Still, still, still.

I started to post a few days ago about Christmas--about why I love it, about my traditions, about what I've learned in the last year or two about celebrating.

It wasn't quite working out. I almost gave up. But then I went back and looked closely.

I found that all I really wanted to do was tell you about my Grandma. Forget that other stuff.

It is probably too soon for me to write about this and it won't be tidy. It may not even make sense.

But I'm going to do it anyway.

I hope you don't mind.

* * * * *

Christmas was my grandma's favorite holiday and she celebrated it so well, she made it mine, too.

As a child, I remember waking up Christmas Eve, frosting Mom's sugar cookies then counting down the hours, the minutes, the seconds until Grandma's house. We'd eat lots of food (she always made too much) and then we'd open gifts.

If you watch one of our many home videos from such occasions, you will observe a sort of organized chaos.

Grandma always made the oldest grandkids pass out gifts, (which, as second-oldest, I secretly loved), so there are shouts of "Marie! Marie! This one's for you. This ONE'S FOR YOU!!!" and loud, inquisitive, slightly-panicked "Grandma! Grandma! What does this say?!" and impatient thrusting of gifts to aunts and uncles "Give this to Uncle Gene. UNCLE GENE." 

Then we'd settle in with our packages and let 'er rip. In a cloud of tissue paper and paper boxes (which were to be carefully unwrapped and used again next year), you really can hear the squeals of excitement.

I know it sounds like we were spoiled--and we were--but none of our gifts were really that extravagant. We got the usual fare of skirts, sweatshirts, trucks and dolls.

But they were all for us, from Grandma (and Grandpa...but we all knew he spent shopping trips sipping coffee in the food court), and somehow that fact alone made them special. Even if they weren't the name brand (and they usually weren't).

One December, after a few years had passed, Grandma sat us all down and said, "Now, kids, you're all getting older and just too hard to buy for. There will be no more big gifts. But I have this idea..." and a new tradition was born.  The grab bag!

All year, Grandma would stalk the drug store aisles for little items--batteries, socks, games, wallets, even underwear. She'd throw a party for her friends and they'd help her wrap all the gifts ("...and then we'd play chicken-foot," I can hear her say with a chuckle.).

On Christmas Eve, she'd haul out the bins of wrapped, unmarked gifts and each grandkid would take turns digging around, feeling for anything lumpy (underwear), heavy (flashlight), or jingly (change taped to a pack of gum). Then we'd open one...and then another...and at the end we'd barter our loot.

It was silly. It was the sort of thing that at face value may sound weird. But it quickly became a much-anticipated tradition. Who would open the underwear this year? Who would walk away with the most $2 bills? Who would trade a pack of cards for a scarf?

She loved it. We loved it. We loved her. She somehow managed to keep the excitement and anticipation alive in a bunch of teenagers. What a feat!

I have found myself thinking about her a lot this season--especially when passing those ridiculous singing toys that move and shake while blaring a warbly version of 'Jingle Bells'. She loved those things.

I've been thinking about her and tradition and loss and celebration. And how to celebrate in the midst of loss and how to hold on to tradition despite change in time and circumstance.

About how to rejoice in a time of "great joy" when you feel like crap. About how to find hope when things seem hard and big and ugly and a bit scarier then you'd like to admit.

I've been thinking about all of these things because Grandma isn't here to celebrate Christmas at all anymore...so now what?

I was driving home the other day and heard this song (last track) and I guess for me--for reasons I can't quite articulate, can't really even understand--this year especially, it is Christmas.

I can't tell you that next year your troubles will be miles away. I won't ask you to rock around a Christmas tree. I don't expect you to belt out joy to the world, especially if this is one of those hurting years.


Still, still, still...

--despite the big things, the scary things, the disappointment, hurt, bitterness, anger, hardship, struggle, strife--

...one can hear the falling snow.

And together, broken, perhaps knocked down even, but not destroyed, we

...dream, dream, dream of the Joyous day to come.

Merry Christmas, friends.


These days:

...are memory-makers and as we squeezed around the borrowed table, elbow to elbow, it was a good kind of crowded. And I gave thanks in a knowing, deeper way that could not be said a year ago. And we made room for new traditions.

...are celebratory and I shamelessly turn my Christmas music up and sip eggnog and eat pecan pie for breakfast and watch Elf and start my days with this. And we get pine needles on our car seat and have a makeshift tree topper but who cares?  And Adam strums the guitar and says, "We have a lot of fun together," and I enjoy that truth immensely.

...are a tug of war and it is hard to keep perspective in a world noisy of SALE! BUY NOW! and I get distracted. And it's difficult to strike a balance without feeling bitter or overwhelmed or judgmental or guilty and I read some timely words about giving thanks and consumption. And I'm still figuring it out.

...won't last and I think about Story and character and conflict and risk and hope and wonder how my perspective will change as the chapters progress. And I think about legacy and my delight at finding Grandma's handwriting in Mom's recipe box this weekend and I wonder what all of it means.



Do you ever have weeks where you are just...off?

You try and try, but just can't get it together?

(Please say yes.)

In terms of seasons, this is one of learning. I would argue that each season is full of learning in some form or another, but this is one of actively trying to figure out how to live life with another human (oh, hi husband!) and learning What We Are About and What We Are Not About. It is also learning what I am About as a We and what He is About as a We. And how He can be He and I can be Me while We are being a We.

Something like that.

...Anyone still with me?

Anyway, I am learning a lot and I would be lying if I said we've got it all figured out.

(For some reason I just got a mental image of my parents reading this after almost 30 years together and laughing like little girl, if you think you'll ever have it all figured out, you've got another thing coming. --Not in a mean way, just in a let's-be-honest kind of way. And also in a you-have-always-been-such-a-perfectionist-just-relax kind of way. Point taken.)

Weeks like this try to teach me patience and maybe even a little bit of grace..over and over and over again.

You might be reading this and think that I mean patience and grace with my husband, and while I am learning that too, I'm really just talking about patience and grace with myself.

That's a hard thing to come by these days. I really mean that. I know so many people who feel they must be this or that and just canNOT be this or that...but what I am thinking the whole time they are talking is, "What?! You want to be like HER?! She is great! But you can do this and this and this...let's see HER do that!"

(These sentences are getting crazy. I better end this, and fast!)

((Drat! Too many parentheticals!!!))

The point is, I do not have it figured out.

I cannot do this or this or that...but I am doing this and this and that. And sometimes, I am really good at this or that. (But usually not both at the same time. Especially when I am busy comparing myself to you or you or you over there.)

I do not know what I am doing.

But I am trying.

And that is okay.

p.s. This Sunday is Daylight Savings. Fall BACK=get another hour! WOOHOO! Also it means I will stop calling my b-f-f- Katie who doesn't live in a Daylight Savings Time Zone and who has to every time say, "Yes, Sara, we are TWO HOURS apart. STILL." I mean really, who can remember that?!


Turn, turn, turn.

I got to hear from one of my favorite teachers yesterday. He is a Ugandan bishop who blesses our church with his presence now and then. He is able to speak challenging words while grinning ear to ear. My mother-in-law heard him for the first time yesterday and said, "There is just something about him...some light about him..." and I agreed wholeheartedly.

He does not know me by name (though I think he would know my husband by name so maybe it counts as proxy?). I have only heard him a few times in my life. And maybe it's just because it is fresh in my brain but yesterday, his words seemed especially meaningful to me personally.

He was speaking about the seasons of life--both seasons in the natural world (fall, spring, summer, winter, rain, drought, etc.) and of our own individual lives. Of course, he mentioned this passage which made me think of this song and thus, I have had The Byrds in my head all day (and because we have been watching The Wonder Years lately, I keep waiting for Kevin's narrating voice to pop in).

Anyway, he was talking about making the best of each season as it comes. It's not that hard to apply this idea of seasons changing to one's life in theory, especially when the weather is turning ever cooler.

But even at the most basic level, this change does not always come easy.

Take me, for example. I inherited a very deep burning hatred for cold weather (thanks Dad!). I do not like it. I am a warm weather person through and through.

And, more than that, I do not even allow myself to face the reality that the season has changed. Spring has passed. Summer is gone. It is fall. (And soon it will be winter.)

I had to laugh as Bishop Zac remarked on attitudes such as mine. "Take today, for example," he said, in reference to the (mercifully!) warmer temperatures outside as the sun shone in, "People are wearing flip-flips maybe and even shorts, saying, 'It feels like summer outside!'...but it is not! It is fall! It is not summer! It is fall!"

(I apologize for my inability to capture his charming accent.)

It is fall.

This is not news to us. Quite clearly the natural world is changing--the light fades quickly in evening. Our heater is on. I dress in layers. Starbucks is carrying Pumpkin Spice Lattes.

And some of us (like my husband) claim to appreciate the fact that we get (get!) to experience all four seasons. How awesome! he says. (I say "claim" because then I remind him of the summer heat that makes him fussy...but his selective memory can remember no such thing.)

This is not the first time I've heard this message, even, or at least this idea.

But can I be honest and say that it has been a hard year? It has. For me. And for many dear to me. And thus, this message of "making the most" of a season should ring a bit hollow. For who can "make the most" of a horrible season? A time to dance is easy...what happens when it is a time to mourn? What of the seasons of drought, of strife?

I am not one to advocate a "grin and bear it" life nor even a "fake it 'til you make it" because if anything, I have learned this year especially, that in hard times, I need honesty and I need a community in which to be honest (or as honest as we let ourselves be with one another).

And maybe that is it. Maybe that is "making the most" of these seasons that are not fun, that are not ideal, that are not good in many ways and that leave us a bit bruised for awhile...the ability to come through. To survive it. To at the end, blink and say That was hard. But I am here. And look at all these people who walked through it with me!

For me, that season has passed. And yes, hard times will come again, sure, but they are not now. And that gives me hope.

Maybe you are in a gut-wrenching season. Maybe it is your time to dance. Maybe your season seems unexceptional. Maybe yours is a smidge too cloudy for your taste.

Make the most of it! Bishop Zac would say.

...It is not the end of the story, I would like to add in a whisper.

For it is fall.

...and one day, it will be spring again.


Things you should know:

1. I am having a Very Good Day.
3. I am trying not to let #2 trump #1.
4. I would like a good recipe that uses lentils, legumes, barley, quinoa...these sorts of things. Anyone?
5. I have one book, two Oprah magazines and two Cooking Light's on my desk. Overly ambitious/selfish? Maybe.
6. I made this on Monday and ate it with lots of friends. It was good. Time with friends was even better.
7. My husband used this word last night and I made him look it up. I was wrong. But seriously, who knew?! I think he got lucky.
8. We've been popping popcorn on the stove top for a snack. My favorite is adding butter + cinnamon + sugar. It is awesome. (It is not awesome when you think that you've closed the popcorn kernel bag and pick it up rather exuberantly only to discover that NOPE! Unopened! Kernel shower all over the kitchen floor!!! It was not awesome...but it was kind of funny.) Humor really makes life livable, you know?
9. We are watching a lot of this and while I love it, I have to confess that I've always kind of thought Winnie Cooper was super whiny/annoying. Also, did you know she is on book covers these days? True.
10. As I was zipping through the cafeteria at lunch today, I went to reach for a cup lid as a white-haired woman rounded the corner. She leaned in to me and said, shaking her head, "Everybody's in a hurry these days." "Yeah," I agreed with a smile. Funny how much Hurry you see when you look for it. Scary how much Hurry I have inside of me all the time...She made me miss my grandma.


No postponements.

I am flying through this book--almost too quickly, for I don't want it to end.

I am completely invested in the story she tells of her marriage. She writes after 40 years of being a "we"--an honest look back at the many seasons they weathered together and written the summer he is diagnosed with cancer.

I have dog-eared many pages, wanting to tuck away some of her wisdom for another day and at times, relating wholeheartedly with some truth she has woven into her heartfelt story.

The one that I want to share with you right now is a simple sentence--one that stuck out to me as I sipped my (very) early morning coffee and read greedily.

I hope one day it can describe this very season of our life as the Robertsons. I think that with continued intention (and maybe some purposeful weaving of spontaneity), it can.

We were living life as fully as possible. No postponements. -Madeleine L'Engle

(Of course, a similar sentiment was shared by this guy. Also, him. Couldn't help myself.)



It's nice to get outta town now and then. Pack a bag (or five if you aren't sure what shoes you want to wear. I get it.). Hit the road. Breathe some new fresh air into your lungs and take it slow for a bit.

It was that kind of weekend for me--much anticipated, much needed. One of those that I'm not ready to let go of quite yet.

So if you'll excuse me, I think I'm going to let my mind linger a bit on the easy breezy life that was last weekend--Cinnamon roll for breakfast! Donuts for lunch! Free brewery tour (?!) Where to next? walks with my husband down sunny streets playing Remember when?...--and wrap myself in blissful oblivion so as not to see the chaos that inevitably finds us on that drive back home.

These times away can make life inconvenient, but man are they ever worth it.


Awkward wave.

Oh hi.

Remember when I (accidentally) lied to you about posting every day this month?

I hope we can still be friends.

You probably think I've had either a) a super-glamorous week full of all sorts of fun things that would make any Facebook stalker green with envy (OH WAIT! STILL NOT ON FACEBOOK!) or b) a super-awful week full of all sorts of terrible things that nobody wants vomited up to them in the form of a blog post.

The truth is it has been a fairly typical week. A healthy dose of good/bad which is rather unremarkable.

In fact, I even cheated and typed a whole post...and then deleted it. At least twice. I know!

And would you believe that I don't even have something grand to share with you today?! So rude of me. But let me catch you up to speed just for good measure:

-Been thinking about holidays. I know. ALREADY! Not so much about presents (okay a little bit though...what?! Like you haven't started a post-it of gift ideas for relatives that is in the back of your planner?! Oh. Me neither.)...but a lot about tradition. It's year two of marriage and I feel like we've been flying by the seat of our pants the last few years and let me go ahead and clarify that this is not the best way to go. It's been fun to think more intentionally about what do we want this day/season to be about? and how can we make this season more meaningful? I am pretty excited about a couple new ideas we've thrown into the mix. I'll keep you posted.

-Been reading like a maniac. When I was growing up, I always had a book in my hand. In fact, when I visited the library, I really can't remember a single time that I left without a whole stack teetering in my arms. Outside of my love for the Babysitter's Club (don't judge. p.s. I still heart Stacey!), I really didn't care what I was reading. (Well, as long as it was fiction.) It's been fun to make time for that again. I just finished a couple popular books and just last night I picked up one on a whim...and I already love it! And her! Too bad you don't get a free personal pan pizza for reading books as an adult...

-Been cooking some good stuff (thank you Pinterest). Pinterest is so tricky because you THINK you are being productive and even creative by just click-click-clicking your way through pretty things and great ideas and suddenly whaa?! I've been on here HOW long?! and then you shut down your computer and do nothing with any of those ideas. BUT. In the last week I have actually made three (THREE!) things from online recipes and I am not going to lie--that is a record for me and yes I am proud. Judge if you must. Here they are:

1. Shameless Copycat Starbucks Oatmeal Fudge Bars. YOU GUYS. Please, please, please find time to make these. I would offer to bring you some but...um...not a crumb survived.

2. Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup. This was pretty good. We just crumbled chips on top instead of the whole slicing-tortilla-thing because hello, if I can make something easier in order to watch more Parks and Rec on Netflix Instant THEN I SURE WILL. I think next time I will add corn as well.

3. Iced Pumpkin Goodness. This is embarrassing. I have no idea where I got this recipe. I would love to link to it...so if it is yours then please let me know! EDIT: This fabulous recipe is thanks to Amanda! Thanks for the reminder, Kristen!

Anyway, I made them. And they are good. (I should probably type "were" because by the time you read this I am sure I will be licking the crumbs off the plate but let's just try and pretend I have more self control than that, shall we?) Adam said they are less "cookie" and more "delicious top part of a muffin" but let's be honest, you don't really care much about semantics when it comes to sugary goodness now do you? (I will say that the icing was really thin. Probably baker's error. But just beware.)

Cookie ingredients:
-2 1/2 cup flour (I use half wheat and half all-purpose)
-1 tsp baking powder
-1 tsp baking soda
-3 tsp Pumpkin spice (OR 2 tsp cinnamon,1/2 tsp nutmeg and 1/2 tsp cloves)
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 cup butter, softened
-1 1/2 cup sugar
-1 cup pumpkin puree
-1 egg
-1 tsp vanilla

Icing ingredients:
-2 cup confectioners sugar
-3 Tbsp milk (maybe less, maybe more)
-1 Tbsp melted butter
-1 tsp vanilla

1- Preheat oven to 350* F.
2- Combine flour, baking powder and soda, spices and salt.
3- Cream together 1/2 cup butter and sugar.  Add pumpkin, egg and 1 tsp vanilla...beat until creamy.
4- Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto cookie sheet.
5- Bake 15-20 minutes in preheated oven.
6- (while cookies bake) Combine confectioners sugar, melted butter and vanilla....add milk little by little until you reach desired icing consistency.
7- Remove cookies from the oven and place on cooling mat or rack.
8- Drizzle cookies with icing while they are still warm.

If you've made it to the end of this post pat yourself on the back.

And get out there and enjoy the weekend. I know I will.


Deep breaths.

It's one of those days when it's best I not spill words all over the page because if I do, I will likely need to apologize tomorrow.

So with that, I leave you with this gem and a phrase that my co-worker told me she replays in her head when dealing with a difficult person--it's not me, it's you.

(Just don't say it out loud.)

Buy this cute print here. (As seen on Pinterest.)


Take Good Care of Each Other.

I heard this song not too long ago and it has popped into my mind more than once lately. Isn't it funny how that happens?

I usually have a hard time relating to other people's posts about music mostly because it's difficult to communicate why something strikes one just so. Why this song? Why this moment? etc.

But I think if I could have something burned into the back of my eyelids--something I see each time I blink (too graphic? sorry.)--it just might be Take Good Care of Each Other.

Because who couldn't use that reminder a little more often?

And how fun it is to look around and really recognize the people who take good care of me.

To those people, thank you.



It's no big deal. really. I mean, it's totally normal and makes complete sense and after all, it's that time of year.

There's a chill in the air and thus it is only natural to want to gather together, to share in warmth and conversation, to fill one's belly with warm and delicious things.

Or in some cases, to wiggle into another's abode UNINVITED and nibble on yummy deliciousness that IS NOT YOURS and stake a claim in this comfy new location just because YOU CAN.

To cause panic in a certain apartment dweller who finds out that a small vermin--tiny! miniscule! harmless! Who doesn't love a Gus Gus?!--has INVADED the downstairs apartment. MERE FEET FROM WHERE SHE LIVES!

(Okay fine, only one was spotted but we ALL KNOW that Gus Gus DOES NOT TRAVEL ALONE!)

But yeah, it's cool, as he said, "I wouldn't worry about it. Don't change anything unless you see one. Just pay attention."

And I'm like, dude, I'm not sure if you have met me, but I am the QUEEN OF COOL. HA! HA!

A MOUSE?! Downstairs?! Oh, my! Call me when you have NEWS because until then I am just one calm human.

No I did not check my shoes today. No I did not move our applies into the fridge. And check the cereal bag. And the granola bars. TWICE!

And EVEN IF I WOULD happen to see a sweet little furry critter zip across the floor...


I think we can all agree that there are more important things to worry about...

...WHOOPS! I lied.



I don't talk about politics that much, especially on this blog but even in social situations it is not likely that I will ever bring it up.

Partly because I don't feel sure enough or well-read enough or smart enough or assertive enough.

Partly because I have seen the devastation and polarization that politics can cause between friends, between strangers, between a nation. And I just don't want to contribute to the noise. What's the point?

But also, there is a part of me that thinks maybe I am just afraid. It seems so vulnerable.

And there is the fact that a lot of times, despite all that I read and try to digest and process and question...I just don't really fit into a voting box. And honestly, that is so much harder to articulate than just saying R, D or I. Where is the box for "I don't know but I am trying and in the process, trying not to lose heart"?

I don't have an agenda today. I don't have a candidate I do/don't want to endorse or a party that I love/hate.

I am trying to not become cynical, to respect others' opinions, to not scream when they say the exact opposite of what I believe to be true at the moment, to keep a sense of curiosity, to not lose hope.

I guess more than anything I am tired of the eye-rolling, blind dismissal of the Other. I am tired of reading hateful words. I am tired of this big distraction of Us vs Them while markets crash down around us. (But at least we still have our tightly-fisted convictions.)

Do you love the Tea Party? Do you hate it? Do you love Obama? Do you not? Do you love free market capitalism? Do you recoil at its principles?

Are you friends with someone who would say the opposite?

Could you participate in a conversation with them without lashing out? Are you willing to recognize that there are flaws in your own thinking? That there are things you --and your party don't understand?

It is my sincere hope that I will live to see the day when we all look back and say Remember those days...? and shake our head at the madness that was The Polarization Period.

We can all do better.

Starting with me.




Him: Hey, that sweater looks really good on you!

Me: Really? Thanks!

Him: (looking closer) Yeah...you know, it looks pretty hipster.

Me: What do you mean?

Him: You know...hipster.

Me: Like "trying to hard to be hipster" or "should be only worn by a hipster of which you are not" or are you using it as a synonym for trendy...?

Him: ...?


Him: I'll never tell.

Me: UGH!


Whoop, whoop.

I hate to take up your time whining once again about the DMV but YOU GUYS.

I went. I churned out various (pointless) paperwork.


I really can't describe the joy that filled my heart when I left victorious with newly registered plates in my little hands. I stopped myself just short of shouting "I DID IT!!!" from the cold concrete steps followed by numerous fist pumps.

Because it is quite a feat, after all.

I don't need to tell you how many hoops you need--I mean, get!--to jump through in order to pay a whole lot of money to legally drive a vehicle. It really makes a hard-working, tax-paying citizen feel good, you know? Like, oh YES! I get to prove my identity 50,000 times today and STILL walk in with fingers crossed that I will walk out a success.

Add in a change of state AND name in the last 18 months and you've got yourself a good ol' fashioned nightmare! WHEE!

...Are you still with me?

(You are such good friends.)

I could talk about the depressing lighting, the horrible folding chairs that surround a marble entryway where unhappy workers literally yell, "NEXT!" and have to deal with even more unhappy customers, which is even more depressing than the lighting (and that's saying something).

But that's how it goes sometimes. You take deep breaths, you square your shoulders, you take that number and you bring lots of reading materials and pretend to read them while furtively watching the clock tick-tock closer and closer to "Sorry, we're closed. Please take more vacation time tomorrow."

And sometimes...well, sometimes you just get lucky. There is no skill involved, there are many, many, endless variables of things that can go wrong. But there are days, like mine yesterday, when you get to emerge bursting with a strange sort of pride at defeating the mind-boggling bureaucracy that is the DMV.

You walk taller, head up, and you wipe the perspiration from your brow that gathered as your trembling hand pushed insurance card after driver's license after title after...DOESN'T MATTER! IT IS FINISHED!

And you enter your car and allow yourself one fist pump and a quiet gleeful, congratulatory "Yessss!" and you try to forget how much time, money and energy you just lost. As well as the fact that you will be back in two years.

Maybe even with a change of address--just for kicks.


Leavin on a Jet Plane.

My husband is on a plane to Honduras and I can't help remembering a time not so long ago when he boarded a different flight en route to a two month stay in India.

We were dating and I was so dreading it and while it wasn't exactly my favorite thing ever, it turned out to be good. I mean he came back with an engagement ring so I can't be too upset, now can I? ;)

But what hit me the other day was how quickly things have changed in these last few years for him when it comes to travel. Back then, the year he went to India, he took his first flight just a few months before that trip. To France.

It was a big deal--first flight, first time out of the country and of course he was super excited to spend time at a monastery, which seems fitting for a guy who wore black T-shirts literally every day in college. He is totally on board with simple living to say the least. ha! (Until I started adding crazy things to his wardrobe such as color or pattern or sometimes...wait for it...BOTH AT THE SAME TIME! OH THE HORROR!)

(p.s. Adam if you are reading this yes, it is going somewhere and no, this is not all about your wardrobe. Love you!)

Anyway, there really was this shift that occured once he came back from France but especially once he returned from India. And not just the ring that landed on my finger shortly after (though we were just laughing last night at the madness of wedding planning as he found an old notebook with several wedding-related to-do lists).

It was the idea of possibility. It was like the world had suddenly opened itself up to him and instead of feeling this "I could never do that" or "I wouldn't know the first thing about trips like that" or "I've never even been on an AIRPLANE" and this weird idea of things being unattainable...just like that, a switch flipped.

And now, just a short time later, this man I married is not only extremely affected and shaped by his experiences that year in France and most absolutely in India, but he is also leading trips of youth across the globe and collecting stamp after stamp on his passport.

I don't believe that one has to travel internationally to experience this, though it has had quite an effect on both Adam and me personally through my own travels, and I do recognize that actually, these opportunities are not available to everyone--it costs a pretty penny for a plane ticket, after all. (Though as Adam has discovered, there are creative ways to raise the funds, it is still without question that we and he, specifically, has been extremely blessed with opportunities that we and he, specifically, does not take for granted.)

But it is fun to witness that change in him and to see that lens shift in his world. It's funny how one little shift and suddenly your whole perspective is changed with new colors spilling over everywhere you look. And the world can seem much brighter, both bigger and smaller at the same time, and you can find this confidence bubbling to the surface.

(Though also as we have both discovered, sometimes the world seems much darker...but that's for another day.)

It's especially nice to remember this on a send-off day, my least favorite of days, and know that I get to witness these changes in this man of mine for years to come and he in me. There's a comfort in that, a knowing that you are known as you are but that you will also be known as you become and  whatever you become--that he will be there for the full arc and not just a blip here and there.

And I know that sounds really corny and totally unrealistic in this day and age, but you know what? I believe it.

p.s. But still please hurry home.
p.s.s. This doesn't mean I want to live in another country. I don't.


And the winner is...

I heard a story yesterday about a man who was slotted to receive the Nobel prize in medicine. He died two days before he heard about his hard-earned honor. He had prolonged his own life with the cancer-fighting drugs that earned him the prize.

Can you imagine? 

For some reason this story strikes a chord in me. I'm not sure that I can articulate it but it has something to do with legacy, with devotion, with recognition.

I think that's a real struggle of mine with growing up. If you'd ask me what I want for my life, there is a definite part of me that wants to be known for something. And when I say known, I don't just mean the deep kind of knowing that I desire from my husband, from my family, from a few close friends who really get me (or at least as much as one can really know of another).

There is absolutely that desire but that's not what I'm talking about here.

I mean to be largely known, recognized, celebrated even (as cheesy and probably pompous as that sounds). I'm not sure if that's normal or not. I like to think that it is.

It's been part of me for a long time now, as evidenced by a diary entry made in my pre-teen days that listed out what I would do with my fortune and fame When I'm Famous. Oh yes I did. (Bonus points for at least wanting to share it with others--buy my cousin a car, treat the family to an awesome vacation? No? Still weird? ha.)

When I was 12 this desire really was to be a celebrity of some sort but today it is not. Sure, there was the time I had to write my own obituary in college (don't ask) and wrote that I died on Oprah as my critically-acclaimed book interview was interrupted with the surprise that in fact it was OPRAH'S FAVORITE THI-INGS! And I died of shock...you've got me there.

But nowadays, celebrity life sounds absolutely dreadful. I'm a Midwestern girl at heart. I have no place in my life for any sort of Hollywood glamour and I would TOTALLY FREAK OUT with the invasion of privacy that we expect from our celebrities.

The (long winded) point is, the desire for this celebrity is not in the fame as we ordinarily think of the word, it is not for the money (although I would definitely enjoy it for awhile, don't get me wrong) and it is not in the day-to-day wine and dine. It is the idea of legacy. Of my life mattering in some larger sense of the word. Of for some reason believing that if I do not leave a lasting impact on the world in some fashion, I failed.

And yet...if you would ask me whose lives are living legacies to me, I would tick off people who worked every day, who raised their families well, who raised me well, who were faithful in the small things. Who had character. Who were honest. Who are not rich. Who are my heroes.

And how often do they get recognized? Get the Nobel Prize for Living Well or Living For Others or Sacrificing Day After Day For A Handful of People in the World?

And how many of those people would do it anyway, who do it anyway, who even if they received their grand, life's work-prize days after death would shrug and still say with certainty I would do it again?

...and would I?


The Unknowable.

It was a flitting, fleeting thought. A run of the mill momentary, eh, I change my mind. A non-decision really, so inconsequential or so it seemed at the time.

I was running late. I was headed to a party. I had been gone all day and stopped at home just long enough to pick up my car and part ways with my then-boyfriend (now-husband).

I had ice cream in the fridge inside, just up the driveway, a few feet from where my car sat parked under the shade tree by the curb.

"I'll see you tomorrow," I said to him. "I'm just running inside for a minute and then I'll be off."

And then...I just didn't. I don't know why. I didn't hear a voice or feel an inkling or anything. I just didn't go inside.

But I could have.

And I planned to.

But I just didn't. 

And who's to say that non-decision, non-incident was anything but an ordinary Saturday September 7:08 p.m.?

But it sure feels like something when your friend's husband's phone rings two hours later as you're eating pie and having a grand ol' time and give a rather puzzled smile as he passes his phone halfway around the room to you and says, "Um, Sara...it's for you. It's Adam. He's been trying to get a hold of you."

"Hi!" you say into the phone and immediately alarms go off between your ears and your brain scrambles to keep up as you recognize the sheer panic in your boyfriend's voice at the other end of the line saying words like "break-in"..."your bedroom"..."police"..."so glad you're okay."

And you ask about your roommate (Yes, she's okay) and you apologize for having your phone in your coat pocket--the coat you took off.

And you start repeating these strange words back to him and have to walk outside into the suddenly scary night where you start to cry and wonder what if...

And you feel so exposed and so violated and you can't help but wonder the un-knowable--was it the area's serial rapist? Was he watching me? Was he already inside? What if what if what if...?

And you wonder about the other girls and you wonder how you'll ever feel safe again and you jump a million times a minute for days, weeks, months on end and you think about that vanilla ice cream, untouched in the freezer.

And you'll never know.



"...Which I guess, bring me to a larger, more serious point: that it's hard to love someone, I've found, when you're preoccupied with holding your entire world firmly in place. Loving someone requires a certain amount of malleability, a willingness to be pulled along, at least occasionally, by another person's will."
-Molly Wizenberg, A Homemade Life


Footloose and Facebook free.

I did the unthinkable everyone.

It is with a heavy heart and twitchy hands that I report to you that I have made my last status update for a month--a whole month! And one with 31 days nonetheless!--and will be living life sans Facebook for the whole month of October.


I am taking lots of deep breaths today and repeating positive sentiments (I can do this. I am strong. I have Pinterest. There is always Google Plus...JK ADAM! I know you are reading this with delight at my misery and would totally--rightfully--accuse me of cheating should I pull the Google Plus card. LOVE YOU!)

Why put myself through such torture?

1. I was complaining to my sans-Facebook husband about Facebook's shady new updates/marketing deals. I'm not sure if you've met my husband but he is not someone that takes your words lightly. If you make your case on why something is horrible--especially, in this case, something he already thinks is pretty terrible--then you better be ready to put your money where your mouth is. This is a trait I admire most times but also one that is LIKE TOTALLY RUINING MY LIFE (cue the teen angst eye roll...except I'm not a teenager anymore so now it's just poor manners).
2. He ran a 5K with me and this is our way of making each other better people. Slash making each other miserable in the name of love but hey, isn't that what love is for?
3. I have never, not once, been without Facebook since I activated my account during finals week 2004. It is time.
4. Not sure if you're aware of this but even with the weirdo new layout that is  (I mean, WAS) completely confusing to me, Facebook is a time-suck with little benefit. Except for knowing engagements before your husband so PLEASE for the love, will everyone agree to text me if anything big happens in the next 31 days?! I am serious.
5. (insert commentary on awkward social pressures, the pretense of real relationship and the ease of which one can stalk others and be stalked here.)

This is not a judgment on you if you love Facebook because OBVIOUSLY I am right there with you but this is me trying to puff up my pride and say hey, yeah, I can sooooo do this.

Also! To make this a bit more fun for me and just because, ya know, I could use a bit of a jump start around here and need to fill my need for online social interaction somehow (ha), I am also going to publish a blog each day in October. The idea is not themed content, nor is it polished writing, but just more of a "set an egg timer and write til it dings." We'll see how it goes.

Happy fall everyone! May your weekend be full of sunny walks, bonfires, pumpkin AND pecan pie and ice cream with your mom as is mine. OH, and also perhaps a hilarious night at the comedy club...not so much because of the performing acts, but more because your poor husband got picked on more than once from the stage since ya know, they seated us IN THE VERY FRONT AND CENTER TABLE. What are the odds?!



For lunch today, all my plans went out the window.

I had frosted cherry vending machine PopTarts (sorry Mom) and sat entranced in my cubicle as I devoured 59 pages of this book.

Yeah. THAT good.

And I would read 59 more straight through if I could.


Shoutout Tylie for the FABULOUS recommendation!

p.s. I nabbed* it last night at the library and had a near anxiety attack as I searched and searched for the correct call number, totally overwhelmed by the many shelves that surrounded me (it is not my usual library branch). Just when I found the correct section and was really scanning, a girl pops in and starts standing right next to me! Scanning the same shelves! What are the odds?! Panicking, I started scanning faster but was too distracted by her and her quick movements(What if she grabs it? I can't believe this is happening!). She even pulled one off the shelf! LUCKILY it was not this book and I did find it quickly after and grabbed that sucker as fast as I could...just for her to look over and say so sweetly, "Oh! That is my favorite book! You are going to love it!" And in case you are reading this, Frantic Girl From the Stacks, I DO!

p.s.s. Who says nabbed?!



Have a few minutes?

Go here. Accept the challenge.

Certainly gave me something to think about.


Um, Couponers...and Terri's Super Awesome Savory Pot Roast Recipe!

Please tell me everything I need to know about couponing.

Bonus points if it involves a favorite coupon source that is online.

Triple gold star bonus points if it involves our very favorite grocery story Hyvee.

There has to be a method to this madness...right?


Oh also!  Recently I cried out for crock pot help and Terri posted this AMAZING roast recipe in the comments (Thanks Terri!).

It is easy. It is delicious. It is the perfect fall come-home-to-yumminess-and-the-leftovers-taste-just-as-amazing meal.

Sooooo yeah. It's pretty awesome. But not as awesome as Terri. OBVIOUSLY.

Here are her directions:

Recipe: Terri's Super Awesome Savory Pot Roast
-1 can (10.75 oz) Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
-1 pouch of Dry Onion Soup and Recipe Mix
-6 medium potatoes cut into 1 inch cubes
-6 medium carrots thickly sliced (about 3 cups)
-1 (3.5-4#) boneless chuck pot roast, trimmed.

Put all ingredients in the slow cooker, mix it up, and cook on low for 8-9 hours.


p.s. I think I'm a Pinning addict.

p.s.s. Kelley totally saved the day. Not only did she write her own post with great suggestions...she gave me this link! THANK YOU Kelley!


We interrupt this blogcast to bring you this service announcement:

I'm pinning! I'm pinning!

Fill a girl in on how to be the most Pinterest-ing of them all?

(Or just how to do it without embarrassing myself?)

((Or MORE importantly, how to get more self control and stop spending so much time online which is decreasing my social skills, my spelling, my time management, my attention span, etc etc etc?!))

....But you guys!? It's fun.


Oh no you didn't.

Adam: This whole Netflix thing is all the buzz.

Me: Yeah.

Adam: People are really upset* about it!

Me: Pretty crazy.

Adam: Consumers act so entitled these days, you know?

Me: Mmmhmmm.

Adam: Kind of like when Gap redesigned their logo...




"We have only one story. All novels, all poetry, are built on the never-ending contest in ourselves of good and evil. And it occurs to me that evil must constantly respawn, while good, while virtue, is immortal. Vice has always a new fresh young face, while virtue is venerable as nothing else in the world is." 

-Steinbeck (East of Eden)


Things I need to work on:

  • Contentment.
  • Not eating cookies for dinner. Twice.
  • Not training for a 5K. Again. (Which, incidentally, is tomorrow. EEK!)
  • Not putting off hard things.
  • Being present in the moment. 
  • Not posting stupid blogs.

    ...I won't tell you what I'm about to eat for dinner (hint: see #2) while pretending #3 is not true (which of course means I am doing #4). ...I think I just did #6 again.

    Happy weekending!

    p.s. This blew my mind. (via.)



    • A wooden pew, I'm so sorry for your loss, a bewildering, unexpected reunion of old faces. Again.
    • A dead car, Hold on, I'm coming, a husband driving many, many miles to rescue his very, very stressed out wife, a mom who says, Here, take my car, a dad who says, Hey, everything alright?
    • A million, zillion post its flying out of my pores. The eye twitch. A to-do list written and lost within minutes. Being told I can literally see the stress on your face.
    • A messy kitchen. A messy home. A messy life. A bag of candy corn half eaten on the ride home from the store. 
    • Soaking up the sun. Breathing in the cool air. A walk, a needed phone call, kind words, deep breaths.
    • Peeking out the window shade, snuggled under the blanket, sipping coffee, watching the sun rise. A new day always dawns.


    Recipe: Slow Cooker Curried Chicken That Will Rock Your Face Off

    Subtitle: Unless You Are My Dad Who Refuses To Eat Things Like This

    (Love you!)

    One of my least favorite things about being engaged was registering for gifts. So much pressure! So many options! Such a weird but kind of awesome social norm!

    The Robertson registry was one very thought-through list and the subject of many pre-wedding conversations which usually ended with us up to our eyeballs in imagined kitchen gadgetry that we would never use. (scream of horror!)

    ALL THAT TO SAY, we have a slow cooker. It majorly failed us the first time we tried to use it so I have been busy pouting and resting my bruised ego. Plus it was REALLY CRAZY hot this summer (I know. Weird! Oh wait, totally normal...but we MidWesterners like to discuss the weather. A LOT.).

    Fast forward to last weekend.

    I stumbled across a recipe I had saved and decided to give it a whirl. I so badly want to redeem my first slow cooker experience and SO SO badly want us to become bffs so that I will have delicious things ready for my consumption shortly after walking in the door. I want to be that neighbor who always has good smells wafting out the window, curling down the stairs and snuggling up against those people below us who can grow amazing gardens and secretly judge us for our lack of produce this year. (And last.) ((And for forgetting our recycle bin on the curb. Often.)) I want the slow cooker smell to envelop them and say, "Well, they sure don't make use of their balcony but MY OH MY can they cook DINNER!"

    ...Is that too much to ask?

    Imagine my delight when we threw a few ingredients in the slow cooker and after hours of increasingly tantalizing smells, we both took a forkful and our eyes popped open with, "This is SOOOOO good!"

    (Well, that was Adam's reaction. Mine was much more controlled and just smartly appreciative. No emotional nonsense here!)

    --What's that? You don't need the play by play and just want the recipe already?

    Okay fine. But only if you tell me what I can make next in that thing! No holding out on me!

    Recipe: Slow-Cooker Curried Chicken With Ginger
    From: Real Simple

    Serves 6| Hands-On Time: 15m | Total Time: 8hr 15m


    Note to our dietician friend Steph--we used brown rice instead of white. Aren't you proud?!

    Note to everyone EXCEPT our dietician friend Steph--we added a teeensy bit more salt and more cumin before serving. And we did not add scallions. And it was still good.


    1. In a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, whisk together the tomato paste, garlic, curry powder, ginger, cumin, and ¾ cup water. Add the onion and stir to combine. Place the chicken on top and season with 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
    2. Cover and cook until the chicken is tender, on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours (this will shorten total cooking time).
    3. Twenty minutes before serving, cook the rice according to the package directions.
    4. Just before serving, add the yogurt and ½ teaspoon salt to the chicken and stir to combine. Serve with the rice and sprinkle with the scallions.

    ...Okay, now I am serious, what else can I make in this wonder of an appliance?

    p.s. Sorry I keep posting so many recipes and so little...anything else. I would like to play the Still Transitioning to Fall card now. Please and thank you.