Archive | April, 2011

My last week of freedom.

26 Apr

For some reason, when I accepted my new job, I thought I had 2 1/2 weeks until I started. It was actually only 1 1/2. So this is my last week of freedom. I’m definitely excited to start my new job – but also a little nervous just because it will be a new experience and challenge. And I have to admit that I’m sad my days of freedom are coming to an end.

To make the most of my last week being unemployed, I am getting together with a friend every single day. Yesterday, I went hiking in Golden Gate Canyon State Park with my friend Lauren (the wife of one of Travis’ work friends). Today, I am having coffee and potentially going on a walk (if the weather holds up) with a new friend from church named Holly. Tomorrow, I am going on a bike ride with another friend from church named Steph. Thursday, I am having my last Thursday morning coffee with Cathy (it’s the end of an era – we’ve been having coffee weekly since December!) Friday, I am going hiking at Red Rocks State Park with another friend from church, Renia, and her son and friend. So it will be a busy but fun-packed week!

A little update on the food situation: I had to cheat and go buy a few ingredients to make a dish for Easter dinner. BUT I picked a recipe for a wild rice casserole that I had the majority of ingredients for so I only had to buy chicken broth ($.99) and apricots ($1.50). I also made stuffing (which had been in my cupboard since Thanksgiving 2008) and had to buy celery ($.25) and an onion ($.75). (And yes, it turned out to be delicious!) With the sugar I bought for Travis’ morning coffee and my toothpaste with a $1 off coupon, I only spent $8 at the grocery store. I felt pretty good about my thriftiness.

Tomorrow night is care group and we eat dinner together beforehand potluck-style so I will have to buy a few more things for that (cheese and black beans). But overall, I’m making it work with the food we have. We had chicken alfredo with mushrooms last night. Last week, I made crusted chicken with tomato dill couscous. I also made udon noodles with carrots, raisins, red pepper and a peanut  butter soy sauce (delicious!) – it’s a Betty Crocker recipe. So we haven’t been eating crap. But we also haven’t been eating as much fresh produce as we normally would (as in, we aren’t eating any right now). I have frozen vegetables left and even those, I am using sparingly so that we can at least eat some vegetables one meal a day for the rest of the week.

My only fear at this point is that when we do get more grocery money, we’re going to be so low on everything (including condiments, spices, and staples) that the grocery bill will be abnormally high and we’ll start this vicious cycle all over again. But since I will have a job then and have a steady income, I might try to convince Travis to let me have a little more grocery money. I think I could make it work if I didn’t need to have a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables all the time. But the truth is, I do. If I don’t get enough sleep and don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables, I get sick almost immediately. Case in point: I got sick on Easter. I don’t believe it was a coincidence.

But I am not deterred! I am determined to make this work, at least for the rest of this month. 😉 And I definitely have new-found respect for those people who have even less money than this for groceries. It’s harder than I thought to eat healthy on a budget.

Simplifying.

22 Apr

I am on a simplifying kick right now. About a month ago, I took 4 or 5 boxes of clothes, home goods, and books to Arc Thrift Store. Then I went through all of my old magazines, recycled all the ones I’ve read (after ripping out articles I wanted to keep) and making a stack of ones I want to read, which I am slowly but surely making my way through. Once I done with a magazine, I either flag the recipes I want to try and add them to my kitchen stash or I throw it in the recycling bin. I have also started buying groceries for only one week at a time and choosing recipes that include ingredients I already have in my cupboard (some of which have been sitting in there for quite a while).

The way I used to operate was “Buy more.” If I wanted a certain kind of tea but didn’t have it, instead of drinking what I did have, I’d go out and buy more. If we ran out of bread but had buns left, instead of using the buns, I’d go buy more bread. If I saw a nail polish at the store I liked, instead of trying to think if I already had a similar color at home (which I most likely did), I’d just buy more. The result was food going bad, closets packed to the gills, and a bunch of stuff sitting unused. (And I am not a hoarder!)

But now, I am on a quest to eliminate all the excess by systematically using up everything I currently own before buying more (if I need to). I have already gotten rid of everything I didn’t need: mugs we never used, duplicates of kitchen gadgets, a plethora of water bottles, clothes that are just a bit too tight or short left from my pre-Christian days. Now I am getting rid of all the things that I will use, just not all at once. For example, tea bags. I really want to go buy a delicious flavor of Tazo tea but I’ve made a deal with myself that I have to drink up all the tea I currently have (because if I go buy more tea, I’ll never drink the stuff I have right now).

The point I want to get to is that I have nothing cluttering up my home that I don’t actually use on a daily, weekly, or at least monthly basis. If I haven’t used something in years, I have to either use it now or throw it out. It’s amazing how mentally freeing this concept is! Clutter in my house actually adds clutter to my mind. When I don’t have a ton of stuff to worry about, organize, or keep track of, I have time to focus on what really matters.

The other day, I was in Target and happened to spy a very cute purse. I was tempted to buy it because I did still have some Blow Money (cash I can spend on anything I want) left for the month. But I reminded myself, “Simplify,” so I walked away. And I didn’t feel deprived! I already own more purses than I want to but I can’t quite bring myself to get rid of them yet. The question in the back of my mind is always, “What if I regret getting rid of this?” (which isn’t completely crazy because it has happened in the past). So I’m taking things in stages. The first stage is to just not buy more.

My current experiment with this is groceries. Travis and I have decided on a monthly grocery budget of $300. That’s $75 a week. I can buy fruits and vegetables for a week, plan 2-3 good meals (banking on the leftovers for lunch), and still have money for snacks like crackers and cheese, yogurt, cereal, etc. But this month, we hosted a barbeque for friends, which totally threw all of our numbers off. The result has been that we ran out of grocery money on Wednesday, with 10 days to go in April. Whoops.

The old me would beg Travis for more grocery money. We can’t possibly subsist for the next week on what we have in our fridge and cupboards!, I would say. But the new me told Travis about our dilemma and said, “I want to do an experiment to see if we can really make this work. Do I have your permission to not buy any more groceries in April?” (Historically, when we have run low on food, Travis has whined, “We don’t have any food around here!” If he agreed to my experiment, no whining would be allowed.) “You’re asking to not spend any more money? Heck yeah, I agree!” Travis replied.

So the experiment is on. It shall be interesting. I’ll post again in a few days to let you know what we’re eating…or not eating. 😉

When it rains, it pours.

20 Apr

The past week and a half have been ridiculously busy. Mostly because we got a new dog who isn’t completely potty-trained but also partly because I have had dinner dates, church functions, and job interviews to attend.

Without going into all of the boring details, I will just say that there have been several days with things that have gone wrong, taken forever, been frustrating, or days that just seem so jam-packed with stuff to do that I don’t see how it will all get done. When I am not being anxious or angry, I am actually sort of excited about all the stuff going on, the trials, the challenges, and the anxiety because it has allowed me to put my theories about the Christian life and walking with God to the test. Kind of like, how do they withstand trials and struggles?

Well, I’m happy to say that the truths are true. They’re just impossible for me to practically follow. It’s amazing how in the times when everything is going fairly smoothly and I’m happy and peaceful, trusting in God seems easy and I feel like I am actually doing it. But when the road gets rough and things start to fall apart, that’s when I stop trusting God. The times when I need God most are the times that I turn from Him. Does that make ANY sense at all?

This is what I wrote in my journal this past Sunday morning: “I’ve been saying lately that the Christian life is simple and yet impossible. Trusting God for everything–validation, security, comfort, provision, identity, etc.–is where we find joy and peace, yet it is the hardest thing for humans to do!

“Upon first thought, it seemed like God had designed us to be completely incapable of being good and relying upon Him, even though the result was more sin on our part. Is God more concerned with our reliance upon Him than our sanctification? Verses like 1 Thess. 4:3 seemed to contradict that.

“Then I thought of Jesus, who was holy and perfectly dependent on the Father. So reliance on God is God’s way of sanctifying us. It is only as we rely on God that we become holy. Relying on God and being sanctified are one in the same thing.

“All of our sins are failures to rely on God–to find everything we desire and long for in Him.”

The Christian life is really so simple. We walk through every day in communion with God as we trust His sovereignty and wisdom, His goodness to us in all circumstances, and accept everything from His hand. But that is definitely easier said than done!

Last Thursday morning, I was at my breaking point. Charlie had peed inside the house AGAIN, I was frustrated and impatient with her constant need for attention and decision to get up at 6 am every morning, I had another interview that afternoon (which I was dreaded since the one I had had on Tuesday went horribly), and I had another full day ahead of me. I felt pulled in a hundred different directions, with no time for me or rest or reading or fun. I was ready to blow a gasket and was wondering, “Didn’t God say that He provided grace in the time of need? Well, I need grace. I’m asking for grace. But I don’t feel Him providing it because I am just barely making it through today.”

During my coffee time with my friend Cathy, I asked her what God’s practical provision of grace looks like. I explained to her my situation and on the verge of tears, told her that I didn’t feel God’s grace because I just wanted to crawl back into bed every morning. She told me that just the fact that I haven’t thrown in the towel, haven’t crawled back into bed and abandoned my responsibility is God’s strength to me. Just like in exercise, we have to burden our bodies with almost more than we think we can handle in order to grow stronger. You don’t grow stronger by lifting manageable weights.

As soon as she said that, the tears started falling. I felt God saying to me, “I am growing you through this.” I felt burdened beyond my strength but I hadn’t given up. The next day, I read this in Elisabeth Elliot’s Keep a Quiet Heart from Lamentations 3, “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.” I am humbled once again by how quick I am to accuse God of abandoning me when He has been carrying me through the trials of my life.

As much as I have struggled with being busy, I do see the Lord’s mercies to me in this season. I just found out yesterday that I got a job as a Marketing Communications Copy Editor! (Praise the Lord for His provision!) So those early mornings with Charlie? Preparation for going back to work. Having a lot to accomplish in one day? Preparation for having a full-time job again. God is slowly easing me back into the working world, one trial at a time.

I am so utterly grateful to God that even though I continue to doubt Him and question His ways, He continues to give me grace, insight, and understanding sufficient to continue on in faith. My impatience and anger with my dogs this past week have stood in stark contrast to God’s infinite faithfulness, patience, long-suffering, and love toward me. I am so humbled.

A New Family Member

10 Apr

Last Friday afternoon, I took Katy to the vet at PetsMart to get a comprehensive exam and heartworm test. While I was standing in line, I saw a flier for an adorable 7-month-old puppy who had been rescued from an Indian reservation in New Mexico and needed a home. She was very sweet and gentle, had heartwarming puppy dog eyes, and just happened to remind me a lot of our dog, Katy, with the short hair and tan and black coloring.

Travis and I had been unofficially discussing getting Katy a friend to play with so when I saw Charlie, I asked the vet techs about her. One asked if I would like them to bring Charlie into the exam room with me and Katy so we could see if they got along. After hesitating a little, I said ok. Katy pretty much ignored Charlie the whole time, except for a momentary growl when Charlie backed her into the corner.

Before dropping Katy off, I took a couple of photos on my phone and then called Travis. “I found the dog we should adopt,” I said. “She’s so cute and sweet.” I told Travis I would send him the pictures. After I picked Katy back up and headed back home, Travis was back from work and I sort of jokingly asked him, “So do you want to go look at Charlie?”

“I kind of do,” he replied honestly. So I filled out the adoption application and we returned to PetsMart. We took Charlie out on a walk and then talked to the vet techs about her medical history and what the adoption arrangement and fees would be. We planned on talking to the office manager, who would know more of the financial specifics, the next day before we made a decision. But I left our application with the clinic just in case.

The  next day, while I was painting our front door (again!), the vet who had picked Charlie up called. After answering our questions and doing a little interview, the vet offered us the chance to adopt Charlie. They wouldn’t charge an adoption fee, would waive the membership fee for signing Charlie up for a vet plan at their clinic, and would spay her and get her up to date on her shots for free. It was an offer we couldn’t pass up.

So we have a new family member – Charlie. Travis and I talked about a lot of different names, including Stella, Scout, Brooks, and Sienna. Finally, we decided to do what we did with Katy: keep the name she came with. She looks like a Charlie and even though at first, I didn’t like the name for a girl, it has definitely grown on me.

About Charlie, she is estimated to be 7 months old. She is a hound mix – her bark sometimes tends toward the howl that hounds are notorious for. She has had a hard life. She was about 15 pounds underweight when the vet found her, her ears have been bitten up by bugs, and she had ehrlichia, which is caused by ticks, giving her a slight limp in her left hind leg (which has since been treated and disappeared).

She’s not quite potty-trained yet so that’s been an adventure for us. There have been quite a few mishaps but I think we’re starting to get the hang of it. I’ve definitely learned that you cannot underestimate how much dogs need to go to the bathroom.

Even though it will take a while for us to bond with her as much as we have with Katy (who we’ve had for a year and a half now), I think it was a good decision to get her. She’s the sweetest dog, very mellow, and Katy and her already love planning with each other (although it gets a little too rough at times).

Rescuing a dog is not like getting a newborn little pup right from their litter. They’ve been beat up, scarred and a lot of times, abused. They are “broken” dogs. I’m not sure if Charlie would have lived much long had she not been rescued. I like to think of rescuing dogs as analogies of the gospel. God didn’t choose the people who were easy to love, the cute ones, the tidy and well-kept ones. He chose the ones who were beat up, living on the streets, and in need of some serious help and care. It’s not easy to love a rescued pup right away, when their coat is matted and they don’t know proper dog etiquette and they bark and growl and want to raid the trash. But they are worth redeeming.

God’s Perfect Timing

7 Apr

I’ve been very anxious and overwhelmed this week, feeling like there is so much more that I want/need to be doing with my time than I am able. I just recently took on teaching ESL to a couple from our church for 2 hours, 2 days a week. It’s not a huge amount of time, but it does put a dent into two of the days I had with nothing going on. In addition to that, I am still editing curriculum for a nonprofit, writing a book, applying for jobs, doing house projects, reading voraciously, training for a triathlon, and managing my household by doing laundry, grocery shopping, dishes and cleaning. Who knew I could be so stressed out without a job? (I’m that good.)

I am seeing (yet again!) that my anxiety comes from me concerning myself with the big picture and How It Will All Work Out. And the reason I do that is because I am scared of failing. I am scared of letting things fall through the cracks, of appearing like I don’t have it all together and actually not having it together. I let all of these good things settle on my shoulders, until it feels like I am carrying around a 75-lb backpack everywhere I go. I also make all these good things into My Standard for the Christian Life and if I fall short by even one thing, I am racked with guilt and a I-completely-suck mentality.

It is so hard to live in dependence on God in the practical matters of life! It is hard to entrust God with the things you feel responsible for, the things you have on your plate, all the while knowing that for them to get done, you’re the one who actually has to do them. I mean, my dog is not going to send my resume in to potential employers. Travis is not going to train for the triathlon. The book is not going to write itself. I’m the one who has to do those things.

But I’ve discovered that it all comes down to timing. These things have to get done…but when? My answer to that question is usually something like, “Right now. Yesterday. Two weeks ago. Don’t even get me started.” It’s the illusion that I’m constantly behind or that there’s not enough time to do everything that is stressing me out. It’s not the amount of things to do, but the apparent lack of time.

That’s where God comes in. Since He is outside time, He knows what to do with it. I like to imagine God sitting at a table with all of my goals, tasks and chores spread before Him. As He looks over the things on the table, He grabs one and hands it to me. “Do this one now,” He says calmly. When I interject about another thing on the table and how it’s going to get done and when, He doesn’t answer my question but rather reaffirms His initial instruction. He knows what needs to get done and when; I have to trust His choice and instruction.

I have to believe that if a day flies by and it feels like I have not accomplished even a quarter of the things I wanted to, or if I truly feel like reading a book instead of writing one, or if something unexpected happens like the car breaking down, or the Rec being closed, or me getting sick, these things do not throw God for a loop and derail His plan. His plan is not g0-go-go without rest stops or potty breaks. He is a loving God who cares more about my spiritual state and relationship with Him than He does about what I accomplish in a particular day, though I continually run to Things I Got Done to prove my worth and validate my existence.

Ultimately, I have to believe that God’s timing is perfect and He is working in my life in mundane, everyday ways that sometimes I don’t even notice (though I want to notice them more often!). God’s ways are so much higher than my ways that He is coordinating even the slightest, smallest details in my life to accord with His plan.

“For the LORD Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart Him? His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?” (Isaiah 14:27)

“The LORD will fulfill His purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever.” (Psalm 138:8)

“This God–His way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true.” (Psalm 18:30a)

The Simplicity & Difficulty of Connecting with God

4 Apr

Last Friday and Saturday, I didn’t want to get in the Word. I really just wanted to read a good book, one with new ideas and words I hadn’t read before. I didn’t want the usual formula of my morning: read the Bible, pray, meditate. So on Friday, I took a walk. It was a beautiful morning and I reveled in the sunshine and warmth, very thankful to God for His creation. “See?” I said to myself. “I don’t need the formula. I can connect with God many different ways.” But a little voice said that if I didn’t read the Bible and pray for others, my time with God was incomplete. Sure, I could connect with Him in nature but it wasn’t sufficient.

Saturday, I read The God Hunt by Karen Mains for a couple of hours in the morning, then some more in the afternoon, then some more at night. I felt my childish rebellion welling up inside in response to the responsible voice that talked about reading the Bible and praying: “I want to just read a book! Why can’t I just do what I want to do?” Reading The God Hunt was in some way, a rebellion, a way of staking my claim to how I wanted to spend my day. I wanted to read a book, not the Bible. I wanted to sit in silence, not pray.

As I was reading the book before I went to sleep Saturday night, Karen Mains was talking about setting up “ducks,” what I have normally called cairns, rocks stacked on top of one another to delineate a path and keep a hiker on the right track. But instead of setting up physical ducks, she was setting up spiritual ones to keep her on the right path with God and reminding her to look for Him. Her spiritual cairns were Bible study, prayer, personal liturgies, memorizing Scripture, etc.

Instead of being a curmudgeonish chore, studying the Bible is a way for me to “keep the object I am hunting within my spiritual sightlines,” to remind myself that “as I moving forward…what I am looking for is God’s work.” God’s work. His touch and presence in my life. Him seeking and finding me. Was I basing my relationship with God on how much I pursued Him?

Then on Sunday morning, I awoke with the cold I had felt developing the previous night. It hadn’t gotten as bad as I expected; I was still well enough to go to church. But I was groggy, sleepy, and short-tempered. Even the bagel crumbs falling to my skirt in the light breeze outside Panera irritated me. As we arrived at church and sat in our usual spot, the worship music started. The first song was one I didn’t particularly like, then second song was a new one that I “didn’t have the energy to learn.” I stood there lamenting how tired and sick I felt, worried about who I would talk to during the five-minute break, and worried about meeting Ana Helena after church to talk to Gerry, a new member who had just moved from the Congo, about teaching him ESL. I heard my usual voice of self-pity, “I’m just so tired. I don’t feel well. I can barely even concentrate on singing. I can’t wait to go home.”

As I stood there, half singing the songs, I remembered something I had read in Practicing His Presence:

One of the mental characteristics against which I have rebelled most is the frequency of my “blank spells” when I cannot think of anything worth writing, and sometimes cannot remember names. Henceforth I resolve to regard these as God’s signal that I am to stop and listen. Sometimes you want to talk to your son, and sometimes you want to hold him tight in silence. God is that way with us, He wants to hold us still with Him in silence.

If I didn’t feel up to singing, could it possibly be God’s way of telling me to just listen, to just enjoy His presence? If I didn’t feel like searching for God and straining to uncover God’s word for me that day, could God be reminding me that He will meet me with rich blessings?

I stopped singing and closed my eyes, listening to the harmony of voices lifted up to God. Then it became clear: I had been basing my encounters with God on how “up to” the Christian life I felt, how much I felt like I could handle, how dedicated I felt, how ready to obey I felt. I was still trying to find the strength and stamina for the Christian life in myself. Why else would being sick and tired feel like a setback or hindrance to God’s work in my life? If I were truly relying on God for everything, I would be just as ready to obey God in sickness as in health, in bad times as in good. My circumstances would have no sway on my readiness to see or respond to God, because the ability to do so would be bound up in Him—and He never changes.

I was once again reminded of my alternate translation of 2 Corinthians 16:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in humility.” It is true that my self-pity is the reverse form of pride, the opposite of humility. The cure is finding sufficient grace and power in who Christ is for me. Instead of worrying about who I was going to talk to during the break, I could wait and listen for God to speak to me in the moment. And He did: once the break rolled around and Travis went to the bathroom, I saw Renia sitting alone and was actually excited to go over and talk to her. God’s leading. After church, I found Ana Helena and while she went to get her kids, I tracked down Gerry and talked to him about the ESL lessons and furniture for their apartment. God’s leading. It is after situations like this when I am humbled yet again by God, for doubting His goodness to me. I am like an Israelite, who continues to doubt and question God even after all of the times that He has so obviously proven His track record.

God showed me yet again that I can rely on Him for everything. There is nothing I need to live out my faith authentically for His glory besides His constant sufficiency and supply of grace. Even in my intimate daily walk with Him, I don’t need to find the stamina and motivation in myself to seek Him; I need only to ask Him to produce it in me. When I have found myself wanting in spiritual desire, instead of running to God, I have lamented my lack and tried to make up for it in my own actions—or conceded defeat and turned away to do what my flesh wanted to do instead.

Anything that takes me away from intimacy with God, whether sickness, fatigue, or desire to relax, should put up a red flag. Why? Because the idea that it is work to spend time with God, or that I have to choose between rest and Him, or that it takes a lot of striving to connect with God are all lies. God is the epitome of relaxation (Psalm 23:2-3); I find rest in Him (Matthew 11:28); and I only have to draw near to God for Him to draw near to me (James 4:8). As Roy Hession says in We Would See Jesus:

God has made Him as accessible to us sinners as He possibly can…We see the standard of the victorious life above us, and we are quite sure that if we can attain to it in this or that particular we shall be in fellowship with God and filled with His Spirit. But it is the attaining to it which all the time defeats us. And all the time we are climbing so hard the Lord Jesus stands immediately available to us as our Door, open on street level, and we could so quickly enter in if we were willing to bow our heads at His Cross.

Bible study, prayer, worship, memorization—all of these are means to connecting with God, not ends in themselves. How Satan loves to heap guilt on us when we declare that! He knows their power, their use, their effectiveness. He knows that if he can pervert their use and purpose in the minds of believers, we will become in bondage to them and they will lose their beauty, freedom, and glory in aiding us to discover the God who we so long for.

If I find myself feeling condemned by desiring one day to connect with God through nature instead of His Word, it doesn’t take me long to see that I have turned reading my Bible into an end, instead of a means. The only thing that should grieve my spirit is losing my connection with God and I should seek to amend the situation however I can at the moment, instead of promising myself “I’ll get in the Word again tomorrow.” God is available now, in the moment I so desire Him! Don’t tarry, don’t make excuses. Go to Him now. Your small desire is enough. Like Brother Lawrence says, “Just a little lifting up of the heart to God is enough. A little remembrance of the Lord, one act of inward worship…will be fully accepted by the Lord.”

So often when I come to God, I think I need to be in a spiritual mindset, to feel ready to accept truths from God, to be dressed in my spiritual armor, ready for any battle God calls me to. While that does sometimes happen (no doubt God preparing me for His revelations), those are not prerequisites to time with God. I can come to Him when I feel groggy, lazy or grumpy; I can come to Him when I don’t feel like reading, or do feel like reading, or want to take a walk outside; I can come to Him when I am anxious, self-pitying, or short-tempered. He will never acquiesce to my sin or pity but He will always speak to me gently exactly the words I need to hear and show Himself to be the way to peace and joy. God’s dedication to His own glory is the most reassuring thing in the world.

Sunshine and spring.

1 Apr

I love spring. Especially spring in Denver, where you don’t have to deal with mud and puddles as the snow is melting. (Although you do have to deal with wind, which is just as annoying.)

The view out the office window

I can’t help but be in a good mood when I wake up, go into the office with my cup of coffee, and see the shadows of the evergreen boughs dancing on the west wall in the early morning sunlight. That is a delightful sight.

I just love sunshine and light. When Travis and I watch TV at night, he always wants all of the lights off, with just the TV illuminating the room. I prefer to have all of the lights on. Light makes me feel cozy; darkness makes me lonely and cold.

Though I love our cute little house, I wish our office had a bigger, south-facing window. Right now, it has one small one that faces east. The sun only shines into the room until about 9:45 at this time of year. I absolutely love the office that the character Erica (Diane Keaton) has in Something’s Gotta Give:

Look at those windows! And the flowers on her desk. And the hydrangeas out the window with a view of the beach. Sigh. It would be so wonderful to work in that office everyday.

If I do end up making a career out of being a writer, I am going to move our office into our guest bedroom, which has two windows, one east-facing and one south-facing. It is sunny in there almost all day long. It’s a wonderful room. The only problem right now is that the windows are very old and leak cold air into the room, so it’s always freezing in there. But Travis is planning on replacing those this spring or summer… so maybe around that time?

On a happier note, the tulips I planted last fall are coming up!

I planted white, yellow and red tulips. Can't wait until they bloom!