Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful on Paper - Week Four

Here we are at the last week of Rachel Reeves' Thankful on Paper.

This week I am most thankful for my husband, Matthew.

Coincidentally, today (Wednesday) is our third anniversary.

I met Matt through the outdoor adventure program at Point Loma Nazarene University. We took a three day backpacking trip up San Jacinto together, he loaned me his long johns, and we talked all the way hiking down from the peak in the moonlight.

Fast forward a school year of friendship, going to chapel together, going rock climbing together, and I'd developed a crush on this guy who was going to graduate and leave San Diego.  Our first official date was two days before he graduated and we stayed up until four in the morning talking.

At the end of the summer, my family happened to take a yearly camping trip at a lake in the Sierras where Matt happened to work as a backpack guide for a kid's camp.  All by sheer coincidence, right?

At Bass Lake I got my first kiss, we became "official," and a month later Matt moved back to San Diego with no job and no plan other than to be near me. He worked three jobs, had a host of roommates and somehow managed to make it while I finished up my last year of college.

On May 31st of 2007, almost two years after our first date and underneath a blue moon, he proposed. You can read that story HERE, because I personally think it is still the world's best proposal and we should enter it in some competition and win a second honeymoon.

November 24, 2007 we began our journey as husband and wife, and it has been one heck of a wild ride. Tonight while driving we did a quick recap of the past three years and are a bit amazed at all we've managed to cram into it!

I am thankful Matthew is a God-fearing man. He does what is right even when it is not easy. He is trustworthy. He is giving of his time, money and himself. He is so loving, I have to remind myself that love is a gift because I certainly don't deserve his unswerving love for me. He takes care of me, in every way. He is funny, and makes me do that really unflattering GUFFAW laugh. He is content with where we are in life without being stagnant. He is competitive, which makes playing games with him fun and annoying at the same time.

Monday night, during the worst night of weather and traffic jams in recent Seattle history, Matt spent 5 1/2 hours driving 20 miles to get to me, and I know if he had run out of gas he would have walked through the storm to reach me.

Matthew, I love you and am so thankful that three years ago you said "I do" to me. I can't wait to start the next adventure with you.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thankful on Paper ~ Week Three

Week Three of Thankful on Paper.

As I'm looking forward to flying to California to spend Thanksgiving with Matt's family I realize how thankful I am for the Palmers.

I felt like I was family even before Matt and I were married. They've always been so warm, so welcoming and so loving to me. I think sometimes I take for granted how much that means.

Quick example, I met Matt's Grandma Sue (Beth's mom) just once while he and I were dating. At that point she was in a nursing home and suffering from dementia, and I'm not sure if she got who I was. When she passed away Matt and I had only been married a short time, but upon reading her obituary in the local paper I was listed as one of her grandchildren.

Beth, my mother-in-law (or mom-in-love which is such a nicer term), is one of the most compassionate, gracious and life loving people I know. Dave has this deep content that is contagious. Going to their house is always like a vacation. Pop open a Sierra Nevada ale, put your feet up and just be. From them I have learned what a gift it is to just sit back and enjoy life without rushing through it.

When they would come to visit I used to always ask Matt what we should do...go see a movie? Take them downtown? I think I've finally realized they don't need entertaining, they just enjoy being with us, and I'm thankful that I enjoy just being with them.
They are both givers, through and through. Matt's family tradition for Christmas was to open presents on Christmas Eve just because Beth couldn't wait any longer. I think Matt's inherited that, seeing as I got my last birthday present three weeks early!

My sister-in-law, Katie, is full of love and passion. She is unafraid to jump wholeheartedly into something she believes. She loves selflessly, and searches valiantly for what's important in life.

Shortly after my first date with Matt, he graduated college and asked if he and his sister could stay with my family on their drive back to northern California. We weren't even "official" but I remember having so much fun with both of them that I thought, "Sheesh, if this doesn't work out with Matt I still want to be friends with his sister!"

Besides Matt's immediate family, I'm grateful to be a part of ALL of them. Matt's Uncle Chris officiated our wedding.

When I first met his cousin Rachel it was like seeing a younger version of myself with all her likes and interests (minus the sports)! I first met Aunt June on the Thanksgiving before our wedding (we were married two days after Thanksgiving in 2007) and knew she was definitely family! Last January we went down for Matt's cousin Andrew's wedding to Amber and it was so much fun being able to help out with the rehearsal dinner and help with Teresa's hair and just to be there with everyone. I love that I keep in close contact with my husband's cousin's wife and we just cut all that out and call each other cousin.

All that to say I can't wait to get to that little town outside of Yosemite and be with my Mama and Papa Palmer, my sister-in-law and my cousins. I can't wait to sing and play games and laugh with them.

Thank You Jesus for this wonderful family I married into!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thankful On Paper - Week Two

Click HERE to see what other people are grateful for

This week I am thankful for my three parents. 

Or more literally, my mom, dad and Ammah.

Maybe its too obvious, but I really feel like I could never than them enough.

Ammah was more than a grandmother who I occasionally visited. She was a part of our life nearly every day growing up. 

Ammah makes the best chicken fried steak and white, thick gravy that you will ever EVER taste.

Ammah went rollerblading with us when rollerblading was all the rage.

Ammah taught me the beauty of a Sunday afternoon nap on the floor with a blanket, old movie and some brownies fresh out of the oven.

When I was 21, Ammah and I took off in my 2 wheel drive 4Runner to find the Grand Canyon (pre-GPS). Most of it was on dirt roads with no signs and I'm pretty sure we were in a few places we weren't supposed to be, but between the constant jangle of the change in my ashtray, my visors flopping down and our incessant laughter we made it to some point at the edge of the canyon. 

Ammah is an amazing woman of God, and has been an example of strength and faithfulness.

My dad is my hero. Always has been and always will be. I think of my dad when I watch movies like Braveheart...noble, honorable, courageous. He is a visionary and speaks in terms of a vision. 

One time on a family vacation our car broke down in Modesto and we literally coasted into the parking lot of a church on Sunday morning. After attending the service, my dad approached the pastor and told him we were "wayfaring strangers." I thought my mom was going to disappear beneath a pew. But he is the one who has always and will always encourage us to set off on a voyage and explore new things. 

I also think of my dad when I watch movies like Cheaper by the Dozen or Parenthood. Goofy, zany, and always a blast. My young cousin once told him he was like a real life video game.

A few months before I got married I got to go to Uganda with my dad. It was a trip I'll never forget, and all the more precious that I got to spend it with him.

In a few words, my dad is a joy magnet. 

My dad taught me that some men can be trusted, dads are good, and that our Heavenly Dad is even better. 
He is a walking example of love and joy.

My mom is my best friend. I don't know if that has anything to do with her reverse psychology of telling me while I was in first grade that one day in high school I may not like her, but if it does then it worked and I am so doing that with my daughter if we have one.

For all her constant complaint about not having a great education growing up, my mom is one of the smartest women I know. She has the gift of discernment, which is awesome except for when I've slipped up. 

My mom laughs louder than anyone I know. In high school during plays, we could hear her laugh  carried through the actor's microphones and through the speakers in the back. She's also one of the funniest people I know. Between her and Ammah I think the only reason I didn't have a six pack from laughing so much was the white gravy.

Together, my mom and I are some kind of indomitable force. Maybe its God's plan we live half across the country from each other right now. If we lived closer we just might take over the world and get things running right. 

Give us a swatch of cloth, a toothpick and a diet coke and we'll give you a production.

I am the Baby Girl, and my mom is an amazing pointer to Jesus. Her heart for broken people overflows with healing love that's exemplary of how Christians are supposed to be.

Thanks Dad, Mom, and Ammah, for training me up in the way I should go, for loving me enough to discipline me, and for giving me roots and wings.

Oh yeah...and my mom and dad are flying in to Seattle TONIGHT!!!! I can barely contain the excitement!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


This past week has been absolutely nonstop.

Upside is I've been falling asleep a lot faster than I ever have!

Downside is I may have bitten off more than I can chew, and all this time spent on aprons and running and training and writing leaves little time just to be with my hubby.

And that's not a good thing.

So while I'm still definitely doing The Ruffled Owl thing (get your orders in soon for Christmas!), and still going to keep training for a half marathon in January (gulp), I think the area I may slack off on is going to be the writing. If you'll note the little gadget on the right hand side that shows my NaNoWriMo progress, you'll see I'm about 5,000 words behind at the moment.

I'm not ditching the effort entirely, but I'm not going to let myself feel guilty if I don't meet my daily quota.  I will let myself feel guilty for not spending time with my husband.

If only I could figure out a way to squeeze six or seven more hours into the day...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thankful on Paper, Week One

Taking a cue from Number 17 Cherry Tree Lane's Rachel Reeves, I'm joining this month in being Thankful on Paper. 

I thought a lot about who I would write to. Only four to highlight? I could write to ten people every day of the month and still have more to thank! 

This also being NaNoWriMo, and I being in the throes of writing (or trying to keep up), I thought about dedicating each Thursday to four people who really influenced my imagination and my thirst for all things literary. A babysitter growing up, my fifth grade teacher Miss Ruth, and my two high school English teachers - Ziretta and Hamilton.

Then I realized that only one of them I could actually send a letter to. So as kinda a cheater first Thankful Thursday, here are the four I was going to do but can't exactly.

I don't even remember the babysitter's name, only that she would gather my brother and I around a globe, and we would take turns spinning it and stopping it with our finger. Then she would leave us in the room for five minutes to prepare for our "expedition," and when we came out she would somehow have converted parts of our house to wherever we were traveling. Even if it was somewhere in Mexico and she slapped on a Chevy's sombrero, grabbed my parent's maracas and made made an impression. So thanks...Unnamed Babysitter.

I have no idea where Miss Ruth went, but we read so many interesting books in that class...books I still have! And I'm pretty sure she was completely aware that I was reading far ahead under my desk during the "read out loud" part of class, but she never said a word. She was one of the only teachers who could give a legit answer when I would ask why I needed to know what we were learning (ie math will always be a part of life). Before her all I got was that it was prep for the next grade.

Ziretta was one of those wacky, dead-poets-society-type teachers who would take his podium up on a counter to quite literally look over our shoulders while we took a test to make sure no one cheated. If I ever began to zone out in class he would make his way over to my desk and SLAP his hand down scaring the bejeebers out of me while yelling out my last name--CURRAN! Quirks aside, he also showed me how much deeper you can look into literature, and kept urging me to join the Orange County Academic Decathalon.  I think I only went to one meeting, but it was nice knowing someone thought I was smart enough that I should join. 

Mrs. Hamilton carried that theme of digging into literature over into AP English, giving me my first taste of Pride & Prejudice, and making us practice writing over and over and over until we had it drilled in our head that the first lines of anything were the most important ('scuze me while I rewrite the opening of this blog). She was also my freshman English teacher, and on the first day wore a black snake necklace with ruby eyes. No one dared cross her, but the longer you knew her the more you found she really is a softie. Okay maybe softie isn't the right word, but definitely a gem. She still works at Calvary...and I've had a card I've been meaning to send her for years...maybe I'll actually get around to it this month!

ALLL that to say that rather than focus on these influential people, I chose to highlight people I can actually get in touch with.

First up is Charissa.

2003 at the Tower of London
My randomly-picked roommate my freshman year of college. She taught me that some rules are okay to break. We've had pillow fights and peanut fights and newspaper fights, and during one torrential rainstorm we headed to the softball field and she taught me some basic training combat moves in the mud. I still have the pajamas that were dyed orange from the gritty and slimy field. 

We backpacked around the UK and Ireland together, explored alleys, got to play Eddie Vedder's guitar and Miles Davis' trumpet in the basement vault of the Hard Rock Cafe while the tour guide flipped off the alarms for us and went upstairs to smoke a joint. 

We've cried together, called each other out, and I've lost track of the times I've been called a nag. We flew a kite in a sandstorm, woke up outside on an Easter morning to the sound of coyotes, got scared out of our wits by a mule's head appearing in my driver side window and chewing on my steering wheel, and hopped a fence to sit in a hotel hot tub and smoke cigars, but I still can't get her to go nossing with me.

She taught me that thankfully our Lord is a God of grace. 

Grace is getting what we don't deserve. 

And that's what she is, a friend I don't deserve. 

Love you Charis.

she's going to kill me to putting this picture up...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Just Do It

I'm sure all of you know Nike's mantra, Just Do It.

Sometimes I get so sick of advertising, but yesterday I was actually grateful for this one.

Yesterday was one of those days that your eyes pop open when the alarm goes off because you know you've got lots to do.

I quickly got dressed and then sat down with a mug of coffee to begin my NaNoWriMo 2010 story. Outside a storm dumped barrels of water that the wind whipped up into an all-soaking mist. I wrote without thinking, working fast to beat the clock. Within 20 minutes I had almost 500 words down, then I brushed my teeth, kissed my hubby and my dog and ran out the door to work.

During my lunch hour I cranked out another 600 words...its not great stuff but at least its down! That's the whole point of NaNoWriMo...just get your first rough draft down! I tend to want to go back and comb over the first chapter with a fine tooth comb. Its the most important part, after all. Its what sets the tone, sucks readers in and snags your attention like a gorilla in a tutu.

Maybe I've been free writing a bit too much...

Anyways, after work I raced home to do my daily training for this crazy half-marathon I'm going to attempt in January. It was in the low fifties but with the blustery wind still spraying rain it felt a lot colder.

And it was getting dark.

I really really really did not want to run outside.

But Roy needed exercise, and I've promised myself I can order the book Born To Run if I finish three weeks of training...and I really want to read that book. 

So I put on my Nikes and started off. I don't know if it was the hills or the wind or the rain, but it was the most challenging run to date. I was nearing our neighborhood and it was totally dark by this time, but I still had about a mile to go. My calved burned, I was sweating and cold from the wind, Roy was even beginning to drag, and I was getting ready to call it quits and go in and get warm when a song came on my extremely random mix of motivational tunes on Matt's iShuffle. I had the music turned down low so I could hear cars on the main street (where I was not only being pelted by the storm but by the splash of cars driving by as well), and I caught a glimpse of the chorus.

No matter how hopeless, No matter how far...

 I hit rewind and started running again.  It was the song, "The Impossible Dream," from Man of La Mancha. Isn't that what I'm doing? Me, run 13.1 miles? Four is still kicking my butt! It really does seem like an impossible dream. But of all songs on my iShuffle that one kicked me back into high gear. I rounded a few more cul-de-sacs in our neighborhood and felt like I was in some Nike commercial...just do it. I just needed a bolt of lightning for dramatic effect.

And I did. I finished the last mile and had the worst time I've had to date but didn't really care. At least I finished it.

And a hot shower was all the reward I needed.

Then I made dinner, met up for an online book club and then finished my 1,660 words for the day.

And slept really well last night.

All that to say, sometimes you really do just have to lace up your Nikes and just do it. And you find you can.