September 24, 2012

musings on community

Not the TV show. Although while up in Mass, our dear friends introduced it to us and we love it.

But this is more about real community. Real life people in the flesh - not even Facebook community. Will and I have been "living" in PA now for almost four months and it's time we start analyzing what this community thing will look like in our lives. It's hard to believe we've been here so long because, well, we've barely been here. But I've been having conversations with various friends lately about the role community needs to play in our lives, and ultimately, a church family.

I'm struggling with the thought of embracing a new church family. Or even the idea of making new friends. Is that ridiculous? I've moved, and maybe I have to accept that, but in my mind - I already have my friends. I'm not really looking for more. I am so blessed to have one of these dearest friends living less than a half hour away now and another 40 minutes away, but that's it - and it's not close enough. And the rest are back up in Massachusetts.

One of the reasons this might be so tough for me is that I once lived in an intentional community with thirteen other people... three years ago! Whoa. Has it been that long, guys? We cooked meals together, grocery shopped together, read the Word together, turned our kitchen into a Starbucks and did homework together, sled down the stairs on mattresses together. It was quite literally, ideal.

I fear now that I have such a high standard for community in my life because these people changed mine forever. These people are my truest friends because we've gone through so much together: many break-ups, graduating, and now four weddings in the group - these friends are the only community I want. They've ruined me :)

The problem I have now is this: another one among us got married last weekend up in Massachusetts, and like I said in my last post, I knew that wedding was going to hold so much joy - obviously because of the two lives joining, but also because we were reunited with that community. And I was on cloud nine the entire weekend. A bunch of us got together on Saturday night and my throat was sore with laughter. We all talked about living together once again and fought about where we'd be located. Emily and I were, of course, making a strong case for Pennsylvania.

I was already having a tough time coming around to the idea of new community, but after being around them all again, I fear I have dug my heels in even deeper. What do you think God calls us to concerning community? Is it a "grow where you're planted" sort of thing, or can you take on the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" attitude..?

I think that God has given us all gifts to share with one another, and that His plan would be that the church (the greater church - His people) gather together and share of themselves to help each other grow. So I know that means we obviously need to find a church down here (which we've started to research), but that probably also means more than just showing up on Sunday mornings. It probably means joining small groups and ministries and starting all over from scratch. Which to be honest, is a completely exhausting thought.

I already have at least 8-10 people who know everything about me. All of my dirt, my shame, my sins, my shortcomings, where I find joy. Is it wrong to just want to keep it at that - even states away? I was praying today that God would convict me if this attitude is selfish or short-sighted in His greater plan. But any thoughts that this community can share about new friends or how you've dealt with a move would be greatly appreciated.

It's been a while since I've done one of these, but I definitely have another gift to share:

The joy experienced in a true community and the 
blessing of such dear friends that stand the test of time and space.

September 14, 2012

going north

Well it's that time again. I think I neglected to say in my long litany of summer plans that we're actually headed back up to the glorious state of Massachusetts again this weekend for [almost] the last time in 2012.

{print via 1canoe2 letterpress on Etsy - how great is that.}

This dear friend of mine is getting married at the beautiful Willowdale Estate and I can't wait to be reunited with all of my college friends for this joyous occasion. The other weddings we went to this summer were obviously a blast, but this wedding is the one that will have the most people I love and miss at it. You know how the best weddings are the ones with almost every single one of your friends at them? Well this will be that wedding :) So stoked.

We're also staying with one of my bff's and her hub, and there's talk of a pie party going down this weekend too. I'd be jealous if I were you. Should be a fabulous time with more stories to share building on our jam-packed summer.

Happy weekend everyone!

September 12, 2012

1 year, 2 months and 3 days ago.

I know, I'm late. But the experience still needs to be shared.
One year, two months and three days ago we were doing this:

And just two months and three days ago, we were doing this! Will surprised me with a sunset hot air balloon ride, remarkably just 15 minutes from home. It pays to live in the farmlands.

Needless to say, it was absolutely stunning. I have always been infatuated with the idea of hot air balloons and would not so subtly drop hints about wanting to do it someday. Will had done it before but this was my maiden voyage! It was so cool watching them inflate it, but it's definitely a time consuming process. We got there around 5 and I don't think we took off until after 7. These guys were really cool though and they explained everything to us as they were doing it and were very keen on letting us get nice and close. 

Now I'm totally a thrills person - there isn't a roller coaster I won't try and heights don't bother me at all. But in my opinion, it's quite a bit different when you're in a hot air balloon. As you can see, I had fixed quite the death grip on that pole. Will was all dangling over, seeing the sites - but for crying out loud, we went 6,400 feet. You did not mis-read that. We were over a mile off the ground hanging in a glorified picnic basket. No restraints, no seat belts - just hovering a mile off the earth. Talk about a seriously unnerving feeling. Everything in my body was telling me I was horribly unsafe, but I was trying to ignore that to soak up this experience I had dreamt about for so long. Despite the seemingly high risk of death and the comfort I felt having just signed a waiver to partake, it really was a beautiful evening and a night to remember.

It did come as a complete shocker though that once you're up there, you just kind of go where the wind (or lack of wind in our case) takes you. There's no map, no set course, you just kind of float along. And when you're running out of fuel, you look for a nice big yard to land in and cross your fingers for a "balloon-friendly" property. Well we did not land on a balloon-friendly property, so that spiced things up a little. Once we landed very softly to the ground, we had to scoot our balloon to a side street to get off the balloon killjoy's yard. Then when we were all packed up in the van that followed our path, we drove back to our launch site for champagne and snacks. A ballooners tradition, we were told. I like the way these people think. Live life on the edge and then celebrate a safe return.

It was a splendid evening and I can't think of a better surprise. To my husband: thank you for the most perfect first year. It hasn't looked very conventional, but it's been all ours. I love that we blaze our own trail and do things just a little differently. Thanks for vowing to do it like that forever with me. Here's to year number two having just as many adventures! Love.

September 10, 2012

home again. [a photo tour of an entire summer]

Are there really any excuses for disappearing from the blogosphere for an entire summer?


well first we moved here at the end of May and had to get settled in, and then less then two weeks later

we went to San Diego for 10 days. Saw the sights, went to the beach, went to the zoo, but primarily visited these two...

(bro and almost sister-in-law). Then we flew straight to Massachusetts for Ashley & Tim's wedding,

and then drove to up-state New York to work for these guys the next day,

where we lead eight incoming college freshmen through the wilderness hiking with massive loads on our backs for 12 days. 

{photo via}

Then after a full month away from our new place, we were home. For 11 days. Sorry I didn't blog.

But then we did this for our one year anniversary on July 9th,

and it was absolutely beautiful! 

After 11 crazy full days at home, we left again for my best friend Abby's wedding in Massachusetts. Remember her?

Well look how gorgeous she is with her hub, Adam:

{photos by Pear Tree Studio}

It was just the most absolutely fabulous and perfect day. Any more positive adjectives to throw in there? It was a dream.

 We were in MA for about a week for that affair, and we were also lucky enough to see all of these wonderful people again. All siblings together on the east coast again, and nieces and nephews galore.

After just enough time to breathe, we then headed to Long Island later that same week for Justin & Cherisa's wedding.

{photo via Aly Martin Photography}

It was a super fun trip, but a whirlwind of a time - 2 weddings in one week, and another 10 days away from our new home in PA.

With that, we thankfully and eagerly returned home again. For another 11 days.

This time at home: we just worked our butts off getting all moved in, tried to relax, attended a baby shower, tried to work to earn some money to fund our ventures, built a fire pit to encourage the aforementioned relaxation,

and 11 way-too-short days later, we left for NY again for another backpacking trip.

Ten more students eager to start college and 12 more days in the woods.

We swung by Massachusetts on the way home and took more parents rock climbing,

did some climbing ourselves,

and then finally we were able to come home. So after three more weeks away, we were home for good.

Oh, and in between all of that, we also had started ripping apart our kitchen,

so that was yet another thing keeping me away from blogging.

Anyway, things are starting to slow down and replicate a normal life again. We'll see if it sticks.
Since we've been home this time around (just over a week, I think?) we cleaned the house like crazy to host the Pennsylvania fam for Labor Day, which was such a blast. There's nothing like inviting people over to get stuff done around the house, amen? We had such a good time with everyone and the temporary kitchen makeover is really starting to come together. Photos to come on that.

We also went to New Jersey to buy a new (used) car - definitely more to come on that! - and I started making a dress with my friend Emily! The crafting has begun. Life must be normal again. 

To end it all, I was put in my place with what felt like 48-hour pneumonia this weekend. That's God saying, "Slow the heck down, woman!" Noted. I really really want to stop, I promise.

So I apologize for my long long blogging hiatus, but it's good to be back. Don't you feel all caught up? :)

{more stories and photos to come about most of these things!}

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