, several family circumstances shifted, and I readjusted my college/career plans.
These many years later, to be learning to fly … I’m not sure there are words.
I’m certain Andrea didn’t know why that holiday and hot air balloons are so meaningful to me when she picked out a seemingly innocent Christmas present. It’s really not important. What matters is she listens between the words found a gift with meaning across several seasons of my life. She must have bribed the keeper of my sentimental bits. In any case, I couldn’t have picked anything more perfect.

My heart is full.  

It’s the most wonderful time of the year …

Truly.  I love the Christmas season.

I love the twinkle of lights, the comforting smell of home made cookies, cinnamon and fresh-cut tree, and the tradition of cozy evenings tucked up with family, quoting our favorite Christmas movies like The Christmas Story, White Christmas, the Grinch, and all the other seasonal staples.

I love that shopping is sanctioned. But mostly, I love that giving, in whatever price range, is not viewed as gratuitous extravagance. Speaking of, I’m grateful for the ultimate gift Christ paid on the cross. A marvelous gift indeed.

On the flip side, patience, in the face of presents, is not a virtue. Giving, not getting.

I suck at waiting until a specific day to give said gifts. Which is why Christmas lasts all December in my world. Not so friendly to my pocket book, but, that’s why we work hard, right? I do my part to support the local economy.

Last weekend, my family and I went exploring (shopping trip with no particular destination), and found the Christmas Barn in Shedd. It’s literally a barn–stuffed to the rafters with fun, creative decorations like those in the pictures.

Yes, I did purchase a few things. Yes, those gifts have already been given, loved, and are now on display for enjoyment this year.

One of my favorite pieces of decoration is in the photo to the left. A Styrofoam ball, covered with scraps of sheet music, in a classic sorbet dish. The dish was $5, but I’m sure you could find it less expensive elsewhere. A candy dish could do just as well. Styrofoam ball, what, $1? Old sheet music could be found at nearly any garage sale or flea market. Cheap (but not tacky!), easy (and glue is involved, how great is that?) done.

Where do you find holiday inspiration?