traditions and other holiday goodness

There's no doubt that Mr coming home has been the coolest thing to happen all expected. It's safe to say that marriage has shown itself pretty 'round this little apartment. Lucky for us, Mr came home just in time for the holiday season so our family traditions shined their way to the front. Traditions hoped for, and those unexpected too. Remember when we were little and didn't understand why friends couldn't come over on holidays because that was designated family time? Not so when you create your own traditions. We started our annual "Thanksgiving Eve Sleepover" thanks to a few of our best friends.. who are like family to us.

Okay so there was a little alcohol involved, but it was their first time seeing Mr so obviously we indulged in some fun. Our plan was to have "spontaneous fun" so naturally I suggested we spontaneously watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade come morning. I guess that isn't what they had in mind as far as spontaneous goes. Whatever..I tried ;) But as the night progressed and sobriety kicked in we were all able to experience some powerful bonding through our God. Yes, I'm being real with you, alcohol and God all in one. That's the cool thing about being a Christian..we don't limit our spiritual experiences to a setting and time. God sets up the time, surroundings, people..everything. Our only job is to go with it.. respond. Our discussion went deep that night..and we all prayed together, spur of the moment type prayers..when you feel God tugging at your heart asking you to gather and kneel before Him. Don't get caught up in the rules of Christianity, it's the relationship and experiences with Christ that matter. Who says you can't drink a beer and talk about Jesus? He turned water into wine you know!

After our successful new Thanksgiving Eve sleepover tradition, we had a lovely Thanksgiving split between Mr's family and my own. We sat at the counter because there weren't enough seats at the tables, but it was next to the food, so obvs we weren't upset ;) Sitting at the counter was always a privilege when we were younger because the adults "couldn't see us" so as I engulfed my sparkling apple cider (I can't ever seem to get enough of that stuff) and took in the smells of our German Thanksgiving meal, I was content and so happy. Absolutely nothing compares to spending the first holiday after a deployment together and mine happened one week later.

Between the hours of New Girl, Call of Duty, paper writing and holiday familyness we found time to decorate for Christmas. My hope was to spend black friday listening to Christmas music, smelling the scents of cinnamon and pine tree candles while wearing Santa hats and decorating. Not super unreasonable, right? Three problems, work, schoolwork, and we don't own Santa hats. But we managed to decorate at around 10 p.m...still ringing in the holiday season on black friday just as I'd hoped :) Here's a sneak peek of our apartment, Christmas wonderland.

Nothing makes me happier than a house full of red, green, sparkles and Christmas garlands. And let's not forget the amount of baked goods that accompany the holiday before us ;)

Here's to
traditions & Christmas

my love is home!

He's safe, in my arms..where he belongs

and we couldn't be happier


stay tuned for more pictures

and our reunion story!

A year later

A year ago today, was the eve of Mr's deployment. The end was so far out of reach, 12 months was all I saw. I didn't know how anyone could last 12 months with out their husband, it didn't seem fair to me that our first year of marriage would be spent apart. I remember savoring every moment with him on our last night. Desperately fighting sleep, forcing my eyes to stay open so I could watch him lay next to me one last time before the morning took him away from me. It's funny the things we do to make moments last.


Imprinting memories to get us through those nights that seem to haunt us with a lonesome ache. Those memories, holding hands in church..him letting me pick the drink even though he knows I won't pick his favorite..feeling so loved and wanted when he grabs my face to kiss my forehead..watching him sleep so peacefully..catching an early matinee so we still have time to play dominoes before bed :)..bedtime prayers and morning cuddles. Those memories reminded me to hold on to what will be...once he's home again. Of course a sappy chick flick and a trip to Panera for pastries never hurt either ;)

I've learned a lot of things this year, as expected. I learned that I can be on my own, completely self sufficient. This however, gave me an appreciation for spending time with the ones I love. Being alone isn't all that bad..just quiet. It means you can eat what you want, watch what you want and clean as often...or not as often ;) as you want. So sometimes alone time can be good time. But with all my spare time this past year, I was forced to find ways to keep busy which led me to discovering my passion for crafting and redoing furniture! The hardest times were when I had nothing to do, and nowhere to go. Keeping busy is least it was for me.

I also filled up a lot of my time with photo shoots and learning more about my camera.

The most important thing I've learned this past year, is that we serve a truly faithful and amazing God. In all honesty there were times when I tried to do it by myself. I might have been a little angry with God that he took Mr away from me for a year, frustrated that I had to be alone. But God put things into perspective and I stopped feeling sorry for myself. I had to trust that God's plan was bigger than mine. I won't lie to you though and say I was perfect at putting aside my self pity. There were plenty of times where it crept it's way into my daily life. Overall, I tried to maintain a positive outlook though because Mr's absence was only temporary. Please don't hear this in a cliche tone because it's so real. I can't even list the number of times where God has come through and shown me the importance of faith in Him. This year taught me that my God is with me wherever I go, and He desires the best for me. I think knowing this, and understanding this to be truth are two different things. I've always known God was with me..but I didn't truly understand the capacity of love He has for me until He was all I had.

Mr isn't home just yet, but I'm closer than ever to feeling his embrace. Reflecting back on November 13, 2010 is bittersweet. It hurts to remember the pain and uncertainty I felt going into deployment. But I feel so empowered that we've made it through to the end, and we're stronger than ever. My best friend leaned over to me in worship at church today and said "You did it" I wasn't sure what she was talking about so I asked her what exactly I had done, and she told me "You made it through deployment"

He's coming back to me, safe and sound just as I'd hoped and prayed..we made it through a year apart from each other. Deployment isn't fun, but it's doable.. especially when you allow God to take over and be the true desire of your heart.

God is so good :)

(all images © consider the lilies)

Thoughts On College

This will be long. I don't even know if I'll proof read through this. But when the mind starts rolling you gotta get the pen to the paper. Errr..fingers to the keyboard?

This school semester has been very eye opening. I'm so content with my coffeehouse job, part time photography, little apartment and tight budget..right now at least. But the "responsible" thing according to most, is going to school..getting your degree..then entering the 9-5 world. Well that's nice and all, but not what I'm about. I know I'll never regret getting my degree and receiving a college education, but if I could do it over I never would have gone to a state school. I'd much rather have gone to a photography school and enhanced my skills/knowledge of something I'm absolutely passionate for. I was advised to go for a "stable" generic degree in case my dream of being a photographer didn't quite pan out. While that advice is not terrible, it's definitely put me in a position I'd rather not be in.

I went the generic route and now my professors are asking for passion in my work, and that isn't something I can force. I mean sure I could fake it, but something about that just feels wrong to me. So, I told a particular professor that there will never be passion in my writing for her course because I'm simply taking her class as a graduation requirement..nothing further. She was shocked that approaches to rhetorical criticism wasn't at the top of my list. But at least I was honest. It felt better than giving her fake work.

 As I sit through school 12 hours a week I'm in a constant state of regret. I thought going the generic route was smart because my options are wide open..but writing 15 page papers about topics I could care less about is really starting to eat away at me. For lack of a better example...we're gonna go cliche here and say.. I'm so close to the finish line so I can't back out now but I wish things had gone differently after I graduated high school. I wish I had gone with my gut feeling and worked toward my passion instead of what the world deems valuable. Maybe to most people working 9-5 is valuable because it pays the bills. I want to do something I love, something I can wake up and be excited for. I find value in adoring your work.

I've worked so hard to get this far in college and I'm real proud of myself but sometimes I wonder if all the stress and tears were worth it in the end? Yes I said tears...I don't cry, but mixing deployment with dumb classes I could care less about brings out the tears every once in a while.

I'm truly grateful for the opportunity to receive a college education, and I acknowledge that many are not as fortunate to do so. But I'm struggling right now. Struggling to find meaning and purpose in a degree that has done nothing for me and won't help much in the future either. I've always had this attitude toward school but thought maybe it would change as I reached upper division. Not so my friend. School isn't meant for everyone and I think it's ridiculous when people say that you need school to be successful in life. Success comes from determination and creative will power, not from reading hundreds of textbook pages. Sure some people..well most people I guess..use their degrees to get them further and it's proved successful for them. I just don't see that happening with my degree. Who knows though, next year around this time I could be writing about the wonderful things my state school did for me. I doubt it...but I'm not gonna throw that option out the window yet. It's tough getting to this point, hundreds of tests and quizzes later and still realizing that school wasn't for me.

I did my family proud and in the standards of today's society I made a smart decision but I sure wish I spent the last 4 years hearing the shutter of my camera open and close instead of a textbook.

Fall Decor

Our weather in California finally changed to Fall.. the day after Halloween, better late than never right? There's something uncomfortable about fall decorations and caramel apple spice drinks when the weather outside is 85 degrees. But, over the last week or so we've seen daily showers and mid to upper 50s so now I can officially enjoy burning my Martha Stewart candied caramel pecan candle (given to me by my amazing best friend) and bundling myself up for a cozy night in.

The semester is about 3/4 of the way through and I'm almost positive it's going to kill me soon. But I'm not an A+ student so I gave myself a little time off to craft this "Thanks" banner. I'm pretty much over school and ready for the holiday season to be fully under way! Here's what my house will look like for the next 20 or so days!

Sure I love Fall but only because it's the season before the most wonderful time of the year. We may or may not have spent last night going through Lindsay's Christmas decorations while listening to Pandora's Christmas radio... ;) I will neither confirm nor deny..

sneak peek

One of my best friends came over today and we had a mini photo shoot to test out my new 50 f/1.4mm. I cannot wait to share the photos of her baby boy but they have to be sent to daddy first, of course! :)

I've missed my camera so much lately and taking these pictures was so much fun. I definitely needed it and I'm so ready for the day I can do this full time, giving it my all.