Saturday, March 30, 2013


“We never grow closer to God when we just live life. It takes deliberate pursuit and attentiveness.”
Francis Chan

The other day I mentioned to Brandon that even though nothing really out of the ordinary has been happening, I am in a season where I feel so blessed. After seemingly many seasons where I feel like life was an uphill battle it is so pleasant to be in a place where I feel rested, rejuvenated, and happy. Although I am about to enter what will arguably be one of the most stressful times (as I graduate and prepare for the BAR) I truly feel peace. My days have been busy, but purposeful and I’ve relished the opportunity to spend time building relationships.

Some of those special relationships have included…. (I apologize for my poor phone quality pictures....)

Spending time with these precious girlies! I do love my Friday night babysitting dates which usually involve nail polish, dolls, piles of books, and amazing imaginative play.

Watching this little man grow! Actually, since I’ve been out of town the last couple of weeks I haven’t had nearly enough opportunities to see him lately - thankfullly that will change this weekend though! (Although he is no longer the youngest member of our extended family as my cousin gave birth to her first child, a little girl on Friday – welcome to the family Remmington (Remmi) Jayne!)

Brandon and I took a short whirlwind trip to Chicago to see one of my favorite people – Stacie Mae! Brandon hadn’t met Stacie or her husband yet so we spent a couple of hours catching up with them and then headed to the other side of the city to spend time with one of Brandon’s best friends and his wife and their new daughter. Throw in afternoon appetizers with some of Brandon’s collegues (his company headquarters are in Chicago) and we felt like we talked for 24 hours straight! But so worth it :)

I found that Brandon and I "road-trip" by him driving, me pulling out snacks every 20 minutes, me notoriously falling asleep in the middle of a conversation, listening to the Les Mis soundtrack a good couple of times, and him pointing out all of the places he has ever been, heard-of, knows a fact about, or likes the name of (i.e. he is a mega G.K. Chesterton fan - thus the pic above).

Recent life is also finally changing from days looking like this....

....the endless grey and gloom of a Michigan March (and my school!), to days where the sun is finally shining and I've been able to break out some of my spring skirts! (ignore the escalator....this was an accidental picture that actually proved useful)

And what is a better way to cap off a good month than with Holy Week?

He is Risen!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Greatest Generation?

Over the last few years my grandparents have told me several times that they believe they were part of the greatest generation.

It's never really made a lot of sense to me. After all, they were born in the early 20s and old enough to remember the Great Depression and its repercussions on their home life. Both couples met and fell in love - and then said goodbye as my grandfathers went away to war. For my grandmothers it was a time of worrying and waiting, and for my young grandfathers it was a time where they were immediately forced to become men and literally face death in the face. My paternal grandparents narrowly escaped having their son drafted into Vietnam and they both raised teenagers during an era where there was way to much "free-love" going around. Equality for all wasn't a reality.

Yet they've all insisted that they had it the best.

It was the relationships - the time spent talking face-to-face and doing activities together rather than sitting in front of a screen. It was the slower pace of life - a time where work was work and home was home and you didn't have to be driving your kids to 20 different activities all over the place. It was a time where they had confidence in our country and the leaders they voted for. It was a time where their faith was more recognized and respected. It was the value that a man's word had and the strength that words like commitment had. It was the recognition that to get something, you had to work hard, and that success wasn't something you deserved, but something you had to earn.

I do believe there are some great things I could say about my own generation - that we have growing educational opportunities, that we have experienced some incredible technological achievements, that there are greater opportunities for racial and gender equality, etc. 

But with all these "improvements" it seems clear to me that some of the basics have been lost. Technology is blocking us (and is having an even greater impact on future generations) from knowing how to effectively communicate with others in simple face-to-face conversations, time spent together is being replaced with an emphasis on achieving individual goals, and all our talk of equality is creating a country that is beginning to tolerate everything and stand for nothing.

It may be impossible to go back in time - but it's not impossible to strive to adopt some of the similar mantras of the pre-baby boomer generation. Whether or not they are actually the "greatest generation" is probably a personal preference :), but there certainly are values and wisdom that we can all learn from those who fought hard, lost much, and lived simpler.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Mikarose - Giveaway

Over the last year I have become a huge fan of Mikarose - a company specializing in modest clothing. Being 5'11 I often have a hard time finding dresses and skirts that are long enough and Mikarose has been a great solution! 

Go here to check out Happily Domestic and their Mikarose $50 giveaway!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Spring Break: Midwest Version

I've decided that I wish I could have a personal photographer follow me around and take pictures throughout my life. I know this is an entirely unrealistic and slightly creepy thought - but I have come to the realization that I hate taking pictures or carrying around a camera. Thank goodness for facebook and my phone camera or I really would have nothing to document the past 5 years of my life. 

The point is, I have no pictures of the second part of spring break.

To be honest, I spent the majority of this part of break sleeping :) Both Brandon and the friend I stayed with worked during the day so my days looked like this - wake up, eat, shower, morning nap, eat lunch, watch an old episode of West Wing, afternoon nap, get ready, get picked up by Brandon for the night's activities. I promise I am rarely this lazy, but the sinus infection hit me hard and I ended up being so thankful that I had the time to just sleep, rather than worrying about missing class or work.

This part of my break was all about relationships. The nights were spent meeting up with Brandon's parents, cousins, and friends. Lots of talking (thankfully my voice was back by this point!) and food were shared. 

On my last morning in Minnesota, Brandon took me to have brunch with one of his favorite law school professors who he had worked for. We pulled up to this huge, beautiful house on one of downtown Minneapolis' major lakes and were greeted by a sweet little lady in her 80s. While she doesn't really look like her, for some reason Judith totally reminds me of the costume-maker in the movie The Incredibles - Edna. Actually she does have the short stature and glasses thing going on.... Honestly, if she were a little younger I might be concerned that she was going after my man! But really, she is brilliant and as sweet as can be and had pulled out all the stops for our brunch date. Meaning the 3 of us sat down to a breakfast of 3 massive coffee cakes (a berry pound cake, carrot cake, and huge cinnamon rolls) plus fruit, eggs, etc! She said she just wanted to make sure we had enough to eat!

Now it's back to school and work and daily norms. 

EXCEPT - I've reached the point where I will finally allow myself to do a little count-downing. 

4 weeks until classes are done, 6 weeks until exams are over, and 8 weeks until graduation! 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Spring Break: East Coast Version

For a couple of months Brandon and I had been talking about doing something different over my spring break this year. His parents had gifted us plane tickets for Christmas and rather than use them on one of out typical MI MN trips we decided to meet up in Baltimore to spend time with Brandon's sister.

Initially the plan was to spend some time in D.C as well, but when you are flying standby you can never really make concrete plans. So when a "snowstorm". (I.e. flurries) shut down D.C. and Maryland airports last Wednesday, our trip ended being bumped back a day and out went the D.C. time, we had a hunch this was going to be a trip of flexibility :)

Our most anticipated and ultimately favorite part of the trip was the evening we spent with friends we had never met face-to-face before! The wonders of the blogging world have opened some amazing doors and after a year+ of emailing it was so exciting to connect with the Wachter family face-to-face! Brandon and I walked away from the evening that we have never felt so welcomed or so much love and hospitality from a family before - plus they are just fun too :) Sadly I have no pictures because I was way to busy enjoying making homemade pasta and talking up a storm :) They even put up with my ridiculously diminishing voice loss, which was the start of a whole nother adventure...

After leaving the Wachters in Frederick (Which is an adorable town you all should visit) we headed to Baltimore where we spent the next 2.5 days with Brandon's older sister Holly, her husband John, and their daughter Gianna (2). We spent a lot of time just hanging out, eating great food, and talking...well they talked and I listed because at this point I had NO voice, but the reality was that Gianna has just really started putting words together and loves to talk, so I was fine listening!! (Who can resist waking up each morning to a sweet voice calling for "Un-co Brandon" or "jooey-Ann"?!)

When Holly and John headed back to work on Monday, Brandon and I spent out last few hours on the east coast checking out Annapolis. Then if was back to the airport to catch out flight to MN where we were sip risked with BOTH being upgraded to 1st class! A pretty good way to spend our first flight together! :)

Now we are in MN - Brandon's back at work while I am visiting with friends and resting....because somehow that nasty lost voice managed to turn itself into a sinus infection and pink eye. Which wouldn't be funny, except for the fact fact that i seem to have developed quite a talent for getting sick on vacation....

Friday, March 1, 2013

A Day to Remember

At times I catch myself reflecting back on where I am today and how I got here. Today has been one of those days.

On March 1, 2012 I attended a birthday slumber party for my friend Jess (yes we are all in our mid-to-late-20s but who says you have to stop those nights of late night talks, eating way too much, laughing like crazy, and taking ridiculous pictures that are oh-so-amusing in the moment but oh-so-embarassing later on!). Jess’ husband was in Washington D.C. for a work conference and we simply couldn’t leave a friend alone on her birthday!
About 11 p.m. Jess got a birthday call from her husband and his friend Brandon (who had flown in to visit other family and friends in the area and spend some time with Rob in-between his work events). Prior to the call I had been jokingly texting Rob from Jess’ phone as Jess (follow that?) however, I didn’t realize until the end of the texting conversation that I was actually texting Brandon (who had grabbed Rob’s phone and pretending to text as him). Once we realized that neither of us was texting with who we thought we were a call was made and laughs and joking introductions were made over the speakerphone. I didn’t think anything of it, other than noting that this guy seemed nice and he was an attorney.
4 months later Brandon flew out to visit Rob and Jess before they moved back to Minnesota (well really he came to see a Tiger’s game…).
About 3 months later we started dating.
Today, I truly cannot imagine what my life would be like without him….