Movie Monday-Sort of. . .

Hi everyone!

I thought I would share what I was doing exactly a year ago today.
Eleonore was overdue and I decided I should try to “dance her out”.
I started doing this on December 10th, 2011 since her official due date was the 9th.

Since I don’t normally post on Sundays I am revisiting two of the videos!

More to come in the week ahead.

peace to you,
meredith

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Whimsical Wednesday

I know it’s not Wednesday anymore, but we just got done with Bible Study!
I’m kinda running on empty with whimsical ideas, so this is what you get.

peace to you,
meredith & madeleine l’engle (the cat)

Back to Decatur

Today was an exciting whirlwind of an adventure.

Deb asked if Eleonore and I wanted to join her and Wolfie on a thrifting jaunt to Clinton.

I figured we should just go crazy, and go all the way to Decatur.
(All the pictures are courtesy of her and her artistic self! )

You see, I have this odd love affair with Decatur. I lived there from the time I was four to third grade and for my freshman year of college. Those are pretty pivotal years in the development of a memory, of a personhood, at least they were for me.

It was hard as we made every turn, and drove past every place to not share with Deb the story that accompanied the particular place or street. We did some pretty great thrifting, and the kiddos behaved quite well.

Eleonore & Wolfgang holding hands in the backseat! 

What was more valuable than any physical treasure, was the remembering. Remembering where I was when I first heard of the Iraq war starting on the radio in the car. Remembering the thrift store that my mother would buy me clothes from that I would despise because a peer had told me “only poor people wear thrift store clothes” and I had an incessant need to tell people where my clothing was from, so if I wore it, everyone was going to know it was second-hand. I was going to tell them.

The thing that stood out to me most about my time in Decatur were all my different “educational” experiences.

I was home schooled for Pre-School, went to Northwest Christian Academy for Kindergarten, and first grade, was home schooled for second grade and went back to Northwest Christian Academy for the first half of third grade, transferring to Glad Tidings Christian Academy after Christmas.

I kept harkening back to my first experience at Glad Tidings in 1993. I was excited about the change, I thought I had a good handle on things.

Little did I know.
I arrived to school in a hot pink corduroy jumper with a peter pan white blouse underneath. But here is the kicker. I had on Troll Santa Claus earrings, which were highlighted since I had a boy bowl haircut at the time. What went through my third grade mind that morning when I woke up? Perhaps I had a bit of a C’est La Vie attitude about the Santa Claus troll earrings. Or perhaps they were the one thing I had that I felt transcended into popular culture. I might have ridden in the Silhouette Spaceship Van to school thinking, “I’m the freaking s@#t, I have on troll earrings, you will all bow to my prowess”. Because who is ballsy enough to wear troll earrings to a Christian school? No one I had encountered in my short time on earth. . .
Everyone else was much cooler (ballsier) than I. I had failed miserably. At recess, Jaclyn Dick and Jessica Dixson came over and started talking to me. They were unmistakably the Queen Bee’s. And if I remember correctly, they had their ears pierced twice, and long hair down to their mid backs, GUESS sweatshirts with leggings and keds with scrunchy socks.
WHAT ARE SANTA CLAUS TROLL EARRINGS WHEN COMPARED TO THAT!?!
As they approached they began to probe.
“Do you like Grease?”
All possibilities began to run through my mind. Grease. . .food grease? My father saves bacon grease to pop his popcorn that he gets in a tub from the boyscouts in.
I gingerly raised my eyebrows and stated what I could muster as calmly as possible:
“Like in a frying pan?”
They could have been cruel at this point. I think they only giggled a little bit.
“No, the movie Grease! You will have to come over and watch it.”
“Oh yeah, that, sure. I’ve been meaning to see it. Just haven’t gotten around to it.”
I immediately boiled with seething rage at my parents. What was this travesty they had committed against me, that I didn’t know what this mysterious Grease Movie was?
I knew plenty about Star Wars, I knew plenty about anything Jim Henson had done. I knew the set list that the Moody Blues played at their Live at Red Rocks PBS special that I had been allowed to stay up for so I could “dance” behind the couch to “Nights in White Satin”.
None of these things could serve me now. I was like an Israelite who was ungrateful for her manna.
When I got older I would look back on this again and think, “you let your eight year old twirl to a song clearly about SEX but didn’t show her GREASE!?!?!?” For the love of God people!

When I did make the trek to Jaclyn Dick’s house, she enlightened me on such things as Nancy Drew Mysteries, Guns and Roses, and Madonna. I truly felt that I might go to hell for listening to Guns and Roses. Something about it seemed sacrilegious probably the skulls on the cassette tape cover. But Madonna’s Poppa Don’t Preach made sense to me.
I could justify that. My father was a pastor, and all of a sudden I had a song if I ever got pregnant and wanted to keep my baby.
Always a good thing for a third grader to hold in her back pocket.
I think I remember sharing that with my Father soon after I got home from Jaclyn’s for the first time. 
He was calm and sensical enough to not bar me from hanging out with her ever again.
I became one of the “popular” girls at Glad Tidings, despite my boy hair bowl cut and faux pas first day outfit. The way I did this? By telling everyone what sex was. 
Yep. 
In detail.
When I was in second grade, on a ride home from Champaign where my mother was working at the time, I had turned to her and nonchalantly asked:
“So what is this sex thing everyone is talking about?”
Being a nurse, the practical answer was to tell me what this sex thing was, in scientific and biological actuality. 
It was like social gold, this information. Everyone else was still getting the birds and the bees junk from their parents. But I, as I sat atop the jungle gym with my captivated audience shared terms, and procedures like a 10th grade gym teacher reluctantly does in required Sex-Ed. If memory serves me, I shared with much more vigor and tenacity, punctuating certain terms with added thrill and rising intonation.
But, every time I did this, I had to pay my penance. Remember that United Methodist guilt I talked about? Yeah, like being born into sin, I was born into that, and I confessed to my mother every day after school. 
Mid spring we found out we were moving to Arthur, Illinois.
 (That process is a different story for a different time.)
I remember going to my mother as a third grader, and saying:
“This is my chance, I will be able to have a fresh start and begin again. I won’t have to be known as the “Girl who always talks about sex”.”
The first day of fourth grade in Arthur came with great anticipation. To my credit, I think I made it to the second day of recess before I blurted out my wealth of information. It worked it’s charm, and I was a “popular” girl again.
As we’ve moved back to Bloomington, I haven’t had any instances where I have felt insecure to the point of needing to talk incessantly about sex in correct biological terms. I think with the presence of Eleonore it is pretty clear I hold that information.
But just in case you are with me, in a coffee shop, or at dinner, or at the mall and I suddenly start saying things like “COPULATION” or “GONAD”, simply calm me down, and reassure me that my identity is not found in my sexual knowledge, rather my identity is in Christ. 
As Henri Nouwen says:

The truth, even though I cannot feel it right now, is that I am the chosen child of God, precious in God’s eyes, called the Beloved from all eternity and held safe in an everlasting embrace… We must dare to opt consciously for our chosenness and not allow our emotions, feelings, or passions to seduce us into self-rejection. 

This wasn’t something I was able to grasp as a second grader, or third grader, or fourth grader, or. . .ok, you get it.
But I think I am beginning to get it.
And it is one of the things that makes coming “Back to Bloomington” possible at all. 
peace to you,
meredith

Among our finds? 
This beauty for $1.00 which came with a polaroid camera and a leather case!
Perfect to capture new memories with.

Wedding Week Day 4-The Wedding (Continued)

Our wedding ceremony was probably my favorite part of the whole wedding.

We were so blessed by the community that came together to make it happen and to support us in our commitment to God and one another.
One of my favorite parts of the wedding was the “soundtrack”.
First we had a full praise service-
1.) Come Thou Fount
2.) Great is Your Name
3.) Be Thou My Vision
4.) Though I may speak
5.) Memorial Candles were lit/Grandparents were seated to Motion Picture Soundtrack by Radiohead played by a string quartet.
6.) Mothers were seated to Sheep May Safely Graze by Bach.
7.) Bridesmaids/My processional to Only Hope by Switchfoot
8.) Nate sings an original song I hadn’t heard yet!
9.) We recess to what started as The Bridal March but morphed into “Good Love”
It was so randomly and perfectly us. 


I look back at the words of “Though I may speak”:


Though I may speak with bravest fire
And have the gift to all inspire
And have not love, my words are vain —
As sounding brass — and hopeless gain.

Though I may give all I possess
And, striving so, my love profess
But not be giv’n by love within,
The profit soon turns strangely thin.

Come, Spirit, come; our hearts control.
Our spirits long to be made whole.
Let inward love guide ev’ry deed;
By this we worship and are freed.


it is a hymn I haven’t sung since our wedding day six years ago, and I find myself struck by what little that 21 year old girl/woman (still feel like a girl/woman, but that is for another post, at another time!) knew of what true, real, hard, life, love looked like and would look like. And yet I/she knew enough that there was truth to these words, that something resonated with what this marriage thing was supposed to look like. What a gift. what joy, what bliss, this deep true friendship and community I have been given in my husband is!
I am so aware of how “lucky” I am. So grateful.


And often times when I laugh so hard that I fart in bed, because of the hilarious things he says, I half expect a parent to come in and tell us to be quiet, that it’s time to go to sleep, because I don’t know how I got to have a sleepover with my best friend every night, I feel like I must be doing something wrong to have so much fun and get to spend every waking moment with my best friend.


Bet you didn’t expect me to talk about farting, but that’s how I roll. 
Or better yet, how WE roll!




peace to you,
meredith








Wedding Week Day 1-How we met

This Saturday (November 19th) will mark the 6th year Nate and I have been married.

WHOA!

To try to grasp how long this is, it would be like making it in the same relationship for all of Junior High and High School. . .

I realize that this isn’t the point, but it does give you a tangible way to grasp the length of time.

I have dubbed this wedding week, where I will take time to highlight different aspects of our relationship so far!

Monday-How we met
Tuesday-The Proposal
Wednesday-The Wedding (worked out well alliteration wise eh?)
Thursday-Where we have been
Friday-Where we are going

It was the Summer of 2003. I had come home from my freshman year at Millikin University and had already made plans to transfer to Illinois State University, switching from Music to Theatre. It had been a wonderful year of finding myself thanks to so many wonderful people, and an asset was that many of those wonderful people introduced me to wonderful music. I needed a job, and had slacked off in those efforts. My wonderful friend (and future Maid of Honor) Michelle, suggested that I should work at East Bay Camp on Lake Bloomington. I had been to EBC many times as a child and adolescent, but something about being stuck at camp for weeks at a time seemed suffocating, and I was hesitant. I wasn’t working hard at finding anything else, so EBC it was. Miles Price (an amazing friend and future reader at our wedding) hired me to be in charge of implementing a new daily day camp.

So I begrudgingly took my dyed black hair, blunt cut banged, industrial ear pierced, vintage track jacket wearing, Norma Jean/Flaming Lips listening self to the first day of orientation and training.

It was June 6, 2003

All the counselors had assembled, except for one.

In came this tornado with a sideways cap, hoop earrings, thick black glasses, tattoos and a soul patch. He didn’t seem phased by being late, and just jumped right into the conversation.

I just thought COCKY,COCKY,COCKY, cute, but, COCKY, COCKY, COCKY.

Well, thinking the cute boy was cocky wore off pretty quick.

We flirted (a lot).

We prayed together (a lot).

We read the Bible together (a lot).

And by the end of the Summer, we were already talking about marriage.

This was overwhelming for me in so many ways. I had a list of I never’s that I have talked about before. This was when I knocked the first two out of the park. Nate was the first guy I had ever dated that was shorter than me, and he had experienced a call to pastoral ministry.

1.) I will never marry a guy who is shorter than me
2.) I will never marry a minister
3.) I will never live in Bloomington-Normal permanently after school

2 out of 3. . .for a time.

I had never been serious enough about a guy to have the “meeting of the family”.
I was terrified. A twin brother who was the president of his Christian Fraternity who was engaged to a beautiful petite art major, and a Mother who was a music teacher, but also a ridiculous composer and musician.

The first time I met Jake and Kenz was in Peoria at Ruby Tuesday’s. I think I cried most of the way there begging Nate to take me back because I was so petrified.

When I met them, they were great and so nice. But I did notice they looked at me a little odd when we first walked in. I was already PLENTY self conscious about our height difference. I am 6ft. he is 5’8, and figured they just thought we looked funny together. Later that evening we went to meet his Mom and stay the weekend. She too gave me an odd look.

What I found out years later is that Nate said this to his family right after we met.

“Mom, Jake, I think God wants me to marry a big girl.”

So why the odd looks? They weren’t expecting someone tall, they were expecting someone overweight. They thought I was a new girl, and they were obviously perplexed since he had talked about marrying the “big girl”.

He hasn’t ever lived that one down, probably never will.

I’m glad God wanted him to marry this “Big Girl”. Very glad.

peace to you,
meredith

Can you spot the two love birds? 
A staff picture our first summer together.

Photo Friday-Tattoo Inspiration

I have been debating for so many years now about getting a tattoo. My husband has a few :), and I have been itching lately for some ink.  These pictures are some inspiring ones to me, and you can also find them on my Pinterest!

The problem is, ever since I met him, and ever since I have seen his amazing artwork on Nate, I have only wanted one person to do my tattoos, if I ever got them.

That person is Jimmy.  He now lives in Eugene, Oregon. And that makes a tattoo REALLY expensive. Although a total bonus would be visiting Mindy Rawlins and The Blair Family.

Trying to justify, trying to justify, trying to justify.

Do these images inspire you as they do me?

Really want this on my body and on everything I own (with even more labels added in!). 


What a vital reminder in a walk with Christ about loving everyone, 
because we so DO NOT deserve the love we have been given. 

But maybe my forehead would be too much? 🙂


 What do you see when you look at this?
 If you don’t see a hat, you know why this is so lovely and meaningful. 
If you do see a hat, go read Le Petit Prince, and have your spirit lifted and outlook changed. 

I have always been incredibly drawn to shepherd/sheep imagery when it comes to my relationship with Christ. 
This image is a visual representation of something far more amazing, 
but it grants a little understanding for my feeble mind. 
Mother and Child, Mother Mary and Christ, Father God and His Children. 
This sculpture is so beautiful to me, 
it encompasses such intimate, passionate, nurturing relationships.
These are just a few inspiring images. Don’t worry, you won’t see all of them on my person any time soon (ferociously types in search engine “Cheapest Way to get to Oregon”).
peace to you,
meredith

music to the heart and soul

This Saturday will be  a dream come true for me.

One of my favorite musical groups of all time will be playing a show in Bloomington, at a childhood friends apartment.

I have been dubbed a “Superfan” along with my dear friend Lindsay who will be absent this concert since she currently lives in Arkansas.

Lindsay and I first saw Rue Royale in 2007 at Uncommon Grounds in Wrigleyville. We didn’t pay much attention or realize what amazing food was there. We were there strictly for the music.

Our fates were sealed, and since then we have tried to make it to every show that has been accessible to us.

Our 3rd concert at Subterranean Winter 2007! 

There isn’t really much to say about their music, it is better to listen, and feel.

Cornerstone 2008. I had an appendectomy,
 so I wasn’t there.
 There was an empty seat in my honor.
At Schubas, end of Summer 2008! 

Fall 2010 in Macomb
Spring 2009
Their Moving to England show at the Hideout





I can’t describe their music and even begin to do it justice. 
Listen, and if you like what you hear, contact me for the concert details!
peace to you,
meredith