Monday, November 26, 2012

Make-It Monday: Memories

Thanksgiving behind us, Christmas before us, many of my projects and crafts have turned in the direction of gifts. There are some few spare items floating around that I will post about eventually - socks, leg warmers, fingerless gloves - but in the meantime, I will reminisce about my favorite things to make: memories!

A few years back, a small, dear group of friends and I began what was to become our annual "Beach Weekend." A teeny-tiny cottage by the beach, complete with pint-sized hot tub and quirky but endearing leopard-print carpet was our original destination (you can read about our first adventure here, but no one blogged Year Two, to my knowledge). Due to shaky schedules and questionable availability of "our" cottage this year, however, we opted for an entirely different experience: A weekend in Portland! It was such fun to explore a city we all live near (our hotel was a mere half hour from my house!) but rarely peruse. Despite the fact that two of our gang were in and out because of school and work, we had a grand time!

Day One was our shopping day...

We took the max downtown, and popped into all sorts of fun places. Tea Zone, Anthropologie, Powell's -

{I do beg pardon, but I must interrupt myself here for a (brief?) paragraph about Powell's! The largest used-and-new bookstore this side of the Mississippi, Powell's takes up an entire city block and stands an impressive three stories tall. We wandered around in dream-like delight, blissfully ignorant of all time, for several hours. I love having friends as book-crazy as I! Exercising GREAT restraint, I bought only two books: a brand-new Wuthering Heights (after reading it, I had to own it), and an old (and copyright-date-less) A Child's History of England by Dickens which I had been longing for ever since Anthony Esolen's mention of it in Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child. I could here launch myself onto a soap box about how much I love that Dickens and MacDonald (to name only two) wrote children's stories using complex sentences and large vocabularies - relying upon the interest of the subject to keep Littles engaged - rather than using 3-letter words in 4-word sentences, but I shall hop right back down again and get back to our weekend. :)}
- as I was saying, Powell's and any other shops that struck our fancy along the way. As you can see from the pictures, it was characteristically windy and rainy, but beyond an umbrella flying up in completely the wrong direction, we were none the worse for wear!
Nonetheless, we were glad to get back to our {luxurious-feeling} hotel room, change into warm, dry clothes, and commence all sorts of goofiness refined entertainment. From four of us "hiding" under the covers in an attempt to keep one tired friend from going to bed, to playing "chubby bunnies" with exceptionally juicy grapes, I think we must not have had many rooms around us occupied, or our noise would surely have turned out many disgruntled neighbors!
What seemed like a few short hours later, we were up and breakfasting, having bid adieu to one friend, and waiting hopefully for the arrival of another. Settling down with notebooks and Bibles, we worshiped together that Sunday morning in our room, with mugs of steaming tea and a wonderful sermon by Alistair Begg. Our theme for the weekend, the lesson that seemed to repeat itself over and over, was the overwhelming truth that every insignificant thing - the quietest person, the most mundane schedule, the smallest choice - does not merely "matter in eternity", but has the power, by God's miraculous grace and pleasure, to transform the lives and futures of all around us. Even the coffee cup from the breakfast room reminded us...
We Know Small Choices Make a World of Difference
After worship, we had lunch, hit a few shops, and came "home" to dress up for our special evening! Salt and Straw ice cream (now a highly-recommended P-town stop!) was our first destination. Notorious for its unique flavors (the most popular being Salted Carmel Ice Cream), Lauren, Mikaela, and Kaytra bought Lavender Honey Ice Cream (it was delish!) while I opted for the slightly stranger-sounding Cardamon Ice Cream With Carrot Custard And Pistachio Butter Cream (in case you couldn't tell, I forgot the actual name). Scary-sounding though it be, it was a true treat of unique and tastefully blended flavors.
Stop number two was a lovely church hosting the beautiful performance of Bach's Cantata Number 8 ~ it was wonderful! Finally, we finished our evening out with a trip to the original Old Spaghetti Factory. Back at the hotel, we played games, ate cookie dough, and watched the entire four hours of North and South from start to finish. Thus ended a delightful Day Two.
Monday morning dawned far too early, but as we rolled out of bed we were greeted with the happy prospect of a Tea Taste Testing (thank you, Lauren and Mikaela)!
A trip to the store, a visit to a friend to congratulate her on finishing a test, and the weekend was over {far too soon}. Next year, if the LORD wills, we will return to our little cottage by the sea, but I (for one) will never forget the year we did our "Beach Weekend" in Portland!
There is, of course, so much more to spending a few days with wonderful, Christ-seeking friends than shops and restaurants. Together, we eccstatically discovered a "new" author of whom we'd never heard (Joseph Addison) and shared histories and lessons that, in the telling, served to pull us tighter together as sisters in Christ. I am so grateful for these dear, dear girls I call my friends! These memories...they'll last forever. :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Watch-It Wednesday: The Debate

And so the chaos begins - I love Thanksgiving! Mama's currently making her second "last trip" to the grocery store (the second of many, if history truly repeats itself) and we're madly writing lists for what needs to be done between now and 2pm tomorrow afternoon: cleaning the house in anticipation for my cousin's arrival (so jazzed about that! Most of us haven't seen him for a few years!!), decorating with our small assortment of Thanksgiving smiles, baking gingerbread for the houses we decorate Thanksgiving morning, and I -- I get to make the pies.

We like our pies, here. It is a great tradition to make far more pie than we could ever possibly eat after a full Thanksgiving meal, thus leaving the left-overs for breakfast the next morning (or next several mornings, as the case may be). Nonetheless, despite the delightfulness of my delectable job, Thanksgiving week always dawns with its fair share of controversy in the dessert department: traditional pumpkin pie, or southern sweet potato?

My daddy loves his pumpkin pie - the flavor, the tradition, the unquestionable "right-ness" of having pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. I mean, it's practically a rule, yes? As necessary to the Meal of Gratefulness as a turkey! Me? I can't handle pumpkin pie - never have been able to. Gracious, it's not the flavor! I love pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin lattes - but the thick-and-creamy texture of the pumpkin pie is too much of an overload for me, so I prefer the lighter (but similarly-flavored) sweet potato option.

Now, as I said, we like our pies - so we are fortunately saved from the awful fate of ending our discussion in fork-stabbing by the obvious solution of making both! However, inevitably, in the course of our traditional debate, the following song surfaces...for obvious reasons. {My mama was a Texan girl, and let me tell you - I like these good ol' country songs far more than the stuff being written today!).} Even the pumpkin-eaters can't help singing along!

Which do you prefer - pumpkin or sweet potato? Vote and let me know! Meanwhile, I'm off to make this year's six (6) pies of choice: sweet potato, pumpkin, pecan, peanut butter silk (a family tradition), apple, and sugar-free apple (for my grandma :). Happy Thanksgiving-Day preparations to you!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Meeting Place

Photo Credit
Things have grown rather quiet in SarahJayne's blogland. There are some wonderfully faithful bloggers - and I love reading your blogs, regardless of my lack of comments! - but for me, writing for the benefit of the world wide web seems to have slipped quietly into the shadows of LIFE. Often - sometimes multiple times a day - I think to myself "I should blog about _______." But alas, I seem to be lacking in not only time, but also inspiration. So for now, you persevering readers, I re-post this little poem I wrote a few years ago under similar duress. It has never been properly named, but the title I'm liking this evening - excuse me, this morning - is "The Meeting Place" - what do you think?


A hundred thoughts run through my head,
And all, I think, of worthy note,
So settle I, and take my pen,
Happy, these empty sheets to coat.
When, suddenly, my mind is blank,
A dismal echo of the page.
I stop, and wait, and wish away
The hopeless hold of my mind's cage.
Yet - gone - I find my tales untold,
Of sun, and smiles, and lessons learned,
And in their place a gaping hole,
From whence no lonely thought's returned.
So, sighing now, my pen I lay
Back down upon this empty sheet,
Unhapp'ly going 'bout my way,
'Til thoughts and words on paper meet.