Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hot fun in the summer time . . .

Sometimes I start books, and I drag through the first pages and think, “I’m not gonna get through this one.” And then sometimes I plug through, and by the middle I think, “Oh my word, what if I would’ve stopped? This is amazing!”. I just had that happen last night with Acedia and Me, by Kathleen Norris. She is a poet, she is deep, raw, honest - and this work is somewhat a an autobiography of sorts as she explores her own “acedia” (one definition: spiritual torpor and apathy) in different areas of her life.
I read a passage this morning that inspired me to finally sit down and write a bit . . .
“Beginnings can be trying for anyone (who is goal oriented). I want to make quick progress and am tempted to take shortcuts . . . “

So true, and she goes on to explain how this can affect her as a writer.

So, here is a beginning to catching up on the happenings, deep thoughts, and Karisms of this summer.

Weddings, weddings, weddings. We’ve had a blast traveling to some special wedding celebrations this summer.

1 - My cousin’s wedding in Bowbells, ND (which I deemed a “destination wedding” because it is 10 hours from where we live!). We began that trip with a b-day party for Trev’s dad, then a visit to my birth-town, Minot, for breakfast at an old fave restaurant The Homesteaders. The wedding was gorgeous, and as always for this momma, Karis was a highlight, a hoot, and a blast. She was enamored by the ceremony, loved engaging with all the people, devoured spaghetti noodles, and cut a rug on the dance floor. I mean, the girl can DANCE. However, she is picky about her partners: only other little girls and my brother’s girlfriend were suitable for this occasion.

We wrapped up that trip celebrating Father’s Day, a maiden voyage to Cherry Berry frozen yogurt, and then getting to welcome Trev’s brother home from China. All blessed and beautiful events. And honestly, Karis was a traveling champ, the long drives were a fun chance to listen to her chatter and sing.

2 - THE wedding, the anticipated event of the summer . . . Trev’s brother and our new sister . . . this all began a full week before the wedding with Trev going to a bachelor party weekend and me welcoming my mom and grandma for a girls’ weekend in the cities. We fit in: IKEA, a trip to Excelsior, Potbelly’s, Yo Yo Donuts & Lone Lake Park, the American Swedish Institute and Mill Valley Kitchen. We loved every minute.

Then I ended up being away from Karis the longest I ever have, I rode to SD with my brothers to get to SD in time for the bachelorette party. A blast all around, and I even got a generous hotel room to stay in for the night. An odd feeling! Refreshing at first, and then felt empty at bedtime. The rehearsal was gorgeous, the groom’s dinner meaningful, the wedding day magical. It was an honor to stand up for my new sister, to walk with Karis down the aisle and share that memory with her, to walk by Sylvan Lake for pictures, to watch two sincere people exchange vows and enter the covenant of marriage - it was an emotional ceremony, and I find my eyes welling a bit even now as I bring back the memories. Congratulations, Jordan and Cassie!

Karis had two cupcakes for dinner (you read correctly: for dinner, not after dinner) and then completely whooped it up on the dance floor - I mean, at one point she had everyone circled around her clapping in time while she grooved to “Tonight’s Gonna Be a Good Night” by the Black Eyed Peas. I will always remember watching her in all her flower girl glory! And the way she tried to sneak in every dance with Aunt Cassie, she is clearly enamored by her aunt.

That night as K was trying to fall asleep around midnight it was quiet for a good 20 minutes, and then out of nowhere, I hear her whisper, “Jordan and Cassie” . . . and then drifted soundlessly off to sleep. A precious memory, like she was breathing a prayer for them. 

The next morning found my brother and I up hours before everyone else, sipping coffee on a rock patio overlooking the black hills. Breathtaking, and accentuated by a heartfelt conversation - the kind that you can’t plan and treasure in memory for a lifetime.

We hit up Mount Rushmore before the trek back to Mpls, and left feeling immeasurably grateful for our stellar family and friends. Life feels rich and full.

A Karism from returning home: I hear her from the kitchen as she played in the living room and exclaimed, “I’m so excited to be home!” I guess we all know where we hang our hats.

3 - Our final summer wedding was this past weekend in Grand Forks: Trev’s cousin and his new bride. The 5 hour drive felt like a breeze compared to the other destinations! The hotel was a blast and time with family was precious

In between 2 & 3 we had a jubilant fourth of July - convinced Karis to get wet at a splash pad, got free Starbucks coffee (although it was about 100 degrees that day), napped, and then crashed a dinner party at Maynards in Excelsior before going to Dierkers for dessert. Phew, we packed it in. Karis loved wearing her stars and stripes.

Also amidst all this hustle and bustle, we enjoyed having my bro live with us for about 5 weeks. Such a memorable time and we miss him - he would play catch and hide and seek with Karis every day and we just generally savored the time of seeing him more often. We had a fun visit from my best friend from college and her friend, to more college friends dropping by for morning iced tea, and now . . . we have one of our favorite houseguests here for a week and I can tell Trev is soaking up having a buddy to “talk shop” with, go to Pizza Luce with, & accompany him and Karis to the park. Summer fun! 

Oh, and Trev had a birthday in there somewhere! We snuck in some mini-parties - one really mini, just us at Uptown Cafeteria for dinner, another one on the actual day at Chipotle with my bro and his girlfriend. Happy Birthday to you, Trev - you know how to make life fun and meaningful, you are simply the best.

Deep(ish) thoughts: 

Can be summed up with an email-ish journal entry I sent this week to some people on a prayer chain . . . I will include here (clearly this blog is for me and posterity, feel free to skim!) I think I need to read it every day to remind myself to think about and do important - not “urgent” - things:

Did you wake up this morning ready for the week, hopping out out bed before your alarm, ready to tackle all the to-dos of the days ahead?

I did not. =) But here we are, right? Something I'm thinking about this morning is the continual need to live with great intentionality. There are various intentions we carry with us in our day: to do lists, goals to pursue, ways we hope to act and react to various situations. I'm thinking about this because my mind is spinning with all the things I hope to accomplish this week - but to what end? The phrase ringing in my mind today is: "Begin with the end in mind". What goals am I pursuing this week, what are all my "lists" going to really accomplish, what is the "end" I'm looking towards? Is it things or is it people? Is it a spic and span house or is it time spent on the floor playing with Karis?!

Without God, without the leading of His Spirit, without the love of Jesus - anything I do today or tomorrow or the next will be done in vain. I'm writing this to myself as much as to you, I need this reminder today (well, every day)! What will bring joy to the heart of My Father this week? I am thinking right now of how I will love and serve my family, my friends - how will I be in tune to their needs, their dreams, to who God has made them. We have a houseguest this week . . . what atmosphere would God have me help create in my home of hospitality and peace (not performance of meals and entertainment!). Lord, help me (us) to remember that glorifying You is the end we are looking towards, and teach us what this means and how to do it - by Your strength.

Thanks for reading this "journal" today . . . writing it somehow holds me accountable and makes things look clearer for the moment.

1 Corinthians 13: 1-7 (from The Message)
If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.

So yes, that’s what’s on my mind and heart this week. Settling down after a lot of traveling has me trying to find my bearings and focus again.

To end with another Norris quote that I laughed at while nodding my head in solidarity:
“If I am not going full-tilt, I’m likely to collapse”

So true. I haven’t collapsed - yet (or at least, not for a while). Full tilt is feeling okay right now . . .

Oh, and I neglected Karis-isms here. Too many, needs another post altogether, another beginning to start.

(Well, okay, just one from this morning: "I have boogers in my nose. Yeah, I think I do.")

post-dancing at wedding number 3