Bittersweet holidays

To be honest, it was a bittersweet weekend. With Friday off and the country’s birthday to celebrate, we spent the evening of the fourth over margaritas with new (to me) friends and good conversation. Cheers to that.

On days off when routine falls by the wayside though, it’s easier to think of what we’re missing.

July 4, 2011 – H and I attended the same rooftop party in Seattle (possibly at different times, as our paths didn’t cross).

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July 4, 2012 – it was the second time H and I hung out together. It wasn’t technically a date, but on another rooftop in Seattle, H reached for my hand as the fireworks started and didn’t let go until long after the roof had been been deserted by our friends.

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[photo by scott o'malley]

Seattle seems to be everywhere in media lately. Videos going viral on facebook (or maybe just viral among my large contingent of Seattle-based friends).

Magazines extolling the wonder of the Pacific Northwest…

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[screenshot from rue magazine]

Here’s to Seattle and great memories. The Pacific Northwest that will always feel like home. New adventures and making something out of the three years we’ll be in St. Louis.

We have a backyard

Folks have asked for photos of the place…problem is it’s still not put together. Granted, whether it’s my house or life, things are never all put together. All the same, I’d still like to get the lightbulbs and batteries cleared off the dining room table before sending out photos of the dining room.

So as a conciliatory gesture, here’s a few images from the backyard.

 

St. Louis surprised me by being green. It rained a lot the first few weeks we were here, and there are luscious trees in abundance. I haven’t wandered too far outside the city, but I imagine once you get into farm country, corn and wheat give the land a browner hue.

The windchimes were left by a previous tenant or the owner. When it’s not too hot or humid outside, I’ll leave my office window open rather than crank the air conditioning. The musical notes, chirping birds, and occasional squirrel scrambling through the bushes make for a nice soundtrack.

Flowers don’t seem to last long here (I took the photo of the lilies last week and they’ve already wilted), but they’re some unexpected sunshine.

Grow where you’re planted

As I started yet another game of Sudoku when I should have been making a Target list and finally getting out of the house, I started contemplating a phrase it seems I’ve heard a lot lately.

grow-where-you-re-planted[via urban outfitters]

 

It’s one of those nouveau platitudes that gets pinned (I even had to double check whether I’ve in fact pinned it before)and shared and dubbed as wisdom.

When I started thinking about the phrase, my tone was self-accusatory: see, get with it. You’re planted in St. Louis, so just grow already. You didn’t follow through with coming up with any fun plans, the least you can do is go run errands at Target.

But then I started thinking about actual plants (presumably the origination of the thought above). They don’t just grow anywhere. Every plant is different and requires certain things in order to flourish. Cacti don’t do well in a rainforest; citrus trees don’t enjoy cold weather. I have an aloe plant that’s pretty hardy, but it didn’t like sitting out on the porch here. Granted, I don’t know too much about plants, and I’m pretty sure this one is in the wrong kind of pot (no drainage and just potting soil), but since it’s a succulent, I supposed being out in the humidity wasn’t ideal so I brought it inside.

So maybe I’m “planted” somewhere not suitable for my growth – ha! Allison – 1, platitude – 0

Except my aloe plant isn’t in it’s ideal environment either. It would probably prefer to not be in a pot as a houseplant. It would probably thrive best in it’s native habitat, but so far it’s doing okay. With a little tending, I think it will continue to grow and even flourish.

Maybe all I need is a little “tending”, if you will. As I’m adjusting to the relative shock of a new environment, I need to pay attention to how much water I’m getting (literally – the humidity sucks it right out of you) and maybe move around to find out where I get the best exposure to light.

Plant metaphors aside, the business of growing where you’re planted requires more than just saying “Ok, I’m here” – wherever here is to you – “let’s start flourishing.” It requires patience and attention to what is life-giving. Although where you’re planted may not be where you flourish naturally, that doesn’t mean you can’t flourish.

Here’s to getting ready to grow. I’m still recovering from the transplant, and I don’t need to expect significant growth right away. But with a little care and a lot of Jesus, there’s a growing season around the corner.

 

DIY: life in St Louis

I haven’t fallen in love with St. Louis yet (does anyone ever?)

But I’ll grant that I haven’t done much outside of compare prices of the local Shop ‘n’ Save vs. Aldi vs. Trader Joe’s. I did sign up for a library card, and I picked up my first two books this afternoon. (I’m halfway through Where’d You Go Bernadette, which I didn’t expect to enjoy as much as everyone else has, and while I’m slightly more amused that anticipated, my expectations are largely holding true.)

On the plus side:

There are fireflies! Not a lot, and I haven’t bothered to try to take a photo yet, but it’s an exiting thing for someone from the northwest, where I’m pretty sure nary a firefly exists.

Got our first tornado warning under our belts (wasn’t even windy here, so it was pretty much a non-event, other than determining that we can hear the sirens at our place)

The thunder is loud and pretty cool.

The World Cup! (I got into it in 2010 because the family in Panama was into it. It’s a strange sort of full-circle to be watching it again, four years having passed, and being in a new [as-good-as-foreign] place that sometimes reminds me of Panama)

H made a sweet closet rack to augment our dearth of closet space. I showed him this pipe coat rack DIY, and he came up with this:

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On the less-than-great side:

It’s rained a lot since we’ve been here (might as well have stayed in Seattle).

Yes, it’s humid (we went to a Farmer’s Market this morning – probably the first time wandering around outside in 80-90* weather + humidity in a while – and it took me half a day to get over feeling light-headed. Yes I’m drinking more water now.)

And because it’s humid, spending much time outside is little to no fun. And last Sunday when I tried to sit on the back porch for a bit to read, came away with some bug bites whose itchiness lasted waaaay too long (I think today was the first day I didn’t feel the need to scratch my elbow or ankle.)

 

Hitting walls

I’m tired of moving boxes and of shuffling items from one box to another. I can rationally understand that it’s not reasonable to expect, one week and one day after moving in, that I’ll be at the point of hanging decorations and arranging knick-knacks.

But that doesn’t mean I’m happy about it.

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It really doesn’t help the whole adjusting process, having my surroundings in even more flux than they were the month leading up to D-Day (Departure Day) in Seattle.

In the grand scheme of things we’ll be unpacked before you know it (and for that matter we’ll be moving again before you know it).

…but today we’re not unpacked. I need to move a bookshelf into a room, but the room is full of boxes that I can’t unpack until the bookshelf is there. And I can’t decide where to put the bookshelf until the boxes are out of the room so I can actually see the room and not just how much it can hold.

Progress is slower than I’d like, but it’s there nonetheless.

I ate half a pint of raspberries, a healthy salad for dinner and no ice cream. Looks like I’ve gotta take progress where I can find it.

Peace and strength always

I am bouncing off the walls in here (talking about my mind).

I am trying (and succeeding!) to enjoy the time of celebration and family in these last days leading up to the marriage (H’s sister is marrying H’s best friend). However, after the fellowship is over and we’re back at box-world (aka the apartment), all I can think about is things that need to happen in the next  e i g h t  d a y s  before the move. It’s overwhelming.

The eternal optimist in me (it’s a rare side, but still there) shrugs off the stress and says it will all get done. Which it will. Whether it gets done at the expense of sanity is another matter.

Life-long family friends of my in-laws are in town from Australia for the upcoming wedding. They gave me a beautiful wooden tea-light holder with a blessing that is much appreciated in the midst of the maelstrom.

May you know the nearness of His Presence with you and His love, joy, peace and strength always.

“The God of love and peace will be with you…” 2 Corinthians 13:11

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