Friday, January 17, 2014
[It's not as cute when you don't have kids running around your household to take pictures of them, and let the grandparents know what's happening in their lives and the cute things they say/do.]
But seriously...in the last week, we returned to working after a nice winter's nap (aka Winter Closure). During winter closure, the University shuts down for the week between Christmas and New Year's. No one works - except Dan. He has his first livestock judging contest of the 'new year' during that time (Arizona National). This year, we spent a week in Iowa right after the new year.
Highlights of the past week:
1) My bike came! Dan bought me this lil gem for Christmas:
Soon, my neighborhood will see me cruisin' around this lovely lady. It's pretty flashy, so I hope I don't fall off. That would be TOTES embarrassing.
2) My New Year's goal is to increase my physical activity. So far, in the past week I've gone on 3 rosary runs and 3 walks...and I even 'lifted weights' (with my handhelds). I got hit on while on my 'rosary run' Tuesday. That was...interesting.
3) School started. I had so much fun teaching my 2 classes on Wednesday.
4) National Western Stock Show in Denver is happening. Dan has been traveling with his team. Yesterday, one of his students had a great day in the contest - only dropping 28 points!
5) With Dan gone, I have decided to tackle his ironing. Ironing is one of my least favorite things to do, yet, Dan love to have all of his shirts crisply starched and ironed. I hate paying for the dry-cleaner to do the ironing more than I hate ironing...so, I won't let him take them to the cleaners. This week, I think I have ironed 15 shirts. I have 15 more to go. Maybe one of my New Year's goals should be to not let the ironing pile up so much....
The lows of the week:
1) My bike didn't come with all of the necessary parts. So, I haven't ridden it around yet.
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Yes, I say! Yes! My friend Paige calls it laziness...I think I'll call it liturgical. A rose by any other name still smells as sweet, right?
This year was a little weird for Christmas decorating. 1) We didn't spend Christmas eve/day/or Days 2 & 3 in our house. 2) We didn't spend Christmas Days 5 & 6 in our house. 3) We didn't spend Christmas Days 9, 10, 11, 12 and beyond in our house. So, we didn't see any reason to buy a real tree - and because we'd like to buy real Christmas trees now that we can - we really didn't see any reason to shell out $100 on a fake tree. So, all of that effort on Black Friday to make Christmas ornaments was just pre-planning for next year.
I did get our Advent wreath up on the first day of Advent. I didn't get candles until the next weekend...and who would've imagined that the Christian bookstore would be OUT of Advent candles? Not this girl. So, I made do with some lavender scented tea lights for this year. On December 22, I found Advent candles at JoAnn's for 70% off - I am so ready for you 2014!
I finally made stockings on...like...December 21? 22? I don't know. It was late in the year. I made them narrow - so they are really, truly St. Nicholas stockings (meaning only some nuts, oranges, chocolates, and enough gold pieces to pay for our daughter's dowry will fit). [See what my friend Lisa does with her family's stockings.] Whatev - they are cute, and they will work. We try not to go overly-gifty, so these really are great for our Christmas plans.
Also, on December 21, I busted out our Nativity scene. Our original set was in the trailer that got carted off on February 1, 2013. Our insurance replaced it! So, the Willow Tree set made it's way from Nazareth all the way to Tucson.
...and...all of that stuff is still up.
Maybe this week I'll put it away. It is, after all, back to Ordinary Time. I can no longer call my laziness, liturgical. :)
Monday, January 13, 2014
I present to you our 2013 Christmas card text (written by yours truly):
Sunday, January 12, 2014
Another year begins! [Note to readers: this list was written on my birthday – almost 2 months ago; it’s just taken me awhile to post this list. A friend of mine started this tradition on her mom’s 50th birthday – and it’s a good exercise to count our blessings on our birthdays.]
As I celebrate the start of my 34th year of life, let’s count out 34 things that I have been so grateful for this year:
2) Marriage to Dan – thankful for the calling to be husband and wife
3) My parents
4) My in-laws (in-love)
5) My brother
6) My siblings-in-love, and my nephews and niece
7) God’s abundant and gracious goodness
8) My faith – being Catholic and the lesson of “both/and”
9) St. Thomas More/Newman Center
10) Ministry opportunities
11) My job
12) Dan’s job
13) My preceptors – past, present, and future
14) Anne Marie
16) Dan’s students (judging team kids)
17) God’s provision of our house
18) Jerry – our neighbor, knowledgeable about everything, second-dad
19) Rosary Runs
20) God’s faithfulness to never give up on me
21) Sister Elizabeth
22) Father Don
23) Barb, Steve, and Joe
24) Quiet afternoons in the sunshine
25) My co-workers – that my co-workers are my friends
26) Pool parties
27) Lisa, Jina and Lindsay
28) Amy, Jason and the Z-boys
29) Larry & PJ
30) My aunts, uncles and cousins
31) My foundation of faith: Jesus, ancestors, my grandparents, my parents and the tree I’m grafted into and their faith
32) Good conversations with students!
33) Inquiry & Jerry Meyer
34) Dan and our life in Tucson – our Tucson friends, his co-workers, and our growing community
As you see, this year definitely has a Tucson bend to it. One of the recurring themes from Inquiry (a session that I help lead for people with questions about Catholicism) that Jerry, our leader, continually mentions is that in many areas, Catholicism is “both/and” – not either/or, and usually not black or white. This approach to “both/and” has really helped me embrace life here in Tucson in the past year.
I don’t know that it’s in any secret that I didn’t love it here. We moved 2,000 miles from most of my family (so thankful to have an aunt, here!) and friends…into a foreign land. Sure, it’s still the USA – but spend 3-4 weeks here and you’ll know this is not Iowa, or the Midwest, anymore, Toto. Everything is different. A year after we’d lived here, I travelled back to the Minneapolis/River Falls, WI area for a conference in late June. About 20 miles outside of the Minneapolis airport, I was bawling hysterically. I had gotten used to the landscape of Arizona – the brown mountains, the expanse of light brown dirt/scrubby trees. Suddenly, my senses were affronted with the green and I remembered just how far from home I was.
This year, I have embraced the “both/and” of life. I realize that January can be both 68 and –8. I realize that fall can be pumpkin patches/apple orchards…and quiet rejoicing for temps in the upper 80s instead of the upper 90s while the season SLOWLY and SUBTLELY enters. …and, really, I realize that “home” can be both Iowa, Michigan, and Arizona. Being happy in one place does not mean that I have rejected the other.
So, these are my lessons learned from year 33/year 2013. Here’s to seeing what 2014 will bring!