Thursday, November 20, 2014

Small Joys: volume 17

Can you believe that my last Small Joys post was in August?  I was looking back through to see what volume number I was on and couldn't believe how far back I had to dig to get to my last post.  The months have been pleasantly busy, and there's surely been a lot of joy mixed in with the exhaustion that night shift continues to bring.  Now that it's late November, I guess I should also comment on the fact that I've foregone November goals this year.  I'm practicing thanksgiving and continuing to work on my word for 2014: present.  It's hard to be present if I'm always striving for the next thing, new goals, etc.  So for November, I've taken some time off from pushing forward and am working on being in the moment with things.  I can't believe a new year is approaching so soon-- I'm already reflecting on my word for 2015. If you're not familiar with My One Word, it's something my home church does instead of New Year's Resolutions.  It's never too early to reflect on what word you want your spiritual and emotional life to be represented by in the coming year.  In any case, onto spreading joy.

No. 1: Living October to the fullest.  I realize October has come and gone, and I have mourned the passing of this favorite month of mine.  But I think this was my favorite October yet, and I can't say that I let the month slip away unnoticed.  We began the month with a trip to northern Indiana to stay in a log cabin with good friends, celebrating at a local Apple Festival, and we ended the month in southern Indiana marveling at the beauty of Brown County and Bloomington.  Scott and I stopped along the way to Brown County to do some apple picking and to check out a pumpkin patch, and I think my heart just felt ready to explode with October joy.  I'm so thankful for the fall and for the rest that it encourages.  I've said before that I feel like it's a season that gives permission to rest, and though this fall wasn't entirely restful, it brought the illusion of rest through its beauty and crisp weather.

Kendallville, IN

Anderson Orchard

Brown County State Park (and yes, this picture has been on the
blog before! I can't help it, I love it so much)

No. 2: Christmas lights.  Do you like that transition there? From fall to Christmas? I'm guilty of being that person who starts celebrating Christmas the day after Halloween.  Shoot me for it, I don't really care.  I laugh at all of the little memes people post about people like me and I realize that it may be completely ridiculous, but I celebrate all major seasons and holidays for 2 months if possible, and that requires me to start early!  I have been wanting to put up our tree for a while but waited until our Friendsgiving was over before I did it.  I didn't want any critics attending our Friendsgiving to think I was a nut, so this week as we enjoy leftover turkey, I have put up our Christmas tree and associated decorations (read: penguins everywhere).

No. 3: Friendsgiving. Speaking of Friendsgiving, I should mention how entirely lovely I found our's to be.  Some of our very closest friends attended, people who have been so lovely and supportive through all of the changes of life we've experienced since Scott moved to Indiana.  They are our Indy village, and you know how I feel about all of my village people.  Friendsgiving isn't so much about the turkey or the desserts or the presentation-- it's about breaking bread with the people you love and expressing gratitude for their presence in your life.  One of our good friends refused to refer to it as Friendsgiving and instead called it just plain old Thanksgiving, stating that this was because he viewed all of us as family.  My hostess heart was just bursting over this celebration with friends, and I'm sad to think that most of these friends will be moving away and will not be around next Thanksgiving to celebrate again.  It was the first and last annual Friendsgiving with these particular friends.  

No. 4: Red cups.  Alright, we already talked about how I feel about Christmas.  But the fact that the rest of the world began celebrating Christmas the day after Halloween with red cups in coffee shops makes me feel that much more ok about celebrating in my heart and home as well.  I have shockingly only had one Starbucks red cup this year, but here's an amazing red cup from Peet's coffee in Chicago.  I thought it was a little more unique that my go-to Starbucks cup, and this white chocolate mocha was simply to die for.  

No. 5: A mini-trip to Chicago.  It seems each point leads to a new point, doesn't it? Scott and I took a mini trip to Chicago for a nursing conference I was attending, and we took a little bit of extra time to explore the city while there.  I have been to Chicago twice before, but it was super fun going at a time of year that wasn't completely freezing and to be able to explore with Scott, who hadn't been before.  We did lots of touristy things while there, though apparently not the most touristy item: seeing the water tower.  I didn't even know this was a thing until I saw the dropped jaws of peers at my nursing conference who couldn't believe I hadn't been to the water tower in my three trips to Chi-town.  I guess I'll just have to take another trip.. what a shame! 

I have to tell you a funny little story about this ferris wheel pictured above.  This is the Navy Pier ferris wheel, which I could hardly believe was still assembled and running in early November.  It's usually more of a summertime activity, and it's supposed to have amazing views of Chicago from the top.  When I saw that it was still assembled and running, I told Scott we HAD to go on it.  But then we saw the price and decided, as frugal-minded individuals, that we could forego it.  We walked around Navy Pier for about 20 minutes and I wouldn't stop talking about the ferris wheel, so Scott said that if I really wanted to we could go on it.  I told him it was probably a once-in-a-lifetime experience (overdramatic, much?), and that, it certainly was.  Not only because of the views, but because I had a near panic attack on the ferris wheel as I discovered a fear of heights I never knew I had.  I'm so glad we went on it, but I don't think I'll be on a ferris wheel again anytime soon.  I also have to brag for a teeny second about my husband.  He got on the ferris wheel despite his intense fear of heights simply because I was so excited about it, and I felt horrible afterwards for not knowing about this fear of his.  You think you'd know this about someone after 8 years but I'll blame the long-distance for this one.  He's always sacrificing in these quiet, humble ways, and I'm so thankful and undeserving of this quality of his.  

No. 6: Exploring my own backyard.  I've been so thankful for friends who teach me new things about where I live, and this week I'm thankful for a sweet work friend, LeAndra, for showing me around Zionsville this week.  She had mentioned attending a workout class at a church in Zionsville a couple of weeks ago and we had been trying to find a time that worked with both of our weird night shift schedules.  We found a day this week and started it with the workout class before heading to downtown Zionsville.  I have to say that this town is adorable.  So many cute boutiques, antique shops, and yummy places to eat!  We ate lunch at Serenity, which reminded me of a tea room back home in Wilmington.  I love finding new little gems nestled in places I wouldn't otherwise know about, and I'm thankful for the friends who introduce me to them.  

No. 7: Breakfast with Scott.  Scott and I have been fortunate in being able to share breakfasts together a few mornings each week when the cosmos align and our schedules happen to collide for a brief moment, and I have absolutely loved these mornings.  I used to be a breakfast cynic, thinking that eggs and bacon were too greasy and nauseating to eat first thing in the morning.  I would stick to toast or muffins and call it a day.  Oh man, how many years I wasted on carb-loaded breakfasts, completely missing the decadence of omelettes that melt in your mouth and perfectly seasoned breakfast potatoes.  We've taken to making some sort of omelette (usually involving veggies and lots of avocado) with a side of Polish sausage (sometimes bacon instead) and breakfast potatoes seasoned with seasoning salt and parsley (inspired by Le Peep's peasant potatoes).  As I'm writing this, I'm wishing Scott was home so we could make this RIGHT NOW.  It's just not the same without someone to cook with you-- inevitably, you'll end up over-crisping the breakfast potatoes or tearing apart the omelette because you didn't wait long enough to turn it.  These breakfasts are best done in the company of family, friends, or even your dog if they're skilled enough with a spatula :)

No. 8: She Reads Truth community.  I think I've mentioned this community several times on here, but I love the She Reads Truth daily devotions very much.  I'm in anxious anticipation of receiving the Advent study pack soon, but even without the study packs, these devotions are truth-speaking and encouraging, filled with a lot of thought-provoking material and a lot of Biblical truth.  Since my accountability buddies are all far away, this is a nice way for me to stay in Scripture every day.  It's not the end-all to my Bible reading, but it's a start each day. 

No. 9: A tidy apartment.  In preparation for Friendsgiving, Scott and I went crazy cleaning the apartment and are now reaping the benefits of such a frenzy.  We leave for North Carolina next Wednesday and are hoping to keep the apartment super fresh until then.  However, Christmas crafts have begun in the living room and we may be doomed for the mess that comes with that, but for now, it's nice to have a somewhat tidy apartment and Christmas decor sprinkled throughout.  

No. 10: Warm blankets.  We're stingy about turning the heat on in our apartment, but this month we finally gave in and turned it on.  In trying to keep our energy bill low, we've taken to snuggling under cozy blankets.  Whether we're watching Downton Abbey on the Chancey couch (yes, Scott has gotten very into the dramatics of Downton Abbey) or trying to fall asleep at night, we're pretty much covered with warm blankets.  I love this one that was gifted to me by my former roomies' mama bear.  

And that's all for now, friends.  I've been awake since 6 when Scott jumped on the bed and woke me up before his early morning meeting at school, and I'm hoping this post doesn't reflect the sleepiness of 6AM writing.  One of the books I recently read while trying to begin my book-writing process talked about morning pages as an exercise, and I think this post could be considered my morning pages, the freshest, first thoughts that I encountered this morning.  

And with that, I hope you all have a beautiful day!


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