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marriage & the photograph in my wallet.

a few sundays ago, we were at a coffee house before church. i was holding ellie & so, as i often do, i set my wallet on the counter as i opened it to pay for our lattes & scones. the woman working looked down at the photo of us on our wedding day & said, "that's a beautiful photograph." i thanked her & told her what an encouragement it was to me each time i opened my wallet. 

she told me that a few weeks earlier an older gentleman had opened his wallet to reveal a wedding photograph of his wedding day, many years ago. she had complimented him as well & he'd responded by saying how much he loved "his beautiful wife."

the conversation stuck with me -- i was thinking that after forty plus years of marriage, it's not just physical beauty that keeps you in a marriage or makes you want to have a photograph of your wedding day in your wallet or leads you to say that about your wife to a stranger -- it has to be so much more than that. that man has clearly been in a beautiful marriage -- a marriage that has weathered the storms of life, the seasons that push your vows beyond where you thought they could go -- he has been loved in a way that has endured. i find myself wanting to meet his wife -- to ask her about marriage & how she's lived our her vows.

the photograph of our wedding day is an encouragement to me not because of that day, however wonderful it was, but because of what that day began. the vows we took, the covenant we made, the journey we commenced. and how much every day since then has meant to me -- the real work of marriage. i look at the photograph & am struck by the versions of us who chose to be on this adventure & how much my love for ryan has grown since then. the love i felt the moment that photograph was taken (i really do remember that exact moment of the day) has deepened in ways i couldn't have imagined. & for that i'm so very grateful.


two favorite cookbooks.

dinner a love story & super natural every day are newer cookbooks to our kitchen, but they are quickly becoming dog-eared, well loved favorites around here. i love the simplicity of the recipes, how wholesome the ingredients are & how beautiful the writing is. they also happen to be my favorite gifts right now -- for a friend's birthday, newlywed couple, new parents or an anniversary.

our favorite recipes from dinner a love story are the turkey chili (we often use beef & sub trader joe's bolognese for the can of tomatoes -- be sure to do the full 4 tbsp of chili powder -- it's the punch!); fish cakes; & pork loin with red cabbage (our favorite for dinner parties these days). from super natural every day, we've really loved the quinoa patties, oat cakes ( & millet muffins.

the nicest thing is that i've come to trust these cooks -- i already know i love what happens in their kitchen, so when i try a new recipe, i do so knowing it's likely going to be a hit with us. what are your favorite cookbooks these days?


sore throat remedy.

i'm not sure if it's having a kid, or the crazy temperature swings this winter or me not dressing warmly enough, but this winter i've had a crazy number of sore throats/colds. so many mornings, i've been up early with e, looking for some comfort.

i saw this post on bleubird & it made so much sense to me. i've long LOVED throat coat tea & honey, but adding the cloves & coconut oil really makes a big difference. it has been so soothing. i hope we're all looking at bright spring days ahead, but just in case you're battling through one more cold, try a warm cup of this. xo


stamped to-go cups.


attic update.

one of my favorite parts of our house is the attic. it has this cool ship's staircase up to it (ladder-like), two skylights, two other windows that feel like they're nestled in the trees, and feels so cozy with the roof slants and white walls. we want to make it a space where we can be as a family & grow as a family -- i think of forts, movie nights, sleep overs, rainy days spent reading up there -- a place to escape, for all of us.

the problem is right now it is a storage unit gone awry -- piles & boxes & things we're not quite sure what to do with. so, bit by bit, i've been chipping away at the piles. finding good homes for some things, consigning others, donating & sorting. in the next few weeks, we're going to build some storage for what's left -- a fraction of what we began with.

the reality is, these are first world problems (having too many things in your attic), but i believe deeply in living simply & raising our family with things we intentionally want around us. bit by bit this year, i'm going room by room trying to simplify our lives -- normally, i'd try to do this in a weekend & totally overwhelm myself. this time, i'm taking my time, knowing it will go much better if i take my time & don't set artificial deadlines. it also allows me to really find good homes for the things we don't need, not carelessly getting rid of them. what's slowly happening is that it's changing how i think about our purchases -- i am more realistic about thinking about whether something is really something we need or will use. goodness knows i don't want things drifting up to the attic!

that said, this new space will need a few things to make it a family space. above are a few things i'm dreaming about adding: a shower curtain to separate where we'll store extra clothes/uniforms (we have old house teensy tiny closets in our rooms & so this serves as back up); a teepee for reading & play, bright knobs for the storage cabinets; open whale bins for a few toys (hat tip, alli!); & a world map i received in my stocking a few christmases ago -- so we can track our family adventures!

p.s. i've been meaning to do this simplifying since we moved in (almost three years ago) it's been on my "to do list" & kept getting pushed to the back. since our budget has changed dramatically since going down to one income, i set up some motivation for myself -- i've long dreamed of hunter rain boots. so, i told myself if i could consign and earn enough money for them from the attic, that would be my reward. & the check just came that got me over the hump! see you soon new rain boots!

click through if you want to see this room before we moved in -- i'll show you the updated room soon!

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a new kind of friendship.