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the forget-me-not: a love story

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“In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose”

-Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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Happy Valentines day! Not by coincidence, the heading for today’s entry from the catalogue is “the forget-me-not.” As a child, I often remember picking these in my grandparents yard. The tiny flowers made a floral arrangement to suit the grandest of dollhouses. The symbolism of the flowers probably goes back to some obscure Victorian floral language, but that is superfluous information for this installment.

I have known the amazing man I am dating since before I can remember. We had crushes on each other from childhood, through the awkward middle school years, through high school. He finally asked me out . . . the night before I left for college. Such poor timing . . . the story of our lives. There was very quick moment that we sort-of-but-not-really dated. And then throughout the four and a half years of my undergrad and two years of grad school we somehow managed to keep our friendship together. We talked about how we felt several times over the years, and he was usually shot down by the selfish and cruel woman that writes this. But the truth was, the timing was just never right.

This past summer, we talked again, and I again said no. There is an evil bohemian twin in me that is terrified of commitment and wants to be temporary forever, without any ties so I can travel the world! Despite me, he kept praying, and he kept on loving me.

He was relentless in his pursuit to the point of driving 700 miles and back to tell me again how much he loved me.

I finally said yes this time, but not after 24 hours of terrible treatment.

I am incredibly happy!

I was such an idiot!

So what’s my favorite part about this story?

Simple:

The reflection of Christ.

In the book of Hosea, we read about the prophet called by God to marry a whore. She slept with other men, but still Hosea loved her and took her back. In the same way, God loves Israel. In the same way, Christ loves each Christian. Despite ourselves. Despite us going after all that glitters and turning Him down a million times, He relentlessly pursues us with the intent of making us His own.

So for all those out there, without a Valentine today, remember: you can have the ultimate Valentine in Jesus Christ. One Who never lets us go.

~Sarah

 

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cozy gluten free cookie-in-a-mug

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“Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.” -Oscar Wilde

There is nothing so lovely as a day with nothing to do when you can put on your pajamas with no make-up and natural hair all day (when you are working that is . . . ) (too much of a good thing is just . . . too much!). On those lazy days and nights, my roommate and I had a wonderful recipe that we would make for ourselves. I think there are a hundred varieties of the cookie in a mug (the above picture is of my favorite Anthropologie mug:), and this is one of those normal recipes that actually still works with a flour substitute! (well, to be honest, I had to tweak the Bob’s Mill all-purpose by adding half millet flour, but with the Trader Joe’s all-purpose it works perfectly).

The recipe for a single chocolate chip cookies is:

1 tbsp. melted butter

1 tbsp. brown sugar

1 tbsp. white sugar

a pinch of salt

a drop of vanilla

1 egg yoke

1/4 cup of all-purpose GF flour (or regular)

a handful of chocolate chips, nuts or whatever you fancy!

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Cook in the microwave for about 45 seconds (or about 30 if you like it gooey). Enjoy with a lovely cup of coffee and a favorite chick flick!

~Sarah

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decadent gluten free crêpes

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“Paris is always a good idea.” -Audrey Hepburn

I am one of those girls that was always a bit obsessed with all things parisian– I even had a giant eiffel tower poster in my dorm room that finally tore completely apart and got thrown out my second year of grad school. When I finally had the chance to go I was ecstatic and then got over it a bit and became a bit of a europhile . . . and then I went back. And came back with a bigger crush than ever! I’m not sure if it was the museums, or the books, or the cafés . . . it was probably the cafés. And the magical air! And the chance to scratch the surface of the Paris’s nooks and crannies with friends.

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Yes, admit it. You are crushing on Paris too:) One of my favorite memories of this last visit was a chance to catch up with a dear friend who has been living there since we graduated from undergrad. We shared a savory crepe along with sweet fellowship and memories.

I have attempted GF crepes many times with varying results, but today I think I hit upon the best! My friend recently sent me a picture of the new GF flour Trader Joe’s just came out with:

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It is a win! I liked it better than the Bob’s Mill all-purpose I’ve been using (sorry bob, I still love you:). The ingredients are: whole grain brown rice flour, potato starch, rice flour, and tapioca flour (no, I am not one of those clever people that mix up their own GF flour lol).

The crepes were super simple and made four small ones:

1/4 cup flour

1/4 cup almond milk (I didn’t use egg white, so I added a little extra milk– the batter should be pretty thin)

1 egg

1 tsp. sugar

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The happiest part about crepes is that anything can go into them. The other day I put apples and chicken in one and believe it or not, it was delicious. This one has strawberry jam, fresh strawberries, and semi-sweet chocolates– I paired it with French press coffee and jazz– oh, la la!

~Sarah

resolutions and why i never make them

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Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.

-Abraham Lincoln

As the new year rolled around I found myself panicking about not having thought much about it. I am not a very goal-oriented person, but I do think that the way in which life crescendos towards beautiful, sparkling Christmastime and then January. . . The unsettled way that sentence is worked is exactly how we feel. Wait, what? Where did Christmas go and why are you here already, cold, dull, ugly month!

Weird personification aside, everyone is telling us we need goals and resolutions. Quick! We need a resolution, it’s new years! The Today Show and Oprah are telling me I need one!

I think it’s fun to make statements like: I’m going to start volunteering, or I’m going to start blogging once a week . . . but then life happens and I feel depressed because I didn’t just do it.

There were things that I decided to see through– that time I found myself in grad school was one of them, but how I got there is still a mystery. Then there are other things we see through because we have to, ( I need to eat and pay rent so I’m going to work three jobs) want to, (I love Tommy so I’m going to marry him), etc. So I suppose I am “finish what I start” oriented. “Keep my house clean and my baby alive” oriented. “Keep all of my intestines and colon till I die” oriented. These are things that make me do things.

There are other things that we need courage not to see through. I had an experience with a job last year that took a lot of help from Tommy to realize that quitting was the right thing to do. And some goals, like never-ever drinking soda or coffee creamer are just sad . . .

I do have things I want to do. Travel more, read more, write more, help more, work more. But for me putting a name on them or making a deadline would be like making rules. I don’t like rules. I like the freedom and possibility of anything happening, without the disappointment of unrealized hope.

So, hello 2015, maybe we’ll do better at reading, maybe I’ll have less soda, maybe we’ll get back to Europe or explore someplace new, but if we can only stay home and see Jack figure something new out and spend time with loved ones, that’s ok too.

Sarah

some thoughts on hospitality

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Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

Romans 12:13

Hospitality. I’ve received so much of it in my short lifetime. I’ve stayed in more homes than I can remember, been given countless meals, had my laundry washed and ironed to perfection. Many times I was given a bed, while my hosts slept elsewhere. One instance sticks out to me.

It was summer in Germany– the longest day of the year. The ethereal quality of light was peculiar to that day and place on the globe; some friends and I were staying with a family on their pig farm. The farmer and his wife and their small children gathered with us around an old piano. It wasn’t enough that they had provided for us a beautiful meal, a warm bed, clean clothes– they wanted to give us more. On that sun-filled night, they shared their favorite hymn and we shared ours– they invited us into their home and let down their guard– we put away our iPods and our computers and experienced the blessing of gemeinschaft, fellowship. They sang Lobe den Herren, Bless the Lord, and we sang Amazing Grace and we were blessed. I’ll never forget them.

The hospitality I experienced in various places continually inspires me. I have several thoughts I’d like to share:

1. The more the merrier.  I’ve never regretted inviting too many people. In fact, I’ve been more likely to regret not inviting that one person. I’ve found that even if a person can’t come, being invited makes them feel wanted and loved. Who doesn’t need a little of that once in a while? And remember Luke 14:12-14:

He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

Invite that odd person (you know the one) they may just be shy.

2. One-on-one is special too. There are those times that we just need to hang to with that one friend and it’s ok. Friendships need that nurturing– imagine if you never had alone time with your husband?

3. Graciousness. Accidents happen; people forget stuff; kids can be obnoxious. Letting stuff roll– and not talking about it later is the best practice.

4. Perfectionism is my enemy. Yeah, that one time that I decided to do a really fancy dinner and it was really bad . . . I experiment for my husband and do my best to recreate the successes. And the cake comes from the store.

5. But a little decadence is always nice. Tommy makes fun of me, but sometimes I like to use the cloth napkins when we have company, and paper straws. I mean why not? Let Pinterest inspire you!

6. Always offer something. After all, a party without cake is just a meeting. But really, even if it’s just a cup of coffee, it’s welcoming.

7. Don’t be afraid to dig deep.  So often we’re afraid to share our grief and joy, but as I learned from my German friends, these are the things that matter: that verse that encouraged us, the fact that we struggle to meet Christ each day… these are the things we need to share; we need to be real. Pray together, cry together, rejoice together. This is real fellowship. This is true gemeinschaft. 

Sarah

confessions of a post-grad English major

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“Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become.” -C.S. Lewis

This quote is beautiful and often times, I find that it is incredibly true as I go about my day and think of Meg and Jo in the kitchen as I use brown sugar, or the little golden sister in the well as I fluff my pillow. At other times I am disillusioned as when I found myself thinking that a recent movie was an adaptation of a Shakespeare play . . . only to be told that the misleadingly-titled flick was actually based on a long forgotten 1980s novel. I also find these allusions unfortunate as when a friend tells me the name of their child, and I cannot help but hope they are not aware of Virginia Woolf’s  novel and androgynous hero (or was it a heroine . . .??) bearing the same name.  However, some nights my former life as an English grad student haunts my dreams– only last night, I was late in handing in a prodigiously extensive worksheet on Ulysses. This dream was unfair to the actual sheets and to my teacher, but completely accurate concerning my feelings as a fledgling Joyce student.

All of these musings aside, I found that after completing my degree, my former thirst for literature was assuaged for a while. In fact, last year I only read ten books! As my husband and I were considering what we had read last year, I was shocked at how little I chose to read. This event caused me to be analytical of my choices in the last year and allowed me to come up with the following observations (confessions) of life post-grad:

1. I find it difficult to read many books, because I have a need to put out as I take in. I really need to have a little notepad by me as a read so I can jot down thoughts and quotes that I want to think about, but who really does that unless they are preparing for a paper (probably all of the really smart people:). I decided this after finishing three books in January and feeling like I had overeaten. I definitely miss writing papers; however I probably will invest in a notebook and try to be smart instead of actually trying to write a literary critical essay on Divergent and Bringing up Bébé (don’t judge– everyone needs some snacks and something educational every now and then:).

2. I feel panicky when I consider all the books that are out there that I haven’t read . . . and want, NEED to read. I do have a short list for this year, but that respectable list of neglected 19th century authors (yawn) keeps me procrastinating in favor of all these child development books I feel the need to read before mini mack makes his advent. My developmental section is kept in the form of an ever-growing list on Amazon, while my goodreads list idles in the vaults of the web somewhere . . . occasionally they send an email and I feel guilt, because:

3. I need to be reading all these things in case I ever really do go back to school and write a dissertation on how the Imagists might have influenced the Georgians and how that in turn may have influenced the aesthetic of the WWI poets!! This is an unlikely event, but occasionally the ambition resurfaces and causes a flurry of research and a strong desire to name our son Owen (after Wilfred). Of course, there is a battle within me because the lucrative part of my English journey has been the education/ESL side and after a particularly exciting time with a student I will often think, no I want to finish my DELTA and then maybe pursue an Ed.D. . . . more unlikely events, yet this often causes yet another annoying habit:

4. I get distracted mid-conversation by poor grammar. And because of ESL, I need to correct it and figure out how to explain the correction in simple English. This really annoys Tommy sometimes:).

5. I am envious of my school friends who are still pulling all nighters to finish papers. I am also jealous when they get to take classes I particularly wanted to take. This envy inspires dozens of tabs being opened with plans for copious reading at a later date . . .

Time Invested . . .

“Thus shall my anger spend itself, and I will vent my furry upon them and satisfy myself.”

Ezekiel 5:3b

While I was reading this passage yesterday morning, I was struck my one word in it– the word “spend.”

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I immediately thought of the third definition– to exhaust, and I thought that the idea of God’s wrath having a end point, was nice, but that probably is not the meaning so, I tried not to think too much on that until I have a chance to study it more; however I did consider  that in order for something to spend itself out, there has to be a fixed amount. Like time. Each person has an unknown fixed amount on this earth.

That is a sobering reality.

Because I am getting married this weekend, I think I may be a little more nostalgic than usual (and a little is a lot for me:). I started thinking of so many dear people that didn’t just spend time with me– they invested their time physically–and in prayer– in me– teachers, family, friends. I am so thankful for them.

Two things I am excited about for my wedding are:

1. my something borrowed

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I am borrowing a bracelet from the three most influential women in my life, and the most influential woman in Tommy’s life, and I am excited to honor them in that small way.

2. the sixpence

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One of the brightest spots during my graduate assistantship was getting to know several wonderful co workers– This truly kindred spirit surprised me by providing the final touch for the rhyme and throwing me a gorgeously fun shower– how cool is that? :)

I am also for the friends that are traveling a ton of miles to spend Saturday with me and Tommy– it wouldn’t be the same without them!

Sarah

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the proposal

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Happy Proposal Day!!

Yet another absurd holiday, but I am a fan of this one:) I was going to write about my engagement story, but I will save that for another day and share some lovely gooey-favorite quotes instead in the spirit of the day! Here are five favorites:

Anne and Gilbert

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“For a moment Anne’s heart fluttered queerly and for the first time her eyes faltered under Gilbert’s gaze and a rosy flush stained the paleness of her face. It was as if a veil that had hung before her inner consciousness had been lifted, giving to her view a revelation of unsuspected feelings and realities. Perhaps, after all, romance did not come into one’s life with pomp and blare, like a gay knight riding down; perhaps it crept to one’s side like an old friend through quiet ways; perhaps it revealed itself in seeming prose, until some sudden shaft of illumination flung athwart its pages betrayed the rhythm and the music, perhaps. . . perhaps. . .love unfolded naturally out of a beautiful friendship, as a golden-hearted rose slipping from its green sheath. ”
― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea

Emma and Mr. Knightley

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“Dear Diary, Today I tried not to think about Mr. Knightly. I tried not to think about him when I discussed the menu with Cook… I tried not to think about him in the garden where I thrice plucked the petals off a daisy to acertain his feelings for Harriet. I don’t think we should keep daisies in the garden, they really are a drab little flower. And I tried not to think about him when I went to bed, but something had to be done.”
― Jane Austen, Emma

Clark Kent and Lois Lane

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Clark Kent: All my life I’ve been afraid, Lois. Afraid of people knowing the truth about me. Afraid of them rejecting me, and even if they didn’t, still losing them. I’ve been afraid of everything I can’t control. But when I was faced with the idea of losing you forever, it made me realize there’s something I’d regret more than anything else, and that’s not telling you the truth about me. ‘Cause that’s the only way we could share a life together. I know the odds are stacked against us and we’d be risking everything, but if you’re ready to take that leap, there’s no one else that I’d want to take that leap with. Lois, you’ve had a lot of questions about The Blur, it’s me. I’m The Blur.
Lois Lane:  What took you so long?
Clark Kent: [confused, realizes she knows] What? You…

Tom and Meg

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Joe Fox: Don’t cry, Shopgirl. Don’t cry.
Kathleen Kelly: I wanted it to be you. I wanted it to be you so badly.

Matthew and Mary

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Matt: Would you stay… if I asked you to?
Mary: Oh Matthew you don’t mean that.  You know yourself we carry more luggage than the porters at King’s Cross.  And what about the late Mr. Pamuk? Won’t he resurrect himself every time we argued?
Matt: No.
Mary: You mean you’ve forgiven me?
Matt: No.  I haven’t forgiven you.
Mary: Well then.
Matt: I haven’t forgiven you because I don’t believe you need my forgiveness.  You lived your life and I’ve lived mine and now it’s time we live them together.
Mary: We’ve been on the edge of this so many times Matthew.  Please don’t take me there again unless you’re sure.
Matt: I am sure.
Mary: And your vows to the memory of Lavinia?
Matt: I was wrong.  I don’t think she wants us to be sad.  She was someone who never caused a moment’s sorrow in her whole life.
Mary: I agree.
Matt: Then will you?
Mary: You must say it properly.  I won’t answer unless you… kneel down and everything.
Matt: [smiles and gets down on one knee.  He takes her hand]  Lady Mary Crawley, will you do the honour of becoming my wife?
Mary: Yes!

Which is exactly what I said:)

~Sarah

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something blue . . .

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Something old, something new
Something borrowed, something blue
And a silver sixpence in her shoe.

I had never heard the last part, but I think it’s a sweet tradition. One I definitely would like to keep (but I don’t need the sixpence:). I’ve been thinking of what I want my “something blue” will be– personally I think a blue gown would be cool, but I think that idea might be unpopular . . .

I saw an article recently about the trend of brides wearing blue nail polish on the wedding day (though I am not sure what they are talking about, because their link is definitely to a green polish . . . ). I think it’s a sweet idea. Here are some photos:

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The problem often is that a lot of these shades are not complementary to a lot of skin tones (especially those of us that get red and cold easily!). Nevertheless, I have a theory that the perfect shade can be found. I read another article (sorry no link:) that they customized a polish (of course they did, lol) for Kate Middleton’s  wedding, so I thought well, that is easy enough, so I got to mixing. It’s such a happy thought that I can have that lovely color in the Essie bottle without spending $8.

Here’s a pic in progress:

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Of course if you find a combination you like, you may not be able to get it again this way, but then you won’t be in a rut either:).

~Sarah 

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organization: the right brainer

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I like Real Simple. My roommate got it last year and I started being a fan of it sometime around then. She sent me a copy just last month and I read it to pieces before passing it on (I am not a hoarder!) (and the word “hoarder” always makes me think of the poor hoarders in Dante’s Inferno  and their undesirable fate. . .). I am also not a terribly organized person, but I was very excited to read this little organization story on the Real Simple website:

http://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/organizing/tips-techniques/organizing-for-your-personality-00000000034690/index.html

I made my fiancé and my old roommate take the quiz. I was so glad to learn that I am overwhelmingly right brained and that they were both completely in the middle. I don’t know that I will act on any of these tips, but I am glad to know that they are there and I felt the need to share them. lol.

~Sarah