Friday, July 29

A Divine Romance

"Divine Romance" by Phil Wickham.
My beloved speaks and says to me: "Arise, my love, my beautiful one,
and come away,
for behold, the winter is past;
the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth,
the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove
is heard in our land.
The fig tree ripens its figs,
and the vines are in blossom;
they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my beautiful one,
and come away.
O my dove, in the clefts of the rock,
in the crannies of the cliff,
let me see your face,
let me hear your voice,
for your voice is sweet,
and your face is lovely.
-Song of Solomon 2:10-14

Tuesday, July 26

Nostalgia, Friends, and Moving On

As I've mentioned, last weekend Brian and I flew to Iowa for the wedding of Brian's best friend. It was an incredibly good time, and also a little bittersweet. So today, I feel like just sharing a bunch of my favorite pictures from the four days with you all.  

You know, up until 2009, I had never flown before, and now I'm starting to lose track of all the times I've had the privilege. To me, it's like riding on a fun rollercoaster, just enough thrill without getting too crazy. Unless of course, there's turbulence. That's a little too thrilling for me!
This is the mesmerizing fountain in the Detroit airport
We flew all night and arrived in Des Moines Thursday morning with about two hours of sleep. We showered and ate a second breakfast at Brian's grandma's house, and picked up the van from his uncle that they offered to us to use while we were there. Then we met Jay, the groom-to-be, for lunch at the iconic Hickory Park restaurant in Ames. We had a couple hours before the rehearsal, so I took a nap at the hotel, while Brian assisted Jay with running some errands. My nap was over too soon, but then it was time for the rehearsal!

I got all choked up when they just practiced walking down the aisle! I'm such a softy! 

That night we enjoyed a wonderful meal, and a slideshow of pictures of the couple. That seriously choked me up! I also got better acquainted with the wife of one of the other groomsmen. They got married the week before we did last summer. We had fun hanging out together for the rest of the wedding events, sharing recollections of our own wedding days. 

Friday morning Brian dragged me out of bed so that I could meet my mentor and friend Sabrina for breakfast.  She caught me up on all the news from the last year, and we had a great time talking about blogging!

After breakfast, I had a few minutes to gather all my wedding attire, and then Brian dropped me off on Welch Ave. to meet more friends for lunch while he took my stuff over to the wedding location.

Amazing Chinese food for incredible prices
I was meeting them at one of my favorite hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurants, but before they arrived I had time to walk around Welch and Campus and take a few pictures of some of our favorite spots. Oh, the nostalgia! 

Good old Welch. Brian and Jay lived down this hubbub of campus activity. 

Lake Laverne and the Memorial Union

Lancelot and Elaine, the ISU swans.

One of the many locations Brian and I used to sit for long chats

The camponile, with the amazing CyRide!
The beautiful MU
During lunch I remembered one of my favorite things about ISU. I was eating with a friend from Russia, a friend from Puerto Rico, and a friend from Hong Kong, at a Chinese restaurant with both Asian and Mexican employees. ISU and Ames in general is such a diverse city. I loved that about going to school there.

By the time we finished eating and chatting, Brian and the rest of the wedding party were on central campus taking wedding pictures. I said good-bye to my friends and walked over to meet them and ride back to the wedding location.

It was incredibly hot and humid, and we couldn't stop sweating! It took me at least half an hour to cool off and dry off before I could get dressed for the wedding. That's one thing I don't miss about Iowa! 

Then it was time for the wedding! 

A sweet moment after the mothers placed the unity sand up front. 
Waiting for the Bride

The sermon was awesome! Sometimes wedding sermons are sappy, but this one was very practical and challenging! 

Announcing Mr. and Mrs.!
We had about an hour before the reception, so we milled around the lobby and enjoyed the hor d'ouevres and catching up with people we knew.

The couple had arranged so that both of us wives of the groomsmen got to sit at the head table with our husbands, which I really appreciated! It made the reception so much more enjoyable.

Us at the reception, lookin' good
Brian did a great job with his speech! I was quite concerned, because if you know Bri, he's not much of a public speaker, but he is quite the rambler. And sometimes he thinks things are funny that no one else understands. He allowed me to read his notes before hand, and I was impressed with what he had, and when he actually delivered it, it was even better! I was so proud!

Brothers :)
We had so much fun at the reception. I was so excited that I got Brian to dance with me! He's always insisted that he can't dance, which I totally understand, because I can't either, but I still enjoy it! Even though we kept stepping on each other's feet, we had fun! 

After a late night, we had breakfast with a big group of our college friends at the ridiculously early time of 8 a.m. In spite of making us late by spilling coffee down myself twice, we finally made it there and hung out with them until almost 11.

Spending time with them definitely made us homesick. The only thing we don't like about living in Arizona is that in the year we've lived here, we have just as many friends as when we started: two. And friends our age? Zero. And we haven't figured out how to meet people our age with similar interests.

We were bemoaning that with our friends, when one of our friends said something really interesting. While having college friendships that endure through the years is wonderful, "I think we need to move on too, and make new friends where we are now," he said. He mentioned that his parents have friends from college that they still keep in touch with, but no close friends where they currently live.

He's right. We need to maintain our friendships, but we need to find/form a new circle here too. 

Well, after breakfast, we checked out of the hotel, picked up Jimmy Johns to-go, and headed to our home town. That evening, we had a picnic on Brian's parent's deck for all our family. We celebrated us being back, and also my brother's 12th birthday. 

A great candid shot

The birthday boy!

I invited my best friend Rachel, and she came over early to hang out, and stayed late.


My sister, brother-in-law, and niece

I heard crocodile tastes like chicken...

Edward was very excited about having an Iowa State cake

Happy Birthday!!!

Ethan is making his action hero eat the cake, and Eric thinks it's pretty funny

My FIL scooping homemade mint chocolate chip ice cream

Edward is a big ISU fan, if you can't tell!
We went to church the next day at the church I'd grown up in, and got to see many old friends. We had lunch with my older sister and her family, and before we knew it, it was time to head to the airport.

Good-bye Iowa!

On to new horizons!
So, now things have settled back into the normal rhythm for the most part. We're still catching up on sleep, and pondering how we can form a new circle of like-minded friends here. If you have ideas, feel free to share!

School starts in three weeks. It's hard to believe the summer is almost over! Do you have any big plans for the last few weeks before back-to-school hits? 

Sunday, July 24

Weekend Reading


Friday, July 22

Wedding Gift Guide

Looking for something a little more personal than kitchen towels? While there's nothing wrong with buying people what they put on their registry, sometimes it's nice to add something special, something that is uniquely them.

Since Brian and I are attending a wedding this weekend, I've got weddings on the brain. Here's a handy gift guide for your soon to be hitched friends.

For the Intellectual Types
Pair these two together:


Or get this matching set:
For Couples Only: Eyeopening Insights about How the Opposite Sex Thinks $14.93
You can read my book review of these books and several other marriage books in this post "After the Honeymoon".

This would be a sweet gift for a couple who own lots of books!

Personal Library Kit $15.99 at Organize.com

For the Entertainers
With gifts this cute, you can be sure of an invite to their first party as a married couple!

Vintage Party Tub by tag®

Napkins- Azure Embroidered Cocktail Napkins - Set of 4 by tag®
Salsa Bowl with Spoon - Chili Pepper Shape by Progressive
Salsa Bowl with Spoon - Chili Pepper Shape by Progressive

A fun book that "encourages you to cook because you need to, listen because you might learn, and kiss because you want to!"

"Kissing and Cooking for Couples: A Recipe to Add Spice & Romance to Your Relationship"

For the Love Birds
Well, hopefully all the couples are love birds, but here's a few thoughtful gifts on that theme.

Friendship Birds - Outdoor Yard Ornament and Key Hider

Friendship Birds - Outdoor Yard Ornament and Key Hider

They could use this to display a few favorite wedding cards.
This Is the Day the Lord Has Made - Bird Cage - Card Holder

For the Type A's
For those who like a place for everything:
5 Section Mail Sorter - Ivory by KangaRoom

5 Section Mail Sorter - Ivory by KangaRoom at Organize.com

This drawer organizer uses interlocking pieces, so it will fit in any size drawer.
Interlocking Drawer Organizer Set - 10 Pieces

Interlocking Drawer Organizer Set - 10 Pieces $9.99

For the Techies
Keep them from getting tied in knots...
Cord Wrap To-Go

Cord Wrap To-Go $7.99

A funky charging station will definitely be appreciated by your gadget friendly friends.
Jonathan Adler iPad Cover - Chevron

For the Honeymooners

Give these as a set! Sometimes both guys and girls can use a few ideas to show love and appreciation! 


Probably my favorite wedding gift to give, this set from DaySpring includes two Mr. and Mrs. mugs, a journal with Mr. and Mrs. sections for writing love notes to each other, and the Mr. and Mrs. coupon book. Love it!
Mr. & Mrs. - Love Collection Set

Mr. & Mrs. - Love Collection Set on sale now for $26.99

If you need more ideas, I wrote a gift guide post for Valentines Day gifts back in February. You might find something there you like too. 

What are your favorite wedding gifts to give? Leave a comment to share your ideas with us!