Summer Road Trip: Santa Fe

Our summer has been filled with several wonderful road trips: two shorter ones to Missouri, one for a stay in Branson and one to visit my parents during a family reunion. But our big road trip is one we have been looking forward to for many months – a long road trip, across three states, to New Mexico. All in honor of attending a beloved friend’s wedding in Santa Fe. We both have visited Santa Fe in years past, prior to our marriage, but to revisit as adults allowed us to appreciate this unique city in a whole new way.

When compared with the cost of airfare, driving was the cheaper alternative and it gave us a chance to travel along Route 66 (I-40) and leave behind the beautiful, green Ozarks in Eastern Oklahoma and adjust to the scenery of wide, flat plains in Western Oklahoma, giant wind farms in the Texas panhandle, and mile-long views across mesas as our altitude increased entering New Mexico.

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To break up the trip we determined the first leg would end in Amarillo, TX – a halfway point in our journey west. We embraced being tourists as we ate at The Big Texan Steak Ranch for dinner and enjoyed a surprisingly well-cooked steak, plus we got to be spectators as two Australians attempted the 72 oz. steak challenge (we left before they were through, but the completion of their meal wasn’t looking promising…).

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As the sun set in the west, we drove just outside of town to Cadillac Ranch along Route 66. I previously saw this from a bus window, as I traveled to Mesa, AZ, with friends in college, but this was my first visit up close.

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The ten upraised cadillacs are in the absolute middle of someone’s farm with growing crops all around. It’s kitchy Americana at its best and there was something unifying about being there with other strangers, enjoying a moment of constantly evolving modern art as the sun set – even if it was only to observe and take pictures. (We were offered spray paint, but passed.)

Accompanying us across state lines was the Hamilton cast recording. It felt completely American to learn more about this Founding Father from a modern visionary, while traveling the Mother Road. Little by little we climbed in elevation, finally reaching 7,000+ feet, and arrived in Santa Fe.

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The wedding party and many guests, including us, stayed at the Inn and Spa at Loretto, situated within easy walking distance to the historic downtown square. We were greeted with warm sun on our faces and low humidity (hallelujah, Praise the Lamb) as we ate lunch up the street at Rooftop Pizza. Then were so pleased to get to tour the famous Loretto Chapel, next door to our hotel.

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“Inside the Gothic structure is the staircase referred to as miraculous, inexplicable, marvelous and is sometimes called St. Joseph’s Staircase. The stairway confounds architects, engineers and master craftsmen. It makes over two complete 360-degree turns, stands 20′ tall and has no center support. It rests solely on its base and against the choir loft. The risers of the 33 steps are all of the same height. Made of an apparently extinct wood species, it was constructed with only square wooden pegs without glue or nails.”

Read more here about this miraculous staircase.

As we unloaded our car, we were thrilled to see our friend, the bride-to-be, with whom we shared hugs and misty eyes. We were not a part of the wedding party, but served as loving and supportive friends and were excited about the opportunity to join the festivities in her destination wedding. Prior to the rehearsal dinner that evening, generously thrown by the groom’s parents, we did a little shopping at a local knife shop where The Optometrist found a lovely damascus steel pocket knife, his Santa Fe momento.

Saturday morning I enjoyed a complimentary yoga class on the hotel grounds beside the pool, which was an exciting experience to practice outdoors for the first time. Our teacher was well-trained, a great communicator, and reminded us that practicing yoga at 7,000 feet was probably not normal, thus we needed to listen to our bodies, not view our practice as a competition, and offer kindness to ourselves.

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Although eventful, the rest of the day unfolded smoothly, allowing me to purchase a lovely piece of “dry creek” turquoise (the different colors/shades are determined by the amount of copper in the soil) and have a lunch date with fellow wedding friends at The Shed, where we enjoyed some amazingly spicy huevos rancheros!

A short walk across the street and we arrived at The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi, the location of our friend’s wedding.

The bride, a fellow optometrist, played matchmaker for us, forever cementing her as our friend. She’s a fellow knitter, was with me when I found my wedding dress, and has remained an especially dear friend in the years since she and my husband have graduated and begun their careers.

The wedding venue was gorgeous and inviting. The cantor, Carmen Florez Mansi, was incredible (the best soprano soloist I’ve ever heard sing/perform/lead worship), and when the organist opened up all the stops as the bride entered, I wept tears of joy over how much I love our friend and how happy I was to witness her marriage to her long-awaited cowboy.

The ceremony and mass were sacred and holy, with seamless transitions between the portions of the mass and the wedding ceremony. The reception afforded us opportunities to get caught up with other optometry friends and share love with the sweet bride and her loving groom.

If you haven’t ever visited Santa Fe before, check it out – it’s worth the trip!

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Spring Break – St. Louis style

Over Spring Break, The Optometrist and I took in the sights & sounds of St. Louis. Sixteen years of my life were lived in the area, but after a.) my parents retired and moved away from the area and b.) I finished graduate school and moved out of state, I sadly no longer have reason to visit my hometown and the metro area as I once did.

It has been almost five years since returning for a visit, which predated our marriage, so a trip to the old stomping grounds allowed me to show The Optometrist places I lived, worked, favorite restaurants, shops, and neighborhoods.

We stayed at the Parkway Hotel, which adjoins Barnes Jewish hospital. Since we arrived over a weekend, it was quieter than you might think, and was perfectly convenient to be in the Central West End – close to Forest Park and a lot of other items on our to-do list.

If your St. Louis history is a little rusty, Forest Park was the location of the 1904 World’s Fair and is the site of the Art Museum, Zoo, Muny, Missouri History Museum, Science Center, and more (great info via both of the links above). It’s also the setting of the 1944 classic musical Meet Me in St. Louisstarring Judy Garland.

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Highlights of our trip included:

A visit to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, which includes a mosiac collection that is one of the largest in the western hemisphere. Admission is free and photos can be taken when Mass is not in session. It is worth taking the time to visit this holy space and allow your soul to breathe.

During our stay we made a couple of trips to my favorite coffee shop in the city, Kaldi’s Coffee on DeMun, for us to both enjoy a rooibos chai latte.


And nearer to our hotel was my favorite independent bookstore, Left Bank Books. I bought three Litographs for my library office (Corduroy, Anne of Green Gables, & Peter Pan), along with City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte, recommended to me by a fellow reader as I was getting a pedicure before our trip.

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Included during that same day was a bit of shopping at the Plaza Frontenac and will blog about that later.

The impetus and reason we chose St. Louis as the location for our trip was the opportunity to see bluegrass mandolinist/musician Sierra Hull perform at the Sheldon Concert Hall. It was a memorable performance with finesse and subtlety. She and fellow musicians Ethan Jodziewicz and Justin Moses wowed the audience with their impressive technical abilities and beautiful vocal harmonies. I highly recommend her music and the newest album she’s currently touring, Weighted Mind.

  

As we were driving to the Sheldon, we passed by IKEA. I visited the one in Dallas before we got married, but this was The Optometrist’s first time visiting the Swedish mega-store. We ended up buying a grill pan and some affordable stemware and enjoyed window shopping to gather design ideas for the future.

We didn’t realize we would have time to visit the St. Louis Zoo during our trip, but we did! Due to the fact that it was drizzly and cool the weather was probably a deterrent that worked to our advantage since there weren’t a lot of people there when we visited. Many of the outdoor animals were sleepy, but we still saw some beautiful and powerful creatures. The highlight of the visit was getting to see and hear a lion roar! You could feel the lion den vibrating with the power of his ferocious roar and see condensation coming out of his ferocious mouth as he proclaimed his feline might. The giraffes were also special to behold, in all their lumbering and graceful awkwardness.


To top off our day at the zoo, we later went to watch Zootopia at the Chase Park Plaza Cinema. Like most kids movies today, it was equally fun for us adults and presented tough topics like prejudice in an approachable manner.

After doing ALL of the walking that day, we were ready to eat Imo’s Pizza for dinner and share a yummy dessert at Bailey’s Chocolate Bar.


The St. Patrick’s Day parade was finished, the Blues were on the road, and the Cardinals in Jupiter, so downtown was a relative ghost town as we drove past Busch Stadium and Ballpark Village, the Arch, and Union Station.


Before our visit was through we had to visit a music store and yarn store: Music Folk in Webster Groves and Kirkwood Knittery, respectively. The Optometrist enjoyed sampling some mandolins and buying a new tuner and some new strings, while I picked up some Koigu KPPM and Cascade Heritage Sock Yarn. The Koigu will make some lovely fingerless mittens and I’m planning on using the Cascade to knit the Vida Shawl by Mina Philipp of the Knitting Expat Podcast.


During our final day we ate lunch at the Blues City Deli from a recommendation from an optometrist friend and then shared dinner with him that evening at Fitz’s in The Loop. Even though I don’t drink soda, The Optometrist loved trying their cream soda and getting a variety pack of sodas to bring home with us.

Our final destination was my hometown, driving by my old house, high school, church, and places I used to work. The trip afforded us rest we so desperately needed, reconnected me to times and moments that remain dear to me, and allowed new memories to be made with my husband. Had I never moved away, I never would have met and married him. So while I love St. Louis, and always will, it’s no longer home. Home is where The Optometrist is.

2015 Event Recap

2016 rolled in relatively quietly last night after The Optometrist and I enjoyed a night in, watching episodes of The Man in the High Castle on Amazon Prime, then enjoying a pre-midnight bubbly blueberry juice toast.

And as I reflect on 2015 this afternoon, I figure the best way of recapping the year is to do so season by season, maybe filling in a few gaps that were missing since the fall was oh, so busy.

Winter:
It was lovely having a few snow days where the university was closed. This gave us time to enjoy relaxing at home, fixing yummy meals together. The “knitting factory” was also in full production as I churned out dish cloths, baby booties, blankets, hats, and a few knitted & crocheted items for a local fund raiser.  Professionally, I began the process of co-authoring my first journal article with four professors, which lasted most of the semester (but has finally been published!).

Spring:
We received so much rain this past spring. It finally resulted in water tables of local aquifers being restored after drought conditions, but our backyard turned into a pond many times throughout the spring and early summer.

After a short Spring Break trip to Branson in March, we returned home and adopted our kitty Sylvester from the Humane Society. Among many things, he enjoys exploring in my closet, and here, he looks extremely cat-like. He has become our little “fur baby,” love sponge.

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My parents paid us a visit over Easter, we viewed one of the Blood Moons through The Optometrist’s telescope, and the end of the semester brought about my birthday, which was spent with my in-laws, and visiting Crystal Bridges. The traveling exhibit Van Gogh to Rothko was on display and I loved  getting to see works by Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, and Mark Rothko, but my absolute favorite was Peasants in the Field, Ergany, 1890 by Camille Pissarro. (We have since ordered a reproduction to hang over our mantle to enjoy year round.)

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Summer:
June was a heavy travel month – we enjoyed getting to see my parents during our (shared) anniversary trip to Branson and a family reunion, plus we loved our first big trip to Seattle for an optometry conference and vacation.

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Fall:
Professionally, I laced up my administrator shoes and learned a great deal about communication, teamwork, and partnership as my colleague Susan and I co-coordinated the University Strategies course for 800+ freshmen. Here we look a little ragged but triumphant as we just finished overseeing 7 hours worth of class the first two days of the semester.
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The fall also included helping coordinate an inaugural library conference, plus attend several other conferences and meetings in the area and throughout the state. I step into a new leadership role in 2016, where I will be traveling monthly to college and university libraries, meeting hard-working librarians, and learning new tips and tricks along the way.

This past semester, Monday was my long day, when I oversaw four hours of classes. During my lunch break, almost every Monday I met up for lunch with Lauren, with my sweet sister in Jesus. Our discussions of relationships, graduate school, faith, and culture were the perfect opportunity for my body and soul to be nourished.

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October was another blur of a month – it began as we spent a week in New Orleans for another optometry conference.
Our first evening, we happened onto Mulate’s, near the convention center and our hotel, where we ate delicious food, accompanied by live cajun music.

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The Optometrist always loves visiting local aquariums when we travel, so we enjoyed the wide variety of fish, birds, and aquatic life at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas (and casting our vote for their new albino alligator to be named Chompitoulas).

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We also relished the chance to spend the day with my BFF Addie,

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with whom we took a tour of Lafayette Cemetery in the Garden District,

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and visited the French Quarter to eat beignets at Cafe du Monde.
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I did a bit of solo exploring around the city while The Optometrist was in meetings and conferences. It was fun taking Uber for the first time to the New Orleans Museum of Art and Sculpture Garden.

Later in the week we enjoyed a lovely meal at Muriel’s in Jackson Square with a friend & former classmate of The Optometrist. And lastly, before we flew home, we quickly worked our way through the National WWII Museum. It was incredibly well done, still expanding, and we wish we would have had more time to explore this treasure trove of history. If we return to New Orleans, this will definitely be a place we would like to visit again, and for a longer amount of time!

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The next weekend we enjoyed celebrating the marriage of my husband’s younger sister to her sweetheart.

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As November gave way to December, so did my body to that rotten end-of-the-semester-sickness/exhaustion. I had to sit out all of my Christmas singing plans at church and in the community. Instead, I languished on the couch with Sylvester as my nurse, watched some heartwarming Christmas movies, and had a blast wrapping up my Christmas knitting.

Half Pint Mittens by Susan B. Anderson
The Force Awakens Hat by Hannah L

Time with family and beloved friends during Thanksgiving and Christmas rounded out the year nicely.

When 2015 began I had no idea how much I would learn, grow, and experience. Yes, it’s been downright stressful at times, but totally worth the ride. Here’s hoping 2016 will bring about even more similar opportunities!

“What a great way to start the first day of the rest of my life.” ~ Nickel Creek – Rest of my Life from A Dotted Line (video here)

Seattle

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“4 In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. 5 The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.” ~ Psalm 95:4-5 (ESV)

These verses were illustrated in living color and texture last week as the Optometrist and I journeyed to and through the Emerald City of Seattle, Washington.

This was our first big trip we’ve taken together since getting married, with the goal being for my husband to attend Optometry’s Meeting. Although we originally thought we might vacation to Washington, D.C., I got to be his “plus 1” and bonafide travel buddy. So we swapped one Washington for another!

Highlights from the trip included:

  • Flight over the Rocky Mountains
  • Dinner at Duke’s Chowder House on South Lake Union with friends who live in the area. Eating fish & chips overlooking the water was a perfect first meal in Seattle.
  • The Seattle Aquarium. This octopus was fished from the bay just outside of the aquarium – a local specimen! We also loved the puffins, sea lions, and sea otters.

  • Mariners vs. Royals game. Yes, I proudly wore my Cardinals hat.

  • Century 21 Exposition Tower. Better known as the Space Needle, built for the 1962 World’s Fair.

  • Chihuly Museum of Garden and Glass. The whimsy, uniqueness, and colorful other-worldliness of Dale Chihuly’s vibrant works inside and outside of the museum are spectacular.

  • Pacific Science Center. While we thought this museum was a bit dated, we did enjoy the variety of educational opportunities it provided to children: sea life, human anatomy, dinosaurs, and space exploration, among others.
  • Experience Music Project (EMP) Museum. We enjoyed the variety of pop culture, science fiction, film, and music memorabilia in their permanent collection. On display through October, and a great delight to the Optometrist, was seeing original costumes worn in the Star Wars movies.
  • Pike Place Market. We bought fresh Rainier cherries, fresh seafood from the fish market, and visited the original Starbucks store. All were delicious!
      
  • Argosy Harbor Cruise. This was definitely one of our favorite parts of the trip, taking a hour-long cruise around Elliott Bay (Puget Sound/Pacific Ocean) to learn about buildings seen along the skyline, local history, the shipping industry, AND to see the spectacular Mt. Rainier. Our tour guide shared that it’s only visible about 50 days of the year, so we felt like this was an extra special gift to see it so clearly and beautifully.
  • Seattle Public Library. Of course the librarian would spend part of her vacation visiting this gorgeous and modern hub of learning in the heart of the city.
  • Columbia Tower. After comparing notes at the end of our trip, this was our favorite memory: eating a light dinner on the 73rd floor of the Columbia Tower, the tallest building in Seattle, where we had an almost 360 degree view of Seattle, the surrounding Olympic mountains to the west, the Cascade mountains to the east, and once again, Mt. Rainier.
     
  • Double feature movie day: Inside Out and Jurassic World. While the two of these cannot be compared because of their inherent differences, we loved the depth of emotions evoked in Inside Out, especially the Pixar short Lava, as well as the fun and action suspense in Jurassic World.
     

A helpful travel tip: During our preparations we purchased a City Pass, which gave us entry into 5 popular local destinations and saved us about 50% of the cost of paying admission to these independently. We loved this bargain bundle and would highly recommend it to anyone visiting Seattle, or other large cities where City Pass is available.

And while we loved Seattle, made lasting memories, determined we would love to return someday, and look forward to other travel opportunities in the meantime, Dorothy Gale said it best, “There’s no place like home.”

Planning summer vacation

I know it’s only February, and ice & snow have been our reality this week, so maybe because of that I can’t help but get excited as I think about the plans The Optometrist and I have for our summer vacation: Washington, D.C.

While we both visited D.C. as teenagers, it’s been a decade or so since we cast a shadow within our nation’s capital. With this passage of time, and our desire to revisit some of our favorite museums, we figure our first big trip as a married couple should be a straightforward one: pack as lightly as possible, rely on public transportation once we arrive, stay within close walking distance to the Metro, and appreciate free access to some of our country’s most prized historical innovations, documents, artifacts, and collections.

In honor of this upcoming trip, I’ve already taken a yarn plunge and ordered this lovely hand-dyed sock yarn from The Painted Tiger in the colorway Grand Old Flag.

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Having red, white, and blue socks on my needles during the trip seems like such a fun and patriotic travel project!

With the U.S.A. in mind, I recently came across a fun, interactive way of mapping the states I’ve visited. It looks like I’m a little over halfway through visiting all 50! It’s interesting to see the pockets in the upper Midwest where I haven’t yet traveled. Hopefully one of these days I can visit some more National Parks: Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone, & Glacier, to check off a few more of those states not yet visited.

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The designer of the map also designed the free travel app Triposo, which allows you to access off-line travel guides to a host of cities in the U.S. and abroad when you’re beyond your normal range of mobile coverage. It includes Washington, D.C. – hurrah!

Growing up, travel was a priority my parents desired me to experience, and for us to share as a family. While the salary of two hard-working educators didn’t allow for anything fancy, we made the most of opportunities to visit friends and family who lived in other states or learned to rely on each other (and the trust the Rand McNally atlas) when we knew no one else. State capitals, historical monuments, major league baseball games, theme parks, mountains & deserts, bodies of water, train rides, ferry rides, rental cars, stand-by flights, and overnight stays at Super 8s along the way have created memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

And now it’s my turn to experience it all with my husband; become his travel buddy, forge new memories, and look back years later with fond stories. What a marvel.

Watch out, D.C., we’ll be heading your way soon! (in a few more months, that is…)

The Summer That Has Been

Traveling

While the Optometrist and I haven’t done a great deal of traveling this summer, we did make our way to the Kansas City area a few weeks ago to visit my kindred spirit and college accountability partner Megan. She, her kind husband, precious little boy, and friendly kitty treated us to a wonderful weekend of rest, food, shared conversation, and a tour around their fun town.

I finally found a Little Free Library and just couldn’t resist sitting down to read through a Curious George book.

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Megan, “life with you is half as hard and twice as good.”

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Knitting

In my last post I was most excited to have conquered the skills necessary to knit socks, and here they are! The Optometrist surprised me by ordering these nifty sock blockers from Squire Country Crafts on Etsy. I also completed a little (cheater) bow-tie, one of his birthday gifts. He looks so dapper when he wears it!

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And a wee bit of Christmas knitting: the selected ornament I’m knitting for family and dear friends this year is the Square Snowflake pattern, free from MillaMia via Classic Elite Yarns.

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Music

Over the past several months we have joined a ragtag group of musicians on Monday evenings to share a meal and then sing and play together. It’s increased our musical confidence as the Optometrist and I learn our newer instruments – him on mandolin, me on guitar. Our group has a lot of fun playing through classic country, rock, and a little bit of everything in between: Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Alison Krauss, Vince Gill, Elton John, CCR, the list goes on.

A few weeks ago we hosted our group in our home: five guitars, a bass, a ukelele, and a mandolin…and I was the only girl. I kind of rock.

Speaking of rocking, ohmyohmyohmy! Last week we had the opportunity to see Nickel Creek in concert. A-mazing!

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We’re both mega fans of virtuoso mandolinist, and recognized musical genius, Chris Thile. Even though the venue was standing-room-only, we toughed it out and had a tremendous view of the stage. I’m always so impressed with the musicality and precision of bluegrass musicians, and the trio of Sara Watkins, Sean Watkins, and Chris Thile did not disappoint. Their newest album they’re touring, A Dotted Line, was just as accurate a portrayal of their skills and abilities as they demonstrated in their live show. We can’t wait to see either them again, or another Chris Thile project – Punch Brothers or one of his classical duet works…his choices are diverse and refreshing as a listener.

Reading

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Our library has undertaken a campaign for the new academic year to show off Librarians doing fun things we enjoy. I didn’t want to have to choose between knitting and reading, therefore, I couldn’t resist the urge to grab both my copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and my current Hitchhiker knitting project and deftly pose for my photo.

With reading on my mind (ha!), my summer reads have spanned YA, inspirational fiction, and murder mysteries:

Hollow City – Ransom Riggs
Delicious! – Ruth Reichl
Insurgent  – Veronica Roth
Allegiant – Veronica Roth
Four: The Transfer: A Divergent Story – Veronica Roth
The Sweet By and By – Sara Evans with Rachel Hauck
Softly & Tenderly – Sara Evans with Rachel Hauck
Love Lifted Me
– Sara Evans with Rachel Hauck
Bridge to Haven – Francine Rivers
Post-Mortem – Patricia Cornwell (first in the Kay Scarpetta series)
Body of Evidence  – Patricia Cornwell

Delicious! was the favorite book I read this summer, with the Sara Evans “Songbird” trilogy following closely behind.

And now Friday awaits, complete with reading to a local elementary school class of 1st graders, getting my hair trimmed, and journeying to my in-laws for the beginning of what I hope is a long, Labor-less weekend. Saturday we traverse on to Branson, our favorite get-away, where we will reunite with my parents over the later part of the holiday weekend.

All things considered, it’s been a wonderful summer!

Birthday Happiness

After celebrating another 365 days journeying around the sun last week, I discovered what an added joy it is to share birthdays, and any other day, with one you love. I took the day off work and my sweet optometrist treated me to a special day in the city! First stop: lunch. I dined on a most tasty blackened tilapia sandwich at a little cafe, which happens to adjoin my favorite used book store. You can guess what came after lunch. I was so pleased to buy:
In This Mountain by Jan Karon, the only Mitford book I somehow didn’t possess in my collection.
The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry by Kathleen Flinn, my favorite food memoir I devoured (all puns intended) while in grad school. It will make a lovely addition to my bookcase.
The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes, a sweet children’s story I loved as a little girl, with my original copy lent to a trio of sisters who never returned it. I am victorious in reclaiming it!
Shakespeare’s Landlord by Charlaine Harris, the wild card in the bunch. I read the first of the True Blood series years ago, which I found rather gratuitous on many fronts, so I hope this series will prove differently.

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Next came a visit to a local art museum, where neither of us had visited before. No photos were allowed on the inside, so we snapped this photo at the entrance. While Native American and Western/cowboy art aren’t my favorite genre, we were both terribly impressed with the scope and diligence employed in displaying, maintaining, and connecting this collection to the public.

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We ended our day with dinner at the cutest little Italian restaurant downtown. Their homemade salad dressing, hand crafted pasta, inviting ambience (aprons strung as curtains, family artifacts mounted on the walls) and scrumptious tiramisu were the perfect end to my birthday-day.
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On my birthday I also decided to begin reading through the Bible again. This was a goal I achieved throughout 2011 and have felt spiritually aimless these past few months, so I found my 365 daily devotional NIV Bible and set to work! How much more balanced I am as I begin my morning in the Word, journeying yet again through the Creation and early stories of God’s relationship with men and women on earth.

Yesterday, this passage stood out to me:
[After Lot was told by two angels that Sodom was going to be destroyed and he needed to leave] When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them. ~ Genesis 19:16. How many times has the Lord prompted me to go and flee, and like Lot, I falter or second guess what needs to be done? Probably too often, truth be told. This awareness prompts me to be thankful for His grace that takes me by the hand and leads me out of one bad situation into the safe place where I need to be to avoid destruction and ruin. Yes and amen.

Thus begins another day of life, work, love, music, and prayer.