Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Words and children.

I think I have fallen in love with words. For the first time.
I've always loved reading... but never any of the "classics". Too many lofty or poetic words, and I'm out of there. But this week, thanks to books written for children... I've fallen in love with words.
My mouth feels full of phrases such as - "...and in and out of weeks, and almost over a year..." and "a person's a person no matter how small" and "what one hundred men could do in a week..." and "'I am dancing, yes I'm dancing, I am dancing' Gerald cried". My favorite thing to do every day at work is sit on the tiny blue pleather sofa by the window and read to them. Over and over and over again. For an hour.

I took them to the children's museum on Monday. And I ran through tunnels and pushed tiny shopping carts and made giant bubbles with a baby on my front and a little boy at my side. And everyone overlooked the fact that our skin colors are on opposite ends of the spectrum and called me their mommy. And there was a little part of my heart that jumped, for one day I wish that to be part of my life. I want children that look like me and children that don't. And it gives me hope in humanity that everyone around us just assumed.

Today, I cried at work. It wasn't an angry cry, or an overwhelmed cry... It was a sad cry, but a cry that called out with desperation and hope that I was getting through to him. He's only four years old, and he so needs to be reminded that he's amazing. So we cried together and I felt the heart of God.

And I felt the heart of God last night... Our house church, which I so look forward to every Tuesday. Two sweet friends shared their stories and I am endlessly grateful that they let us into their lives. I felt the presence of God as they told us of God's redeeming love and grace and the way he brings people together. I feel honored to be a part of what's happening here in our house church, and here in Denver.

Monday, December 6, 2010

In the city.

This seems funny, but I changed the name of my blog to "In the city". Because, if I think about it... Everything I do is in the city. I live on next to a busy (and sketch) street that runs through the city. I work two miles from my home - straight down one road towards the center of downtown. I worship a mile from my home (straight down the first busy street), right across from the capitol.

My whole life is within three square miles! I love it - I really do. But I love being reminded of the greater world outside my little life. I love seeing the cloud covered mountains on my short drive to work. I love talking to good friends who are pursuing dreams similar to our own. I am continually inspired by what's to come in our lives... and I'm so thankful that what I'm doing now is helping me prepare for whatever comes next.

PS: 20 days til I see my beloved family.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Christmas [traditions].

This is our first Christmas. I'm feeling a bit of pressure to start new traditions, and I feel that all the Christmas decorations we buy will be with us til the end of our days. Now, this probably won't be the case, but I can't help but feel that this Christmas sets the tone for every Christmas to come.

I know it's still November, but we've started decorating and preparing!
My family always cut our Christmas tree down at a Christmas tree farm in the "mountains" of California. I wanted to keep this tradition going - but it's a bit more intense when you live in Colorado! We ventured way up into the mountains the day after Thanksgiving with David's parents to find the perfect tree. It wasn't a Christmas tree farm, really... It was a forest. And it's a lopsided tree, but it has pine cones on it and it only cost us $12 to cut down. It's perfect.

See? It's perfect!

Since we don't really have all that many (count them: 2) sentimental ornaments yet, we had to make do with cheap ones and handmade ones. I was inspired almost ten years ago by a gift I got from a friend, and we decorated our tree with handmade yarn ornaments!

A while back I asked my mom for a recipe that I remember from my childhood. So, today, I made ginger snaps from my great-grandmother's recipe! They're the best.

I love incorporating decorations from our wedding into our everyday decorations and using them as Christmas decorations as well.

All that to say, I love Christmas. I'm so excited to spend it with my husband, and I'm looking forward to incorporating old traditions into our "baby family" and inventing our own traditions!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Thanks for the inspiration, Ash!

I'm thankful for so many things.
  • My husband. He makes me laugh and lets me be completely myself. People probably think we're crazy when we're out in public, but we don't care!
  • My job. For a five year old who, today, was my helper and didn't throw any fits. For infants who comfort distraught older children. For learning to handle and engage with a child with autism. For sweet baby kisses. For getting to see, firsthand, the changes God can make in someone's life. For being reminded every day what a good and gracious God we serve. For getting to love on kids. For my amazing boss and coworkers who stand up for and support me!
  • For my family. They are so strong and amazing and inspiring. I am encouraged by their incredible faith in God.
  • For french press coffee (I'm having it for the first time in a year right now!)
  • For the Plus One Christmas CD. They've never steered me wrong.
  • For cheap haircuts that come with head massages.
  • For David's family. I'm thankful they're in the state!
  • For our apartment. It's warm and cozy and feels so much like home.
  • For Bloom. Love it.
  • For my little car (Baby Mzungu) that just drives so well in the snow!
(Our Christmas decorations... Meager, but heartfelt)

Friday, November 19, 2010


It's been a long week, and I am exhausted.

But I wanted to say a few words about how blessed I feel to have my job. We had a graduation party last night, and everyone there testified to how much her life had been changed as she went through our program. It made me so incredibly proud to be a part of the process, and so thankful to serve an amazing, gracious God. Though my job is incredibly hard a lot of the time, it's worth it. I'm thankful to spend time with graduates and residents who realize that the staff is there for them - that we're not working against them. We want to celebrate with them, and we try so hard to do so. It's hard not to get caught up in the petty arguments and silly ranting sessions, it's hard not to get weighed down by the lack of thanks or recognition. It's hard to be available every second of my work day, and to deal with tantrums and runners and poop along with disrespect and anger and exhaustion. But it's worth it. It makes it all worth it. I, also, often struggle to love the women for exactly who they are and where they're at. They're hard to love sometimes - but then, so am I. But they're working so hard and it's really admirable. Plus, their kids are super cute and wonderful and most of the time, they just need some cuddles. I've found that's often all they need... An encouraging word and warm, safe arms. I'm happy to provide that, any day!

I'm thankful for my husband who attends these graduations even though he is so busy and not invested in the process like I am. I couldn't do it without his support, and I'm so thankful to have an amazing man by my side (especially when all I hear about all day are the bad ones).

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


I love that it's 60 degrees today, this third day of November. That we live by an amazing park (that they just found three one hundred year old skeletons in), with trees that are exploding with color. I'm so thankful for friends that I can laugh with, for my husband who is my best friend and loves me so well, for friends all across the country with whom I can share life. For my amazing parents who are still praising God and having faith in the midst of a few too many hard things at once. For my brother who cares so much about the world and other people. Way more than I did at 17! I'm so proud of him.

I love living in Denver, with all the beautiful colors and warm fall days.

I'm thankful for my amazing job, with the most supportive boss, honest coworkers, residents who are so strong and determined, sweet children who are doing so well... For the Mission, who encourages and rewards us to live as healthy people. I'm thankful for family, and learning to love and support them as best we can. For the hard decisions and choices. I'm thankful for Bloom - for passionate people and friends. For community, for our house church... For discussions that make me rethink the way I live my life. For realizations that we can only do so much... That the most important thing is to love everyone around the very best we can. Whether that means giving a ride, listening longer than I would've liked (realizing that my job includes a lot of listening), scrubbing the kitchen floor, offering tea at house church, giving grace and grace and grace, over and over again.

I love that it's getting into the holiday season. This year is going to be the busiest yet, but I'm so thankful that I get to be a part of it. It will be different than I would like, but I hope that I can use it as an opportunity to love and be better. And though we're waiting til the first snow to start decorating, I am so excited to make The Flat a cheery, celebratory place with David. Our first Christmas!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Oh, Chicago. We spent the last five days over there in that big, grand city. It was a week(end) of amazing views, time spent with amazing people/couples, walking (endless walking), trees, coats, lazy mornings, (more) sports (than I could handle), conversations, hand-holding... In short, it was amazing.

We stayed with our sister and brother in a little apartment that looked out over this:

And I sat on a couch in a sunny yellow room with my dear, dear friend Jenny and talked. We caught up on nine and a half months of life - months that have been filled with love and new experiences and joy. And then we met Eric... and ate dinner and laughed and played games and drank cider... And it made me want to move to Chicago. Or perhaps they could just move to Denver. It's smaller and much easier to ride your bike across.

And then we ventured up to the suburbs, where my love grew up. We ate Mexican food and drank coffee and wandered through forests (with autumn trees that were a real disappointment). We caught up on life with more friends, and I wanted to soak it all in and explore this place that David spent the first eighteen years of his life. Our time there was short, but so good.

The rest of our time in Chicago was spent walking. We just walked and walked around the city. We ate great food, drank great coffee, bought great shoes and sweaters, laughed and processed and enjoyed being together.

I love fall vacations.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Soul food.

Swedish pancakes are my soul food.

They remind me of warm Sunday mornings, gathered around the dining room table. Fighting over the biggest corner piece with my dad and brother, pouring maple syrup (the fake kind) over the smooth buttery goodness.

They remind me of quiet Saturday mornings, creeping into my grandparents' kitchen where the table is already prepared with grapefruit halves, orange juice, and coffee. Of vitamin holders and newspapers and calm "how did you sleep"s. Of mornings preceded by Rummikub and card games, of quietly reading Reader's Digest in a dimly lit room, serenaded by something on the record player. Always quiet, calm, peaceful. Of the pink room that was once lime green and orange. Of creaks on the stairs and the comfortable change of spending the night across town, up in the hills.

Of the months I spent in Spain, asking my Swedish friends if they loved Swedish pancakes. Of laughter, as they informed me that those were, in fact, German Oven Pancakes, but that they would still make them for me. Of a smattering of English, Spanish, Swedish, German, Basque... And we ate and walked endless miles and got lost and always, always followed the river home to the ocean.

I made some soul food this morning, and my husband understands only a few of the memories that come over me when I eat Swedish pancakes. But he cooks the bacon for me, touching the raw meat that I refuse to, and enjoys the end result with only the enthusiasm of someone who does not normally eat breakfast, but loves his wife and her crazy idea of soul food.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fall. This time, it's real.

Today is such a beautiful day. It's the first day of fall, and it truly feels that way. I always know that it's fall when I get overwhelmed by a feeling of nostalgia for Basque Country. The months that I spent there were in the fall, and I just miss it at this time of year. The cold (if you can call 70 degrees cold) humid feeling, the way the air smells, leaves twirling from trees, cigarette smoke, clouds, rain... It all reminds me of San Sebastian. Oh, I miss that place sometimes.

I went for a walk this morning (after reading / finishing my book in bed until 11:30am) in one of the two huge parks that are within a mile of our apartment.

Have I mentioned how much I love this city?

[The above photos were taken with my phone. Yes, I love it.]

We booked our flight to California... We'll be there the end of December. It will be the first time I've ever spent Christmas apart from my family. I'm not too happy about it, but I am glad that we can get out there at all! It will have been a year since we have been back to California... I'm often nostalgic for that place, as well. Probably more so than for San Sebastian, as I did in fact live in California longer than three months.

And we leave for Chicago in three weeks! I'm so excited to see the place that my love grew up, spend time with Jenny, enjoy a mid-western fall weekend, and spend time some great people. Oh, and a mini-vacation from work is always nice.

I'll leave you with this. I am so glad to get to wear pants again, after the past four months of 90+ degree weather.

Friday, September 10, 2010


Today I went with my coworkers and some of the residents to a time where everyone from the Mission gathered together to worship and fellowship. It was nice, and fun, but one part really stuck out to me.

They were giving out awards (5 and 10 years of employment with the Mission). Two of the five year awards were given to cleaning ladies. One of them didn't speak English, so they brought up someone to translate. And I have never been prouder to be a part of this organization (and I'm often quite proud). Where some people would push the cleaning ladies under the rug, never acknowledge their presence or how hard they work to keep our facilities clean, or tell them: "This is America. Speak English" - The CEO of the Mission and all of us honored them for their service. It was amazing.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


David and I watched "The Notebook" this week. The last time I watched it, I was 18 years old and in the very beginning of my first year of college. I had no idea what the next five years would bring. Let me tell you, watching that movie as a 23 year old married woman is a whole lot different than watching it as an 18 year old who has never been kissed.

Labor day weekend was so good. I am thankful for friends that will float around a pool with me for hours, talking about life and love and work, and that inspire me to be greater and do greater things. I love riding my bike around this city with my husband, dodging traffic and enjoying our neighborhood pub.

And I've once again come to my morning off... Warmed by the sun on the couch, with a cup of homemade iced coffee next to me. This is good. And I have homemade lasagna to look forward to tonight at work... Good conversations, quality time with the children and women that I am growing more and more to love.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Is it September already? Time passes quickly and slowly these days. I'm currently enjoying a morning off. I'm working the late shift tonight, and so far I'm enjoying the change. We'll see how it goes at work tonight, though...

My plan: Ride my bike to City Park, with a blanket overflowing in my basket. Take a walk, enjoy the September sun, lay down to read "The Good and Beautiful Life".

Tuesday nights are the best. When friends bring imported ginger cat cookies (for people) to The Flat, we sit around and eat muffins with almost too many ingredients in them and talk about life. About how to be peacemakers; how to bring the Kingdom here to earth; how to really live and love and that it's okay to get angry sometimes. I am starting to love these people that gather in our living room every week, and I'm so glad we get to share our lives. It's crazy to think that I've only known some of them since the beginning of the summer. Most of them, actually. Amazing how life can change.

Amazing how God goes above and beyond our expectations for our lives.

I'm thankful for my husband who holds me up when I can't do it myself. Even if I don't have the words, he knows and is just there.

I'm thankful for gummy smiles and baby laughs, for made-up words and being called "muh-lise".

And three day weekends never hurt anyone!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I am thankful for classy food (salmon + couscous + asparagus + wine = definitely classy) and great friends. I'm thankful for work, where I get to play with two adorable babies and celebrate with everyone. I'm thankful for my husband, who is kinda nerdy but super wonderful. I'm thankful for Colorado and the fact that autumn is coming soon. I'm thankful for Bloom and our house church... For the way we laugh and agree and disagree and talk about the Kingdom. I'm so glad I get to do life with these people.

I miss California, I'll be honest. I long for it, deep inside me, sometimes. But I'm so happy here.

Tomorrow: Me, girl baby, boy baby. Stroller, walk, park. Blanket, grass, sun. Journal. Nap? Them, hopefully. I just don't feel right sleeping on the job. It's going to be a good Friday.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


It's been a long, rough week. And it's only Wednesday.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Last night I had an incredibly vivid dream that I was pregnant. It was so vivid that I didn't sleep on my stomach for the rest of the night, just in case. It has made me ponder the idea all day. When I think long-term, I know that we just don't want kids yet. Eventually, yes. But not yet. But that dream made me wish for it, just a little bit... And when the sweet babies seek me out with their eyes, and a big smile spreads over their face when I smile at them... That makes me excited, too. How much more will my own children be delighted to see me? The kisses and cuddles and all the things I've studied about how to raise/care for children... It's scary and exciting to think about having our own.

But for now, I love our life. I love this season. I love living downtown, riding my bike to work, working at Champa, beginning to lead a house church, our church, riding our bikes to church and the farmer's market, spending lots of quality time with my husband... It's great.

This weekend I am looking forward to meeting little Amelie, to spending time with family and friends, and reading the paper with my husband.

What are you looking forward to this weekend?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

I am so thankful for the little insights I got this week into some of the kids at work. How I was able to move past their surface behavior and realize the feelings behind it. It reminded me how much these kids just need love. They need hugs and play and smiles and words of affirmation. They need me to be consistent and not let my frustration get a hold of me.'s so hard. But I'll try. I promise. I'll try my best.

Got to spend some time with family yesterday. It was good. We're so blessed that we're close (in proximity and friendship) to David's sister and her husband, and that David's parents live only an hour away.

We're planning a trip to Chicago in the fall... I'm really looking forward to it. It's true that I really feel like I need a vacation from work, but it's more than that. I'm so looking forward to seeing Jenny and meeting Eric, to seeing where David grew up, and to spending time with my husband, and sister and brother-in-law.

Also, Samuel gets back this next week. I wish more than anything that I could be there to greet him at the airport... To see firsthand how he's been changed. But I'll settle for pictures sent over email and his voice over the phone. I'm so unbelievably proud of him!

Saturday, July 10, 2010


My husband cleans up my puke.
He stays home from work to make sure that I get enough Pedialyte (aren't I a little old...?).
He tells me that I'm cute, even when I've just puked all over our apartment.
He buys me flowers.

He's the best.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


My job stretches me to my limits. I get stretched and then snappy, annoyed, immature. But those moments are coming less, as I'm finding, deep within myself, how to love. And I honestly couldn't do it without God. There is not enough of me to go around, so I pull from His great love. His love for the difficult children and mothers that stretch me to my limits daily. He loves them, and me, more than I could ever fathom. So I must strive to love them the very best I can. It's real hard, though.

So all that to say, we're going on a mini vacation. Breckenridge, 3 nights, with my parents. I will let my soul sigh as I look out to the mountains, and I will relax. And breathe.

I love living in the city - life is happening every minute of every day. But... sometimes you just need to get away. To let your soul breathe. And that is yet another reason that Denver is so amazing: just 1 hour from our apartment - the mountains.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


There's a cool breeze coming in through the open window. I can hear birds singing and see friendly neighbors walking their dogs. We have big open spaces, even with boxes cluttering the floor.

I'm quite proud of us: We survived (and thoroughly enjoyed!) our first (almost) six months of marriage in a 450 square foot apartment. Apparently, if your landlord decides that it's 600 square feet and you believe him for the first four months of living there, it makes it easier to stomach. But now, upgrading from 450 to 676 sq ft seems incredible. A person could get lost in here!

This whole marriage thing... it's fun! So many people speak badly about it - about how hard it is, how many sacrifices you have to make, etc. But though those things are sometimes true, it's so worth it!

I'll put up some pictures of our new place soon!

Love, from -------- (we need to think up a name for this place!)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Begin again.

David encouraged me to start blogging again... Since I love to read others' blogs, I should give them the opportunity to do the same.

So here I am.

June. Father's Day apart from my father, though that isn't anything new. David and I were blessed with the opportunity to give him the gift of words in our absence, to be read in front of the some of the many people he holds most dear. Writing those words reminded me of how much I love my dad, and how amazing he is. He and my mother will be here at the end of the week to help us move out of the place we spent the first six months of our marriage, and into a place in the heart of Denver. I love spending time with my parents.

I am completely unmotivated to continuing the laborious process of packing... Weekends are too short to be wasted on packing boxes and minds filled up with thoughts of work. They should be used for riding bikes, picnics in the sun, laughing with friends and family. The summer is already passing too quickly. Perhaps I will feel more motivated when we are in the new place... With it's air conditioning and brick walls. Maybe then I'll keep it clean, I'll feel productive and creative. Or maybe I'll still be the same person 14 blocks away.

Work always fills my head and heart... And makes me overwhelmed. I think I have almost mastered the art of Not Thinking About Work, but then there's the mornings that I lie in bed, waiting for him to wake up, that I get transported into that little yellow room, and have mock conversations and planning time in my head. It's actually quite annoying. But I really really love my job, and am feeling more settled all the time. Someone told me when I started that it would take me about six months to truly feel comfortable in the position, to make it my own. I think that will prove to be true. I've been there 3 1/2 months, and I still feel like I'm drowning sometimes. But much less frequently than before.

So here we are. A place to begin blogging again. We'll see how it goes...