Trial Run


This is a baby. Not for sale


This is Eden when she was 24 hours old. Isn’t she sweet?

Eden Larkie

She loves to snuggle.


Eden in the hospital.


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Overcoming Conan

I remember walking into the “Conan party” thirty minutes late feeling slightly nervous and somewhat aware of my aloof state.  I sat down next to a few of my friends and leaned into them talking intensely about the weather and other really important things like that.  I laughed too loud if they said something funny, and I had a difficult time making myself lean back in my chair nonchalantly.  Jay was sitting across the room glancing over at me from time to time with a look of confusion.  He kept up a fairly good front by laughing with the guys around him about Conan and then talking some about his recent travels to Europe when commercials interrupted the show.  Still, he would look over at me from time to time to see what I was doing, and when I caught his glance I would look down at the ground shyly, and my voice would catch in my throat.

No, sadly, Jay and I were not meeting for the first time.  We’d been talking for months, spending all of our free time together, walking the streets of my neighborhood in complete bliss.  No, we hadn’t had a first fight or anything else awkward happen.  In fact, the night before I had picked him up from the airport upon his return from a two-week trip to Europe and had listened to his stories about Rome, Paris, and London with great eagerness.  You could say, in fact, that until the Conan party everything was more than perfect between us. 

So, back to the Conan party, Jay and I had just become Facebook Official (FBO for those familiar with eighth grade terminology) right before he had left for Europe.  We’d had talked about our relationship for the first time (yes, the DTR) and had both wanted to “take things to the next level.” The Conan party was the first time we had been around our friends with our intentions clearly defined, and we were no longer “hanging out” but were a real couple.  I promise I’m not nine years old, and I promise I know how to drive a car and pay my own bills.  I am an adult.  The problem is I have been clinically diagnosed as socially awkward.  Seeing Jay in our first social setting after becoming “official” left me staring at the ground and even talking to it some.  I could barely make eye contact with him, and I have no idea why.  Oh, that’s right, it’s because I default to my former homeschool days when feeling overwhelmed socially.

Needless to say, we overcame Conan thanks to Jay, and this past month we celebrated our one year anniversary of marital bliss (no sarcasm here at all actually).  This has been hands-down the best year of my life.  We laugh often over Conan and other social blunders I constantly make, most commonly my frequent habit of greeting the ground when I try to say “hello” to someone I don’t know well.  It’s a good
thing Jay knew how to move us forward.  I have always been impressed with how well he has led us, from getting to know me well in the beginning before pursuing me to constantly making me feel loved and “spoiled” so to speak.  This year for our anniversary, I wrote him a lame love letter and sat on our couch pregnant and swollen with nothing else in the works.  He, on the other hand, brought home flowers and over a picnic dinner that he put together  indoor-style, he read his wedding vows to me that he thoughtfully framed for me.  (Yah, I’m not sure what he was thinking when he married me either :).)

Here are his vows.  I tear up when I read them now just as I did when he read them a year ago:

Hi. You are so special to me.

I remember our first date like it was yesterday.  I was worried it wasn’t going very well until we took our first walk together.  After coffee, we walked around the neighborhood for hours sharing our life stories and laughing to no end.  I remember thinking it was the best walk I’d ever been on.  It was our first of many walks together.

In fact, walks would become such a big part of our story.  I was so excited to see you the night we went for a walk after guac fest.  At that point, not even Rufus’ mange could dampen my joy as we walked for hours through your neighborhood.  I remember leaving that night anxious to go on another walk with you.

I remember our first walk together as a couple.  It was the first time I held your hand as we trekked through the dark scary woods in the middle of the night on the camping trip.  I couldn’t sleep the rest of the night.  The next day you poured out your beautiful heart to me on our walk to Florence Park.  I realized that I loved you then.

On our first formal date, we walked the Riverparks and you shared how all you ever wanted was someone to walk the Riverparks with you. I prayed that very night that I hoped I was that someone.

I remember our last walk as boyfriend and girlfriend when I proposed to you on the pedestrian bridge.  You looked so beautiful in your Russian hat, and it was the happiest moment of my life.

As we prepare to take our first walk together as husband and wife, I am truly in awe at what a beautiful woman God has blessed me with.  You are the sweetest, kindest, most compassionate, loving soul I have ever met, and you fascinate me.  I cannot wait to go on a whole lifetime of walks with you as we share a life together.

I promise to always go for walks with you. . .and I promise never to walk away from you.

I promise to always give you time with Feather and to never be jealous of her.

I promise to spiritually lead us in a marriage that puts God over everything.

I promise to always hold you and pray with you and comfort you the rare times you cry.

Finally, I promise to protect you and nurture you and love you with all that I am.  I love you so much.


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Nuff Stuff

It wasn’t until one morning a week or so after the Christmas party, as I fought my tangled sheets to roll over, that I caught a glimpse of the navy blue dress I had worn to share Christmas cheer with a few friends. There it stared back at me, in the floor of my closet, an abandoned rumpled mess. Not one for making rash purchases, that morning I regretted walking into the Gap to purchase the silly dress at full price, a dress that was convenient to buy as I “needed” new attire for the Christmas party and felt too lazy to shop around some, sadly a dress that I likely won’t wear again for some time for one reason: I didn’t care for the dress greatly when I purchased it. Even though I could have easily slipped on black slacks and a silky top without venturing outside of my existing wardrobe and blended easily in the mesh of friends, I simply felt like I should purchase something new for the party. A seventy dollar purchase for a dress I don’t even like. Seventy dollars! Ugh. Disgusting and shameful. I feel like a bloated American.

Kidding aside, I truly believe life is freeing when I weigh the cost of something before making a purchase for myself. Do I really love this? Will I wear it over and over again? Is it practical? Do I already have something just like this in my closet at home? Will buying this just create more clutter? By attempting to live small (yes, small is an adjective not an adverb but smally sounds/looks ridic—almost as ridic as the word “ridic”), I can not only save money, which is the obvious, I can take my mind off of myself for a while. I stop thinking about the next thing I can purchase for good ‘ol me and, in turn, stop caring as much about what others think of me—my hair, clothes, skin, and any other frivolous concern.

Have you ever compared the closet size of a home built in the early 1940s with a home built today? How fascinating it would be to own one pair of dress shoes, one pair of everyday shoes, a few dresses, a scarf or two, a lighter jacket, a sweater or so, and a heavy winter coat. While I cannot realistically support simple living to this extreme, I do condone buying a heavy wool coat I first absolutely love and then wearing it five or more winters, and I believe in purchasing a few basic work sweaters and then “fancying” them up with scarves, belts, and accessories. Something about this just feels right. Satisfying. After all, why do I need three of something when I can cherish one truly special something, wearing it for as long as it’s practical? Side note: Yes, clothing items do reach the end of a life cycle. Let’s be honest, some items, particularly under garments, are not made to be worn a lifetime. Nuff said.

As part of a winter survival plan, I recently moved from my two-bedroom house of five modestly-sized closets to live with a dear friend in her two-bedroom home. (Nobody should face the winter months alone.) I down-sized by giving away most of my household items to my cousin who is young and in need of “stuff” and by then moving a few items into my friend’s basement, a few items to our shared closet, and most items to my new bedroom. Something about living even smaller than I had been living made me rejoice as I saw the move as a fresh challenge. Not to sound overly hippie, I tend to agree with the Drums who espouse in the lyrics of one of their many finger-snapping good songs, “The less you own the more freedom you have.”

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