Friday, October 28, 2011

Lessons Learned from Gymnasts and a Floppy-Eared Dog

Or at least, it's up there.

It was kindergarten. Our class was putting on a circus for our family and friends. I was supposed to be the floppy-eared puppy who wowed the crowd with my whimsical tricks. At the last minute I chickened out. I decided to join two of the cool girls and be a gymnast. I looked longingly at their quiet, beautiful elegance and decided that's what people liked--not silly, cute, floppy-eared dogs. During the circus performance when I heard them announce the puppy and no one went to fill the slot I felt the tinge of pain that only comes from leaving an important role unfulfilled. I hid behind the glitter and leotards in between the two pretty girls. And I wasn't even good at gymnastics. My clumsy cartwheels paled in comparison to the other girls who clearly belonged where I did not. This was the first time I can remember compromising who I really am for what I perceive other people want. It's times like these when I remember that the pain of regret is stronger than the pain of risk--even stronger than risking big and really botching it.

My parents were recently divorced. I, in part, contribute my shyness to that. What happens in our families really shapes us. I have grown so much since that day but at times I still make choices seeking other people's approval. I want to wear this, but I wear what I think my friends will like instead. I think of a joke, but keep it to myself for fear of sounding lame. I wish I was doing this kind of ministry, or had this spiritual gift or talent instead of that. Playing the puppy is something that would've brought me life and joy. I missed out on that, but I also robbed the very people I was trying to please. A circus doesn't need a third gymnast if that means leaving the performing puppy spot open. Maybe that's a stretch of a metaphor but seriously. God made us exactly who we are because the world needed someone like that. And because he liked who he made you. He thought/thinks you are a great idea. Aren't we kind of giving him the finger by trying to imitate the people we see around us that we think are better than ourselves? Let them be that. You be you. I'll be me. At least, I'll try.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Giddy, Golden Leaf

(original photo)

I wish I could grab you (preferably with a giant metal claw like in the ones in stuffed animal machines) and place you where I was this morning at 10:23 so you could experience what I did at that moment. I was already in good spirits due to awesome get-away-with-God time yesterday, excessive amounts of green tea, and this love song. On the walk to class leaves were falling from the trees like snow! It felt like God was romancing me. As I looked up into the spiraling cone of yellow, orange and red, a single leaf fell right past my face to my foot. Allow me to show you this splendor with words:

A giddy, golden leaf falls,
like a ballerina
through wisps
of cloud
and sky, blue
like newborn eyes,
making the sun
Drops past
my freckled nose
to my boot
and curtseys.
You can see the artist
in the painting.
Like the filmy reflection
of a face
in a window,
pink fingers,
pressed up against
the glass.

Monday, October 24, 2011

RIP Smokey

Photo by Jordann (my sister)

My best birthday present ever, Snuggle buddy, the one who kept the mice away (and left them dead on our porch), cat Smokey died this past week. He was getting old and senile and I knew it was coming plus...well...he's a cat. They're fragile. I know pets don't last forever. Still I found eyes growing sad as my sister told me the news. Smokey is a symbol of my childhood; he represents life in my old house with my old family. The sound of his meow and the feel of him nuzzling my leg as I got home are marks of familiarity. These things that I'll never experience again. I love my new two-person-so-far family and our life together. But you have to give up something good to get something great. Goodbye Smokey, and goodbye old life.

*Fun fact, growing up Phil and I both had cats named Smokey.  When we discovered this while dating my mom said, "It's kismet!"

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Happy (Late) Boss' Day!

Yep, I was born on boss' day (October 16th), coincidence? I won't ask my husband to answer that. I woke up the day before my birthday (which seemed like my actual birthday because we did most of our celebrating that day since we both work on my actual birthday boo) thinking about how cool it is that God wants to celebrate my life. He gave me everything and I take advantage of it. I ignore him, make pointless things more important than him, choose selfishness for no other reason than I'm just being a brat. But he still looks at me and sees someone worth celebrating. I know my birthday is the day I received life--thanks Mom. But I was thinking about how I have been given LIFE. My so-called-life really felt dead before I began following after Jesus. I let him in my heart and he began to heal me, and bring me peace, joy, and satisfaction like I haven't experienced from anything or anyone else (and trust me, I've tried to find it elsewhere). I'm so thankful that Jesus came to my rescue and pursued me using other people, the bible, songs about him, and just his legitimate presence in my life. It was love that made me a believer. That is worth celebrating!

This was Mrs. Arnold's 1st birthday, and boy did Mr. Arnold make it memorable. He told me to keep all of Saturday open but didn't tell me what we were doing, We woke up, excited, at 8 AM (which is early for me). Phil said, "You sleep. I'm going to make breakfast." He baked me this--for breakfast!

How awesome is that?

Then we got ready and loaded up in the car with a picnic basket (suspicious). We headed towards Spokane (our fave outing place) and stopped for a picnic along the way.

Once in Spokane we met up with my mom, dad, sis and bro at my favorite mall! They watched me unwrap beautiful clothes, jewelry, boots, and an orange teakettle. Perfect. We perused the mall a little and Philip bought me the perfect English nerd gift: Scrabble. Then we all went to Celebrations for some gourmet cupcakes. Chelsea: red velvet (I thought it made me boring, but the cashier said it made me a purist. I like that.) Philip: skittles :). Connor: worms with dirt. Jordann: peppermint mocha. Mom: Banana, bacon, and peanut butter. Yummmmmmm.

*Pause for vicarious food coma to subside*

The fam headed home and Phil and I chased ducks around walked around Riverfront park. To finish off the night we did a little shopping at Target with our wedding gift cards. And ate at my fave restaurant Olive Garden.

I had such a great pre-birthday that I didn't expect anything on my real birthday. Growing up we had a tradition of opening a few small presents in the morning. It's a good way to keep antsy kids who have to wait all day for their gifts under control. Mom sent a few with me and Sunday morning to my delight I opened some Clinique makeup, wool socks (mom is always trying to keep me bundled up and a power ranger  shirt and smurf sweater. FYI I was the red power ranger for two Halloweens in a row as a child. As if all of that wasn't enough, Phil surprise took me out to breakfast postchurch. He also gave me this glorious gift.         

Does this all seem a little food oriented? Don't judge, these people know the most direct route to my heart! I'm thankful for God, a hubsand, family, and friends who love me so well!  

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Confessions of the Uncool

(From Wonderfully Made)

I've told you that I feel insecure about my fashion sense. And that I sometimes feel like a loser--I think we all do. But I have yet to confess my unquenchable desire to be...well...a hipster. I surf pintrest and the blogosphere and see so many superwomen.  I want to be superwife. I want to wear stylish clothing, and have a chic home that was still inexpensive to decorate because I'm just that saavy. I feel pressure to be chef that fills my husbands belly with healthy, yet delicious food, "Oh just a little something I whipped up." Basically, good at everything: the Midas touch of cuteness.

Here's the truth about me. I can quote almost every Spongebob episode. We legitimately watch iCarly around here. (If you don't know what that is, cool points for you).  I listen to mostly Taylor Swift, Top 40 Chart songs, and Christian music. That ultra-hip alternative music all sounds the same to me. All I hear is the faint drone of people humming in sync to the sound of some acoustics. I am pretty cheap, which shows in our apartment. I like every focal point to be covered; I hate white space. I think our home might look like an elementary school classroom because of this. I love the color pink, thus much of the decor I make probably belongs in a little girl's room.  My couches (they were a gift) look like someone barphed on them. I find clothing items I love and then overwear them to death. I only own two pairs of high heels: my wedding shoes, and a hand-me-down pair of black stilettos. My hair is the same almost every day. You can count on down and straight or back in a messy bun or side ponytail. I add bows, or flowers for a little variety, and I do own a triple-barrel curling iron for days that I have time to look like Taylor Swift, but still. I'd rather wrestle or play soccer in the mud than bake. I'm a sucker for cheesy-inspirational movies, books, songs, you name it. I like candy as much as Fez from that 70s show--oh yeah, I watch that 70s shows, is that still cool?  I wear my wedding ring backwards--I don't understand why the wedding band has to be the inner-most band, I like this look better, this is chronological order, and if one falls off, let's let it be the one without the huge diamonds on it!

I do legitimately enjoy some of these hipster-y things. Being creative in the kitchen is surprisingly fun for me (especially since my husband is so easy to please and compliments me when I cook grilled cheese). I have began to see crafting, especially decor for the house, as a great creative outlet and stress reliever. I thoroughly enjoy pretty clothes especially in the form of pretty dresses.  Still, I feel like the things afore mentioned disqualify me from being one of the cool kids. I guess I'll just have to accept myself the way I am.

Am I the only lame-o one who feels this way out there?

Friday, October 7, 2011

What (not) To Wear?!

I need your help! Confession: I'm kind of insecure about my fashion sense. Before I left my parents house, I let my sister dress me. Now I'm on my own and responsible for making sure that two people don't look stupid when we walk out of the apartment. Usually I wouldn't sweat a fashion flop or two, but in this case what I'm wearing will be preserved for all of history. My great-grandkids might wind up with these photos hung to display some sort of genealogy.

Let me back up. Philip and I were romping around the Palouse Empire fair a few weekends ago along with his family. You know those barns full of advertisements, free candy, balloons, and drawings to enter? (This is probably foreign to you unless you are small-town, or down-home enough to be fair-goers). Whilst perusing one such barn, Phil and I entered with this local photographer on a whim. And we won! We are to receive a free photography session ($150 value) plus $150 worth of free prints! You might be thinking, just what the world needs, more cutesy couple pictures of Chels and Phil. I'll admit the timing is kind of funny, since we just did an engagement shoot, and of course the wedding photography. But, hey, free is our favorite number. I'm pretty excited to have some fun candids in our casuals to hang about the house. The shoot I have in mind is kind of fall-y, leaves, and nature, perhaps even a wheat field in the background.

Here's where you come in. I'm stumped about what we should wear. We want to coordinate, but not be matchy-matchy. The photographer also suggested we keep it simple, because that's what photographs best. Here are some options I'm thinking:

For Phil

For Me

We need to narrow it down to two outfits each. So what do you think? Vote on your faves! The future reputation I'll have with my great-grandchildren depends on it!

*Feel free to make small suggestions too.  Just looking at those pics I was thinking maybe the blue turtle neck would look better with grey leggings, or even those grey skinny jeans I'm wearing with the blazer.  Or I have a similar sweater dress to the red one but it's a pale pink with some grey stiched in.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Whoa Mama!

We went back to my hometown this weekend to see my little sis be paraded around in a dress, tiara, and mini cooper at the Homecoming football game. She was voted Homecoming princess, and small towns milk special events like that for all they’re worth. It’s a big deal. On our way out of town the next day, Mom decided to take us grocery shopping. She bought us a few staples like bell peppers and bread. But she the cart-fairy kept throwing extra goodies into our shopping cart. As a result, there are things in the Arnold kitchen that would never be there if we were shopping for ourselves because we are too poor cheap. Feast your eyes on this:

Snack-Packy goodness.

Pre-seasoned instant mashed potatoes?! (Just add water and microwaves)

A bulging snack cupboard complete with two, count ’em, two chip varieties (she let us each choose our own and we almost both chose the same kind) Cheez-its, a Family-pack of Scooby-Do fruit snacks, mint Oreos and more!

So much happiness. Thanks Mom! This is probably the best gift a couple of college students/newlyweds could ask for! Pullman friends, come over and help us enjoy this bounty!
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